Monthly Archives: January 2009

Kluck on the Boondock Saints

Okay, enough posting already!
My final one today, I swear!
Ted Kluck, co-author of Why We’re Not Emergent, has a great post on one of my favourite movies: The Boondock Saints!!!
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Using Greek in the Pulpit

Bill Mounce, author of numerous works on Koine Greek, has an awesome post at the Koinonia blog. It’s entitled “How do you use Greek in the pulpit?” His advice is sage.

Mounce first of all encourages us to use our language skills (i.e. Hebrew and Greek) in our sermon preparation first and foremost. Knowledge of the languages will make the use of good commentaries and dictionaries much easier.

His advice about not slamming a particular translation of a verse from the pulpit is bang on, something I have to learn myself. I know the TNIV is superior, but do I have to keep telling everyone??? ;) Just kidding.

He also reminds (i.e. rebukes) those who like to discuss “Greek” in the pulpit. I find that half the time, those who mention a language often don’t know it. We learned in seminary not to flaunt the languages because it can make those who don’t know them feel inferior.

Here’s his money quote:

So learn your languages, do your homework, read the best commentaries, struggle
with the Greek and Hebrew text, check various translations, and then express
yourself with simplicity and humility, and let the power of the sermon be the
power of the Spirit working through your words.

This would also be a good time to mention that my second and third year Greek prof., Dr. Pierre Constant, will be speaking at the next Toronto Pastor’s Fellowship on the need for pastors to know the biblical languages. It is called “Pastors, Preach the Text!” This will be a must-attend session!!!

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Culture Making at Sarah’s

Every month a group of pastors, bloggers and wannabe theologians get together at Sarah’s down on the Danforth for a pint, some grub and lively theological discussion.
I’m particularly looking forward to this month’s pub night as we’ll be discussing Andy Crouch’s Culture Making. Well, actually, we’re discussing an article based on Culture Making entitled, “Being Culture Makers.”
If you are interested in coming (even if you don’t drink), you are more than welcome. Either find our Facebook group (“theology pub“) or just show up at Sarah’s. The address is 1426 Danforth Avenue. We meet at 7pm on Feb. 9.
Hope to see you there, cheers!

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News: New City Baptist

Well, now that life has cooled a little, I thought that it would be good to post about New City Baptist Church’s first service. A lot of people have been asking about it, so blogging is the best way to get it all out (hopefully) to everyone’s satisfaction!

We met this past Sunday evening in the building that we were given the use of in Atrium On Bay (595 Dundas, Suite 302). In total, we had roughly sixty in attendance, most of which consisted of people from our mother church, Grace Fellowship of Toronto. As well we had people show up from other churches, notably Thistletown Baptist. John and I were deeply encouraged by the show of support. In the morning we attended Grace Fellowship and the buzz about New City was electric. People were genuinely excited about the service and couldn’t seem to wait to go.

Worship officially was to start at 5pm, but a lot of people showed up early to help out, so there was good time for fellowship before service which pushed the time back about fifteen minutes. We had rented a portable coffee container from Starbucks (not Timmies!!) and some food and pop. So people hung out while things were getting set up.

Josh and Dave from GFC’s worship band led the music on guitar for us, which was awesome. I led the service and John preached a bang-up sermon from Matthew 16 on Christ building his church and the gates of death not prevailing against it. I must say, it was a very textual, biblical, Christ-centred, gospel-centred, practical and encouraging. It was John’s best sermon I’ve heard so far (audio will hopefully be up soon).

After the service, everyone hung out for quite some time having more coffee. There is a common room in the office space that we rent with cool chairs and tables and a coffee bar. It’s very conducive to fellowship.

All in all, I was very happy with how the service went and praise the Lord for his evident hand throughout it all.

As well, we have our website up (don’t mind the Christmas tree!) – many thanks to our buddy Tim Challies for it, it’s awesome.
UPDATE: Julian just sent me a link in the comments that I thought I’d note here. John’s sermon is up on Sermon Audio: “I Will Build My Church.”

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Gary North on John Robbins

I have long thought there to be an affinity between the late John Robbins and Gary North. Both are Calvinists interested in politics and economics. Both have a somewhat tenacious attitude (to quote Dr. North). I had no idea that the two of them worked together for Ron Paul.
Gary North offers some thoughts on their relationship after the death of Robbins this past summer.

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Brian Cosby – New Blog

Well, I don’t know how new it is, but it’s new to me.
The recent issue of Churchman has an excellent historiographical article on puritanism by Brian Cosby. As I searched online to find anything else he’s written, I came across his blog. I thought I’d bring it to your attention.

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The Case Against Q

Mark Goodacre is one of today’s top scholars writing against the gospel source document commonly called “Q.”
Here are ten reasons why Goodacre believes that Q is not a good hypothesis.
UPDATE: Michael Bird also shares his scepticism about Q.

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Antony Flew and Atheism

Antony Flew was a very influential atheist philosopher who dominated the scene in the twentieth century. In 2004 he publically announced that he was no longer an atheist. His story is recounted in his very well written book There Is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changes His Mind that I just finished reading last week – I highly recommend it. The appendices, especially the one by Tom Wright on Jesus and the resurrection are excellent.
The New York Times has an article on Flew that they ran in 2007. It’s worth checking out. I really hope that he moves from being merely a deist (a belief in an impersonal Creator) to converting fully to Christ. It looks like he is on the way!

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Obama on Abortion

Here is Barack Obama’s track record on things related to abortion. This website is worth putting into your favourites as it will track all of Obama’s policies on this horrific subject. My fear is that all of those starry eyed Christians who voted Obama into office will be proven wrong: that abortion under the Obama empire will grow.

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William Lane Craig vs. Quintin Smith

Campus for Christ is co-hosting a series of debates between theologian/philosopher William Lane Craig and three atheists at he various Toronto university campuses (U of T, Ryerson, York). The series is called “Does God Exist?
Ryerson is hosting their debate on Wednesday January 28, 2009 at 6pm. I’ll be there, will you???

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Apologetics Lecture at Ryerson

Tonight I am speaking on presuppositional apologetics at Ryerson University’s Campus for Christ. I know I’ve posted this before, but here is a paper that I wrote for Stephen Wellum’s apologetics class — it is an introduction to presuppositionalism and forms the backbone of my lecture.

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My Conversion

Vicky and I just became members at Grace Fellowship Church of Toronto. As part of the process, we had to give hand written accounts of our testimonies for the membership to read. I thought I’d share it here.
Growing up my father was (is) a lapsed Catholic and my mother a nominal Anglican. As a result, I grew up with an apathetic modicum of respect for religion. My mother had my sister and I christened as infants at St. Aidan’s Anglican Church and she took us to Christmas and Easter services there. I never read the bible, but knew the basic bible stories from school or television. I believed in a god, but was not at all concerned to allow him a claim on my life.
In highschool I was your typical teenager. A burnout, I smoked a lot of dope, drank a lot of beer, and barely made it through classes. I was more concerned about music and hanging out than I was about life. My father was an alcoholic who took a little interest in me, only to urge me not to be a failure like he was (so he thought, he’s not a failure). My mother was (is) a good mother and did everything to shield my sister and I from my father’s alcoholism. Therefore I grew up with a relatively normal life.
When I was eighteen I got into listening to punk music and aligned myself with a punk-rock subculture called “straightedge,” a moralistic lifestyle that is essentially Christianity without God. I stopped drugs and drinking and lived on a moral high horse pitting myself against those who were like I once was. Within a few months I was converted to Christ.
My actual conversion occurred at a pastor’s retreat near Port Loring/Sundridge, Ontario. A good friend of mine was a pastor’s kid. Invariably on a Friday night I would go with him to his (very cheesy) youth group. That summer Tim (my friend) went on a mission trip to Brixton, UK. He was gone for most of the summer and when he came back to Canada he went to this pastor’s retreat with his family. My family has a cottage just south of Temagami, which is about two hours north of where Tim was. So I made the trek to this retreat/cottage area to hang out with him for a week.
Of course, while I was there, meeting all of these people who were cottaging, I was the target of their evangelism. Being the pagan who stuck out like a punk-rock sore thumb, I was easy prey. Unbeknownst to me, I was getting grilled with the gospel. One night Tim’s dad broke horrific news to Tim and I. We had a close friend whose parents went to Tim’s church. As it turned out, our friend was being charged for raping his sister. The horror of such news hit my chest like a sledgehammer. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. This news, coupled with the constant barrage of the gospel, suddenly got me thinking about religion.
That night, as Tim and I camped out in the bush, the darkness and the sounds of the night kept me awake. Tim was sleeping and I felt incredibly alone. Thinking over the profound evil that crept into my life filled me with such fear that I cried out to God. I reasoned that if such evil existed in the world that, for there to be hope, I needed God. I told him that I would believe in him. The next morning I told people about what I had done. Of course they were all overjoyed at my “conversion.” Looking back, I don’t actually believe I was converted in the tent that night. I believe that I can pinpoint my conversion to the following night around the campfire with Tim, who opened the bible and explained to me what Jesus Christ had done for me. I remember being profoundly affected by it, even to the point of tears (and yes, hugging). From that moment on I knew I was changed.
Immediately I came home, started going to Walkerville Baptist Church and joined the worship team where I played bass guitar. The following Easter I was baptised at Walkerville. It was there that I went to church until it nearly exploded.
I see that I’ve exceeded my single page limit so I conclude my story here. If you want to hear about how I became a Calvinist, how I was called to ministry and how I met my wife (Vicky) you’ll have to ask me!
Praise the Lord for saving a sinner such as myself (and for saving my mother!); it is all of sheer grace.

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Obama’s Abortion Policy Change

This could get ugly.

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Carl Muller on Ministering to the Elderly, Sick and Dying

Yesterday’s Toronto Pastor’s Fellowship was particularly edifying and powerful (thus far TPF has hit it home with each meeting!). Pastor Carl Muller of Trinity Baptist Church spoke on the need for pastors to minister to those who are elderly, sick or dying. When the audio is posted online you should take a bit of time out of your day and listen to his sage advice. I think everyone was transfixed (at least I was) and many of us were teary-eyed. This was a very useful presentation!

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Sinclair Ferguson – Blogging the Institutes

Princeton Theological Seminary has posted a daily reading schedule for John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. This is in commemoration of the Genevan Reformer’s 500th birthday. As I noted in a previous post, I’m following along with the readings. I hate to admit that I’m a day behind!

Alongside of reading Calvin, I’ve enjoyed Sinclair Ferguson’s blog posts that roughly follows the Princeton schedule. He often offers insights or clarifications that illuminate Calvin, who himself illuminates Christian truth.

This is all a benefit to the soul!

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Vance: Does Capitalism Need Adjustment?

The Mises Institute’s latest Daily Article is “Does Capitalism Need Adjustment?” written by Laurence Vance. In the article he offers criticism of evangelical theologian Roger Olson’s book How To Be An Evangelical Without Being Conservative which offers a Rawlsian view of limited but active government.
Vance argues that instead of criticism of capitalism, which is rampant in our day of government bailouts, we need a rigorous defense of capitalism. I couldn’t agree more. And I hope someone does it and fast!

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Video Interview – The New Testament in Aniquity

The Koinonia blog has posted an interview they did at the recent SBL meeting with the authors of the new book The New Testament in Antiquity. The book sets the New Testament within its Hellenistic and Jewish context, offering lots of full colour illustrations.

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Campus for Christ – Ryerson

Campus for Christ in Toronto is planning a series of three debates between William Lane Craig and three atheists (including Quentin Smith) at three different universities: York, Ryerson and U of T. As a lead up to the debates C4C are hosting a series of lectures dealing with apologetic issues like the existence of God, how to defend the faith and the nature of worldviews.
My co-church planter John Bell and I are both speaking at the Ryerson Campus for Christ. This Wednesday (Jan. 14 at 5pm in the Oakham Lounge) John is addressing the issue of worldviews. Next Wednesday I will be speaking on presuppositional apologetics. If you’re interested, check them out!

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Varia

1) Peter J. Williams recently debated Bart D. Ehrman on whether the New Testament is reliable. This is not a formal, moderated debate but more of a radio discussion. It aired in Britain on the UK’s Premier Radio Station. Williams formerly taught at the University of Aberdeen and is currently the Warden of Tyndale House in Cambridge, England. Ehrman is the Princeton educated textual critic who now teaches at the University of North Carolina. Ehrman has become somewhat of a controversial figure recently because he has argued in his books that we cannot know the words of Jesus due to too many variants in New Testament manuscripts. Ehrman has debated Dan Wallace, as well as Williams, and will be shortly debating James White.
2) I was home in Windsor on the weekend and heard a fantastic sermon on the glory of Christ from John 17:1-5 preached by Richard Valade. I highly commend it to you.
3) Princeton Theological Seminary, in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth, has started a daily reading program through Calvin’s The Institutes of the Christian Religion. I’ve just started it and am trying to get caught up. Although they’re a few weeks into the program, it’s not too late to start. If you’re like me, you’ve never actually read through the Institutes, so this is a great time to do so.
4) The New York Times has a pretty decent article on Mark Driscoll and the Calvinist resurgence: “Who Would Jesus Smack Down?” by Molly Worthen. It’s worth checking out.

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Alister McGrath on Richard Dawkins

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