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Tim Challies

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May 2010

May 22, 2010

This week, while reading Richard Sibbes’ The Bruised Reed, I came across a quote I wanted to share with you. Here Sibbes offers a sharp warning against anyone who would resist Christ’s mercy. There are not too many people today who will preach what he teaches here.

There are those who take it on themselves to cast water on those sparks which Christ labors to kindle in them, because they will not be troubled with the light of them. Such must know that the Lamb can be angry, and that they who will not come under his scepter of mercy shall be crushed in pieces by his scepter of power (Psa. 2:9). Though he will graciously tend and maintain the least spark of true grace, yet where he finds not the spark of grace but opposition to his Spirit striving with them, his wrath, once kindled, shall burn to hell. There is no more just provocation than when kindness is churlishly refused.

When God would have cured Babylon, and she would not be cured, then she was given up to destruction (Jer. 51:9). When Jerusalem would not be gathered under the wing of Christ, then their habitation is left desolate (Matt. 23:37,38). When wisdom stretches out her hand and men refuse, then wisdom will laugh at men’s destruction (Prow. 1:26). Salvation itself will not save those that spill the medicine and cast away the plaster. It is a pitiful case, when this merciful Saviour shall delight in destruction; when he that made men shall have no mercy on them (Isa. 27:11).

Oh, say the rebels of the time, God has not made us to damn us. Yes, if you will not meet Christ in the ways of his mercy, it is fitting that you should ‘eat of the fruit of your own way, and be filled with your own devices’ (Prow. 1:31). This will be the hell of hell, when men shall think that they have loved their sins more than their souls; when they shall think what love and mercy has been enforced upon them, and yet they would perish. The more accessory we are in pulling a judgment upon ourselves, the more the conscience will be confounded in itself. Then they shall acknowledge Christ to be without any blame, themselves without any excuse.

If men appeal to their own consciences, they will tell them that the Holy Spirit has often knocked at their hearts, as willing to have kindled some holy desires in them. How else can they be said to resist the Holy Ghost, but that the Spirit was readier to draw them to a further degree of goodness than was consistent with their own wills? Therefore those in the church that are damned are self condemned before. So that here we need not rise to higher causes, when men carry sufficient cause in their own bosoms.

Harsh words? Yes, they are. But necessarily so.

May 21, 2010

Free Stuff Fridays

This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by Crossway, I name I know you’re familiar with (and, according to the survey results from a couple of weeks ago, the publisher you, the readers of this site, trust most).

Earlier in the week Crossway sponsored a post here, letting you know about four of their new books. Today they are giving away five prize packages, each of which contains all four of those titles. That means five winners will receive Surprised by Grace by Tullian Tchividjian, Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey, What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp and Doctrine by Mark Driscoll. That’s not a bad haul! And all you need to do for your chance to win is add your name and email address to the form below.

Crossway Books

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, you can click here and find a brief description of each. After Crossway mentioned these four books I took a poll to see if you’d like me to read and review one of them. The poll results were clear: you want me to review Mark Driscoll’s Doctrine, so I’ll be sure to do that in the weeks ahead. I have heard lots of good things about it.

Here is what the publisher says about the book: “Doctrine is the word Christians use to define the truth-claims revealed in Holy Scripture. Of course there is a multitude of churches, church networks, and denominations, each with their own doctrinal statement with many points of disagreement. But while Christians disagree on a number of doctrines, there are key elements that cannot be denied by anyone claiming to be a follower of Jesus. In Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe, Driscoll and Breshears teach thirteen of these key elements. This meaty yet readable overview of basic doctrine will help Christians clarify and articulate their beliefs in accordance with the Bible.”

Rules: You may only enter the draw once. Simply fill out your name and email address to enter the draw. As soon as the winners have been chosen, all names and addresses will be immediately and permanently erased. Winners will be notified by email. The giveaway closes Saturday at noon.

May 21, 2010

How Cul-de-Sacs Are Killing Your Community - Here’s an interesting article on how cul-de-sacs have impacted your community. Who’d have thought? (HT:T-Wax)

Keith Green: The Movie - “Nearly 30 years after Christian-rock pioneer Keith Green died in a plane crash, his widow and a Hollywood producer have teamed up to bring his story to the big screen in the hope of introducing a new generation to his music.”

Self-Realization or Self-Gift? - A good article from Boundless. “The prevailing social script provides a straightforward answer to my dilemma: Get education, get established in career, get financially established, and only then get married. (Of course, a hike across the globe is acceptable, even preferred, any time in between.) With relatively prosperous parents to support us, leisure time to spare, and an interconnected globe to explore, young adults today have the luxury of a cornucopia of options that a typical middle class young adult did not have in earlier American periods.”

Randy Alcorn on Kids and Pornography:

The Gospel vs Religion - Justin Buzzard shares a chart from Tim Keller’s Gospel in Life curriculum. It contrasts religion with the gospel.

Google TV - Google continues searching for total media dominance with their newly-announced Google TV:

May 20, 2010

It’s Thursday again, which means we’re continuing our reading through The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. We are quickly drawing near to the end of this book—something that happens quickly when reading two chapters at a time. Another two or three weeks and we will be finished.


For some reason I found both of this week’s chapters more difficult than the ones that had come before. Somehow they seemed just a little bit less clear in their purpose. I’m guessing the fault is with me more than with Sibbes. Nevertheless, I did find it quite tough to orient myself.

In the first chapter Sibbes writes about people who offend Christ by in some way thinking little of his mercy. So he points to those who have a false despair of Christ’s mercy, those who have a false hope of his mercy, those who resist Christ’s mercy, those who presume upon that mercy, those who seek another source of mercy, those who mistreat the heirs of mercy, those who cause strife among the heirs of mercy, those who take advantage of the bruised and, finally, those who despise Christ’s simple means of mercy.

May 20, 2010

GM2:8 - Living Waters (think Ray Comfort) has released an iPod/iPhone app called GM2:8. It allows you to use a Way of the Master kind of gospel presentation in a whole series of different languages. You can find it free at the app store.

MacArthur and Sproul on Baptism - “Infant baptism or believer’s only baptism? For the past two days on Renewing Your Mind, Drs. R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur have discussed their views on the Biblical meaning and mode of Christian baptism. Dr. MacArthur presents the credo-baptist position and Dr. Sproul presents the historic paedo (infant)-baptist position. Listen in as these two friends discuss a historic doctrinal divide.”

The Glory of Plodding - Also on Ligonier is a good article from Kevin DeYoung on “The Glory of Plodding.” “What we need are fewer revolutionaries and a few more plodding visionaries. That’s my dream for the church — a multitude of faithful, risktaking plodders. The best churches are full of gospel-saturated people holding tenaciously to a vision of godly obedience and God’s glory, and pursuing that godliness and glory with relentless, often unnoticed, plodding consistency.”

Men’s Retreat - In June I’ll be speaking at a weekend-long men’s retreat at Bonnechere Baptist Camp (West of Ottawa, near Algonquin). My topic will be “Living Virtuously in a Digital World.” If that sounds like your thing, registration is open.

Because I’ve Been Forgiven is part one of a powerful video from Peacemaker Ministries.

Because I’ve Been Forgiven: Craig - Part 1 from Peacemaker Ministries on Vimeo.

May 19, 2010

The Good News We Almost ForgotWhen I was a teenager, growing up within Canada’s Dutch Reformed tradition (despite not being Dutch—long story), Tuesday nights were Catechism nights. My parents would drive me to the church where the pastor, or occasionally one of the elders, would teach us the Heidelberg Catechism. Every class would begin the same way—with reciting the questions and answers we had been told to memorize the week before. I would always sit my friend Brian so we could whisper hints to one another when we got stuck. Actually, he and I continually found new and inventive ways of cheating, of making the pastor believe that we had done our work even when we hadn’t. Nevertheless, over the years I did press that catechism into my mind and at one point probably could have recited almost all of it. Many years have gone by and most of it has faded, though interestingly I can still recite the first and the last of the 129 questions; I still know what is my only comfort in life and death and what ‘amen’ means.

May 19, 2010

Nothing Should Exist - Gene Edward Veith says “I hadn’t realized that science, despite all of the claims that it has all the answers, remains stuck at a very basic conundrum.” Science is still stuck on the problem that nothing should exist and yet, well, obviously plenty does exist.

Flooded - Jars of Clay has put together a benefit album to support the Nashville relief effort. At their site you can buy an EP for $1 with all proceeds going to that good cause.

Kindle’s Most Popular Bible Passages - Ray Fowler did some legwork and found out what Bible passages are the most commonly highlighted on the Kindle. Not surprisingly, a lot of the passages focus on trusting in God.

Arrested in Haiti - You remember the story of those Americans arrested and imprisoned on Haiti. Baptist Press has an article talking about how the story has wrapped up. The story they are telling is far, far different than the story we heard in the media, though that’s no great surprise to you, I’m sure.

Nicking Our Public Discourse - Mark Steyn, who has made a career out of being alarmist (and who does it so well), sounds the alarm about increasing capitulation to Islam. “At Ford Hood, Major Hasan jumped on a table and gunned down his comrades while screaming ‘Allahu Akbar!’ — which is Arabic for ‘Nothing to see here’ and an early indicator of pre-post-traumatic stress disorder. The Times Square bomber, we are assured by the Washington Post, CNN, and Newsweek, was upset by foreclosure proceedings on his house. Mortgage-related issues. Nothing to do with months of training at a Taliban camp in Waziristan.”

May 18, 2010

Here is episode 6 of the Connected Kingdom podcast. In this episode David and I discuss church leadership. Because I was ordained as an elder just last Sunday it seemed like a timely topic. We discuss what eldership means at Grace Fellowship Church and what it means within David’s Presbyterian tradition. We also look at what Christians mean when they discuss “calling,” what elder training ought to involve and how my life may be different now that I’ve been called into leadership within the church. Now that I write that all out it doesn’t sound so interesting, but I do think you’ll find it worth the 27-minute investment!

If you want to give us feedback or join in the discussion, go ahead and look up our Facebook Group or leave a comment right here. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or another program. As always, feedback and suggestions for future topics are much appreciated.