Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Good in Good Friday



Oh, to see my name written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death; Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross. 1
  
"When Jesus had received the sour wine,
he said, “It is finished,”
and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
John 19:30   
 
 " “It is finished."  What was finished?  The work of atonement.
The sins of the believer - all of them - were transferred to the Saviour.  As saith the scripture, "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6).  If then God laid my iniquities on Christ, they are no longer on me.   Sin there is in me, for the old Adamic nature remains in the believer till death or till Christ’s return,  should he come before I die,   but there is no sin on me.  In like manner, everyone out of Christ has the sentence of God’s condemnation resting upon him.   
But when a sinner believes in the Lord Jesus, receives him as his Lord and Master, he is no longer "under condemnation" - sin is no longer on him, that is, the guilt, the condemnation, the penalty of sin, is no longer upon him.   And why?  Because Christ bore our sins in his own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).   The guilt, condemnation and penalty of our sins, was transferred to our substitute. Hence, because my sins were transferred to Christ, they are no more upon me.  
"It is finished."  Reader, do you believe it? or, are you trying to add something of your own to the finished work of Christ to secure the favour of God? … Rest not on your feelings and experiences but on the written word.   There is only one way of finding peace, and that is through faith in the shed blood of God’s Lamb. 
"It is finished." Do you really believe it?"  ~ A.W. Pink  
 

Why it is essential to believe in justification by faith alone
 apart from good works  in order to be saved.
  
   
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scripture.”  I Corinthians 15:1-3

 



1. The Power of the Cross - lyrics by Keith Getty and Stewart Townend: 2005 Listen HERE
2. The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross; by Arthur Pink;  1947


Monday, March 21, 2016

Bathsheba's Legacy - the Woman Behind Proverbs 31


 
When we think of David’s sin with Bathsheba we  usually consider the events surrounding the incident  (2 Samuel 11:1-26), the horrible consequences (2 Sam. 12:10-15),   David’s agonizing repentance (Psalm 51),  and  maybe the subject of  babies going to Heaven (2 Sam. 12:23).     But we seldom ponder the valuable lessons to be gleaned from the life of Bathsheba herself.
 
I'm at Out of the Ordinary today connecting the dots between Bathsheba and the Proverbs 31 woman.
 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mrs. Vera Pink- the Editor's Wife

“I like those words,  ‘Our life is like the weaver’s web’ for it is so true to life.    We only see the wrong side of the fabric now,  for the Weaver has not finished his work.   But in the Day to come, where we shall see it from his side, then we shall behold the beauty of his work and not the knots and ends which our sins and failures have caused.”   -Vera E. Pink in a letter to a friend  1
 
Many of us are familiar with the writings of Arthur W. Pink.   I'm at  at Out of the Ordinary talking  about the woman who helped make this unusual man's ministry possible.   Please click on over and join us.




 
1) The Life of Arthur W. Pink by Iain H.  Murray Revised and Enlarged Edition;  Banner of Truth Trust;  2004; pg. 237

Monday, March 7, 2016

Paul on Women Speaking in the Church by Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield

Reprinted from The Presbyterian, October 30, 1919  

I have recently received a letter from a valued friend asking me to send him a  “discussion of the Greek words laleo and lego in such passages as   I Cor. 14:33-39,  with special reference to the question: Does the thirty-fourth verse forbid all women everywhere to speak or preach publicly in Chris­tian churches?”   The matter is of universal interest, and I take the liberty of communicating my reply to the readers of The Presbyterian.
It requires to be said at once that there is no problem with reference to the relations of laleo and lego. Apart from niceties of merely philological interest, these words stand related to one another just as the English words speak and say do; that is to say, laleo expresses the act of talking, while lego refers to what is said. Wherever then the fact of speak­ing, without reference to the content of what is said, is to be indicated, laleo is used, and must be used. There is nothing disparaging in the intimation of the word, any more than there is in our word talk; although, of course, it can on occasion be used disparagingly as our word talk can also-as when some of the newspapers intimate that the Senate is given over to mere talk. This disparaging application of laleo, however, never occurs in the New Testament, although the word is used very frequently.
The word is in its right place in I Cor. 14:33ff,  there­fore, and necessarily bears there its simple and natural mean­ing. If we needed anything to fix its meaning, however, it would be supplied by its frequent use in the preceding part of the chapter, where it refers not only to speaking with tongues (which was a divine manifestation and unintelligible only because of the limitations of the hearers), but also to the prophetic speech, which is directly declared to be to edifica­tion and exhortation and comforting (verses 3—6). It would be supplied more pungently, however, by its contrasting term here-“let them be silent” (verse 34). Here we have laleo directly defined for us: “Let the women keep silent, for it is not permitted to them to speak.” Keep silent-speak: these are the two opposites; and the one defines the other.
It is important to observe, now, that the pivot on which the injunction of these verses turns, is not the prohibition of speaking so much as the command of silence. That is the main injunction. The prohibition of speech is introduced only to explain the meaning more fully. What Paul says is in brief: “Let the women keep silent in the churches.” That surely is direct and specific enough for all needs. He then adds explanatorily: “For it is not permitted to them to speak.” “It is not permitted” is an appeal to a general law, valid apart from Paul’s personal command, and looks back to the opening phrase-“as in all the churches of the saints.” He is only requiring the Corinthian women to conform to the general law of the churches. And that is the meaning of the almost bitter words which he adds in verse 36, in which, reproaching them for the innovation of permitting women to speak in the churches, he reminds them that they are not the authors of the gospel, nor are they its sole possessors-let them keep to the law that binds the whole body of churches and not be seeking some new-fangled way of their own.  
The intermediate verses only make it plain that precisely what the apostle is doing is forbidding women to speak at all in the church. His injunction of silence he pushes so far that he forbids them even to ask questions; and adds with special reference to that, but through that to the general matter, the crisp declaration that “it is indecent”-for that is the meaning of the word-“for a woman to speak in church.”
 
It would be impossible for the apostle to speak more directly or more emphatically than he has done here. He requires women to be silent at the church-meetings. For that is what “in the churches” means; there were no church buildings then. And he has not left us in doubt as to the nature of these church-meetings. He had just described them in verses 26ff. They were of the general character of our prayer-meetings. Note the words, “let him be silent in the church,” in verse 30, and compare them with “let them be silent in the churches,” in verse 34. The prohibition of women speaking covers thus all public church-meetings-it is the publicity, not the formality of it, which is the point. And he tells us repeatedly that this is the universal law of the church. He does more than that. He tells us that it is the commandment of the Lord, and emphasizes the word “Lord” (verse 37).
 
The passage in 1 Tim. 2:1ff is just as strong, although it is more particularly directed to the specific case of public teaching or ruling in the church. The apostle had already in this context (verse 8, “the men,” in contrast with “women” of verse 9) pointedly confined public praying to men, and now continues: “Let a woman learn in silence in all subjec­tion; but I do not permit to the woman to teach, neither to rule over the man, but to be in silence.” Neither the teaching nor the ruling function is permitted to woman. The apostle says here, “I do not permit,” instead of as in 1 Cor. 13:33ff., "it is not permitted,” because he is here giving his personal instructions to Timothy, his subordinate, while there he was announcing to the Corinthians the general law of the church. What he instructs Timothy, however, is the general law of the church. And so he goes on and grounds his prohibition in a universal reason which affects the entire race equally.  
 
In the face of these two absolutely plain and emphatic passages, what is said in I Cor. 11:5 cannot  be appealed to in mitigation or modification. Precisely what is meant in I Cor. 11:5,  nobody quite knows. What is said there is that every woman praying or prophesying unveiled dishonors her head. It seems fair to infer that if she prays or prophesies veiled she does not dishonor her head. And it seems fair still further to infer that she may properly pray or prophesy if only she does it veiled. We are piling up a chain of inferences. And they have not carried us very far. We cannot infer that it would be proper for her to pray or prophesy in church if only she were veiled. There is nothing said about church in the passage or in the context. The word “church” does not occur until the 16th verse, and then not as ruling the reference of the passage, but only as supplying support for the injunction of the passage. There is no reason whatever for believing that “praying and prophesying” in church is meant. Neither was an exercise confined to the church. If, as in  I Cor. 14:14,  the “praying” spoken of was an ecstatic exercise—as its place by “prophesying” may suggest-then, there would be the divine inspiration superceding all ordinary laws, to be reckoned with. And there has already been occasion to observe that prayer in public is forbidden to women in I Tim. 2:6, 9.  Unless  mere attendance at prayer is meant, in which case this passage is a close parallel of I Tim. 2:9.    
What then must be noted, in conclusion, is: (1) That the prohibition of speaking in the church to women is precise, absolute, and all-inclusive. They are to keep silent in the churches—and that means in all the public meetings for worship; they are not even to ask questions; (2) that this prohibition is given especial point precisely for the two matters of teaching and ruling covering specifically the functions of preaching and ruling elders; (3) that the grounds on which the prohibition is put are universal, and turn on the difference in sex, and particularly on the relative places given to the sexes in creation and in the fundamental history of the race (the fall).
 
Perhaps it ought to be added in elucidation of the last point just made, that the difference in conclusions between Paul and the feminist movement of today is rooted in a fundamental difference in their points of view relatively to the constitution of the human race.   To Paul, the human race is made up of families, and every several organism, the church included, is composed of families, united together by this or that bond. The relation of the sexes in the family follows it therefore into the church. To the feminist movement the human race is made up of individuals; a woman is just another individual by the side of the man; and it can see no reason for any differences in dealing with the two. And, indeed, if we can ignore the great fundamental natural differ­ence of sex, and destroy the great fundamental social unit of the family, in the interest of individualism, there does not seem any reason why we should not wipe out the differences established by Paul between the sexes in the church. Except, of course, the authority of Paul. It all, in the end, comes back to the authority of the apostles, as founders of the church. We may like what Paul says, or we may not like it. We may be willing to do what he commands, or we may not be willing to do it. But there is no room for doubt of what he says. And he certainly would say to us, what he said to the Corinthians: “What? Was it from you that the word of God went forth? or came it to you alone?” Is this Christianity ours-to do with as we like? Or is it God’s religion, receiving its laws from him through the apostles?

 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Never Despair

 
“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of   righteousness arise with healing in his wings” Malachi 4:2 


 
Fulfilled once in the first advent of our glorious Lord, and yet to have a fuller accomplishment in His second advent, this gracious word is also for daily use. Is it dark with the reader?   Does the night deepen into a denser  blackness? Still let us not despair: the sun will yet rise. When the night is darkest, dawn is nearest.
 
The sun which will arise is of no common sort. It is THE sun — the Sun of Righteousness, whose every ray is holiness. He who comes to cheer us, comes in the way of justice as well as of mercy, comes to violate no law
even to save us. Jesus as much displays the holiness of God as His love.  Our deliverance, when it comes, will be safe because righteous.
Our one point of inquiry should be — “Do we fear the name of the Lord?  Do we reverence the living God, and walk in His ways?”  Then for us the  night must be short; and when the morning cometh, all the sickness and  sorrow of our soul will be over for ever.  Light, warmth, joy, and clearness
of vision will come, and healing of every disease and distress will follow after.
 
Has Jesus risen upon us? Let us sit in the sun. Has He hidden His face?  Let us wait for His rising. He will shine forth as surely as the sun.

Faith's Check Book by CH Spurgeon - February 1 

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Precarious World of Women's Bible Studies

 
 
This week Kim Shay has written a couple of really good blogposts on the importance of  learning how to interpret Scripture correctly and you can find them here:  We have to do the work,  Jesus is not my husband.    We at Out of the Ordinary are committed to encouraging women to  be diligent in studying  the Scriptures  and to  exercise discernment regarding what we read.    Since we're on the subject,  this is from the  archives here .
_________________________________________ 

The first  Bible study I taught  in 1978   had a handful of ladies.   We studied the book of Ruth and I did my own preparation using the basic principles of hermeneutics  from  Bernard Ramm’s  “Protestant Biblical Interpretation”  we were taught in Bible college.      I had several commentaries,  a concordance,  a word study, and a Bible atlas.    Nearly 40 years later my study methods haven’t  changed much, except that the computer and Internet have made  it easier.   
But things have changed dramatically in the world of Bible interpretation  and study guides reflecting  this  problem have become  popular.  There are many issues with this new “hermeneutic”—one for example has to do with  application.
Brian A. Shealy explains:
  “Bernard Ramm foresaw the hermeneutical problem among evangelicals that would arise through the advent of the new hermeneutic.   Hermeneutical  theorists have departed from grammatical-historical- principles and embraced the subjectivism of the new hermeneutic.   They are recommending a system that incorporates the step of application into the hermeneutical process, thereby confusing definitions of hermeneutics, exegesis, meaning and interpretation.   Dangers that the confusion brings include those of encouraging a human-centered interpretation,  allowing cultural application to change meaning, and advocating  a reader-response type of interpretation as well as others.  To overcome those dangers, interpreters must be sure of their goal, determine what is normative, develop doctrine, and put into practice the lessons dictated by the meaning of a passage.   The only way to achieve this is to redraw the line between hermeneutics and application.”  2 
  I’ve never been much of a  fan of  women's  Bible study guides per se.   For sure,  I've read some good ones,  but too often  they  can be off base to varying degrees.   One example was given last week in  Rachel Miller's critique of a popular women's study.  
But many  women want to hear from other women,  as staggering book sales and  packed out conferences  have proven.   We could stand to hear from more theologically robust women  who exercise sound hermeneutical principles.    Without  this  even those  who advocate  "inductive" study methods can  mislead  people when they convey doctrinal prejudices.  
 “Inductive Bible study leaders may give the impression that they are setting aside their prejudices and simply reading Scripture, but this is not really the case.  …we never see Scripture through completely fresh, unprejudiced eyes.
... We are not free to impose a system on Scripture (which would be a purely deductive approach), but we are at no greater liberty to assume, rather arrogantly, that we are the first to read the Bible just as it is at face value (which would be a purely inductive approach).  Imposing a system on Scripture makes the Bible a slave of tradition, while assuming that we are the first to read it just as it is at face value renders Scripture a slave to unacknowledged personal prejudices.” 1. Michael Horton
I'm no scholar by any means,  but I  do know the average woman  is perfectly capable of understanding  how serious this problem is. 
For a really good  talk about the problem going on in our seminaries  with Scripture interpretation you can listen to Dr. David Farnell’s message at the National Apologetics Conference. 

 
 2. Evangelical Hermeneutics,  The New Versus the Old;  by Robert L. Thomas;  Chapter Seven: Redrawing the Line Between Hermeneutics and Application by Brian A. Shealy;  pgs165.  Kregal Academics; 2002
 
 
 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Lost Art of the Handwritten Letter



"Then letters came in but three times a week: indeed, in some places in Scotland where I have stayed when I was a girl, the post came in but once a month;—but letters were letters then; and we made great prizes of them, and read them and studied them like books. Now the post comes rattling in twice a day, bringing short jerky notes, some without beginning or end, but just a little sharp sentence, which well-bred folks would think too abrupt to be spoken.”  ~ Elizabeth Gaskell - Lady Ludlow
I'm at  Out of the Ordinary discussing
 
 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Why Women Should Study Church History

How shall we labor with any effect to build up the church, if we have no thorough knowledge of her history,  or fail to apprehend it from the proper point of observation?   History is, and must ever continue to be, next to God’s Word, the richest foundation of wisdom, and the surest guide to all successful practical activity.” —Philip Schaff
 
I’m at Out of the Ordinary today discussing 
Please come by and join us!

 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Thoughts for the New Year


By Matthew Henry

                        "My times are in Your hand!" Psalm 31:15

Firmly believing that my times are in God's hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God's divine providence. 
 
Whether God appoints for me . . . .
  health or sickness,
  peace or trouble,
  comforts or crosses,
  life or death--
may His holy will be done!
 
All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus--and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor--that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me.

In everything I have to do--my entire dependence is upon Jesus Christ for strength. And whatever I do in word or deed, I desire to do all in His name, to make Him my Alpha and Omega. I have all from Him--and I would use all for Him.

If this should prove a year of affliction, a sorrowful year to me--I will fetch all my supports and comforts from the Lord Jesus and stay myself upon Him, His everlasting consolations, and the good hope I have in Him through grace.


And if it should be my dying year--then my times are in the hand of the Lord Jesus. And with a humble reliance upon His mediation, I would venture into the eternal world looking for the blessed hope. Dying as well as living--Jesus Christ will, I trust, be gain and advantage to me.

Oh, that the grace of God may be sufficient for me, to keep me always a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity--together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for both righteousness and strength.

 Courtesy of Grace Gems