A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Tag Archives: Bible

How do the deaf hear the gospel?

That is a good question to ask a lady called Jean. I have had a really wonderful evening hearing of the missions work among the deaf in Austria. I must say any day I hear of God’s glorious works in the salvation of any soul I am always intrigued and amazed. This time I was glad to hear of how the gospel is spreading among the deaf in Klagenfurt, Austria. Jean Ellis has given over thirty years of her life to work in Austria.  Her ministry in affiliation with Grace Baptist Mission (GBM) has almost been exclusively among the deaf and their families. By God’s grace some have come to repentance and faith in Christ and by the grace of God the number of deaf believers is growing who are now led  by local sign language using pastors grounded in sound Biblical teaching. The work in Austria has been blessed with conversions and even baptisms.

The work among the deaf:

There have been many challenges in the work; part of the challenges were to translate the Bible into Austrian sign language, prayers of the leaders and new believers. Much prayer is still needed for missionaries to this community group (as well as to many missionaries to deaf people around the world). More missionaries are needed to special needs people whether deaf, blind or mute. Why? Because we as believers have an obligation and a commission from the Lord to spread the gospel. Besides…

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? [Rom 10:14]

May God send workers in to the harvest. May the Lord equip the workers for the harvest. May the glory go to Him alone.British sign language letter A

Take the Calvinism Test.

The label Calvinist is thrown about flippantly. In some circles it’s used with a snarl and a growl. In most cases people do not actually know what it means. However Times Herald has noted that….

 This label that once was considered very bad in almost all Christian circles is enjoying incredible new popularity. Surging numbers of Christians are attending Calvinistic conferences and reading Calvinistic books and articles.

Calvinism is still misunderstood and is recovering from so many decades of bad press. In spite of that, however, more people opening called themselves Calvinists or variations of that, like mild Calvinists or moderate Calvinists. Have you been labeled a Calvinist? How can you know if you or someone else is such an animal? In a moment I’d like to give you a simple test to determine just that.

The nickname Calvinist comes from the Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564). Although John Calvin taught through books of the Bible day-by-day in Geneva, Switzerland, he is known mostly for teaching that God is sovereign over the salvation of sinners. He taught that God chose to save some people before time began, and then predestined that they would become believers in Christ. …Read More!

William Booth on Missions

“‘Not called!’ did you say? ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there. And then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world.” – William Booth

 

Jim Elliot on Missions

“You wonder why people choose fields away from the States when young people at home are drifting because no one wants to take time to listen to their problems. Ill tell you why I left. Because those Stateside young people have every opportunity to study, hear, and understand the Word of God in their own language, and these Indians have no opportunity whatsoever. I have had to make a cross of two logs, and lie down on it, to show the Indians what it means to crucify a man. When there is that much ignorance over here and so much knowledge and opportunity over there, I have no question in my mind why God sent me here. Those whimpering Stateside young people will wake up on the Day of Judgment condemned to worse fates than these demon-fearing Indians, because, having a Bible, they were bored with it—while these never heard of such a thing as writing.”
Jim Elliot

 

5 Distinctives of the ‘Reformed’ Faith…

5836-reformation-wall-geneva-four-genevan-reformersA series of five messages by Tom Chantry on the definition of ‘Reformed’. The subjects are neither the Five Points nor the Five Solas. Rather, they define the word ‘Reformed’ in five distinct but complementary ways. We examine the Reformed Perspective on the Bible, on History, on Salvation, on the church, and on the Christian life.

1) Scripturally Reformed– A Reformed perspective of Scripture: Reformed Christians stand with other Evangelicals in affirming the inspiration, infallibility and inerancy of the Bible. We go further, though, in defending both the clarity and the sufficiency of Scripture. These convictions determine our approach to the Bible – the manner in which we study, interpret, and teach its truths. A church which believes in the sufficiency of Scripture will emphasize the ministry of preaching, and the Bible will be central to everything it does. [Download Here]

2) Confessionally Reformed – A Reformed perspective of History: Scripture teaches us certain things about the history of mankind which should impact the manner in which we look at all of history, including the history of the church. Being convinced that sinful men have not changed, we understand that the problems of each age are not really new.

…Read More!

I’ve heard that before: “Don’t give us Doctrine, we just want to follow Jesus!”

You have heard this countless times haven’t you? “Don’t give me doctrine, I just want to follow Jesus”, what they are really saying is “give me law, not gospel. They are asking for more imperatives and less indicatives. They just want something practical.” But how is this any different than Mormons or theological liberals? Fact is, we need a Savior, not just a moral example. The truth is …

follow jesusYou could not have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ without knowing its contents. You did not just follow a generic Jesus. To be saved you understood that you had no self righteousness of your own and you trusted in Christ’s finished work… which included His living the life you should have lived and dying the death you deserved. This is doctrine. The idea of simply “following Jesus” is requiring more demands of the law because you are looking for Jesus to tell you something you can do. But you need the gospel, not merely law, to be saved or to grow in grace. Indeed following Jesus springs out of a renewed heart. As Christians we only follow Jesus when we know Who we are following and as such we need to preach the gospel to ourselves daily. …Read More!

Many ‘Christians’, many symbol carrying followers but few believers.

fish symbolMy generation has seen one of the highest number of people calling themselves Christians than ever before. On one hand this has been good -on the other hand it has been frankly nauseating. What with all that is going on in the name of Christianity on television? Christians especially where I hail from have become complacent. We hardly have any zeal for the things of God unless it comes wrapped around the wrist of a pastor jumping out of a helicopter with the flash and bang of a Hollywood special effects production team. There is no other fitting message for my generation than the letter to that ‘self sufficient’ lukewarm church that nauseated Christ -the Laodicean church in Revelations. I do hope this excerpt wakes up some….

In His letter to the church of Laodicea, Jesus warns us about the danger of self-sufficiency. Laodicea was a wealthy banking center and proud of her rich resources. In AD 60, the city was destroyed by an earthquake. Rather than accepting aid from the Roman Empire, the people of Laodicea refused any help and rebuilt the city themselves with their own resources. They did not need anyone’s charity.

Yet, while Laodicea appeared to have everything, it actually lacked the most basic of resources — water. Unlike the mountain towns that had cold water streams or nearby Hierapolis that had access to hot springs, Laodicea had no water supply of its own. Water had to be piped in through aqueducts. By the time it arrived, the water was lukewarm and full of sediment. Cold water is good for drinking, hot springs were reputed to have healing qualities, but lukewarm, sediment-filled water neither refreshes nor heals. It is disgusting. …Read More!

Two Pastors: Word of Faith Vs Reformed Theology Discussion

Pastors Fred Price Jr (Word of Faith) and Saiko Woods (Reformed) discuss their different theological differences.

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Ha! Louie Giglio the “Accidental Hero”?

louie-giglioA hundred to two hundred years ago (just like two thousand years ago) there were bold preachers who preached with Bibles laid wide open and read aloud the text for the people to hear the word of God. Most of these stood on street corners and market places and they reasoned and persuaded men to consider their ways in light of the holiness of God. In more recent times most ‘men of God’ prefer to be popular and few now preach on sin or even call people to repentance. It’s actually more lucrative to hold motivational lectures on personal self esteem and significance. These are topics that have fifty one shades of grey and are liked by the main stream audience.

Recently one popular conference speaker and pastor, Louie Giglio, was hand picked to offer his pastoral blessings and benediction at the soon coming presidential inauguration. An apparent invitation too big to turn down for the popular man of God. However what happened next can only be described as a comedy of errors. Sexual liberation groups picked on an old sermon preached over fifteen years ago on “repentance and sin” leading to Louie being dis invited (or did he dis invite himself?). Some pastors like John Piper were quick to tweet and  call him “a hero” but was he really?

Pastor Louie later [as noted by Ken Silva Apprising Ministries and  Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith radio in link and audio below] seemed to reluctantly admit that he no longer is keen on stressing some of the things he was passionate about: …Read More!

The (Perspicuity) Clarity of Scripture:

Many keep saying that the Bible is not clear and therefore we can all dive in and interprete it whichever way we want to and draw forth whatever we can make of it. Well regarding the Clarity of Scripture….

clarity“The Scriptures are clear and perspicuous in all things necessary to salvation.  We allow that there are doctrines revealed in the Scriptures which surpass the comprehension of created beings, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the eternal generation and the incarnation of the Son of God.  These are mysteries which we cannot comprehend, but the doctrines themselves are plainly taught in the Scriptures, and we must receive them on the divine testimony.”
We also admit that in the Scriptures there are some things obscure and ‘hard to be understood.’  But this obscurity is chiefly in history and prophecies, which do not so nearly concern our salvation.  As in nature everything necessary for the support of life occurs almost everywhere, and may be found on the most easy search, while other things less necessary, such as its gems and gold, lie concealed in certain places, and can only be discovered and obtained by great exertions and unwearied industry; so there are things in the Scriptures, ignorance of which will not endanger the salvation of the soul, that are abstruse and difficult to be understood, even by those who possess acute minds and great learning.” …Read More!

Softening the Truth to Accomodate Prevailing Taste?

“The Bible is the grand repository … It is the complete system of divine truth, to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be taken, with impunity. Every attempt to disguise or soften any branch of this truth, in order to accommodate it to the prevailing taste around us, either to avoid the displeasure, or to court the favour, of our fellow mortals, must be an affront to the majesty of God, and an act of treachery to men.” — John Newton

HT Sacred Sandwich via FB

So, what does this Bible verse mean to you?

This video clip covers a very important subject, the interpretation of Scripture. If we were to say that God’s word can mean different things, then the word of God doesn’t mean anything at all. The problem here is that relativism was creeping into the Bible study. Matt Slick also says something interesting:

The danger in this is that if taken to its logical extreme, verses could mean anything we wanted them to mean. With no absolutes to draw from, apostasy would begin to creep in. For example, I am reminded of how some major denominations are actually putting millions of dollars into studying the issue of homosexuality to determine to what extent people can be held responsible for this sin… if they determined that it is a sin at all! This, of course, leads down the road apostasy and needs to be stopped.

So I ask you. When you study God’s word devotionally, or otherwise, do you hope to find what it actually means so you can subject yourself to what it says, or do you try and find a meaning for Scripture that suits your needs, your feelings, and your desires? …Read More!

Never read a bible verse (in isolation)!

Lost in translation!

My good friend Jim Bublitz went to be with the Lord earlier this year however some of his articles on his blog (The Old Truth) still speak volumes. Like this one…

You’ve likely heard the phrase in real-estate, that what matters is “Location, location, location“. The idea behind that holds true in bible study as well, and perhaps could be better stated “Context, context, context“. Failure to obey this rule will result in devastating consequence in your understanding of the bible. It’s possible that by ignoring context, we can come up with a meaning for a bible verse that is completely different than what the Holy Spirit intended. In this post we’ll take a look at one passage where today’s church has done exactly that.

You might remember me bringing up the “inspirational” wall calendar with scripture passages on it, in which one of the months said this: “If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” Apparently, nobody bothered to check the context of that text, because if they had, they would have found out that it was actually Satan speaking (Luke 4:7).

Context is so important, that the folks at Stand To Reason sell a booklet entitled “Never Read a Bible Verse“, never read one all by itself that is. You should always read the surrounding verses and chapters, etc. It’s actually dangerous to read a bible verse in isolation.

Oh, how I wish the seats in church were a little firmer.

Do you want sofa settees in church?

Evangelizing children and training them in godly precepts is indeed tough. Truth be told, discipleship (whether at home or church) like any apprenticeship can actually be dull, tedious, and hard. In fact the results of mastering the doctrines taught may not necessarily be immediate. But this does not mean we ought to take short cuts nor does it mean we should slacken up by bringing in these bells and whistles to create a “fun environment” or cushioning the seats in church (though there is nothing necessarily wrong with that). Starr Meade makes a good point

When it comes to evangelizing our children, I suggest that the best thing we can do is to provide diligent, systematic teaching, both of redemption history (Bible stories) and doctrinal truth (what God meant to communicate through those stories). It will take years to evangelize children through such involved teaching-but then, God entrusts them to us for years, doesn’t he? Great trees require years to grow, but they stand strong, resistant, and fruitful through decades.

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A good Bible for people with English as a second language.

Ever thought of getting a Bible for a Muslim, Hindhu or Chinese friend or new convert who has English as a second language? Or wondered which version to get your 8 year old who wants to read the Bible from cover to cover? The Bible (narrative and illustrated version) could be the one you need. Dr Keith J. White, inspired by William Tyndale and Pandita Ramabai has tested this version for over 15 years with people from all over the world. He has also seen different people   come to understand and grasp fundamental aspects of Christian doctrine through reading the Bible. The Bible, which is a New International Reader’s version is ideal for parents to read aloud to their children or for teachers in classrooms. It is a wonderful single column Bible that makes Bible study easier and coupled with over 5,000 notes and over 500 colourful paintings and illustrations by Andy Bisgrove. (I managed to get a copy for my library…okay my wife got it and here it is)

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This is one of the most radical editions of the Bible since Gutenberg. It has 500 original illustrations, and has been produced for people of all ages from non-Christian and non-western cultures and backgrounds. Text is set crisply and without interruption using a simple method to denote the primary narrative (single column as in a novel or short story). The rest of the Bible (lists, laws, poetry, letters etc) is set in double column. There are thousands of notes in the margins; maps are placed where needed; so that the first-time reader knows help is at hand should it be needed. The Bible version used is the NIrV (created for readers of English as a second language). …Read More!

The Japanese and Alcohol

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The bible does not prohibit the drinking of alcohol but warns against drunkenness. It doesn’t command complete or total abstinence but emphasizes it. Japanese have a rightly worded proverb on alcohol:

First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man. ~ Japanese Proverb

Medallist Will Claye and his Bible at the Olympics

 

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One interesting pose during the Olympics – Will Claye the long jump Bronze medallist with his well worn Bible. I hope it’s not just a shtick for “good luck” but he actually reads it. But I really loved the picture!

 

Is it true that Illuminati are taking over the music industry and the church?

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You have heard of conspiracy theories. They are all over the place. Trying to join the dots is like chasing rabbits through rabbit holes. Should a Christian be interested in conspiracy theories?

Who killed JFK? What is the Illuminati? Was there equipment on the space shuttle that caused earthquakes? If God reveals the answer to any of these speculations, we should be thankful He has brought light to our mysteries. If not, we should leave well enough alone—especially if dwelling on those mysteries brings fear.

On one level, conspiracy theories are entertaining. Trying to connect the dots through disparate historical events brings a sense of order to chaos. Speculating about mysteries incites a titillating anxiety of the future that relieves boredom and distracts from more pressing dilemmas.

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On the Road to Emmaus with Rick Warren (While Tweeting)

There’s never a dull day when Rick Warren gets to tweet ‘pearls of wisdom’. He is the Evangelical pope isn’t he? He is of course America’s pastor and what he says will trend in the high ways and byways of evangelicalism. Ever since we exchanged our bibles for that good, well written and inspired church growth purpose driven manual of his we have never looked back.
Why do many people think that Jesus was the fulfilment of the old testament prophecy and expectations? They think He is the one that the Bible is all about! And I am very happy that Rick put these people back in their place with a very well timed ‘tweet’. And that settles it. Yippee!

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If only I could walk with a wise man like Rick on the road to Emmaus and he would exegete Scripture. I would ask him to begin in the Old to the New Testament and explain to me what verses like these ones by (umm Jesus) mean:

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:27)
You search Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me (John 5:39)

Oops! Those verses will make him put his foot in his mouth! …Read More!

Bible Trivia: 10 Questions to Test your Bible Knowledge.

Well, if you are ready and armed with a Bible then here we go with a few easy trivia questions 😉

A: What is the shortest verse in the Old Testament?

B: Where in the Bible do you find a father who had 88 children?

C: Saul was the first king of Israel.  Who was the second? (It wasn’t David)

D: Who is the only person in the Old Testament mentioned as being buried in a coffin?

E: How many times does Eve’s name appear in Genesis?

F: Who are the only three angels mentioned in the Bible by name? …More Questions!

Ten reasons why we will hence forth do no ‘Altar Calls’. No, the piano isn’t broken.

You can imagine the uproar that could occur if the above notice met congregants to most mega churches. Well not only mega churches do ‘Altar Calls’ but most churches I know do. We all know when that moment is a bout to be breached….when the pastor gives a nod and the pianist and worship leader begin to take their places.

But what’s wrong with the ‘Altar Call’ you ask? Well here are ten reasons but first Thabiti Anyabwile humbly explains:

I’m sometimes asked by people why we don’t do “altar calls” at our services. Like the people who ask the question, the churches in my personal background pretty much all practiced “altar calls” at the conclusion of a sermon or service. I’ve seen them done in very poor fashion, and I’ve seen some pastors be really clear about the gospel, repentance, faith, and the fact that “coming forward” does not save. I date my own conversion to the preaching of Exodus 32, which concluded with an altar call.

So, why don’t we practice “altar calls”? I don’t think the pastor who practices an “invitation” at the end of a sermon is in sin, but he may not be acting wisely either. This list of reasons, compiled by Pastor Ryan Kelly of Desert Springs Church, is a pretty good summation of some of my thinking (HT: Z).

1. The altar call is simply and completely absent from the pages of the N.T.

2. The altar call is historically absent until the 19th century, and its use at that time (via Charles Finney) was directly based upon bad theology and a man-centered, manipulative methodology. …Read More!

Barcodes and microchip implants for babies out now?

Well I don’t know how this piece of news will be taken. Some will say, “Aha! It’s the mark of the beast being unleashed!” Others will…well let me not speculate. You see The Daily Mail recently published that…

Barcodes and microchips could be found on nearly everything these days, but could humans be next?

American science fiction author Elizabeth Moon raised a few eyebrows last week when she revived the debate about whether it could be beneficial to place barcodes on babies at birth during an interview on a BBC radio program.

‘I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached — a barcode if you will — an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals,’ she said on a weekly show called The Forum, according to the New York Daily News.

According to Moon, aged 67, the tools that are currently used for the purposes of surveillance and identification, such as video cameras and DNA testing, are too slow and expensive.

Placing a barcode on each person at birth, in her opinion, would solve these problems.

While the technology is already in place, civil liberties advocates have decried past efforts to make ‘barcoding’ a reality, claiming that …Read More!

Learn the ‘Heresy Two-Step’ Technique of False Teachers!

It is a good thing to go to church with the bible firmly tucked under your arm. It’s also a good thing to watch Christian television with an open bible planted firmly under your nose. But some times having a bible with you is not all that the discerning listener needs. False teachers have invented a new smart technique that beats the lazy eyed listener…its the “heresy two step” technique:

The Heresy Two-step starts with two feet on the text. The allusion must be given that the text is going to be taught on. Then a sliding step backwards is taken into an abstraction. You move from the text to an idea about the text or to a word in the text. Once the text is abstracted and a general principle or something along these lines is made. You can now wiggle around and go in any direction you want. You can make the text say whatever you want. Instead of teaching the text you are pontificating on this abstraction which was drawn from the text.

For some of us who are less experienced I hope this explanation is helpful in discerning false teachers, but it would seem to act as a measure for anyone who preaches/teaches. One needs to understand that exegesis and hermeneutics do have a critical role in preaching and understanding what the text says. …Read More!

Sermon writing rules then and now…Crikey!

Seeking to train and encourage men to preach, Dr. Somerville wrote “Rules for Sermon Writing” below (left column).  Nollie Malabuyo ‘s article draws that comparison between Somervilles’s guidelines with the prosperity and megachurch preaching we see and hear today (right column). But who was Somerville? In Glimpses of Old Glasgow (1894), Andrew Aird described Rev. Somerville as…

As a preacher Dr. Somerville was fervent; his style of address was that of a scholar; and his prayers were the outpourings of his heart. As a pastor he was held in high estimation by his people; and he frequently occupied Glasgow and country pulpits, where his discourses, full of the knowledge which maketh rich, were ever listened to by large audiences. There was something in the tone of his voice, and in the light of his eyes and the glow of his countenance which made one involuntarily say, “This man has been with Jesus.”
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On Being Cal-minian (Both Calvinist and Arminian)

Ever met some one who said he is both Calvinist and Arminian; straddles both sides of the proverbial fence?  I am proudly Cal-minian they say. Well I know it gives a theological head ache . Listen to this …..

There is so much wrong with that statement that I don’t even know where to begin. First of all it assumes that two mutually exclusive claims can both be true. This is patently false. Believe in both/and propositions all you want, you and the semi truck cannot both cross the intersection at the same time without grave consequences. There is only truth and error. There is only life or death. …Read More!

‘Hunger Games’ the Ultra violent book, game and film gets a Bible study guide.

What do you do to make young people interested in the Bible? Umm, coat it with bacon or chocolate or better still a pastor and his daughter have come up with another fad

Two North Carolina pastors have recently created a Bible study based on the book series The Hunger Games.

The Rev. Andy Langford and his daughter, the Rev. Ann Duncan, created “The Gospel According to ‘The Hunger Games’ Trilogy” in the hopes of reaching out to youth.

“Many of our youth and young adults have been reading the books. Two youth from my church in Concord, N.C., are extras in the movie,” said Langford to The Christian Post.

“Ann’s husband, Nathan, teaches high school history, and alerted us that all his students were reading these books.”

Written by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games book series is about a near future dystopian society where young people are forced to participate in a brutal sport game where only one can survive.

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Meet The Christians: A day in the life of a Christian Satirist.

The next guest is a satirist. He is also a Christian. But one other interesting thing is that the concept behind these anonymous interviews was originally from him (chuckle) ;). These interviews are anonymous so that there is no celebrity. They are evangelistic and have been simplified so that they are easy to follow and to the point. Today my guest too will be masked as we ask him different questions about what he believes. In case you missed the previous anonymized interviews please go here.

ATCT [A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®] : Sorry you are masked from your audience today. What is a typical week in your life like?
CHRISTIAN: On Sunday, we go to church. Period. We have children and they know from example that it is important to give God glory because He is God and we are not. The rest of the week, I juggle work, Bible study, current event study, blog maintenance, creative writing (including humor & satire) for my blog and for others, research & writing for a missions database, Taking the kids back and forth to school, and generally trying to have quality time with family.

ATCT: Did you have any Christian influence in your youth or childhood?

CHRISTIAN: No, God saved me as a young adult. We did the lip service thing when I was a kid and it had no effect. Many church youth groups bussed us to pizza blasts and hot dog dinners but i was dry bones at that time. Praise God that he saved me and most of my family later however!

ATCT: What is the gospel in one sentence? …Read More!

A few good tips on Bible Commentaries and how to use them

David Murray has a list of 20 tips on how to use Bible Commentaries. Here are just 5 of them:

1. Use them
“It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others. My chat this afternoon is not for these great originals, but for you who are content to learn of holy men, taught of God, and mighty in the Scriptures. It has been the fashion of late years to speak against the use of commentaries…A respectable acquaintance with the opinions of the giants of the past, might have saved many an erratic thinker from wild interpretations and outrageous inferences” (C H Spurgeon).

2. Use them for appropriate tasks
Commentaries vary in size, detail, level, and theological basis; they also have different roles in the exegetical process. The following classification is partly chronological – the first books are used earlier in the process than the latter books. (The books in brackets are OT focused and are merely exemplary not exhaustive).

  • Critical: Emphasis on technical matters like the composition of the text rather than its meaning (e.g.  International Critical Commentary, some Word commentaries).
  • Expository (Original Language): Close and detailed exposition of the text, usually requiring some knowledge of the original languages (e.g. some Word commentaries, New International Commentary on the OT, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Mentor series by Christian Focus).
  • Expository (English): Stay close to the text but do not usually deal with critical issues and do not require original language knowledge (Focus on the Bible series by Christian Focus, Evangelical Press Study Commentaries).
  • Summary: Do not explain everything but focus on main points and present conclusions rather than extensive arguments. Excellent summaries of a verse or passage’s teaching. Big is not always better. (e.g. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Bible Speaks Today).
  • Classical:  Reputable commentaries from the past that usually do not deal with technical issues, but rather the theological meaning of the text (Banner of Truth Geneva series, John Gill, John Calvin).
  • Applicatory: Suitable for lay-people, usually with more of an applicatory focus (NIV Application Commentary).
  • Homiletical: Tend to be the result of sermon series or at least more sermonic in style (e.g. Welwyn, Dale Ralph Davis).
  • Devotional: Extensive comments on spiritually rich texts. Focus on edification rather than critical or controversial issues (e.g. Matthew Henry). …Read More!

Meet The Christians: A Day in the life of a Newly Ordained Pastor

I am grateful to God for the previous interviews and how they have been a primer for people to know more about Christians and what they believe. Today’s anonymized guest is a young man who has just been ordained as a pastor recently. He is a Christian of course, married to one beautiful woman and we will mask him first and then ask him a couple of questions to see what he believes. If you missed the previous anonymized interviews please go here.

ATCT [A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®] : Sorry you are masked from your audience today. What is a typical week in your life like?

CHRISTIAN: Sunday, preaching and pastoring. Monday, chilling and chores. Tuesday, study and administration. Wednesday, pastoral visiting, study, and church meeting. Thursday, household shopping and study, Friday, very unpredictable. Saturday – family day. Throw in three or four trips to the gym and some tropical fish maintenance along with far too much net surfing, some reading, and a little television, and that is about it. Oh, apart from prayer, eating and sleeping.

ATCT: Did you have any Christian influence in your youth or childhood?

CHRISTIAN: Yes, both my parents love the Lord, and so do all my uncles and aunts, and of course, the wider church family.

 ATCT: What is the gospel in one sentence? …Read More!

Meet The Christians: A Day in the life of a Christian serving in a War and Disaster Zone.

If you have missed any of the previous anonymized interviews with Christians from different backgrounds please go here. Continuing with the same format today’s guest too has been anonymized (so that the glory of the testimony) goes to God. Today’s guest has spent over 18 years working in disaster zones. He has come very close to death countless times while preaching the gospel. He is one unsung hero in many respects but today he will tell us what drives him on even when he is far from family, friends and safety.

ATCT [A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®] : Sorry you are masked from your audience today. Could you tell us what a typical week in your life is like?

CHRISTIAN: I don’t usually have a typical week. Travelling, ministering and lot’s of calls from folks around the world that the Lord has allowed me to encourage and minister to. Study, reading, Praying, meditating, talking to my bride, sharing with my kids.

ATCT: Did you have any Christian  influence in your youth or childhood?

CHRISTIAN:I had basically no Christian influence in my life as a Child. I did attend a very tiny church roughly three times in grade two. I was never one who disbelieved that God existed, I did not however have a relationship with Him.

ATCT: What is the gospel in one sentence? …Read More!

Mary Jones the 15 year old Welsh girl who walked over 25 miles to buy her very first bible.

Today the preacher in church told us an interesting story. Well it was during the sermon talk to the children but we all loved it. It was about a little Welsh girl called Mary Jones. You see…

In the year 1800 Mary Jones, the 15-year-old daughter of a weaver from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant at the foot of Cader Idris, walked 25 miles, barefoot and across rugged mountain country, simply to buy a Bible from the Reverend Thomas Charles of Bala. There is a lot more to the story than that, however, and Mary’s epic trip was to have lasting effects throughout the world.

There had been no Welsh version of the Bible until Bishop William Morgan completed his famous translation in 1588.

Before that worshippers in Welsh churches and chapels had to use Latin or, occasionally, English texts. Most of them understood little of either language. Once Morgan’s Bible became available things began to change.

However, Bishop Morgan’s Bible was both expensive and heavy and, therefore, was restricted to church and chapel use. A smaller and cheaper version was published in 1630 and by the end of the century there were several new editions freely available to all those who could afford them.

When Griffith Jones began his Circulating Schools the Bible was an essential teaching tool and many families, now able to read, bought their own copies so that they could read and digest in the comfort and security of their own homes.

In north Wales the Calvinistic Methodist preacher Thomas Charles, operating from his chapel in Bala, was active in making sure Sunday Schools and, wherever possible, individuals were plentifully supplied with Bibles. Enter Mary Jones.

Mary came from a devoutly pious family. …Read More!

Meet The Christians: A day in the life of a single Christian lady.

If you haven’t read the read any of the previous anonymized interviews click here. The guests are from different backgrounds, from all over the world and the only unifying factor is that they have been changed by the gospel message. Today’s guest is a single Christian lady, works full time and yes she will tell us what the gospel is in one sentence too.

ATCT [A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®] : Sorry you are masked from your audience today. What is a typical week in your life like?

ANS: Well, I work full time, exercise, and leave gospel tracts everywhere. 🙂

  1. ATCT: Did you have any Christian  influence in your youth or childhood?

ANS: Yes. My mother and I weren’t saved back then, but there were a few instances where I went to church. The kinds of churches I went to is something I don’t remember. *lol*

  1. ATCT: What is the gospel in one sentence? …Read more!

How do you solve a problem like King James Onlyism?

Apparently Sam Gipp has recorded a KJV only video (by the way it’s a nicely done video!) that is simply filled with errors–errors historical, errors logical, errors factual, errors biblical. Let’s begin the process of setting the record straight. James White does an excellent job in this 4 part series:

Part 1: …There’s More!!!

Meet The Christians: A Day in the life of a gym loving Christian blogger

I would love to do a lot more exercise than I get to do.  This week we get to meet another Christian. He loves to blog. He loves to read. He loves to blog – did I say that already? He is a husband, a father and a pastor. Well today he dreamily seems to be doing some gym work. And as he brushes past making a bee line for the weights and stuff, we get to stop him in mid action. Hey mystery Christian guest, care for a two minute anonymised interview? [More anonymised interviews here] Listen in to the actual interview:

ATCT [Atwisted Crown of Thorns]: Sorry you are masked from your audience today. What is a typical week in your life like?

 CHRISTIAN:  That’s hard to say.  They’re all a bit different but generally speaking they’re filled with writing, phone calls, hospital visits (when necessary), dropping in on Church folk, posting an occasional bit on the blog, and reading, reading, reading.  And then there’s going to the gym and trying to combat the woes of aging.  But that’s another subject altogether.

ATCT: Did you have any Christian influence in your youth or childhood?

CHRISTIAN: Not at home.  My parents thought of God as a big joke and when I told them I was called to ministry my mother told me I’d be happier being a garbage collector.  My childhood pastors were good and decent Christians though and I was close to them.

ATCT: What is the gospel in one sentence? …Read More!

T.D Jakes’ prosperity and word of faith gospel nearly killed me.

Many times the victims of false teachings (like prosperity gospel and word of faith) are never seen. Some perish in their new found teachings with wads of green money stuck between their teeth. Others wither out in oblivion far from these churches, empty handed with promises of riches and endless frustrations. Why are popular teachers hastily given the rubber stamp of approval without due consideration of the human cost of their destructive teaching?. Thabithi Anyabwile has an interesting article in which he highlights and puts a human face to this discussion. Meet Sean, here is his story…

I am, to be really honest here, very upset by the passé attitudes [towards Jakes] of these brothers (and pastors, I might add). I’m upset for a few reasons, but If I’m being honest, the main reason why I’m so disturbed by this is because the prosperity gospel nearly killed me. Literally. I was so sick I was on the verge of death. I was lying in a hot bath with a temperature of 96 degrees, way beyond dehydrated, and literally dying with mercury poisoning. My mother was crying over my naked body, begging me to go to the hospital for treatment. “NO!” I insisted. How could I put faith in a doctor? “God is my ultimate healer! In him alone will I place my faith!” …Read More!

Trivia Answers!!

I see you have given up, taken the easy route and decided to peek at the answers. Okay, here you go:

A: What is the shortest verse in the Old Testament? (1Chronicles 1:25)

B: Where in the Bible do you find a father who had 88 children? (2Chron. 11:21)

C: Saul was the first king of Israel.  Who was the second? (Ishbosheth   2 Sam. 2:10)

D: Who is the only person in the Old Testament mentioned as being buried in a coffin? (Joseph)

E: How many times does Eve’s name appear in Genesis? (Twice)

F: Who are the only three angels mentioned in the Bible by name? (Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer)

G: Who had a vision of one angel running to meet another? (Zechariah Zechariah 2: 3)

H: The word “God” appears in every book of the Bible except in which two books? (Esther and Song of Solomon)

I: Where is the longest verse in the bible? (Esther 8:9)

J: Which verse in the Bible contains all letters of the alphabet except Q? (Daniel 4:37)

Well here is a bonus set of easy Bible questions. I know you will do well now 🙂

A: Where is the only place in the Bible where “Hats” are mentioned?
B: What king had the first birthday party in the Bible?
C: What group of people in the Bible died because they could not pronounce the letter “H”?
D: Whose hair weight from about 5 to 6 pounds at his annual haircut?  (check here for answers)

Well You Might Just Be A Calvinist If…

On a lighter note I hope this keeps you chuckling in bed tonight:

You Might Just Be A Calvinist If….

If your child’s first word was “Westminster”… you just might be a Calvinist.

If your 4 year old can explain what the word “propitiation” means… you might just be a Calvinist.

If you send your mother tulips on Mother’s Day… you might be a Calvinist.

If your passion for evangelism blows away your Arminian friends… you might just be a (true) Calvinist.

If you cringe every time you hear someone proclaim “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life! Choose Jesus!”… you might be a Calvinist.

If you’ve ever wanted to attend a Benny Hinn crusade just so you could stand up and shout “Ichabod!!”… you might just be a Calvinist.

If you purposefully read a book to be convicted… you might just be a Calvinist.

If you have to order theological books online because no one at the Christian bookstore has ever heard of them… you might just be a Calvinist. There’s More