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.