Why so much about Christ?

B.B. Warfield explains (with thanks to Carl Trueman for reminding us all of this superb statement).

It belongs to the very essence of the type of Christianity propagated by the Reformation that the believer should feel himself continuously unworthy of the grace by which he lives. At the center of this type of Christianity lies the contrast of sin and grace; and about this center everything else revolves. This is in large part the meaning of the emphasis put in this type of Christianity on justification by faith. It is its conviction that there is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only “when we believe.” It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in Christian behavior may be. It is always on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest. There is never anything that we are or have or do that can take His place, or that can take a place along with Him. We are always unworthy, and all that we have or do of good is always of pure grace. Though blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, we are still in ourselves just “miserable sinners”: “miserable sinners” saved by grace to be sure, but “miserable sinners” still, deserving in ourselves nothing but everlasting wrath. That is the attitude which the Reformers took, and that is the attitude which the Protestant world has learned from the Reformers to take, toward the relation of believers to Christ

Redemption and Suffering

The death of Jesus was qualitatively different from any other death. The physical pain was nothing compared to the spiritual experience of cosmic abandonment. Christianity alone among the world religions claims that God became uniquely and fully human in Jesus Christ and therefore knows firsthand despair, rejection, loneliness, poverty, bereavement, torture and imprisonment. On the cross he went beyond even the worst human suffering and experienced cosmic rejection and pain that exceeds our as infinitely as his knowledge and power exceeds ours. In his death God suffers in love, identifying with the abandoned and godforsaken. Why did he do it? The Bible says that Jesus came on a rescue mission for creation. He had to pay for our sins so that some day he can end evil and suffering without ending us.

Let’s see where this has brought us. If we ask again the question: ‘Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?’ and we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the answer is. However, we now know what the answer isn’t. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he is indifferent or detached from our condition, God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he was willing to take it on himself.

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, page 30

The Lord’s Supper and Children

No I don’t believe children should take the Lord’s Supper but I do believe it is important for our children to be present. Here are some words from John Brown (of Haddington) on the subject.

“About the eighth year of my age, I happened in the crowd to get into the church on the Sacrament Sabbath, when it was common for all but intended communicants to be excluded. The table or tables which I heard served, before I was put out, were chiefly served upon Christ, and in a sweet and delightful manner. This captivated my young affections, and has made me since think that little one should never be excluded from the church on such occasions. Though what they heard may not convert them, it may be of use to begin the allurement of their heart.” (quoted in Robert Mackenzie biography of Brown and from an autobiographical fragment).

Preliminary Notice – Spring Conference

We look forward (D.V.) to Pastor Jim Domm visiting us from Friday 4th-6th May 2011 to minister at our Spring Conference. Our plan is to run it as a kind of ‘mini-Family Conference’ – with some activities during some of the preaching sessions for children who attend with with their parents.

The subject I believe will be one we’re not very familiar with but which will undoubtably encouraging and edifying -‘The Kingship of Believers’.

The proposed schedule will be as follows:

  • Friday 4th 8pm 
    •  ‘Introduction’
  • Saturday 5th 9:30am-1:30pm
    • ‘The Fact of our Kingship’
    • ‘The Renewal of our Kingship’
    • ‘The Nature of our Kingship’
  • Lord’s Day 6th11:30am & 6:30pm
    • ‘The Present Implications of our Kingship’

Born and raised in New York State, Jim was converted in the summer of 1974. He has served as a pastor at Englewood Baptist Church in Englewood, New Jersey for the past 17 years. He and his wife, Brenda, have been married for 32 years. They have one daughter and one granddaughter.

More details to follow.