Wednesday, February 29, 2012

1st-century N.T. fragment: more details emerge

More old bits of the NT have maybe been found. Hopefully this isn't a good marketing ploy for the new book that is going to be published: Baptist Press - 1st-century N.T. fragment: more details emerge - News with a Christian Perspective:
The seminary professor who surprised the academic world by saying a first-century fragment of Mark's Gospel had been found has released new information along with two new claims -- an early sermon on Hebrews and the earliest-known manuscripts of Paul's letters also have been discovered.

God I’m sick of comedians laughing at religion

This is bound to cause a stir (and perhaps the comments only make Kryger's point clearer). God I’m sick of comedians laughing at religion | Article | The Punch:
My question for atheists today is this: do you think the incessant mockery and smug ridicule benefits your cause?

I’ve been to more than my fair share of Christian conferences. I’ve never attended a single conference where those of other beliefs (atheists or otherwise) were the subject of ridicule. I’m not suggesting this never happens, but on the whole, Christians are respectful of those with opposing beliefs.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to Recognize Elders

Who can be an elder (pastor)?

Men. It sounds chauvinistic in our enlightened and gender-liberated culture to say that only men can be elders (pastors), but the biblical prescription is both clear and logical (1 Timothy 2:12-15). The Bible roots male/female equality in the fact that both bear God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28). Nevertheless, the man and the woman have distinct roles (Genesis 2:15-25). The man is to lead, protect and provide, and the woman is to follow the man’s leadership and help him, thereby fulfilling their God-given vocations (Genesis 2:18). It is not accidental that this very pattern of male leadership, protection and provision is called for in the church. The practice of male elders/pastors in the church serves to instruct and model God’s pattern of manhood and womanhood ordained in creation.
How to Recognize Elders | 9Marks

Bishop defends gay priest appointment

It maybe in line with his own diocese (as he is in charge) but it isn't in line with the wider church... I think this shows that Anglicans don't really do church discipline... Bishop defends gay priest appointment - ABC Gippsland Vic - Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
Bishop John McIntyre, says his decision to appoint Reverend David Head, who formerly held a position within a Melbourne parish, to the parish of Heyfield is in line with the policy of his diocese.

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

I'd like to ask these people, "if there was no first cause, then how did we get to this point in time?" International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Online First™ - SpringerLink:
Thus, while there are no problems with whether the conclusions follow logically from their assumptions, the Kalam argument is not viable, and the Aquinas argument does not imply a caused origination of the universe. The assumptions of the latter are at best less than obvious relative to recent work in the sciences. We conclude with mention of a new argument that makes some positive modifications to an alternative variation on Aquinas by Le Poidevin, which nonetheless seems rather weak.

Monday, February 27, 2012

All Audio Sermons and Talks

Moore College Audio Library. I did not know this existed till now... I might be slow on the uptake: All Audio Sermons and Talks:
Speakers include Broughton Knox, F F Bruce, Graeme Goldsworthy, Bill Dumbrell, N T Wright, Don Carson, John Chapman, Donald Robinson, James I Packer, and many others, including current Faculty.

Help for the Poor that Really Helps

A cost effective index of what helps the most people for the least amount of money: Help for the Poor that Really Helps – Kevin DeYoung:
These were the results:

1. Get clean water to rural villages (Rating: 8.3)
2. Fund de-worming treatments for children (Rating: 7.8)
3. Provide mosquito nets (Rating: 7.3)
4. Sponsor a child (Rating: 6.9)
5. Give wood-burning stoves (Rating: 6.0)
6. Give a micro-finance loan (Rating 4.2)
7. Fund reparative surgeries (Rating: 3.9)
8. Donate a farm animal (Rating 3.8)
9. Drink fair-trade coffee (Rating. 1.9)
10. Give a kid a laptop (1.8)

Jeff Bethke Speaks Words at U-District

Another good poem by the "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus" guy. This time on marriage: Jeff Bethke Speaks Words at U-District | Mars Hill Church:
"It’s not the love that sustains the promise; it’s the promise that sustains the love."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Magnify Conference Audio and Video

The audio and video from the Magnify Conference is now available (though the video could use a little more immanence, if you know what I mean).

Magnify Conference Audio and Video – Kevin DeYoung

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A New Argument for the Existence of God

I read today this quote: "Human philosophy, the wisdom of the world, has never converted a soul" (Fish, Power in the Pulpit, p. 3) and then I saw this...: A New Argument for the Existence of God – Justin Taylor:
In this paper we offer a new argument for the existence of God. We contend that the laws of logic are metaphysically dependent on the existence of God, understood as a necessarily existent, personal, spiritual being; thus anyone who grants that there are laws of logic should also accept that there is a God. We argue that if our most natural intuitions about them are correct, and if they’re to play the role in our intellectual activities that we take them to play, then the laws of logic are best construed as necessarily existent thoughts — more specifically, as divine thoughts about divine thoughts. We conclude by highlighting some implications for both theistic arguments and antitheistic arguments.

Treasure In, Treasure Out

Ouch: Treasure In, Treasure Out by R.C. Sproul Jr. | Ligonier Ministries Blog:
The next time you are alone in your car, turn on the oldies station. Sing along with as many songs as you can. Then turn off the radio, and begin to sing the Psalms. Then ask yourself what I ask, having failed the test so miserably- who has the words of eternal life, the Beatles, or Jesus?

Peter: Rock or Stumbling Block?

I'm not sure I would go this far, and I'm an Anglican: Articles | Peter: Rock or Stumbling Block? | Phillip Jensen:
Jesus was punning on the word Peter/rock. Puns by their nature are not precise, legal formulations. Let’s assume that Jesus was saying that Peter himself is the rock upon whom he is going to build his church. What does that mean? It’s not saying that Peter will be the head of His church. It’s not saying that Peter is the shepherd or leader of the congregation or the other apostles. It is saying that he is the foundation stone or the first stone of the church. We should draw no further inference until its meaning is spelt out. Much more important than Peter’s place is Jesus action: “I will build my church”. Jesus, not Peter, is doing something.

The MacArthur Study Bible (NIV)

I thought MacArthur would be more particular, but good on him: Pyromaniacs: The MacArthur Study Bible (NIV):
So was Pastor MacArthur himself in favor of an NIV version of the MSB?

Yes, he was. In his words, "No matter what version of the Bible people are reading, I want to be able to help them understand the meaning fully and accurately. The NIV is the most widely used translation in the world, with millions of users. Some prefer it because they find it easier to read than other translations. All English versions of Scripture have translation problems and ambiguities.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Local Christians plan a response to Global Atheist Convention

Both sides have their own conventions and sub-culture. I wonder what the response would be if atheist ran events around the Katoomba conventions... Local Christians plan a response to Global Atheist Convention:
Then again, says Patrick, Christians aren’t entitled to a smug smile here. “We have to be honest and say Christians do the same thing. Christians get together and have simple knock-down arguments against atheists. Christians can too quickly mock atheism without really getting into the depths of their convictions and beliefs.”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Historical Reliability of the New Testament

12 reasons from the Holman Study Bible as to why the NT is reliable: Ed Stetzer - A Closer Look: The Historical Reliability of the New Testament:
One of the great benefits of the articles in found in the HCSB Study Bible is the high academic quality of the content. These articles aren't fluff. They are seminary-lecture-quality articles.

The King Jesus Gospel: A Conversation with Scot McKnight

Stetzer asked McKnight some questions. Q4 will probably generate some talk: Ed Stetzer - The King Jesus Gospel: A Conversation with Scot McKnight:
4. Why do you point to John Piper as one of the most poignant examples 
of a "soterian" in our day? Are you suggesting that John Piper doesn't
 rightly define and present the gospel?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Response Regarding Church Discipline

Discipline and social media. I do feel for Mars Hill Church in this case: A Response Regarding Church Discipline | Mars Hill Church:
That being said, we do wish to clarify one detail. In one of the cases, regrettably, a letter that was meant to be privately read aloud to a small group of about 15 people in close community and friendship with Andrew was instead posted to that group’s private online community page. There was never a letter sent to the church as a whole. The tragedy of this whole situation is that what was once a private and discreet matter is now on a grand stage, and those who were misinformed as to the actions of the church in this matter are now complicit in doing the very thing for which they have wrongly criticized us.

Sex In Marriage

Say what you will about the Puritans, but they were at least not prudes when it came to sex: Sex In Marriage by Nathan W. Bingham | Ligonier Ministries Blog:
"The emphasis on romance within marriage (rather than in extramarital relations, as was common in the Middle Ages) has often been attributed to the Puritans. Herbert W. Richardson writes that “the rise of romantic marriage and its validation by the Puritans represents a major innovation within the Christian tradition.” And C. S. Lewis says, “The conversion of courtly love into romantic monogamous love was largely the work of… Puritan poets.”

The Rhetoric of Masculine Christianity

Is Piper forgetting things from church history and Christian women? Jesus Creed » The Rhetoric of Masculine Christianity:
Setting aside for now the problematic conflation of predicates (i.e., ontological being as “male” and “female” and “masculinity” and “femininity” as characteristics) and a shaky exegesis of the Hebrew adam, it is true that this glaringly selective biblical portrait smacks of men. In fact, no woman can be found. Well, Eve is there but, sadly, her name seems to have been lost in translation. Yet—and this may be jarring to some readers—the fact of the matter is that Piper is actually on to something.

Whether he is aware of it or not, Piper has stepped squarely into an age-old thread of Christian thought.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Five Evangelical Myths or Half Truths

This is worth a read. I have heard (and in the past even said) the following 5 quotes: Five Evangelical Myths or Half Truths by R.C. Sproul Jr. | Ligonier Ministries Blog:
It can happen even in careful systematic theology. How much more so in popular parlance? We take what the Bible actually teaches, rephrase it so we can understand it, and end up believing our own phrasing, rather than the actual biblical truth. It’s not malicious, but it is dangerous. What follows are five common thoughts, common expressions, within the evangelical church that just aren’t so.

ACL Statement on developments in the Diocese of Gippsland

Its a worry when you have to resort to by-laws and in-house decisions to claim your authority, and still people do not obey them: ACL Statement on developments in the Diocese of Gippsland : Anglican Church League, Sydney, Australia:
The teaching of Scripture about appropriate sexual behaviour for disciples of Christ and the appointment of elders who are ‘beyond reproach’, is quite clear. Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, the Jerusalem Declaration of 2008, the professional standards embodied in the document Faithfulness in Service (a document approved by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia) and the express commitment of the General Synod on a number of occasions to uphold the biblical teaching on marriage and human sexuality leave no room for ambiguity. Appointments like this put unwanted strain and tension upon relationships between the various dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia. It also contributes to the fragmentation of the Anglican Communion.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How Christians Should View the Law of God

In the article Keller goes on to outline six ways that Christians relate to the law:

1. We embrace the law of God in order to learn more about who our God really is.
2. We embrace the law of God in order to discover our true selves.
3. We understand the law of God as fulfilled in Christ.
4. We realize that the law’s painful, convicting work is ultimately a gracious thing.
5. We turn to the law of God in order to get a true definition of what it means to love others in our relationships and in society as a whole.
6. We turn to the law of God because sometimes we need to do things just because God says so.

You can read the whole thing here.

How Christians Should View the Law of God – Justin Taylor

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dr. Wallace: Earliest Manuscript of the New Testament Discovered?

This does look interesting, or it could just be good hype to sell a book: Dr. Wallace: Earliest Manuscript of the New Testament Discovered? - Daniel B. Wallace:
Not only this, but the first-century fragment is from Mark’s Gospel. Before the discovery of this fragment, the oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was P45, from the early third century (c. AD 200–250). This new fragment would predate that by 100 to 150 years.

Friday, February 10, 2012

This is Jesus

Some Keller talks on Jesus that he is giving in Oxford: What's Happening? - This is Jesus:
This is Jesus is an opportunity for every student in Oxford to engage with Jesus. Lunch time events will address some of the big questions that surround Jesus. Evening events will centre on the man himself.

Asking Better Questions

Numbers do mean more people, but what about depth? Are you providing entertainment or making disciples? Asking Better Questions | Challies Dot Com:
Instead of going to the easy question of, “How many people go to your church?” why don’t we ask things like this:

- How have you seen the Lord working in the lives of the people in your church?
- What evidences of the Lord’s grace has your church experienced in the last few months?
- What are you excited about in your church right now?
- Who are you excited about in your church right now?
- What has the Lord been teaching you?
- Who have you been discipling recently? Tell me about some of the future leaders at your church.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

On NYC Schools' Decision to Ban Churches

Protestant churches removed because of Catholic/religious reasoning: Blog - Redeemer City to City:
I disagree with the opinion written by Judge Pierre Leval that: “A worship service is an act of organized religion that consecrates the place in which it is performed, making it a church.” This is an erroneous theological judgment; I know of no Christian church or denomination that believes that merely holding a service in a building somehow “consecrates” it, setting it apart from all common or profane use. To base a legal opinion on such a superstitious view is surely invalid. Conversely, I concur with Judge John Walker’s dissenting opinion that this ban constitutes viewpoint discrimination and raises no legitimate Establishment Clause concerns.

Caryatides and Their Glory

Doug Wilson on raising daughters: Caryatides and Their Glory:
Women don't have the kind of strength that goes out and conquers the world, as men do. But this is not said by way of disparagement -- because after the world is won, it is the women who hold the whole thing up. It is woman who hold the whole thing together, at which task men are helpless and hopeless.

This is the high calling of womanhood. A girl with the option of becoming a first-rate woman will not be enticed by the prospect of becoming a third-rate man. We have sought out many devices, and now have the technologies available that can make women as barren as any man in the realm. But what kind of sense does that make?

Daughters who are brought up properly, in a scriptural way, will have an instinctive knowledge of the kind of authority they have, an authority which they would not trade for the world.

Your Friends and Neighbors: Paula the Restorationist Home Inspector (Ep. 3)

I really like the videos in this channel: Your Friends and Neighbors: Paula the Restorationist Home Inspector (Ep. 3) - YouTube:
Meet Paula. She's pretty sure that this house didn't exist for most of the time it's existed, mostly because a bunch of Catholics were living in it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

T4G Panel Discussions

I wonder if these discussions are going to model how ER2 should have gone down. They have some good topics: T4G Panel Discussions – Justin Taylor:
The T4G panels this year will be a bit different. Rather than reflecting on the previous plenary address, they’ll instead talk about some important topics currently being discussed in evangelicalism (along with some special guests—like Carl Trueman on celebrity pastors, Simon Gathercole on inerrancy, etc.)

Books of the Bible

This maybe a bit nerdy but I think it's really cool: BooksoftheBible-2560x1600.jpg (2560×1600):

11 Things I’m Thinking in the Wake of Recent Events

Some good points by Thabiti. I really liked his 3rd point: 11 Things I’m Thinking in the Wake of Recent Events – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile:
Honestly, I was surprised that so many could make such quick and bold pronouncements of Jakes’ orthodoxy after a short conversation before cameras. Jakes used the same spiel he’s always used. The entire discussion revealed not only Jakes’ poverty but the poverty of a lot of evangelical and Reformed Christianity. In the final analysis, we were given not only a view of Jakes’ modalism but also of our own slippery and sometimes lazy grasp of the Trinity and other doctrinal issues of importance. Let’s admit there’s truth beyond our knowledge here. But let’s also admit that too many of us have not really sought to grasp what may be known. Consequently, a lot of observers weren’t theologically prepared to discern truth from error, heat from light, wheat from chaff. For me, that was painfully clear in the celebratory declamations following the event. It saddened me and left me with a resolve to teach more systematic theology to my own church.


Interesting discussion in the comments. Is Keller's tone right while others are a bit confrontational? Jesus Creed » Why?:
Why do statements and claims made by John Piper, Mark Driscoll and Albert Mohler set off such a barrage of emotions and visceral responses and bold counter-statements, but when Tim Keller, who basically believes the same things, teaches or writes similar things there is a completely different response?

‘If God is male…’

Did John Piper make statements to redefine the nature of God (theology proper)? If God is male…’ « Shored Fragments:
Similarly, the 'God-as-masculine' thesis I am discussing here is strikingly revisionist and radical on the central topic of Christian theology, the doctrine of God. The fact that it seeks to claim that it tends to some ethical positions which might be regarded as in line with the tradition is not the point: the doctrine of God is central; gender questions are very second order by comparison. Changing the former whilst claiming continuity on the latter is necessarily a thorough departure from the tradition.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Now Available: Messages from the Conference for Pastors

I always listen to DG conferences: Now Available: Messages from the Conference for Pastors - Desiring God:
Audio and video from the 2012 Conference for Pastors is now available for free streaming and download.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The 'Wars of Religion' and other fairy tales

Interesting idea. It is always a bad thing to mix religion and politics, but that doesn't mean ideas from either should be censored: The 'Wars of Religion' and other fairy tales – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
We have bought into the idea that we cannot disagree about fundamental matters without violence. I see no reason, historical or otherwise, why this should be so. In a democratic and pluralistic society, people should be free to give any reasons for their positions that they see as significant, even if such reasons are theological.

Society would be much freer if secularists dropped the idea that their reasons alone are "worldly" and therefore fit for public consumption. It would be much more refreshing if atheists like Blackford just abandoned the pretence of neutrality and said that they find many Christian ideas batty. Then we could perhaps have an interesting conversation about the ends of human life and best political ways to attain them.

Herding the Elephants

Another good summary with links to events around ER2: Herding the Elephants | The Cripplegate:
With all the digital ink that’s been spilled surrounding The Elephant Room 2, it’s been difficult (and a bit wearisome!) trying to keep up with everything. I thought that I would give it my best shot to corral some of the most helpful, and some of the most telling, commentary on the whole situation into a single spot.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Rogue Elephant Room

Some thoughtful comments by Doug Wilson on ER2: The Rogue Elephant Room:
"And last, T.D. Jakes may be an open modalist, a coy modalist, a modalist-in-transition, or an ex-modalist. Right? If he is on the right path, then he needs a Barnabas to walk him through the thicket of suspicions. That is what Barnabas did for Saul. But the way this happened in the New Testament had nothing in common with our modern practice of rushing to play the victim."

Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches move towards unity

I wonder if they can agree on who the Holy Spirit proceeds from: Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches move towards unity | Christian News on Christian Today:
The Roman Catholic Church and Oriental Orthodox Churches in the UK have welcomed an “unprecedented” move towards unity this week.

They have launched a new book entitled “Joint Statements” outlining areas of theological agreement between the two denominations.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Seven Thoughts on the Elephant Room and T.D. Jakes

DeYoung also has a good summary of the issues with Jakes and the ER:2 conference: Seven Thoughts on the Elephant Room and T.D. Jakes – Kevin DeYoung:
We need a more careful theology of criticism. There are several observations all Christians should be able to agree on, even if they sometimes pull us in opposite directions. (1) Let’s not assume the worst about people. (2) Let’s not shame those who aren’t immediately credulous when someone with a history of bad thinking says something that could be construed as maybe okay. (3) Let’s be very cautious in assigning motive. (4) Let’s not take everything personally or make everything personal. (5) Let’s not get our kicks from criticizing others and mucking around in controversy. (6) Let’s avoid facile condemnations of all criticism, realizing that the statement itself is a criticism and the Bible is full of heroes who had a lot of bones to pick. (7) Let’s accept that in this fallen world only the Lord can fully sort some things out and we don’t have go twelve rounds in every conflict.

The Elephant Room: What Really Happened, and How Things Could Have Been Different

A pretty good post about the whole Elephant in the Room stuff in regard to T.D Jakes: The Elephant Room: What Really Happened, and How Things Could Have Been Different – Justin Taylor:
But here’s the problem, as I see it: at the end of the day, we just don’t know precisely what he believes. This should chasten both sides. For those who say “he’s still a full-fledged modalist”—I’m not sure. For those who are convinced “he has come out as an orthodox Trinitarian”—I’m not sure. As Trevin Wax points out, the proof will not be in whether Jakes can check a certain number of boxes, but in what he will teach his people.

Questions such as the following would have been more illuminating: Did God the Son preexist before the incarnation? How do you define Modalism? Is it false teaching? Can someone preach the biblical gospel if they affirm Modalism? When it comes to the doctrine of God, what would be some false teachings that you need to protect your flock from?

The Soterian Gospel as Selfish

What I mean is that the entire message of the Bible was reshaped to be a message about how God loves me and that God has done all his great deeds just for me. And the gospel became what God has done to save me. The ultimate in this regard is when someone says “Had you been the only sinner in the world, God would have sent his Son just for you!”

The sign of this approach is that we are always itching to hear this: What’s in it for me? But how does this passage help me? What is the application to me from this passage? Again, we cannot call into question the importance of our core belief that God is love or that God loves us, but instead the conversion of all things in the Bible’s message to what benefits us.
Jesus Creed » The Soterian Gospel as Selfish