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

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.

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."

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

Quote of the Day: Hebrews 6:11

"Now, by these words the Apostle shows that there are two parts in Christianity which correspond with the two tables of the Law. Therefore, he who separates the one from the other, has nothing but what is mutilated and mangled. And hence it appears what sort of teachers they are who make no mention of faith, and enjoin only the duty of honesty and uprightness towards men; nay, it is a profane philosophy, that dwells only on the outward mask of righteousness, if indeed it deserves to be called philosophy; for it so unreasonably performs its own duties, that it robs God, to whom the preeminence belongs, of his own rights. Let us then remember, that the life of a Christian is not complete in all its parts, unless we attend to faith as well as to love."

—Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews 6:11

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Federal Vision

I found this article written a few years back by RC jr. on the subject of the Federal Vision.  Let me know your thoughts on it.

Not long ago two Southern Baptist scholars met to debate the sovereignty of God in election. Al Mohler fought on the side of the angels, and won. Paige Patterson fought on the side of, well, the Remonstrants, and lost. Along the way Patterson sought to score some points by pointing out the deadly trajectory of Calvinism, by quoting from my book Almighty Over All on God’s sovereignty and the fall. Trouble is, he thought he was quoting my father. While I am most certainly a Calvinist, I am not the Calvinist. Pinning something on me isn’t pinning something on the entire school of thought.

Because we share a name, someone confused my father and I. Because Doug Wilson and I share a friendship, and an ecclesiastical affiliation, and perhaps a conviction or two, some have confused the two of us. Some have assumed because Doug and I are friends, a reality I trust will continue after the publication of this brief essay, that I believe in what has come to be known as federal vision theology. I do not now believe in it, nor have I ever. I do believe in paedocommunion, as did most of the church for the first millennium. I do believe, recognizing that we cannot read hearts, that we ought to treat our covenant children as believers unless or until they show otherwise, as has the great bulk of the Dutch Reformed tradition. I do not believe that this, nor being in the CREC (which welcomes Baptists into its midst), nor publishing men in Tabletalk who later came to be identified with federal vision, makes me federal vision.

I do not pretend to know exactly what defines federal vision. I certainly don’t know all the different convictions of all the different men associated with this movement, who sit at different places along the spectrum. I do not pretend to know everything the Westminster Standards have to say on the issues, far less all that Calvin had to say. I do know this. I believe that all those who have been given new hearts by the Holy Spirit, who trust in the finished work of Christ alone, will always so trust, and enter into eternal life. I believe that all such people will bear fruit in their lives, though that fruit is in no way the ground of their justification. I believe God justifies the ungodly, though the ungodly who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and respond in living faith. I believe that those who believe that some come to real trusting faith and then fall away into apostasy, even if they affirm that God ordained all this and brought it all to pass, have denied perseverance of the saints. I believe non-elect covenant members, whatever grace they receive along the way, are not given new hearts that trust in the finished work of Christ alone, and are never actually at peace with God. I believe I can’t say for sure what the men involved in this controversy actually believe about all this.

I believe that no one who has not been given a new heart, who has not trusted the finished work of Christ alone, will enter into eternal life. That’s almost universally true. It allows for no exceptions for unborn children, little babies who die or the feeble-minded. The only exception is Jesus. I believe this makes me more committed to the scope and purity of justification by faith alone than many federal vision critics. I am to their right on this issue. I believe that the death of Christ is why my sins are forgiven, and the life of Christ is why I receive a gracious reward, as our Father has promised. Or, to put it more theologically, I believe in double imputation and in the active obedience of Christ. And always have.

I take a southern Presbyterian view on Romish baptism, believing Rome to be apostate since the adoption of the sixth session of the Council of Trent. Just as I do not require others to submit to my views on paedocommunion (that is, no one at Saint Peter, where I serve, is required to practice it) so I do not require others to submit on this issue. My view on Rome is by no means the majority report. But once again, it is to the right of many federal vision critics. I am troubled by the relative sanguinity of federal vision toward Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy. But I’m a cranky TR.

I have, since this controversy first came to the public eye, sought to be, as much as is possible, at peace with all men. I have had many conversations with men on both sides of the fence. I spoke against federal vision at Auburn Avenue II in 2003. I have also written, I pray graciously, about some of my concerns about this movement from time to time. You can find those brief essays at our website: (Oct 30, Dec 30 2003, Jan 5, March 8, June 28, 2004). I have also, from the beginning, been decrying the rhetoric surrounding this controversy. This is the first great theological controversy to be played out in the age of the internet. The internet has been about as useful in encouraging thoughtful theological discourse, or even appropriate ecclesiastical judgments, as it has been in encouraging sexual fidelity. I have seen shameful rhetoric from both sides, and precious little effort by the more reasonable on both sides to silence the bomb-throwers.

I take the old perspective on Paul. I have not read N.T. Wright, nor Norman Shepherd. I believe that the animus behind all this animosity is not the defense of theological purity, nor a recovery of biblical language. I believe that behind it all is pride. I believe that the devil has his hooks in both sides, and that both sides could do much more for the kingdom of God if they would spend their time and energy heeding the wisdom of Luther who said, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt 4:17), He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”


Calvin: Hebrews 6:4

"But here arises a new question, how can it be that he who has once made such a progress should afterwards fall away? For God, it may be said, calls none effectually but the elect, and Paul testifies that they are really his sons who are led by his Spirit, (Romans 8:14) and he teaches us, that it is a sure pledge of adoption when Christ makes us partakers of his Spirit. The elect are also beyond the danger of finally falling away; for the Father who gave them to be preserved by Christ his Son is greater than all, and Christ promises to watch over them all so that none may perish. To all this I answer, That God indeed favors none but the elect alone with the Spirit of regeneration, and that by this they are distinguished from the reprobate; for they are renewed after his image and receive the earnest of the Spirit in hope of the future inheritance, and by the same Spirit the Gospel is sealed in their hearts. But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some taste of his grace, why he should not irradiate their minds with some sparks of his light, why he should not give them some perception of his goodness, and in some sort engrave his word on their hearts. Otherwise, where would be the temporal faith mentioned by Mark 4:17? There is therefore some knowledge even in the reprobate, which afterwards vanishes away, either because it did not strike roots sufficiently deep, or because it withers, being choked up."

—John Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews 6:4

Thursday, June 6, 2013

We Remember

D-Day June 6 1944

June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Normandy. The D-Day cost was high -more than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded -- but more than 100,000 Soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Stephen King's Belief in God

The apostle Paul admits that God's invisible attributes can be seen in creation.  We call this natural revelation (which is different from special revelation where God reveals His truths through the Holy Spirit) and is held by the natural man universally.  It simply means that all men see God's work in creation.  Why are not all men Christians then?  Paul explains that the suppress the truth about Him.

A perfect example of this is found in an interview with Stephen King where he states the following:

 “I choose to believe it. … I mean, there’s no downside to that. If you say, ‘Well, OK, I don’t believe in God. There’s no evidence of God,’ then you’re missing the stars in the sky and you’re missing the sunrises and sunsets and you’re missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together. Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design. But, at the same time, there’s a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, ‘Well, if this is God’s plan, it’s very peculiar,’ and you have to wonder about that guy’s personality — the big guy’s personality. And the thing is — I may have told you last time that I believe in God — what I’m saying now is I choose to believe in God, but I have serious doubts and I refuse to be pinned down to something that I said 10 or 12 years ago. I’m totally inconsistent.”
Keep in mind that all men believe in God but not all men recognize Him as God.  What do you think?  Interview link here.

Monday, May 27, 2013

In Memory Of Those Who Gave The Ultimate Sacrifice.

In memory of:
Cpt. Tyndall
Sgt. Dew
Spc. Blodgett
Spc. Magill
Pvt. Allison
Operation "Just Cause" Republic of Panama 1988-89
3rd Battalion 17th Infantry 7th Infantry Division