Where is Heaven?

This morning while we were eating breakfast Alora asked me, "Where is Heaven?" Of course, Amy and I were a little surprised by her question....that's a pretty big theological question for a young child. But as it turns out, Alora wasn't delving into the depths of Christian theology, but was instead asking about Kelly Hall's new baby, Evans. Instead of calling him Evans, she always refers to him as "Baby Heavens." Oh well, the deeper questions will come in time.


13th Biennial Calvin Colloquium

Erskine Seminary is hosting the 13th Biennial Calvin Colloquium on January 25-26. If you're interesting in knowing more about this event, email me at ericashley@redeemanderson.org and I'll send you a flyer that the Seminary sent to me. I'll be attending on Friday, but I have class on Saturday. You can register here.

A Church History Primer

Earlier in the week I read Mark A. Noll's Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity, and I found it to be an excellent introduction to the history of Christianity. Church history is complicated to say the least. When anyone attempts to study the history of Christianity, he or she must obviously deal with the development of doctrine, but as Noll states in the introduction of his book,

historical details remind us that ‘Church History’ is never just the grand sweep through great eons of magisterial Doctrines, clashing Principles, or inevitable Consequences, but is rather the cumulative result of often blurred thoughts, often hesitant actions, and often unforeseen consequences experienced by people more or less like ourselves (14).
Moreover, the challenge of studying the history of Christianity is expanded as the student deals with all of the political and social happenings that swirl around every doctrinal and ecclesiastical development within Christian history. Noll’s book provides an excellent starting point for anyone that desires to gain a general understanding of the Church’s development without overwhelming the reader with too many people, places, or events. So, if you'd like to know more about the history of Christianity, then check out Turning Points.

Upon Their Pages

Oh, how they mold you
Into someone that I have never heard nor seen.
I looked upon their pages
But I did not find You.
Instead I found a mere man,
Speaking in whispers with no double-edged sword in sight.
Where did they take your healing hands and thunderous voice?
Why did they remove Your bloody body and try to hide Your Resurrection?
You would not be held by the grave,
And you will not be held by them.
We will tell them to put away their stones of red, black, and white.
And we will burn their pages day by day
As we proclaim, "Jesus Christ is Lord!"

The Last Days of the $5 Book Store

The $5 Christian bookstore is closing after December 24, so I went in the other day to see if I could pick up a few more books. I purchased a number of books that looked interesting:

*Lying: An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity by Paul J. Griffiths
*Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments by Randy Alcorn
*Changing the World Through Kindness by Steve Sjogen
*Can Man Live Without God? by Ravi Zacharias

One Republic

I just thought that I'd recommend the band One Republic's new album Dreaming Out Loud. One Republic gained a large following via MySpace over a year, but some people (like me) are just now finding out out them. You can watch a video of their hit song "Apologize" here...but this is the remix version, not the original.


In Weakness, Grace Abounds

Just in case some of you haven't noticed, I added a new friend, Ron Click, on my sidebar. Ron and I go to Redeemer together. Be sure to check out his blog In Weakness, Grace Abounds...I'm sure you'll find it a good read. He seems to be more diligent at blogging than I have been lately.


Redeemer Advent Blog

I'm a little behind the times, but you check out the Advent blog from my church here.

Arius and Advent

In a recent post, Peter Leithart writes:
Doctrine matters, and no doctrine matters more than the doctrines concerning Jesus Christ.

One of the earliest and most intense controversies in the early church had to do with Arianism. Arius taught that the Son of God was not equal to the Father, not eternal God, but only a very exalted and powerful creature. He was not always with the Father, but there was when he was not.

So what? What does it matter whether Jesus was the eternal consubstantial Son of God or not?

Continue reading Leithart's post here.

One Semester Down

Today I finished an extra-credit book review for Early/Medieval Church History (Turning Points by Mark A. Noll), bringing an end to my first semester of seminary. As I look back over the last few months of classes I am very pleased with my overall experience. I thoroughly enjoyed both my Church History and my Greek courses, and I am looking forward to the taking classes in 2008. I praise the Lord that by His grace I've been able to balance between family, ministry, school, and work. He has sustained and guided my steps day by day.


The Word Became Flesh

If you are like me, then you probably have a manger scene somewhere in your home, complete with Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and animals. As we peer into these manger scenes and see a depiction of Jesus as a baby, we are readily reminded of the full humanity of Jesus. Like us, he was born as a man and was dependent on His mother and earthly father for comfort and support. Yet, we must be reminded not only of the full humanity of Jesus but also the full Divinity of Jesus. In the opening chapter of his gospel account, John beautifully brings these two truths together:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1,14).
This is the great mystery and truth that we celebrate during this Advent season—that God Himself came in the Person of His Son! God the Son became flesh and dwelt among us as a man. God did not send an angel or some messenger on His behalf; rather, God the Son came to us. As the writer of Hebrews proclaims, God “in these last days has spoken to us by His Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:2). The very Creator of the world chose to be born, to dwell among us, to take our sin, to die for us, and to rise on our behalf. So, as we continue to celebrate during this Advent season, let us once again (or maybe for the first time) be grasped by the full humanity and Divinity of Jesus.

As a closing thought, I’ll leave you with the Nicene-Constantinople Creed of 381 and The Definition of Chalcedon of 451, two great documents that arose as the early church defended the truths we’ve been discussing. (Of particular relevance is this section of the creed: "Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.") Here are the documents in full:

Nicene- Constantinople Creed

I believe in One God,
the Father Almighty,
Maker of Heaven and Earth,
and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of God,
the Only-Begotten,
begotten of the Father before all ages;
Light of Light;
True God of True God;
begotten, not made;
of one essence with the Father,
by Whom all things were made;
Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from Heaven,
and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,
and suffered, and was buried.
And the third day He arose again,
according to the Scriptures,
and ascended into Heaven,
and sits at the right hand of the Father;
and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead;
Whose Kingdom shall have no end.

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life,
Who proceeds from the Father;
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified;
Who spoke by the prophets.

And in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

The Definition of Chalcedon

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.



I know that this is coming a little late, but you can listen to the sermon I preached last Sunday here. The text is Matthew 6:19-24. In this text Jesus contrasts two treasures, two eyes, and two masters.