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What the Thunder Said...

An Exercise In Living coram Deo, and Thinking His Thoughts After Him. Decorus. Veritas. Bonus. il miglior fabbro.

Updated: 2018-03-05T13:25:54.872-08:00


Closing & Moving


(image) After many years of enjoying What the Thunder Said... we're closing up shop. The site will stay open, but none of the posts or links will be curated.

And also, we're moving to

See you over at the new site!

The Security of the Shepherd and the Sheep


Reading: Murray, John Redemption Accomplished and Applied
Enjoying: poptarts with the wife (nutritious!)
Listening: The Killers

For an upcoming sermon on the I Am saying from John 10, Calvin draws an interesting application that illuminates some of the struggles the Reformer may have keenly felt. From his commentary on John 10:4, 9: "When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice... I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture:"
This passage should make us deeply ashamed. First, because we are so unused to the voice of our Shepherd that hardly anyone listens to it without indifference. And then because we are so slow and lazy to follow him. I am speaking of the good, or at least of the passable, for most of those who claim to be Christ’s disciples openly rebel against him. Lastly as soon as we hear the voice of any stranger, we are carried unstably here and there, and this unsteadiness and levity shows just how little we have advanced in the faith so far. But although the number of believers is less than we would want, and many of this small number continually fall away, faithful teachers have the consolation of knowing that they are heard by God’s elect, who are Christ’s “sheep.” It is our job to work hard and to strive in every way to bring, if possible, the whole world to agreement in the unity of the faith. Meanwhile, we must be content with our number.
The pressures of reforming the Church and the seeming apathy and disobedience of Europe must have been taxing on the consciences of the Reformers. However, it is especially comforting to know that, despite the shortcomings and weaknesses of this preacher, "God's true sheep will hear God's pure word" (emphasis mine).

[Calvin] | [exegesis]

Diakonia, Ecclesia, and Two Kingdoms


Reading: Ordained Servant
Enjoying: ice cream and chocolate
Listening: The New *Stenographers "Twin Cinema"

Does one's view of church and state affect their ecclesiology, or (for that matter) vice versa? Some Reformational groups apparently viewed the state and the church as coterminous (though not equally elect), and this affected their view of the diaconate. Ms. McKee notes,
In this view, Christian rulers are the leading laity and thus the natural church members to hold the public offices of moral oversight, education, and relief for the poor. For example, among Lutherans and the Zwingli Reformed, the ministry of Word and sacraments was the only clearly ecclesiastical office. Oversight of Christians' morals and care for their daily lives were happily left to the Christian prince or explicitly assigned to the Christian magistrate. Neither tradition made conscious provision for a situation in which the civil ruler was not Christian, an important factor for the development of diakonia in the post-Reformation age.[1]

I wonder if this has any relation to what I posted here, in the third section regarding how the Church should spend her resources in relief.

If we are serious about what the biblical texts have to say about the two offices of the church and their nature, will this begin to affect our politics and how we give philanthropically?


[1]McKee, Elsie Anne. Diakonia in the Classical Reformed Tradition and Today (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Press, 1989) p. 38.Back

[theology] | [diakonia]

(Mostly) Ecclesial Links


Reading: Kromminga, Man Before God's Face in Calvin's PreachingEnjoying: Cody is out visitingListening: AnberlinWe've got a real ticket for you tonight. A little music, a little culture, and lot o' ecclesiology: prayer, theology, church discipline, church calling, church planting... its all in the works. Enjoy!K. Cawley's 2007 Music Round UpThis is great if you're looking for top quality un-pop music. Cawley rounds out his top 30, with a few (fair) honorable mentions. I especially agree with #1, 5, 10, 12, 13, and 24. Honestly, I'm not sure that Neon Bible is top dog, but its his list, right? My take away: get to know Middle-Earth or Narnia?Challies explains that the difference between Tolkien and Lewis is the difference between Second Life and an average RPG. For Lewis, the story is the universe; for Tolkien, his universe is telling a story. Agree?How the Godfather Got His Groove BackApparently James B. Jordan, patriarch of the FV, has a new blog at Biblical Horizons.Whose Kingdom? The Far Limits of Anti-EmpirismI have often linked favorably to Peter Leithart, but here's an example where I disagree. Oh its about an empire/kingdom to be sure, but I don't think Rome is anywhere in the picture here.WSJ on Excommunication: "Help, my pastor just called the cops on me!"Sure it seems insensitive to them, but that's because they get the whole thing wrong. Quote: "pastors in large and small churches across the country are expelling members for offenses ranging from adultery and theft to gossiping, skipping service and criticizing church leaders." Ok, lets be clear: there has always been and only can be one sin for which one can be excommunicated - being unrepentant. But aside from that, does this article catch your ear eye?Of PrayerFaith and PrayerLee Irons shows the inherent connectedness of faith and prayer.Praying without CeasingJohn MacArthur's take. Gospel Driven Prayer=-==-==-=Calvin on Imputed RighteousnessIs there a Ministerial Glut (in the PCA)?(HT: Dr. Clark)Is there a Ministerial Need (in the OPC)?Perhaps there's a solution somewhere in there...Tags[links] | [blogging][...]



Is covenant close to the center of theology for Barth? “...God's Word spoken both in the relation of the history of Israel to the history of Jesus Christ and the relation of the history of Jesus Christ to the history of Israel..."

Francis R. Beattie Gives an Exposition of the Westminster Standards: Online Edition

What is Trent's only comfort in life and death? The Heidelberg Q.1 according to Rome.

Dr. Estelle on the Exodus Motif in Isaiah. Thank you, New Horizons.

John Piper on why children should pray to their heavenly Father. Sean Michael Lewis on why this makes Piper sound covenantal.

"The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church" - mp3 of Rod Rosenbladt (White Horse Inn)

In picking up WTJ Fall 2007 to browse Tim Witmer's ("Seminary: A Place to Prepare Pastors?") and Paul Kjoss Helseth's ("Christ-Centered, Bible-Based, and Second-Rate? 'Right Reason' as the Aesthetic Foundation of Christian Education") articles on education, Dr. R. Scott Clark reminds us that Voetius is excellent in attacking middle knowledge. What else is in WTJ Fall 2007? Terrence L. Tiessen's "Why Calvinists Should Believe in Divine Middle Knowledge, Even Though They Reject Molinism." I only had a chance to thumb through the article, but Tiessen is aware of Voetius' and Richard Muller's concerns, but I think Tiessen thinks his thrust is different from what the Divines were dealing with in the 17th century and following. I'll try to report back. Anyone can feel free to chime in, by the way.

[theology] | [links]

I AM Sardis


Reading: Waltke's new OT Theology
Enjoying: rolo's
Listening: muse

So, normally when I haven't posted for ages I go into this long apology/excuse as to why I haven't posted more, but for cryin' out loud... I'm under grace, baby. Now to pick up where I left off.


You’re St. Melito of Sardis!

You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.

But for real, you basically copied and pasted the entire OT canon (minus Esther; bling!), and you may or may not be responsible for early anti-semitism. Also, you are probably amillenial.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

I think this may disqualify me for my licensure...


Free Download: EverNote


EverNote is available free for download for today (Thursday, 11/15) only! Reaching near cult status in some circles, this app is note taker, project manager, and more all wrapped into one. From the Give Away of the Day site, this is perhaps one of their best offers yet.

Download EverNote

[EverNote] | [download]

Links: In Other News


In other news on culture, evangelicals, politics, theology, movies, and other news...Slate: Not All Its Cracked Up to BeDavid Sessions, a self-described politically interested evangelical from Patrick Henry College, writes on evangelical presence in politics, a united front in the primaries, and whether the evangelical impetus is waning.(HT: Cranach)WSJ Articles for Free OnlineIn other written media news, the WSJ is offering material free online. With the help of social networking client digg, formerly reserved articles are now available to the public.(HT: Lifehacker)Olasky Manifesto, Gay Marriage & State SovereigntyIn other Cranach news, there is a post pointing out a section of the recent Olasky manifesto, specific to same-sex unions. There is some helpful discussion (I recommend reading into the comments) regarding the roles of state and family.Americanitis: Wilson on HartIn other news on culture, these are some of the posts Doug Wilson has posted in reading through D.G. Hart's A Secular Faith.Transforming Culture with a Messiah Complex(In other theology news...) Everyone's already linked to it, but this article by Dr. Michael Horton is so helpful, I think. Not only dealing with culture and the church, but also read it for fine theology on the ascension and eschatology.Out of Ur: Willow Creek RepentsIn other church news, awhile ago Bill Hybels "repented" and "had the wake up call of his adult life." A church poll of Willow Creek reported that while the church was meeting the needs of those new to the faith ("kicking the tires of Christianity," as my pastor likes to say), older Christians were not being fed.While I'm glad that Willow Creed is recognizing that they need a more biblical program in place, is this not the same old methodology? Willow Creek is, it seems, still being "seeker sensitive," its just that for once, the felt needs of the demographic really are the needs that need to be met. But what happens when this group tires of biblical teaching? Is it on to whatever they ask for next? My prayer is that during this season when they ratchet up their bible teaching, they'll realize whole new paradigms - biblical ones - for doing church. Perhaps something along the lines of gospel, water, bread & wine, and applying these in discipleship/discipline.The Logical Fall Out of the 7 Deadly SinsWhen theology and geometry meet, watch out. I think this just proves that total depravity extends even to the laws of mathematics.His Dark Materials vs. ChristianityPhilip Pullman's trilogy is about to gain a wider audience when the first episode, The Golden Compass, hits the silver screen this winter. An important part of Pullman's project is to undermine the Christian world-and-life-view by offering a new mythology. Hanna Rosin in the latest issue of the Atlantic:In the books, Lyra is the new Eve, but an Eve who brings humanity to its full realization by eating the fruit. The climax of the trilogy comes when Lyra, the 12-year-old heroine, shares a red fruit with her friend Will. They kiss and Pullman draws a discrete curtain over the rest: "Around them there was nothing but silence, as if all the world were holding its breath" is as explicit as he gets.Pullman told Rosin that this Eden-reversal scene is crucial to his effort to unravel Christian mythology: "They become aware of sexuality, of the power the body has to attract attention from someone else. This is not only natural, but a wonderful thing! To be celebrated! Why the Christian Church has spent 2,000 years condemning this glorious moment, well, that's a mystery. I want to confront that, I suppose, by telling a story that this so-called original sin is anything but. It's the thing that makes us fully human."No doubt Dr. Peter Jones would have a field day with this, but the ironies abound. Pullman, like so much of the hedonism characterizing the current culture, is vain[...]

Sacramental Radio?


On the AM dial, 1210 comes in as KPRZ (which is to be pronounced "K-PRAISE"). This channel of Christian Radio has come up with a new (to me) slogan to promote itself: "Here's the KPRZ promise: listen to K-Praise just three hours a day and your walk with God will increase." That's right. For just three hours of your listening time, the station guarantees greater sanctification. But that's not all. I've also heard them promise improved relationships with your parents, a more dynamic relationship with your spouse, etc. The model and ratio are straight from many of the fat supplement commercials they advertise: you give us x number of hours, and we guarantee you these stipulated results.

Now wouldn't this match nearly sacramental terms? Hasn't listening to the radio become a means of grace? What I find so surprising, however, is the near ex opere operato status of this blank check. There's nothing about faith or obedience on the part of the listener. Nothing about being a Christian, merely a blanket appeal to anyone with ears. There is certainly nothing about faith in the work of Jesus.

While there's a lot to say about this, its getting late, so let me surmise this: this actually isn't a sacramental view, but I'm afraid its not for the wrong reasons. I think if pressed, no one at the station would actually admit that listening to their programming would give grace. However, I do think they would honestly and earnestly contend that their broadcasts do help people become better. In other words, I'm afraid that people aren't becoming closet sacerdotalists, but rather that they don't think we need grace anymore to get better; we just need better advice. And that, of course, is the Pelagian position.

Thoughts? Is this a helpful/correct analysis? Have you heard similar things? What is really being meant here?

[theology] | [radio]

Just in time for finals...


We've already noted our propensity for this kind of black humor, and now it seems we've hit the motherload.(image) You mean other people think these are hilarious too? I apologize, but I can't stop.(image)
(image) (that last one's for you, Dad!)
Check them all out.

And if you into a particular niche, why not combine demotivation with NBC's The Office?(image) You can find more here.

[tagname1] | [tagname2]

WSC Resources


Reading: HALOT
Enjoying: pork chops(image)
Listening: the reindeer section "you are my joy"

The Warfield lecture was quite interesting, and, as Ben mentioned, look for both Mr. Glomsrud and Dr. Horton in the forthcoming Engaging Barth.

Tomorrow marks Dr. Bauckham's lecture on the canonicity of the Gospels, and then several lectures at the ETS convention. I'll post some of the lectures I get to.

A few more Westminster resources:
The new audio page has podcasts, mp3's, and more to peruse and download.

Also, keep in mind the upcoming faculty conference: Missional & Reformed. Need a place ot stay? The Lund B&B is always open...(image)

[WSC] | [resources]

soof-yan on old and new


Sufjan: Rock is dead
(HT: Cawley)

... so own his music. Merry Christmas!

A great interview and a great offer. Sufjan Stevens, folk-indie hero, has a couple of juicy little offers out there to tantalize. Stevens in conclusion:
“Rock and roll is a museum piece. It has no viability anymore... You’re watching the History Channel when you go to these clubs. They’re just reenacting an old sentiment... It’s been done. The rebellion’s over.”

Thoughts? Rebuttals?

Back to Blogging | Busy-ness | Barth


Reading: Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels
Enjoying: warm San Diego weather
Listening: Indelible Grace

I apologize for the lack of blogging here at What the Thunder Said... There has been far too little of it, a fact we hope to correct. That being said, this is the worst of weeks to renew one's commitment to blogging, for its going to be quite the hectic week.

This week features ETS and AAR/SBL conferences in San Diego later this week, and Dr. Bauckham will be taking some time out to lecture on campus. There are tests and a project due next week, as well as concerts and birthday parties.

One item on the docket is tomorrow's Warfield Lecture with WSC alum Ryan Glomsrud. He'll be lecturing from a recent project of his entitled "Barth's Reception of Calvin zwischen den Zeiten". He interacts with Barth's initial introduction to Calvin, especially as a "cultural critique" allied with the likes of Plato, Nietzche, Dostoyevsky, and Kierkegaard against the neo-Protestantism of his day. I'm especially interested in what he has to say regarding the dialectical approach of Platonic onto-theology in meta-ethics vs. Calvin's de-ontological ethics (pun intended).

Now here's where I need help. I need all you quasi- and closet Barthians to let me know some questions to ask to press Mr. Glomsrud. What concerns do you have of Barth's use of Calvin? How does Barth's attempt at meta-ethics and ontologizing history escape the problem of Schleiermacher and modernity (or fail to escape)? What kind of influence did Calvin have on Barth's Romerbrief? Broader issues in Calvin, Barth, or methodology of 1920's historical theology? All these and more I need questions for. Have any questions you would pose? Leave any suggestions in the comments.

sorry for the short notice...

Editing to a whole new level


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Returning to a semblance of normal


Reading: Still, William The Work of the Pastor
Enjoying: being in our apartment! (and ginger ale)
Listening: Reindeer Section

(image) We are so thankful to be home, and my wife faithfully recorded a synopsis of our recent trials. Thank you to so many of you who prayed for our safety. God was incredibly kind to us, and we hope to recount more of His faithfulness in future posts.

We'll try to get things back to "normal" as much as possible.




This is Sam again. We're home! Most of Escondido opened back up on Wednesday morning and that is when we made our way back. We are so thankful to the Lord for his merciful protection. He was so good to us. The closest home burned 2 miles to the west and another less than 3 miles to the south. The firemen worked so hard, preventing it from coming into more urbanized areas. And the Lord made the Santa Ana winds slow down. Our running trails are totally burned up! Both of our schools resume this week. We will continue to keep those who lost much in our thoughts and prayers.

So Cal Fires


This is Sam. Just wanted to let you know that we've evacuated our Escondido apartment and are now in Temecula. We made it up here just before another small fire jumped Hwy 15 and they closed the freeway. We were thankful! Our cars are loaded with some very special and necessary items. Some very gracious families from church have offered us a place to sleep. Westminster has canceled classes for the week (the guys are getting out of least for a week!) and my school, Heritage K-8 Charter, is closed at least through tomorrow. We've been jumping coffee shops (with free wifi!) all day with the Haecks, Recios, Brittons and Justin Eckert. We just got an update and the fires are directly south of our apartment by a few miles heading northwest. We covet your prayers! We are enjoying our day, though, with our friends. And just trusting that the Lord knows what's best. "When you walk through fire you shall not be burned...For I am the Lord your God..." Love you all...thanks so much for thinking of and praying for us (and our little apartment!)

Links & Notices


Reading: Dunahoo Making Kingdom DisciplesEnjoying: York mintsListening: Muse Black Holes and RevelationsIn this edition (/pretentious): Politics | Technology | Books | Theology | Financial | LinksIraq and IdeologyThe number one reason for the way things are going in Iraq is a difference of mettle: Islam has it, and materialistic narcissists don't. This is especially demonstrated in the united front Islam shows in its contempt for Western ideology. Cranach's Dr. Veith notes Mr. Steyn on the lack of resolve from Uncle Sam.FinancialTwo blogs I sometimes swing buy are The Simple Dollar and Get Rich Slowly. There is often a variety of ideas, from budget suggestions, coupons and saving ploys, and financial organization in the big picture. One tool that may help on the small scale is Xpen$er, a Web 2.0-ish app to help record every purchase. I'm going to be looking into putting this one into practice in the near future.LinksPhilosophosFor students, teachers, and lovers of philosophy.VicipaediaWikipedia for the Latin inclined.Top 10 Needs of a Theological InstitutionI think WSC is a grand slam on all of these, except with a little more clarification on how they do #2. (Hint: church planting with ordained ministers)BooksSpeaking of making purchases, a few new titles have been on my horizon. Bavinck's anticipated fourth and final installment of his Dogmatics is up for pre-order, and I've seen similar offers for the upcoming ETS & AAR/SBL catalogs. (The conferences are in San Diego this year; come hang out!) Also, John Piper's newest title on N.T. Wright and justification is available for $5. Meanwhile, WSC Bookstore recently made Vos' Grace & Glory available... and I've got gift certificates. Watch out. I was recently opining with Ben that Carl Trueman's latest temptation John Owen: Reformed Catholic, Renaissance Man is exorbitantly priced. This just in - What the Thunder Said... will now be published by Paternoster, Ashgate, and Wipf & Stock. You've just been charged $9.99 for reading this. Your ISP will be billed accordingly. (Even though the Owen book figures at about $.15 a page, I'm still tempted. I need help.)TechnologyFor those of you rocking the pocket pc/smarthphone devices, check Handango, which is offering a Free App every Friday. (This is especially nice if you had your wild hopes set on the HTC Kaiser being given away for free from Gear Diary. Clearly, only a hypothetical.) The Nokia 810 came out, and received a positive review from Oliver Starr. I'm into my second month on our HP Pavilion dv9600t laptop, and overall, I'm pleased. I'm still not completely sold on Vista. The beautiful Altec Lansing speakers sit below the screen and above the keyboard, so they are muffled if you play music with the screen closed. I'm pleased with responsiveness. Its working out well.Bucer on Marks of UnityThose who call upon our Lord Jesus Christ in truth, whatever their outward customs and identity may be, we wish to acknowledge and love as our members in Christ the Lord. And they will also treat us in the same way, irrespective of the fact that we may not share the same ceremonies and church practices. For the fellowship of the Christian church consists not in ceremonies and outward practices, but in true faith, in obedience to the pure gospel, and in the right use of the sacraments as the Lord has ordained them. Everything else each church has to arrange as it finds best for itself. In any case this is something which the old holy fathers recognized and maintained.Concerning the True Care of Souls and Genuine Pastoral Ministry(HT: Jonathan)Tags[links][...]

Leithart on Adam on City Building


Reading: Ridderbos Coming of the Kingdom
Enjoying: waffles
Listening: Kanye West "Stronger"

Peter Leithart argues that Adam was to build a city, foreshadowed in Eve. Is he echoing Kline and the Megapolis?

[Leithart] | [Kline]

MxPx Plays Oceanside


Whoa, talk about a blast from my past. This weekend etnies is sponsoring the Goofy vs. Regular Surf Competition, and Bremerton's finest will be playing.(image) Check the site for tickets. The event goes from 8 - 4 this Saturday.

I think MxPx was my first mosh pit, and my buddy Cody was thrown into a guy so hard he knocked the 300 lb stranger's pants off. Seriously.

Trinity, Christology, and Anglican Bishops


Does getting Messianic consciousness wrong ultimately lead to Adoptionism, Nestorianism, and Trinitarian heresy?

Wright, Chalcedon, and Nestorius

N.T. Wright on Person and Nature

From New Horizons ongoing reading of Dr. Wright leaves me with growing concerns about his Christology, especially his view that the messianic consciousness of Jesus during his ministry on earth was no higher than that of an eschatological prophet, without a consciousness of his essential deity (e.g., his Jesus and the Victory of God, pp. 651-62). This troubling view appears to imply something less than Trinitarian orthodoxy... the Fesko review raises concerns that at the very least point to the need for Dr. Wright to be clearer than he has [been] about the doctrine of the Trinity.

R. Gaffin, Jr.
Blue Bell, Pa.
NH (May 2007) p. 20.

Finally, while G. Vos recognizes the prophetic aspect to the office of Messiah, he dismisses it in two sentences. Possibly, this is because Vos recongizes the prophetic role of Christ in His delivering up the New Covenant documents, all 27 books of the NT. His earthly role accomplished the kingly and priestly aspects, and any sense in which Christ is eschatological prophet occupies His heavenly reign. See his The Self-Disclosure of Jesus p. 112, 117.

[Wright] | [theology]





Congrats to Thate


Having noted his previous work before, we here at What the Thunder Said... would be remiss not to point out what slid across our desk this morning.
Thate, Michael J. "Conditionality in John's Gospel: A Critique and Examination of Time and Reality as Classically Conceived in Conditional Constructions" Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Vol. 50, No. 3 (September 2007) 561 - 72.
Michael Thate is a Ph.D. student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Kudos, Mike.

On Why Angels Are So Overly Negative


(image) Sunday night, CBS "60 Minutes" did a piece on Joel Osteen, which involved WSC's own Dr. Michael Horton. Apparently, Joel Osteen can bench 300 lbs. Best quote from the fallout:
If angels rejoice over sinners who repent, then please note that Osteen believes both terms - "sinners" and "repent" - are overly negative.
- Michael Spencer
There is already far too much bandwagon to jump on, so to mutilate manipulate from another context, if Osteen is right and his message is true, then pastors need to get a useful job, like truck driving.

Watch the whole segment: Preacher to the Masses - Osteen Answers His Critics

[Osteen] | [Horton]