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So far Larry has created 42 blog entries.

“Read your Bibles, boys.”

Recently I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with a dear friend from seminary days, who reminded me of a conversation that remained clearer in his mind than it had in mine.  Occasionally some of us seminarians would visit the home of Dr. Cornelius Van Til, the great theologian and apologist, then retired, in his upper 80s, and not entirely lucid.  He delighted to give us copies of his many books, which he  signed with his own shaky hand.  We would provoke him to tell stories from the past, which were still fresh in his mind, like the time he met Karl Barth (whose works Van Til had devoured and criticized sharply in some of his writings).  We also waited for pearls of great theological insight or counsel for aspiring pastors.  He was content to give us one brilliant piece of advice: “Read your Bibles, boys.”

As we end one year and begin another, we face a good time to recover or start good habits, like Bible reading.  There are many excellent programs out there to guide us, but I particularly like the plans on bible.com and its corresponding YouVersion Bible mobile app , especially the following:

Discipleship Journal’s 5x5x5 Reading Plan, which covers the New Testament in one year at the pace of one chapter per day with weekends to catch up.

Old Testament, which covers the Old Testament in one year at the pace of three chapters per day from three different books of the Bible.

M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan, which covers the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice at the pace of four chapters per day from four different books of the Bible.  One can read all four privately or two chapters in private and two chapters as a family.

There are many other plans at the website, of shorter or longer duration, all available for mobile devices, and some Bible versions with audio components to enable one to listen instead of reading.  I sometimes choose to listen on a commute or simply for variety’s sake.  Whatever else you do this new year, please remember Dr. Van Til’s tremendous advice.  Read your Bibles, girls and boys.

“Read your Bibles, boys.”2016-12-30T08:17:08+00:00

He Takes Hold Of Us

Hebrews 2:16 reads:

“For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants” (NIV) OR “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham” (KJV) OR “For assuredly He does not take hold of angels, but He takes hold of the seed of Abraham” (NASB footnote).

The different translations result from different possible meanings to the main verb.  Its basic meaning is to take hold of, but the context determines in what sense this taking hold of.  It can mean to take hold of someone in order to harm or to help, or it can be figurative language as in taking hold of eternal life (I Tim 6:12).

Before the 17th century, most scholars understood this verse to mean that God did not take hold of angelic nature to assume it to himself or take it on himself but of human nature.  More recent translations take the verb to mean to help, to lend a hand. (See Philip Edgecumb Hughes’ excellent Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, pp 115-6.)

In the context, the older translation fits well, since verse 14 graphically says that the Son of God shared in our “blood and flesh,” and verse 17 says he was made like us in every way.  Nestled in between these two strong affirmations of God’s becoming fully human, it fits well to say that he took on or assumed humanity.  We lose nothing by adopting the more modern versions’ translations, since verses 14 and 17 easily carry the load of the incarnation, but the older translations likely make this section the clearest and strongest affirmation of the full humanity of the Son of God: He shared our flesh and blood, he took on our nature, and he had to be made like us in every way.

Clear enough!  Merry Christmas!

 

He Takes Hold Of Us2016-12-24T12:08:07+00:00

Why another church?

Surprisingly few have asked me this question, although it is one I have asked myself repeatedly, mostly in order to make sure I know the answer and that it is a good one. In fact, the answer is very simple and also very sound. New churches tend to reach new people. It is not that older churches cannot or do not reach new people, but new churches have been shown to be the best way to reach new people in many contexts around the world. Of course, not all new churches succeed in reaching their communities, and some do not even survive. However, enough survive and thrive that it continues to be worth the effort. Indeed, 100% of the churches that exist today were once new churches. I am thankful that someone made the effort to start them and am grateful to have the privilege of participating in the start of another one.

For a more thorough answer (but not too long), here is an excellent article by Tim Keller, who has planted churches and encouraged their planting around the world.

Why another church?2017-04-23T16:59:23+00:00

So, where is your church?

Some people have asked, “Where is your church?”  Although we are just getting started with a small group of people meeting in our home in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, the participants come from as far away as Plantation and Boca Raton.  The distances present a challenge, since we want to develop Christian community, not merely a venue for spectators.  Therefore, we need a place that will be easily accessible from many points around Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

Also, we want to have a presence near the beach, because the beach draws people from around the county and around the world, and there are almost no evangelical churches there.  As all know, property near the beach is limited and expensive, and many of the possibly suitable spots have told us that they do not want to rent to a church (which confirms to us that it is probably a good idea!).  Thus, we are looking for a meeting place east of the Intracoastal or at least east of US 1.

So, where will our church meet?  It will meet in that special place that God has for us that is accessible to people from all over the area, that is near South Florida’s chief attraction, and that is new territory for the gospel.  That’s where.

So, where is your church?2016-10-10T20:31:53+00:00

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2016-10-06T17:35:41+00:00

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2016-10-06T16:35:41+00:00

Se habla español

Sabiendo que pasamos muchos años en México, algunos están pregunándome si nuestra nueva iglesia va a utilizar inglés, español o los dos.  La idea es ser una comunidad multicultural de acuerdo a la demografía del Sur de Florida, y nos da mucho gusto tener un buen número de hispanohablantes entre los que están reuniéndose en nuestra casa los domingos en la tarde.  Estamos usando inglés en las reuniones, porque es el idioma en común, pero algunos conversan en español.  Eventualmente podríamos tener actividades exclusivamente en español según la necesidad.  Además, hay otras culturas e idiomas en el sur de Florida – de Suramérica, del Caribe, de Canadá – y esperamos que algún día estén representados en nuestra iglesia.  Por lo pronto, hablamos español e inglés.

Se habla español2016-09-30T15:36:54+00:00

Who we are

You might wonder, “Who are you folks anyway?”  Well, I’m Larry Trotter, and my lovely wife is Sandy.  I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, graduated from Northeast High, and became a Christian at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.  For the last twenty-five years, we have been serving in Mexico but just moved back to Fort Lauderdale, where my parents still live.  Although it’s hard to say where “home” is, it is good to be back with family and old friends.  The beach is nice too.

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Who we are2016-09-17T16:45:28+00:00

What style worship?

Although we do not yet have a worship service but are starting with a home Bible study, people are asking me an important question: “What will the worship be like at Florida Coast Church?”  Often what they mean by that question is: “Will it be traditional, contemporary, or blended?”  I have declined to answer the question in those terms and reply that it will be biblical, Reformed, and congregational.

By biblical, I mean that the elements will be those commanded in Scripture, and the content will be biblical, with much Scripture reading and songs that are chocked full of Scriptural content.  By Reformed, I mean that the theology of the Protestant Reformation (especially as formulated in documents like the Westminster Confession of Faith, theHeidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort among others) will be a secondary filter to guide song and reading selection.  By congregational, I mean that the songs will be singable by normal people, and their voices will be the principal instruments.  Whatever musicians we have will be located in back of the congregation in order to form part of it and participate with it.

(My good friend Mark Dever wrote a good article describing Capitol Hill Baptist Church’s low-budget and exuberant worship services.)

What style worship?2016-09-16T07:29:26+00:00