Theology

The posts below include most posts on Here I Blog since all issues have a theological basis.

Thumbnail image for A Facebook Comment Could Render Wheaton College’s Statement of Faith Meaningless

A Facebook Comment Could Render Wheaton College’s Statement of Faith Meaningless

A Facebook comment could render Wheaton College’s statement of faith meaningless if the member faculty council gets its way and the administration withdraws its efforts to fire Dr. Larycia Hawkins. I previously explained that Wheaton professor Larycia Hawkins was not suspended for wearing a hijab. Rather, she was suspended over the theological implications of stating that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. While Wheaton’s administration began the process of firing Hawkins, the faculty council disagrees potentially bringing more controversy on the school. In fact, Wheaton’s faculty council recommends the move to fire Hawkins be withdrawn. Now, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, writing for …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Wheaton College Professor Suspension Is Not About the Hijab but the Nature of God

The Wheaton College Professor Suspension Is Not About the Hijab but the Nature of God

Wheaton College, an Evangelical school, recently suspended Dr. Larycia Hawkins, Associate Professor of Political Science. Two issues are in view in this suspension: 1) she wore a hijab standing in religious solidarity with Muslims and 2) she claimed Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The Chicago Tribune gets it wrong by seeming to focus on Hawkins wearing a hijab. USA Today gets it right by focusing on Hawkins’ same God comment. Wheaton College did not suspend Dr. Hawkins because she wore a hijab, but over the nature of God. Her claims that Christians and Muslims worship the same God do not …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Jay Z: The Bible and Qu’ran Speak of the Same God

Jay Z: The Bible and Qu’ran Speak of the Same God

    The above clip is from an episode of Oprah’s Master Class which features “stories you’ve never heard from the people you thought you knew best.” Basically, the show is famous people sharing personal stories. And Jay Z shares an interesting belief about who God is. He thinks that “however you find God, that’s a fantastic thing” and “people that are reading the Qu’ran and people that are reading the Bible are really reading about the same person.” Sadly, Jay Z is wrong about God and he is influencing many. And even more with Oprah’s reach. If people simply …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Beware: John Boehner Quotes the Bible

Beware: John Boehner Quotes the Bible

Many who are first to cry separation of church and state recently celebrated a visit by Pope Francis to speak at the White House. While cheers for the Pope still echoed in the air, Speaker of the House, John Boehner, announced his coming resignation. Many of Boehner’s fellow Republicans have been critical of his leadership or lack thereof. He has been equally critical of his critics even calling Presidential candidate Ted Cruz a jackass. But beware, as Boehner begins walking toward retirement, he rips conservatives in his own party again, this time by quoting the Bible. “The Bible says beware of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Kim Davis is Not the Problem with Evangelical Christianity

Kim Davis is Not the Problem with Evangelical Christianity

Fellow Southern Baptist, Pastor Russell Williams, gave three reasons related to Kim Davis’ case for why Evangelical Christians are losing. He begins: Since I am a pastor of a southern Baptist church please allow me to weigh in on the case of Kim Davis, the lady in Kentucky who refuses to issue a marriage licenses to a same sex couple. I am a licensed Southern Baptist Minister which means I can legally marry people (not that this makes my position more authoritative). I simply disagree with brother Williams and do not believe Kim Davis is the problem with Evangelical Christianity.  Below …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The SCOTUS Ruling Reveals Christian Hate for Homosexuals

The SCOTUS Ruling Reveals Christian Hate for Homosexuals

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) recently ruled that gay marriage is a right legalizing such marriages. thereby redefining marriage. The support for this decision among professing Christians has been striking but so has the backlash. The reaction to the SCOTUS ruling from some Christian circles has revealed a kind of hatred for the homosexual community. Let me explain. Jesus commanded Christians to love others. In fact, he taught that one of the greatest commandments is to love our neighbor as ourselves. But that was the second greatest commandment. The first is to love God with all our …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Loving Bruce Jenner

Loving Bruce Jenner

Bruce Jenner, the 1976 Summer Olympics men’s decathlon gold medal winner, recently declared himself a woman and changed his name to Caitlyn. As you might imagine, reactions from those supporting Jenner, as well as those disapproving, has been intense. I am one who disapproves. Yet, I have been praying for him. At the same time, I wonder how an Evangelical Christian, like myself, might love Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner? There are at least three reasons: 1) he is made in God’s image, 2) he is a sinner, too, and 3) he needs the Savior, too. Jenner is made in God’s image …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Can Christians Be Happy?

Can Christians Be Happy?

Are Christians allowed to be happy in this life? I mean – is God okay with Christians being happy? There is a lot of doom and gloom in the world. There is a lot of negativity towards Christians and the Christian worldview today (and throughout history). Maybe a better question is: how can Christians be happy on this side of eternity? Dr. David Murray answers some of those questions in his new book The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World. If you would like to get a taste of The Happy Christian, consider the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Wheaton Drinks the Kool-Aid by Larry Farlow

Wheaton Drinks the Kool-Aid by Larry Farlow

Wheaton College, a leading evangelical university, now sponsors a student group for homosexuals. This group, called “Refuge,” is designed to provide a “biblically faithful community” for homosexual students. According to an article on the Christian News Network: …the Wheaton Chaplain’s Office hired Julie Rodgers, a “celibate gay Christian,” to lead the group as student counselor. Rodgers believes God uses her homosexuality to glorify Him. “As God has redeemed and transformed me, he’s tapped into those gay parts of me that now overflow into compassion for marginalized people and empathy for social outcasts—he’s used my gay way of being for His glory …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Trials and the World Today by Robert Hudson

Trials and the World Today by Robert Hudson

I am currently teaching through a series on the Book of James at church. We are only into the second chapter but one thing is certain, James is not bashful, he is not afraid of speaking the truth. James is the brother of Jesus and he did not believe his older half brother was his Savior until after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Reviewing James’ letter shows us that his faith was strong and he was determined that people would hear the rightful message AND how it should impact their lives. James’ faithfulness in speaking the Word of God eventually led to …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Refusing Service to a Same-sex Wedding is About Marriage Not Homosexuality

Refusing Service to a Same-sex Wedding is About Marriage Not Homosexuality

When a Christian baker or florist refuses service for a gay same-sex marriage, the issue is marriage not homosexuality. Apologist Greg Koukl has made this point several times and I agree. But is the claim true? Yes! Barronelle Stutzman, for example, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, refused to provide flower for the same-sex wedding of her gay friend, Rob Ingersoll. Stutzman provided flowers for Ingersoll for years despite him being gay. The issue clearly was not simply about his homosexuality, but her Christian convictions about marriage. I would further assume that Stutzman (and other Christians of the same convictions) would have …keep reading »

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Video: Muslim Challenge on Deity of Jesus Christ Answered by Christian (Former Muslim)

In the video below, a Muslim respectfully challenges Christian Apologist, and former Muslim, Nabeel Qureshi on the deity of Jesus Christ. The Muslim asks a few important questions that address his main problems with Christianity. Qureshi answers provides biblical answers. Ironically, he even shows how Muslims use similar reasoning for their own doctrines pointing to Tawhid as one example.

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Thumbnail image for 2 Reasons the SBC Resolution on Christians Suing Fellow Christians was Rejected

2 Reasons the SBC Resolution on Christians Suing Fellow Christians was Rejected

Below is a follow-up article by Tom Buck, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Lindale, explaining the results of the submission of his SBC resolution on Christians suing fellow Christians.  Last month I submitted a resolution to be considered at the SBC Annual Meeting in Baltimore concerning Christians suing fellow Christians. My motivation for addressing this issue was directly related to multiple lawsuits occurring between members of the SBC. I believed the infighting that was overflowing into the public court system was bringing shame upon the church and was a direct violation of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. This precipitated a considerable …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for SBC Resolution on Christians Suing Fellow Christians

SBC Resolution on Christians Suing Fellow Christians

My fellow Christians, have you ever been sued? Have you ever sued anyone? A “yes” to either of those questions would not be surprising since there are millions of lawsuits filed every year in the United States. But there is a more important question. Have you ever sued a fellow Christian? Despite the fact that 1 Corinthians 6 has strong language against Christians taking other Christians to court, many do so anyway. Unfortunately, we Southern Baptists are not strangers to lawsuits. For example, in recent years a seminary professor sued the Baptist seminary where she once worked.1 More recently, a former Baptist college VP …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Working for Wind

Working for Wind

I’ve been busy lately reading and writing closing out the seminary semester. Throw in the fact that I’ve not been sleeping much and I’ve got a battle between sleep and school. Juggling seminary, work, and home life can be exhausting at times and even frustrating. Sometimes I wonder – why all this studying? What’s the motivation? As with anything we Christians do in life, our motivation should be to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31). Our reason should be kingdom motivated. That is, God’s kingdom, not our own. One of the temptations in America, in ministry or otherwise, is the temptation to seek our …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Congregationalism

Congregationalism

Congregationalism is one of the areas of church government Southern Baptists have debated in recent years. Many arguments over congregationalism tend to reduce to disagreements over being led by a single vs. that of a plurality of pastors. The debate further reduces to pastor/elder-led vs. pastor/elder-ruled. As you might imagine, there is much disagreement in this areas. In my estimation, the arguments are framed in light of the roles of church offices while ignoring the actual functions those offices carry out. For example, some argue for single, pastor-led congregationalism against a congregation led by a plurality of pastors/elders claiming such a church …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for My Good Friday: When I was God

My Good Friday: When I was God

Every day was my Good Friday. Every day I was my own god. I loved my sin. Not a day went by that I was not planning another moment celebrating sin. What sins can I do tomorrow because today they were so satisfying? Which ones will fill my soul next? During the week I was a pretty good guy. I lived to make the most of myself for myself. I strived to be better both personally and in business dealings. I wanted more out of life to make the most of myself. A slight exaggeration here or there didn’t really …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for 3 Tests for Assurance of Salvation

3 Tests for Assurance of Salvation

Are you sure of your salvation or could you be deceived? I’m sure this is a question with which many Christians have or do struggle. Many wonder if we can really be sure. In his book Blessed Assurance: How to Know That You Are Saved, Eric Douglas looks to God’s word in the writings of the Apostle John for the answer. He provides three biblical tests in which you can discern your salvation. First, there is the upward test of faith. This test will help us determine whether or not we have biblical faith. Everyone has faith in something; we just need …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Does World Vision Hate Homosexuals?

Does World Vision Hate Homosexuals?

Update: World Vision reversed its decision discussed below. I think they have answered my question that they do not hate homosexuals, but love them enough to not affirm same-sex marriage. They love God enough to have their mistake corrected by the authority of Scripture and to stand on the biblical view of marriage.  World Vision president, Richard Stearns, recently announced a policy change to accept gay same-sex married couples. Given that World Vision identifies itself as a Christian humanitarian organization, this move causes me to ask: Does World Vision hate homosexuals? Stearns would not probably not answer affirmatively calling the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for John MacArthur on Duck Dynasty and Theology

John MacArthur on Duck Dynasty and Theology

I have written on Duck Dynasty and baptism a few times on this blog (see below). I have even stood with Phil Robertson when he made his remarks about Christianity and homosexuality. In one sense, I am glad the Robertson’s are open about their faith, mention Jesus, etc. On the other hand, I am skeptical about their views on the necessity of baptism for salvation. In the video below, Todd Friel asks John MacArthur his thoughts on Duck Dynasty and their (church’s) view on baptism and salvation. Todd and I shared concerns about this topic a few months ago when …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Must Christian Art Be Evangelistic?

Must Christian Art Be Evangelistic?

Over at the Gospel Coalition, Alex Medina asks in the title of his post Must Art Be Evangelistic to Be Christian? Since the question is really about art made by Christians, let me re-phrase the question. Must Christian art be evangelistic? Or, a fuller version of the question from a Facebook friend, “Does a Christian who does music have to talk about Christianity or anything about the gospel in their music?” I emphasized the words “must” and “have to” above to set-up my brief answer. No, a Christian artist does not “have to” only produce evangelistic art. Evangelistic art is …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Missing Cross of the Christian Right?

The Missing Cross of the Christian Right?

It is no secret that Conservative Christians sometimes blur the line between their faith and politics. At times you might think Jesus had changed the good news from believing in him to voting Republican. David Rogers recently shared some good thoughts about this topic in his post The Worst of “the Christian Right”. Rogers basically points out the wrong-headed call for Christians to put political strategies over biblical mandates. He also asks the essential question, “Where is the cross of Jesus here?” Is the cross of Christ often missing in the politics of the Christian right? Consider the quote below …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for A Warning for Lent from Charles Spurgeon

A Warning for Lent from Charles Spurgeon

Lent is here and more Protestants are participating. I am not a fan nor partaker Lenten activities. Fasting and other forms of self-denial for this season remind me too much of Roman Catholic piety. As a Protestant, I feel as though I am pointing fellow Evangelicals to Rome if I suggest some sort of Lenten practice. Though I am always curious what fellow Baptist Charles Spurgeon said about Lent. While Spurgeon was no fan or Roman Catholicism, he curiously did not say much (that I have found) explicitly about Lent. He did not call Lent a superstitious observance as did …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Debate: Christian Vs. Black Hebrew Israelite

Debate: Christian Vs. Black Hebrew Israelite

Brother Saiko Woods recently debated a Black Hebrew Israelite (whose name I did not catch). The debate topic was Black Hebrew Israelites & The Authority of Scripture. I’m not sure how influential the Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI) are, but there are several YouTube videos showing them in public in a few big cities. The only person I know who has had any face-to-face with BHI’s is a Facebook friend who used to be one. Check out the debate below!

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Thumbnail image for Using Movies in Evangelism

Using Movies in Evangelism

The Son of God movie will be in theaters soon. So far, this movie has not been near the spectacle Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ had been. In fact, it may be said that the lack of success of using The Passion in evangelism may be the reason Son of God is not getting much press. Maybe this lack of success means Christians should not use movies as part of their evangelistic outreach. Tim Challies wrote about this issue in his post Writing Checks to Mel Gibson. Tim was thoughtful without condemning. However, Tim quotes a follow-up Barna …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for David Platt on Sports and Idolatry

David Platt on Sports and Idolatry

I get what Platt is saying. I wish we (yes, me) would be more excited about our Sunday times of worship and fellowship. I wish we Christians would learn how to relay the excitement about our weekend fellowship just as we would after seeing the latest box office hit. Anyway… Your thoughts? Here I blog… Mark

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Thumbnail image for Free Live Debate: Bill Nye Vs. Ken Ham

Free Live Debate: Bill Nye Vs. Ken Ham

Update: The debate is over, but you can watch the recording below. The comments are disabled on YouTube, but not here if you have anything to share about the debate. Also, you can order the debate: Uncensored Science: Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham Order your DVD copy today! On Tuesday, February 4, 2014, Bill Nye debates Ken Ham on evolution vs. creation. The debate is free and will be live streamed online at 7 PM ET. Sign-up here -> Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham Live Streaming FREE*! While there may be churches in your area streaming the debate, my Sunday School class and …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Why Christians Should Study Philosophy

Why Christians Should Study Philosophy

Some Christians are opposed to studying philosophy thinking it is opposed to biblical thinking. I am not sure they grasp what they think they are against when they oppose philosophy. Therefore, I would like to share some brief thoughts on the benefits for Christians to study philosophy. First, what is philosophy? Oxford Dictionaries defined philosophy as “the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.” In Philosophical Foundations of a Christian Worldview, J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig offer a definition that philosophy is “the attempt to think rationally and critically about …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Mormon Myths by Glenn Beck

Mormon Myths by Glenn Beck

As much as I appreciate Glenn Beck at times for some of his advancement of conservative issues, we still have a huge, eternal disconnect. The disconnect? Beck is a Mormon and I (though once RLDS) am a Christian. Yet, given the political landscape in the U.S., Mormons and Christians often stand side-by-side supporting a conservative worldview. There is also concern at times when religion and politics mix to a point that political positions become the deciding factor for fellowship. Political partnering and agreeable morality over shadow the Christian gospel. Christians who hold politics and morality as near and dear may …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Considering La Shawn Barber on the Theological Beliefs of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Considering La Shawn Barber on the Theological Beliefs of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is an American icon who is rightly remembered for giving his life working to advance Civil Rights. He was also a Baptist pastor though it seems not much is known or said about his theological beliefs. Below, King’s beliefs will be noted as La Shawn Barber laid them out in her article Assessing the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her piece will help answer the question – what where Martin Luther King, Jr.’s theological beliefs? First, Barber’s whole article is worth reading to get a good sketch of King’s life under the following subtopics: “Kings Life …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Catch 22 of Keeping Your Christian Faith Private

The Catch 22 of Keeping Your Christian Faith Private

In various debates on social and political issues, Christians are often told to keep their faith out of the public forum. And that faith has no place in the public decision making process. Not only is it impossible for Christians to put away their faith as if it is something carried around in a portable first-aide kit, but it puts them in a catch 22 if they ignore their faith. One one hand, when Christians are public about their faith by expressing that the foundation of their decisions are faith-based, they may be scoffed at. They are told by opponents …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Duck Dynasty Rebrief: Phil Robertson Is Not My Spokesman

Duck Dynasty Rebrief: Phil Robertson Is Not My Spokesman

Below is a brief response to Trevin Wax’s article at the Gospel Coalition site titled Duck Dynasty Debrief. I am in basic agreement with most of Trevin’s piece. However, I am going to respond to a few items under the subtitle “Phil Robertson Is Not Our Spokesman.” If you have not heard of Duck Dynasty you probably have not been to Kroger, Walmart, social media, or almost anywhere on the internet in the last month or so. The Duck Dynasty brand is showing up on various products including candy, motor oil, bedding, jewelry, t-shirts, etc. Seeing the brand everywhere is …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Duck Dynasty: A&E Tolerates Phil Robertson…Sort of

Duck Dynasty: A&E Tolerates Phil Robertson…Sort of

Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, was suspended from filming by A&E on December 18th. Now, 10 days later A&E has removed the suspension. Phil is again filming the show with his family. A&E released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter explaining their reversal. The network stated, in part: “We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold. But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love. As …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Start Small for Big Change by Ben Reed

Start Small for Big Change by Ben Reed

Ben is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN area. In addition to pastoring, preaching, and writing, Ben has a great passion for coffee. Good coffee, that is. And CrossFit. But not at the same time! (He is also the author of Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint. Connect with him at his blog, book site, and on twitter.)  We can’t live the Christian life on our own. It’s just not possible. Not possible to do well.  You can’t love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and might by yourself. You can’t …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Merry Christmas: An Unknown Workman

Merry Christmas: An Unknown Workman

Christmas is a great reminder of God’s Gift to us of His Son, Jesus Christ. This time of year also reminds us of what we do with God’s Gift – believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. God transforms us by His grace through our faith, but that is just the first step into our new life. We are to continue walking by faith. Furthermore, Scripture commands we do all things for God’s glory. So, why not use Christmas to consider for Whom you are living and working? Are you doing all things for the praise …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Santa Claus was Never a Savior

Santa Claus was Never a Savior

Some Christians refuse to lie to their kids by telling them about Santa Claus. Other Christians do not see harm in teaching young children about Santa to put some fun into Christmas knowing they will some day reveal the jolly truth. Yet, there is a way to tell your kids about Santa Claus with all the fiction and fun without lying to them. There are Christian parents that will not teach their kids about Santa Claus and all that comes with him. These parents worry that teaching their kids about Santa is actually lying to them in violation of Scripture. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for What You Believe About Homosexuality Matters

What You Believe About Homosexuality Matters

One United Methodist Youth Pastor, Tyler Smither, stated his position that What You Believe About Homosexuality Doesn’t Matter. He wrote the article in light of the recent Phil Robertson GQ interview and  Frank Schaefer’s defrocking over performing his son’s same-sex marriage. Smither is wrong that it does not matter what someone believes about homosexuality. The importance of what is believed on the subject is easily seen, for example, by how it divides each side, both for and against. The big issue Smither raises is the one he uses  as the reason why one’s position on homosexuality does not matter. He asserts that calling homosexuality …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for AETV not Happy, Happy, Happy with Phil Robertson

AETV not Happy, Happy, Happy with Phil Robertson

Christian free speech is under attack again – this time from the A&E television network. A&E has suspended Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson for comments he made on homosexuality in the GQ interview “What the Duck?” Ironically, A&E’s current theme is “Be Original,” yet they shut down Robertson for not conforming. Granted, Robertson’s ideas, in a sense, are not exactly original since the started with God. While I do not fully agree with Duck Dynasty theology, we certainly agree that God created Adam and Eve, a man and a woman, as the proper order of marital and sexual relations – in that order. Of course, …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for How Important is Unity in the Church? by Larry Farlow

How Important is Unity in the Church? by Larry Farlow

Guest blogger Larry Farlow lives in Metro-Atlanta and is an elder and adult Bible study teacher at Grace Fellowship. Follow @larryfarlow Episcopal bishop, Peter James Lee once said “If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy.” Sadly, this has become the battle cry of large swaths of the church, Episcopal and otherwise, from the mid-20th century until today. I’ve seen echoes of this mindset recently as I’ve followed the coverage of the church trial of United Methodist minister Frank Schaefer over his support for same sex marriage. Unity at all costs. But is that as it should be? …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ex-Gang Member Surrenders Life to Jesus Christ

Ex-Gang Member Surrenders Life to Jesus Christ

The following is by guest blogger, Tommie Scott, who is the son of one of the first Crip gang members in the United States—Big Tommie from Watts Jordan Down Projects in Los Angeles, California. He is the author of “The Tommie Scott Story: From Gangs, Drugs, and Crimes To Soldier For Christ.” His documentary may be found on YouTube. Check out his story below! We live in a world that says, “Live for the here and now!” “It’s all about me.” “It’s all about my race, my group, my social standing.” A world that says, “Just go on and gain all …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Preach Us a Sermon

Preach Us a Sermon

Preach us a sermon, Preacher, But don’t preach very long; Just tell the story of Christ’s love, But don’t condemn the wrong. Say not a thing of doctrines false, Lest others be offended. Then they’d turn away from us, And call us narrow-minded. Preach us a sermon, Preacher, But don’t preach very plain; Let others guess at what you mean; Don’t ever call a name; We’ll sing your praises loud and long, And keep you many a day, But make it clear, and you will hear, “Brother, be on your way.” Preach us a sermon, Preacher, But say nothing of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Köstenberger on Plagiarism

Köstenberger on Plagiarism

In his book, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholary Virtue (Good News Publishers, 2011.), Andreas Köstenberger addresses the topic of plagiarism. He tackles the subject under the sub-title “Diligence and Vices” encouraging the reader to be diligent in their work breaking sinful vices including laziness. In part, he writes that is is a form of theft. “If you plagiarize, you are engaging in a form of theft, stealing the intellectual property of others. What is more, once a scholar’s reputation has been marred by plagiarism, it is virtually impossible to regain credibility. Even if those whom you harmed by …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Trueman on Christian Celebrity Culture

Trueman on Christian Celebrity Culture

Carl Trueman writes about the recent dust up between Janet Mefferd and Mark Driscoll in If the Top Men take over, who will ask the hard questions? He touches on the pass that celebrity Christians often seem to get versus that of ordinary Christians. Trueman points out that “celebrity culture” has “corrupted the young, restless and reformed movement.” However, such an infection goes beyond the YRR movement, as I can personally attest to as a Southern Baptist who received threats over a recent article. Ironically, I know a few men who would probably be considered celebrity Christians in certain areas of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Being Ministers of Reconciliation Part II by Brandon Smith

Being Ministers of Reconciliation Part II by Brandon Smith

In case you missed part one, read it here: Being Ministers of Reconciliation Part I by Brandon Smith. Hope In the end, we do not know the answers to every question about how and why God saves anyone, but his Word is very clear that the proclamation of the gospel is a key component to transformation (Romans 10). People’s hearts cannot be ultimately changed for the better by new legislature, war, personal enlightenment, or secret philosophies; it can only be changed by the sin-stomping, life-altering life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Being Ministers of Reconciliation Part I by Brandon Smith

Being Ministers of Reconciliation Part I by Brandon Smith

In a world of subjective truths, tolerance, and acceptance, Christianity has become nothing more than ‘another’ religion in the eyes of many. Western culture, in particular, is grievously enamored with the idea of self-reliance, self-dependence, and self-worth. Christianity is extremely counter-cultural because it teaches the actuality of human depravity, the necessity for a savior, and an eternal focus for our temporal lives. For unbelievers at-large, this can be something that can seem intolerant and outdated, a tradition steeped in rigid tradition, and a stumbling block to the progress of the society and the world. For Christians, however, depraved humanity in …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for When Christians Disagree

When Christians Disagree

I took a short time-out to read Francis Schaeffer on the topic of Christian disagreements and love. The time-out was well spent as he offered refreshing and much needed advice. In part, Schaeffer explained how Christians must show the love of Christ through disagreements even to the point of suffering for each other. The quote below is longer than I might I normally share, but is well worth the read. What happens, then, when we must differ with other brothers in Christ because of the need also to show forth God’s holiness either in doctrine or in life? In the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Video: Eric Hankins Discusses Southern Baptist Doctrine and Theology

Video: Eric Hankins Discusses Southern Baptist Doctrine and Theology

Video description: “Dr. Blake Newsom, Dean of Chapel at NOBTS, sits down with Dr. Eric Hankins, Pastor of FBC Oxford, MS, to discuss the issue of doctrine and theology in Southern Baptist churches.”

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Thumbnail image for Russell Crowe: Surprised by Noah?

Russell Crowe: Surprised by Noah?

Yesterday, I posted the official movie trailer of Noah which stars stars Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. I even posted brief insights about the stars’ religious views. I wondered about the biblical accuracy of the movie. I think Russell Crowe in the interview blurb below partially answers my inquiry. Crowe believes the audience is going to be surprised to find out what kind of person Noah is…. Ironically, Crowe implies that the movie is what teaches us the truth about Noah. He says: At one point in the story the son says, “I thought you were chosen …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Video: Robby Gallaty Teaching on Discipleship

Video: Robby Gallaty Teaching on Discipleship

Robby Gallaty’s book on discipleship just released this week which has the foreword by David Platt. The book is available on Amazon and is titled Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples. He is also offering from freebies on his website GrowingUpBook.com for those who order the book before November 15 and for certain bulk orders. Robby recently spoke on discipleship at First Baptist Woodstock. His teaching was titled, “The comma that has put the church in a coma.” Check out the video below (he starts around 17:00) and consider getting your own copy of Growing Up: How to Be …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Imitating Church: Atheists Engage in the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Imitating Church: Atheists Engage in the Sincerest Form of Flattery

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” wrote Charles Colton in 1824. Today, Colton’s words are possibly being lived out in the most ironic fashion – Atheist ‘mega-churches’ take root across US, world reports Gillian Flaccus in the AP. The AP reports that “several hundred people” attended or, more specifically, USA Today‘s version of the story states “more than 400 attendees.” The problem is that 400 people does is not enough to meet the definition of a megachurch. The numbers to qualify as a megachurch is attendance between 1,600 to 2,000 plus. But it is a catchy headline. Not A Church Next, the biblical definition …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Creating Persecution: Bus Driver Pastor Fired for Praying with Students

Creating Persecution: Bus Driver Pastor Fired for Praying with Students

The StarTribune is reporting that a Pastor loses bus driving job for praying with students in Burnsville, Minnesota. George Nathaniel, a bus driver and pastor, was fired for praying with students on his bus after being warned not to. When I read the story I thought – why create this kind of controversy or persecution? Granted, the news report Mr. Nathaniel complained of persecution over his firing. Yet, this is certainly a controversy that could have been avoided. The StarTribune reports the termination letter stated: “There have been more complaints of religious material on the bus as well as other complaints regarding performance. In accordance …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Great Charismatic Gifts Debate!

The Great Charismatic Gifts Debate!

The debate is now over, but you can watch the recording below as Dr. James White moderates Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Sam Waldron debate the following topic: Have the New Testament Charismatic Gifts Ceased?

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Thumbnail image for Preach Off: Making a Mockery of the Church

Preach Off: Making a Mockery of the Church

Apparently, the guys from the Preachers of L.A. TV show had a “preach off.” A preach off is like a bad version of a rap battle for preachers. It has all the workings of stand-up comedy improv without the humor. I have no idea what someone is supposed to win in a preach off. Preachers preach the gospel to feed the sheep and win souls to Jesus Christ. Scripture also warns about the content of preaching. For example: For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Happy Reformation Day: 95 Thesis Rap Video

Happy Reformation Day: 95 Thesis Rap Video

“The Word did it all. Had I wished I might have started a conflagration at Worms. But while I sat still and drank beer with Philip and Amsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.” ~Martin Luther~

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Thumbnail image for The Annual Christian Debate Over Halloween Post

The Annual Christian Debate Over Halloween Post

As soon as candy in the trick-or-treat bag rings, a smile on a child’s face sings. It is Halloween again in America. Christians will discuss and debate whether or not they can or should participate in Halloween. In this post, I will offer some brief thoughts on Christians and Halloween. One thought that crosses my mind is: if Paul could eat meat sacrificed idols with a clear conscience Christians can take their kids trick-or-treating to get candy for fun. Some Christians object to Halloween regardless of whether or not some form of satanic promotion is involved. The claim sometimes made is that …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Warren Cole Smith and Pete Kaliner Discuss Steven Furtick’s $1.7 Million Mansion

Warren Cole Smith and Pete Kaliner Discuss Steven Furtick’s $1.7 Million Mansion

Warren Cole Smith was on the Pete Kaliner Show discussing the recent controversy over N.C. Pastor Steven Furtick, of Elevation Church, spending $1.7 million to build his new 16,000 square-foot mansion. Smith and Kaliner begin the show talking about pastors’ salaries in light of accountability, transparency, and living sacrificially. Kaliner brings up Furtick’s answer to critics that he makes his money from book sales and conferences. And that Furtick and his board of advisers speak at each other’s conferences and events promoting each other.Smith argues that the church is what gave pastors like Furtick their platform for success. He then points to …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Strange Fire: ‘And I See God the Father’?

Strange Fire: ‘And I See God the Father’?

Motivated by the recent disagreements over the Strange Fire Conference, Dan McGhee shared the following video on Facebook. The video is Kim Walker of Jesus Culture Music sharing a testimony of an alleged supernatural vision with Jesus Christ and God the Father. I’m sharing the video here not to promote it, but to ask – how does a Christian discern whether or not what Walker describes really happened and is of God? For example, Walker claims the following in the video. And I was in Heaven with Jesus, and I was standing there. And Jesus standing next to me. And I see God …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Preaching Hell Washed in Tears

Preaching Hell Washed in Tears

A particular church in a hierarchical denomination had become well known as a graveyard for ministers. The internal conflicts of the church usually resulted in requests to transfer the pastors after a brief residence. A new bishop arrived on the scene and immediately sent to this church one of the brightest and apparently most capable ministers in the district. True to form, within a year the chairperson of the personnel committee called the bishop and informed him that the church wanted the minister moved on to another setting. “What’s the problem?” asked the bishop. “Well,” came the reply, “all he …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Charles Spurgeon: Private Prophecies and New Revelation

Charles Spurgeon: Private Prophecies and New Revelation

Charles Spurgeon has been mentioned a few times by both Christian cessationists and continuationists since Pastor John MacArthur’s recent Strange Fire Conference. Spurgeon is appealed to as a well-known and respected historic authority in this tense theological debate over spiritual gifts. Phil Johnson who has worked with MacArthur since 1981 and owns The Spurgeon Archive, addresses the question of Spurgeon and cessationism.1 Pastor Johnson’s article begins. Charles Spurgeon was a cessationist. He regarded the charismata as apostolic signs—unique gifts for a unique era. He taught (as did virtually every evangelical preacher of his era) that the miraculous gifts described in Acts and 1 Corinthians …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Liverpool Care Pathway, Obamacare, and Death Panels

Liverpool Care Pathway, Obamacare, and Death Panels

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare as some call it, is in the process of being implemented in the United States. As the ACA moves forward concerns over death panels have increased. Some dispute whether or not death panels truly exist in the ACA. Yet, even some Democrats are concerned: ObamaCare ‘death panel’ faces growing opposition from Democrats. The issue is that someone outside the family – bureaucrats – would have the power to make life and death decisions. Will the ACA be similar to The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) healthcare program in the United Kingdom?  The LCP gives power to health …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Can Cuss Words be Used to Share the Gospel?

Can Cuss Words be Used to Share the Gospel?

I recently challenged Christians to boldness by not shying away from biblical language when talking publicly. I made the challenge using worldliness as an example explaining What Christians Can Learn from a Carefree Cussing World.  Jake Swink asked an interesting question in the comments on that post. The question also took into account cuss words, but from a different angle. Given the current societal moral decline in this ever-changing landscape of evangelistic opportunities, I thought the inquiry was worth a look. Jake commented and asked: What do you think overall if using cuss words can be used for sharing the gospel?? …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for What does Duck Dynasty Really Believe About Baptism?

What does Duck Dynasty Really Believe About Baptism?

In the video below, Todd Friel on the Wretched show addresses the topic, “Duck Dynasty: What EXACTLY do they believe?” I was recently in the Wretched studio and spoke with Todd about Duck Dynasty and baptismal regeneration. He told me he was going to cover the topic. I gave Todd the name of a mutual friend who has actually spoken to the main preaching elder at White’s Ferry Church of Christ, the church were the Robertson’s are members. The We Care Ministries Todd mentions in the video is headed by Larry West who he also mentions. Just so there is no …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for What Christians Can Learn from a Carefree Cussing World

What Christians Can Learn from a Carefree Cussing World

A few years ago at a football game at my daughter’s high school I was blessed with some free profanity. While walking to the car, five teenage boys were walking together close by cussing generously and loudly. Also walking close by was a family with two little kids. After about the third blessing from the teens, I spoke up telling them to watch their language. Thankfully, they stopped. When I was a teenager I rarely cussed, but when I did, I certainly did not do it in public or around adults. I had too much respect for people to freely …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for My Podcast Appearance on Faith, Etc.

My Podcast Appearance on Faith, Etc.

Friend and fellow Christian blogger Joshua Breland has started a podcast called Faith, Etc. For some reason he asked me to be his first guest. Then, for some reason – I said yes. Actually, I was honored to say yes. Joshua asked me some questions about my RLDS background and life leading up to becoming a Christian. Much more could have been said, but I tried to touch on the heart of the issues in the time available. I pray the podcast edifies some in the body of Christ. If you care – or dare – to listen click the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for 6 Questions for Atheists, Unbelievers, and the Unchurched

6 Questions for Atheists, Unbelievers, and the Unchurched

Below are questions that were part of one of my assignments. I thought the questions very interesting as were the answers I got in reply. The answers I got were from a face-to-face meeting, but I thought it interesting to get some online answers. The exercise involves simply getting answers and not arguing or debating the answers. I hope to get some online feedback on these questions. One atheist answered me and his answers are below the following questions. 6 Questions 1.a. If you believe in God, what is God like?  Describe God. 1.b. If you don’t believe in God, …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Would Jesus be a Democrat?

Would Jesus be a Democrat?

In his own entertaining style, Alfonzo Rachel answers the question – would Jesus be a Democrat? He makes some interesting points. What do you think?  

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Thumbnail image for Why Calvinist Al Mohler Wrote the Preface for Paige Patterson’s Anabaptist Festschrift

Why Calvinist Al Mohler Wrote the Preface for Paige Patterson’s Anabaptist Festschrift

Sometime last year was a report that B&H Academic was going to publish a festschrift in honor of Paige Patterson. The festschrift is now available. Edited by Malcolm Yarnell, professor of systematic theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the book is entitled, The Anabaptists and Contemporary Baptists: Restoring New Testament Christianity, Essays in Honor of Paige Patterson. Some may wonder who would endorse such a book given the eternal theological in-fighting among Southern Baptists – I know I did! Well, inside the cover you will find endorsements from Calvinist Michael Haykin to the Calvinstic Daniel Akin and Russell Moore to Mennonites John Rempel and John …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Receiving the Anointing of Dead People?

Receiving the Anointing of Dead People?

On the one hand, I hope the video below of Christians praying to receive the anointing of dead people is a joke. On the other hand, if it is a joke then people are mocking Christianity.

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Thumbnail image for Why are Southern Baptist Churches Hemorrhaging?

Why are Southern Baptist Churches Hemorrhaging?

Guest blogger Jared Moore is the pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. He is the author of 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped and The Harry Potter Bible Study. You can stalk find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Why are Southern Baptist churches hemorrhaging? Let’s begin by asking a couple of pertinent questions. Should Southern Baptist churches seek to be entertaining? Should churches add entertainment to their worship services as a form of pragmatism in the name of attracting lost souls? I imagine many Evangelicals would shout an emphatic “yes!” But, from Scripture, there is no evidence that …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Preacher Arrested in Scotland for Street Preaching

Preacher Arrested in Scotland for Street Preaching

Josh Williamson, pastor of Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth, Scotland, was recently arrested in Scotland. The charge? A breach of peace. Some allegedly complained he was preaching too loudly. He wasn’t even using an amplification system. The arrest was captured on video. Read the whole story at: Jailed for Preaching Jesus in Scotland! Here I blog… Mark

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Thumbnail image for How Miley Cyrus Could Really Shock the World!

How Miley Cyrus Could Really Shock the World!

Given that her name seems to pop-up just about everywhere these days – I was thinking about how Miley Cyrus could really shock the world. It seems every other day Miley Cyrus is a top twitter trend. She is one of the top searched people on Google. One of her recent music videos broke a record for most views in 24 hours. Cyrus has seemingly shocked her way to attention with her recent actions. Many fans and onlookers tuned in and continue to do so with every new sexually suggestive Cyrus performance. And everyone is shocked! But why is everyone shocked? …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for What a Great Christian Testimony?

What a Great Christian Testimony?

Christian testimonies can be powerful. They are often used in powerful ways to share the gospel. Imagine someone gave you the following testimony about the gospel of Jesus Christ. “You may be someone searching for truth and answers. The gospel of Jesus Christ has them. Regardless of your background, your lifestyle, or your current belief system, the gospel of Christ is for you, and you can accept it wherever you are. The truths found in the gospel of Jesus Christ will change your heart and give you the courage and strength to make good and needed changes in your lifestyle …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Preaching: Emotional Manipulation

Preaching: Emotional Manipulation

Of course an eager evangelist might argue that getting a person down the aisle to make a public profession is always in the “best interest” of the professing person, but the millions of inactive religious converts suggest that some of those lured down the aisle hated themselves and the evangelists the next morning. Seduction was the way of the serpent, not the way of Christ. The use of conversion statistics for personal promotion implies a scalp-gathering mentality that is for the advantage of the persuader. In a sermon contrasting the orthodox and liberals, the preacher climaxed his harangue with the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Preaching: Loaded Language and Name Calling

Preaching: Loaded Language and Name Calling

Loaded language and name calling have become a fine art in American religious rhetoric where they should have no place at all. “Redneck,” “fundamentalist,” “secular humanist,” and “liberal” are almost as common as favorite biblical terms. Religious periodicals advertise conferences on “real” evangelism and for “real” women, implying of course that some are unreal. Name calling is intensified when a strong contrast is made. An example of such contrast occurred in the context of a debate within a Southern Baptist association meeting. Referring to the preceding speaker, a pastor declared that he was not surprised at the speaker’s position because …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Facebook Unfriending: Shaking the Digital Dust

Facebook Unfriending: Shaking the Digital Dust

Jesus sent his Apostles out to visit homes to proclaim God’s kingdom taking nothing with them. At those homes where the message was rejected, Jesus told them to shake the dust off their feet as they left. Shaking the dust off their feet was a sign of judgement against them for rejecting God’s message. Christian do not witness door to door as they once did. However, many Christians go from digital door to digital door in this age of social media. Sometimes Christians on social media have an encounter from which they must shake the digital dust and move on. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Conclusion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Conclusion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Several weeks ago I invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. We have finally reached the end of the read along. However, I still encourage you to grab a copy of the book and study it. Below are links to all the chapters. Today’s final post touches on White’s brief concluding chapter that is only six pages. Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Why Invite Unbelievers to Church?

Why Invite Unbelievers to Church?

Asking why a Christian would invite an unbeliever to church may strike some as provocative. Yet, it is a valid question. Consider a if a Muslim asked you, Christian, to come worship with him at the mosque. Wouldn’t you wonder why he thought you would consider worshiping Allah? When the church gathers for Sunday morning worship the primary audience is professing Christians. The very definition of the word church is the “called out ones” who are believers. Technically, no believers equals no church. Yet, we know there will be unbelievers in the pews on Sunday morning. Unbelievers should be welcomed …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Always Remember

Always Remember

I will always remember the September 11, 2001 attacks (9/11) that took place 12 years ago today. I will always remember the big screen TV I was watching in my office as the attacks were happening. I shared this information in 2011 in Never Forget. A lot has happened in the United States in the past 12 years since 9/11. That attack united Americans – for a short time anyway. No doubt we will express feelings that we are again united on this anniversary of the attacks. During our time of mourning and recovery, religions that do not go together …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ethics: Twins Marry Each Other!

Ethics: Twins Marry Each Other!

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s situation is unusual – beyond unusual. The scenario involves twins who married each other. Keep reading. A married couple from church who confides in you is coming to dinner. They have something very important to share. They also need your advice. It is dinner time. While at your dinner table the couple brings up a very difficult issue to discuss asking this be kept in complete confidence. They begin discussing their marital back ground. They have been together three years with the first being the dating/engagement stage. In fact, it was just last month …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for My Sermons on Philippians

My Sermons on Philippians

The 2nd VP of the Southern Baptist Convention, Jared Moore, asked me to preach at the church he pastors, New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY, at the end of this past June. I don’t get the opportunity to preach often so I was grateful for the opportunity. (And I hope these sermons don’t give me even less opportunities to preach!) I accepted Jared’s invitation even though time was short. The Lord helped me put these sermons together in about two weeks. The folks at New Salem were wonderful hosts to my wife and I. I pray these sermons are …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 11: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an

Chapter 11: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an

Several weeks ago I invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca by Ken Temple Chapter 2: The Qur’an: A Brief Introduction Chapter 3: Allah: Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra Chapter 4: “Say Not Three”: …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for But Jesus Hung Out with Sinners!

But Jesus Hung Out with Sinners!

Sometimes Christians disagree over participating in certain activities. One Christian may be convicted that a certain activity is sin or at the very least the appearance of evil so they avoid it. Another Christian may come to a different conviction about the same activity and feel free to participate. For example, the recent news out of Oregon where Christian bakery owners felt they would not be honoring the Lord by providing food for a same-sex wedding. (An event that inspired a recent post.) Since the owners refused service to the gay couple’s wedding, some in the LGBT did all they …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Infant Salvation in the Baptist Faith & Message

Infant Salvation in the Baptist Faith & Message

Some Southern Baptists have been disagreeing (imagine that!) over what the Bible teaches about infant salvation. Actually, some Southern Baptists don’t like what other Southern Baptists believe or might believe (imagine that!) about infant salvation. My point is not to take sides or even express a position, but to quote below exactly what the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 – the Southern Baptist confession of faith – states about infant salvation. –         – Here I blog… Mark

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Thumbnail image for Why is Rehabilitating Christians OK?

Why is Rehabilitating Christians OK?

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) complained last year about a psychiatrist in Oregon who used reparative therapy. The SPCL complained that this type of conversion therapy – “literally converting from gay to straight” – is unethical and dangerous. But this year it is okay for Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries to seek a sort of conversion therapy if you are Christian business owners who seek to life and work by your Christian convictions. You must need help if you are Christians who run a bakery that refuses to promote a same-sex wedding with your product, right? Even if …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 10: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Chapter 10: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Several weeks ago I invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca by Ken Temple Chapter 2: The Qur’an: A Brief Introduction Chapter 3: Allah: Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra Chapter 4: “Say Not Three”: …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Can Christians Eat Black Pudding?

Can Christians Eat Black Pudding?

In his book, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life,  Sinclair Ferguson writes the following in chapter 37, “Eating Black Pudding.” It was years ago now, but I still remember the discussion. I was making my way out of our church building some time after the morning service had ended, and was surprised to find a small group of people still engaged in vigorous conversation. One of them turned and said to me, “Can Christians eat black pudding?” To the uninitiated in the mysteries of Scottish haute cuisine, it should perhaps be said that black pudding is not haggis! …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 9: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Chapter 9: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Several weeks ago I invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca by Ken Temple Chapter 2: The Qur’an: A Brief Introduction Chapter 3: Allah: Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra Chapter 4: “Say Not Three”: …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Now Free: Once Persecuted Christians in the Muslim World

Now Free: Once Persecuted Christians in the Muslim World

Mike Huckabee briefly shares the story of the persecution of Marzieh Amirizadeh and Maryam Rostampour. Both women are former Muslims who converted to Christianity. In 2009, they were jailed and sentenced to death for their faith – locked up in the notorious Tehran prison, Evin. They were eventually given asylum in the United States upon their release due to international pressure. Read their remarkable story in Captive in Iran: A Remarkable True Story of Hope and Triumph amid the Horror of Tehran’s Brutal Evin Prison. Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com Here I blog… Mark

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 8: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Chapter 8: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Several weeks ago I invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca by Ken Temple Chapter 2: The Qur’an: A Brief Introduction Chapter 3: Allah: Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra Chapter 4: “Say Not Three”: …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Should Pastors Try to be Uncool?

Should Pastors Try to be Uncool?

Should pastors try to be cool? was published on the 9Marks ministry website. In response, I will provide a different perspective by asking the question – Should pastors try to be uncool? 1. Being an uncool pastor is not the power of God unto salvation—the gospel is. If your evangelistic success is thought to depend on a cultivated uncool image, your trust may not ultimately be in the Holy Spirit working through God’s word; but in the ability to attract people to said image because it is outwardly different from everyone else. 2. Being disconnected to the culture is a …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Why Christian Lawsuits?

Why Christian Lawsuits?

So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! (1 Corinthians 6:4-8, ESV) Why are Christians suing, or threatening so …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 7: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Chapter 7: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Everyone was invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca by Ken Temple Chapter 2: The Qur’an: A Brief Introduction Chapter 3: Allah: Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra Chapter 4: “Say Not Three”: The Qur’an …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Alabama Baptist and the Wrath of God

The Alabama Baptist and the Wrath of God

Bob Terry, president and editor of The Alabama Baptist, has responded to the PCUSA’s rejection of the hymn In Christ Alone, over a lyric that sung of God’s wrath. I am going to briefly address a few items in Terry’s article Why Disagree About the Words of a Hymn? as they relate to the Holman Bible Dictionary (HBD). Note that the HBD, published in 1991, was replaced in 2003 by the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (HIBD). Both books have the section “Expiation, Propitiation” from which Terry quotes. The HIBD more clearly explains the relationship between God’s anger and wrath, propitiation, …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Reeder on Christians Skipping Church for Ball Practice

Reeder on Christians Skipping Church for Ball Practice

“Pastor Reeder,” they explained, “we want to honor the Lord’s Day, but our children’s sports programs are on Sunday.” We sat down and I listened to their story. Their local recreation league scheduled ball practice on Sundays. Should their families skip worship for ball practice? Should they pull their kids off the teams? Eventually they decided, appropriately, that obedience to Scripture and family worship on the Lord’s Day was far more important than team sports. That may seem like an obvious choice to some readers, but it is not the norm. In the child-driven families of today’s culture, it took …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Of Genealogies and Charter Church Members

Of Genealogies and Charter Church Members

While definitions may vary slightly, a charter church member is basically someone who was an original or founding member of the congregation. In some churches, charter members are celebrated, looked up to, or held in special esteem. Often, their family members share some of this esteem. There is no such celebration of charter church members in Scripture. However, Scripture does not precisely lay out every atom of church practice. However, there are thinks Scripture prohibits and charter church membership just may fall into one of those categories. In Sunday school this past weekend we studied Titus 3. After class, a …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 6: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Chapter 6: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Everyone was invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Why Did Reza Aslan Write ‘Zealot’ – A Book About Jesus?

Why Did Reza Aslan Write ‘Zealot’ – A Book About Jesus?

The interview below from the FoxNews show Spirited Debate between host Lauren Green and author Dr. Reza Aslan has lit an internet fuse. Green, a Christian, interviewed Aslan, a Muslim, about his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. The question has been asked if this is the worst interview Fox has ever done. Some charge Green with holding double-standards when comparing this interview to another she did with a Baptist who wrote on Islam. One of the reasons for Green’s questions was to allow Aslan to address criticisms from Christians. The bigger picture is that Dr. Aslan …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 5: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Chapter 5: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Everyone was invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for How Racist Are Americans?

How Racist Are Americans?

The verdict in the George Zimmerman trial has given Americans a view of the racial division and sensitivity that exists in this country. There is no question that racism exists in America, but many have wondered just how deep that racism runs. The question, “How racist are Americans?” may be difficult to answer accurately. However, we can get an idea of how racist Americans are perceive to be by one another. Rasmussen Reports provides such a perception in More Americans View Blacks As Racist Than Whites, Hispanics. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of American Adults think most black Americans are racist, according …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for From Gangster to Christian Soldier

From Gangster to Christian Soldier

Below is a video introduction of the Tommie Scott story. Brother Tommie first sent me a video link of himself addressing Al Sharpton about the George Zimmerman trial. He certainly has a different perspective given his background. I then found his testimony on his YouTube channel and decided to share it. I hope his testimony blesses you! Here I blog… Mark

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 4: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Chapter 4: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Everyone was invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 3: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Chapter 3: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, the following has been covered: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Loving Matthew Vines

Loving Matthew Vines

Matthew Vines promotes the acceptance of “gay Christianity.” His approach includes changing Christian teaching on homosexuality by offering re-interpretations of long-standing biblical views on the subject. So how might Christians respond to Matthew Vines? How might the church love him? First, I am aware of two thorough responses to Vines’ interpretations promoting gay Christianity. The responses are listed below and they provide great apologetic responses worthy of study to correct Vines’ agenda and interpretations. Matt Slick at CARM offers a written response – Matthew Vines. James White at Alpha and Omega Ministries offers an audio response – Gay Christianity Refuted. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Everything by Prayer?

Everything by Prayer?

In Philippians 4:5-6, Scripture tells us, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (ESV) But do Christians really take everything to prayer? Do we let everyone know our reasonableness by appealing to God in prayer? Praying is normal and expected when Christians are in church, Sunday School, small groups and such. We comfortably give and take prayers and prayer requests in those settings where it would be easiest to live out the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, the following has been covered: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple Today’s post covers chapter 2 “The Qur’an: A Brief …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered the following: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Today, guest blogger Ken Temple leads the discussion through chapter 1b covering pages 36-49. Ken is very knowledgeable about Islam – much more than …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Jesus Christ: Not First Priority

Jesus Christ: Not First Priority

When Christians are asked about the importance of Jesus Christ in their lives they may say he occupies first place in their lives. He is the first priority. I understand this thought process, but I think it is short-sighted. When we speak of priorities in life we often think of order of importance. For example, the first thing many Christians do when they wake-up is have a prayer and devotion time. This time is the first priority of the day. It is the most important part of the day that gets one ready for the rest of the day. The …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! The first post covering the introduction is here – First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an.This is the second installment covering chapter one, “The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca.” Due to length, I’ve broken chapter one into two parts – a and b. This post covers part a …keep reading »

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Christian Kindle eBooks: Free and Under $5

Currently On Sale 99¢ Wisdom & Wonder by Abraham Kuyper Baptist Foundations edited by Mark Dever Manhood Restored by Eric Mason Nothing Is Impossible with God by Rose Marie Miller $1.99 The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler Rooted & Grounded by Abraham Kuyper Why Believe the Bible? by John MacArthur The Three Wise Women by Christin Ditchfield The Invention of Lefse by Larry Woiwode $2.99 Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper One Small Candle: The Pilgrims’ by Thomas Fleming Beat God to the Punch by Eric Mason The People of God by Trevor Joy Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus by Nancy Guthrie The Dating Manifesto by Lisa …keep reading »

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Legalism and Love: The Motive Behind Our Works by Joshua Shaw

Joshua Shaw is a church planter, seminary student, and writer. He and his wife are in the process of planting a church in Denver, CO where they work for the outreach organization CARES with Apartment Life. Read more from Joshua and learn more about his ministry at Spirit-Filled Truth. He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit Titus 3:5 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together. This post is the first installment covering the “Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an?” Under the subtitle of the chapter White quotes Imam Malik stating that whoever does believes the Qur’an is created and not from Allah and refuses to repent should have his head cut off. Quite a quote to begin with, but it does illustrate the high standing of the Qur’an within certain areas of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Baptists, Boy Scouts, & Homosexuality

Baptists, Boy Scouts, & Homosexuality

Many Southern Baptists have decided to cut ties with the Boy Scouts of American since the Boy Scouts have officially welcomed openly homosexual scouts beginning 2014. Cutting ties over homosexuality is understandable, but ignores the larger, overlooked gospel issue of pluralism. Southern Baptists (I am one) passed a resolution in 1992 supporting the Boy Scouts for their “refusal to allow homosexuals as Scout leaders and its commitment to maintain references to God within its oath and literature.” As far as I know, these are still the Boy Scouts’ positions. Of course, they folded on allowing openly gay scouts (not leaders) …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together!

Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together!

I’m stealing Tim Challies’ Reading Classics Together idea. However, we won’t be reading a classic Christian book. We will be reading What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. As Islam grows in the United States and worldwide, it is important for Christians to have an understanding of what the Qur’an teaches in order to engage our Muslim neighbors. White’s book will help Christians better understand Islam including what Muslims believe about Christian doctrines. Here’s the plan: Get a copy of the book. Read the introduction for next week. Discuss the introduction here on Friday, …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Who is Causing Americans to Lose Their Religious Influence?

Who is Causing Americans to Lose Their Religious Influence?

On May 29, 2013, Gallup released the results of a poll concluding that Most Americans Say Religion Is Losing Influence in U.S. One question from the poll asks: At the present time, do you think religion as a whole is increasing its influence on American life or losing its influence? The results were that 77% affirm religion is losing its influence on Americans. Another question asks: If more Americans were religious, would that be positive or negative for American society? The answer was that  75% of Americans believe more religion would be positive for America. So, there is a 2% …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for North Point Responds Concerning Andy Stanley’s Comments on Scripture

North Point Responds Concerning Andy Stanley’s Comments on Scripture

I recently posted a video of Andy Stanley providing an apologetic on addressing the objection that Adam and Eve were not historical figures. My concern is set as a question in the title of my post – Andy Stanley Separates the Gospels from the Bible? I thought the answers Stanley gave brought more confusion than clarity. Plus, the answer given to the thinking skeptic would most likely not be satisfied by Stanley’s answer. Since my post, reader Tom Garito reached out to North Point Ministries which Stanley founded in 1995. Tom received a kind reply from Stanley’s assistant. (Apparently, Stanley …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Andy Stanley Separates the Gospels from the Bible?

Andy Stanley Separates the Gospels from the Bible?

In the video below, Andy Stanley explains his apologetic approach to objections to the historical Adam and Eve. He beliefs Christians have done a disservice to previous generations of children the way they are taught Scripture all hangs together or crumbles. He begins with a personal story from his freshman English class in college. The professor potentially dismantled the faith of the Christians present after teaching on various creation myths – the story of Adam and Eve being one of those myths. Since Adam and Eve was just another creation myth the question arises of what else in the Bible …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Preaching Effectual Sermons by Andy Hynes

Preaching Effectual Sermons by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes (@ABHYNES) is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. The Puritans understood the power of the sermon.  Effectual sermons opened the door to the Father’s work.  John Flavel supposed that hearing God’s Word regularly was necessary for Him to draw a man toward Himself.  The Father consistently drew the elect to Himself through the Son.  General revelation was insufficient to allow this to happen. When Paul wrote Ephesians 4:20-21 Flavel understood, Of necessity of divine teaching, in order to believing, the apostle speaks, in Eph. iv. 20,21. “But ye have not so learned Christ; ‘if …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions Series Free on Kindle

R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions Series Free on Kindle

Ligonier Ministries has made R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series eBooks free – forever! Download the Kindle editions below. Don’t forget to check out more deals at: Christian Kindle eBook deals! What Is the Trinity? Who Is Jesus? Who Is the Holy Spirit? What Is Faith? Can I Be Sure I’m Saved? Can I Have Joy in My Life? Can I Know God’s Will? Can I Trust the Bible? Does God Control Everything? Does Prayer Change Things? How Should I Live in this World? What Can I Do with My Guilt? What Does It Mean to be Born Again? What Is …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Charles Spurgeon on God’s Judgment and Tragedies

Charles Spurgeon on God’s Judgment and Tragedies

In the wake of the recent tragedies from the tornado in Oklahoma, I thought sharing a 150 year old sermon from the Prince of Preachers might be appropriate. The sermon below was delivered by Charles Spurgeon on Sunday, September 8, 1861 in light of two disasters that hit close to home for him. In weeks prior to the sermon, two different train collisions happened weeks apart. The train wrecks took more than 38 lives and left hundreds injured. Some Christians replied that the lives taken in those wrecks were part of God’s judgment. In response, Spurgeon preached to refute the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Theological Tribe Handbook

Theological Tribe Handbook

Ironically, the more fervently we pursue theological uniformity, the more the Bible takes a back seat, even among people who pride themselves on having the Bible in the navigator’s seat. That’s because the lens of uniformity insists that everyone interpret difficult or controversial Scripture passages exactly the same way. There’s no room for differing opinions, blind spots, or simply being wrong. Those who don’t toe the company line are cast aside. The result is that every time a tough biblical question comes up, we have to consult the tribal manual for the “correct” answer. Instead of our answers and theology …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Composition Fallacy: Theological Debate and Christian Blogging

Composition Fallacy: Theological Debate and Christian Blogging

Lots of theological debate and assertion takes place in the Christian blogosphere. Lots! In fact, I wonder if 80% of Christian blogs would exist if the debating stopped. I can see an end to Christian blogging debates – that day the sun stops rising. So we’ll be here a while. Christian debating is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be. We just have to get better at it. By better, I mean more Christ-like. Part of being more Christ-like is found in how we accuse one another which Scripture speaks to in more than one place, in more …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Who Are You In Christ?

Who Are You In Christ?

In his letter to the rambunctious church at Corinth Paul reminds us that Jesus Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). In Philippians we can find confidence with Paul that “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). Our benefits in Christ are noted in the following chart.  Position (Standing)  Condition (State)  In heaven Spiritual Life New birth New man New nature New creature Justified Forgiven In Christ  On earth Physical Death First birth Old man Old nature Old creature Condemned Guilty In Adam Over …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Duck Dynasty: Some Clarity on Baptism

Duck Dynasty: Some Clarity on Baptism

I wrote A Few More Things You Should Know About Duck Dynasty when I found out these fellows belonged to a Church of Christ – White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ. That post documents a ministry from White’s Ferry, that trains people in evangelism, explaining that people should be re-baptized for salvation who claim, “I am already saved; I was saved when I believed in Jesus” or “Were baptized to show [they] had already been saved.” I have had several conversations – online and off – on this topic. Several of my fellow Southern Baptists have concerns since the Duck …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ministry Success: Being or Having?

Ministry Success: Being or Having?

I found the following quote from Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership very interesting in today’s church environment. I don’t understand the authors to say that having a large congregation, facilities, et al. are bad or sinful. Rather, they are focused on the desire to have those things that is the problem – the state of being vs. having. At the core of the problem is personal ambition and the insidious desire to have or possess something that is not able to be possessed-namely, success. We live in a culture obsessed with both having and success. And this desire has …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ethics: Traditionalist Baptist Seeks Pastorate of Calvinist Church

Ethics: Traditionalist Baptist Seeks Pastorate of Calvinist Church

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s post is especially for Southern Baptists as we think through how to get along as Calvinists and non-Calvinists working together for the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are some of us who believe Calvinists and non-Calvinists can serve together in a local church under the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. There are others who don’t believe such unity is, or should be, possible. Let’s think about Southern Baptist unity in terms of today’s scenario. You have a pastor friend who affirms the recent Southern Baptist Traditionalist Statement. This statement goes somewhat beyond the current …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Invisible Bible Verse on Judging Others

The Invisible Bible Verse on Judging Others

I recently commented in a comment stream on that wonderful social medium of gracious exchange – Facebook! In the heat of the exchange that Bible verse from Matthew 7 used its powers of invisibility again. The issue was on judging sin in others in light of loving the sinner and hating the sin. (Something from Gandhi, not the Bible.) I’m not opposed to loving the sinner and hating the sin, but I wonder if this mindset makes it easier to excuse or overlook sin. I was then given the ole log in my eye challenge. Let’s look at the verses …keep reading »

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Chapel Sermon by Aubrey Sequeira, Clyde T. Francisco Preaching Award Winner

Aubrey Sequeira won the 2013 Clyde T. Francisco Preaching Award at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The Baptist Press covered his story – Indian student wins SBTS preaching award. Sequeira preached the final chapel message at SBTS with his sermon entitled, “Following in the Footsteps of a foot-washing King – John 13:1-17.” Russell Moore is quoted in the Baptist Press article about the sermon: The best preachers in the world have preached in SBTS chapel. But I have never heard such a Gospel-powerful sermon as Aubrey Sequeira today. Watch Sequeira preach the final chapel sermon below. Congratulations to brother Aubrey Sequeira! …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference Day 2

Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference Day 2

I had previously announced the upcoming Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference with the theme – What Makes a Godly Woman?  Proverbs 31. Yesterday, I blogged day one and today is day two of the conference – the final day. I also want to mention that worship music was lead by Shelly Johnson. Below is the second day’s recap of the conference – in rough draft. First presentation: Andy Andrews He begins talking about speaking and listening using kids as an example. We begin encouraging them when they are young and slowly slide away from encouragement as they age with humor mixed through …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference Day 1

Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference Day 1

I had previously announced the upcoming Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference with the theme – What Makes a Godly Woman?  Proverbs 31. Below is the first day’s recap of the conference. The notes are in rough draft form. First presentation: Pastor Johnny Hunt Johnny starts talking women who win. We need men to be the prophets, priests, and kings in the home that God has called them to be. But often the women are an important part, foundational, of their leadership. Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint. (Proverbs 29:18a ESV) It’s now how we start, but how …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Problem is Repentaphobia Not Homophobia

The Problem is Repentaphobia Not Homophobia

Much debate as ensued in the current push to redefine marriage as accepting same-sex couples. This redefinition of marriage is touted as a “homosexual rights” issue. Within this current climate of said debate a new mile stone for homosexual rights activists has come to pass – the first active male professional athlete has come out admitting he is gay. That athlete would be, of course, NBA player Jason Collins. OK, great! Now let’s play ball, right? Not so fast because – for some reason – the conversation quickly turned to religion. It appears that Collins claims to be a homosexual …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Chris Broussard Answers Questions on Homosexuality and Christianity

Chris Broussard Answers Questions on Homosexuality and Christianity

Today, on Power 105.1 FM, Chris Broussard, Christian and sports analyst for ESPN, called into the Breakfast Club radio show. He began explaining that he is not perfect, but strives to be Christlike. He then explains the mark of a Christian in light of falling into sin, willful sinning, the repentant, and the unrepentant. When challenged about the Bible condemning homosexuality, Broussard briefly explains where Christians stand in Christ today under the New Covenant vs. adhering to particular laws under the Old Covenant. Broussard handled himself well and was a great witness for the Kingdom despite some of the crass comments …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Homosexual Activist Agenda: Destroy Marriage

Homosexual Activist Agenda: Destroy Marriage

A friend recently pointed me to a radio show on which LGBT rights activist and journalist Masha Gessen was a guest. Gessen, herself a lesbian,  made some interesting admissions about the homosexual agenda. While some may deny that such an agenda exists, she was very clear that those pushing for same-sex marriage lie when they don’t admit that such a marriage would change the institution of marriage. (Thanks to the Illinois Family Institute for the transcript.) “It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ravi Zacharias on the Acceptance of Homosexuality in Christianity

Ravi Zacharias on the Acceptance of Homosexuality in Christianity

Ravi Zacharias is asked, “Is it possible for a man or a woman to live a sincere Christian life as a homosexual?” Zacharias was very interesting because frames the answer by placing sexuality in the sacred category. He does this by sharing a story of someone asking him why Christians treat racism differently than homosexuals.  

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Thumbnail image for Bad Girls Club Meets the Gospel: A Sample of American Christianity?

Bad Girls Club Meets the Gospel: A Sample of American Christianity?

The video below is an interaction between pastor Jon Speed and Rocky, a cast member of the reality TV show Bad Girls Club. Speed originally shared the video in his post asking the question – Is Rocky Your Convert, Pastor? Brother Speed encountered the reality star while street preaching. Speed points out in his post what Rocky claims to believe and the easy believism that goes along with her profession. Before you get too upset with Rocky, please read Speed’s P.S. in his post where notes that he spent 20 minutes explaining the gospel to Rocky. What I fear about …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Need for Preparatory Conviction by Andy Hynes

The Need for Preparatory Conviction by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes (@ABHYNES) is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Since man was dead in sin, and unable to move in a spiritual way toward God, something must take place.  God’s electing work guaranteed the sinner’s redemption, but God never says in His Word how long that process might take.  God was not going to magically redeem or convert someone.  The process of drawing an individual to the knowledge of his sin and need for grace was a genuine step.  There was great need for preparatory acts.  Flavel penned, The Spirit knocks by the gracious invitations …keep reading »

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Tom Schreiner, Romans 5 and Original Sin

Dr. Terrance Tiessen, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Providence Theological Seminary, in Manitoba, Canada reflects on Dr. Tom Schreiner’s paper “Original Sin and Original Death:Romans 5:12-19” which was presented at the 2012 Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting. Tiessen compares the 1925, 1963, and 2000 versions of the Baptist Faith and Message (BFM) finding tension between Schreiner’s position on Rom. 5:12-19 and the latest BFM. Keep in mind that Tiessen is Baptist, but not Southern Baptist. He would like to better understand the tension between Schereiner and the BFM. Tiessen begins the article considering Schreiner’s proposal. Romans 5:12-14 …keep reading »

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The Idea of Preparation in Puritan Preaching by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes (@ABHYNES) is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Puritan preaching never took a sharper prominence than during the period of preparation in the life of the sinner.  As the Father drew each elect sinner, the Holy Spirit was bringing about His convicting work.  Preparation/vocation became a staple in Puritan preaching and was referred to as God’s use of His law to convince sinners of their guilt and helplessness so that by His grace they may come to Christ.[1]   Seventeenth Century Puritanism developed a vast discourse of exhorting sinners to respond to God’s grace through …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Coming up: Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference!

Coming up: Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference!

Join me at the up coming Johnny Hunt Womens Conference! I’m not a woman – I know. But since I live blogged the men’s conference I was asked back. Plus, my wife will be there. So, let’s see then…. The theme:  What Makes a Godly Woman?  Proverbs 31 Who? The speakers are Johnny Hunt, Janet Hunt, Andy Andrews, Anita Renfroe, Francesca Battistelli, and Shelly Johnson. When? Friday Evening, May 3 and Saturday Morning, May 4. Where? First Baptist Woodstock. How much? Purchase online for $50-$60. The schedule? Friday Evening, May 3 2:00 PM Doors Open 4:30 –  6:30 – Dinner …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Shai Linne Responds to Paula White Ministries

Shai Linne Responds to Paula White Ministries

I recently wrote about Christian rapper, Shai Linne’s song in which he names false teachers in New Song Drops Names: “False Teachers” by Shai Linne. Some people asked Linne to explain why he considered those he named to be false teachers. I followed up with some examples of false teaches for each person Linne rapped about in Did Shai Linne Really Name “False” Teachers? Then, something you don’t see everyday happened, Paula White Ministries responded to Linne’s accusations with an Open Letter to Shain Linne from Paula White Ministries. The challenge to Linne, brought by White’s son, Brad Knight, was a …keep reading »

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Ray Comfort on the Sinner’s Prayer

Ray Comfort, E.Z. Zwayne and Mark Spence discuss the biblical foundation and use of the sinner’s prayer. Comfort is not one who favors the sinner’s prayer though is does a lot of evangelism. He uses some interesting Scriptural proof-texts to argue against using a prayer in salvation. However, I’m not sure I agree with all of Comfort’s objections as he’s laid them out though on some points I agree. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this sinner’s prayer discussion. Watch below!

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The (Almost) Forgotten Day of Celebration by Doug Erlandson

Guest blogger Doug Erlandson writes at Faith Seeking Understanding. He can also be found on his Facebook Kindle Page where he promotes his books on witnessing, bioethics, the problem of evil, and more. Now that we are past Easter (or, as some would prefer, Resurrection Sunday), it is time to focus on the significance of what I like to call the forgotten day of the church calendar–Ascension Day, which this year falls on May 9. While Ascension Day is not forgotten in all quarters (the Roman Catholic church still regards it as a holy day of obligation), many Protestants simply …keep reading »

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I Care What Some of You Think, but Not All of You by Jared Moore

Guest blogger Jared Moore writes at Exalt Christ, where this article was originally posted.  You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV) I care what you think if. . . 1. I know you love me. If I know you love me, you can say whatever you want to me. But, if you …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Interview: ThaKidd Jopp on His Letter to Lecrae

Interview: ThaKidd Jopp on His Letter to Lecrae

ThaKiddJopp (Rickey Joppy) recently released the hip-hop song My Letter to Lecrae (listen below). Joppy’s song was written out of concern for Christian rapper, Lecrae. However, some folks are concerned about Joppy’s motives or possible missteps in writing the song. So, this Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 7pm EST/6pm CST, Rickey Joppy will be on His Word His Way radio show with Saiko Woods to explain why he wrote the song to Lecrae.  Follow the link to tune-in and even call-in with your own questions and concerns. The Interview Mark: I want to make it clear to the readers that you …keep reading »

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Richard Sibbes on the Doctrine of Election by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. Richard Sibbes would not conform to the ideals of the times.  Dewey Wallace considered Sibbes one of the eager pastors who believed that taking the Gospel of Grace to the common folk of England was the greatest urgency.[1]  Making a strong appeal for salvation to the lost described the center of Sibbes’ yearnings. He still held a Christ-only salvation while maintaining the need to promote Christ to the masses. Sibbes spoke about Psalm 28:4 and a longing for God.  The desire for God did …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Open Letter to Shain Linne from Paula White Ministries

Open Letter to Shain Linne from Paula White Ministries

Well-known ministries that are criticized for their teaching do not often respond, especially, directly and publicly. This occasion is different since Paula White Ministries has responded to the charge by Christian rapper, Shai Linne, that Paula White is a false teacher. I first wrote about and provided the audio of Shai Linne’s song on false teachers here: New Song Drops Names: “False Teachers” by Shai Linne. I followed up with Did Shai Linne Really Name “False” Teachers? providing examples of false teachings from each person Linne called out in his song. Then, DJ Wade-O dropped by to share that Paula …keep reading »

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Listen to Shai Linne Rap Amillenialism

First, I noted Shai Linne’s new album and song in New Song Drops Names: “False Teachers” by Shai Linne. Then, I noted some of the false teachings named in Linne’s song in Did Shai Linne Really Name “False” Teachers? Now, Linne releases another song from Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1: Theology about the end times. Yes, he actually raps Amillenialism in a song titled “The Millenium”. It’s like a hip-hop catechism – or something.

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Thumbnail image for Did Shai Linne Really Name “False” Teachers?

Did Shai Linne Really Name “False” Teachers?

I recently posted about a new Christian hip-hop song: New Song Drops Names: “False Teachers” by Shai Linne. This song is off Shai Linne’s new album Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1: Theology which releases April 9, 2013. In the song Linne names 12 false Bible teachers which I listed in the above post. A commenter in that post suggested some evidence needs to be shown why Linne and others call these 12 false teachers. Hence, my question of whether the teachers Shai Linne named are really “false” teachers. Below I’ve provided a examples of false teachings from each of the teachers …keep reading »

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New Song Drops Names: “False Teachers” by Shai Linne

Check out Shai Linne’s new rap song Fal$e Teacher$. The beat is good, but the message is better! Shai even drops the following names as false teachers. (Be sure to check out my follow-up post where I provide examples of false teachings from these teachers: Did Shai Linne Really Name “False” Teachers?) Joel Osteen Creflo Dollar Benny Hinn TD Jakes Joyce Meyer Paula White Fred Price Kenneth Copland Robert Tilton Eddie Long Juanita Bynum Paul Crouch This song is off his new album Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1: Theology which releases April 9, 2013. Get it! Below Shai Linne talks about …keep reading »

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The Predestinating Work of God the Father by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. The predestinating work of God the Father carried a variety of thoughts.  There were the old pelagians who said it was the work of man alone to call upon God for salvation. There was also the idea that God chose men to be saved based on foreseeing their decisions and rejected everyone else to damnation. However, William Perkins taught, “the cause of the execution of God’s predestination is his mercy in Christ in them which are saved, and in them which perish, the fall …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Is Liberty University a Gay-Affirming School?

Is Liberty University a Gay-Affirming School?

To ask whether or not Liberty University is a gay-affirming school seems like an odd question given the reputation of its founder, Jerry Falwell. Many conservative Evangelicals today would not go as far as Falwell did in certain areas, for example, calling one of the Teletubbies gay. Given Liberty U’s “Reprimands and Consequences” in the code of conduct, one may even wonder how well Jesus would fair as a student. Nonetheless, I ask the question of gay-affirmation and Liberty based on Brandon Ambrosino’s story in The Atlantic. Ambrosino shares his coming out story in Being Gay at Jerry Falwell’s University A former …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for You Aren’t Who They Say You Are by Ray Carroll

You Aren’t Who They Say You Are by Ray Carroll

Ray Carroll is author of Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World. He blogs at Fallen Pastor and is a contributor to Provoketive Magazine. All of us have been called a horrible name at some point in our lives. Whether we cut someone off in traffic, hurt someone’s feelings, committed a major sin and caught the eye of the public, or someone just didn’t like us – we’ve all been called something bad. I can think of hundreds of names I’ve been called. Three years ago, while pastor of a Southern Baptist church, I committed adultery and disappointed a …keep reading »

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Good Friday: What Evil Has Jesus Done?

Herod had just sent Jesus back to Pilate. As Jesus stood before Pilate for a second time, Pilate addressed the chief priests, the rulers and the people. He explains to them that upon examination neither he nor Herod found Jesus guilty of the charges against him. Therefore, Pilate was only going to beat Jesus and release him, but that was not good enough. But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”—a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. (Luke 23:18-19)1 Much like today, …keep reading »

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Covenant of Grace (foedus gratiae) by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. Westminster Confession of Faith, 7.3 Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called The Covenant of Grace: whereby He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe. (italics mine).[1] The Covenant of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Duck Dynasty Inspired Question on Baptism and Salvation

Duck Dynasty Inspired Question on Baptism and Salvation

Last week I wrote A Few More Things You Should Know About Duck Dynasty. As a result of that post, a question about baptism and salvation came up on my Facebook page. I would love to hear some thoughts on my answer, but first, a few observations. I did not realize the huge amount of interest the Duck Dynasty post would generate. Nor did I realize there would be such silence from the more influential Evangelical wing of blogdom. Please, don’t misunderstand, I’m not demanding anyone must Say Something Right Now, or Else! as Kevin DeYoung wrote. However, it is …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for 5 Biblical Affirmations Not to Affirm

5 Biblical Affirmations Not to Affirm

I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. Those affirmations are from Isaiah 14:13-14 (ESV). The verses are taunting the king of Babylon in his downfall expressing his evil motives and thought life. All of those prideful, worldly affirmations seems to be man’s default. We may not literally express ourselves like these affirmations, but the spirit of them may …keep reading »

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Your Wife Needs a Bath!

“My wife and I have been married for five years and she still hasn’t learned how to treat me with respect and honor that the Bible requires a wife to show to her husband.” When I hear statements such as this one, where a husband is complaining about some longstanding character deficiency in his wife, my usual response is to ask the husband to consider his leadership. “How is it that you’ve been married to this woman for so long and she still hasn’t changed? What exactly have you done to help her with her problems?”1 So writes Lou Priolo …keep reading »

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Covenant of Works (foedus operum) by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. Westminster Confession of Faith, 7.1, 2 The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him, as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath pleased to express by way of covenant. The first covenant made with man, was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Why “Preachers’ Daughters”?

Why “Preachers’ Daughters”?

A&E has a new reality TV show named “Preachers’ Daughters”. The hashtag for the show was trending on twitter. While I was reading what people were saying about the show on twitter to my wife I went to the Facebook page that was linked on twitter. The Facebook page describes the show as, “Lifetime’s provocative new reality show, “Preachers’ Daughters,” follows the lives of three families for a behind-the-altar look at what happens at home after the sermon concludes.” The show got even worse and we had not even watched it. Out of curiosity, I pulled up episode 1 on …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for A Few More Things You Should Know About Duck Dynasty

A Few More Things You Should Know About Duck Dynasty

Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition Voices blog gave us “9 Things You Should Know about Duck Dynasty.” Those nine things are pretty interesting and are far from the norm for a reality TV show. What other show has men with three foot beards wearing bandanas? Admittedly, I have never seen the show since I don’t have cable. I have seen clips and plenty of praise for the show on Facebook and twitter. The stars of the show seem pretty cool in a redneck sorta way. As best I can tell they are more down to earth than their appearance …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Open Letter to Chuck Swindoll and Stonebriar Church on Phillips, Craig & Dean

Open Letter to Chuck Swindoll and Stonebriar Church on Phillips, Craig & Dean

Update: Praise God! Phillips, Craig, and Dean have affirmed the Trinity. Click and read their signed statement – PC&D affirm the Trinity. Dear Elders of Stonebriar Community Church, Grace to you and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I pray all is well with you. In October 2009, Pastor Swindoll wrote, “We never seek a fight, but we dare not remain silent when the claims of Christ come under assault.”[1] This line is from the article No Time to Remain Silent – an appropriate title since that time is now upon us. Pastor Swindoll writes …keep reading »

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Is There a Salvific Process? (by Andy Hynes)

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. While studying the English Puritans many interesting ideas pop out.  One of the main ideas was their understanding of a salvific process.  That process began with three salvific covenants.  The first was the Covenant of Redemption or (Pactum Salutis).  They ended up giving credence to the doctrine in their Westminster Confession of Faith, 8.1 It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only-begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and men, the Prophet, Priest, and King; …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for No Pope for All Christians

No Pope for All Christians

“Why believers of all stripes should care about the new head of the Catholic Church,” begins Timothy C. Morgan in his Christianity Today article A Pope for All Christians. Historically there has never been a pope for all Christians and there is not today. Rome begs to differ, of course, claiming themselves the one true church that holds the keys to the Kingdom making the pope head of all Christendom. According to Rome, all other churches are not even true churches. Morgan claims the health of Roman Catholicism affects all Christians because of globalization. Globalization is knocking down walls that …keep reading »

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Blog Brief: The Golden Rule and Same-Sex Marriage

According to President Obama the Golden Rule was his reason supporting same-sex marriage. Is this a justified position from a Christian perspective as Obama posits? I don’t think so. Ed Stetzer wrote a piece on the latest research that, sadly, 64% of Americans believe legalization of same-sex marriage is inevitable. Stetzer reminded us of Obama’s Golden Rule comment. What Obama actually said was quoted in a 2010 USA Today article. The President stated that he and Mrs. Obama are: both practicing Christians and obviously [same-sex marriage] may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, …keep reading »

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Another Ban on Christian Prayer

Nick Provenza at The Seattle Times reports that praying in the name of Jesus Christ is no longer allowed at Longview City Council invocations. The ban was enacted due to a atheist’s complaint. LONGVIEW (AP) — Ministers should refrain from invoking Jesus Christ in invocations for City Council meetings, Longview Mayor Don Jensen said. Jensen told the Kelso-Longview Ministerial Association last month that such prayers were not acceptable because they could expose the city to a lawsuit, The Daily News reported Tuesday. “It’s not my choice to stop this, but I don’t know how we can put our citizens at jeopardy …keep reading »

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Video: Pastor Jeffress Speaks on Tim Tebow Controversy

Toward the end of the video Pastor Jeffress names several Evangelicals who have supported him during the controversy of Tim Tebow’s scheduled speaking appearance and abrupt cancellation. He then comments about those men who stood with him. “I am grateful for men of God like these who are willing to stand up and act like men rather than wimping out when it gets a little controversial and an inconvenient thing to stand for the truth. God bless men like that.” Now, there are some people who would say, “Well, God’s given me a different ministry. God has calle me to …keep reading »

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The Evangelical Left: God Got It Wrong

Steve Hays at Triablogue pulled together several quotes from Evangelical liberals in The optional Jesus. For example: What sort of God would call himself love and then ask that I betray everything I know in my bones to be love in order to worship him? — That means that I am committed to resolving the tension between prima facie contradictory statements. — It seems quite clear that the Laws of Moses were very far from perfect. They are morally substandard in serious and unsalvageable ways. So that’s a problem that’s not neatly resolved. — At times the Bible endorses values we …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Thoughts on FBC Dallas and Welcome Back Tim Tebow

Thoughts on FBC Dallas and Welcome Back Tim Tebow

Yesterday, I wrote Farewell Tim Tebow? in response to Tebow canceling his appearance at First Baptist Church of Dallas. Today I want to say welcome back – I think. I also want to briefly address some of the charges leveled against the theology of FBC Dallas showing that the church fits into generally held Southern Baptist positions. FBC Dallas released a statement in response to Tebow’s cancellation. In part, the church wrote: Mr. Tebow called Dr. Jeffress Wednesday evening saying that for personal and professional reasons he needed to avoid controversy at this time but would like to come to …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Farewell Tim Tebow?

Farewell Tim Tebow?

A few days ago I wrote about some who called on Tim Tebow to cancel his upcoming appearance at First Baptist Dallas. The post was – In Light of Tim Tebow Invitation Baptist Church Answers Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic Charges. Not once did I think Tebow would give in to the critics. Apparently, I was wrong. Tebow shared his reasons for canceling in four tweets. Hat tip to Denny Burk for putting those tweets together. While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas …keep reading »

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Different Gospel Presentations: Who Gets Saved?

The following hypothetical conversations take place when evangelist A shares Jesus with unbeliever A while evangelist B shares with unbeliever B. The reason for this exercise are the recent assertions that Calvinists and non-Calvinists are promoting different gospels. Let’s see…. A B Evangelist A (EA) and Unbeliever A (A):EA: A, I’m glad we could meet today so I can share Jesus with you and explain how to be saved – how to be right with God. A: I told you I would listen to what you have to say about Jesus so here I am! EA: First, I want you …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for In Light of Tim Tebow Invitation Baptist Church Answers Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic Charges

In Light of Tim Tebow Invitation Baptist Church Answers Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic Charges

Todd Starnes at Fox News documents anti-Christian attitudes against First Baptist Dallas in light of Tim Tebow’s upcoming appearance in his article Southern Baptists Defend Church Smeared by NBC. Starnes gives details about First Baptist Dallas being labeled as anti-gay and anti-Semitic. Because of these improper anti labels some have called on Tebow to cancel his appearance. Starnes also published the church’s response which I’ve quoted below. Recent media reports regarding an appearance by New York Jets’ Quarterback Tim Tebow at First Baptist Church of Dallas have grossly misrepresented past comments made by First Baptist’s pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, specifically …keep reading »

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One Step to Peace with God

Sometimes Baptists would come to our door in Ft. Lauderdale passing out gospel tracts. They would share Jesus and tell us all we had to do was believe. My mother and I would shake our heads holding to our RLDS beliefs that we must have faith and works to go to have peace with God. I don’t know if the Baptists at the door did a poor job explaining God’s plan of salvation; or if we just did not understand because our Joseph Smith lens. Scripturally speaking I know better today. We were spiritually blind and could not accept the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Jesus is My N*gga?

Jesus is My N*gga?

I recently questioned the words used in Sho Baraka’s song “Jim Crow aka N*gga Island”. Imagine my surprise when I find out this morning that Sho is not the first Christian to use n*gga in a hip-hop song. (I’m using “hip-hop” loosely. Read on.) While tuning in to Power Talk, my favorite black talk radio show, the host and callers are discussing a recent YouTube video (embedded below) called “Rappin’ for Jesus” aka “Jesus is My N*gga”. What?! I listened closer. I even called in. The host asked for input about the song wondering if the song would be acceptable …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for JHMC: Session 3 – Walking Out of Our Prisons

JHMC: Session 3 – Walking Out of Our Prisons

This is a live blog of the Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference. You can find the conference on twitter @JHMensConf_FBCW and follow the official twitter hashtag here: #JHMC2013. The conference topic is: “ESCAPE PLAN: SIN IS A PRISON; LET’S BREAK OUT!” Session 3: Unspoken: I can’t Forgive Myself (Walking Out of Our Prisons) 1 JOHN 1:8-10 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for JHMC: Session 2 – Truth that Keeps Us Free

JHMC: Session 2 – Truth that Keeps Us Free

This is a live blog of the Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference. You can find the conference on twitter @JHMensConf_FBCW and follow the official twitter hashtag here: #JHMC2013. The conference topic is: “ESCAPE PLAN: SIN IS A PRISON; LET’S BREAK OUT!“ Session 2: “Power to Walk Free” (Truth that Keeps Us Free) Gal 5:16-18, 22-24 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep …keep reading »

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JHMC: Session 1 – Truth that Frees

This is a live blog of the Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference. You can find the conference on twitter @JHMensConf_FBCW and follow the official twitter hashtag here: #JHMC2013. The conference topic is: “ESCAPE PLAN: SIN IS A PRISON; LET’S BREAK OUT!“ Session 1: “Bible Engagement/Bible Reflection” (Truth that Frees) Psalm 19:7-14 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for What if You Say the Sinner’s Prayer and Mean It?

What if You Say the Sinner’s Prayer and Mean It?

There is a lot of disagreement among Christians over the use of the sinner’s prayer. Some are quick to point out abuse of the sinner’s prayer and all together dismiss it. Others seem quick to overlook its abuse and to point out its usefulness. Personally, I have witnessed its abuse. Yet, I often wonder if we will ever find a common ground on the sinner’s prayer. But yesterday’s ethics post about the sinner’s prayer raised a question in my mind. What if someone says the sinner’s prayer and means it? Of course, then questions about the question begin. People will …keep reading »

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When Deacons Get Saved!

A deacon in our church got saved during my circumcision sermon in Genesis. He had to be elect. I love my "job". — Pastor Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) February 5, 2013

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Thumbnail image for Book Review: The Spiritual Condition of Infants by Adam Harwood

Book Review: The Spiritual Condition of Infants by Adam Harwood

Southern Baptist Pastor and fellow blogger Chris Roberts did a very thorough book review of The Spiritual Condition of Infants: A Biblical-Historical Survey and Systematic Proposal by Dr. Adam Harwood. The review is worth a read so I wanted to highlight it. A Review of The Spiritual Condition of Infants – Harwood’s stance becomes clear early in the book, though he waits until the end to give a “declarative statement on the spiritual condition of infants” and to “speculate how God might deal with people who die in their infancy”. He concludes that although people are born with a sin …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Interesting Tidbits on John Calvin and Preaching

Interesting Tidbits on John Calvin and Preaching

I recently live blogged the G3 Conference. One of the pastors, Dr. Steve Lawson, gave a presentation on John Calvin’s preaching and what we can learn from it. I found a few items about Calvin fascinating. First, note that Lawson scaled down his material from 30-something points (as I recall) to the following six points. Authority of Biblical Truth Priority of Sequential Exposition The Accuracy of Sound Exegesis Committed to the Energy of Lively Preaching Necessity of Gospel Defense Fervency of Evangelistic Passion I agree with Lawson when he said that no man more loved or more hated or more …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for This Week: Join Me at the 2013 Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference

This Week: Join Me at the 2013 Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference

Join me this week at the 2013 Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference! “Escape Plan: Sin is a prison; let’s break out!” Register now for the dates below. Conference 2 February 8-9, 2013 (Contact me if cost is keeping you from registering.) I will be live blogging conference 2 this coming weekend. Check out the break out sessions at: 2013 Breakout Speakers. Johnny Hunt will be delivering the following three keynotes. KEYNOTE 1: “Bible Engagement/Bible Reflection” (Truth that Frees) Ps 19:7-14 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; …keep reading »

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On Theological Fighting: Proclaim Christ Instead of Grinding Out Your Theology

During the recent G3 Conference I live blogged there was a panel discussion Q&A. Questions were submitted months in advance of the conference. The first question was for Paul Washer. The question was on substitutionary atonement pitting limited atonement against general atonement. Washer’s answer modeled a great way to think in terms of Christian unity through all of our internal, and often public, theological battles. Brother Paul gave a wise answer. The submitted question. If substitutionary atonement is the true biblical doctrine, does it provide any room for a universal or general atonement as many Free-Will Baptists believe – that Jesus …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for G3: Paul Washer – Penal Substitution – The Core of God’s Saving Plan

G3: Paul Washer – Penal Substitution – The Core of God’s Saving Plan

I had to slip out and tend to some family matters so brother Len blogged this for me. Find him on twitter: @OneOver99. I appreciate his help. —- Pastors raise your hands. He read a passage about being established. He said he is blessed to be here and to hear these men preach. Some of the best in the ministry. He says pastor, if you are faithful you are worth your weight in gold. Pastor,  He will come one day…and you will see…your labor was not kn vain. The entire ocean in a cup of water. All the sand of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for G3: Paul Washer – The Priority of Prayer for Christian Life, Ministry, and Mission

G3: Paul Washer – The Priority of Prayer for Christian Life, Ministry, and Mission

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Some of what’s written are paraphrases of quotes that I am unable to catch. Pastor, if you truly want you people to serve you then present Christ before them crucified. It is the mystery of all godliness. Truly converted people do not need a whip, but need to know the justice and mercy of God. Every minister that preached at this conference could have preached on the same text, used the same manuscript and it …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for G3: Donald Whitney – When God Turned His Back on Jesus

G3: Donald Whitney – When God Turned His Back on Jesus

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Some of what’s written are paraphrases of quotes that I am unable to catch. Open the Bible to Matthew 27. Whitney opens with thankfulness for the conference. Those who accuse Christians of simply believing in God with a blind faith are totally unaware of how many times we question God. We wonder why God is doing what He is doing. We continue to trust in Him and His sovereign care despite circumstances. Though we do …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for G3: Voddie Baucham – Doctrine Matters – Getting the Gospel Right

G3: Voddie Baucham – Doctrine Matters – Getting the Gospel Right

We hear much talk about the gospel. In some ways the gospel has become a fad. When something becomes a fad some people jump on the bandwagon and have no idea about what they are involved in. When some people say gospel they are celebrating social gospel. Others, when they hear gospel they are excited because they hear all the moral teachings of Jesus. Legalism. There’s another form of legalism going around – love God, love people. Love God, love people is actually an abbreviation of Jesus’ teaching on the two greatest commandments. The two greatest commandments are a summary …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for G3: Joel Beeke – What Really Is the Gospel?

G3: Joel Beeke – What Really Is the Gospel?

Turn to 1 Tim 1:15-17. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:15-17 ESV) Five facets of answering the question – what is the gospel? [I lost …keep reading »

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G3: Friday Q&A Panel Discussion

Q: If substitution atonement is the true biblical doctrine does it provide any room for a universal atonement that Jesus died for the whole world without exception? Washer: I’m going to answer the question without really answering it. When he thinks about the glorious doctrine such as the atonement it upsets me that some people only think about it when they want to argue over Calvinism. The doctrine is best used proclaimed to the masses that Christ died and to call all men to repent. Even John 3:16 is not to argue a particular doctrine of the atonement but to …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for G3: Steve Lawson – The Preaching of John Calvin and What We Can Learn

G3: Steve Lawson – The Preaching of John Calvin and What We Can Learn

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Some of the words are paraphrases of quotes that I am unable to catch. Lawson explains that no man more loved or more hated or most misunderstood than John Calvin. Even so, Calvin is the most influential. To omit John Calvin from the history of western Christianity is to read history with one eye shut. Calvin stood at the top of the movement that shaped history. He has been estimated to be greatest theologian since …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for G3: Tim Challies – Mission in a Changing World

G3: Tim Challies – Mission in a Changing World

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Tim begins by rightly making fun of how the South shuts down at the mere mention of ice and snow. A preemptive shutdown he called it. Tim going to speak about how the way we communicate the unchanging gospel will change. What are the specific challenges that come to us as Christians in a changing world? We are in the middle of a massive shift in communication – computer to internet. There has been a …keep reading »

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Is Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) Right on President Obama?

On the day of President Obama’s inauguration, Mark Driscoll sent out the tweet below. There was mixed reaction to the tweet. A lot of people agree with Driscoll and a lot disagree – probably, much like the divide in the country. Regardless of personal feelings, is Driscoll right biblically in his comments on Obama? Why or why not? Praying for our president, who today will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know. — Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) January 21, 2013

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Why Do So Many Christians Live this Way?

The section quoted below was part of last night’s discipleship group meeting. The authors then asks the reader to reflect on the evidence for their own walk with Christ in relation to Luke 6:40. But the broad question of why so many who profess to be Christians, but don’t actually follow Christ as evidenced by a changed life is not addressed. When Jesus called His first disciples, they may not have understood where Jesus would take them or the impact it would have on their lives, but they knew what it meant to follow. They took Jesus’s call literally and …keep reading »

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Ten Commandments for Small Groups

I came across the “Ten Commandments for Small Groups” in my reading. I thought I would share the summary of those commandments since a lot of Christians are part of small groups. A Summary of the Ten Commandments for Small Groups This group may have many leaders, but only one Lord, God (“You shall have no other gods before me,” Ex 20:3). This group will discern all persons, relationships and things in recognition and measure of the ever-present Creator God (“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth …keep reading »

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Warning: Mormon Acceptance Propaganda

On January 8, 2013, I was contacted through my blog by Eric Shuster. He is releasing a new book soon so he asked if I would like to help promote it via a blog tour. The book’s title alone – Where are the Christians? The Unrealized Potential of a Divided Religion – grabbed my interest. But this inquiring mind wanted to know more about it since I had never heard of the author nor the upcoming book. A quick check on Amazon and Shuster’s website answered the blog tour question for me – no! The author is a former Roman …keep reading »

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Video: Baptist History Rap

HT: Nathan Finn. This is one of Dr. Finn’s students, Ashley Unzicker.

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Recent Free and Cheap Kindle eBooks

The prices on the books below are subject to change and the prices in the tweet reflect the price at that time. So, get them while they are free and cheap! #Free on #Kindle “Ten Indictments against the Modern Church” by Paul Washer. amzn.to/10ublvk #fb — Mark Lamprecht (@hereiblog) January 14, 2013 #Free on #KIndle “A Reason for the Hope: Essays in Apologetics” by @maxmassimo of Frontline Ministries. amzn.to/WWmNYm #fb — Mark Lamprecht (@hereiblog) January 14, 2013 Only $1.99 on #Kindle “Famine in the Land: A Passionate Call for Expository Preaching” by Steven J. Lawson amzn.to/UGhamR — Mark Lamprecht (@hereiblog) …keep reading »

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When a Good Guy Writes an Inconsistent Blog Post

I love Tim Challies. That is, as a Christian brother. In fact, I hope to say hello to him this month at the G3 Conference as he travels to my neck of the woods. Last time I saw him was at the 2010 Band of Bloggers gathering. We stood next to each other talking to different people and did not get to meet. Anyway, Challies is a good guy. He has even been gracious enough to help me get votes the last two years for the Blogging Scholarship. I’m letting you know up front that I have nothing against him. …keep reading »

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Join Me this Month at the G3 Conference in Metro-Atlanta!

Lord willing, later this month from January 24th – 26th 2013, I will be live blogging the G3 Conference. (G3 stands for Gospel, Grace and Glory – check out the website for more info.) The conference was created by Pastor Josh Buice of Prays Mill Baptist Church. The conference will be held in Metro-Atlanta or, more precisely, 20 miles west of Atlanta in Douglasville, GA at Prays Mill Baptist. The G3 speakers are Paul Washer, David Miller, Tim Challies, Steve Lawson, Donald Whitney, Voddie Baucham, Joel Beeke, Chip Thornton and Jon Payne. Pastor Buice is a friend and I am …keep reading »

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Louie Giglio to Give Benediction at President Obama’s Inauguration

The Hill is reporting the that civil-rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams and Evangelical pastor Louie Giglio will participate in President Obama’s 2013 inauguration.1 Evers-Williams will give the invocation and Giglio is set to give the benediction. The last Evangelical to participate in Obama’s inauguration was Rick Warren of which I shared some thoughts at the time. (See: Apostle Paul On Inauguration Day) It’s interesting that Giglio is not only Evangelical, but also a Calvinist. I am glad, yet cautiously optimistic about Giglio’s participation. Events like the President’s inauguration tend to be highly ecumenical. Surely, Giglio will carefully choose his words while facing …keep reading »

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Word of Faith Vs. Reformed Baptist: A Theological Dialogue

Reformed Pastor Saiko Woods and Word of Faith Pastor Fred Price, Jr. enter the theological ring with the gloves off. Woods and Price candidly discussion their theological differences both turning to Scripture to defend their theology. This discussion is a breath of fresh air given the way theological disagreements are often carried out. I wish more face to face discussion like this could take place. I mean – I’d love to see James White sit down with T.D. Jakes to discussion the Trinity. I have not had time to note some of my thoughts on the following Woods-Price discussion, but …keep reading »

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Good Christian Spouses

What is it to be a good Christian spouse? Many Christians believe they are pretty good spouses. What is a typical day for a good Christian spouse? The alarm clock sounds. It is time to get up for one or both spouses. Some Bible reading together or at least some prayer time would have been good, but hitting the snooze button a few times was necessary. It’s been a long week and it’s only Tuesday. Running late. Got to get going. Got to get to work. The spouses say their goodbyes. One spouse calls the other during the day. The …keep reading »

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Free eBook – Still Not Professionals: Ten Pleas for Today’s Pastor

In my review of Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry by John Piper, I recommended that all church members read this book. My thoughts are that church members might be better members if they better understand the “what” and “why” of their pastor’s struggles and temptations. Reading this book should greatly help church members understand the pastoral role. Members would better realize not only why, but how different decisions are made within the church by the pastor(s). This is probably a good reminder to take my own advice. An updated edition of the book …keep reading »

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Hardest Part of the Christian Life is the Easiest to Understand

I was talking with a brother about our upcoming discipleship groups. He mentioned that the material is not as doctrinally deep as he would have liked. Knowing how proud doctrine and knowledge once made me – I got his point! Not that he was being prideful, but I understood. I thought about my own failings for a moment. Like a flashback in a movie that  takes the viewer through years in a few seconds – I thought about all of theological readings, seminary classes, etc. Despite my studies I was no champion over sin. I encouraged my brother that these …keep reading »

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Grief: Finding Hope Again

Grief: Finding Hope Again by Paul David Tripp (New Growth Press) is being offered online by the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). You can read it below and may find it extremely helpful if you are grieving or helping someone else who is grieving.   Open publication – Free publishing – More ccef

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Is Erick Erickson Right on the Evangelists’ Failure?

Conservative political blogger and talk radio host Erick Erickson, in his article “The Evangelists’ Failure“on RedState.com, shares what he sees as one of Evangelical America’s biggest failures. Erickson is more than a conservative political pundit. He is also an Evangelical of the Presbyterian persuasion. I have listened to Erickson many times on the local radio station while sifting through Atlanta traffic. He is a sharp, insightful, and fair brother. Based on some of the information he provides to his listeners, he is also politically well-connected. I appreciate brother Erickson’s insights on culture and politics, but I’m not convinced of his conclusion …keep reading »

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Coexist: Truth or Fairytale?

 

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Embarrassing the Kids

If you have kids or have ever been a kid then you know what it’s like when kids are embarrassed by their parents. Kids may feel embarrassed at any given time they are around their friends or simply in public. Kids feeling embarrassed by their parents is not a new or isolated idea. Such embarrassment is portrayed on TV shows and in movies. Sometimes kids make up any excuse or walk longer distances to avoid being picked-up, dropped-off or escorted somewhere in front of their friends. Sometimes parents catch on and, in good fun, purposely embarrass their kids. Why are …keep reading »

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How Do You See Other People?

Apparently, the “Get Service” video below has been around since 2007 or so. I saw it for the first time yesterday. It offers an interesting perspective on self-centeredness and thinking about other people. As a Christian, this video hit home for me in light of the gospel. For example, driving everyday in Metro-Atlanta offers a buffet of frustration from inconsiderate and illegal driving – if I choose to eat from that platter. Unfortunately, some days I eat well to my own sinful demise. I can’t control other peoples’ driving or anything else for that matter. But I can control myself and …keep reading »

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Chemist James Tour: Nanotech and Jesus Christ

Dr. James Tour recently spoke at The Veritas Forum at GA Tech, a ministry in which a friend is involved. James M. Tour, a synthetic organic chemist, received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Syracuse University, his Ph.D. in synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry from Purdue University, and postdoctoral training in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin and Stanford University.1 I’ve had two years of Spanish, one year of Japanese and two semesters of biblical Greek, but I can’t understand the scientific language brother Tour speaks. Dr. Tour is a smart man. An intellect. But you don’t …keep reading »

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Where Are You?

On a recent Saturday morning, some of us from Sunday School class got to live out our faith a bit. A struggling, single mother needed a new roof on her house because it was leaking. That Saturday morning she received a new roof. She also received the gospel of Jesus Christ. Both were our pleasure. She knew the gospel and professed to be a believer. We kept talking to better understand her situation and how we could pray for her. She was hurting economically like many people right now. She was also hurting spiritually like many people right now. There …keep reading »

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Todd Friel Graciously Answers Critic During Open-Air Preaching Event

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Contentment: Philippians vs. Black Friday

Black Friday and all of its craziness has come and gone for another year. Now it’s Cyber Monday’s turn. It is a good thing that Black Friday has passed because of all of the crazy things it makes people do, right? Wrong. Black Friday isn’t the cause of peoples’ sinful behavior, but an avenue that draws it out. Black Friday allows people to show, to an extent, where many find contentment. Some people like comfort foods, some people like comfort buying. There is nothing inherently evil about Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Rather, it is people acting on their evil …keep reading »

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A Reply to the Danger of Calling Behavior ‘Biblical’

Recently, Rachel Held Evans’ article “My Take: The danger of calling behavior ‘biblical’” was published on the CNN Belief blog.1 I’m going to reply. My goal is not to take hammer to fingers, but to point out inconsistencies in her positions. My assumption is that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 ESV). Therefore, the Bible does have something to say, directly or indirectly, on most life issues. There should be no …keep reading »

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New LifeWay Study on Selflessness and Spiritual Maturity

LifeWay Research has released a new study noted in the article below that links spiritual maturity and serving others. Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research is quoted below stating, “Growth leads to service and serving leads to growth – it’s deeply connected.” Stetzer’s statement is a great summary sentence correlating Christian service and growth. Of course, there are different types of growth and service. I’m not sure exactly what kind of spiritual growth the study measured that is taking place through serving others. Maybe the areas in which spiritual growth is taking place would be worth considering if LifeWay has …keep reading »

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On How Christians Engage Each Other Online

If you have spent any amount of time engaging Christians on any type of social media it is not hard to conclude that some Christians have the gift of the cyber-hammer. Feeling the smashing blows of the cyber-hammer are unmistakable no matter how many internet connections away you may be. My fellow Christians, this ought not be since we are to live at peace with all while praying for our enemies (Rom. 12:14-21) and do good to all, especially, our fellow Christians (Gal. 6:10). I admit, I am guilty! I am also repentant. I am hoping the way I respond …keep reading »

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When a Roman Catholic Comes to Your Door

Dr. R. Scott Clark, a professor at  Westminster Seminary California, recently had a home visit from two Roman Catholics. Saturday morning a Roman Catholic laywoman and a male companion (who stood behind her with his rosary saying prayers) came to my door on behalf of St Mary Church in Escondido. She asked if there were any Catholics in the house. I said, yes and no. Yes, we confess the holy catholic faith of the Nicene Creed, the Definition of Chalcedon, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Athanasian Creed but no, we are not Roman Catholics, we reject the papacy. I told …keep reading »

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A Christian Politician, What If?

The U.S. presidential election is over. Many American Christians believe that we had to choose between two not-so-great candidates. We argued over what kind of person for whom a Christian should or should not and could or could not vote. When is the last time America had a solid Christian presidential candidate? What would such a candidate look like? Pulling together a few Scripture verses instructing Christians on how they ought to live their lives – I thought, what if? Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you …keep reading »

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Calvinism Undermines Evangelism, Right?

If I have heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: “A Calvinist evangelist? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Calvinism undermines evangelism.” This accusation has been repeated so many times that few make the effort to argue it. Instead, it is simply assumed. Never mind that some of the church’s greatest evangelists have been Calvinists. One need only be reminded of men such as George Whitefield, David Brainerd, or “the father of modern missions,” William Carey. “Yes,” we are told, “these men were great evangelists and Calvinists, but that is because they were inconsistent.” But is this true? The fact of …keep reading »

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Election Thoughts: Christians Live Among Evil Choices

During this 2012 Presidential election cycle many Christians feel they are left with only two voting choices: a liberal, professing Christian and a non-Christian, Mormon. Therefore, many Christians feel they are left with a choice to vote for the lesser of two evils. Other Christians will not vote at all or choose a third party candidate effectively giving their vote to one party or the other. The overlooked issue? Christians often daily choose between the lesser of evils. Even though Christians often choose between the lesser of evils it seems that this dilemma only matters during Presidential election time. Two …keep reading »

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Video: Mitt Romney Speaking Passionately About Mormonism

Jan Mikelson of WHO-Iowa discusses Mormonism with Mitt Romney. Mikelson challenges Romney’s Mormon faithfulness. Mormon eschatology and values are discussed including views on abortion. Romney is tired of defending and talking about Mormonism because he “is not running as a Mormon.” (HT: Chad Miller)

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Did Mike Huckabee Warn that Voting for Obama Will Send You to Hell?

The following video narrated by Mike Huckabee is called “Test of Fire.” The video challenges Christian voters in the 2012 Presidential election. Some are claiming that Huckabee is assigning those who vote for Obama to hell. What did Huckabee just say? Again, at about 42 seconds he states: Christians across the nation will have an opportunity to shape the future for our generation and generations to come. Many issues are at stake, but some issues are not negotiable: The right to life from conception to natural death. Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. It is an egregious violation of our …keep reading »

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Are All Black People Going to Hell?

Imagine if I or any white Christian stood up in front of a group of people in a church building and said, “All black people are going to hell!” Can you imagine the standing ovation with thundering applause that would follow? Yeah, me neither. In fact, if any Christian said such a thing I would expect lots of deserved public and private rebuke. So, when 91 year old, Civil Rights icon, Joseph Lowery recently said that all white people are going to hell1 – I would hope for the same type of rebuke. Lowery is a professing Christian, a United …keep reading »

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Free Reformation Day Resources

First, my favorite Reformation Day tweet was by SooperMexican: “I got 95 theses but a Pope ain’t one.” Reformation Day Free Download: R.C. Sproul’s Luther and the Reformation R.C. Sproul’s recently released ten-part series, Luther and the Reformation in both audio and video formats with study guide. Free Calvin eBooks  by John Piper from Desiring God With Calvin in the Theater of God John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God Portrait of Calvin by T. H. L. Parker (foreword by John Piper) Martin Luther Biography  Chris Rosebrough is offering FREE Reformation Day Books and Resources Here I …keep reading »

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Reformation Day Video: Post Tenebras Lux

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God’s Sovereignty and Voting

A heated Presidential election is upon the consciences of many Americans. It is time to vote. Many will vote and some will abstain. Only one of the two main candidates will win. How does a Christian react if their candidate loses? How is a Christian comforted when voting – as many believe – for the lesser of two evils? As with all of life Christians trust in God. The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. (Proverbs 16:1 ESV) What of the lesser evil? What if the lesser evil turns …keep reading »

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I was Almost Born this Way

It was a nice warm day like most days. I’m not sure if the sun was out or not. I have not actually experienced the warm glow of the sun – yet. I looked forward to it though. I heard so many things from the outside. I could only guess what they were. I looked forward to them all. Oh, I yearned to experience a life filled with love. I just knew that life was coming soon with the way you cared for me and fed me. I was so warm and comfortable all the time on the inside. I …keep reading »

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Matt Chandler Responds to Criticism of ‘David, Goliath and the Gospel’

In the video below Matt Chandler attempts to explain how the gospel runs through the David and Goliath story in a mere 3.5 minutes. Dr. Eric Hankins raised concerns about Chandler’s interpretive approach in the video in his recent critique of ‘Christ-centered homiletics’.1 However, back in January Mike Riccardi, using Chandler’s explanation in the video as an example, wrote a very thorough and gracious explanation of the problems with such an interpretation.2 Chandler was contacted for a response to Riccardi’s article and he replied. “Thanks for your encouragement and email.  I read Mike’s critique and agree with most of it.  The …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Illustrated: 5 Reasons a Baby is Not Part of a Woman’s Body

Illustrated: 5 Reasons a Baby is Not Part of a Woman’s Body

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Thumbnail image for 9Marks Workshop in Atlanta: Register Today!

9Marks Workshop in Atlanta: Register Today!

9Marks is bringing a conference about the church and for the church to Atlanta, GA. The following topics will be covered: theological vision, preaching & biblical theology, gospel, conversion & evangelism, membership, discipline & discipleship, leadership, covenanting together. Each session ends with a Q&A. More info and registration below. When? Monday, October 29, 2012, 9 am – Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 12 pm. Who is speaking? – Mark Dever – Matt Schmucker – Aaron Menikoff – Zach Schlegel How much? – General Registration: $45 – Student Registration: $35 Where? Mount Vernon Baptist 850 Mt Vernon Hwy NW Atlanta, GA 30327 …keep reading »

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Muslims Protest at Google Offices Over Anti-Islam Video

The Telegraph reports that “Muslims protest ‘age of mockery’ as thousands descend on Google HQ.” Many Muslims are understandably offended by the anti-Islam video ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ published on YouTube. They do not care about free speech and plan to protest until the video is banned. At least one of these Muslim leaders wants to shut down free speech and the spread of ideas contrary to Islam. He even redefined terrorism to include hurt feelings and calls Google’s right to free speech anarchy. One of the speakers, Sheikh Faiz Al-Aqtab Siddiqui, told The Daily Telegraph: “Terrorism is not just …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Demon Test Only $9.95 – A Helluva Deal!

Demon Test Only $9.95 – A Helluva Deal!

Bob Larson is offering a 21 question Demon Test® for only $9.95. On his personal website the headline reads “Spiritual Freedom Church” with a registered acronym “DWJD®.” If the Demon Test® were not bad enough Larson’s daughter and friends have the site ‘Teenage Exorcists’. Why is this test a helluva deal? Satan will take your soul for free, but to pay $9.95 for a “Demon Test®” to dabble where Jesus has not called Christians to dabble is a deal from hell. Larson may laugh all the way to the bank while Satan laughs at the opportunity to play on peoples’ …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Heroes in Black and White: Precious Puritans Vs. Martin Luther King Jr.

Heroes in Black and White: Precious Puritans Vs. Martin Luther King Jr.

Christians are not immune to racial, cultural, or theological bias and blindness. Those types of bias and blindness may be more apparent in Christendom for the Puritans and Martin Luther King, Jr. – cultural and theological heroes to many Christians. Precious Dust Up The dust up over Christian rapper Propaganda’s lyrics in his song “Precious Puritans” recently brought some of these issues to the surface. Propaganda charged the Puritans, broadly defined, with certain racial moral failures charging white privilege against some pastors who quote the Puritans. Some Christians argued that Propaganda defined the Puritans too broadly and unfairly charged them. …keep reading »

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Introduction Video: The Gospel According to Barack

Check out the video below and my interview with Dr. Breshears: Five Questions with Dr. Breshears on His Book: The Gospel According to Barack. Author Jefrey D. Breshears gives a brief introduction and excerpt from his new book, “The Gospel According to Barack,” which sets out to answer the question – where did Barack Obama get his ideas about Christianity?

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Why Do People Go To Hell?

One answer given on twitter (HT: Ben Simpson): People go to hell not because God predestined them to go there, but because we as Christians don’t share the Gospel with them. — Steve Gaines (@bellevuepastor) October 8, 2012 While it is essential that Christians share the gospel; a few Scriptural proof-texts give another answer to the question of why people go to hell. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 ESV) Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born …keep reading »

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How the Southern Baptist Convention Works

Check out the slideshow from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary explaining how the Southern Baptist Convention works. Find a few more files at the NOBTS website.

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Thumbnail image for 5 Essential Questions on Playing the Pharisee Card

5 Essential Questions on Playing the Pharisee Card

The folks from the excellent Lutheran radio show Issues, Etc. have allowed me to post their article “Playing the Pharisee Card”. Calling someone a Pharisee when disagreeing over Christian doctrine or methods is a great way to shut down debate. But how accurately is the Pharisee Card actually played? The article below answers the following five essential questions on playing the Pharisee Card. Were the Pharisees concerned with doctrinal purity? Were the Pharisees resistant to change? Were the Pharisees unconcerned for the lost? Why did Jesus really condemn the Pharisees? Who are the real Pharisees? Playing the Pharisee Card I …keep reading »

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Church Sign: Pet Blessings?

I snapped pictures of these two interesting church signs in Metro-Atlanta over the weekend. Is this a new kind of seeker-centered outreach? I wonder if anyone showed up and how they “blessed” the animals. By the way, I blessed my steak last night – does that count?  

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Will the Southern Baptist Convention Dissipate in the Smoke of Reformed Theology?

“Shall the Southern Baptist Convention which was born in the fires of evangelism dissipate in the smoke of Reformed Theology?” Southern Baptist Pastor Steve Brumbelow asks.1 This question was stated in an letter sent to discourage Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) trustees from approving presidential candidate Dr. Jason Allen. However, Brumbelow’s assuming question is historically inaccurate. Union University president David Dockery notes the strong presence of Calvinistic (Reformed) theology at the birth of the Southern Baptist Convention. At the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention in May 1845, it would have been difficult to find leaders who were not Calvinistic in their …keep reading »

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A Christian Presuppositionalist Explains ‘Why I Believe’

My friend Brian Knapp who writes at Choosing Hats takes the presuppositionalist approach to defending the Christian faith.  (Actually, Choosing Hats is dedicated to presuppositional apologetics.) Brian recently engaged an unbeliever online and was encouraged to write a brief about the engagement. Brian then wrote an article titled, “Why I Believe” explaining why he is a Christian from a presuppositional perspective. So tell me about yourself. You aren’t a Christian, correct? Do you believe any sort of god exists? It seems like you are saying it is at least possible that the Christian God exists, the one described in the Bible. …keep reading »

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Why Every Head Bowed, Every Eye Closed?

Why, when and on what biblical basis did preachers begin altar calls with ‘every head bowed, every eye closed’? Whenever I have heard an altar call being with ‘every head bowed, every eye closed’ I always wonder why? I wonder what purpose it serves to ask everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes. Is the preacher trying not to embarrass someone who may respond to the gospel? Would not the person who just believed the gospel be over joyed with their new life in Christ that they would have no shame so that bowed heads and closed eyes …keep reading »

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Does Dr. Jason Allen Meet Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Presidential Profile?

The Baptist Press reported that Dr. Jason K. Allen was chosen as the nominee to be Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s next president,1 but does he meet their ‘Presidential Profile’? While questions have been raised about Allen’s qualifications, questions have also been raised about Allen’s theology and the Midwestern Trustees’ silence on their vetting process. Below I will briefly comment on the Presidential Profile, trustee silence and Allen’s theology. The Presidential Profile Midwestern’s website lists the “Key Responsibilities of the Next President” with the following major points which conclude with their ‘Desired Qualifications’.2 Spiritual Leadership Institutional Leadership Fundraising/Enrollment Leadership Academic and …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Open Forum: Should an Inability to Encourage and Show Compassion Disqualify a Pastor?

Open Forum: Should an Inability to Encourage and Show Compassion Disqualify a Pastor?

In their article, “What are warning flags to watch out for when considering a man as a potential elder?” 9 Marks ministries offers 13 warning flags. Two of the warning flags stood out in a discussion I had with a good friend in early 2011 as I was going through my seminary courses. The discussion was part of the ongoing process of understanding how one’s theology works out in real life; a road that never ends. While all of the warning flags are worthy of discussion, the two that stood out and seemed to go together well were 6 and …keep reading »

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LifeWay surveys Lord’s Supper practices of SBC churches By Carol Pipes

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The majority of Southern Baptist churches permit anyone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ to participate in the Lord’s Supper, according to a recent survey by LifeWay Research. The survey also revealed that 57 percent of SBC churches observe the Lord’s Supper quarterly. “Denominational distinctives are often evident in how the Lord’s Supper is observed,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. “We sought to measure two attributes of Southern Baptists’ remembrance of Jesus’ death and resurrection: who may participate in the Lord’s Supper– with five distinct options listed– and the frequency it is observed.” The …keep reading »

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John Newton: Christians, True Patriotism and Government Involvement

John Newton (1725 – 1807), well-known for penning the hymn “Amazing Grace,” wrote a letter to a friend giving his views on Christian involvement in government affairs. Newton briefly defines true patriotism from a Christian perspective. Would Newton title his position today as – Gospel-Centered Patriotism? Dear friend, Allow me to say, that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a Christian minister such as yourself, should think it worth his while to attempt political reforms. When I look around upon the present state of the nation, such an attempt appears to me, to be no less vain and foolish, …keep reading »

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One Million Porn Free Christian Men?

Southern Baptist Pastor Jay Dennis has started a movement to address the problem of pornography in the church. The movement and website is called One Million Men Porn Free. Christian counselor Harry Schaumburg comments show the seriousness of the church’s pornography problem. For the last twenty years thousands of men from across America struggling with sexual sin have come to our intensive counseling workshop. Over half were pastors and missionaries. I wish our experience was unique. Several years ago a seminary professor told me: “We no longer ask our entering students if they are struggling with pornography, we assume every …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Help The Harry Potter Bible Study Be a #1 Free Kindle Book!

Help The Harry Potter Bible Study Be a #1 Free Kindle Book!

Help my friend Jared Moore move his book, The Harry Potter Bible Study: Enjoying God Through the Final Four Harry Potter Movies, to the #1 spot on Amazon as in the Kindle Non-fiction, religious book category. I know – a Harry Potter Bible Study book sounds crazy, right? It’s actually gotten some pretty good reviews. Right now, Jared’s book is currently free on Kindle. (Download it here!) In the U.S. it is the 12th most popular free Non-Fiction religious book on Kindle today, and the 6th most popular free Non-Fiction Christian book on Kindle in the U.K. market. What does that …keep reading »

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Dear Southern Baptists, the Calvinistic Roots of Dispensationalism

Warning shots against Calvinistic influence in Southern Baptist churches is all the rage today. While some anti-Calvinist Southern Baptists have been involved in end times conferences promoting Dispensationalism, they do not seem to fear its Calvinistic roots. To be fair, many Southern Baptists may not know the Calvinistic history of Dispensationalism. Dr. Thomas Ice of Liberty University (hardly a pro-Calvinist institution) is here to help with his article – The Calvinistic Heritage of Dispensationalism. Dr. Ice explains the systematization, history and growth of Dispensationalism. He begins: If systematic Dispensationalism is rightly understood it logically makes sense only within a theocentric …keep reading »

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The Gospel Coalition, Carl Trueman and Complementarianism

Lydia McGrew makes some observations on Carl Trueman’s response to The Gospel Coalition leaders’ recent discussion on how complementarianism relates to the gospel. …Carl Trueman, who teaches Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, put up on his blog a series of posts in which he argues that, though he himself is a complementarian, a parachurch organization like TGC should not make complementarianism a foundational part of its identity by putting that position into its confessional statement. His posts can be found here and here. At first when I read Trueman’s posts and saw the video, I hadn’t noted the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Why Do You Call Yourself a Christian?

Why Do You Call Yourself a Christian?

Why do you call yourself a Christian? I said a prayer. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I walked the aisle at church. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I believe in God. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I read the Bible. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I pray everyday. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I feed the homeless and the hungry. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I take care of widows and orphans. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I’ve been baptized. Why do you call yourself a …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Yes, a Pastor Should Have Close Friends in His Church

Yes, a Pastor Should Have Close Friends in His Church

Yes, is my answer to Dave Miller’s question asked at SBCVoices.com, “Can a pastor have close friends in his church?”1 I’ll explain why my answer is yes that a pastor should have close friends in his church even if he feels like he cannot. Note my subtle switch answering whether a pastor can have close friends in his church with whether or not he should. My answer is based on three premises: 1. pastors are members of the local church too, 2. pastors must be known for the congregation to know they are biblically qualified, and 3. pastors must be …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Catholic Priest Blamed Victims in Abuse Cases

Catholic Priest Blamed Victims in Abuse Cases

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Benedict Groeschel, a Roman Catholic Priest, claimed that “in a lot of cases” the “youngster is the seducer” in cases involving priests and sexual abuse. The link to the original story is still active, but the offending interview replaced with an apology. However, Catholic columnist Matt C. Abbott capture part of the interview and reposted it with commentary. Some of Groeschel’s disturbing comments follow. [Interviewer]: Part of your work here at Trinity has been working with priests involved in abuse, no? [Father Groeschel]: A little bit, yes; but you know, in those …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Five Questions with Dr. Breshears on His Book: The Gospel According to Barack

Five Questions with Dr. Breshears on His Book: The Gospel According to Barack

Dr. Jefrey D. Breshears was gracious enough to answer five questions about his timely book, The Gospel According to Barack: Where Did Barack Obama Get His Ideas About Christianity? (available on Amazon). He also generously provided a copy of his book to giveaway – so check back tomorrow for a chance to win a free copy. (Click here to enter the giveaway.) Dr. Breshears is a Christian historian, apologist, and the founder and president of The Areopagus, a Christian education ministry and study center in the Atlanta area that offers seminars and forums in Christian history, apologetics, Christian spirituality, and …keep reading »

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Ralph Reed: Republicans Don’t Need Southern Baptists

Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, had a chat with Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Political Insider, blogger Jim Galloway. Reed spoke about bigotry against Mormons coming from the left. When chatting about “anti-Mormon prejudice” Southern Baptists came up. It’s okay – Southern Baptists don’t matter much anyway. Galloway noted Reed’s position that, “Not that Southern Baptists have changed their mind, Reed said. But politically, they don’t matter as much:” ”Remember, if you’ve got a grandma sitting in the third row of an independent Baptist , white sideboard church who can’t bring herself to vote for a Mormon because …keep reading »

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Golfing for God Mission Update

Yesterday, I had the privilege of playing in the Sandy Springs Mission 5th Annual Golf Challenge. It was a great time of golf and fellowship. Thankfully, the weather was pretty good and the heat didn’t wipe us out. The Chick-fil-a sandwich for lunch really hit the spot! Although I had a great time, raising money by playing golf doesn’t always make sense. Yet, for the past five years this golf outing has been vitally important to keeping the Mission running throughout the year. This year’s golf challenge has brought in over $20,000 so far with more pledges on the way. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Wisdom from Francis Schaeffer for Baptist Infighting

Wisdom from Francis Schaeffer for Baptist Infighting

Some Southern Baptists are heavy weight champs at theological infighting. Maybe it’s time for Baptists to step outside the ring and consider another way to disagree. A quote from Francis Schaeffer below offers wisdom on how Baptists might better engage each other. In 1845, at the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention, most leaders were Calvinistic while the laity were less so.1 Today, most Southern Baptists are not Calvinists though there is a rise in Calvinistic theology in leadership and laity. Southern Baptists have worked together with Calvinist leaders and with non-Calvinist leaders. If Calvinistic Baptists were instrumental in forming …keep reading »

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4 Minutes on Mormonism with ABC News (with Christianity Comparison Chart)

Will exposing Mormon beliefs and practices affect voting decisions for some Americans? Who will be helped most in the upcoming Presidential election by reporting on Mormon beliefs – Obama or Romney? How many national news outlets covered black liberation theology outside of President Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright? Media bias? Brief Comparison between Mormonism and Christianity Mormonism Christianity God More than one god. God the father is an exalted man   who was as we are now and has a body of flesh and bones. God There is only one God who is spirit and eternal. Trinity The father, son and …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Decline in SBC Baptisms: Three Critical Invitation Factors?

Decline in SBC Baptisms: Three Critical Invitation Factors?

One of the books assigned to read for one of my classes is Pastor’s Handbook by John R. Bisagno which offers a lot of practical advice. The advice is mostly pragmatic seemingly from a consequentialist perspective. That is, Bisagno writes from experience with little Scriptural support for his advice. Bisagno’s advice is not intrinsically good or bad, right or wrong, but at times questions arise when experience seems to be his authority. Previously, I commented on Bisagno’s perspective on extending the gospel invitation during corporate worship.1 Below I will comment on the three reasons he offers a partially contributing to …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for If Pat Robertson Were Jesus

If Pat Robertson Were Jesus

Be glad that Pat Robertson is not the Savior Jesus Christ, but imagine if he were. A female viewer wrote into The 700 Club with a question. This lady is a mother to three adopted children from foreign countries. She wanted to know why the men she dates always leave once they find out she has three adopted children from three different countries. Host Pat Robertson provided…an answer. “you just never know what’s been done to a child before you get that child; what kind of sexual abuse there has been, what kind of cruelty, what kind of food deprivation” …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Register Today: 9Marks Workshop in Atlanta!

Register Today: 9Marks Workshop in Atlanta!

9Marks  is bringing a conference about the church and for the church to Atlanta, GA. The following topics will be covered: theological vision, preaching & biblical theology,  gospel, conversion & evangelism, membership, discipline & discipleship, leadership, covenanting together. Each session ends with a Q&A. More info and registration below. When? Monday, October 29, 2012, 9 am – Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 12 pm. Who is speaking? – Mark Dever – Matt Schmucker – Aaron Menikoff – Zach Schlegel How much? – General Registration: $45 – Student Registration: $35 Where? Mount Vernon Baptist 850 Mt Vernon Hwy NW Atlanta, GA 30327 …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Free Book Comparing the Methods of Charles Finney and John Nevin of Promoting the Gospel

Free Book Comparing the Methods of Charles Finney and John Nevin of Promoting the Gospel

Free on Kindle eBooks right now: Theology Drives Methodology: Conversion in the Theology of Charles Finney and John Nevin by  Karl Dahlfred. Don’t have a Kindle, but like free eBooks? That’s okay, there is a Kindle app for your Mac, PC, etc. – Free Kindle Apps. This looks like a very interesting book. The description states that Dahlfred examines the different theologies of Finney and Nevin and explains how their beliefs affected their methods of sharing the gospel. Finney’s beliefs led him to use high-pressure revival meetings to induce conversions. Nevin’s beliefs led him to emphasize preaching, catechism, and pastoral …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Was the Zimmerman-Martin Tragedy God’s Plan?

Was the Zimmerman-Martin Tragedy God’s Plan?

On February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, George Zimmerman shoot and killed Trayvon Martin during a physical altercation.1 Media attention to the details surrounding this case seem to change daily and it has once again gained popularity by raising the question – Was Zimmerman’s killing of Martin God’s plan? Recent attention has focused on Zimmerman’s comments about the event being part of God’s plan, but both sides of this tragedy have mentioned God’s involvement. First, Zimmerman’s recent comments from his interview with Sean Hannity. HANNITY: Is there anything you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Husbands Test Your Wives!

Husbands Test Your Wives!

Christian husbands ought to give their wives a short biblical test every now and then. This post suggests the kind of biblical test husbands may want to take their wives through. (Hint: The test is really aimed at the husbands!) I recently took my wife through this test during our devotion time. This test may be easier for wives than for husbands; try it and see. Ready? To get started you will need: a Bible or two, a blank sheet(s) of paper, and a pen or pencil. Open your Bible(s) to Ephesians 5. Pray for this time together. Read and …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Are SBC Resolutions Only Valid for One Year?

Are SBC Resolutions Only Valid for One Year?

While citing the Southern Baptist Convention website on resolutions for yesterday’s applied ethics post1 I noticed a interesting statement about resolutions. Note the following from the SBC website [emphasis added]. 21. How do I find out the official SBC stance on various issues? The Southern Baptist Convention makes official statements regarding specific issues by means of resolutions passed at our annual gatherings each June.  Southern Baptist polity views these resolutions as expressions of opinions or concern which are representative of the messengers attending the meeting, but are not binding upon any individual church or successive Convention.  Generally speaking, resolutions are …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for ‘The Exchange’ with Ed Stetzer Live Today on this Blog

‘The Exchange’ with Ed Stetzer Live Today on this Blog

I will be hosting Dr. Ed Stetzer’s (President of LifeWay Research) webcast “The Exchange” as part of a test syndication. Tune in today! Today on “The Exchange” Pete Wilson, pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, discusses his newest book Empty Promises: The Truth about You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing. Philip Nation, Director of Ministry Development at LifeWay Christian Resources, will be guest-hosting. Click the image below to start the webcast at 2pm cst/3 pm est!

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Thumbnail image for Preparing For Easter

Preparing For Easter

The Rev. Alfred W. Wishart, Jr., opened his Easter sermon at the Arlington Avenue Presbyterian Church of East Orange, N.J., with these words: “Did you ever stop to think how much time it takes to get all of you looking so nice for today? What with the shopping and all, I’d conservatively estimate that it took each of you four hours to get ready. Since there are about 500 of you here, that comes to 2,000 hours. Now if you divide that up into 40-hour workweeks and allow two weeks for vacation, it breaks down into a full year of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Why is this Good News?

Why is this Good News?

Dear readers, read the following Scripture. “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:22-24 ESV) Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Subjectivity in Modern Preaching

Subjectivity in Modern Preaching

I was recently listening to a pastor preach on the importance of prayer in pastoral ministry. Prayer is certainly important in the life of a pastor (or any Christian). The context was that this pastor was teaching future pastors. Giving his time to such teaching is a great service. However, the text he used to make his point was Acts 1:13-14 and a few things just did not sit right with me. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Megachurch Wal-Mart Effect

Megachurch Wal-Mart Effect

I came across an interesting observation in a book I am reading for one of my classes. In the book Shepherd Leader, author Timothy Witmer points out what he calls the “Wal-mart effect” among megachurches. The truth of the matter is that much of the growth of megachurches is drawn from smaller churches in the region. This is what I call the Wal-Mart effect. What happens when a Wal-Mart moves to town? Many small “mom and pop” businesses are forced to close because they can’t compete with the prices, variety, and “one-stop shopping” of Wal-Mart. Likewise, small churches are depleted by …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Brief thoughts: Abortion and Reproductive Rights

Brief thoughts: Abortion and Reproductive Rights

The pro-abortion, pro-choice crowd argues that abortion is a reproductive right. However, there is a problem with this line of reasoning. In order to have an abortion, reproduction must have already taken place i.e. a human life must exist in order to abort it. A right to reproduce, or have offspring, is not the same as a right to abort, or terminate the life of said offspring. In actuality, abortion is a counter-reproductive action since it kills a human being that is already living. It is possible that babies in the womb would like the same reproductive rights that others …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Gospel Project: Free Downloads

The Gospel Project: Free Downloads

At the start of this year, LifeWay introduced a major new Bible study initiative for all ages called The Gospel Project, which will launch in Fall 2012. The resource takes a Christ-centered approach to Bible study by examining the grand narrative of Scripture and how the gospel transforms the lives of those it touches. The three-year plan of study immerses participants—adults, students, and kids—in the gospel through each story, theological concept, and call to missions from Genesis to Revelation. The editorial team of Ed Stetzer and Trevin Wax began work on The Gospel Project to meet a specific need in …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Letter to the editor of ‘The Christian Index’ by Marty King

Letter to the editor of ‘The Christian Index’ by Marty King

Editorial not worthy of editor or Index Dear Gerald, As a former Georgia Baptist, I appreciate you and your service as Index editor. But, your Feb. 10 editorial was not your best. The level of research, organization, and writing are simply not up to what Georgia Baptists have come to expect. Let me share with you three concerns. 1. The editorial seems intent on fear-mongering, and is poorly sourced and organized. Although you admit in the article that “many great preachers and theologians have embraced Calvinism through the years,” you imply readers should be afraid of Calvinists, as evidenced by …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Franklin Graham on President Obama’s Christianity

Franklin Graham on President Obama’s Christianity

Below is a one minute clip cut from a longer interview (see below) where Franklin Graham is asked whether or not he believes President Obama is a Christian. Check it out. The MSNBC hosts call Graham out for inconsistent answers. On the one hand, Graham will not definitively say whether or not he believes Obama is a Christian, but leaves the question for Obama to answer. On the other hand, Graham has no problem believing that Rick Santorum is a Christian. However, the above clip does not tell the whole story. In the actual interview Graham says the following. [Obama] has …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Calvinists: a Reply to Gerald Harris Part II

The Calvinists: a Reply to Gerald Harris Part II

The following is part II of a reply to Gerald Harris recently published the article “The Calvinists are here.” The article was published in The Christian Index, the Georgia Southern Baptist newspaper, of which Harris is the editor. If you have not read part I, follow this link to do so: The Calvinists: a Reply to Gerald Harris Part I. Part II begins below by interacting with Harris’ article where part I ended. The average Baptist who sits in a Sunday School class or a small Bible study group has depended on LifeWay to provide Bible study materials that are …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Calvinists: a Reply to Gerald Harris Part I

The Calvinists: a Reply to Gerald Harris Part I

Gerald Harris, editor of the The Christian Index, the Georgia Southern Baptist newspaper, recently published the article “The Calvinists are here.”1 There have been two immediate responses to Harris’ piece including one by former Calvinist William Birch2 and an article in the Baptist Press in which some of the people mentioned by Harris answered his concerns.3 Harris’ article seems to be pieced together without a thesis. The article seems strung together by insinuations built upon a connect-the-dots type of guilt by association. In short, there is a lot to untangle in Harris’ article. In the following response, which has been …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Woody Harrelson On Christianity

Woody Harrelson On Christianity

GQ magazine published an interview with actor Woody Harrelson. In the interview, Harrelson is asked about the Gospel and his Christian upbringing.1 He was raised in church studying the Bible and preached his first sermon at age 17. GQ: Can you tell me about when you preached the Gospel as a child? Woody Harrelson: I was very religious growing up. My mom still is. We went to church all the time, went to Bible study; we even did Bible study at my house. I went to a Presbyterian college, you know, I was in….all the way, and so I remember …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for TD Jakes Reviews: Elephant Room and 11 Various Books

TD Jakes Reviews: Elephant Room and 11 Various Books

First, James White weighs in on his Dividing Line radio show for two hours. There were so many listeners that the servers crashed.  Find the link and a description below. A Mega-Friday DL on TD Jakes and Elephants in the Room In any case, I addressed the TD Jakes: is he a Trinitarian? issue head on during the first hour, and then took calls on the topic for a full hour after that. The callers were wide ranging, and while none defended the ER or Jakes, they did provide some good insights. Lots of positive feedback on Twitter and FaceBook. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Angry Apostles and the Trinity

Angry Apostles and the Trinity

On the Trinity First, Pastor Tom Chantry has provided a actual transcript of T.D. Jakes words on the Trinity from The Elephant Room 2, session 4.1 Chantry then made a follow-up post in which he shares his thoughts in the following five points.2 1. Jakes masterfully deconstructs the entire practice of theology. 2. Driscoll and MacDonald are too much in awe of Jakes’ massive numeric success to call him on this. 3. James MacDonald is angry. 4. The mega-pastors are one big lovin’ family! 5. If you aren’t defined at least somewhat by what you are against, you aren’t really …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for God is Doing Amazing Things!

God is Doing Amazing Things!

God is going to do something awesome. God is going to do something amazing. God is doing something incredible. God is doing something awesome. God is doing something amazing. God is doing amazing things. It’s going to be awesome. Let’s change the world. God will prosper you. Fly with the eagles. Listen to the Spirit. It’s all about love. Lives will change. God is working. Look to Jesus. Praise God. Amen. Such sensational words are sometimes used in preaching for dramatic emotional effect. Yet, the words themselves must be attached to something or they stir empty praise and emotion. What …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for On Public Rebuke

On Public Rebuke

As far as I know, being rebuked is not something to which most Christians look forward, especially, being publicly rebuked. However, Scripture says it is good for rebuke (2 Tim. 3:16). Scripture even includes the well-known example of one Apostle publicly rebuking another Apostle (Gal. 2:11, 14). Today, there is no shortage of Christians rebuking one another online. Though direct, public rebukes in person is not often carried out. Occasionally, one might hear a public rebuke about  a particular person, but the more popular route is to address poor teaching in general leaving the teacher unnamed. In the past, I …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for What God is This? Osteen on Oprah

What God is This? Osteen on Oprah

This clip is riddled with unbiblical conclusions. Toward the beginning, in reference to Osteen’s prosperity preaching, Oprah asks, “What god would want you to be poor and miserable?” Osteen does say that prosperity includes peace of mind and a healthy body rather than just material wealth. Osteen also says that there is a belief that says, “You’re supposed to suffer more and be poor and to show your humility.” He then mentions that Jesus died to give us an abundant life in order to be a blessing to others. Further, he claims that he cannot be a blessing to others …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Real Marriage: Heeding Pragmatism Over Biblical Criticism?

Real Marriage: Heeding Pragmatism Over Biblical Criticism?

Mark and Grace Driscoll’s new book Real Marriage has drawn much attention. The attention comes partly due to its content and partly due to some critical reviews.123 Denny Burk probably offers the most thoroughly biblical critique to date. Today Burk linked to an article on CNN’s belief blog titled “Pastor’s detailed book on sex divides reviewers, sparks controversy.”4 The CNN article provides a few interesting responses by Mark Driscoll to his critics. I would like to briefly consider Driscoll’s responses from the CNN article. First, I would like to explain why I am responding. My initial reading of Driscoll’s comments …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Elephant Room II and TD Jakes’ Oneness Association

Elephant Room II and TD Jakes’ Oneness Association

Elephant Room II is only 20 days away. T.D. Jakes is still on the schedule.1 Several of us disagreed with Jakes being a participant2, including Mark Dever who withdrew3, but I did suggest some questions for Jakes.4 Although I am still not very excited about Jakes participation, I am interested in what he will have to say, especially, in his session with Mark Driscoll where the following issues are supposed to be addressed. What are the ‘majors’ of Christian doctrine that cannot be diluted or denied for a person to be a Christian? How can we help one another move …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for What Will You Do with the Christmas Gift?

What Will You Do with the Christmas Gift?

Another Christmas has come and gone and a new year is around the corner. A year lies ahead both to use this year’s Christmas gifts and think about next year’s. However, some gifts are all ready used up although some are advertised as gifts that keep on giving. There is only one gift that keeps on giving. This gift was given to all, but did you receive Him or reject Him? What will you do with the Christmas gift? The Christmas gift given, but not received by all is Jesus Christ. Yet, His birth is celebrated by millions on Christmas …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Word and Conscience

Sunday Considerations: Word and Conscience

Again, do we love the holiness of the Word (Psalm 119:140)? The Word is preached to beat down sin and advance holiness. Do we love it for its spirituality and purity? Many love the Preached Word only for its eloquence and notion. They come to a sermon as to a music lecture (Ezek. 33:31,32) or as to a garden to pick flowers—but not to have their lusts subdued or their hearts bettered. These are like a foolish woman who paints her face—but neglects her health! Again, do we love the convictions of the Word? Do we love the Word when …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Preaching On Sin and Responsibility

Preaching On Sin and Responsibility

Sin and responsibility may not be the most comfortable topics about which to talk or preach. No one really wants to consider that they are responsible for something they did i.e. sin. It is much easier to blame sins on someone else as if they some how caused the sin and, therefore, avoid personal responsibility. It is much easier to compare one’s sin to another person’s much worse sin in order to minimize sin and personal responsibility. Is taking personal responsibility of sin minimized because of the way sin is expressed at times from the pulpit? Is the sinner a …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Gospel in the Liquor Store

The Gospel in the Liquor Store

The following true story is about a seminary student sharing the gospel in a liquor store. The student is an acquaintance and the story is shared with permission. This is all that will be revealed of this student. One of the most divisive disagreements among conservative Christians is the subject of Christians drinking alcohol. Tim Challies highlighted and commented on some of the recent disagreements about Christians and alcohol.1 Challies provides a big picture view of the subject with a caution to younger Christians to use their freedom wisely when it comes to alcohol. I pray the following story is …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for So You Want My Daughter?

So You Want My Daughter?

I’ve always been intrigued about why a Christian would want to date or marry a non-Christian. A solid biblical case can be made that a Christian should only date or marry another Christian.1 In a mixed dating situation the Christian is not trusting Christ nor finding Him sufficient, but is looking elsewhere to satisfy certain needs. Of course, as with many areas in life Christians fall short and there is always places in their lives where Christ is not primary. This is an admission rather than an excuse for Christians to date non-Christians. As one friend of mine said about …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Are Christians to Blame for Gay Teen Suicides?

Are Christians to Blame for Gay Teen Suicides?

John Shore created the video below and used it to ask if Christians have some culpability in gay teen suicides in an article at the Huffington Post. 1 The question of whether or not there is a gay teen suicide epidemic has also been raised.2 The video did not make me mad, but it did annoy me. The caricature of Christians portrayed in this video annoyed me more than anything. I can say that I don’t recall ever having a conversation with anyone like the one portrayed above. But then I thought of a few other things. Is this really …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Reformation Day 2011: Luther on the Power of God’s Word

Reformation Day 2011: Luther on the Power of God’s Word

Love, therefore, demands that you have compassion on the weak, as all the apostles had. Once, when Paul came to Athens, a mighty city, he found in the temple many altars, Acts and he went from one to the other and looked at them all, but did not touch any one of them even with his foot. But he stood in the midst of the market-place and said they were all idolatrous works, and begged the people to forsake them; yet he did not destroy one of them by force. When the word took hold of their hearts, they forsook …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Exterminating the Canaanites

Exterminating the Canaanites

Richard Dawkins recently explained why he would not debate William Lane Craig.1 Dawkins does not like that Craig defends God’s commands to the Israelites in the Old Testament to destroy certain people groups that were inhabiting the Promised Land. He claims that Craig has a “dark side” and that “Most churchmen these days wisely disown the horrific genocides ordered by the God of the Old Testament.” Dawkins quotes Craig on the extermination of the Canaanites and takes issue with Craig defending God’s commands for such actions. In one of my Old Testament text books I came across a perspective (shared …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for An “in Christ” Mindset

An “in Christ” Mindset

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:1-2 ESV) Notice how Paul begins the letter to the Philippians. He calls Paul and Timothy “servants” or “slaves” of Jesus. He then refers to the rest of the Christians at Philippi as “saints.” Paul sees them as having their identity in Christ. Paul’s approach makes me think about how those in one’s local and extended church families should be addressed. And …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Did Mark Dever Withdraw from Elephant Room 2?

Did Mark Dever Withdraw from Elephant Room 2?

I my previous post I shared that I leaned toward Mark Dever withdrawing from participating in Elephant Room 2(ER2) due to T.D. Jakes scheduled participation.1 A commenter on that post informed me that Dever’s bio, pictured above, is missing from the ER2 website. If Dever does or did withdraw from the event it should not come a surprise. In 2008 he was challenged on the issue of biblical separation. Dever answered the challenge explaining that he does practice separation. Others may be able to learn from his practice. The following quote is part of Dever’s article on separation which applies …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for What Would You Ask TD Jakes at Elephant Room 2?

What Would You Ask TD Jakes at Elephant Room 2?

The announcement T.D. Jakes participation at Elephant Room 2 (ER2) has generated much digital ink in the last week. I’ve shared some of the trouble I have with Jakes participation.1 Other Christians have provided more thorough responses than I explaining their concern over James MacDonald inviting T.D. Jakes.2 Note that no one is disputing that MacDonald can host whoever he wants at ER2 even while disagreeing with him. It is, however, too soon to know for sure whether or not ER2 will take place as scheduled. Anything can happen, right? Outside of Jakes withdrawing or having his invitation withdrawn the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for TD Jakes: Association Lacking Discernment?

TD Jakes: Association Lacking Discernment?

It has been recently revealed that T.D. Jakes will be a participant in Elephant Room round 2.1 Elephant Room is hosted by James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll. Its format is for influential pastors to have “blunt conversations” around “differing approaches to ministry” with the purpose of modeling “loving confrontation and gracious disagreement that honors relationship and allows diversity of opinion but stands without compromise on the revealed word of God.”2 Many of us hold that there is a biblical compromise with Jakes given his fellowship with Oneness Pentacostalism and his position on the Trinity as documented in the past by …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Does “Southern” Give Southern Baptists a Bad Image?

Does “Southern” Give Southern Baptists a Bad Image?

The above wordle was created in 2009 by Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. The wordle is composed of the 140 character replies to Rainer’s twitter question – “What do you think when you hear ‘Southern Baptist’?” Thom Rainer’s son, Sam, categorized the unscientific twitter results stating, “About 60% of the respondents gave a negative association. Another 30% were positive, and 10% were neutral or unclear.”1 Some thoughts were shared on this site too.2 Fast forward to today where SBC President Bryant Wright has assigned a task force to investigate changing the the name of the Southern Baptist …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Southern Baptists: Racial Relations and Spiritual Worth

Southern Baptists: Racial Relations and Spiritual Worth

Victor Irvine Masters, D.D. (1867-1954) while Superintendent of Publicity of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention was asked to write a mission study book at the 1914 Southern Baptist Covention. The Home Mission Board published the book in 1915. I recently shared Masters’ perspective from this publication in two areas: 1) Southern Baptist doctrinal conditions1 and 2) Calvinistic Methodist influence on early American Baptists.2 In chapter 12, “The Past and the Future” Masters offers some harsh words for the way some Southern Baptists have treated black people. Sadly, it was not until June 1995, 80 years after …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Calvinistic Methodist Influence on Early American Baptists

Calvinistic Methodist Influence on Early American Baptists

I recently shared an excerpt on Southern Baptist doctrinal conditions from a book by Victor Irvine Masters, D.D. (1867-1954).1 Masters was a past Superintendent of Publicity of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. In the last sentence of the section on doctrinal conditions Masters states, “The Baptists of 1815 in the South, barring certain minor sects, were everywhere Regular Baptists.” He then directs the reader “See Appendix A.” What follows is Appendix A where Masters points out some of the theological differences among early American Baptists including praise for two Calvinistic Methodists. One of those Methodists is …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for A 1915 Perspective on Southern Baptist Doctrinal Conditions

A 1915 Perspective on Southern Baptist Doctrinal Conditions

Victor Irvine Masters, D.D.  (1867-1954) was the Superintendent of Publicity of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1914 at the Southern Baptist Convention, Masters was asked by the Corresponding Secretaries of the State Boards to write a mission study book.1 He offered an interesting observation about Southern Baptists and their history in the foreword of his study book. It is often asserted that Southern Baptists will not read their own history, that they have been too busy making history to read it. It would be truer to say that they have been most influentially busy making …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Would You Pray at Ground Zero?

Would You Pray at Ground Zero?

An interfaith prayer vigil will be held at the National Cathedral for the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. It seems that no Evangelicals were invited to participate along side the “dean of the Cathedral, the Bishop of Washington, a rabbi, Buddhist nun and incarnate lama, a Hindu priest, the president of the Islamic Society of North America and a Muslim musician.”1 Should Evangelicals have been invited? Carl Trueman addressing Southern Baptists seems to think that not being invited is a good thing since no invitation means no compromise.2 Mike Horton weighs in with a thoughtful response asking …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Preach the Law to Rest In the Gospel

Preach the Law to Rest In the Gospel

5. Those who already believe. We must teach them: (i) The gospel: the biblical teaching on justification, sanctification and perseverance. (ii) The law: but as it applies to those who are no longer under its curse, so that they may be taught how to bear the fruit of a new obedience in keeping with their repentance (Rom. 8:1; 1 Tim. 1:9). Here Paul’s teaching in Romans serves as a model. (iii) Although someone who is righteous and holy in the sight of God should not be threatened with the curse of the law, the opposition of the law to their …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Israel, A Christian Idol?

Israel, A Christian Idol?

In the following video Mormon Glenn Beck sits with Evangelical David Barton who introduces hyper-dispensationalist, prosperity preacher John Hagee1. These men are together for the sake of supporting the modern day state of Israel. Supporting Israel is not a bad thing, but are they supporting Israel in a biblical sense? For starters, Hagee, a professing Christian, asks God to bless Glenn Beck, a professing Mormon, for their work together supporting Israel. I, too, ask God to bless Glenn Beck though in a different manner. I pray God would bring Beck to repent of his Mormonism and believe the true gospel …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for A Rough Seminary Semester, Part II

A Rough Seminary Semester, Part II

In part I, I shared about some of the issues my family and I faced during the 2011 spring semester which ran from January – May. God taught me a lot during that time. Some of what He taught me I’m still digesting while other lessons He taught me I’m not sure exactly how to put into words. In this post I will share some of what I am able to express that I believe God taught me through this time as well as some of the activities He lead me through. Running over the potholes of life describe in …keep reading »

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A Rough Seminary Semester, Part I

Thumbnail image for A Rough Seminary Semester, Part I

This past 2011 spring semester (January – May) was rough. A lot happened in that five month span. I knew it was going to be busy since I was taking four classes in addition to my family, job, deacon duties, my daughter’s high school graduation and a teaching assignment at church. I began to feel the weight of the semester at the beginning when I found out how much reading and writing two of the classes required (these were week long intensive classes). Not long after being home from the one week intensives a friend’s father committed suicide. In light …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Servant Evangelism: Gimmick or Grace?

Servant Evangelism: Gimmick or Grace?

Steve Sjogren is know for what is called Servant Evangelism which, as I understand it, is a way of doing outreach through acts of kindness in hopes of sharing the gospel. At SermonCentral.com Sjogren has an article titled 94 Servant Evangelism Ideas for Your Church. The ideas he lists are certain good, kind things to do for your neighbors. How should we think about such acts in light of evangelism? When this topic comes up it reminds me of something I call Amway Evangelism. This involves churches hosting events to draw non-Christians and then at some point unexpectedly springing the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Preaching: Young, Restless and Four?

Preaching: Young, Restless and Four?

Paul wrote to Timothy and stated, ” Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12 ESV) I don’t think Paul had a four year old preacher in mind as one way this Scripture may be applied. Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy Starting at the 1:44 mark the clip shows four year old Kanon preach: Hallelujah. I’m preaching about…I’m preaching about the one God. Like a man’s church to the man’s church of Pentecost…of Pentecost…of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Brewing Controversy: A Respectful Disagreement with John MacArthur

Brewing Controversy: A Respectful Disagreement with John MacArthur

[The following reply is a guest post originally published on spencernix.com (hyperlink removed the site is currently hacked) by friend and fellow blogger Spencer Nix. Spencer is a north Georgia native and Lead Pastor of Isaac’s Keep in Canton, Georgia. He enjoys connecting with people and their story and living life simply and beautifully in his corner of Creation, the intersection of north Atlanta and Southern Appalachia.] Or it’s more Puritan title: Brewing Controversy: A 12 Point Respectful Disagreement to the Estimable Rev. John MacArthur over the subject of Beer, which We Greatly Enjoy and Hope He Someday Will, too. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Alcohol: Of Greeks and Barbarians

Alcohol: Of Greeks and Barbarians

There has been enough talk about alcohol on Christians blogs lately to make readers drunk with words. While alcohol is always a favorite topic on Southern Baptist blogs1 one of the well-esteemed pastors of our day, John MacArthur, also felt the need to address the topic2. MacArthur was answered by the accused, Erik Raymond3 and Spencer Nix4 (who happens to be a friend) which resulted in another reply from MacArthur’s ministry5. In discussions like these two items always seem to come up. Item one, a point which MacArthur makes, is that the wine in biblical times was not like that …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Anders Breivik Needs to be Crucified

Anders Breivik Needs to be Crucified

After Anders Breivik went on a killing spree various media sources identified him as a fundamentalist Christian. Many Christians rejected that claim, not only because of his actions, but because of the words he wrote in his manifesto. I even quoted Breivik’s manifesto in Was Anders Breivik a Christian? to refute the claim that he was any kind of Christian. Defending the name of Christ in light of those claiming Breivik was a believer was the right thing to do. Yet, in defending Christ many of us missed an opportunity in the moment. Of course, Breivik is still being talked …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Surry Baptist Association-Flat Rock Baptist Timeline

Surry Baptist Association-Flat Rock Baptist Timeline

Flat Rock Baptist Church (FRBC) was recently removed from fellowship in the Surry Baptist Association (SBA) for calling a female to the pastorate. Some have disagreed with the way SBA removed them seemingly so quickly1 while others disagree with the removal at all2. The background of the situation may be found in those posts or a more direct story may be found at the Associated Baptist Press.3 I have been in contact with SBA. I wasn’t sure what or how much to say about the issue after doing some reading. After reading about the issue from Mount Airy pastor Alex …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for IMB Missionary Interview for LovingMuslims.com

IMB Missionary Interview for LovingMuslims.com

The International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention recently launched a website to encourage Christians reach out to their Muslim neighbors. The website is LovingMuslims.com and the timing of the launch was no mistake as the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 approaches. I had the privilege to send a few question to the person behind the vision for the website. That person is, Lil Brooks, the IMB Project Coordinator for Loving Muslims. Lil Brooks may be reached via the email linked here. I pray the interview is helpful and the website useful to help Christians reach their Muslim …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Mark Driscoll On Prophetic Dreams and Seeing the Future

Mark Driscoll On Prophetic Dreams and Seeing the Future

Fellow blogger (of ill-repute) and friend, Frank Turk recently wrote an Open Letter to Mark Driscoll. In the letter Turk took Driscoll to task over some of the things he said about cessationism. The summary of Driscoll’s view may be most clearly seen when he said that “cessationism is worldliness” and then sealed the deal stating, “So it goes to Atheism, Deism and this will be controversial, cessationism.” Side note: Before getting to the main issue I want to address something Driscoll said just after the worldliness comment. As part of making his assertion case for cessationism being worldliness Driscoll …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Discipleship Through Judgement

Discipleship Through Judgement

Look at the word discipleship. There within it is the word disciple, which is obviously related to the word discipline. In view of the next section on corrective church discipline, I would point out that discipleship is the other side of the coin—it is formative church discipline. These words, discipleship/discipline/ disciple, all connote ideas of training, and all training sometimes feels like punishment (cf. Heb. 12:7–11). The training in view here involves being taught to obey everything Jesus commanded. The commands of Jesus 4 often go against our instincts, impulses, inclinations, and desires. Sometimes they seem to make no sense. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for On Frivolous Prayer and Reverence

On Frivolous Prayer and Reverence

Given the discussions on the recent NASCAR prayer both here (A NASCAR Prayer, Parody or Blasphemy?) and elsewhere the commentary below from Calvin offers helpful perspective to consider on prayer. In the first quote, Calvin addresses the state of the mind and reverence to God in prayer. Let the first rule of right prayer then be, to have our heart and mind framed as becomes those who are entering into converse with God. This we shall accomplish in regard to the mind, if, laying aside carnal thoughts and cares which might interfere with the direct and pure contemplation of God, …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for A NASCAR Prayer, Parody or Blasphemy?

A NASCAR Prayer, Parody or Blasphemy?

Below is a transcript and video of the invocation “prayer” that Pastor Joe Nelms of Family Baptist Church in Lebanon, TN (near Nashville) recently gave at a NASCAR event. I’m not sure how to respond other than to scratch my head and think of this in light of the state of American Christianity. Of course, he had to be Baptist, but atleast he’s not Southern Baptist as far as I can tell. So was Nelms offering a prayer, a parody or blasphemy? Heavenly Father, we thank you tonight for all your blessings. You said in all things give thanks so …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Was Anders Breivik a Christian?

Was Anders Breivik a Christian?

My prayers go out to the people of Norway and all of those affected by the vicious murders of Anders Breivik. My intention is not to make less of what happened in Norway, but to explain that his murderous actions were not of the teachings of Christianity. I expect to see reactions from other conservative Christians denouncing Breivik’s actions while offering prayer and empathy for those suffering grief and loss from his terrible act. It is a good time to remember Jesus’ words. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Is God the Author of Evil?

Is God the Author of Evil?

Is there any sense in which God can be said to be the author of evil? In the quote below one author answers yes. See if you agree. God is the author (is in sovereign control) of everything that happens. Evil is something that happens. So God is the author of evil. If this is correct, then even if God is not the author of any evil “thing,” would He not still be the author of evil events? In which case, God would still be the author of evil.1 The author then quotes several Scripture passages involving God’s sovereignty. He …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Dear Same-Sex Marriage

Dear Same-Sex Marriage

Dear Same-sex marriage, May I call you SSM? Thanks! So, what are you? And what have you done with marriage? Actually, you haven’t done anything with marriage. I’m here writing you. Yes, this is Marriage sending you a note. I’m a little upset that you’re trying to do away with me by re-defining me. However, I am not some novelty act, but a staple of society. Men and women use me to build families by bringing children into the world who then repeat the cycle. I am still here today, but not if it were up to you, SSM. For …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for News Show Host: Mitt Romney Is Not a Christian

News Show Host: Mitt Romney Is Not a Christian

“Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt made a passing remark about Mitt Romney’s faith when talking about viable fund raising avenues for Republican presidential candidates. She said that that “Romney, obviously not being a Christian” would not be able to raise money from the Christian Coalition. Interesting and presumably accurate if Romney hold’s to his Mormon institution’s teachings. Also interesting is that in the past, as I recall, reports, news anchors, etc. seemed more likely to defend Romney’s Mormonism as Christian. I wonder if the tide is changing.

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Thumbnail image for Popping Off Is Not Pastoral

Popping Off Is Not Pastoral

Christianity in America seems to be in a constant state of decline rather than a constant state of repentance. One sign of this decline is the way in which celebrity rather than Scripture seems to have become the lens through which certain pastors are evaluated. This type of bias undermines the witness of the Church to nonbelievers. One recent example is when well-known pastor Mark Driscoll posted a flippant comment on Facebook which gathered over 600 comments in response. Offended blogger Rachel Held Evans responded and the flame Driscoll lit spread across the online Christian community. (Note: Driscoll has replied with …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Presuppositional Apologetics Month at Monergism

Presuppositional Apologetics Month at Monergism

The monthly focus at Monergism.com is Presuppositional Apologetics. Some resources are given on the introductory page. The resources include articles apologetic articles by: Cornelius Van Til Greg Bahnsen Doug Wilson John Frame Tim Keller They offer more on Presuppositional Apologetics at the bottom of the page. You may also want to check out a blog run by some friends of mine that focuses on Presuppositional Apologetics called Choosing Hats.

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Thumbnail image for A Response: Patriotism and Christian Worship

A Response: Patriotism and Christian Worship

Pastor David Brumbelow recently posted Patriotism and Christian Worship at SBC Voices. I will admit upfront that I disagree with Brumbelow on this topic. I’ve even written about patriotic worship in the past on more than on occasion. Christians will probably continue to disagree about this topic this side of heaven. Make no mistake that even though I disagree with Brumbelow on patriotic worship, I am not anti-American. I love America and am very thankful that I was born here. I will say the Pledge and sing patriotic songs with a warm heart. I just won’t do so during corporate …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Freedom: More Than An American

Freedom: More Than An American

Christian, what will be at the forefront of your mind during corporate worship this 4th of July weekend? (HT: John Strickland)

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Thumbnail image for Transcript and Commentary: Al Mohler On Homosexuality at the SBC

Transcript and Commentary: Al Mohler On Homosexuality at the SBC

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, recently answered a question from Dr. Peter Lumpkins concerning alleged comments he made about Evangelicals and homosexuality. The question was answered from the floor of the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting during his report on Southern Seminary. Dr. Mohler confirmed that the statements in question were his and further expressed some of his views on the topic of Evangelicals and homosexuality. His answer has attracted much attention in parts of the internet world. For example, Al Mohler’s Response to Peter Lumpkins: The Complete Video at SBC Voices received over 350 comments …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for A Teenager On Youth Ministry

A Teenager On Youth Ministry

I’m recycling a post about a teenager named Erica who was given an assignment to write an editorial on the subject of her choice. She choose youth ministry. Youth ministry is difficult. Questions are often asked about how to best reach and minister to youth. It can be hard to get into the mind of a teenager. Adults may be surprised of the wisdom that may be found in those young, developing minds. The article offered below may be one such surprise. Erica’s editorial is republished below exactly as it was sent to a friend of mine who is also …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for NFL Star David Tyree On Gay Marriage

NFL Star David Tyree On Gay Marriage

A few highlights and comments. At the beginning of the video Tyree offers a question which all Christians can apply to their lives regardless of profession. He asks, “Do our fans mean more than our position in eternity?” He then explains that marriage is the “only relationship that actually mirrors a relationship with God. It’s very unique in that way.” He also states that society permeates three things on males 1) sexual conquest, 2) economic prowess and 3) athletic prowess. Further, he explains that those three things aren’t intrinsically bad, but they can become that way if they are the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Southern Baptist Phantom Menace

The Southern Baptist Phantom Menace

Imagine for a moment that a church friend comes to you and expresses his frustration over another member of the church. Your friend mentions that he is tired of Sunday School at various times. He does not like the way things are taught sometimes or some of the methods used in the lessons. In his frustration he mentions that he may just stop tithing for a while and maybe stop attending Sunday School too. Realizing that you are in the same Sunday School class and that you sometimes teach, you think to yourself, “Who or what exactly is he talking …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Southern Baptist Church Offices, Elders et al. (Update)

Southern Baptist Church Offices, Elders et al. (Update)

Update below. A simple Google search will yield discussions concerning Southern Baptists and the subject of having a plurality of elders/pastors in place in the local church. It is understandable that there are biblical interpretive disagreements on how a church ought to fill its offices, on congregational involvement, etc. Hopefully, all local congregations seek to be biblical in setting up a church government. Various denominations have various guidelines stemming from their theological convictions. What about Southern Baptists? The official website of the Southern Baptist Convention has some faqs under the ‘About Us’ section. Question 14 asks,” What is the SBC’s …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ethics: Army Chaplain Preaches for Memorial Day

Ethics: Army Chaplain Preaches for Memorial Day

What would you do Wednesday! It is the Sunday before Memorial Day. It has been a weekend full of Military appreciation. Television stations have run specials with great reminders of the sacrifices of the many men and women who have served and are serving in America’s Armed Forces. The gratefulness of living in such a free country warms the heart. And the thankfulness for those who have sacrificed for such freedoms makes this upcoming holiday all the more endearing. You wake up wondering what the message will be in worship service this morning. There is a guest preacher, but no …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Camping Missed It: Judgement Day is Everyday

Camping Missed It: Judgement Day is Everyday

Unfortunately, by now Harold Camping is probably a household name. A household name that is probably not widely cherished among households. Camping will most likely be known as that false Christian Judgement Day teacher until the day he dies. Since he is approaching 90 years old he probably will not be with us much longer. But is there still time for him to get it right? Yes, there is still time for Camping to get it right. I don’ t mean that his third time for predicting the end of the world later this year will be the charm. Maybe …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ethics: Name the Racist Church?

Ethics: Name the Racist Church?

What would you do Wednesday? Tony Morgan recently wrote a post entitled This White Church Doesn’t Want Black Members. His post is the account of a true story of the racism exactly as the title suggests. It is from this sad story that I offer this weeks ethics question. The scenario is that you have a good friend in town who was the pastor at a local church. While you don’t attend his church you are familiar with it and know a couple of their members. Your friend has been the senior pastor of this church for the last six …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sermon: Drinking Is Not Drunkeness

Sermon: Drinking Is Not Drunkeness

Eddie Exposito, a pastor friend from Louisiana, preached a sermon about the biblical approach to alcohol. The sermon, linked below, is called Drinking Is Not Drunkenness. He addresses some of the unbiblical approaches to alcohol that are prevalent today and offers a corrective, biblical view. I thought some of you would appreciate this sermon. Drinking Is Not Drunkenness

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Thumbnail image for How Would Jesus Tax?

How Would Jesus Tax?

Lawrence O’Donnell vs. Rush Limbaugh: Biblical lessons from the media? Or – How to do eisegesis? Guess which one argues for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Thumbnail image for Hell Now

Hell Now

Whatever change of trouble a child of God meets with, it is all the hell he shall have. Whatever eclipse may be upon his name or estate, I may say of it, as Athanasius of his banishment, it is a little cloud that will soon be blown over, and then his gulf is shot his hell is past. Death begins a wicked man’s hell, but it puts an end to a godly man’s hell. Think with thyself, what if I endure this? It is but a temporary hell: indeed if all our hell be here, it is but an easy …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Daily Appropriating the Gospel

Daily Appropriating the Gospel

When we look at Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we realize that it is easy for us to follow false gospels of various kinds. We need to remind ourselves that all of us follow and lean on various false gospels. Detecting them is difficult because they often are below our theological radar. Few well-churched Christians would actually claim that good parenting, punctuality, etiquette, physical fitness, and active church involvement would be a way of achieving peace with God, but we live as if these are proven ways of gaining God’s love and favor. We need to begin with an assumption …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Universalism: Rob Bell and Paul Dean

Universalism: Rob Bell and Paul Dean

Even before the release of his latest book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Rob Bell set the blogosphere ablaze. The biggest charge against Bell is that of him being a universalist. In a recent interview with Newsweek’s Lisa Miller, Bell first states, with qualifications, that he is not a universalist. Then, moments later denies the charge again. (Thanks to Denny Burk’s partial transcript.) Miller: So this sort of universalism that you are preaching that’s exclusive and inclusive… Bell: That I just denied? Yeah, that one. Okay. Kevin DeYoung does …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Is T.D. Jakes Now Trinitarian?

Is T.D. Jakes Now Trinitarian?

In light of the recent concerns over Modalism and the SBC Pastors’ Conference, it has been said that T.D. Jakes no longer holds to a form of Modalism or to a Onesness Pentecostal view of God. There are plenty of resources (I don’t have time to note them here) online and in books that document and examine the evidence for the claim that T.D. Jakes holds to a modalistic view of God rather than the Christian view of God as Trinity. But has Jakes changed his position on his doctrine of God? A quick, curious search for T.D. Jakes on …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Open Email: SBC Pastors’ Conference 2011 Doctrinal Concern

Open Email: SBC Pastors’ Conference 2011 Doctrinal Concern

Please note: Mr. Jones’ name and the link to the Potter’s House website have been removed from the Pastor’s Conference website. On Feb. 17th I sent an email to Vance Pitman, President of the 2011 Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference about a doctrinal concern. The email is posted below and contains within it the first email that I sent on Feb. 16th to Jamal Jones who serves under T.D. Jakes at The Potter’s House. Jones is set to participate in this year’s SBC Pastors’ Conference. My concerns may be understood by reading the emails below. I thought I’d post this for …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Michael Horton: What is the Gospel?

Michael Horton: What is the Gospel?

(Source: What is the Gospel?) Horton states that the Gospel is “a very precise term. It is not equivalent to whatever is good and important in Christianity. Gospel is a very particular word, or kind of speech in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation the Gospel is God’s promise of a Son who will crush the serpents head, forgive the sins of His people, raise them from the dead, and give them ever lasting life solely on the basis of His grace for the sake of Christ.” He also states that the Gospel “never tells us something to do. The …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for “Live the Gospel” Charles Spurgeon Advised

“Live the Gospel” Charles Spurgeon Advised

Can anyone but Christ live the gospel? Disagreements on the answer to this question can be seen from Open Letters to The Fear of Antinomianism. I wonder if the disagreements lie within what one means when challenging others to “live the gospel.” I don’t know of anyone who uses this phrase to mean that Christians should literally live Christ’s life. Nevertheless, it is interesting that Spurgeon used this phrase on a few occasions. Some (all?) of these occasions are quoted below, bold emphasis mine. To be prepared for the coming conflict, we have only to preach the gospel, and to …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Wisdom of Solomon, Obama and Abortion

Wisdom of Solomon, Obama and Abortion

Obama and Solomon1 There has been much past discussion about Obama concerning his stance on abortion.  This discussion is not going to end anytime soon and rightly so.  I’ve made the point and so have two other bloggers recently that as Christians we must pray that Obama seeks God’s direction and changes his position on abortion.  The wisdom Obama has shown thus far is what he said at a Planned Parenthood event earlier this year. “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (source) I don’t see any wisdom in that statement.  For more …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for What If Governor Robert Bentley Instead…

What If Governor Robert Bentley Instead…

Newly elected Alabama Governor Robert Bentley made headlines recently while speaking at a church in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. His words were delivered right after he was sworn in as governor. There may be more of a timing issue here because though he was speaking at a church, the offending words were his stating the exclusive claims of Jesus reported as: “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother,” Bentley said Monday, just moments into …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Church Sign: Gospel or Moralism?

Church Sign: Gospel or Moralism?

In a message this morning about post-modernism the church sign pictured above was put up as an example of what post-modernists are rebelling against in the modernist Christian culture. The question that crossed my mind is whether this picture is an example of reaching out with the gospel or with moralism?

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Thumbnail image for Paul Washer: The Great Sin of the American Pastor

Paul Washer: The Great Sin of the American Pastor

Below is an excerpt of Paul Washer from the DVD Divided by Philip Leclerc. Because we have dumbed-down the gospel. Because we’re not preaching the true gospel and we are using carnal means to attract people. If you use carnal means to attract men you’re going to attract carnal men and you’re going to have to keep using greater carnal means to keep them in the church. So, what has happened is this; we have these large churches filled with many unconverted carnal people, but in those churches we also have this small group of people that honestly want Christ …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for A Grinch Alert?

A Grinch Alert?

I’m convinced that the celebration of Christmas is always going to be a point of contention somewhere. Whether it’s from anti-Christian secularists, Christians who are convicted that it is not a holiday to be celebrated or corporations that embrace the holiday season in general simply as a means for revenue. Scripture gives Christians no direct command to celebrate or not to celebrate Christmas, or the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ if you will. So why not take advantage of the holiday as Christians? People will always attempt to steal Christmas here in the U.S. It is a Federal …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Spurgeon on Impressive and Borrowed Sermons

Spurgeon on Impressive and Borrowed Sermons

Justin Taylor recently posted TGC Asks Don Carson: When Has a Preacher Crossed the Line into Plagiarism in His Sermon? Carson starts by explaining that it is always wrong to preach someone else’s sermon as if it were your own. A related question is whether it’s right or wrong for a preacher to admittedly deliver another’s sermon. While people will disagree whether or not it is proper to borrow sermons, it seems that practice is nothing new since even Charles Spurgeon addressed this topic. While Spurgeon mentions sermon borrowing directly, the whole quote below has implications for preaching borrowed sermons. “Fourthly, …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Six Megaproblems and the Gospel Ain’t One (via Barna)

Six Megaproblems and the Gospel Ain’t One (via Barna)

Yesterday, Barna posted the results of a the study – Six Megathemes Emerge from Barna Group Research in 2010. The six points are numbered below in bold. The research is based research conducted throughout 2010. I’m unsure how many polls or people in total were involved. It gives me no pleasure to read these conclusion, but I am also not surprised. There is a lot that could be said about the six points, but I will only comment briefly on each one. It seems that points 2 – 6 all fall back on the problem in point 1.

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Thumbnail image for Mad At God?

Mad At God?

Eric stormed into my office and flopped into a chair. “I’m really mad at God.” Having grown up in a strong church family, he’d met and married a Christian girl. Now he was the picture of misery. “Okay…so why are you mad at God?” “Because,” he said, “last week I committed adultery.” Long pause. Finally I said, “I can see why God would be mad at you. But why are you mad at God?” Eric explained that for several months he’d felt a strong, mutual attraction with a woman at his office. He’d prayed earnestly that God would keep him …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Contentment and Pride

Contentment and Pride

Another rule is, that those in narrow and slender circumstances should learn to bear their wants patiently, that they may not become immoderately desirous of things, the moderate use of which implies no small progress in the school of Christ. For in addition to the many other vices which accompany a longing for earthly good, he who is impatient under poverty almost always betrays the contrary disease in abundance. By this I mean, that he who is ashamed of a sordid garment will be vain-glorious of a splendid one; he who not contented with a slender, feels annoyed at the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for The Theology Program Discounted

The Theology Program Discounted

The Theology Program is 50% off through Wednesday of this week. You get the entire program which includes DVD’s and workbooks. I’m too busy this week to think which is what I need to do most. So I thought I’d pass this sale along. It would make a great Christmas gift for yourself or someone else. The package includes: Introduction to Theology Bibliology and Hermeneutics Trinitarianism Humanity and Sin Soteriology Ecclesiology and Eschatology Click here to purchase or for more information. Full disclosure, the link is an affiliate link so I get a little something if you click and buy. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Evangelical Identity

Evangelical Identity

I wonder if description below would be true of evangelical Christians as they are known today. If not, I wonder if this should be the description and if it’s a place worth trying to get to. Conclusion: Evangelical Identity Evangelicals believe, first of all, the gospel as it is set forth in the Bible. The word evangelical is derived from the biblical term euangelion meaning “good news.” It is the Good News that God became man in Jesus Christ to live and die and rise again from the dead in order to save us from our sin and all its …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ridiculous Item: ‘Jesus was HIV Positive’

Ridiculous Item: ‘Jesus was HIV Positive’

Apparently, South African pastor, Xola Skosana, has claimed that Jesus was HIV positive to raise awareness about how poorly churches treat people who are HIV positive. This report comes from the Daily Mail Reporter story ‘Jesus was HIV-positive’: South African pastor sparks outrage with bizarre claim. A bizarre claim and then some. ‘Wherever you open the scriptures Jesus puts himself in the shoes of people who experience brokenness,’ the Pastor told the BBC. ‘Isaiah 53, for example, clearly paints a picture of Jesus who takes upon himself the infirmities and the brokenness of humanity. ‘Of course, there’s no scientific evidence …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Poll: Is the Reformation Over?

Poll: Is the Reformation Over?

Reformation Day 2010, October 31, falls on this coming Sunday. In light of this, I thought this would be an interesting question to ask. Are the theological positions of the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent now reconciled? Or are we still divided? Does it matter? What do you think? Discussion welcomed.

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Thumbnail image for Is Your Church White?

Is Your Church White?

Is your church white? That is the disturbing question what was email to a church in Apex, NC. Ken Keathley recently shared this inquiry over at Between the Times in his post A Shocking Question. The context of this disturbing question was: We know the Lord loves all of us, but we believe in honoring the Culture the Lord gave us, so we are seeking a traditionally ‘White’ church as opposed to Multi-cultural. Is your church White? Read the whole post to find out how the pastor answered this disturbing question. A question that I’m mostly surprised about, but not …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Scientific Deconstruction of Science

Scientific Deconstruction of Science

All of us tempted to swallow this popular pill, cunningly served up with our secular education, should appreciate that the empiricists have not shown that the Creator has not spoken in his creation or in the Christ of Scripture. In the process of their argument they annihilate empirical science itself, the very thing that they have put their faith in. Science depends upon the nonempirical ideas of uniformity in nature and the predictability of future events in order to function or teach us anything. But empirical verification must apply only to a particular time, place, and entity to be examined. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for An Illustration On Urgency: Starring Satan

An Illustration On Urgency: Starring Satan

Below is a great illustration I ran across on urgency. I thought I’d share it. The story of told of three apprentice devils being trained by Satan. ‘What are you going to try today?’ asks the leader. The first apprentice replies, ‘I’m going to tell them there is no God.’ ‘Well,’ says Satan, ‘you can try. A few fools will believe you. But the universe shouts the existence of God. There is evidence all around and you’ll not do very well. Indeed, even in the secular twenty-first century you may find your self witnessing the slow death of atheism. Any …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Atheist Christopher Hitchens Debates Christian Brother

Atheist Christopher Hitchens Debates Christian Brother

Hitchens brothers debate if civilization can survive without God Editor’s Note: CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi files this report from Washington, DC. Brothers Christopher and Peter Hitchens squared off Tuesday in a debate over whether civilization can survive without God. Christopher, the older of the two, is a renowned atheist thinker and author. Peter, the lesser known of the two, is a practicing Christian and also a well-regarded author. Christopher Hitchens is going through a very public battle with cancer, a subject that came up often during the debate. Michael Cromartie from the Ethics and Public Policy Center, moderated …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for A Letter From Hell

A Letter From Hell

Pastor Jeremy Rhode of  Faith Lutheran Church in Capistrano Beach, CA has graciously allowed me to publish the text of his sermon A Letter From Hell. This sermon is based on the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus from Luke 16:19-31. Pastor Rhode offers what a letter from the rich man writing from hell may look like. Though not a rich man, the materialism in the letter really hits home. It is scary just how easy it is to identify with the rich man. Yet it is eternally comforting that Christ offers forgiveness of those sins and a new identity for …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Thabiti On the Gospel and Witnessing, Secrets and Tricks

Thabiti On the Gospel and Witnessing, Secrets and Tricks

Desiring God 2010 National Conference Thabiti Anyabwile’s topic was Thinking for the Sake of Global Faithfulness: Confronting Islam with the Mind of Christ. Of all the good words Thabiti shared one thing stood out as a great reminder for all Christians. Although he was speaking about witnessing to Muslims, any type of person or group may be easily substituted and Thabiti’s words applied. It is an especially good reminder as we think of how to witness to non-Christians today. (Hint: It is the same as it was in the 1st Century.) What I fear is a lack of confidence in …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for 9Marks at Southeastern Seminary Audio Available

9Marks at Southeastern Seminary Audio Available

On September 10-11, 2010 Southeastern Seminary held it’s annual conference in partnership with 9Marks ministries. The theme this year was biblical theology. The presenters were Mark Dever, Thabiti Anyabwile, Danny Akin, Matt Chandler and David Platt. If you’re like me, you wanted to attend, but could not. Thankfully, the audio is now available for download. I’ve linked the MP3’s below. Video is also available at the above link.

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Thumbnail image for Ethics: A Homosexual Asks About Christianity

Ethics: A Homosexual Asks About Christianity

What would you do Wednesday! You have the opportunity to minister to a friend who is a practicing homosexual.You’ve had some passing conversations with him about Christianity. He’s never wanted to engage too much and believes he knows where you stand. He thought it might hurt your friendship if you talked too deeply about Christianity and homosexuality. However, the recent allegations against Eddie Long have made him curious. He is also reminded of

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Thumbnail image for Thomas Brooks’ Four Prime Things

Thomas Brooks’ Four Prime Things

I did some quote mining from Thomas Brooks Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices from the chapter ‘The Epistle Dedicatory’. I found Brooks’ words to be very insightful, practical and challenging. The ‘The Epistle Dedicatory’ is a letter he wrote to his congregation. He was very humble in the letter which can be seen in the prayers he asked for concerning himself. However, the quotes I chose are focus on his exhortations to his congregation of which the universal congregation may benefit. We live in a different culture and time than did Brooks. Yet, it just seems like we don’t think as …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Describing the Rejoicing of the Heart

Describing the Rejoicing of the Heart

The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. (Psalm 19:8a, ESV) Last night in men’s Bible study we used this verse in part of the lesson. One of the things our teacher asked us is to explain what it is for God’s word and the gospel to rejoice the heart. Several of us tried to describe the rejoicing with words such as: joy joyful carefree burden-less free worry-free It seems that such rejoicing can be difficult to describe or explain. Yet, it’s not difficult to experience when the gospel first changes your life and continues to change your …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Calvin the Evangelist

Calvin the Evangelist

Reprinted by permission of Reformed Theological Seminary. This article was first published in the Reformed Quarterly Magazine Fall 2001. There are many popular misconceptions about John Calvin. Who is the true Calvin behind the image? Will Durant, the famous author of the eleven-volume series on the History of Western Civilization, said of Calvin: “We shall always find it hard to love the man, John Calvin, who darkened the human soul with the most absurd and blasphemous conception of God in all the long and honored history of nonsense.” Even the defrocked TV evangelist, Jimmy Swaggart, has something to say about …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Rick Warren, John Calvin and Quoting Heretics

Rick Warren, John Calvin and Quoting Heretics

What ever your theological position you will find other positions that just make you squirm. And the people that make statements supporting those other position might make you squirm even more. I get that. For example, I get nervous when Protestants quote Chesterton, a man who championed the Papacy. In my mind the reader of such quotes is already on their way down the slippery slope. Everyone who reads such quotes automatically swallows all the questionable or heretical doctrine by the person being quoted. OK, not really. But the red flags go up. Like one of my favorite superheros my Spider-sense …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Lord, Help Me Submit to the Pain

Lord, Help Me Submit to the Pain

Below is a guest post from my wife. She is also my best friend, my partner, my joint heir of grace and my crown so it is difficult for me to read. As my family, church family, friends and many readers know my wife suffered back injuries from a car accident in August 2008. It’s been a long two years; two years of needles, meds and prayer. The Lord has guided us to a procedure that may finally give my wife some pain relief. The first half of the procedure will be done this Tuesday to one side of her …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Did Jesus Preach Paul’s Gospel?

Did Jesus Preach Paul’s Gospel?

As I was thinking recently about faith and justification a commenter made an assertion about a conflict between Jesus’ and Paul’s gospel. I was reminded John Piper’s excellent talk from T4G 2010 where he answers the question: Did Jesus preach Paul’s gospel? The text Piper spoke on was from Luke 18:9-14 about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Justification: Through Faith Not To Faith

Justification: Through Faith Not To Faith

It can be difficult to explain that salvation comes by grace through faith in the gospel. Faith being the instrument by which God’s grace is received. Understanding this helps us not to ground our faith in our faith. For example, if I am struggling with my standing before God and I look to my faith which I am already struggling with for comfort, I am attempting support my weak faith upon itself. Rather, that weak faith is that which holds onto Christ for strength and perseverance trusting in Him not in itself. I thought Horatius Bonar has some helpful words …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ethics: Business Bribes

Ethics: Business Bribes

What would you do Wednesday! The scenario is that you work for an international company that works, directly and indirectly, on projects with governments in the Middle East. You the leader on a team for a project that is about to begin. The contract is with a local Middle East government in which several officials are involved. The contract is huge with revenues projected to be millions of dollars. And you are excited since the bidding, negotiations, contract, etc. are complete. Or so you thought.

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Thumbnail image for Study Your Sin

Study Your Sin

Should Christians study their sin? Do we have a tendency to take sin for granted? Each person must answer that question for themselves. The answer may become clear upon an individual’s study of their sin. It reminds me of hearing Paul Washer’s challenge, “Do you have a new relationship with sin? Because, if you don’t have a new relationship with sin, you don’t have a new relationship with God.” In light of this I’ve recently thought about a question that Christians might challenge one another with, “How is your private sin life?” Then, I came across the excerpt below which …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ethics: Church Staff An Illegal Immigrant

Ethics: Church Staff An Illegal Immigrant

What would you do Wednesday! The scenario involves a lady employed full-time by your local church. She came recommended by another local pastor and has been employed for six months. You hear a rumor from a friend that she is in the USA illegally. You rebuke your friend for the rumor. You then take the gossiper to go talk to the lady and apologize. The lady accepts the apology and doesn’t offer any reason about why such a rumor might have started. Just then your pastor walks in

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Thumbnail image for Themelios Journal July 2010

Themelios Journal July 2010

Volume 35, Issue 2 – July 2010 of the Themelios Journal is out! The content looks great. Lots to read. Check it out. Minority Report: Not in the Public Interest by Carl Trueman Suffering, marginalization, and the abuse of power are now the stock in trade not only of literary theorists but also of many theologians, of whom the Liberationists of the sixties and seventies are but the most obvious examples. Indeed, the influence of such academic emphases now finds its place frequently in the classrooms of Protestant theologians of more orthodox and traditional bent. B. B. Warfield on Creation …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Frank Turek Refutes Judge Walker’s 10 Gay Marriage “Facts”

Frank Turek Refutes Judge Walker’s 10 Gay Marriage “Facts”

Frank Turek of CrossExamined offers a refutation of 10 of Judge Vaughn Walker’s finding of “facts” used to overturn Proposition 8 in order to legalize gay marriage. Turek writes – Second, Prop. 8 doesn’t violate the Fourteenth Amendment because every person in America already has equal marriage rights. We’re all playing by the same rules — we all have the same right to marry any non-related adult of the opposite sex. Those rules do not deny anyone “equal protection of the laws” because the qualifications to enter a marriage apply equally to everyone — every adult person has the same …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Does Literally Carrying A Cross Spread The Gospel?

Does Literally Carrying A Cross Spread The Gospel?

‘Deeds, not creeds’ brings a connotation with it that Christians’ actions carry more weight than their verbalized beliefs.  An older, more popular version is the out of context quote of Francis of Assisi – Preach the gospel always, if necessary use words. (Some question whether he really said it or not.) There is some wisdom in these ideas, but as stand alone ideologies they don’t actual proclaim the gospel. They do more to show the effect of the gospel in changing lives. People do still need to hear the gospel. This brings me to the CNN video story below of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Teaching The Bible: Still Unpopular, Still Essential by Phillip Jensen

Teaching The Bible: Still Unpopular, Still Essential by Phillip Jensen

Below is an article written by Phillip Jensen, founder of Matthias Media and writer of the gospel outline in Two Ways To Live. Though the article is a few years old I found it extremely relevant and helpful. Teaching The Bible: Still Unpopular, Still Essential by Phillip Jensen Yoga is to Hinduism what Billy Graham is to Christianity. The way we practice our religion will depend very much upon our theology. If God is ‘the force’, then we will attune ourselves to that force; if God is personal, then we will enter into personal relationship with him; and if God …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ethics: Immodest Dress In Church

Ethics: Immodest Dress In Church

What would you do Wednesday! The scenario is that you are friends with a couple at church who are always in Sunday School (or whatever you might call it). Spring comes and you notice that this couple has stopped coming to Sunday School. Although they do attend corporate worship as usual. You go to your friends explaining that you’ve noticed they haven’t been in Sunday School. Out of concern you ask if everything is okay. They explain that since spring had come a certain individual in class has been dressing in clothes they consider to be immodest. The explain that …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ethics: Resign Church Membership To Avoid Discipline

Ethics: Resign Church Membership To Avoid Discipline

What would you do Wednesday! The scenario is that a fellow church member whom you are fairly close to is under church discipline. There will be two issues to decide on. Your friend is a single lady. It was discovered that she is having an inappropriate relationship with her boyfriend who attends another church. The congregation voted to

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Thumbnail image for Ethics: Cohabitation In the Church

Ethics: Cohabitation In the Church

What would you do Wednesday! You are friends with two church members who are dating each other. They officially joined your congregation 12 months ago. They faithfully attend corporate church functions and have been singing in the choir for the last six months. Upon having dinner at his place (you thought) it looks as though both of them live in this home. You inquire and are told that they moved in together 11 month ago, just one month after joining the church. They further admit that their living arrangements

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Thumbnail image for Hell, Are You Offended?

Hell, Are You Offended?

Last week I mentioned that Christianity Gives Atheism Life. Some atheists have gained much by their push against a God they don’t believe exists. In a similar vein, some people who don’t believe in hell are offended when others believe they are headed that way. Why?

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Thumbnail image for On Altar Calls And Gospel Proclamation

On Altar Calls And Gospel Proclamation

Recently, brother Les Puryear posted an article on the issue of altar calls – Differences Between Reformed and Southern Baptist Churches: Altar Calls vs No Altar Calls. Please not that Les calls himself a Calvinist, but not Reformed which is a fair position. As one might imagine from the title some debate took place in the comment section. I like Les. I’ve met him and talked to him a few times over the past couple of years. Though I want to point out that he has made a very unhelpful and inaccurate comment in concluding the above referenced article.

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Thumbnail image for Haddon Robinson On Truth In Sermon Illustrations

Haddon Robinson On Truth In Sermon Illustrations

It can be tempting to exaggerate or lie when trying to entertain or persuade others. This is understandable as it is nice to feel appreciated and engaged. It is an easy trap to fall into, especially, if one’s flesh gets in the way. Christians too? Even though the Christian is called to glorify Christ in all aspects of their lives they struggle with this too. Unfortunately, this can happen even while preaching. Some may feel that certain exaggerations or inaccuracies are fine as long as they persuade people to come to Christ. Haddon Robinson offers some good advice on such …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Fired In Jesus Name?

Fired In Jesus Name?

On May 31, Pastor Ron Baity was relieved of his Chaplaincy prayer duties before the N.C. House of Representatives after he prayed in Jesus name. Baity is the pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and was filling in as a guest Chaplain. I first read this story from FOXNews’ article Pastor Yanked From Capitol Over ‘Jesus’ Prayer. Kudos to Pastor Baity for his prayer and protest over being fired. It’s understandable that people are offended by Jesus’ name. Jesus said such things would happen. Continuing with the story the Winston-Salem Journal reported

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Thumbnail image for Ethics: Church Staff And Internet Pornography

Ethics: Church Staff And Internet Pornography

What would you do Wednesday! Upon borrowing a church staff member’s computer to use the internet a shameful discovery is made.  The URL address bar auto-populated with a pornographic website. While nervously trying to close the website an open folder is clicked on and maximized only to find a handful of pornographic pictures. Upon calming down for a moment the web browser’s history reveals a few more of these sites. What do you do? Understanding the Matthew 18

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Thumbnail image for The Center of Christian Union

The Center of Christian Union

The doctrine of Christ crucified is the grand centre of union among true Christians. Our outward differences are many without doubt: one man is an Episcopalian, another is a Presbyterian; one is an Independent, another a Baptist; one is a Calvinist, another an Arminian; one is a Lutheran, another a Plymouth Brother; one is a friend to Establishments, another a friend to the Voluntary system; one is a friend to Liturgies, another a friend to extempore prayer: but after all, what shall we hear about most of these differences in heaven? Nothing, most probably: nothing at all. Does a man …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Black Church White Church

Black Church White Church

Below is a hip-hop song dealing with something we are all familiar with. Racial segregation on Sunday morning in our local churches. The song is from Voice’s new album Christ the King. Black Church White Church by avoice Below is the third verse of the song. Whatever version of American English you speak, whatever your

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Thumbnail image for Vindication of popular ministers

Vindication of popular ministers

How dare you speak of him that way! Do you know who he is? Do you know what he’s done for the Kingdom? Look at all the people he’s ministered to! So goes the argument. It’s been stated before. It’ll be stated again. It recently reared its head in the blogosphere. But what argument is that? The vindication of popular ministers! Take any controversy of any popular person in ministry and

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Thumbnail image for Adrian Rogers on integrity

Adrian Rogers on integrity

Ephesians 6:14a Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth (NKJV) The Girdle Of Truth – The Believer’s Integrity A soldier in Paul’s day had a leather girdle that he tightened about his waist to protect his loins and carry his weapons of warfare, such as a dagger or sword. The belt also held his tunic together so it wouldn’t be snagged. In Christian armor, it is integrity that holds everything else together. If you do not have integrity in the big and small things of your life, you are going to lose the battle. Without truth everything falls apart. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Ethics question: Capital Punishment Vote

Ethics question: Capital Punishment Vote

The death penalty has been in the news recently. A tough subject to be sure. Consider the three recent news stories below and then the ethical question on the issue. High Court refuses to hear appeal of woman on death row – Linda Carty was convicted of the 2001 murder of Joana Rodriguez in Texas. She is waiting on an execution date. Texas: Death Penalty to Be Sought in Fort Hood Case – The death penalty will sought for Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan who is charged with killing 13 people. Unabomber brother making anti-death penalty push in N.C. – David …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for T4G2010: Brian Habig-Fears of the Minister (Update)

T4G2010: Brian Habig-Fears of the Minister (Update)

(Update: Audio now available see the handout below.) Brian Habig lead one of the breakout sessions at T4G2010. His topic was The Fears of the Minister. Part 1 and part 2 of an interview with Habig can be found on the T4G blog. Part 2 includes: 7) What will you be speaking on at T4G? “The Fears of the Minister.” Substitute the word “fears” with “insecurities,” and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what I plan to address. Ministers talk about Jesus Christ a lot, but we have come up with all sorts of ways to place our identity …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sermon listening

Sermon listening

Most Christians listen to sermons weekly. And many listen to some other kind of biblical teaching during the week. How often is a second thought given about what exactly is going on in our mind when listening? In other words, how do we listen? Challies has a review of a book called Expository Listening by Ken Ramey which reminded me of my sermon notes this past Sunday. The sermon was on how to listen to preaching. I found it helpful and thought I would share some notes I took. This is just a sketch and anything that may be missing …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Quote on Southern Baptist Cooperation

Quote on Southern Baptist Cooperation

Matt over at SBCVoices wrote an interesting post called Arminio and Calvinito: Best Friends? In light of the recent Great Commission Resurgence, he lays out where some unnecessary Southern Baptist infighting takes place. Of course, the ultimate solution is the gospel. I was reminded of a quote that grabbed my attention from a book I recently read. Baptists have certainly held differing views on the nature of salvation, with some holding more of a conviction that God is sovereign in salvation while others gave greater emphasis to man’s role in the process. But when they have been at their best,

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Thumbnail image for Note on T4G 2010

Note on T4G 2010

Together for the Gospel 2010 is over. It was fun while it lasted. Seriously, it was a great time. I was thankful to even be able to attend. Even more, I was thankful I was able to attend with my church’s staff and a couple other church members. This was my first time attending. I would do it again if the Lord provides away. The speakers were great. The free books I brought home pictured above were great. (See larger picture here.) I know my wife will really appreciate me bringing home more books! (Note: T4G may actually weaken your …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Three Questions

Three Questions

As I consider my upcoming attendance in the 2010 Band of Bloggers, the topic Internet Idolatry and Gospel Fidelity really stick out in my mind. Why? Because it’s so easy to create idols using the internet and live in infidelity to the gospel. Is this especially so over the internet? Maybe. Which brings me to the three questions.

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John Piper and Rick Warren on the gospel

Recently it’s been stated as confirmed that Rick Warren will be speaking at John Piper’s National Desiring God Conference for 2010. I thought it would be interesting to hear each of them on the gospel. I believe the videos are a few years old. I’m curious about whether or not people think we can be comfortable with these two men at a conference together. Are the differences in the videos theologically substantial? Is one more applicable than the other? More biblical? Does the presentation and application matter that much? Any other thoughts? What can we learn from each man? John …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Faith Alone and world religions

Faith Alone and world religions

Below is a brief thought on a practical implication of how justification by faith alone helps to differentiate Christianity from other world religions. Most world religions have a component of a works-based justification built into them. Evaluating such religious systems outside the revelation of the Christian Scriptures would call for an honest appraisal of one’s works. In this type of appraisal would be shown the constant shortfall of such works to justify anyone in any light, especially, before a holy, divine creator. This type of religion would have to continue adding more works to the previous works that were not …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Open letter to Miley Cyrus

Open letter to Miley Cyrus

I was recently directed to an interview with Miley Cyrus in Parade. The interview reveals some thoughts on her move away from a young star branded as Hanna Montana into maturity and a more private life. More revealing is the fact that she was baptized in a Southern Baptist church in 2005 and gives some insight into how she sees her Christian faith. As a Southern Baptist, or more importantly, as a Christian I am concerned about Miley’s statements on Christianity. I have this observation about American Christianity summed up with this statement – American Christians have freedom to their …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for March Devotion MP3

March Devotion MP3

This is a devotion I gave at our evening service on March 7. The first 1.5 minutes did not get recorded so I added it myself. The change in audio can be heard on the recording. It is interesting how different it was trying to recreate this short intro sitting at my computer versus being in the pulpit. Again, I want to acknowledge the appreciation I have for those who preach weekly. It is not an easy task and it is not a light task to handle the word of God as such. As always, critiques welcome.

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Thumbnail image for Hermeneutics Quiz

Hermeneutics Quiz

A good friend recently sent me this Hermeneutics Quiz. It’s a couple of years old, but interesting nonetheless. So, I took the quiz and scored it. It’s only 20 questions and it doesn’t take long. Give it a shot and let me know what you scored. It would also be interesting to hear what others think of the explanation of the scoring. My score was 48 which puts me on the conservative hermeneutic scale. The explanation starts: First, the conservative hermeneutic group scores 52 or lower. The strength of this view is its emphasis on the authority, ongoing and normative …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Defining Missional

Defining Missional

What exactly does the term missional mean? Attempts to answer this question can be found in books, videos, sermons, blog posts, theological ejournals, conference presentations, magazine articles, etc. Depending on who you ask will depend on the answer which may be good, bad or ugly. You get to decide which is which. Where do we go from here? Is missional something

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Thumbnail image for Poll: Does “success” mean God is honoring a ministry?

Poll: Does “success” mean God is honoring a ministry?

Many times a ministry/person is defended, regardless of their teachings, because they are popular or successful. Not only are ministries defend as such, but they also come to a place where they can do no wrong. They might be betrayed as above any type of criticism or biblical correction. Such ministries might be defended in various ways such as:

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Thumbnail image for Was Jesus a victim?

Was Jesus a victim?

Taking the position of the victim is a popular offensive today. It is a way to turn the tables and draw sympathy from others. Kevin DeYoung posted a great article on this very subject – Why Are We So Offended All the Time? (cross-post). In his post he made the following statement. As Christians, we worship a victimized Lord. His post was very good in pointing out how the victim card is often played in today’s culture. DeYoung encouraged Christians not to be so easily offended and play the victim. Very encouraging words, but when it comes to Jesus being …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Metro Atlanta Apologetics conference with James White

Metro Atlanta Apologetics conference with James White

Christianity – A Faith Worth Defending Dr. James White James White will be giving a FREE Christian apologetics conference in the Metro Atlanta area. The details are below. I plan

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Thumbnail image for New Year’s Unity

New Year’s Unity

On January 1, 1865, Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon entitled True Unity Promoted. Given the recent disagreements over signing The Manhattan Declaration this is a very interesting sermon on unity. In the first paragraph Spurgeon states, “It is an old saying that England never prospers so well as when the Pope curses her. I hope to see

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Thumbnail image for Convert or die?

Convert or die?

I’ve often wondered if Christians in the USA have freedom to their detriment. There are so many churches that they can leave one for another for whatever reason they like. Many start campaigns and stand against national department stores for not saying Merry Christmas. It is easy to complain about the world not holding to a Christian standard found in this phrase during this national holiday. For some reason Christians do not start national campaigns to hold Christians

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Thumbnail image for I am Tiger Woods

I am Tiger Woods

‘I am Tiger Woods’ is a popular slogan repeated by several kids in a Nike commercial. Given Woods’ recent transgressions that phrase is even more true today. Except the adults are missing. GASP?! It’s true, as I mentioned in another article, Tiger Woods and the Cross, he is just like the rest of us. I am not talking about the money or the golf. I am talking about the transgressions. The sin. Woods’ sin might look different in manifestation than yours, but your sin is still sin. Even the slogan ‘I am Tiger Woods’ can push people to idolatry and …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for On serving others

On serving others

Fellow Southern Baptist and blogger Trevin Wax tweeted something today that really stuck. The world estimates your importance by how many people are serving YOU. God estimates your importance by how many people YOU are serving. First, the world does measure one’s importance by their popularity in one vein or another. Tiger Woods is a recent example of this. (I pray Tiger Woods would turn to Christ.) If Woods was just some local golf club pro no one would really care. That is, except his family and those closest to him which actually speaks on the second part of the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Congregational Prayer Requests

Congregational Prayer Requests

Can asking for prayer ever be a burden? That might sound like a strange question. It just might be right now, but hear me out. I am not talking about prayer requests that turn into gossip. Those requests that ask for prayer for uncle Bill’s and aunt Martha’s marriage only to go on to give intimate details of the problems. No. Not those kind. The potential burden comes from people asking

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Tiger Woods and the Cross

Tiger Woods makes news. Usually it is a victory or an amazing golf shot. Sometimes it is a loss. Recently, the news has been about loss. Maybe the biggest loss of his career. Unfortunately, this loss is not a golf tournament. While it is uncertain if this will cost Woods’ any future sponsor earnings, this loss affects Woods’ family. It may cost him his family. The loss is Woods’ integrity in his marriage covenant. He betrayed his wife and kids with extramarital affair(s). This loss is not like a loss where Woods’ did not perform as well as somone else. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 11/06 righteousness

Lord’s Day 11/06 righteousness

Je­ho­vah Tsid­ke­nu is a name for God which means “The Lord Our Right­eous­ness.” This is easily forgotten today with the emphasis on doing good deeds for God. Preaching the Gospel to yourself is a great reminder that deeds do not save. It is the Gospel of grace through faith alone that saves. Jesus Christ is our righteousness not our good works. The poem below by

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Thumbnail image for Internet fellowship

Internet fellowship

The internet can be used for good, bad, stupid, indifferent, etc. like many things in life. The more sinful people get involved with these things the more we mess them up. Please, don’t look around the internet. Take my word for it. Funny, we still cannot stand in God’s way. God sovereignly works through the internet where Christians

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Thumbnail image for Church is boring

Church is boring

Church is boring. Right? No matter what setting one is in the same basic activities are done each worship service. Sing, pray, Scripture reading, announcements, some sort of preaching, fellowship. Did I mention singing? However a worship service is set-up it is most likely going to be similar week after week. Even if worship time is more varied people will still think it boring at times. Whether it is boredom or some other

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 11/29 rest burdens

Lord’s Day 11/29 rest burdens

The heart’s fierce effort to protect itself from every slight, to shield its touchy honor from the bad opinion of friend and enemy, will never let the mind have rest. Continue this fight through the years and the burden will become intolerable. Yet the sons of earth are carrying this burden continually, challenging every word spoken against them, cringing under every criticism, smarting under each fancied slight, tossing sleepless if another is preferred before them. Such a burden as this is not necessary to bear. Jesus calls us to His rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for To Faith Or Through Faith

To Faith Or Through Faith

Just have faith. Keep the faith. Faith is important. Everyone needs faith in something. These types of statements about faith can be found just about anywhere. What does having faith actually do? Faith gives hope. It is something to rely on in times of need. It gives comfort. But

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 11/22 Hard Worship

Lord’s Day 11/22 Hard Worship

Life is hard. Worshiping God can be harder. At times life seems to get in the way of God. Actually, it is our sinfulness that is in the way. The problem only gets bigger because without God there is no way for us. Thankfully, Jesus Christ has done for us in the Gospel what we cannot do for ourselves. How ever hard life seems there is always rest and forgiveness through faith in Jesus. Life’s trials should not cause us to abandon worshiping God. We should seek Him more fervently in hard times! When we are in pain and difficulty, …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Comfort in God’s Sovereignty and Goodness

Comfort in God’s Sovereignty and Goodness

My good friends John and Shannon Jordan are going through one of those unexpected trials of life. On October 31 their six year old son Gideon was diagnosed with a brain tumor. They started a Facebook group (link at the end) for prayers and updates on Gideon. In less than a month, over 1,800 members joined the group. This group allowed people to pray, keep up with Gideon’s progress and even gave a way for people to donate to the Jordan’s to help them financially. The bad news is that

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Thumbnail image for Do Scott Hahn’s Book Endorsements Offer Protestants Validity?

Do Scott Hahn’s Book Endorsements Offer Protestants Validity?

Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI by Scott Hahn has a few Protestant endorsements. The biggest stir was caused by Michael Horton’s endorsement. People are asking – Why endorse such a book? Would the Apostle Paul have endorsed a book on metaphysics by Aristotle? Dr. Horton has responded in his post Horton on Hahn. He explained that

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 11/15 Petition and Confession

Lord’s Day 11/15 Petition and Confession

Confession and Petition Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find Thy mind in Thy Word, of neglect to seek Thee in my daily life. My transgressions and short-comings present me with a list of accusations, but I bless Thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do Thou rule …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 11/08 Faith Undeserved

Lord’s Day 11/08 Faith Undeserved

Many Christians around the world are preparing to worship. Nothing as powerful as God’s word to reflect on worship. When we understand just how sinful we are it is easier to truly appreciate God’s grace in saving us. It is a blessing to gather together as a community of Christians petitioning God directly. An undeserved blessing made possible only through Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Just how undeserving are we? How much

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 11/01 Faith and Doubt

Lord’s Day 11/01 Faith and Doubt

Doubt sees the obstacles, Faith sees the way! Doubt sees the darkest night, Faith sees the day! Doubt dreads to take a step, Faith soars on high! Doubt questions, “Who believes?” Faith answers, “I!” ~author unknown

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Thumbnail image for Happy Reformation Day 2009

Happy Reformation Day 2009

On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther kicked off the Protestant Reformation. His purpose was to reform the church. That did not work, however, and the Catholic church instead responded with the Council of Trent. Today the protest continues as Trent stands in opposition to the biblical and Protestant understanding of the Gospel. Many of us are thankful what the Lord did through Martin Luther and the other Reformers. Today is a day of celebration for many. For others it is hard to tell if the Reformation really mattered or not. For example, Protestant Timothy George praises

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Thumbnail image for Poll: Can Evangelism Be An Idol?

Poll: Can Evangelism Be An Idol?

In An Idol Called Evangelism Dr. Roy Hargrave states that evangelism rather than the glory of God is driving many churches today. That might be too strong a position for some to fathom. Maybe unbiblical for others. It is not often that evangelism is spoken of in terms of idolatry. It is an uncomfortable question. Evangelism is very important, but people are good at making just about anything into an idol. So – Could there be a valid concern in this area? Dr. Hargrave understands that evangelism is the “highest and loftiest” in importance for fulfilling the church’s mission. The …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 10/25 Gospel and Legalism

Lord’s Day 10/25 Gospel and Legalism

Christians are good at replacing the gospel with religious duties. There is a performance aspect to the Christian life that says-I got saved and now I’m going to do all this stuff to give back to God. It is a tendency to become either practical or actual legalists. Consider this definition of legalism in light of your own life and religious duties. Truly consider your motivations. Legalism is

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Thumbnail image for A la blog list 10/23 Update

A la blog list 10/23 Update

Reformation Day UPDATE! In celebration of Reformation Day The Listener’s Bible is offering a FREE down load of Martin Luther’s – Here I Stand read by Max McLean. David Powlison helps with how to break porn addiction – Part 1 and Part 2. Jonathan says to Beware Your Seminary Professors, they are not your church elders. (Excellent!) The Reformed Forum discusses church membership with Guy Waters. Maverick Philosopher on global warming – definitions examined and then some questions. (I could have used these sooner.) Tullian Tchividjian uses the five solas to show how to identify a reliable preacher. Catholic site …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Trent: Let Me Be Anathema

Trent: Let Me Be Anathema

The sixth session of the Council of Trent,the Canons Concerning Justification, anathematizes me how many times? Else where in the meta Dan Phillips mentioned to me that we should have a contest. “How many Romish anathemas can you rack up?” I decided to count the number of anathemas that I am under from the 33 canons on justification. My count is

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 10/18 Joy

Lord’s Day 10/18 Joy

Joy and Peace in Believing By John Newton 1. Sometimes a light surprises The Christian while he sings; It is the Lord who rises With healing in his wings: When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again A season of clear shining, To cheer it after rain.

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Thumbnail image for Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

Today is Blog Action Day 2009. The topic this year is climate change. The most talked about in this area may be global warming. Global warming is here to stay. The question becomes – What are we going to do about it? Global warming is here, but not necessarily in a literal sense. It exists as an assertion both politically and socially. Recently, Al Gore was asked some inconvenient questions

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 10/11 the Incarnation

Lord’s Day 10/11 the Incarnation

Praise for the Incarnation by John Newton Sweeter sounds than music knows Charm me in Immanuel’s name; All her hopes my spirit owes To his birth, and cross, and shame. When he came, the angels sung, “Glory be to God on high;” Lord, unloose my stamm’ring tongue, Who should louder sing than I? Did the Lord a man become, That he might the law fulfil, Bleed and suffer in my room, And canst thou, my tongue, be still? No, I must my praises bring, Though they worthless are and weak; For should I refuse to sing, Sure the very stones …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for One Nation Under A Mormon God?

One Nation Under A Mormon God?

The painting One Nation Under God by Jon McNaughton promotes a Mormon author. My initial reaction to the painting was that another Christian is using Jesus and the Bible for political propaganda. It seems I was wrong. The evidence points to the artist, Jon McNaughton, as being a Mormon. The name Jon McNaughton can also be found as a speaker at several Book of Mormon Prophecies Conferences. The photo on the left is taken from McNaughton’s online image of the painting using the zoom feature. As the caption indicates the book on display is The 5000 Year Leap by Mormon …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Poll: Does Christian Hip-Hop Harm the Gospel?

Poll: Does Christian Hip-Hop Harm the Gospel?

My friend and brother Nathan and I have had a short twitter discussion on whether Christian hip-hop harms the Gospel. This issue came up in reference to Mark Dever’s recent interview with Christian rappers Shai Linne and Voice. I actually interviewed Christian hip-hop Artist Sho Baraka. Then, I attended the the Don’t Waste Your Life tour concert and posted a review. This should give the readers an idea of where I stand. The verdict? I do not think Christian hip-hop harms the Gospel. However, Nathan believes that the medium of hip-hop music contradicts and is inconsistent with the message of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Gospel Then Morality: Lesson From Abortion Counseling

Gospel Then Morality: Lesson From Abortion Counseling

What can Christians learn about the Gospel and change from abortion counseling? I recently attended a fundraiser for Cobb Pregnancy Services (CPS). It was a great night of fellowship and celebration of what God is doing at this organization. A young pregnant lady gave her testimony of how God used CPS to convince her to return to Christ and keep her baby. Great news, but she

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Thumbnail image for Tullian Tchividjian to Stay at Coral Ridge: Lessons?

Tullian Tchividjian to Stay at Coral Ridge: Lessons?

Tullian Tchividjian will stay as pastor of  Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church per a congregational vote of 69%-31% this morning. “I’m staying!!,” wrote pastor Tchividjian in the title of today’s blog post about the future of his pastoral role at Coral Ridge.The pressure on this new pastor must have been unbelievable in anticipation of this vote. A great example of trusting God can be seen in a previous post saying, “I am not afraid.” in reference to today’s vote.  His mission is

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 09/13 Unity

Lord’s Day 09/13 Unity

The Apostle Paul on unity and community in the local church. Volumes have been written about the text of the Bible. Sometimes Scripture gets overlooked for these volumes about Scripture. Sometimes Christians get too caught up in reading these other works. Upon returning to Scripture they find that there is nothing as sweet as reading the God’s inspired word. All that is

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Thumbnail image for Book Review: Christianity in Crisis The 21st Century

Book Review: Christianity in Crisis The 21st Century

Christianity In Crisis: The 21st Century By Hank Hanegraaff.  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2009. 432 pages. Hank Hanegraaff has updated the 1993 edition of Christianity in Crisis to keep up with the “Word of Faith” movement and its teachers. The author exposes the continued growth and danger of these teachings. The book is divided into seven parts and three appendices. It is well documented with 54 pages of footnotes and 17 pages of bibliography. In his usual style, the author provides several acronyms to help the reader remember key themes. In this edition, Hanegraaff leaves

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 09/13 You

Lord’s Day 09/13 You

Mirror, mirror on the wall. How can God accept me at all? As Christians grow in their walk with Jesus they become more and more aware of their sinfulness. This is certainly my experience. As Christians gather to worship corporately what does each person bring with them? Do Christians gather with others in mind? With God in mind? What will you bring to worship with your church family? What motivates you? What makes your worship acceptable? How are these questions answered in light of your sinfulness? It is only through

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Thumbnail image for Book Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

Book Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear By Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson, 2009, 224 pages. Fearless is a practical book addressing various fears in life by pointing to Jesus as the answer to those fears. The book is filled with real-life illustrations of fear and the things people do to run or hide from those fears. Lucado answers those fears with examples of biblical stories and Bible verses. He does use a variety of translations to make his points which might give pause to some readers. However, there are a few other speed bumps to give the reader pause. Full disclosure:

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Thumbnail image for Westboro Baptist Revealed:  Evangelized, Interviewed, Reviewed

Westboro Baptist Revealed: Evangelized, Interviewed, Reviewed

If the messages on the signs are not disturbing enough, how about the people holding them? They are children! My heart breaks to see a picture like this just hoping it is a photo-shopped picture. Unfortunately, it is not. Last week I wrote Westboro Baptist To Share Hate In Atlanta to give folks a heads up. There are several recent church plants in Atlanta that are trying to save the city, so to speak, that it is sad that the Westboro folks come here allegedly in the name of Christ. It just ruins the witness of what Christians are seeking …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 09/06 Love Each Other

Lord’s Day 09/06 Love Each Other

It’s Sunday morning and you have just whacked your alarm clock with a hammer. The alarm keeps buzzing. You continue wielding the hammer until the alarm clock is in 100 pieces. The alarm still will not stop! Finally, you awaken to realize that it was only a dream and it’s time to get ready for church. Thoughts of Bedside Baptist cross your mind.

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Thumbnail image for Great Night: Don’t Waste Your Life Concert

Great Night: Don’t Waste Your Life Concert

It was an awesome night! We took some of our youth group and they really enjoyed it. One of my pastors even attended who is a few generations removed from the hip-hop era. It was a good night of Christ-centered music and fellowship – it was the Don’t Waste Your Life Tour. The Don’t Waste Your Life Tour Atlanta took place Saturday night August 29. The artists accomplished sharing their music and, more importantly, sharing the Gospel. As Sho Baraka expressed the music and its content, the quality of the night’s music was excellent and the content Christ-centered. The diversity of the crowd certainly showed the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 08/30 Humble Joy

Lord’s Day 08/30 Humble Joy

Below is an excerpt of the sermon A Penitent Heart The Best New Year’s Gift by George Whitfield. The humility that Jesus’ love brings when realizing no one deserves it is astounding. Can we really even begin to consider what He has done in dying for such sinners as us? Do we feel joy in our souls? Does the world really have anything to offer? Let us rejoice in the grace that God has worked in our lives. Let the love of Jesus to you, keep you also humble; do not be high-minded, keep close unto the Lord, observe the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Lord Kill Me If I Don’t Preach the Gospel

Lord Kill Me If I Don’t Preach the Gospel

So I’m driving. I hear “Lord kill me If I don’t preach the gospel.” What? Did I hear that right? Rewind! Again. Yep! That line really hit me. It made me think. Imagine singing that in church to the tune of Amazing Grace. This was not from a hymn though. (Maybe we can add it somewhere?) “Lord kill me If I don’t preach the gospel” is the first verse in Lecrae’s song Go Hard from his album Rebel. Lord willing, I will be at the Don’t Waste Your Life concert this weekend hearing it live. That’s right, this not-so-old yet …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for August Devotion MP3

August Devotion MP3

I gave this devotional for our Sunday evening service on August 16. My previous devotion was the evening of April 5 if you’d like to listen. My text for this devotion was Isaiah 24:23 The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously. (NIV) I hope this is edifying to those who listen. I would love to hear any feedback whether encouraging or constructive.

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Thumbnail image for Senator Ted Kennedy Dies at 77

Senator Ted Kennedy Dies at 77

Senator Kennedy has left this world to face whatever is next on his path. He was 77 years old. Was he really old? He wasn’t young. Life is fleeting. It’s here today and you wonder where yesterday went. I have almost 40 years before I reach 77, if the Lord so allows. Seems like a long time. How many of us feel like just yesterday we were 18 or 25 or 35 or 45? Where did the time go? What will you do with the time left? Of all the battles in life Sen. Kennedy fought this last one had …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Help Needed for Local Atlanta Mission

Help Needed for Local Atlanta Mission

I need your help! Sandy Springs Mission needs your help! Who? What? The Sandy Springs Mission needs help for their after-school program. They minister to low-income elementary and middle-school children and their families in this Metro Atlanta community.These young people get help they might not otherwise receive. The mission helps in these areas.

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 08/23 Holy Inability

Lord’s Day 08/23 Holy Inability

What do we do to be holy? What abilities do we have to achieve holiness? None! It is Jesus who is holy. It is He who makes us holy. It is only because of Him and his work on the cross for us. As we go to worship this weekend here is something to think about from The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Vol 4, pages 241, 244. Think of your life before and without Christ. What could we do on our own to be pleasing to God? To be holy? Object. We have no power to make ourselves holy; …keep reading »

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Writing Opportunity with Examiner.com

Examiner.com currently reaches 110 cities across the county. It is a growing community with a national reach. This is done through the many local examiners it employees through those 110 cities. The examiners cover issues in each city under 25 different topics. They have openings so I applied. Guess what happened? I are one now! I am officially the Atlanta Evangelical Perspectives Examiner. Cool, huh? Well, I thought so. The plan is to write 2-4 articles a week. If any of you Metro Atlanta folks have any thing you deem news worthy please let me know. Even cooler? It pays! …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Michael Horton Interviews Robert Schuller

Michael Horton Interviews Robert Schuller

A Conversation with Dr. Robert Schuller* The following are highlights from a two hour discussion between Dr. Robert Schuller and Dr. Michael Horton on the White Horse Inn radio broadcast, Nov. 1992. Michael Horton: Would you be willing to address your congregation as a group as sinners? Robert Schuller: No I don’t think I need to do that. First of all, my congregation is a very mixed audience. MH: But our Lord’s audiences were mixed with disciples and unbelievers both. RS: Oh yes, but I’ll tell you, the audience is quite different that I talk to than what the Lord …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Book Review: Dear Timothy Letters On Pastoral Ministry

Book Review: Dear Timothy Letters On Pastoral Ministry

Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry edited by Tom Ascol. Cape Coral: Founders Press, 2004. 384 pages. Many times in life we wish we had a practical “how to” guide for the various activities of which we are involved (i.e. new job, volunteer work). Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry edited by Thomas Ascol is a book that could certainly be characterized as a “how to” for pastoral ministry. The book is not a “how to” in the sense of giving answers for every single issue a pastor might face. However, it does cover a wide range of that will …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 08/16 the Gospel

Lord’s Day 08/16 the Gospel

Last week I offered some thoughts on preparing for the Lord’s Day by meditating on the sufferings of Christ and understanding your own brokenness. During our worship services we will all (I hope) hear the Gospel. Many times there is this idea that Christians don’t really need the Gospel anymore. The Gospel is really just for evangelism. However, just the opposite is true. Christians will always need the Gospel and not just for evangelism. We need it for our daily living. So how should we think about the Gospel as we prepare for worship?

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Thumbnail image for Les Paul Will Strum On

Les Paul Will Strum On

The great Les Paul has passed away at 94 years old. He leaves behind a list of accomplishments and a name that will seemingly never fade away until the Lord’s return. He left quite a legacy. Even up to the end where he won two Grammys for an album he released after his 90th birthday according to this Fox News article. I suppose he didn’t waste his retirement if he even had one. Mr. Paul certainly used the talents and gifts that God gave him. He used them to the very end. Now other people will continue to use and …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for John Hagee Clarifies: Jesus is Messiah

John Hagee Clarifies: Jesus is Messiah

Not long ago many people came to the conclusion that John Hagee denied that Jesus was the Messiah in his book In Defense of Israel. I was one of those people. What drove my conclusion was reading parts of the book and listening to audio of Hagee. Despite our theological disagreements this alleged belief of his was very disconcerting. Especially, given the amount of people he reaches each week. Hagee has now offered some clarification explaining that he does not deny Jesus is the Messiah. He published his response in the article

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Thumbnail image for Free Hip-Hop Mixtape from Reach Records

Free Hip-Hop Mixtape from Reach Records

There is a hip-hop (rap music for you older folks) movement that is reaching places with the Gospel that the traditional church has not gone. Much of the music is filled with deep theological lyrics that shame much of modern praise music. I’ve pointed out two examples of such lyrics in the past. One on the Trinity and salvation. Another praising the Triune God with biblical references. Reach Records is one of those organizations leading this theological Hip-hop movement. I’ve mentioned Reach before promoting their very creative website that presents the Gospel. Sometimes they offer free downloads like this one: …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Lord’s Day 08/09 Preparation

Lord’s Day 08/09 Preparation

In my last post I offered how to meditate on Scriptures. That post focused on the personal time we spend with the Lord. In similar fashion we should be encouraged to meditate to get ourselves ready to worship at our church meeting place. I offer some words by Thomas Boston from his The whole works of the late Reverend and learned Mr. Thomas Boston, Minister of the Gospel at Etterick, 1851. Ponder thy manifold sins, on the one hand, and the rich mercies with which thou hast been visited on the other. This is a proper mean to bring the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for How To Meditate On Scripture

How To Meditate On Scripture

How do you meditate on Scripture? I’ve heard the question many times. I’ve even asked it myself many times. Even when the question is answered it isn’t always clear. The real question is – What is the process for meditation? What exactly do I do? In this post I’m going to (hopefully) give you the how to meditate on Scripture with 1) a summary and 2) a point-by-point breakdown. I’ve adapted this instruction from Dr. Joel Beeke’s chapter, Learn from the Puritans I, in Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, edited by Dr. Tom Ascol, pages 226-230. The points I’m …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Rejoice On the Lord’s Day

Rejoice On the Lord’s Day

The Lord’s Day is approaching. I won’t be with my local church family due to celebrating my anniversary. However, I will still worship with my larger church family in the area in which we are staying. I leave you with these thoughts from The complete works of Richard Sibbes ( 74), as we all prepare our hearts and minds for worship. And rejoice in Christ. The word ‘ rejoice ‘ implies a boasting or glorying of the heart, manifesting itself in outward countenance and gesture, as also in speech. It also implies a resting on and contenting in the thing …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Book Review: Religion Saves By Mark Driscoll

Book Review: Religion Saves By Mark Driscoll

Religion Saves: And Nine Other Misconceptions By Mark Driscoll. Crossway Books, 2009. 287 pages. (I will be starting a drawing tomorrow for a free copy of this book.) Background After 343,203 online votes on the Mars Hill Church website, nine questions for Pastor Mark Driscoll emerged as the ones most urgently calling for answers. Inspired by 1 Corinthians, in which Paul answers a series of questions posed by the people in the Corinthian church, Pastor Mark Driscoll set out to determine the most controversial questions among visitors to the Mars Hill Church website. In the end, 893 questions were asked …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for De-baptism Thoughts

De-baptism Thoughts

The title of a recent USA Today article says it all Atheists choose ‘de-baptism’ to renounce childhood faith. I’m not sure that Hemingway could have said it better. When a person becomes a Christian they repent and believe the Gospel. There is a renunciation of the previous life and a proclamation that we belong to Jesus. I imagine this is why we see this reverse of events as far as these de-baptisms go. This is actually another borrowing of the Christian worldview by atheists. Of course, they had another religious element, a de-sacrament.

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Thumbnail image for Why Worship?

Why Worship?

As you go to worship tomorrow or whenever the next Lord’s Day is think about why your worshiping. Are you worshiping as a means to find total satisfaction in God? What might be some wrong motivations? Below I’ve reformatted a paragraph from Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper, page 240. Read this list and consider your reasons for worshiping.

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Thumbnail image for Book Review: Brothers We Are Not Professionals

Book Review: Brothers We Are Not Professionals

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry by John Piper. B&H Publishing Group, 2002. 286 pages. The Review Brothers We Are Not Professionals by John Piper is a very encouraging book. It is written to pastors as a call to for Jesus Christ to be the center of every aspect of a pastor’s “life and ministry and culture”. (xi) Piper biblically challenges pastors with his ministerial convictions after 22 years of experience (at the time of publication) as a pastor. The book is a call to go against the cultural norms of people pleasing for …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Write Your Own Message Bible

Write Your Own Message Bible

What do I mean write your own Message Bible? First, The Message Bible is a paraphrase Bible written by Eugene Peterson.  I’ve often found myself gently saying, “It’s not a translation it’s a paraphrase” when references to The Message would come up. Many folks like The Message.  To a point that’s fine if it’s used for what it is, a paraphrase.  People have told me that it’s great to use during devotions though I wouldn’t recommend it for deep Bible study.  Actually, I don’t think you need to use The Message at all.  Let me explain.

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Thumbnail image for Walking with God

Walking with God

Jesus saves us from ourselves, our sin and His wrath.  He does this inspite of ourselves.  Think on this as you worship with your brothers and sisters on the Lord’s Day.  Love Jesus, love your church family.  Think about where you were or where you would be if it weren’t for Jesus.  Go. Worship together. Be fed by His grace.  And don’t forget this on Monday. WALKING WITH GOD.—Genesis v.24. by William Cowper(1731-1800) Oh! for a closer walk with God, A calm and heavenly frame; A light to shine upon the road That leads me to the Lamb!

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Thumbnail image for Book Review: Godology

Book Review: Godology

Godology: Because Knowing God Changes Everything By Christian George.  Moody Publishers, January 1, 2009. 176 pages. What first caught my attention about this book was the foreward by J.I. Packer.  Right away this made me want to look further into Godology. Godology is a book explaining the attributes of God in more modern terms.  The author creatively engages the reader using many modern illustrations and then leads into explaining God’s attributes. 

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Thumbnail image for Gospel Coalition or Assertions?

Gospel Coalition or Assertions?

David Fitch has asked if we agree or disagree with his views on the work of The Gospel Coalition (TGC).  His views are expressed at Christianity Today’s Out of Ur blog post: Gospel Coalition or Expedition? How effective will The Gospel Coalition be in post-Christendom? One of the problems with Fitch’s approach can be seen in his introduction. 

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Thumbnail image for Be Happy God Says

Be Happy God Says

Did you know that God commands you to be happy? Serve the LORD with gladness! Psalm 100:2 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 The best news in the world is that there is no conflict between your greatest possible happiness and God’s perfect holiness. Being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus magnifies him as the greatest treasure and brings you more joy—eternal, infinite joy—than any other delight ever could. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Fatherhood: Appreciation, Humility, Ministry, Reflections

Fatherhood: Appreciation, Humility, Ministry, Reflections

Another year.  Another Father’s Day.  A useless holiday that we made up to spur the economy i.e. to get people to spend money.  That’s just about what I used to think anyways.  Not so much anymore. Today when I think of Father’s Day I think of my father, myself as a father and my heavenly Father. 

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Thumbnail image for Who Is Watching Your Life?

Who Is Watching Your Life?

Ride to Live, Live to Ride is the motto you’ll find on biker t-shirts.  It’s really a cool saying.  The motto can be changed to reflect whatever is primary in your life from riding motorcycles to sports to your job.  In reality the motto is about self.  The primacy of me we might say.  So what do you say?  How about something better? 

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Thumbnail image for Alcholism Vs Legalism

Alcholism Vs Legalism

If you’ve read my testimony you’ll see that I grew up in a legalistic religion.  I could never be good enough.  I was the on the receiving end of the the never ending road of legalism.  Whether it was a cuss word or a beer, I was done. 

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Thumbnail image for Should “Celebrity” Pastors Offer Disclaimers?

Should “Celebrity” Pastors Offer Disclaimers?

Warning.  Caution.  Disclaimer.  These are popular words.  We see them on everything and everywhere today.  They are good, bad, indifferent and life saving.  Should we have something of those words at our Christian conferences where “celebrity” pastors and theologians speak?  Maybe. There are many good, Gospel-centered conferences offered these days.  I was at one of the last week.  The Advance09 Conference.  I even took notes.  I did think about the issue of the men speaking, who speak often, and if some sort of spiritual caution or reminder is in order. Two men more qualified than I have broached the topic.  …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Advance09 Makes Local News

Advance09 Makes Local News

How awesome is it to for a Christian conference to make the local news?  The final day was good.  I’m too tired to write out any notes.  I hope to have some final reflections on the event soon.  I was certainly blessed by the messages and fellowship.  Check out the news story. There’s about 2,900 miles between Mike Anderson’s home in Seattle, Washington, and Durham. But something drew him here this weekend. “I think God’s doing some things that are pretty special right now,” he said. “He’s both focusing on theology, which lots of times has been kept in the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Advance09 Day Two

Advance09 Day Two

Today was day two at Advance09 here in Durham, NC.  It was another good day.  To catch up you can find all of the uploaded audio for you to download here: Advance09 Session MP3’s. Order of Events

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Thumbnail image for Advance09 Day One

Advance09 Day One

I’m having a great time at the Advance09 Conference.  A great time of learning and conviction.  I’m rooming with a brother named Kris from NC who also put some notes up. I’m going to give you today’s line-up and some highlights from my notes.  You can go over to DesiringGod.org and download The First Three Advance09 Messages. The Line-Up Mark Driscoll – What is the Church? Tyler Jones – Decline and Resurge Bryan Chapell – Communicating the Gospel Through Preaching Matt Chandler – Preaching the Gospel to the De-Churched Q&A Panel

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Thumbnail image for Dynamite Sermon Illustrations

Dynamite Sermon Illustrations

As the story goes, we get our word dynamite from the Greek word dunamis.  Dunamis means power.  This can be a powerful illustration in a sermon where we read about the power of God in the Bible. We can actually see the dynamite of God!  Powerful!  Right? 

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Thumbnail image for Considering Death

Considering Death

Do you consider death?  After death?  It’s not the most comfortable thing to think about even for Christians.  It’s even tougher to talk about.  There is one such talk that you want to hear,  Rachel Barkey’s.

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Bodies The Exhibition Visit

It was something my family wanted to do.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to though.  I almost felt like I would be observing something wrong.  The thought of going made me uncomfortable.  Well, I ended up going anyway. This past Saturday I took the family to visit the Bodies: The Exhibition gallery.  It was fascinating.  It was more than I imagined.  Actually, viewing the bodies was not something I could accurately imagine.  A text book just doesn’t give the insight I was about to experience.

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How Will We Worship

As the Lord’s Day approaches, how will prepare?  What do you expect?  How will you worship? *Question 66: How is the Sabbath to be sanctified? Answer: One day in seven should be especially devoted to corporate worship and other spiritual exercises that restore the soul’s rest in God and zeal for His name. It should provide physical refreshment and fit one for a week of devoted service to Christ.

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Memorial Day 2009 Worship Service

It was a mostly normal Sunday morning.  My wife and I left for church wondering if it would happen.  It did.  The Pledge of Allegiance was said.  The National Anthem was sung.  Everyone stood.  We sat.  It was uncomfortable, I admit.

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The Trinity Working Together In Salvation

I was listening to this on the way to work this morning.  It speaks of how the Trinitarian God works together in salvation.  This is a subject I don’t hear talked about much.  How often to we think of  how the Trinity works together in salvation?  This song made me think about just that!

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Dear President Obama – No!

Amen! Spread the word. The world needs to watch.

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Heavy Hearts Good Words

Five minutes to leave.  We’ve got to go!  We’re going to be late. C’mon traffic!  Move cars! The interview is in a week.  How do I answer those questions again?  I’ve got to say it just right. What if I don’t get that job.  I need it.  I should check my email again to see if a decision has been made.  I wonder if I have a new voicemail?

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Angels and Demons A Novel Idea

The folks at Westminster Seminary have shined some light for truth.  They’ve put together a great new site responding to the movie “Angels and Demons” based on Dan Brown’s novel.  The site is The Truth About Angels & Demons.

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A La Blog 5/15

Michael DeBusk asks if Henry Blackaby is right about evangelism? I don’t think he is. What do you think? Jim Duggan wants to know that at which you’re staring. Is it Jesus? It better be! (BTW, who ever heard of Ty Ty, Georgia?) Eric Carpenter stumbles upon a crack pot King James Only website.  This enlightens him to the deadly translation that is the New King James Version.  Should he keep using it?

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Uncommon Prayer Requests

It’s Sunday morning.  Sunday School has started.  It’s time for prayer requests.  What do you think about?  What is your prayer request going to be?  The common habit is to ask for healing for illness, disease, broken limbs, etc.  These are good prayer requests.  However, we can expand our prayer lives. There are greater things to pray for while not neglecting hurting and suffering.  The Kingdom of God is much bigger.  Bigger than us. I want to offer some other ideas for prayer requests.  Often these requests are uncommon as your focus is elsewhere.  I offer these for encouragement.  As …keep reading »

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Good Enough To Be A Saint

Who is a saint?  A holy person?  One who is above and more deserving than others?  One who stands out because of their works?  Specific Christians who’ve reached a certain level of holiness in their walk?  Recently in my small group we touched on this very topic as we discussed Ephesians 1:1. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: (ESV)[Emphasis mine.] How often do you read right through this verse?  It’s just a greeting, right?  Would we all pay more attention if Paul …keep reading »

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Preparing To Worship

As I think about and prepare for worship tomorrow on the Lord’s Day it is a blessing.  I’m going to  worship God.  To give Him something.  I’m going to sing for Him.  Will I like the songs?  What if we sing that really slow one?  Or the one that’s too contemporary?    Or what if..whatever…?  See, I don’t  normally think about those questions before hand.  If I think about them at all I think about them afterward.  Did we sing my favorite hymn?  When are we going to bring back that one song?  Why did we stand so much?  Why …keep reading »

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Keep Up With Your Favorite Blogs

New on my blog roll is a site called My Christian Blogs.  First, for those unfamiliar with my blogroll it’s listed in three categories in collapsible format.  Click to open and there you have it. OK, where were we?  This new site is actually an aggregator for certain Christian blogs.  It looks to be a great one-stop resource to read your favorite or not so favorite Christian blogs. What makes it nice is that you can see the title of the last several blog posts of the listed blogs.  This makes for an easy scan of the latest posts to …keep reading »

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Wanna Be A Christian Blogger?

Well, do ya? Fellow blogger Matt Svoboda, and soon to be co-blogger (sshh!), is looking for some folks to contribute to two blogs. The first is SBC Voices where Matt just took over as editor. (Congratulations!)  SBC Voices is looking for theologically conservative Southern Baptist contributors. Second, is Evangelical Village which is a community blog that Matt founded.  The applicants may be theologically conservative Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc. I can’t guarantee that you will get the position just because you apply.  However, you have a much better chance if you do apply. I’m not sure how Matt wants to be …keep reading »

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Prayer and Devotion Online

I can’t believe that I will have been blogging for five years come June 2009.  Blogs and websites come and go.  I’m not sure how or even why I’ve perservered so far.  Looking back, I’ve come a long way.  Looking ahead, I’ve got a long way to go. Two Quick Items There are so many great Christian resources online today.  I just keep giving my small contribution to whoever will have me.  I continue to try to improve my writing skills and, more importantly, edify those who stop by for the body of Christ.  I want to share with you …keep reading »

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Upcoming Book Review And Project

I have a few book reviews on the way.  The next one up is not the typical book I would read.  The book is The Noticer: Sometimes, All A Person Needs Is A Little Perspective By best selling author, Andy Andrews.  I received my review copy from Thomas Nelson last week and will be releasing the review on April 27.  I wanted to try something different and review a book like this that I wouldn’t normally pick up.  Here’s part of the book’s description from Thomas Nelson’s site. Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious man named Jones …keep reading »

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When I Hear Southern Baptist

What do you think when you hear “Southern Baptist”?  This was the question from Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, that came across Twitter last week.  My answer in Twitter fashion was: @ThomRainer ‘Southern Baptist’? 1-my church.Then sad-easy believism, weak Gospel overshadowed by “conservative” politics but much potential. Dr. Rainer weighed in on his son Sam’s blog breaking down the Twitter replies at When You Hear Southern Baptist, You Think… and Tony Kummer also gathered some additional replies at Southern Baptist Branding.  Below are the replies Wordled by Thom Rainer. Apparently, my answers weren’t as popular as …keep reading »

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10 Reasons You Might Be A Watchblogger If

10 Reasons you might be a Watchblogger if… 10. You constantly Google yourself. 9. You Google your spouse’s name to try and win an argument. 8. Family devotions consist of reading your kids your recent blog posts so they can meditate on “truth.” 7. Your two-week vacation consists of taking your laptop to Starbucks to keep your blog going. 6. You have HRESY HUNTR tattooed across your knuckles, in temporary ink, of course. 5. You are glad James, in chapter one, didn’t mention “blogging” when he wrote, “quick to listen, slow to speak.” 4. You have a separate cell phone …keep reading »

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Christ Our Righteousness Is Risen

We have finished the doctrine of Christ’s humiliation, wherein the Sun of righteousness appeared to you as a setting sun, gone out of sight; but as the sun when it is gone down to us, begins a new day in another part of the world, so Christ, having finished his course and work in this world, rises again, and that, in order to the acting another glorious part of his work in the world above. In his death, he was in a sense totally eclipsed; but in his resurrection, he begins to recover his light and glory again. An angel …keep reading »

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What About This Blog?

There’s been quite a few new visitors here lately.  I’m sure it’s not too hard to tell what this blog is  about by clicking around.  However, as part of the Build a Better Blog Challenge day 1, the challenge is to briefly tell what the blog is about. And my answer to what this blog is about? The theme is: Christian theological insights on culture, religion & the latest news from a Southern Baptist for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I try to think through and reply to various issues from a Christian perspective with the Bible as my guide.  …keep reading »

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Proposition What? Rick Warren Did Not Lie

If  you watch this video: News & Views 10/23/2008 Part 3 (Prop 8 ) at about the 30 second mark you will hear the following. “We support Proposition 8 and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8.” If you read this transcript Interview with Pastor Rick Warren (Aired April 6, 2009) you read: PASTOR RICK WARREN, DELIVERED PRAYER AT OBAMA’S INAUGURATION: Yes, you know, Larry, there was a story within a story that never got told. In the first place, I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist. I never have …keep reading »

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Financial Omniscience

Below is a great quote by Ben Stein on knowing the future, especially, the future of financial and economic markets. I am bemused because I have long noticed that almost all economic pundits and soothsayers – whether on television, in newspapers, or at brokerage firms and conferences, are asked to tell the future. And most of them agree to try to do so, and the really successful ones actually say they can do it – and they say it with extreme conviction. Some of them are stunningly well paid for their efforts, even though they are wrong decade after decade. …keep reading »

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April Devotion MP3

My pastor said something I found funny while introducing me.  He mentioned that I was a blogger.  I was still too nervous at that point to comment. Below is a recording of the devotion I gave that I wrote about yesterday.  I hope it’s edifying.  If not, then shoot the messenger (me) because the message of the Gospel was clearly given to us. Any feedback whether positive or constructive is appreciated.

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Behind the Pulpit

Last night I had the opportunity to lead my church in a devotion for our evening service.  (A devotion is like a mini-sermon and mine was about 14 minutes.)  It’s been several years since I’ve preached at all.  I’ve taught classes and done a few presentations, but no sermon-like activities.  I was very honored when my pastor called me to ask if I would be willing to give a devotion.  My date ended up being April 5th, Palm Sunday.  As excited as I was to do this as the time drew near I wasn’t so sure.  I will share some …keep reading »

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Wisdom From A Teenager On Youth Ministry

A teenager, named Erica, was recently given an assignment to write an editorial on the subject of her choice. Her topic? Youth ministry.  Below is the editorial exactly as sent to a fellow blogger who is also a family friend of Erica.  Did I mention that she is only 15? Wow! ——————————————————— A new phenomena is going on in churches these days. Picture this: You enter into the youth group of a church on a Sunday or Wednesday night. You see at least fifty kids around. Some are off talking or playing a game, but most are in a circle …keep reading »

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How James White Made Me Roman Catholic

This will come as a shock to many of you who know the work of James White and team concerning Roman Catholicism as well as those who know me.  I’ve been acquainted with Dr. White since 2001 and he did something very special for my family in the years following. He’s helped me a lot in my faith, but through all of his apologetics I fear he’s driven me to become Roman Catholic.  I know he’s received emails and such telling him that the Protestant doctrine of Scripture Alone drove them to Rome.  However, that didn’t drive me.  That would …keep reading »

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Twitter Church and Classroom

Life is full of distractions.  Reading this blog right now might be one of them.  Though I hope it’s not.  Aside from whether or not you actually like this blog, it really depends on prioritizing as to whether or not something is a distraction.  In our sinfulness it’s easy enough to make time for prayer and Bible study secondary in our lives.  Between playing and watching sports to movies, TV and video games we manage to squeeze God in here and there. Think about it: How many times have people (you too!) been unprepared for Sunday School?  Yet when there …keep reading »

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Helping Baby Hannah

There are times in our lives when we don’t understand the greater purposes of God in our lives.  These can be very hard and trying times, especially, when it comes to our children.  When your child is only 14 months old and a rare cancerous brain tumor is discovered the pain only gets worse.  Yet through the pain and tears you praise God and covet the prayers of your brothers and sisters in Christ.  This is where my friend, Pastor Yogi Taylor, and his wife, Kelli, are right now. Please pray for them and read the letter below to see …keep reading »

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Jesus the Answer

Enjoy worshiping on the Lord’s Day with His people.  Below are some wonderful words to think on from John Newton which were written a few years after he wrote Amazing Grace. I heartily sympathize with you in your complaints; but I see you in safe hands. The Lord loves you, and will take care of you. He who raises the dead, can revive your spirits when you are cast down. He who sets bounds to the sea, and says “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further,” can limit and moderate that gloom which sometimes distresses you. He knows why he …keep reading »

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Ask John Piper: Pornification of the Pulpit

John Piper is taking questions again: Ask John Piper a Question on Twitter (Note: you don’t have to use twitter, check the link.) My question via twitter is: @desiringgod #apj Pastor John, what did you think of Phil Johnson’s recent sermon on “Pornification of the Pulpit”? Why ask this?  If you aren’t familiar with this “controversy” go and listen to Phil Johnson’s sermon from almost two weeks ago at the Shepherd’s Conference.  Download it here: Sound Doctrine; Sound Words Titus 2:7-8. Phil Johnson tackle some of the current issues surrounding some of the language and imagery used in the pulpit …keep reading »

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Devotion On Grace

Our Bible passage for this devotion is Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV) In today’s culture, much like the time when this passage was written, there is a fundamental misunderstanding of God’s grace towards mankind, especially, as it relates to salvation. In America, for example, there is a prevalent attitude that doing more gets you more. Or that doing good will give you more “good” into your life and that …keep reading »

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9 Marks Journal: Young Pastors

Church members: read these articles to help see where you may be a problem and how you may help with the solution for your pastor and the health of your local church. The latest 9Marks eJournal is out.  The topic is young pastors and it looks very good.  It’s good for the church to understand what pastor’s go through in their own lives in the pastoral role.  It’s nice to see my pastor writing for 9Marks again.  A portion of the editor’s note. “Clear vision but little depth perception.” That’s how I’ve heard Mark Dever characterize young pastors. Young pastors see their doctrine …keep reading »

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How Is Your Marriage? Deal of the Week

When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage by Dave Harvey looks like an excellent book.  This week Westminster Bookstore has the book for only $8.37 which is 40% Off.  You can purchase it at Westminster Bookstore online and read excerpts, an author interview and endorsements.  Check out the table of contents below. Chapter 1 What Really Matters in Marriage 17 Chapter 2 Waking Up With the Worst of Sinners 33 Chapter 3 The Fog of War and the Law of Sin 45 Chapter 4 Taking it Out for a Spin 61 Chapter 5 Mercy …keep reading »

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Starting the Week

I started this morning reading Psalm 116 and 117. Go read Psalm 116. Even if you don’t get to read it right now, 117 is such a great, profound yet simple summary of praising the Lord. Psalm 117 (NASB) A Psalm of Praise. 1 Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! 2 For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD!

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Sheep Stink A Pastoral Thought

I was talking to a pastor friend about the work of the ministry and the local church.  We were talking about the work the Bible describes, the hard work.  He summed it up nice and succinctly. People are sheep. Sheep stink and bite. Feeding them isn’t really hard, living with them is. For what it’s worth… Mark

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Good Buys On Good Books

Someone buy the name of drpuritan is selling some very good Chrisitan books on ebay.  As of now there are 379 titles available which include individual books and various volumes.  Starting bids range from $.99 to $120. I don’t know why these books are being sold.  Speculation leads to me think it may be due to the tough economic times. There are many good authors listed. Check out the books here: drpuritans books for sale. Mark

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My Birthday 2009

Today,  I am officially one year older.  Yeah, it’s my birthday.  My awesome wife came through again and gave me a great gift.  Her gift is my enrollment in a class: Pastoral Theology with Tom Ascol.  I pray this will be a gift that will keep on giving.  More on this later as I give myself an annual check up.  (Okay, so it’s really more than just annual.) I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately.  There’s a problem though.  The problem is that much of the reflection was simply me staring back at myself.  Why is that a problem?  …keep reading »

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Apostle Paul Shunned By Christians

A while back I wrote Could Jesus be a student at Liberty University? I took a look at some of the reprimands and fines for certain activities of Liberty students.  I ran across something along the same lines over at The Sacred Sandwich site which is a brilliantly accurate portrayal of today’s Christianity. If Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians was Published in Christianity Today Below are some snippets from the “letters to the editor.” …I have to say how appalled I am by the unchristian tone…How arrogant…it is very Pharisaical…I’ve seen other dubious articles by Paul Apostle…Certainly I commend him…the …keep reading »

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Shut Up Christians!

The movie is actually called Speechless: Silencing the Christians.  Just watch the video and ask yourself – Is there a pro-homosexual agenda at work?  If so, is it affecting families, our nation, and religious freedoms? In the video you will also see reference to and quotes from the book After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen which does seem to spell out a pro-homosexual agenda. What do you think? Is there an agenda? Mark

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A Story of Conversation, Witnessing and Theology

In light of my recent post on contextualization, I wanted to share something interesting that happened on the way to work last week. I got to talk to an unbeliever where I interjected theology into our conversation.  This opened the door to witnessing.  OF course, theology and witnessing should go hand in hand, but I’m making distinctions to remind folks to not be afraid of theology.  Don’t be afraid to think about it nor speak about it. The Scene As I pulled out to drive to work I saw a man leaving my neighborhood. It looked like the same man …keep reading »

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John Newton On Our Hope

A gem to meditate on for the Lord’s Day. “Our righteousness is in Him, and our hope depends, not upon the exercise of grace in us, but upon the fullness of grace and love in Him, and upon His obedience unto death” – John Newton Grace to you, Mark

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Talking Theology with Non-Christians: Contextualization

Mention the word contextualization today and that spark ignites a fire among the evangelical crowd.  Christians do need to be able to communicate with non-Christians.  There may be some forms of what people call contextualization that go too far though.  Whatever you call it I believe Van Til expresses well our need to bridge the communication gap.  While Van Til is speaking within the realm of apologetics proper the quote below is applicable for all Christians when engaging non-Christians. Men in general do not use or even know our theological terms.  But, to the extent that they are educated, they …keep reading »

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LifeWay Reads With Discernment

Update: The Baptist Standard reported that LifeWay backs off ‘read with discernment’ label for books. Apparently the label was irrelevant to their customers. So all of the links below have been removed since they were dead. LifeWay, the Christian bookstore of the Southern Baptist Convention, has a new warning label out. It’s called Read With Discernment.  You can read more about it at their Read With Discernment page where they explain what they’re doing. Our Challenge to be Discerning We want you to know that the authors of books marked Read with Discernment may have espoused thoughts, ideas, or concepts …keep reading »

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Miss America Interview

On Feb. 10, Pastor Wilken interview the new Miss American, Katie Stam, on the Issues, Etc. radio show.  I’m assuming Wilken got the interview because Ms. Stam is a Lutheran and her mother teaches at a Lutheran school.  Though I may be wrong.  I wanted to make a few observations about the interview. Slight Rant I think Wilken asked her some good questions.  He even asked her if the Miss American Pageant exploits women.  As tempted as I am to go there I don’t want to spend time on this topic.  Stam’s answer is a “no” here because of the …keep reading »

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Muller On the Textus Receptus

A debate recently took place on the text of Scripture between Christian apologist James White and agnostic textual critic Bart Ehrman.  The debate Did the Bible Misquote Jesus? has made for some interesting comments around the web.  It’s certainly a debate worth listening too.  It’s also very affordable.  Given this recent topic along with disagreements over which Bible translation one should use, I wanted to post a bit of what Richard Muller said about the textus receptus or received text. It needs to be noted that the so-called textus receptus, was merely a part of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century process …keep reading »

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Get Outta My Face! – Book Review

A review of Get Outta My Face!: How to Reach Angry, Unmotivated Teens with Biblical Counsel by Rick Horne. Wapwallopen: Shepherd Press, 2009, 176 pages. The book is divided into three main parts:  I. What You Must Understand to Connect with You Teen, II. What You Must Do to Help Your Teen and III. How to Make the Changes Stick.  These parts are further divided amongst 11 chapters.  There is also a handy Helpful Reminders appendix that summarizes each of the three sections as a quick reference guide. This might seem like a lot of information to cover in only …keep reading »

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Instant Millionaire!

When I first got the email I’ve share below I was just going to post it to show share the attempted scam.  It’s either a scam or someone is actually willing to give me $4.5 million!  Yeah, I’m holding my breath.  I’ve seen stories on investigative reporting shows about such scams.  Then I thought, why do people continue mailing and emailing these fraudulent requests?  Why did so many people fall for the current Wall Street scandals?  Why do people attempt to commit this fraud to begin with?  The main reason these things happen is because the perpetrators and the victims …keep reading »

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Free Atlanta Area Worship Conference With Don Kistler

Thanks to the alert by fellow blogger Brian Thornton at Voice of the Sheep.  It is Brian’s church that is hosting this conference.  This looks like a great conference.  Its’ in my backyard and I plan on being there! WHO: Don Kistler, Founder of SDG Books & The Northampton Press WHAT: Winter Bible Conference – A Theology of Worship WHERE: Rockdale Community Church, Conyers, GA WHEN: Feb. 6th-7th, 2009 (Friday 7pm – 9:30pm & Saturday 9am – 5pm) WHY: Because He is Worthy Click To Register & For More Information Schedule ’09 RCC Winter Bible Conference: A Theology of Worship …keep reading »

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Apostle Paul On Inauguration Day

There’s been mixed reviews of Rick Warren’s Inauguration Day prayer (a transcript) for President Barack Obama.  The reviews have been critical and grateful.  Like the mixed reviews I have mixed feelings.  I don’t want to talk about my reaction though.  I read what Mark Driscoll said and thought about one of Driscoll’s points. If you want to criticize him, of course you can. But remember, if you lived your life under the scrutiny that he does, you would likely be even easier to criticize. (Source) I have other issues concerning what Driscoll wrote, but to the above I thought, “scrutiny?”  …keep reading »

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Spiritual Warfare Sunday School

This past Sunday I got to substitute teach in Sunday School.  I was jumping in the middle of teaching on spiritual warfare.  The topic I was to cover was spiritual warfare and church leaders.  I was asked if I would share my notes here so I will.  I wasn’t sure at first, but someone may find something helpful. Approach Given the time constraints I decided to do an overview will the intention of spurring conversation. Since we’ve all ready covered the general aspects of spiritual warfare from the Christian perspective I wanted to look at the same issues considering pastors/leaders.  …keep reading »

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The Shack On Issues Etc

This week Pastor Todd Wilken took some time to review much discussed book The Shack. He plays the sounds clips from the audio version of the book and comments.  I’ve provided the audio below.  It’s definitely worth listening to Pastor Wilken’s excellent comments. While Pastor Wilken mentions a few good aspects of the book he finds a four fold problem with The Shack. 1. A distorted view of the Trinity along the lines of patripassianism. 2. Problem of authority and revelation of the Bible.  The Bible is essentially put on par with natural revelation. 3. An author trick.  The main …keep reading »

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Top 100 Theology Blogs: I Made It

Jessica Merritt has posted a list of the Top 100 Theology Blogs (http://www.christiancolleges.com/blog/2009/top-100-theology-blogs/).  I made the list at # 17 and want to say thank you.  I can’t believe it, but I appreciate it.  How did I make it?  I don’t know, but if anyone is going to put my blog in the top 100 of anything I’m grateful. Check out the list.  You may find it useful.  It’s broken down into the categories: General Theology, Criticism, Politics, History, Academic, Clergy, Society & Culture and Writings. Some days I wonder if it’s worth keeping the blog going.  Lists like this …keep reading »

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A Song For A Calvinist Wife

Michael Dewalt posted a performance of the song I Think My Wife’s A Calvinist by its author Brandon Milan.  Too funny! I’ve transcribed the lyrics below and here is an mp3 download of the song.  I’m going to play it for my wife without telling her about the song. I can’t buy my wife roses She doesn’t care a thing for them Instead she likes Tulips Cause they’re approved by John Calvin She doesn’t read that Beth Moore book I bought her She’d rather read St. Augustine If she wasn’t a Baptist preacher’s daughter I think she’d be Presbyterian I …keep reading »

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My Awesome Wife At Christmas

My awesome wife got me Richard Muller’s Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics for Christmas!  Now, my wife isn’t awesome because she got me these volumes.  It’s because she is awesome in more ways than I can count that she got them for me!  What a great gift. For those not familiar with this set here’s the description from Monergism Books which still has them for the great price of only $79. Description: Contending that the theology of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is often misrepresented in church histories and scholarly treatments, Richard Muller has undertaken this exhaustive study of specific doctrines to …keep reading »

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Christmas Jingle: Jesus Christ Is Coming To Town

I’ve (attempted to) put together a little Christmas jingle this year.  It is sung to the tune of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Jesus Christ is Coming to Town You better repent You better have faith Better not relent So you will be saved Jesus Christ is coming to town He’s writing a book And it’s a book of life He’s gonna write down who is justified Jesus Christ is coming to town He sees you when you’re sinning He knows when you forsake He knows if you’re still under the curse So repent for your soul’s sake Oh, …keep reading »

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A Christmas Meditation

The Fall of Man Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, …keep reading »

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Santa Nicer Than Jesus?

The last post with quotes from Michael Horton is similar to these below from Dr. Packer.  They both deal with a misunderstanding and even neglect of who God is.  Below Packer points out that the severity of God is passed over in favor of viewing God as only delivering goodness.  In all of the things taught to kids about Santa Claus it all boils down to being good and get something or be bad and get nothing.  Even Santa has standards of “bad” with the standard being a type of moralism.  The “bad” from Santa never really comes since most …keep reading »

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Jesus and Santa Claus

Does evangelicalism have a problem of treating Jesus like He is Santa Claus?  The quote below from Dr. Horton are not addressing this, however, I believe they are applicable to this topic.  In a way, I think Santa Claus gets more respect.  At least with Santa the morality of being good or bad is in view.  Granted, this morality is ultimately about serving self with the consequences being either getting something you want or not.  On the other hand, Jesus is just supposed to give all you want regardless of what God commands in His holiness. As we lose a …keep reading »

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Christian Criticism

I’m not very good at receiving compliments as my wife can attest.  I’m equally not very good at receiving criticism.  I suppose this makes me like a wooden dummy that just spits out information where people are listening or not.  Thankfully, the Lord sanctifies me and conforms me more and more to be like Christ.  I’ve grown in these areas, but I still have much growing to do. Funny thing is, I don’t really mind the criticism…later on.  In other words, it’s the initial receiving that can give me a hard time.  This makes a really good case for keep …keep reading »

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Christless Christianity Q and A With Michael Horton

On October 31 Michael Horton appeared live on washingtonpost.com’s Viewpoint.  Horton was answering questions about his new book Christless Christianity that was released on November 1.  The book has been doing well selling over 7,000 copies and the live chat at Viewpoint was the best so far.  This is great news!  It would be nice if a book like this would have some impact in the same way Warren’s Purpose Driven Life.  For some reason though, I just don’t think I will be driving by various churches with Christless Christianty Study displayed on their signs. If you’re unsure about getting …keep reading »

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Praising God When Your Baby Passes Away

Could you praise God in all things? Do you?  Could you praise God if He took a 3 month old infant to go home with Him?  Could you preach the funeral of this child?  How about preaching the Gospel at the funeral including mentioning that all are sinners?  Could you speak about the glorifying God and enjoying Him forever?  Could you speak of God’s grace in such a way?  Could you trust in the goodness and sovereignty of God?  Could you speak about it? Could you do all of the above if you were the father of the 3 month …keep reading »

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Spurgeon: Liberal or Landmarker?

Does who you serve the Lord’s Supper with make you either a Landmarker or a liberal?  I suppose it depends on who you ask.  Maybe the answer would be more along the lines that one might lean one way or the other without actually being either.  In other words, if, as a Southern Baptist, you have no trouble serving communion to a Presbyterian you have liberal leanings.  Or, if you think that only those baptized by immersion should be served communion you have Landmark leanings.  If we use the slippery slope argument then we should probably abandon both practices.  Of …keep reading »

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Printable Amillennial Chart

Thanks to Dr. Riddlebarger for pointing out this cool Amillennial Eschatology Chart as he put it.  I thought it would be nice to have a printable pdf version.  So I made one. Click here to download the Amillennial Chart in pdf. (Preview below.) That is cool! Mark

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Horner vs DeMar on Endtimes, Israel, Replacement Theology

This is part of the Grace Reformation Church Forum 2008. Topic – Orthodoxy:Unity and Diversity in the Midst of Christ’s Church Introduction of Saturday Speakers Dr. Barry Horner on Matthew 24 – Is it Future or Fulfilled Dr. Gary DeMar on Matthew 24 – Is it Future or Fulfilled Matthew 24 Forum Dr. Gary DeMar on Replacement Theology, Promises Fulfilled, or Future Israel? Dr. Barry Horner on Replacement Theology, Promises Fulfilled, or Future Israel? There is also a session on baptism.  Tom Schreiner vs. David VanDuren. (HT to JT) For what it’s worth… Mark

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John 3:16 Conference, Together for the Gospel and Poor Arguments

One of the concerns raised by Steve Lemke at the John 3:16 Conference (J316C) is the current trend of baptists organizing conferences with Presbyterians.  As I lived blogged, Dr. Lemke mentioned that when baptists team up with Presbyterians is causes confusion.  As Lemke explained in an email to Ed Stetzer one aim of this conference was to respond to the Building BRidges conference and the Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference.  My understanding is that the remark about baptists and Presbyterians working together and causing confusion is a reference to T4G.  Lemke’s remark about confusion over who is baptist vs. …keep reading »

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Ten Indictments Against the American Church by Paul Washer

A practical denial of the sufficiency of Scripture. An ignorance of God. A failure to address man’s malady. An ignorance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. An ignorance of the doctrine of regeneration.* An unbiblical gospel invitation. Ignorance regarding the nature of the Church. A lack of loving and compassionate Church discipline. A silence on separation. Lack of children being taught in the home. Praise God for men like Paul Washer who aren’t afraid to preach such truths attacking the elephants in the room. Mark *Mr. Washer said “fourth” twice so I am re-numbering them accordingly. 🙂

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Why I Appreciate My Pastor

Abraham Piper has asked, “Thankful for your pastor?”  Followed by, “Say so and win him a pair of tickets to DG’s pastors conference.”  I am going to say so.  I really do appreciate my pastor regardless of whether or not I win the tickets.  Though it would be a great gift for my pastor. On the surface My pastor has only been with us for a little over six months.  I’ve had the opportunity to have a few long lunches with him though.  I’ve also gotten to spend some other time with him.  I appreciate him in some ways because …keep reading »

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Giving Thanks

O Lord, remember not, How I once stood. Before mine own reflection, Worshiping what I thought was good. Long did I look, For life’s answers I sought. Only emptiness grew, Only death was I taught. I saw death as inevitable, A hopeless situation. Laboring for self in this life, This was my salvation. Grabbing hold of my sin, Oh, how it was glorious. Accepting my flesh, How I felt so victorious. One day without warrant, My vision re-arranged. God’s perfect Law came, My reflection was changed. My victory was over, As I clearly saw. How black my heart was, Against …keep reading »

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The Holy Spirit Is Not An It

I have heard the Holy Spirit called “it” more times that I’d like.  It’s usually in the form of, “We must rely on the Holy Spirit.  It can help guide you.”  It’s usually in those terms and I want to tell you something.  It drives me absolutely crazy!  Consider this.  How would you feel if someone said following? You have a cute child.  What’s its name? I met your spouse yesterday.  What does it go by again? I can’t wait to see your new born baby.  What did you name it? Sorry about your father’s passing.  Are you having a …keep reading »

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Missional Living with Matt Chandler

I’ve written in the past about sponsoring a Compassion International child.  I’ve also written of what prompted us to sponsor a child.  It was a sermon by Matt Chandler that I’ve been wanting to point to for a while.  Reading one of Tom Ascol’s recent posts Matt Chandler, mortification and the sins of fathers has reminded me once again of this particular sermon of Chandler’s.  A recap on the journey to Compassion International.  My wife and I were driving across town to have our taxes prepared and at the recommendation of a friend I played this sermon.  Long and short, …keep reading »

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Book Review: Knowing God

I recently had the opportunity to write a book review for our church newsletter.  I was very appreciative to be asked do so.  And a big thanks my wonderful wife for being editor who helped me condense the review from 1,200 words down to less than 800.  Below is the review. Knowing God by J.I. Packer InterVarsity Press, 1993, 286 pages. Overview Do you know God or just know about Him? Do you seek to know God through Scripture or through personal experience? Are you skeptical about the Bible being divine revelation from God? In Knowing God, J.I. Packer sets …keep reading »

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A Calvinist Helping Missions?

Dear Readers, I still need your help in being sponsored and this is the last week! This Friday, November 21st, I will be joining 30 other men to help raise money for the Sandy Springs Mission in Atlanta, GA.  I found out last week that this mission will most likely run out of money in March 2009. What this mission does Sandy Springs Mission ministers to children in our community by: after-school programs (designed to help increase the literacy rate among low-income families) helping these young people learn to – read – write – communicate effectively (to help them thrive …keep reading »

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A Lord’s Day Reflection: Richard Baxter

This is a wonderful poem to meditate upon.  It reminds me of how short I fall and how great a Savior we have in Jesus! Lord, it belongs not to my care Lord, it belongs not to my care Whether I die or live; To love and serve thee is my share, And this thy grace must give. If life be long, O make me glad The longer to obey; If short, no labourer is sad To end his toilsome day. Christ leads me through no darker rooms Than he went through before; And he that to God’s kingdom comes …keep reading »

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A Calvinist Missionary and Other Notables

When it comes to missions and evangelism in the Southern Baptist Convention today’s hot button is Calvinism and it’s resurgence among younger Southern Baptists.  Is the concern that Calvinism does and will stifle missions and evangelism in the SBC valid?  The answer seems to depend on who you ask.  Regardless of theology, it’s a Gospel issue and  a sin problem.  One of my dead horses is a concern of pelagianism which I’ve mention recently. So what does a Calvinist missionary say ON BEING A SBC CALVINIST (& MISSIONARY)? Patterson gave me Calvinism When I entered The Criswell College in 1990, …keep reading »

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A Seminary Student’s Thoughts on the John 3:16 Conference-Update

Update: Todd Burus shares a great letter written prior to the conference. Read it: Calvinism in the SBC- An Open Letter to Johnny Hunt and Jerry Vines One of the people I was at the John 3:16 Conference with is a seminary student working towards an M.Div.  He attends an SBC seminary and was asked to give his thoughts on the conference for one of his classes.  He’s allowed me to post his brief thoughts below. Note: Thanks to Peter for influencing me to make this clarification.  The paragraphs below are a brief overview of my friend’s initial thoughts that …keep reading »

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Southern Baptist Pastors: A Must Read Letter

Open Letter to All Pastors of Churches in the SBC Dear Pastor, Let me first clarify that this letter is for Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) pastors in general. I am well aware that what you are about to read does not include all pastors – at least not in totality. …What is really so remarkable about the question of SBC decline is not the decline itself, but rather the simple answer that is so obvious no one will talk about with any seriousness openly in the SBC. Read the whole thing!

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John 3:16 Conference 60 minute Q&A

John 3:16 Conference live blogging links in order Welcome Part 1 Part 2 (T) Part 3 (U) Part 4 (L) Part 5 (I) Part 6 (P) Part 7 And the downloadable handout from Dr. Allen with updated cleaner charts thanks to Tony Byrne. UPDATE: James White and Phil Johnson have answered David Allen concerning the charge that James White is a hyper-Calvinist according to Phil Johnson’s definition. —————————————————————————- Paige Patterson had to leave early so Malcom Yarnell is sitting in for him on the panel. The format is one question for TULIP from a Calvinist and a non-Calvinist. 1. Total …keep reading »

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John 3:16 Conference Charles Stanley – John 3:16 to the World

Dr. Stanley starts telling that he grew up in a pentecostal holiness church.  He wasn’t raised with the belief that we can have assurance of salvation.  He then came to understand in the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. Stanley doesn’t like this new move of talking about raising up “leaders” and such.  Instead we need to grow godly men.  He tells the story of his salvation and that he just loved Jesus.  He didn’t have a theological description.  He asks, how can you be saved and be lost?  Referencing those who don’t believe in eternal security. The world is looking for …keep reading »

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John 3:16 Conference Ken Keathley – Perseverance of the Saints

Quote from I.H Marshall – 2 Tim. 1:12 – Two components – One is presently saved – you can know that you are saved – One who in a state of grace will remain in the state of grace –>This is the perseverance What is the basis for assurance? Asahel Nettleton says “I think it possible I may get to heaven.” – Quotes D.A. Carson WTJ. 54. 21. – “Arminianism and Calvinism meet in strange and sad ways.” Three views on knowing if we are genuinely saved? Roman Catholic: Assurance is not possible; Canon 15 at the Council of Trent; …keep reading »

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John 3:16 Conference Steve Lemke – Irresistible Grace

Desires to go forward in unity. Those these discussions are appropriate. References Dordt and it being a response to the Remonstrance. Reads some long quotes of God’s grace that man has not saving grace within himself, etc. that we can’t do anything that is good. All good deeds must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ.  Then, tells everyone that this was the Remonstrance and what the Calvinists were reacting against. We should not confuse hyper-Calvinists and Calvinists just as we should not call Arminians pelagian.  We should all do better with these labels. SBCer’s are not Pelagians …keep reading »

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John 3:16 Conference David Allen – Limited Atonement

Dr. Allen starts with John 3:16.  He plans on quoting only Calvinsts to prove his case against limited atonement.  Calvinists are going to be “shocked.” What two things to these men have in common – Calvin, Bunyan, Bullinger, Watts, Brainerd, Hodge, Edwards, Shedd, Barnes, Strong, etc. etc.? (I couldn’t get them all)  Dr. Allen wants to be firm but fair.  Answering the questions of must a Calvinist hold to the L, did they all hold to it and does Scripture teach it. He mentions Tony Byrne at theologicalmeditations.com  who is a four-point Calvinist.  Dr. Allen gave a six page hand-out.  …keep reading »

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John 3:16 Conference Richard Land-Unconditional Election

Dr. Vines starts the morning explaining that disagreeing is not a bad thing. He has many Calvinist friends with whom he disagrees. He claims man can still make a choice and that though depraved not so much to as to say our capacity to chose is ruined. He does not mention God’s grace and how He acts in our “choice” in salvation.  (He mentions that Ergun Caner might be here.) Dr. Land Congruent Election: Understanding Salvation from An Eternal Now Perspective We believe in an infallible word of God that does not contradict itself. We must seek knowledge and insight …keep reading »

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John 3:16 Conference Paige Patterson-Total Depravity

The most hated doctrine in the world today is the exclusivity of Christ.  The second is total depravity. He says thank God that our Calvinistic brethren for preaching the word of God. We have so much total depravity in our churches today because the word of God is neglected in preaching today. Dr. Patterson starts with reading Romans 1 through 3:26.  He says you won’t hear this preached in this post-modern world. What does depravity mean? There is not a single human being on the face of the earth that is right with God.  None, not one regardless of religion …keep reading »

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John 3:16 Conference Jerry Vines-John 3:16

Dr. Vines, as far as I can tell, is preaching the same message on John 3:16 that he preached at SBTS chapel earlier this year.  You can listen here: “The Inexhaustible Love of God” (John 3:16).  Since you can go and listen I may not say too much on this.  We’ll see.  From what I remember there is nothing contrary to what a Calvinist would believe in Dr. Vines sermon. God’s love is global.  If you’ve not heard this sermon Vines goes through the greek and some historical understandings of love, world, God, etc. He does mention that some hyper-Calvinists …keep reading »

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John 3:16 Conference Welcome Message by Johnny Hunt

As I blog through the John 3:16 Conference I will try to follow the schedule. Jerry Vines introduces the conference and Johnny Hunt.  He says this conference is designed to be a biblical and theological response to five point Calvinism. Johnny Hunt gets a show of hands and about 90% of the attendance are pastors and the rest lay people.  He starts with reading Psalm 119:33-40.  He emphasizes the “teach me” and “make me” in the verses.  We come to hear and obey the word of God.  Not intellectually, but to learn and apply it.  God grants the content and …keep reading »

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President Obama: Another View of the Election

The United States has elected it’s new President.  A President election that marks a milestone achievement concerning race in this country.  Our first black, or African-American, President.  I hope this will help in the healing process of race relations in this country.  However, for myself and many other this election was never about race. It was about who, either McCain or Obama, would best serve this country and her people.  I hope that was atleast one main point of focus!  The main point of contention is that Obama was thought to be the most pro-abortion candidate ever.  He even referred …keep reading »

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John 3:16 Conference Questions

As many of you know (or maybe not) I will be attending the John 3:16 Conference this week.  The very last item on the schedule is a 60 minute Q&A. So… I’d love to hear from blogdom out there as to what questions you’d like answered.  Maybe, just maybe I could get to ask or submit some of them for you.  I don’t know the set-up for everything yet so we’ll see. I may also get the chance to live blog the conference. Hopefully, this conference will build rather than tear down. Mark p.s. I recently reviewed a sermon from …keep reading »

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A Healthy View of Church?

“Because people like me come from professional backgrounds, and we want churches that reflect our backgrounds. I don’t want to be opening my home to people. I don’t want to get involved in people’s lives. I don’t want needy people in my church. Before people like me went into Christian ministry, we were lawyers, doctors, businessmen. And when we get involved in ministry we bring those values with us. We want to lead growing churches with professional people, church administrators, healthy budgets. We want church to be a well-run organization with polished presentations.” Chester, Tim, and Steve Timmis. Total Church. …keep reading »

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Help Needed for Local Atlanta Mission

Dear Readers, I need your help! On November 21st, I’m going to join 30 other men and play in a golf tournament in Atlanta, Georgia. This is not a situation where those with money pay for an overpriced round of golf and a chance to miss work! It is, however, a charity event, where we hope to be amazed by what a group of people working together can accomplish. You can be a part of this effort by sponsoring me in the Sandy Springs Mission Golf Challenge. What this mission does Sandy Springs Mission ministers to children in our community …keep reading »

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Obama, Higher Taxes, Selfish Virtue

I want to offer an idea that is atleast a step in the right direction for those who favor Obama’s tax increase.  I read the article where is quoted concerning taxes and selfishness Obama. “John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic,” Obama continued. “You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.”(Source: ABC News) So if someone believes the government should work a bit differently when it comes to raising taxes they are trying to make selfishness a virtue?  The government is an entity made up of people and …keep reading »

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Reformation Day 2008: Protestant Courage

I remember several years ago while talking to a Roman Catholic about doctrine.  Though she had just left the convent and would no longer be in process to become a nun, she was a devout Roman Catholic as far as I could tell.  She left the convent and married a friend of mine.  We were all having dinner and I don’t quite remember what exactly we were talking about, but I can tell you how the conversation ended.  After a few minutes of dialogue, in her frustration, she finally said, “We’re Catholic, we don’t use the Bible!” Today, I fear …keep reading »

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Highway to Heaven

While driving on the interstate across state lines you never know what you might see.  While driving behind a semi on the doors to the trailer we saw two things.  On the left was a very large Icthus aka fish symbol.  On the right door were the words “Psalm 22:19.”  In the NASB, that verse reads: But You, O LORD, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance. Then, as we passed the semi there was a quote in very large letters on the side of the trailer.  I thought it was sort of interesting. If …keep reading »

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Deeper Conference, First Baptist Woodstock: Paul Washer

In a previous post I blogged about the Deeper Conference.  I didn’t get to attend as I’d hope, but below is one of Paul Washer’s presentations that is quickly becoming very popular. Play the audio above or download MP3 here. Enjoy! Mark

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Piper On Christian Voting As Though You Were Not

How should Christians think of voting as that time is upon us in the USA?  John Piper unpacks this with something we can often forget about during times like these.  Scripture! Voting is like marrying and crying and laughing and buying. We should do it, but only as if we were not doing it. That’s because “the present form of this world is passing away” and, in God’s eyes, “the time has grown very short.” Here’s the way Paul puts it: The appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they …keep reading »

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Blog Action Day 2008:Poverty

What is poverty?  How do we fight poverty?  Can we do more?  How do we do more?  What is particular day all about? What is Blog Action Day? Today thousands of bloggers will unite to discuss a single issue – poverty. We aim to raise awareness, initiate action and to shake the web! (click the banner for more info.) The Issue Like many things the answers to the above questions depends on who you ask.  I imagine the most basic elements that define poverty would be people who don’t have enough food and water on a daily basis with maybe …keep reading »

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BICR About the Gospel

The Problem Think about a time when you’re at work or some other place you frequent with non-Christians.  They know you’re a Christian and you get into a discussion about religion.  It feels really good to be thought of and accepted as a Christian.  You feel like you can fit in without hiding your faith. Then, you’re asked, “What’s this Gospel I always hear Christians’ talking about? I always hear, Gospel this, Gospel that and was wondering.”  You freeze and think for a moment!  Maybe you think of John 3:16 and what you’re actually going to say, but you still …keep reading »

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Roman Catholic Evangelism

My last post was to make folks aware of Michael Horton’s forthcoming book Christless Christianity.  I believe this will be an important book for evangelical churches.  This post is about another forthcoming book that I am not excited about.  One that Horton’s book should be in opposition to.  Frank Beckwith’s Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic (RtR) which is set to be published in November 2008. The publisher of RtR, BrazosPress, has released some endorsements for the book.  To my surprise there are some protestants endorsing the book. Should I be surprised? Protestants are endorsing a book about …keep reading »

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Christianity Without Christ?

What happens when we take Christ out of Christianity?  That’s the question Michael Horton asks in his new book Christless Christianity.  This book follows this year’s theme of “Christless Christianity” on the White Horse Inn radio show.  I was excited when I first got the email about the book.  Then I read that this discounted offering includes a two DVD set as well which has four sessions.  I imagine that this package could be an excellent small-group (or large) resource.  For more information including audio and sample video go to the Christless Christianity website. Is it possible that we have …keep reading »

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Dissent from Darwinism

What do 700+ scienctists have in common?  They’ve all signed the Scientific Dissent From Darwinism list. Who gets to sign the list? Signers of the Scientific Dissent From Darwinism must either hold a Ph.D. in a scientific field such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, computer science, or one of the other natural sciences; or they must hold an M.D. and serve as a professor of medicine. Signers must also agree with the following statement: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence …keep reading »

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Thank You Issues Etc

The best I can tell is that I have been listening to Issues, Etc. since sometime in 2004. That is the date that my oldest mp3’s I have of the program.  And I have been appreciating the show since I started listening. As many listeners know this show was canceled by KFUO AM earlier this year. There was an online petition put together to try and get the program back on KFUO AM.  The petition has 7,629 signature as of today.  Since then enough money was raised using the internet and other sources to get the program back on the …keep reading »

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Issues Etc vs KFUOAM Stats

Recently, on the Issues, Etc. Radio Program, Pastor Todd Wilken, the host, and Jeff Schwarz, the producer, went over answers to questions as to why their radio show was canceled. Those answers were given by David Strand, the LCMS Executive Director on the Board for Communication Services. Issues, Etc. is a great radio show. One of the best out there dealing with world issues, etc. from a conservative theological perspective. If you listen to the Q&A as reviewed in the show (listen below), you will hear the admission that there really was no way to track the “success” of Issues, …keep reading »

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The Visibility of Barack Obama

Dr. Bruce L. Fields1 of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School writes in the latest Themelios Journal2 about Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy as it relates to his racial identity and who people actually see. In his article, Barack Obama: The Quandary of “Selective Invisibility”3 Dr. Fields touches on what is visible about Obama and what needs to be invisible about him and his appeal. A major tension in walking the thin red line between the camps is that invisibility before either orientation may put Obama on a collision course with what it means to be an African American man, one who is …keep reading »

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Are Megachurches Healthier?

Are megachurches healthier than smaller churches?  According to the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University as reported by the Washington Post 1 the answer seems to be yes.  According to the article megachurch congregations tithe more, are committed to attendance and build better relationships.  This seems to be contrary to how many people envision life in a megachurch. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find the actual study so all there is to go on is highlights from the study as told in the article.  I attended North Point Community Church with Pastor Andy Stanley for a while and …keep reading »

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The Shack Is Only Fiction?

I wanted to take a few moments to respond to some of the comments from one of my posts The Shack Review. Interesting review. Unfortunately, I think it not only misses the point of the book but seems to find criticism for the sake of criticism. Advice to Christians to be discerning is excellent. However, understanding must accompany discernment. The review seems short on understanding. Criticism is found for the sake of being accurate as to how God has revealed Himself through Scripture.  It seems that those promoting and praising The Shack seem to be short on understanding discernment.  Even …keep reading »

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Big Bang Recreated!

Look at the screen at the bottom left.  See the small white spot in the center?  That’s the Big Bang in action!  You can read the whole story and watch the short video by going directly to the article: Scientists cheer as protons complete first circuit of Big Bang machine This has got to be a very exciting experiment for many, especially, for those involved.  At a cost of £3.6 billion I certainly hope so.  For those of us in the U.S. that’s about $6.36 billion.  As the article states this is the “biggest and most expensive civilian experiment in …keep reading »

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Obama, Abortion and Pay Grades

Christianity Today’s morning article Obama says abortion comment at megachurch forum too flip has some interesting quotes from Obama speaking about his answer to when a baby gets human rights at the Saddleback Forum.  Remember, Obama first said that this question was “above my pay grade.”  One immediate problem with that is many people are voting either for or against him based on this very issue.  And it is clear that he also has an opinion on the issue based on his voting record and his own words.  If he really thought it were above his pay grade he would …keep reading »

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The Metaphorical Safety of The Shack

So far I have two reviews of The Shack posted.  One, The Shack Review, by a dear brother and fellow church member Wayne Elliott.  The other, Uncovering The Shack, by local yet widely known Pastor Michael Youseff. Now, I have another dear brother who I recently had a good Southern Baptist dinner with.  For folks not in the know, that’s Wednesday night dinner in the fellowship hall.  This brother understood the nuances and concerns of The Shack.  He kept this in mind while reading The Shack and, therefore, enjoyed the book without worrying about heretical persuasions.  I certainly appreciate this …keep reading »

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Flew Names Dawkins A Secularist Bigot

The God Delusion by the atheist writer Richard Dawkins, is remarkable in the first place for having achieved some sort of record by selling over a million copies. But what is much more remarkable than that economic achievement is that the contents – or rather lack of contents – of this book show Dawkins himself to have become what he and his fellow secularists typically believe to be an impossibility: namely, a secularist bigot. (Helpfully, my copy of The Oxford Dictionary defines a bigot as ‘an obstinate or intolerant adherent of a point of view’). Read the whole article. Flew …keep reading »

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Should A Woman Be Vice-President?

There’s been some discussion from the conservative Christian perspective as to whether or not Sarah Palin should be able to be Vice-President due to the fact that she’s a woman.  I would just like to high-light some good posts addressing this subject. Jason Robertson over at Fide-O writes about Work From Home Moms. Christians who have sound theology have a high-view of the family. Thus the prospect of Sarah Palin becoming VP and possibly even the President of the United States has caused some Christians to ask if that is such a job a mother should want. It is a …keep reading »

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Southern Baptist Double-Standard?

David Waters post Southern Baptists and their Gender Double-Standard over at On Faith claims that Southern Baptists have a double-standard when it comes to the new republican VP pick.  His claim is basically that Southern Baptists shouldn’t promote and vote for Sarah Palin, a woman, since we wouldn’t let her pastor a church.  So what’s his argument and objection? Now that Southern Baptist leaders are embracing the idea of a woman leading this nation, will they rethink their rejection of the idea of a woman leading their congregations? Probably not. Since Baptist Faith and Message 2000 states the position that …keep reading »

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Uncovering The Shack

My fellow church member bro. Wayne whose review of The Shack I recently posted informed me of another review of The Shack.  Michael Youssef, pastor of Church of the Apostles, one of our neighboring churches, has reviewed The Shack in a recent sermon. Dr. Youseff’s review, Uncovering The Shack, can be downloaded directly on mp3 here.  There is also an iTunes feed if you’re interested.  He actually stopped in the middle of a sermon series to review this book because he thought it was that important. Dr. Youseff begins, “In the 33 years since I’ve was ordained to the ministry, …keep reading »

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Roman Catholic Baptist?

Peter Smith of the courier-journal out of Louisville gives us an interesting story morning Married, ex-Baptist minister to become Catholic priest.  Sad, but interesting story about former baptist pastor David Harris converting to Catholicism.  So why the question “Roman Catholic Baptist?”  Smith’s story begins. David Harris never considered his conversion to Catholicism six years ago to be a rejection of the Baptist faith that nourished him from childhood in Eastern Kentucky. How does a man with an M. Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary  come to this conclusion?  I understand that there are areas in our seminaries that need improvement, but …keep reading »

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Sin Sells But Who’s Buying?

Sin sells, but who’s buying?  If we were to answer this question based on the recent success of Katy Perry today vs. Katy Perry Hudson several years ago, I’d say that many are buying.  Just consider the two Christianity Today articles from back in 2001 and today in 2008.  It seems as though Hudson, though appealing in her music, came and went.  While Perry spent some time at no. 1. Who cares, though, right?  I do for one.  And, well, her parents apparently do according to the recent Christianity Today article linked above.  Quoting the artist’s mother. I hate the …keep reading »

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Faith and Reason

Without faith reasoning becomes impossible.  So do I believe this on the basis of reason or faith?  Well, it all depends on how you want to state it.  I believe it on the basis of faith, but faith which saves reasoning and, therefore, it’s the most reasonable thing to do.  So that’s my reason for having faith.  Is my intellect my ultimate authority then?  No, faith and the word of the Lord is.  And my reason for holding to that is, reason itself is destroyed if you don’t. Do you have faith or do you have reason, Dr. Bahnsen, for …keep reading »

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“The Shack” Review

A friend from church wrote a brief review of The Shack that touches on some key points as to why we should be cautious about this book.  Or maybe even disregard it all together.  He gave me permission to share this review. SHACK ATTACK – OR A CALL TO DISCERNMENT? “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” -Charles Spurgeon At the encouragement of friends, I recently read The Shack by William P. Young. A national bestseller widely embraced by some churches …keep reading »

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Sermoneutics

I would like to introduce you to my first official sniglet, sermoneutics. sermoneutics (ˈsər-məˈnü-tik) – n. The art of interpreting Scripture in a sermon by giving its meaning as an abstract, peripheral idea that is not the main point of the text. My motivation for the above word is Dr. John Walton’s post Hermeneutics and Children’s Curriculum. He lays out “five basic fallacies that appear repeatedly.” 1. Promotion of the trivial 2. Illegitimate extrapolation 3. Reading between the lines 4. Missing important nuance 5. Focus on people rather than God This is a very good article that I hadn’t seen …keep reading »

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A Wedding Anniversary – Mine

Today is my third wedding anniversary. I just want to say that I have a wonderful wife! As I told my wife, I would never have dreamed of having her as my wife. That is because my dreams have never been to beautiful and wonderful! Praise the Lord! I will share one more thing with everyone. One of the things we treated ourselves to this year were some cookiez just like we had at our wedding reception. You probably think I spelled cookiez wrong, huh? Well, I didn’t because I’m talking about: Amy Looz Handpainted Shortbread Cookiez This is a …keep reading »

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My Testimony Podcast

I started playing around with podcasting and figured that recording my testimony was a good place to start.  I don’t know what, if anything, I will do in the future with audio. Anyways, if anyone wants to hear my brief testimony you can listen or download it below. [display_podcast] For what it’s worth… Mark

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Beckwith The Protestant Roman Catholic

The much awaited book by both Roman Catholics and Protestants is here.  It is none other than former President of the Evangelical Theological Society, Dr. Francis J. Beckwith’s new book Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic. Quite the title, huh?   This is the reason this book will appeal to both Catholics and Protestants.  We all want to see, “What happened?”  Most likely, Catholics will want to see what they can learn from Beckwith’s journey that will help them evangelize Romanize Protestants.  We Protestants will want to know how to keep such a “return” from happening and address …keep reading »

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Talk to Ravi Zacharias

Our friend Chris Arnzen, host of the Iron Sharpens Iron Radio Show, is having Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias as a guest. As I understand listeners will be able to call in with questions and a downloadable mp3 will be available after the show. He will be speaking on the theme of his book NEW BIRTH Or REBIRTH? JESUS TALKS WITH KRISHNA . WHEN: Monday, July 14, 2008, 3-4 PM est WHERE: Listen Live by clicking here CALL WITH QUESTIONS: 1-631-321- WNYG (9694)] CLICK HERE for full details. SDG, Mark p.s. What are the odds that I call in and get …keep reading »

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Proper understanding of Roman Catholic salvation?

Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete He reads Paul in his context? On Buddhist salvation, the Buddhist will get to heaven “probably faster than I will.” How about an atheist? Just watch. Not sure what it’s worth… Mark

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What Hymn Is This?

Below is a song that is full of biblical theology.  Is it a hymn?  What kind of song do you think it is?  I recently got the current album of this musician from iTunes. Can you guess where lyrics below come from? TRIUNE PRAISE LYRICS VERSE 1 Praise God the Father, the Immortal Creator (1 Cor. 8:6) For Your glory you made us (Is. 43:6), You’re the Sovereign Orchestrator (Eph. 1:11) All that You decree will most surely come to happen (Is. 14:24) You’re awesome as can be and Your glory none can fathom (Ps. 104:1) Nothing could ever stain …keep reading »

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Of Cavalier Attitudes

I was recently left a very cavalier comment by a pastor.  You may read it here.  I will leave the comment for now although I don’t really want to clutter that particular page with such exchange.  So I will reproduce the comment here with some interaction.  I will try not to trade insult for insult though my wife was none to happy about the comment. I do not like the cavalier way you approach the Bible and Christian issues. I am Dawson Morrison Pastor of Mountain Home Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. People like you run around collecting up unholy …keep reading »

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Fox in the Pew Forum

There seems to be some disagreement between FOX News FOX Forum contributors Cal Thomas and Father Jonathan Morris.  The disagreement stems from the recent Pew Forum report on Religion and Public Life.  The disagreement is over the position which came out in the Pew Forum report as follows: Most Americans agree with the statement that many religions – not just their own – can lead to eternal life. Cal Thomas was upset, and rightly so, that the majority of conservative evangelical Christians believe this statement.   Jonathan Morris responded to Thomas and he, wrongly, doesn’t agree.  Morris is more in …keep reading »

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Patriotic Worship

Brother Stan has posted some great thoughts over at the Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog about patriotic worship services. A typical patriotic service might include a presentation of the American flag, singing of patriotic hymns, and a message centered around the Christian roots of the United States and a call to return to them. Are these services God-honoring? Are they wise? Read the whole thing: Three Hymns for the Red, White, and Blue: Thinking About Patriotic Worship Services I’ve always cringed when patriotic songs have been sung during a time when the congregation comes together to worship God.  We have six others …keep reading »

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Summarizing the Gospel?

Our friend Andrew has asked a couple of good questions over at StrangeBaptistFire in his post “God loves you and Jesus died for you.” Is this the gospel message we must proclaim? The title of the post is very telling as to what his questions are. 1. “Is the statement, ‘God loves you and Jesus died for you,’ an accurate summary of the gospel?” 2. Given a very brief amount of time to explain the gospel, should we tell non-Christians, ‘God loves you and Jesus died for you’? These questions make me think of Tom Ascol’s question Have we lost …keep reading »

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Dangers Church Members Face

As church members we are often in danger particularly when we don’t understand how to live. From being overly concerned about how we look to over analyzing the words we use in prayer to getting caught up in the snare of thinking that we don’t spiritually measure up to everyone else, we have a tendency to act no different than the unsaved. We so easily slide into the double-standard of holding others to biblical standards of behavior while ignoring how much we ourselves violate them. And sometimes we even create our own standards that not only God Himself has given …keep reading »

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Views on homosexuality

LifeWay has just released research on views of homosexuality from a telephone survey.  The groups included in the survey were Americans in general, Roman Catholics, Protestants and another called “born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Protestants.”  I’m not quite sure of the distinction of the last group from the Protestants. A quote from the article by friend and Research Director, Ed Stetzer. “Almost a third of Americans and almost half of those who do not attend a place of worship – the people we are trying to reach – say our view of sexual morality would negatively impact their decision to visit …keep reading »

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Southern Baptist Convention: on tips and alcohol

I just wanted to relay this true story from a good friend of mine.  He was a messenger at this years annual Southern Baptist Convention.  He tells me this story about eating dinner in Indianapolis. He goes to have dinner at a restaurant.  He asks the server if she has been busy due to all of the Southern Baptists (SBs) in town.  She said they’ve noticed a little more business, but nothing overwhelming. He asks how tipping has been with the visiting patrons.  Her answer is that they’ve not been too great and that a co-worker had just been given …keep reading »

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SBC Membership Resolution Passes

My good friend John Jordan called me this morning from the Convention floor to tell me that the resolution on regenerate church membership passed.  He said it was just wonderful to be there and watch the support for the resolution as the amendments were initially not being fully supported. As resolutions go, whatever it ends up meaning and however it ends up working it passed. On Regenerate Church Membership and Church Member Restoration WHEREAS, The ideal of a regenerate church membership has long been and remains a cherished Baptist principle, with Article VI of the Baptist Faith and Message describing …keep reading »

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James White Speaking in Atlanta

Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries will be speaking in the Atlanta area Saturday, June 7th, 7pm at the Aletheia Foru. The topic is: How Islam Defines Itself Through a Denial of Christian Belief. Full details here.  And a flyer. Lord willing, I will be attending. Mark p.s. James White will also be preaching on Sunday, June 8th at Hickory Road Baptist Church. This is what we looked like last time he was in town.

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Death of the Elephant God

In an effort to explain religious truth a popular fable entitled The Blind Men and the Elephant has been used by various religious leaders. Are all religious truth claims equally valid as this story purports? I think not. And once this elephant dies another must take its place. Here is a modern version from Lillian Quigley’s The Blind Men and the Elephant. The first blind man put out his hand and touched the side of the elephant. “How smooth! An elephant is like a wall.” The second blind man put out his hand and touched the trunk of the elephant. …keep reading »

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Deeper Conference in Atlanta: Paul Washer

UPDATE:  Paul Washer in Atlanta/Woodstock audio here! No, the above video isn’t from the Deeper Conference. It’s the famous (infamous?) shocking youth message that Paul Washer delivered. It’s a kind of preaching that you don’t hear so much of and it’s good for the soul. If you’ve never heard or watched the above I encourage you to do so. On October 17 – 18, 2008 here in the Atlanta area the Deeper Conference will be held at First Baptist Woodstock. I appreciate all the men and their topics to be presented. But there is just something a little unique about …keep reading »

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Courage to Be Protestant: Marketing the Gospel

“That is where this gospel really parts company from the way in which products and services are marketed in our modernized world. These products and services are nothing more than products and services. They are simply there for our use. The gospel is not. The gospel calls us not to use it but to submit to the God of the universe through his Son. A methodology for success that circumvents issues of truth is one that will rapidly emancipate itself from biblical Christianity or, to put it differently, will rapidly eviscerate biblical faith. That, indeed, is what is happening because …keep reading »

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Dawkins Converts Corner

Richard Dawkins has a place on his website called Converts Corner. He states: Please write in to Converts’ Corner if you have lost your religion (or have been encouraged to come out of the closet) as a result of reading The God Delusion or other Dawkins books. If you read through the stories it seems there is an underlying common theme. People aren’t actually looking for a reason to believe in God, but for reason not to. If someone is buying a book that seeks to establish and encourage atheism to help convince themselves further, I propose they are already …keep reading »

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Pope Says No More Pedophiles

In an AP news story Pope Benedict XVI is quoted. “It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the Church in general and for me personally that this could happen,” Benedict said. “It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission … to these children. “I am deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future,” the pope said. I say that’s great! But I also say that it’s about time. During the time the events …keep reading »

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Who Are They Really Angry At?

In James White’s debate this weekend against Muslim apologist Jalal Abualrub, Mr. Abualrub said the following: So don’t think you can come here and act you’re angry, because we are angry. Because Allah doesn’t have a son. He told you so. Jesus never said I am Lord, I am divine, I am the God, the Creator, worship Me as you worship God, the Holy Ghost is God. While driving last night I mentioned this to my teenager. I always ask her if she remembers Dr. White. She remembers him well and usually calls him, “that Dr. White dude!” So I …keep reading »

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Was Abe Lincoln a Christian?

In a new book Did Lincoln Own Slaves? there is some unveiling of Lincoln’s religious beliefs.  Below is an excerpt from the Change of Subject blog. The answers to questions about Lincoln’s church membership are not the ones that most people are hoping to hear. He was never a member of the church you attend, or any church. His religious beliefs were dynamic, complex, and powerful, but not conventional. He wasn’t a Baptist, despite being raised in a Baptist tradition. He wasn’t a Presbyterian, although he attended Presbyterian services much of his adult life. He was not a Catholic, contrary …keep reading »

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Tim Keller on the Laura Ingraham Show

Today, Tim Keller was interviewed on the Laura Ingraham Show about his newest book The Reason for God. I only picked up the conversation towards the end so I will have to go back and listen to the podcast. I usually enjoy her show when she engages politics and such although sometimes that stuff just wears me out. She wears me out in her talk about the Pope, mass, confession, etc. Laura asked Dr. Keller about the pope’s book Jesus of Nazareth and he said he appreciated some aspects of it as I recall. She was mentioning common Christian themes …keep reading »

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Become A Better Calvinist

Joel Osteen has decided to help Calvinists, especially, the ones who miss the big picture. —————————————————— Question: For Calvinists, what is your advice for how they can slow things down and find peaceful moments and smile? Answer: What Calvinists need to realize is that their predestination is the key. See, what Victoria and I have realized is that when you pronounce the word “predestination” your mouth starts to naturally form a smile. They just need to learn to hold that smile throughout the whole word, claim it and take the smile with them where ever they go. It’s that easy!  …keep reading »

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Who said that?

No googling or wagering! We are to copy the views and virtues of the men who found they could remain under the Pope, and especially of one who actually died for the supremacy of the Pope. We are to throw away practically every rag of thought or theory that was held by the people who did not remain under the supremacy of the Pope. This same person did actually write something very prophetic at the same time as the above. Something that seems to be playing out very strongly right now. The genuine Protestant creed is now hardly held by …keep reading »

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Prayers Needed: The Katrina Aftermath

My very good friend Russ has asked for prayers in his Rebuilding Lakeshore post. The damage in this area is more than many of us realize. I guess if it doesn’t serve the political interest of certain groups nor sell articles and papers then those whose lives were drastically affected aren’t so important anymore. I have friends that have spent much time there since Katrina hit. Sadly, I’ve not had the opportunity to get over there and help. Yes, shame on me. If anyone wants to help in any way that you I’m sure you can just get in touch …keep reading »

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Young Life: Doctrine Divides Staff?

There has been an internal disagreement that has caused all 10 staffers of Young Life at the Chapel Hill, NC office to leave voluntarily or otherwise. It seems that more than disagreements were heating up as the article on CT Gospel Talk was having a server overload earlier. You may also read an article about this subject over at The Christian Century just in case CT goes down again. The dust up is over six non-negotiables on the manner the Gospel is presented put out by the Young Life leadership. Their is a link to the Non-Negotiables of Young Life’s …keep reading »

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Straight Answers from a Mormon

Today many Mormons in the public eye answer theological questions using phrases that sound evangelical.  Such as referring to Jesus using phrases like “personal  Saviour” as Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney did in a recent press conference.  This has caused at least one uninformed mega-church leader, Joel Osteen, to say he accepts Mormons as Christians.  The scariest part about Osteen is the massive influence he has.  Language used like this just seems to be a way of hiding one’s true beliefs whether intentional or not. When researching the faith of Mormons some common objections are their belief about who God …keep reading »

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Joel Osteen and becoming a better Mormon?

Our friends Steve Camp and James White has recently pointed out Joel Osteen’s answer to whether or not a Mormon is a true Christian. They’ve documented and said what needs to be said on the topic. The transcript reads as follows: WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I’ve got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian? OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that’s what I believe, so, …keep reading »

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The Story of Jesus’ Birth by Martin Luther

I. The Birth of Jesus Christmas Text: Luke 2:1-14 The Story of Jesus’ Birth 1. It is written in Hag 2:6-7, that God says, “I will shake the heavens; and the precious things of all nations shall come.” This is fulfilled today, for the heavens were shaken, that is, the angels in the heavens sang praises to God. And the earth was shaken, that is, the people on the earth were agitated; one journeying to this city, another to that throughout the whole land, as the Gospel tells us. It was not a violent, bloody uprising, but rather a peaceable …keep reading »

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The Assembly Interview: A Pastor with a Church in Need

I met a couple of pastors, Charlie Scalf and Adam Fann, at the Southern Baptist Building Bridges Conference a few weeks ago. They pastor a church called The Assembly Baptist Church in downtown Johnson City, TN. I met them through my good friends John and Shannon Jordan who I have known for several years. I also got to meet the Jordans’ pastor, Reggie, who you will read about below. Reggie was nice enough to buy us all Tom Schreiner’s newest book on baptism. After spending a few days with sitting with and eating with these guys I got to know …keep reading »

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Paul Washer Highlights: Conviction

This video is called “Paul Washer Jam” and it’s a great short video of clips. This is not your everyday preaching. Talk about conviction!

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Modalism Revisted: Phillips, Craig & Dean

Modalism probably hasn’t been a hot topic lately, but there is some new (to me at least) and concrete information on Phillips, Craig and Dean’s position on their position on the Trinity. If you search and read the various apologetic websites you’ll find how tough it was for many to get straight answers on their position on the doctrine of the Trinity. The PC&D website, for example, doesn’t have a statement of faith. Taking a look at their church websites doesn’t make finding their beliefs too much easier. On Dan Dean’s The Heartland Church I can find no statement of …keep reading »

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WDJD

The WWJD acronym took Christian marketing by storm, had it’s 15 minutes of fame and still lingers and reappears at times. In my experience, most of the time when “WWJD” is brought up it’s in the context of being kinder, gentler and nicer to those around us. Or to a certain situation currently being dealt with. It’s not necessarily a bad question to ask, but is it the right one? The title “WDJD” isn’t a misprint, but a new acronym for “What did Jesus do?” Why the new question? I believe it’s needed because that is what Scripture is focused …keep reading »

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Hard but true words from John Piper

In other words, in this research the term “born again” refers to people who say things. They say, “I have a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It’s important to me.” They say, “I believe that I will go to heaven when I die. I have confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.” Then the Barna Group takes them at their word, ascribes to them the infinitely important reality of the new birth, and then blasphemes that precious biblical reality by saying that regenerate hearts have no more victory over sin than unregenerate hearts. The New Testament Moves …keep reading »

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Vote for Timmy’s question for Mark Driscoll

If you don’t mind, would you give your votes to Timmy Brister’s question to Mark Driscoll at his Ask Anything blog. Go here to vote and give him the 10 votes you’re alloted per day. His question is: Do you believe that the Scripture not only regulates our theology but also our methodology? In other words, do you believe in the regulative principle? If so, to what degree? If not, why not? Please and thank you, Mark

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Darrin Patrick on the Emerging Church at Covenant Seminary (Update II)

It looks like the audio of part 1 (are there more parts?) of Darrin Patrick on the Emerging Church is now available. The interview is part of the Fall 2007 Francis A. Schaeffer Lectures entitled A Dialogue on the Emerging Church. The MP3 is available. I haven’t heard it yet, but I look forward to it. I know at least one friend was waiting for this audio to be available. Update: Part two is now up at Darrin Patrick’s church website though it’s not up at Covenant Seminary just yet. It is also available in MP3 format and it’s called …keep reading »

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Southern Baptists and a Great Commission Resurgence?

Beyond Calvinism This post will refer to cleaning our house beyond Calvinism though it stems from talks from Calvinism. Last week I attended the Southern Bap