Regarding Hodge, a while back a dear friend brought to my attention the carefulness with which Charles Hodge developed the doctrine of limited atonement in comparison to others who are a bit more reckless with it these days. In particular, Hodge’s care to develop limited atonement by emphasizing the judicial side of the atonement rather than a strictly pecuniary approach preserves this doctrine from the common charges often brought against it. Indeed, reading Hodge encourages a belief in limited atonement that deepens love and devotion for the Savior, creates awe in His mercy, and spurs one to offer freely the gospel to others. Read his Systematic Theology, Volume II, Chapter VIII.
I love being bound together in fellowship with my other R&P pastors. They encourage me so. Three of my pastor friends are so dedicated to helping me that recently they have been following me around wherever I go, helping me teach, preach, and even sing the psalms better. The amazing thing about this is that they probably do not even know they are doing it.
Of course I am talking about their books. Recently I have been reading through or using these three, and highly recommend them to you.
He Spoke in Parables by Gordon Keddie. Though published some years ago now by Evangelical Press, these studies on the parables of Christ provide clear and fresh insight. Gordon does a great job of not obscuring the profound and direct simplicity of these stories but rather highlighting it. A Bible study meeting in our home has been using this book for the basis of our study, and I have especially appreciated their arrangement in looking first at the nature of God’s kingdom, then the marks of kingdom life, and finally the consummation of the kingdom.
So Pastor, What’s Your Point? by Dennis Prutow. Each year I like to read through and work at applying one book on preaching, and this new book by the Homiletic Professor of Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary has been an encouragement. Extremely thorough, researched, and practical, the stress of the book is captured in the title as Dennis walks you through how to distill a passage and then display in the sermon it’s main point. Since it is a textbook and thus an investment, if you want to learn more before purchasing it watch Dr. Prutow explain his book or listen to him being interviewed about it.
Singing the Songs of Jesus by Michael LeFebvre. Without hearing a musical note from Michael, he has improved my singing of the psalms. For his book is a wonderful and winsome approach to how these songs are to be viewed as the anthems of Christ’s kingdom which are to be sung not only to Christ, but with Him. So often psalm singing is presented in such a hard-hitting, quit-offering-the strange-fire-of-Nadab-and-Abihu fashion that people are turned off by the proponents before they can be turned on by the practice. With just the proper touch of scholarship, this short book is accessible to laypeople and pastors alike.
Will we ever learn? Another lizard is loose in the York household. The other day Snoopy died, amazingly from old age. That was a death unlike her (his?) other predecessors such as Squishy (exercise bike), Spiffy & Spoofy (ran up the backyard tree together never to be seen again), Scrawney, Speedy, Sneaky, and Spunky (wait – that was the cat). So we got Celia another lizard she named Smokey. You should know that my wife vetoed the first choice of names for the new lizard, which were Stinky and Smelly. This was much to my dismay, since the lizard cage is in my home office and I think these names are the most fitting. However, it’s hard to argue this point strongly so I let it go.
Anyway, Smokey the new lizard had not been home for more than an hour when it leapt from my daughters’ hands, scurried across the den floor, and disappeared under my favorite recliner. No amount of searching over the past few days has turned him up. Now my chair has a “Do Not Sit!” sign on it in a eight year-old’s authoritative, Crayola handwriting. I think my wife, whose not very fond of these creatures especially when they are loose, takes solace in that. As for myself, I have found some solace in losing my chair in going around the house singing this song (you can guess the tune):
On top of Ole Smokey
I best not sit down.
Or yet one more lizard
Will not be around.
Now about the podge. Of the prospering wicked, in Psalm 17:14 the righteous prays to be delivered from the wicked, “Whose belly You fill with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and leave their abundance to babes.” As much as we may desire such blessings as enjoying a full stomach or adoring our children, let us be sure our satisfaction does not end there. For the psalmist continues, “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.”