Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Resurrection Changes Everything

Excellent devotional comment on Acts 9 today by Dr. Carson. This is biblical theology in action. Could there be anything more important than this?

I'll quote the July 22 entry in its entirety:

WHAT WAS PAUL’S PERSPECTIVE before he was converted (Acts 9)? Elsewhere (Acts 22:2; 23:6; Phil. 3:4-6) he tells us that he was a strict Pharisee, brought up (apparently)in Jerusalem, taught by one of the most renowned rabbis of the day. For him, the notion of a crucified Messiah was a contradiction in terms. Messiahs rule, they triumph, they win. The Law insists that those who hang on a tree are cursed by God. Surely, therefore, the insistence that Jesus is the Messiah is not only stupid, but verges on the blasphemous. It might lead to political insurrection: the fledgling church was growing, and might become a dangerous block. It had to be stopped; indeed, what was needed was a man of courage like Saul, a man like Phinehas who averted the wrath of God by his decisive action against the perverters of truth and probity (Num. 25; see meditation for May 16), someone who really understood the implications of these wretched delusions and who saw where they would lead.

But now on the Damascus Road Saul meets the resurrected, glorified Jesus. Whether he had seen him before we cannot be sure; that he sees him now, Saul cannot doubt. And a great deal of his theology, worked out and displayed in his letters, stems from that brute fact. If Jesus were alive and glorified, then somehow his death on the cross did not prove he was damned. Far from it: the claim of believers that God had raised him from the dead, and that they had seen him, must be true—and that could only mean that God had vindicated Jesus. Then what on earth did his death mean? From that vantage point, everything looked different. If Jesus was under the curse of God when he died, yet was vindicated by God himself, he must have died for others.

Somehow his death absorbed the righteous curse of God that was due others and canceled it out. In that light, the entire history of the Hebrew Scriptures looked different. Was it not written that a Suffering Servant (see yesterday’s meditation) would be wounded for our transgressions and chastised for our iniquities? Does the death of countless lambs and bulls really take away human sin? Or do we need, as it were, a human “lamb of God,” a human “Passover Lamb”? If the tabernacle and temple rituals are read as pointing to the final solution, what does that say about the present satus of the covenant enacted at Sinai? What about scriptural texts that promise a new covenant, a great outpouring of the Spirit in the last days (Acts 2:17-21; see Joel 2:28-32 and the meditation for July 15)? What place does the promise to Abraham have in the scheme of things, that in Abraham’s offspring all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:3; see meditation for January 11)?

Grant that Jesus is alive and vindicated, and everything changes.

D.A. Carson, For the Love of God, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois: 1998, p. 229

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Peter Pan

Juanita, Petra and Anne are anticipating Peter Pan performances tomorrow and Friday at our little theatre in Edson after three weeks of hard work.

I have had a couple of glimpses of the rehearsals. They are all having too much fun!

27 kids have registered and the volunteer leaders are doing a great job. Juanita is the musical coordinator, Petra is Wendy and Anne gets to be Nana the dog.

This should be good fun, but I'm not sure if there are any tickets left (it's worth checking out if you're in the area).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Teaching on Roman Catholicism

My Sunday sermon was a part of my Frequently Asked Questions series - 5 messages on a range of subjects. We have friends who are Roman Catholic, and a few people in our church from Catholic backgrounds. I certainly don't want to be offensive, and I tried to be accurate and fair in my description of Roman Catholic teaching. If you don't agree with what I had to say, I can respect that. The differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics are profound, longstanding and often very personal. I don't think anyone is served by pretending that they don't exist.

I must admit that I am looking forward to the Fall and getting back to consecutive preaching through a Bible book. It is safer for both me and our church if I stick to the text, though not less likely to cause offense.

If you'd like to hear what I had to say, it is available at our church website.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


I'm doing something a little different for my summer sermon series this year. I will be away a few weeks on holidays, and other people are in and out over the summer, so I'm doing stand-alone messages. This is typical for a summer series, the twist comes in the topics.

I started as a full-time pastor in the fall of 1990. I haven't kept a record of frequently asked questions, but there are a few that keep coming up. So, this summer, I'm going to try to answer some of these FAQs. I didn't do any polling, and I didn't ask for responses, but going from experience, I've selected five common questions to tackle.

- July 4: What about people that have never heard the Gospel? Can they be saved?
- July 18: Roman Catholic and Protestant: What's the difference?
- August 15: Angels and Demons: What does Scripture teach about them?
- August 22: What does separation of church and state mean?

The first message is up over at our church website,

Perhaps I am rushing in where angels fear to tread, but I've gotten a positive response to the concept of the series. I know not everyone liked the first message, but that's not why I preach.

What is that old line? The purpose of preaching is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. I was certainly convicted by the implications of my message today. I need to act on it. Beginning this week!

** UPDATE: The link for the sermon at the church website is now fixed. Sorry 'bout that!