Friday, April 29, 2016

The Journal of Joseph Craig - Chapter 10

One of the great byproducts of the Internet and the digital age is its working in saving great books in history that are at risk of being lost. In my effort to research my ancestors who were ministers like myself, this work has become even more prescient to me. One of my ancestors (a Great uncle) was a man named Joseph Craig who was among the Traveling Church who came to Kentucky in 1781 fleeing Anglican persecution in Virginia. In the coming weeks, I want to offer his journal which gives a personal and unique insight in pioneer American Baptists life. Thanks to the Internet, is story is being preserved for future generations.


February 15, 1813


It is thirty-one years since I came to Kentucky. I have sold corn every year in general. I think about one-hundred barrels in each year. I had thirty or forty thousand acres of land surveyed, and chopped around great parts of it myself and I have no law about any of it, nor do I owe a dollar in the world as I know of. I have raised ten sons and daughters, and given them some learning, and some property towards keeping house: and in all this I have tried to act to the glory of God. Have I fought a fight? In which time I have sinned often, but not willingly or willfully but as my sinful nature caused me to do. But bless God a feel a free pardon of all them and divine life and love flower through my heart-believing to my soul's satisfaction, he loves me. In forty-seven years, I seldom neglected kneeling on my knees, and praying to the Almighty God for his blessing and care.

This I count only as a proof of my faith in the Lord.


For more:
"Esteem Reproach" by Harper & Jacumin: A Review
"Baptists and Persecution in Virginia": A Lecture by Steve Weaver
Elijah Craig: A Biography Written By James B. Taylor 

All Around the Web - April 29, 2016

Russell Moore - How the Gospel Frees Us To Risk

WORLD Magazine - Christian baker loses appeal in same-sex wedding cake case

Trevin Wax - 3 Reasons You Should See Going to Church as a Privilege, Not a Chore

Kevin DeYoung - What Does It Mean for an Overseer to Be “Above Reproach” and “Well Thought of By Outsiders”?

Preachers and Preaching - Canonicity: Why These 66 Books?

The Gospel Coalition - Themelios 41.1


Joe Carter - What You Should Know About Suicide in America

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Divine Simplicity: Theology Proper For Liberals & Calvinists

Of all of the attributes of God, one that is commonly overlooked and ignored is His Simplicity.  God is simple.  In a Point blog/podcast, John Stonestreet shows why this fundamental Theology Proper doctrine is central to our understanding of who God is and how we understand and apply his attributes.  First, Stonestreet begins with what we (don't) mean by simplicity:
When we hear the word simple, we tend to think easy to understand. When we talk of a simple person, we referring to someone not all that smart. But when Christians throughout history, like Thomas Aquinas and Iraneaus have said that God is simple, they don’t mean either of these things. What they mean is that God is not made of his attributes, God is identical to his attributes.

In other words, to say that God is simple is not to say that He is a simpleton. Kevin DeYoung helpful adds this in another post:
The simplicity of God means God is not made up of goodness, mercy, justice, and power. He is goodness, mercy, justice, and power. Every attribute of God is identical with his essence.
This is helpful. God is not made up of His attributes, He is His attributes all at the same time. In similar fashion, Stonestreet adds:
This idea means we can’t rank one of God’s attributes like his love or his justice over others. Though our intentions may be good, we end up making God in the image of the attribute. But God’s simplicity means His attributes can’t be separated because as Herman Bavinck said, “Whatever God is, He is that completely and simultaneously."
This is where the rubber really meets the road. Many modern misunderstandings of the gospel and of God are rooted in a confusion of this fundamental doctrine.  The context of Stonesteet's words is the viral video "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus but it could be applied beyond that.  Take Process Theology for example.  Process theologians begin with the attribute of God's Love and make Him love.  So yes God is Love, but the opposite is what they really promote: Love is God. Everything, then, is determined by love and all else is trumped by it. So thoughts of wrath, judgment, or justice are either pushed to the side or completely ignored in favor of a soft-serve God who forgives, but does not condemn.

Most of the debate over doctrines like hell (remember Rob Bell's book?) is a confusion over this doctrine.  The concept of eternal torment separated from God appears antithetical to the fundamental belief that God is love.  So to many, we have to choose.  Either God is an angry God waiting to punish those who don't adopt a certain number of doctrines or He is "simply" love. So we can write off many of the Old Testament texts of judgment as an old idea of God in which we have evolved to have a better understanding of now.  Or we can simply say that that God is false.  Jesus, exemplified by His love (thus ignoring the times He acts like dear old Dad and gets angry) is the real portrait of God.

The fundamental rejection, or at least confusion, of this doctrine has immense implications. Like the Process crowd (which wound up infiltrating the Emergent community) many want to heighten human freedom to a level of autonomous sovereignty. Thus God does not override us or our decision. As a result, we deny or at least redefine God's Sovereignty and Providence binding His hands behind His back.

Or perhaps we could use another example.  How about the conservative Christians in general and Calvinists (including the Young, Restless, and Reformed type) in particular? Unlike Process Theology, most YRR and old Calvinists don't limit God by His love but speak so much of His Sovereignty or His Providence and Holiness that at times they might forget His other attributes. When people hear Calvinists why is it that they automatically think almost exclusively of Sovereignty? Why are the majority of conversations among Calvinists about election and providence? 

God is not made up of Sovereignty.  He is Sovereign.  Sovereignty is not God.  But God is Sovereign.

As a minister of the gospel I have found great comfort in the understanding and application of such wonderful attributes like Sovereignty and Providence.  As I sit in the kitchen with parents dealing the loss or with a wife of 50 years who is now a widow I quickly turn the page to discuss sovereignty. Or when I deal with rebellious Christians content in their sin, God's holiness matters. Or when today doesn't make much sense and I want to quit the ministry, providence matters.  But providence is not God.

So as we preach, study, and proclaim let us present to our congregations and to our fallen world a simple God not defined by a buffet in which we pick and choose which part of Him we like. Or a God who is ranked by His attributes. After all, we all want a forgiving God after the fallout of sin, but we dare not forget His less popular attributes as well.  At the same time, we may want to preach sovereignty in order to sure up our five points, but we dare not preach sovereignty without grace.

Something for us simpletons to remember.


The Point (John Stonestreet) - The Simplicity of God  
Kevin DeYoung - The Simplicity of God 


All Around the Web - April 28, 2016

Russell Moore - If You’ve Cheated, Should You Tell Your Spouse?

Eric Metaxas - The Most Dangerous Book in the World

Christian Science Monitor - Cake wars: Colo. Supreme Court won't allow baker to deny gay couple service

Justin Taylor - 5 Writing Rules to Energize Your Prose

Thom Rainer - Five Reasons Why the Large Single Site Church Is Declining


DA Carson on the aseity of God:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Free eBook - "Billy Graham: Candid Conversations with a Public Man" by David Frost

The good folks at David C. Cook Publishers are offering the book Billy Graham: Candid Conversations with a Public Man for a free digital download today. You can download the Kindle book here. Here is the publisher's description:
Most people know Billy Graham the preacher.
Many know Billy Graham the author.
In this remarkable book, Graham reveals a personal side that few have seen before.

For thirty years, Billy Graham and David Frost fascinated television audiences with their conversations about God, the Bible, and Graham’s decades-long ministry. Frost asked the questions that thousands of viewers wanted to ask. Graham answered them with authenticity and grace.

Along the way, Graham provided insight into life as an evangelist, a Christian father and grandfather, and a public figure in a changing culture. Most of all, Graham’s words show what it means to live out your beliefs—whether you speak to millions of people around the world or simply want to live faithfully at home and work.

With a chronology of Graham’s life, a preface from Frost, and a foreword from his grandson, Tullian Tchividjian, this weaving of stories, interviews, and reflections will inspire you to respond to God’s call with no reserve.

All Around the Web - April 25, 2016

Russell Moore - Do Liberals Always Win?


Joe Carter - 9 Things You Should Know About Harriet Tubman

Trevin Wax - Religious Indoctrination and the Proselytizing Public School

The Blaze - In Statement of ‘Inclusivity,’ Target Announces It Will Allow Transgender Individuals to Use Bathrooms of Their Choice

Erik Raymond - Some Reflections on the Sermons from T4G

Politico - Hamilton to say on $10, Jackson getting replaced by Tubman


Friday, April 22, 2016

The Journal of Joseph Craig - Chapter 9

One of the great byproducts of the Internet and the digital age is its working in saving great books in history that are at risk of being lost. In my effort to research my ancestors who were ministers like myself, this work has become even more prescient to me. One of my ancestors (a Great uncle) was a man named Joseph Craig who was among the Traveling Church who came to Kentucky in 1781 fleeing Anglican persecution in Virginia. In the coming weeks, I want to offer his journal which gives a personal and unique insight in pioneer American Baptists life. Thanks to the Internet, is story is being preserved for future generations.


February 12, 1813


I have been sick in all about eighteen months. Last August I was very ill indeed. -I thought God had given me faith, and a sense of pardoning love, and I was going to his rest.

One told me I was not like to die then. I felt sorry.--In my sickness, I thought I felt the sorrows of hell. Often dead, sick about my heart and often bordering on despair, and often hoping for mercy and thinking "we are saved by hoping and if we hope for what we see not, then do we wait patiently for it." I have traveled on till the 12th of February 1813. These sorrows all to work for my good. My temptations seem to make me seek for the good shepherd--any sickness, pains and miseries, killed me to time things, and caused me to seek a better country. Now February 12, 1813. I have been sick about six weeks this spell; and last night talking to a friend, after some small comfort all day, the Lord was pleased abundantly to satisfy my soul.

But how did my heart melt and tear flow; I thought all I asked the blessed Lord for my life was a full assurance; which he gave me-an assurance of his love, and grave and favor, a full manifestation, which he gave me, to my soul's satisfaction. Now I thought I would not fear to meet death, nor the miseries of death. It seemed as if he said, Your day's work will do for me; I will receive it for a day's work will do for several months before the eleventh day of this month. I said, if it please thee. Lord, give me a full manifestation of thy grace. And if it would please the Lord to I would willingly lay down my life. Having so given me a full manifestation and feeling of his love, many doubts about my salvation-having a heavy heart and sickness therewith. But, as I talked with one about midnight, the eleventh day, it pleased God to reveal his goodness to my soul: I was filled with his love, O! that joy flowed into my heart. My heart seemed to melt and my tears did flow and I did rejoice unspeakably. This 13th I feel the same and have continued to feel that love mostly ever since believing. I am safe and happy and that my salvation seems quite sure and safe, which makes me rejoice. As I often said for forty-seven years past, if I won this race, I was eternally made. My dear brethren, believe about this unspeakable goodness to poor me. I thought I was done with this world, and time things. I said with joy come death and welcome. I believe I had a great desire to depart and be with the Lord.


For more:
"Esteem Reproach" by Harper & Jacumin: A Review
"Baptists and Persecution in Virginia": A Lecture by Steve Weaver
Elijah Craig: A Biography Written By James B. Taylor 

All Around the Web - April 22, 2016

Russell Moore - Should You Try to Be the “Fun” Parent?

John MacArthur - 10 Reasons I Love Being a Pastor

Joe Carter - Must Christians Vote? Part III — Character in the Context of Factions

Trevin Wax - The Inconvenient Truth About Evangelicals For Trump

Thom Rainer - Seven Ways Church Members Should Prepare for a Sermon


Thursday, April 21, 2016

What Does Zika Have to Do With Planned Parenthood?

The Zika virus is coming to America and US officials are bracing themselves. Being that Zika seems to affect pregnant women and infants most, it is moments like this one can expect moral inconsistency from our government and culture. In an article posted at the National Review, commentator Jonah Goldberg made the following observation:
The White House is asking for a lot of money to fight the Zika virus. “I think Democrats and Republicans in Congress are interested in making sure that pregnant women and unborn children in this country can be properly protected,” 
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in February. Unborn children? Yes, both parties want to protect unborn children from disease-carrying mosquitoes. But that bipartisanship falls apart when it comes to Planned Parenthood.
Those last two lines is the ironic part. The Obama administration is openly pro-abortion and is perhaps the most pro-abortion administration in a post-Roe v. Wade world. Since 1973, though, the moral ambiguity of abortion rights has been demonstrated time after time with this being the latest example. Goldberg followed the above with the following:
This emotional parsing is understandable. The problem is that emotion isn’t the best foundation for law. In the past, emotion led lots of Americans to think blacks weren’t persons, either. Logic, science, and, finally, moral reasoning said otherwise. If over here an unborn child is a person but over there it isn’t, and the only thing distinguishing the two is someone’s feelings, we’ve got a problem. And it’s not just a problem of language.
But that's the thing. In our postmodern society where truth is subject, we don't care about science (unless it fits our agenda) but our personal feelings. And the abortion lobby will defend abortion at all cost regardless of logic and reasoning.

What else do you expect from a culture where one can be what they are not - transgender, transracial, a dragon? Logic and moral reasoning went out the door years ago.

All Around the Web - April 21, 2016

Russell Moore - “The Jungle Book” and the Doctrine of Adoption

National Review - Watch: College Kids Can’t Explain Why a Short White Man Isn’t a Tall Asian Woman

Kevin DeYoung - Theological Primer: The Holy Spirit

Preachers and Preaching - 10 Reasons Pastors Must Be Prayer Warriors

The Cripplegate - The Genovese Syndrome in the Church

Michael Bird - The Saint Hilarious Herald: Southern Seminary Students Build Shrine to Tom Schreiner


SNL: Don't Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford from Credit Abuse Resistance Educaton on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Concluding Thoughts

"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Introduction
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - To Master Peter
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - The Lord's Prayer
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Pray Like a Barber
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - The Ten Commandments
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Sabbath Day
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Why the Family Matters to the State
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Pray For Your Children
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Apostle's Creed
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Concluding Thoughts


For a book on prayer that is only 32 pages, Martin Luther manages to pack a lot in it. Every Christian is commanded and expected to pray yet in my experience most are poor at it. For whatever the reasons, Christians do not pray as they ought. Luther offers a great introduction and guide to help such Christians in developing a robust prayer life.

In conclusion to this blog series, I offer a few thoughts.

1. This is a Pastoral Work

Remember the context of this book. Luther is writing to his barber, not to a faculty member at the university. This makes it a rich resource for everyday Christians. This book is not about the theology or theory of prayer, but the practice of prayer.


2. Prayer Must Be Intentional

I am guilty of simply closing my eyes and saying the first thing that comes to mind masking it in religious rhetoric. To speak in King James English only makes it sound more spiritual. Luther does the opposite it. He shows us that prayer should be intentional and purposeful. Get prepared to pray. Be ready to pray. Be free from any distractions when you pray.


3. Don't Neglect Scripture in Your Prayer Life

Of the three sections, two of them require meditating on Scripture - the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6) and the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). That is no accident. The Bible itself commands we meditate on Scripture (see Joshua 1 for example) and meditation should not be divorced from prayer. How much richer would our prayer life be if we did so with our Bible's open?


4. Don't Neglect Sound Theology In Your Prayer Life

As we just said, two of the three sections of Luther's book focused on Scripture, the other focused on a theological creed. Sound theology produces doxology and prayer is part of worship. To meditate on the truths of God, his Word, and the gospel should bring us to our knees.


5. Prayer is Important

Luther is clear in this work that in any given day, we will have many things demanding our attention. Yet nothing is more important than prayer. To love God first and foremost is to make prayer a priority.


For more:
How to Pray in a World of Terrorism

All Around the Web - April 19, 2016

Russell Moore - What To Do When a Pastor Falls

Adam 4D - Gay Warrior

Eric Metaxas - The Secret of Jackie Robinson's Greatness

Jared Wilson - Three Things Pastors Can’t Do Too Much

Independent - University students are struggling to read entire books

The Blaze - When Asked What Bible Verse Has Influenced Him, Trump Points to Teachings That Jesus Rejected


125 Years of LifeWay from LifeWay Media on Vimeo.

Monday, April 18, 2016

"40 Questions About the Historical Jesus" by C. Marvin Pate: A Review

No Gospels, no Jesus; no Jesus, no Christianity. (17)

For generations now, liberal theologians have fought valiantly to divorce the Jesus of history from the Christ of faith. One of the primary means by which they have carried out this agenda is the various quests for the historical Jesus. It is this context that attracted me to C. Marvin Pate's book 40 Questions About the Historical Jesus (Kregel, 2015).

Anyone who has watched various documentaries or specials on cable or mainstream television or read the latest wild claims every Easter season in failing news magazines are aware of the arguments. The Jesus, as revealed in the Gospels, is a fanciful Jesus that never existed. The Jesus of Christianity - divine and all - is the creation of politically influential theologians at Nicea. Christianity, at best, was a minor diverse movement in Roman culture that eventually rose to become the dominant religion of the empire. Its claims are wild and unsubstantiated. That is the narrative so often sold, but is it true?

No.

Though Pate goes beyond the liberal quest to dethrone the divine Christ, he certainly unveils the flawed logic and arguments of the various quests to trump the Gnostic gospels over the canonical Evangelists. He begins by revealing why the questions over the authenticity of the four Gospels is important. From there he walks the reader, systematically, through the resources we have in our search for the historical Jesus and then through the life of Jesus - his birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection.

Pate offers an invaluable resource for Christians and pastors alike who need answers to the endless onslaughts to the Christian faith and her Savior. He handles each challenge with ease and a firm belief in both the inspiration and the inerrancy of Scripture. He does not shy away from the challenges raised by liberal and secular scholars, but through it all shows the relevancy and truthfulness of the Christian claims.

In the end, the reader should come away concluding that in fact the Jesus of history, as the apostles proclaimed to their deaths, is the Christ of faith. The carpenters son who was raised from the dead are one and the same. The world has never been the same since. For this reason, I highly recommend this book. For pastors, especially, this will be an important tool to have in your library for research and study.

All Around the Web - April 18, 2016

Joe Carter - 9 Things You Should Know About Autism

Touchstone Magazine - Family Phases

The Preachers and Preaching - The Pastor’s ‘Typical’ Week

The Atlantic - When Religious Groups Do What the Government Won't

The Gospel Coalition - Why Your Ministry Needs to Multiply

Thom Rainer - How to Deal with Social Media Criticism of Your Church


Friday, April 15, 2016

The Journal of Joseph Craig - Chapter 8

One of the great byproducts of the Internet and the digital age is its working in saving great books in history that are at risk of being lost. In my effort to research my ancestors who were ministers like myself, this work has become even more prescient to me. One of my ancestors (a Great uncle) was a man named Joseph Craig who was among the Travelling Church who came to Kentucky in 1781 fleeing Anglican persecution in Virginia. In the coming weeks, I want to offer his journal which gives a personal and unique insight in pioneer American Baptists life. Thanks to the Internet, is story is being preserved for future generations.



An account of my life from September 1811 until the sixteenth of August, 1812.

I came home near the last of September, 1811 very sore, with ringworms over great part of my body and limbs. I had a burning pain and sickness in my breast; which held me the fall, and winter, and spring. My sores in the winter were so bad that many a night I thought I should die before day. During these severe afflictions of body, I had in addition thereto, very severe conflicts of the mind, accompanied with doubts and fears, whether I was a Christian or no.

But when summer came on, my sores mostly cured up; but still a burning sickness in my breast continued, so as to make me think I should die in a few days. On the 16th of August, I bless God, I got to believe that all would work for my good. For the most part of this month, the Lord seemed to be good, and kind, and gracious to me, and sent his comforter to abide, I believe, with me and in me, so as to make me want to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. As for the most part of these two weeks past, he gave me to feel his love in me, as evidently as I felt the food I ate. Glory, power thanks, love, and obedience be given to him, for he is worthy to receive endless praise. August 19th I feel week, feeble, and sickly; but thank the blessed Lord my faith is strong in "him who made the worlds."-that he is my portion, and that he will take care of me and bring me to his kingdom and Glory (Amen). I was going to die, and felt as if the Lord would save my soul if I did die.




For more:
"Esteem Reproach" by Harper & Jacumin: A Review
"Baptists and Persecution in Virginia": A Lecture by Steve Weaver
Elijah Craig: A Biography Written By James B. Taylor 

All Around the Web - April 15, 2016

New York Times - New Evidence on When Bible Was Written: Ancient Shopping Lists

Russell Moore - Why We Should Thank Thomas Jefferson

Eric Metaxas -  Man Does not Live by Math Alone

Sam Storms - Should We Embrace the Apocrypha as Inspired and Authoritative Scripture?

Sean McDowell - What are the Top Academic Books on the Bible and Homosexuality?

Telegraph - Oxford theology students can skip Christianity lessons


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Read To Your Kids

One of the most important things you could do with your children is read to them. There is ample evidence to support this. More recently is the following from a New York Times article.
After G.N.P., the quantity of books in one’s home was the most important predictor of reading performance. The greatest effect was seen in libraries of about 100 books, which resulted in approximately 1.5 extra years of grade-level reading performance. (Diminishing returns kick in at about 500 books, which is the equivalent of about 2.2 extra years of education.)

Libraries matter even more than money; in the United States, with the size of libraries being equal, students coming from the top 10 percent of wealthiest families performed at just one extra grade level over students from the poorest 10 percent.

The implications are clear: Owning books in the home is one of the best things you can do for your children academically. It helps, of course, if parents are reading to their children and reading themselves, not simply buying books by the yard as d├ęcor.

“It is a big question of whether it’s the books themselves or the parental scholarly culture that matters — we’re guessing it’s somewhere in between,” said Mariah Evans, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno. “The books partly reflect intelligence.”
If you love your children and care about their well-being, health, and education, one of the best things you can do for them is to read to them from the time they are born and to create a healthy home of reading.

All Around the Web - April 14, 2016

Joe Carter - An Evangelical’s Guide to ‘Amoris Laetitia’, Pope Francis’s Letter on the Family

Kevin DeYoung - Good Conferences are Great, The Church Is Essential

Justin Taylor - The Christian Witness of John Dickerson, Host of “Face the Nation” and Political Director of CBS News

Crossway - 10 Things You Should Know about Francis Schaeffer

Christianity Today - College Drops Mascot Named for Missionaries Martyred by Native Americans

Crossway - How an ESV Bible Is Made

The Making of a Bible from Crossway on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

All Around the Web - April 13, 2016


Denny Burk - Bart Ehrman debates Richard Bauckham about the Gospels

Cannon Fodder - Here Is The Inevitable Next Step in Our Culture’s Quest to Redefine Marriage

Doug Wilson - 7 Reasons Young Men Should Marry Before Their 23rd Birthday

The Gospel Coalition - Why You Need Augustine

Russell Moore - Why Christians Have to Talk About Hell

Why Christians Have to Talk About Hell from ERLC on Vimeo.

From Lewis's Pen: To Love Goes Beyond the Evidence

From Lewis's essay "The Obstinacy of Faith" as published in the book The World's Last Night.
To love involves trusting the beloved beyond the evidence, even against much evidence. No man is our friend who believes in our good intentions only when they are proved. No man is our friend who will not be very slow to accept evidence against them. Such confidence, between one man and another, is in fact almost universally praised as a moral beauty, not blamed as a logical error. And the suspicious man is blamed for a meanness of character, not admired for the excellence of his logic. (26)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Apostle's Creed

"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Introduction
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - To Master Peter
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - The Lord's Prayer
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Pray Like a Barber
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - The Ten Commandments
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Sabbath Day
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Why the Family Matters to the State
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Pray For Your Children"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Apostle's Creed


The final section of Luther's short book on prayer (entitled A Simple Way to Pray) covers briefly the Apostle's Creed. Some evangelical traditions will be familiar with this ancient creed, but many likely are not. I will reproduce it below:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;*
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy universal church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
When praying through the Creed, Luther follows a similar pattern as he does with the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments.
First, I read and consider what God is teaching me.
Second, I turn to thanksgiving on account of what God has done.
Third, I confess my sin based upon the text.
Fourth, I use the text to say a prayer for strong faith. (28)
For those new to the Apostle's Creed (or any creed), I would not begin my prayer life here. But certainly I would work my way here. The Apostle's Creed reflects the very basics of historic Christianity rooted in the Trinity. Every Christian should be familiar with its content and Luther offers a very brief and helpful guide on praying through it here.


* Traditionally, the creed includes a reference to Jesus' descension into hell. Some early copies of the creed omit this detail.


For more:
How to Pray in a World of Terrorism

All Around the Web - April 12, 2016

Andrew Walker - 3 Reasons Why Religious Liberty Laws Don’t Discriminate

Kevin DeYoung - Safe Schools, Gender Non-Conformity, and Common Sense

Denny Burk - If GOP caves on marriage, why not also on religious liberty?

Thom Rainer - Five Reasons Church Announcements Cause Problems

El Salvador Missionary Fellowship - You see that happy missionary family smiling out of the postcard on your fridge? Their marriage is probably hanging by a thread.


What Is Love? [yHi Promo] from yesHEis AU on Vimeo.

Monday, April 11, 2016

"Four Views on Hell" Edited by Preston Sprinkler: A Review

Although Christians have largely believed in the literal existence of Hell, there has been, especially in more recent centuries, disagreement, even among conservative evangelicals, on the nature of hell. Is it eternal? Is there a hell-like place for believers prior to heaven? Is hell exclusive for Satan and his minions? Will, in the end, everyone be saved?

These are difficult questions and requires us to explore the biblical text with fresh eyes anchored in orthodox convictions. Recently, Zondervan has published the helpful book Four Views on Hell edited by Preston Sprinkle which explores these questions and more. The four views are:
  • Eternal Conscious Torment (Denny Burk)
  • Annihilationism (John Stackhouse)
  • Universalism (Robin Parry)
  • Purgatory (Jerry Walls)
For those familiar with such volumes, this book follows the same pattern. Each contributor is given a lengthy chapter to defend their perspective followed by briefer essays of response by the other contributors. This format allows the theologians to speak without turning the debate into a schoolyard fight where each writer is trying to shout over the others. Each contributor is respectable (though at times direct) and clear.

A few brief words regarding the arguments. I personally favor Dr. Denny Burk's stance on eternal, conscious torment. His essay is exclusively tied to Scripture. In fact, Burk never strays from making purely biblical arguments. Unlike most theologians, Burk refuses to discuss philosophical or even broader theological points. He largely prefers to exegete Scripture.

Yet this does not mean that Burk has the stronger chapter. In my estimation, the best defended argument is Dr. John Stackhouse's chapter on Annihilation which has grown in popularity. Though I still believe this position simply cannot explain a number of important texts (as Burk was quick to point out), one must admit that Stackhouse defends his ground as well as anyone can.

As it relates to the other two views, they are given more credit, in my estimation, than they deserve. The editor claims at the end that Dr. Robin Parry's essay defending Universalism "is a game-changer." (197) The primary reasoning given by Sprinkle and even by the tone of the other contributor's is that Parry seeks to make a biblical and theological argument and not just a bleeding-heart, liberal one. Parry certainly does that, but his stance remains weak biblically as the other contributors point out in their responses.

Finally, Dr. Jerry Walls' chapter is most unique. I presumed Walls would defend purgatory from a traditional Catholic position. Instead, he defends it from the position of Protestantism! This is certainly a new argument to me. Yet the theological difference he makes between Catholic and Protestant views of purgatory (for Catholicism, purgatory is tied to justification, for him it should be tied to sanctification) does little to help him biblically. He fails to defend purgatory from Scripture itself - a reality that each of the contributors point out. The reason for this is obvious: purgatory is found nowhere in the Bible because it is a Catholic invention that (apparently) some Protestants still cling to.

Overall, I found this book to be very helpful in laying the issue out on the table. That is what such series seek to do and this book is successful at that. The contributors are gifted writers, theologians, and thinkers and defend their views well. As usual, whatever view one had going in is likely the view you will still have have after reading the last page. But I trust why you believe what you believe will be more clear.







I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com 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:
No Repentance in Hell?: A Defense of an Important Clarification With Carson's Help
Did Jesus Descend To Hell After His Death?
McLaren on Hell and Universalism . . . Again
Hades, Hell, and McLaren's Eisegesis

All Around the Web - April 11, 2016

Albert Mohler - Keeping the Faith in A Faithless Age: the Church as a Moral Minority

Russell Moore - Signposts: The Church’s Mission to Special Needs Children

New Republic - The Rise of “Bias Response Teams” on Campus

Christianity Today - Why International Adoptions by Americans Have Hit a 35-Year Low

Sam Allberry - 4 Images to Get You Excited About Church

Russell Moore - Talking Religious Liberty on “Meet the Press”


Friday, April 8, 2016

The Journal of Joseph Craig - Chapter 7

One of the great byproducts of the Internet and the digital age is its working in saving great books in history that are at risk of being lost. In my effort to research my ancestors who were ministers like myself, this work has become even more prescient to me. One of my ancestors (a Great uncle) was a man named Joseph Craig who was among the Travelling Church who came to Kentucky in 1781 fleeing Anglican persecution in Virginia. In the coming weeks, I want to offer his journal which gives a personal and unique insight in pioneer American Baptists life. Thanks to the Internet, is story is being preserved for future generations.



A Prayer, by said Craig.

Almighty, great and eternal God, we desire to be always looking up to the glorious Majesty for every blessing - for time and for eternity. We desire to thank thee for all the good things thou hast given us, of temporal and spiritual things; that is to say, thy written word, thine own sent ministers and ordinances, and the company and fellowship of thy children, and all the means of thy gospel. For sending thy blessed Spirit to apply the redemption bought with blood! Lord, we thank thee for all the work of that blessed Spirit on us and in us. And still we are beggars, and we pray that thou wouldest increase our faith. Lord we pray give us of thy living bread to eat which came down from heaven; and to drink of that water of life freely, that came out of the throne of God and of the lamb. O Lord, come unto us, and reveal thy love in us, and let us taste and see that thou art our Lord and our God.

O! give us perfect love, that casteth out all fear.

O! satisfy our souls by giving us abundance of thy love. O! satisfy us that thou art our Saviour and Comforter, by giving us strong consolation in our hearts. Yeah, Lord, satisfy our souls that thou art our Saviour and portion, and Comforter; and that thou wilt deliver us from every evil work, and bring us to thy glorious kingdom. Amen

Once as I returned from a meeting in Essex county, I composed the following Spiritual Song:

1. Seven long years I've been a ranging
Up and down Virginia land,
Seeking a bride for my Lord Jesus,
Hoping her love I should obtain.

2. Long time have I greatly desired
Her joyful favor to obtain;
For which I have gone through all weather,
Both hot, and day, and cold, and rain.

3. Through frost, and snow, and frightful rivers,
Hunger and thirst, and wicked hands,
Through midnight air, in lonesome places.
Which often caus'd my heart to ache.

4. All this is but a small trifle,
If I could but her love obtain,
And I enjoy her love and favour,
Thus would my love and joy be full.

5. Sometimes I got into her favour,
Her heart and affections almost won;
But Satan, a wise and great opposer,
My joyful heart he caus'd to mourn.

6. O! might I ever be so happy
To hear my Saviour's bride to say,
Thou art my shepherd, he did send thee
For to guide me along the way.

7. Such declarations of her favour,
And good witnesses of her love,
Would satisfy my soul's desire,
And my full satisfaction prove.

8. Long time have a I greatly desired
Her joyful favour to obtain
And, if I'm ever counted worthy,
I'll mind not heat, nor cold, nor pain.

Another, by the same.

1. O come, dearest friends, let us follow Jesus,
Surely it is he alone that can relieve us;
But, O! consider well how hard to get to heaven.
Of the twelve that follow'd long, there were sav'd but eleven.

2. O! loving Lamb of God, who would not thee follow,
Although it so searing is, and all looks like sorrow:
Yet, if our love is true, it will be a blessed story,
The more we suffer here, the greater will be our glory.

3. But O! consider well how hard to follow Jesus,
And, if we follow true, many there will leave us;
And if we are call'd to die, then go and leave us.

4. Lord, grant us faith and love to bear us safe to heaven,
There to live and reign with Jesus and the eleven;
They that now cowards prove, and, ere long, turn deserters,
When we in heaven reign, shall not there reign with us.

5. Do not you hear of war, and of a dreadful rumor?
Our dearest Lord has said it's a token of the summer;
Let us all follow on, let none turn our deserters,
Jesus has gone before, let us follow after.

6. But O! how hard it is to part with our acquaintance.
And for us to big adieu to near and dear relations;
Yet, Lord, at thy command, we will cheerfully go forward,
Counting not our lives our own, but only just borrowed.
On the road from Bardstown to Frankfort [KY], after nine days meeting with brother Shelton, I composed as follows:

1. Lord, pity a poor soldier, now in his feeble days,
And take him home to glory, or keep him in thy ways;
Half three-score years and better a soldier I have been,
O! take me home, dear Jesus, or keep me from all sin.

2. My faith it is so slender, my courage weak and small,
If Jesus he should call me, I should be at his call.
Where the angels join in battle, and the cherubs swiftly fly,
And the silver trumpet sounding loud, which makes the rebels fly.

3. If thou shouldst chance to take me home, 'twould be a glorious day,
Old Lucifer, his fiery darts no more on me would play;
Twice fifteen years and better a soldier have I been,
Now take me home, dear Jesus, and let me not be slain.

4. For nine long days and better in battle I have been,
And Jesus' word and spirit have spoke my conscience clean;
Now take me home, dear Jesus, and do not from me go,
For to leave me here behind thee, in sorrow, grief, and woe.
A thousand times and better in battle I have been,
Now take me home, hear, dear Jesus, and let me not be slain.

5. But still, if thou deny me, and say that I shall stand,
And face the powers of darkness that rise from hell and land;
This weakness, pain, and sorrow, I'll never mind at all,
If thy right hand uphold me, and make me conquer all.

Another, by the same Joseph Craig

The daughter of a William Woods professed to get religion at one of our meetings, amidst much persecution, and desired me to compose a song on the occasion; which I did as follows:

1. Come all you saint and angel near, Halle Hallelujah
Come, listen a while, and you shall year, Halle Hallelujah
A wonder of Almight grace, Halle Hallelujah
Who set me to sing his praise, sing glory, Hallelujah.

2. My father he did love the Lord, Halle &c
And teach and preach his holy word. Halle &c
Mother and granny loved the same, Halle &c
But my pour soul did dead remain. Halle &c

3. I heard of Jesus many say, Halle &c
Could move a sinner's sins away. Halle, &c
But where to find him I did not know, Halle &c
Or how to meet with him below. Halle &c

4. My flesh did war against my soul, Halle &c
The night were dark, and very cold, Halle &
The meeting saints I could not slight, Halle &
But sought their Jesus day and night. Halle &

5. The scandal of the cross I see, Halle &
That scandal that would fall on me Halle &
But still I thought I did behold, Halle &
I wanted Jesus more than gold, Halle &

6. I laid me down to take my rest, Halle &
Bemoaning of my dreadful case. Halle &
I thought I could for mercy wait, Halle &
And then I feared I'd come too late. Halle &

7. I little thought he'd been so night, Halle &
His speaking made me glad the cry. Halle &
He said I'm come to thee, my love, Halle &
I have a place for thee above. Halle &.

8. This glorious news I did believe, Halle &
My sins and sorrows did me leave, Halle &
My soul enraptured in his love, Halle &
I have a place for thee above, sing glory Hallelujah.

Another composed on the death of my daughter a year old.

1. Friends of the Lord, I pray draw near
Come, think of something now;
Have faith in God, and now come hear
Of what the Lord can do.

1. When I returned from work abroad,
In my dear master's field,
My daughter dear, ag'd about one year,
I found by death was seiz'd.

3. What sorrow then my heart did fill,
Fear came on every side
For oft I fear'd of such as she
In heaven would few reside.

4. We cried to Jesus, our dear friend
With tears, both night and day;
That he would satisfy our souls,
If she was called away.

5. But death he would not be deni'd,
That we did plainly see;
And that her soul to heaven or hell;
Immediately must flee.

6. Now, in the time of great distress,
When such near friends must part,
The glory of the Lord come down,
I felt it in my heart.

7. It came as if I heard him say,
Fear not, I am with thee;
I'll satisfy your souls, and shine [she]
Shall go along with me.

8. Her soul to Christ we freely gave
And, partly, freely bear
Her body to the peaceful grave
"Till Jesus shall appear.

Another, by the same

Come, all young men, of every degree,
Do you ever think of eternity
Eternity you all know very well
Your soul it must be in heaven or hell.

Eternity, I will dare of presume
Without you repent, it will be your doom
Down, down to the damned in wicked estate
O there you'll repent it when it is too late.

O sin, O sin, I know very well,
It led me, in darkness, to the brink of hell;
Until sweet Jesus did open my eyes.
And there I stood wondering in great surprise.

O where could I go, or where could I run,
For I could not answer for what I had done;
All prayers and tears I know very well,
Without an interest in Jesus could not save me from hell.

O Jesus, my Saviour, I fall on thy breast,
If thou shouldest now damn me I know it is just;
O mercy, O mercy, dear Jesus I cry,
O pardon my guilt, or else I shall die.
O I have had part of all kind of sin
The worst creature I think I have been;
I never delighted in any of God's ways,
I want to bemoan it the rest of my days.

Come all you young men and think of your souls
Do you all serve God before you get old;
O cease to do evil, and learn to do well,
And then God will bless you and keep you from hell.




For more:
"Esteem Reproach" by Harper & Jacumin: A Review
"Baptists and Persecution in Virginia": A Lecture by Steve Weaver
Elijah Craig: A Biography Written By James B. Taylor 

All Around the Web - April 8, 2016

Russell Moore - Should We Miss Our Church Graveyards?

Baptist Press - Miss. adopts religious freedom bill

Larry Hurtado - First Published Greek New Testament: 500th Anniversary

Sam Rainer - The Difference between Confidence and Arrogance

The Atlantic - Why Superhero Movies Are Headed in the Wrong Direction



HT: Denny Burk

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Not Entirely: Why Most Illustrations Don't Fully Explain the Cross

When I worked at a Christian bookstore while in seminary, we sold a short film that told the story of a father who worked at a train station and on this particular day had his young son with him. The son eventually went on his own and began playing on the track. Without his knowing, a train was coming and the father had to either spare his and allow the people in the train die or sacrifice his child to save the passengers. He, like God the illustration goes, chose to sacrifice his son.

Here is the short film.*




Why is this is a horrendous illustration of the atonement? Mark Dever suggests.
It ignores [the] element of Jesus choosing to laying down his life. Its right in saying it is very costly. Its right in pointing to the cost there was to God the Father. Its right in all of those ways. But its deeply wrong in presenting that little boy just laying there on the tracks being killed without even knowing about it. Because the presentation biblically is one of Jesus laying down his life for His sheep. -Atonement in the New Testament
In an article entitled Nothing But the Blood published in Christianity Today, Dever again highlights this common illustration:
For example, there is the story of the railroad operator who learns that the bridge ahead is out, so he prepares to switch the tracks to save the lives of hundreds on a fast-approaching train. But at that moment, he sees his son playing in the gears, and he pauses to reconsider. Here, many a preacher has meditated on God's love in ways that border on the grotesque—we're told that the man decided to go ahead and sacrifice his son's life in order to save those on the train. Such an unwitting sacrifice has led to the charge that the Atonement is divine child abuse.

. . .

Substitutionary Atonement has indeed been misapplied. The railroad analogy above, for example, is inadequate because it does not include the Holy Spirit. But even more to the point, Christ willingly offered up his life; he was not blindsided by the Cross. 

I think Dever is right. The New Testament repeatedly argues that Christ was a willing sacrifice who voluntarily carried His cross (see John 10:17-18). This in no way denies that God sent His Son or that Christ was obeying the will of the Father, but it is simply wrong to portray the cross as "divine child abuse" (as modern detractors repeatedly suggest).

Instead, what the above film illustrates is the story of Abraham and Isaac. The promised son in Genesis 22 did not volunteer to be a sacrifice nor did Abraham volunteer to give his son over for sacrifice.

The point of all of this is to argue that one must be careful in trying to explain the cross through simple illustrations. Illustrations for the atonement are similar to that of the Trinity. Most illustrations used to explain the Trinity are actually heretical (usually modalistic). Likewise, most illustrations used to explain the cross are at best dangerous and misleading.


*The original film was not interrupted with text.

All Around the Web - April 7, 2016

Baptist Press - Canada removes religious freedom office

Joe Carter - Explainer: What You Should Know About the Lexi Page Case

Kevin DeYoung - The Great Parental Freak Out

Sean McDowell - What are the Top Five Books on the Bible and Homosexuality?

Thom Rainer - Seven Personality Traits Guests Like in a Pastor

Vox - The truth about WebMD, a hypochondriac's nightmare and Big Pharma's dream


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

From Lewis's Pen: Mere Statues Coming to Life

From Mere Christianity:
When we come to man, the highest of the animals, we get the completest resemblance to God which we know of. (There may be creatures in other worlds who are more like God than man is, but we do not know about them.) Man not only lives, but loves and reasons: biological life reaches its highest known level in him.

But what man, in his natural condition, has not got, is Spiritual life—the higher and different sort of life that exists in God. We use the same word life for both: but if you thought that both must therefore be the same sort of thing, that would be like thinking that the ‘greatness’ of space and the ‘greatness’ of God were the same sort of greatness. In reality, the difference between Biological life and Spiritual life is so important that I am going to give them two distinct names. The Biological sort which comes to us through Nature, and which (like everything else in Nature) is always tending to rundown and decay so that it can only be kept up by incessant subsidies from ature in the form of air, water, food, etc., is Bios. The Spiritual life which is in God from all eternity, and which made the whole natural universe, is Zoe. Bios has, to be sure, a certain shadowy or symbolic resemblance to Zoe: but only the sort of resemblance there is between a photo and a place, or a statue and a man. A man who changed from haying Bios to having Zoe would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man.

And that is precisely what Christianity is about. This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumour going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.



All Around the Web - April 6, 2016

John Piper - My Pastor Uses Pre-Made Sermons — Should I Be Concerned?

The Gospel Coalition - 9 Things You Need to Know about Backpage.com and Sex Trafficking

Eric Metaxas - Mary Magdalene's Home Town

Justin Taylor - Free Audiobook Download: Kevin DeYoung’s “Taking God at His Word”

Thom Rainer - Seven Reasons Your Pastor Is More Than a Podcast


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Pray For Your Children

"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Introduction
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - To Master Peter
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - The Lord's Prayer
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Pray Like a Barber
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - The Ten Commandments
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Sabbath Day
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Why the Family Matters to the State
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Pray For Your Children


In one of the more practical Ten Commandments section, Martin Luther offers the following advice under the fourth commandment ("honor your parents"):
Here we should also add a prayer for parents and rulers, that God would give them understanding and wisdom so that they may lead and govern us in peace and blessedness. May he protect them from tyranny, madness, an fury, and turn them from such things so that they honor God's Word and not persecute it or do anything unjust. For such high gifts one must obtain with prayer, as St. Paul teaches, otherwise the devil will rule the palace and everything will go badly and be laid waste.

If you are also a father or mother, here is the time that you not forget yourself or your children and workers, but pray earnestly that the dear Father, who placed you in the honor of His office and in His name, and has willed that you be called father and be honored, grant you grace and blessing to govern and support your wife, child, and workers in a godly and Christian fashion, give you wisdom and strength to train them well and give them a good heart and will to follow your teaching and to be obedient. For both are God's gifts - children and their prosperity both, that they succeed and remain upstanding. Otherwise a house would be nothing but a pigsty, a school for knaves; as one sees among the godless rabble. (21-22)
Scripture is clear we should pray for state officials. Both the Old and the New Testament models that. We should also, as Luther makes clear here, pray for our children as parents. Consider praying specifically for the following:
  • Your children's salvation.
  • Their future spouse.
  • Their future spouse's salvation.
  • Their honesty and integrity
  • Their love for Scripture 
  • Their purity
The best parents are praying parents. This is a key insight we gain from praying the Ten Commandments, especially the fourth commandment.


For more:
How to Pray in a World of Terrorism

All Around the Web - April 5, 2016

Russell Moore - Does the Pro-Life Movement Want to Punish Women?

Joe Carter - Why Don’t We Punish Women Who Have Abortions?

Rod Dreher - Sex After Christianity

Preachers and Preaching - Sola Scriptura and the Church Fathers

Selma Wilson - 17 Things You Should NEVER Say to Employees

CNS News - 'First Time in Human History': People 65 and Older Will Outnumber Children Under 5


Monday, April 4, 2016

"3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare" by Clinton Arnold: A Review

Avoiding the topic is a profoundly inadequate response. Spiritual warfare is not an isolatable compartment of church ministry or Christian experience. Spiritual warfare is an integral part of the entire Christian experience. It is a fact of life. To think that a Christian could avoid spiritual warfare is like imagining that a gardener could avoid dealing with weeds. Our goal should be rather to gain an accurate and sober-minded understanding of spiritual warfare - not a view tainted by frightening superstitions and odd practices. (19)

In CS Lewis's majestic volume Screwtape Letters, the reluctant convert gave the following warning:
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve int heir existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
Both extremes should be avoided when it comes to the topic of spiritual warfare. Yet it seems that those are the only options Christians have when considering this issue. After all, those on both sides seem to get most of the attention and press.

Though I am by no means an expert on the subject of spiritual warfare, one of the most helpful books I have read is Clinton Arnold's 3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare. As the title suggests, this is part of the 3 Crucial Questions Series (I recommend Millard Erickson's volume on the Trinity as well). As such, it is limited in scope to the three important questions:
  1. What is Spiritual Warfare?
  2. Can Christians Be Demon-Possessed?
  3. Are We Called to Engage Territorial Spirits?
Within these three chapters, Arnold provides an informative, biblically-serious take on spiritual warfare. It is not exhaustive, but does serve as an adequate and helpful introduction to the topic.

One of the most helpful discussions in the book regards his division of warfare into three categories: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Arnold points out that we should be careful about emphasizing one over the others. Pentecostals might be guilty of seeing Satan behind every corner and thus mitigate the other two. Others ignore Satan and thus do not take him seriously. Arnold suggests that we should think of these three as strands in a rope intertwined.

In addition to this, Arnold's chapter on Christians being demon-possessed is a sober discussion on a difficult topic. Christians can disagree with Arnold's conclusion, but his exegesis of daimonizomai is helpful. No doubt Christians can be attacked and influenced by evil forces. Satan loves to tempt and accuse leading saints astray.

The one chapter that will require greater personal consideration regarded the final one on territorial spirits. Typically when I am asked as a pastor about spiritual warfare, this question never arises. Arnold provides a helpful survey of what the Bible says on the subject but then warns that if there are territorial spirits (and the Bible certainly hints in that direction), no one in Scripture is portrayed as casting them out. Neither Jesus, Peter, Paul, nor John engaged in such a ministry. This is a subject that will require greater investigation on my part as there are clear ministerial implications.

Overall, this is a helpful book that serves as a clear theological and exegetical introduction to a difficult, yet important subject. We are at war and Arnold has written a volume that helps us understand that war and how to wage it always keeping our eyes on Jesus.

All Around the Web - April 4, 2016

Dan Dewitt - Why ‘Mere Christianity’ Won’t Go Out of Style

John Stonestreet -  The Little Sisters, the Government, and the Supremes

The Gospel Coalition - How Christian Is Your Kid’s Christian College?

BBC - Why many Christians in China have turned to underground churches

Tim Challies - We’re More Honest With Our Phones Than With Our Pastors

Christian Post - Protesters Cast a Shadow Over Mark Driscoll's Trinity Church Open House

Trevin Wax - Prayer Request: I Need Wisdom for an Upcoming Project


Friday, April 1, 2016

The Journal of Joseph Craig - Chapter 6

One of the great byproducts of the Internet and the digital age is its working in saving great books in history that are at risk of being lost. In my effort to research my ancestors who were ministers like myself, this work has become even more prescient to me. One of my ancestors (a Great uncle) was a man named Joseph Craig who was among the Travelling Church who came to Kentucky in 1781 fleeing Anglican persecution in Virginia. In the coming weeks, I want to offer his journal which gives a personal and unique insight in pioneer American Baptists life. Thanks to the Internet, is story is being preserved for future generations.


Chapter 6

An account of my journey to Richmond county, with the Rev. Joseph Bledsoe-The distance was about seventy miles from my house.

Said Bledsoe had chosen me to go with him, and help him in the way of preaching. I attended meeting with him eight times in one year, about sixty or seventy miles off. At a certain time, we had meeting in Essex.-some young people came to our meeting about eight miles by land and two miles by water, across the Rappahannock river. As they took so much pains in coming so far by land and water, we promised to go over and see them. We went and had meeting day and night. In the night, the Lord seemed to bless us greatly with his blessed power and presence; and, as I was exhorting, I observed to the people, if I could not so much love, and the Lord would continue to bless me as he had on the present occasion, that I would come to see them, if I had to go through the water out of the boat with my hat, little thinking I was so near danger. We had to cross back in an old boat. I sat with a piece of gourd throwing out water. And when brother Bledsoe spoke, it seemed as if his faith was so strong, that the boat would not sink. But when the owner of the boat spoke, he was so scared, it seemed as if we should sink notwithstanding all our efforts to prevent it. When we got on shore, we all kneeled down, and thanked God for our having escaped the deep. There was in the water a large shoal of porpoises, very much like resembling black hogs. After this we immediately returned home, about the year 1778.


For more:
"Esteem Reproach" by Harper & Jacumin: A Review

"Baptists and Persecution in Virginia": A Lecture by Steve Weaver
Elijah Craig: A Biography Written By James B. Taylor