Sunday, October 17, 2021

WCF Chapter One "Of Holy Scripture" Sunday School (Sept.-Oct. 2021)

Our text for Sunday School (also "The Confession of Faith and Catechisms")

Biblical Theology Bites

What is "Biblical Theology"?

All text from the Westminster "Confession of Faith" was taken from the OPC's website. See here.

Question and Answer

  1. What is meant by "the light of nature?"
  2. What is meant by "the works of creation and providence?
  3. Choose a section from Chapter One of "The Confession of Faith" and find a proof-text not chosen by the Westminster Divines (the authors of The Confession of Faith) to support that sentence, clause, or paragraph from the Confession.
  1. According Chad Van Dixhoorn, in his book "Confessing the Faith" the "light of nature" is "the divine imprint which is left on each of us by our Maker" (p.4). Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that "He has put eternity in their hearts." We remain creatures made in his image although we are fallen. We are image bearers. We will never cease to be. 


Of the Holy Scripture

1. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.

2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:

Of the Old Testament:

Genesis II Chronicles Daniel

Exodus Ezra Hosea

Leviticus Nehemiah Joel

Numbers Esther Amos

Deuteronomy Job Obadiah

Joshua Psalms Jonah

Judges Proverbs Micah

Ruth Ecclesiastes Nahum

I Samuel The Song of Songs Habakkuk

II Samuel Isaiah Zephaniah

I Kings Jeremiah Haggai

II Kings Lamentations Zechariah

I Chronicles Ezekiel Malachi

Of the New Testament:

The Gospels    Galatians The Epistle

   according to    Ephesians    of James

   Matthew    Philippians The first and

   Mark    Colossians    second Epistles

   Luke    Thessalonians I    of Peter

   John    Thessalonians II The first, second,

The Acts of the    to Timothy I    and third Epistles

   Apostles    to Timothy II    of John

Paul's Epistles    to Titus The Epistle

   to the Romans    to Philemon    of Jude

   Corinthians I The Epistle to The Revelation

   Corinthians II    the Hebrews    of John

All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.

3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.

4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them. But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.

+ What does it mean by "authentical"?

+Controversies of religion?

+Kept pure in all ages?

so as, in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them.  (WCF 1.8 (S))

Proof Text (1.8.S)"And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written" (Acts 15:15 NKJV)

"But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them." (WCF 1.8 (T))

Proof Text (T): "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. (John 5:39 NKJV)

Proof Text (T): "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11 NKJV)

+Chris's Commentary: The Confession of Faith uses John 5:39 and Acts 17:11 as a proof text for the following text in footnote "T" (bottom of page 7 in the black book):

I somewhat disagree with these as a proof texts for this passage. But I can see why they were used. I think there are better passages elsewhere. The implications of these texts are sufficient.

In the Van Dixhoorn book, Dixhoorn drops Acts 17:11 completely as a proof text for 1.8(T). 

Because the scriptures testify of Jesus, we are to read the scriptures. That makes sense.

At first I didn't see them as proof texts for this. But upon further examination, Jesus isn't commanding them to search the scriptures. He's pointing out that they do. That's not what makes this a proof text. Rather it's the rest of the verse. "they are they which testify of me." This is an example of a religious controversy. Jesus is settling an issue -- the issue of eternal life -- by pointing to the Holy Scriptures. It is implied that searching the scriptures is the way to know about Jesus and whether the things the disciples were saying about him were true.

I thought the Westminster Divines were using a description as a prescription in both texts and half-quoting in the instance of John 5:39. In some sense they were. But it was not the description of the Pharisees searching the scripture. 

I made the same mistake with the Berean Jews text in Acts 17:11. 

At first, I thought they were saying that this was a command to search the scriptures, since the Berean Jews were doing just that. But no. This is once again pointing to a religious controversy. In this case, Paul and Silas "went into the synagogue of the Jews" (Acts 17:10). The "Word of God was preached by Paul at Berea" (Acts 17:13). And the Berean Jews came to believe and become Christians. They "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). This is a proof text because the Berean Jews-now-Jewish Christians appealed to the Bible to settle whether the preaching of the Apostle Paul was true. And it was!

9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

10. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Someone gave me a nice compliment today


Someone gave me a really nice compliment today.

They said I would have really "deep-thinking children" that "won't take things at face value."

That's the plan man.

And that's why marrying the right woman is so important. The woman I choose has to be down with it. She cannot retard progress or be lazy. I screen for this in the dating process.

I don't want to raise humans with malformed minds. I do not trust private school or public school with my children's minds. We're going to educate them ourselves.

I estimate that I have around 1,000-2,000 books in my library. I've only read about 25-27 books this year. I'm really behind with my goal of 52 books in 2021 but more important things interrupted me. But I'm curating a list of books I want my family and friends to read -- books that should be read a least twice and internalized.

I want my children to be beneficiaries of my personal teaching and guidance and inherit my ever-growing library. 

She doesn't have to have my extraordinary reading goals. But one of the things she has to be about is educating our kids.

Book Recommendations**

  1. Biblical Theology: How the Church Faithfully Teaches the Gospel by Nick Roark & Robert Cline
  2. The Household and the War for The Cosmos by C.R. Wiley
  3. Sermon on the Mount by Scot McKnight
  4. The Case for Patriarchy by Timothy J. Gordon
  5. Living in a Godly Marriage by Joel R. Beeke
  6. Manifested in the Flesh by Joel McDurmon
  7. Sinful Speech by John Flavel
  8. Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus by J. Mack Stiles
  9. A Christian's Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament by J. Alec Moyter
  10. The Nomadic Wealth Formula: A Blueprint for Generating Predictable and Sustainable Income from Anywhere on Earth by Jason Stapleton
  11. Man of the House by C.R. Wiley
  12. Thoughts on Family Worship by James Waddel Alexander
  13. How Should Men Lead Their Families by Joel R. Beeke
  14. The Case of the Hopeless Marriage: A Nouthetic Counseling Case from Beginning to End by Jay E. Adams
  15. Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson
  16. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
  17. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Robert P. Murphy
  18. Meltdown: A Free Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse by Thomas E. Woods
  19. End the Fed by Ron Paul
    **This list is in progress and mostly reflects my 2021 reading. The last four books I read in previous years.

    Monday, September 20, 2021

    Peter Leithart on V-Mandate Resistance

    To submit to a vaccine mandate is implicitly to endorse a political order that is willing to make participation in everyday life contingent on an unwanted medical procedure." -Peter Leithart

    In the rest of the commentary, he notes that his individual resistance is a measure to thwart biopolitical technocracy. He explains:

    "I oppose vaccine mandates because I want to do my small part to gum up the works. I don’t mean the works of the Biden administration, but the much larger global trend toward biopolitical technocracy. As Roberto Esposito put it in Biopolitics, political authority was traditionally the authority to kill. Under the reign of biopolitics, rulers care for and manage life. Once upon a time, the ruler bore a sword; now, a syringe."

    So in other words, "biopolitical technocracy" is a kind of ideology and government type that should be opposed. 

    It should be opposed as fervently as one opposes fascism, or socialism, or American exceptionalism (especially the kind that wants to impose the American order on the rest of the world by bombs and bullets), or neoconservatism (and this only wants to impose the American order on the rest of the world by bombs and bullets).

    Remember folks, Jesus is King so the State is not.

    Read the rest here: Why I Didn't Get the COVID Vaccine | Peter Leithart

    Thursday, September 16, 2021

    Announcement: I am a Sunday School Teacher Now!!!

    Me @ RTS (Mclean, VA) on April 26, 2014 for an open house.

    A couple of weeks ago my pastor asked me if I would be willing to teach the high schoolers and middle schoolers at our church in Sunday School. I gladly said I would consider it, and ultimately accepted the offer.

    So I am pleased to announce I will be teaching The Westminster Confession of Faith and using "Confessing the Faith: A Reader's Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith"  (2014) by Chad Van Dixhoorn of Reformed Theological Seminary starting on Sunday, September 19, 2021.

    The topic was the pastor's choosing.

    My copy I just received last Sunday!

    What's interesting is that the year this book was published I visited, but ultimately did not apply to, Reformed Theological Seminary. I can't recall if I met the author. I did, however, meet some of his colleagues mentioned in the book, such as Peter Lee of RTS and Scott Redd.

    I will be publishing my weekly Sunday School Notes here at The Goins Report. 

    These will be references for my students but also general readers who want to follow along with both the Confession of Faith book by Dixhoorn and the actual Confession of Faith text itself.

    While this series will not initially be recorded, it may be recorded in the future, or the next go around.

    However, I plan to have a couple of video series (potentially on Youtube or Udemy at no cost, initially; or some free and some at low-cost) potentially on the following topics:

    • The Evidence of Christianity and the Evidence of Prophecy
    • Loving the Old Testament
    • Biblical Theology
    • Sermon on the Mount 

    P.S. I am a huge, huge fan of Biblical Theology as my growing collection of BT books attests to. But my first introduction wasn't an explicitly BT book per se. It was this one. The introduction and the first chapter are gold. And then some people at my church also introduced me to the now-defunct Northwest Theology Seminary which has a BT Primer on their website

    Jesus to Kingdom Citizens: Worrying flows from Serving Mammon

    Jesus made it very clear that those who worry about their life and food and clothing end up serving money.

    Disciples of the King are not supposed to not worry about these things.

    Those who worry are the Gentiles — those outside of the promises of God.

    “No one can serve two masters …You cannot serve God and mammon." 

    He immediately follows this with “therefore,” as in “therefore do not worry about your life,” thus connecting the "do not worry" statement to the preceding statement about serving either God or money. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And love of money can cause you to support all kinds of evil power structures.

    Here is the full text of Matthew 6:24-33 (NKJV):

    “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

    “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

    “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;

    “and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

    “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

    “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

    “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

    “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

    “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

    Here is the full text of 1 Timothy 6:10 (NKJV):
    "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

    P.S. Matthew 6:33 is my favorite scripture. I read it or recite it every night right before I close my eyes to rest. 

    Monday, July 12, 2021

    10 Free Books for Understanding the Economy Today

    If you want to learn how we have gotten to where we are today, then you've landed at the right spot. 

    These books were some of the first books I ever read on economics. 

    They were preceded only by "The Alpha Strategy" (My Most Visited Post! Free Download! A great book for today in these inflationary times), the Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism, The Gold Wars (free download), Economics in One Lesson (free download), Meltdown, End the Fed, and Crash Proof 1.0.

    I gotta be honest. I read all the way up to Modern Money Mechanics and didn't finish the rest of the list. But even half the books below and the books above will give you a working economic knowledge for life. 

    Any citizen will be an economically literate citizen even if he or she reads only half of these books.

    These economics books are free for downloading. Read them in this order.

    Gary North, Inherit the Earth

    Gary North, Honest Money

    Murray Rothbard, What Has Government Done to Our Money?

    Gary North, Mises on Money

    Murray Rothbard, The Case Against the Fed

    Murray Rothbard, The Mystery of Banking

    Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Modern Money Mechanics

    Gene Callahan, Economics for Real People

    Robert P. Murphy, Lessons for the Young Economist

    Murray Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State; Robert P. Murphy, Study Guide for Man, Economy, and State

    Source: Ten Free Economics Books for Understanding What Is Going On Today | Specific Answers 

    I hope you enjoy the books! 

    Next up will be books that will help you become a functional Christian.

    WCF Chapter One "Of Holy Scripture" Sunday School (Sept.-Oct. 2021)

    Our text for Sunday School (also "The Confession of Faith and Catechisms") Biblical Theology Bites What is "Biblical Theology...