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January 2012

January 31, 2012

It was one hundred and twenty years ago today that Charles Haddon Spurgeon finished his earthly race. He was 57 years old. The life and legacy of Spurgeon is well known. He was London’s most popular preacher during the second half of the 19th century. He was passionately and thoroughly biblical and unusually gifted in his mental and oratory abilities. He was also incredibly prolific. The manuscripts of his sermons fill 63 volumes, which, according to Eric Hayden, “stands alone as the largest set of books by a single author in the history of Christianity.”

Keep reading because down below I’ll be giving away a little piece of history—a sermon manuscript page that has been heavily amended by Spurgeon himself.

Books in Print

Some of Spurgeon’s most well-know writings include

  • Morning and Evening – “With a reading to begin and end each day throughout the year, you will come to appreciate Spurgeon’s emphasis on the importance of abiding in Christ and meditating on God’s Word.”
  • A Defence of Calvinism – “With his winsome style and customary mix of wit, wisdom, and warm devotion to his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) explains and defends the Bible’s teachings about the grace of God in the gospel.”
  • Lectures to My Students – “Tthis unabridged edition of 28 of Spurgeon’s classroom discourses on homiletics overflows with practical wisdom, discerning wit, and sage advice. Covering the call, open-air preaching, ordinary conversations, using illustrations, and conduct outside the church, Spurgeon’s words are as rich and nourishing for pastors and students today as they were more than a century ago.”
  • The Treasury of David – “C. H. Spurgeon’s enduring classic, The Treasury of David, has long been regarded as the most comprehensive pastoral and inspirational study of the Psalms ever written. Originally released in seven volumes, Spurgeon’s work has been carefully abridged by David Otis Fuller in this accessible one-volume edition.”

January 31, 2012

At long last, David Murray and I are back with season 3 of The Connected Kingdom podcast. There’s a few changes this year, the most notable of which is that we are now including a [partial] transcript of the podcast. So you’ve now got the option to listen to it or read it. More information at the end…


Horatio Spafford was a man who knew pain and a man whose pain has left a powerful and lasting legacy to the church. A wealthy Chicago businessman, Spafford invested heavily in real estate and saw almost his entire fortune consumed in the Great Chicago Fire that swept the city in 1871. Far greater pain awaited him. In 1873 he decided that he and his family should enjoy a vacation. They decided to go to England since their dear friend D.L. Moody would be preaching there in the fall. Though business delayed his own departure, he sent his family on ahead. His wife Anna and their four daughters boarded the steamship Ville du Havre and set out for England. On November 22 another ship collided with that one and two hundred and twenty six people lost their lives, including all four of the Spafford girls. Upon arriving in England, Anna sent her husband a tragic telegram: “Saved alone.”

Spafford set out to England to be with his wife and during that crossing penned the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” a powerful declaration of trust in the midst of tragedy.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

“When sorrows like sea billows roll.” It is a poignant metaphor, a simile really, that speaks of sorrow coming upon us like waves on a storm-tossed sea. The same sea billows that poured over the heads of his daughters, the waves that stole their lives, are now pressing hard against him, threatening to drown him in despair, to steal his soul. They are rising up above him, they are cresting and crashing down upon him, they are pulling him under and tossing him in the undertow. Yet he has more hope for his soul than his girls did for their lives. The Lord has taught him that all will be well. Whatever his lot, whatever the Lord decrees for him, he is able to say, “It is well with my soul.” What was the source of such comfort in trial? It was this: “Christ hath regarded my helpless estate / And hath shed His own blood for my soul.”

January 31, 2012

I Am Not a Victim - I found this post a real joy to read: “By the world’s standards, I am disabled. Contrary to the stories I have told, I am not the victim of a shark attack or a vicious anaconda. I am not, in fact, a victim at all. I was formed this way. I was born before the days where ultrasounds were a part of standard care. My disability was a complete surprise to my parents, to the doctors, and to the entire small town where I was born.”

The Church in Great Britain - D.A. Carson heard what Mark Driscoll said recently about the church in Great Britain and offers a different take. “I have no reason to doubt Mark’s sincere concern for the gospel in the UK and for young ministers there. Nevertheless, you might be interested in hearing another perspective.”

The Elephant in the Room - Here’s a really important article from Voddie Baucham on The Elephant Room. Baucham discusses how he was invited to participate, why he said no, and why he was recently taken off the roster of speakers at a Harvest event.

Songwriter’s Glossary - Bobby Gilles has put together The Songwriter’s Glossary Of Poetic & Rhetorical Devices and he includes helpful examples from many hymns.

Coal - “Coal occupies a central position in modern human endeavors. Last year over 7000 megatons were mined worldwide. Powerful, yet dirty and dangerous, use of coal is expanding every year, with 2010 witnessing a production increase of 6.8%.” The Big Picture has a photo gallery.

Tennis - Here’s one for the tennis fan: highlights from the Australian Open and Andy Murray’s battle with Michael Llodra.

If God should justify a people and not sanctify them, he would justify a people whom he could not glorify. —Thomas Watson

January 30, 2012

Today we celebrate the 100th birthday of Francis Schaeffer, the 20th century American pastor, theologian, and philosopher. Udo Middleman, President of The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation, describes him as one who “communicated the truth of historic Biblical Christianity in a way that combined intellectual integrity, artistic sensitivity and a practical loving care. With a sharpened analytical mind he understood and uncovered the roots of modern thinking and its logical conclusion across a wide range of disciplines.”

Schaeffer wrote 22 books in his lifetime (1912–1984). It is a testimony to the worth of his thinking and writing that almost every one of these books is still individually available in print.

Below is a list of his five bestselling titles on Amazon, as well as some additional resources.

Bestselling Books

  1. How Should We Then Live? – This one has a 5-hour corresponding DVD.
  2. Art and the Bible
  3. The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy – Includes the books The God Who Is There, Escape from Reason, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent.
  4. True Spirituality
  5. Genesis in Space and Time

For the most value, you can get all 22 of his books in The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer for less than $100. (See also the great deals Crossway has on some of his works.)

January 30, 2012

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Francis Schaeffer. Though I never met the man and though I haven’t read more than small pieces of his books, I owe a great debt of gratitude to him. Schaeffer shaped me by first shaping my parents. To mark this date I asked my parents if they would tell how Francis Schaeffer saved their saved souls.

(This afternoon you’ll have a chance to win The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer)


Francis SchaefferFrancis Schaeffer did not save my soul. But he did save my saved soul. Let me explain.

My husband, John, and I became Christians in 1972. Neither one of us has had a moment’s doubt about the truth claims of Scripture since that time. But those first years were very difficult, nonetheless, both doctrinally and emotionally. Why?

We became Christians through Pentecostals, as do so many. They were fine people—loving, supportive, passionate in their faith. But, their theological flaws quickly exhausted us to the point we could not see our way forward in Christian life. What were these flaws? The most important was their two-tier approach to knowing God. The Bible was considered an important means to knowledge of God, undoubtedly. But, the superior way, just as undoubtedly, was to know God “directly”. Not through the medium of Scripture but im-mediately, mystically, through the revelations and experiences of tongues and prophecies. Sounds good in one sense, doesn’t it? But, as I said above, in practice, how exhausting! God’s ways and thoughts had to be known day by day rather than once and for all. In no time, we were two worn out little pilgrims. I remember saying to John, “There is no more security in Christian life than there is in non-Christian living.”

And then a wonderful friend told us about Francis Schaeffer. At the first possible opportunity, on our honeymoon to be exact!, we stopped by Swiss L’Abri. We read all of Schaeffer’s books. We spent a summer at English L’Abri.  And, four years later, we took our then-family of two boys—Andrew and baby challies.com (aka Tim)—back to English L’Abri for an entire year.

January 30, 2012

In case you missed it on the weekend, Crossway has put many of Francis Schaeffer’s books on sale at just $3.99 (along with a couple of books about him). Here’s the time to stock up! The Finished Work of Christ, No Little People, Death in the City, Pollution and the Death of Man, Truth With Love: The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer, and the biography Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life. You may also enjoy this biography of Francis and Edith.

Discerning the Conversion of a Child - Brian Croft provides wisdom on this always-tricky question: How do you know when your child is truly converted? He sticks close to Jonathan Edwards on this one.

What Is Essential to Being a Christian? - Speaking of Jonathan Edwards, here is Edwards on the essentials of the Christian faith. “Being a Christian doesn’t only mean that you assent to a certain set of doctrines. There are other equally important things that must be true. Jonathan Edwards explains…”

Pastors Conference - The Desiring God Pastors Conference begins today and you can watch it live online (free!) in 4 languages. It kicks off at 8:30 EST this evening.

Can You Choose to Be Gay? - Here’s an interesting conversation coming from within the gay community. “Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon says that she chooses to be gay. What does science say?” On either side the gay community has a lot to lose.

Everything About Learning - According to this article at WIRED, everything you thought you knew about learning is wrong.

Sin would have few takers if its consequences occurred immediately. —T.W. Purkiser

January 29, 2012

Francis Schaeffer coined some interesting terms—things like true truth and nothing nothing. He wasn’t just being silly; he was making important statements about the world. Here, from He Is There And He Is Not Silent is his description of nothing nothing.

We are considering existence, the fact that something is there. Remember Jean-Paul Sartre’s statement that the basic philosophic question is that something is there rather than nothing being there. The first basic answer is that everything that exists has come out of absolutely nothing. In other words, you begin with nothing. Now, to hold this view, it must be absolutely nothing. It must be what I call nothing nothing. It cannot be nothing something or something nothing. If one is to accept this answer, it must be nothing nothing, which means there must be no energy, no mass, no motion, and no personality.

My description of nothing nothing runs like this. Suppose we had a very black blackboard which had never been used. On this blackboard we drew a circle, and inside that circle there was everything that was — and there was nothing within the circle. Then we erase the circle. This is nothing nothing. You must not let anybody say he is giving an answer beginning with nothing and then really begin with something: energy, mass, motion, or personality. That would be something, and something is not nothing.

The truth is I have never heard this argument sustained, for it is unthinkable that all that now is has come out of utter nothing. But theoretically, that is the first possible answer.

January 28, 2012

With the 100th anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s birth coming up next week, Crossway has put many of his books on sale at just $3.99 (along with a couple of books about him). Here’s the time to stock up! The Finished Work of Christ, No Little People, Death in the City, Pollution and the Death of Man, Truth With Love: The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer, and the biography Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life. You may also enjoy this biography of Francis and Edith.

Don’t Take it From Me - Kathy Keller on why you shouldn’t marry an unbeliever: “Over the course of our ministry, the most common pastoral issue that Tim and I have confronted is probably marriages–either actual or proposed–between Christians and non-Christians. I have often thought how much simpler it would be if I could remove myself from the conversation and invite those already married to unbelievers do the talking to singles who are desperately trying to find a loophole that would allow them to marry someone who does not share their faith.”

Using the Web to Sell Girls - This heart-breaking article talks about how the Web is used to sell the services of girls.

The Ekranoplane - An interesting little slice of history: “In the thick of the Cold War, the Soviet Union built an immense vessel to carry their troops across the seas and into Western Europe. Equipped with nuclear warheads and able to blast across the sea at 340 mph, the Lun-class Ekranoplane; part plane, part boat, and part hovercraft — is a Ground Effect Vehicle (GEV).”

Reasons to Manuscript - Here’s an article I enjoyed. It discusses the value of manuscripting sermons.

The Other Elephant in the Room - The guys at Wretched Radio have done a really good job here of pointing out the other elephant in the room.

 

Blessed be God, our calamities are matters of time, but our safety is a matter of eternity. —C.H. Spurgeon