Monthly Archives: September 2009

Updates About Ezra Vesapogu

About two years ago I came into the acquaintance of Ezra Vesapogu, an Indian national who claimed to have a powerful ministry in India that saw the planting of hundreds of Reformed Baptist Churches. As things like this often do, it turned out that Ezra deceived myself and a host of others. Ezra lied about a number of things including his testimony, the nature of his ministry, the number of his ministry, etc. Sadly, many good people invested time and money into Ezra for nothing.

Yesterday I received a phone-call from Ezra requesting that I take my posts about him down from my blog. Instead of doing that, I left them up with an update briefly detailing the sad events. I also provided contact information for North Shore Baptist Church in New York – they were the ones who had supported Ezra the most and sadly were the worst effected by him.

Ezra claims to have been “restored” and that he made amends with everyone he hurt. I can personally attest to the reality that he did not do this. None of the people in New York have heard from him. He is now running a “ministry” called Share Ministries. If you hear from Ezra and are considering doing any work with him – please don’t! Contact North Shore first and find out the details of what happened. He also claims to be “Rev. Dr. Ezra Vesapogu.” When I knew Ezra he was in no doctoral program, so how he has a doctorate is beyond me.

(Ezra is the bald man with the mustache in the picture above)

Here are the links to the two posts that I updated about Ezra:



Filed under ezra vesapogu, india, share ministries, stupidity

Interview: Piper and Wilson Discuss Atheism

John Piper discusses the upcoming film Collision with Douglas Wilson. The film is a documentary directed by Darren Doane that follows Wilson and atheist Christopher Hitchens as they did a series of debates on the west coast last year. Check it out here.

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Filed under apologetics, atheism, christopher hitchens, doug wilson, interviews, philosophy, presuppositionalism, video

Why You Should Learn Biblical Languages

Westminster Seminary professor Elizabeth Groves on why learning the biblical languages is so important:


Filed under video

Church Revitalization: Ed Stetzer

FEBToronto is pleased to welcome Ed Stetzer, author of Comeback Churches, for a one-day workshop on Church Revitalization.

The workshop takes place on Wednesday, September 30 at Richview Baptist Church.

UPDATE: The start of the first session has been moved back half an hour to 12:30 pm

12:30 pm – 4:30 pm – For Pastors (including lunch – register below)
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm – For Boards and Church Leaders

Download the poster in PDF for full details at:

Ed Stetzer has planted churches in New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia and transitioned declining churches in Indiana and Georgia. He has trained pastors and church planters on five continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Ed served for three years as seminary professor at the Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and has taught at fifteen other seminaries. He is currently the Director of Lifeway Research and Lifeway’s Missiologist in Residence.

The workshop is free. A freewill offering will be taken to help with expenses. We are grateful to FEBCentral and Fellowship Networks for partnering with us in holding this event.

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Filed under church planting, conferences, ed stetzer, toronto

Gary North: Calling and Career As An Austrian School Scholar

Economist Gary North discusses economics, Mises, the Austrian school, professional calling in life and the power of technology to convey necessary information. This was delivered to students at Mises University, part of the Mises Institute in July 2009. Very enjoyable.

Here is a link to the article by Leonard Read that he references called “I, Pencil
And here is the link to A.J. Nock’s “Isaiah’s Job

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Filed under capitalism, conferences, economics, gary north, libertarianism, ludwig von mises, video

Piper’s Thoughts on Wilson

{HT: All Things Expounded}

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Filed under doug wilson, john piper, video

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

I returned the book within the hour after I had purchased it. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t that I have somehow turned my interests away from Nick Cave – not at all. It’s just that the book is dreadful and I couldn’t stand the thought of wasting thirty dollars on claptrap. So I returned it.

If you’re reading this, you probably think that I’m a fool and I might well agree with you. Nick Cave is a lyrical genius you say – to which I consent head and heart. But my argument is that he’s a terrible author. At least if his latest novel means anything.

No, no, again I agree with you, his screen-writing abilities are quite good too. Yes, yes, I loved The Proposition and thought it was solid story. But as I turned the pages in The Death of Bunny Monroe, my vicarious embarrassment (to paraphrase a friend) was in full throttle. I mean, I am in the middle of reading Steinbeck’s overwhelming masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath, so my standards are admittedly set a little high. Of course, nobody really compares to Steinbeck. I would have settled for less, honest I would. But when his gentle prose rings in your remembrance – “To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth” – how do the lurid and cheap descriptions of a drunken fool’s lustful contusions of the mind really stack up?

To be quite honest, I thought Nick Cave could do better. And he should have. Bunny Monroe is pure schlock. At least the first four chapters were (I couldn’t bear to turn to the fifth chapter or any other for that matter). They read like a low budget Harlequin romance, only instead of men who look like Michelangelo’s David caressing beautiful women, you get Bunny Monroe gawking at the heaving breasts of any woman who walks in the room. There is nothing of the beauty of The Boatman’s Call. There are no Henry Lee’s in this pile of rubbish. Not even a Stagger Lee. Just Bunny Monroe, grabbing his crotch, swilling liquor, making an “O” with his mouth before he puffs a cigarette – really Nick, an “O”? Is that the best descriptor you had at your literary fingertips?

Believe me, I can be convinced that the overarching narrative is good. At least it sounded good when I first read about it. A man named Bunny Monroe (no comment on the name) loses it after his wife commits suicide. The rascally rabbit goes on a bender of drinking and prostitutes all the while neglecting his son Bunny Jr., (again, no comment). The story reaches its crescendo with the boy winning over his old man in the bliss of redemptive reverie. And the reader, after he/she puts down the book is left to consider the oft-difficult relationships between fathers and sons. All in all, a story I wouldn’t mind reading. But, unfortunately, not the way Nick Cave wrote it.

So, as I stood in line at Indigo in Toronto, waiting for Nick Cave to sign my book, I summoned up the gumption and stormed right up to the master author himself and demanded an explanation. This can’t be, I yelled. Aren’t you the one who gave us “Red Right Hand”? How can this be? Did you really write this??? Well, no, not really. I just waited patiently in line, handed the cashier the book and she refunded me in cash. I glanced over at Cave who stood in the midst of a heaving crowd, happily putting his John Hancock to the frontispieces of his book, clutched in the hands of his unsuspecting fans clad in the trendiest indie attire. And indeed, I felt a little let down. It was like when I witnessed the debacle of Neil Young’s Greendale album first hand in Detroit. A little bit of my muse was torn away as I slinked over to BMV and bought a biography of Marshall McLuhan for $3.99.

Will this book be one more thing that he’s sorry for in the Thirsty Dog?


Filed under books, nick cave, reviews, toronto

The Irish Puritans Review

I had sent in a review of Crawford Gribben’s The Irish Puritans: James Ussher and the Reformation of the Church (Evangelical Press, 2003) to the Discerning Reader in July and forgot to post it here. Click here if you’d like to check it out!

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Filed under books, crawford gribben, discerning reader, ireland, james ussher, reviews

Andrew Fuller Conference Audio

The Andrew Fuller Center has posted the audio from last week’s conference “Baptist Spirituality – Historical Perspectives.” As I’ve said in an earlier post, it was a great conference and I was glad to be a part of it. Now you can hear what it was like by downloading the mp3’s!

I hope that the audio for the sessions by Stephen Yuille and Aaron Menikoff will get posted soon – I missed both of them unfortunately (I was trying to catch my breath before I had to speak!). As well, Greg Thornbury’s isn’t posted and I assume that it wasn’t recorded because it was in the Broadus Chapel.

Lemme know what you think!

Monday, August 24

9:00 am Plenary Session 1: Crawford Gribben
“Irish Baptist Piety in the 17th Century” (MP3)

10:25 am Plenary Session 2: Robert Strivens
“Evangelical Spiritualities in Early 18th Century English Dissent: Philip Doddridge and John Gill” (MP3)

11:45 am Plenary Session 3: Gerald Priest
“A. C. Dixon: Exemplar of Fundamentalist Spirituality” (MP3)

2:30-5:00 pm Parallel Sessions
1. English Baptist Piety in the 17th and 18th Centuries (Chair: Paul Brewster)

2. Baptist Piety in 19th Century Great Britain (Chair: Michael Haykin)

3. Baptist Piety in 19th Century North America (Chair: Jeff Robinson)

8:15 pm Plenary Session 4: Greg Thornbury
“Baptist Spirituality and Theological Education” (Audio Not Available)

Tuesday, August 25

10:00 am SBTS Convocation:  R. Albert Mohler
“‘The Time is Near’ – The Emphatically Eschatological Essence of the Christian Ministry” (MP3)

11:40 am Plenary Session 5: Tom Nettles
“The Piety of James Petigru Boyce” (MP3)

2:30-3:30 pm Plenary Session 6: Greg Wills
“Relevance, Severity, and Spiritual Power in Baptist Piety” (MP3)

3:40-4:50 pm Plenary Session 7: Kevin Smith
“A Distracted Piety: African-American Baptists” (MP3)

“Amsterdam 400”: A Quatercentennial Celebration of Baptist Witness

6:45 pm “Spirituality of Historic Baptist Hymnody: A Hymn Sing” (MP3)

7:45 pm Plenary Session 8: Malcolm Yarnell
“ ‘We Believe with the Heart and with the Mouth Confess’: The Engaging Piety of John Smyth and the Early General Baptists” (MP3)

9:00 pm “Reformed and Anabaptist: Strengths and Shortcomings of Two Traditions” A Late Night Discussion between Drs. Yarnell and Haykin (MP3)


Filed under alexander carson, andrew fuller conference, audio, conferences, crawford gribben, michael haykin

Jesus: The True Temple

The bible is put together in a remarkable way and the more I learn about it, the more I’m in awe. Redemptive history ties the biblical stories together into one big story line that has Jesus Christ – the incarnate God – as the central figure. One way that this story line plays itself out is with the theme of God’s presence. Whether it’s in the Garden, or the pillar of fire, the tabernacle, the temple, or ultimately Jesus Christ and the new heavens and new earth – this story is thrilling!

Reading about it is one thing – as in G.K. Beale’s recent (and awesome) book The Temple and the Church’s Mission (IVP, 2004). But hearing about it, especially in sermon form, is quite another. A couple of Sundays ago John Bell preached an excellent sermon at New City Baptist on Jesus as the true temple that I would highly suggest people listen to. Here’s the link. Here’s the outline:

Part 18: Jesus, the True Temple

1) Jesus Clears the Temple (13-17)  

2) Jesus Replaces the Temple (18-22)

3) No Temple in the New Jerusalem 
   (Rev. 21:22)

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Filed under audio, biblical theology, jesus, john bell, sermons, toronto

Wallace on the TNIV

I’m a bit miffed over this whole TNIV cancellation thing. It’s sad that a good translation is going the way of the buffalo over political issues. Admittedly, the TNIV’s marketing strategy is nothing like the ESV juggernaut, but as a translation it is tops. Dan Wallace has an article at called “NET, NIV, ESV: A Brief Historical Comparison” where he shares his opinions on various bible translations. Here’s what he said about the TNIV:

With the TNIV, the translation reached new heights in this respect: excellent scholars worked on it. The language went toward gender-inclusiveness, but it was certainly not as developed in this regard as was the NRSV. There are a few verses that I don’t care for in the TNIV, but on the whole I think it’s a very good translation. Still, the elegance factor is missing. As well, the TNIV has an excellent textual foundation. Many translations nowadays are satisfied with translating the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. But the TNIV had Gordon Fee on the translation committee, an outstanding textual critic. There are places where the TNIV has taken some bold moves away from the Nestle text—places that I think they have made the right choice.

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Filed under articles, bible, TNIV, translations

Moo on the TNIV

My friend Darryl Dash has posted an interview that he just did with Douglas Moo on the new 2011 NIV that is to be published by Zondervan and the discontinuation of the TNIV – something I must say that I’m quite disappointed about. Our church plant uses the TNIV and we really like it.

Check out the interview and the related links that Darryl has posted, it’s all quite good.

Interview with Douglas Moo on the 2011 NIV.”


Filed under bible, darryl dash, interviews, TNIV