Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Prayer for Pillsbury

ht: SharperIron

From the Religion Roundup - AP
Students, Faculty Praying Nonstop For Bible College's Survival

A decline in enrollment and a lack of donations at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College has students and faculty praying nonstop for the school's future.

For the Minnesota school to continue operating as it is now, officials say they need an enrollment of at least 200 students. Currently, 170 students attend Pillsbury Baptist.

They're taking turns for 30 minutes a day in an around-the-clock prayer campaign.

Pillsbury, an accredited college founded in 1957, prepares students for ministry or missionary work in Baptist churches.

School officials are recruiting students from Baptist churches throughout the country. The school is also working to raise 600-thousand dollars by next fall.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Theological Journal Resource Page

This page has some helpful links to various theological journals. Some of the journals have articles online and some do not. In either case, it has been a helpful reference for finding articles and learning about theological journals in print.


Hymns of treasuring Christ

Bernard of Clairvaux

Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts, Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts, we turn unfilled to Thee again.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood, Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee, Thou art good, to them that find Thee, all in all.

We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread, and long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead, and thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

Our restless spirits yearn for Thee, where’er our changeful lot is cast:
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see, blest when our faith can hold Thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay, make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away, shed o’er the world Thy holy light.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153)
He was one of the greatest men of the medieval church. He is said to be a brilliant debator, passionate preacher, and founder of the abbot of the respected monastery at Clairvaux in Northeastern France.

(Eskew, Harry and Hugh McElrath. Sing with Understanding. Church Street Press:Nashville, c 1995.)

Engage Conference

Perhaps you've heard of this. But I want to get the word out on this conference. Saylorville is putting on a conference aimed at helping local churches connect the gospel into every area of their ministry philosophy. Saylorville is a leader within fundamenalism in purposefully reaching its community with the gospel. The whole climate of the church is one that fosters an evangelistic fervor. I think any church leader would benefit from this conference. Register at our website.

Friday, February 23, 2007

ελληνιστι γινωσκεις;

I'm adding this new link to the blogs. Daniel Phillips is starting to blog for Greek readers.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bible Study with a Buddhist

Wednesday night while out on calling, Josh (last name?) and I encountered a young oriental man who we found out was Buddhist. But, interestingly enough, he was extremely interested in talking spiritual things. We were able to share the gospel, but there seemed to be some confusion and baggage that needed to be overcome, as you can imagine. He was eager to set up a a Bible study. After arriving back at church, someone gave me a message that Yeu Thach changed the Bible study from Tues. to Wed. because he remembered he had something Tues. Most people wouldn't have bothered, but he seems extra interested and genuine. This is really exciting because it's my 1st Bible study from 3 years of visitation (not to mention ever), and it's with a Buddhist, so I'll get immersed pretty quickly in this whole thing. Did some studying on Buddhism, and wrote down some of my thoughts if you're interested - it's pretty fascinating actually.
Interestingly enough, the fundamental motivation driving the doctrine of Buddhism is the desire to eliminate suffering, as delineated in the Four Noble Truths, or the pillars of Buddhism. The manner in which to eradicate suffering is to extinguish desire. This would include desire for anything that pertains to the senses (or desire against something), as well as a desire for a mental state or emotion such as joy, happiness, etc. This would make desire appear to be intrinsically evil. However, in the same discussion it stated that desire itself is not evil, but simply the desire for things that are temporary in nature. Also, the desire itself becomes a vehicle to achieve enlightenment as explained in the Noble Eightfold Path, or the steps to the cessation of suffering. Ultimately, the issue of desire gets muddy in the discussion of meditation, where pleasure is very much a part of the first three parts of meditation or “right concentration,” until the fourth and final phase in which there is “purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither in pleasure nor in pain.” Therefore I concluded that there are some major controversies in their doctrine. I could not distinguish ultimately if desire is intrinsically evil, because pleasure is part of the Noble Eightfold Path, and yet pleasure is the object of desire; then again, right concentration concludes “neither in pleasure nor in pain.”
Another interesting facet is that many of the actions prescribed in the Noble Eightfold Path are very moral things such as treating other people with love, not speaking lies, not thinking immoral thoughts, etc. It’s interesting how many of these non-Christian teachings are borrowed straight from Christianity, originally with the Ten Commandments. Though of course, God is taken out of the equation.
The ultimate goal is nirvana or enlightenment, which refers to becoming one with their idea of god, although this also appears muddy as to whether they believe in an actual god.

In conclusion, this was just a quick overview of Buddhism from the things that stuck out to me from reading up on Wikipedia and talking to Chuck DeCleene. Please pray for this unique opportunity and that Josh and I would be able to answer his questions and ultimately lead Yeu to Christ. Thanks!

Healthy Self Forgetfulness

From Justin Taylor
There was in this child-like love of children and joyful freedom from care a deeply healthy self-forgetfulness. Richard Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, wrote after a meeting with Wilberforce, "You have made me so entirely forget you are a great man by seeming to forget it yourself in all our intercourse." The effect of this self-forgetting joy was another mark of mental and spiritual health, namely, a joyful ability to see all the good in the world instead of being consumed by one's own problems (even when those problems are huge). James Stephen recalled after Wilberforce's death, "Being himself amused and interested by everything, whatever he said became amusing or interesting. . . . His presence was as fatal to dullness as to immorality. His mirth was as irresistible as the first laughter of childhood."

From John Piper's Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce:

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hymns of treasuring Christ

I would like to post some uplifting hymn texts periodically. Most of these are older hymns.
This is the first.

Jesus Priceless Treasure
Johann Franck (1618-1677)

Jesus, priceless treasure, source of purest pleasure, truest friend to me:
Long my heart hath panted, ‘til it well-nigh fainted, thirsting after Thee.
Thine I am, O spotless Lamb, I will suffer nought to hide Thee, ask for naught beside Thee.

In Thy strength I rest me; foes who would molest me cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking, every heart be quaking, God dispels our fear.
Sin and hell in conflict fell with their heaviest storms assail us: Jesus will not fail us.

Banished is our sadness! For the Lord of gladness, Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father, tho’ the storms may gather, still have peace within.
Yea, whate’er we here must bear, still in Thee lies purest pleasure, Jesus, priceless treasure!

written in the midst of the Thirty Years' War

Eskew, Harry and Hugh McElrath. Sing with Understanding. Church Street Press, c.1995

From Augustine to Arminius, Clark Pinnock

Brought up as I was in a liberal church and converted in my teens chiefly through the witness of my grandmother, I was introduced in a natural way during the 1950s to the institutions of what is inexactly called “evangelicalism” in North America… .

Certainly most of the authors I was introduced to in those early days as theologically “sound” were staunchly Calvinistic…. Therefore, it is no surprise that I began my theological life as a Calvinist who regarded alternate evangelical interpretations as suspect and at least mildly heretical. I accepted the view I was given that Calvinism was just scriptural evangelicalism in its purest expression, and I did not question it for a long time.

I held onto this view until about 1970, when one of the links in the chain of the tight Calvinism logic broke. It had to do with the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, likely the weakest link in Calvinian [sic] logic, scripturally speaking. I was teaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School at the time and attending to the doctrine particularly in the book of Hebrews. … The exhortations and the warnings could only signify that continuing in the grace of God was something that depended at least in part on the human partner. …

I began to doubt the existence of an all-determining fatalistic blueprint for history and to think of God’s having made us significantly free creatures able to accept reject his purposes for us. …

Link to Read the whole thing
ps Dr. Myron Houghton put together a great paper in response to Gregory Boyd's book. I'll ask his permission to post it here.

From Vatican II

I was doing a little reading for church history and came across this nugget from Vatican II. Perhaps you've already seen this:

16. Finally, those who have not yet received the gospel are related in various ways to the People of God...the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place among these there are the Moslems, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God Himself far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and every other gift (cf. Acts 17:25-28), and who as Savior wills that all men be saved (cf. 1 Tim 2:4).

Those also can attain to everlasting salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, strive by their deeds to do His will as it is know to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does divine Providence deny the help necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, but who strive to live a good life, thanks to His grace. Whatever goodness or truth is found among them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the gospel. She regards such qualities as given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life."

This leaves me with two thoughts: Muslims worship the same God? And Catholics wonder why fervor for evangelism is so obviously missing?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bruce Metzger Dies at 93

John Piper's Tribute
The son of Maurice and Anna Metzger, he earned a bachelor's degree from Lebanon Valley College in 1935, a bachelor of theology degree from Princeton Seminary in 1938 and a doctorate in classics from Princeton University in 1942. He became an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church in 1939.

Metzger began his teaching career at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1938, where he stayed in the New Testament department for 46 years. During his time at the seminary, Metzger developed 25 courses on the English and Greek texts of books in the New Testament.

He was also involved with committees in the production of three new editions of the Scriptures: the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (1966), the Reader's Digest condensed Bible (1982) and the New Revised Standard Version (1990).

In 1986, Metzger was elected to the American Philosophical Society in the class devoted to the Humanities and in 1994 he was awarded the F.C. Burkitt Medal by the British Academy for his contributions to biblical studies.

Metzger is survived by his wife of 62 years, Isobel Mackay Metzger, two sons and a sister. A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 20, in Princeton.

Media Fried or Foe

I do try to listen regularly to RZIM's daily podcast. Today's brought some interesting thoughts. I think it's worth a listen.

As a spinoff thought how would you all answer this question: what would sinful reading look like? What are the implications of the answer to this question to more persuasive forms of media?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Theology Democracy and the Project of Liberalism

I was drawn in by this title. Althought this article really doesn't have much substance to it. I think its true that the emerging movement has more in common with old line liberalism than people realize (follow the names listed in the article). All the same, I wonder how we're going to answer the charge of theocracy which is being leveled at mainline evangelicalism (not to mention think critically about the concept of liberalism and what scripture says of it). Does anyone know any books which would help me to learn more about evangelical thinking with regard to this topic?
Link - "the charge of theocracy" - American Theocracy, By Kevin Phillips

From a review of the book:
But as the book's title suggests, it is the religious right that most occupies Phillips. He is not subtle in his descriptions of this group: "The rapture, end-times, and Armageddon hucksters in the United States rank with any Shiite ayatollahs." The GOP has been transformed into "the first religious party in U.S. history," Phillips argues, and it is ushering in an "American Disenlightenment" that rejects the separation of church and state and ignores the teachings of science.

Much of Phillips's focus is on the eschatology of evangelical, fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christians, including their understanding of the prophecies in the New Testament book of Revelation that describe the events leading to the world's end, events that some evangelicals believe may be foreshadowed by today's turmoil in the Middle East. "Conservative politicians understood that for true believers their imminent rapture and the subsequent second coming of Jesus Christ were the only endgame," Phillips argues. "We can estimate that for 20 to 30 percent of Christians, this chronology superseded or muted other issues," such as economic self-interest and the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But Phillips provides no source for this estimate. He also asserts, rather than proves, that such ideas animate the Bush administration -- worrying, for example, about "White House implementation of domestic and international political agendas that seem to be driven by religious motivations and biblical worldviews."

This seems due in part to the low opinion Phillips has of born-again Christians, whom he sees as victims of a form of religious false consciousness. He argues that "Some 30 to 40 percent of the Bush electorate, many of whom might otherwise resent their employment conditions, credit-card debt, heating bills, or escalating costs of automobile upkeep . . . often subordinate these economic concerns to a broader religious preoccupation with biblical prophecy and the second coming of Jesus Christ."

Reclaiming the Mind Ministries

I haven't really taken a deep look at this but I think this is worth a look.

Link: Reclaiming the Mind Ministries

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Edwards on the Problem of Evil

But God is not culpable for sin Edwards argues. In order to make his case he adopts two key theses from Augustine of Hippo. First he follows Augustine's line that "evil" per se is nothing. It has no ontological status. What is "evil" in the choice of sin is simply a rejection of or a falling away from the good. Thus the evil is nothing positive, but simply an abandoning of what one ought to have chosen."

From "Does God cause sin? Anselm of Canterbury versus Jonathan Edwards on human freedom and divine sovereignty" by Katherin Rogers

This sheds light on the topic for me. Romans 3:23 makes sense in this light. One does not say that darkness has a source. The essence of holiness is glory in its fullest, that is the character and nature of God himself. To fall short of that and look elsewhere is to fall short of the glory of God. I've never thought of this in this way, interesting... thoughts?

"I've Got the Hebrew Blues"

This is how I feel today...
Got the Hebrew Blues,
Got the Hebrew Blues
Oh Elohim Adonai (Lord God)
Got the Hebrew Blues
Well I’m sitting ‘neath the sun thinking about energic nuns
got the Hebrew blues

Well I’m sitting in my ohel (tent) knowing my Hebrew well
got the Hebrew blues
what is a hofal?
I think I asked you
what is a hofal?
I don’t know, I don’t know
I don’t know, what a hofal is
but maybe I was caused not to know
got the Hebrew blues!

propretonic reduction, propretonic reduction
oh, what is that?
I don’t know, I don’t know,
All my vowels have gone away,
has someone seen my tsere,
got the Hebrew blues

Oh ahh, Oh ahh
Oh ahh, qamats hatuf
Oh ahh, Oh ahh, qamats hatuf
Well is it Oh or ahh?
I don’t know,
got the Hebrew blues!

Who is he, I said to my girl
I said, hoo is he
hoo is he, and he is she
and mi and mi is who
what kind of a world do we live in
when a dog is a fish!
got the Hebrew blues!

my baby yashvad (lived with me) for a while
then she shav’d (swore – married) to another man
can you image the nerve
oh she shatav’d (turned away, broke?) my heart
but I was blind to it all
I didn’t know the difference between yshav (live), shav’d (swore) and shuv (turn away)
Got the Hebrew Blues!!!

- Song from Biblical Hebrew, by Victoria Hoffer

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Andrew Fuller

I haven't yet listened to Piper's biography on Andrew Fuller. But I think I can understand why he choose him. Link

From the Link
After a false profession, Fuller finally came to saving faith in Christ as a young man. Like Jonathan Edwards, whom he read deeply, Fuller was a Calvinists who believed in an experiential religion. His salvation was very real in his life and faith. Writing many years after his conversion, he recalled his first real encounter with grace as though it had happened the day before:

I now found rest for my troubled soul.. When I thought of the gospel way of salvation, I drank it in as cold water is imbibed by a thirsty man. My heart felt one with Christ, and dead to every other object around me ... I now knew experimentally what it was to be dead to the world by the cross of Christ..."

Like Spurgeon, Andrew Fuller was a Biblical theologian driven by a pastor’s heart. His study into the nature of salvation and the Gospel call was fueled by his dealings with people in his congregation rather than by cold academic considerations. As a young pastor Fuller began to question the hyper-Calvinistic view of his day which rejected any gospel invitation to the lost. At his first church Fuller wrote:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Desiring God Pastor's Conference: Sessions 2-5

Session 2: Listen to Thabiti Anyabwile's message, "The Glory of Pervasive Holiness in the Life of a Pastor."

Session 3: Listen to R. C. Sproul's message, "The Holiness of Christ."

Session 4: Listen to John Piper's message on Andrew Fuller, "Holy Faith, Worthy Gospel, World Vision: Andrew Fuller’s Broadsides Against Sandemanianism, Hyper-Calvinism, and Global Unbelief."

Listen to R. C. Sproul's message, "Holiness and Justice."

DG: Blog Link

Desiring God Pastor's Conference: Session 1

R. C. Sproul, Session 1

Amy and Will are up at the Desiring God Pastor's Conference and will give some updates (from what she says). This was the opening session from R.C. Sproul.

Link at the new DG Blog

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Cross Centered Life

(ht: Mark Vance)
CJ Mahaney on The Cross Centered Life, Interrogating the internal legalist

Get the book

Thursday, February 01, 2007

"The Look"

By the way, if you don't have this song, it's free on Bob Kauflin's website right now. This is probaly my favorite song right now: The Look.

Love Constraining to Obedience

Love Constraining to Obedience

No strength of nature can suffice
To serve the Lord aright:
And what she has she misapplies,
For want of clearer light.

How long beneath the law I lay
In bondage and distress!
I toil’d the precept to obey,
But toil’d without success.

Then, to abstain from outward sin
Was more than I could do;
Now, if I feel its power within,
I feel I hate it too.

Then, all my servile works were done
A righteousness to raise;
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely choose his ways.

“What shall I do,” was then the word,
“That I may worthier grow?”
“What shall I render to the Lord?”
Is my inquiry now.

To see the law by Christ fulfill’d,
And hear his pardoning voice,
Changes a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.
William Cowper