Monday, September 29, 2008

Desiring God 2008 National Conference Audio and Video

You can access the audio and video of the 2008 DG Conference here.

  • September 26, 2008
    The Tongue, the Bridle, and the Blessing: An Exposition of James 3:1-12
    - Sinclair Ferguson

  • September 26
    Panel Discussion
    - John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and Sinclair Ferguson

  • September 27
    Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing?
    - Bob Kauflin

  • September 27
    How Sharp the Edge? Christ, Controversy, and Cutting Words
    - Mark Driscoll

  • September 27
    The Life-Shaping Power of Story: God’s and Ours
    - Dan Taylor

  • September 27
    Panel Discussion
    - John Piper, Paul Tripp, Bob Kauflin, and Dan Taylor

  • September 27
    War of Words: Getting to the Heart for God's Sake
    - Paul Tripp

  • September 28
    Is There Christian Eloquence? Clear Words and the Wonder of the Cross
    - John Piper

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Being Mocked: The Heart of Christianity

Do you recall those infamous cartoons published by a Danish newspaper that had Muslims all over the world calling for bloody jihad? Pastor John Piper got to the heart of the issue:
    The work of Muhammad is based on being honored and the work of Christ is based on being insulted. This produces two very different reactions to mockery.

    If Christ had not been insulted, there would be no salvation. This was his saving work: to be insulted and die to rescue sinners from the wrath of God. Already in the Psalms the path of mockery was promised: “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads” (Psalm 22:7). “He was despised and rejected by men ... as one from whom men hide their faces ... and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). ...

    ... When Muhammad was portrayed in twelve cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the uproar across the Muslim world was intense and sometimes violent. Flags were burned, embassies were torched, and at least one Christian church was stoned. The cartoonists went into hiding in fear for their lives, like Salman Rushdie before them. What does this mean?

    It means that a religion with no insulted Savior will not endure insults to win the scoffers. It means that this religion is destined to bear the impossible load of upholding the honor of one who did not die and rise again to make that possible. It means that Jesus Christ is still the only hope of peace with God and peace with man. And it means that his followers must be willing to “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).
A sobering reminder for us all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Darwin, Forgive Them, for They Know Not What They Do"

I'm always suspicious of a man who insists on using numerous titles with his name. It implies a desperate need to be taken seriously. Such is the case with the Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs for the Church of England.

What he wishes to be taken seriously about is his assertion that the church was a bit too hard on Charles Darwin. I mean, it's not like how human beings came into existence is important, or anything. Brown writes:
    Darwin's meticulous application of the principles of evidence-based research was not the problem. His theory caused offence because it challenged the view that God had created human beings as an entirely different kind of creation to the rest of the animal world. But whilst it is not difficult to see why evolutionary thinking was offensive at the time, on reflection it is not such an earth-shattering idea. Yes, Christians believe that God became incarnate as a human being in the person of Jesus and thereby demonstrated God's especial love for humanity. But how can that special relationship be undermined just because we develop a different understanding of the processes by which humanity came to be? It is hard to avoid the thought that the reaction against Darwin was largely based on what we would now call the 'yuk factor' (an emotional not an intellectual response) when he proposed a lineage from apes to humans.
The Rev. Dr. Brown doesn't stop there. He admonishes those who wish to remain true to Scripture and then goes on to apologize to the long-dead Darwin:
    There is no integrity to be found either in rejecting Darwin's ideas wholesale or in elevating them into the kind of grand theory which reduces humanity to the sum of our evolutionary urges. For the sake of human integrity – and thus for the sake of good Christian living – some rapprochement between Darwin and Christian faith is essential. Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practice the old virtues of 'faith seeking understanding' and hope that makes some amends. But the struggle for your reputation is not over yet, and the problem is not just your religious opponents but those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests. Good religion needs to work constructively with good science – and I dare to suggest that the opposite may be true as well.
Let's quickly sum up the Rev. Dr. Brown's point: In order to maintain our integrity and reputation as loving Christians, we must find some common ground between the precious truths taught in Scripture and the lies spewed forth from the pit of Hell. We wouldn't want to be accused of being intolerant, now, would we?

Friday, September 26, 2008

This Week in Calvinism - September 26, 2008

Here's what's happening this week in the wonderful world of Calvinism...
  • Paul Fromont concedes that the recent "resurgence" of Calvinism "is needful for many, but I'm not convinced (on a wider front) that it is a way forward into uncharted territory and the missional questions that are being thrown up in these Post-Christendom times."

  • Marilynne Robinson on total depravity.

  • Phil Johnson addresses God's love for the world.

  • David Mathis writes, "If you want to know God, then get to know Jesus. His person and work are God's final and decisive message (Word) to sinful humanity."

  • Paul T. McCain thinks Calvinism is a "dreary business." He says, "Calvinists are constantly having to explain to people why when God's Word says, 'God so loved the world' it doesn't really mean 'the world' and why when God's Word says, 'Christ died for all' it doesn't really mean 'all.'" We're also constantly having to explain to people why it's important to read scripture in context.

  • Bradley Cochran thinks we can expect to hear more anti-Calvinist rhetoric.

  • David Jordan admits he has "grown a bit calloused to Arminian straw men." Still, he answers one pastor's 95 Theses condemning Reformed theology.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Theology with a Beat

Whether you're a fan of rap or not, I encourage you to check out "The Process of the Pardon," the latest album from Voice, a.k.a. Curtis Allen. Sure, it has a good beat, but the real selling point is that it actually has something to say.

If you're like me, the number of Christian artists you can actually stand listening to are few and far between. That's probably because the biggest problem with contemporary Christian music (aside from the fact that most of it just sounds bad) is the lack of clear, concise, biblical theology. This album is dripping with sound theology. It has a Christ-centered, God-glorifying message. It is a no-holds-barred presentation of the Gospel. And it sounds great, too!

Voice touches on a wide range of important theological topics, such as covenant theology (with Ligon Duncan), the ordo salutis (with Wayne Grudem), and even the New Perspective on Paul. What other Christian recording artist can claim that?

Tony Reinke posted a full-length track from the album ("Here I Stand," my personal favorite), over on his blog, Miscellanies. You can check out other audio samples and order the CD by clicking here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jonah 2:8

Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This Week in Calvinism - September 19, 2008

  • In reference to Deuteronomy 29:29, "Kangaroodort" asks about Calvinists, "Isn't their entire theological system built on the foundation of eternal 'secret decrees' which are nowhere to be found in the pages of Scripture?" Talk about a straw man argument. The doctrines of grace are no secret; they are taught throughout scripture. Should I deny the Trinity simply because the Bible doesn't give us specific insight into the inner workings of an eternal God existing in three persons?

  • Jeff has begun a series of posts in which he will try to do what no one in history has been able to accomplish: refute Calvinism. He doesn't like the Calvinist view on total depravity, saying, "Calvinism insists that what man needs is an immediate revelation from God at the time that the individual hears the Gospel. The concept that is far more consistent with scripture is that Christ's teachings, example of life, and sacrificial and atoning death are themselves God's revelation to man." Sure, God is revealed in the Gospel, just as he is revealed in creation. But that has nothing to do with believing. Our hearts of stone must first be replaced with hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19-20 and 36:26-27) before we can obey His commands.

  • Steven Carr recommends Joel Beeke's new book, Living For God's Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism.

  • Tom Ascol writes, "Does Calvinism present a challenge? Without a doubt it does. If it is true, then we must acknowledge that much that is being taught in our churches today is false. If it is false, then we must acknowledge that those who believe and teach the biblical doctrines historically delineated by that nickname are misled and misleading others. We cannot have it both ways."

  • Another Tom writes, "I think it is a very good thing that we get back to theology. Whether you agree with Calvinism or not, the cause for Christ is advanced when we return to the study of theology."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Steve Camp on Harsh Language

Over on his blog, Steve Camp takes Paul Tripp to task for using harsh language -- in this case, his use of the "s" word. Yes, that "s" word.

If you are in any way offended by the use of that word, regardless of context, then I suggest that you stop reading right now. If, on the other hand, you are interested in what all the fuss is about, you may want to view the video in question. Here it is:
What were your initial thoughts?

Steve Camp didn't like it. Not one bit. He writes:
    FYI: this is one of the promo videos for Piper's upcoming DG Conference "The Power of Words and the Wonder of God" at the end of September produced by his ministry. They had to put a disclaimer at the front of this video because of its bad language. But even then, Piper is Clintonian in not really owning it calling the "s" word "...potentially offensive, four letter language..." Personally... I'm staying home. I don't need to pay 175 bucks to hear these pinheads not give us the Scriptures and dance around what "wholesome speech" might mean as they wrest the Word to suit their own guttural proclivities. Besides, when you invite Tripp and Driscoll rather than MacArthur, Sproul, Mohler, Duncan, or Begg - then something is amiss; or in this case, a mess.
Wow. I think someone missed the point entirely.

First of all, there were at least 20 seconds worth of disclaimers warning those who might be offended by the use of that particular four-letter word. Thus, the context in which the subsequent language was used was clearly and firmly established. This was a guy talking about a frank discussion he had with his family regarding language; it wasn't a preacher delivering a flowery sermon on Mother's Day.

Secondly, it was not used in a judgmental, blasphemous, or sexually perverse manner. It was employed to illustrate a specific point -- and judging by the vitriolic, knee-jerk responses in the comments section on Mr. Camp's blog, it succeeded.

Thirdly, Tripp said that if he was in a context where that word could not minister grace or edify, then it shouldn't be said. But, as he pointed out, that goes for everything we say. Again, reemphasizing the main point of the video.

Camp called the video "crap" (a word he later edited out of his original response) and referred to Paul Tripp, Mark Driscoll, and John Piper as "pinheads." He admitted in the comments section that he used those words "intentionally to see if anyone would take the bait and use that as a diversion to somehow justify Tripp." Well, Paul Tripp happened to use the "s" word, and Camp was all over it like a muskie on a minnow.

Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." So, if Paul Tripp can get people to consider their overblown reaction to one little word in light of what scripture says about everything we say, then mission accomplished.

Many Christians, however, cite the above verse in order to admonish other believers who use the occasional coarse word. But how is "corrupting talk" defined in this passage? The definition is obvious in that it is contrasted with talk that it is "good for building up." In other words, we should avoid talk that does not build up. Could that include calling another brother in Christ a "pinhead"?

Oh, but that isn't the same as dropping the "s" bomb. Camp says that one who uses such a word "to make a 'profound biblical point' is a lightweight and has thought culturally but not biblically." Yet in condemning Tripp, Camp himself is guilty of thinking culturally. After all, the Bible doesn't define what constitutes a swear word; culture does. In fact, our culture has assigned meanings to all sorts of words, drawing distinctions between those deemed unsavory and those considered acceptable in polite conversation.

If you go back and watch the video again, you will note that Tripp does say that the use of the "s" word is considered impolite. But, again, it is not a word that is judgmental, blasphemous, or sexual in nature.

Now, to be clear, I am not saying that this gives Christians license to use it like any other word. But I think the fact that so many commenters on Mr. Camp's blog couldn't get past that one word that they failed to grasp the actual point of the video demonstrates why such a discussion on language is needed. Intent and context are much more important than the words themselves.

Monday, September 15, 2008

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Guilt, Atonement and American Foreign Policy

David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. And they carried the ark of Godon a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the LORD, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.

---II Samuel 6:1-7

In I Samuel 4 the Philistines defeated the Israelites and captured the Ark of the Covenant. After being afflicted by tumors and seeing their “gods” embarrassed they returned the ark to the Jews on a cart. Soon Israel followed this example rather than the revealed law of God which required the ark to be carried by priests (Exodus 25:14, Exodus 25:14).

Though the ark would have been surrounded by priests, when the oxen stumbled Uzzah took it upon himself in an act of presumption to steady the ark. He was immediately struck dead by God.

Uzzah was guilty of presumptuous responsibility. In effect he was saying, “If you need something done right, do it yourself.” But such false “responsibility” is in fact a desire for control. It is fundamentally grounded in a desire to be God and assume responsibility and control outside one’s legitimate sphere.

The fabrication of false responsibility is a strategy employed by the elite to make men guilty so that they hand over power and authority to the state. It is an ugly strategy designed to accumulate power.

Guilty men with a troubled conscience, in other words all men, seek atonement. Christians seek a right standing before God through repentance and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us through the instrument of faith. Though as Adam’s heirs we are sinners (Rom. 5:12) dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1) we are made righteous through though Christ, our representative in obedience.

Unbelievers seek justification elsewhere through self-atonement and self-justification, effectively a form of masochism. The other option is the transfer of guilt to other parties. Politics ultimately becomes a forum for obtaining atonement and its ministers and magistrates take on a priestly function rather than serving in their God-ordained office as ministers of justice (Rom. 13:4).

How has this desire for atonement driven American foreign policy? Through the systematic propagation of guilt, Americans have been indoctrinated with a belief that their history is little more than a series of power-grabs, a desolation of innocents. We are repeatedly assured that our history is simply an account of guilt toward Blacks, Jews, Chinese, Indians, Mexicans and ultimately the entire world.

The result of this defective history is a politics loaded down with guilt, in the face of which the populace assumes a posture of submissiveness. A foreign policy elite than is able to advance its interests by claiming a “humanitarian” justification for military adventurism, effectively placing guilt on one party in the midst of great complexity (e.g., Serbs vs. Bosnians, Russians vs. Georgians, etc.). Thus we are urged to atone for our sins by “saving” a “tyrannized” people from their “oppressors.”

The other possibility is to heap the guilt upon ourselves and assume responsibility for every malady on all continents. All the guilt for the starving and oppressed of the world or the ruination and environmental degradation of the planet is thus placed squarely at our feet. Atonement in this scenario leads to foreign aid schemes and similar looting of taxpayers.

Because few men can do more than look after their families and a small circle of friends or fellow believers, the task of imposed responsibility is soon delegated to the state and its planners. By acquiring this duty the state seeks to remake the world in its image, making salvation and liberation the work of man rather than God.

What is particularly irritating is when this guilt-mongering becomes the work of prominent Christians. And I don’t mean simply leftists like Jim Wallis. Consider the messianic pretensions of our Christ-professing President. In various speeches the President has sounded more like Robespierre than Burke:

“I believe democracy can take hold in parts of the world that have been condemned to tyranny. And I believe when democracies take hold, it leads to peace. That's been the proven example around the world. Democracies equal peace.”

"It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

"With the power and resources given to us, the United States seeks to bring peace where there is conflict, hope where there is suffering, and liberty where there is tyranny."

But America’s “special obligation” to the world is also parroted by evangelical theologians like Richard Land, who in addressing a gathering at Harvard said this:

We believe that America has a special role to play in the world. Now we do not believe that America is God’s chosen nation, but we do believe that God’s providence has blessed this country, and that that is a belief that brings with it obligations and responsibilities and that America has a special obligation and responsibility to be the friend of freedom and the friend of democracy in the world.

And I cannot tell you the number of Southern Baptists and other evangelicals and Catholics who told me that they were moved to tears by the president’s second inaugural address and the statement that we are going to be the friend of freedom. People of traditional religious values believe America has a special obligation and responsibility because of the blessings we have received to be the friend of the oppressed ... and to help those who want freedom for themselves.

Naturally Land believes that we are "culpable" (his word) for failing to intervene in Rwanda and our tardy excursion into the Balkans.

From where Dr. Land conjures this divine imperative is unclear, suffice to say that it is Christ, not the United States, that came to free His people, to make them sons, not slaves. We have no condemnation and guilt in Christ but are liberated by His sacrifice. The “obligation” and “responsibility” of Land’s universalist ethic leads to slavery and total power in the hands of a seemingly all powerful state where God’s predestination is replaced by that of man. Total responsibility becomes total control. Man’s duty is to control himself, his family and his work. His responsibility does not extend to the entire world and his relationships are to be governed by the Word rather than a response to the guilt engendered by those who would enslave us.

Friday, September 12, 2008

This Week in Calvinism - September 12, 2008

  • Richard Coords has a problem with the Calvinist teaching that regeneration precedes faith. What he fails to understand is that our hearts of stone must first be replaced with hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19-20 and 36:26-27) before we can obey. Think of it as stumbling around in a dark room until someone flips on the lightswitch. One can see the instant the light comes on, but there must first be light in order for one to see. The Apostle Paul was sent to the Gentiles "to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins" (Acts 26:18). Regeneration preceding faith is the only logical progression.

  • Does prayer influence God? The Seeking Disciple concludes, "The motivation to pray is thus that God in His foreknowledge is influenced by our prayers." Soooooooo...our will be done?

  • On the assurance of salvation, James M. Leonard says, "Be an Arminian with assurance that you will be saved only if you continue to the end in faith, or be a Calvinist without the assurance that Jesus died for you." Or you could just trust scripture when it says, "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16).

  • Stan reminds us not to be followers of a person, but of Christ. (Paul dealt with this in 1st Corinthians 1.) That is why some Calvinists refuse to label themselves as such. But, as Spurgeon once said, "It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else."

  • Micah Burke defends the use of labels.

  • This fall, Lord willing, Pastor Piper will begin preaching through the Gospel of John. So, just how long will this series last? "Romans took eight years," he writes. "John is twice as long."
  • Thursday, September 11, 2008

    A Mighty Fortress is Our God

    (I wrote this seven years ago, one week after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.)

    As our nation's leaders decide how to respond to the recent terrorist attacks, the American people are trying to come to terms with the tremendous loss of life and the unsettling sense of insecurity that inevitably follows such tragedies. Many are struggling with questions left unanswered and are wondering where they can turn for comfort in their time of grief. Many are also beginning to understand that there is more to this than meets the eye.

    The term "holy war" has been bandied about by politicians and members of the media to describe the suicidal resolve of the radical Muslim terrorists responsible for these atrocities. Little do they realize how descriptive that term really is.

    There are forces of good and evil at war in a spiritual world we can neither see nor touch. From Scripture we learn that these forces, however intangible they may seem, directly affect our lives. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, writes, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12). The invisible battle that is raging is just as real as any we see here on earth.

    The Muslim extremists who despise our country are right about one thing. There is a "Great Satan" at work in the world, but it is not America. He is the Devil, an evil spirit, a fallen angel. The Bible tells us that he "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1st Peter 5:8). He is the supreme commander of countless demon hordes whose primary objective is to thwart God's plan for mankind.

    We Christians know the forces of evil will ultimately fail. Though we may appear to lose a battle every now and then, we have read the end of the Book and rest in the fact that our heavenly Commander in Chief has already won the war. Anything Satan has to throw at us cannot take that away, no matter how devastating the situation may seem at the time.

    Although this struggle between good and evil cannot be seen in the physical realm, the effects of this spiritual warfare can. Evil drives people to do bad things. It attacks without warning, and it can become terrifyingly evident during traumatic events like the ones witnessed on September 11.

    Despite the feelings of hate, frustration, and despair we have all experienced as a result of these terrorist attacks, there is a blessed hope to be found. We who have been given the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ know that we are eternally safe and secure from the evil that plagues the world. Although we cannot escape the physical and emotional pain that comes from living in a fallen, sinful world, that eternal flame of hope will never be extinguished, and the reward promised by our Heavenly Father will far outweigh any suffering we may endure here on earth.

    Over 450 years ago, the great Reformer Martin Luther penned one of the most magnificent hymns of all time, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." I can hardly sing it without tears in my eyes, and that was especially true this past Sunday, only days after first seeing the death and destruction in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

    The hymn's message is one of hope and encouragement in the midst of life's trials for those who have Christ as their Lord and Savior:
      A mighty fortress is our God,
      A bulwark never failing;
      Our helper He, amid the flood
      Of mortal ills prevailing.

      For still our ancient foe
      Doth seek to work us woe;
      His craft and pow'r are great,
      And, armed with cruel hate,
      On earth is not his equal.

      Did we in our own strength confide,
      Our striving would be losing,
      Were not the right Man on our side,
      The Man of God's own choosing.

      Dost ask who that may be?
      Christ Jesus, it is He;
      Lord Sabaoth His name,
      From age to age the same,
      And He must win the battle.

      And though this world, with devils filled,
      Should threaten to undo us,
      We will not fear, for God hath willed
      His truth to triumph through us.

      The prince of darkness grim -
      We tremble not for him;
      His rage we can endure,
      For lo! his doom is sure;
      One little word shall fell him.

      That word above all earthly pow'rs -
      No thanks to them - abideth;
      The Spirit and the gifts are ours
      Through Him Who with us sideth.

      Let goods and kindred go,
      This mortal life also;
      The body they may kill;
      God's truth abideth still,
      His kingdom is for ever.
    The Psalmist also reminds us of this protection in times of adversity. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging" (Psalm 46:1-3). Truly, if God is for us, who can possibly stand against us?

    As Christians, we should have the desire to bring others into the shelter of our Mighty Fortress. We should be praying for healing and comfort in this time of crisis. We should also be reaching out in love and doing what we can to meet the needs of those who are suffering.

    It is our prayer that throughout all of this others may find the eternal hope we have in Christ. With that hope, we can stand firm and confront evil knowing who the ultimate victor is. We can have the confidence to say to those who strike out against us, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20). Let us not lose hope, and let us trust that God can and will bring about good from evil.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Calvinism on the Highway

    Thanks to my lovely wife, Dawn, who snapped this one!

    Monday, September 08, 2008

    What Conservatives Aren't Saying about Sarah Palin's Daughter

    When it comes to Bristol Palin's out-of-wedlock pregnancy, all conservatives seem to say is "Well, at least she didn't have an abortion." Ricardo Davis looks at this issue from a different perspective:
      Friends and acquaintances have been probing me for my reaction to these events. My response was that I'm still researching the matter. I have dear friends who have gone through what Todd and Sarah Palin are facing. I kept the matter in prayer and asked that God would give the Palins wisdom.

      After mulling over what I heard repeated in the Christian media I finally realized the cause of my unease; the three-letter "S" word -- sin -- had been completely absent in the discussion! The non-problem of Bristol Palin expressed itself in the conservative Christian media with a complete lack of discussion by Christian leaders and ministers of the problem of fornication in America and the Gospel remedy!

      Fornication is the sin that fuels the abortion industry, so it is connected to the pro-life discussion. The Gospel of Jesus Christ stands alone in effectively and holistically healing the individual, familial, and cultural decay caused by fornication. But to date I have not heard one national Christian commentator bring up the subject. Not one politically active conservative Christian leader that I know of framed the non-problem from a Biblical worldview. No one interviewed by the mainstream media admitted that Bristol and Levi committed fornication and that God's Word clearly condemns premarital sex. I haven't heard one minister with an open mike on a nationwide talk show say that as loving Christian parents Todd and Sarah Palin's primary responsibility in the matter is to help their daughter Bristol apply the Gospel -- restore the relationship between Bristol and God through confession of the sin of fornication and repentance. It is my hope that this happens. It is my prayer that the Palin family receives wise Biblical counsel in the months ahead because the parents must redemptively help Bristol work through the consequences of her choices.
    Here is Sarah Palin's official statement regarding this issue:
      We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us. Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.

      Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates.
    What are your thoughts? As a Christian family, did the Palins miss a perfect opportunity to address sin, forgiveness, and the Gospel?

    Mark Driscoll on Harsh Language

    I know what you're thinking, but take a look:
    Needless to say, this should make for an interesting conference.

    Mark Driscoll Interviews John Piper

    Friday, September 05, 2008

    This Week in Calvinism - September 5, 2008

  • You can now read Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy online in PDF format. Aside from the fact that the author knows next to nothing about what Calvinists actually believe, it isn't all that bad.

  • Contrary to what some seem to imply, Christianity isn't about building a "Christian civilization"; it's about making disciples of all nations by spreading the gospel.

  • Arminians agree with Calvinists that salvation is all of God. It is by grace alone through faith alone. But they seem a bit reluctant to discuss from where that faith actually comes.

  • Noooooo! Some clever Arminian has exposed what Calvinists don't want you to know! Now that everyone knows that "Calvinism destroys all of the biblical attributes of God," people may not like us anymore. Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.

  • On a personal note, my cousin, Dwayne, who is attending Reformed Theological Seminary, will be interning at St. Paul Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi.
  • Monday, September 01, 2008

    Pro-Life? Yes; Pro-Family? ?????

    One of my favorite pastors is Voddie Baucham. He recently posted the linked article below on his blog. Please read and give careful consideration of what he has written. Then we must ask ourselves as Christians, "Are we really biblical in all of our thinking?"

    Please feel free to comment.

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