David F. Wells 4-Volume Kindle Deal

Right now, Eerdmans Publishing has an incredible deal on the last 3 volumes of David F. Wells‘ profoundly critical examination of American Evangelicalism, as well as the follow-up summary on reclaiming classical Protestantism.

Each volume is only $2.99 for Amazon Kindle.

Click the images below and be sure to purchase these before the end of May!

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Notable & Newsworthy

Here are the links and stories for the day…

Get Charles Sherlock’s “The Doctrine of Humanity” (Contours of Christian Theology) for 52% OFF at Westminster Bookstore

Get 5-packs of New Growth Press’ minibooks for only $8 (over 50% OFF) at Westminster Bookstore (ends 05/28)

Enter to win a stack of books by Matthias Media from 20 Schemes and The Philip Center

Get Kevin DeYoung’s “Crazy Busy” for just $3.99 for Amazon Kindle (sale ends 05/31)

Get Charles Quarles’ “Buried Hope or Risen Savior?” for just $0.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “How Then Shall We Worship?: Biblical Principles to Guide Us Today” for just $2.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “Pleasing God: Discovering the Meaning and Importance of Sanctification” for just $3.03 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “God’s Love: How the Infinite God Cares for His Children” for just $3.03 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “The Promises of God: Discovering the One Who Keeps His Word” for just $3.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Paul Tripp’s “Broken-Down House: Living Productively in a World Gone Bad” for just $1.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Tedd & Margy Tripp’s “Instructing a Child’s Heart” for just $1.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Tedd Tripp’s “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” for just $1.99 for Amazon Kindle

Charles Spurgeon on Jesus Christ as the friend of sinners

Tullian Tchividjian claims official TGC statement by Carson and Keller is a flat out lie

Tony Reinke on Christian reading and the digital age

Denny Burk on responding to fellow believers in error

R.C. Sproul, Jr.’s list of 10 non-fiction books for home school teenagers

9 heartfelt things Pastors would like to say to their congregations

“The damage of sin is total, reaching to every part of your person. The power of grace is complete. It reaches as far as the curse is found.” (Paul Tripp)

“A low view of law leads to legalism in religion, a high view of law makes man a seeker after grace.” (J. Gresham Machen)

Please take some time to browse the other pages on this site (located in the tabs above). You’ll find FREE e-books, articles, and book recommendations to help you in your walk. Check out the Biblical Theology page or Apologetics page first… and don’t forget to check out the Northwest Ohio Reformation Society. Thanks!

A Reader’s Review of “The Ascension”

My friends at Christian Focus have blessed me with another book to review. This time around we’ll be looking at “Ascension: Humanity in the Presence of God” by Tim Chester and Jonny Woodrow. The book consists of three short chapters entitled “Ascended Priest”, “Ascended King”, and “Ascended Man” with an reflective and applicatory conclusion and an appendix featuring an “Ascension Hymn” (with verses that reflect the chapter titles).

The ascension of Jesus Christ is unfortunately one of the most underappreciated aspects of the gospel. It is often outshined by the majestic doctrines of the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection… but the exaltation of Christ, as the authors seek to draw out, is a supremely important and necessary element of redemption and a source of comfort for the Christian pilgrim in the present age.

There are three things about the introduction that are commendable: 1. It provokes the reader to think critically about the ascension of Christ; 2. It presents worship as a result of reflection upon the ascension of Christ; and 3. It points to the “glorious session” as a result of the ascension, where the enthroned Christ represents His people (with a view towards mission).

In chapter one, the authors rightly point out the ascension is “the fulfillment of all that sacrifice and priesthood represented in the Old Testament.” (p. 14) What follows is a survey of the types and shadows that point to Christ (Moses, the Priesthood, the Tabernacle, etc.) and His fulfillment of them as depicted in the book of Hebrews.

There is a nice balance of abstract theology and practical shepherding in this chapter. The reader is presented with weighty concepts such as the necessity of the ascension, but will also receive comfort by way of biblical assurance: “If Christ is not in God’s presence on our behalf then we are not in God’s presence… He is the complete sacrifice who has taken away sin for ever. He is the eternal priest whose ministry never ends. While He stands in heaven you are secure in God’s family” (pp. 22, 23)

The second chapter teases out the meaning of Christ’s enthronement… He is depicted as the sovereign King of the heavens and earth. Relying heavily on the book of Daniel and the writings of Luke, the authors share some fascinating insights:

1. The connection between Samuel (who anointed King David) and John the Baptist (who baptized King Jesus).

2. The connection between the enthronement Psalms (especially Ps. 2), the Davidic covenant, and the transfiguration of Christ.

3. The necessity of the cross as the preparation for the inauguration of Christ’s Kingdom in the ascension and the consummation upon His second advent.

4. The prophetic element of Daniel 7 in describing geopolitical developments over the next few centuries and the ascension of the Son of Man (Jesus, God the Son) into the presence of the Ancient of Days (God the Father).

5. The typological wilderness temptation failures of Adam and Israel realized in Jesus’ obedient response to His temptation.

6. The authority of Christ in the Great Commission and the extension of His reign “throughout the earth through the mission of His people” (p. 41).

7. The comforting truth of God’s sovereignty in the midst of a hostile mission field.

8. The relationship between the exaltation of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

9. The ascended Christ building His Church through the distribution of spiritual gifts. This section concludes by proposing that the true authority and Kingship of the ascended Jesus, which has been inaugurated (already), is the foundation for mission and gospel proclamation until the consummation of His Kingdom (not yet).

While most informed readers might anticipate a section on “Christ as Prophet”, the authors devote this last chapter to the humanity of Christ. Chester and Woodrow highlight the “scandalous” teachings of the incarnation of God and the exaltation of a man: “The scandal is not just that God has left heaven to be ‘enfleshed’ on earth, but that God will return to heaven in the flesh… Human flesh becomes a permanent fixture in heaven (a scandal to Greeks) and a permanent fixture for the Son of God (a scandal for Jews).” (p. 58) What follows is a brief survey of church history, discussing a number of heretical views on the person of Christ, and maintaining the importance of the full humanity of Jesus and His glorification with regard to redemption.

The authors then proceed to take a strange detour into the spacetime continuum and “relational” proximity. Rather than pontificating upon the finer points of quantum physics, the authors would have done well in heeding their own words: “The presence or absence of God always defies spatial definitions.” (p. 63) I understand what Chester and Woodrow are attempting to do here, but I believe this takes away from the overall point of the book and may confuse some readers. Despite the potential hindrance, there are still some statements in this section that deserve attention. For instance, the authors point out: “Space exists as a Trinitarian act between the divine persons, the Father creating through the Word and breathing life through the Spirit.” (p. 64)

Next, we have a series of short explanations of:

1. The necessity and security of the ascension.

2. The doctrine of the Lord’s Supper (i.e. Christ’s presence) during the Reformation (with special attention to the views of Calvin).

3. Mystical Union with Christ in the heavenly realms.

4. Inaugural eschatology and the “already” and “not yet” nature of the inter-advental period.

5. The restoration of humanity from its fallen, sinful state.

The chapter closes with a focus on mission, and one point is especially interesting. Chester and Woodrow posit an “ascensional” ministry approach over-against the “incarnational” approach. This is commendable, since the church is not a replacement of Jesus with its own agenda, but rather an assembly of disciples under His authority called to participate in His redemptive mission.

The conclusion is an excellent piece of biblical theology (largely influenced by G.K. Beale’s work) filled with mountain-garden-temple imagery, condescension/ascension theology, and Ezekiel’s eschatology. The authors show that Jesus is the fulfillment of these types and shadows and draw out the implications of the believers’ union with Christ before closing the book with the consummation in the New Jerusalem–where there is no temple–because “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Rev. 21:22).

Overall, this little book (96 pages) packs a punch. It is concise, but the authors present some weighty truths with clarity and precision. While I didn’t care for the inclusion of theoretical physics and some of the stylistic choices the authors made, I would still recommend it due to the sound biblical-theological teaching. Due to the contemporary obfuscation of the doctrine of Christ’s ascension and exaltation, this is a much-needed and welcome book that will comfort and encourage believers, and inform them of the necessity and sufficiency of our Savior’s authoritative session-ministry.

 

More recommendations:

Effective December 1, 2009, Federal Trade Commission guidelines state that bloggers receiving any kind of compensation should disclose that information clearly on their blog when posting a review of the product… that being said: I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK. 

The Messiahship

THE MESSIAHSHIP

“The sonship to which our Lord traces back His Messianic commission is not something that we have in common with Him, not a purely ethico-religious relation to God, not something pertaining to His temporal human existence—but something unique, reaching back into His preexistent, premundane life; in a word it is nothing less than His Deity, or, strictly speaking, the relation which in His divine nature He sustains to the Father. It is that in virtue of which He can affirm that He alone knows God and knows God after the same fashion as God knows Him, with a knowledge that is the natural function of His sonship and therefore coeval with His sonship, whence also it is not said that the Son has learned to know the Father, but that He knows the Father.” (Geerhardus Vos)

For more on this subject, please visit the Biblical Theology page.

 

Recommended reading:

The Mediator: God and Man

THE MEDIATOR: GOD AND MAN

“Man in innocence could not penetrate to God without a Mediator, much less could he after the fall…

It deeply concerned us, that He who was to be our Mediator should be very God and very man. If the necessity be inquired into, it was not what is commonly termed simple or absolute, but flowed from the divine decree on which the salvation of man depended… Our iniquities, like a cloud intervening between Him and us, having utterly alienated us from the kingdom of heaven, none but a person reaching to Him could be the medium of restoring peace. But who could thus reach to Him? Could any of the sons of Adam? All of them, with their parents, shuddered at the sight of God. Could any of the angels? They had need of a head, by connection with which they might adhere to their God entirely and inseparably. What then? The case was certainly desperate, if the Godhead itself did not descend to us, it being impossible for us to ascend. Thus the Son of God behooved to become our Immanuel, i.e., God with us; and in such a way, that by mutual union His divinity and our nature might be combined; otherwise,  neither was the proximity near enough, nor the affinity strong enough, to give us hope that God would dwell with us; so great was the repugnance between our pollution and the spotless purity of God. Had man remained free from all taint, he was of too humble a condition to penetrate to God without a Mediator. What, then must it have been, when by fatal ruin he was plunged into death and hell, defiled by so many stains, made loathsome corruption; in fine, overwhelmed with every curse? It is not without cause, therefore, that Paul, when he would set forth Christ as the Mediator, distinctly declares Him to be man. There is, says he, ‘one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Tim. 2:5). He might have called Him God, or at least, omitting to call Him God, he might also have omitted to call Him man; but because the Spirit, speaking by his mouth, knew our infirmity, he opportunely provides for it by the most appropriate remedy, setting the Son of God familiarly before us as one of ourselves. That no one, therefore, may feel perplexed where to seek the Mediator, or by what means to reach Him, the Spirit, by calling Him man, reminds us that He is near, no, contiguous to us, inasmuch as He is our flesh. And, indeed, he intimates the same thing in another place, where he explains a greater length that He is not a high priest who “cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).” (John Calvin)

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.