Archive for February, 2014

Pre-Engagement Five Questions to Ask Yourselves

This is a great resource for the biblical counselor and those who are involved in a relationship whether engaged or about to be engaged.  Like other booklet in this series, this work doesn’t disappoint; it’s beautiful to see a work that has brevity, communicate simply and biblically while being tremendously helpful.  The author David Powlison is a wonderful biblical counselor who in this work asks a lot of great questions for those who are thinking about marriage.  While the subtitle of the book is “5 questions to Ask Yourselves,” really it’s a booklet of many questions (I lost track of how many), all of which are under five larger and more general questions.  I appreciate the author’s use of questions which makes it an ideal book to warm up discussions between couples and also offer something the Nouthetic counselor to work with.  It’s not just the questions that are good but also some of the practical tidbits the author gives.  For instance, I really appreciated the author’s point of answering the question of whom to look for counsel concerning the relationship and the decision of marriage.  Specifically, after saying that one should invite parental insight he acknowledges that strained parental-child relationship exists but that this should be a great opportunity “to seek to heal the breach,” something that is helpful in tying up loose ends of the past before going into a new marriage with unresolved baggage (26).  I started reading this book as a Pastor looking for good materials to go over with those who we are going over pre-marital counseling with and I not only recommend it, I am going to be using it.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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The Road to Serfdom

( Available on Amazon)

This is a classic political economical work that I finally got around to reading.  What made the book interesting even before I read the work is the story of its author, Friedrich von Hayek.  Hayek was at one time a prominent academic defender of socialism in his home country who later became an outspoken critic against socialism, communism and fascism.  An Austrian who experienced firsthand the rise of socialism and fascism in his own country, this book has a prophetic tone directed towards its English readers.  Hayek wrote this book from 1940 to 1943 during the height of World War Two to warn the English against adopting the same ideologies of the fascists they were fighting against; apparently fascists ideas have made inroads among some British elites.  Interestingly enough, the book’s prophetic flavor remains relevant today with its warning against statist economic policies.

Many things could be said about the content of this book.  A lengthy review would be impractical so what follows are some of the highlights.  One thing I appreciated from the book is Hayek’s discussion of planned economies.  “Planned economies” is truly a misnomer.  Hayek makes it clear that he’s not against planned economies per se, for instance in the case of individuals making rational economic decisions for themselves;  rather he is against the type of planned economies made by the government that comes with force from the rule of law.  His chapter on the relationship of planned economies and totalitarianism tells us one chief reason why government planned economies is bad.  I also appreciated the book’s discussion of Nazism’s socialistic roots which challenges the modern myths today that the Nazis were truly conservatives and right wingers in their values.  Readers who want to see the arguments further developed that the Nazis were socialists and left-leaning should consult the book Liberal Fascism, a wonderful work I read simultaneously with this book.  I also enjoyed Hayek’s last chapter which dealt with the suggestion offered by some that a global controlled economies is a great economic goal but Hayek argues that if planned economies can’t take off at the level of the state what makes one think it will work at a larger scale?  It will only make matters worst.  Great book!

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NOTE: We have written on the topic of “Strange Fire,” specifically the problems of Charismatic and Pentecostal Theology in the Asian context here on the blog in the past and will continue to do so from time to time in the future.

“Pastor” David Yonggi Cho is the founding pastor of the Yoido Full Gospel Church in the Assembly of God denomination and reputed as the world’s largest congregation.  There are concerns about his theology being biblical since he’s an advocate of Word of Faith teaching, among other things.

“Pastor” David Yonggi Cho was recently on the news this month, having gotten himself in legal trouble and found guilty by the court.  A Gospel Herald news article writes,

According to reports, Cho was identified as an accomplice through committing breach of trust in 2002 by ordering the church to purchase his elder son Hee-jun’s stocks at four times the market price. The transaction resulted in the church’s loss of 13 billion won (US$12 million). Moreover, Cho was also found guilty of tax evasion of 3.5 billion won (US$3.3 million). In the same ruling, Cho’s elder son Hee-jun, the former CEO of the church-affiliated local daily Kookmin Ilbo, was sentenced to three years in prison for colluding with his father in the embezzlement scheme.

Over at Charisma News, there’s even a piece titled Setting the Record Straight on David Yonggi Cho by a friend of his ministry for forty years that provides some more context, making the point that Pastor Cho was misled by his “prodigal” son.  I think it’s worth reading to see this situation as charitable as possible.

But even in the most charitable reading of this news there are legitimate concern from a biblically driven point of view especially with his ecclesiology and understanding of church office:

1.) Church buying stocks?  I think the church’s shouldn’t have it’s business in stocks in the first place.  One can see how a church driven by a prosperity message would be tempted to live out their pastor’s teaching and moves the church and the pastor stepping towards the direction of this scandal.

2.) The Charisma News piece is out to defend Cho by admitting this:

Cho has three sons. The second and third sons are very productive and work in church-related ministries. His eldest son has been the prodigal. He has been married four times and has been involved in sexual scandals with national personalities. In addition, he has served prison time for investment scams and embezzlement. His scandalized life has been an embarrassment to his family and the church.

I think this open up a whole can of worm.  Don’t forget the qualification for an elder/pastor in 1 Timothy 3:4-5,

“4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),”

Biblically speaking, “Pastor” Cho isn’t qualified to be a pastor; or if he was qualified he has disqualified himself beforehand.  I imagine it’s very hard to remove a charismatic, “successful” pastor on pragmatic grounds no matter what theological stripes you come from, but it must be even more difficult among Charistmatic circles with their ecclesiological baggage of a man of God being “anointed,” having special insights, revelation, etc., that gives more immunity than it is healthy.

3.) The Charisma News piece also mentioned that this “prodigal” son approached the dad with his dad’s choice elders to sign the paper work that got him in the quagmire.  It’s important to avoid appearance of evil–and that means family business and church funds shouldn’t mix in the first place.

4.) One can’t help but to wonder about the role of prosperity Gospel in all this.  In Cho’s book, Prayer that Brings Revival, he wrote “The gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for the asking. Healing, deliverance,  prosperity, and blessing are all to be asked for” (75).  With an unbiblical understanding of church leadership coupled with a wealthy church, a bad ecclesiology, and a prosperity gospel, you’re ASKING for this scandal.

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Sala Murat gallery in Bari Italy

(Pictured above are actual pieces that is part of the art display that was not thrown out)

I first heard of this news on Yahoo, which featured a short article titled “Cleaning woman in Italy throws out artworks:”

 A cleaning woman in southern Italy has unwittingly thrown away contemporary artworks that were supposed to be part of an exhibition.

Lorenzo Roca, head of the cleaning company, said the woman “was just doing her job” when she thought two artworks were part of trash left behind by those setting up for the show that opened Wednesday in Bari.

Show organizers said one of the works she gave to a city sanitation crew before dawn included pieces of cookies, which were scattered on the floor, as part of an artistic arrangement.

Roca said the cleaning company would use its insurance coverage to pay for the trashed art works, whose value was estimated at 10,000 euros ($13,700).

$13,700 for some cookies in the trash?  Is it really worth that much money in damages?  What was the art exhibit about anyways?

So I got curious and tried to do a little research.  I learned that the “pieces” thrown out was part of a larger complex display set up at the expansive hall of Sala Murat gallery in Bari, Italy.  The incident took place last week on February 19th, 2014, apparently the night before it was open to the public.

The exhibition is called “MEDIATING LANDSCAPE.”  According to the artists behind the exhibition, it was put together by “…artists, writers, and curators whose works are formally incorporated within the display landscape as a unified installation, blurring the boundaries of their practice.”  The group’s name is called Flip led by an Italian name Federico Del Vecchio and an American born lady name Ala Roushan.  On Flip’s frontpage there is more information about the intent of “Mediating Landscape:”

 The display object provides dynamic surfaces accommodating new modes of presentation, relations between exhibited artwork and spatial conditions. Participants include, artists, writers, and curators whose works are formally incorporated within the display landscape as a unified installation, blurring the boundaries of their practice. We are interested in the unpredictability of the narratives that arise from this type of organization specifically in the way individual artworks are mediated through the formal display.

Note the intent on “blurring the boundaries of their practice” and “We are interested in the unpredictability of the narratives that arise from this type of organization specifically in the way individual artworks are mediated through the formal display.”

Then two paragraphs later they go on to say the following:

There is definite anticipation for tension and dialogue throughout the process of production, display and setup of the works. These are the moments that we hope to elaborate through discourse and writing around the notion of display; touching upon issues of proximity, adjacency, space, form and objecthood as it evolves from reflections and development of this project.

It’s funny to see artists talk about tensions, dialogues and discourse and the theme of pushing the envelopment when it comes to space, conventions and interpretation.

It’s all cute and cool–until stubborn reality smacks hard against their post-modern sensibilities.

Here are my thoughts on the whole affair:

1.) It might be impolite to say at a Museum but since contemporary Post-Modern art is so bad, can you really blame the janitor’s mistake of art pieces for trash?

2.) For those who think art is totally subjective (note that I’m not denying that there’s no subjective elements in analyzing art) the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” has another corollary, “so is trashy art in the eye of the cleaner,” though it’s taken quite literally in this context.

3.) Related to the first two point, if “art” is crafted as an “anti-art” and presented in such a way that the reality of it as an artistic presentation is being blurred can you really blame anyone for not recognizing it as art?

4.) If the project as a whole sees virtue in making viewers question the narrative of formally displaying art and your art pieces get thrown out accidentally by a well-intention cleaning lady before the pieces were “installed” (FLIP’s own words), doesn’t that pull the rug underneath their very own project and aim? 

5.) Given the artists’ own words that “We are interested in the unpredictability of the narratives that arise from this type of organization specifically in the way individual artworks are mediated through the formal display,” they got what they asked for.

6.) On the one hand we already saw the quote from FLIP that “There is definite anticipation for tension and dialogue throughout the process of production, display and setup of the works.”  Yet on the other hand, “What has become shocking to us, in light of this event, is the scale of media attention it has attracted and added exaggerations around this incident.”  There is the tension that they claim they anticipate tension concerning the process of art with it’s feedback while later being “shocked” at what happened to their art display and the feedback.

7.) The cleaning lady unwittingly has become like the boy who cries out that the Emperor has no clothes: she exposes the insanity behind contemporary art’s love affair of post-modernity and anti-art “art.”  At root is an issue of worldviews and view of reality, and philosophy of art itself.  It is a worldview crisis.

For more on a Christian view of art, see my .

I also highly recommend the work Modern Art and the Death of a Culture Paperback by H. R. Rookmaaker which I read years ago and might read it again in the near future.

A case study: 

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Assurance of Salvation Series


We have completed our weekly series of outlines on the topic of Assurance of Salvation.

It was a joy to search the Scriptures and work on this outline that I find helpful to encourage God’s people in counseling to encourage believers to find their assurance of salvation and bear more fruit, joy in Christ, etc.

Feel free to share this and use it for God’s Glory along with the encouragement of believers and evangelism of unbelievers!

Here are the outlines:

Theological Foundation

1.) Assurance of Salvation Part 1: Why study on the topic of Christian assurance?

2.)Assurance of Salvation Part 2: Foundation for Perseverance of the Saints

3.) Assurance of Salvation Part 3: Perseverance means a Believer Endure

4.) Assurance of Salvation Part 4: Objections to Perseverance of the Saints

5.) Assurance of Salvation Part 5: Christians can Know that they are saved

The Test of Assurance of A Christian’s Salvation

6.) Assurance of Salvation Part 6: Do you understand the Gospel?

7.) Assurance of Salvation Part 7: Questions to examine ourselves Part 1

8.) Assurance of Salvation Part 8: Questions to examine ourselves Part 2

The Result

9.) Assurance of Salvation Part 9: Four kinds of people and the result of our testing in the faith


Assurance of Salvation Appendix: Test your faith Survey Questions List

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Liberal Fascism Goldberg

Most people misunderstand what fascism really is.  The stock response usually has something to do with Hitler and Nazi Germany (which they were).  While the Nazis were fascists, it does not follow therefore that fascism is the same thing as Nazism, since Nazi ideology wouldn’t make sense in defining Italian fascism under Mussolini.  This book argues the thesis that Left-leaning progressives have a lot more in common with fascism and that what fascism is creeping into the West in the form and imagery of contemporary “liberalism.”  This book is part history and part political commentary of today’s politics and makes for a fascinating read.  As a result of this book I want to explore the history of Mussolini’s rise to power in Italy, since the book argues that Mussolini was a lot more brighter than we give credit to him today since we see him as nothing more than a mere stooge for Hitler.  This book also makes me want to study more deeper the history of the rise of the Nazis since this book explores the question of how exactly did an evil government under Hitler ever achieved the power it had when there were many ordinary citizens in Germany.  How Mussolini and Hitler rose to power should be a cautionary tale of today’s rise of power of the Federal Government.  The author does a good job arguing that the Left’s caricature of Hitler and Mussolini as far right extremists is not accurate at all but they belong more appropriately with the Left with their socialism and Statism.  I also enjoyed the book for its discussion of Fascist economics; the author makes an excellent observation of how government regulation of business paradoxically brings in more business intrusion into government via lobbyists.  The explosive growth of lobby industry in Washington D.C. is a good example of that.  Can we blame the business if they are out to protect their interests when every regulation for an industry will impact them?  The unintended consequence of this is that big businesses in their industry have advantage for these regulations so as to kill smaller competitors with more regulations and need for more employees (and specialists such as lawyers, accountants, etc) to follow through with the regulation.  What you end up producing is a fascist-like relationship of government and businesses.  The irony of government intruding in business is that it brings every business interests into the affair of politics, either to go against a competitor or defend against a competitor.  There are so many other things that are insightful; one just has to read the book instead of a mere review.


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Go to Part 9


Purpose: Here is a summary list of questions to Probe the Assurance of your Salvation that we have gone over in this series.

If one wishes to probe it more in-depth with Scripture with each questions please consult Part 6-9.


1.) Do you truly understand and trust in the Gospel?

2.) Are you fellowshipping with God and God’s people?

3.) Do you live knowing and practicing the truth?

4.) Do you confess your sins?

5.) Do you follow God’s commandments?

6.) Do you reject loving the world more than God?

7.) Do you love Jesus and others?

8.) Has God changed you?

9.) Is the yoke of obedience lighter for you over the passing of time?

10.) Is God disciplining you?

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Here are some links for those interested in Presuppositional apologetics that went online between Feb. 14th-21st 2014.

What links did you enjoyed?

1.)Prescriptive Pluralism

2.) Apologetics: What’s the use!

3.) Christianity is Unique: Three Points to Emphasize in Biblical Apologetics with World Religions

4.) Borrowed rage: Steve Hays takes on some village atheists.

5.)  My 2 cents on Bill Nye the Anti-Theist Guy (Repost)

6.) Living Dangerously–Steve Hays on Tom Chantry criticism of John Frame, also a follow up with “Out of bounds.”

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What is Regeneration

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

This is a good short work on the doctrine of regeneration.  At first I wasn’t sure why the beginning of the book focused on the difference between the Gospel call versus effectual call.  The author demonstrated how the Reformed distinction of Gospel versus effectual call avoids the contradiction between the Bible’s description of resistible and irresistible calling and the case was quite compelling.  This led the author to observe that in both instances, the Gospel is present and that it’s not merely the presentation of the Gospel that lead someone to salvation; here the doctrine of regeneration enters the picture to explain why certain individuals do come to salvation.

The book gave a good definition of regeneration in a long and nuance paragraph.  In short, regeneration is “the work of the Holy Spirit to unite the elect sinner to Christ by breathing new life into that dead and depraved sinner…”  It’s important to define our terms in theology since the actual Greek word regeneration is palingenesia and is used only twice in the New Testament in Matthew 19:28 and Titus 3:5.  As the book pointed out, it’s only in Titus 3:5 that we see the more narrow and technical sense of regeneration being used.  But as any mature believer who have wrestled with the Trinity knows, deriving theology from the Bible is more than searching for certain theological terminology used in the Bible; one must ask whether the concept is communicated in the Scriptures using other motifs and terminology.  The rest of the book provides an excellent survey and study of the passages used to establish the doctrine of regeneration.  The book looks at Old Testament passages as well as the New Testament.  I was pleasantly surprised to find Old Testament references in support of regeneration.  I appreciated the author’s note of the grammar of the verses he examined to prove his point such as the use of the passive voice indicating that regeneration is the work of God and not of us.

This short work is an adaptation from the author’s longer work titled Salvation by Grace.  I suppose if one wants a deeper treatment on the topic of regeneration and effectual calling they can read this other work.  However I would say that there is still a place for the shorter work, especially for new believers, discipleship or devotionals that serve as a quick reminder for the believer.  I recommend this booklet.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by P&R Publishing and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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Greg Bahnsen sitting down

One of the apologists that has influenced me greatly is Greg Bahnsen, a protege of Dr. Cornelius Van Til.  Bahnsen has helped popularized and applied Presuppositional apologetics.  Unfortunately he went to the Lord rather suddenly but he was a good steward of the time God has given him on earth.

To celebrate and reflect on his life, on October 25-26th 2013 a Conference was commenced centered on Greg Bahnsen in Southeren California.

Four of the seven videos from the Bahnsen Conference are up online!  Thanks goes to Branch of Hope Church for hosting the conference and making the videos available.

As the other videos are made available, I’ll be loading them up on here as well.


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Review: Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor

I have never read a book on the Navy SEALs, but I was glad that I finally read it.  Definitely as a reader, you have to be discerning when reading the book because on various occasions, much profanity was used.  As a result, I filtered out the bad and took in the good.  You read it for what it is worth.  As a footnote, the author claims allegiance to the Christian faith, but his use of language and beliefs contradicts that.  It makes me wonder if the Gospel is understood authentically by some of those in the SEAL community that claim the Christian heritage.

At any rate, what I appreciated about this book was its transparency in terms of the training it takes to be a SEAL, the training during your time as a SEAL, and Operation Redwing that Marcus and the three other SEALs were involved. The author went to great lengths in describing all three foundational key moments that make up most of the bulk of the book.  I encourage readers who do not know much about SEAL life or those who aspire to be SEALs to read this book because Marcus goes to great details describing all three foundational aspects.

In regards to the training it takes to be a SEAL, Marcus takes you to BUD/S, which is a 6-month training course that test not only the physical component, but the mental component as well.  It is very fascinating in terms of the mentality you need in order to get through the training.  Everyday was pain for Marcus and the other men, but it was pain that was necessary in order to mend the men to be ready for SEAL life.  The only easy day was yesterday.

After BUD/S training, the training continues and is still demanding–although it is not like Hell Week, which is excruciating.  Another point to take mental note is the fact that the SEALs are not uneducated men, but they are intelligent men who are educated in other disciplines and men who are also highly trained in the art of war.  The different phases of training is staggering.  No wonder the majority of people fail to make it as SEALs.

The most eye-opening account is Operation Redwing whereby Marcus and three other SEALs are sent out to do a reconnaissance concerning a highly prolific terrorist figure who was responsible for the deaths of many Marines.  As the men go out on a reconnaissance, their mission becomes compromised because they were discovered by goatherds. To make the long story short, the SEALs decide the let the goatherds go freely.  Once they were freed, the goatherds went and told the terrorists; and that is when the hunt begins.  A hunt that led to the death of Michael P. Murphy, Matthew Axelson, Danny Dietz, other SEALs, and special ops personnels who attempted to rescue them, but were shot down while in a helicopter.  There is much that can be said about this book, but I just wanted to provide a brief summary.

If there is one major principle that I learned about this book is this:  courage, loyalty, and commitment.    As a Christian, many of those principles are imbedded in my Christian heritage.  If these men were bold enough to take on death, I as a Christian should be more propelled to go head strong against death because the Lord is with me.  I know where I will be when I take my last breath.  I am glad that I read this book and that I was able to extract some principles that will help me in my Christian walk.

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Shepherds Conference


This is a Conference that I look forward to every year.

There was a bit of a delay on their website with putting up the schedule but here it is finally!

Which sessions will you be going to?


8:00 am Registration
10:00 am

General Session 1: John MacArthur

11:30 am Lunch*
1:30 pm

Seminar Session 1

The Grand Itinerant
How the Preaching Ministry of George Whitefield Sparked the Great Awakening
Steve Lawson
Worship Center
Lessons from a Fellow Elder
Principles for Spiritual Leadership from the Life of Peter
Dave Muxlow
What’s Missing from Your Church Service?
Recovering the Two Most Neglected Components of Public Worship
Austin Duncan
J Basement
These Rocks Cry Out
Recent Archaeological Discoveries That Confirm the Bible
Michael Grisanti
Resident Evil
A Biblical Counselor’s Battle Plan for Fighting the Flesh
Carey Hardy
The New Antinomianism
Evaluating the Implications of Cross-centered Sanctification
Jerry Wragg
Red Light, Green Light
The Dos and Don’ts of an Effective Children’s Ministry
Matt White
Spanish Track
La Primacía de la Verdad Bíblica
Henry Tolopilo
2:45 pm Break
3:15 pm

General Session 2: Phil Johnson

4:30 pm Dinner Break
7:00 pm

General Session 3: Mark Dever


9:00 am

General Session 4: John MacArthur

10:15 am Break
10:45 am

General Session 5: Keynote Q&A

Noon Lunch*
2:00 pm

Seminar Session 2

Homosexuality and the Gospel
Al Mohler
Worship Center
The Glories of the Kingdom
Why Premillennialism Must Be True
Michael Vlach
What Nicodemus Should Have Known
Rediscovering the New Birth in the Old Testament
Bill Barrick
J Basement
One Nation under God?
Today’s Church and the Founding of America
Gregg Fazer
Diagnosing Dead Orthodoxy
How to Cultivate a Church That Loves Others as Much as It Loves Systematic Theology
Chris Mueller
Exegetical Malpractice
A Biblical Response to the Continuationist Position on Healing
Richard Mayhue
Spanish Track
La Primacía de la Verdad Bíblica y la Consejería
Michael Mahoney
3:15 pm Break
3:45 pm

Seminar Session 3

Boundaries and Bridges
Keeping the Faith and Guarding the Flock while Reaching the World
Phil Johnson
Worship Center
Turning Members into Ministers
How to Inspire Your People to Greater Involvement
Scott Ardavanis
When Home Is Where the Hurt Is
Counseling Families Affected by Spousal Abuse
John Street
J Basement
Hope, Holiness and Homosexuality
A Biblical Strategy for Shepherding Struggling Christians
Bill Shannon
Small Church, Big Impact
Embracing the Advantages of a Smaller Congregation
Lance Quinn
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Leading with Grace through Difficult Times
Chris Hamilton
Spanish Track
La Primacía de la Verdad Bíblica y el Evangelio
David Robles
5:00 pm Dinner Break
7:00 pm

General Session 6: Al Mohler


9:00 am

General Session 7: Tom Pennington

10:15 am Break
10:45 am

Seminar Session 4

The Great Commission as a Theological Endeavor Paul Washer
Worship Center
Closet Cessationists
How Continuationism Actually Affirms That the Miraculous Gifts Have Passed Away
Nathan Busenitz
Youth Ministy Q and A Austin Duncan, Andrew Gutteirrez, Andrew Curry, Chris Hamilton
J Basement
Where Loyalty meets Logistics
How to Excel as an Associate Pastor
Michael Mahoney
Shepherding Cyber Sin
How to Help Your People Overcome Common Online Temptations
Tom Patton
As a Dying Man to Dying Men
Preaching with Passion for the Honor of Christ
Alex Montoya
Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
How to organize a music ministry in your church
Clayton Erb
Choir Room
Spanish Track
La Primacía de la Verdad Bíblica y el Ministerio Pastoral
Luis Contreras
Noon Lunch*
2:00 pm

General Session 8: Steve Lawson

4:00 pm Dinner Break
7:00 pm

General Session 9: John MacArthur

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Spiritual Warfare A Biblical and Balanced Perspective

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Typically I avoid Christian books on spiritual warfare like the plague because the genre is flooded by works that are speculative, sensational and short on Scriptural support.  I was of the opinion that even the books out there that are biblically driven must not have much to say.  It’s with that prejudice that I must say I was pleasantly surprised and edified by this book.

In the introduction to the book, both co-authors Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura cautioned readers that when it comes to the topic of spiritual warfare one must avoid one extreme or the other:  there are those who are speculative and see spiritual warfare in everything that occur while on the one hand we have those Christians who fail to realize that there are genuine spiritual beings in the demonic realm.  I myself tend to fall under the latter.

The book is largely an exposition and application of Ephesians 6:10-20.  What surprised me with this work was how much it is driven by the exposition of the Scripture and no doubt one can tell from the book that both authors are expositional preachers.  Chapter one through thirteen breaks down Ephesians 6:10-20 with chapter one even providing the background of first century Ephesus to illuminate the topic of spiritual warfare:  It was a city of a large following for the cult of Artemis and hospitable to various occultic practices; elsewhere in Scripture we also know that the believers burned their magic books and a riot even ensued because of the commercial impact of occultic religious market as a result of the fear of the impact of the Gospel.  Beginning with verse ten the book exhort believers to be strong in the Lord (chapter one) then explained how God has given us resources for the Christian life of spiritual warfare (chapter two).  Both chapters three and four establish the need for why the spiritual armor provided by God is important and it was reminder for me to realize that the Christian life is warfare, with real enemies of God who want to see Christians fall, fail and be fruitless.

I can honestly say I learned some new things as a result of reading this book, even though I thought I was quite familiar with Ephesians.  The author did a good job of bringing a few exegetical insights from the Greek (such as observation of the significance of a verb’s tense, purpose clause, prepositions, lexical meaning, etc) and yet it was done in a way that was friendly towards a general Christian reading audience.  The footnotes in various chapters indicate that the two authors did their homework (for instance, their interaction with Ephesians’ critical commentaries) and also sought other insight of a more devotional flavor.  The book is a fine example of how exegesis can be practical for the Christian life!

I think the best recommendation one can give for a book is how it ministered to their lives.  As a result of reading this book I was encouraged to see prayer as integral to fighting the good fight in the Christian life and was convicted that my prayer life could be better.  I was also reminded that Satan really wants believers to fall and has many schemes against the believers, and how much more we should seek Jesus Christ for help and apply the provisions of grace given to us as a gift.

I recommend this book and I plan to read this through this again as a resource the next time I preach in Ephesians 6.

NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher Reformation Heritage Books through Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion. The thoughts and words are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.

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Go to Part 8


l. Four kinds of people and the result of our testing in the faith

i.      Establish the need: Have you tested yourself to see if your Christian faith is genuine?

ii.      Purpose: Today we will see four possible kinds of people who have not and have tested their salvation.

These are divided into those who have and have not tested their salvation:[1]

1. Those who are not saved and know it

2. Those who are saved are not sure of it

3. Those who are unsaved but do not know it

4. Those who are saved and know it

iii.      Two kinds of people who have not tested their faith

1. Those who are unsaved but do not know it

a. Proof:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many[a]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

b. Practice:

i.      Do you Jesus as Lord?  Make sure you are not in this category by testing your salvation.

ii.      Make sure you don’t only look at the good you do, but also the wickedness in your life as a red flag.

2. Those who are saved are not sure of it

a. Proof: These are the people whom Paul commanded: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you [e]fail the test?” (2 Peter 13:5)

b. Practice:

i.      Test yourselves!

ii.      Use this syllabus and listen to the audios from this series.

iii.      Why would you not want to make sure you are saved?

iv.      Two kinds of people who have tested their faith

1. Those who are not saved and know it

a. Proof: These are the kind of people described here: “37 Now when they heard this, they were [aj]pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “[ak]Brethren, [al]what shall we do?” (Acts2:37)

i.      To which Peter responded: “38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you bebaptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.

b. Practice:

i.      Repent and believe!

ii.      Look at the promise of Romans 10:9.

2. Those who are saved and know it

a. Proof:For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him [a]until that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

i.      This is Paul’s last epistle.

ii.      He is finishing the Christian life strongly (cf. 2 Timothy 4:6-8)

iii.      Note the verse why he experience suffering and was able to go through it was because “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him [a]until that day.”

b. Practice:

i.      Praise the Lord you are saved!

ii.      Understand the Reality: It is not always constant that assurance; for instance we might have sin grossly and experience guilt.

iii.      Therefore: 2 Peter 1:3-11 is important.

[1] The idea of the four kinds of people comes from R.C. Sproul, “Four Kinds of People” Can I Be Sure I’m Saved? (Grand Rapids: Reformation Trust, 2010), 74.


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Here are the links between February 7th-14th, 2014 on Presuppositional apologetics.

What are the links you were blessed with?

1.) Dear Presuppositionalist

2.) “Genesis is not a science textbook”

3.) What is YOUR Worldview? Interview with James Anderson

4.) Common Objections: The Old Testament is Full of Rape, Murder, Slavery, Homophobia

5.)Greg Bahnsen’s Commentary on His Debate with Stein

6.) Where the Bill Nye v. Ken Ham Debate Went off Track

7.) Treading Through the Tenets:Cumulus Clouds or Cognitive Concrete?

8.)Naturalism and Induction


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