Monthly Archives: March 2009

Death is Not Dying

Bryn MacPhail has a very moving post about his friend Rachel Barkey who is dying of cancer. She recently spoke to 600 women at a conference at River Rock Show Theatre in Vancouver. Her talk was called “Death is Not Dying: A Faith That Saves.” You can listen to the audio at the bottom of Bryn’s post.

This quote was profoundly powerful:

[Bryn] “In a message saturated with grace and wisdom, one of my favourite sections was Rachel’s response to those who have been asking ‘Why?’ ‘Why would God allow a young mother of two young kids to get cancer?’

In Rachel’s words:

I don’t ask why because I know the answer: We live in a sinful world. Bad things happen. But it was not supposed to be this way. And it will not always be this way. God has a plan. He has made a way for sinful people to be with Him in a perfect world. The way is Jesus.


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Islam on Women

I just stumbled across this article on Top Ten Rules In The Quran That Oppress and Insult Women by James Arlandson. I’ll give you the top ten, but click the link to the article and read the details including support from the Quran. I list them, as in the article, in ascending order. It’s quite sad.

10. A husband has sex with his wife, as a plow goes into a dirt field.

9. Husbands are a degree above their wives.

8. A male gets a double share of the inheritance over that of a female.

7. A woman’s testimony counts half of a man’s testimony.

6. A wife may remarry her ex-husband if and only if she marries another man, they have sex, and then this second man divorces her.

5. Slave-girls are sexual property for their male owners.

4. A man may be polygamous with up to four wives.

3. A Muslim polygamist may simply get rid of one of his undesirable wives.

2. Husbands may hit their wives even if the husbands merely fear highhandedness in their wives (quite apart from whether they actually are highhanded—as if domestic violence in any form is acceptable).

1. Mature men are allowed to marry prepubescent girls.


Filed under apologetics, gender, islam, women

American Theological Inquiry

Ever search your name on Google just for the fun of it? Sometimes it can be scary. I just did and found out that I have a book review published in American Theological Inquiry. Who knew? Anyways, I’m glad that it’s there as the journal looks outstanding. What’s even better, it’s free! Published by Wipf and Stock, ATI looks to be a journal with promise. The latest issue (2.1) has these articles (Scroll down the PDF for my review of Is Christianity Good for the World?):

  • ‘The Theology of Gerald O’Collins and Postmodernism’, by Craig Baron
  • ‘Late have I left thee: a reflection on Augustine the Manichee and the logic of belief adoption’, by Charles Natoli
  • ‘Jesus On The Big Screen’, by Stephen Nichols
  • ‘Lutheran Puritanism? Adiaphora in Lutheran Orthodoxy and Possible Commonalities in Reformed Orthodoxy’, by Daniel Hyde
  • ‘A Rose By Any Other Name: Attempts At Classifying North American Protestant Worship’, Lester Ruth
  • ‘Twin Parables Of Stewardship In Luke’, by J. Lyle Story
  • ‘Death, Killing And Personal Identity’, by Todd Bindig


Filed under books, christopher hitchens, doug wilson, journals, me, Resources, reviews

Simeon Trust – Preaching Workshop

David Helm - Simeon Trust

David Helm - Simeon Trust

So much of today’s preaching is topical and pays no mind to things like authorial intent, the grammatical structure of a text, the flow of argument, the theme of a pericope, etc. Even preachers who consider themselves “expository” really aren’t. Confusion sets in when people think that exposition means commenting on the text verse by verse importing systematic theology. That’s why a workshop like that put on by Simeon Trust is so important. They teach pastors and preachers what true biblical exposition is.

I had the joy of attending Simeon Trust’s latest workshop here in Toronto last week at Richview Baptist. I know that I often speak in exaggeration, but I can honestly say that this was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended. Practical, soul searching, biblical, affective, encouraging. I was very blessed to have been there and I learned a lot.

The conference theme this year was “preaching Luke.” The speakers were David Helm from Chicago and David Short from Vancouver. Both men are solidly Reformed, rooted in the biblical theology school of Graeme Goldsworthy, Peter Jensen, D. A. Carson and Paul Barnett. Connected with Proclamation Trust in Britain, these guys rub shoulders with the likes of R. Kent Hughes, Dick Lucas and J.I. Packer (Short is Packer’s pastor!).

The workshop was organised according to lectures, lessons and work-groups. It was very well done and ran like an oiled machine. We learned about structuring the text, preaching the meaning and not our systematic theologies, asking questions of the text, and much more. Many of the pastors there did not know how to preach expositionally – in fact many had not even heard of it. As time went on, it was exciting to see the “aha” principle take effect. The guys were getting it and getting into it!

I highly, highly recommend that if a Simeon Trust workshop comes within a five hour radius of you that you attend one. You will not be disappointed! Your preaching will improve and your congregation will love you for it. Even if you’ve been at the game for thirty years, you will still benefit from a gathering such as this!

The lectures from the Toronto workshop are available. Contact me for more info on getting them.


Filed under audio, preaching, simeon trust, toronto

Sermon: Divine Charity (2 Cor. 8:9)

Last night was my first time preaching for New City Baptist, it was a real joy. We had a good number of people turn out, so my nerves were doubly on edge! I preached from 2 Corinthians 8:9 on Christ who was rich became poor for us so that we might become rich. It’s on sermonaudio if you want to listen.


Filed under audio, me, sermons

Sermon: The Passover (Exodus 12:1-14)

I had the joy of preaching at Richview Baptist this past Lord’s Day, I hope it was a joy for them to listen to! Their pastor, Darryl Dash, graciously asked me to preach on the Passover as it relates to Christ – in 20 minutes! It was their family day, so the kids were in the service making it a little shorter.

Anyways, here is the link if you should choose to listen!

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The Sadies – Flash

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Thabiti Anyabwile On Islam

A year or so ago I had the pleasure of hearing Thabiti Anyabwile discuss Islam here at a Toronto conference. Being a former Muslim who is now a Christian pastor, Anyabwile had some very useful insights into the religion he once held to.

Thabiti pastored for some time with Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He is now the pastor of First Baptist Church in Grand Cayman. Dever’s ministry,, has a great audio discussion by Thabiti on Islam that is very similar to the one he did in Toronto. Check it out here.

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Filed under 9 marks, audio, islam, mark dever, thabiti anyabwile

Klusendorf: Case for Life

Justin Taylor has blogged about Scott Klusendorf’s new book The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture. I just received my copy of it in the mail through LibraryThing. I started to read it last night before bed and ended up staying up until midnight. I read through about 70 pages! That owes to the fact that it is very clear, readable and accessible. I’m anxious to finish it soon.

Klusendorf has essentially given Christians a how-to manual for defending the pro-life cause in discussion with peers. He offers a two-fold approach that fixes on the issue (life) and deflates non-life arguments through the use of contemporary science. It really is a good book. Thus far I’ve profited from it greatly and am sure that I will continue to do so. It looks like a book that I will read and re-read.

For more info, interviews and resources, see Justin’s post here.

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Filed under abortion, apologetics, books

Collision: Wilson vs. Hitchens

While I’m on an atheist kick, Collision, a documentary on the debate over the existence of God between Doug Wilson and Christopher Hitchens, should be out soon. I guess it’s being screened at the Christian Book Expo. I can’t wait!

[HT: Doug Wilson]

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Filed under apologetics, atheism, christopher hitchens, debate, doug wilson, presuppositionalism, video

“Too much, the atheist bus?”

Atheist Bus

I drive my wife to work in the morning. This morning I had the delightful surprise of reading “There’s probably no God: Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life” on the side of a street car. First of all, who’s worrying? Second of all, and more importantly, we’re supposed to stop worrying based upon a mere probability? Pardon my snicker. If God probably doesn’t exist, then he just as probably does. If that’s the case and we all stop worrying, we’re all, to put it mildly, up a creek. I wonder if this is endemic to Canadian atheists? We Canadians have our opinions, but don’t always like to force them on people – hence the “probably” to take the wind out of critics’ sails. Is this the atheists way of being inclusive? Gotta let those agnostics in there too!

I am reminded of the words of Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” This verse has been reaffirmed in my mind today as I gazed happily at the side of a TTC Red Rocket. For more info about the bus campaign, check out Athiest Bus.


Filed under atheism, stupidity, toronto

Boston College Theses Archive

I just stumbled upon this research tool: eScholarship@BC. It allows you to search theses from any department for any form of degree program. It’s searchable by topic, author name, year, etc. Could come in handy.

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Happy St. Paddy’s!

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At the end of second year Greek at TBS, Dr. Pierre Constant taught us how to phrase a text in Greek. It’s very easy and profoundly helpful. In third year Greek, he went a step further and taught us to give grammatical and semantic diagrams of the text based upon the Guthrie-Duvall model. This is indispensable when trying to trace an argument or when attempting to catch the flow of a discourse or narrative.

Now (pardon my drooling) Stanley Porter of McMaster – a Greek scholar par excellence – has started an online project akin to the diagramming that I learned at TBS. It is called and it looks absolutely fantastic [HT: Church Leader Links]. Exegeting the text just got all the more fun. Check out this example taken from 1 Thessalonians 1.

Here is the project overview:

The project is a web-based initiative to develop annotated Greek texts and tools for their analysis. The project aims both to serve, and to collaborate with, the scholarly community. Texts are annotated with various levels of linguistic information, such as text-critical, grammatical, semantic and discourse features.

Beginning with the New Testament, the project aims to construct a representative corpus of Hellenistic Greek to facilitate linguistic and literary research of these important documents. These texts are then annotated through the addition of linguistic and literary features (including marking morphological, syntactical and discourse elements) following a comprehensive model currently under development. The resulting texts can be viewed and searched on this site. It is hoped that interested users will collaborate in the correction and enhancement of this annotation, and become involved in the annotation process themselves.

The key features of the project are:

  • texts annotated at distinct linguistic levels
  • the use of an XML encoding scheme to mark-up texts
  • an ‘open’ and collaborative approach to encourage the annotation and use of texts
  • an on-line tool kit to allow searching and analysis of texts
  • a forum to allow the exchange of ideas and to respond to requests for specific searches


Filed under greek, Resources, tbs

Audio: Making Men Moral

On February 25-27, 2009 The Center for Politics and Religion at Union University celebrated the 15 year anniversary of Robert P. George’s book Making Men Moral by hosting a conference dedicated to the subject of morality and the public square. Discussions of George’s book and related topics were on the agenda. Here is the audio [HT: Owen Strachan]. Here is a little bit about George:

Professor George is a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics and formerly served as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He was Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. He is the author of In Defense of Natural Law, Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality, and The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion and Morality in Crisis. He has published numerous scholarly articles and book reviews. Professor George is a recipient of many honors and awards, including a 2005 Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement and the Stanley Kelley, Jr. Teaching Award from Princeton’s Department of Politics. He holds honorary doctorates of law, ethics, letters, science and humane letters and is the Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton.

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Filed under audio, conferences, politics

National Post on Crux

The National Post article that I blogged about earlier got pushed back to today’s edition (Monday March 16, 2009). I picked up my copy this morning and was really pleased to read what Charles Lewis wrote about Pat Paas and Crux Books. I think that he captured the spirit of the store well. Especially with the quote by Alex Meek-Sharman at the end of it.

Go get your copy! Or you can download it here.

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Filed under books, crux books, toronto

Simeon Trust in the TDot

The Simeon Trust is a great ministry that focuses on improving the preaching of today’s pastors. It is connected with men like Dick Lucas and R. Kent Hughes. The Simeon Trust is hosting a conference/workshop on preaching through Luke this month in Toronto that I am positive will be a blessing to all who attend.

It will be hosted at Richview Baptist Church, March 25-27, 2009. The speakers are David Short and David Helm, an evangelical Anglican and a Presbyterian respectively. Click the link above if you want more information.

HT: Challies

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Filed under conferences, preaching, toronto

Calvinism: Changing the World

Time Magazine has an interesting series on “10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now.” Number three on the list is Calvinism. As a card-carrying Calvinist, this makes me smile.

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Pat Paas, Crux in National Post

Yesterday I received a phone call at Crux from Charles Lewis who writes a column called “Urban Scrawl” for the National Post. Apparently Charles comes into the store from time to time and observed the unique atmosphere. He was saddened by the news that Pat had died and decided that he wanted to do a piece on Pat and Crux for his column. I had Charles contact Pat’s son Aaron to interview him. I just heard that the National Post is running the column on Friday – although if there’s space issues it’ll run later.

So go yet a copy of the Post on Friday!!!


Filed under crux books, toronto

Institute for Liberal Studies Seminar

The Windsor Liberty Seminar is fast approaching. On March 21, 2009 the Institute for Liberal Studies is hosting their annual seminar on all things economics and politics. The speakers this year are:

David Beito (University of Alabama) – Black Maverick: T. R. M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power

Daniel Rothschild (Mercatus Center) – Gulf Coast Recovery After Hurricane Katrina

John Murray (University of Toledo) – Small mutual insurance funds in the history of American and European health insurance

Sadly (again), I can’t make it. I hate missing these things.

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Filed under conferences, economics, libertarianism, liberty, windsor