Blog Posts by Jonathan Parnell

When People Look Like Satan

Jonathan Parnell

God made humans to reflect his image and advance the display of his glory over the created world (Genesis 1:26–28). But Adam failed in this commission. Rather than have dominion over the serpent he succumbed to its craftiness. As Greg Beale explains, "Instead of wanting to be near God to reflect him, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the…

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What It Means to Be a Pilgrim

Jonathan Parnell

Michael Horton writes,

There is a significant origin and end point to history, within which we ourselves are cast members. It is a courtroom drama in which we are either false or true witnesses, “in Adam” or “in Christ,” justified or condemned, alive or dead.

Neither masters nor tourists, we become pilgrims. 

Unlike masters, pilgrims have not arrived and they do not presume to inaugurate their own kingdoms of glory.…

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A Live-Stream to Help Fight Fire with Fire

Jonathan Parnell

John Piper writes in Future Grace,

I have often told young people that they must fight fire with fire. The fire of lust's pleasures must be fought with the fire of God's pleasures. If we try to fight the fire of lust with prohibitions and threats alone — even the terrible warnings of Jesus — we will fail. We must fight it with a massive promise of superior happiness.…

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Be a Real Husband and Dad

Jonathan Parnell

It was nearly 8 PM — that means bedtime for the kids. I pushed my books aside and met them in their room, where they were already lying down. The lights were off, and the stage was set for me to swoop in and perform my household priestly duties — a prayer, a blessing, and a goodnight kiss. I knelt beside our four-year-old's bed to begin my typical routine of…

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Sam Storms on the End Times

Jonathan Parnell

"End times" is a little like "free food" — throw the words in a headline and it'll make you look twice. For many Christians, it's a hot topic. And it does have implications for our lives in this world.

Sam Storms recently discussed the different views of eschatology for a Theology Refresh interview — the podcast for pastors that refreshes important points of doctrine.

Stream or download this 14-minute interview

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How Jesus Fought in the Dark Hour

Jonathan Parnell

Pastor John writes in Future Grace,

There were several tactics in Jesus' strategic battle against despondency.

  • First, he chose some close friends to be with him. "He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee" (Matthew 26:37).
  • Second, he opened his soul to them. He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death" (verse 38).
  • Third, he asked for their intercession and
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12 Short Books Worth Reading

Jonathan Parnell

In one of my daughters' favorite books Dr. Seuss tells us, "The more you read, the more things you will know."

True. Reading is thinking is learning — and there are "mountains of treasures waiting to be mined." But this doesn't mean the books we read have to be long. As Pastor John explains,

What I have learned from [years] of serious reading is this. It is sentences that change

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How Should We Think About Self-Worth?

Jonathan Parnell

What is self-worth? And whatever it is, do you have the right kind?

Back in 1976, during his college teaching ministry, John Piper was interviewed about the then burgeoning talk of self-esteem. Responding to nine questions, he gives a biblical assessment of what it means to be human and have value.

Read the entire interview.

________

For a preview, here are the questions with short excerpts of Pastor John's…

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Hell Can't Blackmail Heaven into Misery

Jonathan Parnell

God is for your everlasting joy. Real joy and really everlasting. Nothing can impede it, not even the simultaneous reality of hell. Pastor John writes in Future Grace,

When God's patience has run its long-suffering course, and this age is over, and judgment comes on the enemies of God's people, the saints will not disapprove of God's justice. They will not cry out against him. On the contrary, the…

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Few Things Are More Humbling

Jonathan Parnell

Pastor John:

We do not give God authority over our lives. He has it whether we like it or not. What utter folly it is to act as though we had any rights at all to call God into question! We need to hear now and then blunt words like those of Virginia Stem Owens who said in [the] Reformed Journal,

Let us get this one thing straight. God…

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What's the Deal with Anxiety?

Jonathan Parnell

Pastor John explains the nature and effects of anxiety,

Think for a moment how many different sinful actions and attitudes come from anxiety. Anxiety about finances can give rise to coveting and greed and hoarding and stealing. Anxiety about succeeding at some task can make you irritable and abrupt and surly. Anxiety about relationships can make you withdrawn and indifferent and uncaring about other people. Anxiety about how someone will…

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Jonathan Edwards on the True Excellency of the Gospel Minister

Jonathan Parnell

A lot has changed since 1743 — but not everything.

The "true excellency of a minister of the gospel" is the same today as it was back when Jonathan Edwards preached an ordination sermon by the same title for a young Presbyterian pastor in Pelham, Massachuesetts.

Though in our own day we're surrounded by an abundance of resources and leadership tips, we'd do well to hear Edwards as relevant now…

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25 Top Quotes from J. C. Ryle

Jonathan Parnell

One neat thing about the blogosphere is the increasing accessibility to old gospel resources that would otherwise be buried in libraries. Case in point: J.C. Ryle Quotes.

This blog is a repository of Christ-centered content from the nineteenth-century Bishop of Liverpool — who was also the subject of John Piper's recent biographical message at the Desiring God Conference for Pastors.

In a recent post, Erik Kowalker highlights the top

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Pray with Your Books Closed

Jonathan Parnell

We shouldn't open our books without praying, but we'd better pray without opened books.

I think B. B. Warfield would give a thumbs up here. In his salty essay, "The Religious Life of Theological Students," Warfield explains that study should be devotional. He says that study itself is a "religious exercise of the most rewarding kind." And while this is all true, he doesn't stop here. He goes on to…

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The Battle We Fight Is Thine!

Jonathan Parnell

Richard Sibbes:

Nothing is stronger than humility, which goes out of itself, or weaker than pride, which rests on its own foundation. . . . And this should be particularly observed because naturally we aspire to a kind of divinity, in setting about actions in the strength of our own abilities; whereas Christ says, ‘Without me ye’, the apostles, who were in a state of grace, ‘can do nothing’ (John 15:5).…

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Left Behind for Now: Tribulation and the Need to Know God’s Word

Jonathan Parnell

Tribulation is here, and we need to know God's word.

This is the gist of chapter 7 in Greg Beale's A New Testament Biblical Theology. In 37 pages, he lays out how the eschatological tribulation has been inaugurated with Jesus and the church. It's here, now.

Tribulation Already

Telltale marks of the tribulation, according to Daniel 7–12, include persecution and deception through false teaching. The apostles were mindful of…

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David Platt on the Doctrine of Hell

Jonathan Parnell

The doctrine of hell is important — and extremely unpopular.

In this episode of Theology Refresh, David Platt talks about the priority of God's word as we approach this doctrine and faithfully serve the gospel in light of its reality.

Platt explains that hell is the manifestation that our sin against an infinitely holy God warrants infinitely eternal punishment. Moreover, when we minimize the reality of hell, we actually malign…

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Read the Bible Devotionally — and No Less Critically

Jonathan Parnell

In the current series "How to Stay Christian in Seminary," we've been sharing some ways that those in the midst of theological education might grow in grace. David Mathis recently sat down with Don Carson and asked for his counsel:

Carson: "You should never be doing anything with the word of God that is less than devotional, or less than critical."

________

How to Stay Christian in Seminary:

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C. S. Lewis on the Danger of Love

Jonathan Parnell

If you were having a cup of tea with C. S. Lewis on Valentine's Day, and you asked him sincerely, "Mr. Lewis, am I better not to love because it's so risky?" — he might say something like this:

Of all arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as “Careful! This might lead you to suffering.”

To my nature, my temperament, yes. Not to my…

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