Archive for January, 2009


Here are five good books on theology – all of them one volume which deal with systematic theology (where all of the verses and passages dealing with a particular subject are gathered and “codified” so to speak).

  1. Know the Truth by Bruce Milne.
  2. Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs by J.I. Packer
  3. Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem
  4. Basic Theology by Charles Ryrie
  5. Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof

Each book is easily accessible and readable, however Berkhof’s is a bit tougher (but well worth it!). Of course, no single volume can exhaustively explore every aspect of a subject – they are a starting point.

Tolle lege (“take up and read”) and enjoy!

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This is the twentieth resolution of Jonathan Edwards. Remember, he wrote these when he was about twenty years old.

Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance, in eating and drinking.

In other words, Edwards desired to be in control of what he ate and drank, and not to have it control him. Why? For the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether then, you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

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Praise God! Today was a satisfying day.

We had a good prayer meeting (we’re outgrowing the room!). I was the substitute teacher in our adult Sunday School class (Galatians). The singing was excellent. I preached a sermon on Mark 5:1-20 called “Set Free” (I went a little long). This evening, I led my second class on the subject of worship. The day was finished with putting grades in the gradebook and getting ready for my two classes tomorrow morning.

There are times when I have a hard time believing that I’m actually doing the two things I love – pastoring and teaching – in service to God and His people. That’s far better than I deserve. God is very good (may I remember that when things aren’t so good).

I’m tired, but it’s a good tired.

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Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

Edwards did not want to do anything he would be afraid or ashamed of if he knew he would die in the next hour.

Would that we would all lives our life that way!

Paul told the Thessalonian Christians, “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). The Lord Jesus Christ could return at any time. Therefore, we should be ready.

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Resolved, To live so, at all times, as I think is best in my most devout frames, and when I have the clearest notions of the things of the Gospel, and another world.

Edwards, in other words, wanted his mind to be focused on “things above” – heavenly things. Colossians 3:1 says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

He also seems to be referring to our Lord Jesus Christ’s words in Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

May we keep our eyes on heaven – God Himself specifically – and not on earth.

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I’m currently preaching through Mark during the morning services at Immanuel. Today we looked at 4:35-41, which is the recounting of Jesus calming the storm and rescuing His disciples on the Sea of Galilee.

I drew a number of conclusions from the passage – one of them being: There are times when God commands us to go into a storm. Jesus told His disciples, “Let us go across to the other side” in verse 35. He knew what was awaiting them – a storm, the likes of which they had probably never seen. It was such a violent storm that even the four former professional fishermen of the group thought they were going to die.

Why did the Lord send them into the storm? Because there were lessons they could only learn from trials and troubles – in other words, by going through the storm. The disciples learned a lesson about faith and trust in the Lord as well as gaining a clearer vision of His identity as God incarnate.

There are some lessons we can’t learn any other way than going through something hard – maybe really hard – but God is there, every step of the way. That’s something worth thinking about.

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Resolved, That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

Jonathan Edwards wanted to live his life in such a way that he would have no regrets when he died. His desire reminds me of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

May we all make this resolution for God’s glory and our good!

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We went out to dinner (and a movie afterward) last night with a couple we’re really close with. We went to a restaurant in Beaverton that we recommended, even though we had never eaten there before.

The food was very good but the service was very bad. We waited over 20 minutes before anyone checked on us, and we were in the restaurant for over two hours from beginning to end (which was tough because we were on a tight schedule). Maybe their service is normally better and this was a one-time aberration. I hope so.

It was disappointing. I can only hope that we conducted ourselves in a godly, Christlike manner. I know I need to think of that more when I’m in the situation, not just looking back on it.

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Resolved, Never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

In this resolution, Jonathan Edwards seems to be echoing what Paul wrote in Romans 12:14 and 21: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

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Jonathan Edwards’ 15th resolution is an interesting one (maybe it’s just my sense of humor).

Resolved, Never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.

My first response was, “How do you define an irrational being?”

Seriously, I understand what Edwards is saying here: if someone is so angry that they’ve come to the point of irrationality, it makes no sense to return their anger. If we do, it will not accomplish anything and will not glorify God.

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.

A good resolution. I know I need to work on it.

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