Monthly Archives: July 2006

Psalter in a Bog

Ahhhhhh….you gotta love old Irish monks who copied out the Bible! One of them, a 1200 Psalter, was recently found in an Irish bog! Wasn’t it Columba who went to war over a Psalter? Maybe it was this one???
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Review: Rapture Fiction

David Field gives a generally positive review of my friend Crawford Gribben’s recent book Rapture Fiction, published by Evangelical Press. I myself am looking forward to reading it. A similar book, End Times Fiction by Gary Demar, was a great help to me as I came out of dispensationalism. The one problem with it that I found was that it didn’t leave me with an eschatology with which to replace it. My hope is that Crawford’s book will serve the similar purpose of critique, yet provide curious readers with an eschatology that is Biblical and God-glorifying.
Another excellent book on the topic of eschatology is Kim Riddlebarger’s A Case for Amillennialism, that is in my opinion, the best contemporary book on eschatology available. Maybe Rapture Fiction will change that opinion?? See Riddlebarger’s blog here.

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Brief Thoughts On Israel

For the sake of brevity, I am keeping this to a short list in point form. It is not my intention to get into any significant disagreements with either a brother or sister in Christ over this issue, but I do have some opinions that I think are worth sharing. Some may differ with me in one way or another, and that is fine. Making one’s view of the Middle East conflict a test of orthodoxy is ridiculous. Generally speaking, my sympathies lie with Israel. The reasons for this are found in the following:
1) The Palestinian/Israeli conflict – which supposedly is the reason why other Muslim countries have their hands in the mix – stretches well back into the Old Testament. In fact, both Jews and Muslims agree as to their lineage. The Jews believe they are descended from Isaac, while the Muslims believe they are descended from Ishmael. For those who think this struggle is fairly recent in world history, one must think again.
2) Israel was placed in the land in 1948 and since then the Muslims have claimed that Israel is in their land. One should consider that, historically speaking, nations displace other nations frequently. Muslims once displaced the Jews and now the Jews have displaced the Muslims. Neither should be surprised by this, nor can one blame the other for doing it. They are both culprits, as are most other countries in the world. It is a simple fact of history, and nobody should play the victim.
3) Israel exists in a plot of land in the middle of numerous Islamic countries. To the north are Syria and Lebanon. To the east is Jordan, Iraq and Iran. To the south is Egypt. And of course to the west are the Palestinians. All of these Muslim countries or territories, to one extent or another, hate Israel. The president of Iran has called for Israel’s extermination. Hezbollah is in Lebanon currently firing missiles in Israel. Syria is widely recognised as having involvment in the current conflict. In the seven days war Egypt trucked tanks across the desert to attack Israel from the south. Palestinians are led by Hamas, a recognised terror organisation who consistenly wreack havoc in Israel. Whenever Israel engages in a fight, it is by necessity a fight to the death. They cannot merely tuck tail and run, if they do, they will be destroyed.
4) Israel has removed itself from Gaza and much of the West Bank, giving land to the Palestinians. Yet every time Israel makes concession, the Muslim nations are more incensed and seek their termination.
5) Israel, in spite of what Muslims may say, have not committed acts of terror. Their acts of aggression have been during a time of war. When they do rocket into Muslim countries, they drop leaflets indicating such to allow the citizens to flee.
6) Currently the Israeli civilians flee from any area within Israel that is under attack. Yet, when Israel fires missiles into southern Lebanon, the Muslim civilians do not flee. Instead, they harbour Hezbollah militants, making themselves targets. Then when Israel attacks a city and civilians die, the Israeli’s are considered to be taking “no quarter.”
As a Christian, any fighting over the so called “holy land” is ludicrous. Surely in the Old Testament, God’s promises were connected to the Promised Land. Yet the land functioned as a type of Christ, and since His first Advent, the land carries no religious significance. For someone to truly “occupy the land” one needs to be in Christ. Therefore, both Israel and the Muslim nations are in error when it comes to what constitutes “holy land.” The age old conflict is fought in vain. Both sides need to lay down their arms and come to Christ.
Of course, on both sides there are Christians. This is a particular area of sadness for me as I consider the many Palestinian, Israeli, Lebanese, Jordanian, Egyptian and Syrian Christians who have been negatively impacted by the events in the Middle East. May God protect them and use them to His glory. For them am I truly grieved.
I guess I read too much Victor Davis Hanson (see this article in particular), but I think that generally speaking his assessments are correct. Israel is in a situation where they are constantly viewed as the problem, yet do not invite it. I am not naive enought to believe that Israel has been perfect in their dealings with Muslim countries. But the sheer weight of evil displayed against them, and other western nations, by Muslims is overwhelming. While I deeply wish for peace, I do not believe that any concessions made by Israel will sway Hezbollah, Iran, Palestine or Syria.
The only peace that will come to the Middle East, and in fact the world, will be ushered in by the return of the Prince of Peace who will establish the New Jerusalem and will rule eternally with His people. The current fighting there only instills in my own mind the glory of that day and in my heart the longing for it.
***UPDATE***
I concur with Russ Moore’s thoughts on the Christian view of Israel found here.

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E-Bible

I’ve been invited to peruse www.ebible.com to get a feel for it and offer my opinion on Ruminations by the Lake. A quick glance shows it to be a fairly decent program. It’s still in development stages and is in beta format.
Geoff at e-bible have given me 10 invites for anyone who wants to check it out. I thought that I wouldn’t just give them to anyone who asks. Rather, I would like whoever wants to use it to post their favourite quote from any figure in church history on their blog and in the comments section to this post. The first ten to do so (if ten people even read this!), I’ll send over an invite.
Stay tuned for my evaluation of e-bible.
***UPDATE***
Any quote given should have a bibliographical reference! (At least to the best of your ability).

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Book Questions

I usually can’t stand being tagged, but when it comes to books — well, my opinion differs drastically! Darrin put down some good books on his post and tagged me (as well as some others) to display my reading habits. So, here goes! Without wanting to state the obvious, I am excluding the Bible from this list because if I didn’t, it would be my every answer (except, of course, for number 7 – thanks Ben).

1) One book that changed your life:
I’m sure that there are many books that have had a profound influence on me. And although this book isn’t greatly technical, it broke me of a lot of my worldliness. It is Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? by James Montgomery Boice. It especially helped me not to keep myself dumb. Another book that I’ve greatly enjoyed, although maybe not so influential, is Intellectuals by Paul Johnson.

2) One book that you’ve read more than once:
On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It has such a wanderers spirit that I love. Maybe not the most moral book out there, but certainly one that I’ve enjoyed. I hear that an unedited edition is coming out soon!

3) One book you’d want on a deserted island:
The SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, In Any Climate, On Land or at Sea by John Wiseman. A guy’s gotta survive!!!

4) One book that made you laugh:
Fidelity by Douglas Wilson. The opening chapter about biblical satire had me in stitches, and proved a very excellent and biblical point. Sometimes we need to talk plainly to get our point across. Thankfully, plain speech can be funny!

5) One book that made you cry:
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. When ole Gus died, I balled. I usually get pretty choked up when I watch that scene in the movie too.

6) One book that you wish had been written:
A Comprehensive History of Atheism: Readings and Analysis by Greg Bahnsen. I think it would have been the one stop resource for demolishing atheism.

7) One book that you wish had never been written:
Why Christianity Must Change or Die by John Shelby Spong. The guy is pompous and arrogant disguised as open minded and caring. The book has destroyed many a person’s faith.

8) One book that you are currently reading:
As with Darrin, I have my bookmark in a few books. I just finished A Serrated Edge by Douglas Wilson (excellent); I too am reading Selected Shorter Writings of J. Gresham Machen by D. G. Hart; I’m reading through the Works of Alexander Carson (slow going and tedious note taking). I’m almost finished Stanley E. Porter and Stephen Bedard’s Unmasking the Pagan Christ. I haven’t touched in about a week or so for one reason or another. I’m also reading various articles in an old Reformed journal called Contra Mundum — interesting stuff. Today I read about how Enlightenment thinking, in particular rationalism, was evident about a hundred years before the actual Enlightenment began. The culprit was an Anglican named Richard Hooker, who subordinated revelation for reason. (That was long!! Whoops).

9) One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Unlike Darrin, I haven’t sat and read through John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. That is something that I very much would like to do. I’ve read numerous portions, but never cover to cover.

So, now it’s time to inflict this on some other bloggers. I would have to say Terry Stauffer, Rogers Meredith, Al Mickle and Crawford Gribben! I don’t tag them to annoy them, I’m actually interested to see their answers!!

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Water Not Too Deep

Vicky and I just got back in from seeing the movie Lady in the Water, directed by M. Night Shyamalan. I generally like his movies, in spite of the flaws. For instance, I didn’t like the ending of The Village, but the atmosphere and cinematography outweighed the bad. The overall story of Signs was so-so, but again, his distinct style of doing movies had me hooked. Much the same can be said for Lady in the Water.
Paul Giamatti was very good in it, as were the other actors. The directing was spot on and the camera angles were classic Shyamalan. He has a great aesthetic and makes you feel a part of his world. I also appreciated the overall positive outlook of the story and redemptive themes in it. I couldn’t help but feel that there was a bit of everything in it in terms of worldview. Buddhism, existentialism, postmodernism, etc. I even caught of hint of Heidegger’s dasein. Anyways, it was thoughtful.
Yet with all of the thoughtfulness, there was a certain amount of absurdity to it (existentialism anyone??). The story line was too typical, the invented terminology was too cheesy and some of the characters were too annoying. The level of “suspension of disbelief” was turned up high, that you can count on. But I can’t help but think that Shyamalan was intentional is his mediocre story line. It was almost culture-critical, especially movie culture. I mean, having a movie critic as a character, as well as the over the top illusions of various allegories (i.e. LotR and Narnia), it seemed all too planned out. I would be interested to hear what others have to say about it.
What was intriguing was that Shyamalan played one of the main characters. He had gone beyond the Hitchcock/King cameo and gave himself a full-blown role. I wonder what he was saying about himself in the movie. I’ll give it some more thought surely.
***UPDATE***
When I use the word “absurd” in this post, I realise that it may be confusing. I don’t mean it in the “absurdist” sense. That is, I’m not connecting it to the thought that flowed out of existentialism called “absurdism.” I realise the construction of my sentence appears that way, but I meant “absurd” in the general sense. As in ridiculous or unbelievable. Sorry for the confusion!!
Oh yeah, and let me re-iterate, I enjoyed the movie very much! That, in spite of my criticisms.

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Leon Morris Dies

New Testament scholar Leon Morris died on Monday afternoon in Melbourne after hip surgery, aged 92. His funeral will be at Holy Trinity Doncaster, Melbourne, on July 31 at 10.30 am.The following is from his Wikipedia entry:
“Leon Morris (
19142006) was a New Testament scholar. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England on the subject which became his first major book, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross. He served as Warden of Tyndale House, Cambridge (1960-64); Principal (university) of Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia (where they have named a library in his honour); and Visiting Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
“He has published several theological works and commentaries on the Bible, notable among which are The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, The Atonement: Its Meaning and Significance, New Testament Theology, and The Gospel According to John (part of the New International Commentary on the New Testament series).”Thank you, God, for your faithful servant and for the way in which he has helped the church to understand your Word and to glory in the cross of Jesus Christ.
[The above was from Justin Taylor’s blog]

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Around the World with Ken Ham

In light of my earlier post about the disgusting evolutionist who threatened to spam me, I’ve been doing some more reading on evolution. I can across Ken Ham’s blog and linked it. Ken Ham is with the excellent Answers in Genesis that provides information on evolution. Check it out!

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Os Guinness on the Journey


Christian intellectual Os Guinness has a very good lecture available for download at Veritas Forum. The lecture is entitled “The Journey – A Thinking Person’s Quest for Meaning and Happiness.” He is a good speaker and the content is very thought provoking. He’s from Ulster, so that must mean he’s cool, right??

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Degenerated Argument

I’ve been in an online debate (a very short one) with a guy who advocates the theory of evolution. This is what the argument degenerated to. I didn’t bring up the issue of ethics, but he has proven existentially that there is no logical reason to be ethical in an atheistic worldview. I took the initiative to edit some of his language — be warned.
Evolution has nothing to do with order coming from disorder. You’re thinking of abiogenesis. Evolution does not provide for an explanation of creation. It provides an explanation of what scientists have observed: speciation, extinction, adaptation, variation, etc. For what processes are scientists not able to account? If you are going to say the origin of life, don’t even bother. Don’t even start with me about that “sin” bullsh*t. An omniscient deity automatically eliminates the possibility of free will. Since you believe in an omniscient deity, you must also believe that it knew every step your life would take before you were even created. Due to that foreknowledge, it is necessary that your life take those steps – else, your deity is not omniscient. There’s no faulty thinking in valid, sound logic. Your faulty thinking arises from assuming the conclusion in the premise of your argument. You can’t just say “it’s the only one that makes sense”. First of all, it doesn’t make sense. Secondly, several others do make sense. You can’t claim that anything for which you argue uses valid logic. Don’t message me again with your illogical bullsh*t, or I’ll use that email address you gave me to sign up for bestiality, scat, bondage, and rape porn sites, hundreds of mailing lists, and online credit card scams.

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That Blasted Rock

In Sunday School today we discussed J.I. Packer’s awesome book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. In particular we looked at the second chapter that dealt with the relationship of evangelism and God’s sovereignty and how to reconcile the two. For Packer, the answer lies in the nature of antinomy.
Over the course of the discussion the age old question “Can God create a rock so big that He cannot lift it?” came up. It’s an interesting question that has baffled many a Christian, and though it was briefly answered, I want to address the question with a little more depth.
First of all, it is good for Christians to be able to understand and address questions like this. Primarily because it gets them thinking about questions pertaining to God, and that is always a good thing. As well, questions like these are often posed to Christians by non-believers who think they have disproven God. Having an answer for them is helpful because it shows the futility of non-believing thought when it comes to the question of God’s existence. I say futility because this question is really a non-question and displays the ends that non-believers will go to to escape from God.
The problem goes as such:
Can God create a rock so big that He cannot lift it? If He can, than He is not all powerful because He can’t lift the rock. If He can’t, He is not all powerful because there is something that He cannot do — that is create such a rock.
This seems like quite the conundrum because the Christian apparently seems to be faced with a dilemma. How do we provide an answer to this question?
I would begin by arguing that this isn’t really a question at all. Rather, it is a non-question. By it’s very nature, it contradicts itself. It’s like asking the question, “Can God make a square circle?” It doesn’t make sense by definition.
To demonstrate this, we need to look at the nature of created objects (such as the rock in question). What is a rock? We know that it is material, it comes from the ground, it contains ore and minerals, and fundamental to the question at hand, it is by definition finite. A rock is not a rock if it is infinite. And herein lies the problem for the skeptic: for God to make a rock so big that He can’t lift it, He would have to make a rock that is bigger than He is. Yet God is infinite. So the answer is, by definition, no He cannot make a rock such as this, because a rock like that is logically impossible to conceive of.
Upon hearing this, the hard-nosed skeptic my cry, “Aha! See, your God’s not omnipotent!!” And I would suggest that the Christian ask the skeptic for a definition of omnipotent. For many, including many Christians, omnipotent means that God can do anything. But that is not a true definition. The Bible says that God cannot lie, that He cannot sin and so forth. Does this make Him less powerful? Of course not, because the definition of omnipotent is not what it is often thought.
Omnipotence means that God is able to anything that is in accord with His nature and will. That means that God cannot lie, because it is not in His truthful nature to lie. God cannot sin, because it is not in His holy nature to sin.
Because God is infinite, nothing else can exist that is infinite. That means a rock that is finite can never be too big for Him to lift. For the skeptic to demand that a rock be infinite is ludicrous and illogical, because it is logically inconceivable for such a rock to exist.
For more helpful thoughts and other reasons to believe that this argument is a “pseudo-question,” see Greg Koukl’s article here, the answer here at CARM, as well Rich Deem’s here.

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From the Pen of Ambrose Bierce

MAN, n. An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada.
— Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary.

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On Being Reformed

I have been confronted with the question of what is “Reformed” or what is “Calvinism” lately. Because this is an important question, I thought I would take the opportunity to share my thoughts on this issue. The terminology, both historically and theologically, can be confusing, so a little clarity is due.
Generally speaking, when one says they are Reformed, the can be saying a couple of things. It could mean that they are part of a Reformed denomination associated with the Dutch tradition. When one thinks of the Dutch Reformed, various denominations come to mind. For instance, there are the Free Reformed, the Netherlands Reformed, the Heritage Netherlands Reformed, the Christian Reformed, etc. These are specific denominations with specific distinctives that set them apart as being “Reformed.” One of these key distinctives is “Reformed theology,” which we are now coming to. Reformed theology is not relegated to the Dutch Reformed churches, even though their name says “Reformed.” In fact, because of the encroachment of liberal theology, some Dutch Reformed churches have abandoned Reformed theology, such as the Reformed Church of America.
When a person says that they are Reformed, they could also be saying that they are “Calvinists.” By this they are talking about a certain understanding of the Bible that has been historically arranged in the TULIP acrostic. Here is what “TULIP” stands for.
TTotal depravity. This means that all human beings born of Adam are born inheritors of Adam’s sin nature (Rom. 5). The Bible calls this state of being “in Adam” as being “dead in sin.” Every aspect of a person’s being is infected with sin and they are therefore “depraved.” Paul in Romans 3, quoting Psalm 14, says that no one is righteous, not even one. No one does good.
UUnconditional election. Because of the depravity mentioned above, there is nothing that a person “dead in sin” can do to make themselves alive. So for a person to be saved, it needs to primarily be an act of God, as we shall see in a moment. This saving act of God is the outcome of God’s gracious election of a people from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). Because every human is sinful, there can be nothing intrinsically lovely within them that God conditions His election upon. Therefore, His election is based solely on His own good pleasure, and not of anything found within us. And this is to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:14).
LLimited atonement. People often have trouble with this term, because it sounds like somehow Christ’s work on the cross is limited in terms of its quality or power. To get around this notion, theologians often refer to this as “particular redemption.” I prefer this term because the emphasis is on the intent of the atonement, which is the issue at hand. Because Christ’s death is is an atonement for sin, only those who have had their sins forgiven were actually atoned for. The very nature of atonement is the removal of sin and condemnation. The implication of this is that Christ did not die savingly for everyone, but only those who are of His fold. What I have found most helpful is a study on various Biblical words such as atonement, propitiation, justification, etc.
I Irresistable grace. Just as with the “L” above, some people have preferred to use a different term instead of “irresistable.” Many prefer to consider God’s saving grace as “effective” or “efficacious” grace. What this means is that when the Holy Spirit calls a sinner to come savingly to Christ, this call is effectual (meaning, it will happen). A person who is called will not resist the leading of the Spirit and will in fact come to Christ. This is not a forcing of the will, rather it is a “rebirth” where the will is renegerated and has been given the God-given desire and ability to come to Christ.
PPerseverance of the saints. This is often referred to as “once saved, always saved” or the doctrine “eternal security.” And while this is true, the language is a bit simplistic. What some have erroneously understood this to mean is that once a person is saved, they don’t have to show any signs of conversion in their life. Yet this view stands against the teaching of Christ who said, “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matt. 7:16). The issue is that a truly converted Christian will, with the help of God, persevere in the faith until the end. A true sheep will not fall away, but will be led to glory by God’s grace. Surely there will be pit-falls and stumbling along the way, but with the mercy of God, all true Christians will get there.
Historically speaking, anyone who is part of the Dutch Reformed tradition, holds to TULIP. This acrostic is also known as the “five points of Calvinism.” In fact, the original “five points” were first outlined in the Netherlands at the famous council held there called the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619). Yet Calvinism is not confined to just the Dutch Reformed churches. Calvinism, because it is the fullest expression of the Gospel, rightly cuts across all denominational lines. In fact, most Christian denominations were started as Calvinistic denominations. For instance, the Anglicans, Presbyterians and Baptists all had their beginnings in the Reformation or the period just following it and they all began as Calvinists to one degree or another.
Today there are many Presbyterian churches that are Reformed, including the Presbyterian Church of America, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, etc.
There are also a number of Baptist associations that are Calvinistic including the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America, the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals, the Sovereign Grace Baptists, the General Assembly of Regular Baptists, as well as a growing number of Southern Baptists.
It may be surprising to some, but Calvinism is also found in certain Pentecostal/charismatic churches such as C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries.
So Calvinism, or being Reformed, is not necessarily a denomination. Rather it is an understanding of the Gospel that lets the Bible speak for itself. Of course Calvinism, as it is worked out, becomes more than just the “five points,” but this is where one must start when seeking to understand it.
If you are interested in reading further on this, I would suggest a couple of articles and some books:
Articles
Comparison of Calvinism and Arminianism by David Steele and Curt Thomas.
Books
The Doctrines of Grace by James M. Boice and Philip G. Ryken
Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul
The Five Points of Calvinism by David Steele and Curtis Thomas.

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Pulpiteering – Stepping In It…

Christian has an insightful post about how many in today’s church view older church paradigms. In particular he looks at the ministry of a guy named Bruxy Cavey, who is “against religion.” As Christian notes, Cavey isn’t exactly against a form of religious dogmatism that the apostle James spoke against. Rather, Cavey defines religion according to the world’s standards and then critiques it. Typically speaking, the religion that the world hates is good ole Biblical Christianity. I thought what Christian had to say was balanced and fair. Here’s a quote:

The message being preached here is that the “OLD” system of church is a breeding ground for hypocrites. Though the old dudes may preach and believe the same thing they’re more susceptible to hypocrisy than we in the New Paradigm are. Therefore, we must break that mold, forsake the shirt and tie, and take up the frumpy polo shirts or hipster doofus outfits because this is “true religion”, it’s REAL. The Pastor need to get rid of the pulpit and replace it with a stool and earpiece mic, grow a goatee and look like fat Jesus. The paradigm must be shifted!I’m sorry, but there are just as many hypocrites who wear polo shirts, or “God’s Gym” T-shirts as there are wearing suits. And as the old-gen-hypocrites (OGHs, because acronyms are cool and cutting edge) die out, these next-gen hypocrites (NGH) will be in the majority. What then? Back to the suit and tie and the formal hymn sing? This is the same old song and dance perpetrated by the church growth movement.

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Emergin vs. Emergent

Emerging vs. Emergent

This is Mark Driscoll talking about the difference between “emerging” and “emergent” on the Desiring God website. He, along with D.A. Carson, David Wells, Tim Keller, John Piper and others will be speaking on the supremacy of God in postmodern culture. The conference is coming up in late Sept. I’d like to go.

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Mmmmm…Cookie

Last night I went to prayer meeting instead of going to hear D.A. Carson speak on Moses’ intercessory prayer at Knox Presbyterian. When I got home my wife had just made some chocolate chip cookies especially for me! What a wife!! How thankful I am to God that He gave me a wife who loves me, as expressed in a token of love — namely cookies. I’m also thankful that God made her with a sweet tooth so that she would give me cookies instead of carrots.
It turns out that I was quite glad that that I opted to go to prayer meeting last night instead of Knox. As much as I absolutely love hearing Carson speak, I was convicted that it was more important to go to prayer meeting. The conviction really came from my recollection of a conversation I had with Carl Trueman who explained his relationship with his pastor. Trueman is very intentional about being accountable to his pastor and is also intentional about supporting his pastor as much as possible. At the time I remember thinking that was so ideal, and that not enough Christians think this way, not realising that I could implement the same practice. Dr. Trueman meets with his pastor regularly for fellowship, but also for accountability. He said that he is particularly assiduous in this practice when he travels. Recognising his own limitations as a sinner, Trueman strongly believes that he needs his pastor to question him on the details of his trips. This is a means to keep him obedient to Christ while away. Would that every Christian had this conviction!
As it turned out, my pastor Christian and I were the only guys who showed up from the English congregation (highly uncharacteristic of Holy Word folk). We split into guys and girls for prayer, so it was just Christian and I. As much as I love fellowshipping with everyone at church, and I think that we should all attend prayer meeting, I was glad of the time spent chatting with Christian. It was a blessing to hang out and pray together.
It was also a blessing to come home to cookies! I’m going to have some now with my lunch. Oh yeah.

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Argh.

Dr. Haykin sent this to me some time last year. It’s so funny that I thought I’d repost it:

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. –
Sam Brobst took a “Learning Your Spiritual Gift” course at Full Life Center, a charismatic church, and felt the Lord leading him to prophesy during meetings. But when Brobst opened his mouth the first time, he and others were surprised by what came out: pirate speak.
“We were in the middle of worship, when this voice rings out, ‘Yar! Hear the word of the Lord – the Lord of the mighty seas!'” says one witness. “It was straight out of a Disneyland ride.

“Brobst says he can’t help it: when the Spirit moves upon him, he clamps one eye shut and his voice becomes gravelly and menacing. On a recent Sunday, he prophesied, “Avast ye, mateys! Hear the word from our Cap’n: No fear have ye of storms and scallywags, says ye? Argh! But I be seein’ your true hearts. For I see below quarterdecks, says I. Ye be tremblin’ in the face of scurvy dogs. But pay them no heed. For I be preparin’ to pour down plenty o’ booty upon ye. So be of cheer, me hearties! Ye be loved of the Cap’n.

The people of the church by now are accustomed to it, though first-time visitors often giggle.”It doesn’t even sound like pirate to me anymore,” says one regular attendee. “My mind translates it.”Others say it’s preferable to past prophetic styles they have witnessed.”One woman would wail her prophecies,” says longtime member Darlene Bright. “Another man would thunder in a deep voice like he was trying to impress us. All in all, I prefer pirate.”

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Winning Souls

Darrin at Running Well has a great post on Horatius Bonar (surprise, surprise). He recounts a great story on it about Bonar’s overwhelming desire to preach the gospel to lost sinners. As well, he has posted what has got to be the coolest looking picture of Bonar that I’ve ever seen (see to the left. I removed the clickability of the picture so that you have to go to Running Well to see it larger).
The story Darrin provides is the practical outworking of a little book that Bonar wrote called Words to Winners of Souls. I read it about a year or so ago and found it refreshing and convicting. Darrin is offering a PDF of it free to anyone who asks. Go get yourself a copy and read it!!! Even better would be to pick up a CD of Bonar’s complete works that Darrin did. You can find it at Lux Publications.
Here’s a good Bonar quote:

Righteousness without works to the sinner, simply on his acceptance of the Divine message concerning Jesus and His sufficiency,–this has been the burden of our good news…It is one message, one gospel, one cross, one sacrifice, from which nothing can be taken and to which nothing can be added. This is the…beginning and the ending of our ministry.”

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Liberty Summer Seminar

Man, the Liberty Summer Seminar looks really good. It looks like they have Stephen Taylor and Ezra Levant lined up to speak, as well as others like Jan Narveson. I really wish that I had the time to make it. Hanging out in Orono, Ontario listening to the value of freedom and liberty while making new friends definitely sounds appealing. Hopefully there will be more Liberty Seminar stuff going on Windsor that I can make it out to soon.
Thanks to Peter Jaworski for the cool banner.

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irish-reformation: Irish Christians: Alexander Carson

Many thanks to my friend (and one day supervisor, DV) Crawford Gribben for asking me to write a piece on Alexander Carson (1776-1844), a man who is fast becoming one of my heroes. Writing it has been a helpful exercise allowing me to become familiarised with Carson’s works. My hope is to do a master’s thesis on an aspect of Carson’s thought, which aspect I haven’t figured out yet! He wrote on numerous subjects that would be good to discuss. I should also give thanks to Dr. Haykin for a) taking me to Carson’s gravesite (pictured above); b) getting me unread copies of Carson’s Works from McMaster and b) encouraging me to study Carson.

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Filed under alexander carson, crawford gribben, friends, ireland, michael haykin