Posts by Philip Ryken

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"That the scriptures are brim full of hustlers, murderers, cowards, adulterers and mercenaries used to shock me; now it is a source of great comfort" (U2's Bono, in his introduction to Selections from the Book of Psalms [New York: Grove Press, 1999], xi).
The newest volume in Crossway's Preaching the Word commentary series is David Helm's 1 & 2 Peter and Jude . I expect most preachers will know this series of expositional commentaries, which is edited by Kent Hughes. David Helm is one of the founding pastors of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago --...
For staff devotions this week, my colleague Marion Clark shared the following proverb, which is good counsel for every Christian, but especially for anyone in ministry: "The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe" (Prov. 29:25). Ironically, it is our desire to feel safe...
Writing in the April 3 edition of the Jerusalem Post , Daniel Pipes asks, "Will Europe Resist Islamization?" According to conventional wisdom, the answer is "no." But Pipes counters this argument by pointing to the dramatic conversion of the prominent Muslim Magdi Allam -- a top editor and well...
For those who are keeping score, Tim Keller's book The Reason for God has climbed to number 7 on the bestseller list for non-fiction. Of course, if the New York Times included Bible sales, Keller's book would drop to 8th place. . .
. . . from church father Columbanus: "Let us all hasten to approach to perfect manhood, to the measure of the completed growth of the fulness of Jesus Christ, in Whom let us love one another, praise one another, correct one another, encourage one another, pray for one another, that with Him in one...
The church planting committee at Philadelphia's Tenth Presbyterian Church was recently given some statistics that clarify the need for gospel work in our own United States. With almost 200 million unchurched people, America is one of the world's ten largest mission fields. In 2000, the US sent out...
I'm not sure if Shai Linne was trying to capitalize on this year's PCRT theme or not, but his new, Bible-based, Reformed, John Piper-approved hip-hop CD is entitled "The Atonement." Listeners should be prepared for a heavy dose of Romans.
As of yesterday, David Skeel and Bill Stuntz have begun writing a new blog called "Less than the Least." Law professors at UPenn and Harvard, respectively, David and Bill are close friends who share a faith commitment as well as a career. Here is how they introduce their blog: We are both law...
The gospel of Christ does not move by popular waves. It has no self-propagating power. It moves as the men who have charge of it move. The preacher must impersonate the gospel. Its divine, most distinctive features must be embodied in him. The constraining power of love must be in the preacher as a...
A nice piece in today's Philadelphia Inquirer laments that the February birthday of Richard Allen -- once a major event in our city's black community -- receives so little notice. Born a slave, Richard Allen was a leading voice for racial equality in early American life. He was also the founding...
Janice Marsh and her friends in a women's Bible study at Redeemer PCA in Hurricane, West Virginia have written to tell me how much they learned about the Lord's Prayer last fall (full disclosure: they were using my book When Your Pray as a study guide). They also sent me a prayer that they worked...
Yesterday I received a rush copy of Tim Keller's new book for skeptics, which the Penguin Group in New York is releasing this week. The book is called The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism . It is written both for skeptics and for the people who love them. The cover endorsements from...
Shortly after posting on Stephen Lungu, I received a sobering update on his work right now in Kenya. Where the following information says "AE" it is referring to African Enterprise, an evangelical ministry of word and deed that was founded by Michael Cassidy and is now directed by Stephen Lungu. It...
Our father/son book group (The James Montgomery Boice Literary Society) just finished reading Out of the Black Shadows . The book tells the extraordinary story of Stephen Lungu, who was abandoned by his parents at a young age, joined a violent street gang in his native Rhodesia, was converted to...
Over the last few days I have been devouring Michael Ward's remarkable new interpretation of The Narnia Chronicles by C. S. Lewis. The book is called Planet Narnia , and it was published this month by Oxford University Press. Dr. Ward and I were students together at Oxford, where we spent happy...
Today I received an anonymous prayer card from someone who was at Tenth Presbyterian Church yesterday for worship. The card asked us to pray for a baby whose heart is failing and may need a transplant. The baby's parents are believers in Jesus Christ. On Saturday the mother, fearing for her...
Anyone who wishes to respond to Rick Phillips's stirring call to family worship will find a helpful resource in Terry Johnson's recent publication, The Family Worship Book . In addition to a rationale for family worship and helpful hints for getting started, Terry provides outlines, suggested...
Today I received an anonymous prayer card from someone who was at Tenth Presbyterian Church yesterday for worship. The card asked us to pray for a baby whose heart is failing and may need a transplant. The baby's parents are believers in Jesus Christ. On Saturday the mother, fearing for her...
Anyone who wishes to respond to Rick Phillips's stirring call to family worship will find a helpful resource in Terry Johnson's recent publication, The Family Worship Book . In addition to a rationale for family worship and helpful hints for getting started, Terry provides outlines, suggested...
It has been so long since I have made a post that I am (almost) embarrassed to return. But I wanted to make sure that people knew about the upcoming Workshop on Biblical Exposition at Tenth Presbyterian Church on February 6 to 8. The workshop is sponsored by the Charles Simeon Trust, which promotes...
It has been so long since I have made a post that I am (almost) embarrassed to return. But I wanted to make sure that people knew about the upcoming Workshop on Biblical Exposition at Tenth Presbyterian Church on February 6 to 8. The workshop is sponsored by the Charles Simeon Trust, which promotes...
History is (of course) an essential category to use in describing the Bible. The Bible has a narrative structure. What kind of narrative is it? A theologically-annotated one (see previous post). Also, an historical one. It is not enough to say that the Bible is a true story, because stories can be...
A friend has written with a seasonal quotation from Bernard of Clairvaux's sermons on Advent: "Who is this Virgin so reverently saluted by the angel? and so lowly as to be espoused to a carpenter ? Beautiful commingling of virginity with humility! That soul is in no small degree pleasing to God, in...
. . . is involuntary praise." This marvelous statement from Edward Young appears on the cover of Wheaton College's 2007 Christmas card. Gentle reader, may this be for you the most wonder-full time of year, in which your mind and heart are frequently prompted to involuntary praise.
Paul Tripp made a helpful comment Sunday about the nature of biblical revelation. The Bible, he said is a "theologically-annotated narrative," a story that comes with "God's notes." This comment does justice to the narrative structure of the Bible as a whole, while avoiding the trap of thinking...
Here I finally begin posting some reflections and reactions on my recent trip to the Far East. My 11-year old daughter Kirsten and I left for Singapore on December 3, returning on December 12. The main purpose of the trip was to serve Singapore Youth for Christ by teaching at their annual Bible...
John Stott has just published a new book on the ministry of the church, called The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor. The structure of the book flows from Stott's exposition of Acts 2 and his admiration for the early church. As the pastor of a church that is considering a capital...
A pithy reminder from B.B. Warfied's classic work on The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible: "[W]e do not adopt the doctrine of the plenary inspiration of Scripture on sentimental grounds, nor even, as we have already occasion to remark, on a priori or general grounds of whatever kind. We adopt...
Ken Myers has done it again, writing a thoughtful, provocative letter to his listeners at Mars Hill Audio. One quotation from theologian Michael Williams seems especially appropriate to the season: "The power that called the world into being [took on] the weakness of creatureliness. Contrary to the...
Many thanks to Rick Phillips for waiting until I was halfway around the world to post my latest dance video (see "Christmas Contextualization at Tenth Pres"). In truth (and my children can vouch for this), I am not nearly as good a dancer as depicted in the video clip. Now Paul Tripp, on the other...
Michael Bird has written to say that he has made a constructive response to my essay on justification and union with Christ -- an essay in which I mention Dr. Bird as someone who in my view collapses imputation into incorporation. I hope to write a fuller response in due course, but people who are...
True Confession: I have a growing stack of materials near my computer -- items I intend to blog about, sometime, but haven't managed to get to just yet. In flipping through the stack today I noticed something I wanted to make sure our readers knew about. As it turns out, this is something I've been...
I am leaving Monday for a ten-day trip to the Far East. The main purpose of the trip is to speak at the annual Bible conference of Singapore Youth for Christ (SYFC), an effective evangelical ministry for training disciples to reach Singapore and the world for Christ. This year also happens to be...
As the son of an English professor and a firm believer in common grace, I would be the last person to say that Christians should not read non-Christian literature. I do believe, however, that Christian parents should exercise cautious oversight of their children in reading literature which is...
To my surprise, a number of readers have written to challenge my critique of Philip Pullman's theology. I say "to my surprise" because in recent years I have read a number of articles by or interviews with Philip Pullman in which his hostility to Christianity has been on display. It is common...
While I believe Carl Trueman is right to caution against an overreaction to Philip Pullman, I still believe that his books, particularly, must be distinguished from Harry Potter, the Arabian Nights, and most other secular literature for children. Here is why: it is clear from Pullman's many public...
In criticizing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe , I fear that Carl Trueman may be committing a category mistake. It is true, of course, and widely known, that C. S. Lewis did not have a fully Reformed theology of the atonement. It is a mistake, though, to expect a work of fiction to carry the...
Banner of Truth has republished a nice little book of selections from Samuel Rutherford's marvelous pastoral letters. The book is called The Loveliness of Christ , and it looks to be ideal for devotional use. Here is one of Rutherford's gems: "If there were ten thousand, thousand millions of worlds...
Writing in Five Views of Sanctification , Sinclair Ferguson explains that in Reformed theology, sanctification is "rooted not in humanity and in their achievement of holiness or sanctification, but in what God has done in Christ, and for us in union with him. Rather than view Christians first and...
In his masterful little book The Elder and His Work , David Dickson writes: "Let people avoid getting into a grudging, grumbling way about church matters, but rather take a hearty, kindly interest in them. Many things in this world, both civil and ecclesiastical, are not what they should be and...
A suitable aspiration for Thanksgiving: " Lord's Day, April 21. --In the morning, calm and composed, with some outgoings of soul after God in secret duties, and longing desires for His presence in the sanctuary and at His table; that His presence might be in the assembly, and that His children...
" Thursday, November 3 -- Spent this day in secret fasting and prayer, from morning till night. Early in the morning, had some assistance in prayer. Afterwards, read the story of Elijah the prophet. My soul was much moved, observing the faith, zeal, and power of that holy man, how he wrestled with...
A beautiful festschrift for R. Kent Hughes has just been released by Crossway Books. The full title reads: Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes . The editors are Leland Ryken (truth in advertising: Leland is my father) and Todd Wilson. For those who may not...
Writing in the October 23 edition of the Los Angeles Times, Wellesley Professor Mary Lefkowitz says, "Prominent secular and atheist commentators have argued lately that religion 'poisons' human life and causes endless violence and suffering. But the poison isn't religion; it's monotheism. The...
It has been a real pleasure to hear Paul Tripp preach on Jonah in recent months. Two of his more memorable lines have been especially thought provoking: "The anger of God is our only hope." (because in his implacable opposition to evil, God defeats Satan for our salvation) "Your theology will not...
Presumably the blogosphere is already abuzz with warnings about The Golden Compass, a New Line Cinema production scheduled to open on December 7. The warnings are justified: the film is based on Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials , which is nothing less than a deliberate assault on God,...
This is old news by now, but I wanted to share one more highlight from last week's Reformation Hymn Festival. The children's choir sang Martin Luther's "All Glory be to God Alone." I'm not sure that I have heard this hymn before, and I was especially moved by a line from the opening stanza: "He is...
Kelly Kapic and our own Justin Taylor have just edited John Owen's classic work Communion with the Triune God . It is everything that one can hope for in theology: Trinitarian, Gospel-centered, passionate, written by a prince among all theologians. The original title says it all: "Of Communion with...
. . . that I found while mining his Commentary on John for something else entirely: "Whoever is not satisfied with Christ alone, strives after something beyond absolute perfection" (Vol. 18, p. 84).

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