I only caught the very first portion, but I really enjoyed what Os Guinness had to say on The Bible Answer Man broadcast today. At one point he said, “Modern evangelicals have traded sola scriptura for sola cultura.” Bravo! I hear he will be back on tomorrow. Here’s some info.
Next, Richard Barcellos sent me a John Owen quote that is appropriate for today. It is from Owen’s commentary on Hebrews 8:6:
And as to what concerns ourselves at present, we are taught by that means, that it is our duty and our safety to consent universally and absolutely in the ministry of Jesus Christ. That which he was so designed to, in the infinite wisdom and grace of God; that which he was so furnished for the discharge of by the communication of the Spirit to him in all fullness; that which all other priesthoods were removed to make way for, must needs be sufficient and effectual for all the ends to which it is designed. It may be said, “This is that which all men, all who are called Christians do fully consent in the ministry of Jesus Christ.” But if it be so, why do we hear the bleating of another sort of cattle? What mean those other priests, and reiterated sacrifices, which make up the worship of the church of Rome? If they rest in the ministry of Christ, why do they appoint one of their own to do the same things that he has done, namely, to offer sacrifice to God?
Finally, I really love this passage:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. (Phil. 1:3-7, ESV)
Paul had very little in the way of correction/rebuke to offer the church at Philippi. That is why his letter is called the “epistle of joy.” And I think the reason is found here. He saw the Philippians as “partners in the gospel.” And it was their partnership in that gospel that made him confident of God’s work amongst them. He says it is right for him to have that confidence, for not only did he have a special place for them in his heart, but they had proven that that were fellow partakers of grace in two ways: they had supported Paul in his imprisonment, and they had joined him in the “defense and confirmation of the gospel.” Do you see the connection? Paul was confident that the work God had begun in the Philippians was real, the genuine article, because they, like him, were passionate about the defense and confirmation of the gospel. “Defense” here is, as you guessed, apologia. And confirmation is bebaiwsis, “establishing firmly.” Apologetics and establishment: the outward and inward applications of the gospel, perhaps? In any case, the Philippians understood the necessity of both, and as partakers of grace, joined him therein.
That’s how I feel about you, the faithful reader of this blog, listener to the DL, “channel rat” in #prosapologian, quiet supporter of Alpha and Omega Ministries. Over the past few weeks I have encountered some of the most hateful people I have ever encountered in the more than two decades of this work (and, as normal, most were not members of cults or isms, but claim to be some sort of “evangelicals”—the wolves barely bother putting on the sheepskins anymore), but such opposition has only caused me to think about how precious is the fellowship of the saints when it is based upon our common love of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. You truly mean a great deal to me, and though I often cannot respond to all the kind and encouraging e-mails sent to me, I do know that you are there and thank you for your prayerful support.