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)

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

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fireproof discussion on /Film

After this weekend's official box office receipts were in, the popular entertainment blog "/Film" expressed shock that the movie Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron of Way of the Master Ministries, earned $6.5 million, having been made with a budget of only about $500,000. In the comment section of the /Film post, there has been some bashing of Cameron and Christians in general, but there has also been some good discussion. Readers of this post are encouraged to view the /Film article [HERE] and to consider contributing to this conversation, especially if you have seen Fireproof.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Personal Confession of Faith, Article II. God

[If you haven't done so already, please read the introduction HERE. In starting my confession of faith with an article on Scripture, my confession follows historic Baptist examples, declaring and detailing the necessary, authoritative, sufficient, and clear foundation from which the rest of the confession flows. This next article declares and details some of the most important beliefs I hold concerning God, who is the object of my faith.]

II. God
I believe that there is only one God (Deut 6:4). God is revealed as the Sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things (Gen 1:1; Acts 17:24-28; Rom 1:18-25), the Holy Lawgiver and Judge over His creation (Exod 20:1-17; Rom 2:1-3:20; Gal 3:15-22), and the Merciful Redeemer and Lord of His people (Exod 3:6; Ps 19:14). God is spirit (John 4:24) and is personal (Exod 3:14), has in and of Himself all perfections (Matt 5:48), being infinite in them all (Isaiah 6:3); and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience (Deut 6:5). God is most perfectly known in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ as revealed in Holy Scripture (John 14:8-11).

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Separated At Birth? Brian McLaren and Dave Ramsey



Be careful at the bookstore, you could attempt to buy a workbook to guide you in simple truths about financial freedom from debt and end up questioning the ability to be certain of any truth at all.

(Left: Emergent Church Movement figurehead Brian McLaren.
Right: Christian financial counselor Dave Ramsey.)

Together they could write The Secret Message of Financial Peace.

Funny occurrence: I tried to load the above pictures so that McLaren was on the right and Ramsey on the left, but for some reason Blogger automatically switched McLaren to the left and Ramsey to the right.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Comparing the Platforms: Christianity Today

At the end of last month, Christianity Today published an article comparing the platforms of the two major political parties [HERE]. This article gives specific quotes from each of the platforms on a number of issues and offers links to the full platforms. For individuals actuality interested in voting based on the issues and not simply interested in participating in the personality cult of Sen. Obama (or Governor Palin, for that matter), a basic knowledge of these platforms is a must.

Notice the contrast in the following planks concerning the most significant political issue of our day:

Abortion

Democrats: "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

"The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family planning services and age-appropriate sex education, which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.

"The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman's decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs."

Republicans: "Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.

"We have made progress. The Supreme Court had upheld prohibitions against the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act has become law, and states are now permitted to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We invite all persons of good will, whether across the political aisle or within our party, to work together to reduce the incidence of abortion; to protect girls from exploitation and statutory rape through a parental notification requirement; and to oppose sex selection abortions. We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them alternatives, including crisis pregnancy centers, and we take pride in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives."

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Translation of Romans 4:17-25. "Faith Accounted as Righteousness"

[Completed for my Greek exegesis class this semester. The "he" in the text intially refers to Abraham. In verse 21 a second "He" is introduced; based upon verses 17 and 19 it is clear that this second "He" refers to God, and therefore I have capitalized this pronoun in order to differentiate it from the "he" referring to Abraham.]

17 Just as it has been written, “I have placed you as a father of many ethnicities,” in the presence of whom he believed– of God, who makes the dead alive and calls things that do not exist as existing. 18 Who, against hope believed in hope so that he would become the father of many ethnicities according to this saying: “So will your seed be.” 19 And he was not weak in faith as he considered his own body [already] as good as dead, being about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb, 20 neither did he waver in unbelief about the promise of God, but he was strengthened in the faith, giving glory to God. 21 And he was fully convinced that what He had promised, He was also able to do. 22 And therefore it was accounted to him as righteousness. 23 Now “it was accounted to him” was not written for him only, 24 but also for us to whom it was going to be accounted, to those believing in the one who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was given over for our trespasses and was raised again for our justification.

[It is my hope that you who are students of Greek will turn to the Greek text and see if you have questions concerning the way I have translated certain words or phrases. Through your questions or statements, we may gain a better understanding of the Greek text. For readers that are not studying Greek, I hope that you will look to various translations and feel free to ask about any differences in my translation. Through your thoughtful interaction, I may hopefully improve in my ability to render the original text in an understandable manner.]

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Personal Confession of Faith, Article I. The Scriptures

[Introduction. According to Baptist historian Dr. Tom Nettles, there was a time in Baptist history when it was a common practice for those seeking full-time ministry to compose a personal confession of faith- a summary of the Bible doctrines that the minister determined to be most crucial to his personal devotion and service to others in ministry. It is my intention to follow in this tradition, and to present the following twenty articles as the core of what I believe concerning what the Bible teaches. This Personal Confession of Faith follows the structure of the Abstract of Principles held by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The wording of this Confession is my own at certain points, but I also borrow heavily from historical Baptist confessions of faith such as the Abstract of Principles, the 1689 London Baptist Confession, and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.]

I. The Scriptures.
I believe that Almighty God has revealed all that is necessary to life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3) in the sixty-six books of the Holy Scripture (Rev 22:18). Scripture is the very Word of God transmitted by Him in a verbal, plenary manner (Matt 5:18) and is as truthful and authoritative as God Himself (John 17:17). Its authority is derived from its Author and not from the opinions of men (2 Pet 1:20-21). All Scripture was given by inspiration of God, is infallible and inerrant, and is the sufficient, final arbiter of all disputes concerning matters of life and godliness (2 Tim 3:16-17). Scripture’s chief purpose is soteriological- to proclaim the message of reconciliation of sinners to God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit; therefore, the testimony of Scripture is crystal clear in all matters concerning salvation. Scripture is focused on who Jesus is and what He has done in revealing God to sinners and in redeeming His people (Luke 24:25-27; John 5:39).

Summary: Scripture is necessary, authoritative, sufficient and clear. Scripture's chief purpose is soteriological. Scripture's focus is the Person and Work of Christ.

[Over the next couple of weeks, it is my intention to post the other nineteen articles of this Confession. Readers can be a great help to me by looking at the statements of the Confession and checking the scriptural proofs; if you have any question or comment, your interaction may help me to refine my thinking concerning the doctrines presented.]

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Translation of Romans 3:21-26. "God: The Just and Justifier"

[Completed for my Greek exegesis class this semester.]

21 But now God’s righteousness has been manifested apart from law, though attested to by the Law and the Prophets– 22 even God’s righteousness through faith from Jesus Christ unto all believers– for there is no distinction. 23 For all sinned and are lacking the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God presented as a propitiation through faith in his blood, as evidence of his righteousness due to the passing over of the previous sins 26 in the forebearance of God, to the evidence of his righteousness in the present time, so that he is just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

[I have received almost no response to these translations I have been posting on my blog, and I realize that the main reason is that I have failed to indicate my purpose for posting these translations. It is my hope that you who are students of Greek will turn to the Greek text and see if you have questions concerning the way I have translated certain words or phrases. Through your questions or statements, we may gain a better understanding of the Greek text. For readers that are not studying Greek, I hope that you will look to various translations and feel free to ask about any differences in my translation. Through your thoughtful interaction, I may hopefully improve in my ability to render the original text in an understandable manner.]

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Adoption

This past Lord's Day, Abby and I (with Christian) had the opportunity to attend a public dialogue about adoption with Dr. Russell Moore, Dr. Randy Stinson, and Rev. David Prince (the video below is Dr. Moore explaining the purpose of this public dialogue).

In my view, the friendship between Dr. Moore– the dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary– Dr. Stinson- president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood– and Rev. Prince– pastor of a growing, vibrant, evangelical (in the best sense of the word) church– has the potential to have a similar impact for the kingdom of God as the friendship at the heart of the Together for the Gospel conference. The public dialogue this past Lord's Day is indicative of one area in which these men are already leading churches to reflect theologically and to act in ways that impact the lives of others for Christ: the area of adoption.

Adoption is rich in biblical and systematic theological significance. God's care for orphans and His action of bringing those from outside His chosen race into the number of his people (see, for example, Ruth) is a theme that recurs throughout the Old Testament. In the New Testament, adoption joins concepts such as justification, sanctification, and glorification to help us understand the salvation we have in Christ (see, for example, Romans 8:22-9:5). But whereas much theological reflection has been devoted to the topics just mentioned, relatively little has be given to adoption. One reason for this, I believe, is that the doctrine of adoption makes such great demands upon us. If we understand God's sovereign choice in adopting us, then our pride is debased, for our salvation is a matter of His choice, not ours. If we understand that we are all adopted- that God has no 'natural children' save Christ, so that we are all equal as adopted brothers and sisters into one family, then there is no place for favoritism, racism, or cliquishness in the church. If we understand God's self-sacrificial work on the Cross as payment for our adoption, then we are compelled to make sacrifices in order to see that others may be adopted as well.

This last theological-practical point was the focus of the dialogue this past Lord's Day. Abby and I are committed to eventually adopting a child and to helping others adopt; I pray that you who are reading this blog right now would consider how you might adopt or help others adopt as well. It is the least that we can do in honoring our Father who adopted us.

I urge anyone reading this to view the video below and to listen to a sermon from Rev. Prince on adoption HERE.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Translation of Romans 2:17-29. "Spirit and Letter"

[Completed for my Greek exegesis class this semester.]

17 But if you are called a Jew and rely upon law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve the superior things, being instructed from the Law, 19 and if you have convinced yourself you are a guide for the blind– a light for those in darkness, 20 an instructor of the senseless, a teacher of toddlers: having the form of knowledge and truth in the Law– 21 then, the one teaching another, do you not teach yourself? The one preaching not to steal, do you steal? 22 The one saying not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery? The one detesting idols, do you commit sacrilege? 23 You who boast in the Law, do you dishonor God through the transgression of the Law? 24 For the name of God is being blasphemed among the ethnicities because of y'all, just as it has been written. 25 For circumcision indeed profits you if you keep law, but if you are a transgressor of law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore, if the uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be accounted as circumcision? 27 And the one who is naturally uncircumcised, fulfilling the law, will judge you: the one who, though having the letter and the circumcision, are a transgressor of law. 28 For the man who is manifestly a Jew is nothing: neither is the circumcision that is manifest in the flesh. 29 But the man who is inwardly a Jew– with circumcision of heart that is spiritual, not literal– his praise is not from men, but from God.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Children: A reward or a punishment?

Psalm 127:3
Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.

Sen. Barack Obama:
I've got two daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.
A biblical view is that unmarried people can indeed make "mistakes" [or, actually, sin] and children can be a result, but the children themselves are not punishments; rather, they are God's gracious gift in spite of sin. As a person who professes Christian faith and who has spoken much of how he was basically raised without a father, Sen. Obama should know this.

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