Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

Calvinism and the Warning Passages: A Brief Reply to Scot McKnight

A good response to McKnight on the warning passages in Hebrews: Calvinism and the Warning Passages: A Brief Reply to Scot McKnight- Credo Magazine:
But,’ says one, ‘You say they cannot fall away.’ What is the use of putting this ‘if’ in, like a bugbear to frighten children, or like a ghost that can have no existence? My learned friend, ‘Who art thou that repliest against God?’ If God has put it in, he has put it in for wise reasons and for excellent purposes. Let me show you why. First, O Christian, it is put in to keep thee from falling away. God preserves his children from falling away; but he keeps them by the use of means; and one of these is, the terrors of the law, showing them what would happen if they were to fall away. There is a deep precipice: what is the best way to keep any one from going down there? Why, to tell him that if he did he would inevitably be dashed to pieces

30+ resources to help you read the Bible in 2012

This links to a bunch of bible reading resources worth checking out: 30+ resources to help you read the Bible in 2012 | Communicate Jesus

Could Intentionality be an Illusion? A Note on Rosenberg

Interesting argument against the idea that thoughts are something material: Maverick Philosopher: Could Intentionality be an Illusion? A Note on Rosenberg:
1. Either the words "The notion that thoughts are about stuff is illusory" express a thought -- the thought that there are no object-directed thoughts -- or they do not.
2. If the latter, then the words are meaningless.
3. If the former, then the thought is either true or false.
4. If the thought is true, then there there are no object-directed thoughts, including the one expressed by Rosenberg's words, and so his words are once again meaningless.
5. If the thought is false, then there are object-directed thoughts, and Rosenberg's claim is false.
6. Rosenberg's claim is either meaningless or false. His position is self-refuting.

Al Mohler on Mark Driscoll

Mohler has some helpful things to say about Driscoll, and I think they would both consider themselves brothers in Christ: Al Mohler on Mark Driscoll | Challies Dot Com:
I want to say there are certain things that pastor Driscoll speaks about that I would never speak to anyone about, honestly. I just don’t think it’s the responsibility of a gospel pastor to even have to talk about some of those things—some of the things that would get the most traction on YouTube or things that we need to let somebody else talk about if it’s going to be talked about. And then there are things that you can talk about in a certain way, I’ll just be honest, I rejoice in his teaching of the gospel, I’m thankful for his conviction, but I would certainly not feel comfortable speaking in the same way, nor would I want my students to do that. I think if they did we’d have a pretty stern conversation.

The Tyranny of Advice Column Christianity

Some good advice in the context of New Years resolutions: The Tyranny of Advice Column Christianity | The Resurgence:
Do you see it? The answer is in Jesus, not you. He’s the man who lived the life you have not lived and died the death you should have died so that you don’t have to live for you. Hallelujah, the pressure is off!

Know What the Therefore Is There For

The golden rule started with a so or therefore, meaning to get it in context you need to read the bit before it: Know What the Therefore Is There For – Justin Taylor:
This little word signals that you can’t understand this verse without understanding what precedes it. Jesus made arguments, not bumper stickers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Social media in the 16th Century: How Luther went viral | The Economist

As with “Likes” and retweets today, the number of reprints serves as an indicator of a given item’s popularity. Luther’s pamphlets were the most sought after; a contemporary remarked that they “were not so much sold as seized”. His first pamphlet written in German, the “Sermon on Indulgences and Grace”, was reprinted 14 times in 1518 alone, in print runs of at least 1,000 copies each time. Of the 6,000 different pamphlets that were published in German-speaking lands between 1520 and 1526, some 1,700 were editions of a few dozen works by Luther. In all, some 6m-7m pamphlets were printed in the first decade of the Reformation, more than a quarter of them Luther’s.
Social media in the 16th Century: How Luther went viral | The Economist

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

This looks a bit interesting, did Kant lean on Luther for his thinking?: International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Online First™ - SpringerLink:
I will argue that Kant’s understanding of the radical evil will draws closer to Luther than Erasmus in a number of elements. These elements are (1) the intervention of the Wille for progress towards the good, (2) a positive choice for evil, (3) the inscrutability of moral progress, (4) the rejection of prudence as a means for salvation and (5) the rejection of moral sentimentalism.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Incarnation (Spoken Word)

Why December 25?

A nice overview as to why Christmas falls where it does: Why December 25? | Christian History:
The eventual choice of December 25, made perhaps as early as 273, reflects a convergence of Origen's concern about pagan gods and the church's identification of God's son with the celestial sun. December 25 already hosted two other related festivals: natalis solis invicti (the Roman "birth of the unconquered sun"), and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian "Sun of Righteousness" whose worship was popular with Roman soldiers. The winter solstice, another celebration of the sun, fell just a few days earlier. Seeing that pagans were already exalting deities with some parallels to the true deity, church leaders decided to commandeer the date and introduce a new festival.

Friday, December 23, 2011

No Sex Please, I'm British

I wonder if Driscoll's new book is on the back of this authors mind: No Sex Please, I'm British - Reformation21 Blog:
Those who speak explicitly in their sermons about sex acts may be reflecting the fact that the Bible does refer to such things; but the form they use may actually be reflecting rather the pathologies of the wider culture. They are certainly not paying any respect to the form which scripture uses to speak of such things. There is a beauty to the Song of Songs which is connected to its poetic form. Telling the world it refers to this or that specific sex act misses the point on so many different levels and is an interesting and eloquent response which perhaps tells us much about the reader and little about the text; it reminds me of being in a gallery and seeing priapistic teenage boys sniggering at the naked breast of a woman in a painting by a Renaissance master.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Whither YRR?

This is some good advice. Lets not build our own traditions, but be good church members in traditions we are already in: Whither YRR? – Kevin DeYoung:
one of the most important steps forward for YRR is for each of us to go deeper into our own churches and traditions. No movement, let a lone a mood, can sustain lifelong mission, discipleship, and doctrinal commitment. The Baptists should learn to be good Baptists. The Presbyterians should not be ashamed to be Presbyterians. Those in a non-denominational context will have a harder time, but they too should learn to swim in the church’s historic stream of confessions, hymns, polity, and theology.

Twenty Myths in the Gender Debate

Quite a good article hopefully dispelling myths on both sides of the argument: Twenty Myths in the Gender Debate | Blog | Theology Matters | Newfrontiers UK:
So I thought it might be helpful to give twenty examples of these myths, ten for each side, with a view to clarifying things somewhat. My aim is twofold: to debunk bad arguments on both sides, since they often lead to caricature and muddle, and to challenge some of the prejudices that can prevent loving, open and humble discussion.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Vaclav Havel, Christopher Hitchens, and Kim Jong Il

Is there a reward/justice/judgement/anything after death, or do we get away with anything and everything? Vaclav Havel, Christopher Hitchens, and Kim Jong Il:
We often say, when someone passes away, that they have "gone to their reward." But given atheism, what is that reward exactly? It is exactly the same for Havel, Hitchens, and Kim Jong Il. All three have now entered into nothingness, which is to say that, given atheism, there are no rewards for anything -- good, bad or anywhere in the middle.

Havel was an anti-communist hero, Hitchens was a courageous but infidel journelist, and Kim Jong Il was a murderous and genocidal thug. They all graduated from this class called earth, and they all got exactly the same grade. Is that justice?

Justin Holcomb and the Soterian Gospel

Do we need more Old Testament and story in our Gospel presentations? Jesus Creed » Justin Holcomb and the Soterian Gospel:
This skipping of Israel’s Story is why there’s no concern in this gospel that Jesus is the Messiah/King, no concern for how God works in human history, no redemption of creation, and no new heavens and new earth. The Bible’s message is reduced to salvation, but there’s more to the Bible’s Story than that. There’s not enough Old Testament Story in this sketch … the “according to the Scriptures” theme of the gospel statement of 1 Cor 15 (and the sermons in Acts, and the Gospels) is not given adequate grounding.

I want to point out that this is the most significant difference between the soterian gospel and the Story gospel of Jesus and the apostles. I do not believe this is a matter of “We can’t cover everything” but an issue of how to tell the Story that the gospel resolves.

Greene on Nozick on nothing

The problem of multiverses to explain anything (the end of the article is also good): Edward Feser: Greene on Nozick on nothing:
"Now, the proposal that every possible universe exists does not, by itself, actually explain anything. In fact -- again, at least by itself -- it makes things more mysterious rather than less. Suppose I ask “Why is there a cup on the table?” It is no good to answer “Actually, there are in fact two cups on the table; hence there is no special reason to ask where the one cup came from!” This hardly defuses the original question; indeed, there is now more to explain than there was originally. And the problem would rather obviously only be made worse if it turned out that ten or twenty cups were on the table, and certainly if every possible cup were on the table. Similarly, that every possible universe exists hardly explains why anything exists at all; it just adds to the explanandum rather than providing an explanans."

Christmas messages from around Australia

A list of Anglican Bishops Christmas messages from Australia: Christmas messages from around Australia : Anglican Church League, Sydney, Australia

Calvinism: My History 7

Do modern day Calvinist forget perseverance of the saints and the real warnings in Hebrews? Jesus Creed » Calvinism: My History 7:
The slogan “once saved, always saved” is put into deep threat by the view of Hebrews I have offered.

For the classical Calvinist and the Arminian — and I know this may sound like a bundle of hooey to many — there is precious little difference in this regard: both believe that perseverance is necessary. Which means that both believe that only those who do follow through in their relationship and obedience will find that eternal rest.

'via Blog this'

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tabular Comparison of 1646 WCF and 1689 LBCF

This is quite a useful page with colour coded differences between the two confessions: Tabular Comparison of 1646 WCF and 1689 LBCF

Real Marriage: Can We _______?

Driscoll's new book that isn't out yet is already getting a work over: Real Marriage: Can We _______? | Challies Dot Com:
The problem with the grid—quite apart from the exegesis (which we’ll look at next time)—is that it allows virtually anything that Scripture does not explicitly and expressly forbid. In fact, it is difficult to imagine any act or desire, except those clearly forbidden in Scripture, that wouldn’t make it through this grid. In practical use, the only acts it filters out are the ones overruled by the first question.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Not Compassion at All

Interesting thought experiment. My worry would be inflation: Not Compassion at All:
If you push the button, the real income of all the "have-nots" in the world will double overnight. Their health care will be twice as good as it is now, their disposable income will be twice as large, their houses will be twice as nice, and so on. But another consequence of pushing this button will also be the fact that the "haves" will see their prosperity increase ten-fold. They will all be ten times richer, thus enabling them to swank around all day.

Can There Be Such a Thing as a Human Non-Person?

The link to this lecture is a long read, but quite interesting: Can There Be Such a Thing as a Human Non-Person? – Justin Taylor:
Standardized tests often include questions of the form “A is to B as X is to _____.” This exercise helps to identify relationships of symmetry and can prove illuminating. J. P. Moreland, in a lecture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on “Naturalism and the Crisis of the Soul,” [pdf] gives a helpful illustration on this issue

Must We Believe in the Virgin Birth?

This is a good point that could be applied to many other doctrines: – Must We Believe in the Virgin Birth?:
Must one believe in the Virgin Birth to be a Christian? This is not a hard question to answer. It is conceivable that someone might come to Christ and trust Christ as Savior without yet learning that the Bible teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin. A new believer is not yet aware of the full structure of Christian truth. The real question is this: Can a Christian, once aware of the Bible’s teaching, reject the Virgin Birth? The answer must be no.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The 3650 Challenge

This is a pretty big challenge for the new Year: The 3650 Challenge | Challies Dot Com:
Here is something to consider: Do you think it would change your life if you were to read 3,650 chapters of the Bible over the course of the next year? Let me explain why I’m asking the question.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

St Andrew’s Cathedral Christmas Eve Carols on your Couch, ABC1 at 6pm

And people say the media is anti-God... also on the ABC there are no ad breaks: Articles | St Andrew’s Cathedral Christmas Eve Carols on your Couch, ABC1 at 6pm | Phillip Jensen:
Our Cathedral on Christmas Eve is always an exciting gathering; celebrating and explaining the significance of the Birth of Jesus. This year the ABC's national broadcast is St Andrew's Christmas Eve Celebration. The broadcast gives all of us a great evangelistic opportunity to share the gospel with our friends, colleagues and neighbours. Gather the family to watch it together.

Christmas Answers Two Errors

So Christmas reminds us to avoid two errors. The first error is that of thinking that the future resurrection is a ghostly affair; it most certainly is not. The resurrection will be more solid than anything you have ever imagined. The second error is that of minimizing the depth of our material corruption, believing that our materiality did not need to be redeemed.
Christmas Answers Two Errors

Sunday, December 11, 2011

50 Top Atheists in the World

An interesting list of the top atheists who are alive today, and an Australian leads the way: 50 Top Atheists in the World:
[the] last requirement leads to some counterintuitive rank assignments for well-known atheists. For instance, Richard Dawkins does not make the head of our list. Because this may disappoint some of our readers, we have, after our ranking, also ordered the atheists on our list by the number of Google hits that their names obtain.

Junia Is a Woman, and I Am a Complementarian

I read another review of this book that was positive, this review is negative: Junia Is a Woman, and I Am a Complementarian | Denny Burk:
"McKnight’s central thesis is only as strong as his exegesis of Romans 16:7, and on this point I do not think he has provided sufficient exegetical warrant for his view in light of the countless interpreters who differ with his argument (e.g., Fitzmyer, Romans, p. 739; Schreiner, Romans, p. 796). There is not a single argument in this book that is new or that moves the gender debate forward. It simply assumes long-held egalitarian interpretations of the Bible, and then argues accordingly. I am doubtful that this method will be very persuasive to serious students of the Bible."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Scot McKnight, Junia is not Alone: a review

Interesting, I thought it was a new argument that Junias was a woman: Scot McKnight, Junia is not Alone: a review « Shored Fragments:
If you know your Greek, you’ll know that an accent is all the difference between Junia (a female name, very well attested in history, as I’ve commented before on this blog) and Junias (an otherwise-unknown male name). This happened late. All the ancient versions (Old Lt; Vulg.; Syr,; Copt.) have a female Junia in Rom, 16:7. (So, incidentally, do all – without exception, I think – the church fathers. You know? Those native Greek-speaking church leaders? McKnight does not mention this.) And the English versions? ‘from Tyndale to the last quarter of the 19th century in English translations, Junia was a woman.’ (l. 148).

Calvinism: My History 2

This looks to be a good series by Scot McKnight: Jesus Creed » Calvinism: My History 2:
One of the focal points of my lectures was the Warning Passages, texts that are one of high Calvinism’s (or at least monergism’s) biggest challenges. If it can be established that genuine believers can fall away and lose their salvation then any sense of effectual grace or perseverance (as God’s preservation) are undone.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dawkins vs. Dawkins

Dawkins now claims he did debate Craig in 2010, while in 2010 he said it wasn't a debate...: Edward Feser: Dawkins vs. Dawkins:
So, two years ago Dawkins insisted that his encounter with Craig in Mexico was not a debate; and only weeks ago he loudly and publicly acknowledged that he refuses to debate Craig. Yet, in response to my statement on the air that he refuses to debate Craig, Dawkins now insists that this is “contrary” to the truth and needs to be “corrected,” citing the 2010 non-debate encounter as evidence. What is going on here?

Christmas – Myth or History?

A nice response from Paul Barnett to a story trying to debunk the Christmas story: Christmas – Myth or History? | Paul Barnett:
You cannot but be impressed with the zeal of the modern sceptic and reciprocally unimpressed with the lethargy of the contemporary Christian. Right on track the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend (3rd December, 2011) has a lengthy and well-researched article, Divine Intervention’ (Fenella Souter) in which she debunks the historical basis for the first Christmas.

Free eBooks

Monergism Books have a few ebooks for download, worth checking out: Free eBooks

Saturday, December 3, 2011

[ 11 ] ridiculously practical ways to avoid consumerism this season » Attempting to behold the miracle long enough without falling asleep

Some good advice: J.R. Briggs » [ 11 ] ridiculously practical ways to avoid consumerism this season » Attempting to behold the miracle long enough without falling asleep:
I’ve been reflecting on several practical and specific ways together we could make Advent a meaningful experience – different from other Christmas seasons in years past.

BBC News - Christians in China: Is the country in spiritual crisis?

And some people say as a nation develops their belief in God declines: BBC News - Christians in China: Is the country in spiritual crisis?:
It is impossible to say how many Christians there are in China today, but no-one denies the numbers are exploding.

The government says 25 million, 18 million Protestants and six million Catholics. Independent estimates all agree this is a vast underestimate. A conservative figure is 60 million. There are already more Chinese at church on a Sunday than in the whole of Europe.

'via Blog this'

Authors@Google: Timothy Keller

I think this is the second time Keller got to speak at Google about a book he has written, looks good: Authors@Google: Timothy Keller - YouTube:
Timothy Keller visits Google's New York, NY office to discuss his book "The Meaning of Marriage." This event took place on November 14, 2011, as part of the Authors@Google series.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

7 statistics about Australians and Christian beliefs

A quick overview of belief in Australia (not much has changed). 7 statistics about Australians and Christian beliefs | Communicate Jesus:
Interestingly (and contrary to media reporting), these beliefs haven’t changed in 50 years.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Advent Guide

Chandlers church has put together an advent guide for families: Advent Guide (pdf):
The Advent season officially commences on the fourth Sunday (Advent Sunday) before Christmas and continues until Christmas Eve or Day. Various theological traditions celebrate the season through an array of customs.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Bad Theology = Bad Marriage

Does God love us regardless of what we do, so our spouse should as well? Bad Theology = Bad Marriage:
I’m afraid a lot of people are going to be in for a shock. Listen, I’m not being judgmental, I’m just telling you the truth. Your marriage reflects your theology and your faith. If you can’t live it at home, you can’t live it. If your relationship is suffering, if it stinks, check your thinking. It may be more about your bad theology than your bad marriage.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Don't Be Like Candace with Your Spiritual Gifts

A good article on spiritual gifts. A while back I did the 3 colours of ministry book and the below quote sums up my issues with things like that: Don't Be Like Candace with Your Spiritual Gifts | 9Marks:
Many churches have used spiritual gift tests to help members discern their gifts. Such tests are not necessarily wrong, but they are a bit like the answers at the back of the math book. They might give you the right answer, but using them to avoid working out the solution misses the point of the exercise.

Also, such tests can work like self-fulfilling prophecies. We answer questions according to how we like to view ourselves, not as we really are.

What part of “nothing” don’t you understand?

Edward Feser responding to a Science article about the start of the universe: Edward Feser: What part of “nothing” don’t you understand?:
So what’s the point of all this ado about nothing? You know what the point is: To try to show that physics alone can explain the existence of the universe. Hence the key line of the piece: “Perhaps the big bang was just nothingness doing what comes naturally.” But read in a straightforward way, this is just nonsense, for reasons of the sort already given: If this so-called “nothingness” has a “nature” and “does” things, then it isn’t really “nothingness” at all that we’re talking about. And of course, the article and the physicists it quotes don’t really mean “nothingness” in a straightforward way in the first place.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christian Scholarship in the Secular Academy

Should you study theology in the world, or apart from the world? Christian Scholarship in the Secular Academy – The Gospel Coalition Blog:
Richard Lints believes it is absolutely vital that evangelical scholars study in the secular academy. Lints, who teaches at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, earned degrees at the University of Notre Dame and then the University of Chicago. He points out in this discussion with fellow theologian Michael Horton that many of the so-called new evangelicals leaders who emerged after the Second World War studied at such prestigious schools as Harvard and Princeton. The continued marginalization of evangelical scholarship in the decades since then illustrates the high cost of avoiding these culture gatekeepers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Evaluation Of The 2011 Edition Of The New International Version

Quite a good article on the NIV11, it focuses on the controversial changes as well as the update to the English language: Themelios | Article: An Evaluation Of The 2011 Edition Of The New International Version - The Gospel Coalition:
Is the NIV11 a viable, usable translation in conservative churches? In order to decide that, we should first ask on what bases such a question should be evaluated.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Read Romans

83 tweets on Romans by John Dickson. These were quite helpful: Read Romans | Library | Centre for Public Christianity:
A section-by-section explanation of Paul’s letter to the Romans via Twitter (by John Dickson, Centre for Public Christianity, Oct 2011)

Rick Lewers elected Bishop of Armidale

Before we went to Engadine Rick was rector of my current church (before I attended): Rick Lewers elected Bishop of Armidale : Anglican Church League, Sydney, Australia:
Rick Lewers, currently Rector of Engadine, and well-known to many in Sydney, has been elected as Bishop of Armidale at this weekend’s Armidale election synod in Moree.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Woman's Body and Fatherlessness

Motherlessness, the fierce suppression of the mothering instinct, is the immediate cause of an abortion. But that motherlessness is, in its own turn, a function of fatherlessness. This all happens because fathers have believed the lie that it is possible for them to opt out of the creation mandate. That mandate is assigned to every man who is ever given the tremendous privilege of making love to a woman. First the pleasure, then the provision and protection. The privilege of planting seed in a garden brings the necessary responsibility of tending that garden.

A Woman's Body and Fatherlessness

Medicinal Abstractions Don't Heal Anyone

"Two inches of snow on a dung heap can look pretty nice, but it doesn't address the deeper problem. So if we sinful men go left, we sin on the left. If we go right, we sin on the right. If we become atheists, we sin there. If we become Jehovah's Witnesses, we sin there there. Wherever we go, there we are. The generic category of 'religion' cannot help us in this anymore than the abstract concept of 'medicine' can help us when we are sick. We need actual medicine, not the idea of medicine. And this is why we need Christ, not religion" (Letter From a Christian Citizen, p. 104).

Friday, November 11, 2011

True Christian manliness? CVM & The Code

This sounds like an interesting book to read: True Christian manliness? CVM & The Code « Shored Fragments:
I’ve read Driscoll, Grudem, Piper, Mohler, and the rest on the subject because I’ve had to; I find them unhelpful and unedifying; there have been moments when my gut reaction to a particularly poorly expressed thought has been a sudden irrational desire to embrace my feminine side...

I say all this because I want here to praise a book on Christian masculinity, and it is appropriate context to indicate that this does not come naturally to me. Carl Beech, Andy Drake, and Ian Manifold are all leaders within Christian Vision for Men (CVM), and a year or so ago they published a little book called The Code: It’s time for a new kind of man.

Bible Translation Debate

This looks interesting with translators from the ESV, NIV and HCSB defending their methods: School of Religion | Biblical Studies Symposium | Liberty University:
"Which Bible Translation Should I Use?"
With Dr. Doug Moo, Dr. Wayne Grudem, and Dr. Ray Clendenen"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Seriously Religitudinous

"For Christians, this is beside the point. We don't believe religion is the answer. We believe Christ is the answer. When you combine religion with sinners, what you get is religious sin. And when you combine serious religion with sinners, what you get is serious religious sin. All this does is confirm one of the basic tenets of the Christian faith, which is that the human race is all screwed up" (Letter From a Christian Citizen, p. 94).
- Wilson, Seriously Religitudinous

William Taylor on new atheists

A 6 min clip from a sermon by William Taylor on the new atheists: St Helen's Bishopsgate - Resources - Blog:
William Taylor, Rector of St Helen's Bishopsgate, recently addressed the ‘new atheists’ in our ‘Hidden Opportunity – Certain Return’ series from Luke 17-18 on Tuesday Lunctimes. His sermon challenges the ‘new atheists’ to be credible scientists that take into account all the evidence and encourages the Christian to be confident of Jesus’ miraculous powers as a foretaste of the perfect kingdom to come.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The ESV Translation Committee Debates the Translation of “Slave”

This was quite a good video and showed both sides of the debate. Based of their arguments maybe the ESV should be called another American translation, not an "English" one...: The ESV Translation Committee Debates the Translation of “Slave” – Justin Taylor:
Speaking in the video are C. John Collins (Covenant Theological Seminary), Peter Williams (Tyndale House, Cambridge), Gordon Wenham (Trinity College, Bristol), Paul House (Beeson Divinity School), Wayne Grudem (Phoenix Seminary), and Lane Dennis (Crossway Books & Bibles).

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Women and the Monarchy

When tradition clashes with the modern world: Women and the Monarchy | Jesus Creed:
Of course, there’s no rhyme or reason why Prince William’s younger son should succeed to the Throne before his older daughter, but neither is there any rational explanation to the solemn anointment by oil, a ceremony that can be traced back to Biblical times. To attempt to apply our generational chauvinism to customs and traditions that go back centuries, on the grounds of what we consider “fair,” is a mark of our ludicrous pretentions to omniscience. Anyhow, why should the elder daughter succeed before the younger son: isn’t that age discrimination? Shouldn’t all Britons decide which of them will be God’s anointed by a secret ballot?

SBC and Calvinism

A Southern Baptist Church affirms the doctrine of election and grace and so isn't allowed to be part of the Kentucky Baptist Association: SBC and Calvinism | Jesus Creed:
“Our concern in the initial stages of our investigation revolved around the fact that Pleasant Valley Community Church’s confessional statement is one that (is) Calvinistic in nature,” the newspaper quoted from a recommendation by the association’s credentials committee. “It affirms the doctrine of election and grace.”

liberalism and gambling reform

A nice post from a friend of mine on the new gambling reforms in Australia: liberalism and gambling reform | The Box Pop:
One of the best things about Christianity is that it invites us to see the world differently to modern liberalism. Christians, at their best, are meant to be the exact opposite of rank-individualists. Not communists, but communitarians. Because our God is Triune, a complex three-in-one, he is anything but concerned for his own liberty.

The Elephant in the Elephant Room

Some strong statements about a past conference which next one has already caused a stir: The Elephant in the Elephant Room:
That Elephant Room session was full of swagger and bravado, the epitome of hipster coolness. But the biggest elephant in the room on that day was the failure to fear God, the failure to speak with conviction when His Word is so clear.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

US Diocese asked to rehabilitate Pelagius

Wow, another indicator that the Anglican church is forgetting its historic roots: US Diocese asked to rehabilitate Pelagius: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 28, 2011 p 7. « Conger:
Delegates to the diocesan convention will be asked to reverse the condemnation of the Council of Carthage upon Pelagius, and to explore whether the Fifth century heretic may inform the theology of the Episcopal Church.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Family Radio Founder Harold Camping Repents, Apologizes for False Teachings

Good on him: Family Radio Founder Harold Camping Repents, Apologizes for False Teachings, Christian News:
With his speech sounding somewhat slurred and labored, Family Radio Stations Inc. founder and chairman Harold Camping sought to address in a recent message why Christ failed to return on Oct. 21 as the Bible teacher had predicted. Camping confessed, after decades of falsely misleading his followers, that he was wrong and regrets his misdeeds.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Does Joel Osteen Not Know, or Does He Not Care?

Osteen makes another statement that evangelicals don't agree with: – Does Joel Osteen Not Know, or Does He Not Care?:
Osteen just stated his belief that Mormons are Christians. He then expressed the thought that Mormonism “might not be the purest form of Christianity, like I grew up with,” but he affirmed Mormon statements that Jesus is the Son of God and that He is Savior.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Clarification on some rumors that have been on some blogs

I am honestly surprised it took hindsight to see this. I think there are even some bible verses about not taking to court other Christians...: Clarification on some rumors that have been on some blogs | The Mars Hill Blog:
On September 27, 2011, our legal counsel sent such a letter to these three Mars Hill churches requesting that they change their logo and name. In hindsight, we realize now that the way we went about raising our concerns, while acceptable in the business world, is not the way we should deal with fellow Christians.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Subjectivism and Evil Moral Positions

On Dawkins and Craig: dangerous idea: Subjectivism and Evil Moral Positions:
It isn't that Craig holds such a preposterous position that this proves his total irrationality. In fact, he holds a view that Dawkins himself would not consider to be false, let alone refutable.

Somewhere in England, an emperor is missing his lab coat.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ask a (former) atheist

An atheist uni professor becomes a Christians and decides that life has meaning: Ask a (former) atheist | World On Campus:
Psychology professor Rich Suplita used to sit in the University of Georgia's Tate Plaza holding a handmade sign that read "Ask an atheist" any time a preacher came to campus to share the gospel. As the faculty sponsor of the school's atheist club, he was adept at explaining how to tackle the issues of life without God.

Why I refuse to debate with William Lane Craig

Dawkins doesn't want to debate Craig as he thinks genocide is wrong, while at the same time believing there is no design, good or evil in the world: Why I refuse to debate with William Lane Craig | Richard Dawkins | Comment is free |
And if any of my colleagues find themselves browbeaten or inveigled into a debate with this deplorable apologist for genocide, my advice to them would be to stand up, read aloud Craig's words as quoted above, then walk out and leave him talking not just to an empty chair but, one would hope, to a rapidly emptying hall as well.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Special Hypocrisy Rates

"But while we are on the subject of [OT] sexual slavery, let me raise the question whether anything like that is happening now . . . let's talk about sexual slavery of children in places like Thailand. And let's ask who would be most likely to approve of sexual jaunts to visit the slaves there -- your average believer in the Old Testament laws you dismissively cite or people who share your opinions about the reject status of Old Testament law? Are there special airfare rates from San Francisco do you think?" (Letter from a Christian Citizen, p. 21).

Special Hypocrisy Rates

The Sin of Counting

Pragmatism is bad. So is boasting. I also had issues with the video this article linked to: The Sin of Counting:
I’ll admit to being weary, to the point of irritation, whenever I hear ministers of the gospel reporting their statistics as external evidences of success. And I know I’m not the only one. (The first minute-and-a-half of this video makes the point.)

Enough already.

Dads, Consider the Impact of Availability

Some good advice: Dads, Consider the Impact of Availability - Desiring God:
Our children need to interact with us regularly and to know that at any moment, if they ever really need us, we will be there. Nothing in this world can take our place with them. Our actions and words must demonstrate that our kids occupy a special place and access to us that no one else except our spouse has.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Relativism and Human Rights

Relativism is incompatible with an idea that many of us hold dear, the idea of inalienable human rights. If relativism is true, we are endowed by our culture, not our creator, with certain rights, and if the culture denies those rights, as in cases like slavery or female circumcision, then there is nowhere to go to justify a claim that, contrary to what the culture has decreed, our rights are being violated.
dangerous idea: Relativism and Human Rights

You Might Be a Pragmatist

Some of these points are edgy (but true): You Might Be a Pragmatist:’s a quick Top 10 list you can use to evaluate yourself and your ministry for signs of pragmatism

Top 10 preaching mistakes

A nice simple list for new preachers: Top 10 preaching mistakes | HeadHeartHand Blog:
As I’ve listened over the years to students begin to preach, I’ve noticed the same mistakes arising again and again, the same mistakes that we all fall into from time to time. The ten most common are

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Take: Are evangelicals dangerous?

Mohlers take on the American media's take on evangelicals: My Take: Are evangelicals dangerous? – CNN Belief Blog - Blogs:
We’re dangerous only to those who want more secular voices to have a virtual monopoly in public life.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dead Sea Scrolls online

Now everyone can see the scrolls online, with a mouse over translation: The Great Isaiah Scroll:
The Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa) is one of the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Qumran in 1947. It is the largest (734 cm) and best preserved of all the biblical scrolls, and the only one that is almost complete. The 54 columns contain all 66 chapters of the Hebrew version of the biblical Book of Isaiah. Dating from ca. 125 BCE, it is also one of the oldest of the Dead Sea Scrolls, some one thousand years older than the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible known to us before the scrolls' discovery.

Ten Reasons Why the New NIV Bible is Bad for Women

Turns out the NIV2011 which gets some of its content from the TNIV is bad for women (this is posted on a site that strongly opposed the TNIV): CBMW » Ten Reasons Why the New NIV Bible is Bad for Women:
Notwithstanding the doctrinal imprecision and blatant politically-correct translating agenda, there are additional reasons why I dislike gender inclusive Bibles. Undoubtedly the publishers had good intentions, and genuinely wanted to help women, but in my mind, a gender-inclusive Bible is BAD for women. Really, really bad for women! I react to people reading from the new, gender-inclusive NIV the way I react to nails scratching down a chalk board. Here are ten reasons why

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tudor Protestant Political Thought 1547-1603

A friend of mines has written a book. Based off the price and topic I am not sure he is going for a general audience: Tudor Protestant Political Thought 1547-1603 | BRILL:
This book offers a study of natural law, providentialism, cosmic order, political authority, and government by consent in Protestant political thought during a transitional period in English history. It shows how the Reformation was central to the birth of modern political thought.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

True Feelings - Emotions in Christian Life and Ministry

Free audio from a Moore College conference on Christians and Emotion: 2011 : True Feelings - Emotions in Christian Life and Ministry:
There is no question that one of the most controversial areas for Christian life and ministry in the early 21st century is that of the place of the human emotions in Christian experience. Feelings certainly run high about feelings. Can we trust our feelings? Should we suppress them or should we indulge them? Does God have feelings?

#1 King Jesus Gospel Question

What are Christians tasked to do?: #1 King Jesus Gospel Question | Jesus Creed:
We are witnesses. First and foremost we are witness to and about Jesus. Our calling is to draw attention to Jesus and to call folks’ attention to Jesus. The Story of Jesus awakens faith and in that context the summons to repent, to be believe and to be baptized can be given.

The focus is not on what people get if they accept Jesus; the focus is Jesus. He’ll give them what he wants. And he wants.

Now Available: Messages from Piper's Recent Trip to Australia

Pipers Engage talks are not online, but his Oxygen talks the ones he gave at Brisbane are: Now Available: Messages from Piper's Recent Trip to Australia - Desiring God:
Pastor John's messages from Australia are now available for streaming and download

Humble Pie—A HEARTY Meal

I think this shows character. Also apparently Mark Dever has pulled out of this conference...: Vertical Church | Ministry Resources for Pastors from James MacDonald:
I also regret that our invitations have caused some in the African-American community to believe we have abandoned them in their fight for greater attention to orthodoxy among their congregations. Our own church has made immense strides in racial diversity, and these matters are very close to my own heart. We are pursuing an adjusted format for this Elephant Room that will avoid assigning credibility where essential doctrine of our faith is not affirmed clearly. We are in pursuit of other African-American pastors to participate in the discussion of biblical doctrine and its central importance in the life of a New Testament church. Today we announce that Dr. Crawford Loritts will join the conversation in Elephant Room 2. We expect to announce our final participant very soon.

What The Media Does Not Report

Our media is interested in Iran. It recently reported about the young American hikers who had crossed over the border of Iran and were released from prison. Their carelessness, capture and eventual release were headline stories. But the much more morally important story of Pastor Nadarkhani is ignored. Why?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Announcing Our 2012 Conference for Pastors

Looks like this conference has a good theme (for guys at least): Announcing Our 2012 Conference for Pastors - Desiring God:
God, Manhood & Ministry: Building Men for the Body of Christ


Your church can now outsource its campaigns/preaching material to Driscoll and not be called Mars Hill...: Campaigns | Pastor Mark:

What you get

- Sermon Research Brief: Access to hundreds of pages of top-level research from Docent Research Group

Preaching Strategies: My personal preaching suggestions and research to help you prepare your own sermons

- Full Marketing and Branding: Branding, design, and marketing plans that you can edit for your local church

- DVD Sermon Downloads: Free use of my sermons for the series via DVD download if you want a week off

- Counseling Guide: Helpful strategies and research specific to the sermon content to help your pastors and volunteers help hurting people

- Worship Guide: Suggestions and tips on how to prepare every aspect of your worship service to compliment—not compete—with the sermons
The following campaigns are scheduled, and you are free to use any or all of them as you desire for the next few years...

Swiss flag offensive to Muslims

Hospitals icons must also be offensive, as well as medic kits in computer games: Swiss flag offensive to Muslims:
SWITZERLAND’S official flag – bearing a distinctive white cross on a red background – has been around since 1848, but Muslims in the country are now claiming that it is offensive and want it replaced.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why should marriage last forever?

Marriage with time a limit, I wonder what the vow is like, "Till our time has expired together": Why should marriage last forever? - Gender Roles -
How different might the experience of marriage be if both participants in it were subject to periodic, mutual review? The chance to say, here’s what’s working, here’s what’s changed, here’s what needs improvement? The opportunity, even, to say, maybe it’s time to move on? Why not acknowledge that a great five-year run could be more satisfying than a 30-year sentence? After all, we leave jobs and houses and quietly distance ourselves from old friends all the time, and it’s rarely considered failure.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Gospel Today

Do we reduce the meaning of the Gospel to just mean something about our salvation? The Gospel Today | Jesus Creed:
My big contention today is that the soterian gospel is not what the New Testament means by “gospel.” It is only a part of the New Testament gospel, and it ends up swallowing the Story. Let me explain.

Collateral Damage in the Invitation of T.D. Jakes to the Elephant Room

I'm starting to like Thabiti Anyabwile's blog: Collateral Damage in the Invitation of T.D. Jakes to the Elephant Room – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile:
But this I do know, the entire situation raises association, separation, and accountability concerns for me that I did not have to the same degree before now. It raises significant questions about how members of The Gospel Coalition associate and endorse beyond the Coalition meetings themselves. For me, it tests the bounds of cooperation. I’m no Fundamentalist with well-established separation doctrines. But as one attempting to draw lines–cardinal biblical lines, mind you!–in a community flooded with heresy, this is no easy relationship to balance. Can I really endorse or remain quiet on an event that features a heretic I’m committed to opposing in writing? I don’t think so. That decision is easy for me. More difficult: Can I really endorse or support a brother who willingly associates with such a heretic and extends them a platform? Painful. Sobering.

Rob Bell, Cocoa Puffs and the Mega-Pulpit

Some perhaps more objective statements about Bell leaving to make a TV show: Rob Bell, Cocoa Puffs and the Mega-Pulpit (Jeff Cook) | Jesus Creed:
There have been numerous condescending responses to Rob Bell’s announcement on both blogs and Twitter—and I think they are deeply short sighted, for three things seem clear to me

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rob Bell Working on TV Show with Lost's Carlton Cuse

Some speculated that Bell was going to be a full time author and learn how to use paragraphs, that seems to be now not true: Reports: Rob Bell Working on TV Show with Lost's Carlton Cuse | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction:
Rob Bell is reportedly working on a television drama called Stronger with Carlton Cuse, executive producer and screen writer for the show Lost

Friday, September 30, 2011

Reflections on James MacDonald, TD Jakes, and the Trinity

This might have been the issue behind DeYoung's post on the Trinity yesterday. Driscoll goes into more detail: Reflections on James MacDonald, TD Jakes, and the Trinity | Pastor Mark:
The debate land mine that MacDonald has stepped on is in large part over the word “manifestations”. In its simplest form, this is the language of Modalism. In classic Modalism there is one God who manifests Himself in three ways (Father, Son, and Spirit) but is not three distinct persons. By this it’s meant that God is successively Father, Son, and Spirit but not simultaneously Father, Son, and Spirit. Think of it in terms of someone who is an actor playing three different roles in a play with wardrobe changes between scenes.

Till Death Do Us Part…

I really like the articles on this blog, they are cutting: Till Death Do Us Part…:
I have yet to come across any blog posts, articles, or editorials that even touch on this viewpoint of the whole Robertson brouhaha. Maybe they are out there, but I just haven’t stumbled upon them. Why is it that this Alzheimer’s thing is causing people to have such a cow? Because it seems cold and selfish to walk out on a woman who has lost her mind? Well, to me it’s cold and selfish when you walk out on your wife and kids who do still have their minds and are left reeling in the pain and disillusionment of a divorce. Yet far too many people don’t even bat an eye at that.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Multi-Site Churches Are from the Devil

Edgy, and a few pastors on the Gospel Coalition do have multi-site churches: Multi-Site Churches Are from the Devil – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile:
At bottom, I think the kind of multi-site churches (realizing there are a few different approaches) that feature one pastor being beamed into several sites around a region—and in some cases around the country or world—is simply idolatry. It’s certainly cult of personality multiplied and digitized for a consumer audience. As a brilliant young man remarked to me this morning, “The pastor now becomes the new icon in the midst of the Protestant worship service.” I think that’s well said. Video multi-site tends to idolatry, pride, and self-promotion—even where the ambition of spreading the gospel is genuine. In other words, the ends do not justify the means because some of the ends produced will undoubtedly be odious in God’s sight.

The Doctrine of the Trinity: No Christianity Without It

A good overview: The Doctrine of the Trinity: No Christianity Without It – Kevin DeYoung:
The two key words here are essence and persons. When you read “essence”, think “Godness.” All three Persons of the Trinity share the same “Godness.” One is not more God than another. None is more essentially divine than the rest. When you read “persons”, think “a particular individual distinct from the others.” Theologians use these terms because they are trying to find a way to express the relationship of three beings that are equally and uniquely God, but not three Gods. That’s why we get the tricky (but learnable) language of essence and persons.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

“Why Can’t I Own Canadians?” Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

A response to some common points about the laws in Leviticus that float around the internet. I always want to ask the questioner "Who is the book of Leviticus written for?" to see if they even know the context of the book itself: “Why Can’t I Own Canadians?” Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth - White Horse Inn Blog:
Although the responses aren’t usually this clever, the “Do you really want to go to Leviticus?” argument packs a punch in contemporary debates. Often, the critic assumes that every biblical command is a timeless and universal law. They really can’t bear the blame by themselves for this misunderstanding, since it’s common to a lot of Christian preaching through the ages. Medieval popes invoked these “holy war” passages for the crusades and appealed to Leviticus for prohibiting the charging of interest on loans to Christians.

Some Thoughts On Ministering to the Sick and Dying

Some useful advice from DeYoung: Some Thoughts On Ministering to the Sick and Dying – Kevin DeYoung:
I am no expert in ministering to people in suffering. It is a privilege to be with the sick and dying, but it can also be scary, hard work. I have great respect for chaplains, calling pastors, solo pastors, and other believers who spend a lot of their time comforting the sick and suffering with the gospel.

Video and Audio from the 2011 National Conference

Another Desiring God conference took place and they have put up all the talks for free. I like their style: Video and Audio from the 2011 National Conference - Desiring God

Monday, September 26, 2011

Divided the Movie

A free documentary that looks at age segregated youth ministry in churches. It looks interesting...Divided the Movie:
Traveling across the country conducting research and interviewing church kids, youth ministry experts, evangelists, statisticians, social commentators, and pastors, Philip discovers the shockingly sinister roots of modern, age-segregated church programs, and the equally shocking evidence that the pattern in the Bible for training future generations is at odds with modern church practices. He also discovers a growing number of churches that are abandoning age-segregated Sunday school and youth ministry to embrace the discipleship model that God prescribes in His Word.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rob Bell to Leave Mars Hill Church

Rob Bell to Leave Mars Hill Church | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction:
Feeling the call from God to pursue a growing number of strategic opportunities, our founding pastor Rob Bell, has decided to leave Mars Hill in order to devote his full energy to sharing the message of God's love with a broader audience.

Bagpipes and Fallacies

When Dawkins lights into radical Muslims going crazy over the Danish cartoons, I am right with him. Something really needs to be done about those people. When he talks about how Pope John Paull II made way too many people saints, my Scottish covenanter blood begins to rise, and I start hunting around for the psalter, claymore, and bagpipes. I begin muttering aye to myself. But then I come back to earth. And I wonder how it is that a false medical treatment can be used as an argument against all medical treatments? How does that work? How do forgeries prove that there is no original? How do counterfeiters show that there is no such thing as real money? Ah, I think to myself. There is some kind of funny business going on here" (The Deluded Atheist, p. 12).
Bagpipes and Fallacies

Who is the most dangerous guy at your church?

Interesting answer but with good reasons: Who is the most dangerous guy at your church? | Ordinary Pastor:
Instead, the most dangerous person at your church is the apparently smart guy who is unteachable.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Queer Hippo: musings on human sexuality

Its a long read and I only skimmed it, but it does ask "what is normal": Queer Hippo: musings on human sexuality « Shored Fragments:
This is important: too much conservative Christian ethics concerning human sexuality assumes that there is a norm – heterosexual monogamy – that is accessible and livable by the generality of people. The Scriptures deny this straightforwardly, of course (‘If it is like that, it is better not to marry!’ – Mt. 19:10), but conservative Christian commentators are not, unfortunately, always very interested in what the Scriptures actually say. And too much liberal Christian ethics concerning human sexuality assumes that there are a certain limited number of norms – including faithful and exclusive gay and lesbian relationships – that between them are accessible and livable by the generality of people. The Scriptures deny this straightforwardly, of course, but liberal Christian commentators are not, unfortunately, always very interested in what the Scriptures actually say.
Is heterosexual monogamy normal? No. Augustine and Foucault can agree on that. Are faithful and committed gay and lesbian relationships normal? No. Augustine and Foucault can agree on that also. In Hippo, nothing is normal, and everything is queer.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

‘Tasmanian Lower House set to back gay marriage’

Well the ACT did get civil unions, but that got recalled by the Government: ‘Tasmanian Lower House set to back gay marriage’ : Anglican Church League, Sydney, Australia:
Tasmania’s Lower House looks likely to become the first in Australia to vote in support of same-sex marriage. Labor has indicated it will support a motion from its state power-sharing partners the Greens, who have tried and failed to introduce state-based same-sex marriage legislation in the past…

Monday, September 19, 2011

God’s Grace in Our Worst Preaching Mistakes

Some mistakes done while preaching by Dever, Chandler and MacDonald. Its a little funny: God’s Grace in Our Worst Preaching Mistakes – The Gospel Coalition Blog:
It is a homiletical balm to hear of other preaching goofs, where pastors just blow it with a sermon or illustration and, yet, God graciously still produces fruit. I’m sure many of you can relate and provide stories that get belly-laughs every time you tell them. In this video Matt Chandler, Mark Dever, and James MacDonald share three of their most harrowing preaching moments.

The Inclusive-Language Debate

A book by Carson from 1998 is now free online: The Inclusive-Language Debate – The Gospel Coalition Blog

Open Letter to New Testament Students

I would have liked it if some of my biblical studies classes said and promised the same thing: Open Letter to New Testament Students | Storied Theology:
People lose their faith in Biblical studies courses, and grad school in particular, because they discover the pervasive extent to which the NT was written by humans and speaks differently from what they anticipated.

This can all sound terribly bleak. But I want you to enter the class with your eyes open.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams set to quit next year

Dr Rowan Williams is understood to have told friends he is ready to quit the highest office in the Church of England to pursue a life in academia.
The news will trigger intense plotting behind the scenes over who should succeed the 61-year-old archbishop, who is not required to retire until he is 70.
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams set to quit next year - Telegraph

Giving Texts Priority: Questions

A good list of universalistic and a list of judgement texts: Giving Texts Priority: Questions | Jesus Creed:
So today I will give a list of the universalism/all texts and then a list of some judgment texts, and you can think through these and tell us what you think of the questions above.

Redeemer comes to Sydney

This looks like it could be a good conference: Redeemer comes to Sydney « Gold, silver, precious stones?:
Many will know the significant contribution Tim Keller and Redeemer have made in New York.
Now Redeemer is coming to Sydney.
This is advance notice that a conference will be held at St Philip’s York St on Nov 16-17.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let's rebuild the West's moral authority

If the West cleaned up its morality, would others still hate it? Let's rebuild the West's moral authority | The Australian:
The West has expended much energy and courage fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq abroad and defeating terror at home. It has spent far less, if any, in renewing its own morality and the institutions -- families, communities, ethical codes, standards in public life -- where it is created and sustained. But if I am right, this is the West's greatest weakness in the eyes of its enemies as well as its friends. The only way to save the world is to begin with ourselves. Our burden after 9/11 is to renew the moral disciplines of freedom. Some say it can't be done. They are wrong: it can and must. Surely we owe the dead no less.

Keller on Salvation Outside of Christ

Another reason why I like Keller. He follows up on some negative comments about his Q&A that went online last week: Keller on Salvation Outside of Christ – The Gospel Coalition Blog:
I admitted my mistake and haven’t answered in that muddy way again. For the record, I didn’t know the interview was being recorded. When it pops up on the internet it’s a humbling reminder that I don’t always get things right. Nevertheless, I was on a study week when Justin Taylor put it up on our TGC website, and I should have seen it sooner to tell him that my answer at that point was a mistake and didn’t at all represent my teaching on that subject over the years.

Driscoll has yet another platform to speak on (I'm not saying that is a bad thing, I like listening to the guy from time to time): Welcome | Pastor Mark

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why you are not a "soft" atheist

Soft atheism isn't really an "-ism" as it isn't asserting anything. It is really skepticism: Why you are not a "soft" atheist - YouTube

How Calvinists Should Engage in Controversy

Some really good advice from John Newton: How Calvinists Should Engage in Controversy – Justin Taylor:
But if you look upon him as an unconverted person, in a state of enmity against God and his grace, (a supposition which, without good evidence, you should be very unwilling to admit,) he is a more proper object of your compassion than your anger. Alas! “he knows not what he does.” But you know who has made you to differ. If God, in his sovereign good pleasure, had so appointed, you might have been as he is now; and he, instead of you, might have been set for the defence of the Gospel. You were both equally blind by nature. If you attend to this, you will not reproach or hate him, because the Lord has been pleased to open your eyes, and not his.

Monday, September 12, 2011

An atheist’s encounter with Rob Bell

An atheists seems open to Christianity after listening to Rob Bell: An atheist’s encounter with Rob Bell – by Ronnie Stockton | Resistance & Renewal:
I’ve had no ‘miraculous conversion’ but I am now open to all of the mysteries and unanswerable questions that accompany the stories and parables of the Old and New Testaments. I initially ascribed this opening up process to the power and persuasion of Rob Bell and the sense of elation that accompanied hearing ‘his’ story. What is increasingly apparent to me though of course is that Rob Bell is talking about Jesus – thus the story that speaks to me is the story of Christ.

Are skeptical theists really skeptics?

This journal article looks interesting: SpringerLink - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Online First™:
Skeptical theism is the view that God exists but, given our cognitive limitations, the fact that we cannot see a compensating good for some instance of evil is not a reason to think that there is no such good. Hence, we are not justified in concluding that any actual instance of evil is gratuitous, thus undercutting the evidential argument from evil for atheism.

Clergy told to take on the 'new atheists'

The Archbishop wants clergy to give a defence of what they believe, good on him: Clergy told to take on the 'new atheists' - Telegraph:
Clergy are to be urged to be more vocal in countering the arguments put forward by a more hard-line group of atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, who have campaigned for a less tolerant attitude towards religion.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Q&A with Tim Keller - Reason for God? Belief in an Age of Skepticism

This Q&A session is worth a watch. Keller gets asked some good questions: Q&A with Tim Keller - Reason for God? Belief in an Age of Skepticism - YouTube:
Is there reason to believe in God? What about suffering? What about injustice? What if God is just an illusion of the mind? Hasn't science disproved God? Can we really know what Jesus actually said? Why are Christians so intolerant? Tim Keller fields these questions and more from two heavy-hitting interlocutors, NBC journalist Martin Bashir and Columbia University's David Eisenbach.

Anglicare Canberra and Goulburn

Peter Jensen is speaking in Canberra for an Anglican thing. This is showing a bit of a culture change in Canberra Anglicans...: Anglicare Canberra and Goulburn - PROVINCIAL MISSION CONVENTION:
Archbishop Peter Jensen is calling Anglicans in NSW and the ACT to a mission convention to be held at Canberra Girls Grammar School January 26 to 29 2012.
The Archbishop will deliver the welcome address.

Singer vs Lennox: Is There a God?

I've downloaded this, and hope sometime in the near future to watch this, it looks like a good debate: Singer vs Lennox: Is There a God? - - Browse - Big Ideas - ABC TV:
While the event stayed polite and peaceful there were some heavy intellectual punches thrown. Singer cites the Roman Catholic Church and its policy on condoms and the resulting loss of lives from AIDS as a good reason not to believe in God ... while Lennox says Communist Russia proved that being deliberately godless can be just as disastrous Specifically the God of the bible.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Evangelicals Not Invited to 9-11 Event

This is a fox news story, but its interesting: Evangelicals Not Invited to 9-11 Event « FOX News Radio:
However, Southern Baptists, representing the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, were not invited to participate – and neither were leaders from any evangelical Christian organization.

Faith In Space: Behind The Mission To Land A Bible On The Moon

The moon has a Bible on it: Faith In Space: Behind The Mission To Land A Bible On The Moon |
But one of the more unique items up for bid? A full King James Bible that has journeyed all the way to the moon’s surface.

How to Glorify God at Work

Piper on Christians in the workplace: How to Glorify God at Work - Desiring God:
So they asked: How can young workers glorify God at work?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

People Want a Pastor

Chandler and Keller on individual ministry, church programs and if every member is a minister: People Want a Pastor – The Gospel Coalition Blog:
It’s popular for evangelicals to say every member is a minister. But Matt Chandler, Michael Horton, and Tim Keller discuss in this video whether that idea truly reflects Scripture and the best interests of the church. Indeed, Horton argues that the office of the ministry is in trouble. Watch the video for his explanation why along with responses from Keller and Chandler.

Seven Days that Divide the World

We just bought this book and it is on my "to read" pile. It looks good: Seven Days that Divide the World 1 | Jesus Creed:
John Lennox, professor in Mathematics at Oxford, in his new and wonderfully written book, Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science, examines the age-old, ever divisive — and yet wintergreen in piquing our interest — issues in the science and faith/Bible debates. My sentence, the one I just wrote, is hopelessly complex. Lennox has learned to write, and that Zondervan bundled up this little book into an attractive format, makes this a delightful book both to hold and to read.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Those Tricksy Biblicists

DeYoung response to McKnight about his review of a book about Biblicism: Those Tricksy Biblicists – Kevin DeYoung:
Smith and McKnight agree that the main issues—ones they say we’ve avoided—are biblicism and pervasive interpretive pluralism. The problem in particular is that the presence of PIP makes biblicism impossible; hence, the title of Smith’s book. I don’t agree with the charge of evasion (in particular, I don’t see how someone could read Gundry’s review and think he was avoiding the real issues). But given the rejoinders it seems appropriate to deal with these two issues more explicitly.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Are Sydney Anglicans actually Anglicans?

Michael Jensen defends Sydney Anglicans based off Anglican tradition: Are Sydney Anglicans actually Anglicans? – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
There is for Anglicans a core of orthodoxy around which all manner of stylistic variations are permitted and even welcomed. The needs of mission and local custom make liturgical flexibility desirable - a practicality that the Anglican formularies of the sixteenth century themselves recognise.

The Providence of God: Ten-Part Course from John Piper

More free stuff from Piper: The Providence of God: Ten-Part Course from John Piper - Desiring God

Day Three - Finding joy in God’s glory

Interesting, is seeing joy treated over and above faith? Day Three - Finding joy in God’s glory | Mission-minded church |
Now let me be as clear as I can - Piper’s theology is not medieival mysticism! But his illustrations kept locating glory in the heavens. He did not speak about the glory of God being seen in the cross. It would be supremely unfair to judge him by this silence - the man has written books on the cross that I haven’t read! But my question is where Piper’s schema could take you rather than where he is. If heavenly glory is the main game, and the cross is penultimate to that end, then doesn’t that sound more charismatic than evangelical? Won’t faith become secondary to the more ultimate experience of joyous delight in God? Will preaching push people to visions of heavenly rapture or to the shame of the cross?

Was the Apostle Paul a Widower?

Interesting argument: Was the Apostle Paul a Widower? – Justin Taylor:
6. The word for "unmarried” appears to be the masculine word for someone who has lost a spouse.
7. As a good Pharisee, it is highly unlikely that Paul would have been single his entire life.

“Problems with Desiring God”

This links to a pdf that retorts back to Piper Christian Hedonism idea: “Problems with Desiring God” « Gold, silver, precious stones?
A true theology of the affections is not built on the affections as such, or on the fulfilment of them, but on a relational response to the triune God who inspires such affection.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sydney Anglicans and the threat to world Anglicanism

Run to the hills, a conservative church isn't wearing its old garb and the AFES is run out of, wait for it...Sydney. The plot thickens...: Sydney Anglicans and the threat to world Anglicanism – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
It was not viewed with concern, however, because it seemed to inhabit an isolated, inward-looking world of its own. And it was still recognizably Anglican, requiring prayer book services, liturgical robes and the other hallmarks of traditional Anglicanism. Not any longer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On Biblicism | Jesus Creed

Scott McKnight doesn't like DeYoungs (and others) review on a book about Biblicism: On Biblicism | Jesus Creed:
None of these reviews engages the issue at hand. None of them thinks biblicism is a problem. None of them thinks that what we believe about the Bible (in our biblicistic framing of how we view the Bible) should not create the problem it does. None of them, in other words, thinks pervasive interpretive pluralism undermines biblicism. Evidently, then, pervasive interpretive pluralism is fine and what we get when God gives us a Bible. None of them, in other words, is dealing with the problem.

Watch R.C. Sproul Teaching Series for Free

Three free series that you can watch online (can't download): Watch R.C. Sproul Teaching Series for Free

Media-Hyped Religious Surveys and the Bad News Bearers

Wow, in regard to western culture, America is an anomaly: Media-Hyped Religious Surveys and the Bad News Bearers – Justin Taylor:
The national news media yawned over the Baylor Survey’s findings that the number of American atheists has remained steady at 4% since 1944, and that church membership has reached an all-time high. But when a study by the Barna Research Group claimed that young people under 30 are deserting the church in droves, it made headlines and newscasts across the nation—even though it was a false alarm.

Related in Their Turn to the Primordial Bicycle

"To argue that the Ford Taurus evolved from the Model T because they each have four tires is a dubious procedure. Maybe four tires is just a good idea, and anybody who wants to build a car should use it. Maybe a pig liver does the same thing that a human liver does, and for similar reasons. A Chevy and a Ford both have tailpipes, and I am entirely in favor of this. There is no doubt a common reason for it, and we need not resort to the explanation that the two cars are cousins, sharing a common ancestor" (God Is, p. 16)
Related in Their Turn to the Primordial Bicycle

Picking An Idol

Idols in Church: Articles | Picking An Idol | Phillip Jensen:
So when does a work of art become an idol? The old litmus test was to remove it – if nobody complains it holds little significance for them and can be returned but if people complain it probably is an idol. Of course it depends on the nature of the complaint. But when people say that they cannot worship God without the object it certainly has become an idol for them. That is why ‘religious’ art in church buildings, which are associated with a concept of worship, is considerably more dangerous than the same artwork hanging in a public gallery.

Things Getting Old in Church

There are some pretty good things on this list: Candid Christianity: Things Getting Old in Church | Antwuan Malone:
3. Spending more money on technology than on helping the poor. Satellite broadcast? Absolutely. Eight cameras to capture the right angle for the live internet feed? Obviously. Two million dollar stage lighting set? Heck, Yes. Soup kitchen? Isn’t that somewhere downtown?

ONE: Live streaming available

This is kinda cool, would be better if you could time shift it, ie download for later...ONE: Live streaming available - Katoomba Christian Convention:
ONE will be streamed live on a public stream via our Facebook page . If you cannot access this, try streaming it from our website

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Gospel and Poverty

It’s trendy now for churches to put less emphasis on the Gospel and more emphasis on service. I’ve even heard Christians almost brag that their outreach efforts don’t include any proselytizing at all. This is tragic. Billions of dollars of “service” won’t change hearts and lives. We know that now. In fact, those very billions may very well numb the human heart to the gravity of its sin.

Striking Similarities Between Two Extraordinary Expositors

Interesting comparison: Striking Similarities Between Two Extraordinary Expositors « Expository Thoughts:
Lloyd-Jones and MacArthur have proven to be, arguably, the premier expositors of the last two generations. What Lloyd-Jones was to the middle of the twentieth century, MacArthur has become to the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries. Though these two luminous preachers would never meet, and each would be his own man, many striking parallels can be identified between their pulpit ministries. The common ground shared by these two gifted preachers should serve as a positive example for all preachers to pattern their ministries.

Why Do I Doubt Detractors of Biblical Archaeology?

I just wrote an essay on the evidence for Solomon, this was a good article on archaeology and the bible: CADRE Comments: Why Do I Doubt Detractors of Biblical Archaeology?:
So, if the Bible is historically accurate the accuracy is irrelevant, but if the Bible is historically inaccurate the inaccuracy is relevant. Thus, under these views the archaeological record is not important as long as it supports the Bible, but when the archaeological record seems contrary to the Bible, atheists and Bible doubters want to jump all over the archaeological record as critical to the Biblical claims.

No offense, but you cannot have it both ways.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Real Culprit

"Religion kills, but so does cancer, old age, hunting accidents, radiation from the sun, other predatory species, too much mayonnaise, and the music of Andrew Lloyd Weber. Actually, we need to use the wide-angle lens and admit that it is Evolution that kills"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

‘Deselecting’ our children

Wow, Denmark doesn't want any more Down syndrome people in their country: ‘Deselecting’ our children - The Globe and Mail:
Here’s a recent Danish headline: “Plans to make Denmark a Down syndrome-free perfect society.” The Danes want to promote aborting fetuses with Down syndrome, so their society will be free of such people around 2030. One bioethicist describes it as a “fantastic achievement.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

False Start? The Controversy Over Adam and Eve Heats Up

There have been a few posts on the existence of Adam and Eve in America: – False Start? The Controversy Over Adam and Eve Heats Up:
The denial of an historical Adam and Eve as the first parents of all humanity and the solitary first human pair severs the link between Adam and Christ which is so crucial to the Gospel.

If we do not know how the story of the Gospel begins, then we do not know what that story means. Make no mistake: A false start to the story produces a false grasp of the Gospel.

The Myth of Mutual Submission

This 11-page chapter (available for free as a PDF) concisely and convincingly explains why the phrase “mutual submission” is unhelpful at best

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Whole Sweep of Scripture - NT Wright

This clip is worth a look, NT Wright's accent make me believe anything he says: The Whole Sweep of Scripture - NT Wright - YouTube

Eleven Theses on Private Spirits

If you read any of this, be sure to read all of it. Or, failing that, if you read only part of it, be sure just to read the parts you agree with, which should help us keep the comments down. Now then . . .

Sinful Means to a Glorious End

Tim Challies also wrote another good article on the Mahaney situation, link in the first paragraph of this article: Sinful Means to a Glorious End | Challies Dot Com:
What I have not seen in the discussions about the now-infamous document leak is a compelling Scriptural case that this method of exposing a fellow Christian is consistent with the Bible. What I have seen, though, is many appeals to the good or potential good being brought about by it. In other words, the action of leaking the documents is considered to be good because it accomplishes good. This is dangerous, dangerous ground to tread and appears to me to show the influence of pragmatism.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Is Pluralism More Tolerant Than Christianity?

I'm not sure I would go so are as to call pluralism a religion: Is Pluralism More Tolerant Than Christianity? | The Resurgence:
As it turns out, the reasons for subscribing to religious pluralism—enlightenment, humility, and tolerance—actually backfire. They don’t carry through. Religious pluralism isn’t enlightened, it’s inaccurate; it isn’t humble, it’s fiercely dogmatic; and it isn’t really all that tolerant because it intolerantly blunts religious distinctives. In the end, religious pluralism is a religion, a leap of faith, based on contradiction and is highly untenable. Christianity, on the other hand, should respect and honor the various distinctives of other religions, comparing them, and honoring their differing principles–Karma (Hinduism), Enlightenment (Buddhism), Submission (Islam), and Grace (Christianity). In the next and final post, I will examine Jesus’ exclusive claim, and the charge that his teachings in Christianity are unenlightened, arrogant, and intolerant. In particular, we will examine the unique principle of grace.

John MacArthur Drops the Booze Bomb

A very healthy response to John MacArthur on drinking, written by some guy who also wrote "What would Jesus Drink?" which has been endorsed by Doug Wilson. This post might have swayed me, it's long but a good read: John MacArthur Drops the Booze Bomb |
In order to nip these YRR hops in the bud, MacArthur first tries the old “guilt-by-association” trick. He placards every non-conventional or even extreme behavior which a member of the YRR crowd may or may not be associated with, and which may make the whole movement look questionable in the eyes of more traditionally conformist Christians (read, MacArthur’s swiftly graying Baptist and mostly fundamentalist audience)—tattoos, tobacco, and, to use his phrase, “lots of explicit talk about sex.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Can We Trust the Text of the New Testament?

wow this looks like a very good debate. One (Wallace) is the guy who teachers NT Greek and has written the textbook that most students use. The other (Ehrman) is a professor who once believed the bible and then looked into some of the details and considers the text unreliable: SMU Debate: Can We Trust the Text of the New Testament? Daniel B. Wallace & Bart D. Ehrman:

The Brouhaha over the Brew

Maybe I am getting old, but I do like that John MacArthur is cutting through the trendiness that is seen in some circles: The Brouhaha over the Brew:
Just in case you missed John’s point in the dust-up (not only in our comment thread, but in other playgrounds as well), here it is: It’s irresponsible and wrong for YRR leaders to make beer/wine-drinking one of the badges of the YRR movement. That’s it. So, if that shoe fits you, wear it; If it doesn’t, let it pass.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Laughable, Right?

We should throw ourselves into the work of ministry. When we do this, some things will fall off or break, of course. The purpose of the church is not to be well-organized. The purpose of missions is not to be well-organized. The purpose of the church is to do the work we are called to, with organization being a means of keeping our tools sharp. When the organization decides that the best way to do that is by keeping them all in the tool box, the problem I am talking about has manifested itself.
Doug Wilson, Laughable, Right?

Monday, August 15, 2011

The New Philistinism

Yet another pretty harsh op-ed assessment on the new Atheist, this time by a Catholic philosopher: The New Philistinism — The American Magazine:
The intellectual frivolousness of the New Atheist literature is by now an open secret. Philosopher and prominent Darwinian Michael Ruse has said that Dawkins’s book made him “ashamed to be an atheist” and that Dennett’s book is “really bad and not worthy of [him].” Another atheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel, has described Dawkins’s “amateur philosophy” as “particularly weak,” and his attempts to counter the philosophical difficulties inherent in his own position “pure hand-waving.” Literary critic Terry Eagleton—yet another atheist, and a Marxist to boot—characterizes Dawkins’ writings on religion as “ill-informed,” “shoddy,” and directed at “vulgar caricatures.” The list of the New Atheists’ fellow intellectuals and even fellow atheists who are critical of their work could easily be extended.

The Heart Of Growing Christianly

The world takes a census, of our numbers, size and influence but it does not know what it is counting. For the institutional size of a Christian denomination or church tells you little about its growth or impact. We will not have greater effect in Australia by being in a bigger organization, but by being a more Christian one.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Is It Humble To Think All Paths Lead to God?

Truth claims are exclusive and whatever world view you put forward you are bringing down another: Is It Humble To Think All Paths Lead to God? | The Resurgence
When religious pluralism says that there are many ways to God, it is not humble. It actually carries an air of arrogance about it. How? Religious pluralism insists that its view—all ways lead to God—is true while all other religions are false in their exclusive teachings. Religious pluralism dogmatically insists on its exclusive claim, namely that all roads lead to God. The problem, as we have seen, is that this claim directly contradicts many religions like Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity. The claim of the religious pluralist is arrogant because it enforces own belief on others. It says to other religions: “You must believe what I believe, not what you believe. Your way isn’t right, in fact all of your ways are wrong and my way is right. There isn’t just one way (insert your way) to God; there are many ways. You are wrong and I am right.” This can be incredibly arrogant, particularly if the person saying this hasn’t studied all the world religions in depth and makes this blind assertion. Upon what basis can the religious pluralist make this exclusive claim? Where is the proof that this is true? To what ancient Scriptures, traditions, and careful reasoning can they point?