Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

My Photo
Name:

Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Second Anniversary

Yesterday was the second anniversary of my marriage to the love of my life, Abby. The Lord blessed Abby and I with an incredible day celebrating this event. Though Abby was supposed to work at the hospital on the Lord's Day, she was called and told she did not have to come in because there were so few patients needing care. This was a great blessing because if she had been made to work her normal twelve-hour shift, she would have been too tired to fully enjoy our time together.

Sunday night, we stayed at the Galt House, the nicest hotel I know of in Louisville. Our room was on the 22nd floor, with an incredible view overlooking the Ohio River:
For lunch yesterday, we ate in the trolley at the Old Spaghetti Factory. In the following photo, I am standing outside the trolley, taking a picture of Abby, who is sitting at our table:
After lunch, we went to the Louisville Zoo, where we saw many amazing animals. In the following picture, you see a gorilla that seemed as interested to see people as we were to see him:
Finally, after spending a little while resting at Borders, we took a dinner cruise on the Ohio River aboard the Belle of Louisville steamboat. In the following picture, Abby is on the dock, with the steamboat behind her:
I am so very grateful to God, praising him for my marriage to Abby, who is such a constant delight. God has truly blessed me so much more than I deserve- even contrary to what my sins deserve. I ask that all my brothers and sisters in Christ who are reading this post would keep Abby, Christian, and me in your prayers.

Labels:

Saturday, July 28, 2007

2 Reasons I'm thankful to be at SBTS rather than LPTS, Part 2

As I mentioned at the beginning of my last post on this subject, these posts are not focused on the obvious reasons a Baptist would choose the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) over Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (LPTS), but rather on concerns I have seen from LPTS that are so severe that I would consider paying the extra tuition to go to SBTS, even if I were Presbyterian. (Assuming, of course, that for some reason SBTS and LPTS were my only to options.)

On the campus of LPTS, my wife and I saw a few signs indicating that there is a labyrinth on campus, so we set out to find it. Having been raised watching the movie Labyrinth several times and having since then become a fan of the finale in the movie The Shining, I was very eager to see this labyrinth. I imagined winding paths made of stone walls or hedges, where my wife and I could someday have fun playing hide-and-go-seek with our son.

Imagine my disappointment when I found that the labyrinth was nothing more than bricks on the ground.

There is little chance that we would meet the Goblin King by surprise in this place, and if we had to hide from Jack Nicholson here, we'd be goners.

My real problem with the labyrinth at LPTS, however, is not the architecture of the thing (it is, admittedly, very scenic), but rather the claims made for the labyrinth. For this labyrinth is not built just so that people can appreciate the beauty of its form or so that people can enjoy walking through it; rather, this is meant to be a powerful tool for spiritual experience. As the sign beside the labyrinth explains:
I'll transcribe what I consider to be the most relevant portion, as the above still may be hard to read:
Christians may walk labyrinths to experience closer, deeper union with God... experience the sacredness of the space and place... May the experience of walking this sacred and powerful tool bring you a greater sense of Shalom and Oneness.
The LPTS webpage dedicated to labyrinth pilgrimage training makes similar claims for the labyrinth, with labyrinth-walking called an "enriching spiritual practice."

In all seriousness, I consider these claims made for this labyrinth to be much more dangerous to the Church than the claims of the gay-pride poster at LPTS. As I mentioned before, any Christian with the slightest modicrum of spiritual discernment would strongly object to the notion that proclamation of homosexual support is the most important thing a person can do. The labyrinth is therefore more dangerous because it is less obvious. And we should always remember: "the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field" (Genesis 3:1 KJV, emphasis added).

Why do theses claims cause me such concern? Why am I trying to raise an alarm on this issue?
First and foremost, it is because I see no warrant in Scripture for these claims. There is a reason no Bible texts are cited in relation to this labyrinth. All legitimate spiritual disciplines of the Christian life have ample scriptural support. This is true of personal spiritual disciplines such as Bible reading, meditation on Scripture, prayer, praises, fasting, the giving of tithes and offerings, works of service, etc. This is also true of the corporate spiritual disciplines within the Church of Bible proclamation, the ordinances, the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, providing for those in need, etc. On the other hand, if you look in any concordance for any Bible, you will find no mention of "labyrinth" whatsoever. The only warrant for this activity is, as indicated by both the sign pictured and the website linked above, "tradition" or "ancient practice."

The labyrinth at LPTS is reflective of a general trend within certain segments of the evangelical church to incorporate more ancient traditions, such as prayer labyrinths, veneration of icons, and the ceremonial ringing of bells and lighting of candles. It is easy to discern, however, that there is a certain arbitrariness to which of these traditions are being revived. Other ancient practices that occurred at the same time as those just mentioned were such things as living on pillars for several years, making oneself a eunuch, or self-flagellation. Yet there has not been a push to resurrect these oddities. Why? Is it because there is less Scriptural basis for these? No. As a matter of fact, one could (admittedly, using verses out-of-context, as was often done in ancient times when all of these practices originated) make more of a case from the Bible for the out-of-vogue traditions. One could read the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:29-30 in support of self-mutilation; one could read the Apostle's words in 1 Corinthians 9:27 in support of self-flagellation. The only principles that seem to dictate that these practices be rejected while things such as prayer labyrinths become popular are 'coolness' and 'convenience.'

This is my concern: Even inside the Church, ideas of what is 'cool' or what is 'convenient,' rather than Scripture, are too often forming the foundation for worldview development. Therefore, our priorities are too often not the priorities of God. For as 'coolness' and 'convenience' become key, what becomes of the vital aspects of the Church's life that are neither 'cool' nor 'convenient?' For when has it ever been 'cool' to "examine everything carefully, hold fast to that which is good, and abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NASB)? When has it ever been 'cool' to be careful that "no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth" (Ephesians 4:29 NASB)? When has it ever been convenient to care for the needy or to "regard one another as more important than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3 NASB)?

Additionally, an increase in pursuing "ancient practice[s]," such as walking labyrinths and others mentioned above, necessarily leaves less time for pursuing the genuine, biblical spiritual disciplines.

Finally, if people in our churches are trained to engage in practices without asking for scriptural warrant, they are being placed in a very dangerous position. Once they begin to rely on feelings more than the Bible, how will they not fall prey to the Mormons, who encourage people to seek a "burning in the bosom," above scriptural evidence, to validate their message? How will they not fall prey to Roman Catholicism? For if we can add labyrinths to our spiritual practice, why not embrace the sacerdotal system as well?

Labels:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Seeing With New Eyes: David Powlison's Testimony


The following is a portion of the salvation testimony of biblical counselor David Powlison, author of the book Seeing With New Eyes. This testimony helps readers understand how Powlison can have such great hope for his counselees, whom others would sometimes regard as hopeless. His hope does not rest in the abilities of those he counsels, but in the God of grace, who freely and powerfully rescues hardened sinners. The remainder of this post is a direct quote from Powlison (page 11).

David Powlison's Testimony

I had been a most unlikely candidate for Christian faith. (I suppose that made me an ideal candidate!) I was taken with the typical passions of the '60s and '70s: existentialism, Hindu mysticism, psychodynamic psychologies, literature, aesthetic experiences, personal pleasures, radical politics, finding Truth in an inward-looking journey, calling the shots about the meaning of life, changing the world, hating hypocrisy. Of course, I hated Christianity. Becoming a believer was not at the bottom of the possible options list; it was at the top of the "No way!" list.

But God arrested me with the love of Christ. My epitaph was obvious: "The God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone into our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (1 Cor. 4:6). He turned on the Light of the world in a benighted heart.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

2 Reasons I'm thankful to be at SBTS rather than LPTS, Part 1

Being Baptist by conviction, it is easy to surmise why I would want to go to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) rather than Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (LPTS), which is pretty much directly across the street. (For those who may not be aware, Baptists have historically differed from Presbyterians in matters of church government and in the definition of baptism.)

These posts are not focused on those obvious reasons, however, but rather on concerns I have seen from LPTS that are so severe that I would consider paying the extra tuition to go to SBTS even if I were Presbyterian. (Assuming, of course, that for some reason SBTS and LPTS were my only to options.)

Reason #1, LPTS and Gay Pride
My wife and I were taking a nice walk around the beautiful campus of LPTS one Lord's Day afternoon. When we came to the square of buildings formed by the chapel, the library, and some classroom buildings, we were surprised to see the following poster in the window of Nelson Hall:


If you are unfamiliar with the symbol on this poster, it is the logo used for the "Human Rights Campaign," which is the "largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equal rights organization in the United States."

At the bottom of the poster are the following words:


I'll transcribe what I consider to be the most relevant portion, as the above still may be hard to read:
Coming out as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or as a straight-supportive person is an act of bravery, authenticity, and openness. Whether it's for the first time ever, or for the first time today- coming out is the most important thing you will do all day.
Gay Pride Vs. Gospel Proclamation
Now, suppose that a Christian had somehow never read Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, or 1 Timothy 1:8-11. Suppose that a Christian had somehow been taught a bogus hermeneutic by which these passages were thought to not be relevant to the Church today. Even supposing either of these things, it still seems to me that any Christian with even the slightest modicrum of spiritual discernment would strongly object to the statement above. For Christians are those who have been rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of the Son (Col. 1:13); we are those who have been made alive with the Messiah, even though we were dead in trespasses (Eph. 2:4-5). We have not received these benefits based on anything good within us, but based on God's grace alone, which He has worked into our hearts through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). This message- the message of Jesus Christ, who died in the place of sinners, was raised from the dead on the third day, conquering death and Hell, and who now lives forever, freely offering eternal life to all who believe in Him- this is the most important message in a Christian's life. This message is what the Holy Spirit used to save us from God's wrath against sin, and this message represents the only hope Christians have for our loved ones to be saved. So reflecting on this message- giving glory to God for the Good News of Jesus- and sharing this message with others- are much more important than anything else we could do all day.

Putting the very best spin on the statement quoted from the poster above, it is still a message of selfishness that will leave people dead in their sins. When one additionally considers the facts presented by the verses quoted at the head of the last paragraph, and the fact that there is no more reason to assume that homosexuality has ceased to be a sin than we can assume that idol worship, adultery, or murder (all mentioned in close proximity to homosexuality) have ceased to be sins, then this poster must be recognized as an invitation to self-destruction.

Conclusion
When I first saw the poster featured and critiqued in this post, I thought that some renegade student may have placed it. I returned to LPTS a few weeks later and it was still there, and I went by LPTS again yesterday to find it unmoved from its place of prominence. Subsequently, I have found that a current faculty member of LPTS authored Called Out With: Stories of Solidarity in Support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Persons. So this poster is not merely a fluke, but represents a position supported (at least to some degree) by the leadership of LPTS. Please pray for this institution, that they would repent of this sin and begin to teach faithfulness to Christ and His Gospel.

Labels:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Seeing With New Eyes: The Gaze of God- A Christian Worldview, Part 2


Introduction:
In Part 1 of this series, I began highlighting some passages from biblical counselor David Powlison's book, Seeing With New Eyes. This post will continue to present some thoughts from Powlison concerning a Christian Worldview. The remainder of this post is a direct quote from Powlison (page 10).

The Gaze of God- A Christian Worldview, Part 2

To think Christianly is "to think God's thoughts after him." Of course, our thinking is both finite and distorted. We never see it all; and we often misconstrue what we do see. We see in a glass darkly, skewed reflections in a battered bronze mirror- but we do see. God, who sees all things directly in full daylight, enlightens the eyes of our hearts. We see surfaces, catching glimpses of interiors; God sees to the inky or radiant depth of every heart, all the way down to the fundamental hate or fundamental love. Our glasses are sometimes rosy, sometimes jaundiced, sometimes bluesy, sometimes mirrored on the inside of the lens (so that all we can see are the turbulent contents of our own interiors). The madness in our hearts generates warped spectra. But God sees all things in bright, clear light- and this God is the straightener of crooked thoughts. He makes madmen sane.

Lest this sound overly cognitive, we also learn "to intend God's intentions after him." Christianity is both a way of seeing and a way of proceeding. Christ enters and engages the world he sees. He acts and reacts. The "mind of Christ" is no mental list of theoretical doctrines. His gaze brings with it ways of experiencing, patterns of appropriate reactions, and a game plan for engaging what he sees. So, we learn to pursue God's pursuits after him, to act God's acts, feel God's feelings, love God's loves, hate God's hates, desire God's desires. When the Word became flesh, Jesus lived all God's communicable attributes on the human scale. No, we will never be all-knowing, or all-powerful, or all-present. But yes, we will be wise and loving, true and joyous. We will weep with those who weep. We will lay down our lives for our friends, bear sufferings, love enemies, and say with all our heart, "Thank you."

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Romans 1:20. Care of the Defenseless

From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20 HCSB)

Throughout God's Word, the observable creation we see around us is presented as bearing testimony to Him. This is especially evident in the Psalms (see, for example, Psalm 19), in the closing chapters of the Book of Job, and in the opening chapters of Romans.

Today, as a new category of articles on this blog, I am going to begin to occasionally post some interesting observations of nature, which I believe to demonstrate God's creativity and various other of His attributes.

I begin with the following, which is doubtlessly the coolest nature video I've ever seen:

HT:: James White

Labels:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Seeing With New Eyes: The Gaze of God- A Christian Worldview, Part 1


Introduction:
Today I'm beginning a new category of posts highlighting some passages from biblical counselor David Powlison's book, Seeing With New Eyes. I will present portions of this book dealing with a Christian worldview, with Powlison's testimony, and with the Apostle Paul's use of Scripture. The remainder of this post is a direct quote from Powlison (pages 9-10).

The Gaze of God- A Christian Worldview, Part 1

I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.[1]

“By it I see everything else.” This risen and rising sun– Light of the world, no less!– opens our eyes to see. We come to “see” a man we’ve never actually laid eyes on. In fact, we not only see him, but we love him, trust him, and delight in him (1 Peter 1:8). Along the way he teaches us to see everything else the world contains. We aren’t talking about retinal images processed in the brain. This seeing, this gaze, means to wake us from our fantasies, fictions, and nightmares to see things as they are in fact. God has the real take on things. And God teaches us his gaze.

We learn (slowly! in fits and starts!) to see how God sees. God, self, others, problems, circumstances, all now appear in the true mirror. Learning the gaze of God, we come to weigh life aright. We discern good and evil, fair and foul, lovely and degraded. Our Father enlightens the eyes of our hearts. We become able to pry apart true from false, instead of living in a murk of half-truths and flat lies.

All sorts of things start to look and to mean different when the lights come on: friendship, artistic abilities, Orion’s belt brilliant on a winter night, bone cancer, a frustrating job search, money in the bank, the waste of our wraths and sorrows, forgiveness sought and granted, old hurts and fresh affronts, kind hearts and opportunities not to be missed, anorexia-bulimia, quiet desperation and joy inexpressible full of glory, Day-Timer or Palm Pilot, the sounds of tonight’s dinner sizzling in the pan. The sins and sufferings of the human condition (the “stuff” of counseling) look different.

Consider this example. Both Caiaphas and Peter “saw” the same retinal images of Jesus. (To widen the metaphor, we might add that both “heard” the same tympanic vibrations when Jesus spoke.) But the priest saw a threat and heard a charlatan. The friend saw the maker, judge, and savior of the world, and he heard the words of eternal life. When you wake up to see the sun, and hear the waterfall, and smell the coffee, and touch the garment’s hem, and taste that the Lord is good, it must change how you see everything.



[1] C.S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?” They Asked for a Paper (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1962), 165.

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Biographical Sketch: James P. Boyce


James P. Boyce: Early Life (1827-1855)

James P. Boyce, the first president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was born on January 11, 1827 at Charleston, South Carolina. Boyce matriculated at Brown University in 1845. He quickly became a respected student and popular peer. Soon after entering Brown, Boyce professed his faith in Christ. Soon after his conversion, he fell in love at a friend’s wedding. Just two days after meeting Lizzie Ficklen, Boyce asked her to marry him. Taken aback, Lizzie rebuffed her suitor, but only for a time. The two wed in December 1848 and together raised two daughters.

Boyce served as editor of the Southern Baptist after graduation. In 1849 he entered Princeton Theological Seminary, where he completed the three-year course in just two years. He then served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Columbia, South Carolina until 1855, when he received an offer from South Carolina’s Furman University to join its faculty. He accepted and became a professor of theology in 1855.[1]

James P. Boyce and the Founding of Southern Seminary (1856-1888)

In 1859 James Petigru Boyce along with Basil Manly Jr., John Broadus, and William Williams opened the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Born as the son of the wealthiest man in the South in his day, J.P. Boyce would eventually drain his fortune in order to keep Southern Seminary opened.[2] The following is a summary presentation of Boyce’s vision for Southern Seminary, the theological foundation of Southern Seminary established under Boyce’s leadership, and Boyce’s defense of Southern Seminary when those beliefs were challenged.

The Vision for Southern Seminary: "Three Changes in Theological Institutions"

The history of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary begins a full two years before the first class was ever conducted at the institution. In 1856, James Boyce was hired as a professor at Furman University. In his inaugural address at Furman, Boyce delivered a lecture titled, “Three Changes in Theological Institutions.” This address set forth a vision for theological education that would eventually take shape as the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The ‘three changes’ Boyce proposed were:[3]

1. Availability of theological education to all called by God to be ministers in His church, despite possible lack of previous formal education. (Most theological institutions in Boyce’s day assumed students would have had ten to twelve years of Latin and six to nine years of Greek.[4])

2. Excellence in theological education, including programs of study at the research level equal to or surpassing those available in secular universities. (This conviction would later lead Southern Seminary to become the first non-university based institution in the United States to offer a Ph.D.)

3. A confessional basis for theological education in which specific beliefs about what the Bible says are declared.

This last point would later lead to the framing of the Abstract of Principles.

The Theological Foundation of Southern Seminary: The Abstract of Principles

In 1858, one year before Southern Seminary opened for classes, a committee comprised of James P. Boyce, Basil Manly Sr., Basil Manly Jr., and John Broadus completed the Abstract of Principles. This confessional statement– the first crafted by a group that was specifically Southern Baptist– would serve as the theological foundation for all faculty members of Southern Seminary. The chief architect of the Abstract of Principles was Basil Manly Jr., who drew heavily upon the 1689 London Baptist Confession in crafting this document.[5] The construction of the Abstract of Principles was guided by three mandates agreed upon by the drafting committee:

  1. The abstract of principles must be a complete exhibition of the fundamental doctrines of grace, so that in no essential particular should they speak dubiously.
  2. They should speak out clearly and distinctly as to the practices universally prevalent among us [those in the Southern Baptist Convention].
  3. Upon no point, upon which the denomination is divided, should the Convention, and through it, the Seminary, take any position.[6]

The result was a simple twenty-point confession of faith that “remains a powerful testimony to a Baptist theological heritage that is genuinely evangelical, Reformed, and orthodox.”[7]

The Defense of Southern Seminary: The Toy Controversy

During Boyce’s administration of Southern Seminary, the first major challenge arose as to the Seminary’s confessional convictions. This challenge was not raised by an individual who denied any specific point of the Abstract of Principles, but who rather denied the very presuppositions from which the Abstract originated.

C.H. Toy, who had been among the first class of students at Southern Seminary, studied theology and Semitic languages in Germany following the Civil War. Toy returned to the United States in 1868 and one year later he was elected as professor of Old Testament interpretation for Southern Seminary.[8] At his hiring, the trustees and faculty of Southern Seminary were apparently unaware of the extent to which Dr. Toy had been influenced by German higher critical methods. In his classroom, Toy began to undermine the biblical account of creation, teaching Darwinism and higher criticism. Boyce realized the danger of this teaching and insisted that Toy teach the Old Testament history as it is written in Scripture, which Toy agreed to do. Nevertheless, convinced of the validity and usefulness of his position, Toy submitted a defense of his beliefs, along with his resignation, to the trustees of Southern Seminary at the 1879 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Atlanta. The trustees accepted his resignation. Boyce did not oppose Toy’s resignation, but suffered great personal grief at being distanced from a treasured friend that had seemed so intellectually promising. John Broadus reported that when Toy left Louisville, Boyce accompanied him to the railway station and embracing him with his left arm, raised his right arm before him, saying, “Oh Toy, I would freely give that arm to be cut off if you could be where you were five years ago, and stay there.”[9]

James P. Boyce: Death (1888)

Boyce labored long in Louisville until illness drove him to seek recovery in Europe in 1888. Though his heart lifted in a visit to Charles Spurgeon, his health did not improve. Southern Seminary’s first president passed away on December 28, 1888.[10] The legacy he left behind was immense. He understood, as his contemporary Charles Spurgeon in England did the danger of a people of God not having the proper theological moorings. Like Spurgeon, Boyce often lamented the inroads that Arminianism was making on Baptist life. He saw the fate that awaits the Church when it trades the sovereignty of God for the sovereignty of man. Boyce also warned against the dangers of hyper-Calvinism that had taken root among Baptists in the south in the form of Primitive or Hard-Shell Baptists. He was a Calvinist who was so committed to evangelism that he offered the Seminary grounds to D.L. Moody when he brought his tent to Louisville.[11]



[1] “James P. Boyce” [on-line], accessed 15 July 2007; available from http://archives.sbts.edu/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID325566|CHID717900|CIID1978880,00.html; Internet.

[2] R. Albert Mohler, Jr., “James Petigru Boyce and Renewal in Theological Education” (The Southern Baptist Founders Conference, 1995), audiocassette.

[3] R. Albert Mohler, Jr., “To Train the Minister Whom God Has Called: James Petigru Boyce and Southern Baptist Theological Education,” The Founders Journal 19/20 (1995) [journal on-line], accessed 25 June 2007; available from http://www.founders.org/FJ19/article4.html; Internet.

[4] Mohler, “James Petigru Boyce and Renewal in Theological Education.”

[5] R. Albert Mohler, Jr., “Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There! Southern Seminary and the Abstract of Principles,” Southern Seminary Magazine, November 2000 (class reader, 42710–– The Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, Summer 2007, photocopy), 3.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Billy Grey Hurt, “Crawford Howell Toy: Interpreter of the Old Testament” (Th.D. diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1966) [on-line], accessed 25 June 2007; available from http://archives.sbts.edu/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID325566|CHID717902|CIID1992648,00.html; Internet.

[9] L. Russ Bush and Tom J. Nettles, Baptists and the Bible (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1999), 216.

[10] “James P. Boyce” [on-line], accessed 15 July 2007; available from http://archives.sbts.edu/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID325566|CHID717900|CIID1978880,00.html; Internet.

[11] “J.P. Boyce” The Baptist Page [on-line], accessed 15 July 2007; available from http://www.siteone.com/religion/baptist/baptistpage/Portraits/boyce.htm; Internet.

Labels:

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Christian Response to Mormonism


Two current issues of note when considering an apologetical defense of the Christian faith in relation to the challenge of Mormonism:
  1. Are Mormons Christian? It has been observed that Mormonism differs from historic Christian beliefs in that the Mormon idea of God is not Christian, the Mormon idea of Jesus is not Christian, and the Mormon idea of salvation is not Christian. Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has recently begun debating Mormon author Orson Scott Card on BeliefNet.com, focusing on who God is, who Jesus is, and also highlighting some of the historic claims of Mormonism versus the historic claims of Christianity.
  2. Are Mormon Scriptures genuine? The Institute for Religious Research has recently posted the video (available to be viewed below) which proves that the Book of Abraham- a portion of the Mormon scriptures- is, in fact, a fraud.

Labels:

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Vacation Bible School

Next week (July 9-13) Kosmosdale Baptist Church, the congregation of which I am a member, will be hosting a Vacation Bible Church (VBS). It is my understanding that we conduct VBS because families who would otherwise have no interest in anything to do with the Church will often send their children to this daily event. We feel that it would be wrong to miss out on the opportunity to deliver biblical, Christ-centered teaching to the children in our community, and to hopefully use this as a way to reach out to the community so that entire families will be impacted for the Gospel. There are, however, certain precautions that must be taken when conducting Vacation Bible School. For while we want to present the Good News of Jesus to each child and to be honest with each child about his or her need to repent and place their faith in Him, we do not want to in any way coerce a response from anyone who is not genuinely convicted of sin and the need for the Savior by the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we do not want to give children a false assurance of salvation based upon what may later prove to be nothing more than an emotional response without understanding.

On a recent broadcast of Calling for Truth, issues concerning VBS have been explored. The opportunity that VBS represents as well as necessary cautions were discussed. I believe that (at least) most of what is said on this broadcast is in agreement with the position of our congregation concerning VBS. I encourage everyone reading this post to listen to the broadcast HERE and to prayerfully consider what is said.

Labels:

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blogs that you should check out

Stan Reeves is an elder at my "sending church" (i.e. the church that recommended me for SBTS), Grace Heritage Church in Auburn, AL. He is the webmaster for Founders Ministries and moderator of the Reformed Baptist Discussion List. Recently, Stan has begun posting a series of articles on the Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog to "encourage laypeople to take some initiative when a biblical church cannot be found in your area." Even if the statement just quoted does not describe you, I would encourage you to read Stan's articles, as they provide an example for thinking through application of biblical principles in a difficult situation.

Also, I recently found out that my friend Chris West has a blog. I encourage anyone reading this post to check out his blog and drop a comment to encourage him to keep up the good work.

Labels: