Blog Posts by Jonathan Parnell

The Command for Obedience is Really a Call to Faith

Jonathan Parnell

Both of my hands are gently gripped on the shoulders of my toddler. As I try to square up our eyes, she squirms and looks away. I say with a Spirit-empowered tenderness, “Elizabeth, obey your daddy.”

She doesn’t get this yet, but I am really calling her to faith in Jesus.

It goes this way: I tell her to not grab random cups off the table and drink out of…

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John Webster on the Givenness of Neighbors

Jonathan Parnell

The way we understand the occasion of such a thing as " neighbors" fundamentally changes our actions toward them. Here is one of the most helpful things I've read on the simple idea—we have neighbors.

In his book Holiness, John Webster writes:

Love involves my acknowledgement that I am obliged by my neighbor as a reality given to me by God, a reality which I would often…

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Andrew Walls On Two Principles of the Gospel in Culture

Jonathan Parnell

In his essay "The Gospel as Prisoner and Liberator of Culture," Andrew Walls introduces two principles of the gospel's impact upon culture. These two principles express an aspect of the gospel's wonder that we should celebrate. There is nothing else like this in the universe.

The Indigenizing Principle

Walls writes:

Church history has always been a battleground for two opposing tendencies; and the reason is that each of the…

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A Tower Is a Lively Picture of the Things of the Gospel

Jonathan Parnell

Jonathan Edwards had a God-entranced vision of the world. He writes in Miscellanies #119:

The things of the ceremonial law are not the only things whereby God designedly shadowed forth spiritual things, but with an eye to such a representation were all the transactions of the life of Christ ordered. And very much of the wisdom of God in the creation appears in his so ordering things natural, that…

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Suffering and God's Goodness—Go to the Cross!

Jonathan Parnell

Discussions about suffering and God's goodness must go to the cross. For an example of what that looks like, consider this portion of Randy Alcorn’s newest book The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering. 

Jesus Christ’s life and death demonstrate that God has never dished out any suffering he hasn’t taken on himself.

His death on the cross is God’s answer to the question,…

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Luis Arocha

Jonathan Parnell

Luis Arocha will be the Spanish interpreter at this year’s national conference. Luis is a pastor at Iglesia Bautista de la Gracia in Santiago, Dominican Republic where he and his wife live with their four daughters.

He attended a Desiring God conference for the first time in 2005 that was used by God to awaken in him a passion to delight in God and spread that joy to others. Luis…

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Being and Acting in Another

Jonathan Parnell

"Personal holiness"—what thoughts does this phrase engender?

If I had to guess, I would say your mind went to thinking about spiritual disciplines or moral performance. Or at least that's what mine did. The word "personal" has a way of making our brains forget God's self-attested holiness and focus only on our own, which we typically equate to nothing more than our conceived progress in fulfilling certain do's and don'ts.

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Give Me That Kind of Courage

Jonathan Parnell

In 2 Samuel 10 the Ammonites and Syrians are closing in on Israel. Joab divides up the men of Israel between himself and his brother, Abishai. He tells his strategy in v. 11, paraphrased, “You take those guys, I’ll take these guys, and let’s help one another if we need it.” That sounds simple enough. It’s the next line in v. 12 that is astounding. Joab declares:

Be of good…

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Don’t Waste the Sound of Sirens

Jonathan Parnell

We hear sirens all the time. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the day, at some point, we hear the sound of an ambulance or fire truck or police car. What do you think when you hear them?

We have become so accustomed to the sound that we typically ignore it. We go about our activities uninterrupted. But wait, that sound means something! It means that there…

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Solomon Is Not the One

Jonathan Parnell

In Deuteronomy 17 Moses instructs Israel concerning the king that they will one day appoint for themselves. He gives the following three negative stipulations:

  1. he must not acquire many horses (v.16)
  2. he must not acquire many wives (v.17a)
  3. he must not acquire excessive silver and gold (v. 17b)

Now fast forward to Samuel and Kings. In 2 Samuel 7:12-17, God promises King David a son who will be king forever.…

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Knowing Jesus Reconfigures Our Questions

Jonathan Parnell

Her primary problem was her ignorance, which is exactly what Jesus addresses in John 4:10. Instead of answering her question, he points out the need for it to be reconfigured.

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you...” Jesus says this to point out that she doesn’t know who he is. That's the most essential problem in the life of this Samaritan…

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