Friday, September 30, 2011

A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards

A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards by George M. Marsden as reviewed by Paul Simpson. Mr. Marsden does give a concise account of Jonathan Edwards in eight simple chapters. He does not dwell on a lot of details but gives a very epic picture of this profound man although he lived a relatively short life. Each section of Edwards life is crisscrossed with the lives of many contemporaries of that day.
As we journey along Mr. Edwards life we are met along the path by several men of renown - Benjamin Franklin, Increase Mather, George Whitefield, David Brainerd and many others. We aren’t just told that Johnathan met these famous men, but we are given a glimpse of how his life intersected with theirs. Quite often we are taken down a quick side trail describing this persons pedigree and their most notable contributions to Christianity and humanity.
Of most prominence is Benjamin Franklin. The author interweaves Franklin and Edwards life throughout the book. This does two things: first, we are given a time line that most students of American history are familiar with but will help those less familiar with history and secondly, the author describes the two men as polar opposities. Both men could not have been more opposite when it came to biblical Christianity - Edwards who was clearly born again and a minister of Jesus Christ and Franklin, a good and moral man, a deist by all accounts, but not born again. The juxtaposed views of these men, one with a heavenly viewpoint and the other with a human viewpoint paints a vivid picture of America at that time. He notes that although Ben Franklin was his contemporary and one of the architects of America’s national awakening Edwards was the prime mover in New Englands spiritual awakening.

I actually did not read this book but listened to it on audio CD. The narrator Grover Gardner has a wonderful English accent which only enhances the listening.I received it as a gift from The Shepherds Fellowship, a Pastor’s conference held each year in Sun Valley, CA and hosted by Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Bible Church.

If one wants to know more about the life of Jonathan Edwards I believe A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards by George M. Marsden would make an excellent start.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

180 Movie

You need to watch this powerful movie!  It is created by "The Way of the Master" team, ie Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron. 

They do a powerful job of changing the minds of people on the issue of abortion.

The images aren't too painful.  But, dare we look away from this holocaust we've allowed in America?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reading Proverbs

When it comes to reading the book of Proverbs there are some clues that will help you.
Clue #1: Common sense is required. We all know the modern adage, “Look before you leap.” What if you leap once with out looking and do not get hurt? Does that mean this modern day proverb is not true? This saying is useful for indicating what is generally true. Each proverb is an individually packed observable truth.
Clue #2: They are always ultimately true. Look at Prv 16:7, "When a man's ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." But what about Jesus? His enemies were hardly at peace with Him. We know that ultimately His enemies will be brought down.
Clue #3: They are normally true now. The purpose of a proverb is not to exhaust a topic but to teach a lesson in a way that is memorable. “Look before you leap” puts a truth in your mind that is normally true. Again, using Prv 16:7, we learn that if we seek to please the Lord, He normally will make us be at peace with even people we don’t get along with. Yet, He still uses our enemies to discipline us and refine us.
Clue #4: They employ poetic imagery. Look at Prv 16:17, "The highway of the upright avoids evil; the one who guards his way protects his life." Of course this is not refering to a literal highway, it refers to how the righteous live their lives.
Clue #5: They are partial in themselves. Read Prv 17:8, "A bribe seems like a magic stone to its owner; wherever he turns, he succeeds." This sounds like a bribe is a good thing. But, Prv 17:23 condemns bribery. Verse 8 is a sardonic observation about real life. We cannot clip individual proverbs like coupons to be applied as we wish. Each proverb typically attempts to capture one basic idea.
Clue #6: They are sometimes obscure. Some proverbs will be obscure because of their time and cultural differences. For instance when you read Prv 25:28, "A man who does not control his temper is like a city whose wall is broken down." We don’t have walls anymore around our towns, so how do we apply this to our modern day? By using common sense we can deduce that a city with downed walls can be broken into, stormed, and taken over. Similarily a person with anger issues will lose friends, be ruined, and overwhelmed with despair.
Clue #7: As a whole, the proverbs are religious. It is a book about our lives before God. There are two people in Proverbs: the wise and fool. One will fear the Lord and trust Him and live. The other will disdain discipline and wisdom, trusting only in themselves, and their end will be disasterous. We know that "Wisdom" was with God in the beginning to set the foundations of our world and our existence and we can see from the 1 Corinthians chapter one that Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God.
I hope this helps a little. Thanks to Mark Dever's book The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made which helped me to put this outline together.