The promises of God …

Ezekiel 16:1-63; Hebrews 9:1-15; Proverbs 27:5-14 The promises of God are given in Ezekiel 16 - “I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you ... So I will establish My covenant with you, and you will know that I …

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Finding Christ in the Old Testament

At the heart of the Old Testament, there's a remarkable prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, our Saviour. It's found in Isaiah 53. When we read these words of Isaiah, it almost seems to us that these words were written after the death and resurrection of Christ. The remarkable thing about Isaiah's words is this: they were …

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Lord, lead us to Jesus …

Ezekiel 13:1-15:8; Hebrews 8:1-13; Psalm 120:1-7 God speaks against “those who prophesy out of their own imagination ... who follow their own spirit” (Ezekiel 13:2-3). In the face of such false prophets, we must pray, “Save me, O Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues” (Psalm 120:2). How does the Lord save us from …

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Let us bless the Lord … and receive abundant blessing from Him …

"Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Hebrews 13:20-21). …

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Help us, Lord, to worship You – with hearts, full of love for You.

Ezekiel 7:1-9:11; Hebrews 6:13-7:10; Psalm 119:161-168 The prophet was shown “the utterly detestable things the house of Israel is doing here (in the Temple), things that will drive Me (God) far from My sanctuary” (Ezekiel 8:6). There were, however, “those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it” (Ezekiel …

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Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord …

Isaiah 23:1-18 ‘Look at the land of the Babylonians, this people that is now of no account!’ (13). We read these words, Lord, and we wonder, “What about our nation? Is there any hope for our nation?” To the nation which turns to You, Lord, You  speak Your promise of blessing – ‘Blessed is the nation …

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Berkouwer’s Theology of Social Concern

Berkouwer refuses to separate personal faith and social concern. He provides a perspective through which Christian theology can avoid the twin dangers of (a) a preoccupation with social concern which implicitly conceives of personal faith as a flight into illusion; and (b) a preoccupation with individualistic and 'other-worldly' religion which fails to provide any significant …

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G C Berkouwer and Karl Barth on “Natural Theology and General Revelation”

Barth proposes three reasons for the persistence of natural theology (Church Dogmatics, Vol. II, 1, pp. 85-126. The three reasons are succinctly stated by G W Bromiley: "(a) It is thought to be possible and practicable ... (b) It is thought to be pedagogically useful at least as an introduction to theology ... (c) It …

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Berkouwer on Barth’s Distinction Between Universal Election And Universal Salvation

Some people are impressed by Barth’s distinction between universal election and universal salvation. They defend his position. Some have been influenced by Barth and have become universalists. Berkouwer’s view was that our critique of Barth must begin with looking closely at his teaching concerning universal election.* By speaking of the idea of the depth-aspect of …

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Pride and Faith in Berkouwer’s "Studies in Dogmatics" (introduction)

‘The great theologians from Paul and Augustine to G. C. Berkouwer and Karl Barth ... have been able to explain what the faith does not mean as well as what it means.’1 This is a short study in the writings of one of those great theologians, named here by D. G. Bloesch. G. C. Berkouwer …

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Pride and Faith in Berkouwer’s "Studies in Dogmatics" (God’s provision of salvation)

The Bible speaks of sin. It also speaks of salvation. The gospel is directed toward ‘the restoration of the image of God’. In this connection, Berkouwer cites Eph. 4:24 and Col. 3:10 which speak of ‘the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness’, ‘the new nature, which is being …

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God’s Eternal Love – In Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, we see love, eternal love, the love of God.

Here, we see Abraham in his relationship with the world (Genesis 21:22-34) and his relationship with the Lord (Genesis 22:1-14). Abraham deals honestly and wisely with the pagan king, Abimelech, who acknowledges Abraham's closeness to God - ‘God is with you in all that you do’ (Genesis 21:22). We are to be honest and wise …

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God’s Word calls us to come out of our sin and into His holiness.

“The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim” (Hosea 9:8). Being a watchman will involve speaking strong words of warning. It’s not easy to speak God’s Word. It’s not easy to hear His Word. His Word calls for change. It calls us to come out of our sin and into His holiness. …

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Pride and Faith in Berkouwer’s "Studies in Dogmatics" (The believer’s experience of salvation)

Central to Berkouwer’s exposition of Christian experience are three books which might be called a kind of trilogy - Faith and Justification, Faith and Sanctification, and Faith and Perseverance. These titles emphasize the importance of faith in the theology of Berkouwer. From beginning to end, the Christian life is a life of faith. In each …

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Karl Barth and Paul Tillich: Responding to Theological Liberalism

Two quite different responses to theological liberalism are represented in the theologies of Karl Barth and Paul Tillich. In his protest against theological liberalism, Barth seeks to re-emphasize the lost emphases on man the sinner and God the Judge . In his article, “Liberal protestantism, Liberal Theology, Liberalism” in A. Richardson (editor), A Dictionary of …

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You, O Lord, reign for ever … Help us to remember this when we feel like You have forgotten us.

‘You, O Lord, reign for ever; Your throne endures from generation to generation’. Help us to remember this when we feel like You have ‘forgotten’ us. When we feel like You have ‘abandoned’ us, may we remember this: ‘You, O Lord, are King for ever, and will rule to the end of time’ (Lamentations 5:19-20). …

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G. C. Berkouwer On “Election And The Hiddenness Of God”

In his discussion, "Election and the Hiddenness of God" in Divine Election (Chapter Four, pp.102-131), G. C. Berkouwer emphasizes that God's hiddenness is not to be set over against His salvation. He rejects a concept of God's hiddenness which "separates the God of revelation from our lives and mitigates the absolute trustworthiness of that revelation" …

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Our faith must be grounded in the Son of God and the Word of God.

Matthew 7:15-29 Whenever we are seeking to follow Christ, there will be dangers - false prophets (15-20), empty profession (21-23). Clearly, our faith must be grounded in the Son of God and the Word of God. This is the point of Jesus' parable of the two builders and the two houses (24-27). We must build …

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Journey through the New Testament: Hebrews

Hebrews 1-5 We see the greatness of Christ in both His heavenly glory -  ‘Let all God’s angels worship Him’ (1:6) – and His saving grace - ‘He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone’ (2:9). God invites each of us to receive a great blessing - …

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Hearing and Speaking the Word of God

“If theology is to speak adequately of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it must be thoroughly committed to hearing the powerful witness of the tremendous Word that always speaks against us so that we can learn to stop speaking against it.” (A Half Century of Theology, p. 74). This quotation is taken from Berkouwer’s account …

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Before we can hear the Lord speaking to us, we must stop speaking against Him …

"We have spoken against the Lord" (Numbers 21:7).Before we can hear the Lord speaking to us, we must stop speaking against Him. How can we hear what the Lord is saying to us if we keep on speaking against Him? If we are to speak for God, we must begin with listening to Him."Speak only …

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A Critique of J D Bettis, "Is Karl Barth a Universalist?"

More about Berkouwer, see The Theology Of G C Berkouwer The question of universalism in Barth’s theology has been raised directly by J D Bettis in his article, “Is Karl Barth a Universalist?” (Scottish Journal of Theology, Vol. 20, No. 4, December 1967, pp. 423-436).This article requires to be carefully discussed not only for its significance as …

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A Little Bit about "The Triumph of Grace … " and "A Half Century … "

As well as Berkouwer's 'Studies in Dogmatics', there are the interesting books - The Triumph of Grace in the Theology of Karl Barth & A Half Century of Theology. Reading the first title makes some inclined to connect Berkouwer with Barth. We should be careful at this point. Though he has clearly studied Barth's works …

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Without God’s mercy and grace, we will fall. Through His mercy and grace, we will stand.

Ezekiel 4:1-6:14; Hebrews 5:11-6:12; Proverbs 26:23-27:4 “Alas! because of all the wicked and detestable practices of the house of Israel, for they will fall by the sword, famine and plague” (Ezekiel 6:11). Alongside these words concerning Israel’s sin and fall, we place the solemn words of Hebrews 6:4-6, words which warn us of the danger …

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The Christian Dialogue with Marxism

Insisting that ‘serious dialogue (is) not a dialogue of phoney tolerance’, G C Berkouwer cites the words of the Marxist writer, M. Machovec, who said ‘that if there was to be dialogue he wanted an opponent who would really try to convert him’ (A Half Century of Theology, p. 188, emphasis and brackets mine). Berkouwer is calling Christians …

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G C Berkouwer comments on the “Nature Psalms”

"This understanding, and seeing, and hearing, is possible only ... in the enlightening of the eyes by the salvation of God ... But this seeing and hearing is not a projection of the believing subject, but an actual finding and seeing, and hearing! Here nothing is 'read into', but is only an understanding of the …

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Today, if you hear God’s voice, do not harden your hearts.

Joel 2:18-3:21; Hebrews 4:1-13; Psalm 119:145-152 As in Hebrews 3, we find, again, in Hebrews 4, the words, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7). The Word of God speaks of “the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31). We are called to decision …

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The call to return to the Lord is an urgent call …

Joel 1:1-2:17; Hebrews 3:1-19; Psalm 119:137-144 “Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” (Joel 2:13). The call to return to the Lord is an urgent call: “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7-8). Those who have returned …

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The Highway

Jeremiah 31:21-30“Set your hearts toward the highway; keep the highway in mind” (Jeremiah 31:21) - “the highway of holiness” (Isaiah 35:8):A call to the “backsliding daughter” (Jeremiah 31:22). “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied” (Proverbs 14:14).Here’s a breath prayer (breathe in for the …

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Berkouwer on Social Concern and Sanctification

More about Berkouwer, see The Theology Of G C Berkouwer Berkouwer approaches social concern from a Biblical and Reformed perspective. In Ephesians 2:8-10, the emphases ‘by grace’ and ‘through faith’ lead directly on to the emphasis ‘for good works’. Berkouwer underscores this connection between ‘Sola Fide and Sanctification’ (Chapter II, pp. 17-44). He emphasizes that the …

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The Kingdom belongs to the Lord … and we will be there with Him.

Obadiah 1-21; Hebrews 2:1-18; Proverbs 26:13-22 The last words of Obadiah are a great declaration; “the Kingdom will be the Lord’s” (Obadiah 21). When we think of God’s Kingdom, we are thinking not only of a Kingdom which belongs, solely, to God, but a Kingdom which He shares with the redeemed. Christ says, “Here am I, …

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“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord, and my prayer rose to You, to Your holy temple" (Jonah 2:7).

Where does this remembering come from? It comes from the Lord. He puts the prayer into our hearts. Jonah was running away from God. God was drawing Jonah back to Himself. Like Jonah, we lose our way in life. That's when we need to hear the wonderful words of Jesus, our Saviour. He tells us …

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