Saturday, June 30, 2012

Joseph Smith's Last Minutes: The True Story

There is a lot of folklore surrounding Joseph Smith's entire life. To Mormons, he is a sort of Messianic figure. This is true especially when it comes to his death. Below is a video that corrects the myth and sets the story straight.





For more, click here.


For more:
Blogizomai - The Mormon Faith of Mitt Romney: A Review
Blogizomai - On God, Religion, Politics, and Mormonism: Robert Jeffress on Bill Mahar
Blogizomai - Here We Go Again: Mormonism and Presidential Politics
Blogizomai - An Important Read: Is Mormonism "Having a Moment?"
Blogizomai - An Important Read: Jeffress on Faith, Politics, & Secularism

All Around the Web: Links For Your Weekend - June 30, 2012

Collin Hansen - Is Most of Reformed Deformed | In light of Ed Young Jr's recent, ridiculous, uninformed rant against Cavlinism, Hansen's article is well worth your read. I think the quote I came across on Twitter (I think from Dr. Daniel Akin - one of those evil Calvinists) is right: we will fight. We will either fight the real enemy in the trenches, or against ourselves in the pews. We're doing the latter right now.

I don't know what has incited the latest incriminations against Calvinists. We're mostly hearing rehashed arguments already thoroughly refuted. Calvinism isn't the "traditional Southern Baptist" view on soteriology. Calvinists are angry bloggers living in our parents' basements who box up God and don't evangelize. Even some prominent Calvinists argue the latter, so we're certainly not surprised by such criticism. Yet it's still a little surprising to learn we're intellectual snobs killing the church by building wells, preaching a social gospel, and preying upon young believers around the world by fostering skinny-jeans laziness because we don't care about people going to hell. Responding to such ugliness with more ugliness would only please Satan and embolden our critics.

I wonder, though, if these recent attacks reflect an underlying insecurity about our standing as Christians in the world, especially in America. By nearly every numeric metric you care to cite, the church is treading water or even falling behind. For a long time we Americans looked at Europe and thanked God for our relative position of strength and influence. For a long time we evangelicals looked at the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant mainline and thanked God for our relative vibrancy, largely gained by poaching their ranks. But we're under no such illusions today. Much of the recent criticism of Calvinism comes from within the Southern Baptist Convention, America's largest Protestant denomination and a rare 20th-century success story for reversing the devastating effects of theological liberalism. Problem is, according to Lifeway Research president Ed Stetzer, "membership in the SBC is now on a multi-year decline. Our 'growth' trend is now negative and our membership is decreasing." Baptisms have decreased 20 percent since 1999. More than a decade of passionate calls to reverse this worrisome trend with a renewed commitment to evangelism has not been able to stop the slump.

When things go bad, we look for someone to blame. The rise of Calvinism among evangelicals happens to correspond to this decade-plus of decline. Might correlation actually be causation? Would the church be in better shape if everyone agreed that God "endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God's gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the gospel"? As a Calvinist, I say no, but then I disagree that you must affirm this statement in order to find motivation to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and see more than a handful of hell-bound sinners transformed by grace.

So how does a Calvinist diagnose our problem? Why are so many of our churches small and dying? Why do we baptize so few new believers? Why don't we have more large churches welcoming thousands of new members? Why does so much of our supposed growth come from church transfers? More importantly, what's our solution.


Dick Morris - Obama’s “Victory” Will Defeat Him – Dick Morris TV: Lunch Alert! | I agree with Morris here that President Obama has won the battle but will lose the war.




Tim Challies - The Message of the Bible | Quoting DA Carson:

God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the universe, including us, his image-bearers. Our misery lies in our rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance, attracts his implacable wrath.

But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he expects.

In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey the gospel (Romans 10:16;2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17)
.


CNN Belief Blog - Sandusky’s pastor addresses conviction from pulpit | Keep this church in your prayers. I know nothing about it, but pray that in the midst of this, the gospel will go forth.

Ed Zeiders, the senior pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, did not shy away from addressing the conviction of his congregant and friend on child sex abuse charges, asking his congregation to “pray for all of those who are victims and for all of those who are predators.”
Zeiders began his sermon with a question.

“In light of the misery, sorrow and suffering we see, affecting every aspect of our life, within us, in the midst of us, and around us – what are we to do,” he asked. “The world needs an answer, our community deserves an answer, and we need to answer together what is the most efficacious way to move forward from here.”

Saying that the eyes of the nation are fixed on the State College community and, to some degree, on the community of St Paul’s, Zeiders said that “in the midst of the raging storms around us” the church had an opportunity.

“If ever a local congregation has been given a moment to…..reveal what it means to be Christian,” Zeiders said, “this is that congregation in this moment in history.”

Zeiders spoke to what he said was the transformative power and saving grace of God, making a connection between faith and ethical behavior. “If we are to claim Jesus as savior,” he said, “we must, without fail, come face-to-face with our own morality.”


Ligonier Ministries - What Does “Simul Justus et Peccator” Mean? | This is helpful from RC Sproul.




Pyromaniacs - Feelings, Dreams and Supernatural Thoughts

The only feeling I ever want to have is just this,—I want to feel that I am a sinner and that Christ is my Saviour. You may keep your visions, and ecstasies and raptures, and dancings to yourselves; the only feeling that I desire to have is deep repentance and humble faith; and if, poor sinner, you have got that, you are saved.

Why, some of you believe that before you can be saved there must be a kind of electric-shock, some very wonderful thing that is to go all through you from head to foot. . . .


What do ye want with all this nonsense of dreams and supernatural thoughts? All that is wanted is, that as a guilty sinner I should come and cast myself on Christ. That done, the soul is safe, and all the visions in the universe could not make it safer
.


Evolution News and Reviews - Peer-Reviewed Paper Concludes that Darwinism "Has Pretty Much Reached the End of Its Rope" | The article is really technical in parts, but the fact that a Darwinist would suggest that Darwinism is at the end of its rope is significant. This is the equivalent of a Christian confessing that Christ didn't really rise from the dead. After all, Darwinism is equally religious.

Notably, the paper's authors seem to share the view of the genome that ID proponents have been advocating for years: "There is probably very little 'junk DNA.' The entire genome, including its frequent repeats, plays a role in regulating gene expression." In support of this, they cite a 2011 paper by Pink et al. ("Pseudogenes: Pseudo-functional or key regulators in health and disease?").

Contrary to the Darwin lobby's oft-repeated assertion that there are absolutely no weaknesses in Darwinian theory, the paper offers the concession that the modern synthesis has never provided an account of "how major forms of life evolved" -- an omission that is not unsubstantial, to put it mildly.

In spite of all this, the authors are nonetheless confident that a new general theory and conceptual framework of evolution will be forthcoming, and that this will make up for where current formulations of evolution fail. But this is mere speculation.

The Darwin lobby will doubtless continue to make their routine assertion that no credible scientist sees any substantial problems with modern evolutionary theory. Such a position is, however, becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.


The Hill - Romney raises $4.2M after health ruling | I still think, and here is just one reason why, Romney wins convincingly in November.

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has raised $4.2 million since the Supreme Court ruled President Obama's healthcare law is constitutional.

Romney started raising funds immediately after the decision, and in a post on Twitter his campaign spokeswoman said he had raised $4.2 million from 42,000 donations.



Gospel Coalition - 7 Steps to Avoid Sexual Sin and Stay in Ministry |

1. Don't say it can't happen to you. 
2. Repent of your pride and self-righteousness. 
3. Put all the needed safeguards in place--and keep them there. 
4. Don't just have a plurality of elders in place--have one in practice. 
5. Make your wife your partner in purity. 
6. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. 
7. Never forget that we are in a spiritual battle with real winners and losers.


The RNC has already got an ad out about repealing Obamacare. That didn't take long. The November election on all levels will now be dominated by the economy, the debt, and health care.





Friday, June 29, 2012

Against the Mandate Before He Was For It: The President in the Primaries

This is a gold mine for whoever the GOP Presidential nominee will be. In these three videos, then Senator Obama makes the case against government mandated health insurance.  As he says in his interview with Ellen, if government can mandate you to buy health insurance, then it can mandate you buy a house.  He's right.













For more:
Blogizomai - Against the Mandate Before He Was For It: The President in the Primaries
Blogizomai - What Would Jesus Vote?: Jesus, Health Care, and the Gospel
Blogizomai - The Politics of Cowardice:  Health Care Passes
Blogizomai - Some Life Not Worth the Investment:  The Dangers of the Health Care Bill Senate Health Care Bill
Blogizomai - Another Political Lie: Abortion and Health Care
Blogizomai - Is Health Care a Right?:  Williams Weighs In
Blogizomai - Health Care, Ideology, and the Gospel:  Colson Weighs In

The Politics of Cowardice: Health Care Passes

In light of the Supreme Courts decision to essentially uphold Obamacare, I thought I would repost some articles I wrote after it was originally signed into law.

History has changed. America has changed. Today, the House of Representatives in our nation's capital passed the health care bill moving it one step forward to becoming law. A lot has been said over the past year. Everything has been said over the past year. A few days ago, the changes of the bill passes looked impossible or at best daunting for its supporters. But now it is a thing of the past.

What was the deciding vote? Certainly the "pro-life" Democrats decision to support the bill after an executive order from the President was a leading factor. Led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), several "pro-life" Democrats stalled the passage of the bill delaying this moment for months. Moments prior to the final vote, Stupak announced that he would in fact vote for the bill following the Presidents executive order. Since the announcement, many have noticed that the President's Executive Order does nothing but say that the Hyde Amendment Law will be applied.

To be blunt: Stupak is a fool and has no right to call himself pro-life. For many on the Democrat side, Stupak represented the last hope of pro-lifers being welcomed in the Democratic party. Now, it seems apparent that one cannot be both pro-life and a Democrat.

The Executive Order is a paper tiger. Any such order can be rescinded by President Barack Obama or his predecessor or any future President. Stupak seems naive enough to think that our nation's most pro-abortion President will keep his word even though his first act as President was to repeal the Mexico City Policy which allowed international funding of abortion. If President Obama will supports funding abortions outside the United States, is Stupak foolish enough to believe that he does not support funding abortions within our own borders? And let us not forget President Obama's record as a state senator when he refused to vote in favor of a bill that would have banned infanticide.

Furthermore, according to some analysis, Obama's Executive Order means absolutely nothing. Andy McCarthy writes:

“That [Executive Orders] can be rescinded at the president’s whim is of course true. This particular [Executive Order] is also a nullity — presidents cannot enact laws, the Supreme Court has said they cannot impound funds that Congress allocates, and (as a friend points out) the line-item veto has been held unconstitutional, so they can’t use executive orders to strike provisions in a bill. So this anti-abortion [Executive Order] is blatant chicanery: if the pro-lifers purport to be satisfied by it, they are participating in a transparent fraud and selling out the pro-life cause.”

One must wonder what Stupak was thinking? For months he has led the charge against his own parties take over of health care and yet at the last minute caves in to the pressure of his party's leaders. Following the announcement, a youtube video was releasing revealing in Stupak's own words that he never intended on seeing his pro-life boycott through. In the video, Stupak explicitly says that even if anti-federal funding for abortion is not in the bill, he would still vote for the bill.

I am stuck as to why Stupak made this decision. If I had to guess, I would surmise that it had more to do with party loyalty than personal convictions about abortion. Apparently his party came before innocent life. Stupak seems to care more about the historic nature of the health care bill and the new entitlement it will create than he does about protecting more lives from being taken.

Many have argued that the bill does not fund abortions. Let us not forget the fact that Planned Parenthood has not only supported the bill, but has also come out in support of the Executive Order. That should tell us all that we need. Any consistent pro-lifer should reject whatever Planned Parenthood supports.

But lets say the bill doesn't fund abortions. Can anyone honestly argue from the history of this country that this bill will not open the door to a public option? And will they then argue that that public option will not become universal health care? President Franklin Roosevelt ensured the American people that Social Security would be free from bankruptcy and would not run up the federal deficit, but clearly he was wrong. He was wrong, not because his intentions weren't good, but because a powerful government wants more. Several Democratic leaders have commented that they intend on adding to this bill. This is not the end of the debate and certainly we will get universal health care. It is the way that government works. Government never grants freedom, it takes it. That is why freedom originates with God.

If government has enough authority to grant health care, then it will decide who will receive care and who will not. Regardless of the punditry and the talk, this will open the door to abortions, more contraceptives, and death panels all of which will be funded by our hard working dollars.

This is a sad day for America. As Christians, we must pray that somehow this will be repealed. However, history has shown that once an entitlement is granted, it is virtually impossible to get rid of it. Though many Republicans will run on repealing the bill this November, Democrats will be able to counter their argument by saying, "the Republicans want to take away your health care."

Our problem, at its root, isn't about health care or taxes our problem is that we looked for government for a hand out rather than each other. A free society can only remain free as long we serve one another. But once we begin to believe that it is governments job to do something for us, we have given the devil what he wanted. We must stop looking for government for answers. Yes health care is high and only getting more expensive, but only fools believe that government will make it better and Stupak has bought into such nonsense.

Freedom has died today and the lives of the unborn have been rejected. And we have so-called pro-lifers to thank. Being pro-life is more than just a bumper sticker.






Dr. Denny Burk -Stupak Never Intended to See It through
Yahoo! News -Schlafly: Health Care Vote Set to Expose the Myth of the 'Pro-Life Democrat'
The Hill -Pro-abortion rights group unhappy with Stupak compromise (include Planned Parenthood statement regarding the Executive Order)
The Hill - Text of Executive Order on Abortion Restrictions
Andy McCarthy - Executie-Order Hijinks
Onenewsnow - Healthcare is NOT a 'Right'




For more:
Blogizomai - Against the Mandate Before He Was For It: The President in the Primaries
Blogizomai - What Would Jesus Vote?: Jesus, Health Care, and the Gospel
Blogizomai - The Politics of Cowardice:  Health Care Passes
Blogizomai - Some Life Not Worth the Investment:  The Dangers of the Health Care Bill Senate Health Care Bill
Blogizomai - Another Political Lie: Abortion and Health Care
Blogizomai - Is Health Care a Right?:  Williams Weighs In
Blogizomai - Health Care, Ideology, and the Gospel:  Colson Weighs In

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Authority Question - Part 2

Author and Emergent leader, Brian McLaren, returns with the second question in his book, "The Authority Question" offering his suggestions and how the New Kind of Christian approaches the Bible. McLaren begins by pointing out the many abuses committed by Christians as the result of misguided and abusive hermeneutics.

First, there is the "scientific mess" (68) where Christians (primarily Fundamentalists) have rejected many scientific breakthroughs because they might contradict the Bible. Specifically, McLaren identifies the Galileo incident, Charles Darwin and evolution, psychology and psychiatry, growing ecological crises', the rotation of the earth, and other scientific issues. McLaren argues that Fundamentalists have simply rejected various scientific arguments based on the assumption that the Bible offers scientific answers that are right.

The second problem relates to ethics. McLaren notes that Christians have used the Bible to defend atrocities like slavery, segregation, and torture. McLaren spends most of his time laying out how Christians defended slavery in centuries past thus forcing many people to reject the Bible as a pro-slavery book.

The third problem relates to peace. Christians are too ready to defend preemptive and unjust wars. Furthermore, many Christians use the Bible as a club in which to beat over the head of persons to disagree with them. Heretics and sinners especially receive the blunt of the blows from preachers, pastors, radio personalities, and Christians alike who want to force their beliefs on other people.

With these three issues taken together, McLaren calls for Christians to rethink how they read, interpret, and interact with the Bible. The author then offers a contrast between the old way of reading the Bible and a new way. The old way of reading the Bible is likened to a Constitution. A good constitutional lawyer, judge, Supreme Court Justice, politician, and President will read and interpret the Constitution as it is. What the Constitution and law says is how things will go.

By reading the Bible this way, Christians have pointed out particular texts to justify hate. Christians has defended and promoted slavery as God given, they have perpetuated Antisemitism, and are currently engaged in chauvinism, homophobia, "environmental plundering," (76) and other injustices throughout the world. By seeing the Bible as a book of right and wrongs, ethical and unethical, many over the centuries have done awful things and believed awful things that are unjustifiable.

The new approach to the Bible is likened to a library. At a library, one searches for a given subject and finds an entire list of available books on the topic. Regarding the "biblical library" McLaren writes:

The biblical library, similarly, is a carefully selected group of ancient documents of paramount importnae for people who want to understand belong to the community of people who seek God, and in particular, the God of Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets, and Jesus. -81

The idea is that in a Constitution, everything is internally consistent and can be interpreted line by line. A library, on the other hand, is full of tension. Full of conversation. At the end of the day, McLaren is pushing for Christians to interpret the Bible more as a conversation than a constitution or as a book containing "freeze-dried theology" (taken from a different McLaren book).

The best example of the Bible's inner conversation McLaren gives comes from the Book of Job. If the Bible is a conversation and thus not a book giving us exact history, science, geography, etc., then it is unnecessary to read a book as historical and accurate. As a result, McLaren does not take the characters or events as literal. For example, McLaren considers "the Satan" to be the byproduct of "Zoroastrian religion who was borrowed from Babylonian culture and maintained in Judaism by some 'liberal' Jews we known as the Pharisees." He goes on to note that "the more conservative Jews, the Sadducees, never accepted the Satan as a legitimate Jewish belief." (88)

We all know the basic premise of Job and I will not summarize it here. McLaren's point is that the middle of Job is hogwash. If we were to approach Job as a constitution, then we have to take what Job's four friends say as literally true. Yet if we take them literally true, then how do we reconcile them with how "God" contradicts them at the end?

McLaren looks at Job as a story detailing conversations regarding the problem of evil and suffering between characters. But remember, these are only characters in a story. None of them are real, including God. When God shows up and speaks or when a prophet declares, "thus says the LORD," it is not necessarily actually God speaking, but another character named God who brings to the conversation their perspective. This means that in the story of Job none of the characters actually answer the question of human suffering and evil. Rather, the characters present their ideas and the author of the narrative of Job is seeking to further the conversation among its readers.

The problem with this approach are numerous. The problem of evil and suffering affects us all and by giving his readers no hope, what comfort is there to get out of Job. Or for that matter, the Bible? Where there are no answers, oftentimes there is no hope. If the book of Job is nothing more than a conversation between characters, than the security in knowing that God is sovereign or that there is purpose and meaning in our suffering is gone. Instead of offering his readers hope, McLaren feeds his readers despair unless the readers of Job (engaged in the ongoing conversation) accept the notion that any answer is a good answer.

Furthermore, one cannot miss (and McLaren readily admits) that the four friends of Jobs are clearly wrong. If they are wrong, then their part of the conversation should be ignored. They offer the wrong answers to Job particular situation. At this point, McLaren points out that the friends are just quoting Deuteronomy and other biblical passages that suggests that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. But to make such an assertion misses the point. McLaren is trying to show tension within the Bible, but what he is showing is that the Bible is nothing more than a journal where ancient Semitic people wrote down their thoughts in various genres.

In addition, the assertion that God is just a character in the story is simply appalling. How can the Bible be described as the Word of God (which he uses frequently) if God is not in it or allows false idols to take His name? Furthermore, if God isn't present in the conversations, then we have no sense of right and wrong.

Think of the dangers this presents. McLaren is ready to accuse Christians of being pro-slavery and pro-preemptive war because of their constitutional reading of Scripture which determines right and wrong. But think of it on the other end. How can McLaren say that things like slavery, environmental abuse, homophobia, and chauvinism are wrong? If the Bible has been abuse by what Christians say is wrong, then surely such attacks allow persons to avoid what is right. How do we know that love, justice, mercy, and forgiveness are the right thing to do? Are they not virtues part of the conversation?

McLaren swims in postmodern relativism when it comes to not attacking things like homosexuality, but he forgets that the other end works the same. If we don't know what is wrong with certainly neither do we know what is right with certainty. Perhaps such discussions on love is part of the conversation and the reader is thus suppose to draw their own conclusions. Maybe what I take away from the story of Job is that what the Satan does is right (at least to me) and thus the Bible supports such action. Obviously, such a conclusion is wrong. But how do we know with a conversational hermeneutic. We are left guessing, thus making all conclusions valid.

McLaren has no hermeneutical foundation by which to interpret Scripture in a consistent matter. He hates the ideas of wrath and hell, but loves the Bible's teachings on love and forgiveness. How do we know that either is right or wrong? Are such concepts part of the conversation?

If McLaren is right then the real place of inspiration isn't within the text of Scripture, but within me. I become God's revelation. After all, God is just a character is the stories of Scripture. Clearly, McLaren is opening a door to liberalism. Though he raises some good issues (like the importance of understanding a texts genre plus the frequent abuse of Scripture throughout history) at the end of the day, he is encouraging his readers to embrace a hermeneutic of liberalism. The Emergent Church is not beyond such labels but fit perfectly within the parameters of liberalism.






Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Narrative Question - Part 1
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed:  The Authority Question - Part 2 
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed:  The God Question - Part 3
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed:  The Jesus Question - Part 4
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed:  The Gospel Question - Part 5 
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed:  The Church Question - Part 6
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed:  The Sex Question - Part 7
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed:  The Future Question - Part 8
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed:  The Pluralism Question - Part 9
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed:  The Where Do We Go From Here Now Question - Part 10
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: Some Final Thoughts - Part 11


Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 4
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 6
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 7
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 8  


For more on Erickson:
Blogizomai - Where to Begin?: Calvin on the Starting Point of Theology - The Knowledge of God & the Knowledge of Man
Blogizomai - Wherefore Art Thou Theological Giants?
Blogizomai - On Special Revelation: Dreams, Visions, Theophanies, and the Word of God 
Blogizomai - Is Hell Real?: The Difference Between Emergent Agnostic Doctrine & Orthodoxy
Blogizomai - Condemnation But No Justification: The Purpose of General Revelation
Blogizomai - The Reservoir & Conduit of Divine Truth: Carl FH Henry on Revelation
Blogizomai - Where is the Gospel? Charles Hodge & the Insufficiency of Natural Theology 
Blogizomai - Exegetical Theology or Theological Exegesis?: DeYoung on the Both/And


For more:
Blogizomai - Repost | "Life's Biggest Questions" by Erik Thoennes
Reviews - The Top 5 Essential Works of Theology of the Past 25 Years
Reviews - "Doctrine"
Reviews - "The Good News We Almost Forgot
Reviews - "Dug Down Deep" by Josh Harris
Reviews - "Heresy"
Reviews - "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" by Alister McGrath
Reviews - "The Theology of the Reformers"
Blogizomai - Repost | Schreiner on the Practice of Inaugurated Eschatology
Blogizomai - We Are All Theologians:  The Root of Everything We Are and Do
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology
Blogizomai - The Meaning & Implications of the Resurrection
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology

Romney Responds to SCOTUS Obamacare Ruling

Shortly after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of President Obama's health care law, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney responded. Here is that speech:


Watch Romney's Response to Supreme Court's Obamacare Ruling Live

Mitt Romney is scheduled to respond to the Supreme Courts decision to uphold Obamacare around 11:45 easter. Watch it live here.





To view the speech now that this event has passed, click here.

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 8

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 4
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 6
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 7
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 8


What about infallibility? One of the real weaknesses of Millard Erickson's discussion on Bibliology is not what he discusses but in what he fails to either mention or discuss. There is nothing said, for example, regarding the perspicuity (or clarity) of Scripture which was one, if not the, central doctrine and bibliological issue of the Reformation. There is also little to nothing said regarding canonicity which still remains an issue of debate. Every since Marcion, the church has had to articulate the Christian, biblical canon of Scripture. What about Catholicism, Greek Orthodox, Mormonism, and even the rise of extra-canonical revelations from charismatics and others?

Infallibility is another issue that gets surprising little treatment. Today, many are challenging inerrancy (which Erickson defends and discusses) but try to affirm its infallibility. Is that even possible? Here is most of what Erickson has to say on the subject of infallibility and inerrancy:

The inerrancy of Scripture is the doctrine that the Bible is fully truthful in all of its teachings. Since many evangelicals consider it an exceedingly important and even crucial issue, it requires careful examination. In a real sense, it is the completion of the doctrine of Scripture. For if God has given special relation of himself and inspired servants of his to record it, we will want assurance that the Bible is indeed a dependable source of that revelation.


In a very real sense, inerrancy is part of the larger issue of infallibility. While often used synonymously in the past, it has in recent years been used as an alternative, meaning in some usages that the Bible was not necessarily accurate in all of its factual references, but that it accomplishes the divine purpose.


Speech-ac theory, however, as we noted in the chapter on theological language, has emphasized the variety of types of utterances in Scripture, or to put it differently, the different grammatical moods, in addition to the indicative. There are commands, wishes, questions, and other types of speech-acts in addition to affirmations. As Kevin van Hoozer indicates, infallibility means that in whatever mood Scripture is functioning, it adequately expresses God's command or question or whatever speech-act is involved. This follows from the doctrine of inspiration developed above. These types of utterances, however, are not ordinary capable of being assessed by the use of sources other than the intention of the one making the intention of the one making the speech-act. Thus, the subclass of speech-acts referred to here as affirmations or assertions has especially come under scrutiny, and it is with respect to them that the issue of infallibility takes the form of inerrancy. -247-248

This is essentially all that Erickson says on the subject of infallibility and it is only to briefly state that it is different from inerrancy and comes out of inspiration. For a systematic theology first published in the early 1980's, I find this distinguish and space spent on the subject to infallibility to be unfortunate.  What Erickson has here is good, but more could be said.

A more complete doctrine of Scripture acknowledges both as distinct, yet affirms that in many ways they are inseparable. If inspiration implies infallibility, then infallibility must assume inerrancy. Though theologians like neo-orthodox Karl Barth and endless liberals try to separate the two (preferring infallibility over inerrancy), we must affirm and understand both.

How we define infallibility has been a subject of debate. Some simply assert that it means that it is true. Certainly that is adequate in my book. Scripture is true. If that is the case, then it makes sense to affirm also that it does not error (inerrant). Others define infallibility as affirming that Scripture does not fail to accomplish its purpose especially in matters of faith and practice. This weaker definition seems to be more prevalent among liberals who come to Scripture believing that there are mistakes but still want it to matter. So maybe the sun didn't stand still, but that doesn't mean there isn't something in Joshua for us to learn. This is simply inadequate.

It is for this, and other, reason I affirm the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy:




Article XI
We affirm that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses.

We deny that it is possible for the Bible to be at the same time infallible and errant in its assertions. Infallibility and inerrancy may be distinguished, but not separated.



For more on Erickson:
Blogizomai - Where to Begin?: Calvin on the Starting Point of Theology - The Knowledge of God & the Knowledge of Man
Blogizomai - Wherefore Art Thou Theological Giants?
Blogizomai - On Special Revelation: Dreams, Visions, Theophanies, and the Word of God 
Blogizomai - Is Hell Real?: The Difference Between Emergent Agnostic Doctrine & Orthodoxy
Blogizomai - Condemnation But No Justification: The Purpose of General Revelation
Blogizomai - The Reservoir & Conduit of Divine Truth: Carl FH Henry on Revelation
Blogizomai - Where is the Gospel? Charles Hodge & the Insufficiency of Natural Theology 
Blogizomai - Exegetical Theology or Theological Exegesis?: DeYoung on the Both/And


For more:
Blogizomai - The Gospel and the Story of Everything
Blogizomai - Repost Friday | What the Book of Galatians Taught Me About Politics: The Importance of Freedom, Personal Responsibility, and Community
Theology - "God's Word in Human Words": Full Series
Theology - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 1
Theology - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 2
Theology - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 3
Theology - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 4
Theology - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 5
Theology - John MacArthur and the Authority of Scripture  
Blogizomai - The Book of the Prophet Habakkuk

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Defamation of the Reformation: Ed Young's Ignorant Rant Against Reformed Theology

The twitterverse and the Internet in general is ablaze following Ed Young Jr's recent rant against Calvinism and especially the New Calvinism. Below is the video. In short, Young shows his theological ignorance, his pastoral hypocrisy (he rants about Calvinisms meanness in a hateful way), and his own foolishness (Calvinist don't evangelize? Really? That again?). I agree with a friend of mine, it appears that those who stir the theological division and debates regarding Calvinism/Non-Calvinism are predominately non-Calvinist.

Young should be condemned for his language and this rant by everyone and not just Calvinists. His language is divisive, wrong, ignorant, sinful, and unbecoming of a Christian leader and pastor. I'm not even sure if Young has ever read Calvin or any Calvinist writings.





Add this to Young's list of negative blog posts from a Reformed dude in his basement. Now excuse me while I go continue my work as a Reformed pastor while I minister to the sick, the hurting, the dying, the abused, the incarcerated, and yes, the lost just like all of my Calvinists and non-Calvinist friends.

The gospel is better than this.


A few links:
Collin Hansen - Is Most of Reformed Deformed
Ken Silva - SOUTHERN BAPTIST MEGAPASTOR ED YOUNG, JR VEHEMENTLY ATTACKS CALVINIST CHRISTIANS

James White - Today on a Very Important Radio Free Geneva: Ed Young Jr.'s Outrageous Rant Against Straw-Man Calvinism
Denny Burk - Ed Young’s Recent Sermon on Reformed Theology

All Around the Web: Links For Your Wednesday - June 25, 2012

Dr. Denny Burk - Fred Luter: ABC News' Person of the Week |

video platform video management video solutions video player


Dr. James MacDonald - 4 Myths Attacking the Church Today |

1: The Word of God is not sufficient. The Word of God does not have all of the answers that people need for the complex problems of the twenty-first century man. Instead of the message of the Word of God, we need psychology—literally, the study of the soul.

2: The Word of God is not sophisticated.If you really want to reach people—boomers, GenX’ers, post-moderns—you need a more sophisticated hook than the Word of God. 

3: The Word of God is not settled. The Word is still emerging—the message is still changing.

4: The Word of God is not sure or reliable. Christ is not unique, and His unique message is to be rejected in a world of pluralism.

ZD Net - Charging your iPad only sets you back $1.36 in yearly electricity costs | Yet another reason to get an iPad.

There are many things you can complain about when it comes to the iPad — from the less-than-stellar working conditions of the supply chain Apple hires to make its tablets to the high prices the company charges for them — but apparently your electricity bill shouldn’t be one of them.

According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), you should be able to pay what it costs to charge your iPad annually with the coins in your change jar. The EPRI conducted lab tests that led it to conclude that a person charging his or her iPad every other day would pay $1.36 in yearly electricity costs for the privilege. Even if you’re like me and need to fully charge your iPad nearly every day, it’s still probably cheaper than a single trip to Starbucks.


Gospel Ebooks - Why Amazon Kindle? |

15. Permanent Storage
14. Family Book Sharing
13. Massive Selection
12. Book Lending
11. Book-like Experience
10. Mobility
9. Font Size Adjustable
8. Long Lasting Battery
7. Social Sharing
6.  Read it NOW
5. Book Samples
4. Audio Reader
3. Its the Future
2. Multi-Platform
1. Cheap Prices


The Atlantic - The Incredible Resilience of Books |
So here we are, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, and publishing faces what everyone in the industry agrees are its greatest challenges yet. The overwhelming power of Amazon, both in print and e-book sales, makes the days of Walden and Dalton feel quaint by comparison. Amazon is also making a determined foray as a publisher and producer of audio books.("The Amazon Effect" by Steve Wasserman in a recent Nation is an especially well-reported piece, notable for its balanced tone of judgment.) The Department of Justice's spring lawsuit against five major publishers and Apple charging collusion in price-fixing represents an enormous hurdle for the industry as it reinvents itself to provide maximum flexibility across the multiple platforms in which books can be made available. The consensus is that the Department of Justice, perhaps lacking an understanding of how the industry is evolving, seems ready to grant Amazon potentially even greater power than it already has to set prices as it chooses. While three of the publishers -- Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster -- settled the case rather than run up enormous lawyer bills and open-ended legal distraction, Penguin and Macmillan (and Apple) have refused to accept those terms and have submitted fierce refutations of the allegations. With time running out for public comment on the lawsuits and the proposed settlements, criticism has come from across the publishing spectrum. At last count, there were more than 150 letters filed, with an equal number expected before the deadline of June 25.

For all these existential matters in play, the mood at the recent annual gathering of the industry known as Book Expo was strikingly upbeat. The floor of New York's Javits Center (a venue that does not get any more appealing as it ages) was full for all three days of the fair. There were scores of educational sessions devoted to every aspect of the digital transformation. Many of them attracted packed rooms of authors, booksellers, and publishing staffers intent on making sense of subjects that were once the domain of engineers, such as DRM (digital rights management), the as yet unsettled policy for controlling the reproduction of e-books once they are downloaded, to limit piracy. Given that the role of chain stores once loomed so large and no longer does, predicting the future of publishing in the age of Amazon's dominance is little more than a considered guess. Google, which has digitized millions of books, currently is tied up in court cases, but may yet emerge as another major factor in how books are distributed. And, somewhere in the nether regions of technology and entrepreneurial energy, an equivalent force for publishing may be in development. . . . 


Book readers have proven their devotion to the written word for centuries. How they will do so in the years ahead remains uncertain in a variety of ways. But books are here to stay.


Tullian Tchividjian - The Gospel For Christians




The Blaze - Report: Romney Campaign Officially Vetting Paul Ryan for VP | I think Paul Ryan stands a good chance of being the nominee, but it comes with some risk. If he chooses Ryan, then Romney will have to run on the Ryan budget plan and make it central to his campaign. With Obama having such a bad month, this may not be the best campaign choice, but it may be a good VP choice.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has submitted paperwork to the Romney campaign and is officially being vetted for the vice presidential nomination, National Review reported late Friday afternoon.

Citing unnamed sources, writer Robert Costa said he was “reliably informed” of the development with the House Budget Committee chair.

Ryan endorsed Romney earlier this year and has repeatedly joined him on the campaign stump. Ryan’s camp declined to shed any light on the revelation, telling National Review, “Respecting their campaign’s internal process, we’re not going to comment.”


AP - Pawlenty says to look elsewhere for potential VP | You can take this for what its worth. Mitch Daniels is the only "short-list" candidate (according to the "experts") that is officially out after he became the president of Purdue University.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (puh-LEN'-tee) says he's told Mitt Romney's presidential campaign to look elsewhere for a running mate.

Pawlenty, who competed briefly last year for the GOP nomination before dropping out and endorsing Romney, says he thinks he could serve the Republican ticket better in other ways.

Pawlenty says being asked to run as vice president with Romney would be an honor.

But Pawlenty tells CBS' "Face the Nation" that he's "encouraged people who asked this question in the campaign to look at other prospects."



The New York Times - Political Scientists Are Lousy Forecasters | Political forecasters and political predictions made in the media are like weather predictions and weather forecasters . . . except with a worse track record.

It’s an open secret in my discipline: in terms of accurate political predictions (the field’s benchmark for what counts as science), my colleagues have failed spectacularly and wasted colossal amounts of time and money. The most obvious example may be political scientists’ insistence, during the cold war, that the Soviet Union would persist as a nuclear threat to the United States. In 1993, in the journal International Security, for example, the cold war historian John Lewis Gaddis wrote that the demise of the Soviet Union was “of such importance that no approach to the study of international relations claiming both foresight and competence should have failed to see it coming.” And yet, he noted, “None actually did so.” Careers were made, prizes awarded and millions of research dollars distributed to international relations experts, even though Nancy Reagan’s astrologer may have had superior forecasting skills. 

Political prognosticators fare just as poorly on domestic politics. In a peer-reviewed journal, the political scientist Morris P. Fiorina wrote that “we seem to have settled into a persistent pattern of divided government” — of Republican presidents and Democratic Congresses. Professor Fiorina’s ideas, which synced nicely with the conventional wisdom at the time, appeared in an article in 1992 — just before the Democrat Bill Clinton’s presidential victory and the Republican 1994 takeover of the House.



The Blaze - ‘Mom, Dad, I‘m a Democrat’: The Worst Attempt at Outreach to Republicans You’ll See This Week | This is just cheesy and ridiculous. Like Republicans really don't want everyone to have health care, etc.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Gospel Depends on it: Why Verbal Inspiration Matters

Why does verbal inspiration matter? Earlier today, we looked in some detail into the doctrine of verbal inspiration with the conclusion that the gospel depends on us adopting the bibliology of the biblical authors. To defend the thesis that verbal inspiration is an important component of rightly understanding of the gospel, we should look at the biblical evidence and examples from history.

As pointed out earlier, Paul's defense of sola fida (to use a Reformation term) against the legalistic Judiazers is centered on the absence of an s in Genesis 13:15 (for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever). Paul's argument in Galatians 3 is that the gospel that saves us by faith and not by works (thus sola fida) predates the giving of the Mosaic Law. Paul writes, What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. (Gal. 3:17-18)

This all means that the Law was not and still is not the means of salvation, but only condemns us as sinners. This is a serious issue. For if the writer of Genesis was not under the full and verbal inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we might not have the gospel today.*

So in Scripture, the gospel hangs in the balance of every jot and tittle (Matthew 5:18) of Scripture. This is made evident even after the closing of the canon. There appears to be a correlation between those who deny inspiration and who deny the gospel. Redefine your doctrine of Scripture and you will redefine your understanding of the gospel. Examples are abundant here.  Marcionism's distortion of the canon led to heretical doctrine (like Docetism as just one example). the Roman Catholic Church's emphasis on Tradition as authoritative with Scripture led to the Reformations need to reform of the gospel. Liberalism is in many ways a rescue mission that has tried to save Christianity from itself in light of our post-Enlightenment world. Most liberals see Scripture out dated, mythical, and more of a guide than the final authority on all matters of faith and as a result, liberalism has struggle only coming to a final conclusion to the gospel, but they have not struggled distorting the gospel. Liberals emphasis cheap grace because cheap grace is easy to preach.

The prosperity gospel is yet another example. Such preachers are eager to quote verses that put promises of wealth in God's mouth, but seem to be unable to find the countless passages that speak of poverty, suffering, perseverance, death, evil, and carrying our crosses like Christ. As a result, they distort the gospel. Though most prosperity preachers would claim to affirm verbal inspiration, it is clear that they do not. They deny plenary inspiration in their selection of Scriptures and verbal inspiration in refusing to deal honestly with the biblical text. As a result of this distorted bibliology, they have a distorted soteriology.

And that is why verbal inspiration - or our bibliology in general - matters. Distort a right view of Scripture and you will inevitably distort the gospel.


*  We could also point to Matthew 5:17-19 as another example: Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 4
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 6
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 7


 For more on Erickson:
Blogizomai - Where to Begin?: Calvin on the Starting Point of Theology - The Knowledge of God & the Knowledge of Man
Blogizomai - Wherefore Art Thou Theological Giants?
Blogizomai - On Special Revelation: Dreams, Visions, Theophanies, and the Word of God
Blogizomai - Where is the Gospel? Charles Hodge & the Insufficiency of Natural Theology 
Blogizomai - Exegetical Theology or Theological Exegesis?: DeYoung on the Both/And


For more:
Blogizomai - Repost | "Life's Biggest Questions" by Erik Thoennes
Reviews - The Top 5 Essential Works of Theology of the Past 25 Years
Reviews - "Doctrine"
Reviews - "The Good News We Almost Forgot
Reviews - "Dug Down Deep" by Josh Harris
Reviews - "Heresy"
Reviews - "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" by Alister McGrath
Reviews - "The Theology of the Reformers"
Blogizomai - Repost | Schreiner on the Practice of Inaugurated Eschatology
Blogizomai - We Are All Theologians:  The Root of Everything We Are and Do
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology
Blogizomai - The Meaning & Implications of the Resurrection
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology

Christian Theology - Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 7

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 4
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 6
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 7


How intensive was the inspiration (238)? That's the opening question asked by Dr. Millard Erickson in his systematic theology book, Christian Theology, when discussing the important question of verbal inspiration. Is every word, syllable, and punctuation mark (238) inspired? To answer this question, Erickson helpful looks at how Scripture reads and interprets Scripture. He writes:

When we examine the New Testament writers' use of the Old Testament, an interesting feature appears. We sometimes find indication that they regarded every word, syllable, and punctuation mark as significant. (238)

This is so true that at times an author's entire argument may come down to a fine point in the text. The examples that Erickson gives is Jesus in John 10:35 (If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came [and the Scripture cannot be broken]), who quotes Psalm 82:6 (I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High). Also in Matthew 22:32 (‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”), Jesus quotes from Exodus 3:6 (He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God). Erickson points out here that In verse 44, the point of the argument hangs on a possessive suffix, "The Lord said to my Lord."

Perhaps the most important example, in my opinion, illustrating this is the Apostle Paul in Galatians 3:16 (Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.) who quotes Genesis 13:15 (for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever). Here Paul's defense of the transcendence of sola fida is based on the singularity of one word seed. The gospel here is hanging on the absence of an s.

This leads Erickson to conclude that Since the New Testament writers considered these Old Testament minutiae authoritative (i.e., as what God himself said), they obviously regarded the choice of words and even the form of the words as having been directed by the Holy Spirit. (238)

But the proof of verbal inspiration (or the intensiveness of inspiration as Erickson describes it) goes beyond this. Erickson points out that at times the writers of the New Testament attribute to God which in the Old Testament is not specifically spoken by him. or example Jesus in Matthew 19:4-5 (And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?) who is referencing Genesis 2:24 (For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh). Notice how Jesus essentially puts words in God's mouth when in Genesis, the definition of marriage is taken from the narrator. Thus to Jesus, when Moses defined marriage as man and woman becoming one flesh, it was as if God was saying it.*

One last evidence of Scripture's verbal inspiration. When introducing a quote from the Old Testament, the writers will use language of inspiration and authority. Jesus oftentimes says things like "It is written" (see for example Matthew 4:4, 6, 7, 10; 11:10; 21:13; 26:24; 26:31 just to reference one book). This all shows that to the New Testament authors and to Jesus, the Old Testament is verbally inspired even to the smallest detail.

We could extend this to the New Testament as there are examples of New Testament writers quoting other New Testament writers (Erickson does not go here). Paul interestingly quotes both Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7 in 1 Timothy 5:18 which begins with the words For the Scripture says. . . We should also consider here how the Early Church treated the New Testament. Even before the final collection of the canon, one can easily see that the early church revealed what we call verbal inspiration regarding the New Testament.

The relevancy of this discussion should not be missed. We ought to model our view of Scripture after that of Christ and His apostles. If every jot and tittle (Matthew 5:18) is inspired then we should view Scripture that way. Every word, every line, every letter (or lack there of as Galatians 3:16 showed), and every word meaning ought to drive our theology and shape our lives. The gospel depends on it.


* Erickson writes here, Evidently, in Jess' mind anything that the Old Testament said was what God said. (239)


For more on Erickson:
Blogizomai - Where to Begin?: Calvin on the Starting Point of Theology - The Knowledge of God & the Knowledge of Man
Blogizomai - Wherefore Art Thou Theological Giants?
Blogizomai - On Special Revelation: Dreams, Visions, Theophanies, and the Word of God
Blogizomai - Where is the Gospel? Charles Hodge & the Insufficiency of Natural Theology 


For more:
Blogizomai - Repost | "Life's Biggest Questions" by Erik Thoennes
Reviews - The Top 5 Essential Works of Theology of the Past 25 Years
Reviews - "Doctrine"
Reviews - "The Good News We Almost Forgot
Reviews - "Dug Down Deep" by Josh Harris
Reviews - "Heresy"
Reviews - "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" by Alister McGrath
Reviews - "The Theology of the Reformers"
Blogizomai - Repost | Schreiner on the Practice of Inaugurated Eschatology
Blogizomai - We Are All Theologians:  The Root of Everything We Are and Do
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology
Blogizomai - The Meaning & Implications of the Resurrection
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Rid of My Disgrace": A Review

With one in four women and one in six men having been sexually assaulted, it is time for the church to have an answer and to have the ability to minister to those in their midst who are hurting. To help, Justin and Lindsay Holcomb have co-written a helpful book put out by Re-Lit called Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault. As the title suggest, the book seeks to be a source of information and ministry to those who are hurting and suffering from sexual assault.

The truth is, most pastors and church leaders are not trained or able to handle the reality of sexual assault victims. To make it worse, most are ignorant of how many in their own congregation are victims of sexual sin. As our culture becomes more sexually confused and depraved, it will become more necessary for the church to be armed with a response.

What I love about this book is that the ministry that the Holcombs offer the hope of the gospel. The authors walk the reader through the process of dealing of sexual victimization point us to the cross and resurrection. As a minister, I am given an example by which to model my own ministry, even beyond the challenge of sexual sin, after the gospel.

The hope the church must offer the sexual victim (and might we add even the sexual sinner) is the gospel. Beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation, we must proclaim a message that offers hope to the hopeless and freedom to those burdened with the despair of sexual sin. The Holcomb's write with keen insight from years of experience. This is a resource that the church needs and one that every minister should have assess too.

At some point in every under-shepherds ministry, he will have to deal with this issue.  Even at my rural congregation, I could chronicle several examples of sexual sinners and sexual victims and the power of the gospel for both. Read this book!












For more:
Blogizomai - "Real Marriage" by Mark & Grace Driscoll
Blogizomai - Pedophilia Redefined: Academics Begin Their Push
Blogizomai - The Great Recession or the Recession That Made Us Great?: Pornography and the Frugality of Lust
Blogizomai - An Important Read: Premarital Sex and the Promises It Fails to Deliver
Blogizomai - Don't Be Naive, They're Having Sex: A Word to Parents, Students, and Pastors

All Around the Web: Links For Your Monday - June 25, 2012

Highly Exalted - Southern Baptist Convention - New Orleans, LA 2012 | Here is a great summary of the #SBC12 from a good friend of mine.

1) The dominating historical event was the election of Fred Luter, Jr to the SBC Presidency. The SBC has a rich heritage of leading the protestant world in missions and evangelism, but also has a checkered and sinful past when it comes to cooperating with other races. Luter’s nomination and subsequent election represented a landmark in the history of the SBC. The most electrifying moment came as nearly 8,000 messengers rose to their feet to affirm and officially direct the Recording Secretary to cast the convention ballot for Luter. Amidst the flickering of camera flashes and tears welling, Luter humbly accepted the role. The hard work now begins for Luter as he steers this ship. He will set the tone for the next couple of years. As Luter and Ed Stetzer spoke in a public forum in the Exhibit Hall following the election, Luter maintained that his presidency cannot simply be symbolic or token. The convention needs to ensure we work with like-minded members of other races for the cause of the advance of the kingdom. Luter’s warm, pastoral presence will be an encouragement to those in convention life. Let us pray he will pave the way to increased cooperation for the kingdom.

2) The only contested race was the seat of the 2nd Vice President. Oddly enough it is a position with probably the fewest practical responsibilities. For some time Eric Hankins, Pastor of FBC Oxford, MS, was the only candidate running. Few knew his name until the end of May when he released “A Statement on the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding on God’s Plan for Salvation.” Hankins was the primary impetus behind the document and its preamble, which seemingly put “Calvinists” in their proper place at the SBC family table. He acknowledged their right to be a part of the family, but repudiated the idea that Southern Baptists Calvinists would ever be a majority. His statement lit up the blogosphere with rants, comments, conspiracy theories, and much heat. It even drew a respone from Southern Seminary President, R. Albert Mohler, Jr and counter responses by Jerry Vines and a host of others. Although Hankins’ intent may have been charitable in some degree, the statement that was devised undermines the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and serves to limit cooperation among like-minded Southern Baptists. Hankins lost the election of 2nd Vice President in a runoff with Dave Miller (Pastor in Iowa and operator of SBCVoices.com) handily. Dave Miller is one of the few non-south pastors elected to an office. This shows an increased diversity by going outside of the southeast United States for leadership. Even though Hankins amassed over 700 signatures to the statement, it lacked the fervor at convention necessary to garner momentum and only two current SBC entity heads signed the statement (Chuck Kelley and Paige Patterson, both seminary presidents). The last few weeks just go to show us that the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is an excellent confession of faith that leaves room for Calvinist and non-Calvinist brethren (although not semi-Pelagian or Pelagian brethren; more on this in another blog post).


Monergism - Inerrancy and Worldview (.pdf book) |  Free book released this year. Don't miss out on this!


Scot McKnight (Jesus Creed) - On Divine Child Abuse | A helpful post in response to the view, articulated by Steve Chalke years ago, that the cross, as understood by penal substitution, is divine child abuse.

About a decade ago it became avant garde theology to contend the classical Christian theory of atonement was nothing less than divine child abuse. That is, the image of a Father punishing a Son, or exacting retribution at the expense of his own Son, or punishing a Son for the good of others — each of these became a way of deconstructing classical atonement theory. Unfortunately, this approach works from a very simplistic image: a father, a son, and a brutal death and attributes intention to the father as one who brutalizes a son. As an image, it connotes abuse. The image, however, abuses the Bible’s image. (Art is from Rebel God.) . . . 


First, this accusation fails to represent the best thinking about how the Father and Son are related in the Bible and Christian theology. . . . 

Second, this accusation fails to see that the Son gave his life, that the Father gave the Son’s life, and the point here is that the cross in the Bible and theology is the freely-chosen, gracious choice and act of the Father, Son and Spirit. . . . 

Third, this accusation fails to comprehend that entering into death, willingly and out of love, is the act of God entering into the fullness of the human condition, including death.


Kevin DeYoung - When Dialogue Avoids Truth | DeYoung quotes Oden here:

The seductions of dialogue typically draw believers toward subjective feelings, mutual congratulation, and institutional horse-trading. They thrive on negotiation or arbitration models of interaction. They thereby draw us far away from the truth that is declared in Jesus Christ in whom all believers are called to participate by faith. So it should not be surprising that classic Christian believers tend to regard undisciplined dialogue as a temptation…

Confessing Christians have a long history of experience with the frustration and futility of such undisciplined dialogue not ordered under the written Word. It less often leads to the question of truth than to the question of how we “feel,” and how we can accommodate or negotiate our competing interests. That is different from the question of truth announced in the gospel, which alone engenders the unity of believers.

If the central question of Christian unity for classic Christian believers is the truth of the gospel, then the apostolic testimony made known in Jesus Christ is the first step toward unity. All other dialogue, however altruistic it may appear, is truly a diversion, a pretension of searching for truth, a ruse that substitutes narcissistic talk for integrity. What seems an innocent and generous invitation to dialogue actually amounts to a disposed predetermination to replace the truth question with what we “feel” about our own experience. In this way dialogue becomes an instrument of manipulation already shaped by the wrong premises. Global orthodox believers seek unity in the truth, no unity apart from truth, not unity as a substitute for the truth, but unity in the truth of the revealed Word. (Turning Around the Mainline, 66-67).


Ligonier Ministries - The Age of the Universe and Genesis 1 — A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture | The answer is, "I don't know" as the answer to the age of the earth. To a certain extent I agree with this, but I'm not sure Scripture is as ambiguous as is presented here. Furthermore, the problem many young earth creationists have is that in order to believe in an old earth, you almost have to adopt some form of evolution not to mention questions of the historicity of Adam and Eve (which raises the question of original sin) and other important issues.

It is also wiser to say, “I don’t know,” than it is to make ultimatums that may be based on a misinterpretation of Scripture and/or God’s created works. I have encountered Christians who have said that they would renounce Christianity if they were convinced that the earth moves around the sun because it would mean that the Bible is not true. I have also encountered Christians who have argued that any believer who is convinced that the universe has been proven to be billions of years old should abandon Christianity because it would mean that the Bible is not true. No. As Dr. Sproul implied, something like this would merely mean that a particular interpretation of Scripture was mistaken. It says absolutely nothing about the truth of God’s Word itself. If the universe turns out to be 6000 years old, that fact will not ultimately conflict with what Scripture actually teaches. If the universe turns out to be billions of years old, that fact will not ultimately conflict with what Scripture actually teaches.ii We do not need to renounce Christianity in either case. Only if Christ is not risen from the dead is our faith in vain (1 Cor. 15:14).

What about the age of the universe then? If students of general revelation (i.e. scientists) contribute to our understanding of special revelation as Dr. Sproul has explained, then those of us who do not have the training to expertly evaluate the evidence ourselves are dependent to one degree or another on those who are trained in order to help us understand the evidence for and against the different claims. A problem arises, however, when different Christians look to different specialists and those different specialists themselves present us with conflicting conclusions. We end up with Christians who have an equal commitment to the authority of Scripture coming to different conclusions about the evidence. This then affects our reading of special revelation. . . . 


The debate over the age of the universe and the days of Genesis has also played out as numerous books have been written in the last century and a half by Reformed theologians presenting evidence for one view or another.iii The Calendar Day view was held by Reformed theologians such as Robert L. Dabney and Louis Berkhof.iv It has recently been defended by Douglas F. Kelly, James B. Jordan, Joseph Pipa, and David Hall.v The Day Age view was held by Reformed theologians such as Charles Hodge, B. B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, and E. J. Young.vi More recently, this view has been defended by Francis Schaeffer and James Montgomery Boice.vii The Framework view has been defended by Reformed theologians such as Meredith Kline, Mark Futato, and Henri Blocher.viii A version of the Analogical Day view was held by William G. T. Shedd.ix More recently, this view has been defended by Reformed theologians such as C. John Collins and W. Robert Godfrey.x In short, Reformed Christians are still sorting through the issues.


Desiring God - When Homosexuality Became a Man | I really enjoyed this article

Then in 1985, through the patient, persistent, pursuing love of a Christian friend, Joe heard the voice of Jesus and left “the lifestyle” to follow him.  

But nine months later the doctor spoke the nightmare words: “your blood test was positive.” Joe had full-blown AIDS. In 1986, the prognosis was two years, maybe. Joe believed life was over.

But Jesus didn’t. In fact, what Joe saw as a scorched place God intended to turn into a watered garden (Isaiah 58:11).

God gave him a church family at Bethlehem Baptist and a supportive family in Outpost Ministries' men’s group. Rather than shriveling, Joe flourished, growing in grace and truth and leadership. Soon he was asked to be Outpost’s Ministry Director. An excellent writer and compelling speaker, Joe increasingly found himself publicly preaching the gospel, championing God’s good design in human sexuality, equipping the church to serve the homosexually broken, and comforting the suffering. 

Year after year this went on. Joe stopped expecting to die. There was too much kingdom work to do. So much that he recruited me to help him. One night in 1991, he called me. “I need some help at Outpost. The guys I work with need to be around spiritually mature men who don’t struggle with homosexuality. They have to stop seeing themselves as freaks, but as men. Would you help me?” I said yes.



Real Clear Politics - Mitt Romney's Sons Make Appearance on Conan |





A sneak peak at the new Spiderman.