Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dr. Carson at Mars Hill

Awhile ago Don Carson spent a couple of days at Mars Hill church in Seattle and gave some seminars and messages.  There are five them, all which can be found at the Mars Hill Resurgence website.

I just wanted to post session 2 here for your marvel and enjoyment.  It's a sermon on Revelation chapter 12.  There is some incredible stuff here.  Carson is preaching a tremendous God, and an incredible savior.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Clowney Quote

“There is no call to the ministry that is not first a call to Christ. You dare not lift your hands to place God’s name in blessing on people until you have first clasped them in penitent petition for his saving grace. Until you have done that the issue you face is not really your call to the ministry. It is your call to Christ… Don’t seek the ministry to save your soul…A man cannot earn his salvation by preaching that salvation cannot be earned.”

(Edmund Clowney, Called to the Ministry, p 5)

HT: Unashamed Workman

The Origin of Evil

No, I'm not going to try and solve this one on my blog... but it came up in a 'conversation' with my friend (and uncle) on facebook today and I wanted to bring it here because it made me think about a Sunday School class from a few years ago when we talked about this same topic. (That and facebook only gives you a certain # of characters to comment on things) In that class a man, who has also become a dear friend, told me something I had not heard before in regards to the origin of evil... The bottom line is that it is 'extra-biblical' and so we put no confidence in it, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless, and have added what I think is a very interesting aspect to it...

That morning he said something along the lines that: When God, the perfect being, created something that was not-God, the potential for evil (or at least imperfection) came into being as a necessary consequence of creation itself.

In thinking about this again this morning, I have added: This is not to say that God was surprised by evil entering the world, but perhaps it was an acceptable consequence of achieving the greater glory He planned for Himself through His creative work. A glory that ends with the destruction of that evil by drawing His creation into Himself in His Son Jesus Christ, thereby erasing not-God aspect of creation, and therefore the necessary consequence of evil.

Now, "acceptable consequence" doesn't sound very sovereign - so feel free to insert your own phrase there, as I am having trouble coming up with one.

Anyway... feel free to continue the conversation

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Just Wanna Fly....

This is sick sick sick sick sick sick sick...

and I am sooo jealous.

HT: Molly

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mars Hill in the New York Times

JT points out that Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll were profiled recently in the New York Times.

I found the piece pretty well done... ok, maybe surprisingly well done, since it is the NYT we're talking about...

Molly Worthen did not make many attempts to judge Driscoll and his Calvinism, and did not do an awful job of explaining it. But it is the NYT, so it was not free of undermining and subtle slights. But overall I think she does a commendable job.

One thing to note that I found interesting was one rather overt jibe which ends the article and lays bare the express misunderstanding of Calvinism (read: biblical Christianity) and the doctrine of Total Depravity in particular. In closing her article, Worthen says,
Driscoll’s New Calvinism underscores a curious fact: the doctrine of total human depravity has always had a funny way of emboldening, rather than humbling, its adherents.
In context she meant this as a poke in the eye, but what she, and many others, do not get is that this should be the exact response of a proper view of Total Depravity (not to mention God's Sovereignty). Because if I am completely and utterly sinful in and of myself - and it is in Christ that I am placing my own worth and my own merit for salvation, and I am united to Him by faith - then it isn't about me. I am emboldened, I am given tremendous confidence, I am empowered exponentially due to the fact that it is not me that is at the source of that confidence, but Christ - because it is He who is being exalted. In Him we are freed from all human fear and self-deprecating (when preaching and teaching the gospel) because it is not about the man preaching, but the message being preached. And if you believe in a God who is Sovereign over every aspect of your life than there is no aspect of your life that cannot be approached in utter confidence and comfort because our God has promised that "for those who love Him, all things work together for good." Not our definition of good - but His - the only definition that matters.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Biblical Illiteracy

Ray Ortland points out some very sad poll results as shared by Al Mohler Jr. and then gives some solutions.

Here is the sadness:

"Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: 'Americans revere the Bible--but, by and large, they don't read it. And because they don't read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.' How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it's worse than most could imagine.

Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments. . .

According to 82 percent of Americans, 'God helps those who help themselves,' is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better--by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one's family. . . .

A Barna poll indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. We are in big trouble."

As a pastor, this is pretty devastating.

Click through to read what Rev. Ortlund suggests we do about it.

Trueman is at it again...

If this blog is one of only 4 or 5 websites you ever look at, you probably haven't seen this before. However, if, like me, you have a reasonably long blog roll in your feed reader, than this will likely be the 4th or 5th time you've come across a link to this article.

My esteemed former professor of Church History and now Dean of Academic affairs over at WTS has hit another bombastic home run with this very timely rebuke of the 'culture-centered' movement in evangelicalism. Sadly, that 'movement' is barely discernible from the whole, as I found the article clawing at a few of my own self-justified practices as it laid waste to the growing disregard for universal and central (not to mention biblical) Truth.

Articles like this are one of the many reasons why Dr. Trueman was one of my favorite professors at WTS and continues to be one of my favorite "middle aged gits".

Enjoy, be challenged, come back and talk about it if you want.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Start it Off with a Little Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

Don't believe me? See for yourself: