I’ve been reading the Bible since I learned to read as a young child, but started studying the Bible when I was thirteen years old. As I became more involved in ministry in high school I quickly realized even with growing up in church that there was a whole lot I didn’t know (I still know this today even after going to seminary and being a Christian for a long time that there are things I don’t know). Study Bible’s for me have been helpful but can also be dangerous when one doesn’t read the actual text of Scripture before reading the notes that accompany study Bible’s.
Henry Morris was considered in the twentieth century to have set the terms of debate about evolution by one Pulitzer Prize winning academician. Dr. Morris was the founder and leader of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and died in 2006. The Henry Morris Study Bible is full of annotations to help explain the Bible’s most difficult passages, resolve its alleged contradictions, points out the evidence of its divine origin, confirm its historical accuracy, note its remarkable anticipations of modern science, demonstrate its fulfilled prophecies and in general remove any doubt about the inerrancy, authority and its ability to withstand the attacks of the secular world.
The Henry Morris Study Bible will be helpful to new or seasoned believers to learn from a man who set the terms of the debate on evolution during the twentieth century. For those with the ESV Study Bible or a study Bible in the New King James Version, The Henry Morris Study Bible in the King James Version will be a helpful addition to any collection of Bible’s. This study Bible will help its readers by having Apologetics commentary and explanatory notes from the father of Modern Creationism, Dr. Henry Morris.
Author: Henry Morris
Publisher: Master Books (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Master Books book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
The past few years have seen an increase in attacks on the doctrine of inerrancy. These attacks on inerrancy have mostly been focused on the term “inerrancy” itself, or on whether its’ biblical or was even taught throughout Church history. In a fairly recent article David Loose author of Making Sense of Scripture argues that, “At no place in its more than 30,000 verses does the Bible claim that it is factually accurate in terms of history, science, geography and all other matters (the technical definition of inerrancy).”[i]
Before I get into the heart of my response, I appreciate that Mr. Loose accurately represented my position which is the verbal plenary and total inerrancy of Scripture. Mr. Loose says, “Inerrant” itself is not a word found in the Bible or even known to Christian theologians for most of history. Rather, the word was coined in the middle of the 19th century as a defensive counter measure to the increased popularity of reading the Bible as one would other historical documents and the discovery of manifold internal inconsistencies and external inaccuracies.”[ii]
The argument advanced by Mr. Loose is common among those who say that the term inerrancy is too precise and that in an ordinary usage it denotes a kind of absolute scientific precision that we do not want to claim for Scripture. Furthermore, those who make this objection think the term inerrancy is not used in the Bible itself. Therefore, they think it is probably an inappropriate term for Christians to use.
“First, the scholars who have used the term inerrancy have defined it clearly for over a hundred years, and they have always allowed for the “limitations” that attach to speech in ordinary language. In no case has the term been used to denote any kind of scientific precision by any responsible representative of the inerrancy position. Therefore those who raise this objection to the term are not giving careful enough attention to the way in which it has been used in theological discussions for more than a century.”[iii]
“Second it should be noted that Christians use nonbiblical terms to summarize a biblical teaching. The word Trinity does not occur in Scripture, nor does the word incarnation. Yet both of these terms are very helpful because they allow us to summarize in one word a true biblical concept, and they are therefore helpful in enabling us to discuss a biblical teaching more easily.”[iv] “It should also be noted that no other single word has been proposed which says as clearly what we want to affirm when we wish to talk about total truthfulness in language. The word inerrancy does this quite well, and there seems to be no reason not to continue to use it for that purpose.”[v]
“Finally, in the church today we seem to be unable to carry on the discussion around this topic without the use of this term. People may object to this term if they wish, but, like it or not, this is the term about which the discussion has focused and almost certainly will continue to focus in the next several decades. When the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) in 1977 began a ten-year campaign to promote and defend the idea of biblical inerrancy, it became inevitable that this word would be one about which discussion would proceed. The “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy,” which was drafted and published in 1978 under ICBI sponsorship, defined what most evangelicals mean by inerrancy, perhaps not perfectly but quite well, and further objections to such a widely used and well-defined term seem to be unnecessary and unhelpful to the church.”[vi]
Mr. Loose claims that the term “Inerrant” itself is not a word found in the Bible but the real question we need to ask ourselves is if his contention is true or whether it is false. Inspiration is an attempt to translate a word that occurs only once in the New Testament. The word is found in 2nd Timothy 3:16. The Greek word used in 2nd Timothy 3:16 is theopneustos. This term is made from two words, one being the word for God (Theos, as in theology) and the other referring to breath or wind (pneustos, as in pneumonia and pneumatic). It is significant that the word is used in 2nd Timothy 3:16 passively. In other words, God did not “breathe into” (inspire) all Scripture, but it was “breathed out” by God (expired). Thus, 2nd Timothy 3:16 is not about how the Bible came to us but where it came from. The Scriptures are “God-breathed.”
Two words are sometimes used to explain the extent of biblical inerrancy: plenary and verbal. “Plenary comes from the Latin plenus, which means “full,” and refers to the fact that the whole Scripture in every part is God-given. “Verbal” comes from the latin verbum, which means “word”, and emphasizes that even the words of Scripture are God-given. Plenary and verbal inspiration means the bible is God-given (and therefore without error) in every part (doctrine, history, geography, dates, names) and in every single word.
The Old Testament writers saw their message as God-breathed and utterly reliable. God promises Moses he would eventually send another prophet (Jesus Christ) who would also speak God’s words like Moses had done. “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” (Deut. 18:18) Jeremiah was told at the beginning of his ministry he would speak for God “Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.” (Jer. 1:9)
Peter and John saw the words of David in Psalm 2 not merely as the opinion of the King of Israel, but as the voice of God. They introduced a quotation from that psalm in a prayer to God in Acts 4:25 by saying, “Who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things?’”
Similarly, Paul accepted Isaiah’s words as God Himself speaking to men: “And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet” (Acts 28:25). So convinced were the writers of the New Testament that all the words of the Old Testament Scripture were the actual words of God that they even claimed, “Scripture says,” when the words quoted came directly from God. Two examples are Romans 9:17, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh,” and Galatians 3:8, in which Paul wrote, “the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand..” in Hebrews 1 many of the Old Testament passages quoted were actually addressed to God by the Psalmist, yet the writer to the Hebrews refers to them as the words of God.
In John 10:34 Jesus quoted from Psalm 82:6 and based His teaching upon a phrase: “I said, ‘You are gods.’” In other words, Jesus proclaimed that the words of this psalm were the words of God. Similarly in Matthew 22:31-32 He claimed the words of Exodus 3:6 were given to them by God. In Matthew 22:43-44 our Lord quoted from Psalm 110:1 and pointed out that David wrote these words “in the Spirit,” meaning he was actually writing the words of God.
Mr. Loose believes that “Inerrant” itself is not a word found in the Bible or even known to Christian theologians for most of history.” Rather, according to him, “the word was coined in the middle of the 19th century as a defensive counter measure to the increased popularity of reading the Bible as one would other historical documents and the discovery of manifold internal inconsistencies and external inaccuracies.”[vii]
The problem with the claim by Mr. Loose that “inerrancy was not known to Christian theologians for most of history” and “the word was coined in the middle of the 19th century as a defense counter measure to the increased popularity of reading the Bible as one would other historical documents and the discovery of manifold internal inconsistences and external inaccuracies” is that it is completely false and fails to actually understand that the Christian church has always affirmed the verbal plenary inspiration and total inerrancy of the Word of God.
“The Church has historically acknowledged that the Scripture in its original manuscripts and properly interpreted is completely true and without any error in everything it affirms, whether that has to do with doctrine, moral conduct, or matters of history, cosmology, geography, and the like.”[viii]
The early church fathers to the 16th century Protestant Reformers across Europe, and up to the present day conservative evangelicals, have all affirmed verbal plenary inspiration, and inerrancy. While not all used the terms “infallibility” or “inerrancy” many expressed the concepts, and there is no doubt they believed it. It was Augustine (354-430 A.D.) who first coined the term “inerrant,” and Luther and Calvin (16th Century) who spoke of Scripture as free from error.”[ix] Augustine in a letter to Jerome said “Scripture has never erred” and “I have learned to hold only the Holy Scripture inerrant.”[x]
Clement of Rome in the first century said, “Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them.”[xi] Clement of Rome (A.D. 80-100 taught, “You have looked closely into the Holy Scriptures, which are given through the Holy Spirit. You know that nothing unrighteous or falsified has been written in them.” (1 Clement, XLV. 2.3.) Justin Martyr (165 AD) spoke of the Gospels as the “Voice of God” (Apology 65). He stated, “We must not supposed that the language proceeds from men who were inspired, but from the Divine Word which moves them” (1.36). Irenaeus (202) added that the Bible is “above all falsehood” (Against Heresies 3.5.1) and we are “most properly assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect since, they are spoken by the Word of God and His Spirit” (2.28.2; 2.35). A century later, Irenaeus concluded, “The Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and his Spirit.”[xii] Augustine wrote to Jerome (A.D. 394), “It seems to me that most disastrous consequence to follow upon our believing anything false is found in the sacred books, that is to say, that the men by whom the Scriptures have been given to us, and committed in writing, did not put down in these books anything false.” (Cited by James Olive Buswell, Outlines of Theology, 24.) Calvin thought of Scripture as “the sure and infallible record,” “the inerring standard,” “the pure Word of God,” “the infallible rule of His Holy Truth,” “free from every stain or defect,” “the inerring certainty,” “the certain and unerring rule,” “unerring light,” “infallible Word of God,” “has nothing belonging to man mixed with it,” “inviolable,” “infallible oracles.” Inerrancy was the view of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, as well as of the entire church; inerrancy is the ‘central church tradition.” (John D. Hannah, ed., Inerrancy and the Church (Chicago: Moody, Press, 1984), ix.). The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) was founded in 1949 and had a singular doctrinal statement at its founding that affirmed inerrancy: “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs. (“Evangelical Scholars Remove Robert Gundry for His Views on Matthew,” Christianity Today, February 3, 1984.)
The Chicago Statement on biblical Inerrancy (1978) was the written outcome of a consultation by leading evangelicals concerned about the defection among Christians—even a significant number of evangelicals—from belief in Scripture’s complete truthfulness. The statement said much about the doctrine of inerrancy and defined it very clearly arguing for the verbal plenary inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. The Chicago Statement linked the inspiration of Scripture and its inerrancy: “We affirm that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the bible authors were moved to speak and write. We deny that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or otherwise, introduced distortion or falsehood into God’s Word.”[xiii]
Indeed, the Chicago Statement affirmed “that the doctrine of inerrancy is grounded in the teaching of the Bible about inspiration.”[xiv] “In response to criticism that he term inerrancy is a poor one—it is the negative idea (“without error”)—the Chicago Statement urged the continued use of the term. It also emphasized that contemporary challenges to inerrancy have not defeated the doctrine.”[xv]
During his ministry Charles Spurgeon the “Prince of Preachers” faced attacks on the doctrine of Scripture on every front but stood firm for the complete trustworthiness of the Word of God. Spurgeon’s example is instructive for evangelicals and evangelicalism at large because if Church history has taught us anything it should be that when a high view (the biblical view) of the Word of God is upheld then Jesus will be brought glory. The example of Spurgeon is especially important in this regard as he had a high view of God’s Word and of His Son Jesus Christ. Spurgeon proclaimed the Word of God in a time when truth was under attack, much like today, but did not compromise.
Spurgeon continues to make an impact even though he’s been dead for one hundred and twenty years, because he did not compromise on the Gospel or the Word of God. Spurgeon was a man aflame with the glory of the grace of God. Spurgeon made an impact because of his passion for and stance on evangelical truth, which he contended for, defended, and proclaimed with all of his might to the glory of God. Men of passion and conviction are needed in evangelicalism today, men and women who will contend, defend and proclaim the truth of substitutionary atonement, the authority and inspiration of Scripture, eternal punishment for unbelievers, original sin, and the absoluteness of Christianity.
Every generation of believers must determine if they are going to stand for biblical truth or lay down their swords and accept the lie of liberalism. While David Loose claims that the Bible and church history doesn’t teach total inerrancy by emphasizing only his opinion in his comments and no serious engagement with what Scripture teaches, or what the Church has taught in its history, he bases his view not on the Word of God but on the shifting sand of his opinion.
David Loose is not alone in questioning the doctrine of inerrancy as many others are questioning the authority of the Word of God either through how they use the Bible, what they think about Adam as a historical person or their stance on gender roles. This generation of believers will have to decide– as did Spurgeon– if they will stand on the Truth of the Word of God and lift up the Son of God among the nations, or whether they will lay down their sword and succumb to the lie of liberalism.
At the end of the day, Spurgeon was right “believers must never adjust the Bible to the age, but the age to the Bible.”[xvi] Believers have been given the Word of God not to speculate on, but to study, to mediate upon, contend for, defend and proclaim to the nations. The Word of God always stands in judgment of men never do men stand in judgment of it. This fact reveals the fundamental problem going on inside and outside the church by exposing as Spurgeon knew in his time that the issues of today are old issues rooted in who is authoritative, God or man. As with every generation before and everyone after it, the Truth of God’s Word will remain authoritative, unchanging and unrelenting as it seeks to lift high the name and glory of Jesus among the nations.
As the Word of God did its work in Spurgeon’s time so today evangelicals can be encouraged that the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). The Word of God is the means God uses by His Spirit to pierce the heart of the convinced atheist, rejecters like Judas, and deniers like Peter. Evangelicals today need to stand firm in the grace of God and the Word by looking to the example of men like Spurgeon and be encouraged that God by His grace is still working to bring people to Himself and build His church for His glory and praise.
[iii] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994, 2000), 95.
[iv] Ibid, 95.
[v] Ibid, 95.
[vi] Ibid, 95.
[viii] Paul D. Feinberg, “the Meaning of Ierrrancy,” in Inerrancy, ed. Norman Geisler (Grand rapids: Zondervan, 1982), 294.
[ix] Klaas Runia, “The Hermeneutics of the Reformers,” Calvin Theological Journal 19 (1984), 129-32.
[x] Augustine, Letters of St. Augustine.
[xi] Clement of Rome First letter to the Corinthians XLV.
[xii] Irenaeus, Against Heresies, HVII.2.
[xiii] The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, art; 9, in Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994, 2000), 1205.
[xiv] Ibid., art. 15, in Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1206.
[xv] Ibid., art. 13, in Grudem Systematic Theology, 1206. In pointing this out, the Chicage Statement was keeping with a tradition among evangelicals that recognized this point. John Murray affirmed: “In maintaining and defending biblical inerrancy it is necessary to bear in mind that our concept of inerrancy is to be derived from Scripture itself. A similar necessity appears in connection with the criteria of truth and of right. We may not impose upon the Bible our own standards of truthfulness or our own notions of right and wrong. It is easy for the proponents of inerrancy to set up certain canons of inerrancy which are arbitrarily conceived and which prejudice the whole question from the outset. And it is still easier for the opponents of inerrancy to set up certain criteria in terms of which the Bible could easily be shown to be in error. Both attempts must be resisted.” John Murray “Inspiration and Inerrancy,” in Collected Writings (Carlisle, Pa..: Banner of truth Trust, 1976, 4:25-26.
[xvi] Charles Spurgeon, An All-Around Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1906), 230.
This is sermon #96 in the Luke series. In this sermon from Luke 23:1-25 Dave preaches on the suffering of Jesus and how Jesus responded to criticism.
Friedrich Schleiermacher was born November 21, 1768 and died February 12, 1834. Mr. Schleiermacher was considered the father of liberal theology. Schleimacher’s began not with the Bible, a creed, or revelation, but with personal experiences that happen to the individual and the community. The influence of Schleiermacher is felt today among those who deny inerrancy by placing their opinions about science over the truth of Scripture.
Liberalism, the Church and Inerrancy
At the end of the day what theological liberalism and what biblical Christianity offer are in conflict. Friedrich Schleiermacher is a perfect example of this as he believed that the stories that Moses wrote in Genesis were myths. Schleiermacher was known to place a high emphasis on how he felt rather than on what the Bible teaches. At the heart of this argument by theological liberals is the belief that the Bible is a book full of errors.
Theological liberalism follows in the pattern of Schleiermacher today by placing an emphasis on what they feel rather than on what the Bible teaches. Such errors according to them are either stated or implied by those who deny inerrancy and for many of them the conviction that there are some actual errors in Scripture is a major factor in persuading them against the doctrine of inerrancy. In response to this Christians should challenge this position by asking, “What specific verse or verses do these errors occur?” Asking this question will help to understand whether the person has little or no biblical literacy, but believes there are errors in the Scriptures, because others have told them so.
Believers should respond to any and all objections about problem texts by going straight to the Scriptures. Christians who believe that Scripture is without error should be quick to study and examine what the Scripture under question teaches in minute detail. After careful study of the problem passage many Bible students have found that studying the passage brings to light one or more possible solution to the difficulty. In a few cases some passages may give no immediate solution to the difficulty at which point it may be helpful to consult some commentaries on the Scripture. It’s important to understand that the Bible is two thousand years old and any and all alleged “problem texts have always been there. Highly competent biblical scholars have read, studied and explained these difficult passages and found no difficulty in holding to biblical inerrancy. This should give believers confidence that solutions to problem texts are available, and that belief in inerrancy is consistent with a lifetime of detailed attention to the text of Scripture.
Theological liberalism offers its adherents a version of Christianity which is incompatible with the biblical record. Theological liberalism has proven from church history that when it is adherents take its teachings seriously it has disastrous consequences for not only the health of the local and global Church, but also to the Gospel. Liberal theologians by basing their beliefs on their feelings offer nothing new under the sun. The only thing they offer is the same offer Satan offered Adam and Eve in the Garden the seduction to be gods themselves. Liberal theology has serious consequences that include no foundation for truth, no basis for ethics or morals, which is one reason among others why schools who were once bastions of biblical orthodoxy abandoned inerrancy and sold themselves wholesale to the lie of liberalism.
The root problem with liberalism is that it has no standard by which truth may be measured. When truth is relegated to the arena of feelings truth is immediately forced out the window, and man sets himself/herself up as a “god” of their own world. This rejection of truth reveals that they don’t want anything to do with the Bible. These are often the same people who come to the Bible to “prove” their scientific, historical and other claims. By coming to the Bible they think is full of errors, liberals expose their inconsistency by revealing that they are spiritually blinded and do not know the Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ.
The consequences of theological liberalism are devastating on the Church and also on our contemporary society. These consequences are seen every day in America as she turns from her Judeo-Christian foundations in favor of what the world deems wise, popular and right. Theological liberalism is not biblical Christianity, but it is a wholesale abandonment to secular ideas spawned by Satan. The devil is still killing, destroying and seeking to devour whom he may. The Truth of God’s Word will always stand, because it reveals the truth of Jesus Christ—the God-Man who came to die a bloody death for rejecters like Judas, deniers like Peter and religious people who say they know everything. Jesus died on a bloody Cross, was buried, rose again, and now stands as the High Priest over His people.
While it may be fashionable and popular to fashion nice iron clad proof arguments to deny and reject God and His Word the fact is by doing, so such people reveal not their intelligence, but their foolishness. The Creator who created still stands supreme over man, which means no matter how much man tries to lift himself or herself against God as liberalism does, they will always fail. Liberalism at its root is unhelpful and destructive to society precisely because at its core it has no fear of the Creator God. Instead liberalism sets itself up as the measure of truth for man and teaches man how they can live apart from God. This glorification of the self is why liberalism is more than a philosophy, it is a religion, and as a religion it is proclaimed nightly on news casts, radio shows and blogs the world over.
The Truth of the matter is that Christians have a superior Word and Savior than liberalism does. One day rejecters and deniers will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be thrown into hell, a place of unrelenting and unending punishment. Jesus the Savior of sinners longs to save rejecters, deniers and sinners. Jesus is the Word incarnate and as such is the basis for all truth. Jesus bound Himself to His Word by giving it to His disciples. By instituting the Church and telling Peter, “On this rock I will build my church” Jesus Christ the Savior of sinners bound Himself and His Word to the Church through its preaching, which the Church is to contend, defend and proclaim to the whole world. Jesus Christ is the Truth, and as such only His Word which is sharper than any two edged sword can piece through the fog by revealing the foolishness of man’s sin and rebellion against God. Jesus Christ is the ultimate answer and reason why His Word is inspired, inerrant, sufficient, authorative, and is why Christians should dedicate their entire lives and ministries lives to studying, proclaiming, contending, and defending its truth for all of there days.
 Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity: The Reformation to the Present Day, no. 2 (New York: HarperCollins, 1985), 286-287.
 For example Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982); William Arndt, Does the Bible contradict itself? (St. Louis: Concordia, 1955; John W. Haley, Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible (1874; reprinted Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977).
Union with Christ is one of the most neglected doctrines in Christianity today and also one of the one of the Gospel’s greatest mysteries. In his helpful book Union with Christ in Scripture, History, and Theology, Dr. Robert Letham notes that “Union with Christ is right at the center of the Christian doctrine of salvation” (1). Calvin agrees with this comment and notes that, “For we await salvation rom him not because he appears to us afar off, but because he makes us, ingrafted into his body, participants not only in all his benefits but also in himself.”[i] The Westminster Larger Catechism describes our entire salvation as union and communion with Christ in grace and glory. Dr. John Murray considered that “nothing is more central of basic than union and communion with Christ,”[ii]for it “is the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation.”[iii] In the words of Dr. Lane Tipton, “there are no benefits of the gospel apart from union with Christ.”[iv]
Union With Christ covers topics such as creation, incarnation, Pentecost, union with Christ and representation, union with Christ and transformation and union with Christ in death and resurrection. Since the entirety of the Christian’s relationship with God can be summed up in union with Christ this review could be quite long to examine everything Dr. Letham teaches in this book, but in an effort to remain focused I am only going to touch on chapter five, which I believe is the most helpful in the book.
In chapter five after discussing the external aspects of union with Christ, Dr. Letham turns to examine how union with Christ transforms us from within. He notes that “when Christ died and rose from the dead, we died and rose with him, and so our status and existence was dramatically changed” (85). The author doesn’t stop at the death and resurrection but continues with the ascension explaining that “following Christ’s ascension, the Holy Spirit was sent to bring us to spiritual life and indwell and renew us, our participation in Christ’s death and resurrection is vitally dynamic and transformative” (85).
The believer’s union with Christ will lead to our being like Christ “for it is the intention of the Gospel to make us sooner or later like God” (Calvin). The Christian is now a “partaker of the new nature,” (2 Peter 1:4) having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. At His Parousia we will see Him as he is, in his glorified humanity, and will be finally and climatically transformed to be like his glorious body (Phil. 3:20-21).
Union with Christ is an important book that will help Christians to think through one of the most neglected doctrines in Christianity today. Union with Christ would be a good book not for a new believer but for the intermediate to advanced student of theology. Union with Christ is a well-written, biblically faithful and Gospel-centered book that will help Pastors and seminary students understand the importance of their union with Christ. This book will help its readers explore from Scripture, and church history what union with Christ is and what the Church has taught on this vital topic. I recommend you pick up a copy of Union With Christ and learn how union with Christ is the central truth of the whole biblical teaching about salvation.
Author: Dr. Robert Letham
Publisher: P & R (2011)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the P & R book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
[i] Institutes, 3.2.24
[ii] John Murray, Redemption Accomplish and Applied (London: Banner of truth, 1961), 161)
[iii] Ibid, 170.
[iv] Lane G. Tipton, “Union with Christ and Justification,” in Justified in Christ: God’s Plan for Us in Justification, ed. K. Scott Oliphint (Fearn, Ross-shire, UK: Mentor, 2007), 34.
Father’s Day on June 17, 2012 marked six and a half years since I’ve seen my father. The last time I saw my father was in his physical therapy office. That day I waited four hours to talk to my father and all I remember was that the conversation didn’t end well. The sad thing about this meeting was around Father’s Day my junior year in 1999 my father and I were reconciled as the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin while reading the Word of God the day before. The next day, after getting convicted of anger, bitterness and resentment, my father and I went on a walk and I told him that I forgave him for all the hurt and pain he had caused me.
While I truthfully don’t give much thought about my father these days, this past Father’s Day was particular hard on me as I started thinking and then dwelling on memories I had of my father. Normally I enjoy watching golf tournaments after church on Sunday (and throughout the week) but I found it so hard to watch the US Open that my wife told me to turn off the TV and had to give me a hug. The reason this was hard is my father and I spent considerable time together playing and talking about golf. Before I left for church, I had already cried, and when I got to church Sunday morning I went into the associate Pastor’s office and asked him to pray for me which he gladly did.
Since I’ve been in ministry for some time, I know I’m not the only one who has experienced the pain of a father who has abandoned his family. I also know I’m not the only Christian who has reconciled with his father only to have his father turn his back on his family. While I’m still processing and healing from what happened on Father’s Day, I thought it would be helpful to share and discuss why the “father wound” is so prevalent in our day.
While my family has no explanation for why my father left, and we’ve tried to find out where he is. I do know that my father’s father (my grandfather) left his sons (my uncle and my father) the same way my dad did. As a child I heard this story of my grandfather leaving his family from my mom. After hearing that story I committed as a child at an early age that when I got married I would never leave my family.
While the memories are painful of my father leaving our family behind, the Lord truly blessed me with a lot of great godly men who’ve helped me to heal from the mess my father caused. In high school He sent several godly men who helped me through my parent’s divorce. After high school the Lord sent several godly men who showed me what it meant to be a godly husband. While I made a lot of mistakes after high school, the Lord was always with me and continues to woo me, amaze me, and overwhelm me with His grace.
Men, you may have a father wound in your life, and this past Father’s Day may have been hard for you. Maybe you have a father who abused you verbally, mentally, physically or sexually. The fact is the problem of absentee fathers is not going away and will continue to increase in our society.
My own father was a leader in his local church, an intercessory prayer warrior for Cleaning Streams Ministries, and helped train fathers to be better dads; however, he still abandoned his family. The point here is not to shame my father or his involvement in ministry, but to point out that just because someone is involved in ministry does not necessarily make them a godly person. Being a man or woman of God involves actually bearing fruit in keeping with one’s repentance and displaying evidence that one has been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus.
The problem of absentee fathers is one of the effects of living in a world that is experiencing the consequences of the Fall. Thankfully the Bible doesn’t end at the story of the effects of the Fall but continues to teach us about how God sent forth His Son to be virgin born, live a sinless life, die a brutal death by dying in our place for our sin, being buried, rising again and ascend to the right hand of our Father in heaven. The good news for those who’ve experienced an absentee father is that our heavenly Father, who is the Creator, sent forth His Son Jesus to deal with sin and now longs to adopt those who have experienced brokenness (that absentee fathers cause) and bring healing to such brokenness through His death, burial and resurrection.
Many people who’ve experienced the fall out of an absentee father struggle with viewing God as loving. Rather than viewing God as loving, kind, good and just, such people view God as distant, unloving, unjust and not good. While this is understandable that people feel this way, and I myself have struggled with this at times, the Word of God teaches that God is the God of the fatherless. The Bible uses the word fatherless more than 40 times by more than 10 different authors from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
Psalm 68:5 declares that God is the, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” God said that He is the Father of the fatherless which means that God isn’t disinterested in those who are fatherless but rather deeply interested in those who have experienced the pain of a father who has abandoned his family. The Lord longs to adopt all those who’ve experienced the pain of an absent father and does this through the Gospel.
When God transfers us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, He immediately places us into His family and adopts us as His sons and daughters. At the very moment this happens God who is sovereign in and over the entire work of salvation, no longer calls us His enemies, but His friends. This is especially good news for those who’ve experienced the “father wound.”
This past Father’s Day (June 17th) was one of the hardest days I’ve had in a long time. Whether it was thinking about my father or reflecting on the memories of the good and bad times I had with my father, I cried more that Sunday than I have in a long time. As I reflected on that Sunday I came to realize how much I have to be thankful for. The Lord opened my eyes even further to the Truth of the Gospel, even as He exposed the pain of hurtful memories in order to drive me closer to Himself. Through this situation, God also used my wife’s tender words of care and compassion to show me His love.
The “father wound” is becoming more real to many people every day as more and more adults are getting divorced. Divorce is causing many children to experience the father wound. The best way to minister to those who have experienced the “father wound” is to testify to the love of Christ (1 John 13:35; 1 John 3:18). Throughout the ages, one of the greatest witnesses to Christ has been the church caring for orphaned and disadvantaged children. By caring for the fatherless, the Church is not only following God’s command, but we are showing His heart to those who may or may not Him, as well as making the Gospel message more real to people.
As I’ve reflected on that Sunday, I’ve come to realize even more how precious the gift of God adopting me as His son really is. Instead of being under His wrath I am now under His grace and covered by the blood of Jesus, given new life through the resurrection and indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The story of fatherless is a sad story, but it is not the end of the story. The Gospel is supreme over the fatherless because God tells us that we have a Father in heaven who truly cares for us and sent forth His Son to bring reconciliation between fathers and sons through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel is good news for those who’ve experienced the pain of an absentee father because it tells us that we have a Savior who truly cares for us and who longs to adopt us as His own sons and daughters to love them, hold them, value them, cherish them and use them for His mission of seeking and saving others who’ve experienced the pain of being fatherless.
This is our weekly roundup of posts for 6/18–6/23/2012. If you have any feedback on how we can serve you our readers better, I would appreciate it. Thank you for reading and allowing us to minister to you throughout this past week through these posts.
Monday 6/18- Book Review Gospel Centered Discipleship by Pastor Jonathan Dodson Reviewed by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/06/18/book-review-gospel-centered-discipleship-2/
Tuesday 6/19- Video Post: Men, Integrity and Purity by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/06/19/men-integrity-and-purity/
Wed 6/20- 5 Ways to Deal with difficult people by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/06/20/5-reasons-we-need-difficult-people/
Thursday 6/21- Who is a murder? by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/06/21/who-is-a-murderer/
Friday 6/22- Book Review Solid Ground the Inerrant Word of God in an errant world edited by Gabriel N E Fluhrer Reviewed by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/06/22/book-review-solid-ground-the-inerrant-word-of-god-in-an-errant-world/
Friday 6/22- Sermon Jesus, the Son of God by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/06/22/jesus-the-son-of-god/
Saturday 6/23- Book Review: Mapping Modern Theology by Kelly Kapic and Bruce McCormick Reviewed by Craig Hurst http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/06/23/book-review-mapping-modern-theology/
When it comes to learning and articulating theology, students are often more adept at the theology of a certain movement like liberalism, feminism and the like or a certain theologian like Barth, Schleiermacher, Niebuhr and others. However, when it comes to the historical development of a particular theological branch like soteriology or eschatology students are usually lacking in their ability to understand how they have developed over time from one theologian or movement to another.
In an effort to aid students of theology towards a better understanding of the development of various areas of systematic theology, Kelly Kapic and Bruce McCormick have assembled a team of renowned theologians to produce Mapping Modern Theology: A Thematic and Historical Introduction. Each of the contributors in this volume is known for their adeptness in the field in which they are writing. Among the fourteen contributors Fred Sanders handles the trinity, Kelly Kapic anthropology, Kevin VanHoozer the atonement and Michael Horton finishes with eschatology.
The stated idea of the book is to
Organize modern theology along the lines of classic doctrinal topics or themes so that more complete coverage of significant developments in each area of doctrinal construction might be achieved. (p. 1)
Since modern theology is a slice in the pie of historical theology it stands to question how it came about. McCormick believes it developed when
Church-based theologians ceased trying to defend and protect the received orthodoxies of the past against erosion and took up the more fundamental challenge of asking how the values resident in those orthodoxies might be given an altogether new expression, dressed out in new categories for reflection. (p. 3)
As with all epochs of theological development, the defining question(s) that shaped modern theology was the nature of God and His relation to the world (p. 4). This is fleshed out through three areas of consideration: the doctrine of creation, the being of God in relation to creation and the doctrine of revelation. Admittedly, it is the desire of theologians to interact with the scientific contributions to theology that have driven a good bit of modern theology. So, given the world in which we have discovered certain things about how God has worked in the natural world/revelation, how does that influence (if at all) how we understand God’s special revelation in Scripture.
Like some historical theology books, Mapping Modern Theology focuses on the last 150-200 years of theological development. What the contributors do is weave the theology of theologians and movements together to present a uniform and sequential presentation of their development as they interact with one another. Unlike some historical theology books, Mapping Modern Theology focuses each chapter on an individual theological discipline and traces its development through people and movements. Also unlike some historical theology books, Mapping Modern Theology presents a more fuller presentation of the historical development and takes more time on the thought of the people and movements as well as discusses more movers and shakers than other books might.
Mapping Modern Theology can be used as both a reference book for individual theological disciplines and a text book for a class on modern theology. Teachers and readers will appreciate the list of further resources on each theological discipline so students have a good place to start for writing papers or further study. Readers will notice that several theologians were pillars of modern theology such as Barth, Schliermacher, Rahner, Ritschl, Hegel, Moltmann, Niebuhr and others. Also important to the understanding of modern theology is the work of men like Freud as his works speak to a view of man as well as God. While some more conservative movements have tended to ignore the works of these modern theologians, it would be naive to think their works have no value, as, undoubtedly, their own movements theological convictions have stemmed in various ways as a response or reaction to them.
Mapping Modern Theology is a great addition to the growing literature on modern theology. It serves as a great introduction to the field and hopefully other scholars of historical theology will take notice and pattern future works after this model.
NOTE: I received this book for free from Baker and was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.
This is sermon #95 in the Luke series. In this sermon on Luke 22:63-71 Dave preaches on the trials of Jesus, the suffering of Jesus and the titles of Jesus.
Over the past several years I’ve read a number of books on inerrancy and reviewed almost half a dozen books on the topic. In all my reading and thinking about this topic, I’ve come to the conclusion that inerrancy will be one of the defining issues of the coming decade inside and outside the Church.
In the helpful book Solid Ground The Inerrant Word of God in an Errant World edited by Gabriel N.E. Fluhrer leading Reformed thinkers such as Drs. Packer, Sproul, and Ryken write to addresses the unfolding richness and perfection of the Bible. These essays are collected from the best addresses on the subject from the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology by eight of the top pastor-scholars of the past thirty years who share their insight and answers on the Word of God.
While the whole book is excellent, I especially thought chapters six (on the centrality of the Word through preaching in the Church) and chapter eight on preaching: the means of revival to be helpful and edifying contributions to the discussion on the doctrine of Scripture. The main idea Dr. Clowney communicates in chapter eight is how the power of preaching doesn’t come from the “energy of the flesh, it’s the power of the Word and Spirit” (154).
The focus of Christian preaching and teaching should be on preaching Christ and Him crucified in the power of the Holy Spirit. Preachers who are more interested in providing comic relief or entertainment to their hearers have failed to grasp the importance of preaching the Word of God in season and out of season. Preaching that God uses and that glorifies Him is preaching that is explicitly tied to and grounded in the Word He gave to His people. Preaching that fails to make the point of the Scriptural text the point of the sermon isn’t preaching but preaching that makes much of the preacher and not God.
The goal of Christian preaching isn’t just to give an information dump or lecture, but rather to preach the Word in such a way that believers and non-Christians are confronted with their own sin and the truth about what Jesus has done in His death, burial and resurrection. It is precisely such biblical preaching that is needed today because such preaching is the means God will use to bring revival to our land, and health and vitality to our local churches.
I recommend Solid Ground The Inerrant Word of God in an Errant World edited by Gabriel N.E. Fluhrer, because it’s a clarion call for the church to return to its central, long-standing, and vital connection that the Bible is the Book—the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God.
Author: Edited by Gabriel N.E. Fluhrer
Publisher: P & R (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the P & R book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”