Archive for September, 2009

The End is Coming Soon

I’m not the kind of guy who predicts that the end is right around the corner, but this right here pretty well seals it.

Say it ain’t so, Paul. Say it ain’t so.

Sermon Preparation

John MacArthur once said that the main reason why there is not more good biblical preaching in America today is because pastors don’t know how to stay in their chairs.  In that same vein I came across this great statement over at Justin Taylor’s blog.

“There Is No Romanticism in Sermon Preparation”

C. J. Mahaney: There is no romanticism in sermon preparation. I’m 56 years old and it’s still hard. I always get to a point in preparation when I think, ‘This sermon stinks . . . and we are running out of time!’

Our Tone in Preaching

In one of John Piper’s finest sermons on preaching he said this,  “God did not ordain the cross of Christ or create the lake of fire to communicate the insignificance of belittling his glory.  The death of the Son of God and the damnation of unrepentant human beings are the LOUDEST SHOUTS under heaven that God is infinitely holy, and sin is infinitely offensive, and wrath is infinitely just, and grace is infinitely precious, and our brief life—and the life of every person—leads to everlasting joy OR everlasting suffering

If our preaching does not carry the weight of these things to our people what will?  Veggie Tales?  Radio? Television? Discussion groups? Emergent conversations?

God planned for his Son to be crucified (Rev 13:8, 2 Tim 1:9) and for hell to be terrible (Matt 25:41) so that we would have the clearest witness to what is at stake when we preach.   What gives preaching its seriousness is that the mantle of the preacher is soaked with the blood of Jesus and singed with the fires of hell.  That is the mantle that turns mere talkers into preachers…”

Brother’s in Christ “PREACH the Word” tomorrow!

The NT use of the OT–Redux

A pivotal issue impacting hermeneutics, theology, and application is the thorny issue of the NT use of the OT. Matt Waymeyer made the following adjustment to an old Expository Thoughts post that is worth mentioning here on its own.

I’ve been hammering away on this issue for the past month and, in contrast to what I wrote nine months ago [here] in the third comment above, I no longer find myself open to Longenecker’s view about the use of the exegetical methods of early Judaism in the NT. Ironically, Peter Enns’ argument in favor of this view in the Three Views book is what solidified my rejection of it. If I ever find some time, I’ll explain why. But I will say for now that if you read Longenecker and Enns closely, you’ll find that they simply assume what they are trying to prove. In fact, both of them state that it is “a priori likely” that the NT writers employed these methods, and Enns says “hard for me to think” that the NT use of the OT is merely an application (how’s that for an argument!). In the end I’m still a mixture of Bock and Kaiser on this issue, and I have to agree with Paul Lamey who told me in a recent email that he thinks the two of them are closer to each other than either would probably admit.

Would Paul recognize your “Paul”?

Michael Bird recently delivered a paper at a conference on New Perspectives on Paul and the Jews in Leuven. In his report he made an excellent point:

We have to remember that Paul’s message of the cross was a stumbling block to Jews (1 Cor. 1.18-19) and Paul got himself flogged by synagogue officials he says five times (2 Cor. 11.24). If in our quest to find a Paul congenial to promoting good Jewish-Christian relations we end up with a Paul who is neither offensive nor whippable, then that is proof that we have made Paul in our own image.

For expositors, this is an important reminder that we get the text right. Meaning still matters. Don’t put words in the Apostle’s mouth, don’t take liberties with God’s Word, and make sure that Paul, Peter, and the rest would actually recognize your message. The message is a stumbling block to some and foolishness to others but we keep preaching Christ.

New Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: A Review

PE front 3

If you’re looking to add a time saving conservative commentary on the Pastoral Epistles to your library look no further than Dr. John Kitchen’s new work, The Pastoral Epistle for Pastors. This 600 page commentary has many useful tools included in it with hard working pastors and diligent church leaders clearly in mind.

The author of this new commentary is the pastor of Stow Alliance Fellowship and has been in pastoral ministry since 1987. He holds degrees from Crown College, Columbia Biblical Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. John Kitchen has authored five previous books, including Proverbs: A Mentor Commentary.

Let me begin by reviewing the end of this book first. Kitchen includes 5 helpful appendices at the end of his verse by verse commentary. Appendix A is a Pastor’s Self-Guided Study of the Pastoral Epistles. Appendix B is a Training Manual for Mentoring and Discipling Future Local Church Leaders. Appendix C is a Topical Index to the Ministry Maxims (practical helps). Appendix D contains many useful Preaching and Teaching Outlines. Appendix E has a profitable Annotated Bibliography section in it to assist the reader with future commentary purchases.

It appears to me that Kitchen is trying to bring the best of 3 commentary worlds into one helpful volume with this commentary (exegetical, expositional, and devotional styles). In the opinion of this reviewer Dr. Kitchen has succeeded. This is a book that every preaching pastor will want to have in his pastoral library collection. My copy has either been on my desk or on my shelf next to Mounce, Fee, & Towner’s commentaries.

Do not take my word for it however.   Here is another review from well known commentator Simon J Kistemaker. “Here is an excellent conservative commentary that aids pastors and counselors who preach and teach the Scriptures to church members and others. It is designed to coach the reader into digging deeper by asking and answering pointed questions that apply to one’s spiritual life. The appendices are a treasure that proves to be eminently helpful.”

The New Earth (Rev 21:1)

. . . in order to get a picture of Heaven–which will one day be centered on the New Earth–you don’t need to look up at the clouds; you simply need to look around you and imagine what all this would be like without sin and death and suffering and corruption.

[Randy Alcorn, Heaven, 17]

The Minister and his Greek NT

Rod Decker has provided a PDF version of A. T. Robertson’s classic booklet/essay on The Minister and his Greek NT (here). Here’s an excerpt:

Every preacher wishes to be original. That is a proper desire, within limits. One does not care to be bizarre or grotesque. He cannot, if loyal to Christ, be original in his creed. But he can be individual in his grasp of truth and in his presentation of his mes- sage. Originality is relative after all. The ancients have stolen all our best ideas from us. But one can be himself. That is precisely what people like most about us.

Now, the Greek New Testament has a message for each mind. Some of the truth in it has never yet been seen by anyone else. It is waiting like a virgin forest to be explored. It is fresh for every mind that explores it, for those who have passed this way before have left it all here. It still has on it the dew of the morning and is ready to refresh the newcomer. Sermons lie hidden in Greek roots, in prepositions, in tenses, in the article, in particles, in cases. One can sympathize with the delight of Erasmus as he expressed it in the Preface of his Greek Testament four hundred years ago: “These holy pages will summon up the living image of His mind. They will give you Christ Himself, talking, healing, dying, rising, the whole Christ in a word; they will give Him to you in an intimacy so close that He would be less visible to you if He stood before your eyes.”

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