Thursday, April 27, 2006

Together for the Gospel Conference

Tim Challies is bloging from the Together for the Gospel Conference in Louisville Kentuky. The conferences has some great pastors and speakers; Mark Dever , Ligon Duncan, John MacArthur, C.J. Mahaney , Dr. Al Mohler, John Piper and R.C. Sproul. I have looked at a few entries and I will for sure have my order in for MP3s, from here, when they come out.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Creativity in Preaching and Ministry

I was in a conversation on creativity in ministry and it brought up an area I struggle with, while we do need to make sure we are communicating God's word I am not sure the word creative is applicable to this endeavor. All too often the church tries to be cute in delivering a message that stands on its own and leads to sermon series titles like “Desperate Households” and other such plays on popular culture. Why do we feel we need to mirror the culture to deliver God’s word as it seems to me in many ways the message of Christ was counter cultural. We spend way too much time trying to be “creative” and far too little time digging into God’s word. I would much rather be a man who communicates truth and is short on creativity than be a really creative person that communicates pabulum. Now we might want to say we want to be both creative and truthful however I think that when we become too creative we may hold an audiences attention but in the end all they remember is the creativity and they totally miss God. This is not an excuse to be lazy in how we deliver truth as we need to show the passion for the truth that we have for God so if we show no passion we convey a small view of God. So as to quit rambling I think we need to seek after passion much more than creativity.

There was a good article at Banner of Truth that echoes a lot of what I feel called: Variety And Creativity In Preaching?

I realize this is not popular and I am probably in the minority. But this is not a call for the “good old days”, what ever they are, but this is a call to relying on God and scripture rather than our so called creativity and human smarts.

The New Discerning Reader

There is a new Discerning Reader site, not connected to the old. Tim Challies bought the name when the old Discerning Reader closed down for a variety of reasons.

Any way, check it out as there are a lot of good reviews on books to read, who would have guessed, as well as reviews of DVDs. There will even be, in the future, mini-reviews that can be used in bulletins.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Biblical Theology

For those of you interested in Biblical Theology, and who isn’t, there are two sites I have come across that you can go to:

1) Biblical Theology – A blog/Forum to discuss issues relating to Biblical Theology
2) Biblical Theology Briefings and their related Blog Site

I would encourage you to check out these sites as the area of Biblical Theology seems to often get overlooked and in my opinion is instrumental in keeping ones focus on what all of scripture points to when delving into such areas as Systematic Theology. It is not a replacement for Systematic but is to go alongside it.

Here is an article explaining Biblical Theology:

- What is the Discipline of Biblical Theology? By Graeme Goldsworthy

Monday, April 17, 2006

Two Good Articles

Here are two good articles that I have come across recently:

First is one in Modern Reformation called: Without Excuse by Michael Horton
This deals with people’s struggles with the what it takes to be saved and how to answer ones co-worker that is asking questions.

How do we deal with objections to the claim that Jesus is the only way?
How much does one have to know to be saved?

This second article is in Christianity Today : Nothing But The Blood by Mark Dever
This article looks at the atonement and answers many of the objections, not simply by an unbelieving world, but by the church as well. This is a subject that is under attack from those seeking to reinterpret Paul to those just plain offended by the concept and wanting to create an alternative answer to the plain reading of scripture which is all too often reinterpreted by outside writings and cultural shifts.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Why the big deal about the Gospel of Judas?

Well, because the press wants it to be a big deal.

It would appear that with most things related to the press the goal of generating stories trumps truth. It is amazing that no matter the proofs we have regarding the revealed word of God if one find turns up that says something contradictory to God’s word it is often blindly accepted. However, when something shows up that may confirm some aspect of Christianity it is met with lots of skepticism, such as the find of the inscription that shows Christian churches existing earlier than many skeptics want to believe. Whether this find turns out to be dated correctly or not is not the issue it is that if a find appears to contradict the claims of Christianity it is widely publicized. But, when a find appears to support the claims for Christianity it is discredited or simply downplayed and often ignored

Below is an article from the Kairos Journal article on the Gospel of Judas.

Truly Ridiculous: National Geographic’s Forged “Gospel of Judas”

Late last week, the National Geographic Society heralded the release of a 4th century document discovered in Egypt and written in Coptic as a major insight into historical Christianity. Dubbed “The Gospel of Judas,” those marketing the manuscript have claimed that it gives new insights into “the disciple who betrayed Jesus.” The text provocatively suggests a “conversation” between Jesus and Judas in which the now infamous disciple learned a “secret mystery”: Jesus must abandon his physical body to accomplish his true spiritual mission. “You will exceed all of them,” Jesus supposedly tells Judas. “For you will sacrifice the man who clothes me.” In other words, this newly discovered “gospel” is nothing more than one of many propaganda pieces produced by Gnostics—a group of people who were desperate to undermine the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
Despite this background about the spurious provenance of this recent discovery, the mass media have been in frenzy about the phenomenon. After all, it’s good for business during the week leading up to Easter to take a cheap shot at historic Christianity. But the claims being made for the “Gospel of Judas” are nothing short of ridiculous. The New York Times ran an op-ed saying that historians had uncovered “proof that Judas might have been part of a divine plan.” In reality, as New Testament scholar Bruce Chilton observed in The New York Sun, “no scholar associated with the find argues this is a first century document or that it derives from Judas.” It is not in any way, shape, or form a historical writing that tells us anything reliable about either the real Jesus or Judas. Even those who say that this is the same text that the Church father Irenaeus condemned as heresy are hard pressed to prove that the Coptic version of “Judas” is the same one that the 2nd century bishop described (e.g., Irenaeus mentions a “Gospel of Judas” that has mythological material not included in the recently touted Coptic/National Geographic version).
“The Gospel of Judas” is little more than a forged pseudo-gospel probably written by some 4th century heretics. Elaine Pagels, a Princeton University religion professor and paid consultant for the National Geographic Project, is quick to point out that these people didn’t consider themselves heretics. But then again, when do heretics admit that what they believe is, in fact, heresy? Whether one is talking about the 4th century or the 21st century, there has been no shortage of desperate and unscrupulous people trying to discredit the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.”

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday Travels Around the Blogosphere

Tom Ascol at the Founders blog is looking at submitting a resolution at this years SBC meeting regarding a resolution on church discipline and integrity in reporting statistics.

Here are updates on Lakeshore Baptist Church in Lakeshore Mississippi.

At Together for the Gospel C.J. Mahaney writes on: The Gospel.

Here is a review of Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God which is a great book on showing how evangelism and the sovereignty of God or intimately connected.

This is probably not the usual sermon you would hear on an Easter morning in the society which we live in as it may offend someone: Spiritual Resurrection by C. H. Spurgeon. Here are some comments on the seron at Pyromaniacs.

Speaking of being offensive, at Old there is an article entitled: The Gospel Offends Because it is Intolerant of Sin.

A pastor kissing goats? Is this telling or what? Kissing goats, where are the sheep?

Friday, April 07, 2006


Tom Ascol’s post for today: Immigration fiasco is very good as it shows that the immigration issue is not as simple as “just give everyone amnesty” or “ship them all home.” As Chrsitians we are called to follow the laws of the land but we are also called to weigh those laws against the laws of God. So when the issue of immigration comes up it is not as easy to deal with when it becomes real as Tom shows.

My persoanl gut reaction is to do everything the leagal way but Tom’s examples are very good in that they show that not only do laws need to be enforced but those laws need to make sense and be sensible. We are a country of immigrants and that is a good thing since it brings the world to us. As Chrsitians we are called pilgrims or sojourners so in many ways we are in this world in a way the world does not like. Could we be seen as wrongly here by the world, it would seem so if one simply reads the paper.

At the heart of this matter is to always remember to what kingdom we owe first alligience, God’s Kingdom. We can be loyal to our country, as I am, but this loyalty must not obscure our loyalty to the cross. A good example was when I was at a “weekender” at Captial Hill Baptist and Mark Dever talked about how he took the American flag from the front of the church, and some ensuing issues that were raised by well meaning members. Not because he was un-patriotic but he saw it as possibly giving the impression that being a Christian equated to being an American. With his church being in D.C many people from other countries visit there and the last thing that needed to be done was muddy up the message of the Gospel with some form of percieved Patirotic Religion.

This all said I am still struggling over what should be done with immigrationa and how to deal with where we are right now. How does one deal with the issues Tom raises? Much more prayer needs to go into this than is often done. I for one need to do this and put my feelings on hold while I consult God and Scripture.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A God Centered Gospel VS. A Man Centered Gospel

This article by Steven J. Cole: How John Calvin Led me to Repent of Christian Psychology is quite good in that it shows the problems inherent in a man centered Gospel when placed against Scripture. While the article deals with his personal move from a “Christian ”psychological approach to preaching and to a God centered it is all too true of much of today’s man centered gospel message. The goal of reading scripture becomes what does God say about me and what will He do for me rather than what does Scripture say about God and what I am supposed to do to glorify Him.

I can relate to his journey as I have in the 18 years I have been a Christian heard this theological approach way too often. Who has not heard the misuse of “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39) to validate that we need to have self love before we can love others. Thus the individual becomes the center of his own universe and how he feels about himself dictates how he reacts to others and even God. This is as opposed to doing as God commands us and realizing we are to find joy regardless of the circumstances that surround what we do. This kind of self-love thinking is far from the “…..take up his cross daily…” (Luke 9:23) attitude we are called to have by God and instead fits more in line with Oprah and Dr. Phil.

I pray the church and the individuals that make the church would see the fallacy of self love and rely on God rather than self.