Recently I had the opportunity to teach one of my children about substitutionary atonement. As is the case for any parent who loves their children, I found myself in the position of needing to hand out some discipline. On this particular occasion the sin was of the nature that not only required the withholding of blessings (no treats) but also needed to be preceded with a swat. The parties that were sinned against had been talked to and reconciliation had been achieved. It was time for the dreaded walk into the bedroom. As I explained what was about to happen I also explained that God punishes every sin. I explained that I had to do what was right and give a discipline in the form of a swat. With an understanding head nod, my child laid across my lap, eyes closed and teeth clinched, waiting for the pending punishment to be delivered. Swinging with more power and force than normal, I connected with my own hand that was covering my child’s bottom. “You hit your own hand!” Pleased but confused was the response. Putting my child on my lap we took a look at the welt that was now rising on my hand. I immediately thought of Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”

With tears streaming down both of our faces I explained that Jesus takes our punishment upon Himself. The punishment that we should have received because of our sin.

I explained that I wouldn’t always take the punishment, but this time I wanted to show that God loves us so much that even when we were sinners Christ took our punishment on the cross. Kind of like Daddy taking the swat that you deserved.

As my child rubbed my welted hand in consolation, I knew that on some level the lesson made sense.

It was a good bonding time for us and turned into a wonderful time for me to worship at the foot of the cross once again as I thanked My God for taking upon His body the wages of my sin and the wonderful healing that comes from trusting in His shed blood for me.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.




Prayer and God’s Plan

July 25, 2009

How does prayer fit into God’s plan? Doesn’t God know the future? Isn’t every last detail in His plan? So why pray? John Piper answers this question well – in a simple, readable way that won’t make your head explode! Read it here.


HT: Justin Taylor

One of the biggest theological debates over the last few years has been on the doctrine of justification. NT Wright (in particular) has been presenting a “new perspective”, and John Piper (in particular) has been arguing for the traditional view. Trevin Wax has a brief and readable article in the latest Christianity Today that serves as an accessible primer on the debate. Read it here.


HT: Tim Challies

Russel Moore’s much anticipated  and widely endorsed book, “Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches“, has just been released.

 Tim Challies:

It might be easy to write off a book like this one, assuming that it only has relevance to families who are actually considering adopting a child. But Moore’s ambition goes beyond asking young families to adopt orphaned children. “In this book I want to call us all to consider how encouraging adoption—whether we adopt or whether we help others adopt—can help us peer into the ancient mystery of our faith in Christ and can help us restore the fracturing unity and the atrophied mission of our congregation.” As Moore explains, “The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world.” It is the gospel that calls us to adopt but it is also the gospel that teaches us how to understand adoption. In fact, “as we become more adoption-friendly, we’ll be better able to understand the gospel.” And so this book is for anyone and everyone.

Read Tim Challies’ full review here.

I’ve ordered a copy and look forward to reading it.


Justin Taylor recently interviewed Bruce Ware about his new book, “Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God“. It looks excellent! Read the interview here.


James MacDonald:

“I do not view Brian as an ‘erring weaker brother,’ worthy of sympathy or olive branches, but rather as a dangerous false teacher who repackages mainline liberal theology. (Have the past 50 years not been adequate to see how liberal theology empties churches and damns souls?)

More dangerous still is that McLaren packages his false teaching and denials of Scripture as  solutions to some of the excesses currently plaguing evangelicalism—the danger being his winning over of young people who have legitimate complaints about the current church, but who lack the discernment to see that his solutions are often unbiblical even when his critiques are fair.”

In the rest of his blog post, James MacDonald explains why he believes McLaren is teaching error, and whay he believes it’s biblical to name such people publically. Read it here.


HT: Tim Challies

John Piper writes about God’s providence in “the miracle on the Hudson” and “the miracle in the White House”. This is powerful! And beautiful. Please take the time to read it. Click here.


HT: Justin Taylor

Theology for Kids

December 18, 2008

Andy and Jennifer Nasseli review and recommend a number of recent books for younger children:  

“Without pretending to be experts on theological children’s literature, we have sorted through recent theology books for younger children and compiled a short list of outstanding books. Other books are undoubtedly worthy of mention, but these are our favorites. What follows organizes them in three categories and ranks the books in order, beginning with our top recommendations.”

You can read it here (PDF) or here (HTML). If you’re a parent or grandparent, I strongly encourage you to.

This article is from the latest Themelios journal. Themelios is free, and is published three times a year at


HT: Tim Challies 

Wayne Grudem is an excellent theologian and author! His book, Systematic Theology, has been very widely appreciated. To listen to free lectures that present much of the material in this book, click here (see the far left-hand column).


I think many Christians have been so excited about a pro-life, dynamic, Christian VP candidate, that they haven’t even given this question a second thought. I think we absolutely must wrestle with what the Bible says about this issue, as objectively and sober-mindedly as possible – just as we must wrestle with what the Bible says about any issue. Even if we emerge with the same belief, it is infinitely better to hold that belief, based squarely upon Scripture, than it is to hold a belief and be unsure of whether Scripture supports it.   

I’ll post more on this subject in the next few days. As an introduction, watch this CNN interview with Voddie Baucham and Margaret Feinberg (the first part of the video is unrelated – start watching around 55 seconds):