Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fred Malone's Questions for Understanding and Application of the Gospel

These are Fred Malone's questions to better help us both understand and apply the gospel, I have taken them from Phil Newton's book Elders in Congregational Life, where Newton quotes him.

1) How does Christ's life and redeeming work help you to live as a husband, a wife, a parent, a child, a church member?

2) What do you think is God's great goal for your life?

3) What does heaven mean to you today?

4) What does Christ think and feel about you when you sin?

5) Do you think God enjoys you?

The answers to these questions that each of us gives will reveal a great deal about how we understand and live out the gospel. Many of us confess justification by faith alone, but live as though the security of our salvation rests on our good works or purity. It does not. God is not less accessible, less our savior, or more hateful towards us when we sin. Because of Christ, God looks on us and sees the righteousness of His Son. This has come home to most clearly in the two chapters on "legalism" and "Condemnation" in C.J. Mahaney's book The Cross Centered Life, and is most clearly laid out in the letter to the Galatians. Galatians is the great book on justification by faith alone, in which Paul defends salvation by grace through faith in the work and person of Christ alone. Read it often to refresh yourself on the true gospel and evaluate your life frequently with the questions above. What we say we beleive about the gospel is revealed to be true, or not, in the way we live.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Real Thanks

It is important to know your history. This week all across our nation high school and junior high school history professors were teaching their students about the first thanksgiving. They taught them about the pilgrims and the Mayflower, about the Indians and Squanto. And what did they conclude? Most likely they concluded that the first thanksgiving was a joint feast between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims as a way for the latter to say, "Thank you for teaching us how to grow crops."

This absurd ideas has been repeated for years, despite that it continues to be proven false. The fact is, friends, the first thanksgiving was a thanks offered up to God for bringing the English pioneers to safety, keeping them, and providential providing for them. So when you celebrate thanksgiving this year remember who you are really giving thanks to!

"What do you have that you did not recieve? If then you recieved it, why do you boast as if you did not recieve it." (1 Corinthians 4:7)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Reformed Rap?

Say what you will about the rap industry (vain, worthless, pornographic, etc.), but it is one, if not the most, popular forms of modern music. Kanye West, The Black Eyed Peas, and the Gorillaz are all up for Grammys this year.

As is often the case the Christian community attempts to duplicate the secular art forms and this is none the less true of the rap industry. With breakout artists like KJ52, John Reuben, Ill Harmonic, and Grits Christian rap has become its own genre. If this sounds like an oxymoron wait until you hear about the latest development: Reformed Christian Rap!

New rap artist Voice, of Washington D.C. and Covenant Life Church, has appeared on the scene rapping about the "Unstoppable" God. Joining him now is Christcentric, a threesome of reformed Christians rapping about the "Mighty Fortress" who is the Christian God of Martin Luther. One wonders what R.C. Sproul will think about his voice being heard on a Christian rap c.d., but the content of Christcentric's latest album is quite unparalleled. Perhaps you can agree with them when they say, "you may think Christian rap is as chessy as nachos" but without doubt Christcentric and Voice are fulfilling a Biblical mandate: redeeming the culture.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

And the Winner is...


Go Bucks!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

The College Football Game of the Year

Allow me to quote Sam Walker:

The first time the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes played a football game, Victoria was the queen of England, Babe Ruth was in diapers and the sport of basketball was six years old.

The rivalry between these schools, which began in 1897 and resumes tomorrow in Columbus, Ohio, predates the introduction of aspirin. It is older than the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees -- than the World Series, the Boy Scouts of America, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and the state of Oklahoma.

Sport's analysts are predicting an Ohio State victory, but either way it's going to be a great game. Prominent sport's analyst Steve Burchett writes, "Ohio State 28, Michigan 26 (Ohio State is going to block a Michigan field goal attempt as time expires)--But I'm not a prophet! Go Bucks." What will be the end result? I can't say. I don't know enough to analyze the game before it happens, but I can say that this is the biggest game in college football this year.

When number one and number two go head to head, in an ancient rivalry, and when ESPN is counting down the days you know you're witnessing an amazing sporting event. Both teams are strong defensively. Ohio State, with Heisman candidate Troy Smith, are more defined offensively than their opponents, but there are no guarantees.

Coverage begins at 3:00, kick-off at 3:30 on ABC. Don't hear about it at the Water Cooler on Monday morning, be there!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Resources and Thoughts on Feminism

The best response to feminism has been given by theologian Wayne Grudem. Grudem has published three volumes, one massive and two shorter, on the subject and in these he has given a thorough treatment of the essential matters. Also note the work of a number of evangelical women who are responding with a Biblical worldview to the dangers of feminism in the church. I list the important resources below.

Grudem, Wayne ed. Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth: An Analysis of 100 Disputed
Questions. Sisters: Multnomah, 2004.

_____________. Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism. Wheaton: Crossway,

_____________. Countering the Claims of Evangelical Feminism. Sisters: Multnomah,

Jones, Rebecca. Does Christianity Squash Women?: A Christian Looks at Womanhood.
Nashvill: Broadman, 2005.

Kassian, Mary. The Feminist Mistake: The Radical Effect of Feminism on the Church and the
Culture. Wheaton: Crossway, 2005.

Piper, John ed. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Wheaton: Crossway, 2006.

Wilson, P. Bunny. Liberated Through Submission: God's Design for Freedom in All
Relationships. Harvest House, 2006.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Resources and thoughts on the Emerging Church

The end of the semester here at Southern has pre-occupied me somwhat as of late, but I return to my blog today to post some resources on the issues surrounding the Emerging Church.

The most important book on the subject right now is D.A. Carson's Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005). Derek Thomas has given an adequate reveiw of Carson's book, I won't repeat, but here is a quote from Thomas:

In eight chapters Carson covers all bases: historical analysis (what caused the birth of the Emergent Church), cultural critique (Carson’s analysis of post-modernity is itself a brief and succinct guide to what otherwise can prove to be a quagmire), personality engagement (Carson takes on the heavy-weights, Brian McLaren [A Generous Orthodoxy] and Steve Chalk [The Lost Message of Jesus] and finds both wanting), and biblical analysis (we’d expect no loss from a Biblical scholar of Carson’s reputation).

What makes the Emerging Church so significant? First, it does have some legitimate criticisms and concerns. The church must engage the cutlure, and it must recognize the changing shape of the culture. The failure of many Emerging Church groups, however, is that it all too readily embraces the culture of postmodernism. While trying its best not to be absolute relativists, members of the Emerging Church Movement are absolutely not absolutists.

Why should pastors take note of this movement? An entire generation of younger Christians who are tired of fundamentalism, legalism, and pragmatism in the church find this movement has appeal. Many young, godly, men and women are being drawn away from the confessional church to a "church" with no concrete statements of faith. The end result is nothing more than theologically wimpy, politically correct, Christians. And such is of no value to the church or the culture, no matter how "relevant" it may seem.

Other Resources:
Justin Taylor did a massive 8 part series on the Emerging church over at his blog:

Truth and the New Kind of Christian: Effects of Postmodernism in the Church by R. Scott Smith

Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accomidation in Postmodern Times ed. Millard Erickson

Whatever Happened to Truth? ed. by Andreas Kostenberger

Friday, November 10, 2006

I am Not a Republican

The results of Tuesday's mid-term elections were not very suprising to most people. The Democrats won control of the House and (with a bit of suprise, perhaps) the Senate. At one level I am must confess I am delighted to see the change. Why? Not because I am a liberal democrat, in favor of abortion and gay rights. But, rather, because much of the Republican party, it seems, forgot why they were sent to Washington.

Corruption, immorality, and complete selfishness were kings. Over the last couple months, it seems, the Republicans have recieved one blow after another as man after, man was revealed to be invovled in some scandal. To say the least it has reminded me that Christianity is not the same as republicanism. Many have wrongly associated the two too close together and now that association is revealed to be quite dangerous! This loss, then, is good for Christians. It reminds them to be Christians first and not republicans. This loss is also good for Republicans as it calls into check their trend of corruption.

ON the other hand, I am somewhat nervous about the new party in office on Capitol Hill. The Thought of liberal democrats controlling both the house and the senate doesn't increase my delight in republican removals. To exchange one form of immorality for another isn't my prefered choice of action. Romans 13 is my only hope in times like these. Politics is increasingly being revealed to be full of hypocrisy, corruption, and selfishness. But God still reigns supreme, and this too serves as a fresh reminder for Christians. Politics are important, but in the end only the Gospel of Jesus Christ will change the world. Democrats won't, and neither will Republicans, but Christ will!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Important Theological Movements in the 21st Century

Throughout history theology, like all disciplines, has always been growing and changing. Some changes are good. It takes time, study, hard rational thought, and prayer to uncover further the truths of scripture and to systematize those into full fledged doctrines. Even now good debate continues over subjects like God's relation to time. But there is also bad change in theological investigation.

Bad changes are those that occur when theologians and churches move away from scripture or apply a poor hermeneutic to it. The argument that God delights in homosexuality is an obvious example. But there are some theological movements in our time that are making, and have been for some time, great headway into the church. These are dangerous because they are deceptive, and many are falling prey to false doctrine. It becomes significant, then, that the church, and particularly, pastors be aware of them, and know how to fight them. Over the next week I want to offer some helpful resources for various theological movements; here I simply list a few of them:

Environmentalist Spirituality-- Environmentalism as religion with a New Age Spirituality twist.

Emergent Church -- The “Deconstruction” and “Reconstruction” of Western Christianity, including the rejection of modernism and the embrace of postmodern philosophy.

Open Theism -- An “Evangelical” theological movement, which denies portions of classical theism, including: divine impassibility, immutability, and omniscience.

Evangelical Feminism -- Orthodox Christians who affirm the Bible, but who believe that “rightly understood” it supports the abolition of gender roles in the home, church, and society.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Diablogue

For those interested:

I and a fellow church member here at Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, are having a discussion on the significance of the name "Baptist." It has already proven to be an insightful discussion. We've discussed: What is the role of a Church name; What should it communicate; Who should we reach out to with a Church name; and continue to discuss whether or not "Baptist" is a helpful label. I'd encourage my readers to go and see what is being discussed there. Sammy's heart for evangelism and inviting church atmosphere is evident in his comments. He's a good model for us all.

I quote here from Sammy as motivation for you to read the blog: "Now some who might accidentally stumble on this might say, “Here is yet another example of some ghetto Christians who have nothing better to do than to split hairs about things no one cares about.” Well, I’ll take split ends over the underdeveloped (thoughtless) peach fuzz that represents how many approach their church life. What we call things can be significant, or societies wouldn’t always be fighting over names."

So check it out at