Morning Mashup 09/27

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

On the Puritans

A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life | J.I. Packer | $16.20

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Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were | Leland Ryken | $15.85

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A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life | Joel Beeke & Mark Jones | $45.79

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Meet the Puritans: With a Guide to Modern Reprints | Joel Beeke & Randall Pederson | $35.00

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ARTICLES

How Much Do Christian Kids Need a ‘Christian’ Education? | Thomas Kidd

We know for sure, of course, that whatever combination of public, private, or home education a child receives, the parents’ influence on a child’s mind is pre-eminent. But I still think that evangelicals and other Christians need to think hard about what education for their children should accomplish.

Distinguishing Among the Three Persons of the Trinity in the Reformed Tradition | Kevin DeYoung

So why I am writing something now? For the simple reason that I am hearing from more people in my own congregation who want to know what to make of this kerfuffle over the Trinity. Twitter demands to “say something!” mean little to me. Honest theological questions from my church family mean a lot.

Scripture and the Long Shadow of American Slavery | Timothy Paul Jones

Yet, if Scriptures seem to have accepted some forms of slavery, why should Christians today view the enslavement of African Americans as a depraved and dehumanizing system from its inception? More important, how can a renewed recognition of the sinfulness of this system help us to understand better the struggles that we face still today?

Complaining Isn’t Authentic, It’s a Waste of Time | Matt Rogers

There are certainly healthy aspects to this trend. It’s hard to love and be loved if everyone is a phony. But, if I’m honest, the rise of authenticity has some rather annoying byproducts. One of the most common is the incessant noise of complaining Christians. Since sin invaded the world, we’ve all had issues doing everything without complaining or grumbling (Phil. 2:14). But lately, it seems that we’ve begun to celebrate complaining as a virtue rather than a vice.

Transcript of the First Debate | NY Times

If you’re like me and skipped out on the debate, here is your one-stop source for every second of the debate in all it’s glory.

Donald Trump’s Cruel Streak | Conor Friedersdorf

Giving a cruel man power and expecting that he won’t use it to inflict cruelty is madness. To vote for Trump, knowing all of this, is to knowingly empower cruelty.

VIDEOS

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Morning Mashup 09/26

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

On the Trinity

The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything | Fred Sanders | $12.51

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Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God | Joe Thorn | $7.87

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Communion with the Triune God | John Owen | $28.00

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Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith | Michael Reeves | $9.72

delighting-in-the-trinity

ARTICLES

For the Bible Tells Me So | Albert Mohler

Andy Stanley does not mean to deny the central truth claims of Christianity…he affirms the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. But he does so while undercutting our only means of knowing of Christ and his resurrection from the dead — the Bible.

The Eternal Subordination of the Son Controversy: The Tension Between Bible and Doctrine | Alastair Roberts

The dogmaticians and systematic theologians have principally made their case through appeal to the creeds, patristic sources, and other important theologians from the tradition. They have discussed the deeper logic of orthodox Trinitarian theology, and have shown the ways in which the ESS position departs from it. However, their engagement with Scripture itself has been relatively slight. By contrast, Scripture has played a very prominent role in the arguments in favour of ESS.

Christian Men and Their Video Games | Tim Challies

If you’re a gamer, or a Christian gamer at least, you’ve rolled your eyes through a hundred articles by now, each one telling you why your gaming is sad, wasteful, pathetic. You’re immature, you’re addicted to pleasure, you’re a dopamine junkie. You might even have found yourself compared to a porn addict since in many minds porn and PlayStations go hand in hand. That’s not what the articles actually say, of course, but it can sure feel like it. Gamers are an easy target and a lot of people line up to take their swings.

5 Things I Learned As a Pastor’s Kid | Samuel James

Brief lessons learned from a pastor’s kid. Pastors and church members, take note.

Old, Restful, and Reforming | Jared Wilson

Jared Wilson reflects on 10 years of the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement.

Why I’m Glad We Marched and Wish We Hadn’t | George Robinson

On July 9, a handful of our staff and members participated in the Black Lives Matter march in Augusta. I’m glad they did and wish they hadn’t.

VIDEOS

Jose Fernandez Had a Special Bond With His Grandmother

 

Five Things Introverts Are Secretly Paranoid About

 

 

Morning Mashup 08/08

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A mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Beat God to the Punch: Because Jesus Demands Your Life | Eric Mason | $0.99

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Heaven on Earth: Capturing Jonathan Edwards’s Vision of Living in Between | Stephen Nichols | $3.99

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ARTICLES

John Piper’s Funeral Prayer for a Family of Five | John Piper

Horrific tragedy. Beautiful prayer. Endless hope.

Is the New Evangelical Liturgy Really an Improvement? | Kevin DeYoung

Written three years ago. Still true today. I’m thankful to be a part of an SBC church in the South that actually takes liturgy seriously.

If Pedophilia is a Sexual Orientation, Now What? | Denny Burk

Because of our deep connection to our father Adam, it is possible for our sexual incongruity to feel quite natural to us. But the incongruity is not rendered congruous simply because it feels “natural.” Natural is defined by God’s revelation, not by our feelings one way or the other. So Christianity provides a limiting factor that stops the normalization of pedophilia in its tracks. I don’t think the spirit of our age can provide the same.

Karl Barth on the Olympic GamesKarl Barth on the Olympic Games | John Fea

Doesn’t sound like a fan.

Nicene and Quicunquan Styles | Fred Sanders

When Fred Sanders writes anything on the Trinity, stop everything and read!

The Surprising Truth About False Teachers | David Mathis

No matter how small a minority the church becomes, and no matter how fragile we feel, the very one who is both the subject of true teaching and the model of true living is also our life-and-soul-preserver.

VIDEOS

 

Morning Mashup 07/13

1451631120721

A daily mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Speaking Truth in Love: Counsel in Community | David Powlison | $3.99

Speaking Truth in Love Book

Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest | Ed Welch | $2.99

Running Scared Book

ARTICLES

Which Way Forward? | New Orleans Baptist Association

I usually cringe to read anything theological coming out of Louisiana. But these men have seen, acknowledged, and responded strongly to the divisive attitudes among certain Southern Baptists in their state. I was beyond thankful to read this.

There is No Pro-Life Case for Donald Trump | Jake Meador

“If pro-lifers really believe that the Republican party is the only vehicle that they have in American political life to reach their ends — which is what the “Dumb and Dumber” argument rests upon — then they should absolutely refuse to support this candidate on the grounds that abstention is the only way of keeping the value of their vote up in every subsequent election.”

5 Principles for Studying the Trinity | Gavin Ortlund

“Rather than wade into the contested areas, I thought it might be helpful to offer a broader, more constructive post for those of us (like myself) who, particularly in light of the controversy, see our need to keep “beefing up” our understanding of the Trinity. So here are 5 basic principles that I have reflected on in my own study of the Trinity that may be helpful for others.”

Stop Assuming Your Neighbors Are Hostile to Your Faith | Trevin Wax

“We need to do away with that old saying that Americans don’t discuss politics and religion in polite company. The research shows that most of your friends and family who don’t attend church are either (1) willing to listen to you talk about your faith or (2) will engage you in conversation.”

The Three Verses that Kept Spurgeon from Quitting the Ministry | Cripplegate

“Because Spurgeon was so distraught over the events that occurred, he was unwilling to preach the next Sunday, he even thought about quitting the ministry altogether. And it wasn’t until the Sunday after that that he was willing to return to the pulpit. Here were his first words as he got up to preach that morning.”

Preacher Wanders Away from Pulpit to Catch Pokemon | The Babylon Bee

Hilarious!

“According to sources within Second Baptist Church of Cleveland, Teaching Pastor John Walton abandoned his key sermon point and wandered away from the pulpit in order to catch a Pokémon for his Pokémon GO collection Sunday morning.”

On Leaving CBMW | Owen Strachan

Owen Strachan announces and explains his resignation as president of The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood.

In Praise of Tim Duncan and Boring Plodders | Stephen Altrogge

An interesting connection between Tim Duncan’s boring career and the Christian life.

VIDEOS

Pop Says Goodbye to Tim Duncan | ESPN

 

Dallas Police Chief David Brown Press Conference | USA Today

Thinking About the Trinity

Christian_Triquetra
The doctrine of the Trinity is both one of the most important and one of the most confusing doctrines in Christianity. The prominent English pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said of the Trinity, “The doctrine of the Trinity is the differentiating doctrine of the Christian faith.” Likewise, Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck wrote, “The doctrine of the Trinity beats the heart of the whole revelation of God for the redemption of humanity.”

There is no God like the God of Christianity, because the Christian God is both one and many. Last week we learned that there is only one living and true God. However, what makes the God of heaven and earth unique is the fact that there are three persons within the Godhead. Blogger and author Tim Challies puts it this way, “God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.”

The Trinity is the eternal essence of who God is. Baptist theologian Wayne Grudem writes, “To study the Bible’s teachings on the Trinity gives us great insight into the question that is at the center of all of our seeking after God: What is God like in himself?” So, the doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most important doctrines in Christianity. It may be the most fundamental.

However, this doctrine is also very confusing. Theologian John Frame once wrote concerning the study of the Trinity,

God has withheld much in this area that we would like to know. The mysteries before us here are especially intractable. But this study can be enormously rewarding. In sharing with us even a little of his triune existence, God has given the church a great blessing.

We have nothing to compare God to in this sense. We exist as one human being and as one person. God exists as three persons in one. How can God be both one and three? It appears that Christianity has three gods (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), but the Bible again and again affirms that there is only one God.

If you find this hard to understand and dread teaching this, do not worry! The world’s greatest theologians and Bible scholars have never been able to fully understand this doctrine. And isn’t this encouraging? Not only can you identify with them and not feel inadequate, but also we have a God who is so far beyond us, so much greater than us that we cannot fully understand him. If we could fully understand everything about God, he would not be worthy of worship, we would! We can only go as far as our limited minds allow us in understanding an infinite God.

The Bible teaches that there is only one God and that this God exists as three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). This should be enough for us even when we struggle to understand. Believe this because God has revealed this about himself in his Word. Let this be enough for you. You cannot expect to understand all of the Bible. But you should expect to obey all of its teaching and doctrine, because it is the self-revelation of God.

There are a few important things to consider with regard to the Trinity. Think through each of these as you meditate on the Trinity.

The Trinity

God exists in three persons. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are coequal and coeternal. The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. Each person is fully God and there is one God. However, each of the persons of the Godhead is distinct in function. Simply put, each person with the Trinity has a unique role. We quickly tread into heresy when we do not affirm both of these truths about the Trinity—that each person of the Trinity is (1) equal in worth and (2) distinct in role.

There are a few passages that clearly teach that there are three persons in the one God. Take Jesus’ command for his followers to make disciples in Matthew 28 for instance. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matt. 28:19). Do you see how Jesus refers to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (three persons) as having one name? This shows us that these three persons exist as one God.

God the Father

The Father is God. The Father is eternal. He is the author of creation and redemption. He plans, orders, and sends. The Son and Holy Spirit willingly submit to him in role while they remain equal with him in deity (1 Cor. 8:6; 1 John 4:14).

God the Son

The Son (Jesus) is God. The Son is eternal. Jesus was not created. The Son fully and willingly obeys the Father. He accomplishes redemption and along with the Father sends the Holy Spirit to apply his redemptive work. He glorifies the Father in all things (Col. 1:15-20).

God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit is eternal. The Holy Spirit completes the work of redemption that the Father planned and the Son accomplished. He glorifies the Son in all things (John 3:3-5; Gal. 5:22-23).

Experiencing the Trinity

Pracitcally, we can experience the Trinity on a daily basis. What a joy it is to join in the eternally joyful fellowship of our triune God! Wesleyan theologian Fred Sanders picks up on this when he writes, “The good news of the gospel is that God has opened up the dynamics of his triune life and given us a share in that fellowship.” Similarly, Gerald Bray has written, “The Trinity belongs to the inner life of God, and can be known only by those who share in that life.”

By faith in Christ, we share in the triune life of the one true and living God. We experience this through prayer. When we pray we fellowship deeply and intimately with one God and three persons. We pray to the Father, in the Son, and through the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father (Matt. 6:1). We pray in the Son because his atoning sacrifice gave us access to God (Eph. 2:18; Heb. 7:23-28; 8:1-6; 9:1-14). As we pray, Jesus identifies with us in our weakness (Heb. 4:14-15). We pray through the Holy Spirit as he lives in us and even takes part with us and makes our weak prayers effective (Rom. 8:26-27). So, this is not a lofty doctrine that has nothing to do with your life. The Trinity is God and when you pray you intimately interact with this eternal God.

Bad Illustrations of the Trinity

Is it possible to illustrate the Trinity? When something is difficult to understand, sometimes we can use a story or picture or image of something more familiar to us to clarify things. With regard to the Trinity, there have been many illustrations or pictures given to try to make this confusing doctrine easier to understand. Many of these illustrations are poor attempts and are simply incorrect. If we use incorrect illustrations, we could believe something about God that is crucial to his being that is simply not true. Here are some examples of bad illustrations that should not be used to teach the Trinity.

  1. Three-Leaf Clover

Illustration: The Trinity is like a three-leaf clover because the clover has three parts yet remains one plant.

Error: Tritheism: denies that there is only one God and instead claims that there are three Gods.

Explanation: Each leaf is only part of the clover and cannot be the whole clover. In the Trinity, each person is fully God.

  1. Water/Ice/Steam

Illustration: The Trinity is like water because water can be solid (ice), vapor (steam), or liquid (water) and remain H2O.

Error: Modalism: a false teaching that claims God is one person who appears to us in three different forms or modes

Explanation: Water is never all three forms at the same time. In the Trinity, God is always and at all times each person.

  1. Father/Son/Husband

Illustration: The Trinity is like a man who is at the same time a father, a son, and a husband. He is one man, but has three roles.

Error: Modalism

Explanation: Father, son, and husband describe functions or roles of one person. In the Trinity, God is three distinct persons rather than one person in three modes or roles.

One Good Illustration

I have only come across one illustration that comes close to capturing the essence of the Trinity. Theologian and professor Bruce Ware says,

The closest thing I’ve imagined to the Trinity is drawing one circle using three colored markers (perhaps red, blue, and green). If you draw the same circle three times, with each color overlapping exactly the previous one, you have one circle. But the red line is not the blue line, and the blue line is not the green line. Yet all three lines enclose only one circle. While this illustration may work in a very small part, the truth is that there simply is nothing in our experience that shows us exactly what the doctrine of the Trinity teaches.

Closing Thoughts

Even though the Trinity is a confusing doctrine, it is the most glorious and important doctrines in Christianity. When we get the Trinity wrong, we miss God. When discussing the Trinity a humble attitude is necessary. Emphasize the worship that is due the Trinity. Pray with your child to the Father in the Son and through the Holy Spirit. Thank our Triune God for his work in creation and redemption. Praise God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for being an eternally glorious God, the one true and living God.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church East Bernstadt. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.