Friday, March 30, 2007

Stop Dating the Church (back again)

Josh Harris wrote a book entitled Stop Dating the Church. It talks about society's need to be church-hoppers (or shoppers). What can the church do for me? Well, this was recently brought up again at Boundless on their blog entry. The Summit (my church in NC) is definitely a college church - meaning many many college students from UNC, Duke, NCSU, SEBTS, and other smaller colleges attend. JD is big on this topic. He preaches on it quite often when talking primarily to college students. We want them to plug in, don't shop and hop, be a part of the church (Eph 4).
Well, as I was out at a lake today, reading and journaling, enjoying the breeze and sun, I came across a particularly relevant (to this top) journal entry from Jim Elliot. Yes, the same Jim Elliot who lived in the 50s and died a martyr's death in Equador. He was talking about the fellowship of the community found in Eph 4. This is what he said:
"I sense we have a multitude of leeches in the church, gaining what they can from all sources, but few 'joints of supply'. Fellowship is reciprocal - one must give himself to be fed upon if he is to maintain the right to feed on others. Fellowship, I take it, is in building with one another, each essential to the other's profit. Some go everywhere to get, but will go nowhere to give."

I'm thinking of this very topic as I'm in a new place and am trying to think about being a part of a church again. Hoping I have found the right place, even if it is a ways drive (even further than the Summit from Wake Forest.)

Challies and Worship

I got to meet Tim Challies (of the fame) recently at a conference. I appreciate what he says and how he says it.
Today's blog is no different. He writes on worship with a song by the All Star United band. A lot of youth/college like their stuff because of the edgier sound.
He writed on the motivation and lyrics behind many songs being written today. I was slightly offended by John McArthur's comments at a recent conference - we sing the old stuff b/c there isn't much good stuff being written today. yes there is - look at Sovereign Grace Music or Getty music or Matt Redmans "Where Angels Fear to Tread" or the song about Job he sings. The new version of Amazing Grace (my chains are gone) by Tomlin.
Recently I was doing some music rating stuff for Z88 out of Orlando. Christian music, great. Most of the stuff is about love or something fluffy like that. I would say a good 10% of the songs we listened to were MWS songs or Tomlin songs.
Where is the deep stuff - the theology stuff - being played on our radio stations?
More importantly - where is it being sung in our churches on Sunday mornings?
Worship leaders - give us (the congregation) some stuff to think about on Sunday mornings - not I-driven worship songs. Remember, we are not a post-modernist church (unless you are) - we have truth to give and God is the center of the universe (including our worship and music).

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Big Prayer Day

Tomorrow (Sunday) I'm going to get out of here (the house) early and go down to one of the local lakes (its called Lakeland for a reason) and spend some time in prayer, Scripture, walking, listening to some Shane and Shane. I'm looking forward to this day and it is supposed to be nice weather.
Today I sat in a seminary extension class and talked about philosophy with Dr. Little. In the discussion of miracles, we asked it the answering of precedent prayer authenticated the existence of God. Of course it doesn't. If I quit believing in God at the first time He didn't answer my prayer like I wanted to, I would have quit believing a long time ago. But, praise to His glory that He didn't answer them like I've always wanted Him to.
But...tomorrow gotta a lot of big things on my plates: future things, now things, and medical things. God is a big God - He can handle big requests all at once!

more important things than March Madness

Last night - even with UF and UNC's wins to enter the Elite 8 and continue playing for b-ball's biggest prize...there is something even more important.

UPDATE as of Monday morning: Jason died this morning in NJ. Pray for the bball players, cheerleaders, friends, UNC students who loved "Ramses" the Ram. Pray as staff members of the Summit have many opportunities to minister to people there about Jason's relationship with Jesus. Jason: the UNC Mascot, was hit by a car in NJ prior to the game. As a close friend to Jason and the biggest Tarheel fan I know said..."we're not even concerned about b-ball right now, there are more important things...but, did the Gators win?". I told her yes, but I'm glad she and I both know the perspective and that life and death are definitely more important than b-ball.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A fave psalm, bball, and walking

I don't know if it will be in the order of the title...probably not.

In about 30 minutes the Gators tip off in the Sweet 16. Most analysists say that have it easy. Last night's games were 3/4 decided by 1 point, the other one by 3. I hope the Gators dominate. Then in about 3 hours, the Heels tip off. I have to switch my shirts when the Gator game is done. But, once they get around to playing each other it will all be GATORS!

I was excited this morning when I read my psalm for the day: Psalm 4 - one of my favorite. It is both convicting and encouraging.

4.1 God doesn't have to answer our prayer. To do so is an act of grace (free gift we can't earn, therefore we can't expect) on His part. Now, I'm very thankful that He always does in his sovereign plan.

4.2 - I love how the NAS puts this: "how long will you love what is worthless?" This phrase has always been convicting to me - it cuts me to the core everytime I read it. Think about the things you love in life, or what your life says about what you worthless are those things?

4.3 - The Lord sets apart the Godly for Himself (Phil 1.6, Eph 2.10). We are distinct, set apart, distinguished - for HIS GLORY. For Himself. He uses us and grows us for Himself and according to His plan. Do we have our own agenda - or do we say that His agenda is more important than our own. I sent this to a friend of mine this morning. Even when things aren't necessarily going according to our plans (how we always thought life would turn out) we can hold steady to the fact that God has it all in control and He is not held in line by time.

4.5 - Offer the sacrifices of right living and trust in the Lord. These two phrases go together very well even as I think about it now. Kill/give up costly things to you in order to live a righteous life in God's sight - and trust in Him. When we give up things that are costly to us in this world (even to be popular, successful, happy, etc) - all to live a righteous life in the sight of our Redeemer - we have to trust in Him, because it goes against everything our culture says.

4.7 - More gladness than when grain and new wine abound. Now, I don't too excited about wine mainly because I don't like it. But, I do like food and good food at that. I get excited over a great meal and one that is cooked and presented in a grand way. But, even more so back then they celebrated with much wine and grain. God's gladness is more to us than that.

Now, onto the walking part. I love to walk. Especially on the beach. I remember my senior year of college and the 9 months I lived in St. Aug after I graduated, I would take a twice daily walk down to the beach (I lived right across from A1A, so I could do that easily). Once in the morning right when I got up (step out of the bed, into the tennis shoes) to see the sunrise (beautiful). Then a longer one at night for about 3-4 miles to enjoy the cool night breeze almost year round. I enjoy walking around UNC's campus and down to Flaherty from SEBTS's campus with my friend Sarah. I like walking around Lake Hollingsworth here in town and anytime in the fall when I can shuffle my feet through the leaves (this is much better in NC than in FL where not many leaves fall). know when walking gets hard? When I have to "walk in the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh". This is very difficult. It is something that must be at the forefront in my mind at all times. When I get impatient with drivers like I did today. When I want to argue or put my thoughts ahead of someone elses...I have to WALK again.

The term in Gal 5.16 means literally to "continually live your life" in the Spirit. And if you do that - then you won't have time to think about the flesh. Only the Spirit can help me do that - I surely can't. It is a minute by minute conscience thing we must do as believers.

As my tag on my profile says: living under grace. Even more so every day.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thoughts on a sermon

These are my notes on a sermon from a friend of mine who is the Pastor at Richland Creek Community Church in Wake Forest, NC. 1 Peter 3.1-7 - even for singles, ones you mentor, about to get married, etc.
First 6 are for wives...but only one is for men.
What is the context (likewise); submission...slaves, employees, teachers, coach, pastors, etc.
Submit: voluntarily understand God's position for us.
"In the same manner" is not en vogue. Don't we always like to do what we want, when we want it. It is much harder to learn this (going into marriage) when you have been single for a long time (like me). We have gotten used to doing things our way and being our own "boss". But, we as singles can pray that God would give us a submissive heart even while we are yet single: hope and preparation.
Focus on what God has called you to do. Be submissive. God is going to ask us about the role He has called us to: be submissive wives, be Godly wives. Not the wife who is slanted toward contentiousness (there is that word again) - today went much better than yesterday.
We have equal value, different assignments.
Obedience to our God is the best way we can "evangelize" our own husbands. Even for singles: I think one of the best ways we can show a dying world the TRUTH is to live it out - be obedient: parents, bosses, the WORD. Our Pure Conduct accompanied by the fear of the Lord. Let the Spirit work!
Beauty: I was talking to some girls about that today. Do not let your adornment be worldly (cosmos). Cosmo - the magazine, is so trashy. I actually was reading one on a plane one day, freaking out about the fact that I was going to be intimate with my husband one day because they made it sound so gross. I want a beautiful marriage. But, he's not saying be ugly. Don't let it be your drive! Anyway, back to those girls: loving, peaceful, quiet, fun, Word-saturated...those are some of the qualities of these girls I emailed today - but they are also so beautiful by the world's standards.
"Gentle and Quiet Spirit" - not a wallflower, mute, etc. This is NOT what the Bible means. We can have personalities - created by God. How would your husband describe you? I want to be known by my husband to be G and Q. Man - God's got a lot of work to do on me. "In the sight of God". God is watching - He knows and cares about how we related to our husbands (because it demonstrates to a dying world the covenant between Christ and the church). Fulfill your responsbility.
The godly women who hoped in God adorned themselves in submission to their own husbands. We need to look to those godly women (especially as young married women or single women) as points of light in a dark obedient women who know the truth. We have our role models as women who obey and submit to their husbands, both ones we know personally and ones that are afar off: Phyllis Robshaw, Carolyn Mahaney, Noel Piper, Sandra Rice, Merriem Franks, just to name a few.
Look to women who know and believe and live the TRUTH of God in their lives, especially in their roles as wives.
I'll stop there since I'm not qualified to speak as a husband/man. But, I will say I am diligently praying for myself that I would be like the above, and my husband would be like God and the husband that Paul describes in the NT and the wise man that the Preacher describes in the book of Proverbs.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Word of the Day: Contentious

I read that this morning in my time in Prov 21 - it is a scary word. Especially when you find yourself so much in that word. yuck.
God is teaching me a lot about traits of a good wife and mother, woman of God, follower of Him. The Word tells us that men should not want to live with a contentious woman. So, I wanted to find out what exactly this word meant:
exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes

Is that really me? Would I consider myself to be that? Around some people, yes.
So, how did I apply the Word today...
Everytime my mouth opened, I would think of the word contentious - and try to think about what I was saying. Sometimes that made me shut my mouth, other times I just said it anyway (and thought later). But, even laying here now I want to take the word contentious and replace it with peace, quiet, submissive, calm, beauty. Those are the words I would rather have describe me.
Any of you married women out there know how to live this out on a daily basis?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Delighting and Focusing

Its been a cool day here in central Florida with winds and drizzle - but then I loved looking at the dark clouds (that didn't amount to anything) that hovered over my granny's house.
This morning I awoke and read Ps 1 and Pr 20. Great way to start the day by meditating on Scripture. Then tonight I took a pilates (more or less) class at the gym and am going to read Heb 12. There are two words that came out of these two passages that I want to hit on right now:
Ps 1.2: But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night."
Beside the passage in my NAS Bible I have written "What would this look like?" Well - everytime I look at this passage I ask myself that. What would it look like for my life to reflect a delighting in the Word of God? Not a delighting in sports, food, cooking, money, guys, exercising, knowledge, anything. But, delighting in the LAW of GOD. But...what is the "reward" for that meditating, for that delighting?..."He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does, he prospers."
Delight: (from from the word allure (we use that often times in romantic terms) and it says "to take great pleasure" - there are many things I take great pleasure in, but would I count the WORD, the LAW of the LORD as one of them. Often times we come to it as a sense of duty (not as Piper talks about the Dangerous Duty of Delight ) but a drudgery task that we must do because we are Christians. That is not delight. Pray the Lord of Joy and Wonder and Knowledge would give you JOY to wake up each morning and take delight in His Word. And meditate on it day and night.

Next word, I thought about this during my pilates class. One of the stances in pilates or yoga or whatever is called the Tree. you stand on one foot and put the other flat foot on the inside of your thigh and stand there with your arms raised - and balance. Well, for me to do that, I was looking at the back of the girl in front of me. She did it pretty well. If she began to fall, I would think pridefully I'm not falling, then begin to fall (pride comes before a fall), then think and focus again and get back on track. I thought of the verse in Heb 12
"fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of of faith..."
These two verse (1, 2) are so powerful. These are just glimpses:
1. There are some who have gone before us and are experiencing Heaven and the presence of Jesus.
2. Sin entangles and weighs us down (that's why we need to lay it aside). It is a hindrance. It so easily entangles us. Sin can have a hold on us quicker than anything. Many of you will know what I'm talking about.
3. Running takes endurance - it isn't for a short time.
4. God knows the race we are going to run - it was set out before us.
5. Running is better when we fix our eyes on Jesus (when we focus on Jesus)
6. He gives and perfects (regenerates and sanctifies) our faith - it is a gift.
7. His joy drove Him to the cross - and he endured it.
8. He's at God's right hand.

All this in two verses. Great stuff. Focus - on Jesus. He perfects us (we don't need to keep our eyes on ourselves so we cna help ourselves). He knows our race. We don't need to wonder, we don't need to wander. We need to be obedient. Tonight I was thinking about the little song I learned growing up:
O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E, obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.
Does the world see that you believe? Are you living for yourself and the moment and running with endurance the race set before you (I'm listing to the most recent JD sermon right now).

Run! Obey! Focus! Delight! (These are verbs!)

Monday, March 19, 2007

widows obedience...

Tonight's blog stuff will come from Sundays worship at FBCOC. I know most of the staff from seminary: James Hilton (pastor, served on student leadership team together, friends, someone I greatly respect and seek advice from on numerous occassions), Jason (the worship pastor), and Jeremy (the youth pastor). I also met some guys at the Ligonier Conference that go there too. It was great to see Shana - whom I hadn't seen in 3 years or more. And to meet their kids: Josiah, Gracyn, and Halyn (who got a lot of prayer this first year of their life).
The worship was good. The one song I really enjoyed was :
"How can I keep from singing Your praise? How can I ever say enough? how amazing is Your love? How can I keep from shouting Your name? I know I am loved by the King, and it makes my heart want to sing" - that was just the chorus. Shouldn't our knowing our Jesus make us want to sing - shout - dance - exclaim - proclaim? What a great song. You can't help but sing loud on that song! Thanks Jason - great song!
The sermon was on money - (yes, typical Baptist as some would say), but I don't think I've ever heard a sermon preached on these verses - and James brought out some great thoughts on it.
1 Kings 17
Main Characters: Elijah (great prophet, proclaimer of God)
Widow - lady who lives in the heart of Baal country, but knows that Yahweh LIVES!
Setting: Zarephath - main worship place for Baal (false god) and Queen Jezebel
Other FYI: there was a severe drought in Israel at the time (key to know)

God tells Elijah - great man of God - to go to a "foreign" country known for its worship of false gods. Guess what - he obeys. Even when we don't understand the Word of the Lord - obey it - be blessed.
God has already told him that a widow is going to provide for him. There are several things we know about widows from Scripture: we are to take care of them, they are really nobodies. laws protect them from harm (ex 22), God will be a judge for them. But yet, God says that this widow will take care of a prophet?
E asked the W for water - and what did she do - she went and got it. Here they were having a famine, (so they have no water), and she goes and gets it for this stranger who has just found her? That doesn't make a lot of sense?
Oh, and while you are at it -bring me some bread as well. Huh? First you want water, which I have none, now you want some bread? Just take everything I have why don't you. Aren't you supposed to be protecting me. What must have been going on in this ladies mind?
v 12 shows us that she knows the LIVING GOD - even in a land of idolatry.
This bread was going to be their last - they were going to eat it and die, because she probably had no way to earn income to buy more bread. And E asks for it?
This next verse (13) is funny to me. Kinda selfish one would think on E's part. First he says, don't be afraid (kind of like Doc Reid's bless your heart) and then he says go and make the bread for yourself, but before you do that, make mine. Its like he hadn't even listened to the W. Didn't you hear me - I won't have any to eat - yet you want me to feed you first?
Here comes the blessing of the Lord - you almost have to know one is coming. I wonder what this widow is thinking? Does she think a blessing is coming? I don't know.
But...since she OBEYED - God was willing and able to bless her. Her and her son ate bread till there was rain again on the earth. SHE OBEYED - GOD BLESSED. Malachi 3.10 all over again.
Now - here's where we gotta be careful. You may be reading this and say - I give, I obey, and I still have no money and God's not blessing me. Did you read the words of that song at the front of this entry? He's our SAVIOUR - that's our blessing - that is all we need. But - God is in the business of blessing FOR HIS GLORY. I loved this verse that James brought in:
"You will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God!". This is not health, wealth, prosperity. This is blessing of God for God's glory - not ours.
Widow - obedience - filled bread jar.
Obedience from His kids - glory to HIM! isn't that our ambition?

Thanks James!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Day after Ligonier Thoughts

Good Sunday morning. Going up to James' church here in about an hour. It'll be worth the drive I do believe.
Well, now that my brain has had time to rest, I can give Ligonier overall thoughts:
1. Best three: John Piper's second (Friday morning) on relativism. MacArthur's second (Friday before lunch) on Apologetics and Evil. Then the final Q/A session a lot of which had to do with the church.
2. While the music still was the worst part for me: I have to realize that I can't judge the thoughts and intent of the heart. While there were some practical things that didn't go well: you couldn't hear James Brown over the music, the slides weren't right sometimes, they didn't change the slides in time for the next words... The theology of them was right on. Only one thing was said in re: to music I didn't agree with and I think it was John MacArthur. He said the only reason we sing the old stuff is because there is nothing good being written today. Has he looked at any Sovereign Grace stuff or modern hymns or anything like that. But, then we sang a Jack Hayford hymn that was written in 1986 - I don't think he was there for that one, nor did he probably choose it.
3. I enjoyed being with people, (but don't worry, I enjoyed my time to myself as well). James Hilton and his crew. Seeing people: Bobby Thompson, Tim Challies, Mark and Denise Hiers. Meeting new people like Scott from Clay Nettles' church in Maitland. Getting to see Summit people - feeling like home.
4. Will I go next year: probably to some of it since I can hopefully volunteer again. I'd go hear John MacArthur. I can't believe they are asking Jani Tada to come speak. I won't listen to Beth Moore as she speaks at Passion to men and having spiritual authority over them - isn't it the same thing. Yes.

Good stuff. My brain was tired.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Contending for the Truth - 3.3 - RC Sproul

The last session in a long, but good weekend. I've gotta stay after to pack up the bookstore, but what else have I got to do this afternoon? I know after this I will miss the community and teaching again for a while. That is what the good of CDs do, right?
Got to talk with Kristin during the break (thank you for finding me). Missing community. Will I find it? Glad to be going to FBCOC tomorrow.
How do we end "Were You There?" - not many people acting like it - I feel like shouting glory! But, heaven forbid we clap in this place or SHOUT or raise our hands. I love coming from a church that people do stand and shout when the words of the resurrection are sung about -that Jesus lives - that is something to LIVE for! We end it solemnly - it should be shouted gloriously. Just opinion.

Apologetics and the Resurrection

One of the oldest questions of theology - "if a man dies, shall he live again?" (Job in the OT)
The answer is set forth by the greatest Christian apologist known to history (Paul)

Europe: Immanuel Kant (God unknown to us) Prussia, professor of Astrophysics. Essays in the 18th century to do that discipline. Real claim to fame (never traveled) was classical arguments, The Critique of Pure Reason . Not to save theology, but to save science (from Hume). From then on a rift between science and theology. He ushered God out of the front door and in the back door (through practical thinking). He was concerned with ethics and morality. The argument TO design was most compelling to him. Universally present sense of duty or "oughtness' - the categorical imperative. What would the necessary conditions be to make this sense of oughtness which provokes the pangs of conscience in human beings, for this sense of duty to be meaningful (transcendentally)? W/o ethics, race cannot survive very long.
1. There has to be justice. But, I notice that justice does not always prevail (just like in the OT times). For justice to be true, we must survive the grace.
2. There must be beyond the grave a JUDGE who would dispense true justice. That Judge would have to be perfectly righteous and above reproach. If that judge were unjust - then we would have no guarantee of justice or foundation for a sensible ethic. That judge would also have to be omniscient. He would have to be free from being misinformed. One that doesn't err in his understanding of the case. That judge would also have to be all-powerful and all authority (within himself). Without God, life is meaningless.

1 Cor 15.12f (Paul's ad hominum form of argumentation) - not abusive, arguing to the man,
They are denying the resurrection because it is a universal negative. No one escapes death.
If A is true (no resurrection), then not even Christ has been raised. (necessity - not even one positive)
If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
Face facts: (not like Alice in Wonderland) Our preaching is an exercise of futility - if Christ has not been raised. My faith also is useless and worthless, as is yours. We are in turn misrepresenting God, because it is God who has raised Him from the grave. Jehovah's False Witnesses - that attribution is false.
Therefore - you are still in your sins, contained in it, meshed in it, in jail to sin, without bail. Our justification does NOT end in the cross b/c Jesus was raised for our justification. The empty grave is God's apology - but if not, you are still in your sins.
Other world religions do not have an atonement - therefore they do not have a resurrection or a justification.
Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus. That is what Paul is saying. Those who have died in Christ - have perished. Grim reality if there is no resurrection from the dead. If in this life only have hoped in Christ - we are most to be pitied. If you don't like what we preach, don't be mad at us, pity us. If you are without CHRIST, you are without HOPE.
Picture of the consequences of life without the resurrection: meaningless and preference.
Some look at what Paul has done here and what Kant did in the 1700s as the same thing: an exercise of futility. Paul doesn't do so from the hopelessness of life without it (the resurrection).
That's not his basis. Paul now appeals to the Scriptures. He died, was buried, and raised on the 3rd day based on the Scriptures. Appeal to Sacred Scripture - the Word of God proclaims it. (That's why we already talked about the trustworthiness of Scripture). He appeared to Peter, then the 12, more than 500 (go and ask them), then to ME (Paul).
But, since dead people don't rise - it has to by a myth. (Assumption made by our p-m understanding of biology). Myth is kind, it could be an outright lie. IF it is impossible for the dead to rise?
In the NT, the impossibility would be for him not to rise. It is impossible for death to hold Him. When you have non-sinful people (Jesus), why would anyone expect him to stay dead (much less to die). He took our imputation of sin, and then he accepted the human mortality. He paid that price and finished the work - bringing the resurrection for our justification. This was God's proof of the personhood of Jesus. God is the author of life and death. If God can have Jesus raise Laz from the dead(dying, rotting, corpse) - then can't He raise HIS OWN PERFECT SON?
Now God commands everyone to repent...He has fixed a day when He will judge the world by JESUS - and He has given assurance by raising Him from the Dead. His patience is not eternal. He doesn't offer an invitation - he gives a COMMAND. (we offer the invitation). He does it ONCE FOR ALL. And He will judge according to the resurrection fact. ye steadfast. Immovable. Always abounding in the work of the Lord (not in vain).

But, go back to my original statement on worship and singing. Shouldn't our singing not reflect the futility of life? We don't live a futile life so why do many of our churches sing like it is? Shouldn't our worship of the true and living God be (in happy, joyous song) happy and joyous, not standing there with our hands folded? Edwards spoke of the Religious Affections. Where are they? In contemplative songs -there is room for contemplation, but in resurrection, PTL songs - shouldn't we affirm that with our outward displays of worship. Truth and Spirit.

Contending for the Truth - 3.2 Q/A

Q/A with Mohler/Ravi/Sproul
Started with RC rapping - it was quite entertaining.

How is it possible to say that God is responsible for evil but not guilty of it?
RC - Joseph. God's sovereignty, it is evil, but when God decrees that evil should occur - it is good that it should occur. Or the evil couldn't be hear. For God is all together good and ordains only good.
AM - Problem arises from wrong question or presumption - rather than seeing God as essentially good, we abstract an idea of good and try to measure God against that good - that is a losing proposition. What is good - God's definition of good -by consistency of HIS own Character. Also an eschatological view of it. "The damned will agree on the rightness of their damnation" - boice.
RZ - whole anti theistic movement is in knots on this issue. Where is God in all of this? They want to take Christ out of Christmas in 2004, but then they wonder on 12/26/04 where God is? They can't have it both ways.

Is evolution compatible with the Bible?
RC - Macro or micro. Micro developments within species - (yes, it is documented). Macro - is not compatible with the Bible. It is not compatible with science, either. It is historical rather than scientific
AM - Dominant part of evolution is naturalism and materialism. Darwin didn't invent evolution. Absolute naturalism - not the supernatural (GOD). NO! It is not compatible.
RZ - You are right. Risk being an outcast in the academic world. Not many things as big (or bigoted) as liberalism. Liberals are very upset with that statement.
AM - when you think about ID (it is not Creation) it would have been PR-wise - this is not a threat for evolutionists - you can't even talk about it - how odd is that?

Why did it say in Gen 1.1 that God was hovering over the waters when the waters weren't created yet? And who did Cain marry? (Jeffrey, age 8)
RC - Cain married his sister, the genealogies of the Bible were not gender sensitive - the females were not listed. The marrying of your sisters were not prohibited until later that God brought to bear after the initial law to procreate were established. They start showing up several generations later. Waters - Moses went to sleep for a second. Earth was w/o form, empty, darkness was upon the face of the deep (primordial), the idea of the abyss. The Spirit hovered over the empty darkness. Waters was not the wet stuff.
RZ - Created order was there, but the moisture component was there. An expanse between the waters. We want you on our team!
AM - Cain married his sister, and you can't marry yours.
"God hovered over the souffle" - true French translation

Is it possible that you could be wrong in any of your doctrinal positions?
RC - you might be wrong, Al. For me, it is a manifest impossibility. There is a possibility - humility. Certainty level is not constant. Some are constant - all are not equal on that level. What are the 10 things you know for sure - your own level of certainty? God hates abortion (it is impossible that God wouldn't hate it). Regeneration must proceed faith or no one would believe. I could be wrong.
AM - there is stuff we don't agree on, not at a basic level, but there are different understandings. It is quite possible the three of you are wrong. But, we can't both be right. When I face judgment, the veil will be lifted. The inadequacy of where I am now - is nothing compared to Heaven. There will be no theological debates in Heaven. One of the things we enjoy with being each other is the influence of the men on this platform - continually check your doctrine, teaching, preaching first by the Word, then by the men and their writings. Egalitarianism/Complementarianism - we must always be open to correction by the Word of God and those who love the Word.

When did P-M start and by whom?
AM - The Name of the Rose - Plato? Further and further? There is no absolute answer - but it doesn't take root in the culture until after WW2
RC - "Man is the measure of all things." - the Serpant (way back before Plato)
RZ - 1941 - the 21 civilizations.

What would characterize it?
AM - The truth issue. Rejection of universal and absolute, unchanging, and words can testify to it. All the rest is decoration.
RC - Collision course with the NT idea of truth - primary definition is that it defines real state of affairs. Reality. P-M doesn't believe in states of affairs.

What are thoughts on the Emerging (Emergent) Church and characteristics?
AM - Many different things: mood, candles, ghotees. Embrace of P-M, self-conscience embrace. Strong warning: the emergent brand is the dominant scary stuff (McClarin, rejection of the law of non-contradiction), the ooze, today's liberals were evangelicals yesterday. Continual break-offs are the sons and daughters. If you get truth wrong, forget it. If we surrender that commitment, new form of liberalism in the church. Time, McClarin was asked about homosexuality - whatever I saw will offend someone. Leadership Magazine - BM - we take a 5 year moratorium on talking about it, then come back and see if we still agree in 5 years. Abdication of conviction and cave in of Christian courage. We have the answer.
RC - It is impossible for us to be wrong? P-M terms wrong and right are not categories, but people don't like Christians because we want to re-insert those categories. We make assertions - but the EC doesn't want them. We take a stand - EC has an allergy. It appeals to the church who want to make doctrine relative. We can't be satisfied b/c truth is too important to kill it in the streets for peace. We can't do it.
RZ - "When the tide is low, every shrimp has its own puddle" This is another puddle. It makes me wonder, would these men and women bored with God? What brought this about? What brought the methodology into theology (The Secret Message of Jesus) We have non-critical people thinking about this. What does McClarin really believe? He is anti doctrinal, but he is doctrinal person.

What are the thoughts on seeker sensitive movement?
RC - very very bad thing. Rests on fundamental error. Unbelievers are desperately seeking God. Purpose of corporate worship on Sunday morning is to reach the lost. The Bible makes it clear in our fallen state no one seeks after God. Worship is supposed to be the corporate gathering of the people of God. There are going to be unbelievers - we have to address the lost in our sermons, but mainly it is the believers attending the preaching of the Word, adoration, celebration of the Lord's Supper - what is it that pleases God and not the unbeliever?
AM - Brilliant. Outdated - but the logic is still there. Level you are to see: logic: if you scratch people where they now itch - they will be more open to hearing the gospel. You'll earn their trust because you have met their needs. 2 problems: it doesn't work, they don't get to talking with the gospel. They are still on green grass (how to get it).
RC - Luther - preached on concern of despite of awakening of the reformation and the light of the gospel and was available to the people - they were still addicted to relics. Rather than read the Scriptures, they would go to their relics, the pants of Joseph, the milk of Mary - they were looking for power - in the pants of Joseph. We don't go around looking for Joseph's pants - but now are power is in the program. The Power is in the WORD! It is a strategy of unbelief. He is looking for all these techniques - if you want power - be an expositor. That is God's strategy.

RZ - can you speak on your preaching at the LDS in SLC?
Two Novembers ago, it was tough. What? I am not seeker friendly. Curious...approach face to face. Why are you asking me to do this? We respect you and our community would like to hear from you. Am I going to be used? A smoke screen? I will consider it under one condition - that I pick the subject. Exclusivity of Jesus Christ. And another - I'd like to bring my own music. Someone like Michael Card. They were accepted. Attacks came: from the Christians. Speaking in Washington - declined - but then 24 hours, Dobson, Colson - don't turn it down. Wife didn't send the letter of decline. We marry better than ourselves. Tabernacle was packed, 7k. D L Moody was the last evangelical there. Given all hour. BYU people were there. Marvelous responses. Incredible amount has taken place. Kingdom of the Cults editor. Anything that challenges the authority of the Christian faith as the Bible presents it - I'll go there and speak.

Was the Catholic church ever the true church (the RC church)?
RZ - Its RC's turn
RC - Yes, for much of its history. Heroic, embrace of theology, ecumenical council (Nicea, etc)
AM - Institutionally, the invisible and the visible church is the issue. Hesitant to speak institutionally - not all SBCers are Christians. True of every denomination, to our shame. A lot of Christians who aren't Baptists - who aren't evangelicals. The CHURCH is founded upon Jesus Christ our Lord. But look back and be thankful. Contemp context is not the same question.
RZ - if the pope were married, he would know he is infallible.

Muslim to look further - where to start?
RZ - Tough question. Basically what the M denies is everything the Christian believes at the root. Sonship, Scripture, divinity, resurrection, Crucifixion. How God is scaling the wall? Dreams are being used. God is working where the Word has been shut out - the love of God is reaching them. God cares for them. LOVE! Avoid criticising Mohammed - it puts up a wall. The failure of him will come up later after the Spirit has saved him.

AM - you spoke of martyrdom for authenticity of Scripture - what about Islamic martyrdom?
Christianity centers in apostles willing to die for the risen Christ. Wouldn't let themselves die for something that wasn't true. Calvin's point (6th point) = lives have been so transformed, willing to be martyred - a confirming sign, not the 1st sign. All scriptures are not created equal. Die for the faith, not kill for the faith. Martyrdom is not the first proof - only a confirming proof by men and women so transformed by this gospel.
RC - Bin Ladin dies and went to heaven. George Washington punched Bin Ladin in the nose - Thomas Jefferson came a karate chop. Patrick Henry spit in his face. What's all this about? Saint Peter said - 72 Virginians, not virgins.

Contending for the Truth 3.1 - Al Mohler

Its a crisp cool morning in Orlando, FL. I've had the privilege of meeting King Blogger, Tim Challies this morning. That was quite an honor.
Then more singing. I am enjoying the stories behind the hymns, but am missing the charismatic and affectionate singing I am used to.

The Holy Spirit and Apologetics
Mt 13.1-17

The World thinks we are "nuts" for being here this morning - why? Turning to an old book - asking questions about the deepest things of God - searching Scriptures together. We have a hard time understanding crowds - some crowds even think they are churches (put a steeple on top - that doesn't make it a church).
The disciples had this same issue - understanding the ministry of Jesus and the crowds.
This is a question that really isn't a question (v 10). To get a good understanding, look at Mt 12 and the conflict with the Pharisees.
There was such a crowd, the disciples are ready for the crusade to begin and get charter buses. Jesus got up and they are ready, Jesus tells a story. Anticlimactic for them - puzzling perhaps? Sometimes we don't understand what Jesus is doing either - but FAITH in TRUTH and the SON has to be our ground.
When the story is finished - the disciples are questioning...why did you speak in parables. Jesus replies (11-13). You know the Bible - you should have heard the message from Isaiah and know this is fulfillment of prophecy. This is Isaiah's prophecy:
You will indeed hear but never understand,and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull,and with their ears they can barely hear,and their eyes they have closed,lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

Why do some respond with FAITH and believe, trust, are transformed. Then others do not receive and understand. If we know this - we will not be surprised either (not at the obstinacy of the gospel). The problem is not new, it is old.

Augustine: "Why is it that two people, one despises, one rises up. Why is it given to one and not the other. Only God knows. Only credit goes to God, but judgment to the one who doesn't receive. There are knoetic effects of the fall and that is our key epistemological crisis.

God's grace demonstrated in Scripture. The spectacle that Calvin refers to - but why do so many refuse to wear them (Pride just like in wearing regular glasses for me). Pride for those who do not want to wear the spectacles of trust and faith in something outside of them.
The necessary illumination, quickening, ability to see - only through the HS - this downfall is our sin.
The Role of the Spirit

John 14.26f
The Holy Spirit will teach us all things. Word and the Spirit are always conjoined. Without the Holy Spirit we will reject what is so clear. "Bring to our remembrance all that Jesus said"

John 16.4-15
"Helper", "Guide", "Convictor", "Spirit of Truth"
He is our convictor of truth
We are dependent on the Spirit for the work only the Spirit can do - convict us of truth.
We cannot sever the Spirit from Scripture. He is not going to add to Scripture. Put all "revelations" in today's world up against the light of Scripture and see if there is any darkness in it. That has to be our guide because the Spirit isn't going to go against Himself.
Trinitarianism is important to the church (I think of PC&D). We must have help from the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, every day.

1 Cor 2.1-5, 10-16
"Power" - not tricks and gimmicks and rhetoric.
He declared with simplicity the gospel of Christ - with the POWER of the Holy Spirit. And Paul was smart - he was so intelligent - but if his preaching was without work of the Spirit, then he would have been powerless as well. Our knowledge is nothing if not indwelt with the Spirit.
This is a humbling teaching of the NT. Only reason we have seen what others have not seen is b/c of the sovereign grace of God. There is nothing that we have done. We are no better - we are sinners - saved by Grace. That should make us preach and teach with a certain humility that pervades our teaching - knowing we are nothing with the Spirit. HS - please work that in me, a meekness and humility, but one of power, not in myself but in you and YOUR WORD.
It is not enthusiasm, against reason, or to let us believe in the irrational . We have to understand what is going on here.

Defending Your Faith, by RC. "Breaking down of the barriers in our mind that we would surrender to the evidence found in the World." The problem lies in the resident of the heart. The effects of the fall reach everyone (we are all sinners). But we are here because the Holy Spirit had quickened us.
There are so many smart people, but they will not see it (because the Spirit has not quickened them). The argument for Intelligent Design is not an answer to a Creator. This will not make people believe. Only the Spirit can make you believe in THE CREATOR. All the facts will not help you believe the Gospel -
Our reliance on the Spirit in evangelism vital. God the Evangelist - David Wells. Only the HS can lead us to Christ.
In the reformation there was a clear recovery of the work of the Spirit. Calvin wrote in the Institutes extensively.

Several Implications in our work of evangelism by the Holy Spirit
1. Reality of an outward and inward calling should be at the forefront of our thinking and lives. Martin Luther - seminary president (that's one reason Mohler likes him). Wittenburg - many students were so filled with enthusiasm for the reformation - they were tearing down altars with force - they will crawl back and they will build them back - preach the Word. We have to let the Word do this thing. Only the Word can change their hearts - to see the private mass as an insult to the work of Christ - the finished work of Christ. "While I slept, the Word did this work." (speaking of the reformation). One of our problems is that there is no outward call of the gospel - this is absolutely necessary, but it is not enough. We are entirely dependent on the Spirit to do what we can not do, to reach what we can't reach.
2. Absolute dependence on the Spirit in apologetics and evangelism. Let us remember we are not left without the One Jesus calls the Helper. For HIS GLORY and by HIS GRACE.
3. Clear about the nature of the Grace that saves. Not merely enough to accept them as facts, but to embrace them as faith. Sealed by the Holy Spirit. Firm and certain knowledge (not just intellectual) of God's benevolence towards us, given to us by the Promise of Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts where these truths are confirmed deep within us, through the Holy Spirit.
4. Absolutely knowledge of the sovereignty of God in the salvation of sinners. Look at John 6.37, 44. How do we explain? Jesus has instructed us that there are those who believe and those who do not, it is all sovereignty. There is no one who comes to the Father that is not drawn FIRST BY HIM. This is grace. The rest of this chapter, leads to controversy. They rejected Him. "Granted to Him by the Father" - granted (what a word!) - to supply or to furnish a need; of one's own accord to give another something.
5. Necessity of expository preaching. As Luther said, we are to preach the WORD. The Word does not abide in the heart of the one who rejects it. One who receives the Word the appetite to know more will be given. (Father - let me receive the Word and give me the appetite for more of it). (this is from Mt 13). Jesus doesn't say "congrats, you are smarter than the rest - hip hip hurray! You are so spiritually sensitive, gruff fishermen, but you are such a teddy bear" - No, the disciples weren't smarter or spiritually sensitive then the rest, they weren't seekers, they were the SOUGHT. And so it is with us as well. Hearing - (Mohler goes on into a brilliant display of knowledge of the science of hearing, molecules, nerves - dude is brilliant). We can understand the entire auditory process, but nothing about the gospel. Physical hearing isn't the key - Spiritual hearing is the Spirit's work. We are to preach.
We are all born blind and deaf - only by God's grace do any of us see or hear. Blessed are your eyes and ears - Praise be to God!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Womens roles and feminism

As I continue to think on marriage, women's roles, biblical of my best friends and theologian sent me her article she wrote for her church newsletter.
This is Rachael W - not me:
Sin crouches, as the picture Peter gives of Satan being the roaring lion searching for someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8), and so feminism crouches and awaits women who fall captive to it. Women who call themselves feminists believe that they are freeing women from a male-dominant society. They are deceived. Bondage grabs its victim when she ventures outside of the boundaries of her God-given role not when she lives in it.
Before in the article she talks about Gen 3 where the root of feminism starts - when Eve got her pride all riled up and wanted to go against God's authority (ultimately). When we as women (wives to their husband and God, single women to God first) try to usurp their role as headship - that is just pride. As has been taught at the apologetics conference I've been at this weekend - stomp it dead. It does you no good. Pride wants to see itself above the truth. That is what feminism has taught us.
It hasn't been left out of the church either.

Contending for the Truth Pt 2.5 Al Mohler

Al just came out with his response to the baby born gay on BP News, maybe that is why he is late, but more on that later or go read it yourself. This is the last one of the day. The last thing tonight is the concert - which I think we will pass on (as most of the people I know will pass on it, too)

Now he is speaking on the authority of Scripture - of course the text is 2 tim 3.14-17
How do we know anything? (epistemology)
It is an audacious claim to know anything -
We have never seen a germ, but we have sufficient evidence for germs - that is why we believe in them. We don't need to see one to believe they exist.
When you get to the big problems of life, epistemology becomes important. What form of evidence or verification will be necessary for me to claim I know anything? There is a need for a high level of certainty on these subjects - epistemological:
Every world view has to answer these:
1. Question of Beginnings
2. Question of What's Gone Wrong/Evil
3. Question of Can #2 Be Fixed
4. Question of End - Eschatology (is there even an end?)

We as Christians are the inheritors of a worldview that answer all these and more! All of the dots are connected in terms of the world view - there is beauty and consistence. We can know the Designer of it all. For His glory He has revealed Himself in many ways. (Rom 1, Ps 19). "Seed of Divinity" - John Calvin.
Is 44 - are we more sophisticated than this dark world found in Israel's history? The only difference is we are more technological - not any less morbid and dark. It is newly urgent.
There is an operational denial that there can be anything from the Divine to the human in what we would call the Bible. Schaeffer's book He is There and He is Not Silent. We are not left in the epistemological darkness.
Words: incredible things, bind us,
The Word: He speaks to His creatures - even though He is under no obligation to do so. By grace, He intervenes
Carl F H Henry - Revelation is God's personal and direct disclosure by which He communicates, forsaking his own personal privacy so that His sinful creatures may know him.
Dt 4.7f, 31f: Who are we that God would communicate with us - oracles, law, statutes, theophanies. Not to be taken back to the Bush or Carmel, not TIVO Moses thundering to the children of Israel...but we get it all through the Word - through the totality of God's revelation in the Book.
Heb 1...
In The Garden does not begin to explain the complexity and relationship of this communication. Let's think evangelicals - let's not leave it to academia to show us up.

Back to 2 Tim 3
"which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" - Again - let the Word be your interpreter. It is the very truth of God.
Inspired in its TOTALITY.
Profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training (responsibilities now of the church - we need to be doing this through the Word).
2 Pet 3.15-16 - They may be difficult to understand, but they are still the inspired Word of God.
This idea is extremely exclusive! Yes - praise God it is - it is God we are talking about.
Scripture provides proof of its own authenticity (this is not the most compelling in my opinion b/c you can't define a word by using the word in the definition). There has got to be more to our claim to the hold on TRUTH then this claim. What else we got?

Two tests for Scripture
1. Content: is the content "on its face" supernatural in its hold? Humanity could never have developed this about our selves by ourselves - we would never describe ourselves as sinners.
2. Miracle: does the text disclose information that at the time could only be known by God, but the proves to be true (prophecy). Matthian nativity account - "in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled." This is throughout all of Scripture - fulfillment, Act 2, 4

Our confidence in the Word comes down to this: when the Word speaks - God speaks. If not, we will find ourselves lost in compromise. John Calvin - spectacles. Calvin spoke of God's mercy - opens His hallow lips - that He speaks in language and words, on tablets of stone. We know the one true God through His book. We cannot become idolators - inventing new forms of paganism. What we ought to think of Him is found in the Word. Unless we create new ways to think of Him - isn't that our world today? From pulpits, tv, radio, theology classrooms...scary thought, isn't it? This Word was written down - it was a God decision. Paul didn't ask for a stenographer...God wrote it! He demanded that it be written. "The Finger of God" Words reveal and words limit. This is the Grace of God that He speaks to us about Himself. Every single word is inspired.
Calvin - 6 proofs of Scripture
1. Content
2. Antiquity of the Book
3. Miracles
4. Fulfilled Prophecy
5. Preservation of this text
6. Martyrdom (those who have died for this book for that which is revealed in this book)

The Bible, our very Words given to us by God, are the norm above norms that isn't a norm. Mohler actually said this a lot better, but I am typing this at my brother's house since the battery died shortly before the end of his session. Oh, well. Can't die out tomorrow: Mohler and Sproul I think are the two speakers.
I got one book and Dad got a couple of things:
1. The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter - I heard about this book all the way through seminary.
2. Dad got The Expository Genius of John Calvin which I am looking forward to reading.
3. Meet the Puritans, thick book (size wise) but it has short clips from most if not all the puritan writers and a bibliography of them.
4. DVD of Sproul's Providence of God (I think that is right)
5. Catchings CD - which he said was bass fiddle. Should be rather interesting.

Home for the evening - my brain is gone (especially after that ND loss and Ravi's PM session). But, I am looking forward to the fellowship of people tomorrow: The Hilton crew, the Siha's (when I see them), and any other people I might randomly see that I know.

Contending for the Truth 2.4 - Ravi Zacharias

Now, here we are again after lunch. I've seen two old friends here: Bobby Thompson (from LCS) who is now at Faith Baptist Church in Winter Haven and Mark Hiers from Flagler YL who is now at Good News Presbyterian in St. Augustine.

Big Topic for 1 hour:

The Intense Philosophical Problems that Arise When We Deny God's Existence
He didn't coin "God is dead" - he made it popular (1844-1900) - F. Nietzsche. With all due respect to FN - his candor is good. He brings up the right questions. He asks pointed questions about the denial of God's existence - we will have to redefine everything. (Wow, geisler taught Ravi). Sam Harris The End of Faith, A Letter to a Christian Nation. This is what happens - 1. They have an intense problem then defining morality (if God is dead). Is everyone right in his own eye? B Russell - "on the basis of feeling" - that is how he defines good/bad. When you raise the question of good - you have to have a moral law - then a giver. Dawkins - he denies there is any evil (b/c he doesn't want to give credit to good). If God is dead - you can't make any moral dictations of any kind. There is no bad, there is no good. There is no hope? Look at kids who are longing for an authority figure in their life b/c they have none. They do not want chaos - chaos isn't the best thing for this world. If we have no Perfect Law Giver - there is no HOPE. We must actually live our lives like we have hope. We can't live without hope.
Argument: (Aquinas, Augustine)
proofs, evidences, arguments
Dallas Willard -
3 stages of argument
1. Nature and existence of physical reality that we see. However concrete physical reality is sectioned up, the result will be the state of affairs owes its being to something else and is not self-existent. No physical quality explains its own existence. All of these somewhere have to be explained by one self-existent cause which is not physical. CS Lewis quote from God in the Dock
An egg which came from no bird is no more 'natural' than a bird which existed from all eternity. And since the egg-bird-egg sequence leads us to no plausible beginning, is it not reasonable to look for the real origin...outside of sequence altogether? You have to go outside the sequence of find the real originator of the rocket. Is it not equally reasonable to look outside Nature for the real Originator of the natural order?-- C.S. Lewis, God In The Dock, "Two Lectures", p211.
2. To Design, not from Design. Evolution is not an explanation for ultimate origin. What caused the Big Bang? Wouldn't we want to know what a little bang is, much less a big bang? What is the big bang - everything is reduced to a singularity. Even then your starting point is unnatural. Oh, but we retain a selective sovereignty over things. Whatever - that is a good argument. But isn't that where we've been all weekend. I'll believe truth when it works for me. That can't be. Truth has to be Truth even when Truth isn't popular. Ps 8. Dec 1968 - the view of the moon from the shuttle. "In the beginning God..."
3. Course of Human events are the course of human events—historical, social and individual—within the context of a demonstrated extra-naturalism (stage one) and of a quite plausible cosmic intellectualism (stage two). The Real Gardener. Description of the human condition - so accurately, when you finish Jesus' description of you - you know He knows you so very well (John 4). Auschwitz was ordinary people - the first time of slaughter I hated it, then I got used to it. As Jesus describes God - the absolutes that He lives His life with. Love, evil, justice, forgiveness - what is one event where the 4 converged: The Cross of Jesus. Marvelous depth of truth against the atheist - their argument looks so shallow.

Contending for the Truth Pt 2.3 - John MacArthur

Ok - its gotta be better than learning about faith and science at 830 am! More singing.
Yes, John MacArthur is tall.

Apologetics and Evil

How can the God portrayed in the Bible allow evil - massive evil in the world - dominant evil in the world? How can God be loving and tolerate or allow all the results that inflict people with so much pain and suffering? The biblical God is loving, good, holy, all-knowing, all-powerful, yet...evil exists in the world. Therefore, the biblical God doesn't exist. (good summary).
Theological liberalism needs to rescue the good God from the bad caricature portrayed in Scripture. We need to come up with a new God? (yeah, like we would create one that is better).
Ask Larry King - how can it be? This is what backs Christians into an impossible position. 4th and 40 on the 10 yard line. We need to punt. Dt 29.29 (popular verse) because we don't allow our minds to think beyond that. Why do we stick with that verse? We don't need to rely on that verse - God gave us brains. We don't need to let academia win and make us punt.
We need more than a temporary escape - or field goal range.
Why does God allow evil and pain? It is in the Bible; we can know it. We can embrace and enjoy it.
Where did it start? Sin started in heaven (Satan before his fall). He created the fallen angels and the humans that would fall. God created these things. You have to build your answer on God.
Theodacy - a defense of God's righteousness in the face of evil and pain.
What we know to be true:
1. Evil exists. Natural evil (impersonal, temporal). Moral evil (personal, inside, internal, spiritual).. How do we let one effect the other? Unceasing lust for sin and evil - gives birth to it (James 1). Both of these impact all relationships. Eternal evil (anihilationism is not truth - hell is eternal suffering)
2. God exists - the God of the Bible. He is the God the Scripture says He is because the Bible is His self-disclosure - He is under no law but himself. He is a law unto Himself. We see this even from Sproul's talk last night about Moses and God's conversation in Exodus.
1 chron 29.11-12: Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all
Ps 115.3 - he does all that He pleases.
Dt 32.39: See now that I, even I, am he,and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand
Ps 105.16 - When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread
Lam 3.37-38: Who has spoken and it came to pass,unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come.
God doesn't distance Himself from calamity - the Bible says He even causes it. Liberal theology would say that we need to rescue the true God from this biblical character. God is quite content to be unhesitatingly the God of the Bible - He doesn't need to be rescued or delivered. Why do we think we can do better at defining God then God Himself. He is the only Potentate. Rev 4.11 is what the World needs to get now. That is how our world should live - at least Christians should live in this underlying reality that God is supremely in charge and doesn't need apology.
Job 23.13: But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. Don't you think the Creator would have our best at His heart - our best is Him (in the words of JP).
God does not rely on Plan B. He has all the power. That is the God who exists.
3. God wills evil to exist. There is no other possible conclusion
Is 45.7: I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity,I am the Lord, who does all these things - WITHOUT BEING EVIL. There is no darkness in HIM - He is light.

Yet we try to rescue God. We are on the rescue warpath. God can't possibly be responsible for evil. (He can't have the responsibility for not saving people).
How do they do it? You have to reinvent God. Revisionist interpreter of Scripture. "Off the hook". Limited knowledge falls in this same boat. God is in process - open theism. He is a deity in progress. We need to get God off the hook for being responsible for evil. "God doesn't know the future"

Why can't we let go of ourselves and let God be God? Our we bigger and better than God?

So, the cross was Plan B?
These are people who lack a God-centered, dominated, exalting, view of the way things are - reality. They sit in the man centered perch and make sure God doesn't violate their sensibilities. God can't have full power - and be God.
Harold Kushner - (I had to read this book in college for a Religion class for Dr. Tkacik. I did disagree with the book. (Tkacik moved from Providence to St. Leo - that was news to me).

1. Metaphysical Theodacy - Good exists therefore evil exists. (ying/yang)
2. Autonomous Theodacy - good use of free will. It is the highest good - it trumps evil on God's value scale. Yeah - this makes coherent sense.

The problem of evil is the BIG ISSUE - in all realms of Christianity.

Where does our relationship with evil (how we respond to it) convey to a lost world our belief in God? God designs to use evil of all kinds for His own purposes. I saw that in Indo when I was over there after the tsunami. That whole country was closed to the gospel till the day after the tsunami hit. If that isn't God who is it. I know it isn't Satan working the earth's core like that to bring Himself glory! I see it in girls' lives who have had abortions and God has used that killing of that baby to bring that mother to saving faith of the power of God. Seen it recently in the death of John Piper's dad - the life that He lived that brought so much attention to the holiness of God - and many people were at that funeral and heard the power of the gospel preached. Satan doesn't like to bring attention to the gospel.

4. God willed it for His own glory! Westminster Confession.

Rom 3.5 - It makes God's righteousness all the more glorious. We would never understand God fully if we weren't so familiar with unrighteousness. "serves to show"
Rom 5.8 - the presence of sin allows God to demonstrate (show) his love for mankind. He shows the character of love if there weren't any.
Rom 9.22 - He demonstrates His wrath - determined to demonstrate His own wrath - put it on display. Demonstrate (aorist middle) - Greek grammar - God determined to demonstrate for HIMSELF - for His own glory. He has endured our wickedness (assault on His holiness) to show HIS GLORY. Thick stuff - right before lunch.
Jude 4 - long ago designated.
Rom 9.23 - God willed to make known - on those vessels of mercy which were beforehand known.

What is our response?
Rom 9.14, 16 - Is there any injustice - by no means! There is no holiness without judgment.

To demonstrate my power in you that my Glory may be displayed upon the earth!

Contending for the Truth 2.2 - John Piper

There is a lot to take in - to process. This manuscript and audio is on

Ps 63 in prayer


Work toward a definition by asking the question how is relativism a bad thing by contrasting thinking relatively.
John MacArthur is tall - in relation to - the standard of measurement (in relation to JP), but would not be true in proportion to the Sears Tower or giraffes. It is relative. Concrete and objective.
That is a good and indispensable way of thinking.
What is meaning and relative statements?
Relativity and relativism. Two different things.
1. There is no external objective standard for measuring the statement.
2. You can't know it.
3. You can't figure out its meaning.
4. Its out there, but I don't care.

There is no external measurement for right/wrong. Homosexuality is only dependent on your standard of measurement - you actually want me to yield to your preference?

The view that no one standard of t/f, good/bad exist that is valid for everyone.
What does it imply about Truth - Truth War (MacArthur). Relativists may incur that there is no such thing as truth. It confuses things about truth. However, they usually go to: your truth, my truth. They have to conform to my own standard of measurement. They may be contradictory - but who cares?

Matthew 21.23-27
And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Jesus asked them to take a stand on a simple truth. Tell me about truth. They pondered: shame, pointing out hypocrisy, or pride and safety (we don't want to be harmed). Since we can't say either - we won't answer. We'll think of a new truth. We don't know. The seed of relativism. Its the way the depraved mind works. The "adulterous" mind from last week - it doesn't want to marry truth - it wants to marry what it is in love with or enjoys. It wants to defend self and choice. The mind if prostituted with our passions. They use their minds to save their skins - not defend the truth. Not what is true - but what works?

Mind & language - the nimble - in its slavery to its passions. Language does the dirty work as the covering of duplicity. To hide. We don't know.

Jesus responds - (tone of voice, look on his face?). Doesn't answer.

The claim that there is no standard - rooted in cravings of human heart not to want to be constrained by an external force, but rather wants the exaltation of self (shame and physical harm). We protect what it wants. PRIDE. For that reason - we should avoid it. Move our kids and college students away from it.

Evil Destructive Effects of Embracing Relativism
1. R commits treason against God. It is a revolt against the objective reality of God. Shear existence presents truth. God is ultimate of all truth claims - what He is, wills, says: objective validity for everyone. James 2.10-11. Key to argument God's law - to God's person - It is against one Law Giver. It is a revolt against HIM. Remember the holiness of GOD!
2. R cultivates duplicity. Relativism is true is contradictory. No one tries to live relativism consistently. It can't work. It won't stand philosophically or practically. It breeds hypocrisy. Non-contradiction, cause and effect. This is immoral. It is most obvious in practical life. Professors are best at this. In their classes - but do they live it - but then they go home and get upset when their wives don't listen to or misunderstand them. He's a hypocrite. The God of this world blinds...
3. Conceals doctrinal defection. Tragic effect on language. Language has a noble task - the Praise of God. Objective Truth vanishes in a fog of relativism. It just defends preferences. Gives rise to every manner of spin. Goal of language is the manipulation of reality. Not affirming confessional truth - now the concealing defection from the truth in our churches.
Machen - What is Faith, 1925 Language doesn't function to articulate high affirmation of what is out there, but is used to express "I find this confessional useful - today". Moses wrote the law and God blew the ink dry (colleague). I'm really still orthodox. Temper of mine is hostile to precise definitions. They discourse on God, but don't want to simply define what they mean by these terms. 2 Cor 4.2: But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. What you see is what you get - I have no secrets. Oh, that that would be how we are as teachers.
4. R is used to cloak greed with flattery. 1 Thess 2.3-6 - For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. Flattery is the use of language to make people feel good about themselves so you can get what you want. 2 tim 4.3: For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
5. R cloaks pride in the guise of humility. Who am I? I can't make that decision for anyone that God's truth, Jesus is the only way. But, that is centered on the "I". When Truth goes - so does humility. If there is Truth (universally valid for all men), then we must submit to it (lower ourselves). Understand - stand under it. Its there - I'm under it. We are a servant to the TRUTH. What happens to the person who decides its not there? Pride. Not humility. We are masters. R is created to protect arrogance. The essence of original sin and pride. I'll choose (humbly of course). "The king has no clothes on!" Be the kids who aren't afraid to tell.
6. R enslaves people. John 8.32.
7. R bread totalitarianism/anarchy. Revival or a dictator. Pray for the first one. Michael Novak.
Cultural relativism hasn't been spoken to. Poisonous effects on personal integrity.
Remember the chief priests and the elders. Destroy pride - embrace TRUTH.

I pray for college students who face this every day. Women who face this in their homes b/c they don't want to submit. Pastors who don't preach the Truth in their churches. Fathers who won't act on discipline in love in their homes. Friendships and relationships that are destroyed by this. TRUTH sets you free - you are no longer in charge. How freeing is that? Live and embrace TRUTH - not what you think. Sin is confining and restraining - we are slaves to it. Spread a passion for the Truth no matter the cost. Do that for the glory of God.

Contending for The Truth - Day 2.1 John MacArthur

Great morning, little faster worship, but still kinda dragging. I had some cinnamon dulce steamed milk this morning, but now I get to listen to Dr. McArthur.

The Bible and Science

Whoever created the universe and everything that exists, understands it perfectly. Its nature and operation. Doesn't have to wait for scientific discovery to discover its operation. The Creator perfectly understands it. SO, if he wrote the book - you would think it would be accurate enough. Is certainly intelligent enough to write a clear assessment of that. He would be able to communicate it clear and concise and true and accurate.
Whoever created reality would never say truths that do not appear in the earth (like the Hindu holy writings - elephants, honey, flat, etc). Buddhists' book say other earthquake falsities. Adam fell so that men may come into existence (Mormon). If we want the truth about man - than we need to go to the source. Check the holy books and look for accuracy.
True creator is going to tell us Truth. He is a communication genius with no mistakes in His book. He's not going to say stupid and ridiculous things. The Bible claims to be this book. It self claims to be accurate, inerrant, true in everything b/c God knows.
If it can't be trusted in scientific matters - it can't be trusted in spiritual matters. The real issue is the nature of God. If you measure the Bible against true science - you will find that the author is the Creator God.
It is no accident that Gen 1 says so many times "and God said". He has spoken in His creation in far more sophisticated ways then past generations could ever understand. The discovery of DNA - coded information - is a discovery that God has spoken. Blueprints always come from intelligent means. Information doesn't self-design or self-assemble.
5 Herbert Categories (also Gen 1.1)
Time (in the beginning)
Force (God)
Action (created)
Space (the heavens)
Matter (and the earth)
Irreducible Complexity
Fred Boyle - "a super intellect has monkeyed with the evidence" (That is God)
If we can trust Him for creation, we can trust Him for the BOOK.
Hydrology: waters of the earth. Hydrological Cycle - 17th Century. No alterations (gain/loss). Is 55.10, 11 - For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout,giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Ps 135.7: He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rainand brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
Job 26.8: He binds up the waters in his thick clouds,and the cloud is not split open under them
Ps 33.7: He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;he puts the deeps in storehouses
Kepler, Galileo, etc.
God always gets it right
Ps 103.11: For as high as the heavens are above the earth,so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him
Job 22.12: Is not God high in the heavens? See the highest stars, how lofty they are!
Stars cannot be counted, stars differ from each other,
1 Cor 15.41: There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory
Ps 19.6: Its rising is from the end of the heavens,and its circuit to the end of them,and there is nothing hidden from its heat (The sun has its own orbit).
Job 25.5: Behold, even the moon is not bright,and the stars are not pure in his eyes
Is 40.12: Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his handand marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measureand weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance
Job 26.7: He stretches out the north over the voidand hangs the earth on nothing
Job 28.25 - Galileo said that air had weight. When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure.
Prov 30.1-6 - Good way to end!
Even though MacArthur did a good job - I do not think this was the right topic for 830a! Maybe it was the only time he could come!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Contending for The Truth - Pt 6 - John Piper

Now that my brain is fried, we are 5 minutes away from Piper. And I have been waiting all afternoon for this. Even though I have heard him before, every time I hear him he proposes the Word as a challenge for me. May it also be true tonight.
The title of this conference was in part taken from Piper's book Contending for Our All. One of the best he's written - Owen, Athanasius, and Machen. Someone up in NC has this book of mine as I only have the dust jacket. Maybe I'll just have to buy it again. It is in his The Swans are not Silent Series - everyone needs to get and read those 4 books of biographical work of heroes of the faith.
John Piper is one of the most unassuming men I have ever met.

Topic: Faith and Reason

Coming from the aspect of the Word
Matthew 16.1-4

Hellenistic thinking and Hebraic thinking while JP was in seminary
The Bible is pervasively Hebraic, and we are heirs of the Greeks (western, logical thinking). If we attempt to use Greek thinking to understand the Bible - we are philosophically out of touch.
This text is one of the reasons that logic doesn't work. Jesus says a sign? you want a sign from me? They are Hebraic people using Greek logic - he can not interpret the signs of the time. They were logical when it came to weather, but they can't use them to discern the signs - they point to Christ. Because they were an evil and adulterous generation. How does being adulterous cause your brain to malfunction in regards to the generation? They prefer other spouses (pharisees are called lovers of money or the praise of men). If they didn't want Him as their Bridegroom - they just asked for another sign. Jesus knew this about their hearts. "There isn't enough evidence" - so I'll cling to my own idols b/c I'm an adulterous generation. What are my bridegrooms? It isn't lack of evidence or rational powers - it is because I'm adulterous. An adulterous heart disorders the mind in which it cannot function in spiritual quests. It wants another spouse.
Eph 4.18 - "due to the hardness of their hearts". Where does darkness and ignorance come from - the hardness of their hearts.
2 Cor 3.14 - hardened
1 Tim 6.5 -depraved
Rom 1.21 - thinking and futile, suppressive
We are guilty when we don't use our brains to draw right inferences about God. Why do we use our brain for so many things but turn them off when it comes to the Gospel and Right Theology?
Acts is full of "reason". 5 words to instruct then 10k words in a tongue you can't understand.
2 Tim 2.7 - "Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything." Understanding is a free gift from God. Thinking just messes people up. These are the two polar opposites. The Word is simple and straightforward in this verse. Ponder Scripture - the Spirit will enable understanding. Even though our natural mind is depraved (see above) - we are told to use our mind in the use of spreading the gospel and edification.

Saving, believing faith in the person of Christ
"Why is it that the Bible teaches that we are justified by faith alone?" Why not by anything else?
J Henry Machen (the last century)- The true reason faith is given sole order over everything else (love, giving, etc)is that faith mean receiving something instead of doing, giving, or being something. Our faith saves us - we do not save ourselves - it is something God does. Faith is outside of ourselves - it is received.
Andrew Fuller - (before Machen) Justification is ascribed to faith because it is by faith that we receive Christ, faith is peculiarly a receiving grace, which none other is. Not repentance or love or any other grace, b/c it would convey that something good in us upon that reason the Lord bestows something. It sets Faith apart. Eph 2.8. Grace is God's readiness of free giving - correlative to Faith which receives it.
What does Faith receive to be a "Saving grace"?
John 1.12
The Philippian Jailer (Acts 16)
Why not - they don't seem to have spiritual life?
1. They are not receiving Christ for who He really is - as supremely valuable. Sin-forgiver, healer, hell-rescuer, prosperity giver, creator, lord of history and purpose. He is more glorious, beautiful, wonderful, satisfying than anything else in the universe. Receive Him as that. "The chair must be an all-satisfying chair!"
2. They receive Christ so there is no change in personal behavior. Embracing Jesus as our Supreme Treasure requires a "new creation".
Therefore: it is a receiving of Christ for WHO HE IS - INFINITELY GLORIOUS and VALUABLE. I count everything as rubbish - that I may gain Christ. Saving faith receives this Christ. We will not in this life experience that to the fullest. Receive a taste (ps 34.8)

Relationship between F/R
Apologetics can't bring about that kind of faith - so what is the ground on which that faith stands? The nature of saving faith demands more than fact (not less). B/c the nature is not the receiving of raw facts, but the receiving of Christ as all-glorious (see Col 1). What is the basis of that reception so that it may be called sufficient and reasonable? It is a sight of the glory of Christ in the gospel - a spiritual apprehension, illumination in the gospel. Human reason does not alone provide that sight, but must be used to proclaim, illustrate, and argue the gospel.

2 Cor 4.4-6
1. The gospel is the gospel of the glory of Christ. What must be seen is the glory of Christ. The supreme excellency in the gospel. If you pastors believe that - every sermon you preach would have something of that glory in it.
2. You don't need to take away blindness if there isn't anything there to see. It is really there - an objective there.
3. The sight of the excellency doesn't happen in a vision or dream, whispered word by the Spirit - it happens in the proclamation of Christ!
4. Has verse 6 happened to you? The blindness is only taken away by the Spirit. Do I get my idol - is that new birth? No, Christ is the idol that He will give us - He will give us Himself
5. This ground of faith is reasonable, conviction that flows from it, this sight of the glory, is a reasonable conviction - it should be grounded on seeing Him as infinitely valuable, ineffable, excellency of Christ - ground of our reasonable faith - grounded on this alone.
6. Why is it so important to stress? JP's dad really believed in Hell, loved Jesus, and loved people. Edwards (Jon) said the reason I am approaching the grounds of faith this way is b/c if we have to depend on the actions of historical evidences - we will all be subject to falsities. We base our knowledge in CHRIST. Are we only 80% sure that Jesus is HIM?

Again - the Word and the Supremacy of Christ. Two things that JP is passionate about.
And to end the evening - Duke lost, now UNC plays (thank you for toggles between the screens of blogger and ESPN).