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.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Augustine on the Failure of Non-Christian Scientists

Recently, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. has written a blog article about Professor Stephen Hawking's argument against divine creation as well as a blog article about Professor Jerry Coyne's argument that science and religion are incompatible (Coyne argues that religion should be abandoned in favor of science). I encourage anyone reading this post to read Dr. Mohler's blog articles, and also to consider the following quote, from Confessions Book V chapter 3, in which Augustine discusses non-Christian scientists [in particular, Augustine uses the example of astronomers]:


For with their understanding and reason, which You gave them, they search out these things [of science]; and much have they found out; and foretold, many years before, eclipses of those luminaries, the sun and moon,—what day and hour, and how many digits,—nor did their calculation fail; and it came to pass as they foretold; and they wrote down the rules they had found out, and these are read at this day, and out of them do others foretell in what year and month of the year, and what day of the month, and what hour of the day, and what part of its light, moon or sun is to be eclipsed, and so it shall be, as it is foreshowed.


At these things men, that know not this art, marvel and are astonished, and they that know it, exult, and are puffed up; and by an ungodly pride departing from Thee, and failing of Your light, they foresee a failure of the sun's light, which shall be, so long before, but see not their own, which is. For they search not religiously whence they have the intelligence, wherewith they search out this. And finding that You made them, they give not themselves up to You, to preserve what You made, nor sacrifice to You what they have made themselves; nor slay their own soaring imaginations, as fowls of the air, nor their own diving curiosities (wherewith, like the fishes of the seal they wander over the unknown paths of the abyss), nor their own luxuriousness, as beasts of the field, that You, Lord, a consuming fire, may burn up those dead cares of theirs, and re-create themselves immortally.


But they do not know Christ, who is the Way and the Word of God, by Whom You made these things which they number, and themselves who number, and the sense whereby they perceive what they number, and the understanding, out of which they number; or that of Your wisdom there is no number. But the Only Begotten is Himself made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification. He was numbered among us, and paid tribute unto Caesar. Yet these men do not know that He is the Way by which they must come down from the heights where they have set themselves and rise again, with Him, to be with Him. They knew not this Way, and deemed themselves exalted amongst the stars and shining; and behold, they fell upon the earth, and their foolish heart was darkened. They discourse many things truly concerning the creature; but Truth, Artificer of the creature, they seek not piously, and therefore find Him not; or if they find Him, knowing Him to be God, they glorify Him not as God, neither are thankful, but become vain in their imaginations, and profess themselves to be wise, attributing to themselves what is Yours; and thereby with most perverse blindness, try to impute to You what is their own; they even attribute falsehood to You, who are the Truth, and changing the glory of uncorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things, changing Your truth into a lie, and worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Few Thoughts on a Googled Psalm

Tonight I Googled the word "Psalm," as I have been studying some of the Psalms lately and was curious to see which Psalm would get the highest result on Google.

The second result, after the Wikipedia entry for "Psalms," was Psalm 139 in the NIV. At first this surprised me, as I thought that a better-known Psalm such as Psalm 23 or even Psalm 1 would receive more hits, and thus be listed as a higher result.

Why is Psalm 139 so popular? I believe that it is due to the application of this Psalm to the issue of the sanctity of human life in contrast to abortion. Pro-life groups often quote (quite appropriately) from Psalm 139:13-16:

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

I think that it is important to recognize the context of the verses above. This Psalm is focused on God: specifically, our omniscient and omnipresent God who cares for His people.

God knows His people; He knows our actions and thoughts. Anywhere we may choose to go, God is there with us. God's knowledge of His people is not a passive knowledge, but is active and personal.

God is our Creator, knitting us together within our mothers' wombs, and so we owe Him all love and obedience. We have all fallen short of God's glory, going our own "offensive way." In Christ, God leads His people into "the way everlasting."

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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Assumption of Mary and the Ongoing Importance of Reformation Teaching

In a fairly recent debate with James White [available HERE], Roman Catholic apologist Robert Sungenis defined the Assumption of Mary as follows:

The Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into heaven, body and soul, and presently lives and reigns with Christ, who is at the right hand of the Father... she was taken up to heaven.


Since it was promulgated on November 1, 1950, the Assumption of Mary has been a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, meaning that according to Roman Catholicism it is a teaching that is necessary for a person to believe if he or she is to be saved: as Sungenis went on to explain: "... if you don't believe it, you are condemned.

What is the basis for this dogma? NOT THE BIBLE, as Sungenis admitted: "...direct, express Scriptural proofs [for the bodily assumption of Mary] are not to be had."

In other words, according to Roman Catholicism, if a person denies the Assumption of Mary- a doctrine not about God, or about Christ, or about the nature of faith, but about a character found in the Bible (though the doctrine of her assumption is not found in the Bible)- then that person is bound for Hell.

In reality, this dogma is less about Mary and more about the Pope: does the Pope have the authority to impose teachings that must be believed for salvation? (This question is especially important as the statements made by Popes throughout history have so often contradicted each other.)

As we approach the celebration of Reformation Day this October 31st, let us be thankful for the work of the Reformers in their proclamation the gospel: freeing the simple message of faith in Christ from unnecessary Roman doctrines. Let us also be thankful for the Reformers' teaching concerning the basis for our gospel beliefs: i.e. sola Scriptura.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Morning at the Abortion Clinic

Most Saturday mornings I keep Georgia and Christian while Abby is at work, but whenever I am able, I meet with my friend John Heuglin and others to pray and preach the gospel outside of the abortion clinic here in Louisville. In the following video, John describes that experience:

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Augustine on Scripture

[From Book VI, chapter 5 of Augustine's Confessions, which we have been studying in Sunday school at Kosmosdale Baptist Church]:

1. Scripture is necessary:

Since then we were too weak to find out truth by reason alone: for this very reason we needed the authority of Holy Writ;


2. Scripture is authoritative:

I had now begun to believe that You would never have given such excellency of authority to the Bible in all lands, had You not willed thereby to be believed in, thereby sought. For now those things in the Scripture that sounded strange and had previously offended me, having heard many of them expounded satisfactorily, I referred to the depth of the mysteries, and its authority appeared to me the more venerable, and more worthy of religious credence,


3. Scripture is clear:

Its plain language and simple style make it accessible to everyone, and yet it absorbs the attention of the learned.


4. Scripture is sufficient to lead to salvation:

By this means it gathers all men in the wide sweep of its net, and some pass safely through the narrow mesh and come to You.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Q&A from "Seeing With New Eyes"

[This past July, Justin Taylor published the Q&A section from David Powlison's Seeing With New Eyes as a series of posts on his blog. This Q&A section from Powlison's book is, in itself, an invaluable resource for sanctification and couseling. The following is a compilation of Taylor's posts, giving the entire Q&A section in sequential order.]

1. What's wrong with people?

2. Why do people do specific ungodly things?

3. What's wrong with wanting good things?

4. Why do our desires deceive us?

5. Is "lusts of the flesh" terminology practical?

6. Does each person have one "root sin"?

7. How do I know if a desire is inordinate rather than natural?

8. Why talk about the "heart" when the Bible says it's unknowable?

9. Doesn't the term "lusts" just apply to bodily appetites?

10. Can desires be habitual?

11. What's the relationship between fear and desire?

12. Do people ever have conflicting motives?

13. "Lusts" and other ways of talking about sin.

14. Should we just confront people aboout their sinful cravings?

15. Can you change what you want?

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Do You Want to Become a Better Counselor?

[Reprinted from Between Two Worlds.]

David Powlison’s counsel:

You will not go wrong if you plunge into Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Master it.

Be mastered by it.

Work Ephesians into your thinking, your living, your prayers, and your conversation.

The Bible is vast and deep, and human life is diverse and perplexing. But in a pinch you could do all counseling from Ephesians. It’s all there: the big picture that organizes a myriad of details.

Seeing with New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture (P&R; 2003), p. 17.

[One benefit of working at Dorothy Sayers Classical School is that this year I will have the opportunity to memorize the first two chapters of Ephesians along with my students (who are being tested on their memory of these chapters).]

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