On September 19, 1746, Jonathan Edwards preached at the installment of the Rev. Samuel Buel, as pastor of the church and congregation at East Hampton on Long Island. The sermon was entitled, “The Church’s Marriage to Her Sons, and to Her God.” In this marvelous sermon, Edwards lays out the marital relationship that Christ shares with his Bride, the church, and the relationship each Pastor shares with the same Bride. Listen as Edwards speaks on the Pastor’s role on the day when the Bride enters her heavenly glory.
“We trust, dear Sir, that you will esteem it a most blessed employment, to spend your time and skill in adorning Christ’s bride for her marriage with the Lamb, and that it is work which you will do with delight; and that you will take heed that the ornaments you put upon her are of the right sort, what shall be indeed beautiful and precious in the eyes of the bridegroom, that she may be all glorious within, and her clothing of wrought gold; that on the wedding-day she may stand on the king’s right hand in gold of Ophir.The joyful day is coming, when the spouse of Christ shall be led to the King in raiment of needle-work; and angels and faithful ministers will be the servants that shall lead her in. And you, Sir, if you are faithful in the charge now to be committed to you, shall be joined with glorious angels in that honorable and joyful service; but with this difference, that you shall have the higher privilege. Angels and faithful ministers shall be together in bringing in Christ’s bride into his palace, and presenting her to him. But faithful ministers hall have a much higher participation of the joy of that occasion. They shall have a greater and more immediate participation with the bride in her joy; for they shall not only be ministers to the church as the angels are, but parts of the church, principal members of the bride. And as such, at the same time that angels do the part of ministering spirits to the bride, when they conduct her to the bridegroom, they shall also do the part of ministering spirits to faithful ministers. And they shall also have a higher participation with the bridegroom than the angels, in his rejoicing at that time; for they shall be nearer to him than they. They are also his members, and are honored as the principal instruments of espousing the saints to him, and fitting them for his enjoyment; and therefore they will be more the crown of rejoicing of faithful ministers, than of the angels of heaven.
So great, dear Sir, is the honor and joy that is set before you, to engage you to faithfulness in your pastoral care of this people; so glorious the prize that Christ has set up to engage you to run the race that is set before you.”
(Taken from, “The Works of Jonathan Edwards,” vol. 2, The Banner of Truth)
September 2012 will mark the release of an invaluable resource. A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life by Joel Beeke and Mark Jones offers a groundbreaking treatment of the Puritans’ teaching on most major Reformed doctrines, particularly those doctrines in which the Puritans made significant contributions. Since the late 1950s, nearly 150 Puritan authors and 700 Puritan titles have been reprinted and cataloged by Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson in their 2006 collection of mini-biographies and book reviews, titled, Meet the Puritans. However, no work until now has gathered together the threads of their teaching into a unified tapestry of systematic theology.
A Puritan Theology, by Joel Beeke and Mark Jones, attempts to do that. The book addresses Puritan teachings on all six loci of theology, covering fifty areas of doctrine. The book explores Puritan teachings on biblical interpretation, God, predestination, providence, angels, sin, the covenants, the gospel, Christ, preparation for conversion, regeneration, coming to Christ, justification, adoption, church government, the Sabbath, preaching, baptism, heaven, hell, and many other topics. It ends with eight chapters that explore Puritan “theology in practice.” Some chapters highlight the work of a specific theologian such as William Perkins, William Ames, John Owen, Stephen Charnock, or Thomas Goodwin on a specific topic. Other chapters survey various authors on a particular subject. The goal of A Puritan Theology is to increase knowledge in the mind and godliness in the soul. It was written for theologians, historians, pastors, and educated laymen who seek to learn more about Puritan theology.
Paperback, 1200 pages
Retail Price: $60.00
RHB Price: $45.00
Publication Date: September 2012
- Contents -
1. The Puritans on Natural and Supernatural Theology
2. Puritan Hermeneutics and Exegesis
3. The Learned Doctor William Ames and The Marrow of Theology
4. Stephen Charnock on the Attributes of God
5. The Puritans on the Trinity
6. John Owen on Communion with the Triune God
7. William Perkins on Predestination
8. Thomas Goodwin and Johannes Maccovius on Justification from Eternity
9. Thomas Goodwin’s Christological Supralapsarianism
10. The Puritans on Providence
11. The Puritans on Angels
12. The Puritans on Demons
Anthropology and Covenant Theology
13. The Puritans on the Sinfulness of Sin
14. The Puritans on the Covenant of Works
15. The Puritans on the Covenant of Redemption
16. The Puritans on the Covenant of Grace
17. The Puritans on the Old and New Covenants: A Gracious Moses?
18. The Minority Report: John Owen on Sinai
19. The Puritans on Covenant Conditions
20. The Puritans on Law and Gospel
21. Puritan Christology
22. The Puritans on Christ’s Offices and States
23. The Blood of Christ in Puritan Piety
24. Anthony Burgess on Christ’s Intercession for Us
25. Thomas Goodwin on Christ’s Beautiful Heart
26. The Puritans on Understanding and Using God’s Promises
27. Puritan Preparatory Grace
28. The Puritans on Regeneration
29. The Puritans on Union with Christ, Justification, and Regeneration
30. John Owen on Justification by Faith Alone
31. The Puritans on Coming to Christ
32. The Puritans on Living in Christ
33. The Puritans on Adoption
34. The Third Use of the Law
35. Richard Sibbes on Entertaining the Holy Spirit
36. William Perkins and His Greatest Case of Conscience
37. The Puritans on Perseverance of the Saints
38. The Puritans on the Government of the Church
39. The Puritans on the Offices of the Church
40. John Owen on the Christian Sabbath and Worship
41. Puritan Preaching (1)
42. Puritan Preaching (2)
43. John Bunyan’s Preaching to the Heart
44. The Puritans and Paedobaptism
45. The Puritans on the Lord’s Supper
46. Puritan Prayers for World Missions
47. “The City on a Hill”: The American Puritans’ Optimistic View of the End Times
48. Thomas Manton on the Judgment According to Works
49. How History Informs the Historicist: Thomas Goodwin’s Reading of Revelation
50. Christopher Love on the Glories of Heaven and Terrors of Hell
Theology in Practice
51. Puritan Theology Shaped by a Pilgrim Mentality
52. The Puritans on Walking Godly in the Home
53. Matthew Henry on a Practical Method of Daily Prayer
54. The Puritan Practice of Meditation
55. The Puritans on Conscience
56. Puritan Casuistry
57. Puritan Sacrificial Zeal
58. Practical Lessons from Puritan Theology Today
59. A Final Word
According to The United Methodist Reporter, “In February, the Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition at Duke Divinity School completed a five-year project making publically available, online, all of Charles Wesley’s hymns and verses.”
The website, offers two collections: one of Charles Wesley’s published material, and another of his manuscripts, many of which were never published.
John Wesley Projects
- Participation in the Wesley Works Editorial Project
- Online editions of John Wesley’s poetry and hymn collections
- Online collection of John Wesley’s undisputed verse
- Full-text of Letters in “Primitive Physic” Debate (1776) (pdf)
Charles Wesley Projects
- Online editions of Charles Wesley’s published verse
- Online collection of Charles Wesley’s manuscript verse
The following is a sample from Charles Wesley’s manuscript verse under the category of friendship.
“Arise, my Soul, arise.”
by Charles Wesley
[1.] Thou GOD of Truth and Love
We seek thy perfect way,
Ready thy Choice t’ approve,
Thy Providence t’ obey,
Enter into thy wise Design,
And sweetly lose our Will in Thine.
2. Why hast Thou cast our Lot
In the same Age and Place,
Or why together brought
To see Each other’s Face
To join with softest Sympathy,10
And mix our friendly Souls in Thee.
3. Didst Thou not make us One,
That Both might One remain,
Together travel on,
And bear Each other’s Pain,
Till both thy utmost Goodness prove,
And rise renew’d in perfect Love.
4. Surely Thou didst unite
Our kindred Spirits here,
That Both hereafter might
Before thy Throne appear,
Meet at the Marriage of the Lamb,
And all thy Glorious Love proclaim.
5. Then let us ever bear
The Blessed End in view,
And join with mutual Care
To fight our Passage thro’
And kindly help Each other on,
Till Both receive the Starry Crown.
6. O might thy Spirit seal
Our Souls unto that Day,
With all thy Fulness fill,
And then transport away,
Away to our Eternal Rest,
Away to our Redeemer’s Breast.
7. There, only there we shall
Fulfil thy great Design,
And in thy Praise with all
Our Elder Brethren join,
And hymn in Songs which ne’er should end,
Our Heavenly Everlasting Friend.
There’s nothing I enjoy more than studying the Bible. Yet it has not always been that way. My real passion for studying Scripture began when as a college student, I made a commitment to explore the Bible in earnest. I found that the more I studied, the more my hunger for Scripture grew. Here are three simple guidelines that have helped me to make the most of my study time.
Read the Bible
First, I begin with reading the Bible. That seems obvious, but quite frankly, it’s where many people fail. Too many Christians are content with a second-hand knowledge of Scripture. They read books about the Bible instead of studying the Bible for themselves. Books are good, but collateral reading can never replace the Bible itself.
There are many good Bible reading plans available, but here is one I’ve found most helpful. I read through the Old Testament at least once a year. As I read, I note in the margins any truths I particularly want to remember, and I write down separately anything I don’t immediately understand. Often I find that as I read, my questions are answered by the text itself. The questions to which I can’t find answers become the starting points for more in-depth study using commentaries or other reference tools.
I follow a different plan for reading the New Testament. I read one book at a time repetitiously for a month or more. I began doing this when I was in seminary, because I wanted to retain what was in the New Testament and not always have to depend on a concordance to find things.
If you want to try this, begin with a short book, such as 1 John, and read it through in one sitting every day for 30 days. At the end of that time, you will know what’s in that book. Write out on index cards the major theme of each chapter. By referring to the cards as you do your daily reading, you’ll begin to remember the content of each chapter. In fact, you’ll develop a visual perception of the book in your mind.
Divide longer books into short sections and read each section daily for thirty days. For example, the gospel of John contains 21 chapters. Divide it into 3 sections of 7 chapters. At the end of 90 days, you’ll finish John. For variety, alternate short and long books and in less than 3 years you will have finished the entire New Testament–and you’ll really know it!
Interpret the Bible
As I read Scripture, I always keep in mind one simple question: “What does this mean?” It’s not enough to read the text and jump directly to the application; we must first determine what it means, otherwise the application may be incorrect.
Gaps to Bridge
The first step in interpreting the Bible is to recognize the four gaps we have to bridge: language, culture, geography, and history.
The Bible was originally written in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. Often, understanding the meaning of a word or phrase in the original language can be the key to correctly interpreting a passage of Scripture. Two books that will help you close the language gap are An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W. E. Vine, and Nelson’s Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament, by Merrill F. Unger and William White, Jr. You don’t need to know Greek or Hebrew to use those books effectively.
The culture gap can be tricky. Some people try to use cultural differences to explain away the more difficult biblical commands. Don’t fall into that trap, but realize that we must first view Scripture in the context of the culture in which it was written. Without an understanding of first-century Jewish culture, it is difficult to understand the gospels. Acts and the epistles must be read in light of the Greek and Roman cultures. The following books will help you understand the cultural background of the Bible: The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, by Alfred Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life, also by Edersheim, and The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times, by Ralph Gower.
A third gap that needs to be closed is the geography gap. Biblical geography makes the Bible come alive. A good Bible atlas is an invaluable reference tool that can help you comprehend the geography of the Holy Land. Of course, nothing helps like seeing the land first-hand on a tour.
We must also bridge the history gap. Unlike the Scriptures of most other world religions, the Bible contains the records of actual historical persons and events. An understanding of Bible history will help us place the people and events in it in their proper historical perspective. A good Bible dictionary or Bible encyclopedia is useful here, as are basic historical studies.
Principles to Understand
Four principles should guide us as we interpret the Bible: literal, historical, grammatical, and synthesis.
The Literal Principle
Scripture should be understood in its literal, normal, and natural sense. While the Bible does contain figures of speech and symbols, they were intended to convey literal truth. In general, however, the Bible speaks in literal terms, and we must allow it to speak for itself.
The Historical Principle
This means that we interpret Scripture in its historical context. We must ask what the text meant to the people to whom it was first written. In this way we can develop a proper contextual understanding of the original intent of Scripture.
The Grammatical Principle
This requires that we understand the basic grammatical structure of each sentence in the original language. To whom do the pronouns refer? What is the tense of the main verb? You’ll find that when you ask some simple questions like those, the meaning of the text immediately becomes clearer.
The Synthesis Principle
This is what the Reformers called the analogia scriptura. It means that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself. If we arrive at an interpretation of a passage that contradicts a truth taught elsewhere in the Scriptures, our interpretation cannot be correct. Scripture must be compared with Scripture to discover its full meaning.
Apply the Bible
This is the ultimate step: we submit to Scripture and let it transform our lives.Having read and interpreted the Bible, you should have a basic understanding of what the Bible says, and what it means by what it says. But my Bible study doesn’t stop there. I never study God’s Word just to get a sermon. My ultimate goal is to let it speak to me and enable me to grow spiritually. That requires personal application.
Bible study is not complete until we ask ourselves, “What does it mean for my life and how can I practically apply it?” We must take the knowledge we’ve gained from our reading and interpretation and draw out the practical principles that apply to our personal lives.
If there is a command to be obeyed, we obey it. If there is a promise to be embraced, we claim it. If there is a warning to be followed, we heed it. This is the ultimate step: we submit to Scripture and let it transform our lives. If you skip this step, you will never enjoy your Bible study and the Bible will never change your life.
Bible study is not optional in the Christian life. It is both the obligation and the privilege of all believers. If you are not involved in regular, systematic Bible study, you are missing one of the primary means God uses to bring us to maturity (1 Peter 2:2).
“The death of Christopher Hitchens on December 15 was not unexpected, and that seemed only to add to the tragedy,” R. Albert Mohler Jr. writes. “His fight against cancer had been lived, like almost every other aspect of his colorful life, in full public view. He had told numerous interviewers that he wanted to die in an active, not a passive sense. Then again, there may never have been a truly passive moment in Christopher Hitchens’ life.”
In his most recent blog article, “Learning from Christopher Hitchens: Lessons Evangelicals Must Not Miss,” Dr. Mohler presents five lesions from the life and career of Hitchens.
Credo has gained great notoriety in recent months in evangelical circles with the publication of their first online issue in October 2011. The most recent issue, January 2012, is entitled, "In Christ Alone."
Can those who have never heard the gospel of Christ be saved? Will everyone be saved in the end or will some spend an eternity in hell? The January issue of Credo argues that it is only if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, that you will be saved (Rom 10:9). Contributors include David Wells, Robert Peterson, Michael Horton, Gerald Bray, Todd Miles, Todd Borger, Ardel Caneday, Nathan Finn, Michael Reeves, Trevin Wax, Timothy Beougher, and many others.
To read download the Table of Contents click here.
WelcomeWord of Truth is the weblog of Dustin Benge. Dustin serves as pastor-teacher of First Baptist Church in Jackson, Kentucky. He is an MDiv graduate and currently a PhD student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.