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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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For Our Good!

In the words of R.C. Sproul:

“Romans 8:28 is one of the most comforting texts in all of Scripture. It assures the believer that all “tragedies” are ultimately blessings. It does not declare that all things that happen are good in themselves but that in all the things that happen to us God is working in and through them for our good. This is also firmly grounded in His eternal purpose for His people.” (Loved by God)

The Jerusalem Water Shaft

Archaeology and the Bible:

And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off”—thinking, “David cannot come in here.” Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. And David said on that day, “Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack ‘the lame and the blind,’ who are hated by David’s soul.” (2 Samuel 5:6-8 ESV)

David’s capture of Jerusalem recounted in 2 Samuel 5:6-8 speaks of Joab using a water shaft built by the Jebusites to surprise them and defeat them. Historians had assumed it was simply a legend until archaeological excavations by R.A.S. Macalister, J.G. Duncan, and Kathleen Kenyon on Ophel found these very water shafts.

Reformation Day 2012

Today is a religious holiday celebrated in remembrance of the Reformation. On Reformation Day, we give praise to God for what He did in 16th century Germany through Dr. Martin Luther and the other Reformers who followed. They accomplished nothing less than the recovery of the true gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Catholic Church of the 16th century had incorporated many errors and superstitions into its doctrine of beliefs. One, the sale of indulgences, incensed Martin Luther and he determined to hold a debate with other faculty members at the University of Wittenberg on the subject. Luther knew that forgiveness from sins could not be purchased. He taught that salvation is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Among other things, Luther had made a study of the Greek New Testament and had been persuaded that the Greek word for repentance, “metanoia”, meant a change of heart, not a performance of outward works.

Luther’s Ninety-five Theses were written in Latin. He nailed them on the Wittenberg Castle Church Door on October 31st, 1517. The church door functioned as a public bulletin board and it was there that important notices were displayed. Luther wished these to be discussed by scholars, rather than the general populace. Yet, within a couple of weeks, copies were available all over Germany. The Ninety-five Theses were quickly translated into German and were made available to people as far away as Rome. Luther’s ideas spread like wildfire, aided by the newly invented printing press.

The Catholic Church tried to silence Luther with accusations of heresy and threats of excommunication. However, He was protected by his local ruler, Frederick the Wise. Martin Luther continued to write more critiques of the Church in the years that followed.

I am thankful for Luther and the other Reformers who returned the church to the faith of Paul and Augustine by putting the Scriptures ahead of church traditions and church authority. I also pray that God will keep us faithful to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

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