All posts by Dave

Connect to Christ in Function, Not Form

I recently preached a sermon on the ark of the covenant in Exodus 25. While studying the ark I realized that there was an overwhelming amount of typology written about the ark that, while not necessarily allegory, was definitely superficial. I would consider it unwise at least and probably irresponsible.

Most of these instances focused on how the Ark was built from two materials (gold and wood). Here’s an example: Continue reading

Engaging With Keller: Is Selfishness the Core of Sin?

Note: This is a thinking-out-loud kind of post. It’s my current reflections on an important chapter in Engaging with Keller. My view on this, like everything else on this site, is subject to correction. In fact, I will read Campbell’s book on anthropology this semester in my WTS course Doctrine of Man. There may be an update to this post in the next few months.


Tim Keller is kind of a big deal.

He is a gifted communicator, a deep thinker, and his insights on culture and human nature make people take notice. Many Christian leaders, especially young ones like myself, are heavily influenced by his teaching.

But like any man he has flaws. His teaching isn’t perfect and we should always be Berean in our thinking. Engaging with Keller, Thinking through the theology of an influential evangelical, attempts to do just this.

What’s In The Book

The authors take Keller to task on several issues:

  • His view of Hell seems to be deficient. In his writings it appears that he believes that God’s wrath doesn’t factor into Hell. In effect, your own sin is what torments you. I’ve always had a issue with this in Keller’s teaching.
  • They believe Keller misuses the genre of parable. Instead of letting the rest of Scripture interpret the parables he uses the parables to interpret the rest of Scripture. I’m not certain they gave him a fair shake on this one.
  • The authors interact with his engagement in theistic evolution. This isn’t a conversation I’m interested in wading into.
  • And several others…

The Big Issue: What Is Sin?

But what I really want to talk about is the chapter on sin.

Keller, in the eyes of Ian Campbell, has “rebranded” sin with Continue reading

Where Righteousness and Peace can Kiss

Another awesome quote about the Ark of the Covenant. This one didn’t make it into the sermon but I really wanted to share it.

The deposition of [the Ten Commandments] in the ark underneath the mercy seat… testified to the fact that God’s kingdom in Israel was founded on immutable justice and righteousness (Ps. 89:15; 97:2). Even grace, in its actings, must respect law. Favour cannot be dispensed on terms which make the law “void” (Rom. 3:31). If sin is pardoned, it must be with full recognition of the law’s claims against the sinner. The ultimate end must be to “establish the law” (Rom. 3:31). Only in the Gospel have we the clear revelation of how, on these terms, mercy and truth can meet together, and righteousness and peace can kiss each other (Ps. 85:10; Rom. 3:21–27).
– H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Exodus, vol. 2, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 253.

The Claims Both of Justice & Mercy Satisfied

I’m putting the finishing touches on a sermon about the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10-22) for tomorrow morning and wanted to share this tremendous quote. It’s a meditation on how only Yahweh could bring together the conflicting demands of mercy and justice perfectly:

The teaching of the ark in this respect was, primarily, that of David in the eighty-fifth psalm: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Mercy without justice is a weak sentimentality, subversive of moral order. Justice without mercy is a moral severity—theoretically without a flaw, but revolting to man’s instinctive feelings. The synthesis of the two is required. The law, enshrined in the holiest place of the sanctuary, vindicated the awful purity and perfection of God. The mercy seat, extended above the law, assigned to mercy its superior directive position. The cherubic figures showed the gaze of angels riveted in astonishment and admiration on God’s mode of uniting mercy with justice, by means of vicarious suffering, which he can accept as atonement. Finally, the Divine presence, promised as a permanent thing, gave God’s sanction to the expiatory scheme, whereby alone man can be reconciled to him, and the claims both of justice and of mercy satisfied.

H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Exodus, vol. 2, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 251.

In the Ark of the Covenant justice (the tablets of the law) and mercy (the mercy seat) come together. They point forward to the day when God the Son would bear the wrath of justice due us so we could receive the mercy he lovingly bestows.

Does Bible = Jesus?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1

If Jesus is the Word and the Bible is “the Word” does that mean the Bible is Jesus?

I’ve actually heard this taught in a Bible study and I recently had a conversation with another blogger about a similar statement so I thought I’d explain exactly why this isn’t the case.

Why you might be tempted to think Bible = Jesus

If you paid attention in math class you might remember something called the transitive property. It states:

If A = B and B = C, then A = C.

So, in mathematics, if (2+2) = 4 and 4 = (2*2), then (2+2) = (2*2).

Reading our English Bible we see in John 1:1 that Jesus = Word. We also often call the Bible the “word of God.” So it only makes sense that the two are equivalent.

Why you don’t have to worship your Bible.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to solve this dilemma. (And it is a dilemma: If this were true it would mean we would be obliged to worship our Bibles.) The Bible uses two separate words for these two concepts: Continue reading

Gospel-Centered Links June-July 2014

Top 20 Christ-Centered Expository Preaching Checklist

I’ll begin my link post with a link to a link post!

Preaching Christ From All The Scriptures Qualified

A very important article:

But as every good virtue in this fallen world has its Achilles’ heel, so this good and excellent principle has been taken too far by some. The very text we use, most often, to defend the preaching of Christ from all the Scriptures – does not, in fact, teach that every passage is necessarily about Him or His work. The misuse and abuse of the beauty of Christocentricity has (1) caused some to over-react in response and thus miss the clear testimony to Jesus from all parts of Scripture; and (2) caused some to be robbed of the “whole counsel of God” because they trample underfoot many profitable things in their zeal to pave a way to Jesus from every text and syllable.

Biblical Theology: Engine for Gospel Proclamation

If you want to read ahead a bit you’re going to see some thoughts on biblical theology coming from me over the next few months. My definition of “biblical theology” is a bit narrower than this one – I limit my own use of the term to biblical themes (#3 on this list).

When the heart is fat with the love of Jesus

This post shows one goal of Christ-centered preaching: Continue reading