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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Selected Quotes from "The Devil Votes Christian Values: Why We're Tempted to be Glorified Satanists Rather than Crucified Followers" by Russell Moore

[The following quotes are from a chapel sermon preached March 17, 2009 at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The text for the sermon was Matthew 4:8-17 and Deuteronomy 6:10-15.]

"The need to stand up and to exalt oneself, and to exalt one's freedom, and to exalt one's liberty, and to exalt one's rights, and to exalt one's Self in every way is exactly what is at the core of the project that this evil being- the Prince of the power of the air- has been about from the very dawn of history, according to the Word of God."

"Satan ultimately has a power that is not found most importantly in moral decay or in cultural chaos. His power is in the authority to accuse- the power of accusation- the power of holding humanity captive through the fear of death and the certainty of judgment. Satan is not fearful of external conformity or rule, not even of external conformity to the rule of Christ, provided there is no Cross. Satan does not mind 'family values' as long as what you ultimately value is the family. Satan does not mind 'social justice' as long as you see justice as most importantly social. Satan does not tremble at a 'Christian worldview;' he will let you have a 'Christian worldview' as long as your ultimate goal is viewing the world."

"Pastor, Satan doesn't mind if you preach on the decrees of God with fervor and passion every single week provided that you do not ever preach the gospel of the Cross. Homeschooling mom, Satan does not mind if you teach your children all the books of the Bible, and all the Ten Commandments, and all of the Catechism, provided that you do not teach them the gospel of a bloody Cross. He will let you, ministers of the gospel, he will let you get what it is that you want, no matter what that is- sanctity of marriage, environmental protection, orphan care- all of these good and wonderful things- he will allow you to gain those things provided you do not preach and proclaim and live through the power of a Cross that cancels his power of condemnation."

[I strongly recommend that anyone reading this post take the opportunity to listen this entire sermon, which can be heard HERE.]


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Reporting On and Responding to the John 3:16 Conference

On November 6-7 of last year, Jerry Vines Ministries hosted the "John 3:16 Conference" at First Baptist Church Woodstock, Georgia. This Conference was intended to provide a response to the growing presence of Calvinistic theology within the Southern Baptist Convention from an anti-Calvinistic perspective. I attended this Conference and live-blogged the Conference for The following are links to the posts I did for Challies:

Registration, Schedule, Vendors, and Books

Introduction and Opening Message by Johnny Hunt

Message on John 3:16 by Dr. Jerry Vines

Attendance and Mood






Message on John 3:16 by Dr. Charles Stanley

Question and Answer

In live-blogging the John 3:16 Conference, my goal was to give an accurate sense of what was said at the Conference. Therefore in my work for Challies I included little to no commentary on what was said. However, I did later write some responses to certain points made at the Conference. These responses were published on Strange and are linked below:

A Response to Dr. Paige Patterson’s Presentation on Total Depravity

A Response to Dr. Richard Land’s Presentation on Unconditional Election,
Part 1: The Historical Question
Part 2: C.S. Lewis' Philosophy of God's Relationship to Time
a. In Mere Christianity
b. In Miracles
Part 3: Romans 9
a. In Ironside's Lectures
b. In Dr. Land's Framework
Addendum to the Historical Question

A Response to Dr. David Allen's Presentation on Limited Atonement,
Part 1: The Historical Question
a. In Regards to Martin Luther
b. In Regards to Jonathan Edwards
Part 2: The Evangelistic Question

A Response to Dr. Steve Lemke's Presentation on Irresistible Grace
Part 1: "People Resisting God"
Part 2: "Jesus' Teaching Pattern"
Part 3: Dr. Lemke's Final Objection to Irresistible Grace

A Response to Dr. Ken Keathley's Presentation on the Perseverance of the Saints

Hopefully the above articles will be helpful to anyone who is interested in what was said at the John 3:16 Conference, but who was unable to attend, or to anyone who did attend and is looking to continue thinking through the issues raised at the Conference.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chapel notes, 3/19/09.

[Read the official chapel live-blog at Towers Online. Hear spring semester chapel sermons of Southern Seminary HERE.]

Paul's Ministry Manifesto. Dr. Dan Dumas.
1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2 but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition. 3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. 5 For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed--God is witness-- 6 nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.

7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. 8 Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. 9 For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; 11 just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, 12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 NASB)

Background of Paul's ministry in Thessalonica: Acts 17:1-9.
Nature of critic's attacks on Paul, as reconstructed from Paul's arguments: That Paul and fellows in ministry were cowards, greedy, and deceitful.
4 gospel ministry necessities:
1. A tenacity for the advancement of the gospel in the face of opposition (1 Thess 2:1-2)
a. That Paul's ministry was genuine was demonstrated in the experience of the Thessalonians, that their lives were genuinely changed.
b. That Paul's ministry was genuine was demonstrated in the experience of Paul and his fellow ministers, in their suffering for the gospel.
2. A commitment to integrity and authenticity in the proclamation of the gospel (1 Thess 2:3-4)
a. Paul exercised integrity in never distorting the gospel message.
b. Paul exercised authenticity in having no self-serving motive in preaching the gospel.
3. A devotion to gentle and sacrificial care to others (1 Thess 2:5-8)
a. Paul and his fellow ministers were undemanding as far as personal rights or privileges.
b. Paul and his fellow ministers spent themselves in ministry to others.
4. A zeal for fatiguing and exemplary exhortation (1 Thess 2:9-12)
a. This section should not be used as a proof text that bi-vocational ministry is necessary, but should remind us of the need for self-sacrifice in ministry.
b. Paul was not only loving and tender as a mother to the Thessalonians, but a strong and exemplary father.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Soylent Green is people

As most people reading this blog are probably already aware, this week President Obama lifted the ban on destroying unborn babies for the purpose of stem cell research. This means that certain people will be harvested for the (theoretical) benefit of other people. (Hence the darkest-of-dark-humor title for this post.)

I've found the following three articles to be particularly helpful in thinking about this issue:

"Obama’s Embryo Destruction Extremism: Time for Obama’s Pro-Life Supporters to Face the Facts," by Yuval Levin (HT:: Justin Taylor).

"The Floodgate is Now Open -- President Obama and the Vulnerable Embryo," by Albert Mohler.

"Destroying Human Life at Tax-payers’ Expense," by Denny Burk.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Thomas Aquinas On Original Sin, Part 3.

From Summa Theologica:

Treatise on Habits in Particular, Question 81, Article 3: Whether the sin of the first parent is transmitted, by the way of origin, to all men?

This article is basically concerned with affirming the doctrine of Original Sin. Basically, Thomas relies on the teaching of the "Catholic Faith" (which many today would understand as an appeal to tradition). The one text of Scripture he relies on (appropriately enough) is Romans 5:12- "Therefore as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:" (ASV). This verse clearly connects the sin of all men to the sin of Adam.

Thomas draws out the analogy present in Romans 5, showing that all men are sinners being from Adam corporally, whereas all believers have become righteous being from Christ spiritually.


Monday, March 02, 2009

Tract Comparison/Contrast: The Doctrine of God

[In this post, I begin a comparison/contrast between "Experiencing God's Grace," which I believe is the best gospel tract available at this time, and "Eternal Life," which is a tract I have found useful in the past.]

After some introductory questions and comments, the "Eternal Life" tract begins with "God's purpose," stating that "God's purpose is that we have eternal life." After this statement, the tract continues by teaching about eternal life: "We receive eternal life as a free gift" (Romans 6:23b is quoted); "We can live a full and meaningful life right now" (John 10:10 is quoted); "We will spend eternity with Jesus in heaven" (John 14:3 is quoted).

Defining God's purpose in terms of giving us eternal life is somewhat problematic. What if the person to whom we present this tract does not come to believe in Jesus and thus does not receive eternal life? Is God's purpose then eternally frustrated?

Also, notice that the "Eternal Life" tract is concerned with defining what "eternal life" is, but no space is given to describing who God is. I think that this is a mistake in a culture that has lost a basic knowledge of what the Bible teaches concerning God.

In contrast, the "Experiencing God's Grace" tract begins where the Bible begins [literally] with Genesis 1:1, and then explores what it means that God is the Creator of all things through a presentation of Bible passages such as Psalm 19:1, Revelation 4:11, and others. The person presenting the "Experiencing God's Grace" tract should certainly be ready to define terms that may be unusual to the unbeliever ["Sustainer," for example], but overall this presentation of God as the Sovereign Creator is, I think, necessary for a right understanding of the gospel. The first section of the "Experiencing God's Grace" tract ends with a presentation of God's creation of humans in His image (Genesis 1:27 is quoted) and our subsequent obligation to worship Him.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Another Gospel Tract

The gospel tract pictured below was used by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention for several years. It is the tract I learned to use when I first began Continuing Witnessing Training about sixteen years ago.

There are many good features of this tract (found on-line HERE), and I did have the opportunity to see at least one person to whom I presented this tract come to faith in Christ as a result of the gospel presentation in the tract.

There are, however, some areas that could be improved in regards to the presentation found in this tract and I think that these areas are addressed in the "Experiencing God's Grace" tract I mentioned in my last post. In upcoming posts I plan to compare and contrast these two tracts.