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3GT Episode 71: Man in the Iron Cage (No, Not the MMA Kind)

Talk about a man in an iron cage today, and people will think of mixed martial arts. But there was a time when all that would have come to mind is the scene of a character in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.

The man was trapped in an iron cage because, as he said, “I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent.” So the 3GTers discuss this mysterious character. Who is he and what does he represent? To answer, they turn to the Scriptures for help. Tough passages such as Hebrews 6:4-6 and Matthew 12:31-32 are raised. Concepts such as reprobation and the unpardonable sin are defined. Characters such as Judas and Esau are referenced. Warnings are issued.

Wow – a heavy topic! Yet tune in and hear also the gracious hope it brings!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/3gt-episode-71.mp3

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From Geneva to Amsterdam in Five Minutes!

Alpine Climes!

I’ve just arrived back from 3 days on the slopes with Andy Jr skiing. We stayed in a beautiful little village in the Chablais region of the Northern French Alps called Les Gets – really ‘chocolate box’ scenery. It was kind of some friends to let us have the use of his chalet for a few days.

Fabled Fun

Dad & Junior

Anyway, now, aged 51, the ‘thigh-burn’ is starting to get ridiculous – I was chasing a trail of ‘snow-dust’ for almost all of the time. I’m glad to say, however, that there is still a little life in the old legs of the old dog yet. I was happy to quote Aesop’s Fable of the Tortoise and the Hare to Andy Jr as I left him for dead on the big bumps on the final run of the final day. His only reply was that his shin was beginning to hurt – a classical case of Invisible-alpine-shin-microblister-dad-just-beat-you Syndrome, no doubt!

A dear French brother flanked by two Irishmen!

En Route!

After a few hours shut-eye, we rose at 5.30 am, did a quick final clean of the chalet, and headed down the road to Geneva Airport, only to have to pull […]

Brief Book Reviews by Russell Pulliam

The following brief, interesting book reviews are by Russell Pulliam, an Indianapolis Star columnist who directs the Pulliam Fellowship summer intern program for the Indianapolis Star and the Arizona Republic.

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1) With Him, A Biblical Model of Discipleship for Men, Ken Smith, 2017. 60 pages of excellent commentary on our union with Christ. 

2) ReSet: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture, by David Murray, 2017. An excellent short book about resetting priorities in life and guarding against being Crazy Busy. 

3) How Does Sanctification Work? By David Powlison, 2017. A very good analysis that avoids the fallacy of the false dilemma, or taking sides between discipline and grace; or strenuous effort and walking in the Spirit.

 4) Coach Wooden and Me, Our 50-year friendship On and Off the Court, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 2017. Jabbar tells this story as well as he shot that sky hook and pays tribute, as a Muslim, to UCLA Coach John Wooden and his Christian faith.

 5) The Road to Jonestown, by Jeff Guin, 2017. Such a sad story about Jim Jones, a gifted preacher/activist in Indianapolis and San Francisco and how he made an idol out of himself. The result was the tragic mass suicide in their colony in South America.

 6) Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir […]

Browse Worthy: Shots in the Arm

So often the news and even blogosphere can be depressing to read, from the latest political scandal to the next ecclesiastical controversy. Though living in this sin-drenched world means we have to deal with negative news, meditating on the grace of God in Christ can fill us with the Spirit’s goodness. Here are a few good reads along those lines.

The State of Evangelicalism in America and all that Blah Blah Blah | Tim Challies

Encouraging to read our Canadian brother reminding those south of him how we should be grateful to God for all that he is using the American church to do around the world.

Assurance: a Pastoral Conversation | Jeffrey Stivason

An imagined but all-too-real conversation that shows how a pastor might help a parishioner whose mind is troubled regarding assurance of salvation.

Why and how do we sing to one other? | Matt Merker

A short video clip from 9Marks that explains that our congregational singing is not only to God, but to one another.

When Everything Is Missions | Kevin DeYoung

This article is a review of a book by this name (When Everything is Missions by Denny Spitters and Matthew Ellison) that explains its thesis: everything is not missions, should not be missions, and when […]

3GT Episode 60: Gordon Keddie, Author of Prayers of the Bible

On this episode of 3GT, we interview Pastor Gordon Keddie, author of the new book Prayers of the Bible from Crown & Covenant Publications. Yet this is not your ordinary interview. With his Scottish brogue, lively spirit, and keen insights, Gordon brings the subject of prayer to life!

Nor is this an ordinary book on prayer. His newest book offers 366 prayers of the Bible in a two-page, daily format. Each day contains an inspiring, pithy devotional in Gordon’s inimitable style, a suggested psalm portion to accompany it, and space to write down particular prayers.

Our episode sponsor Crown & Covenant will give away two free copies of Prayers of the Bible! Just be one of our first two listeners to send one of Gordon’s favorite prayers mentioned in the podcast along with your name and address to threeguystheologizing@gmail.com.

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/3gt-episode-602.mp3

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Frustrated with a Friend

Introduction

Having an interest in Hebrew and Old Testament studies in particular there are few people to whom I am more indebted than the scholar Mark Futato. His language courses are brilliant and his contribution to Hebrew studies massive. Whether thinking of ‘BibleWorks’ or ‘Daily Dose of Hebrew’, though I have never met him personally, I regard him as a friend.

I Just Happened To Be Reading

I was, however, a little troubled recently, when I picked up a new book entitled ‘A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Promised’, edited by Ligon Duncan III: this text contains many brilliant contributions from numerous outstanding authors. It was with a sense of excitement, therefore, that I eventually turned to the chapter on the Psalms.

Why I was frustrated

I really was not anticipating what I encountered next, as I lit upon a surprising comment he makes, on page 353 of this tome. It comes at the end of a lucid, succinct, informative, in many ways excellent entry: the section is headed ‘Approaching the New Testament’; he is dealing with the question of how many or which of the Psalms should be considered Messianic? Let me quote what our brother says:

“The answer can either be […]

9.5 Theses: Suggested Reading on the Reformation

This article originally appeared here on the Tabletalk Magazine website and is reposted here with permission.

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With the five-hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses approaching on the last day of this month, how might a church put together a guide for laypeople who want to learn more about the history of the Protestant Reformation? Before I answer that question, let me answer a more foundational one: Why is reading about the Reformation so important for Christians today? Please let me offer a bit of testimony for this latter question, then offer a guide to answer the first one.

Years ago, when I attended seminary in my mid-twenties, I took my first church history class. It was like stepping into a whole new world.

Having had a secular education, spotty church attendance through my childhood, a conversion in college, and then a journey for a few years before I came into a Reformed church, I had not known of the history I was now hearing. As I took courses and read, I often learned of people I had little to no knowledge about. I was fascinated by martyrs such as Perpetua and Polycarp in the early church, doctrinal […]

Between Irrelevance and Inspiration: Rob Bell’s “What is the Bible?”

I imagine it was a paradisiacal day—whatever happy, joyful, and blissful picture that gives your imagination—when the serpent slithered to the woman in the Garden of Eden. He did not come armed with bow or sword but only with his tongue and a simple but provocative question: “Did God actually say?” There was the starting point of humanity’s tragic descent into sin and misery. Its origin was doubt, disbelief, and misinterpretation of God’s word. I cannot help but hear an echo of that fateful question in Rob Bell’s new book, What is the Bible?

For many evangelicals and Reformed folk Rob Bell is, perhaps, a relic of the past. His departure from some of the main tenets of Christianity have made him all but irrelevant. So why should we care that he has written a new book? Well, if there is any value in this book it is simply that it offers a popular representation—without big vocabulary or complex hermeneutical rules—on where many people place the Bible in their understanding of Christianity. Rob Bell doesn’t write without knowing exactly to what audience he is writing, and he has learned well to connect with that audience in a captivating way. This book […]

3GT Episode 36: The Shadow Shows

Can you see Christ portrayed in the Book of Job? If so, how? The shadow shows!

The Three Guys welcome C.J. Williams, Professor of Old Testament Studies at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, as they discuss his new book The Shadow of Christ in the Book of Job. As they sit at the good doctor’s feet and discuss the story of Job, they are reminded of what proper typology is and how to avoid merely allegorizing. They learn of the “Messianic Trajectory” set by this story. They hear of amazing similarities between Job and another shadowy Old Testament figure. And they hear what Aaron has in common with Job’s friends!

Our thanks to Wipf and Stock Publishers for sponsoring this episode! Listen to find an easy way you can win a free copy of Dr. Williams’ book! Go here to purchase additional copies.

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/3gt-episode-361.mp3

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With Him by Ken G. Smith

At the end of last week, I had the privilege of visiting with Ken Smith. Ken was my pastor when I was in seminary years ago. His Spirit-filled preaching, the warm hospitality he and Floy always gave us, and Friday morning prayer times with him and a few other men were just some of the ways he ministered to me during those years. I learned so much from him then, and now that I am back in the Pittsburgh area he has again been a rich source of encouragement to me. So I have not only heard him teach, but experienced him practicing, the truth contained in the title of his new book With Him.

This short volume on this simple yet profound principal of discipleship is chocked full with insights into Jesus’ way of working with men. As the Scriptures tell us, our Lord chose his disciples to be “with him” (Mark 3:14). Ken demonstrates from Christ’s life that the most powerful way of developing another is to take him or her with you as you minister and live. He also develops how other key biblical figures practiced the with him principal, backs it up with the teaching of others, and shares wonderful anecdotes […]