Saturday, July 30, 2005

Dealing with Sin in Our Children

The following is taken from a 1627 sermon by the English Puritan Arthur Hildersham:

  1. Motives Respecting Our Children

    1. Our love to our children binds us to it.

    2. Our duty to make amends for the wrong we have done to them in passing along a sin nature.

  2. Motives Respecting Ourselves

    1. It will be a matter of singular comfort unto us to see the corruption of their nature healed and saving grace wrought in them, especially if it is by our means.
    2. When grace is wrought in them (especially if it is by our means), they will be far more living and dutiful unto us than otherwise they would be.

    3. This will be a comfortable testimony unto us of the truth and soundness of the grace that is in us when we are careful to breed grace in all who belong to us, and especially our own children.

  3. Motives Respecting our Duty to God

    1. The trust that the Lord has put us in and the charge that He has given us concerning our children.

    2. The hope of God’s church and the propagation of religion unto prosperity depends principally upon parents taking care to make their children religious.

  4. The Means

    1. If we desire to save our children and heal their natures, we must be careful to maintain that authority and preeminence that God has give us over them.

      1. If parents do not themselves honor and fear God then their children cannot honor or fear them.

      2. Parents must not neglect to keep their children in awe when they are young.

    2. The second means all parents must use to destroy corruption of nature in their children, and to breed grace in them, is instruction.

      1. Teach them soon to know God, to know what is good and what is evil.

      2. You must quickly acquaint them with the practice of religion, like reading the Word, prayer, and giving thanks at their mealtimes, with singing of psalms.

      3. You must bring them with you to the church to the public worship of God quickly, even while they are very young, as soon as they can come and be there without disturbing the congregation, so that they may be acquainted with God’s worship and ordinances soon.

      4. You who are parents must examine your children as to hw they profit by the means of grace. You must test them as to how they understand what they hear. Repeat it and make it plain to them, and, in repeating it, apply it also.

    3. The third means is a good example – cause it to appear to them in your whole conversation that you unfeignedly fear God and love good things.

    4. The fourth means parents must use for the saving of their children’s souls is to take head who they dispose of them when they leave the home. Parents must take heed what schoolmasters and tutors they send them to, what service and what marriages they place them in.

    5. The fifth and last means, without which all the former are to no purpose, is prayer. Parents must be earnest with God in prayer for their children.

Christ in Psalm 40, Part 2

A second question worth considering regarding the Messianic reference of Psalm 40 in Hebrews 10 is how the author of Hebrews found Christ in Psalm 40 in the first place. How can the author of Hebrews legitimately use Psalm 40 to teach about Christ and the transition from the old covenant to the new? Walter Kaiser has a very helpful discussion of this issue in his The Uses of the Old Testament in the New. I will try to summarize Kaiser's ideas in this post.

It is helpful for our understanding to remember that OT books were not written in ignorant isolation from previous portions of redemptive revelation. It is legitimate to notice OT terminology that God often uses in conjunction with His redemptive promises (“seed” is a good example, although not used here). Specifically in Psalm 40, there are several terms and phrases that key us into the fact that David had more than just himself in mind when he wrote this Psalm.

The first of these terms is the word translated “thoughts” in verse 5. This term is sometimes used for God’s plans and purposes concerning Israel, such as “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (ESV) in Jeremiah 29:11. It is significant, as Kaiser notes, that here in Psalm 40, David switches from the personal, “I waited” in verse 1, to the corporate, “thoughts (plans) towards us” in verse 5. It is as if David knows that his deliverance had ramifications beyond just himself.

Further on in the Psalm we see David declaring in verse 9 the “glad news of deliverance” (ESV) or the “glad tidings of righteousness” (NAS). These terms, of course, correspond to the NT idea of heralding the good news of the gospel. Other terms in verse 10 that relate to God’s covenant promises to Israel include, faithfulness, salvation, steadfast love, and truth. Many of these terms correspond directly back to God’s manifestation of himself to the children of Israel during the Exodus (Ex. 34:6).

The covenant promises fulfilled in and for David have a direct application to Christ due to the Davidic covenant as delineated in 2 Samuel 7. Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of that covenant and there is some chance that David had 2 Samuel 7 in mind when he said in 40:7, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.” Even though we cannot be dogmatic about that, certainly David was aware that God had written about him and thus David was willing to fulfill the plan that was laid out for him (40:8) and for which he was divinely prepared (40:6). The collective pronouns used in this passage (e.g., 40:5) and the promise/covenant language used throughout this Psalm all point to the fact that David was aware (at some level) of his role in God’s plan of redemption, a role that would involve the Messiah as the ultimate fulfilment of the Davidic promises. Here is how Kaiser puts it:

We conclude that in Psalm 40 the psalmist presents to God an obedient spirit, willing to go and do all that is written about himself. He carried in his person and in each favored descendant all that God is going to do for all the nations of the earth. What had been written thus far in Scripture about the coming Messiah and His work was written, in effect about David, so far as he and his generation were concerned [cf., Heb. 7:9-10 for a Biblical justification of this idea]. He, David, delighted to do every bit of what he found written therein, for God had also dug out his ears, as it were, and had given him a willing heart and mind.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Christ in Psalm 40

My pastor has been teaching through the Psalms during our mid-week services. He is currently in the middle of Psalm 40, one of the great Messianic psalms. We know this Psalm is Messianic because of the interpretation given to it by the author of Hebrews. There is a very interesting, and sometimes misunderstood, relationship between Psalm 40 and the use of that Psalm in Hebrews 10:5-10.

Perhaps the most difficult issue to resolve is the apparent misquotation of Psalm 40:6. The Psalm reads in verse 6, “Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened;” whereas the verse appears in Hebrews as, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;” It is helpful to note that the writer of the book of Hebrews quotes from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) here, so while that clarifies the difference in wording it doesn’t explain how going from an “open ear” to a “prepared body” is legitimate. This translational puzzle turns out to be quite easy to solve.

The idea in Psalm 40 is that God has opened the ear of His servant to hear and do God’s will. Walter Kaiser gives two reasons why this is NOT a reference to the boring of a loyal servant’s ear in Exodus 21:6. First, the word in Psalm 40 is “to dig” (Heb., kara) rather than “to bore” (Heb., rasa) in Exodus 21:6. Second, the process in Exodus 21 involves the boring of only one ear, while in Psalm 40 both ears (plural) are dug. Consequently, the idea behind this idiom is that God is digging or opening His servant’s ears for use (i.e, hearing and doing) just as one would dig a pit or a well for a particular usage. The opposite of this idea occurs in Jeremiah 6:10 where closed ears prevent the hearing and doing of God’s Word.

The LXX version of the Psalm, as quoted in Hebrews, uses synecdoche, a figure of speech in which a part is put for the whole, or vice-versa. In stead of a strict word for word translation, the LXX uses a dynamic equivalent of the idiom to fully convey the meaning of the expression. In this case, the opened (“dug”) or prepared ear represents a whole body prepared for service. Put in its Messianic terms, it means that God has prepared His servant to do His will, exactly what was written for Christ to do (cf., Ps. 40:7-8; Heb. 10:7).

I love how Isaac Watts combined both expressions in his rendition of Psalm 40:6-9.

Thus saith the Lord, “Your work is vain,
Give your burnt-offerings o’er;
In dying goats, and bullocks slain,
My soul delights no more.”

Then spake the Savior, “Lo, I’m here,
My God, to do thy will;
Whate’er thy sacred books declare,
Thy servant shall fulfill.

“Thy law is ever in my sight,
I keep it near my heart;
Mine ears are opened with delight
To what thy lips impart

And see, the bless’d Redeemer comes,
The eternal Son appears,
And at the appointed time assumes
The body God prepares

Much he revealed his Father’s grace,
And much his truth he showed,
And preached the way of righteousness
Where great assemblies stood.

His Father’s honor touched his heart,
He pitied sinner’ cries,
And, to fulfill a Savior’s part,
Was made a sacrifice.

No blood of beasts on altars she
Could wash the conscience clean;
But the rich sacrifice he paid
Atones for all our sin.

Then was the great salvation spread,
And Satan’s kingdom shook;
Thus by the woman’s promised seed
The serpent’s head was broke.

Monday, July 18, 2005

GBC Building Dedication Pictures

On Sunday, July 17, Grace Baptist Church formally dedicated its new building to the Lord. Here are some pictures from that day's events:

Pastor Henderson addresses the crowd.

Opening choir number -- "How I Love Thy Law"

Dr. Bud Calvert from Fairfax Baptist Temple, our pastor's sending church, delivers the dedication service sermon.

Dinner on the grounds after the morning service.

The most popular portion of the food line!

Some of the GBC teens.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

JD Rides His Bike

After much coaxing, JD has finally learned how to ride his bike without training wheels! We are, of course, very excited about this accomplishment. Here is a Quicktime movie (26M) of him showing off his newly developed skills in the garage.

JD Rides His Bike

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Unsearchable Riches

For some reason, I do not gravitate to the books written by the popular religious authors of our day. Perhaps it is due to an unnecessary cautiousness on my part concerning certain segments of modern evangelicalism. For whatever reason, though, I did not jump on the John Piper bandwagon along with so many of my fundamentalist friends. Somewhere, though, I read a review of Piper’s God’s Passion for His Glory and decided to give it a read. I am so glad that I did – not for the introduction to Piper but for Piper’s introduction to Jonathan Edwards.

Like many people, my only exposure to Jonathan Edwards came from reading his Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God sermon, and from hearing preachers say that he was dull or monotone in his delivery. Frankly, I had a rather dim and unflattering view of this great man. Piper, however, changed all that.

For those of you who don’t know, God’s Passion for His Glory, begins with a warm-hearted biography of Edwards’ life and ends with a commentary on one of Edwards’ smaller works, The End for which God Created the World. Here was an introduction to a man who loved God supremely with all of his mind, will, and affections. It was exactly what I needed to spur me on towards a fuller knowledge of God and a desire for the unsearchable riches found in Christ.

The title of my blog comes from Ephesians 3:8, where Paul tells of the grace given to him to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. Jonathan Edwards preached on this passage in a sermon entitled, The Wisdom of God, Displayed in the Way of Salvation. I use an excerpt from this sermon as the subtext for my blog title. I thought I would share the larger context of that quote:

Here is food procured to answer all the appetites and faculties of our souls. God has made the soul of man of a spiritual nature. And therefore he needs a corresponding happiness, some spiritual object, in the enjoyment of which he may be happy. Christ has purchased the enjoyment of God, who is the great and original Spirit, as the portion of our souls. And he has purchased the Spirit of God to come and dwell in us as an eternal principle of happiness.

God has made man a rational, intelligent creature. And man needs some good that shall be a suitable object of his understanding for him to contemplate, wherein he may have full and sufficient exercise for his capacious faculties, in their utmost extent. Here is an object that is great and noble, and worthy of the exercise of the noblest faculties of the rational soul. — God himself should be theirs, for them forever to behold and contemplate. His glorious perfections and works are most worthy objects. And there is room enough for improving them, and still to exercise their faculties to all eternity. — What object can be more worthy to exercise the understanding of a rational soul, than the glories of the Divine Being, with which the heavenly intelligences and even the infinite understanding of God himself is entertained?

Our souls need some good that shall be a suitable object of the will and affections, a suitable object for the choice, the acquiescence, the love, and the joy of the rational soul. Provision is made for this also in this way of salvation. There is an infinitelyexcellent Being offered to be chosen, to be rested in, to be loved, to be rejoiced in, by us, even God himself, who is infinitely lovely, the fountain of all good; a fountain that can never be exhausted, where we can be in no danger of going to excess in our love and joy. And here we may be assured ever to find our joy and delight in enjoyments answerable to our love and desires.

To that I say, Amen. May I never seek to find my satisfaction in anything less.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Building Dedication

This coming Sunday (7/17) our church will be holding our formal building dedication services. Pastor Bud Calvert from Fairfax Baptist Temple (FBT) will be the featured speaker. FBT, through its church planting program, sent and supported our pastor, Andrew Henderson, during the early days of our ministry. We are expecting a big crowd, perhaps somewhere around 200, for the festivities. After the morning service, we will have dinner on the grounds followed by a praise and thanksgiving service in the afternoon. I plan to post pictures of the event but in the mean time, here are a few that I originally posted on

An exterior view of our building.

People gathering to worship our first Sunday (6/26).

A picture of the stage and the new piano that Daphne loves to play.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Elevator Book Reviews

I have just begun reading Rolland McCune's new book, Promise Unfulfilled: The Failed Strategy of Modern Evangelicalism. As is my custom, I take my current reading material with me to the Emory food court for my lunch break. In addition to the profitable reading time, this habit forces me to get in a good walk each day since I must trek from my building on the edge of campus to the cafeteria area which is located in the center. When I leave my cubical area for my daily lunch routine, I normally take the elevator to get down from the third floor of our building. Occasionally, a co-worker will get on the elevator with me and engage in normal techno-geek small talk. Today, however, my elevator companion noticed that I was holding a book in my hand and could not help but ask what I was reading.

Emory University began over 100 years ago as a Methodist school. Today, while it still boasts a very liberal school of theology (albeit with a very substantial and useful theological library), the school itself is basically secular, mostly known for its buisness, law, and medical schools. Most employees don't know what to make of the school's religious heritage and are probably happy that Emory plays up diversity more than Reformation Day. I say all that to say that my poor co-worker had absolutely no idea how to respond to Promise Unfulfilled.

You don't have much time to talk on an elevator, so I meekly offered a not-too-helpful, "Its about Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism and the differences between the two." He quickly glanced at the back cover and read some of the comments by Doran and Beale, but frankly, those didn't do anything for him, either. As the elevator doors began to open, he handed the book back to me and said something like, "That's all way over my head...." Feeling sorry for him, I changed the subject to last night's Braves game and asked if he had seen the triumphant major league debut of hometown hero Jeff Francoeur. Thus ended my 30-second elevator review of McCune's book.

This incident reminded me of a very similar encounter several months ago, while I was reading a biography of William Tyndale. This time a whole group of co-workers got in the elevator with me and again one of them asked about my book. No one seemed to know who William Tyndale was so I told them that he was responsible for the first English translation of the New Testament from the original Greek, that he was a contemporary of Martin Luther, and had a significant role in the protestant reformation. Emory's library actually has a fairly substantial collection of reformation materials, including several original documents from the hand of Martin Luther. Nevertheless, all this information left them nonplused.

Soon, I will begin Theology in America: Christian thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War. One advantage that I will have if anyone asks me about this book is that it was authored by an Emory University professor, Dr. E. Brooks Holifield. Perhaps I will be able to get an autograph.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Washington in June

In June, we traveled to Washington D.C. so that I could attend a security conference and Daphne could visit with friends and family. Here are two pictures from our trip.

The first is a picture of us with Daphne's brother and sister and her sister's family.

The second is a picture of our children with Kim and Simon Chu's children. The Chu's were the ones who originally introduced Daphne to me.