Between 1972 and 1996, I spent nine full years there, scattered over that range of years; and since then, I have been in the UK between two and six times every year. I am neither boasting nor complaining; I'm merely establishing that my knowledge of the country is not entirely superficial. I have no reason to doubt Mark's sincere concern for the gospel in the UK and for young ministers there. Nevertheless, you might be interested in hearing another perspective.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Carson gently corrects Driscolls take on the church in England. I am glad William Taylor gets a mention, he is pretty cool: Reflections on the Church in Great Britain – The Gospel Coalition Blog:
Posted by Andrew Vella at 12:14 PM
If you align yourself too much in one direction, people on the other side will not follow: All of Grace: Mark Driscoll, The Elephant Room, and Why I Left Acts 29...:
As I sat in a video venue for the Elephant Room and watched Mark question TD Jakes, I hoped for that moment when he would call on Jakes to deny modalism and the prosperity gospel. I knew Mark would ask Jakes to affirm that God is one being in three persons. I was not surprised to hear Jakes say he preferred that terminology over the modalist language. I was not surprised because Jakes has said similar things before. Frankly, I believe Jakes was equivocating and evading the real substance of the issue throughout this discussion. But, my purpose here is not to prove this contention (see here for a detailed analysis). My purpose is simply to say that this was my conclusion and explain why it led to me leaving Acts 29.
Voddie Baucham explains why he turned down appearing at this event and why he then didn't preach (he went there but turned around and left) at the next event James MacDonald had him scheduled for. I don't think race is the issue this time: Blog | Grace Family Baptist Church:
I was scheduled to speak at Harvest Bible Chapel on the weekend following ER2 which raised significant questions about my stance on the matter. While I do not consider it my responsibility to comment on every controversy, I do recognize my duty to clarify matters with which I am involved directly, and/or those that impact the congregation I am called to shepherd. Hence, my explanation now.
Yet another reason why I respect Piper, and enjoy his books, sermons, resources and conference content for free: Why John Piper Isn’t a Millionaire | Denny Burk:
Piper says that he gives away all of the copyrights to the books that he writes to the Desiring God Foundation. So he gets none of the royalties from his books. Why does he do this? Because he knows he would be a millionaire if he didn’t, and he doesn’t trust his own heart with those kinds of riches. For Piper, the issue is not how much money you make but how much you keep. He is apparently keeping very little.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:12 AM
Monday, January 30, 2012
Another prominent scientist has changed their mind on God based off their natural surroundings late in life: 'There might be a God', says Sir David Attenborough | Television & radio | The Observer:
"I don't think an understanding and an acceptance of the 4 billion-year-long history of life is any way inconsistent with a belief in a supreme being," the 85-year-old broadcaster and writer will tell presenter Kirsty Young. "And I am not so confident as to say that I am an atheist."
Posted by Andrew Vella at 10:45 AM
Friday, January 27, 2012
Not a bad review about this event. I would have liked a few more issues to have been brought up at the conference as Trevin touches on, such as the prosperity gospel as well as why Mark Dever pulled out of the event; why Chandler's sermon was edited at Furtick's conference last week; why Driscoll hammers egalitarians and Olsteen but not Jakes or his self help messages; what methodical issues McDonald has with the Gospel Coalition etc...: Grace and Truth Beyond the Elephant Room – Trevin Wax:
In the first Elephant Room, unity in essentials was assumed and diversity of methods was platformed. In the second Elephant Room, diversity in methods was assumed and unity in essentials was platformed. Because of this difference in tone, there was no substantial debate. What we witnessed was the coming together of several pastors united by their heart for each other and for people.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 4:32 PM
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Even though C.J. was cleared of any and all offence and reinstated as president of Sovereign Grace he has decided to let another take the top job: A note to those in Sovereign Grace Ministries:
In light of all of this, here is how I think I can best serve you in the days ahead: as I step back into the role as president, I will do so only temporarily. I think it would be wise for SGM to have a new president who has gifts better suited to serve Sovereign Grace in this next season. I love SGM and I want the best for SGM. Lord willing, I look forward to serving SGM more effectively in a different role. So my return will be temporary and with a few important intentions. Let me briefly explain what they are.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 7:35 PM
The theologian who can help the churches will be constantly locating her comments: ‘Well, I think X, but most others think Y’; ‘There are various live options here – A, B, C – even D – I’m committed for various reasons to B, but you need to know about the others’; ‘I think the history of our denomination lends support to this proposal, but you should be aware that others would disagree…’ Equally, she will be ready to be definite when that is required: ‘in my view, X’. Her task, however, will more often involve helping others to appreciate both the range of possible positions, and the definite limits that the tradition has placed on that range; and helping them also to understand some of the significance of the arguments – ‘these are the texts appealed to’; ‘the difference that this argument makes is …’
Being a theologian for the church « Shored Fragments
Posted by Andrew Vella at 7:20 PM
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The Christian critics I have read, don't think sex is gross, they think Driscoll's biblical matrix based on one verse is too weak: My take: Why Christians are criticizing my Christian marriage and sex book – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs:
When we do get around to evaluating sex acts, we ask three simple questions, based upon 1 Corinthians 6:12 in the Bible: 1. Is it lawful? 2. Is it helpful? 3. Is it enslaving?
Earlier today on his blog, James MacDonald publicly announced his resignation as a Council member of The Gospel Coalition. James was one of our founding members, and we would like to thank him and Harvest Bible Chapel warmly and publicly for their years of service and support. As the reason for his departure, James notes that he "has very different views on how to relate to the broader church." He added, "I believe their [TGC's] work will be assisted by my absence, given my methodological convictions." We acknowledge that James feels called of God into these spheres, and we wish him well in his far-reaching endeavors, and many years of ministry both faithful and fruitful.James MacDonald Resigns from TGC – The Gospel Coalition Blog
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:26 AM
Monday, January 23, 2012
Some people on twitter that I follow have been live tweeting from this conference, I like Chandler so I tryied to look up his message and found this (his full, unedited clip is back up on youTube now): Elevation Church Accused of Censoring Reformed Pastor's Sermon, Christian News:
Elevation’s pastor, Steven Furtick, sent out a tweet at 9:18 a.m. the next day, stating: “I apologize for the inconvenience of last night's #CodeOrangeRevival programming change-Matt Chandler's msg will reair today@10:12am&12:12pm.”
Rosebrough isn’t buying it. He said on his blog: “Fact is, Furtick's ‘explanation’ is a flimsy effort at spin/damage control and an admission that a deliberate decision was made to remove Chandler's sermon from the first two rebroadcasts.”
Posted by Andrew Vella at 1:18 PM
A nice summary of how the traditional arguments were framed which seemed to have been forgotten today: dangerous idea: Replying to the "Who Made God" argument against cosmological arguments:
These are well-known maneuvers (though they certainly have rebuttals), but people like Dawkins seen to be unaware of them, and that weakens his case for atheism.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:50 AM
Friday, January 20, 2012
What a good story in the SMH. Challenging what real Christian living looks like: House of hope:
It's a fair bet that if Jesus Christ were around today, he'd be doing what the Owens are doing in Mount Druitt. They feed the poor and house the homeless. They lead the lost and counsel the conflicted. They're experts at unconditional love: alcoholic mums, runaway kids, petty thieves, everyone's welcome at the Owens' home, a four-bedroom brick house that for the past five years has been equal parts street kitchen and safe house, as well as a home for their daughters Kshama, 8, and Kiera, 7.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 2:25 PM
I had to re-read to get it: You Either See This One or You Don’t – Justin Taylor:
The Argument from Aesthetic Experience:
- There is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
- Therefore there must be a God.
You either see this one or you don’t.
Interesting, this translation might be worth a read (to supplement the main versions, not to replace them): Jesus Creed » Tom Wright’s New Testament Translation:
"Better than any translation I know today, other than the most literal of translations (which have an entirely different problem), I hear the author’s Greek behind Tom’s translation. Still, Tom Wright is much more in tune with rendering the Greek NT into contemporary English, and that’s the subtitle of the KNT: A Contemporary Translation. He does so with elan at times. The translation is brisk and energetic, it’s gender neutral, and it has some real surprises that will make you smile — and provide insight at the same time."
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:02 AM
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
A sentence for each book of the Bible saying how God showed His grace: Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology: The Grace of God in the Bible:
There is always a danger of squeezing the Bible into a mold we bring to it rather than letting the Bible mold us. And, there could hardly be more diversity within the Protestant canon--diverse genres, historical settings, authors, literary levels, ages of history.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 10:20 AM
Despite me linking to some criticism of Driscoll, I thought this was quite good: Men, Will You Vow to Lead? | Mars Hill Church:
Towards the end of this Sunday’s sermon, I challenged the husbands in the room to stand up and take a vow that they would lead their family well. I then asked them to each pray over his wife, to serve her Communion, and to worship together holding hands.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 10:17 AM
A church poster in South Africa was removed due to its offence: Church advertisement banned, claim to insult Atheist’s intelligence:
The Rivers Church in the Sandton suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa were asked to remove a billboard that read, “An atheist is a man who believes himself to be an accident,” according to Daily Mail.
The billboard features the picture of a man who appears deep in thought, with his hands on his temples and an empty skull.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 10:00 AM
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Another new Piper book for free: Download Bloodlines for Free - Desiring God:
Bloodlines is one of the most autobiographical books I have written. It tells my story from racism to the path of redemption. I preached on the theme of Bloodlines yesterday to mark Martin Luther King weekend. The title of the message was “From Bloodlines to Bloodline.” I argued that God is calling his people to move from the alienation of many bloodlines to the reconciliation of the single bloodline that began on the cross of Christ
Posted by Andrew Vella at 11:25 AM
In Hebrews are there two types of faith, or two types of people? Jesus Creed » Warning Passages Ahead: Brief Response:
Notice that the author says the audience has an “initial experience of the gospel” and then later says they “were never true believers.” I agree with the first but the last category is imposed from without on the basis of other conclusions, namely that if one does not have perseverance one never really had genuine faith. This is the QED, and it doesn’t work to assume this stance in order to explain one’s view. There are two kinds of people, not two kinds of faith. There is one kind of faith: faith. Some will persevere and some won’t. One faith, one kept and one discarded.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 11:21 AM
Monday, January 16, 2012
This paragraph stood out for me: Sexual Obedience Outside Scripture:
"For example, the apostle Paul says nothing about video-recording a marital sex act on your cell phone. This is because he wrote to the Ephesians, to the Galatians, and not to the Idiots. If he were writing to the Idiots, he might have felt constrained to mentioned it. Oh, no, you might reply, feeling a little stung by my insensitive use of the word Idiot with an upper case I, you are your wife are being "very careful." Very careful. I see. So careful that when you both die in a car wreck nobody is going to go through your effects?"
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:24 AM
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Looks like the poetry guy and DeYoung are now friends. That is a good resolve: Following Up on the Jesus/Religion Video – Kevin DeYoung:
"Thanks for your email. It confirms my impression of you—humble, sincere, a real love for God and the gospel. I can’t remember ever receiving such a teachable response to criticism. I’m grateful for you and your courage in taking time to write me a note. Really grateful.
I know that criticism can be hard. You are probably getting it from right, left, and center, from Christians and non-Christians. I’m sure you are getting a lot of affirmation too, and that presents its own challenges. I tried to my write my post as a friend, not as a hater. I am rooting for you, not against you. I wanted to approach this like Acts 18:26. Thank you for receiving it in that spirit…."
Posted by Andrew Vella at 10:26 AM
This looks like a pretty good resource (pdf 1.3mb) from the guys at OpenUpTheBible.com: http://www.openupthebible.com/upload/samples/time-with-god.pdf
Posted by Andrew Vella at 10:21 AM
I like DeYoung, but I am not sure if he needed to write so much ripping into this guys poem. I'm sure if I tried to write a poem it wouldn't have the accuracy DeYoung would want: Does Jesus Hate Religion? Kinda, Sorta, Not Really – Kevin DeYoung:
The strengths in this poem are the strengths I see in many young Christians—a passionate faith, a focus on Jesus, a love for grace, and a hatred for anything phony or self-righteous. The weaknesses here can be the weaknesses of my generation (and younger)—not enough talk of repentance and sanctification, a tendency to underestimate the importance of obedience in the Christian life, a one-dimensional view of grace, little awareness that our heavenly Father might ever discipline his children or be grieved by their continued transgression, and a penchant for sloganeering instead of careful nuance.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:40 AM
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Packer suggests the Gospels are the best books on earth: Packer on Why We Should Meditate on the Four Gospels More than Any Other Book – Justin Taylor:
We should think, rather, of the theology of the epistles as preparing us to understand better the disciple relationship with Christ that is set forth in the gospels, and we should never let ourselves forget that the four gospels are, as has often and rightly been said, the most wonderful books on earth.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:56 AM
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Quite a good image: Visual Theology - The Order of Salvation | Challies Dot Com:
Today I’ve got an infographic for you, and one that I is going to kick off a series called “Visual Theology”—an attempt to display theology using a combination of words and pictures.
Mohler lists 5 things we should all learn from Hitchens. These again highlight why I thought he was the best of the four horsemen: AlbertMohler.com – Learning from Christopher Hitchens: Lessons Evangelicals Must Not Miss:
With all that in mind, how can I claim that evangelical Christians should learn from Christopher Hitchens? Well, consider these lessons
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
If websites were called their sin name: "The Seven Deadly Websites" by Jeff Rosenberg and Caldwell Tanner - CollegeHumor Article
Posted by Andrew Vella at 10:01 AM
Although Church attendance in England has dropped dramatically, it seems now it is rising again. Some people tell me as modernisation/development incenses then religion decreases, that is just not true (see South Korea): The return to religion - Telegraph:
This figure could be larger, but it is still enormous, far more than the number who attend football matches, often assumed to be Britain’s favourite weekend activity. But church people tend not to be as newsworthy as footballers. Their Christian values stand at an angle to the brash, thrill-seeking, instant consumer culture that has become dominant in Britain over the last half-century.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:46 AM
A good 3 min clip by Chandler on how to read the Bible (or at least David and Goliath): Is the Bible More Than My Roadmap to Life? – Justin Taylor
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:39 AM
There have been a few posts recently on Assurance of Salvation and the warning passages in Hebrews, I wonder if they are quietly responding to Scot McKnight or not: Warning and Assurance in the Book of Hebrews – Justin Taylor
This article starts out quite good, refusing to review Driscoll's book, but he still rips quite hard into Driscoll: Pyromaniacs: Evangelical Exhibitionists:
Yet evangelicals have been complaining for decades that we don't talk enough or hear enough teaching about sex. From the point of view of many non-evangelicals, sex is about the only thing evangelicals have demonstrated a serious and sustained interest in for the past 40 years. As early as 1977, Martin Marty, a liberal religious scholar, referred to the trend as "Fundies in their Undies."
Monday, January 9, 2012
Doug Wilson does make some good points: Some Preliminary Thoughts On "Real Marriage":
Take this example. Observe two Reformed pastors (Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller) of two major churches (Mars Hill and Redeemer) in two major cities (Manhattan and Seattle) who both have a book out on marriage (Real Marriage and The Meaning of Marriage). But in church polity, Keller is a soft egalitarian, and he has been conspicuous in his reluctance to address one of the central sins of Manhattan, which is the sin of sodomy. Mark Driscoll has been conspicuously courageous in how he has addressed the sexual perversions of his city. Now, which pastor is in big trouble? Which one is the controversial one? Which is the controversial one on sexual matters? We are not there yet, but this is the first step in how a people might supplant the Word of God for the sake of our traditions.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 12:10 PM
Really the quote is in two great big sentences. The use of the semicolon is cheating a bit: The Story of the Bible in One Sentence – Justin Taylor:
The OT storyline appears best to be summarized as: the historical story of God who progressively reestablishes his new creational kingdom out of chaos over a sinful people by his word and Spirit through promise, covenant, and redemption, resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend that new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful (defeat and exile), all of which issues into his glory;
the NT storyline can be summarized as: Jesus’ life of covenantal obedience, trials, judgmental death for sinners, and especially resurrection by the Spirit has launched the fulfillment of the eschatological already-and-not-yet promised new creation reign, bestowed by grace through faith and resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend this new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful, unto God’s glory.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:37 AM
Friday, January 6, 2012
Well this is a little strange: File sharing officially recognised as a religion in Sweden:
“For the Church of Kopimism, information is holy and copying is a sacrament,” Mr Gerson wrote on the church’s website.
“Being recognized by the state of Sweden is a large step for all of kopimi. Hopefully, this is one step towards the day when we can live out our faith without fear of persecution.”
Mr Gerson said the organisation has been trying to register the religion for over a year, but kept getting rejected.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:18 AM
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Ligonier Connect online courses in Biblical Studies, Christian Living, Theology, and Worldview and Culture
This is a neat idea. You can watch past classes by R.C Sproul and also share the experience with other people who have opted into that class (or you can make your own class with people you already know). Ligonier Connect online courses in Biblical Studies, Christian Living, Theology, and Worldview and Culture
Posted by Andrew Vella at 10:48 AM
Some good advice from Rick Warren: Ten Key Points to Remember in 2012:
As pastors we live with the constant tension between the ideal (our dream for our church) and the real (how things actually are). Here are 10 key points I want you to remember this coming year
Posted by Andrew Vella at 10:27 AM
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Some good advice for the New Year: Resolve to be Thankful:
Demonstrate your thankfulness by attending, getting involved in areas of service, by giving of your time and money. Too many people live by the line of thinking, “I don’t have to go to church, or give or serve because God knows I feel thankful.” Do you want to be like the nine guys who didn’t come back to show their gratitude to Jesus or do you want to be like the one guy who did? All felt it, but only one acted on it.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:25 AM
The first free conference audio for this year (that I have found): Lead 11 Main Session Audio | Gospel Alliance New England:
Here are the Main session audios from Lead11. We are currently working on the video and breakout audios, and hope to have everything up by the first of the year!
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:16 AM
Challies has contrasted Kellers and Driscolls books on marriage well: The Meaning of Marriage | Challies Dot Com:
Having read the book through two times, I’ve found myself wondering how to best measure or evaluate it, but perhaps these criteria are useful: Would I want to read it with my wife or would I encourage her to read it on her own? Would I recommend it to the people in my church? In both cases the answer is an unreserved yes. In fact, I bought the audio book and listened to it with my wife and her assessment is the same as mine: Though there are many great books on marriage, this is the one we will recommend first.
Another negative review of Driscolls new book: My Review of Mark Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” | Denny Burk:
The problems with the Driscolls’ advice, however, are not merely exegetical. They are also pastoral.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 9:10 AM
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Ouch, but no surprise, Challies has been saying for a bit how much he didn't like this book. It has gone on sale today: Book Review - Real Marriage | Challies Dot Com:
Having read the book through two times, I’ve found myself wondering how to best measure or evaluate it, but perhaps these criteria are useful: Would I want to read it with my wife or would I encourage her to read it on her own? Would I recommend it to the people in my church? In both cases the answer is no. This is not to say that the book is entirely without merit; Real Marriage does have things to commend it. But in my assessment the negatives far outweigh the positives. Its disjointed nature, the way it is unhinged from the gospel, the way it evaluates sexual acts through an improper grid—in all these ways and more it inadvertently lowers marriage rather than elevates it. With so many good books on marriage available to us, I see no reason to recommend this one.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 1:20 PM
Interesting post on the arguments against Junia been a woman or apostle: Jesus Creed » Shifting Footings:
This gets tiresome. Let the Bible say what it says. Junia was a woman; she was an apostle; she was a great apostle. Give the woman a break and give her a big clap! Saint Chrysostom surely did.
Posted by Andrew Vella at 12:36 PM
Monday, January 2, 2012
Nice, Knowing God is the free audio book this month: Free Downloads on christianaudio - Audiobooks, MP3, M4B, iPhone Apps, Free Downloads!
Posted by Andrew Vella at 8:17 PM