Out Now: Vol. 1 of “Lectures in Systematic Theology” by Greg Nichols

The book that we have previously announced and sampled is now available for purchase:

Lectures in Systematic Theology:
Doctrine of God (Volume 1)

by Greg Nichols

(TBS $24.50 | AMZ $34.99 | SGCB $24.75 | WTS $29.99 | RHB $26)

Description:

Pastor Greg Nichols

“So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”” (Exodus 33:17-18) Moses hungered to see God’s glory. He pleaded: “Show me, I pray you, your glory.” This should be our prayer as we study the doctrine of God. Reverent hunger to see God’s glory should motivate us. We must hunger to see the glory of his existence, knowledge, nature, names, and decree. We must hunger to know God and thirst after the knowledge of God. Further, the Lord promised to give Moses the desire of his heart: “I will make all my good-ness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of Jehovah before you.” God also fulfilled this promise. When we come to God with reverent hunger, he will fill our hearts with the knowledge of himself. He will not disappoint us. He will surely show us his glory, and satisfy us with the display of his Name. …We should not approach the doctrine of God with a critical spirit, or as a philosophical quest with a hunger for speculation. If any course in systematic theology should evoke spiritual hunger, this one should. The doctrine of God should never be dull, or dry, or speculative, or philosophical. It should pulse with spiritual life and hunger. Let’s approach this subject with Moses’ disposition. (Excerpt from the book)

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgements
Preface
Abbreviations
Outline
Prologue: Introduction to Systematic Theology
Introduction: Overview of the Doctrine of God
Part 1: The Existence of God
Part 2: The Knowledge of God
Section 1. The Knowability of God
Section 2. The Incomprehensibility of God
Part 3: The Nature of God
Introduction to Part 3: Overview of God’s Nature: Simple, Supreme, and Spiritual
Division 1: God’s Supreme Being: God’s Existential Attributes
Section 1. God’s Ideal Being: Ideality
Section 2. God’s Self-Existent Being: Aseity and Independence
Section 3. God’s Infinite Being: Spatial Supremacy
Section 4. God’s Eternal Being: Temporal Supremacy
Section 5. God’s Unchangeable Being: Immutability
Division 2: God’s Supreme Spirituality: God’s Spiritual Attributes
Section 6. God’s Incorporeality: The Majestic Form of God
Section 7. God’s Animacy: The Vivacity and Omnipotence of God
Section 8. God’s Faculty
Unit 1. God’s Supreme Mind: The Omniscience of God
Unit 2. God’s Supreme Will: The Sovereignty of God
Unit 3. God’s Supreme Affection: The Emotivity of God
Section 9. God’s Morality: The Supreme Virtue of God
Introduction: God’s Moral Capacity and Character: Overview of God’s Supreme Virtue
Unit 1. The Goodness of God
Unit 2. The Holiness of God
Unit 3. The Justice of God
Unit 4. The Faithfulness of God
Conclusion: God’s Self-Esteem: God’s Consciousness of his Supreme Virtue
Section 10. God’s Personality: The Trinity
Part 4: The Names of God
Part 5: The Decree of God
Conclusion to the Doctrine of God

Details:

Series: Lectures in Systematic Theology
Paperback: 680 pages

“Biblical Exegesis in 4th Century Trinitarian Debates” Dr. Michael Haykin [AUDIO] + more

Reformed Theological Seminary:

confessing-triune-god

The recent “Trinity debate” reveals much confusion surrounding what is undoubtedly the most important and the most glorious of Christian doctrines. It also signals the need to retrieve the doctrine of the triune God as confessed by Fathers of the church on the basis of Holy Scripture in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of A.D. 381. Join Drs. Ligon Duncan, Michael Haykin, Blair Smith, and Scott Swain as they seek to mine the riches of the Nicene Faith for the renewal of today’s church.

Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin
Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin

Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He is the author of a number of books, including The Spirit of God: The Exegesis of 1 and 2 Corinthians in the Pneumatomachian Controversy of the Fourth Century; and Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church.

AUDIO:

Biblical Exegesis in Fourth Century Trinitarian Debates | Dr. Michael Haykin

Trinitarian Relations in the Fourth Century | Rev. D. Blair Smith

God from God, Light from Light: Retrieving the Doctrine of Eternal Generation | Dr. Scott Swain

The Doctrine of the Trinity and Complementarianism in Recent Discussions | Dr. J. Ligon Duncan

Question and Answer Session | Duncan, Haykin, Smith, and Swain

3 Lectures on Divine Incomprehensibility & the Trinity [Dr. Dolezal | AUDIO]

Pascal Denault writes:

james-dolezal-768x511

Last October, the Reformed Baptist association of Québec hosted a course on the Doctrine of God with Dr. James E. Dolezal. This was a 30-hour course that was proven to be highly beneficial to all the participants. By clicking this link [zip file], you can download three selected lectures:

  1. Divine Incomprehensibility (part 1)
  2. Divine Incomprehensibility (part 2)
  3. Divine Trinity (Contemporary Issues)

For more teaching on the doctrine of God from Dr. Dolezal, we highly recommend the lectures given at the 2015 Southern California Reformed Baptist Pastors’ Conference.

Next year our association is planning a course on Christian apologetic and other religions with Dr. James R. White. Stay tuned for more details…

Dr. Richard Barcellos interviewed on the Impassibility of God [Theology on the Go Podcast]

place for truth header

Dr. Richard Barcellos
Dr. Richard Barcellos

From the Alliance of Confessing Evangelical‘s Place for Truth’s podcast “Theology on the Go”:

This week on Theology on the Go the topic will be the impassibility of God [Dr. Jonathan Master interviews Dr. Richard C. Barcellos]. This podcast is the third in a series focusing on the doctrine of the Trinity. In light of the recent Trinitarian controversy, Theology on the Go believes that a series like this is an important service to the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. So, grab that cup of coffee and meet us at the table!

[27 min. mp3]

VIDEO Q&A & Interviews from 2015 SoCal RB Pastors Conf. now online

Though the 2016 Southern California Reformed Baptist Pastors’ Conference main session audio and video have already been posted, the Q&A and some interviews from the occasion were posted earlier today.

SCRBPC 2015 Panel Q&A - YouTube
SCRBPC ’15 Video Playlist

James Dolezal – Q&A [25 min. vid]:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVbWWarUL-Q


Panel Q&A feat. James Dolezal, James Renihan, Ron Baines, and Sam Renihan [55 min. vid.]:


Sam Renihan interview about his books on Divine Impassibility [14 min. vid.]:


Interview with Dr. James Dolezal [16 min. vid.]:


SoCal RB Pastor’s Conf. ’16 preview with the next speaker, Stefan Lindblad [15 min. vid.]:


Since we didn’t post the 2015 conference audio and video yet, allow us to do that now:

SCRBPC 2015 on SermonAudio

  1. Lecture 1: Foundation of all our Communion with God and Comfortable Dependence… Dr. James M. Renihan
  2. Lecture 2: The State of Theology Proper in Calvinistic Evangelicalism James Dolezal
  3. Lecture 3: Divine Simplicity – The Theological Grammar of Orthodoxy James Dolezal
  4. Lecture 4: Divine Simplicity and its Modern Detractors James Dolezal
  5. Lecture 5: Divine Eternity James Dolezal
  6. Lecture 6: The Trinity James Dolezal

SCRBPC 2015 on Youtube

Click playlist button in top left corner to see all the videos, including interviews.

Nov. 2-3, 2015 SoCal RB Pastors Conf. “The Doctrine of God” feat. Dr. James Dolezal & Dr. James Renihan in La Mirada, CA

Southern California Reformed Baptist Pastors’ Conference:

This year, we are privileged to have Drs. Renihan and Dolezal address the doctrine of God…

We are planning on having a panel discussion with Drs. Renihan and Dolezal and Sam Renihan (author of two books on the subject) on the doctrine of divine impassibility.

Each night closes with a Q&A.

Besides the lectures and Q&A, we also provide two complimentary meals (lots of meat!). We hope you can join us!

Here is the registration page [now open through Oct. 19].

scrbpc_slide1_20151
The purpose of the SCRBPC is for the edification of confessional Reformed Baptist pastors and other interested men who are in the ministry or training for the ministry. The SCRBPC will function within the theological framework of the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (2nd LCF) and The Baptist Catechism (BC).

CONFERENCE DATES:

Monday, November 2 – Tuesday, November 3, 2015

CONFERENCE THEME:

The Doctrine of God

CONFERENCE SPEAKERS:

Key-note speaker:

James DolezalDr. James E. Dolezal

James E. Dolezal, Ph.D., teaches theology, philosophy, and church history at Cairn University in Langhorne, PA. He is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary. He is the author of God without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Absoluteness as well numerous journal articles and reviews. Prior to moving to the east coast he served as a Reformed Baptist pastor in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. James is married to Courtney and they have three children: Judah, Havah, and Eden. James is active in supplying pulpits in the Philadelphia area.

Guest speakers:

Dr. James RenihanDr. James M. Renihan

Dean and Professor of Historical Theology

Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies

Escondido, CA

 

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE:

  • Monday, November 2, 2015
    • Registration/check-in: 1:30-2:45pm
    • 3:00-4:00pm  Session 1 (lecture, Dr. Renihan)
    • 4:00-4:15pm  Break
    • 4:15-5:15pm  Session 2 (Lecture #1, Present State of the Doctrine of God in Evangelicalism, Dr. Dolezal)
    • 5:15-6:30pm  Dinner: complimentary Tacos (full-conference attendees only)
    • 6:30-7:30pm  Session 3 (Lecture #2, Divine Simplicity: 1. The Theological Grammar of Orthodoxy, Dr. Dolezal)
    • 7:30-7:50pm  Break
    • 7:50-8:30pm  Session 4 (Q&A, Drs. Dolezal and Renihan)
  • Tuesday, November 3, 2015
    • 8:30-9:30am  Session 5 (Lecture #3, Divine Simplicity: 2. On the Inadequacy of Harmonism and Actualism, Dr. Dolezal)
    • 9:30-9:50am  Break
    • 9:50-10:50am  Session 6 (Lecture #4, Divine Eternity: The Challenge of Creation, Dr. Dolezal)
    • 10:50-11:10am  Break
    • 11:10am-12:10pm  Session 7 (Panel Discussion on Divine Impassibility: Dr. Dolezal, Dr. Renihan, and Sam Renihan)
    • 12:10-1:30pm  Lunch: complimentary Argentine BBQ (full-conference attendees only)
    • 1:30-6:30pm  Break
    • 6:30-7:30pm  Session 8: (Lecture #5, Trinity: Rehabilitating the Unity of Being, Dr. Dolezal)
    • 7:30-7:50pm  Break
    • 7:50-8:30pm  Session 9 (Q&A, conference speakers)
    • Closing prayer and doxology

scrbpc-2015-james-dolezal-redone1

‘God without Passions’ 6-Part AUDIO Series by Sam Renihan

Pastor Sam Renihan
Pastor Sam Renihan

Samuel Renihan, Pastor of Trinity Reformed Baptist Church of La Mirada, California has finished his six part series on Divine Impassibility or as our confessions states, “The Lord our God is… a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions…”

Renihan lays out his outline for each part of the series. Expect clear definitions, much clearing of the brush, what-to-do-with troublesome biblical language, a lot of Puritan quotations, and refreshing doxologies.

You can listen to the series on SermonAudio [RSS] or below:

Impassibility: Its Exegetical Foundation [mp3]:

Impassibility: The Human Half of the Equation [mp3]:

Impassibility: Eminence and Negation [mp3]:

Impassibility: Perfections and Incarnation [mp3]:

Impassibility: Personal Applications [mp3]:

Impassibility: Pastoral Implications [mp3]:


Sam Renihan is also the editor of “God without Passions: a Reader“.

GodwoPassions_CoverFront_01062015 (1)

You can find our interview with him on the above book on episode 78 of our interview podcast.
Sam Renihan Passion Perfection

 

Theology Proper in the 1689: 7-Part Series [AUDIO] by Cam Porter

lbc1689Pastor Cameron Porter, of Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack, B.C. Canada, gave a seven part Study in Theology Proper [RSS]. That is, a study in Chapter 2: Of God and the Holy Trinity, from the Second London Baptist Confession (2LCF) 1677/1689:

Of God and the Holy Trinity (2LCF 2.1-3)

Part 1… This session focuses on an introduction to theology proper, then moves into a look at Divine Singularity, and then the “Divine Omni-perfections“.

[mp3]:

Of God and the Holy Trinity (2LCF 2.1-2)

Part 2… This session finishes the look at Divine Omnipotence from the previous session, then continues with Divine Omnipresence, and omniscience.

[mp3]:

Of God and the Holy Trinity (2LCF 2.3)

Part 3… This session focuses paragraph 3 – the Doctrine of the Trinity. We went through some introductory material and then began looking at the doctrine summarily contained in the first statement, and the unity and equality upheld in the second. We began to look at the personal distinctions near the end of the study, and will continue with this next time.

[mp3]:

Of God and the Holy Trinity (2.1-3)

Part 4 finishes looking at the personal distinctions in the Trinity.

[mp3]:

Divine Simplicity – Of God and the Holy Trinity (2.1-3)

Part 5 gets into the doctrine of Divine Simplicity.

[mp3]:

Divine Simplicity 2 – Of God and the Holy Trinity (2.1-3)

Part 6 finished looking at the doctrine of Divine Simplicity.

[mp3]:

Divine Impassibility (2LCF 2.1)

The Doctrine of Divine Impassibility (that God is “without passions”), affirmed by the Christian church for almost two millennia, has in the last century been maligned, or in the least watered down, so as to conceive of a God who either suffers along with His people, or who, in some way, “has an emotional life” of ever-changing reactions and interactions with His people.

This brief study seeks to present and uphold the Classical (Biblical and confessional) view of Impassibility – that God does not properly have passions and/or emotions (if these are understood as “to suffer, or undergo”, “to be excited, disturbed, or moved”) since He is the infinite, eternal, and unchanging God “with whom there is no variation, nor shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Far from being a doctrine that presents God as cold, detached, and apathetic the classical view of divine impassibility upholds the God who has condescended to reveal Himself as the unchanging God who is “most absolute” and “most loving”, who is so purely actual in His love for His people that He can not be increased or diminished in the plenitude of His infinite love.

As sinful creatures, saved by amazing and victorious grace, we need the unchanging God of impassibility as the refuge for our weak and weary souls. God does not have “an emotional life”. We have emotional lives, and we need the God who doesn’t to be our ever-present help in time of need.

[mp3]:

cam porter-02Cameron Porter was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada and raised in Abbotsford – a city just 45 kilometers away. After 26 years of living in unbelief – a stranger to the grace and knowledge of Christ – God saved him in the summer of 2002.

Immediately following conversion, and with a desire to get involved in gospel ministry, he began to read as much as he could about his newly granted faith. In 2005, after a few stops along the way, Cameron arrived at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack, bringing his family under the faithful preaching of Pastor Jim Butler. Cameron joined the ministerial training program, started by Pastor Butler, and became a member of FGBC in 2006.

After three years of studying various theological disciplines under Pastor Butler’s instruction and mentorship, Cameron was ordained an elder of Free Grace Baptist Church in January 0f 2008. He is currently enrolled in the distance learning program at Whitefield Theological Seminary, seeking to eventually complete the Master of Divinity program.

Cameron is happily married to his wife Tracy, and has been blessed with three children.

Does God Change in the Incarnation? Spurgeon Answers [Quote & Sermon Audio]

Pastor Erik Raymond points out a quote from Spurgeon that is, “especially helpful in considering the immutability of God (the fact that he does not change) even in light of the incarnation of Christ“:

Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon

All creatures change. Man, especially as to his body, is always undergoing revolution. Very probably there is not a single particle in my body which was in it a few years ago. This frame has been worn away by activity, its atoms have been removed by friction, fresh particles of matter have in the mean time constantly accrued to my body, and so it has been replenished; but its substance is altered.

The fabric of which this world is made is ever passing away; like a stream of water, drops are running away and others are following after, keeping the river still full, but always changing in its elements.

But God is perpetually the same. He is not composed of any substance or material, but is spirit—pure, essential, and ethereal spirit—and therefore he is immutable. He remains everlastingly the same. There are no furrows on his eternal brow. No age hath palsied him; no years have marked him with the mementoes of their flight; he sees ages pass, but with him it is ever now. He is the great I AM—the Great Unchangeable.

Mark you, his essence did not undergo a change when it became united with the manhood. When Christ in past years did gird himself with mortal clay, the essence of his divinity was not changed; flesh did not become God, nor did God become flesh by a real actual change of nature; the two were united in hypostatical union, but the Godhead was still the same. It was the same when he was a babe in the manger, as it was when he stretched the curtains of heaven; it was the same God that hung upon the cross, and whose blood flowed down in a purple river, the self-same God that holds the world upon his everlasting shoulders, and bears in his hands the keys of death and hell.

He never has been changed in his essence, not even by his incarnation; he remains everlastingly, eternally, the one unchanging God, the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither the shadow of a change.

Here is the entire sermon (his first preached at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark).

Read out [mp3]:

Objections to K. Scott Oliphint’s Covenantal Properties Thesis [Dolezal]

James Dolezal
Dr. James Dolezal

Dr. James Dolezal offers a few serious objections to some of the implications seeming to arise from K. Scott Oliphint’s book, God With Us:

Paul Helm has recently offered criticism [and here] of certain aspects of K. Scott Oliphint’s book, God With Us (Crossway, 2012), and Reformation21 has published responses by Oliphint and Nate Shannon. It is striking that neither Oliphint nor Shannon offers much discussion of Oliphint’s central thesis and arguably his most innovative proposal, that God relates himself to the world by taking on “covenantal properties” in addition to his essence. Shannon’s article in particular contends that Oliphint advances the Reformed commitment to Scripture by rejecting presumably corrupt elements of the classical Reformed doctrine of God. In my estimation Shannon’s criticism of the tradition is somewhat overwrought and misguided.

God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God
God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God

The question of the Reformed scholastics’ doctrine of God, and especially of divine simplicity, has been settled. They deny that God can add properties to himself. (3) And while the merits or demerits of that position may be debated, the issue at hand is whether or not Oliphint’s own doctrine of covenantal properties is a suitably orthodox alternative to the classical Reformed teaching on God. It is my contention that it is not. In what follows I aim to briefly set forth what I perceive to be the leading difficulties with the covenantal properties thesis. This critique is here stated tersely for the benefit of those just tuning in. (4) My objections are theological in nature and do not require that one adhere to any particular school of philosophy.”

Read the rest of Dr. Dolezal’s response at Reformation21 [17 min. readout].

The Doctrine of God (32-Part MP3 Series + PDF Handout) by Brian Borgman

click for full version
click for full version – via Challies

Here are the note handouts [PDF]:

Download (PDF, 74KB)

From his 160-part Systematic Theology series:

The Importance of the Doctrine of God (Pt 1) (MP3)

The Importance of the Doctrine of God (Part 2) (MP3)

The Chief End of God (Part 1) (MP3)

The Chief End of God (Part 2) (MP3)

The Chief End of Man (MP3)

A Defense of Christian Theism (Part 1) (MP3)

A Defense of Christian Theism (Part 2) (MP3)

A Defense of Christian Theism (Part 3) (MP3)

The Names of God (Part 1) (MP3)

The Names of God (Part 2) Yahweh (MP3)

The Names of God (Part 3) (MP3)

The Names of God (Part 4) (MP3)

The Names of God (Pt 5) (MP3)

Attributes of God (Pt 1) Simplicity & Unity (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 2) Incomprehensibility/Self Sufficiency of God (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 3) Self Sufficiency (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 4) Immutability/Omniscience (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 5) Omniscience (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 6) Omnipotence (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 7) Omnipotence/Absolute Sovereignty (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 8) Goodness / Holiness (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 9) Righteousness (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 10) Justice (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 11) Truth/Affections of God (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 12) Affections Pt 2 (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 13) The Affections of God Part 3 (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 14) The Love of God (Mp3)

The Attributes of God (Part 15) The Eternal Decree Pt 1 (MP3)

The Attributes of God (Part 16) The Eternal Decree Pt 2 (MP3)

God’s Work of Creation (Part 1) (MP3)

God’s Work of Creation (Part 2) (MP3)

God’s Work of Providence (MP3)

Brian BorgmanBrian Borgman is founding pastor of Grace Community Church. He earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Biola University (La Mirada, CA), a Master of Divinity from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary (Portland, OR) and a Doctor of Ministry from Westminster Seminary (Escondido, CA).

[source: Monergism]

Why Divine Simplicity Matters [James Dolezal]

Looks like Dr. Haykin isn’t the only Reformed Baptist to break into the new Alliance of Confessing Evangelical’s “Place for Truth” site.

Dolezal.GodWithoutParts.76589James Dolezal:

It is a commonplace among many Christians that nothing that is not God accounts for God. He is not built up out of anything less than or prior to himself. Indeed, God’s being is not the consequent of any activity or reality that precedes him in any way. He gives to all, but receives from none (Acts 17:25-25; Rom. 11:35-36). It is these convictions concerning God’s perfect self-sufficiency and fullness of being that underlie the doctrine of divine simplicity, even if those adhering to these truths have never heard of divine simplicity.

 

In earlier generations simplicity was regarded as an indispensable aspect of an orthodox doctrine of God. Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists all confessed that God is “without parts” and the Belgic Confession even made divine simplicity its opening affirmation: “We all believe with the heart, and confess with the mouth, that there is one only simple and spiritual Being, which we call God.” Nowadays, we hear very little about God’s simplicity. Many seminaries either don’t teach it or mention it only in order to disparage it as a needlessly abstruse and nonsensical doctrine. Even more rarely is it mentioned in church or explained to the congregants. This makes it difficult to believe and confess, to say the least. The unspoken assumption tends to be that nothing is lost by leaving aside this ancient doctrine. But is divine simplicity really so insignificant? Does it really matter?

Read the rest [8 min. readout]

James DolezalJames Dolezal (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) serves part-time as a professor in the Cairn University School of Divinity.  He is ordained as a Reformed Baptist and is the author of God Without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Absoluteness. James is happily married to Courtney and they have two children, a son, Judah, and daughter, Havah.

The Immutability of God – Spurgeon [Quote & Audio]

classic-spurgeon-sermons-the-immutability-of-god-illustrated-editionIn yesterday’s podcast Dr. Nettles mentioned a quote from the then 21-year old Spurgeon which  J. I. Packer’s used to open up his book Knowing God:

On January 7, 1855, the minister of New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, England, opened his morning sermon as follows:

 

It has been said by someone that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.

 

There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumbline cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God….

 

But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe…. The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.

 

And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. It is to that subject that I invite you this morning.

Here is the entire sermon (his first preached at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark).

Read out [mp3]:

Prototype of an Ideal Husband [Credo blog]

kight-and-princess-720x220
by Chris Marley

 

God’s Word begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth. The very word Genesis comes from the Greek word for beginning. This is where it all started. God speaks, and whatever he says is. It is not that it shortly will be, or the angels will rush out and accomplish it straightway, but it is. He created everything that you and I have ever known out of nothing, ex nihilo. The most important elements are very clear in this controversial first chapter of Genesis: that God is the source of all creation, and he is omnipotent. God is sovereign, all-powerful, beyond comprehension.

 

I draw attention to this because the starting point of theology must always be God in his transcendent glory. To meet the lady working behind the counter at the local fast food restaurant inspires little awe, but to meet the Queen of England would be an astounding event. We cannot appreciate God’s immanence (his closeness through Christ) without transcendence (how far beyond comprehension he is as enthroned creator). God becoming man in Christ must be understood in light of him first being God, or his being man does not matter.

 

So God creates man on the sixth day, along with pigs and earthworms. God makes him out of dirt, and breathes life into him. Notice how the first chapter of Genesis declares the majesty and sovereignty of God, while describing us as originating as dirt clods. Perspective is important.

read the rest here or listen here

Chris J. Marley is the Senior Pastor of Miller Valley Baptist Church in Prescott, Arizona.  He holds an M. Div. from Westminster Seminary California (2009)