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Triune Speech

The eternal triune conversation behind the salvation-historical triune revelation is the dimension of depth that alone can orient us to the right interpretation of what God does and says in the economy of salvation (Fred Sanders, The Triune God, 72).

Redemption Applied Is Not Readymade

To be sure, some people come to faith in dramatic ways. Others come through slow study. Still others, like my sons, grew up in Christian homes and cannot recall a day when they did not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Neither the Bible, nor church history, nor Christian experience indicates that a one-size-fits-all crisis conversion is necessary. And the Reformers pressed for a view of Christian discipleship as typically rooted in the catechetical nurture of the baptized community, rather than in radical conversions. The preaching of the Word, sacraments, and prayer are the three ordinary means of grace, as Presbyterians call them. And good Evangelicals know that this is how disciples grow in their faith, regardless of whether they have been Christians all their lives or have come to faith by a crisis experience.

(Carl R. Trueman)

Hearing the Word Preached & Preparing to Preach the Word

Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. 160. What is required of those that hear the Word preached?

A. It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.

For believers, it is a blessing and privilege to weekly hear the word preached.

Do you …

  1. Attend upon the Word preached?
  2. Attend upon the Word preached with diligence?
  3. With preparation?
  4. With prayer?
  5. Examine the Word preached by the Scriptures?
  6. Receive the truth with faith?
  7. With love?
  8. With meekness?
  9. With readiness of mind?
  10. Receive the Word preached as the Word of God so you can mediate and confer of it?
  11. And hide it in your heart, that it might bear fruit in your life?

For ministers, it is a blessing and privilege to weekly preach.

Do we …

  1. Attend upon the Word as we prepare to preach?
  2. Attend upon the Word with diligence?
  3. With preparation?
  4. With prayer?
  5. Examine the Word as-it-is-prepared-to-be-preached by the Scriptures?
  6. Prepare to preach the Word with faith?
  7. With love?
  8. With meekness?
  9. With readiness of mind?
  10. Submit ourselves and our mind to the Word by meditating and conferring upon it?
  11. First hide the Word in our heart, in order that later it might bear fruit in its being preached?

 

Task of Dogmatics

“There can be no objection to our attempts, in dogmatics as in any other science, at achieving a system that is not imposed on the truths of faith but rationally inferred from them. And the objection against this is even less weighty since dogmatics is not a kind of biblical theology that stops at the words of Scripture. Rather, according to Scripture itself, dogmatics has the right to rationally absorb its content and, guided by Scripture, to rationally process it and also to acknowledge as truth that which can be deduced from it by lawful inference. . . . The task of dogmatics is precisely to rationally reproduce the content of revelation that relates to the knowledge of God” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 1, 45).

On Being Part of an Exegetical Tradition

“After rehearsing the story of the decision to produce a new set of annotations and of the formation of their committee, the English annotators go on to clarify the nature of their efforts and the relation of their work to several sets of eminent earlier annotations, namely Diodati’s Italian Annotations, the Dutch Annotations arising out of the Synod of Dort, and Geneva Annotations.  So also, in the case of the Geneva Annotations, the annotators indicate their respect for this revered running commentary and state that they view it as entirely orthodox, free from theological errors–yet they have worked as the “builders of a new house,” not merely patchign up an old edifice, but taking it down and replacing it with a new one. Then they rather carefully note . . . their reliance on these previous expositions of the text. They have indeed used texts,

yet so, that if we have borrowed aught of either, as they have done of those, who did precede them, in the like Observations, we shall desire but to take it to usury, and to make our returne of what we receive, farre above the rate of ordinary interest: And in this holy businesse we have no other ambition than to give better satisfaction to an apprehensive Reader, for the sense of the whole Bible, then (in this kinde) we have met withall, in any one Worke of what Authors soever.

“In their method, therefore, they have followed the advice of the apostles, recognizing that no Scripture is “of private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20) and also that “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (1 Cor. 13:42)–accordingly, the “private dictates” of the annotators have been “submitted . . . to the censure and correction of [their] Colleagues in this Service daily assembled together, for the perusal of every ones parts.” Clearly, then, there were borrowings: the new house was not erected out of entirely new brick and lumber–but the annotators not only assumed this background in the earlier tradition, both by their admission and explanation and by their anonymity, they refrained from taking personal credit for what they perceived to be the propounding, not of personal opinion, but of the results of an exegetical tradition of which they were a part” (Richard A. Muller and Rowland S. Ward, Scripture and Worship: Biblical Interpretation and the Directory for Worship, 28-29).

Meditate on the Abundance of Creation

“Meanwhile let us not be ashamed to take pious delight in the works of God open and manifest in this most beautiful theater. For, as I have elsewhere said, although it is not the chief evidence for faith, yet it is the first evidence in the order of nature, to be mindful that wherever we cast our eyes, all things they meet are works of God, and at the same time to ponder with pious meditation to what end God created them. Therefore, that we may apprehend with true faith what it profits us to know of God, it is important for us to grasp first the history of the creation of the universe, as it has been set forth briefly by Moses [Gen., chs. 1 and 2], and then has been more fully illustrated by saintly men, especially by Basil and Ambrose. From this history we shall learn that God by the power of his Word and Spirit created heaven and earth out of nothing; that thereupon he brought forth living beings and inanimate things of every kind, that in a wonderful series he distinguished an innumerable variety of things, that he endowed each kind with its own nature, assigned functions, appointed places and stations; and that, although all were subject to corruption, he nevertheless provided for the preservation of each species until the Last Day. We shall likewise learn that he nourishes some in secret ways, and, as it were, from time to time instills new vigor into them; on others he has conferred the power of propagating, lest by their death the entire species perish; that he has so wonderfully adorned heaven and earth with as unlimited abundance, variety, and beauty of all things as could possibly be, quite like a spacious and splendid house, provided and filled with the most exquisite and at the same time the most abundant furnishings. Finally, we shall learn that in forming man and in adorning him with such goodly beauty, and with such great and numerous gifts, he put him forth as the most excellent example of his works. But since it is not my purpose to recount the creation of the universe, let it be enough for me to have touched upon these few matters again in passing. For it is better, as I have already warned my readers, to seek a fuller understanding of this passage from Moses and from others who have faithfully and diligently recorded the narrative of Creation [Gen., chs. 1 adn 2]” (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles, 179-180).