Sunday, February 21, 2010

1 Sola5 Radio stream ending at 6am EST, February 22, 2010

It's been fun and interesting, but Sola5 Radio will stop broadcasting as of 6am EST, February 22, 2010 when the current playlist finishes. We have had an average of 2 listeners round the clock over the course of the 3 months we've been on, and even though we've stepped it up a little bit recently (maybe over the last month we've averaged 3 listeners round the clock) Bill and I can't continue to do the work to put the programming together. The listeners include Bill and me, each listening perhaps 12 hours a day - so really our audience is tiny - at any one time, we might have two additional listeners listening worldwide.

I'm sorry if there are any of you who listened now and again, and wanted us to continue, but we really can't justify the time and effort necessary to put our programming together. Bill needs to focus on his seminary studies and I on my own work as a professor. We also need to focus what efforts we do have in the internet broadcasting side to our work together on Covenant Radio. We do hope you still will listen to our programming there and find it beneficial.

Again, we regret having to do this, but the interest in our programming at Sola5 is apparently not what we thought it would be, nor what can justify taking the time required away from our other responsibilities.

for Bill and Sola5 Radio

Friday, February 19, 2010

3 Faith vs. Faithfulness

Pastor Wes White, a PCA pastor of Spearfish, SD and author of the blog, Johannes Weslianus,has written an excellent summary of the distinction between justifying faith (the true nature of faith that rests in Christ, which bears fruit, surely, of obedience) and the faith that the Federal Visionists claim is that which justifies (in part, because faith for them is in many ways essentially equivalent to faithfulness). Neither Scripture nor our Reformed confessions side with the Federal Vision men no matter how stridently they might wish to thrust their Socinian definitions into the confessions.

White shows the clear distinction between the ways these men speak of faith that justifies (i.e. obedient and faithful living justifies) and the confessional and Scriptural definition, in which faith is presented as a pure and simple trust, and which is attended with other fruits of God's regenerating work (but which is distinct from that obedience, while never absent from it). Check it out - it's longish, but well worth it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

0 Covenant Radio Broadcast: Olevianus and the Apostles' Creed

Bill and I at Covenant Radio had an excellent discussion with Dr. Scott Clark on the second book in the Classic Reformed Theology series that he edits for Reformation Heritage Books: An Exposition of the Apostles' Creed, by Caspar Olevianus, a theologian on whose covenant theology Dr. Clark did his Ph.D. dissertation at Oxford. You can access the podcast at this link. Visit us for other Covenant Radio broadcasts here.

We had a long discussion of Olevianus, his teaching on the Godhead and Covenant theology, and his identity as a truly catholic Reformed theologian and pastor. After the discussion, and looking through the book another time, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Olevianus's method of laying out each article of the Creed, first by affirming the witness of Scripture - both from the prophets and the apostles; second, by describing the doctrines that stem from each article, and third, by describing in detail the beautiful fruit(s) that God will produce as we learn from each article.

We see here an early orthodox Reformed teacher affirming the oldest of credal statements from a soundly covenantal perspective. It is really worth the purchase price, and much much more. The book is a masterpiece in that it is concise, yet meaty - good for layperson and elder alike. Laymen will gain from a pastoral theologian describing in detail the faith that he professes - elders will gain in having much teaching material at their fingertips for teaching both new believer and mature saint alike. Get your hands on a copy (which can be bought here at this link) the book is beautifully and solidly bound, and will serve you well.

Don't forget also to check us out at Sola5 Radio, our streaming station where we replay Covenant Radio (this interview will get some airtime this week and next), Office Hours and Heidelcasts, The White Horse Inn, Christ The Center, plus plenty of Reformed preaching and teaching. You can access the Sola5 Radio stream directly here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

0 Today's Broadcast on Covenant Radio: Dr. Scott Clark and Caspar Olevianus

Coming up today (and uploaded to the podcast stream by this evening) we at Covenant Radio are going to have Dr. R. Scott Clark on the program to discuss the recent publication by Reformation Heritage Books in the Classic Reformed Theology Series, An Exposition of the Apostles' Creed, by Caspar Olevianus. Dr. Clark is a recognized Olevianus scholar, having done his Ph. D. dissertation on Olevianus's contributions to Covenant Theology (published as Caspar Olevianus and the Substance of the Covenant) and continues to work with Olevianus's writings.

As I have read through much of this work, I cannot more highly recommend it (and the Ames work which preceded it in the Classic Reformed Theology series) as a helpful call-back to important concepts for the church of this century. Olevianus's brief reflections on the Apostles' Creed in the context of his understanding of the glorious grace of God and His covenant, are well worth study and discussion for our people today. We hope you'll join us for this important discussion at Covenant Radio. Look here for an announcement that the podcast has been uploaded.

We'll also be replaying this podcast on Sola5 Radio, our streaming internet radio station, that you can access via the Sola5 blog, which is located here. We'd love to have you check out that station if you've not already - it's a unique blend of solidly Reformed teaching and preaching, psalms and hymns, and other music for your refreshment and edification. Here's our daily programming guide... so please do check us out either at the Sola5 blog or directly at this link. For added info for our listeners, we post daily specifics about programs that we're featuring at the Sola5 blog.

1 Never , Ever, EVER, Think That You're Past the Cross

I am reminded of remarks in Michael Horton's "The Gopsel-Driven Life" as I read (again) Horatius Bonar's wonderful work "The Everlasting Righteousness". Again, and again, Bonar reminds us of the necessity of always having before us the declaration of the completed work of Christ - the gopsel declaration for us who are in Him. Bonar drives this point home in chapter after chapter - that our life indeed, as Horton writes 200 years after his elder brother, must be truly driven by this fact.

Today so frequently as in Bonar's day the gospel is misunderstood as one of those 'elementary things' that Christians who are 'grown up now' needn't refer to it anymore - that gospel message was that which got them into the church, but beyond that, one needs to 'grow up' and get past it. To this, Bonar says,
"You fool! Do you not know that the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ endures forever and that you shall eternally glory in it, if you are saved by it at all?" (p. 33, Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness)
The cross of Christ is symbolic of the glory of the Gospel - the finished work of atonement for Christ's people, and the glorious declaration by God the Father of the acceptance of that sacrifice as He was raised again - and this will be forever our story and song. Bonar's discussion in chapter 4 of The Everlasting Righteousness is grounded in part on the repetition again and again of the motif of the Lamb that was slain throughout the book of Revelation... indicating that indeed, the cry "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" will freover be our cry, into eternity future, and even as we enjoy a foretaste of heaven in the communion of the saints on earth, the church militant.

Bonar has this excellent paragraph which simply stirs the heart up to heights of praise of our Lord and God - and of the Lamb that was slain:
"We are never done with the cross, nor ever shall be. Its wonders will be always new and always fraught with joy. 'The Lamb as it had been slain' will be the theme of our praise above. Why should such a name be given to him in such a book as the Revelation, which in one sense carried us far past the cross, were it not that we shall always realize our connection with its one salvation; we shall always be looking to it even in the midst of the glory; and we shall always be learning from it some new lesson regarding the work of him 'in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace'? What will they who here speak of themselves as being so advanced as to be done with the cross say to being brought face to face with the slain Lamb, in the age of absolute perfection, the age of heavenly glory?" (p. 33, Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness)
This rings SO true with much of the church, liberal and conservative alike. While the liberals often disregard the cross as a messy and primitive thing, and dispense with discussion about it because it's really not something a modern (or postmodern) people need to deal with or even believe in, the conservative church often forgets the need of the gospel to be brought up, discussed, rested upon and gloried in EACH DAY. Let us never, ever think that we're past the cross... may it never be!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

0 Whither Johannes Van Der Kemp on the Heidelberg Catechism?

It seems that the two-volume set of sermons on the Heidelberg Catechism, lately printed in 1997 by Reformation Heritage Books, is almost entirely absent from the used book market (a couple of copies of a much older printing of Volume 1 seem to be available) and the only place I've seen new copies is at a UK-based Evangelical Press bookshop, where the going rate to get a set into the US is about $65 with shipping. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and pay up if I want this set, which I do... but if any readers have advice or know of used copies that are cheaper somewhere, I'd love to hear it :)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

0 A Scots Athlete Choosing to Serve God rather than Men Regardless of Consequences

There was a brief news story about this Scottish national Rugby player in December, but now there's a more complete article concerning his refusal to play rugby for his nation on the Lord's Day at the Guardian online, here: Story at The Guardian

I have the utmost respect for this man, whose stance on this issue causes him to stand out as a man of honor among international athletes. To see such determination to serve his Lord in an athlete of his stature is rare indeed, and a refreshing and God-glorifying thing. It is pleasing to see the Lord reveal Himself through a servant like Euan Murray.

0 Sola5 Radio Update (Listenership and New Programming Guide)

A couple weeks ago, I wrote concerning Sola5 Radio, the streaming internet radio station that Bill Hill and I of Covenant Radio have put together, and I am happy to report that many of you have discovered Sola5 and are listening regularly - that's great, keep it up! We hopefully are providing edifying content and enjoyable music. In particular we hope the relatively rare combination of preaching, teaching, psalms and Bible reading represents something valuable for you and for Reformed and Presbyterian Christians.

If you've not listened, please do take the opportunity. Our program schedule consists of psalms and hymns, bible reading, teaching on the Reformed faith and Reformation church history, confession and catechism reading, and solid exposition of the Word of God given from a confessionally-Reformed foundation, in addition to the re-airing of select Reformed podcasts.

If you have listened now and again and find what we're doing worthwhile, I hope you'll be willing to spread the word to friends and relatives who might be interested in our streamed content. Please do continue to let folks know about us, and also, please do contact us either here or at the Sola5 site as to how we're blessing you and what you've enjoyed - or not enjoyed, as the case may be.

Click here for our updated programming guide, valid from 5 February 2010 to the unknown future.

Tune in live at this location to listen with your browser. If you wish to listen with iTunes, here's how.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

0 Advice from Olevianus on Understanding the Apostles' Creed

In the recent publication by Reformation Heritage Books in the Classic Reformed Theology Series, An Exposition of the Apostles' Creed, by Caspar Olevianus, we find an extremely helpful and important pair of recommendations for studying and understanding the articles of the Apostles' Creed. Come to think of it, these guidelines are eminently helpful in understanding ANY point of doctrine.

Olevianus writes,
"The guidelines that we should always have in view when explaining and reflecting on the creed are as follows. First, not only should one's mind know the history in each article (such knowledge by itself is not saving, since we see in James 2[:19] that even the demons have it - and tremble), but the heart itself shoudl embrace in genuine trust the promise of God and the realization of that promise in and because of Christ that lies hidden in each article (Acts 13:32,39). Analyze each of the articles, therefore, as to its promise and realization, and you will find there the full richness of that wonderful κοινωνίας with the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit that throughout the gospel is promised and granted to the believer (1 John 4:14-15).

The second guideline is this: in applying the promise, look to God's decree that a body and soul be fashioned and adapted to the Son of God, so that the things He accomplished would be done in the name of every believer. Indeed, they would be accomplished in such a way that the obedience presented in His person to the Father would, by the decree and gift of His Father, be as surely yours as if you presented them in your own body and soul. And they would be accomplished in such a way that He would give life to and glorify you by the same efficacy by which the λόγος brought from death to life and glorified the humanity He had assumed. For that is the decree of God, His unchangeable will, on which we can safely lean. (pp. 18-19, Caspar Olevianus, An Exposition of the Apostles' Creed, emphasis mine)
What a wonderful framework Olevianus has given here - the view of all the doctrines the Creed touches on in light of the promise of salvation, and the effecting of that promise in the believer's life, by way of the life, death and resurrection of the Incarnate Son of God. Olevianus is very particular here to speak of the attribution of Christ's obedience, in His humanity, to every believer - and that this attribution, or imputation of Christ's righteousness is OURS by God's decree. If we looked upon every doctrine in this light - that God has covered our sin, that Christ has taken it and become sin for us, that we are the righteousness of God in Him - we would have a most God-glorifying perspective on all that we learn in Scripture. Thanks be to God for this writer from our faithful elder brother.

0 The Freedom of Wisdom and Discretion

This morning in my reading I ran across the following in Proverbs chapter 3:
21 My son, do not lose sight of these-- keep sound wisdom and discretion, 22 and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. 23 Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. 24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, 26 for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. (Proverbs 3:21-26 ESV)
What wonderful words of comfort these are, as we seek God's guidance through His appointed means - in His Word, we find instruction for our souls; in prayer, we find reliance and dependence as our hearts are attuned to seeking our Father's hand; in worship through the simple means of the preached Word and the Sacraments we are blessed. God promises to communicate to us and with us in these means, and to guide us and sanctify us as we walk in them. Thus fearing God, and seeking His ways, we shall keep sound wisdom and discretion - and in them shall be life, security and peace. It's a simple life, as we look to God for everything and seek to follow Him. We needn't fear, as God is with us and has covenanted with us to be our Rock and Fortress, our Beginning and End. There's no need for fear, for the only one who needs to fear being caught in the terror of the wicked are those who cast off God's bonds and seek to live autonomously, serving themselves rather than God. As we walk in the steps set forth for us, there is absolutely no danger that can overcome us, for we are His sheep. In Him we are FREE.


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