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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Sunday
Mar 22 2020

"None Is Righteous, No, Not One" -- Romans 3:9-20

Saturday
Mar 21 2020

What to Read During the Covid-19 Exile of 2020: Biographies of Great Men

The Covid-19 Exile might be a good chance to get in some serious reading.

The four books that follow are recommended biographies of men we all ought to know something about.There are others I could mention to be sure (Genghis Khan, Stalin, Lenin, and Mao come to mind), but these are books I have read and which I can recommend as both important and interesting.

Winston Churchill was certainly not the greatest man who ever-lived, but he might well be the most interesting.Churchill's life began in the days of Queen Victoria, and ended during Beatlemania.Churchill took very seriously the threats posed by Hitler and Stalin, when others missed the obvious.This is a page-turning biography of a truly fascinating man.

Andrew Roberts -- Churchill

To my mind, Napoleon Bonaparte is not a likeable man in any sense.But Roberts' very well-written and thoroughly researched biography reminds us that the Corsican general was one of the world's greatest military minds and political organizers.Napoleon's fingerprints are all over modern Europe.Many feared he was the Antichrist.This short man cast a very long shadow.Roberts is a great biographer and tells Napoleon's story in a compelling way.

罗伯茨拿破仑

Despite my loathing of Hitler, my recommendation is that every thoughtful and intellectually engaged person ought to read this book.Kershaw's biography (this is the one volume abridgement of a two-volume set) gives us a definitive look at the man, the culture which produced him, his political skill, and his unchecked treachery.Kershaw identifies Hitler as an "unperson," and tells the story of how a man, who at other times and places would have been an absolute nobody, came to power in post World War One Germany and launched his own war which killed 70-85 million people.

The best way to prevent this from ever happening again, is to know something about Hitler's brand of fascism (national socialism).This is the place to begin.

Kershaw:希特勒

If you were to name the five most influential people in world history, surely Alexander's name would be on that list.By the age of 30 he had created an Empire which extended from Macedonia (Greece) all the way to India.He never lost a battle and defeated the much larger Persian empire during a ten-year campaign in which his military genius was determinative.Much about Alexander remains mysterious to us given the lack of written sources (especially his early death from a fever at age 32).But we do know that the Hellenizing influence he set in motion through conquest, brought massive cultural changes which revolutionized life throughout his vast empire and for centuries to come.Cartledge tells Alexander's story in a compelling an interesting way.

Cartledge: Alexander the Great

Next up, biographies of great Americans ...

Tuesday
Mar 17 2020

The Downside of Being Amillennial

I was born and bred a dispensationalist.当我长大时,我非常着迷双关语的真言ditry movement often associated with dispensational eschatology (although we Reformed folk have had our share of cranks too--remember Harold Camping?).Any current event could be (and was) tied to Scripture.The way in which the prophecy pundits made the Bible seem to come alive was truly remarkable.But then after years of wrestling with the eschatology of Jesus and the Apostles as presented in the Bible, I eventually became amillennial.

I was scheduled to speak this coming Friday and Saturday (March 20 and 21) at a conference entitled "The Blessed Hope: Christian Eschatology Simply Explained." Among other topics, I was supposed to speak on the biblical signs of the end--rather ironic given current events.As I was preparing my lectures for a conference which was then cancelled because of a world wide-pandemic of a killer virus, the likes of which no one alive has ever experienced, it dawned on me how different my take on the signs of the end would be, if I still held to the eschatology of my youth.

My lecture on "signs of the end" centers around those signs which refer specifically to the Apostles (and which were fulfilled in their lifetimes), those signs which characterize the entire inter-advental age (wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famine, persecution of God's people, false doctrine and false Christs), and then those signs which are true harbingers of the end (the conversion of Israel, a great apostasy, and the appearance of the Antichrist).I see dramatic events like the Covid-19 pandemic as yet another non-specific birth pain of the end.The worry and uncertainty we see all around us was foretold by Jesus and the Apostles.Our Lord told us to expect such things, but did not predict any specific pandemic.In fact, he even warned us about getting too specific."No one knows" when our Lord will return (Matthew 24:38).

But then I thought of the sheer creative opportunities open to meifI were still a punditry-inclined dispensationalist.Think about it.Some of these connections between the way in which the prophecy pundits read the Bible and the end times are so obvious, how could we miss them?When the fifth seal is broken (Revelation 9:1-11) stinging locusts appear.This could be a prophetic image of government repression in preparation for the Antichrist brought about by a final plague (tear gas, police and military in riot gear, helicopters), or even perhaps, some microscopic image could be found in which the Covid-19 virus somehow looks, or is made to look, like the mysterious locusts depicted by John.

Then, there is the obvious fact that Covid-19 first appeared in Wuhan, China.The mention of an army of 200 million from the east could easily be tied in a rather dramatic way to the sixth trumpet in Revelation 9:13-21.John foresees the angels releasing three plagues on mankind.One of these plagues could be the Covid-19 virus coming out of China to infect the rest of the world, killing a third of mankind.

Another obvious prophecy which we could tie to the end is the destruction of Babylon the Great by a series of plagues (as mentioned in Revelation 18:8).This too might be might be Covid-19.The virus which spread into Western Europe might be connected to the mystery of the woman riding the scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns.Many pundits have argued the woman is Rome (Italy was first to be hit hard--right?), and now the entire EU has been inundated with cases.The ten horns and seven heads of Revelation 17 have long been thought to be the EU as a revived the Roman Empire, even though, rather embarrassingly, the EU now has 27 member nations.

Meanwhile, those of us who think it improper to interpret the Bible in the light of current events, and who use the analogy of faith (in which clear biblical texts tell us what more obscure texts mean) cannot do what prophecy pundits do;conjure up wild and speculative end-times scenarios, even if they are compelling to those who trust such teachers.

It does appear that the punditry business has discredited itself through so many "never came to pass" prophetic scenarios that the industry has pretty much dried up.So far, prophecy pundits have been restrained--so far.One bellwether end-times website I checked was more worried about Joe Biden possibly getting the Democratic nomination than it was about the spread of Covid-19.It looks to me that many of the prophecy pundits and those who follow them have moved to a different realm of speculation--American politics.

I am thankful prophecy punditry has not dominated the recent news--especially when we face a serious pandemic with unforeseen consequences.The prophetic prognosticators do great harm to a proper biblical eschatology, and however unintentionally, they bring ridicule down upon the cause of Jesus Christ and his word.彼得甚至警告我们them(彼得3:1-13)。

但我 must confess, for a brief moment, I thought about how different my lecture on "signs of the end," would have been had I written on this topic in the early days of my theological interest and development.Yes, amillennialism does have a downside--there is little, if any, room for prophecy punditry.We can tell the world that in the Covid-19 pandemic we see birth pains of the Lord's return, which is why we are not surprised nor dismayed by the news good or bad.

Our hope for whatever happens on the world stage is in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ-not in our ability to grasp the full significance of what is unfolding before us, a significance hitherto unknown until "revealed" to us by the prophecy pundits.

Monday
Mar 16 2020

This Week's Plan at Christ Reformed Church (March 22)

Week Two of the Covid-19 Exile

At the request of the Governor of California, the City of Anaheim, and in light of the CDC's recommendation about avoiding groups and assemblies, all Lord's Day services and classes will be cancelled next Lord's Day March 22.

We will be posting a sermon on Sunday, March 22 -- I will be returning to our series on Romans and covering chapter 3:9-20 as we wrap up the "bad news" section of Romans.

Pray that the spread of the Covid-19 virus is contained by these measures.Pray for your fellow church members.Be sure to check-up on your neighbors who may be in need.More importantly, may Jesus Christ be glorified in all that we say and do during this unprecedented public health crisis.

Return here for updates:Christ Reformed Church, orChrist Reformed on Facebook.

Sunday
Mar 15 2020

"Be Still and Know That I Am God" -- Psalm 46

Here's the audio for this Lord's Day Sermon (Our First Sunday in Exile):"Be Still and Know That I Am God" -- Psalm 46

Thursday
Mar 12 2020

All Services at Christ Reformed Church Are Cancelled March 15 and 22

Dear Saints:

In light of Governor Newsom’s call to suspend all public gatherings attended by more than 250 people, Christ Reformed Church is cancelling morning and afternoon worship services this coming Lord’s Day (March 15) and the next (March 22).The Academy will not meet this week (March 13) and will resume in April (after Easter, TBD).The Wednesday night Bible Study, Gems and Cadets, and choir practice will be cancelled on March 18 and 25.

A sermon will be posted on the Christ Reformed Church website (Christ Reformed News) each Lord’s Day services are cancelled.We encourage you to listen to the sermon on Sunday morning, read through the liturgy, and pray for the needs of our church, as well as for those impacted by Covid-19.

Covid-19 presents a significant challenge to public safety–especially to the elderly and those in ill-health.The situation is very fluid and we will update you when regular worship services will resume, as well as the safety precautions we will be taking.

Additional updates will be posted on the church website and Facebook pages as they become available.

The words of Psalm 46 remind us of God’s faithfulness in the midst of trial

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.Selah 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.5 God is in the midst of her;she shall not be moved;God will help her when morning dawns.6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;he utters his voice, the earth melts.7 The Lord of hosts is with us;the God of Jacob is our fortress.Selah 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth.9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;he burns the chariots with fire.10 “Be still, and know that I am God.I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us;the God of Jacob is our fortress.Selah

Thursday
Mar 12 2020

Conference Postponed -- "The Blessed Hope: Christian Eschatology Simply Explained" A Conference at the Oceanside United Reformed Church, March 20-21

The Conference has been postponed due to Wuhan Covid-19.Watch for updates

Thursday
Mar 12 2020

Reading the Bible with Paul: How Paul Interprets the Old Testament -- Galatians 3:15-25 (1)

Here's the audio from the Wednesday night Bible Study:Reading the Bible with Paul -- Galatians 3:15-25 (1)

Monday
Mar 09 2020

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (March 9-15)

Sunday Morning, March 8:The Gentiles suppress the knowledge of the truth.The Jews self-righteously judge the Gentiles.Now, Paul demonstrates that there are none righteous, and that no one one seeks God, Our text is Romans 3:9-20.Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Afternoon Service:In our study of theHeidelberg Catechism, we come to the final articles of the Apostles Creed (Lord's Day 21, Q & A, 54-56).Why do Protestants confess "one holy, catholic, and apostolic church"?Our afternoon catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study: March 11 @ 7:30 p.m.We continue our series, "Reading the Bible with Paul: How Paul Interprets the Old Testament." We take up a new passage (Galatians 3:15-25) and consider the question, "Why the law? Does Moses supersede Abraham?"

Friday Night Academy: March 13, @ 7:30 p.m.We are continuing our study of Mike Horton's theology text,The Christian Faith.We are discussing Christ's three-fold office (page 492).

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us hereChrist Reformed Church, orChrist Reformed on Facebook.

Sunday
Mar 08 2020

"By the Spirit, Not By the Letter" -- Romans 2:17-3:8

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon:"By the Spirit, Not by the Letter" -- Romans 2:17-3:8

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