July 31, 2006

The Supreme Importance of a Mother's Instruction

The Mother Who Raised a Boy to Be a King

In our family devotions this morning, we read Proverbs 31 which contain the words of king Lemuel (Israel did not have a king by this name) recounting the wisdom of his mother. Here is what came out of our disussion:

1. A son praises God for what his mother taught him to prepare him to be a king. King Lemuel is recounting what his mother had taught him. He is honoring his mother for her good teaching and naming specific glorious things about her teaching. He recounts her instruction on a wide range of subjects: alcohol, loose women, righteous judgment, pleading the cause of the poor, and how to identify a virtuous wife. Yes, Lemuel's mother taught him how to identify a virtuous woman.

2. Lemuel is exalting the role of a mother. Lemuel understood the supremely important role of a mother to teach her children to have the wisdom of a king. What greater role could there be for motherhood, and yet the world culture despises it by luring women from this role and offering them a house of cards.

3. I issued a challenge to my three daughters to become the kind of mothers who could raise a good king by their excellent instruction.

4. I asked my son and daughters to explain what their mother has taught them that would prepare them for a kingly role. It was wonderful to recount the marvelous teaching of Deborah to her children.

July 29, 2006

Mortifying Sin

When Jonathan Edwards was a boy he made some resolutions. My son and I have been reading them lately and have benefited from them. Here is one that we particularly desire to pay attention to:

#8 Resolved, to act in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God

July 28, 2006

He Was Quite Aware of Her When She was Only Thirteen Years Old

Sarah Pierrepont

When I was twenty years old, I had inklings that I liked Deborah when she was only thirteen... now she is my wife. I just realized this week that Jonathan Edwards had strong inklings that he liked Sarah Pierrepont when she was thirteen, and by age 17 she would be his wife.

Here is what Jonathan wrote about her when she was thirteen.

THEY say there is a young lady in New Haven who is beloved of that Great Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this Great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on him- that she expects after a while to be received up where he is, to be raised up out of the world and caught up into heaven; being assured that he loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from him always. There she is to dwell with him, and to be ravished with his love and delight forever.

Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a strange sweetness in her mind and singular purity in her affections; is most just and conscientious in all her conduct; and you could not persuade her to do anything wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this Great Being.

She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness and universal benevolence of mind; especially after this Great God has manifested himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly; and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure; and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have some one invisible always conversing with her.

Happy Anniversary - Jonathan and Sarah Edwards

Today is the wedding anniversary of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. Their marriage was not only a lifelong sweetness for the two of them, but it was also a very frutiful marriage in terms of world evangelism. By 1900 many of their offspring were faithful to bring the gospel into nearly every major industry, supplying 13 college presidents, 65 professors, 100 lawyers, a dean of an outstanding law school, 30 judges, 66 physicians, the dean of a medical school and 80 holders of public office.

I have said it before and I will say it again - Jonathan Edwards was the apostle of love.

The Rev. Simon Vibert reports that today is the aniversary of his wedding to Sarah. July 28, 1727. (I have also seen July 20 published as their wedding date).

He writes about the happy couple:

"Sarah Edwards uniformly paid a becoming deference to her husband and treated him with entire respect, she spared no pains in conforming to his inclinations, and rendering everything in the family agreeable and pleasant: counting it her greatest glory, and that wherein she could best serve God and her generation, to be the means, in this way, of promoting his usefulness and happiness. (Edwards “Works” Banner, Vol 1: xlv).

Sarah, like many clergy wives, felt keenly the criticism which her husband received. This was especially acute when it came from family sources, such as Chester Williams, an Arminian minister who would turn his head as he rode past the Edwards’ house (1971: 78)!

During this period, Sarah Edwards went through a period of depression... Sensing his wife’s fatigue, in 1740 Edwards took her on a trip to Boston, without children. The purpose was to have their portraits painted, but with the added benefit of a much needed break from duties.

George Whitefield commented on Jonathan and Sarah Edwards’ relationship following his visit to Northampton in 1740:

A sweeter Couple I have not yet seen … She … talked feelingly and solidly of the Things of God, and seemed to be such a Help meet for her Husband that she caused me to … [pray] God, that he would be pleased to send me a Daughter of Abraham to be my wife. (1971: 80).

Jonathan once gave Sarah a gold locket costing £11 at a time when the town was bristling with muttering over him wearing his slightly ostentatious wigs. He was known to delight in his wife, and whilst some men went off to ordinations or barn-raisings, Edwards would rather be at home with her whenever he could.

As George Gordon has put it, Edwards’s life at ‘the world in which love lifts the whole animal endowment to an ethical level’. In 1738, Edwards poured out his feelings about this in sermons which eventually appeared as a book, Christian Love as Manifested in the Heart and Life. He summarized the conviction his family had planted in him that ‘

the whole world of mankind are chiefly kept in action from day to day … by love’. (1971: 54).

July 25, 2006

My Top Five Favorite Family Integrated Church Pastors

John Calvin, Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards.

These blessed pastors enjoyed lifelong ministries preaching the gospel to their congregations in age integrated worship services with the whole family together.

John Calvin 1509-1564

These ministers found their greatest joy in preaching the pure and pleasant Word of God to these families, week after week, filling them up with great theology. Imagine what it would have been like to have heard Calvin's voice as a babe in arms, then as a teenager and then as a young adult starting out life cleaving to a spouse.

Richard Baxter 1615-1691

What joy it must have been for these men to preach and at the same time, to pray for whole families as they sat before them in the pews. Baxter would systematically visit his families in their homes and then preach to the gathered family on Sunday.

John Bunyan 1628 - 1688

How encourageing it must have been to explain the gospel to whole families and anticipating the growth that would come when the wives would ask their husbands tough questions at home (1Cor 14:34-35), making the head of the house "the Bible answer man."

Matthew Henry 1662-1714

Think of the rich life applications they spun with all generations sitting there in the form of infants, widows, fatherless, grandmothers and singles. One of my favorite bible expositors, Matthew Henry sat as a boy under meaty expositions of his father, pastor Phillip Henry and then followed in his footsteps.

Jonathan Edwards 1703-1758

This is what every child needs - and in my experience - wants. Perhaps this is one reason for the towering transgenerational impact of these family integrated church pastors...

July 24, 2006

Pro Aborts Would like to Abort the Counsel of Father and Mother

Senate Wades Back Into Abortion Debate to kill or not to kill parental authority.

The Associated Press By LAURIE KELLMAN July 21, 2006
How would you feel as a parent in a situation like that?

The Senate reopened the abortion debate Friday in advance of the midterm elections, this time over a bill that would make it a federal crime to take a teenager across state lines to end a pregnancy without a parent's knowledge.

The acceptance of abortion unleashes poisons that spread their infections to nearly every area of life. Click the following link to see 23 areas from the notes a sermon I preached on Sanctity of Life Sunday 2006 - entitled "Planet Patricide"


July 22, 2006

A Terrifying Beauty

Doug Phillips gave a riveting analysis in his speech "A Terrifying Beauty", of the message of Mayans for Modern man and the beauty of many of their cultural features coexisting seamlessly with the institutionalization of child sacrifice and culture of death. Here are some statements from my notes:

"The Mayans were a people who displayed phenomenally advanced, science, technology and aesthetic genius... but brought savagery to their people. They are an example of cultures capable of degeneration to such an extent that they promote as virtuous unspeakable horrors 2 Kings 17:31, 2 Chron 28:, 2 Kings 17:17. They serve as a warning. Nations that worship athletics, promote ungodly violence, and communicate a fascination with death and darkness, are well on the way to ritual public sacrifice and bloodsport.

A modern example chronicled in the book on Nazi Germany,“Ordinary men” illustrates their technique to carry out the final solution... getting the baker and the plumber to pull the trigger. They gave them ethical challenges…and convinced them they were performing a kindness .

Ordinary men and women are capable of being so desensitized to evil that they tolerate, accept and promote unthinkable atrocities. We live day by day with people who think nothing of abortion but forget the words of Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger in 1922, "the most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it."

Last year the nation yawned as Terri Schivo was snuffed out by her husband. This is the desensitized culture of death."

Dr. John Whitcomb


It was a special blessing to be in the presence of Dr. John Whitcomb. Each moment with him at the conference, his mouth was always filled with praise toward His Savior. Here is one example,

“I want to be in the full time business of finding out what God says and telling everyone about it.”

What I Loved about Vision Forum's History of the World Conference

Dr. John Morris explaining where he was hit by lightning on Mt Arrarat

What I liked the most about the History of the World Conference

First, every speaker had childlike trust in scripture and believed in a literal, historical, grammatical interpretation of the creation narratives and the chronological timelines of scripture.

Second, they offered the events in history in a way that was supremely practical for life. For them, history = inspiration. Instead of simply going over boring and lifeless names and dates, they made history live. Every session was a life encounter with God and His will for mankind.

Third, the speakers represented diverse theological perspectives. There were Presbyterians, Baptists, dispensationalists and covenant theologians all praising the Lord Jesus for His faithfulness. They shared a common belief in the perfection and beauty of scripture and that it should be trusted in everything.

Fourth they believed that history should put fire in the bones in the form of hope for the future, and an understanding of our place in the stream of God’s Sovereign plan.

July 12, 2006

Do Children Belong in Church?

God has blessed the church with commands, patterns and principles of scripture which lead us to keep faithful to normative practices. For example, we pray, sing, preach, break bread and baptize because these things the apostles patterned for us, and therefore they are some of the biblical patterns for church life.

Here is a good article by Rob Rienow, of Wheaton Bible Church, for biblical thinking that leads us to believe that keeping our children with us in church is biblically normative.


July 01, 2006

The Safest Society in the World

John Owen (1616-1683 who was perhaps the greatest theologian among the British Puritans) weighs in on the true strength and the wonderfulness of the church:

"The church is the safest society in the world - A kingdom it is, a city, a family, a house, which the power of hell and the world can never prevail against...Our Lord Jesus Christ, the head of this society... It is the most honorable society in the world; for all the angels in heaven belong unto it - This poor despicable, persecuted church, consisting for the most part of such as are contemned in the world, yet is admitted into the society of all the holy angels in heaven, in the worship and service of Christ'. "

From John Owen's commentary on Hebrews, p336-337

"The Cutting Edge Has No Edge"

For those of us who are concerned for the church in her morphing into modern culture, Al Mohler speaks the truth about being "on the cutting edge" and the importance of the Gospel as our only "edge." He says:

Authentic relevance is represented by the transforming Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the faithful witness of the church throughout time.

To read the whole piece, click here: