What Wondrous Love!

“What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to lay aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
to lay aside his crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
to God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM,
while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
while millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free I’ll sing and joyful be,
and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and through eternity I’ll sing on.”

Be Followers of Me

“This habit that modern people often have of thinking and speaking of the new birth as if it could be perceived in the soul and is something to be possessed in themselves is a great snare to many humble and earnest believers; it drives them to despair or turns them into hypocrites, for though they try to live up to “born-again and converted” lives, they know secretly how sinful they are, and that considered in their deepest selves they are not new creatures. That is not the way of Jesus but the way of the Pharisees. Just as it is not in ourselves that we have to seek our righteousness but in Christ, so it is not in ourselves that we have to seek our new birth but in Christ alone. The animal is made to have its life in its own carnal experience, but man is made to find his life in God and not in himself. The Christian who lives out of his own experience of new birth is a carnal Christian, and has not yet learned to know that new birth is from above, and is of the Spirit, and therefore that it cannot be discerned below but only discerned above in Christ.

….Nicodemus was a deeply religious man, but it was precisely to him that Jesus spoke so strongly of the need for new birth and birth from above. There was another Pharisee of whom we know much more than Nicodemus, Saul of Tarsus, who had an outstanding conversion which changed his whole life and who, as born again and baptized in Christ, was known by a new name, Paul. But Paul never spoke of new birth or of conversion as a psychological experience; from beginning to end it was of “the new man in Christ” that he spoke, because it is in Christ that we are given to share in the new life of the new creation. It is in St. Paul that we find the perfect fulfillment of what Jesus Christ taught to Nicodemus, and it was St. Paul who said,’Be ye followers of me, as I am of Christ.'”

T.F. Torrance, pg 74-75 “When Christ Comes and Comes Again”

The Word Was “A God” ?

Much has been made by Jehovah’s Witnesses and other groups of the absence of the article in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was A God,” is the preferred translation of such cults. There are good grammatical reasons to reject this translation and interpretation, but Arthur Wainwright (The Trinity in the New Testament, currently in print from Wipf & Stock) provides some additional contextual reasons. He points out that “THEOS is used with or without the article indiscriminately in the New Testament. In the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel it never has the article except in verses 1 and 2. In verses 5, 12, 13, and 18 it appears without the article” (p. 60).

So if the anarthrous form means “a God,” then, if one is interested in consistency, these other verses should also be translated as “a God.” Thus, John was a man “sent from a God” (v 6), and we become “children of a God” (v 12) through the will of “a God” (v 13). And “no one has seen a God at any time” (v. 18).

How does the New World Translation do? Verse 6 is translated, “There arose a man that was sent forth as a representative of God: his name was John.” Verse 12-13 is, “However, as many as did receive him, to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name; and they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from God.” And verse 18 is, “No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is the one that has explained him. ” In short, the translation of John 1 is, shall we say, something short of consistent.

Peter J Leithart.

Recommended Reading

We need a passion for Christ that cannot be quenched, a passion that is acted upon not merely fondly thought about and rooted for.

I am currently reading Dangerous: Engaging the People and Places No One Else Will. And while I am thinking hard about a passion for Christ and acting upon it, I read this:

There comes a point where you have to get tired of being inspired. We have entire industries that flourish on the idea of ‘inspiration.’ Songs to get you pumped up. Movies to make you feel heroic. Sappy Christian stories to ‘inspire’ you. At some point you have to get tired of reading books and watching movies about people who do interesting, courageous things, and begin to do those things yourself. Or let the dream die.

You need to read Dangerous by Caleb Bislow. It is, well, inspiring. He makes me want to go against the grain of conventional thought in missions.

Lots of praying to do.

And in our doing and acting on our passion for Christ (or Christ’s passion in us acting upon, in, and through us), as Christians, we need to know what other religious sects believe. Not everyone who claims Christ are true believers or claiming the true Christ – or denying Christ for that matter. With that said, we need to know what others believe. Here are three religious sects you should be aware of and know what they believe so you can share Jesus effectively.

Facts on the Mormons by John Ankerberg.

Facts on the jehovah’s Witnesses by John Ankerberg.

The Facts on Islam by John Ankerberg

Every so often I ask people questions. Not because I don’t have answers. I do have answers to these questions. But I like to get other people’s perspectives. Some answers are what I call Jesus Juke answers – you know the answers that spiritually trump all other answers – which drives me nuts. It’s like people don’t realize these other books and resources are good gifts of God through people writing books and resources to help, as well – so we can better prepare and think rightly about Scripture so we are prepared properly for the battle of engaging others for Christ. But I digress…

The first question I asked some friends:

1) What are your top 3 books that have helped you most in apologetics / sharing the Gospel to people?

Slightly different, although, very much related to my last question:

2) What books / resources have you used that prepared you to share the Gospel with specific people groups? (i.e. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, etc…)

I will share some of the answers I am given.