Sunday, September 30, 2007

Questions for Your Kids

(ht: Justin Taylor)
Justin Says:
Last night during the conversation with John Piper, John MacArthur, and me, Piper mentioned how helped he was by the kinds of questions that Rick Gamache (senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Fellowship) regularly asks his kids. Rick gave me permission to post them here:

* How are your devotions?
* What is God teaching you?
* In your own words, what is the gospel?
* Is there a specific sin you’re aware of that you need my help defeating?
* Are you more aware of my encouragement or my criticism?
* What’s daddy most passionate about?
* Do I act the same at church as I do when I’m at home?
* Are you aware of my love for you?
* Is there any way I’ve sinned against you that I’ve not repented of?
* Do you have any observations for me?
* How am I doing as a dad?
* How have Sunday’s sermons impacted you?
* Does my relationship with mom make you excited to be married?

(On top of these things, with my older kids, I’m always inquiring about their relationship with their friends and making sure God and his gospel are the center of those relationship. And I look for every opportunity to praise their mother and increase their appreciation and love for her.)

Friday, September 28, 2007

For the Seminarians

(ht: Justin Taylor)
Al Mohler applauds the increased excitement over church planting, but also warns that we must not neglect the need to revitalize existing congregations. His conclusion:

The energy and commitment evident in the church planting movement should encourage all who long to see a new wave of evangelism throughout North America. But this movement must be driven by a robust New Testament ecclesiology and must be undergirded by an eager embrace of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. This movement must complement -- not castigate -- existing churches. Each needs the other, and both can learn from each other.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"One of these things is not like the other..."

I would heartily recommend this book. It is 95% fantastic. He lays out twenty-five thesis about the proper distinction between law and grace. I love how he comforts those who are oppressed by their sin and guilt and hammers those who feel at ease. But I can't help thinking like the old Seseme Street gig, "one of these things is not like the other..."
“The Lutheran Church speaks of the Sacraments in terms of such high esteem that fanatics become disgusted with it. The Lutheran Church holds to the word of the Lord: ‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved.’ That is the reason why it condemns all false teachers who say that Baptism is merely a ceremony by which a person is received into the church. According to Lutheran teaching, Baptism ‘works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe, as the words and promises of God declare.’ The Lutheran Church maintains that Baptism is ‘the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit’; that the water in Baptism, as Peter says, ‘saves us’; and that those ‘who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.’ As regards the Lord’s Supper, the Lutheran Church, resisting all attempts to mislead her into doubt, maintains the truth of the Lord’s words when He says ‘This is My body, which is given for you.’: ‘This is My blood, which is shed for you.’ The Lutheran Church regards the holy sacraments as the most sacred, gracious, and precious treasure on earth. When God commands a sacramental act, He commands something upon which our salvation depends.”

Walther says all of this in and then qualifies by saying
“However, at no time has the Lutheran Church asserted that men are saved by the mere eternal use of the Sacraments.”

His point overall is
“What I am being told by means of preaching I behold in the external element of Baptism. The Word and the Sacrament produce the same effect in the heart.”

Walther’s language here is incomprehensible especially when you look at his point in the context of reformation debates. I find it almost impossible to reconcile the sola fides principle of the reformers with the necessary aspect of the sacraments. If Walther were here I would ask him some questions for clarification. Can a person be saved without Baptism? In what sense is Baptism a cause of salvation? Necessary, but not sufficient? It’s not that I don’t understand a sacramental system which confounds me so much, but rather that one who has for the entirety of the book talked so passionately about the faith that saves doesn’t see the inconsistency of his writing on the sacraments. Does baptism really act in the same way as preaching (that is to generate faith) to a several week old baby? I’m glad Walther says doesn’t espouse an ex opere operato view with regard to sacraments, but the unfortunate part is I think he does.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


If you are a student and a PC user (I can't see why), make sure you don't miss this offer, Microsoft Office 2007 - $60 (retails at $600).

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

Zeitgeist, the Movie

Logan Friess pointed this one out to me. Some teens in his youth group had inquired about it. One can definitely see how persuasive this would be. I just thought I'd point out some responses to it if anyone else runs into this question.
Zeitgeist, the Movie

Blogger at Townhall
The important thing to notice is that neither this nor the tomb of Jesus nor the Da Vinci code are new ideas, but rather old rehashed ideas put into a form which appeals to the average person at a time when conspiracy stories sell.
The movie's source

Monday is fun-day

This is hilarious

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bedrock to Rest Our Feet

There is nothing that soothes the soul like the rock solid, absolutely immovable truths concerning who God is and his inclination toward us. I feel battered today by uncertainty and failure but I know this, my redeemer lives and nothing can separate me from his love. Nothing but these bedrock truths can help when all the breaking news is bad news.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be* against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.* Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39 ESV

The King James translates this one best:
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3

In other words:
"the leaning (on you) mind you will keep in peace, surely peace, for he trusts in you."

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Taste of Heaven, RC Sproul

This looks like an interesting book.

Dr. Sproul ranges through a variety of topics, from sacrifices to prayer, symbolism to baptism. One of the most interesting (and probably most controversial) subjects deals with using all five senses in our corporate worship. Old Testament worship was, after all, much more multi-sensory than we are accustomed to as Protestants. Jewish believers of old would experience sites, sounds, tastes and scents that are foreign to us today. Sproul suggests that perhaps the Protestant rejection of elements such as incense is little more than an over-reaction to Roman Catholic worship and something we may do well to recover. The rest of his suggestions are perhaps a little bit less surprising to a Protestant reader, but no less challenging.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Post-moderns and Epistomology

What post-moderns really want is consistency and a sure foundation. Why else react so strongly to the fact that moderns failed to provide it? They challenge modern answers because they've found them wanting. No one really chooses incoherence over coherence. Yet, it may be that God has only ever chosen to give us partial knowledge and part of submission is (at least in part) contentment with what we can't know.

Called to Fish

The Post on Transformed Daily
The modern model often looks like this: instead of us making you a skilled fisher of men, we will simply encourage you to invite people to church and then we will close the deal. You bring them and we will close them. So, instead of making skilled fisherman, churches are using their congregations as lures.


Ravi Zacharias cites Archbishop William Temple defining worship as follows:
Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by his holiness, the nourishing of mind by his truth, the purifying of imagination by his beauty, opening of heart to his love, and submission of will to his purpose. And all this gathered up in adoration is the greatest expression of which we are capable."

His podcast Jesus Christ's Answers to for Man's Questions (Part 2)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Speaking of Heart Matters, Jonathan Edwards in Original Sin

I think it is a contradiction to the nature of things as judged of by the common sense of mankind. It is agreeable to the sense of men, in all nations and ages, not only that the fruit or effect of a good choice is virtuous, but that the good choice itself, from whence that effect proceeds, is so; yea, also the antecedent food, disposition, temper, or affection of mind, from whence proceeds that good choice is virtuous. This is the general notion--not that the principles derive their goodness from actions, but--that actions derive their goodness from the principles whence they proceed; so that the act of choosing what is good, is no farther virtuous than it proceeds from a good principle or virtuous disposition of mind. Which supposes that a virtuous disposition of mind may be before a virtuous act of choice; and that, therefore, it is not necessary there should be first thought, reflection, and choice, before there can be any virtuous disposition. If the choice be first, before the existence of a good disposition of heart, what is the character of that choice? There can, according to our natural notions, be no virtue in a choice which proceeds from no virtuous principle, but from mere self love, ambition, or some animal appetites; therefore, a virtuous temper of mind may be before a good act of choice, as a tree may be before the fruit, and the fountain before the stream which proceeds from it.

Jonathan Edwards in Original Sin as cited by Chafer, Systematic Theology, pg. 164, Vol 2.

This is exactly why Christian Hedonism has force.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Christian Hedonism?

Follow along as Andrew Jackson takes a look at "Christian Hedonism"
His first post
From his second:
Although some might differ with me, I like the the term “Christian Hedonism.” Why? Well, when heard it crosses the mental wires of Christian and nonChristian alike, and generates thinking and discussion. The term “Christian Hedonism” seems to awaken and generate a good shock for the complacent Christian and the cynical nonChristian. Maybe it is just me, but once understood biblically, I am willing to label myself a maturing Christian Hedonist, although I do not reckon it necessary to understood Christian Hedonism like some who have systematically articulated this philosophy of life in detail. In other words, I believe one honestly can embrace the label Christian Hedonism without accepting every jot and tittle presented by Jonathan Edwards, John Piper or others. No teacher or preacher has a monopoly on Christian Hedonism.

One issue that must first be settled for Christians is whether it is biblical to pursue happiness in God as the ultimate goal of living and action.

Christian Ethics as Disinterested Duty

There is a deep mindset and understanding within Christianity today that propagates the teaching that it is a sinful, unethical, and morally defective to pursue or seek seriously one’s own happiness, good, pleasure, and enjoyment, even if this ultimate happiness is centered in God. Many Christians – influenced by Immanuel Kant and others – emphasize that an act is morally diminished or lessened to the degree we experience joy in doing it, and to be motivated to intentionally do something because it produces personal joy is seen as ungodly and substandard.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

No Easy Task

I had read John Franke recently at Barnes and Noble in the introduction to McClaren's A Generous Orthodoxy. I found a couple of his quotes stimulating:
"In the context of this debate, it is important to remember that postmodern theory does not support the rejection of rationality but rather supports rethinking rationality in the wake of modernity. This rethinking has resulted not in irrationality, as is often claimed by less informed critics of postmodern thought, but rather in numerous redescriptions and proposals concerning the understanding of rationality and knowledge. These postmodern ideas produced a more inherently self-critical view of knowledge than modernity.
"Foundationalism refers to a conception of knowledge that emerged during the Enlightenment and sought to address the lack of certainty generated by the human tendency toward error and to overcome the inevitable, often destructive disagreements and controversies that followed. This quest for certainty involved reconstructing knowledge by rejecting 'premodern' notions of authority and replacing them with uncontestable beliefs accessible to all individuals. The assumptions of foundationalism, with its goal of establishing certain universal knowledge, came to dominate intellectual pursuit in the modern era."

It seems to me that Franke is missing the point here. Descartes didn't establish his ergo cogito sum because he was a skeptic but because he was a Catholic seeking common ground to argue with an increasing number of atheists. The pre-modern assumption that God's knowledge was the basis for all true knowledge was already on its way to being discredited (see link).

He continues:
"This conception of knowledge also significantly influenced the church as Christian leaders and thinkers reshaped their understandings of the faith in accordance with its dictates. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the foundationalists impulse produced a theological division between the "left" and the "right" among Anglo-Americans--liberals constructed theology upon the foundation of an unassailable religious experience while conservatives look to an error-free Bible as the incontrovertible foundation of their theology. But in spite of all their differences, we can see that while liberal and conservative Christians appeared to be going their separate ways throughout the twentieth century, both were responding in different ways to the same modern, foundationalist agenda."

Which leads me to say, "Oh that's why the church started believing the Bible!..."

To continue down this path, Dr. Myron Houghton pointed this one out to me. Helm provides clear insight into understanding the issues involved in the foundationalist vs. non-foundationalist battle.

This is a fascinating point:
Perhaps Franke, following Westphal, is committed to this: If someone knows (but does not Know), then such knowledge 'inevitably leads to forms of oppression and conceptual idolatry'? Now consider Jesus. He is God the Son who has assumed human nature. He is situated in a context, first century Palestine. Does he know, or Know? If he merely knows, then such knowledge leads inevitably to forms of oppression and conceptual idolatry. Not the sort of result we want, I take it. But if he Knows, then it seems that Franke will have to say that Jesus did not have a context, or was somehow able to neutralize its epistemological effects. I leave the reader to sort out this tangled web. Whether or not these knots can be untied, I take it that Christians (including Franke) want in the main to say that claims to knowledge, if they are from the lips of Jesus, are not simply claims to knowledge but are rather more than that, but that they are not at all oppressive claims to power. But it's not clear how, under Franke's auspices, we are allowed to say this.

Great read, click to read it. It's a long article and very difficult read, but it's worth it. If you take the time to read it, let me know your thoughts in the comments. :)

It does strike me however that Helm and Franke really aren't speaking on the same level and Franke is really speaking non-sense. Franke says that a non-foundational approach will still be distinctively "Christian" (Dr. Myron would say "blick," his word for a meaningless word). And Helm calls him a foundationalist because of this claim, although Franke really doesn't mean "Christian" as Helm understands it so the conversation is useless... or does he really mean "Christian"?

And this quote:
On this basis, Karl Barth concludes that the focal point and foundations of Christian faith, the God revealed in Jesus Christ, determines that in the work and practice of theology "there are no comprehensive view, no final conclusions and results. There is only the investigation and teaching which take place in the act of dogmatic work and which, strictly speaking, must continually begin again at the beginning in every point. The best and most significant thing that is done in this matter is that again and again we are directed to look back to the center and foundation of it all."(81)

Barth's ergo cogito sum (his "foundation") seems to be the person of Jesus Christ, but on who's authority does Barth know Jesus Christ? How much does he really know about Jesus Christ? Isn't that at least a "weak foundation" (see Plantinga on "weak foundationalism" here)?

After all is said and done doesn't Franke really just desire the deity of the community in establishing meaning. Modernism and liberalism colide and we are left with the struggle for man's sovereignty in the cotext of a million different voices and it remains to be seen what their soveriegn consensus will be. What I do know is that Franke will probably call it Christianity and Helm will probably not.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Understanding the Postmodern Mind and the Emerging Church

This is a very helpful article if you haven't read it. A couple interesting quotes to whet your appetite:
Again, it must be stressed—for this is where great misunderstanding exists—soft postmodernism is not built upon the denial of truth itself (a metaphysical concern), but with our ability to know the truth (an epistemological concern).

As well, soft postmodernism has brought focus back to our method of doing theology. With its distrust in tradition, it has made the church look with suspicion upon unfounded traditions. Fundamentalism started as a good thing and then became pharisaic with convictions preached from the mountain tops that are not found in Scripture. “Don’t drink,” “don’t go to movies,” “don’t smoke,” and “don’t dance” became what being Christian was all about. Postmodernism unmasked these negative aspects of the fundamentalist church. Postmodernism is in rebellion against traditionalism, and this is not such a bad thing.

In sum, hard postmodernism should be seen as a threat. It is not possible to be a hard postmodernist and be a Christian. Soft postmodernism on the other hand presents the church with many lost virtues of grace and irenics (theology done peaceably). For this we can be thankful. But we must guard the truths of Scripture with the conviction that the evidence has presented. Our traditions may or may not be wrong, but that is for the evidence to decide. There also are non-essentials that need to be spoken about with conviction, even if we might be wrong in the end. In short, let us be balanced in our understanding of the issues on the table and let us not lose the conviction that the truths of Scripture produce.

Are you holding your breath?

I listened to a message by Ben Patterson recently that encouraged me to trust Christ to "build His church." I've been humbled by the fact that, as hard as I try, I cannot build it. I want to develop a greater dependence on God for the growth of His church, and I think it has much to do with my prayer life. John MacArthur describes it like this in his book Alone with God:

For Christians prayer is like breathing. You don’t have to think to breathe because the atmosphere exerts pressure on your lungs and forces you to breathe. That’s why it is more difficult to hold your breath than it is to breathe. Similarly, when you’re born into the family of God, you enter into a spiritual atmosphere wherein God’s presence and grace exert pressure, or influence, on your life. Prayer is the normal response to that pressure. As believers we have all entered the divine atmosphere to breathe the air of prayer. Only then can we survive in the darkness of the world.

Unfortunately many believers hold their spiritual breaths for long periods, thinking brief moments with God are sufficient to allow them to survive. But such restricting of their spiritual intake is caused by sinful desires. The fact is, every believer must be continually in the presence of God, constantly breathing in His truths to be fully functional.

Because ours is such a free and prosperous society, it is easier for Christians to feel secure by presuming on instead of depending on God’s grace. Too many believers become satisfied with physical blessings and have little desire for spiritual blessings. Having become so dependent on their physical resources, they feel little need for spiritual resources. When programs, methods, and money produce impressive results, there is an inclination to confuse human success with divine blessing. Christians can actually behave like practical humanists, living as if God were not necessary. When that happens, passionate longing for God and yearning for His help will be missing—along with His empowerment. Because of this great and common danger, Paul urged believers to “pray at all times” (
Eph. 6:18) and to “devote yourselves to prayer” (Col. 4:2). Continual, persistent, incessant prayer is an essential part of Christian living and flows out of dependence on God.

Top Twenty Theological Pick Up Lines

From Parchment and Pen, Top Twenty Theological Pick Up Lines (Not to Use)

20. ”I am not overweight. The word ‘glory’ in Hebrew is kabod which according to HALOT literally means ‘heaviness.’ The Bible also says that we are to reflect God’s glory. Therefore, I am just doing what the Bible says.”

19. “Looking at you makes me reconsider preterism, because you are heaven on earth.”

18. “Paul said that it was better to marry than to burn. Therefore, I am under God’s mandate to marry you.”

17. “Here, let me take care of those tithes.”

16. “You may not have chosen me, but I have chosen you.”

15. “I could not help but notice you were exegeting me instead of the text during the sermon.”

14. ”Your name must be grace, because you are irresistible.”

13. ”There are six things that motivate me to talk to you, yea seven that turned my head.”

12. “Until this moment, I thought I had the gift of singleness.”

11. During communion say, “Can I get you another drink.”

10. “The Bible says that God is not concerned with outer appearance . . . neither should you.”

9. “The Good Book said that I might be visited by angels unaware, but something must be wrong with my interpretation, because I am perfectly aware of you.”

8. “I noticed you crying during alter call, can I help?”

7. While giving her a TULIP say, ”This Totally depraved person has been Unconditionally drawn to you, Limiting himself to your Irresistible beauty that is Persevering beyond all others.”

6. “God may be the bread of life, but you are the butter.”

5. “The site of you leaves me apophatic.”

4. “Well, gouge out my eyes and cut off my hands. If I hang around you much longer, I won’t have any limbs left.”

3. “You must have missed The Fall line, because you are lookin’ righteous.”

2. Sing this to the tune of George Strait’s “Chair”: “Excuse me, but I think you’ve got my rib.”

1. “Are you homo or homoi?”

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

CJ on Mark

CJ Mahaney interviewing Mark Dever. Listen closely for the "Tim Duncan" quote. :)

Mark Roberts on Answering Postmoderns

His blog article
In my last post I mentioned that my college friend Lance, who was so free in talking about his Christian faith, didn’t have the knowledge to satisfy his friends’ inquisitiveness and criticisms. So he asked me and our mutual friend John to meet with his friends’ for an open forum on Christianity. They would bring all of their questions and objections, and we’d try to answer them. (Picture to the right: Currier House at Harvard University, my college dorm. Bill Gates once lived there, but he dropped out of Harvard. Too bad, if he stayed in school he might have been successful. Let that be a lesson for you.)

John, Lance, and I were nervous when the night came for the “big discussion.” At first we were afraid that no one would show up to talk. But as the living room of Lance’s suite began to fill with eager questioners and agnostic doubters, John and I soon became fearful that we wouldn’t be able to handle the questions put to us. Perhaps we’d let Lance down, not to mention the Lord!

As the discussion began, John and I were doing pretty well explaining some of the details of Christianity. Mostly it was the usual stuff: How can there be only one way to God? How can a good God allow suffering? But then one student named Chet raised an objection to what we were doing there. It was the first time I heard a line that has since become so common in our society.

“It’s just fine with me if you want to believe all this stuff about Jesus. I really don’t worry about that,” Chet began. “But I am offended by your idea that you should tell me about it. You’re implying that you are right and I am wrong. You’re assuming that you have something I don’t have. That’s pretty arrogant. And it’s not very friendly. So you can be Christians. But please don’t tell me about it or try to convert me.”

This young man gave expression to the second reason many Christians hesitate to talk about Jesus with others. In our postmodern culture, we have the freedom to believe just about anything. You can believe that wearing a crystal will give you inner peace, or that you receive guidance from the spirit of Barbie, and that’s fine. But try to get others to accept your beliefs? Now that’s a different story. That’s perceived as arrogant, politically-incorrect, and downright obnoxious. And who wants to be any of these things? So, many of us hide our faith in Christ because we don’t want to offend.

Not only was Chet’s objection a new and challenging one for me, but it seemed to torpedo the whole discussion we were having with Lance’s friends. If Chet was correct, then John and I weren’t being good neighbors in our effort to share the good news of Jesus.

In the silent seconds – which seemed like hours – following Chet’s comment, I prayed quietly for God’s help. I could have said, “I’m not sure how to answer your question. I’ll need to think about it for a while.” But I hoped to come up with a more compelling answer, especially with so many folks gathered to hear. As I prayed, I received a gift from the Holy Spirit, a way of responding to Chet that would satisfy his concern and keep the discussion rolling. I had one of those experiences promised in Scripture, which are so common among Christians who share their faith. The Holy Spirit empowered me for bearing witness to Jesus.

“Chet,” I began, “I think I understand your point of view. But I want to try and explain why my sharing Christ with you is actually the most friendly and caring thing I can do. Suppose I saw a great movie, one of the best I had ever seen. If I told you about the movie and recommended that you see it, would you be offended?”

“No,” Chet responded. “That would be fine. This sort of thing happens all the time.”

“So, even though I would imply that you were missing out on something, that there was some lack in your life until you saw the film, it would be OK to tell you the ‘good news’ about the movie?”

“Yes, in that case it would be OK. But that’s not the same as recommending your religion.”

“I agree, but let’s keep on going. Now, suppose I discovered the ultimate cure for cancer. And suppose that you had cancer and were undergoing chemotherapy. As your friend, should I tell you about my discovery, even if I implied that your chemotherapy treatment was not the best?”

“Of course! If you didn’t tell me about your discovery, you’d be a real jerk!”

“Suppose I knew that you had cancer, but you didn’t know it. Should I tell you what I know, even if you don’t like to hear it.”

“Definitely. That would be the only right thing to do.”

“Well, then, you can understand why I want to tell you about Jesus. Whether I’m right or wrong, I think Jesus is the best thing in the whole world. Infinitely better than any movie. I also think that we are all victims of sin, something far worse than cancer, and that Jesus alone can heal us. So, knowing Jesus is more important than being cured of cancer, in my opinion. Of course I could be wrong in my beliefs, but, given the fact that I believe them, how can I not tell you?”

“I guess if you didn’t talk about Jesus,” Chet concluded, “then you’d be a real jerk! You sort of have to do it.” (Actually, Chet used a word other than “jerk,” but it’s not the sort of word I print in my PG rated blog.)

“Then you understand the bind I’m in right now,” I said. “You don’t want me to talk to you about my faith. And I don’t want to offend you or insult you in any way. But I truly believe that being a Christian is the best kind of life there is. I am convinced that through Jesus you can have a deep, permanent relationship with God. If I didn’t tell you this, I would be withholding from you the best news I know. If I kept silent, then you could rightly accuse me of being unloving and unkind – or even a jerk!”

Chet and the others seemed satisfied with this answer. The discussion continued long into the night as John and I shared honestly what we believed and what we had experienced about Jesus. Though you might never find yourself in a college dorm room full of questioners and skeptics, you will discover a delightful freedom to “proclaim the good news” when you open your heart and mind to those around you. Just be honest! And remember, Jesus promises to be with you always, through the Spirit who dwells within you to encourage and to empower you. Sometimes you will come up with an amazing answer to a hard question. But don’t pat yourself on the back. You didn’t make it up. It was a gift from the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Truman Teaches Heresy

(ht: Justin Taylor)
Very important point. I really think that often people in our circles can't feel the force of argument of the positions that they oppose. This leads to a strong parochial position which no one but the leader of the group can really defend. I find it especially disturbing that I see this type of mentality in seminary where the leaders are to be trained.

This from Carl Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary (and recently elected Vice President of Academic Affairs), writes:

When I first became a Christian, I found myself in a tradition which held that one should only read orthodox books; indeed, one should only read books with which one already agreed. I understand the logic of this position; and I appreciate the concern which it embodies to protect believers from being misled. Some of the most brilliant and persuasive people in church history have been heretics, and people can be led astray by reading them. Yet those called to be teachers in the church need a solid grasp of orthodoxy; and that demands by its very nature a solid grasp of heresy. That is why I teach heresy in my classes, and why I make sure I do justice to the legitimacy of the questions which underlie virtually every heresy of which I can think; for it is only then that I can truly explain orthodoxy to my students. And I also get a perverse pleasure from using heresy to do that which heretics most despise: promote sound, biblical, historic orthodoxy.

Read the whole thing