Friday, March 30, 2007

Ideas Have Consequences, citation #1

We must consider that we are in effect asking for a confession of guilt and an acceptance of sterner obligation; we are making demands in the name of the ideal or suprapersonal, and we cannot expect a more cordial welcome than disturbers of complacency have received in any other age. On the contrary, our welcome will rather be less today, for a century and a half of bourgeois ascendancy has produced a type of mind highly unreceptive to unsettling thoughts. Added to this is the egotism of modern man, fed by many springs, which will scarcely permit the humility needed for self-criticism.

From Ideas Have Consequences, Richard Weaver

Its becoming more clear to me why Weaver's philosophy tends to polarize people. Although, it seems to me that some readers of Weaver have conflated the ideas of "transcendental principles" and "the one who transcends" into one concept so that they begin to assume that transcendental principles (interpreted by Weaver of course) ought to be the object of worship.

Very Good RZIM Broadcast

I think this podcast is particularly interesting to me with regard to the pluralistic question.
Click for the mp3

Missions Conference Closing Session

Dr. Anderson preached from this passage this morning. You'd have to listen to the message to really get the sense of what he was saying. But what I want to ask is how we should look at this passage. Two aorist verbs tell us what we must do if we are to "come after" Christ. Then the third verb in the present says "be following me." What are the implications of this passage for sanctification? for the call to full time service? Is there a "decision" which must be made for Christian ministry? for sanctification? Is this call for denial one a Christian should be continually affirming or once with a decision that "sticks?" To summarize the approach of the conference, a call was made for those "who had not yet committed themselves to Christian service" in this way.

Matt. 16:24 Τοτε ο Ιησους ειπεν τοις μαθηταις αυτου· ει τις θελει οπισω μου ελθειν, απαρνησασθω εαυτον και αρατω τον σταυρον αυτου και ακολουθειτω μοι.

Your thoughts?

p.s. I was deeply thankful for Dr. Anderson's message today because we were given a real sense for his heart for missions. He offered some very moving examples of men who have found their life in Christ. I pray as much for every one of us, that we would "lose" our lives under the Lordship of Christ to gain greater joy that is found in him alone. To the praise of his glory!

“εις το ειναι ημας εις επαινον δοξης αυτου τους προηλπικοτας εν τω Χριστω. Ephesians 1:12”

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Arts and Faith Forum

This looks interesting...

Fundamentalism Discussion

There will be a discussion about Fundamentalism in classroom 101 at 9:00 PM this Thursday with Dr. Doug Brown (and other faculty??? - he's trying to get some others to come). Please come if you have questions.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Why I Would Have Liked to Go to Old Princeton

It remained for one of Alexander's beloved students, Charles Hodge (1979-1987), to give classic expression to the Princeton Theology. Hodge began his ministry at Princeton when the seminary was still in her infancy. He made his debut as professor of biblical and oriental literature, a position that he held until 1840, when he transferred to the chair of systematic theology. In 1835, he published his Commentary on the Epistle of Romans. Charles H. Spurgeon once advised, "the more we use Hodge, the more we value him. This applies to all his commentaries." He published a Systematic Theology between 1871 and 1873 in three massive volumes, and, even so, it was not complete since it lacked a secton on the doctrine of Ecclesiology that he had planned. Yet Charles Hodge was hardly a "dry theologian." Students saw him shed tears in his classes when he talked of the love of Christ. He followed the old Puritan adage, "Beware of a strong head and a cold heart." A student, W.S.C. Webster, recounts Hodge announcing a hymn one day in the Oratory: "As he read he came to the lines: 'That blood can make the foulest clean, that blood availed for me.' But he could not read them, try as he would. 'That blood availed,'--he could not get beyond that. The strong man bowed before the storm of emotion, and, dropping into his chair he buried his face in his hands. But we students had no difficulty in singing the whole hymn."

From In Pursuit of Purity, by David O. Beale

Thursday, March 22, 2007


The best description of a philosopher, courtesy of Dr. Ramesh Richard in my spiritual life class today:

"A philosopher is a blind man,
in a dark room,
looking for a black cat,
that isn't there.

A theologian shows him where the cat is."

"This Morning I Heard the Voice of God"

so John Piper says...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spirit Worship

Again this morning I was struck by the truth that I absolutely cannot worship God in spirit if I’m not confronted with the truth of the distinction between him and me. The most powerful catalyst to genuine worship in my life is to reflect on my sin and his greatness. I suggest we make it a life long practice to reflect on our sin as we sing of his glory.

As we sang this song this morning, I was overcome by the realization of how my heart is given to another, my pride.
We bow our hearts, We bend our knees
O' spirit come make us humble
We turn our eyes, From evil things
O' Lord we cast down our idols.

Give us clean hands, Give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another

O' God let us be, A generation that seeks,
That seeks Your face, O' God of Jacob
(cf. Psalms 24:4-5)

Ideology and Luther

Before I watched the movie Luther last night (my wife is out of town, so I could get by with watching a "boring" movie about history), I watched the actor interviews by Joseph Fiennes who plays Martin Luther. I don't know what I was expecting to hear, but this is what I heard:

On the Central Idea of the Film:
I think it's very much about the minority, and the suppressed. And particularly in this story it's about the control of the Catholic church at the masses during that time through language and interpretation. I think if anything is relevant it shows that you can't keep man down. You can't control him and that sooner or later he will gain knowledge and through the knowledge power to be liberated, freedom of conscience."

On Playing Martin Luther
As an actor I'm sure that most actors look at their characters and try to identify, or at least sympathize 100% in order to understand and be believable. So that would be my approach. I live in a very different time than Martin but I can still try to draw parallels and I think that that is really the challenge of this project is to bring it into a modern context. I tried to play Martin with doubt as much as knowing what's right. And I think that is a very human condition even with those who are driven 100%, pursued with doubt. Here's a man who's a genius, invented a lot of the German language, and brought Rome down, and yet I like the idea that he is still human pursued by doubt. So if I was to draw out any trait it would probably be doubt."

Reminds me of Bauder's comment that "Aragorn is degraded from a finite but messianic savior‐figure into a tortured postmodern, beset by angst and ambiguity." Fortunately, I got the sense that the script was strong enough that Fiennes couldn't really turn Martin Luther into a full blown postmodern.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

On Lay Elders

It seems that this would be the strongest passage against lay eldership as proposed by Mark Dever. Verse fourteen seems to give a general principle which says those in "ministry" should be supported. I do question how much Paul relied on his support from the churches. But it is difficult to argue this as scripture doesn't expressly say in what way he normally received support only that he willingly rejected the support he was entitled to from the Corinthians by tent making. It is further complicated by the fact that Paul is an apostle and not a pastor.
I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? 1Corinthians 9:9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 1Corinthians 9:10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. 1Corinthians 9:11 If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 1Corinthians 9:12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 1Corinthians 9:13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? 1Corinthians 9:14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

1Corinthians 9:15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. 1Corinthians 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. 1Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 1Corinthians 9:18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.” (1Corinthians 9:8-18 NAS95S)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Clash of Cultures

Justin Van Rheenen posted these from Daniel Wallace

Article 1
Article 2

Thoughts? Particularly about article two. Someone recently mentioned to me one of the weaknesses of the emerging church is that they ignore proclamation and that this is the basic ministry of the church. Is "Postmodern sensitive" something we should strive for? Can there be a biblical answer to these questions?

(Def of Postmodernism, interesting thread at SI-worth reading, and an article on the merits of postmodernism.)
and I almost forgot: two others worth reading LINK1 and LINK2

From Religious Affections

From Edwards, Jonathan. A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. The Works of Jonathan Edwards. Vol. 1, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. 2004.

If we be not in good earnest: in religion, and our wills and inclinations be not strongly exercised, we are nothing. The things of religion are so great, that there can be no suitableness in the exercises of our hearts, to their nature and importance, unless they be lively and powerful. In nothing is vigour in the actings of our inclinations so requisite, as in religion; and in nothing is lukewarmness so odious. True religion is evermore a powerful thing; and the power of it appears, in the first place, in its exercises in the heart, its principal and original seat. Hence true religion is called the power of godliness, in distinction from external appearances, which are the form of it, 2 Tim. iii. 5. "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it." The Spirit of God, in those who have sound solid religion, is a Spirit of powerful holy affection; and therefore, God is said "to have given them the Spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind," (2 Tim. i. 7.) And such, when they receive the Spirit of God in his sanctifying and saving influences, are said to be "baptized with the Holy Ghost, and with fire;" By reason of the power and fervour of those exercises which the Spirit of God excites in them, and whereby their hearts, when grace is in exercise, may be said to burn within them. (Luke xxiv. 32.)
And the duty of singing praises to God, seems to be appointed wholly to excite and express religious affections. No other reason can be assigned, why we should express ourselves to God in verse, rather than in prose, and do it with music, but only, that such is our nature and frame and that these things have a tendency to move our affections.
Upon the whole, I think it clearly and abundantly evident, that true religion lies very much in the affections. Not that I think these arguments prove, that religion in the hearts of the truly godly, is ever in exact proportion to the deree of affection and present emotion of the mind...The degree of religion is to be estimated by the fixedness and strength of habit exercised in affection, whereby holy affection is habitual rather than by the degree of the present exercise:
If we ought ever to exercise our affections at all, and if the Creator has not unwisely constituted the human nature in making these principles part of it, then they ought to be exercised about those objects which are most worthy of them.

The Inherent Good and the Objective Good

In the Boston lecture, Edwards exhibited the two orders, the objective and the inherent. The one we find, forced back to Newton and natural law, the other to Locke and perception. We cannot be certain how much was fully explicit in Edwards' mind, but considering how caution and reticence were thrust upon him, it appears that Edwards saw exactly where the modern problem is centered, upon this incompatibility of Newton and Locke, of the objective and the subjective, of the mechanical and the conscious. The effort of his life was to unite the two.

This is from Jonathan Edwards by Perry Miller. This is a book I have to read.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

"bids us fly, and gives us wings"

Josh Daggett quoted this poem by John Bunyan tonight during his message:

Run, John, run, the law commands
But gives us neither feet nor hands,
Far better news the gospel brings:
It bids us fly and gives us wings.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace Ephesians 1:8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:7-8 NIV)

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,” (Titus 3:5-6 NAS)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Common Grace

You may not believe this but this is real. Look up African Greys and you'll find some amazing parrots. I guess this is a little bit more evidence of God's common grace.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Welcome 'Green-Grass' Evangelicals

Can you tell I'm taking "History of Fundamentalism" this week... :)

From Ramm, Bernard. "Welcome 'Green Grass' Evangelicals" Eternity 25 (March 1974) 13.
"Green-grass evangelicals": That's what I call the new breed of evangelical Christians emerging today.

These green-grass evangelicals are committed to evangelical theology but not committed to the older bromides of previous generations. They want their version of evangelicalism.

I find the following characteristics of this new thinking to be generally true of the green-grass crowd. But I must qualify what I say by pointing out that research staff is composed of one person: Me! So what I offer is drawn from my encounters in traveling and speaking rather than from any scientific use of polls.

1. Green-grass evangelicals are not interested in doctrinal questions like "eternal security." To them such issues are too academic. Actually, only God really knows who is in the kingdom and who isn't. The real business of Christianity is living the Christian life: indulging in debates about the possibility of losing one's salvation is pure luxury.

2. (Concerning evolution and science)

3. Green-grass evangelicals are not much interested in prophecy or the millennium or details about the tribulation. This is all fulfilled. So why so much concern about settling details about something that hasn't happened yet? Furthermore, so much can be done now for Christ it is a pity to waste time, energy, and print over something yet to happen.

4. Green-grass evangelicals believe that debates over Scripture (infallibility, inerrancy) pay not great dividends. They are more experience-centered and rest their case for Christianity in the character of their encounter with Christ.

5. (informed about psychology)

6. Green-grass evangelicals believe that the real case for Christian faith is the authenticity of the lifestyle of Christians. If for no other reason, this is inspired by the manner in which their non-Christian friends evaluate any religious belief, namely, not on a doctrinal or philosophical basis but rather the cash value of belief in daily life.

7. Green-grass evangelicals have a much greater social concern than previous evangelicals. They understand enough economics, political science, and sociology to know that Christian and non-Christian live together on this planet and share its destiny. Therefore a Christian needs not only a sense of personal salvation but also a concern for the social conditions of all mankind. A secondary aspect of this is the humanitarianism of young evangelicals.

8. Green-grass evangelicals see art as a prime means of expressing one's faith and of experiencing the fuller riches of God's common grace to all men. It is my guess that if we had statistics pertaining to evangelicals participating in the arts, we would see a recent startling rising of the curve upward.

My recommendation is. Don't fight them! Try some of that very old virtue, humility, to see what we can learn from this new breed of evangelicals.

NOTE: On one hand I hate to post this because it would seem that 'if Ramm saw these ideas coming thirty years ago and fundamentalists rejected them then we ought to do the same today.' The problem is that type of answer is to simplistic. For one, it doesn't consider the issues individually. Furthermore, in my opinion it fails to realize that the reason the questions are being asked again today because they've never been satisfactorily answered. The question of how 'the experiential' squares with 'the doctrinal' is among the hardest questions to answer in the church today. I do want to post this though because I think it's important to recognize that no ideas are new and we can learn from the past. In some ways, a few of these descriptions would fit me, particularly point eight (interesting...). Let's pray for one another as we continue to wade through these issues.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A lot is happening today...

John Piper's Father has passed away. My prayers are for John and his family. John's journal article and obituary

And John MacArthur sure started his conference off with a bang. This really makes me smile. Read for yourself... This may be a message that's worth the three dollars to download.

Machen's Lecture to his Students at Princeton, March 10th, 1929

You will have a battle when you go forth as ministers into the church. The church is now in a period of deadly conflict. The redemptive religion known as Christianity is contending, in our own Presbyterian Church and in all the larger churches in the world, against a totally alien type of religion. As always, the enemy conceals his most dangerous assaults under pious phrases and half truths. The shibboleths of the adversary have sometimes a very deceptive sound. 'Let us propagate Christianity,' the adversary says, 'but let us not always be engaged in arguing in defense of it; let us make our preaching positive, and not negative; let us avoid controversy; let us hold to a person and not to a dogma; let us sink small doctrinal differences and seek the unity of the church of Christ; let us drop doctrinal accretions and interpret Christ for ourselves; let us look for our knowledge of Christ, not to ancient books, but to the living Christ in our hearts; let us not impose Western creed on the Eastern mind; let us be tolerant of opposing views.'

Such are some of the shibboleths of that agnostic Modernism which is the deadliest enemy of the Christian religion today. They deceive some of God's people some of the time; they are heard sometimes from the lips of good Christian people, who have not the slightest inkling of what they mean. But their true meaning, to thinking men, is becoming increasingly clear. Increasingly, it is becoming necessary for a man to decide whether he is going to stand or not to stand for the Lord Jesus Christ as He is presented to us in the Word of God.

If you decide to stand for Christ, you will not have an easy life in the ministry. Of course, you may try to evade the conflict. All men will speak well of you it, after preaching no matter how unpopular a Gospel on Sunday, you will only vote against the Gospel in the councils of the Church the next day; you will graciously be permitted to believe in supernatural Christianity all you please if you will only make common cause with its opponents. Such is the program that will win the favor of the church. A man may believe what he pleases, provided he does not believe anything strongly enough to risk his life on it and fight for it."

Replace "modernism" with "postmodernism" and you'd have it about right for today. If you have not read Christianity and Liberalism you need to. It is among the more important works for Christianity today. You may be aware that I am maybe more sympathetic than others within fundamentalism to some of the things the emerging church is saying. But It becomes increasingly clear that especially those of Emergent Village are parroting much of what their predecessors the old line liberals had said. The quotes from this lecture by Machen sound hauntingly familiar.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Reminder to Humility

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. Luke 17:10

Yesterday God taught me its not where or how you serve that matters but that you serve where he's put you.

Monday, March 05, 2007

X-Ray Questions

From How People Change by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

X-Ray Questions (originally formulated by David Powlison in his course Dynamics of Biblical Change and used in the book by his permission)

1) What do you love? Is there something you love more than God or your neighbor?

2) What do you want? What do you desire? What do you crave, long for, wish? Whose desires do you obey?

3) What do you seek? What are your personal expectations and goals? What are your intentions? What are you working for?

4) Where do you bank your hopes? WHat hope are you working toward or building your life around?

5) What do you fear? Fear is the flip side of desire. For example, if I desire your acceptance, then I fear your rejection.

6) What do you feel like doing? This is a synonym for desire. Sometimes we feel like eating a gallon of ice cream, or staying in bed, or refusing to talk, etc.

7) What do you think you need? In most cases a person's felt needs picture his or her idol cravings. Often what we have called necessities are actually deceptive masters that rule our hearts. They control us because they seem plausible. They don't seem so bad on the surface and it isn't sin to want them. However, I must not be ruled by the "need" to feel good about myself, to feel loved and accepted, to feel some sense of accomplishment, to have financial security, to experience good health, to live a life that is organized, pain-free, and happy.

8) What are your plans, agendas, strategies, and intentions designed to accomplish? What are you really going after in the situations and relationships of life? What are you really working to get?

9) What makes you tick? What sun does your planet revolve around? Where do you find your garden of delight? What lights up your world? What food sustains your life? What really matters to you? What are you living for?

10) Where do you find refuge, safety, comfort, and escape? When you are fearful, discouraged, and upset, where do you run? Do you run to God for comfort and safety or to something else? (To food, to others, to work, to solitude?)

11) What do you trust? Do you functionally rest in the Lord? Do you find your sense of well-being in His presence and promises? Or do you rest in something or someone else?

Part 2 Continues on...

ht: Justin Taylor

Moved by the Spirit to Dance With the Lord

What say you?

Thursday, March 01, 2007