As some of you may have noticed, namely those who follow this blog, I have not been writing much of recent. This is because some of my friends and myself have been working on a new collaborative blog called The127Project. Consequently, for the present time my blogging/post writing will be relocating to that site. In other words, this is me telling you that I will no longer be writing at this blog (unless I eventually return here after what would be an extended period of time).
However, I highly suggest that you check The127Project out, bookmark it, and follow my blogging there. The127Project launches on June 15th!
As some say, “education gets in the way of learning.” Although this is not entirely true, since I must attribute much of what I have learned to my formal education, there is definitely much validity to this statement. I have found that some of my greatest learning experiences occur during the summer months. No longer am I told to study or do assignments on topics that are too basic and aren’t pushing me hard enough or are on topics I’ve studied previously and am therefore not learning much in studying them at an introductory level. Come the summer months I can hone in on topics that are weaknesses or vacancies in “my arsenal.” Again, I owe a ton of what I have learned to my professors, but as I like to say, if you can read you aren’t limited to living teaches. And with that, the dead teachers tend to be the best ones. Needless to say, I look forward to my Summer studies. Continue reading →
The following was my favorite message I heard at this years Together for the [Underestimated] Gospel conference. I recommend it to you either in video or audio form. In this message David Platt seeks to show how divine sovereignty is the fuel of death-defying missions. Continue reading →
So I’m finally back from T4G. I was unable to find time to write another post while I was still in Kentucky, but I have decided nonetheless to provide a brief wrap-up post by supplying you with my sermon notes as I indicated I would in the previous post. The following are my raw notes (unedited and “un-proofread”) from various sermons given at the conference. Not all of the sermons given at the conference had enough structure in order for me to outline them, so the notes below do not cover every message spoken but only those I was able to take somewhat structured notes on. I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful. Continue reading →
Besides being extremely tired and feeling as if I am coming down with a cold due to lack of sleep, today was a spectacular day. We showed up decently early to the conference and got a ton of free books, which mind you are quality reads. Then of course, beginning at 1:00 pm the sessions began.
One of my favorite aspects of these general sessions is the times prior to the messages or panel discussions in which an entire auditorium and Christian pastors, students, scholars, and other individuals join together to worship our God. Today my friends and I had seats towards the very front on the ground level, and I am telling you that in order to even hear myself singing I really had to belt it. The music was simple. The words were rich. And the passion and love for God was present. I absolutely loved coming together with such a large group of individuals and corporately proclaiming sound doctrine in praise of our great God! Continue reading →
So, 45 minutes ago I arrived at my motel in Louisville, Kentucky for the Together for the Gospel conference. A bunch of friends of mine from Maranatha and I drove down today. We had an interesting and somewhat eventful ride full of great discussion. Let’s just say that the homework I planned on doing never happened. Continue reading →
While reading Thomas R. Schreiner’s “Does Romans 9 Teach Individual Election Unto Salvation? Some Exegetical And Theological Reflections” I ran across this subpoint in which he makes some good refutations against the concept of corporate election–the idea that God has elected to salvation a corporate entity (i.e., the Church) as opposed to individuals. I hope that you will find his argument thought provoking and beneficial.
To say that election involves the selection of one group rather than another raises another problem that warrants an extended explanation. Most scholars who claim election is corporate argue that personal faith is the ultimate and decisive reason why some people are saved rather than others. Calvinists, on the other hand, assert that faith is the result of God’s predestining work. But those who opt for corporate election think that they have a better conception of election than Calvinists, and at the same time they can maintain that faith is what ultimately determines one’s salvation. Now it seems to me that there is a flaw in this reasoning that is fatal to those who espouse corporate election. Continue reading →
Ligon Duncan provides two quality video responses about a topic which always seems to be a hot issue among Christians: God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.
In the first video Duncan affirms that God’s sovereignty and human responsibility are not contradictory concepts but are assumed side by side in scripture. They are not mutually exclusive but are coordinate truths.
In the second video he defines human freedom (often called “free will”) from a correct understanding of the human condition in light of man’s utter sinfulness (total depravity).
If you have done any study on this issue (a theological understanding of “free will”), you will know that the definition of human freedom which Duncan supports is not unique to him but has been handed down from countless theologians throughout Church history. It is my opinion that having this understanding of human freedom in and of itself will clear up many of the difficult issues one might wrestle with concerning various “tension points” between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.
So, yesterday I saw this video (see below) on YouTube. It’s both entertaining and thought-provoking.
As a disclaimer, I do not agree with everything in this video. For example, I do believe many musical artists can rightly call themselves Christian artists, seeing they produce music that is blatantly Christian and their sole goal is to glorify and promote Christ and His Gospel. And secondly, calling something “Christian” does not necessitate it must have a soul as this individual implies. “Christian” has a much broader use than the idea of being “saved.” But that’s besides my point. Continue reading →
The following four power points (see links below) are pedagogical aids from four out of the five messages I presented at Lake Lundgren Bible Camp last summer when I was the Bible speaker for a youth week (upper elementary to lower junior high grade levels). The theme last summer was “Get a Clue: God’s Word has the Answers” based on the text 2 Timothy 3:16-17. When I was asked to speak for a week on this theme I determined to start off with a message on God’s Word itself, how we can trust it (an apologetic), and some basic doctrines concerning the Bible and how it was written (inspiration, inerrancy, preservation). After having laid that foundation, Continue reading →
Today I was reading in The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper and I ran across the paragraph below. This paragraph really seems to be just a side thought in Piper’s argument, but nonetheless, it caught my attention. Read it for yourself:
It horribly skews the meaning of the cross when contemporary prophets of self-esteem say that the cross is a witness to my infinite worth, since God was willing to pay such a high price to get me. The biblical perspective is that the cross is a witness to the infinite worth of God’s glory, and a witness to the immensity of the sin of my pride. What should shock us is that we have brought such contempt upon the worth of God that the very death of his Son is required to vindicate that worth. The cross stands in witness to the infinite worth of God and the infinite outrage of sin.
Every semester I have this habit of overachieving on certain projects, not for the sake of spending tons of time on them or to assure that I get a good grade, but because I like to push myself in my study of God’s word. This last semester (Fall, 2011), one of the projects in which I overachieved was a paper I wrote on church discipline for a class on pastoral counseling. This was also the semester I got married, and so things were a bit busy to say the least. But I was still able to put together a pretty substantial work. My goal was to try and set forth a rather exhaustive “system” of church discipline that takes into account all of the relevant passages and answers every practical question of which I could possibly think. Continue reading →
J. Gresham Machen, at this point in my life, is probably my favorite author. Last year around this time I read his book Christianity and Liberalism. It was great. The purpose of his book was to identify liberalism (Liberal Christianity) and Christianity (Christianity that holds to the historic Christian doctrines) as two distinct religions. At one point in the book he states,
Admitting that scientific objections may arise against the particularities of the Christian religion . . . the liberal theologian seeks to rescue certain of the general principles of religion, of which these particularities are thought to be mere temporary symbols, and these general principles he regards as constituting “the essence of Christianity.” . . . As a matter of fact . . . what the liberal theologian has retained after abandoning to the enemy one Christian doctrine after another is not Christianity at all, but a religion so entirely different as to belong in a distinct category.
Having just posted my Greek exegetical commentary on Philippians 1:27-30, it seemed rather fitting to me to post the manuscript of a sermon I preached on Philippians 1:27-30. Unfortunately, although I’m somewhat sure the sermon was recorded, I have not been able to get a copy of the mp3 due to some difficulties. I believe the audio is lost forever. So, posting the manuscript is about all I can do. But if the audio ever shows up and I get access to it, I will surely post that as well. In either case, here is the introduction to the sermon, just to wet your whistle.
“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
“For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosever believers in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16).
These are things many of us have all learned from our youth, either when we were young physically or young spiritually. But have the truths of these words lost their impact on us? Continue reading →
For one of my classes last semester (Greek Exegetical Method), outside of translating the book of Philippians, all I did was study the original text of Philippians 1:27-30. It was a rather laborious process and task, but at the same time the study was extremely beneficial, both in helping me develop my exegetical skills and in understanding God’s word more. At the end of the semester I wrote a lengthy, and I warn you, very technical and academically minded commentary on these four verses. I certainly trust it will not only answer questions you may have concerning the text but also tell you more than you wanted to know. Continue reading →
On January 28th I posted a youtube video of an excerpt of a sermon by John Piper in which he described the real difference between the Arminian view of atonement (unlimited or universal) and the Calvinistic view of atonement (historically called limited atonement). (Click here to see that post). Yesterday I was reading a book by Mark Dever entitled The Gospel and Personal Evangelism. At one point in the book, Dever makes a statement in passing regarding the the decisiveness of Christ’s atonement which really hits at the crux of this “extent of the atonement” debate. Again, instead of being a debate over universal v. limited extent, the centerpiece of the issue is whether Christ’s death was a potential or effectual atonement.
The apostles clearly learned from Jesus how they were to understand his death on the cross; and to teach Christians about this, the Holy Spirit has inspired various images in the New Testament that convey the reality to us: Continue reading →
I just finished this book yesterday. This is certainly not some high academic, grit-your-teeth-through-it book. It is written at the average person’s level, very easy to read (I read it in three days without much dedication), and very enjoyable.
The book is about evangelism, but more so, as Mark Dever says in the book’s foreward, “Mack puts the evangel [the Gospel] back in evangelism.” In other words, the main thrust of the book is not directly the idea of sharing the Gospel but understanding the Gospel and then seeing how a precise understanding of the Gospel affects the way you share it. It is an excellent book and the truths within it are surely something, as Christians, we all need to hear and be reminded of constantly. If we think we know the Gospel, we don’t know ourselves. We are inclined to forget the Gospel, neglect the Gospel, de-emphasize the Gospel, add to the Gospel (which in reality subtracts from the Gospel), distort the Gospel, tone down the Gospel, etc. We need reminders such as this.
Here is an excerpt from the last chapter of the book. I believe this portion summarize the main themes rather well. Continue reading →
This is a paper I wrote as a requirement for a class on Isaiah I took my senior year (Fall semester) at Maranatha Baptist Bible College. The introduction to the paper is as follows:
“Seminaries should train their students to preach sermons that will cause their listeners to become spiritually numb.” If one was to make such a claim, he would most assuredly be ridiculed, disregarded, and considered as absolutely ridiculous. However, a similar concept seems to exist in the words of Isaiah 6:9-10. Continue reading →