Tuesday, January 29, 2008
1. There was a time that I wanted to be an interior designer. You can't tell it by looking at our place these days, but I do like design. And on many nights, a good date with me and the wife is a long night watching HGTV. Which reminds me... DO BETTER WITH DATE NIGHTS!
2. Related to the above (maybe this is cheating), there was I time I also wanted to be a fashion designer. I'm no clothes horse, but I like nicely cut suits and a well-built shoe. I'm not a real fan of "What Not To Wear," however. Most of what they recommend is either too trendy or too immodest.
3. If I were not a pastor, my career of choice would be high school basketball coach. I was an assistant for 3-4 years and I loved it. There was nothing quite like the opportunity to mold those young fellas into better men and basketball players.
4. I'm actually quite shy. Really!
5. I like to read (okay, binge on) Dee Henderson romance novels about once every couple of years. I really enjoyed the O'Malley series. I thought the concept was great... seven orphans who band together to make their own family, all of whom have fabulously exciting careers, each novel focusing on one of the family member's conversion, including some major apologetic theme running alongside the action of the story. Good stuff. No Fabio nonsense.
6. Related to the above, I once accidentally took my wife's multi-vitamins for about a 2-week period. During that time, I had an uncontrollable urge to rent "chic flicks" and cried at everything. I was an absolute mess! Then, one day, straining to see through teary eyes, I looked down at the vitamin bottle I was trying to open only to realize that they were her vitamins.
7. I like country music. Now, that will get a brotha's ghetto pass revoked. But, hey, what can I say? It's good story telling. I also love the blues for the same reason.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
"Then we are apt to forget a great principle of God's Word: "One soweth and another reapeth" (John 4:37). In the rescue of a drowning man, one person might give the alarm, a second might bring a rope, a third might throw it to him, and a fourth might draw him to shore. It could be said truly of all these four that they were instruments in saving the man from death. So it is in the salvation of souls, as proved by the history of individuals. God works all in all, but he often uses several different instruments for the ingathering of his elect, "that no flesh should glory in his presence" (1 Cor. 1:29). How often would our poor hearts try to get credit for being the only instrument in the salvation of a sinner! Now, we can be of much use, and I believe often are of much use, where we see no necessary connection between our own work and the salvation of men. It is, in one sense, a humbling view. It excludes all boasting in ourselves. It is well for many that the good they do is hidden from them till they are able to bear it. And yet it is very encouraging too, for though we may not be able to do any great thing, we can yet do many little things. Let us rejoice to be even the smallest and humblest link in that chain of love and grace by which Jesus is drawing sinners to himself. How well for us and the souls we care for that, from first to last, "salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9)!"
From David Dickson (eds. George Kennedy McFarland and Philip Graham Ryken), The Elder and His Work, P&R, p. 126-127.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
At bottom mutual belonging in a family (or, local church membership if you will) rests on three things:
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
"There is a second way in which you acknowledge that God is sovereign in salvation. You pray for the conversion of others. In what terms, now, do you intercede for them? Do you limit yourself to asking that God will bring them to a point where they can save themselves, independently of Him? I do not think you do. I think that what you do is to pray in categorical terms that God will, quite simply and decisively, save them: that He will open the eyes of their understanding, soften their hard hearts, renew their natures, and move their wills to receive the Saviour. You ask God to work in them everything necessary for their salvation. You would not dream of making it a point in your prayer that you are not asking God actually to bring them to faith, because you recognize that that is something He cannot do. Nothing of the sort! When you pray for unconverted people, you do so on the assumption that it is in God's power to bring them to faith. You entreat Him to do that very thing, and your confidence in asking rests upon the certainty that He is able to do what you ask. And so indeed He is: this conviction, which animates your intercessions, is God's own truth, written on your heart by the Holy Spirit. In prayer, then (and the Christian is at his sanest and wisest when he prays), you know that it is God who saves men; you know that what makes men turn to God is God's own gracious work of drawing them to Himself; and the content of your prayers is determined by this knowledge. Thus, by your practice or intercession, no less than by giving thanks for your conversion, you acknowledge and confess the sovereignty of God's grace. And so do all Christian people everywhere.
"There is a long-standing controversy in the Church as to whether God is really Lord in relation to human conduct and saving faith or not. What has been said shows us how we should regard this controversy. The situation is not what it seems to be. For it is not true that some Christians believe in divine sovereignty while others hold an opposite view. What is true is that all Christians believe in divine sovereignty, but some are not aware that they do, and mistakenly imagine and insist that they reject it. What causes this odd state of affairs? the root cause is the same as in most cases of error in the Church--the intruding of rationalistic speculations, the passion for systematic consistency, a reluctance to recognize the existence of mystery and to let God be wiser than men, and a consequent subjecting of Scripture to the supposed demands of human logic. People see that the Bible teaches man's responsibility for his actions; they do not see (man, indeed, cannot see) how this is consistent with the sovereign Lordship of God over those actions. They are not content to let the two truths live side by side, as they do in the Scriptures, but jump to the conclusion that, in order to uphold the biblical truth of human responsibility, they are bound to reject the equally biblical and equally true doctrine of divine sovereignty, and to explain away the great number of texts that teach it. The desire to over-simplify the Bible by cutting out the mysteries is natural to our perverse minds, and it is not surprising that even good men should fall victim to it. Hence this persistent and troublesome dispute. The irony of the situation, however, is that when we ask how the two sides pray, it becomes apparent that those who profess to deny God's sovereignty really believe in it just as strongly as those who affirm it.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thomas Boston, The Art of Manfishing: A Puritan's View of Evangelism (Christian Focus)
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I read with great interest and delight "Enlightened Racism: Not from the Bible," CT's review of Colin Kidd's book, The Forging of Races:Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600-2000.
The central premise of the book is captured in these paragraphs from the review:
Colin Kidd's well-researched, wide-ranging, and insightful book, The Forging of the Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600-2000, demolishes such assumptions when it comes to the issue of race. Kidd's persuasive and learned monograph is no gloating work of Christian apologetics. If anything, he seems slightly embarrassed by how well orthodox Christianity comes out in his narrative, trying to tone it down with mitigating statements calculated to make the accounts look more balanced than they actually are. What are in fact the obvious conclusions from his evidence repeatedly appear coyly as questions. Kidd also has a habit of using refracted or muted language.
Nevertheless, there is no effective way to offset the decisive direction in which his evidence takes us. Even the Old Testament—that vast, stagnant pond in which all manner of offensive viewpoints are supposed to lurk—offers no support to racists. Kidd admits this candidly: "the Bible is itself colour-blind with regard to racial difference." Racists have often quoted Scripture when expounding their views, but Kidd observes that they imported these racial readings into the text rather than finding them there. The New Testament teaches unequivocally that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men" (Acts 17:26 KJV). In traditional scientific terms, this is a denial of polygenism and an assertion of the monogenesis of the human race (thus all homo sapiens should consider each other as part of their extended family). Monogenesis is by no means a self-evident hypothesis. Traditional cultures uninfluenced by the biblical narrative—in China and Japan, for example—assumed polygenesis. As Kidd puts it, "Scripture has the benign capacity to render racial Otherness as a type of cousinage or remote kinship."
Moreover, far from this being the incidental implication of a few verses, orthodox Christians have consistently recognized the solidarity of the human race as a core theme of both the biblical narrative and formal Christian theology: the image of God in humanity, the Fall, and original sin are predicated on the understanding that all human beings are bound together in a single, common origin, lineage, and family. The Christian tradition has consistently discerned that this doctrinal teaching has substantial implications when it comes to the issue of race. To take a typical example, the 18th-century conservative biblical scholar Nathaniel Lardner averred: "all men ought to love one another as brethren. For they are all descended from the same parents, and cannot but have like powers, and weaknesses, and wants … . For notwithstanding some differences of outward condition, we have all the same nature, and are brethren."
I'm very much looking forward to getting a copy of this book and slowly considering its pages. We need more scholarship of the sort that takes seriously the biblical teaching on identity and applies it to our current thinking and behavior. Thansk JT for passing on the article.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Monday, January 07, 2008
Our brother holdin' down West side... in the city of Compton... Ken Jones... has put his sermons on line. You can hear them here. (HT: Carter)
2008 with the Puritans
Timmy Brister has an outstanding idea and a special offer from Reformation Heritage. We should all join him. (HT: JT)
Pastoral Priorities for 2008
Nathan Finn gives us a look at Andrew Fuller's pastoral priorities.
The Lord has burdened me afresh to "do the work of an evangelist." So, I'm thankful for every post that's useful on the subject, like this one: Practical Steps for Personal Evangelism.
Gethsemane and Our Sin (HT: Irish Calvinist)
Friday, January 04, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
This book is not about Calvinism and Arminianism. Our concern in the following pages is to deal with the error that lies on the side of Calvinism furthest from Arminianism. But one point needs to be made here on the manner in which Arminianism affects the understanding of revival. Special times of blessing which we call revival are times which see an enlargement of the Spirit's normal work. That being so it must follow that, when the church's understanding of the Spirit's normal work is wrong, her understanding of revival will also be wrong. Is it the normal work of the Spirit to convert sinners whenever they decide upon it? Can men be born again by their own resolutions? If the answer is 'Yes', and if that is how we are to understand Scripture, then it follows that we will look upon revivals simply as times when many make that choice. It was because such a deduction was based upon a wrong understanding of conversion in the last century that people began to see no differences between evangelistic campaigns and revivals; they became regarded as synonymous and capable of being organised by the same means. But if we believe the work of conversion is a work beyond all human ability, and that it requires an act of creative power giving life to the dead, then times of revival will be seen as times which can no more be 'promoted' than can the conversion of a single individual. Certainly the church must labor at all times for the salvation of the lost but whether in the case of one or of hundreds, 'the increase' belongs finally with God (1 Cor. 3:6). (Iain H. Murray, Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching, Banner of Truth, 1995, pp. 28-29)