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Archive | Theology

The Justification Landscape – Reformed Forum

What I’m about to say isn’t hyperbolic:

I appreciated every single sentence uttered by Pastor Mark Garcia in this Christ the Center interview.

As someone who has been following the Federal Vision and New Perspective(s) on Paul controversies for some time now, I’ve listened to my fair share discussions.  Like that old Clint Eastwood flick, most could be labeled as either being good, bad or ugly.  And unfortunately, there’s been a lot of ugly. 

But let me tell ya, Pastor Garcia ain’t ugly.

Prayer as a Way of Walking in Love: A Personal Journey – Francis Chan

Pastor John Piper said that Francis Chan’s message at the 2010 National Conference was probably one of the most listened to talks in Desiring God Conference history.

That’s remarkable.  In some ways this surprises me.  But in other ways, it doesn’t at all. 

There will no doubt be some who feel this is a bad thing, as Francis Chan doesn’t adequately measure up to their standards of Reformed purity.  The popularity, they will suppose, stems from the ever increasing downgrading of Evangelicalism.    

But I, for one, very much like him.

An Arminian Conundrum

Let’s be honest, texts like 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 pose a challenge to the doctrine of unconditional election.  And Arminians love to remind Calvinists of this fact. 

Over the years, I’ve discussed theology with my fair share of free will theists.  While exploring the doctrines of sovereign grace, it usually takes, oh, about 3.2 minutes before one of the above passages is unsheathed.  I’ll point to the first chapter of Ephesians, and they’ll smile and point at 1 Timothy 2:4.  I’ll ask them to consider Romans 9, and they’ll promptly turn to 2 Peter.  Know what I’m talking about? 

Here a number of us Calvinists will try to explain what has come to be known as “The two wills of God.”  But if you’ve ever gone that route before, that is, address the difficulty head on, you know it’s a tough sell.  The Arminian scrunches his face and rolls his eyes and usually dismisses the notion.  “Sir,” he replies, “you’re grasping for straws.”

Desiring God Interview with Tim Keller

While situated in a black leather chair in the comfort of his living room, Pastor Tim Keller answers a host of questions about his life and latest book.  It’s an interesting hour and a half.  Everything from his conversion to his early ministry to the beginnings of Redeemer is discussed.  His mild manner and approachability are certainly evident throughout, which makes for a good listen.

In the second segment, which is approximately 45 minutes long, his newest book, “Generous Justice,” is taken up.  Issues including the nature of justice, social justice, and mercy ministry are unpacked with pastoral insight.  As a deacon, I’m very much interested in getting my hands on a copy.  I suspect many of you would likewise enjoy it as well.

TGC Los Angeles Conference Q and A – D.A. Carson

I think it’s safe to say that nearly everyone has weighed in on N.T. Wright.  There are those who adore the man.  And there are, of course, those who always carry on their person a long coil of rope, so that in the event of a random encounter with the man, they would be prepared to conduct a lynching. 

D.A. Carson’s opinion of Wright’s theology falls somewhere between the extremes.

Dogged Praying

The Lord knows that my faith weakens often in offering a particular ongoing prayer request. So recently He sent me help to get on my knees and beg anew. Perhaps it may help you.

It came from reading Sean Michael Lucas’ biography on Robert Dabney. From a sermon Dabney preached in February 1849 on prevalent prayer,

Q and A With John Piper and Conrad Mbewe – Rezolution 2010

I’m usually not a big fan of Q and A sessions.  No wait, I take that back.  I enjoy listening to Q and A sessions.  They’re often entertaining in the sense that they’re not scripted.  And that offers real insight into the character of the panel.  But rarely do I walk away from such events feeling especially edified.

This session was very different.

Ramblings

Reading a book called Breath, which tells the incredible tale of Martha Mason. Martha, a fellow Tarheel, spent over sixty years in an iron lung. She had an incredible spirit, seen in such things as her graduating from Wake Forest or managing her own mother’s health when senility struck Martha’s lifelong caregiver. She went through all this without losing her sense of humor.

Hiding Ourselves

Is it not easier to hide who we are than who we are not?

To disguise our selfishness is but the work of a moment, whereas the lack of a generous spirit is too big a void to conceal.
To covet a neighbor’s position can be mostly contained within, but a failure to rejoice spontaneously in a friend’s success creates a loud silence.
To talk big about prayer and pray big in public can, like a rug over swept-up dirt, mostly hide the fact that we do not pray quietly in private, but it is not a very good cover up for a long distance relationship with God.

Is this not the way of the Pharisee Jesus exposed so devastatingly?

On Qu’ran Burnings

Because of what the Bible teaches, I do not think the pastor in Florida, who appears to be vacillating on whether to burn Qu’rans or not, should do so. Why?

Well, it is not because I believe that the Qu’ran is a holy book. To be as direct as possible, in its denunciations of Christ as the Son of God and crucified Redeemer; its upholding of a polygamous charlatan as the prophet of God; and its teaching that men are justified by works (i.e. keeping the Five Pillars of Islam), I believe the Qu’ran is a book that contains Satanic lies and is leading millions to the eternal doom of the burning flames of hell. Yet I still do not think he should burn them or Christians should participate in this type of demonstration. Again, why?

First, it is not consistent with the Scriptures on book burning. The Biblical proof-text Pastor Jones might offer for holding book burnings would come from Acts 19:19, where we are told this about the people of Ephesus who had responded to the gospel:

“And many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted […]