Category Archives: toronto

After Adam?

On November 28 a number of pastors and theology wonks will hang out here to listen to Stan Fowler, Professor of Theological Studies at Heritage Seminary, discuss the question of whether the biblical Adam was historical. In lead-up to that, I hope to post a series on RearViewMirror dealing with Adam. As Carl Trueman warned in a recent blogpost, the debate over Adam will be a dominant one in days to come. Already there was a controversy related to the subject that resulted in the dismissal of Peter Enns from Trueman’s own Westminster Seminary. Those who espouse theistic evolution like Bruce Waltke or Tremper Longman believe that there was a pre-hominid line that led to Adam in the course of God’s providential, evolutionary leading. So, I’m very interested to see how Dr. Fowler handles the subject.

I begin with a series of posts by Spencer Boersma, a former student of Dr. Fowler’s, and a sometime “gatherer” with us at the Bishop and Belcher. Spencer is a doctoral student in systematic theology at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto; his supervisor is Joe Mangina. Spencer blogs at “After Orthodoxy?” and is an intern at a Fellowship Baptist Church in Bradford, Ontario. While I’m not sure how Spencer would categorize himself theologically, his reading interests include theologians like Stan Grenz, Kevin Vanhoozer, Karl Barth, and George Lindbeck. Philosophically, as he said today, he is more “continental” and prefers the writings of Heidegger and Wittgenstein. Incidentally, Spencer and I shot the breeze over coffee this afternoon.

In this series, Spencer advocates a more Barthian or Brunnerian (?) read of Adam as theologically significant, but not necessarily an historical person. As you can imagine, I would disagree with this.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5



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New City Baptist, New Website

I am a happy member of New City Baptist Church, a church plant in downtown Toronto. We meet in some office space in Atrium on Bay, across from the Eaton Centre at Bay and Dundas. Recently we completely re-did our website with the help of Church Plant Media, and while we’re waiting on a logo, it’s basically done and is now live.

I really dig the picture of the Toronto skyline on the main page. You can also find a bio of John Bell, our pastor, as well as his sermons. The site’s got all the basics, like an events calendar, statement of faith, service times, and location. Let us know what you think!

I recommend Church Plant Media, they have a very easy dashboard, regular support, and a decent price too (especially if you’re young and small like us).

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Easter Service at West Toronto Baptist

This year New City Baptist will be joining the folk at West Toronto Baptist in the Junction for a joint Easter service. Pastor Justin Galotti will be preaching and together the two churches will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Everyone welcome!

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Good Friday in Toronto

This year’s joint Good Friday service will be held at the Winter Garden Theatre – 189 Yonge Street, Toronto. Five congregations will be coming together to share in the remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion, but others are welcome. The service was held last year at Westminster Chapel and the walls were busting with the hundreds of people who came (they didn’t have enough communion cups!). See the flyer for more info {HT: Dash House}.

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Art, Civil Society, and Public Justice: A Double Book Launch

Join authors Jonathan Chaplin and Lambert Zuidervaart in celebrating the launch of their new books in social and political philosophy. Jonathan and Lambert will introduce their books, respond to your questions, and talk about one another’s work. Come greet the authors, enjoy refreshments and conversation, and purchase your signed copies of Herman Dooyeweerd and Art in Public.

Herman Dooyeweerd: Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society. University of Notre Dame Press, 2011. ISBN 9780268023058

The twentieth-century Dutch philosopherHerman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977) left behind an impressive canon of scholarly works. Jonathan Chaplin shows that Dooyeweerd helps us understand how state and civil society should be related to achieve justice and the public good.

Dr. Jonathan Chaplin is the first director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, Cambridge. He was Associat Professor of Political Theory at the Institute for Christian Studies, where he held the Dooyeweerd Chair of Social and Political Philosophy


Art in Public: Politics, Economics, and a Democatic Culture. Cambridge University Press, 2011. ISBN: 9780521112741 (hardback), 9780521130172 (paperback.


Lambert Zuidervaart makes a vigourous case for government arts funding, based on crucial contributions the arts make to civil society. He proposes an entirely new conception of the public role of art, one with wide-ranging implications for education, politics, and cultural policy.

Dr. Lambert Zuidervaart is Professor of Philosophy at the Institute for Christian Studies and founding director of ICS’s Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics. He is an Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty in Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

2 pm, Wednesday, March 23, 2011 At Leonard hall, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto 5 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto (Enter from Tower Road)


Sponsored by Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethis at the Institute for Christian



Hosted by Crux Books







More Info: 416-979-2331 (ICS) or 416-599-2749 (Crux)



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Hearing God’s Voice in an Age of Idols

The Centre for Mentorship and Theological Reflection will be hosting its annual conference on Thursday June 9, 2011 at Tyndale University College and Seminary. The topic for this year’s series of lectures is “Hearing God’s Voice in an Age of Idols” and the guest speakers are Andrew Stirling, Joe Boot and the Centre’s founder, Dennis Ngien. For more information see here: Hearing God’s Voice in an Age of Idols.

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Canadian Baptist Historical Society 2011

5 March 2011


Tyndale Seminary
25 Ballyconnor Ct.
Toronto, ON

The Canadian Baptist Historical Society (CBHS) traces its origins back to the nineteenth century when Baptists passionate about their heritage began a process of preserving critical documents and studying the Baptist presence in Ontario and Quebec. Its primary focus is on the history of all Baptists in the Canadian context, but the study of Baptists around the globe is also a part of its mandate. Scholars, pastors, students and those interested in Baptist history are all warmly invited to attend meetings of the society. The CBHS is always interested in paper proposals for its meetings, and if you have a proposal for next year’s meeting please send it to Gord Heath.

The CBHS has also recently started to publish a series of books on Baptist history. Volume one is Baptists and Public Life in Canada (anticipated publication 2011). Volume Two is Baptists and War (anticipated publication 2012). Other volumes are expected in subsequent years.

This year’s annual meeting is at Tyndale Seminary.

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Ruth Gleaning in the Field of Boaz

Over the summer John Bell, pastor of New City Baptist in downtown Toronto, preached an excellent four-part series on Ruth. You can check them each out below:

Bitterness and Sovereignty

Under the Wings of a Sovereign God

The Threshing Floor Incident

Jesus, Our Redeemer

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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.


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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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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.


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This past week I received a copy of the first issue of Jubilee (Spring 2010), the publication of the Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity located in Toronto. I must say, I am very impressed with it. A full gloss mag, good graphic design, not cheap-looking. Of course, the articles are fantastic as well. As last year marked a big celebration of all things Darwinian, EICC hosted a conference called “Deconstructing Darwin” and released the magazine dedicated to all things science and religion. The articles are intelligent, written by scholars who are experts in their respective fields of science, philosophy and theology.

Contributors include Joe Boot (founder of EICC), John C. Lennox of Oxford, Emil Silvestru a leading geologist, L.T. Jeyachandran (Asia-Pacific Director of RZIM) and Carlisle Percival (CEO Santa Cruz Surgery Center). I would highlight in particular the articles by Jeyachandran and Silvestru. The former is on the relationship between Christianity and science asking whether they are friends or foes. The article proves to be an excellent study of the logic of biblical presuppositions and how they support the scientific enterprise. It is a very well-written and researched article that demonstrates the foundational relationship Christianity has with science.

The latter article deals with how the scientific community has failed to listen to Stephen Jay Gould’s critiques of evolution and how Gould himself failed to take into account Christianity’s solution to the Darwinian problems that he exposed.

The Lennox article, taken from a chapter of his book God’s Undertaker, deals with the debates of Galileo, Samuel Wilberforce and T.H. Huxley. Boot deals with Darwin and the role that evolutionary theory has played within various religious perspectives.

Every single article was worth reading and I learned something from each. So I would highly suggest contacting EICC for your free subscription.

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Filed under apologetics, evolution, ezra institute, joe boot, jubilee, science, toronto

Toronto Pastors Conference 2010

The second annual Toronto Pastors Conference is fast approaching, so get registered! If this year’s gathering is anything like last year’s it is sure to be a tremendous blessing. This past weekend Mike Bullmore, the keynote speaker for TPC, spoke at The Gospel Coalition in Hamilton with D.A. Carson. I was impressed with Bullmore’s humility, his boldness, his clarity and biblical insight. I can’t wait to hear him at TPC! Other speakers include Dan MacDonald who pastors Grace Toronto, Paul Martin who pastors Grace Fellowship and Robbie Symons who pastors a Harvest Bible Chapel.

The conference theme is about making the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the center of pastoral ministry and church life–a theme that can never be spoken of too much. Because each of the speakers come from a different background I am every excited to see the harmony that will ensue in their discussion of such an important subject.

For more information and registration go here:

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West Toronto Baptist Church

West Toronto Baptist, in October, called my good friend Justin Galotti as their pastor! If you live in the Junction/West Toronto/High Park area and are looking for a church community where you’ll grow in Christ, this is the place to be. Justin preaches expository messages through books of the bible, he is solid theologically and is a great guy. So check out their website: West Toronto Baptist Church.

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Simeon Trust Toronto 2010


Preaching Apocalyptic


Last year I went to my first Simeon Trust preaching workshop. The speakers were David Short and David Helm, both of whom lectured on preaching through Luke’s gospel. It was fantastic! I learned a lot not only about Luke, but about a biblical approach to preaching a gospel. This year Simeon Trust is back in Toronto, with David Helm again, to speak about preaching through apocalyptic literature (i.e. Daniel, Revelation). I have the privilege of running one of the workshops, which is both exciting and scary! The following is the info from the Simeon Trust website. I highly, highly recommend going to this if you’re interested in preaching. If you’ve been preaching for twenty years or you’re new to it you will benefit from the time spent. Churches! Send your pastors!

Whether in the movies, television or popular music, the idea of Apocalyptic Literature is everywhere. It’s filled with spectacular drama, striking imagery and end-times relevance. Yet, preachers avoid it. Join David Helm and enter with him through the door of Apocalyptic Literature—to gain the necessary tools for preaching and teaching these important and often overlooked texts.
MARCH 3-5, 2010

David Helm serves as Lead Pastor of the Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. David held the post of Senior Pastor of Holy Trinity Church from its founding in 1998 until 2008, when Jon Dennis assumed the role. A graduate of Wheaton College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, David is ordained in the PCA and serves on the council of The Gospel Coalition. He authored 1 & 2 Peter and Jude in Crossway’s Preaching the Word series, The Big Picture Story Bible and contributed to Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching in Honor of Kent Hughes. Additionally, David serves as Chairman of the Charles Simeon Trust, a ministry devoted to equipping men in expository preaching.

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This past autumn John has taken New City Baptist through a great series on Colossians. I have to say, it was one of the best sermon series that I’ve sat through. The exegesis, delivery and application is exemplary. And of course the preaching of the gospel. If you listen through the series you’ll hear the various emphases of New City, in particular holy living and evangelism. Check them out below:

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New City Baptist – An Expose (Ronnie Jawdi)

Ronnie attends New City Baptist and was recently interviewed about it:

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New City Baptist Flyer

With some slight moderations, the new flyer for New City Baptist Church looks like this:

A voice of renewal in the city.

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New City Baptist Church – An Expose (John Bell)

This is the interview that John Bell did speaking about New City Baptist Church and his role with it:

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New City Baptist Church – An Expose (Ian Clary)

This is an interview that I did last week speaking about New City Baptist Church and my role with it:

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