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Christian Worldview Conference: Worldview of Human Identity (David Murray)

September 20, 2016 1 comment

From my recent podcast feed, an interesting audio series:  the annual Puritan Conference held at the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a series of 11 lectures on the theme of the Christian Worldview, with each message titled “A Christian Worldview of (topic)”.  The speakers include faculty staff, including one on the Worldview of the Old Testament from author Michael Barrett (see previous post about him here).  So far I’ve listened to the first five, which include some basic overview including the doctrine of the Trinity and its significance in relationships.  I especially like the fourth lecture, from David Murray of the Head, Heart, and Hand Blog, on the Christian Worldview of Human Identity.  His Scottish accent takes some getting used to, but the message is a good one, on a theme that comes up often at his blog, the issue of counseling and depression.  The following is a summary of it.

Murray suggests making a list of words that describe yourself.  As for example, words such as Christian, sinner, wife, computer programmer, introvert, learner, blogger, insecure, anxious, and so forth.  Then come eight steps to recover and rebuild our true Christian identity.

  1. Reset Priorities

First, my spiritual condition: am I a Christian or not?  Next, my spiritual character: what graces have I received from the Lord.  The third priority is our relationships with others; work and other social relationships in our daily lives comes here, after the higher priorities.

  1. Expand what is incomplete: Expand on number 1 above– what scriptures says about us: justified, forgiven, sanctified, and so forth.  Ephesians 1 is especially good here.
  2. Fill in the gaps – admit our weaknesses, such as being pessimistic, depressed, discouraged. Here reference 1 Cor. 15:9-10, Paul’s description of himself pre- and post- conversion.  Filling in the gaps also means acknowledging our strengths – as gifts from God.
  3. Prosecute falsehoods—“hunt down” and prosecute, and put an end to the lies, things we tell ourselves that aren’t true.  Murray’s example of this was his years of recent illness; now he is better, but was still depressed about it and thinking of himself as really old and ill.
  4. Add balance: I am a sinner.  Also to the other side, that we are now dead to sin. Here reference 2 Cor. 6:9-10.
  5. Re-frame failure, with a gold frame. God sovereignly overrules our failures and brings good about.
  6. Accept change. Our identity is not static. We change; our circumstances, and God’s providence for our lives, change—God-ordained changes. Stop being envious of others.
  7. Anticipate the future.  Instead of thinking about the supposed “glory days” of the past, remember that for us Christians, our best days are ahead.  Reference 1 John 3:1-2.

Dr. Barrick’s Ecclesiastes Series

September 12, 2013 2 comments

I’m now going through one of Dr. Barrick’s teaching series, a Sunday School class from about three years ago, on the little-taught book of Ecclesiastes.  Consisting of 19 audio lessons (unfortunately missing the audio files from Ecclesiastes 11 and 12), the study also includes “notes” PDF documents used in the classes – including the notes for the last two chapters.

My only previous study experience with Ecclesiastes was several years ago, a sermon series from a local (and basic, superficial teaching level) church in which the pastor’s overall conclusion was that the book of Ecclesiastes describes life from the viewpoint of unsaved man.  That pastor also considered Solomon’s salvation doubtful or questionable.  As I’ve since realized from regular reading and study in many other Bible books – and Dr. Barrick brings out this point very clearly in the Introduction – no books of the Bible are authored by lost men, and the three books authored by Solomon  (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon) clearly show that Solomon was a believer.  God may have used a donkey and a false prophet to verbally express His word at a point in time, but that is quite a different matter than the written word of God and all associated with that idea of the canon of scripture.  Solomon’s three books reflect three main periods of his life: Song of Solomon in his youth, Proverbs in his adult life, and then Ecclesiastes late in life, after Solomon had gone astray for a time (1 Kings 11) and then was brought back into relationship with the Lord – at which time he wrote Ecclesiastes, reflecting back on that time of his backsliding.

The introductory material is interesting, in which Dr. Barrick points out many interesting things about the book of Ecclesiastes.  One surprising point:  the Jews include the reading of Ecclesiastes in their celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, a festival of great joy.  Dr. Barrick also lists several theological topics found in Ecclesiastes – this in response to one of his seminary professors years ago, who had told the class that Ecclesiastes had no theological value:

  • God’s Sovereign Control Over Man
  • God’s Providential Grace
  • God’s Eternality
  • God’s Creatorship
  • God’s Perfection
  • God’s Justice and Holiness
  • God’s Abode
  • God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience
  • God’s Omnipotence
  • God’s Preservation of His Saints
  • Reverential Fear of God
  • Obedience Before Sacrifice
  • God’s Word

As a Sunday School class with some interaction, it’s not the easiest to listen to – since the comments from the class participants are off-microphone, and sometimes Dr. Barrick himself moved further away from the mic.   Aside from the silent pauses though, most of the content comes through clearly – and the six page documents for each session also provide excellent study material, in-depth summaries of the audio material.

Spurgeon (and Other Classic Preachers) As Guest Preachers

June 11, 2013 5 comments

Last week at the Pyromaniacs blog, Dan Phillips described his recent “guest preaching” in which he delivered a Spurgeon sermon (Dan’s sermon here).

Dan’s “guest preaching” included an introduction to Spurgeon: a brief bio as well as explanation of some of Spurgeon’s word phrases.  For instance, Spurgeon’s expression “hearing the voice of Christ” came before the modern Pentecostal and charismatic movement.  Spurgeon understood that as hearing Christ in scripture.  Interestingly, Dan learned the idea from a book he read in Seminary: as a pastor’s break from other series, a great way to introduce the congregation to the great sermons and great preachers from Church History.

Lest anyone should be confused, this is not the equivalent of (unfortunate incidents) modern day preachers plagiarizing another preacher’s sermons as their own. The sermons from the 19th century and earlier are in the public domain, freely distributed; and full recognition is given along with introduction to the “guest preacher.”  Mark Dever has also featured “guest preacher” Jonathan Edwards, on one occasion when he preached Jonathan Edwards’ classic sermon “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God.”

I have enjoyed reading Spurgeon sermons, sequentially through the volumes (nearing the end of volume VII now), and, like Dan Phillips, have come to appreciate Spurgeon, and for similar reasons.  Guest preaching of Spurgeon is a real treat, suitable and edifying to modern day listeners.

Beyond this one sermon from Dan Phillips, though, many Spurgeon sermons have been recorded in audio format and freely available, as here (Sermon Audio), also another collection at Spurgeon Gems.  Googling reveals a few other audio selections online, even a handful available on Youtube.

CCEL also has text and audio recordings from other classic preachers, such as this audio collection of Jonathan Edwards sermons.

List of Good Expository Book Sermon Series

February 1, 2012 1 comment

Almost two years ago I posted a list of Bible Books and Sermon Series.  Now it’s time to update the list with a few more names and sermon series.

Since the last post I have listened to all of S. Lewis Johnson’s Old Testament book series (except for his second series in 1984 on Zechariah), and a few more of his New Testament series. Along the way I’ve enjoyed a few other books and series as well, such as Dan Duncan’s church history, and Librivox’s audio recording of “Pilgrim’s Progress.”  Ahead, after finishing the John Bunyan Conference lectures, I hope to go through SLJ’s “Romans” series.

The updated list includes a few additional recent series from Believers Chapel, as well as teachings from two additional church sites:  Twin City Fellowship (pastors Bob DeWaay and Eric Douma), and Richard Mayhue’s sermon series available at his website.

Twin City Fellowship and Richard Mayhue’s material fill in some of the NT book gaps, such as coverage of 1 and 2 Thessalonians and 1 Peter, books not taught by SLJ.  The Twin City Fellowship series are all fairly recent ones, and listed together on a page titled “Bible Studies.”  Richard Mayhue is more known for the several books he has published in recent years, and his work on the staff of The Masters Seminary since 1989.  His available online sermons come from earlier preaching years at Grace Brethren Church of Long Beach, California (1984 to 1989).  After listening to a sampling of these, including introductory messages for 1 Thessalonians, I think I prefer Bob DeWaay’s teaching: fewer overall messages than Mayhue’s, but more in-depth “Bible Study” with PowerPoint presentations to accompany the teachings and the overall study outlines.

Here is the updated list.

The Old Testament with S. Lewis Johnson: Nearing the End (Malachi)

October 3, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s been a little over two years now since I started seriously listening to S. Lewis Johnson sermons, starting with his Genesis series.  At that time I set a goal to listen to all his book series, starting sequentially through all the Old Testament books he taught.  SLJ taught through far more of the Old Testament than many other preachers had, at least from what was available on various church websites, and from my general study of eschatology at that time I was coming to appreciate the Old Testament: for all the references to it in Revelation and elsewhere, for instance.

I had heard his name somewhere online, though I forget exactly where and when, in reference to John MacArthur:  another teacher of similar beliefs.  That summer (2009) I listened to the Eschatology series on the headphones at work (the incredibly small M3U files in Windows Media Player), and then started looking at the various names of Bible book series on the Believers Chapel website.  Listening to half-hour “Grace to You” radio programs before breakfast every morning wasn’t working very well (due to personal circumstances), and so the idea came, to instead listen to half-sermons each morning, downloaded and burned to MP3 CDs, starting with the 66-part Genesis series.  Previously I had read through John MacArthur’s Genesis series, which only covered the first 11 chapters, and listened to a few topical series including Jim McClarty’s Eschatology series, and MacArthur’s Revelation series.

Along with the Horner Bible Reading (started that March), it was time to get into OT book studies.  Here is my first blog reference to Johnson’s Genesis series, from July  2009.  Last week I started the Malachi series.  Actually a few more Old Testament series are lined up after this:  the second Zechariah series (The Jewish People, Jesus Christ, and World History), also “Messianic Prophecies in Isaiah”  and “Old Testament Anticipation of the Messiah” (a radio series of half-hour length teachings).  But Malachi of course ends the Old Testament book series, it being the last book in our Old Testament (though not, as Johnson points out in the Malachi introduction, the last book in the Jews’ Bible).

Calvinist Dispensational Study Resources: Bob DeWaay

March 10, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m always interested in finding and exploring good Calvinist Dispensational Resources, and tend to concentrate for a while on certain sites, such as Believer’s Chapel Dallas with its many online sermons.  Another site I’ve known about, but hadn’t explored as much, is Bob DeWaay’s church, Twin City Fellowship.  I’ve now added it to the “Church Listings” page, and have spent more time looking at their Bible Study section.

The sermon and Sunday School recordings are fairly recent, so it doesn’t have as much content from the many years past (Believers Chapel has material going back to the 1960s and 1970s), but what it has is well organized with book names listed along the left side panel, and a good selection including several series through Old Testament books.  Among the minor prophets, which I’ve been studying recently, this site has many good audio files covering Daniel, Joel, Zechariah, Malachi, and Habakkuk (still in progress).    Other offerings include Genesis and Exodus, as well as several of the New Testament books, and a ten-part series on basic Hermeneutics.

I’ve listened to the first few messages in Joel, which was done as a Sunday School class with some classroom  interaction; the sessions are longer, at about 1 1/4 hours.  It provides a good supplement to the S. Lewis Johnson series I recently completed.  Among a few interesting highlights, the teacher of this series holds to a later date for Joel — while admitting that some of the arguments, from silence, are not by themselves the strongest reasons.  After I complete all the SLJ minor prophets sessions, I would like to go back and listen to more of Twin City’s classes.

Good Uses for an MP3 Player: Free Audio Resources

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I finally have one of modern technology’s more recent tools:  an MP3 player.  (Not the popular iPod, but a good second brand — Sandisk Sansa Clip+.)  I’ve never seen such a tiny device before, but it works and does its purpose:  to hook-up to a large stereo system and play books and sermon files while I’m exercising at home.  Since I’m already listening to two other series throughout regular days (one during commute time, and another half-message during the workday), and exercise sessions are at the end of the workday or on weekends and varied from week to week, I’m now trying this third area as a catch-all time for various independent material.  Here I can listen to current series at Believers Chapel, various audio recordings of J.C. Ryle or Spurgeon material, or free audio-recordings of classics such as “Pilgrim’s Progress” (available from Librivox.org).

So far I’ve listened to a few of the free recordings of J.C. Ryle material, some available here at sermonindex.net, others from this British website, GraceAndTruth.org.uk.  The readings from GraceAndTruth feature a good British speaker, whereas the quality of readers for the sermonindex material varies.  One two-part series from there features a rather monotonous voice that lacks excitement and overall pitch and tone variation;  but that is to be expected, with free material you don’t always get good audio-readers.

I’ve also begun Geoff Brown’s in-progress series through the OT Kings, something being done as a Sunday School series at Believers Chapel.  Only six parts are available so far on the website, so I hope he continues the series — and I look forward to the updates.  Some of Dan Duncan’s series, through Jeremiah and Ezekiel, are also loaded on my Sansa Clip+, along with the first two parts of Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”  (which I discussed further in this blog).  The next several weeks of work-out time on the elliptical can thus become the more interesting with edifying reading.

List of Bible Books and Sermon Series

June 29, 2010 5 comments

Since I enjoy book-by-book and verse-by-verse Bible teaching, especially in MP3 sermon format, I have created an Excel file to help organize the available resources, for future Bible study.  My list includes each book of the Bible and associated Bible teachers who taught through part or all of that Bible book.  For each teacher I list the number of messages in the series, and note if the series covered only part of the book.  For my purposes I looked at several preachers that I’m familiar with.  The list includes John MacArthur and S. Lewis Johnson, as well as the other teachers at Believers Chapel, plus material from preachers affiliated with John MacArthur (Don Green, Steve Lawson, Bruce Blakey, Lance Quinn), and a few other recommended names including Mark Hitchcock, Thomas Constable, and Ray Stedman.

A few observations from the complete list:

  • John MacArthur has the greatest number of messages, and the most complete coverage of the New Testament.  He actually has preached through all of the New Testament books (gospel of Mark still in progress), yet I did not include his sermons for books covered early in his ministry, especially since better series exist for those books, from more mature (better delivery style) preachers.
  • S. Lewis Johnson has the most coverage for the minor prophets — and when you include Dan Duncan, Believers Chapel has the most extensive coverage for all the Prophets:  all books except Lamentations, Nahum and Zephaniah.  Believers Chapel also generally has the most coverage for all the Old Testament: most of the history through the time of King David, plus most of the prophets, and decent coverage for Proverbs and even some Psalms.
  • Thomas Constable has audio sermons available for several Old Testament books, but in many cases the complete series are only available with payment for audio CDs.  Yet Constable also has a complete 66 book commentary of the whole Bible, in PDF format.
  • Thomas Constable, plus Ray Stedman and Mark Hitchcock nicely fill in some of the spots neglected by others, such as Ruth, Esther, 1 Samuel 1-15 (pre-David),  Nehemiah, Job and Ecclesiastes.  Yet a few gaps exist, books I could not find audio sermons for, including the Kings and Chronicles and some of the smaller Old Testament books.  Further study of those books can always be done with material from J. Vernon McGee, or through print resources such as commentaries from Thomas Constable and Alexander MacLaren.

Click the following link to see the actual list:

Bible Teaching Series List