Links I like

Fred Phelps and the Anti-Gospel of Hate

Albert Mohler:

Fred Phelps became infamous due to one central fact — he was a world-class hater. He brought great discredit to the Gospel of Christ because his message was undiluted hatred packaged as the beliefs of a church. Even Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center referred to Westboro Baptist Church as “this so-called church.” The damage was due to the fact that his platform for hatred was called a church. That provided the watching and listening world with a ready target and case study for the accusation that Christian conviction on questions of sexual morality is nothing more than disguised hatred for homosexuals. And, like radioactivity, Fred Phelps’ hatred will survive in lasting half-lives of animus.

Flee youthful passions

Ray Ortlund:

In this world of blatant, horrible wrongs, it is not hard to get angry.  It is hard not to get angry.  But “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  It just doesn’t.  Because it can’t.  No matter how right the cause is, the anger of man only makes things worse.  Sometimes the youthful don’t see how clever evil is, how easy it is for us to add to evil while intending good, how hard it is for us to be angry and not sin and complicate things further.  Exposing and confronting wrongs — real wrongs with real victims — is good, but not simple.  Not for us.  What is simple is creating more victims by rushing to judgment with guns ablazing and a golden heart pursuing a noble cause.

The Problem With Victory Focus

Mike Leake:

There is a difference between obedience and victory.

In my mind I picture a team of solider bunkered down behind enemy lines. They are mostly surrounded by enemies and at the point of frustration and despair; death seems certain. Then a most wonderful word is transmitted to them—a decisive victory has been won and rescue is coming. They are given instructions on how to do battle while they await ultimate rescue.

Was Jesus Still God in the Tomb?

David Murray:

Yes, it was right to worship Jesus as God in the womb, in the manger, on the breast, at play, in school, in the workshop, in the court, and on the cross; but in the tomb? Surely not. Jesus was in heaven for these few days, His human soul still united to His divine nature, rightly being worshipped there for His saving work of suffering and dying for sinners. Yes, that worship is theologically sound and totally appropriate. But was Jesus not also on a cold slab of rock in a Middle Eastern cave? Yes, He was. While His human soul was separated from His body, His divine nature was separated from neither and never will be. His divine nature was as united to His lifeless body on earth as it was to His glorified soul in heaven. That means I can worship Him equally in the grave as in glory!

Justin Taylor offers a very interesting counterpoint here.

How Should We Understand this Promise of Jesus?

R.C. Sproul Jr. on Jesus’ promise in John 14:14, “if you ask anything in my name I will do it”:

But what about when we are asking for things we know God would approve of? In my home I and the children pray nightly that God would be pleased to help us to grow in grace and wisdom. What we are seeking is that we would be made fully into the image of Christ, that our sanctification would be complete. That sounds like a good thing to ask in Jesus name. Second, every night we pray that God would be pleased to magnify His name by rising up and protecting all the unborn in Orlando, Florida, these United States, and around the world. How could that not be a prayer in His name? And yet, thus far our prayers have not been answered.

#TGC11 Day 1 Reflections—Plus Free Stuff!

Emily and I took a few minutes last night to chat about the first day of The Gospel Coalition’s national conference. Sufficed to say, we had an awesome time. But for a few details on why we felt this way, as well as some info on a book giveaway that starts today, watch the video:

Update: As I mentioned in the video, I hadTWO copies of Don’t Call It a Comeback to give away (reviewed here Monday).

The winners have now been selected and notified via email. Thanks for entering!

Al Mohler: Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus #TGC11

R. Albert Mohler is the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His session centers around John 5:31-47, the only New Testament passage to be expounded today.The following are a few of my notes.

Update: The audio is available for download here. Video footage can be viewed below:

 


It’s interesting in this day that a frighteningly large number of young people are leaving. And we have to ask ourselves why?

Christian Smith and his team have named the belief system of emerging adults today Moralistic Therapeutic Deism—that God wants His creations to behave, to be happy and He doesn’t want to be involved.  And one author suggests that these young people aren’t really Christian at all, but they’re Christian-ish. And we quickly realize that they’re not the only ones.

The absence of biblical preaching, of gospel preaching has led the way to preaching that encourages moralistic therapeutic, practical deism.

We meet with the context of very real challenges. Protestant liberalism, something that is 2 centuries old is back. The denial of essential doctrines, the denial of the Christian meta-narrative and the call for a new kind of Christianity altogether. [Read more…]

The F Word

Every once in a while, a conservative evangelical pastor will speak publicly about whether Christians should or should not participate in certain practices, read certain books, watch certain movies or which spouse should stay at home with the kids (if any).

And when these comments hit the masses, they cause quite a stir.

For some, their statements result in really positive discussion of how we are to approach (especially) popular culture and family dynamics in a biblical fashion.

But almost without fail, when these issues come up (the recent stir about Albert Mohler’s comments on yoga is a good example), it leads to another reaction—someone breaks out the F word:

F…

…u… [Read more…]

Around the Interweb (09/05)

Should you “friend” your ex on Facebook?

Interesting post over at the Her-meneutics blog on the wisdom (or lack thereof) of adding an old flame on facebook:

I believe that all relationships in my life either support or detract from my marriage, however tacitly, and they stay or go based on that criterion. I believe spouses should have access to each others’ phones and e-mails and should approve of each others’ Facebook friends. I believe privacy with exes, even and perhaps particularly virtual privacy, is dangerous. I’m on the road I chose, and no good will come from revisiting roads not taken…

I know what full-blown adultery is, but fidelity is breached long before physical acts occur. How about looking at an ex’s profile pictures and imagining the life you could have had together, the children you could have been raising, the house you could have bought? How about looking at old photos your ex has posted, remembering the encounters you had in that time and place? How about indulging the brief thrill that arises when his or her name appears in your e-mail inbox or your Facebook wall (the rush is fueled, after all, by past words and experiences shared only between the two of you)? How about nurturing the notion that you missed your chance with your real soul-mate by keeping in touch with the supposed soul-mate? These actions and attitudes may not be adultery, but they certainly do not represent loyalty.

Facebook presents me with nicely worded options: “Confirm this request for friendship, or quietly ignore it.” This man is likely just saying hello, having seen my name or photo on a mutual friend’s page. Chances are, it’s no big deal. But I’ve made my choice, regarding the man as well as his request. Old flame, consider yourself quietly ignored.

Read the whole thing. (HT: Challies)

In Other News

Podcasts: Al Mohler is starting not one, but two new podcasts: The Briefing and Thinking in Public

Free Stuff: This month’s free download at ChristianAudio.com is Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. Use coupon code SEP2010 when checking out.

Apologetics: Justin Taylor offers an FAQ on the differences between Christianity and Mormonism

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A week-long series on getting serious about your studies—Choosing your study Bible, your systematic theology, your reading plan and your digital resources

A review of Ryken’s Bible Handbook

Darrin Patrick: “We need better men, which means we need better pastors.”

Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris in conversation with Francis Chan

Around the Interweb (05/09)

Albert Mohler on Franklin Graham being Disinvited from the Pentagon

May 6th marked the United States’ National Day of Prayer—with Franklin Graham leading prayer at the Pentagon.

Outside, after being disinvited two weeks previously due to his commitment to biblical Christianity.

Albert Mohler provided some thoughtful commentary regarding the situation on his website:

Evangelical Christians in the United States had better see a big challenge staring us in the face. Franklin Graham was disinvited by the Pentagon for making statements that are required by faithfulness to the gospel of Christ. As reports make clear, it is not just his statements about Islam being prone to violence that cause offense, it is his statements that Islam is wicked because it does not lead to salvation in Christ that cause the greatest offense.

The Pentagon failed its test, but many more tests will follow. Faithful witness to Christ requires an honest statement about what any false system of belief represents — a form of idolatry and false teaching that leads to eternal damnation. There may be more and less offensive ways of saying that, but there is no way to remove the basic offense to the current cultural mind.

In reality, every evangelical preacher and every individual Christian will face this question — and probably sooner rather than later.

Read the rest.

HT: Z

In Other News

Mohler & Dever: How Expositional Preaching Protects Pastors

Justin Taylor interviews Mark Driscoll about his new book, Doctrine

BloodMoney – the provocative trailer for a new documentary on abortion:

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Pete Wilson’s new book, Plan B

Fear, complacency and the evangelical middle road

Is it really authentic to publicly confess sins you didn’t commit to people who were not sinned against?

When “finishing well” isn’t finished well

J.I. Packer: “What makes a man of God is first and foremost his vision of God. . . . So what did Nehemiah believe about the one whom ten times over, six times in transcribed prayers, he calls ‘my God’?”

Trajectories Toward an Adjusted Gospel – Al Mohler at Together for the Gospel 2010

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more about “Trajectories Toward an Adjusted Gospe…“, posted with vodpod

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:6-9

Dr. Mohler addresses eight trajectories that lead to an adjusted gospel:

  1. The Modern Trajectory – The de-mythologizing of the Bible and the Christian faith. “‘The world has changed and we must rescue Christianity,’ they say, ‘and what they really mean is rescue Christianity from itself,'” says Mohler. So out goes the Trinity, miracles, the incarnation, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the Bible…
  2. The Postmodern Trajectory – Post-modernity came along and turned modernity into a contemporary myth to go along with the “ancient myths” that modernity exposed. Meaning becomes completely subjective because the reader is the one who identifies truth, not the author.
  3. Moral Trajectory – Christian theology and the gospel are immoral. “Christianity is immoral because it breeds weakness.” It claims our modern moral conscience is superior to the morality espoused in the Bible. Substitutionary atonement becomes viewed as  a form of “divine child abuse.” “God is supposedly portrayed as a selfish monster in the Bible according to this view.” God has to be fair, as though you can subject an infinite being to the idea of being fair. [Read more…]

Around the Interweb (03/28)

A Roommate is a Roommate? I Wonder What Her Dad Thinks

Kayla, left, and Lindon say sharing a dorm room hasn't been awkward. The mixing of genders is a generational issue, Lindon says, and "Over the years, this division between men and women, which was so big, is slowly closing." (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times / March 9, 2010)

The other day, Albert Mohler posted some commentary in response to a recent LA Times article on Harvey Mudd College’s move to mix-gender housing for students:

The rise of co-ed dorms is the inevitable result of a breakdown in all rationality about sex, gender, and sexuality. . . . All of this adds up to a perfect jumble of moral confusion. Consider all that is mixed-up here. First, we have schools collapsing under the logic of gender rebellion. Instead of respecting boundaries, they remove them. . . . Second, we have students insisting that there is nothing remotely odd or sexualized about two heterosexual students of opposite genders living in the same small space. That is both unbelievable and deeply sad. Third, we have activists and administrators lecturing parents that they have no right to resist all this. When Jeffrey Chang insists that college students are adults who “have every single right to choose the person they feel most comfortable living with,” he assumes, probably rightly, that many parents will just accept that argument at face value.

This is nuts. If these students are adults with such rights, let them pay the steep bills at Harvey Mudd and Pitzer colleges. What self-respecting parent would cave to this logic, or to the lectures from college administrators that they have no right to intervene?

Read Dr. Mohler’s article, as well as the LA Times article. It’ll be well worth your time.

In other news

Stephen Altrogge reminds us: “You’re not the point of the gospels.”

The Canadian Association of University Teachers thinks statements of faith are incompatible with academic freedom. Christian post-secondary institutes beware.

Michael Spencer (The Internet Monk) has discontinued cancer treatment and is receiving assistance from the local hospice. He and his wife are asking that we all pray for minimal pain and a peaceful passing.

In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

This week, I released a free e-book based on Jude’s epistle, Contending: A Study & Discussion Guide. It’s ideal for personal and small group use. Download it and share as you like.

A review of John Piper’s latest, A Sweet & Bitter Providence

Whatever makes you feel good about you,” what I’m learning from Christian Smith’s research on Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

Some encouragement from John Calvin

Zac Smith shares his battle with cancer

Around the Interweb (01/17)

Video Update from Matt Chandler

Pastor Matt Chandler of the Village Church in Texas gives an update on his cancer treatment:

HT: The Village Church Pastors’ Blog


In other news

Dan Woolley, a colleague of mine from Compassion International was rescued the other day from the ruins of the Hotel Montana in Haiti! Praise God for this wonderful news! Please give to help with the relief and long term recovery efforts.

2010: Living in the Future. You must read this. My wife’s review: “It made me choke on my own laughter.” So you know it’s good.

Albert Mohler: Does God Hate Haiti?


In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Jim Belcher’s very helpful book, Deep Church

The morning after in Haiti.

Holy Spirit vs. Holy Scripture 

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Test of a True Teacher

Moralizing Destroys Scripture and Cultivates Pride

Sunday Shorts (08/23)

A Quiet Circumvention of Morality

Dr. Albert Mohler writes about women being involved in combat situations in the US Military:

From a Christian perspective, the concern about women in combat goes far beyond the pollsters’ questions. If we truly believe that God created men and women for different but complementary roles and shows his glory in the faithfulness of men as primary protectors and women as primary nurturers, the entry of women into combat roles is an open rejection of God’s purpose. As military historians document, every society throughout history has normalized the military service of men. Though women have known combat in isolated cases throughout history, the fact that such cases are rare is the exception that proves the rule. This wisdom is part of general revelation and thus the moral wisdom shared by virtually all cultures.

Read the rest at Dr. Mohler’s blog.

HT: Challies

Free Total Church Study Guide

total-church

An A29 church has created a free study guide to go along with the Re:Lit book Total Church, by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. The well-designed 32-page study guide is available for free PDF download here. We’ve talked with Steve Timmis, and he’s excited about this free resource.

The study guide was designed by Veritas Community Church in Columbus, Ohio.

Out of the Archives: Young, Restless, Reformed

Young-Restless-ReformedIn 2004, Collin Hansen came on staff as an editor of Christianity Today, and the emerging/emergent church, with its tweaking and questioning of theology in light of a postmodern outlook, was all the rage (as it continues to be in some circles today). Many on staff thought that Hansen should know more about it than anyone given his age. However, he found that, within his circles, there was a disposition towards traditional Reformed theology, and he began to ask the question: Is it just us, or is this the beginning of something bigger? This question led him on a two year journey across America, and the results form Young, Restless, Reformed, first published as an article in Christianity Today, and expanded into this book in 2008.

Travelling across the United States, Hansen visited several “hot spots” of emerging Reformed theology including: The Passion Conference, Atlanta, Georgia; Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky; Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg, Maryland; New Attitude Conference, Louisville, Kentucky; and Mars Hill Church, Seattle, Washington. While certainly not covering all of places he could, Hansen does a great job of creating a solid cross-section of this movement.

Read the rest of this review.

In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Book Review: Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl Reviewing N.D. Wilson’s delightfully and downright peculiar book on the wonder of God’s creation

A Bible with All the Words: How I Learned to Love the ESV Reflecting on my journey to my Bible translation of choice, the ESV

The Love of God: Audio from St. Paul’s United My sermon from St. Paul’s United in Aylmer, Ontario, August 15th, 2009

Brand-olatary Examining the connection between what we buy and what we worship

Sunday Shorts (05/17)

Recommended Reading: Al Mohler’s Top Ten

Evangelical Village provides us with Al Mohler’s top ten books to read in 2009. I’m looking forward to reading Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures by Dennis E. Johnson sometime before the year’s end. Matt at Evangelical Village tells me that it’s the best book on preaching written in the last few decades outside of Lloyd-Jones’ work.

Any of the rest interest you?

No, Mr. President

HT: Justin Taylor

What’s Next for the Gospel Coalition?

Christianity Today interviewed D.A. Carson about the future of the Gospel Coalition:

Our aim is not to keep the coalition as an end in itself. It’s a coalition of people for the sake of promoting the gospel. And if the gospel is so implanted in enough things that are taking it forward in all kinds of useful and happy ways, then we should morph into something else or stop as an organization.

I’m neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet. I’m not sure where it will be in 20 years. I have some confidence where it will be, God helping us, in 5 years or maybe even 10 years.

Read the rest at ChristianityToday.com

Sunday Shorts (05/03)

No Truth Without Love, No Love Without Truth

Albert Mohler recently wrote a stellar article on the relationship between truth and love (that being you don’t get one without the other):

Biblical Christians know that compassion requires telling the truth, and refusing to call sin something sinless. To hide or deny the sinfulness of sin is to lie, and there is no compassion in such a deadly deception. True compassion demands speaking the truth in love–and there is the problem. Far too often, our courage is more evident than our compassion.

Read the rest at Mohler’s blog.

Modern Times

Jesus is the Litmus Test

HT: Evangelical Village