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.