Father of Lies: The Serpent Casts Doubt on God’s Word

As we saw in our former post, the woman successfully parried the Serpent’s first attack by wielding the “Sword of the Spirit,” namely, God’s Word. But the Serpent’s initial exchange was designed only to set up the humans for his main attack. In the Serpent’s second communication with the woman (Gen 3:4-5), he advances an attack against the veracity of God’s word and the goodness of God’s character. Continue reading

Is God’s Love Like a Hurricane?

The first line of John Mark McMillan’s song “How He Loves” compares God’s love to “a hurricane” and the believer as “bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.” But hurricanes are overpowering forces that bring destruction, suffering, and, in some cases, death. Not surprisingly, the apparent dissonance of the metaphor and the glorious truth it’s meant to portray has left some people wondering whether a hurricane is an appropriate metaphor for God’s love. I believe it is. Continue reading

Ipsissima Vox: A Defense of Eve’s First Response to the Serpent

The majority of commentators interpret Eve’s first response to the Serpent as the inception of a sinful attitude toward God. They base their negative reading of Eve’s initial response on the fact that she fails to quote verbatim the prohibition God gave to Adam (2:17), which, presumably, Adam had communicated to Eve. In their estimation, Eve’s “reformulation” of God’s word casts God and his prohibition in a negative light. But is this a responsible way to interpret Eve’s response? Did the first human sin begin at Genesis 3:2-3 or at 3:6? Continue reading

All Fun and No Funerals Makes Jack a Dumb Boy

Death is an occasion and funeral homes are a place marked by much sadness and grief. And yet, according to Holy Scripture, there is something potentially beneficial about such an occasion and such a place. As the writer of Ecclesiastes puts it, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting” (7:2 NIV). To paraphrase, “Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties” (NLT). Why would the Bible make such an assertion? What is this passage teaching us? Continue reading

Snake or Seraph? The Identity of the Serpent in Genesis 3

Genesis 3:1 introduces a new character into the Eden narrative and signals a shift in the plot. He is introduced as “the serpent.” Initially, the reader may picture nothing more than a legless reptile (suborder: serpentes). The Hebrew term נחש is generally used to refer to a type of a reptile, usually a legless reptile such as a snake (Num 21:6; Deut 8:15; Ps 58:4; Prov 23:32; Isa 65:25; Jer 8:17; Amos 5:19; Mic 7:17). But additional information in the account suggests that this entity is more than a mere snake. Continue reading

Commemorating Christ’s Coronation: How I Justify a First-Day Sabbath

Reformed Christians pride themselves on their commitment to the Bible as their ultimate authority for faith and practice. But not all our beliefs and practices seem self-evidently biblical to non-Reformed believers. One striking example is our view that the first day of the week, i.e., the “Lord’s Day,” is in fact a “Christian Sabbath.” All agree that God explicitly commanded Israel to observe a seventh-day Sabbath (Exod 20:8-11). But where in the NT are Christians explicitly commanded, “Remember the first day as a Sabbath to the Lord”? Nowhere. That raises the question, How may a Reformed believer defend the notion of a first day Christian Sabbath? Continue reading

Worship for Dummies

God created man for worship. Jesus declared that the Father is seeking worshippers who will worship Him “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). Not surprisingly, the Shorter Catechism begins by affirming, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” But this raises the question, “How should God be worshiped?” To be more precise, “What kind of worship pleases God?” The answer is vital. Thankfully, it’s not that complicated. Even a child may understand. Continue reading

The Well-Meant Offer: Its Logical Consistency

Having framed the question of and summarized the objections to the “well-meant offer” of the gospel, we’re prepared to defend the doctrine. And our first argument pertains to the doctrine’s logical consistency. Claiming that God desires the salvation of a non-elect sinner and that it’s also the case that God doesn’t desire the salvation of a non-elect sinner sounds like a contradiction. The same would be true of the following juxtaposed remarks: “I like chocolate ice-cream,” and, “I don’t like chocolate ice-cream.” Illogical! Right? Not necessarily. Let me explain.

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Look and Live! John 3:16 as a Universal Gospel Invitation

Some may not think I’m a Calvinist when it comes to John 3:16. Actually, I’m a John Calvinist when I interpret this verse (double entendre intended). I don’t think the verse (and its larger context) is simply designed to teach people biblical doctrines or facts, such as “God loves sinners” or “believers go to heaven.” It has a larger aim. Namely, God through the apostle John wants to solicit a faith-response on the part of the reader. Continue reading