Finding Truth – Nancy Pearcey

Finding Truth, by Nancy Pearcey is another fine contribution thataa deserves to be read.  The author maintains with Romans 1 that all people have access to general revelation. As such:

  • We all have access to evidence for God through creation.
  • We all suppress the evidence for God from creation.
  • We all create idols to take the place of God.
  • God gives us up to the consequences of our idols to a “debased” mind.
  • God gives us up to the consequences of our idols – to “dishonorable” behavior.

Pearcey builds upon her earlier works, both of which are best sellers.  Total Truth argued for a unified view of truth and the obliteration of sacred/secular split.   Saving Leonardo   sought to help people develop skills in critical thinking.  Finding Truth introduces readers to five principles that help make sense of competing worldviews and make a positive case for historic Christianity.  The five strategic principles are summarized below:

  1. Identify the Idol.  Anything which is presented as eternal and unchanging is an idol.  This principle helps us get to the heart of mankind’s propensity to erect idols and bow down to them.  By way of contrast, Christianity refuses to begin with creation and an epistemological starting point.  Rather, the beginning of knowledge rests in a transcendent Creator who is sovereign over all things.
  2. Identify the Idol’s Reductionism.  Pearcey notes, “The link is that idols always lead to a lower view of human life … When one part of creation becomes deified, the other part will be denigrated.”  Reductionism, is, therefore, a fool’s errand as the creation is elevated to a status that God never intends.
  3. Test the Idol: Does it Contradict What We Know About the World?  Since idols always fail to satisfy, people will begin to realize that they cannot live according to the logic of their presuppositions.  They are either forced to live in the real world – which is to oppose their worldview or they live in accordance with their worldview which contradicts reality.
  4. Test the Idol: Does it Contradict Itself?  The competing worldview, at this point, becomes self-defeating.  The author notes, “Everyone who proposes a reductionist worldview must make a tacit exception for his own thinking – at least, at the moment he is stating his claims.  But that too creates a logical inconsistency.”  Thus the worldview fails.
  5. Replace the Idol: Make a Case for Historic Christianity.  As it becomes apparent that a competing worldview fails, the apologist must make a strong case for the viability and truthfulness of the Christian worldview.  “By identifying the points where non-Christians are free-loading, we can be confident that we are addressing areas where they sense the need for something more.”

Finding Truth is an essential toolbox for thinking Christians.  Pearcey does a dual service for readers as she not only instructs them to analyze and demolish competing worldviews (2 Cor. 10:5); she encourages readers to go deeper in the Christian faith which is informed by biblical reality and rock-solid facts.   A more accurate description, however, would be a treasure chest.  This is required reading which will only enrich one’s Christian life and effectiveness in the marketplace of ideas!

I received this book free from the publisher.   I was not required to write a positive review. 

BLOODGOOD – Dangerously Close

bloodgoodOver 30 years ago, I saw Bloodgood open for Stryper at the Paramount Theater in Seattle.  Even though I was fired up to see Stryper for the first time, I’ll never forget being blown away by Bloodgood.  They brought an energy to the stage that I’d never witnessed before.  But more important than energy was the gospel.  These four guys made it very clear they were Christians who just happened to be musicians who loved to rock.  The music never eclipsed the gospel; rather the gospel was only magnified by their music.

Bloodgood has returned stronger than ever with their first studio album in 22 years, Dangerously Close.  The rockers from Seattle are older and more seasoned.  David Zaffiro left the band years ago and has since been replaced by the virtuoso, Paul Jackson and more recently, Oz Fox from Stryper.

The album starts off strong with Lamb of God, an anthem that delights in the person and work of Christ:

He stretched out His arms to hold you/Gave up His life to know you/Lamb of God

On His knees He washed our feet/Poured His blood on the mercy seat/Told us to love one another/Lay down your life for your brother

Child on Earth  (a song that may prove to be the best track on the album) contrasts the righteousness of God and sinfulness of man in stark terms.  The Messiah is presented as the Virgin born, Son of God – the only One who can cover a sin-stained world.   It is a celebration of the protoevangelium (the first gospel) that articulates the redemptive purposes of the Messiah that Scripture prophecies in Genesis 3 and Isaiah 9:

My sin, my sin, has gone away/The Lord has set me free/My friend, my friend beginning and end, the Lord has died for me/Virgin birth, child on     earth/Crucified, pierced his side

The child grew and the cradle fell, crushing the head of the snake from hell

Several songs have a vertical dimension that catapult listeners to Scripture soaked lyrics.  I Will has a psalm-like feel that exalts the living God and expresses trust in his Providential care.  Bread Alone expresses complete confidence in God’s all-sufficient grace.  Pray is call to humble submission before a holy God who delights to answer the cry of His people.  And Run the Race challenges Christ-followers to live faithfully before God.

On a musical note: The guitar work on Dangerously Close is a feast for the ears.  These guys are a real delight to listen to.  I’ll admit my biases up front.  I’m a huge fan of Paul Jackson and Oz Fox, two guitar players who are underrated and deserve more attention.

Bloodgood is a different band with a different sound.    But one thing remains the same.  Bloodgood is committed to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, a message that rings loudly throughout their new album.   The cross stands at the center of the lyrical content – an emphasis that is missing in a lot of Christian music these days.  Dangerously Close is a solid offering that should please longtime fans and welcome new listeners to a very good band.

4 stars

Spineless: Restoring Courage and Conviction to the People of God

Spineless: Restoring Courage and Conviction to the People of God addresses the insipid kind of “Christianity” that has subtly slipped into the church. It carefully diagnoses the decline of Christian courage and traces its tragic demise. The book sets forth a carefully crafted plan for recovering lost ground in our generation. And it presents biblical strategies for restoring our spiritual muscle and sets a course for moving forward with bold courage and conviction in a world that is hostile to the historic Christian faith.

The Kindle version is available for a limited time for only $2.99!


“Every generation of church history demonstrates that the people of God must exercise courage and conviction in order to pass on the truth to the next. In our own generation, we have seen countless men and women capitulate God’s truth in exchange for cultural relevancy. Spineless is the manifesto we so desperately need. Thoroughly biblical, David Steele has served the church well by setting courage and conviction as the necessary virtues that will ensure that believers never surrender the high ground of God’s truth in Christ.”

DR. DUSTIN BENGE, Provost and Professor of Church History, Union School of Theology, Bridgend, Wales

Spineless is a call for courageous and convictional Christianity in the midst of an evangelicalism that is often more prone to capitulation than to fearless proclamation Author David Steele, identifies the problems afflicting both the church and the world but he is not content to simply “curse the darkness”; he shines the light back to the path of courageous Christianity. The need is great. The stakes are high. The time is now to stand up for truth and to stand confidently on God’s inerrant Word. Steele skillfully utilizes history, theology, and worldview scholarship as he illustrates the biblical call to courage. This book is biblical, timely, and needed. You will learn, grow, and be challenged to a life of courageous faithfulness. I recommend this excellently written work.”

DR. RAY RHODES, JR., Author of Yours, Till Heaven: The Untold Love Story of Charles and Susie Spurgeon and Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon.

“This is a timely call from Pastor Steele to avoid, in a time of great opposition to the Christian faith, the sin Christians fall into of passivity and cowardice. It is a helpful reminder of the importance of staying rooted in Scripture and being helped by the example of heroes of the faith, like the OT prophets, the apostles, the Reformers, the Huguenots, and the Puritans. Also being instructed by theologians like Luther, Calvin, Bavinck, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, J.I. Packer, C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer and Al Mohler in his book, The Gathering Storm. Specifically, strong Christians must settle the matter of worldviews, and be aware of the stark contrast between biblical Christianity and false religious and philosophical systems of our day, knowing that only the Christian worldview is sufficient.”

DR. PETER JONES, Director, TruthXchange; author of The Other Worldview, Escondido, CA

“My comrade in ministry has hit another home run with this book. One of the most detrimental quotes attributed to Francis of Assisi so many Christians have latched onto is the saying, “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary, use words.” Dr. Steele balances this ancient pragmatism with the facts that those who have most, and will most transform society are those who know the Word, are convinced and convicted of its authority and truth, and apply it daily in their thoughts, hearts, actions and proclamation of the gospel. Never more than today do we need men and women of conviction that know their Bibles and proclaim and live its message boldly with grace and truth. Thanks again, Dr. Steele for such a motivational manifesto to be theologically and theocentrically courageous in our time by speaking and proclaiming the gospel clearly and loudly.”

DR. DAVID P. CRAIG, Lead Pastor, Valley Baptist Church, San Rafael, CA

“In his latest book, Spineless: Restoring Courage and Conviction to the People of God, David Steele takes readers by the hand and guides them as only a pastor-theologian par excellence can into the rich soil of biblical-theological convictions that will help shape their lives. In our day, we need Christians who are unafraid of the truth and unashamed to stand upon God’s Word. David, in this work not only gives the correct diagnosis, but the remedy to the ills of why many Christians lack a backbone by steadying our gaze upon the biblical text and the person and work of Jesus Christ. By doing so, he helps his readers discover from the Bible and Church History how men and women of God have stood upon the truth of God’s Word with courage and conviction. Wherever you are at in your walk with the Lord and whatever station you have in the church reading, Spineless will help you grow and be shaped by the Word of God, for a life lived under the gaze of God, for the glory of God.”

DAVE JENKINS, Executive Director, Servants of Grace Ministries, Executive Editor, Theology for Life Magazine, Host, Equipping You in Grace, Teacher, Servants of Grace and Warrior of Grace Podcasts

“Drawing from the rich legacy of bold and courageous men of church history, and chock-full of sound biblical teaching, Spineless is a must read for all Christians who desire to boldly live with courage and conviction in an age of timidity and rampant compromise.”

JEREMY PICKENS, Senior Pastor, Good Shepherd Church, Ferndale, WA

“I not only highly recommend this book to you, but just as importantly, its author. Dr. David Steele doesn’t just write words well, he lives them out. His character is worthy of emulating and his writings should be read and reflected on. We need more men like Pastor Steele, men of Gospel grit, who confront our age’s spinelessness with courage and boldness.”

BRYAN PICHURA, Senior Pastor, Mount Olivet Church, Huron, SD

“The negative effects of pride and domineering church leadership have been well documented, but not enough has been said and written about the perils of cowardice and passivity. Drawing from Scripture, church history, and personal life experience, Dr. David Steele pens a well-researched book for Christians to get serious about being men and women of courage. The amount of relevant church history references in this book is stunning. It’s the kind of book that will be particularly suitable for young Christians.”

DAVID QAOUD, Associate Pastor, Blogger, Bethesda Evangelical Church, St. Louis, MO

Available now on Amazon

Theocracy – Remastered and Remixed (2007)

theocracyThe self-titled release by the Atlanta-based band, Theocracy first appeared in 2007 but has been out of circulation since that time.  For several months, fans have long-awaited for the release of Theocracy’s original album – an album that has been remastered and remixed.  On November 19, fans around the were thrilled to listen in to Matt Smith and the boys hammer out their unique style of Stryper meets Dream Theater heavy metal music.

Track by Track:

After a 80’s-like keyboard intro the album begins with a double-base drum anthem that celebrates victory in Christ.  Here’s a few lines from Ichthrus.

Forced into the catacombs
unite to praise the King of kings
they fear a revolution
and the power that He brings
heaven’s sons stand as one, as believers
in the blood of Christ
even in death we have true life


The Serpent’s Kiss begins as a ballad and speaks candidly about the curse of sin that has been inflicted on the cosmos.

Born into the darkness
thrown into the viper’s den
the serpent in the cradle
takes the child into its nest of sin
slowly suffocating
the souls of victims it has found
into the vicious cycle
on the path that only leads us down

Rat-race-fueled machinery
this system of corruption
have we become so cold and numb
we’re blind to its destruction?
We’re forging in the fires made of greed
Our idols made of gold
then bowing down before them
with corrupt, adulterous souls
opened eyes,


But the venom that has plagued mankind has been defeated by the power of the cross.  So the song continues …

I stand before you as a child
by this world I’ve been defiled
stained and poisoned, burned and beaten
bruised and wounded, sick and vile
with hands reaching out to you, I run
realizing what I’ve done
you take me in your arms, a reunited father and son…

The song is not only a powerful reminder of the gospel but also leaves listeners with a permanent and painful warning:

And all illusion ceases to exist
the world’s caress is just a serpent’s kiss

Mountain paints a vivid portrait of the journey that every Christ-follower faces.

Step by step the climb gets harder
my being weakens as I struggle farther and farther
flesh is weakness, darkness, sickness
my dreams are shattered, my ambitions crumbled
my will defeated, my spirit humbled once more
I am hopeless, helpless without you

The tune resembles John Bunyan’s classic work, Pilgrim’s Progress and leaves listeners with hope as they plod their way through the Christian life:

Take me to the places I can’t go
I’m sick of living in the status quo
New Beginning
And when it seems I’ve given up
On eagle’ wings you life me up again
and this time I know, in the end
…You carried me

The title track, Theocracy is a metal dream that challenges every listener with the direct claims of Christ’s lordship:

At the center of my heart there sits a throne
That the rightful occupant’s not always
free to call His own
For how can I give the King
His place of worth above all else
When I spend my time striving
to place the crown upon myself?

The chorus hammers the lordship theme with a holy vengeance:


2 Corinthians 10:5 is employed to remind Christians to submit every thought to the lordship of Christ:

and the would-be rulers of my heart
that I place upon the throne
each lead the kingdom of my life to ruin
to bring every though into submission
to tear the idols down
is to break the chains, to rearrange,
to give the king his crown

The Healing Hand is a powerful five-part masterpiece that begins with the prophecy of the Messiah – the hope of nations.  The tune leads listeners from the cradle to the Cross of Christ where the “healing hand becomes the bleeding hand.”

His kingdom forever, the Lion of Judah in strength
everlasting redemption, atonement complete
resurrected in power, as King now he stands

Faith-born forever, a part of His kingdom become
Or reject him, stand back
and watch his kingdom come
Alpha and omega almighty is he
Christ reigns victorious for eternity

Several more songs grace this stunning album.  There is simply too much to share in a short review in this format.  But suffice it to say, this piece of work by Theocracy is about as good as it gets.  The music is tight, the production is crisp, and the vocals are spot on.  Again, as I have noted elsewhere, Matt Smith is one of the premier songwriters of this day.  For whatever reason, he has gone largely unnoticed – a tragedy in its own right.  This young man should be commended for his God-given gifts.  But as every God-fearing man recognizes, all the glory goes back to the Giver of every good gift.

Thanks to Matt Smith and the band for writing such God-honoring music; heavy metal music that truly honors the Lord Jesus Christ and magnifies his gospel!

5 stars

Overcoming Apathy: Gospel Hope for Those Who Struggle to Care – Uche Anizor (2022)

Uche Anizor, Overcoming Apathy: Gospel Hope for Those Who Struggle to Care (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2022), 185 pp.

Apathy. It’s a word that is rarely used. Most people have little interest in admitting a propensity to apathy so it is best to set it aside. Uche Anizor is unwilling to ignore this problem that affects millions. Overcoming Apathy: Gospel Hope for Those Who Struggle to Care is an honest look at a serious problem.

Dr. Anizor sets his sights on spiritual apathy, or as he says, “indifference toward the core things that Christians should care about.” Anizor sets the stage by painting a bleak picture of the apathetic culture we find ourselves in. His concern is primarily a lack of spiritual zeal, what he helpfully defines as “spiritual intensity.” “Zeal,” writes Anizor “in the day-to-day is about being alive to the important things around us.” The remainder of the book highlights the massive problem of apathy that hinders so many people.

The author invites readers on a journey to the Greek world where he unpacks the term apetheia, which is loosely translated as “without passion.” The term, however, that best correlates to our current situation is the Greek word acedia, or “sloth.” The word means “indifference, apathy, exhaustion, or lethargy.” One writer refers to acedia as “the noonday demon.” This is the vice that plagues many people somewhere in the middle of the day. It is where laziness resides and lack of motivation takes root. “This unaddressed dis-ease is perfect soil for the devil to do his work.”

Depression, despondency, and dry spells are related to apathy and are explored in some detail. In the end, these vices steal our peace or what the Jewish writers call “shalom” and what Cornelius Plantinga refers to as “universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight – the way things were meant to be.”

Dr. Anizor explores the seven dead causes of apathy which include doubt, grief, triviality, feelings of inadequacy, lack of discipline, fragility, and lack of purpose.

An apathetic person may be described as a “weary soul” or a “flickering torch.” But Anizor is not content to let weary souls slide into hopelessness. He presents the cure for overcoming apathy, which is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, “the gospel is a drama in which God is the lead actor. It is an announcement of what God has done in Christ and in the Spirit.” He reveals how apathy may be conquered, healed, and forgiven.

Finally, Dr. Anizor shows readers how to combat apathy. Man-centeredness is a dead end. The gospel is the cure. “All talk about practices, habits, and virtues is sub-Christian if it does not have at the forefront Christ’s work as well as the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Overcoming Anxiety: Gospel Hope for Those Who Struggle to Care is thought-provoking, biblical, and deeply encouraging. I commend it without reservation.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

Deacons: How They Serve and Strengthen the Church – Matt Smethurst

Matt Smethurst, Deacons: How They Serve and Strengthen the Church (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2021), 166 pp.

For several years, 9Marks has consistently produced solid resources in their Building Healthy Churches series. The newest installment, Deacons: How They Serve and Strengthen the Church by Matt Smethurst is no exception.

Smethurst’s aim is stated at the begging: “The basic thesis of this book is that deacons – rightly understood and deployed – are an irreplaceable gift to Christ’s church. They are model servants who excel in being attentive and responsive to tangible needs in the life of the church.”

The author provides the necessary context and historical background behind the office of deacon. A basic job description is offered along with the biblical qualifications. The ministry of Christ is the ultimate model of what a deacon should aim for:

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42–45).

Deacons: How They Serve and Strengthen the Church is short, readable, and filled with powerful stories about the impact that deacons have on a local church. Every pastor should pay careful attention to this volume along with the others in the 9Marks series.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

Yours, till Heaven: The Untold Love Story of Charles and Susie Spurgeon – Ray Rhodes Jr.

Ray Rhodes Jr., Yours, till Heaven: The Untold Love Story of Charles and Susie Spurgeon (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2021), 208 pp.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Affectionately referred to as the “Prince of Preachers.” He is the most influential English-speaking preacher in church history. He is known around the world for his evangelistic zeal and his love for training pastors and planting churches.

Most Christians seem to know all about C.H. Spurgeon. But very few are acquainted with the love story between he and his wife, Susie. Dr. Ray Rhodes Jr. introduced Spurgeon’s wife in his outstanding book, Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, Wife of Charles H. Spurgeon. Rhodes picks up where he left off in his latest work, Yours, till Heaven: The Untold Love Story of Charles and Susie Spurgeon.

The author sets out to show readers the “depth of Susie’s commitment to Charles and consider how her devotion to him helped to make him the man we admire.” It appears the adage is true, “Behind every good man is a godly woman.” Such is the case here.

Rhodes chronicles the Spurgeon romance, engagement, and marriage. Readers who are unfamiliar with the depth of suffering that both Charles and Susie endured throughout their lives will be humbled and encouraged to see how they navigated thirty-seven years of marriage and managed to grow through every season of adversity. The Spurgeon marriage, while not perfect, is one that should be emulated by every Christian couple.

The Spurgeon’s modeled a deep love for the gospel, the church, the Word of God, family, and of course – one another. The mutual support they showed throughout their marriage is unrivaled and inspiring. I commend this work wholeheartedly and trust that it will receive a wide readership.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

Biblical Apologetics: How Shall We Respond to Unbelief?

photo of three person sitting and talkingUnbelief is in the air.  Unbelief is gaining ground in postmodern culture.  Over 100 years ago, the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great innermost corruption, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means is poisonous, stealthy, subterranean, small enough – I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind.”

The bankrupt philosophy of the so-called four horsemen of atheism continues to gain in popularity.  Why?  Apparently, unbelief is in.  Unbelief is hip.  But the question that is burning a hole in the table for Christians is this: How shall we respond to unbelief?  How shall we who have a heart for lost people answer when they malign the Christian faith and mock the very foundations of historic Christianity?

The apostle Peter instructs believers to respond rightly: “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV).  In other words, we must develop the mindset of an apologist (ἀπολογία).  John Frame’s definition of apologetics of helpful: Apologetics is “the discipline that teaches Christians how to give a reason for their hope … it is the application of Scripture to unbelief.”  Cornelius Van Til writes, “Apologetics is the vindication of the Christian philosophy of life against the various forms of the non-Christian philosophy of life.”  Tragically, the mandate to engage in apologetics often turns ugly.  Well-meaning Christians have turned apologetics into a nasty slug fest.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Notice six crucial principles of biblical apologetics.

1. Apologetics involves verbal proclamation

Christians are commanded to proclaim the good news.  The Greek word, “proclaim”  (κηρύσσω) means to announce or proclaim; to preach or publish.”  St. Francis of Assisi was on to something when he quipped, “Preach the gospel and if necessary, use words.”  The point: Make sure your life matches the gospel.  However, actions alone cannot convert.  Actions must be backed up with verbal proclamation.  “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, ESV).  Simply put, the gospel is meant to be published.  The gospel must be proclaimed.  Postmodern gurus and emergent sympathizers may be quick to downplay preaching and promote a “deeds not creeds” mentality.  Jesus disagrees: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14, ESV).  The first principle of apologetics involves verbal proclamation.

2. Apologetics involves bold proclamation

The New Testament apostles boldly proclaimed the truth.  Paul prayed for an extraordinary boldness (Eph. 6:19).  And Luke made it clear how bold proclamation characterized his ministry: “He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:30-31, ESV).  We too, must boldly proclaim the Word of God without apology.  Now is the time for bold and courageous proclamation.

3. Apologetics involves logical proclamation

Peter argues that we must “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you …” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV).  “Reason” (λόγος) involves a word, an utterance or reasonable speech.  The apostle Paul was quick to reason with the thinkers that flooded the first century marketplace of ideas:

  • “And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures” (Acts 17:2, ESV).
  • “So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:17, ESV).
  • “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks” (Acts 18:4, ESV).

We must be able to spell out the gospel message.  We must clearly and logically explain how a holy God created men and women in his image.  These image-bearers fell from God when they sinned which separated them from a holy God.  But God in his mercy, sent Christ – born of a virgin to live a perfect life, obey the law of God and die on the cross.  Christ satisfied  the justice of God and extinguished the wrath of God for every person who would ever believe.  On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead, conquered sin and death, opening the way to a restored relationship with God for anyone who would repent of their sin and turn to Christ alone for forgiveness.  It is our privileged responsibility to proclaim the truth of the gospel in a logically compelling way.

4. Apologetics involves hopeful proclamation

We offer a message of hope!  We offer a message that promises liberation (John 8:36).  It tells  sinners they can be forgiven; that they can be delivered from the penalty and power of sin; and one day they shall be free from the presence of sin (Luke 1:66-67; Acts 5:31; Eph. 1:7; Col. 2:13; Rom. 4:7; 1 Pet. 2:9).  Apologetics involves hopeful proclamation.

5. Apologetics involves faithful proclamation

This message of hope is for everyone.  Therefore, our task is to share this hope with people as we are given opportunity:  “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation'” (Mark 16:15, ESV).  The Great Commission involves faithful proclamation to all peoples (Rev. 5:9).

6. Apologetics involves Christ-centered proclamation

Peter makes it clear: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV).  First, we must maintain an attitude of gentleness (πραΰτης), which implies humility or an unpretentious spirit.  It involves a kind answer.  Additionally, we must be respectful (φόβος) as we engage in apologetics, a term that conveys deep admiration for another person.

Our response to unbelief is crucial.  The world is watching.  May our apologetics match the biblical model.  And may we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in a winsome and compelling way.  For in the final analysis, all of God’s elect will hear and believe.

“Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen” (Acts 28:28).

CHARLES HODGE: The Pride of Princeton – W. Andrew Hoffecker

0875526586_bWho says reviews don’t matter?  “I could not put Hoffecker’s book down.”  Seven simple words uttered by Dr. John Frame prompted me to pick up Charles Hodge: The Pride of Princeton by  W. Andrew Hoffecker.  The author makes a solid contribution to P & R’s American Reformed Biographies Series.

I first encountered Charles Hodge in Seminary.  His piece on the decrees of God made an indelible imprint on my mind and has influenced my thinking since those early days.  Hoffecker’s work puts skin on the bones that I was confronted with in my Seminary days.  Here we find a man of courage and a man of deep conviction.   Charles Hodge was a man willing to put his neck on the line and battle for truth.  He laid the groundwork for men who would follow and continue to fight on the theological battlefield; men like B.B. Warfield and Gresham Machen.

A few highlights worth mentioning include Hodges’ faithful fight against liberalism.  Like today, the liberalism of the 19th century was popular and would influence young minds if left unchallenged.  Hodge was not content to sit by idly.  He boldly confronted the pernicious error of 19th-century liberalism (which oddly enough is seeking to permeate the church once again – primarily through many emergent sympathizers).

The second highlight is Hodges’ unwavering commitment to Reformed theology.  Call him a guardian, a defender, an apologist – or just a diehard Reformed theologian.  Hodge may have been willing to sacrifice certain negotiable doctrinal points.  But he drew the line in the sand when it came to the doctrines of grace.

Charles Hodge is a model of teaching excellence.  He is a worthy example of what it means to stand for the truth in a dark world.  Young pastors and seasoned pastors alike would do well to emulate the courage and conviction of the Pride of Princeton – Charles Hodge.

Renewing Our Commitment to Biblical Authority

man in black long sleeve shirt writing on white paper

Yesterday, we examined three important truths that emerge in Psalm 19:7. We learned that the Word of God is perfect, that it is the means of conversion and that God’s Word is reliable and trustworthy. God’s Word is the anchor that enables us to stand firm in a culture that scoffs at the notion of absolute truth.

Now notice three more principles that rise to the surface in the Scriptures. First, God’s Word brings joy to the heart. The psalmist writes, “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart” (Ps. 19:8). John MacArthur adds:

Because it steers us through the right course of life, God’s Word brings great joy. If you’re depressed, anxious, fearful, or doubting, learn to obey God’s counsel and share in the resulting delight . . . Focus on divine truth. Therein you will find true and lasting joy. All other sources are shallow and fleeting. While temporary joy may certainly seem possible apart from God’s Word, true and lasting joy comes only as one subjects his or her mind to the truth of God’s Word.

Second, God’s Word is eternally true: “The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are altogether righteous” (Ps. 19:9). Time and again, the Scriptures bear witness to this fact. “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal” (Ps. 119:160). “Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true” (Ps. 119:142). The truthfulness of God’s Word remains constant despite those who seek to downplay the meaning of language or “deconstruct” objective truth recorded in God’s Word.

Finally, the Word of God gives us a standard to live by: “My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end” (Ps. 119:112). The Psalmist also writes, “I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws” (Ps. 119:106). Indeed, God’s Word is our divine blueprint for living. And God’s standard brings freedom to anyone who will submit to almighty God. “I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts” (Ps. 119:44-45).

God has given us his Word in the form of propositional truth; truth that he intends we obey. Therefore, let us recommit ourselves to standing under the banner of God’s revealed truth and obey our great God with a glad heart. Let us refuse to compromise the high and holy standard in God’s Word. When the world tries to squeeze us into its mold, let us stand together with bold resolve and commit ourselves to be people of the Book.

Standing on the Authority of God’s Word