Where Was This When We Were Raising Kids?

We start a new round of Equipping Hour classes this Sunday. I’m excited about all four offerings.

I get to teach another newcomers class. You can read my blog post about that here.

James Harvey will tackle the church history elective. I expect that will be a rich journey through the ages of God’s work among His people.

Pastor Mike and Ben Hamilton will lead the evangelism and mercy ministry class, always a gospel-shaped, practical treatment of our calling to bend the gospel outwards as followers of Jesus.

For our parents, we have Chuck and Pam Mitchell facilitating the Paul Tripp DVD curriculum entitled Getting to the Heart of Parenting. I was moved by the video promo shown on Sunday and included it at the top of this post for any who missed it. May I strongly encourage our Dads and Moms to take advantage of this unique teaching content? How I wish I had thought and acted in these categories when Nancy and I were bringing up our sons.

Hope to see as many of you as possible this Sunday, April 26, at 9:30 AM!

New Oxford Book Now in Stock!

I managed recently to secure fourteen copies of the Hendriksen Classics version of our new read for the Oxford Club for Men. I am talking about William Wilberforce’s classic, A Practical View of Christianity.

Copies will be available this Sunday at the SDA resource table for a donation of $10 or whatever you can afford. While the study guide below will not conform to the pdf version of the book available free on line, and keeping in mind that this ebook version is not updated to modern English, you can still read it here if you prefer. For a previous post introducing this history-shaping resource click here.

We had to push back our first meeting to begin discussing this book to March 31 at the church office. We are on schedule to meet at 7 AM that day at the church office (bring your own breakfast) and a discussion of the preface.
For help in your prep here is Study Guide #1 – Preface.

May the Lord use this book that helped catalyze the Second Great Awakening to stir our hearts for pursuing great satisfaction in Jesus and passion to influence our culture for Him.

Why Celebrate Reformation Day?

Better known for Halloween in our culture, October 31 marks the anniversary of Martin Luther’s bold and courageous posting of his 95 theses on the Wittenburg Church door in 1517. The dominoes toppled from that point on culminating in what we know as the Protestant Reformation.

Last night folks from our church gathered for a family-friendly, interactive-learning, fun-filled and creative celebration of this oh-so-important date in church history. Many thanks to all who served to make the evening so memorable and worthwhile!

At the outset of the evening, I spoke briefly as to why I believe we simply must as a church shaped by reformed theology mark Reformation Day with some sort of observance and celebration. In a nutshell, it is because all that was recovered for God’s people in the radical departure from the doctrinal and ecclesiastical aberrations of Roman Catholicism.

We need only look at the five solas of the Reformation to summarize what Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Zwingly, et al managed with God’s help to restore to Christianity.

Sola Scriptura – scripture alone. We got the Bible back as the sole source of divine authority. No pope, no council, no confession, no creed can bind the conscience. Only God’s word can. Unless all of the above conform to holy scripture, we should bear them no heed.

Solus Christus – Christ alone. We got the gospel back. The real gospel. Instead of a Christ plus human effort – baptism, church attendance, indulgences, giving alms, etc., we saw recovered the only thing that will actually save lost sinners – the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Without the declaration of this precious truth,  a so-called gospel is no gospel, no good news at all.

Sola Gracia – grace alone. We got sovereign grace back. This recovery goes hand-in-glove with the previous one. The Reformation recovered the majesty of God in His sovereignty and the glory of His grace in that due to man’s sinful condition inherited from Adam leaving him unable to do anything on his own to remedy his condition, only by God’s electing, calling, and justifying of His own good pleasure is there hope for any member of the human race.

Sola Fide – faith alone. We got the chief article back. This became the rally cry of the Reformation. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The Reformers never tired of declaring justification by this formula. Where would we be without the reformation restoring to us this precious truth: justification is the act of God by which he declares sinners to be righteous because of Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone?

Soli Deo Gloria – to God alone be the glory. We got the centrality of God’s glory back. The Reformation returned us to Rom. 11:36. All things are from God and to God, especially our salvation, so we must cry to God alone be the glory.

To my grief I have gone far too many years in a near forty year walk with Christ ignoring Reformation Day. No longer. Two years and counting. I am committed to this observance for as many years as the Lord will allow me to live. If you sing things like Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling, I would urge you to do the same.

For a couple of excellent blog posts from others on this Reformation day click here and here.