Archive for February, 2009

Expositor’s Conference in Edinburgh!

24 February 2009

This looks to be a fantastic and rich time for preachers in Edinburgh and Scotland.

Steve Lawson and Peter Grainger are the keynote speakers along with contributions from Craig Dyer, Iain Murray, and Ian Shaw.

What an encouragement to see something with this focus and of this calibre here in Edinburgh.

Looking forward to it.


The one necessary thing…

24 February 2009

to sit at Jesus’ feet.

More necessary than serving God, more necessary than serving others, more necessary than helping people, more necessary than social action, more necessary than family.

Don’t take my word for it, take his (Luke 10.39, 42).

This is amazing!

21 February 2009

Look HERE. This is the majority of UK PhD theses and dissertations, all for free (electronic download, Cambridge and Oxford excepted). One treat, search for “Woolsey” and see his 2 vol. dissertation on covenant continuity. For free. Or if you want any of them printed and bound, £30 to your door. That’s very reasonable. Enjoy and I hope you find some treats!

Good girl, naughty boy

20 February 2009

I’ve been greatly helped by my wife in thinking through how we speak to our children. Perhaps it is being nitpiky, but we don’t tell our children “good girl” or “good boy” when they obey or do something good. We certainly affirm them with things such as “well done”, “good job”, “that’s great”, “that was good of you”, “sweet boy”, etc. But at the end of the day, neither of them is good, nor am I. I don’t want to reinforce a self-image in them that is unbiblical and reveals no need for the gospel. I think I know what people mean when they say “good boy” or “good girl” but not much gets passed children, and I can only imagine the conversation to be had when we get to the rich young ruler narrative.

In regards to the more negative side of things, what in the world does “naughty” mean? Why not say that the child has disobeyed or is being unkind. All of the things we might use naughty to describe have better, more appropriate, and more biblical words to be identified by (this also gives your children a vocabulary to identify your sin with, which is helpful in the parent’s own sanctification). Let’s call sin sin, and let’s point our children to Christ, who alone is good, and who is the Saviour, not of naughty children, but of sinners.

The Gospel of Free Grace

19 February 2009

I have taken all my good deeds, and al my bad, and cast them in a heap before the Lord, and fled from both, and betaken myself to the Lord Jesus Christ; and in him I have sweet peace.

~ David Dickson

For your budding surgeon…

18 February 2009

…or your child who likes to reenact certain sequences from Braveheart. Here he is, Erwin the Little Patient. I think I’ll pass on this toy for the wee ones.


The right thing, but the wrong thing to say

17 February 2009

Job had some of the worst comforters and counsellors ever. If he were not so low physically the remarks of his sage friends might have been met by blows. These guys didn’t get Job, or God for that matter. And yet, even though it was not what Job needed to hear or what they should have said, there are some rich truths in what they say. Consider Eliphaz’s words from Job 22.21-30

21 “Agree with God, and be at peace;
thereby good will come to you.
22 Receive instruction from his mouth,
and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty you will be built up;
if you remove injustice far from your tents,
24 if you lay gold in the dust,
and gold of Ophir among the stones of the torrent-bed,
25 then the Almighty will be your gold
and your precious silver.
26 For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty
and lift up your face to God.
27 You will make your prayer to him, and he will hear you,
and you will pay your vows.
28 You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you,
and light will shine on your ways.
29 For when they are humbled you say, ‘It is because of pride’;
but he saves the lowly.
30 He delivers even the one who is not innocent,
who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

Let God be your treasure. It is not those who have no earthly treasure that need this particular counsel most*, it is those who have much in the world, whose temptation is to have something else as their treasure. Might our earthly treasures be as dust and river bed stones in our affections.

*I understand that people’s treasures are often not money or material things. Someone’s ‘gold’ might be a relationship, public esteem, their work, etc. So in one sense, all need this counsel, but in the context of the passage it seems the focus is on earthly possessions and money.

God’s love in sending Christ

13 February 2009

Hugh Martin from an article entitled “A Great Doxology” speaking about God’s unspeakable gift (it is long, but worth your time):

First of all, and best of all, and above all else besides, God hath done exceeding abundantly above all that we asked or thought, or could have asked or thought, when he sent his Son into the world to be the propitiation for our sins, that we might live through him. Was not this above all that had been asked? Above all that had been thought?—exceeding abundantly so? No one had asked this gift. No one had thought it. When promised, it was most assuredly what they had not asked, and had not thought; neither had any asked it on their behalf, or thought of it for their benefit. It is the untought0of, the unasked, and, even now that it is given, it is the USPEAKABLE GIFT.

Oh, the complete, exclusive seld-containedness of the covenant of grace! “My covenant,” saith the Lord, as well he may. Who in this matter of the GIFT of God’s Son hath known the mind of the Lord? With whom took he counsel, or who was in circumstances to give him any? From whom received he a suggestion or hint the most distant or indistinct? Surely here was “the counsel of his own will, according to his god pleasure which he purposed in himself.” And well it was for us that it should be so. For never could man have asked it, never even thought of it. Never could angels have asked it on our behalf, and never could it have come into their thoughts. Even now that, unasked, unthought-of by all creatures, it is revealed, it is the theme of the angels astonishment, the matter of their holy adoring study. These things the angels desire to look into. For they see that God hath achieved for himself the glory of being able to do exceeding abundantly above all that could be asked or thought.

Nor is it merely in the gift of his Son in general that God vindicates for himself this glorious title; but in all the circumstances and modes of this gift, and in all the effects unto which it is bestowed, and all the depth and intensity of its duration, and in all the grace and glory with which it is completed.

“Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever;” but thou shalt be my gift to mine enemies—even to them that have lifted up their heel against thy throne, O God,—my gift to be light to them that are in darkness, salvation to them that are in ruin, glory to them that are in shame. Is not this exceeding abundantly above all asking, exceeding abundantly beyond all thought? Beyond all that we had thought before, or even yet can think? For this gift of God is God, but who can by searching find out God? But the Son, as God the Father’s gift, is God’s unspeakable, because God’s unthinkable, gift.

“Unto the Son God saith, They throne, O God is for ever and ever,” and thou dwellest in my boundless bosom of infinite and eternal love and delight. But dwelling still in my bosom, which in Godhead’s inviolate blessedness and glory thou canst never leave, thou shalt be found dwelling also in a manger, wrapt in swaddling bands; for “a body have I prepared thee.” And the Son said, “Lo! I come.” Was this asked or thought? It is what we do not need to ask—for unasked it has been given. It is what, even when given, we cannot think—for great is the mystery of godliness, God was minifest in the flesh,—but can only cry, “To us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and his name shall be called Wonderful”—wonderful beyond our power to think—wonderful beyond all possibility to think. A sweet name Hannah gave her child—“Samuel”—“for I asked him of the Lord.” But sweet and fragrant as it is, it was the very last of names to give with truth to Jesus, for he came unasked, and he is exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think.

Ah! and when he came unasked, he came to do what he never could have been asked to do. “Unto the Son God saith, They throne, O God is for ever and ever;” thou dwellest in light that is inaccessible, which no eye hath seen, still less any hand can reach. Yet thou shalt dwell in yon dark world; and that in such form that they may get their hands upon thee, if they please, and nail thee to a tree, if they please,—and please they will. Could that have been asked? Could that have been thought? Nay: no created intellect could have thought it otherwise than as a blasphemy. No intellect save Divine could have thought it in holiness. No man even now can think it in holiness save by the Holy Ghost. “No man can call the crucified Jesus Lord save by the Holy Ghost.”

“To the Son he saith, Thou are ever with me, and all that I have is thine: for thou art the heir of all things, and by thee also I made the worlds.” Nevertheless, in yon apostate world, created by thyself, as were all worlds, thou shalt be poor. Yea, in that only nation in it in which the poor man’s bed dare not be taken as a pledge, but it must be restored to him ere nightfall, thou shalt have where to lay they head. Could that have been asked or thought?

“To the Son he saith, A sceptre of righteousness, O God, is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” But in the body prepared for thee, thou shalt so stand in the room of sinners, and be made sin for them, that—as if thou wert, O thou Holy One, sin’s very embodiment, impersonation, and essence—the consuming fire of wrath shall fall upon thee, and the avenging sword of justice smite thee. Could that have been proposed, asked, or thought of?

“Unto the Son he saith, Thou art daily my delight, rejoicing always before me, rejoicing in the habitable parts of the earth—thy delights therein being with the sons of men.” But these sons of men will give gall in thy hunger, and vinegar in thy thirst; and when they hunger and thirst, thou wilt give them bread of life and water of life, and this shall be the bread thou shalt give for the life of this world: and this shall be the water of life which thou shalt give them, even thy blood, which thou wilt shed for the remission of the sins of many—even shed for the remission of the sin of shedding it.

Could that have been asked or thought? Even when first broached to them by himself, they could not think it. They said among themselves, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Only by the Holy Ghost can we think it in holiness even now. It is the Spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. “Yet my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”

In every view that we can take of this first and greatest gift, oh, is it not exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think! Herein is love, not that we loved God—not that we even asked God to love us, or thought of such a thing, but that, unasked by us, unimagined and unthought of by any, he loved us in his own unanticipated, unsolicited, unthought-of love, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

More reasons to like the guy

12 February 2009

Here is an interview with Mark Dever. As you near the end of it he mentions his recent uptake of playing Settlers of Catan. Perhaps it will soon be a part of a 9marks conference or taster weekend? Good stuff.

“…mass book-burning in the 21st century.”

12 February 2009

If something is “too christian,” burn it. See here. says it is in stock, though I’m not sure. A bit too pricey to find out.