Monthly Archives: October 2010

Reformation Day Downer


As churches get ready for Reformation Day celebrations tomorrow, there is no doubt that movies portraying the life of Martin Luther will be showing—either Martin Luther, the 1955 biopic directed by Irving Pichel or the more recent Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes. Die-hard Reformers will revel in the climax of Luther’s famous speech at the Diet of Worms, in particular the near-divine “Here I Stand.” Without wanting to be a downer, the likelihood that Luther actually said, “Here I stand” is slim. Scott Hendrix in his study of Luther and the papacy flatly denies the Reformer said it at all. And Heiko Oberman, the eminent Luther scholar quotes the speech in his Luther: Man Between God and the Devil as this:

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.

Of course, it does not in any way detract from Luther’s speech if he did not say “Here I stand,” nor does it detract from his legacy. For a little more detail on the issue see Elesha Coffman’s article “What Luther Said” at Christianity Today‘s website.



Filed under church history, martin luther, reformation day

Preaching – TPF

The next Toronto Pastor’s Fellowship is fast approaching. On November 15 we’ll gather to hear Carl Muller (Trinity Baptist), Darryl Dash (Richview Baptist) and Robbie Symons (Harvest) discuss preaching. This should be really good. The meeting starts at 10am and is hosted at Richview Baptist–there will be coffee and doughnuts. For more info, check out the TPF website.


Filed under carl muller, conferences, darryl dash, preaching, toronto, toronto pastors fellowship

Hope’s Reason: A Journal of Apologetics

Hope's Reason

Hope's Reason: A Journal of Apologetics


Hope’s Reason: A Journal of Apologetics is a new periodical that deals with issues broadly pertaining to the defense of the faith. While it is a print journal, each issue is posted online with articles and reviews in PDF format (see below). As each issue is finally compiled, it will be available for purchase by library or individuals.

The editor, Stephen J. Bedard, is one whom readers might be familiar with as the co-author of the excellent book Unmasking the Pagan Christ: An Evangelical Response to the Cosmic Christ Idea with McMaster Divinity College’s principal Stanley Porter. Bedard explains the purpose of the journal thusly:

The purpose of this journal is to provide academically sound apologetic resources that will equip Christians (pastor and layperson) to engage critics and to answer the questions of seekers.

Our vision is to bridge the gap between the academic world and the needs of the local church. This journal represents solid scholarship and provides practical resources for the local church.  This is a peer reviewed journal in order to keep the standards of the resources to an appropriate level of excellence.

I am thankful to the editor and peer-reviewers for accepting an article of mine on presuppositionalism (please forgive the stylistic glitches, they’ll be fixed). I’ve linked it below along with the other articles that comprise the online edition thus far.


“Hope’s Reason” by Stephen J. Bedard

“Did Muhammad Deny the Incarnation or Paganism?” by K. Dayton Hartman

“The Myth of Metaphorical Resurrection: The Resurrection in the First Century, the early Church, and Her Opponents” by Tawa J. Anderson

“An Introduction to Presuppositional Apologetics” by Ian Hugh Clary


John M. Oswalt, The Bible Among the Myths by Stephen J. Bedard

Richard Swinburne, Revelation: From Metaphor to Analogy by J.W. Wartick

David Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion by Jonathan Mills

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Filed under apologetics, articles, books, essays, journals

SSMI Post – Celebrating the Gore This Sunday

Here’s my belated installment for the Sola Scriptura blog: Celebrating the Gore This Sunday.

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Filed under blogging, halloween, ssmi

EICC Conference 2010

The Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity (EICC) will be hosting it’s annual Biblical Worldview conference at the end of this month. It will be held at City Centre Baptist Church in Mississauga. This year’s subject deals with family and the speakers include Joe Boot (EICC founder), Dennis Ngien (Tyndale professor of theology), Scott Masson (Tyndale professor of English), William Gardiner (social critic) and others. More information about other speakers, schedule, price can be found here. It looks to be quite good.

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Filed under conferences, dennis ngien, ezra institute, family, joe boot, toronto

Al Mohler on the Necessity of Reading

Al Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, explains why he’s a book-nerd. I empathise. {HT: Challies}

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Filed under al mohler, books, reading, southern seminary, video

Tipperary Confessions

Another group-blog that I contribute to is Tipperary Confessions, an online reading group whose goal is to read through and discuss Augustine’s Confessions. The blog was started by David Shedden a friend of mine (though we’ve never actually met!) who is currently ministering the gospel in Clonmel, Ireland. Dave is a master of theology graduate from Princeton Seminary, where he did work (appropriately) on W.G.T. Shedd and was for a time involved in the Church of Scotland.

Thus far we’ve made our way to Book II of the Confessions. The basic format is that Dave posts a summary of the book with some of his reflections and the rest of the contributors interact with him or post their own reflections in the comments sections. We contributors come from a variety of faith-perspectives, but all share an interest in becoming acquainted, or re-acquainted, with the thought of the colossus that is Augustine.

This will be my third time through Confessions. I first read it for interest’s sake quite a few years ago. My second time around was in preparation for some lectures I did on Augustine at Toronto Baptist Seminary as a fill-in for historian Michael Haykin. I’m very excited to read it again “in community,” with mutual interaction from “across the pond.”

Here’s part of the plan:

Group members should feel free to read Confessions at their own pace. They can post their own blogs on any matter related to the content of the book. Comments will be enabled to allow discussion on each blog post.

Niamh and I are sharing administration of the blog. We will moderate the blog discussions, and we will delete any posts or comments that we think are irrelevant or unduly offensive. Group members are reminded that the blog is public and can be read by anyone online.

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Filed under augustine, blogging, books, friends, tipperary confessions

Violence, Abortion and CCBR

Here my latest post at the Sola Scriptura Ministries blog, it’s called Violence: Image and Action. I deal with the arrests of anti-abortion activists at Carleton University, the Genocide Awareness Project, the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, and a fatally-flawed argument from a pro-abortion advocate.


Filed under abortion, canada, me, ssmi

A Man and His Barber



Anthony cutting Jack's Hair


A man has a particular loyalty to his barber, some may even say a fierce loyalty. The barbershop is a place to unwind, blow some steam, and walk out feeling like you look like man–of course, all of this depends on the quality of one’s barber. When I first moved to Toronto in the summer of 2003 I was recommended to get my haircut by Anthony at Jimmy’s Barbershop, next to the old Maple Leaf Gardens. I gladly obliged and took the stroll down Carlton Street in the hopes that my hair wouldn’t get massacred. Much to my continued delight, I believe that I have found the best barber I’ve ever had. Over the years my loyalty indeed matches that of a hapless Tory who could cry “God save the king” with heartfelt conviction. So much so that even though I now reside in Windsor, I refuse to have my locks lopped by anyone but Anthony. It makes for a long but worthwhile drive. Where else can I get mildly poked fun of, hear funny jokes and good political commentary as well as get a straight-razor shave all in a half-hour or so? And Anthony is also obliging in that he has not only accepted, but read books that I’ve given him like Tim Keller’s The Prodigal God, The Reason for God, and even the bible.

This past year Anthony had to move from the historic to the illustrious; that is away from Maple Leaf Gardens and onto Bay and Wellesley across from Sutton Place. He’s now partnered up with a very kind barber named Ralph. I continue my loyal patronage. On Friday I made the way to Ralph’s with family in tow. Not only was I to get a haircut, but my son Jackson was to have his first sit in “the chair.” My mother somewhere has a picture of me getting my hair cut for the first time and when I look at it I feel as though I’m reminiscing over a momentary first-step towards manhood. So we took pictures of Jack in the hopes that he’d look back with similar fondness. Anthony gave him a haircut that, in the words of Abe Simpson, “you could set your watch to.” And for that, I’m profoundly thankful.


Filed under barber, family, friends, toronto

Meditation 60b

The following is a poem by the great American Puritan poet, Edward Taylor (1642-1729), it is based on 1 Corinthians 10:4: “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”

Ye Angells bright, pluck from your Wings a Quill.
Make me a pen thereof that best will write.
Lend me your fancy, and Angellick skill
To treate this Theme, more rich than Rubies bright.
My muddy Inke, and Cloudy fancy dark,
Will dull its glory, lacking highest Art.

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Filed under art, edward taylor, poetry, puritans

Alexander Strauch on Eldership

One of the best resources on the biblical model of church government is Alexander Strauch’s Biblical Eldership. We used it as a textbook for our Pastoral Leadership course at TBS. Strauch is exegetically thorough and sound, the work is theologically and historically rich, and wisdom oozes from the pages. This past year I received a copy of a little pamphlet that Strauch did that basically sums up his larger work. I’m glad to see this helpful little resource is available online for free.

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Filed under books, elders, Resources


Here’s my latest contribution to the Sola Scriptura Ministries blog: Thankfulness. Yes, of course, because of Thanksgiving.

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Filed under apologetics, atheism, ssmi, thanksgiving

Christians and Dope

I recently had a discussion with some Christians about the differences between the Scripture’s view of drinking wine and marijuana use. For some, both are prohibited, while for others only the latter. It can be an emotionally charged issue in the broader church, so to have a little balanced and clear-headed perspective is always welcome. Doug Wilson, in an article he wrote years ago entitled “One Toke Over the Line,” that gives just such a balanced perspective. Here’s a couple of quotes to whet your whistle (pardon the pun).

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Filed under alcohol, doug wilson, ethics, marijuana

Treatise of Church Discipline – Chapter Five – Settling a Minister

I was reading through some of the documents in Mark Dever’s edited volume Polity: A Collection of Historic Baptist Documents–an indispensable resource for pastors and churches–and came across the following statement by Welsh Baptist Samuel Jones. This helps give some perspective for both aspiring pastors and churches looking to call said pastor. My heart especially resonates with the last line:

1. A person having been regularly ordained a minister of the gospel, as we have seen in Chap. II, he is qualified to become a pastor or minister of any destitute church.

2. This is done in consequence of a call and invitation of some church, and his accepting of the call on the terms proposed, or such as they may agree upon. Calling of him to preach, ordaining of him, and his being even a member of said church, is not sufficient, there ought to be a mutual agreement between him and the church, whereby he becomes theirs, and they his. Col. i. 7.

3. How unanimous the church ought to be in the choice and settlement of a minister, it may be hard to say. On the one hand, a bare, or even a large majority, will not be sufficient, while, on the other hand, an unanimous vote may not always be obtained, and, perhaps, in some cases, may not be absolutely necessary. The more unanimous, however, the better.

4. The congregation also is not to be neglected in this business. For, as their good is to be kept in view, and as part of the support is expected to come from them, it ought to be known, that the person proposed to be settled gives pretty general satisfaction. I Tim. iii. 7. 3 John 12.

5. In settling a minister, having appointed a time and place, and invited a council from one or two of the neighbouring churches to assist, and to witness the transaction, one of the ministers, after praying and singing should preach a suitable sermon. Then he, or another of the council, is to put such questions to the minister to be settled, and to the representative of the church appointed for that purpose, as will draw from each of them promises to fulfil their respective parts of the covenant and agreement between them, upon which he pronounces him, in the presence of God and of the whole assembly, to be the pastor and overseer of that church, and said church to be his flock and charge. Then the settled minister and representative of the church give each other the right hand of fellowship, with expressions of mutual joy and congratulation.

6. After this a charge should be delivered to the settled minister, Col. iv. 19. [sic.] and his church; and then, prayer, singing, and a benediction, will close the service.

7. The transactions of the day, and particularly the terms of agreement between the settled minister and the church, should be entered at large on the records of the church.

8. Some may say, that so much formality in the business, with witnesses, is unnecessary, and that a private agreement between the parties is sufficient. But as a public form of marriage is indispensable; so the above is expedient and useful, as might be shewn were it necessary.

9. The duties incumbent on the pastor of a church, are many and great, and blessed is he who is found faithful therein.

10. He is to exercise love, care, tenderness, watchfulness, and diligence, in all the duties of going before, feeding and defending the flock, the sheep and the lambs, the strong, the weak and diseased, John xxi. 15, 17. Acts xx. 29. I Pet. v. 2. Jer. iii. 15. He is to preach in season and out of season?attend funerals?administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord?s supper6?take the lead in church government?visit the flock?particularly the sick?pray for and with them?catechise the young, and defend the faith: besides the duties of the closet, of the study, and his frequent calls abroad, to visit and supply the destitute, settle differences, attend at ordinations, associations, &c. “And who is sufficient for these things,” 2 Cor. ii. 16.

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Filed under 9 marks, baptists, churches, pastoral theology

What Did You Expect?

Last night our church started a video series on marriage called “What Did You Expect?” led by Paul Tripp. We were given a sheet of paper with some questions on it that we answered together, then we watched the 25 minute episode and had some great discussion afterwards. Vicky and I have watched the “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” DVD series led by Tedd Tripp that we really enjoyed, so we were interested to see what this would be like. In turns out that Paul Tripp is an engaging speaker whose lecture content is gospel-centred and thought-provoking. I have no doubt that this will be a great resource not only for married Christians, but singles as well.

The website for “What Did You Expect?” is here. Check out the video below for a snippet of what to expect:

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Filed under conferences, marriage, paul tripp, video

Patripassian Prayer

Well, following on what I said a couple of posts ago, here’s my latest at the SSMI blog: Patripassian Prayer. Do you pray Trinitarianly?

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Filed under blogging, patristics, prayer, ssmi

Practical Shepherding – Brian Croft

There are a number of good resources to turn to when thinking through issues in the church. For myself, personally, I enjoy attending the Toronto Pastor’s Fellowship where I not only can hear excellent talks on subjects related to pastoral ministry, but I also have the opportunity to spend time with pastors who share the wealth of wisdom and experience they have.

Another good resource is the 9 Marks website that has a whole series of questions and answers that a pastor may have at one time or another in his ministry. Books by the 9 Marks guys–like Dever, Gilbert, Anyabwile–are also very helpful.

But there is one resource that I’ve recently come across that is just excellent–Brian Croft’s blog, Practical Shepherding. Croft is a pastor in Louisville, KY and he dedicates his blog to answering questions that pastors ask. Every post that I’ve read thus far just drips with practical wisdom. Croft is the author of Visit the Sick and has a number of projected volumes to be published in the near future with titles like, Help! He’s Struggling with Pornography. I first heard of this blog through the Connected Kingdom podcast hosted by David Murray and Tim Challies–check out the interview they did with him here.

This will be a blog that I will continually check out, especially when I am confronted with a particular situation that needs pastoral advice. Who knows, maybe some day I’ll even have to fire him an email?

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Filed under 9 marks, blogging, pastoral theology, toronto pastors fellowship

Sola Scriptura Blog

Sola Scriptura Ministries International (SSMI) is a Canadian conference promoter and book distributor of which I have been long familiar with. Their executive director, Heinz Dschankilic, is a friend whom I met years ago through Dr. Haykin. Over the years SSMI has hosted numerous conferences on subjects related to Reformed theology that I’ve attended–too many to count! I’ve also probably bought too many books from them, much to my wife’s chagrin.

Recently SSMI has started a weblog and I am thankful to have been asked to contribute. My first post was published last Monday and dealt with “Protestant Scholasticism.” Check it out if you get the chance. As I submit blogposts, I’ll link them here, as well as posts by others that I think may be of interest.

In November Sola Scriptura will be hosting their annual London conference, the subject this year being the Holy Spirit. Speakers include Joseph Pipa and Guy Prentiss Waters. If I can, I plan on attending, as such events are always profitable. You should too if you’re in the area!

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Filed under blogging, canada, conferences, friends, ssmi, websites