J. C. Ryle & Masculine Ministry [Theology Thursday]

Our selected video for this week is John Piper’s biographical sketch for the 2012 Desiring God Pastor’s Conference which looked at the Bishop of Liverpool, J. C. Ryle.

Ryle was a very powerful preacher who didn’t pedal softly around the weaknesses he saw in the church.

Here is a lengthy quote by Ryle to whet your appetite, abbreviated by John Piper:

is an epidemic which is just now doing great harm, and especially among young people. . . . It produces what I must venture to call . . . a “jelly-fish” Christianity . . . a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power. . . . Alas! It is a type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, “no dogma, no distinct tenets, no positive doctrine.”

We have hundreds of “jellyfish” clergyman, who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity. They have no definite opinions . . . they are so afraid of “extreme views” that they have no views of all.

We have thousands of “jellyfish” sermons preached every year, sermons without an edge, or a point, or corner, smooth as billiard balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint. . . .

And worst of all, we have myriads of “jellyfish” worshipers—respectable Church-gone people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than colorblind people can distinguish colors. . . . They are “tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine”; . . . ever ready for new things, because they have no firm grasp on the old.

J. C. Ryle & Masculine Ministry >>>

Thursday Theology Night: Spurgeon Documentary

I have started a new routine with my family: Thursday Theology night. Since I have my new Logitech Prevue I was anxious to see how streaming Internet video looks on my large screen TV. My first go was with a video from the recent Desiring God pastor’s conference. The image and sound quality was far better than I expected. Now, in my home, we’ve slated Thursday nights for watching a good video that will be edifying for the whole family.

These Thursday Theology Nights will be (hopefully) a new feature at Faith by Hearing.

The video for tonight is an hour long documentary on Charles Spurgeon titled, C. H. Spurgeon, The People’s Preacher.

Biography of J. C. Ryle

There isn’t a whole lot of material on the life of Bishop J. C Ryle.  This biography of Ryle, by Bart Carlson of Grace Church, Downingtown, Pennsylvania, is a welcome voice on the life of this man who has greatly contributed to the church.

What you may not know, is that Ryle was marginalized within the Anglican church for taking strong stands to preserve the Gospel. He was a simple, country preacher whose writings have been cherished by many Christians to this day, and are still in publication. Many are considered classics, such as Holiness, Thoughts for Young Men, A Call to Prayer, and his Expository Thoughts on the Gospels series.

Bart Carlson has given us a wonderful biographical sketch of this impactful preacher.

Biography of Ryle >>>

Oswald Chambers Biography

ChristianAudio’s free January download is David McCasland’s biography Oswald Chambers: Abandoned by God, which is…

…the definitive biography of Oswald Chambers, the author of the world’s best-selling devotional, My Utmost for His Highest. Narrated by Simon Vance – an award-winning narrator and actor – which offers such a compelling reading that one might think it is Oswald Chambers himself (from the ChristianAudio website).

Use the promo code JAN2009 during checkout.

Oswald Chambers: Abandoned by God >>>

Herman Bavinck Introduced by Ron Gleason

Reformed Dogmatics (4 Volume Set)If you poke around Reformed circles you’re eventually going to hear about a man named Herman Bavinck. If you don’t know who he is, well, join the crowd. However, he seems to be a man worth knowing.

Herman Bavinck is a Dutch Reformed pastor of the late 19th, early 20th centuries, who wrote what many consider to be the best Reformed systematic theology in print. Bavinck is solid, balanced, and very well informed.

Being Dutch, his works have not been translated into English until very recently, and hence, the new notariety for Bavinck. As one of the panelists said, even though he can read Dutch and wrestle through Bavinck’s work in Dutch, having it in English is a gold mine.

Ron Gleason, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Yorba Linda, California, and co-editor of the book Reformed or Conforming, is currently finishing a soon to be published biography of this man Herman Bavinck. His discussion with the folks at Christ the Center provides a very intriquing picture of this man and his work.

The interview begins with Gleason talking about his work on the book Reformed or Conforming.

Ron Gleason Interview on Herman Bavinck mp3 >>>

John Piper on the Life and Legacy of William Tyndale

At this years New Attitude Conference, John Piper brought to life the work and world of William Tyndale, and reflected on his amazing achievements.  Tyndale translated the New Testament and parts of the Old into English, and was violently opposed by the Roman Catholic church, which lead to his execution by strangulation and being burned at the stake.

Tyndale’s English translation found it’s way into the King James Bible (after his death) and also properly translated various words and phrases that had skewed the Latin translation to support the Roman Catholic ecclestiastical system and Roman Catholic understanding of the gospel.

One very interesting section of Piper’s message draws a parallel between Tyndales opponent Erasmus and post-modern “Christian” writers of today:

There are elitist, cool, avant-garde, marginally evangelical writers and scholars today for whom what I’m about to read here which is written to describe Erasmus and Moore is amazingly parallel:

 

“Not only is there not only no fully realized Christ or devil in Erasmus book, there is a touch of irony about it all with a feeling of the writer cultivating a faintly superior ambiguity, as if to be dogmatic, for example about the full theology of the work of Christ, was to be rather distasteful.” [reference not cited]

 

[Begin new quote] “I just feel that in book after book today. That to be robust and strong and full about what Christ achieved “feels rather distasteful.” By contrast William Tyndale is ferociously single-minded. The mater in hand, the immediate access of the soul to God without intermediary is far too important for hints of faintly ironic superiority. Tyndale is as four-square as a carpenters tool. But in Erasmus account of the origins of his book, there is a touch of the sort of layering of ironies found in the games with personae.”

End of quote from Daniell. [from David Daniell, William Tyndale: A Biography]

 

It is ironic, and this a warning, I hope you will hear, from a ‘dad-like’ guy for you, it is ironic and sad that today supposedly avant-garde Christian writers strike a cool, evasive, imprecise, artistic, superficially reformist pose of Erasmus and call it ‘post-modern’ when in fact it is totally pre-modern, because it is totally permanent. It happens in every single age. It’s a clever way of writing for unsuspecting people like you who don’t have a lot to measure it by, because your roots aren’t deep yet in church history and in reading things from the 19th and 18th and 17th and 16th and 15th century so that when you open up this contemporary post-modern thing you say, “What in the Sam Hill is new about that?” Don’t be dupped. Be thoughtful. Be a thinker. Go deep. Know your history.
This is an excellent message that you won’t want to miss.

Sinclair Ferguson, Reflections at 60

Sinclair Ferguson gave two informal talks reflecting on his life being 60 years in ministry.

The first talk focuses on the early years of his life, his conversion, his schooling and his time of sitting under the ministry of William Still. One of the memorable statements he made is that he says he sees very few churches that can be seen to have a proper concern for the ministry of the Word and the ministry of prayer. It either does not exist, or you have to look very hard to find shades of it.

In his second address, Ferguson reflects on the growth and influences of his theology, and discusses the many Christian theologians who shaped him through their books, as well as some professors and preachers.

Open iTunes Store. Search for Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). Go to Seminar Series. Then Preaching the Word: Reflections at 60.

Life of David Brainerd, Free Audio Book

The folks at Christian Audio have posted another free book, this one is Jonathan Edwards ‘Life of David Brainerd’.  Brainerd was a missionary to the Native Americans and experienced a great many trials, eventually dying at a young age of Tuberculosis.  This is a classic work, and perhaps Jonathan Edwards most widely read work.  It played a big part in the American missionary movement.

Use the coupon code OCT2007 when checking out to get it free.

Life of David Brainerd >>>

John Angell James: Pursuing the Souls of the Next Generation

David Michael presented an intriging biographical sketch on the life of John Angell James, an English preacher of the early 19th century who wrote many helpful books such as ‘A Help to Domestic Happiness’, ‘The Christian Father’s Present to His Children’, ‘Female Piety’, and ‘An Earnest Ministry.’ 

James is well known for his instruction in the home, and it is this focus that David Michael takes in his biographical sketch of James which he presented at The 2007 Children Desiring God conference.  Biographical sketches allow us not only to learn good habits and ways of thinking, it helps us to learn from failures.  There are many rich gems in this address that will challenge any parent in the way they daily lead their children to a life dependant on God.

John Angell James: Pursuing the Souls of the Next Generation >>>