Saturday, August 24, 2013

Quote of the Day

"I also adduced another passage in which Isaiah exclaims: “‘Hear My words, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people: nations which know not Thee shall call on Thee; peoples who know not Thee shall escape to Thee, because of thy God, the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified Thee.’ This same law you have despised, and His new holy covenant you have slighted; and now you neither receive it, nor repent of your evil deeds. ‘For your ears are closed, your eyes are blinded, and the heart is hardened,’ Jeremiah has cried; yet not even then do you listen. The Lawgiver is present, yet you do not see Him; to the poor the Gospel is preached, the blind see, yet you do not understand. You have now need of a second circumcision, though you glory greatly in the flesh. The new law requires you to keep perpetual sabbath, and you, because you are idle for one day, suppose you are pious, not discerning why this has been commanded you: and if you eat unleavened bread, you say the will of God has been fulfilled. The Lord our God does not take pleasure in such observances: if there is any perjured person or a thief among you, let him cease to be so; if any adulterer, let him repent; then he has kept the sweet and true sabbaths of God. If any one has impure hands, let him wash and be pure."

—Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho the Jew, ch. 12.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Quote of the Day

"SALVATION through Jesus Christ, is according to "the determinate counsel, and foreknowledge of God’1 He was pleased to make known to the fathers, his purposes in this behalf, in the form of covenants, which were of different characters, and revealed at various times. These covenants enter into the very nature, and pervade with their peculiar qualities, the whole system of divine grace. A perfect knowledge of the Gospel therefore, involves necessarily, a correct comprehension of the covenants. But by whom among us, are these covenants clearly understood? To most men, you need only to speak on this subject, and you at once perceive that "Even unto this day, the vail is upon their heart."2 They fail to perceive what the covenants are in themselves, in their relations to each other, and consequently in their bearings upon the designs of God in the Redeemer! This darkness is lamentable in all its aspects, since falling short of the knowledge of these, — "the rudiments of the doctrine of Christ," — obscurity must necessarily rest upon the whole Gospel system. How can he who does not perceive "the first principles" of any specified science, ever become a master of that science?" -RBC Howell

For a complete read of RBC Howell's teaching on Covenant Theology click here.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Vision of James P. Boyce and the Abstract of Principles by Trey Moss

The Vision of James P. Boyce and the Abstract of Principles

Trey Moss
August 13, 2013

Every professor at Southern Seminary, as indicated by its original charter, is required to teach in alignment with the Abstract of Principles, the doctrinal statement of our institution. The existence of this document comes from the foresight and conviction of founding president, James Petigru Boyce.

Boyce believed that the Baptist seminary he desired to establish must be two things: conformed to scriptural truth and faithful to serve its denomination.[1] The way he planned to ensure the seminary’s conformation to scriptural truth was to ground the institution in a confessional document.

At the time of the debate among 19th century Southern Baptists for a central denominational seminary, neither the state conventions nor the convention itself held binding doctrinal statements.[2] Many in the Southern Baptist Convention in Greenville, S.C., believed that the charge of accepting and enforcing of confessional statements should be a duty entrusted solely to one’s local church. Boyce disagreed.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Six Types of Atheists

Sociologist George Yancy discusses new research that categorizes atheists in to six categories:

1. The Intellectual Atheist/Agnostic: Sees his/herself as intellectually too advanced for religion and seeks to engage with other likeminded individuals through writings, YouTube videos and talks.
2. The Activist: Proactively works for issues connected to naturalist or humanist causes.
3. The Seeker-Agnostic: Considers the metaphysical a possibility but is comfortable with uncertainty as it concerns the interaction of science and the metaphysical.
4. The Anti-Theist: Believes religion to be evil, thus actively works against religion and religious influences.
5. The Non-Theist: Does not have much interest in religious concepts.
6. The Ritual Atheist/Agnostic: Does not have otherworldly beliefs but regularly attends a religious ceremony, finding that this meets some social or psychological need.

The research data can be found here.  This is good data to help us understand what drives this way of thinking, breaking up the one size fits all misconception.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quote of the Day

"The writers of the Bible held that truth is to be intellectually considered in the broad daylight of history, or it is nothing. To Paul the resurrection of Christ was physical, testable in history and coherently stable, or the Christian faith was to be declared vain, not true. We must hold this firmly, or we feed the rushing river of the [exclusively] functional and relative concept of religion. We should worship the living God because the Bible has stable answers to man's bone-crushing, ruthless, intellectual questions." ~ Francis Schaeffer, Article: The Modern Drift: Is Nobody Home in this World? Christianity Today, 1960 (Clarification added to indicate words in article context.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Wrath of God Was Satisfied: Substitutionary Atonement and the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention

I came across this article by Al Mohler this evening and found it very interesting. I think the atonement is one of those teaching that often gets taken for granted but was the center of much controversy not only in Southern Baptist circles but in the main line denominations influenced by modern theology many of whom surrendered their belief in the atonement in exchange for a moral theory. I think this serves as a sober reminder even in our own day that while we do desire to build bridges we must always keep in mind there are places that we don't want to go to. As always, tell me what you think.

Current controversy over the nature of Christ’s atonement for sin points to a truth many younger evangelicals may not know, i.e., the substitutionary nature of Christ’s death on the cross was a major issue in the Conservative Resurgence that took place within the Southern Baptist Convention in the last quarter of the twentieth century.

The issue of biblical inerrancy stood at the forefront of Southern Baptist debates during those years of conflict and controversy, but other issues drew major concern. Moderates and conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention were divided over controversial issues, including abortion rights, the exclusivity of the Gospel, and the nature of the atonement. As might be expected, most of these debates followed the same or very similar lines of division. As in the Reformation of the sixteenth century, to be divided over the formal principle of the authority of the Bible was, inevitably, to be divided over the material principles of doctrine as well.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gerald Bray on NT Wright's Justification

Here is something to look at.  Gerald Bray wrote an editorial on NT Wright's book on justification.  I think it was pretty well written.  Tell me your thoughts on it:

The Wrighteousness Of God

Friday, August 2, 2013

Can Crazy Be Logical?

Here is a fun way of evaluating logical relations between propositions.
We were driving in the car the other day and my son Collin asks the following "I'm crazy aren't I dad?"  Wanting to be a game player I went along with it "Yes Collin you are crazy."  Collin then gloats and said to his older brother "See Harrison I told you I was crazy" (I don't know when he began to view crazy as a virtue).  To which Harrison replied "Thats only because you asked dad, he will go along with anything you ask him."  Without skipping a beat Collin immediately says "Dad give me a hundred dollars."

In the square of opposition you have four propositions:
A = Universal Affirmative
E = Universal Negative
I = Particular Affirmative
O = Particular Negative

Chalk one up for the little guy!  He realized in order to win the debate he didn't necessarily have to refute his big brothers argument (that Dad will go along with anything he asks).  Collin knew that he just needed to come up with one example where dad wouldn't go along with anything by taking the argument from an A proposition to an O.  And that is how the square of opposition is used.  A better question is what does it mean when crazy is logical?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Moore On The Wrath Of God

Talk about the wrath of God has fallen on hard times to the point where professing conservative evangelicals blush at the notion.  Part of this is because of a misappropriation of God's wrath depicting God as being angry much like the way you and I would be angry.  This in other words is an exercise in self projecting our fallibility on God.  Either way I recently posted about the PCUSA rejecting the popular song In Christ Alone because the song claims that God's wrath was satisfied on the cross of Christ.  Just prior to that post I posted about Russell Moore the new head of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the SBC.  Moore has recently published an article in the Washing Post that can be read here.  Give me your thoughts below.

Monday, July 29, 2013

PCUSA Rejecting God's Wrath "In Christ Alone"

The Presbyterian Church USA (not to be confused with other Presbyterian bodies) has voted to remove the popular hymn "In Christ Alone" by Keith Getty from its new hymnal.  Their problem was with song proclaiming with Christ's death God's wrath was satisfied.  I found this article by Timothy George in First Things where he offers some explanation below.
No Squishy Love
July 29, 2013
Timothy George
Wrath of God

In his 1934 book, The Kingdom of God in America, H. Richard Niebuhr depicted the creed of liberal Protestant theology, which was called “modernism” in those days, in these famous words: "A God without wrath brought man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross." Niebuhr was no fundamentalist, but he knew what he was talking about. So did Dietrich Bonhoeffer when he named the kind of mainline religion he encountered in 1930s America: Protestantismus ohne Reformation, “Protestantism without the Reformation.”

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Quote of the Day

We divide this Word into two principal parts or kinds: the one is called the ‘Law,’ the other the ‘Gospel.’ For all the rest can be gathered under the one or other of these two headings…Ignorance of this distinction between Law and Gospel is one of the principal sources of the abuses which corrupted and still corrupt Christianity

—Theodore Beza, The Christian Faith, 1558.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Quote of the Day

"The basic principle in application is to know whether the passage is a statement of the law or of the gospel. For when the Word is preached, the law and the gospel operate differently. The law exposes the disease of sin, and as a side-effect, stimulates and stirs it up. But it provides no remedy for it. However the gospel not only teaches us what is to be done, it also has the power of the Holy Spirit joined to it…. A statement of the law indicates the need for a perfect inherent righteousness, of eternal life given through the works of the law, of the sins which are contrary to the law and of the curse that is due them…. By contrast, a statement of the gospel speaks of Christ and his benefits, and of faith being fruitful in good works."

—William Perkins, The Art of Prophesying (1592; repr. Banner of Truth Trust, 1996), 54–55.

Russell Moore New Head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Russell Moore (recent appointee to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC) was recently interviewed by Michelle Boorstein from the Washington Post.  I thought his comments were insightful and definitely not the usual conservative talking points.  Here is a sample of that interview:
Many Americans are turning away from institutional religion. Why?
When it comes to [people who say they have “no religion”], in some ways that is the collapse of Bible Belt America, of this sense of Christianity as being something that is part of a normal American life. [In some areas of the country], it meant someone was a good citizen by being part of a church. That is collapsing, and as an evangelical Christian, I say good riddance to that.
I don’t think that sort of American dream plus Jesus represented biblical Christianity at all and in many ways hindered it and the advance of the Gospel, which is dependent upon . . . the freakishness of Christianity. We’re saying some things that are extraordinary — that a dead man has come back to life! That reconciliation with God is possible through forgiveness of sins. Those things aren’t just the application of moral American life. The “Veggie Tales” phenomenon in evangelicalism, the taking Bible characters and making cartoons out of them and teaching moral lessons from those things really represented a lot of what was happening in Bible Belt Christianity that I think was bloodless and Gospel-free in many ways. That’s changing, so you don’t have nominal young Christian church members who are going to church because they think this is what’s good for their families or their businesses or to find a spouse or to make partner at the law firm. Those days are over.
Where is the abortion debate going? Public-opinion polls show Americans want abortion available in the early stages. And yet these measures are passing in the states to limit it in the later stages.
One thing I try and do with our constituency on this issue is to warn against extreme triumphalism [or] pessimism. Because some of our people see those polls that young people are increasingly pro-life and see it as “We’re winning.” I’m not sure that’s the case. But the fact that this is a real debate in American culture is in one sense a success of pro-life movement.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Quote Of The Day

"A man is very far gone in guilt when he reads grace the wrong way upwards, and infers, from the long suffering of the Lord, that he may continue in sin."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Al Mohler Round Table On NT Wright & Justification

Al Mohler Round Table On NT Wright & Justification click here

Peter Lombard And The New Perspective On Paul

If you are not yet familiar with "The New Perspective On Paul" here is a good round table discussion moderated by Al Mohler that will help.

"That the observances of the old law are better called signs than sacraments. For those things which were instituted only for the sake of signifying are merely signs, and not sacraments; such were the carnal sacrifices and the ceremonial observances of the Old Law, which could never justify those who offered them. As the Apostle says, “the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctified such as are defiled, for the cleansing of the flesh,” [Heb 9:13] ‘not of the soul’ [Glossa Ordinaria] because the defilement arose from contact with the dead.—Augustine. Hence Augustine: ‘By that defilement which the Law cleanses, I understand noting other than contact with a dead person; anyone who touched such a person was unclean for seven days; but according to the Law he was purified on the third and seventh day, and was cleansed,’ so that he might enter the Temple. At times, those legal observances also cleansed ‘from bodily leprosy’; but as the Apostle says, no one was ever justified by the words of the Law, even if they were done in faith and charity. Why? —Ambrose, On the Letter to the Hebrews: ‘Because God imposed them for servitude, not for justification, and that they should be a figure of the future, willing them to be offered to himself rather than to idols.’ —And so they were sings; and Scriptures, because they were signs of a sacred thing, which they certainly did not confer.

4. Which things are called works of the Law. The Apostle calls those things the works of the Law which were instituted only for the sake of signifying, or as a burden."

—Peter Lombard, Sentences, Book 4, dist. 1, ch. 4, §§ 3-4.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Christology: The Person & Work of Christ

I haven't had the chance to listen to this but very interested in what these guys have to say.  Feel free to comment.  I will watch later.

Christology: The Person & Work of Christ from Ligonier Ministries on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Truth, Trust, and Testimony In A Time Of Tension

A Statement from the Calvinism Advisory Committee

 Southern Baptists are Great Commission people. We are also a doctrinal people, and those doctrinal convictions undergird our Great Commission vision and passion. We are a confessional people, who stand together upon the doctrines most vital to us all, confessed together in The Baptist Faith and Message.

Within this common confession, we sometimes disagree over certain theological issues that should not threaten our Great Commission cooperation. We recognize that significant theological disagreement on such issues has occurred with respect to Calvinism. It is, therefore, our responsibility to come together with open hearts and minds in order to speak truthfully, honestly, and respectfully about these theological and doctrinal issues that concern us, threaten to divide us, and compel us into conversation. Such engagement is appropriate at every level of Southern Baptist life including local congregations, associations, state conventions, and the Southern Baptist Convention.

This spirit of conversation has been the hallmark of the meetings of the Calvinism Advisory Committee. We have spent hours together in fruitful, respectful, and candid conversation. We entered these conversations as brothers and sisters in Christ and as faithful and thankful Southern Baptists. Our purpose was neither to resolve centuries of doctrinal disagreement nor to consume ourselves with doctrinal debate. Our purpose was to suggest a course for moving forward together while taking seriously and representing fairly the theological diversity that exists in and has been the strength of Southern Baptist life.

Four central issues have become clear to us as we have met together. We affirm together that Southern Baptists must stand without apology upon truth; that we do indeed have some challenging but not insurmountable points of tension; that we must work together with trust; and that we must encourage one another to testimony.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Catholic Campaign: "the New Evangelization"

Don't be surprised when you see Roman Catholics stepping up their game when it comes to evangelism.  It appears that Rome has recognized their need for new evangelistic efforts hence the name "the New Evangelization."  In a recent radio address Pope Francis said:

the Church “does not grow by means of proselytizing," but “by attraction, by witnessing, by preaching,” and Paul had this attitude: proclamation does not make proselytization – and he succeeds, because, “he did not doubt his Lord.” The Pope warned that, “Christians who are afraid to build bridges and prefer to build walls are Christians who are not sure of their faith, not sure of Jesus Christ.” The Pope exhorted Christians to do as Paul did and begin to “build bridges and to move forward”:

I believe when the Pope uses the term "proselytizing" he has something like hard decisionalism or the "hard close" sales tactic in mind.  Some of the new efforts involve evangelistic training, using Church invitational door hangers, going door to door to share personal testimony of what Christ has done, and a mandate that involves all Church members.

For me this opens the question "what have you done to share Christ?".  While I can safely say that I have used the opportunities that were before me to share, I don't think I ever went out intentionally to share Christ with someone.  Perhaps I could best describe it as a passive approach and there are reasons for this that I wont get into here.  The bottom line is if we are sure about our faith why wouldn't we share it with humility and respect?  Sharing our faith does not mean entering philosophical debates over the existence of God.  Nor does it mean that we resort to hard close sales tactics.  It simply means sharing the Gospel as Paul says:

"I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. 2You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you — unless you believed for no purpose. 3For I passed on to you as most important what I also received:that Christ died for our sinsaccording to the Scriptures," 1 Corinthians 15 HCS

That is a great passage, I recommend reading the entire chapter and when your done go out and share Jesus with someone.