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Joe Fleener

Joe Fleener's Public Library

  • Nevertheless, in the matter of consecutive expository preaching, the Puritans are not always a model for us to follow. To take an extreme example, we can safely say that Joseph Caryl, who took twenty-four years to expound the book of Job in 424 sermons (averaging ten sermons per chapter), was not a good model for preaching the book of Job or for expository preaching in general.
  • The problem was that few, if any, could come close to the exegetical and homiletical skills of “the Doctor.” Many a congregation was wearied by an overly ambitious series in the consecutive expository method, and by practitioners that weren’t up to the task.
  • His intent was always to be expository; in practice, he could sometimes introduce matters into the sermon that did not properly emerge from the text, and he never engaged in consecutive expository preaching.

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  • One further problem with this approach is that virtually any activity can become "kingdom work." McKnight commends a Chicago, Ill. congregation that opened and operated a laundromat, "health facilities," a gym, and a "pizza joint" for the wider community. He sees these activities as examples of "church mission" and therefore "kingdom mission" (98). To be sure, these are laudable efforts in themselves and appropriate endeavors for Christians to undertake in their callings. The New Testament, however, affords no warrant for the church in her organized capacity to undertake such works.
  • Therefore, for the gathered church to entangle itself in the breadth of activities for which Kingdom Conspiracy pleads is, in effect, to transgress her royal commission. It is equally to involve herself in matters for which she has no promised competency. These spheres of endeavor are left to Christians, in the context of their callings, to pursue in obedience to their risen King. When the church is faithful to her commission to make known the whole counsel of God, then such Christians will be well equipped to serve the Lord anywhere and everywhere he is pleased to call them. Even if such service is not "kingdom work" in the sense that Kingdom Conspiracy defines that term, when a true believer labors in obedience to Christ's will and for Christ's glory, he may be sure that his labor is pleasing to the King. 

  • How about the ubiquitous "middle-ground" for us as Presbyterians? What is it? I don't know. But this post is an attempt to wrestle with the fact that we might, perhaps unwittingly, be guilty of moralism with regards to our children and the obedience we demand from them.  
  • If our children repent, can we assure them that God has indeed forgiven them? Or, if they repent, should we simply be thankful they are sorry for being disobedient, but refrain from telling them their sins are forgiven when they ask God for forgiveness? I am curious what parents tell their young children when they repent and ask God for forgiveness. Personally, I assure them, as I do with anyone in the church, that God forgives the penitent.

  • Of course, ECT did not come out of the blue. Ever since his 1957 crusade in New York City, Billy Graham had warmly welcomed Catholic participants in his evangelistic efforts. John Stott, an Anglican pastor with worldwide influence, had long engaged with Catholics in serious theological discussions on issues of mission and world evangelization. Carl F. H. Henry had followed the events of Vatican II with interest and written about them with critical appreciation.

  • When theology is insulated from broader conversations it can lead to a culture of complacency wherein adherents can slavishly regurgitate doctrinal 'facts' with gusto (but without reflection), yet at the same time experience a theological and spiritual impoverishment. The danger any theology faces when it retreats to a theological enclave is to repeat and reinforce its own mantra.

  • We should learn the value of a robust ecclesiology
  • We should learn the importance of maintaining biblical standards for pastoral ministry
  • We should learn the necessity of real friends

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    • Here are a couple of urban legends that Draper and White perpetuated:

      1. The church believed for centuries that the earth is flat.
      3. The church opposed the use of anesthetics in childbirth since Genesis promised that childbirth would be painful.
  • The purpose of the war was to discredit clergymen as suitable figures to undertake scientific work in order that the new breed of professionals would have an opportunity to fill in the gap for such work created by eliminating the current men of science. It was thus tendentiously asserted that the religious convictions of clergymen disqualified them from pursuing their scientific inquiries objectively


    More to the point, however, was the fact that clergymen were undertaking this work for the sheer love of science and thus hindering the expectation that it would be done for money by paid full-time scientists. Clergymen were branded amateurs in order to facilitate the creation of a new category of professionals.

  • So this great story of Scripture — the story the Bible tells that no one else is going to — tells us that God’s plan from the beginning was the dispersion of peoples. His judgment sowed confusion among those peoples because of their sin. And yet, Christ’s response was to say to his own, you are to go to all the nations. Repentance and the forgiveness of sins are to be declared in his name to all the nations. That task is complexified by the confusion of languages. But in the gospel, while we may not have the same language or the same ethnic heritage but we will have the same Christ
  • Thus, we have two tables and a tower. That second table — the marriage supper of the Lamb — tells us the end of the story and the glory of the story. The narrative of the gospel upends and refutes the stories offered by the world. Diversity is not an accident; it is a divine purpose. Diversity is not a problem; it is a divine gift. It does not reflect evolutionary development and social evolution; it reflects the imago Dei and the Genesis mandate to fill the earth.
  • Sin explains confusion and difficulty in communication. Sin explains hatred and animosity, racism and ethnocentricity. Seen in the light of the gospel, racial and ethnic differences are not accidental. They reflect the perfect plan of a perfect God.

  • Over the years, my wife and I have re-watched some of the iconic films from our teen years—”The Breakfast Club” among them. What always strikes us is not so much how dated the movies are but how much we have changed since the time when we were originally engrossed by such films. The big drivers of so-called “teen angst” don’t seem so big 30 years on. Also, after you get some years under your belt, you find that the easy immorality and self-regard endemic to the whole genre doesn’t wear well in real life. You’ve seen too many friends and loved ones wrecked by those things to be enthralled by them like you were 30 years ago.


    In short, as you grow up, so do your tastes. Yes, there are still some things to appreciate. But it is impossible to watch these films with the same eyes that you had 30 years previous. What once put stars in your eyes now often leaves a tear. And that is a good thing.

  • Individuals who are less secure in their identity tend to feel more threatened when their views are challenged. Hence, they wish to control or even quell these threats and ultimately are more uncompromising in their actions and outlook. Because homeschooling is a highly personalized educational arrangement and usually constitutes holistically introducing students to a particular worldview and way of life, homeschooled students typically attain a higher degree of self-actualization. Consequently, homeschooled students may be more politically tolerant than those who attend a traditional public school. In fact, traditional public schools may be an institution that stunts self-actualization for some of its students because it threatens those students’ sense of self by endorsing a worldview that clashes with the one held by those students.

  • Researchers in the study say that we could be seeing same-sex couples producing children together in as little as two years.

  • We strive, we aspire, we obey. We struggle, we sin, we repent. If our doctrine of sanctification does not embrace all this we are out of step with Calvin, out of step with the Reformed tradition, and, most importantly, out of step with the Bible itself.

  • Few philosophers in history have been so unreadable and dry as Immanuel Kant. He was an abstract professor, writing in abstract style about abstract questions.
  • Few have had a more devastating impact on human thought. He is the primary source of the idea that truth is subjective. Kant, more than any other thinker, gave impetus to the typically modern turn from the objective to the subjective.

  • So I thought about those words and I thought about my friendships. And I believe a relationship grows just as much through “Please forgive me” as through “I love you.” One friend speaking to another and saying, “I love you”—this is where love is declared. But one friend approaching another to express remorse and seek forgiveness—this is where love is displayed and preserved.

  • n the last of a three-part interview,* Mark Dever interviews Tim Keller about his book-writing ministry, how he tries to use his books to confront a secular audience with the gospel, and much more.

  • He called himself “the Anti-Christ,” and wrote a book by that title.


    He offered the following argument for atheism:


    “I will now disprove the existence of all gods:


    [1] If there were gods, how could I bear not to be a god?


  • [2] Consequently, there are no gods.”
  • Nietzsche is the essential, modern post-Christian and anti-Christian. He rightly saw Christ as his chief enemy and rival. The spirit of Anti-Christ has never received such complete formulation. Nietzsche was not only the favorite philosopher of Nazi Germany, he is the favorite philosopher of hell.


    We can thank Satan’s own foolishness in “blowing his cover” in this man. Like Nazism, Nietzsche may scare the hell out of us and help save our civilization or even our souls by turning us away in terror before it’s too late.

  • we must realize that while the world seems to be changing almost regularly before our eyes, the task of the ministry remains absolutely the same
  • One of the most important affirmations of biblical anthropology is that every single human being is created in the image of God. This means that there is a unity to the human race.
  • This statement is a direct defiance of the command of God in Genesis 1:28. God never commanded us to build a great city that would house all of humanity. We were told to fill the earth. What we find in the Tower of Babel is that those who were building this city did so lest they be dispersed. And yet God judges them by dispersing them while confusing their languages

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  • Sometimes I wonder if egalitarians hope to triumph in the debate on the role of women by publishing book after book on the subject. Each work propounds a new thesis which explains why the traditional interpretation is flawed.


    Complementarians could easily give in from sheer exhaustion, thinking that so many books written by such a diversity of different authors could scarcely be wrong.


    Further, it is difficult to keep writing books promoting the complementarian view. Our view of the biblical text has not changed dramatically in the last twenty five years. Should we continue to write books that essentially promote traditional interpretations? Is the goal of publishing to write what is true or what is new?


    One of the dangers of evangelical publishing is the desire to say something novel. Our evangelical publishing houses could end up like those in Athens so long ago: “Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new” (Acts 17:21, NASB).

  • (2) If Mary is not theotokos, the relationship of Christ to humanity is changed. Only orthodox Christology allows for a real redemption of fallen man. Nestorianism’s problem was not with the two natures, but with the one person. Christ is fully God and fully man in Nestorianism, but he does not seem to be one person. Instead of two natures in a single self-conscious person, the two natures are next to each other with a moral and sympathetic union. The logic of Romans 5:19—that our salvation is accomplished through “the one man’s obedience”—will not hold. It’s only through the one man Jesus Christ, the union of humanity and deity, that we are made righteous.
  • utyches argued for the absorption of the human nature into the divine, the fusion of the two natures resulting in a tertium quid (third thing)–like mixing yellow and blue to get green. He said that Christ’s humanity was so united to his divinity that his humanity was not the same as ours (consubstantial). Christ was “of one substance with the Father” but not “of one substance with us.”
  • The First Ecumenical Council in Nicea (325) rejected Arianism; the Second in Constantinople (381) rejected Docetism; the Third in Ephesus (431) rejected Nestorianism; and the Fourth in Chalcedon (451) rejected Eutychianism.

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  • Featuring lyrics drawn from Scripture and a lifetime of theological reflection, Glory to the Holy One is a collection of beautiful new hymns written by Dr. R.C. Sproul, wedded with soaring melodies written by award-winning composer, Jeff Lippencott. Recorded in esteemed venues around the world, this new project provides the church with an offering of that which is good, true, and beautiful in the Christian faith.
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