Archive for March, 2009
In an earlier post I pointed to some resources for wrestling through the issues of the gospel, conversion, and assurance with our kids. One of the best resources I’ve found is the the Family Life Today radio interviews with Jim Elliff, “How Children Come to Faith in Christ.” You can purchase the series on audio CDs here, which I already mentioned. However, in addition I discovered that six of the sessions are available online for free:
Transcripts are also available at the bottom of each of these pages’ links.
I cannot recommend these talks enough to any parent wanting to be thoughtful, careful, and prayerful in the salvation of their children. They are also helpful for thinking through the gospel, conversion, and assurance for ourselves and at any age.
My latest sermon looked at the parable of the four soils in Luke 8. In the last third of the message I sought to analyze and apply this important parable in five different ways:
1. Thinking through some of the theological issues in the parable
2. Applying the parable to our witness to and discipleship of others
3. Applying it directly and pointedly to those who may not yet have come to true faith
4. Applying it specifically to the salvation of our kids
5. Applying it to the ongoing reception of God’s Word as his disciples
On that fourth point of application — the salvation of our kids in light of the parable of the four soils — I’d like to mention some follow-up resources:
1. Dennis Gundersson, Your Child’s Profession of Faith booklet (available at the DSC Resource Center for $1).
2. DSC’s Baptism class for parents and young people. We just finished a class, but will be offering it again soon.
3. Jim Elliff, How Children Come to Faith in Christ – seven sessions from the Family Life Today radio program.
4. Some related articles from Desiring God:
Ron and I are out of town this week with other members from DSC on an educational tour in the UK. While we’re gone, we’ve left the keys to church in the hands of the youth. For those of you were in worship service yesterday, you had the privilege of hearing Carlos Griego preach from 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 on the foolishness of the cross. Carlos is our minister over The Well, which is the young adults and college ministry at DSC. On Wednesday, Greg Schneeberger will preaching at our Lord’s Supper service. Greg is the minister of Paradox Parent/Student Ministry, and that ministry name basically says it all. Both Carlos and Greg do an amazing job of teaching in their respective ministries, as well as seeking to integrate their groups into the larger body through inter-generational ministry. Then, next Sunday, Parker Landis will be teaching in the main worship service. Parker is our pastoral assistant on staff, which is a nice way of saying “male secretary.” Please keep all of these guys in your prayers as they prepare this week and as they continue to prepare to be future church leaders.
Here are the top 10–but I’ll warn you in advance that you probably didn’t see #3 coming:
- Jobs Are the New Assets
- Recycling the Suburbs
- The New Calvinism
- Reinstating the Interstate
- Africa, Business Destination
- The Rent-a-Country
- Survival Stores
- Ecological Intelligence
Click on #3 (above) to read their description of the new movement of (or ‘awakening’ to) Calvinism.
If you missed it, this was also a Christianity Today cover story a couple of years ago: Young, Restless, and Reformed. The author, Colin Hanson, later developed the story into a full book by the same title.
Today I’m working hard on some lectures I’ll be giving in the UK later this month. About 40 folks from DSC will be doing a nine-day educational tour through Scotland, Ireland, and England. As we stop in various places of interest, Ron Giese and I will be giving various lectures on architecture, history, and theology. It’s just about a week away and I’m really getting excited (partly because I get to take my 10 year old daughter with me!)
My talks will focus on different aspects of the Reformation in the British Isles. As I’ve been preparing those today I’ve come across several great articles — some new to me, some I’d read years ago and forgotten about — which introduce the Reformation and Puritanism very well. Let me commend one of them to you even if you’re not joining us on the UK tour. In an older Reformation and Revival Journal artice, J.I. Packer gleefully recounts some highlights of The Reformation:
One thinks, for instance, of Luther nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church, challenging, as it turned out, the whole Roman system of his day. We think of Luther at Worms a few years later, facing the Holy Roman emperor and being told that he must recant the things he had been saying. His famous response to the emperor, nobles and ecclesiastical dignitaries of central Europe ran thus:
“Unless you prove to me by Scripture and reason that I am mistaken I cannot and will not recant. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. There is nothing else I can do. God help me. Amen.”
Those magnificent words have echoed down through the centuries, and no wonder.
Luther stuck to his guns. He translated the Bible into German, and preached and wrote tirelessly to spread the evangelical truth. He became the pioneer of reformation throughout Germany. His name will be honored as long as history lasts.
We think of Calvin, that shy scholar who wanted nothing more than to be a man of letters, reading and writing books for the whole of his adult life. But Farrel told him that he must come to Geneva and share in the work of the Reformation there, which he did. Sleeping only four hours a night he toiled away at the Institutes, that great Christian classic which is still for many of us in a class by itself. He commented on the greater part of Holy Scripture, setting new and superb standards of faithful exposition. Calvin died at 55, absolutely worn out–another of God’s heroes.
We think of John Knox, willing to spend 19 months as a galley slave because of his activities as a Reformer, and then finally rewarded by a few amazing weeks when virtually the whole of Scotland turned to the Reformation. Almost overnight Scotland became the thoroughly Reformed nation that it has been in substance from that day to this.
We think of the English martyrs. There was William Tyndale, defying the king by translating the Bible. He was burned eventually in Belgium because Henry VIII sent word to the continent that he must be put to death.
There was Thomas Cranmer, Henry’s archbishop of Canterbury, who bided his time until it was possible to produce a Reformed confession of faith, a Reformed prayer book, and a Reformed book of discipleship for the Church of England. All too soon his royal monarch, Edward VI, died, and Mary came to the throne. She resolved to bring England back to Rome. She had about 330 English Protestant leaders burned at the stake, including Thomas Cranmer. They put him under intolerable pressure. We would call it brainwashing today. Under this pressure, as others have done since, Cranmer recanted, signing a document to that effect a few days before he was to be burned at the stake. He had been told that when he signed he would be pardoned. But when he found out he was not–he was going to be burned anyway–he sat up all night writing a recanting of his recantation. He died holding his hand outstretched into the flames, saying, “This hand that has offended shall first be burned.”
1) Reformation is a divine visitation2) Reformation is a work of Jesus Christ3) Reformation is a constant task for God’s people4) Reformation always begins with repentance, seeking God in new ways and putting away wrong things