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God Is Better

We are people who always seek what is best and I offer to you, more accurately, God offers it to you. God offers you himself. He says, “Come to me, for I am the best” (Isa. 55:1-7). My life is about helping people see the supreme value of God, through Jesus Christ. He is better, so much better than anything with which you could compare him. He is better than scholarships or a GPA or a bachelor’s degree. He is better than independence or athleticism. He is better than everything—He is better. [Watch Entire Sermon Here.]Screen Shot 2018-11-16 at 10.22.00 AM (more…)

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A Response to David Murray’s Misappropriation of Common Grace

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 8.22.37 PMDavid Murray has had much to say about biblical counseling within the past few years since assuming his teaching position at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in 2007. Of his publications, he has written mostly within the area of practical theology and now has placed himself within the biblical counseling movement. Most recently, in his article on The Gospel Coalition’s website, “How Biblical is Biblical Counseling?” he identified himself as a family member of the biblical counseling movement with some familial concerns.[2] His concerns have stimulated conversations within the biblical counseling movement of the nature and validity of the term biblical counseling.[3] His critique proved to be helpful in promoting clarity in what biblical does and does not mean as we use it within the context of biblical counseling. However, his article provided clarity in a way that was—most likely—not Murray’s intent. The reason being is that his article has encouraged biblical counselors to think well about their own position and, consequently, Murray’s misrepresentation of it.

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John Owen’s Perspective on the Effects of Habits

 

 

John Owen’s Perspective on the Effects of Habits:

Habits Promote Sanctity of the Church

 

 

We had a light in this candlestick; which did not only enlighten the room, but gave light to others far and near.

—David Clarkson, Spoken of John Owen at Owen’s Funeral

 

 

In the wake of the English civil war, groups of clergy were ousted because of their seemingly anti-government teachings, ministry, and perspective. These men did not seek to overthrow the government, but rather to purify the church that had become so closely married to the government. Thus, in 1662 an edict was issued to provide standardization across the Church of England and that edict was the Act of Uniformity. It was declared that there would be uniformity in the sacraments, public prayer, and all of these changes were based on the Book of Common Prayer. However, these clergy members, given the pejorative title Puritan, refused to adhere to this new mandate and were ejected from every formal ministry or governmental position in England. This was the Great Ejection of 1662 in which some 2,000 plus clergy members forfeited their formal positions of ministry and government leadership because of a refusal to submit to the Act of Uniformity. One of these clergy members was John Owen—a faculty of Oxford, regular chaplain of Oliver Cromwell, and English clergymen. (more…)

A Believer or a Behaviorist?

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Every person possesses habits. An important question to ask in understanding habits is, “what is the role of those habits in the educational experience?” Educators understand repetition, discipline, structure, and environment but do educators understand the behavioral assumptions that drive those methodologies or the ideologies from which current methodology has been derived? Consequently, the aim of this paper is to address one, central research question: can repeated behavior prohibit or promote learning or knowledge acquisition from a behaviorist’s perspective? Ivan Pavlov, perhaps a father in the behaviorism camp, spent years testing and proving what he believed to be the answer to this question.[1] He argued that he could create a consistent stimulus and develop a habit in his subjects (primarily working with dogs) through external means, thus priming them for future responses.[2] He believed that external stimuli teach a person to respond in certain ways, and those responses are then solidified through repeated exposure. Not all behaviorists agree, though, with Knight Dunlap stating these habits of learning were seen as the very fabric of the human nature: “in their totality, make[ing] up the character of the individual.”[3] If Pavlov’s assertion is true, and Dunlap’s perspective is accurate, what role does habit formation plan in the ability of the student to learn? (more…)

Being Squeezed by Life

3879_baloons_Often times in counseling, I use the idea of a balloon. Like a balloon we are squeezed by our circumstances in life: jobs, family, politics, houses, et cetera. These are things that James 1 would describe as a trial (v. 15). But there are also those pressures that come from inside, like the over-inflation of a balloon, they encourage us to ‘pop’. This is the idea of James 1:13 when James refers to those inner solicitations to sin—those enticements come from within. (more…)

Part 2: Gaze on God and Imitate What You See

4624_WorshipLouis Berkhof makes an interesting comment. He says, “None of the attributes of God are incommunicable in the sense that there is no trace of them found in man.”[1] There is a fine line between saying that we want to be God and we want to be like God: one is the biblical impetus for everything we do and the other was the inducement to the original sin. Yet, we want to be like God in every aspect; we want to be like Him in every capacity that we can because there is no better pattern for imitation.

Paul strikes a cord in Ephesians 5:1 that is implicit throughout the remainder of Scripture and it is this, we are to imitate God and godly people. In 1 Corinthians 4:6 and 11:1 we see that Paul uses similar—yet different—language. He there states to follow him as He follows Christ. There is a call to imitation. “Imitate me, while I imitate Christ.” Likewise, in Hebrews 6:12 and 13:2 we see an encouragement to imitate others who are imitating God. Imitation is right and normative and is the only genuine means a transformation. (more…)

Part 1: Gaze on God and Imitate What You See

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“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children.”

—Ephesians 5:1

In 1961, Albert Bandura conducted a social experiment with seventy-two, 3-6 year-olds. The experiment is famously known as the, “Bobo Doll” experiment in which Bandura’s Social Learning Theory (1977) was evaluated. The experiment took seventy-two children and placed them in a room for observation for twenty minutes each. (more…)