Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 22, 2011 | Mark 15:16-39 - Thanksgiving Service

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I had the high honor of speaking at the community-wide Thanksgiving service at Hardinsburg Baptist Church.  My wife and I agree that it was one of the best services we have attended in recent memory (and not just because I was the speaker).  The music was amazing.  The choice of songs was dead on.  Christ was exalted.  People worshiped.  Unity was clear.  And the gospel drove the service.

Thanks to the Breckenridge County Ministerial Association for inviting me to speak.  I hope the gospel was proclaimed and God was glorified.


Hump Day Humor: Sportscenter Devil

My favorite Sportcenter commercial.  And they have some good one's.

Here's another one:

For more:
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: The Candy is Gone  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: A Bowflex Machine?
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Rick Perry Bad Lip Reading
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  North Comma South Carolina  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Animal Rights Consistency  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Unanswered Questions
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Fun With Dick and Jane  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Leprechaun in Alabama
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: This is Not a Joke - Affirmative Action For the Ugly-Americans
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Office Pranks
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day:  Church Greeters and Hand Sanitizers
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Mark Lowry's Mamma Had Enough
Blogizomai - Humerous Hump Day: Brian Regan Cell Phones 101
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day - Harry Carry and the Moon Made of Rips
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Voltswagen Pinata
Blogizomai - Everybody Needs Toucan Subs: Bad Lip Reading Does It Again
Blogizomai - Taxidermatology: The Most Lifelike Dead Animals Around
Blogizomai - This is News?: The Politics of Personal Distruction Continues
Blogizomai - The Election Commercial Season is Upon Us: Discernment in the Season of Political Ads
Blogizomai - Fuzzy Math & Even Fuzzier Theology: Abbott & Costello Meets Modern Theology
Blogiozmai - They're Only Giving Him Material: Letterman Responds to the Jihadists After Him
Blogizomai - Adam & Eve on Comedy Central: Colbert Takes on Mohler & Traditional Christian Theology
Blogizomai - Everything is Amazing, But Nobody Is Happy: An Important Lesson
Blogizomai - The BCS Applied in Real Life
Blogiozmai - Repost Friday: Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas!
Blogizomai - Judge Free Zone?: Daily Show Illustrates Discriminatory Discrimination

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Its Not Just a Theory: Stott on Penal Substitution

Christian theological Liberalism, beyond mere cultural capitulation, is at its root an attack on and a rejection of penal substitution.  The concept of a just God who's wrath demands satisfaction is appalling to many Christian liberals.  Being more influenced by our bent-wristed culture, many Christian liberals are more than willing to abandon the hard parts of Christian theology and among the most difficult to embrace in such a "tolerant" society is penal substitution.  We have the penal part because it implies that punishment must be given.  Punishment for our sin.  Substitution is decried because it implies that we cannot right our own wrongs and that we need God to redeem us.  Penal substitution implies that we are the enemies, not the friends, of God by nature.

Penal substitution has been under attack since the very beginning and its rejection is evidence of fallen human nature than loyalty to the biblical text.  We hate the concept of Christ suffering for our sins & God punishing Him for our sins.  God punish?  Heaven forbid!  But one of the first steps to capitulate to the culture theologically is to abandon this humbly, and foundational, doctrine of propitiation.  Christ died for our sins.  That truth ought to result in praise, but for liberals, it is reason to cringe.

Consider the following quote from John Stott from his classic The Cross of Christ on the doctrine of penal substitution.  Stott highlights some of the imagery used to describe the work of the atonement:  the shrine, the market, the courts, and the home.  His conclusion is important.  Substitution is not a theory, but is the focal point of the cross and the saving work of the Trinity. To deny substitution is to deny the gospel.

We have examined four of the principal New Testament images of salvation, taken from the shrine, the market, the court of law and the home.  Their pictorial nature makes it impossible to integrate them neatly with one another. temple sacrifices and legal verdicts, the slave in the market and the child in the home all clearly belong to different worlds.  Nevertheless, certain themes emerge from all four images.

First, each highlights a different aspect of our human need. Propitiation underscores the wrath of God upon us, redemption our captivity to sin, justification our guilt, and reconciliation our enmity against God and alienation from him. These metaphors do not flatter us. They expose the magnitude of our need.

Second, all four images emphasize that the saving initiative was taken by God in his love. It is he who has propitiated his own wrath, redeemed us from our miserable bondage, declared us righteous in his sight and reconciled us to himself. . . .

Third, all four images plainly teach that God’s saving work was achieved through the bloodshedding, that is, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. . . . Since Christ's blood is a symbol of his life laid down in violent death, it is also plain in each of the four images that he died in our place as our substitute.  The death of Jesus was the atoning sacrifice because of which God averted his wrath from us, the ransom price by which we have been redeemed, the condemnation of the innocent that the guilty might be justified, and the sinless One being made sin for us.

This leads to the following important concluding paragraph:

So substitution is not a “theory of the atonement.” Nor is it even an additional image to take its place as an option alongside the others. It is rather the essence of each image and the heart of the atonement itself. None of the four images could stand without it. I am not of course saying that it is necessary to understand, let alone articulate, a substitutionary atonement before one can be saved. Yet the responsibility of Christian teachers, preachers and other witnesses is to seek grace to expound it with clarity and conviction. For the better people understand the glory of the divine substitution, the easier it will be for them to trust in the Substitute.

-John Stott, The Cross of Christ, 198-199.

See also, Kevin DeYoung - Stott: Substitution is Not a “Theory of the Atonement”

For more:
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution: A Review of the Evidence
Thesis - Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Social Gospel
Blogizomai - "Salvation Brings Imitation": Piper on Christus Exemplar
Theology - God as Butcher: McLaren on Penal Substitution  
Theology - The Postmodern Social Gospel:  Brian McLaren Proves My Point  
Theology - Allison: A History of the Doctrine of the Atonement  
Theology - Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 1 - Introduction
Theology - Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 2 - Christus Exemplar and the doctrine of sin and depravity
Theology - Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 3 - The History of Christus Exemplar
Theology - Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 4 - Christus Exemplar and Humility
Thesis - Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Social Gospel
Theology - Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution:  A Look at the Evidence
Reviews - "Death by Love" by Mark Driscoll 

Advent: God With Us

Wow!  Simply Wow.  Here is the gospel with emphasis on the prophecy, birth, death, resurrection, and return of Christ.  Thanks to the Village Church and Isaac Wimberley for writing this and producing this video.

If the video doesn't work, you can view it here.

Advent: God With Us from The Village Church on Vimeo.

HT: Justin Taylor

Monday, November 28, 2011

2012 Presidential Debate 11: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case

Last week, the GOP Presidential field gathered together for yet another debate.  I have not seen it as I was consumed with the Thanksgiving holiday and ministry responsibilites not to mention that even if I were home, I would have been watching the Louisville Cardinal basketball game.  Priorities!

Nonetheless, here is the November 22, 2011 CNN/Heritage Foundation debate on national security.  Below you will find two different versions of the same debate. The YouTube version is longer and includes more introductory material.

Version 1:

Version 2:

For more:

Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 1: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 2: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 3: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 4: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 5: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 6: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 7: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 8: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 9:  Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 10: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Discussion: Some Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Hopefuls on Faith and Freedom
Blogizomai - The Cain-Gingrich Debate
Blogizomai - Are You A Bigot?: Morgan Just Can't Help Himself
Blogizomai - Poverty and the Breakdown of the Family: Santorum Raises an Important Point
Blogizomai - Protect Life, Protect Liberty: Ron Paul's Pro-Life Libertarianism
Blogizomai - Is This the Dirtiest Campaign Season Ever?: Consider Circa 1800   

A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism: A New Translation - Introduction

An Introduction to the Life and Works of Scottish Reformer John Craig

What follows is Part 1 of the Scottish Reformer John Craig's foundational catechism written in the mid-15th Century.  Due to its old English, I am offering a more up to date "translation" that makes it more readable.  However, its not perfect and some of the words have not yet been changed.  This remains a work in progress.  Here is the introduction:

Do not marvel (gentle reader) that I allege no authority of the Scriptures nor fathers for the confirmation of this doctrine seeing my purpose is not so much to instruct our profane Atheists and Apostates as to put our brethren in memory of that doctrine which they daily hear confirmed (in our ordinary teaching) by the Scriptures and consent of the godly Fathers.

Always if either the brethren or other would have further confirmation of this doctrine, let them read the Institutes of the Christian Religion of John Calvin and other godly men who have written abundantly for the defense of this doctrine according to the Scriptures of God.  I doubt not but good men, and such as are persuaded of the truth will take this mine excuse in the best part and give thanks to God for my labor taken for their comfort.  But as for the godless band of Atheists and Apostates whom God has ordained to destruction I care not what they shall judge of this my simple writing and pains taken for the instruction of the ignorant I would marvel greatly of the success of our doctrine which is not impugned and pursued by men to the fight of the world (of great estimation and judgment,) if the same had come to pass to the Prophets and apostles in their age, whose doctrine and religion was most falsely impugned, and cruelly persecuted by the sons of perdition.  Of this we are forewarned by the apostles, that men, after the witnessing of the truth, shall depart to their vomit again and become traitors and persecutors of Gods truth which they professed before with us.  When we see this fiery trial and fearful judgement in the Church let us examine ourselves now and call to God for constancy in the truth and praise His justice in the blinding of those that in so great a light willingly and maliciously delight in darkness and blaspheme the way of righteousness.  Of this sort are sundry of our nation whose blasphemous writings come daily to our hands to the trial of our faith and constancy to the further blinding of the reprobate and their great condemnation in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be all honor and praise eternally. 


Theology - An Introduction of the Life and Works of Scottish Reformation John Craig - Part 1 
Theology - A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Introduction
Theology - A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 1
Theology - A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 2
Theology - A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter  3
Theology - A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 4.1
Theology - A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 4.2
Theology - A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 4.3
Theology - A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 5.1
Theology - A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 5.2
Theology - A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 6.1
Theology - A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 6.2

For more:
Blogizomai - Douglas Bond on the Legacy of John Knox 
Reviews - "John Knox" by Rosalind K. Marshall  
Blogizomai - The Mighty Weakness of John Knox
Reviews - "Five Leading Reformers"
Blogizomai - Was Calvin a Calvinist?  Helm Weighs In 
Blogizomai - The Story of Martin Luther: An Interview With Michael Haykin
Blogizomai - Repost | For Reformation Day: An Insightful Documentary
Blogizomai- Martin Luther (1483-1546)  
Blogizomai - The 95 Theses, 490 Years Later
Blogizomai - Sola Fide and the Early Church: Quotes From the Patristics
Blogizomai - For Reformation Day:  An Insightful Documentary  
Blogizomai - He Turned the Water Into Wine: MacArthur, Alcohol, & Christian Liberty
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | Calvin on the Redemptive Necessity of the Resurrection
Theology - Calvinist Baptists and the Many (False) Misconceptions
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 1
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 2
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 3
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 4
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 5
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 6 
GBC - "Without the Gospel": A Gem From John Calvin
GBC - Calvin on God in Theology and the Christian Life
GBC - Calvin on Providence
GBC - Calvin on Treasures in Heaven
GBC - Calvin on Fasting
GBC - Calvin on Prayer: Why Bother?
Reviews - "Young, Restless, and Reformed"
Reviews - The Theology of the Reformers  
Reviews - The Unquenchable Flame  
Reviews - "On the Necessity of Reforming the Church" by John Calvin
Reviews - John Calvin:  A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, & Doxology 
Reviews - Christianity's Dangerous Idea  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

All Around the Web: Links For Your Weekend - November 26, 2011

Credo Magazine - Church History is for Pastors | Some good points here

1. Church history is critical.
2. Church history is cross-cultural.
3. Church history is prophetic.
4. Church history is wisdom.

Brian MacLaren - Q & R:  Atonement | For those who care.

First, thanks for this important question. Before responding, I must say that I would consider it sloppy and inaccurate to claim that I "reject the atonement." I'm not sure where you heard such a thing. To adequately address that claim, I'd need to know what you mean by "the atonement," since across church history the term has meant many different things. I might assume you mean one particular theory, known as "penal substitutionary atonement" theory. But then again, you may not. If by "atonement" you mean "reconciliation," then of course the claim is downright false: how could I reject the idea of being reconciled with God - and others, and creation? That's been the focus of my whole life and work as a pastor and as a writer and speaker. Far from rejecting the idea of reconciliation, I think it's central! Paul said that his whole ministry was a ministry of reconciliation, and I'd say the same thing . . .

So please understand, I don't reject reconciliation - with God, self, neighbor, stranger, enemy, and all creation! However, with growing numbers of biblical scholars, leaders, and others, I do reject the claim that the gospel should be equated with or reduced to any single theory of atonement. 

As I understand it, the gospel that Jesus proclaimed was this: "the kingdom (or reign, or commonwealth, or network, or sacred ecosystem, or ???) of God is at hand (available now, waiting for us to reach out and touch, or enter, or receive, or experience, or participate in)." It includes a call to repentance (radical rethinking of everything) and faith (confidence in Jesus), which naturally and inevitably lead to a life of following Jesus (learning his ways, imitating him, becoming transformed so as to reflect his character and embody his mission). 

I don't know if this will prove anything to you, and I'm not big on proving things by proof-texting - but for starters, you could read Mark 1:14 to see why I understand the gospel in this way. Beyond that, as I understand it, the gospel proclaimed by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John was the story of Jesus - the whole story, not a theory about one part of the story. And the gospel proclaimed by Paul was the same ... the story of Jesus and the kingdom of God (see Acts 27:23-31).

Denny Burk - Newt Gingrich on the Wrong Side of Stem Cell Research | I did not know this about Gingrich.  I would suspect that this will become an issue soon.

Ramesh Ponnuru has a brief report about Gingrich’s record on embryonic stem cell research, and it is not good. On July 10, 2001, Gingrich called for President Bush to allow federal funding for this research. In Gingrich’s own words:

My hope is that [President Bush] will draw a sharp distinction between research on fetuses, which I think would be abhorrent and anti-human, and research on cells that are in fertility clinics that have never been in anyone’s body, in terms of being — becoming a person, and which, frankly, are currently unregulated and will disappear. And I think that’s a different kind of question. These are not prehuman cells in the sense they’re going to be implanted. . . . I have a 100 percent pro-life voting record, but I’ve always drawn a distinction at implantation. And I think there’s a real difference in the two kinds of cells. I notice that former senator Connie Mack, who is himself is a Catholic, takes the same position. And I think people who’ve looked at this issue can honorably disagree. But for many of us, there’s a very, very real distinction between doing something with an unborn child, a fetus that is implanted, and doing something with cells in a fertility clinic that are otherwise going to be destroyed.

New York Times - Lincoln and the Mormons - This is interesting.  Lincoln was not a fan of slavery or Mormonism.  But the following quote is quite interesting.

But the question was far from solved, and on Nov. 18, Lincoln attacked the Mormon question in a most Lincolnian way. Instead of ordering an invasion, Lincoln ordered information. Specifically, he asked the Library of Congress to send him a pile of books about Mormonism, so that the aggregator-in-chief could better understand them. These included “The Book of Mormon” in its original 1831 edition, and three other early studies of the Mormons, with extensive, lurid chapters covering their polygamy. For some reason, he also ordered a volume of Victor Hugo, in French, a language he could not read.

Fortified by his reading, Lincoln came to a great decision. And that decision was to do nothing. Sometimes that, too, can be a form of leadership — what Churchill called “a masterly inactivity.”

The Blaze - Giant Whale Graveyard Found in Chilean Desert | So a bunch of whale fossils have been uncovered in a Chilean desert.  How did they get there?  Scientist are baffled, but I must admit, a universal flood option immediately comes to mind.

CNBC - Dow, S&P Log Worst Thanksgiving Week Since 1932 | The title says enough.  I noticed in what little shopping I did how less busy the roads and stores were.  It will be interesting to compare this year to previous years.

Stocks closed in negative territory in thin, shortened trading Friday as investors were reluctant to go long ahead of the weekend and amid ongoing worries over the euro zone. 

The Dow and S&P posted their worst Thanksgiving week since the Great Depression on a percentage basis.

The Blaze - What Are the Odd Figures Google Captured in the Swiss Sky That Are Making the Rounds Again? | To answer the question.  I don't know.  See the image yourself here.

Finally, here is the President's Thanksgiving remarks. It pretty standard except it is missing something that President seems to have a habit of (purposefully) omitting:  God. 

For more: The Blaze

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Repost | "God's Word in Human Words": A Detailed Critique - Part 4


God's Word in Human Words: An Evangelical Appropriation of Critical Biblical ScholarshipThe complete rejection of Scripture as inerrant from a biblical criticism perspective naturally leads to the conclusion that much of the Bible is fiction.  Whether one uses words like myths, legends, allegories, folktales, or fables, it is still fiction.  Obviously this is a huge problem for inerrantists to suggest that any part of the Bible is mythical or simple folklore and Sparks admits this.  However, the author states:

Nevertheless, as we have seen already, it is very likely that the Bible contains more fictional literature than some evangelical readers can stomach.  If we aim to take the Bible seriously as God’s Word, this leaves us with only one possible solution: perhaps fiction is a more valuable genre for conveying truth than conservative evangelicals normally suppose.*

This is a striking statement to say the least!  What proof does Sparks have that fiction can be more valuable than inerrantist “normally suppose?”  The parables of Jesus.  Because Jesus’ favorite genre of teaching was fiction, Sparks concludes that even though portions of Scripture is not historically accurate that does not mean that it has no valuable.  After surveying the message behind the Parable of the Good Samaritan Sparks concludes, “In a very concrete sense, insofar as the parable describes and applies to may historical contexts rather than just one, we can reasonably claim that parables are more historical than conventional historical reports.  So works in fictional genres can be quite true, not only theologically but also historically.”**

This argument is problematic and for a scholar who makes careful arguments it is surprising he would go this far.  To compare the parables of Jesus to the historical books of the Old Testament is to compare apples and oranges. Jesus and the Gospel writers admit that the parables are simple stories to make a point but are not historical events.  However, when the Chronicler writes about certain kings and events, the writer implies that the events actually happened.  An honest reading of such passages and books force the reader to admit that, at least to the writers of the Old Testament, the events are historical.

Furthermore, it should be remembered that the parables themselves are told in a historical context.  The One telling the parable, Jesus, is a historical person that really told these parables.  Of course the parables themselves did not actually happen, but Jesus really did tell these stories.  So though the parables are not historical, they were historically told and the Gospel writers assume as much.  Oftentimes they introduce the telling of a given parable(s) to historical notes like in Luke 8:4 where Luke notes that a historical crowd “was gathering . . . from town after town” and so Jesus began to speak in parables.

There is one other point that should be added here.  If we assume that the “historical” events in the Bible (in both the Old and the New Testament) what does that say about doctrine, the gospel, and God Himself?  If doctrine is based on actual events (like Creation, the Fall, and the resurrection) and yet these events ought to be viewed as mythical, then is not our doctrine mythical?  What is sin if the Fall is a myth?  Does life still have inherent dignity if the creation account is bogus?  If God is not the Sovereign and Providential Creator of the universe, as Genesis implies He is, then who is God?***  If we deny the Sovereign acts and interventions of God as recorded in the Bible as historical, then what assurance do we have that God is Sovereign, Providential, Holy, Transcendent, Immanent, Eternal, Jealous, Just, or Loving?  If God did not act historically, then does He act historically today?

The implications of what Sparks is presenting here is extremely problematic and dangerous.  What is at stake here is more than just the question of the literary genres of the Bible, but the gospel and orthodoxy itself.  The cry for considering the Bible as myth has always led to a devaluing and redefining of the gospel and the Christian faith and no matter how hard Sparks may try at preventing that, it will not work.


In his effort to offer an alternative to the doctrine of Scripture that takes more seriously the conclusion of scholars, Sparks only reaffirms the many problems of adopting the many claims against the inerrancy of Scripture.  If one wants to know why the doctrine of inerrancy is imperative, then read those who reject it.  When one rejects the inerrancy of Scripture, the gospel immediately begins to unravel.  Though Sparks offers a carefully articulated book, well written with a respectable tone, his argument is extremely dangerous and problematic.  Unless Christians affirm a traditional view of Scripture they will inherently reject an orthodox view of the gospel.  It has always been this way and what Sparks offers here isn’t a compromise but a reminder as to why inerrancy remains central to the belief system of many Christians.

*  Kenton Sparks, God's Word in Human Words: An Evangelical Appropriation of Critical Biblical Scholarship, 214-215.
**  Ibid., 215.  Emphasis authors.
***  It should be noted here that Sparks does reject a traditional understanding of Creation and has written favorably on the BiosLogos website that promotes Theistic Evolution.  Clearly, then, Sparks rejects young-earth creationism and the historicity of Adam and Eve.

"God's Word in Human Words":  A Detailed Critique - Part 1
"God's Word in Human Words":  A Detailed Critique - Part 2
"God's Word in Human Words":  A Detailed Critique - Part 3
"God's Word in Human Words":  A Detailed Critique - Part 4
"God's Word in Human Words":  A Detailed Critique - Part 5

For more:
Theology - "God's Word in Human Words": Full Series  
Reviews - "Ancient Word, Changing Worlds" by Stephen Nichols 
Reviews - "How (Not) to Speak of God" by Peter Rollins

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Repost | "Thinking. Loving. Doing." by John Piper & David Mathis

Reading books based on a conference are tricky.  If you were at the conference and you enjoyed the event and all of the talks, then you will more than likely enjoy the book that follows.  For example, I have attended each Together for the Gospel conferences, have enjoyed each talk, and have enjoyed the books that followed each conference.  But the most recently edited book by John Piper (and David Mathis along with him) is different. In October 2010, a conference was held by Desiring God ministries in light of John Piper's book Think. The conference included renown speakers like Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Rick Warren, and Francis Chan.

The problem is that I did not attend this conference nor have I read the book the conference was based on.  Furthermore, before picking up the book Thinking. Loving. Doing.:  A Call to Glorify God with Heart and Mind, I was unaware that these would be prerequisites.  But nonetheless, I did pick up and read.

The challenge I had with this book was I struggled understanding its point.  What is the primary purpose and message of this book?  What is the books thesis?   The title is helpful and I understand the conversation regarding thinking, but what is the driving point?  Must I read Piper's earlier book in order to understand this one?

Beyond that flaw, this is a book that includes helpful chapters.  Dr. Mohler had the best chapter by far as he discussed how to think about thinking - something I've heard him discuss before.  Thabiti Anyabwile's chapter on Islam was good though I found it a bit out of place for this book. Chan's exhortations regarding humility and love I thought were needed and well received.  Overall, each chapter is helpful but I am stuck with the question of why this book was written outside of putting into print what was said at a conference that readers like myself did not attend?

Don't get me wrong.  This is a good book, but it certainly isn't a great book or a necessary book.  I suspect that those who were at the conference will enjoy this book while most of the rest of us, like myself, will find it confusing.  Everything with Piper's name on it is worth looking into, but this is certainly not his best work either as editor or writer.

This book was given to me free of charge for the purpose of this review.

For more:
Reviews - Preaching the Cross 
Reviews - Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology 
Reviews - "Life's Biggest Questions" by Erik Thoennes
Reviews - "Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving, and Living God's Word" by Stephen J Nichols  
Reviews - "King Solomon" by Philip Graham Ryken 
Reviews - "Am I Really a Christian?" by Mike McKinley 
Reviews - The Beginning and End of Wisdom" by Douglas Sean O'Donnell

Hump Day Humor: Canonball!!

I hope this happens to me as a pastor.  I hope its my son!!

For more:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Free Books For Poor Pastors: How to Build a Library Without Spending a Penny

I am a poor pastor of a rural church and one that loves to read books.  The challenge is buying books which can be an expensive hobby.  If I bought every book that I have read in the past year, I would be in more debt than the United States government.  And for the past year, I have sought ways to build my library and to read great books without just checking out books at nearby libraries.  And thanks to the power of the Internet, pastors with a blog and a mailing address can build a library without costing them a penny.  Below are a few programs that I have found helpful to do just that.

1.  Booksneeze -Ran by Thomas Nelson publishers, Booksneeze offers anyone and everyone with a blog assess to a selection of their books.  Booksneeze is the easiest to use and the best program that I have found available.  All you have to do is sign up at their website, choose a book, read it, and write a review (it doesn't have to be long or complicated) onto your personal website and sites like Amazon or Christian Book Distributors.  That's it.  You can keep the book of your choosing and then immediately choose another.

Booksneeze offers books for both e-readers and print. Below are some of the books that I have received and reviewed from Booksneeze and I currently am awaiting another book to arrive.  There is almost always a great selection including theology, Christian living, politics, fiction, and children's books.

"Nearing Home" by Billy Graham 
America: The Last Best Hope - Volume 3
"Has God Spoken?" by Hank Hanegraaf
"Why God Won't Go Away" by Alister McGrath  
"Billy Graham in Quotes
"No He Can't" by Kevin McCullough
"Washington: A Legacy of Leadership" by Paul Vickery  
"Max on Life" by Max Lucado 
"Slave" by John Macarthur
"The Jesus Inquest" by Charles Foster 
"Finding Our Way Again" by Brian McLaren 
"Outlive Your Life" by Max Lucado
"The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns 
"Saint Patrick" by Jonathan Rogers
"A Century Turns" by William Bennett
"Sir Winston Churchill"
"On this Day in Christian History"
"Storm Warning" by Billy Graham

2.  Blogging For Books -Ran by WaterBrook Publishers, this publisher, similar to Booksneeze, offer a selection of their books for free to those with a blog.  Like Booksneeze, all one must do is select a book, read it, write a review on both their personal site and on a consumer site like Amazon, and then select another one from their site.  Though similar to Booksneeze, I have found that the choice of books is slightly smaller and is personally not always the sort of books that I prefer. I have oftentimes chosen several books from Booksneeze while waiting for this program to offer a book that I want to read.  That does not mean that they do not offer some great books - they have.  As the list below makes clear.

"Culture Shift" by R. Albert Mohler
"Radical Together"

3.  Amazon Vine -This is technically my favorite program because of the abundance of items (not just Christian books) and because of the availability of Crossway Books.  The catch with this program is that you have to be invited by Amazon in order to join.  How do you get that invite?  I don't know.  If I had to guess, I would assume that when one has posted a number of reviews at Amazon, as I have, eventually you will be invited, but that is only a guess. The website says:

Amazon Vine is an invitation-only program. Vine Voices are selected based on several criteria, but primarily on the helpfulness of their reviews as judged by all other customers and by their demonstrated interest in the types of products that are featured in the program. Customers who consistently write helpful reviews and develop a reputation for expertise in specific product categories are most likely to be invited into the program.

This program is similar to the other too but have more options and I have found better books through this program than any other.  Being that it is Amazon, it is not limited to publishers which is nice.  It includes more than just religious works but includes fiction and non-fiction and even items that aren't books (some items available are just strange). Unlike the previous two, one can only request two items per month and sometimes that is the difficult part, but as one can tell from below, there are some great books to choose from.  I am currently waiting to read and review one other book and will soon request two more.  Again, this program is absolutely free.

"Life's Biggest Questions" by Erik Thoennes
"Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving, and Living God's Word" by Stephen J Nichols  
"King Solomon" by Philip Graham Ryken 
"Am I Really a Christian?" by Mike McKinley
"The Beginning and End of Wisdom" by Douglas Sean O'Donnell

4.  Gospel Books | This program offers exclusively Kindle books and offers readers free books, deals, and books that are cheap. The beauty of this site is that one does not have to review the books or sign up.  The people at the website does the work for you.  I have downloaded a few books, but most of the books offered for free on Kindle aren't best-sellers.  The easiest way I have found to keep up with the site is through twitter.

5.  Creation Conversations - Ran by Master Books, part of New Leaf Press, there is a smaller selection of books that include Ken Ham books along with Home-school books, apologetics, and some other options.  This is not my favorite choice, but I have received some great books from it.  I have read some great books from this program, but am still new to it.  If you love Ken Ham and love some of the books coming out from Master Books, this is a great option.  Again, this is a free program and you must write a review on your website and on Amazon.  But you get to keep the books.

"Already Compromised"

6.  Tyndale Blog Network - I have not requested or reviewed any books through this program yet.  Though currently they have a Tony Dungy and a Gary Chapman book available for request.  Tyndale is simply not my favorite publisher though they have published some great books over the years. I have not ever found them offer a great number of books for bloggers.

There is one major thing missing from these programs (and if there are more, please let me know) is academic books.  Though there are some throughout these programs, none of them offer much in terms of academic depth.  As a seminary graduate, I still love to read difficult and deep books of theology, history, languages, or Scripture.  Thus I have been unsuccessful, beyond checking books out at libraries, in reading such books for cheap or for free.  One can oftentimes get lucky through buying used at Amazon, Ebay, or great used bookstores, but publishers like Baker Academic and IVP do not offer programs like this.  But with the money you can save through these programs, perhaps that will save you some to put towards these other works.

Repost | "How Do We Know the Bible is True" by Ham & Hodge

Ken Ham, along with Bodie Hodge, is back with another book helping Christians answer some of the many difficulties questions we face. Questions like, Is the Bible really inerrant, are there any contradictions in the Bible, what is the Trinity, what about the resurrection, and a host of other questions in their book How Do We Know the Bible is True?, volume 1.

The book as a whole is really helpful.  The chapters on the Trinity, the resurrection, the reliability of the Old and New Testaments, and Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch were particularly helpful to me.  The advantage of books like this is that they are written to the average believer and not to academic theologians and scholars.  Thus Ham and Hodge are willing to introduce the reader with the many difficult issues of Christianity and Scripture unashamedly and without fear.

Particularly helpful here is the chapter questioning the authorship of the Torah.  The chapter offers a great history and explanation of the Documentary Hypothesis.  This is a great introduction to the argument made by its proponents and then an excellent challenge to its claims.  Read liberals today and behind some of their assumptions is the Documentary Hypothesis.

Similarly, the introduction to the doctrine of the Trinity was helpful. Though as a pastor and seminary student, I have heard and seen the evidence and defense of the Trinity and affirm all of it.  But what is helpful is how the issue is presented.  Most new believers and stagnant Christians could understand some of the basic beliefs regarding the Trinity and why we don't believe in polytheism.

Overall this is a good book to own. It is a great resource on common issues and questions pastors and Christians are challenged with.  However, as with all Ken Ham books, there is a heavy emphasis on creationism.  I believe in creation and am a young-earth creationist.  However, it is an over simplification to blame everything on one's view of the age of the earth and evolution.  I do believe that evolution is a major challenge and the secular worldview is without a doubt shaped by evolution, but Ham time after time again simply can't help himself but offer another rant against evolution.  Though I firmly believe in creationism, I do believe that a Christian can affirm Genesis 1-2 and at the same time believe in an old earth without sacrificing cardinal beliefs.  Admittedly this is problematic (which is why I remain a young-earth creationist), but one cannot tell me that everyone that affirms old earth has abandoned the gospel and has turned into an atheist.

With that said, this is a pretty good book.  It is not a difficult read and offers good answers to challenging questions in Christianity. For those wanting a defense of Bibliology and the challenges against the Bible and Christianity, this is a good place to start.

This book was given to me free of charge for the purpose of this review.

For more:
Reviews - "Begin
Reviews - "Already Compromised"
Reviews - Already Gone
Reviews - "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence For Belief"
Reviews - "The Death of Evolution"
Reviews - "Atheism Remix"
Reviews - Reviews in Brief - Doctrine of Divine Creation
Reviews - "Fatal Flaws"
Reviews - "How Good Do We Have to Be?"

Monday, November 21, 2011

2012 Presidential Discussion: Some Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case

One of the absent conversations in the GOP Presidential primary race regards social issues likes abortion, gay marriage, religious liberty, euthanasia, etc.  With the economy still in
a rut, our fiscal house in disarray, and the international scene still a mess, social issues have taken a back seat.  Nonetheless, recently, six of the candidates, missing Governor Mitt Romney and Ambassador Jon Huntsman, gathered together to discuss (not necessarily debate) a host of issues including social issues.

I haven't watched the debate yet, but watching some of the coverage on it, there weren't many surprises.  All of the major candidates are pro-life and are, for the most part, pro-traditional marriage with some differences between them.  Nonetheless, below is the full discussion which is about 3 hours long.

The biggest highlight of the night came from the new frontrunner Newt Gingrich who went after the Occupy Wallstreet crowd:

For more:
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 10: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 1: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 2: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 3: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 4: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 5: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 6: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 7: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 8: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 9:  Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case 
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Hopefuls on Faith and Freedom
Blogizomai - The Cain-Gingrich Debate
Blogizomai - Are You A Bigot?: Morgan Just Can't Help Himself
Blogizomai - Poverty and the Breakdown of the Family: Santorum Raises an Important Point
Blogizomai - Protect Life, Protect Liberty: Ron Paul's Pro-Life Libertarianism
Blogizomai - Is This the Dirtiest Campaign Season Ever?: Consider Circa 1800  

Repost | "Nearing Home" by Billy Graham

Billy Graham is over 90 years old and remains one of the most recognizable faces who single handily shaped the 20th Century.  His sermons, books, travels, interviews, speeches, and ministry have changed the world.  Now at the end of his life, Billy Graham has published a book on growing old, death, dying, and retirement entitled Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well.

Though I am still under 30 years old, I thought it would be important to read this book for several reasons.  First, anything written from the pen of Dr. Graham is worth the investment.  Graham's ministry is international and remains one of the most respected voices in evangelicalism.  He is worth listening too even today.

Also, Graham writes with the heart of a minister.  He offers some real practical advice to the reader on how to age, what to expect, and how to prepare ourselves and our families for our aging, retirement, and death.  He discusses the difficulties and joys of retirement, the right attitude of work and money, ministry after retirement, working for God's glory, preparing wills and living wills, and all kinds of issues that many of us choose to ignore.  Graham does not right as a legal expert, but as a minister concerned for the reader.

Furthermore, Graham writes from his experience. We have all watched him age in our respected years and in this book, Graham offers some real and honest insight into the struggles he has.  He still wants to preach but repeatedly tells us how difficult it is for him to get out of his chair.  He shares his struggles of being a widower.  He is oftentimes lonely, misses the "good ol days," and just wants to preach one more time.  He confesses the difficulties of turning over the ministry to someone else (namely his son Franklin) not because he felt they were unqualified (he praises Franklin for his work), but because he didn't want to let go.

This is a great book and one I would recommend for both the elderly and their pastors.  Graham rightly encourages the retired and the elderly to continue serve God.  With the extra time they have gained in their retirement, Graham encourages them to work for the Kingdom, serve their family and their community.  I wholeheartedly endorse this.  Some of the hardest workers in our church are retired or widows.  They have chosen a life of service, not a life of ease.

Graham likely does not have very long to live and this should fill us with much sadness to a certain extent.  But Graham confesses, as did Paul, that to live is Christ, but to die is gain.  Graham looks forward to being reunited with his wife Ruth Bell and united with the Savior he has served so faithfully for so long. Graham walks the reader through the joys of death - and the life that follows.  May we long for that too.  Death is not to be feared and Graham shows us why.  Certainly age has its own problems, but life is worth it and death, for the believer, is never the end.

Graham is always the evangelist and this book only continues this legacy.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I review for BookSneeze

For more on Billy Graham:
Reviews - "Billy Graham in Quotes"
Review - "The Preacher and the Presidents
Review - "Billy Graham:  His Life and Influence"
Review - "The Journey"
Review - "The Evangelist"
Reviews - "Storm Warning" by Billy Graham

For more from Thomas Nelson:
Reviews - America: The Last Best Hope - Volume 3
Reviews - "Has God Spoken?" by Hank Hanegraaf
Reviews - "Why God Won't Go Away" by Alister McGrath  
Reviews - "Billy Graham in Quotes
Reviews - "No He Can't" by Kevin McCullough
Reviews - "Washington: A Legacy of Leadership" by Paul Vickery  
Reviews - "Max on Life" by Max Lucado 
Reviews - "Slave" by John Macarthur
Reviews - "The Jesus Inquest" by Charles Foster 
Reviews - "Finding Our Way Again" by Brian McLaren 
Reviews - "Outlive Your Life" by Max Lucado
Reviews - "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns 
Reviews - "Saint Patrick" by Jonathan Rogers
Reviews - "A Century Turns" by William Bennett
Reviews - "Sir Winston Churchill"
Reviews - "On this Day in Christian History"
Reviews - "Storm Warning" by Billy Graham

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Don't Mess With Turkey, TX

PETA is at it again.  This time they are suggesting that the town Tofurkey, TX change its name over the Thanksgiving holiday to Tofurkey, TX to raise awareness of the abuse of turnkeys.  Here is the letter sent from PETA to the mayor of Turkey, TX:

Dear Mayor Carson,

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands in Texas, with an idea that will boost Turkey into the spotlight and promote compassion: Rename your town “Tofurky” for Thanksgiving. If you agree to adopt this moniker for just one day, we’d be happy to provide a delicious, healthy vegan holiday feast for all the town’s residents.

Tofurky is a savory, flavorful, “meaty” vegan entrĂ©e with wild-rice and bread-crumb stuffing that is 100 percent cruelty-free. In contrast, virtually all turkey meat sold in the U.S. comes from factory farms, where birds are confined by the thousands to filthy, barren sheds. They are drugged and bred to grow such unnaturally large upper bodies that their legs often become crippled under the weight. These bright and social animals are denied everything that is natural and important to them, and at the slaughterhouse, turkeys are still conscious when their throats are slit. Changing the town’s name to Tofurky will remind people around the country that we each can have a delicious, protein-packed, and satisfying Thanksgiving meal without supporting animal abuse.

PETA’s feast would feature Tofurky with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes (made with vegan margarine), and vegan apple pie topped with vanilla dairy-free ice cream. Introducing vegan cuisine to your residents would help improve their health: A vegan diet is free of the saturated animal fats and cholesterol found in meat and dairy products, and according to the American Dietetic Association, a vegan diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to rename your town and give turkeys, as well as your town’s citizens, something to gobble about! Please let me know of your decision.

Sincerely yours,
Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

Here is the local news story on the request from PETA:

The Blaze - PETA Takes Aim at Turkey, TX:  Wants Town Renamed 'Tofurkey'

For more:
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Animal Rights Consistency
Blogizomai - Are Sea Turtles Pro-Choice?: Abortion, Animal Rights, and Our Confused Moral Compass
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Equal Moral?: Homosexuality and the Animal Kingdom - Part 1
Blogizomai - The "Personhood" of Animals: The Argument is Made . . . Again
Blogizomai - God Milk? PETA Request Replacing Cow Milk With Human Milk in Ice Cream

Around the Web: Links For Your Weekend - 11/19/11

Towers Online - KBC Announced Greenway as New President | Congratulations to Dr. Adam Greenway for his election on the next Kentucky Baptist Convention President.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC) announced the election of Adam Greenway as its new president, obtaining 73.1 percent of the vote, at the KBC annual meeting, Nov. 15, 2011.
An assistant professor of evangelism and applied apologetics, Greenway is also senior associate dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“Adam Greenway is a gifted leader and a friend to all Kentucky Baptists,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary. “I congratulate him on his election and am proud of his leadership in our state convention. Under the leadership of Adam Greenway and Paul Chitwood, I expect Kentucky to move into the future with conviction, passion, Great Commission fervor and vision.”

Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern, said of Greenway’s election: “Adam Greenway is a thoughtful, convictional leader. He will serve all Kentucky Baptists well, and I am glad he is part of our Southern Seminary faculty training the next generation of pastors and missionaries,”

The Gospel Coalition - Themelios 36.3 | Here is the latest online academic theology journal Themelios.  Their always good.

  1. D. A. Carson | Editorial: Spiritual Disciplines
  2. Jonathan Gibson | Jonathan Edwards: A Missionary?
  3. Andrew Moody | That All May Honour the Son: Holding Out for a Deeper Christocentrism
  4. Rodney J. Decker | An Evaluation of the 2011 Edition of the New International Version
  5. Melvin Tinker | Friends: The One with Jesus, Martha, and Mary;  An Answer to Kierkegaard

First Thoughts - Fewer Teens Are Having Sex | This is certainly good news, but we have yet to uncover a gospel-centered understanding of sex.  Furthermore, premarital sex remains a major problem and abstinence is still laughable by our culture.

Washington Post - In West Virginia, snake handling is still considered a sign of faith | This is an example of what happens when the establishment discovers religion in the south.  Who didn't know that there were still snake handlers?  But in case you didn't know, there are still snake handlers in Kentucky, West Virginia, and other parts of the south. 

Wolford’s mission in life is to make sure that this custom, which he learned from his parents, survives for another generation. 

“Anybody can do it that believes it,” he says. “Jesus said, ‘These signs shall follow them which believe.’ This is a sign to show people that God has the power.”

Though snake handling is condemned by mainstream Pentecostal denominations, Wolford believes that 21st-century Christianity desperately needs people willing to exhibit such signs. And he’s willing to do so despite having been bitten four times — and despite watching his snake-handling father die an agonizing death.

The Right Scoop - Newt on difference between OWS and Tea Party | This is why Newt has been rising since the rocky start and why he stands a good chance of winning the prize.

Denny Burk - Bob Costas' Interview With Jerry Sandusky | There has been a lot of talk about the following interview between Bob Costas and the man behind the Penn St. disaster.  I'm not sure why he did the interview especiallys ince this will be used against him during his trial.

Public Policy Polling - Gingrich Takes the Lead | This race is as fluid as anything. Now it is Newt Gingrich who is rising in the polls. Expect all of the moral mess from the 90's to come to the forefront as a result. Consider, however, the following chart. Those who remain stagnant, like Perry and Bachman, I believe are essentially out of the race. Their votes and support would undoubtebly go towards Cain and Newt. The interesting question would be that when Perry quits, who will he support (certainly not Romney) and what is he going to do with his large "war chest."

Here is the Gloria Cain interview on Fox News. The question now becomes, which third party do we want to believe, Herman Cain's wife or one of the accusers' former boyfriend?

HT: The Right Scoop

Friday, November 18, 2011

Is Social Justice an Essential Part of the Mission of the Church?: The Wallis-Mohler Debate

On October 27, 2011 Sojourners President and Founder Jim Wallis and the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., gathered together to debate the issue of social justice and the mission of the church.  The debate has received a lot of attention and rightfully so. Wallis is well known for his political and economic fight for "social justice" while Dr. Mohler is known for his cultural commentary from a Reformed theological perspective.  The Henry Center chose two qualified men to debate these issues.

Here is the description from the website:

North American Evangelicals have recently experienced a revival of interest in issues of social justice. The growing sentiment among many today is that Jesus preached “good news to the poor,” and was indeed among the poor and marginalized. These Christians believe that the implications of these facts should renew the church’s understanding of the gospel and its mission. Rightly or wrongly, this interest in social justice is transforming the blueprint and vision of ecclesial ministry.

For others, this blueprint conjures up concerns about 20th century liberal Protestantism and a watering down of the gospel’s message of salvation. The defining mission of the church, for them, continues to be the sharing of the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to all nations, generations, and social classes. The issue of social justice, though important, is not to be considered as an essential part of the mission of the church.

A basic question at the heart of the debate is this: Is social justice an essential part of the mission of the church?

The Henry Center for Theological Understanding, in its Trinity Debates forum, is pleased to provide a public venue for addressing this question by hosting two prominent voices from competing perspectives. Jim Wallis will answer “Yes” and R. Albert Mohler will answer “No.”

The question hinges on what the gospel is.  If the gospel is primarily about social justice, then Christians must be engaged and focused on the political and "social justice" realms.  But if the gospel is primarily about regeneration and restoration through liberation from sin, then Christians ought to focus on evangelism and church planting.

It is fascinating in the years that I have followed Jim Wallis and those who came before him how easily many liberal Christians have merged the State/Church distinction.  Christians at the beginning of our nation, particularly the Baptist, fought for a clear separation of the State and the Church.  That is to say that the state is to stay out of the church's business and at the same time, the church did not turn to the state as the answer to its problems.  The gospel is the primary change agent of society that changes the person from the inside.  But the rise of modern and postmodern liberalism has seen salvation in a collective and social sense.  Salvation comes when the government intervenes and the church demands that the state intervenes.  The problem, which ought to be clear, is that Jesus never did such a thing.  Jesus, nor Paul or anyone else in the New Testament, ever ran for political office, protested the state, or occupied Wall Street. Instead they proclaimed the gospel of regeneration and as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit, the poor, widows, and orphans were taken care of by the church irregardless of the policies of the state.

The Henry center has not made the video embedable, and so you must go to their website to watch the debate.  I have not seen all of it and I obviously side with Dr. Mohler.

The Henry Center - Is Social Justice an Essential Part of the Mission of the Church? 

For more:
Blogizomai - Accommodationism Breeds Irrelevancy: Why Liberalism Fails and the Transcendent Gospel Triumphs
Blogizomai - Repost Friday | How To Change the World: The Advantage and Power of the Gospel and the Limits of the Social Gospel
Blogizomai - "Theology Is Not Superior To the Gospel": Rauschenbusch, Liberalism, and the Old Old Story
Blogizomai - What Would Jesus Vote?:  Jesus, Health Care, and the Gospel
Blogizomai - Have We Forgotten the Gospel?  Glenn Beck, Social Justice, and the Gospel
Blogizomai - Who Isn't One?:  Brian McLaren and Social Christians
Blogizomai - Repost | What Did the Cross Accomplish?: External Hope or Internal Reformation
Blogizomai - Have We Forgotten the Gospel?:  Glenn Beck, Social Justice, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Blogizomai - Crossing the Wall of Separation: The Danger of the State Wooing the Church
Blogizomai - Weekly Recommendation - "Generous Justice" by Timothy Keller
Theology - Repent for Health Care is At Hand: Did Obama Just Legislate the Gospel?
Theology - The Postmodern Social Gospel: Brian McLaren Proves My Point 
Theology - The Bible and Poverty: The Gospel as the Remedy 
Theology - What Does It Mean to be  Christian?
Review - "Jesus Wants to Save Christians
Review - "UnChristian"
Reviews - "The Justice Project
Review - "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns
Review - "The Gospel According to Jesus" by Chris Seay  
Review - "Outlive Your Life" by Max Lucado 
Review - "When Helping Hurts
Review - "Everything Must Change
Review - "The Great Awakening" Part 1
Review - "The Great Awakening" Part 2
Shortblog - Glenn Beck and Social Justice
Shortblog - The Power of the Gospel in Bringing Social Change:  Perhaps We Need to Reconsider Our Efforts
Theology - Is Wallis a Marxist?  A New Video Surfaces