Friday, March 22, 2019

Five Star Links


Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 

Persis:

I've been reading Herman Bavinck on imago dei and the importance of the soul and the body. So this biographical sketch by Simonetta Carr on Elizabeth of the Palatinate was timely. She challenged 
Rene Descartes to reconsider his view of the emotions and the separation of body and soul.

Rebecca:

Amy Hall highlights eight posts she wrote covering some of the key ideas Christians need to know about evil and suffering .

And William Cowper reminds us that in this midst of suffering, no one will seek God's face in vain.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Quotes of Note


Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking, or all of the above.

Persis:

I just finished reading Disruptive Witness by Alan Noble. It's one of the most thought-provoking books I have read this year. This is quote on how Christian witness during times of suffering can be counter-cultural.
Virtually every force in our culture mitigates against us contemplating our mortality and its implications. Rather than a traditional period of mourning as we find in other cultures and times, American culture encourages us to cope and move on. We can offer a disruptive witness merely by weeping with those who weep, giving them space and dialogue to experience sorrow and to contemplate mortality, suffering, and evil. Our presence and openness to the weight of tragedy will itself be a witness to God's compassion and the significance of each human life. (pg. 168)

Rebecca:

All week long, as I read I kept my eye open for a suitable quote for the Quotes of Note, but I found nothing. So how about a little poetry?

Here are the last two verses of Christina Rosetti's poem The Offering Of The New Law, The One Oblation Once Offered:
Sacrifice and Offering
None there is that I can bring,
None, save what is Thine alone:
I bring Thee, Lord, but of Thine Own— 
Broken Body, Blood Outpoured,
These I bring, my God, my Lord;
Wine of Life, and Living Bread,
With these for me Thy Board is spread.
Now go read the whole thing.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Five Star Links


Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 

Persis:

We all have strengths and weaknesses, and we can and should all work together as the Body of Christ. So, with compassion let us as Autistics and Neurotypicals build each other up and bear with one another in love. The Neurotypical Christian can help the Autistic feel more comfortable and to learn social skills, boundaries, and body language. The Autistic Christian can use their interests to grow the Body and show them the deep wonder of the ordinary world God made. In all our weaknesses, God uses our weakness for His glory!
And another link for good measure. The testimony of how Dr. Michael Haykin was rescued from Marxism to Christ:
The third night—to my amazement—I fell on my knees, crying out to God for salvation. Graciously he opened my eyes to know his Son, and to know that in Christ there is salvation not only from sin’s power, but also from sin’s wages—eternal death. When I went home that weekend to Ancaster and Hamilton on the Greyhound bus, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was no longer alone—God had graciously come into my heart, the citadel of my life, and taken possession of it by his Holy Spirit.

Rebecca: 

Bill Mounce asks, "What's the proper way to translate John 3:16?"  Read the piece and take the poll.

Also, Amy Mantravadi on the simplicity of God, an important doctrine that "is the common confession of most Catholics and Protestants, medievals and moderns."

Kim:

I appreciated Christina Fox's post "Favorite Books About Writing." I have read three of the five on her list, and I agree with her on the usefulness of them. I was intrigued by the suggestion of a book by C.S. Lewis on writing, and have added that to my wish list. My favourite book on writing is Stephen King's On Writing.

And seeing as we're giving bonus links, also check out Christina's post, "We Don't Always Need Something New."

Monday, March 11, 2019

Quotes of Note


Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking, or all of the above.

Persis:

We were blessed to have Dr. William Vandoodewaard speak at my church's theology conference this past weekend. This quote is from his book on the Marrow Controversy and contains a quote from Thomas Boston on the mystical union of Christ and the believer.
Boston describes the two parts of "the mystical union betwixt Christ and believers" as begun and sustained by the work of "the Spirit on Christ's part, whereby he apprehendeth, taketh, and keepeth hold of us" and the subsequent "faith on the believer's part" whereby "the believer apprehends, takes, and keeps hold of Christ," Boston states, "This faith is that true one, whereby a sinner rests on Christ for all his salvation.... [This] faith is the only mean on our part.... a self-emptying and creature-emptying grace.... The soul having faith wrought in it by the Spirit actually believes and receives Christ, putting forth the hand of the soul to embrace him."  pg. 83

Rebecca:

Here's another quote from F. F. Bruce's commentary on The Epistle to the Hebrews.
It calls for an exceptional effort of mind on our part to appreciate how paradoxical was the attitude of those early Christians to the death of Christ. If ever death had appeared to be triumphant, it was when Jesus of Nazareth, disowned by the leaders of his nation abandoned by his disciples, executed by the might of imperial Rome, breathed his last on the cross. Why, some had actually recognized in his cry of pain and desolation the complaint that even God had forsaken him. His faithful followers had confidently expected him to be the destined liberator of Israel; but he had died—not, like Judas of Galilee of Judas Maccabaeus, in the forefront of the struggle against the Gentile oppressors of Israel, but in evident weakness and disgrace—and their hopes died with him. If ever a cause was lost, it was his; if ever the powers of evil were victorious, it was then. And yet—within a generation his followers were exultingly proclaiming the crucified Jesus to be the conqueror of death and asserting, like our author here, that by dying he had reduced the erstwhile lord of death to impotence. The keys of death and Hades were henceforth held firmly in Jesus’ powerful hand, for he, in the language of his own parable, had invaded the strong man’s fortress, disarmed him, bound him fast, and robbed him of his spoil (Luke 11:21f). This is the unanimous witness of the New Testament writers; this was the assurance which nerved martyrs to face death boldly in his name. This sudden change from disillusionment to triumph can only be explained by the account which the apostles gave—that their Master rose from the dead and imparted to them the power of his risen life.
This is written specifically in regards to Hebrews 2:14, but you don't even need to know the context to see that this is a powerful paragraph. Commentaries don't have to be boring!

Kim (Chiming in late; it was a busy weekend!):

The book Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Exposition of Genesis, is one my professor recommended to me for my paper on Genesis 15. This is a short paragraph, but I believe it is important. The author, Allen Ross, is discussing the need to develop the theology of a passage:
In the final analysis the narrative unit has something to say theologically. It may include theological motifs and statements, but together they will express a unified theological idea. Accordingly, the exposition should develop the theology of the passage; failure to do so will inevitably leave the exposition on the level of storytelling, historical inquiry, or Bible trivia. (emphasis mine)

Friday, March 8, 2019

Five Star Links


Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 


Kim:

My Pentateuch professor, Dr. Vaillancourt, has written a short reflection on the Messiah and the Psalms. This is my first class with him, and in September, I will begin my Hebrew studies with him. He's a knowledgeable, caring professor, and a man who clearly loves the Lord. 
Old Testament scholar, Bruce Waltke, made this point: “Of the 283 direct quotes from the Old Testament in the New Testament, 116 (41 percent) are from the Psalter. Jesus Christ alludes to the Psalms more than fifty times (see Luke 24:44)” (Waltke and Yu, An Old Testament Theology, 892). In other words, the Psalms are important witnesses about Jesus!

Persis:

We just had a discussion at my small group last week about being family. Thus, this article at Table Talk is very timely. All The Lonely People:
That longing for deep relationship was placed in us before the fall. We are created to bond and to have deep relationships.

So, why are we so lonely? Why do we isolate ourselves? There are many cultural and sociological factors at play, from American individualism to social media and many others, but the primary answer takes us back to Genesis 3—we are afraid.

Rebecca:
If we’re honest, we all want to be strong—not all of us in the same areas, but all of us in some areas. We wish we were thinner and more attractive or beefed up and more muscular. We’d like to be smarter, more athletic, more musical, more successful at work, have better kids, get better grades, make more money, have a bigger house and newer car, or simply a better church parking lot. We’d like to have more influence, more sway, and more followers. In some or all of these areas, each of us desires to be strong, or at least stronger than we are. 
But, as we know, the Bible speaks more highly of weakness than strength.
So why does the Bible prefer weakness to strength? And in what way? (Kevin DeYoung)