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Showing posts from February, 2010

On David Crowder and CCM

I am not anti-CCM, and many of the songs have enriched me throughout the years. Understand, I don't have a problem with a fast tempo, rocking drums, and awesome guitar solos. I think some of it can even translate and amply Christian themes and messages, based on the song's lyrical content and intended mood (there are exceptions to this, but I'll save those for another time). I consider myself well-rounded in my ability to judge the value of a song based on a wide range of genres and messages, and CCM is no different.
However, we can't accept that a song is "Christian" simply because of a particular record label or radio station promotions. Those composing a "Christian" song need not only confine themselves to worship or evangelistic music (a common misconception), but their goal must be to bring glory to God.
So, a song may be a story, and it may indeed be inspirational. But since every song has a philosophy, a Christian song must have a bibli…

Ever wonder about that thing called Calvinism?

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Lots of people do.
Lots of people have heard of it, but only in negative contexts.
Wonder no more. Phil Johnson gave a short primer of sorts on Calvinism or the "Doctrines of Grace." Go, and be warmed and filled.
(HT: Hip and Thigh)

God Watches You Google

Tim Challies posted on AOL's release of search data. I highly recommend you read it. Now. :)

What is so amazing about these searches is the way people transition seamlessly from the normal and mundane to the outrageous and perverse. They are, thus, an apt reflection of real life. The user who is in one moment searching for information about a computer game may in the next be looking for the most violent pornography he can imagine. Back and forth it goes, from information about becoming a foster parent to the search for incestual pornography. One user went from searching for preteen pornography to searching for games appropriate for a youth group. Others, spurned lovers, sought out ways of exacting revenge while still others grappled with the moral implications of cheating on their spouses. These searches are a glimpse into the hearts of the people who made them.
It's hard to be exact with what is going through the minds of people as they search for items. However, it is vital…

CA Standardized Tests Released

This should be helpful to parents who have their kids in public school (either in the traditional sense or in the home-school sense as we do). The California Department of Education has released past CSTs (California Standards Tests) to help parents help their kids prepare.
English-Language ArtsGrade 2 (PDF; 819KB; 46pp.)Grade 3 (PDF; 877KB; 45pp.)Grade 4 (PDF; 1.9MB; 73pp.)Grade 5 (PDF; 883KB; 66pp.)Grade 6 (PDF; 991KB; 61pp.)Grade 7 (PDF; 848KB; 69pp.)Grade 8 (PDF; 933KB; 67pp.)Grade 9 (PDF; 1.5MB; 71pp.)Grade 10 (PDF; 2.7MB; 76pp.)Grade 11 (PDF; 809KB; 70pp.)MathematicsGrade 2 (PDF; 4MB; 57pp.)Grade 3 (PDF; 786KB; 35pp.)Grade 4 (PDF; 753KB; 35pp.)Grade 5 (PDF; 552 KB; 33pp.)Grade 6 (PDF; 549KB; 32pp.)Grade 7 (PDF; 660KB; 36pp.)Geometry (PDF; 818KB; 42pp.)Algebra I (PDF; 671KB; 31pp.)Algebra II (PDF; 549KB; 29pp.)History-Social ScienceGrades 6-8 (PDF; 964KB; 41pp.)Grade 11 (PDF; 382KB; 29pp.)World History-Social Science (PDF; 582KB; 28pp.)ScienceGrade 5 (PDF; 2.2MB; 37pp.)Grade 8 (P…

So, to sum up parenting...

The Irish Calvinist provides us this phrase:
Pray like you can’t save your children
and parent like you can.
Pithy. Awesome. Pithsome.

Another word on Driscoll

The issue is not doctrine. He stands firm on all orthodox beliefs and then some. The issue is not necessarily his associations, as he blasts both his Emerg* left and seeker-sensitive friends (we can and should remain friends with those with whom we disagree).
The issue isn't even so much style. I know there are Christians who feel a suit and tie make one sanctified. I know there are believers who have strong convictions about the worship service. Personally, I probably stand more in the middle (I don't have such strong convictions on the matter, but then again, a pastor should make more of an effort than a tee-shirt), but these are areas where, to an extent, we can disagree with grace.
The issue is language and attitude. Because of the blessing of being where I am, I get to hear much of the back-story of the exchange between MacArthur/Johnson, Piper, and Driscoll. It's not my place to post that story here. Yet, I will say this: there is a disconnect between what Dr…

Money-loving, Gospel-less preachers

Pay tithes to Creflo, or he may shoot you and get you kicked out of heaven. Pay him, and you might get a blessing. We don't need no stinkin Gospel, we haz prosperitz!

BTW: I think the woman with the baby at 4:04-09 got tired of the antics and took her money back. Wise gal.
HT: A Little Leaven.

Book Review: Religion Saves (and Nine Other Misconceptions) by Mark Driscoll

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Entertaining and thoroughgoing, Driscoll engages topics largest in the minds of Mars Hill in Religion Saves. Driscoll takes as inspiration for this book the letter of 1 Corinthians, where Paul addressed questions Corinthian believers pondered. Using technology such as web and text messages, Driscoll preached a sermon series that became the basis for this contemporary piece.
As a piece of literature, the book is engaging. Driscoll's style keeps the reader's attention by providing a masterful mixture of facts, confrontation, anecdote, debate, and humor. It resonates with the contemporary mind while providing research from a plethora of resources. The reader is considered in this work, not mere argumentation, and helpful applicatory sections give the book a worthy price.
As a theological treatise - and that is what this book becomes in the end - it is well researched. From questions ranging from birth control to the Emerging (Emergent?) movement, it becomes an essential read …

Free Book: Think Biblically!

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This is a wonderful book written by the faculty of the Master's College, edited by Johnny Mac. It's great for Christian Worldview training. And it is now available for FREE online.(HT: Slimjim)ContentsIndex of
The Master’s College Contributors9Preface11Introduction13The Biblical FoundationEmbracing the Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture
John MacArthur21Cultivating a Biblical Mind-set
Richard L. Mayhue37Comprehending Creation
John MacArthur55Coming to Grips with Sin
John MacArthur85Having an Eternally Right Relationship with God
John MacArthur101Viewing the Nations from God’s Perspective
Mark A. Tatlock115The Biblical FormulationUnderstanding Our Postmodern World
Brian K. Morley135Profiling Christian Masculinity
Stuart W. Scott155Portraying Christian Femininity
Patricia A. Ennis169Enjoying Spiritual Worship and Music
Paul T. Plew187Why Biblical Counseling and Not Psychology?
John D. Street203Why a Scriptural View of Science?
Taylor B. Jones221Why Christian Education and Not Secular In…

Faculty Lecture Series—Biblical Sanctification, Day 5

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The Pastor’s Role in Sanctification Rick Holland Listen to MP3
The word “pastor” is typically associated with the head of the church. Remember, though, that the word refers to one who cares for sheep. The biblical imperative for pastors is to shepherd the flock—1 Pet 5:2.

A shepherd moves sheep, essential so that the sheep don’t run out of food (compare to Psalm 23). A shepherd is to be a resource and guide in sanctification, so the sheep might see the Lord (Heb 12:14).

Very few Gospel presentations, unfortunately, deal with sanctification, which is inseparable from the message.

Since sanctification has a past, present, and future implications, then the pastor has responsibilities in guiding people through each of these stages. However, this is not to be confused with being responsible for sanctification, for that is God’s job.

Lev 19:2—all believers should be holy, and our sanctification flows from God’s holiness. Holiness and sanctification are synonymous, in fact, so Holland uses the…

Steve Brown, Grace Teaching, and the Gospel

Part of my story (which I plan to share here soon) involves a turning from legalism to... more graceful teaching.
Unfortunately, it was a few years after that before I made the connection between what we called "the grace doctrine" and the Gospel. So, some of the beliefs I started forming through the grid of grace were, at times, less than biblical.
As such, I'm always interested to see what people do when they teach on the topic of grace. Where do they get it right, and do they run the same dangers I did. That kind of stuff.
Steve Brown is an interesting character along this vein. I've heard a several of his radio podcasts last year, and overall I found him to be winsome and very much anti-Pharisaical religion, which I like. I also thought some of his statements were a bit odd for someone holding to the particular creeds he said he held to.
Well, Reformed Theological Seminary has made Brown's 37-week class on grace available for free through iTunes. I wou…

Faculty Lecture Series—Biblical Sanctification, Day 4

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The Biblically Identifiable Fruit of Sanctification Keith Essex Listen to MP3

As a review, there are 3 stages of sanctification: 1) Positional, 2) Progressive, and 3) Culminated. The focus for today's lecture is stage 2.
Essex rightly points out that God sanctifies through the power of the Holy Spirit. Here is the tension: the New Testament saints must obey the imperatives of the New Testament. They can do this only through the Holy Spirit.

Dr. Essex provides a summary of some points J. C. Ryle wrote in his 1879 work, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, & Roots. FIRST, sanctification is not:
1) talk about religion;
2) religious feelings;
3) outward formalism and external devoutness;
4) retirement from our place in life;
5) occasional performance of right actions.
BUT, sanctification is:
6) habitual respect to God’s law, and habitual effort to live in obedience to it as a rule of life;
7) an habitual endeavour [sic] to do Christ’s will;
8) an habitual desire to live up the stan…

Piper: the Gospel saves you from morality

Creation Museum Commercial: Planeterium

Faculty Lecture Series—Biblical Sanctification, Days 2 and 3

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Tuesday, Feb 9 Justification & Sanctification: A Unity of Distinctions Listen to MP3
Tuesday, Feb 9, Dr. Andy Snider spoke on the relationship between justification and sanctification.
Snider opens by noting how many errors come from our misunderstanding of these two terms, specifically, the confusing of the two.
He spent a great deal of time focusing on justification, making certain that our understanding of this concept is clear. Helpful were two quotes from Reformers on justification:
Luther—it is “the article of the standing or falling of the church.”Calvin—it is “the main hinge on which religion turns.”Snider also notes the importance of seeing everything as flowing from God, both by His attributes and His Spirit. Justification is required because God is holy, and it is a loving act because God is love.
He also noted an important distinctive about justification: it is not a change within the believer. It is simply a declaration. It is the imputed righteousness of Christ put on…

Less Gospel, less filling

There is a lot of ingredients you can add to a basic recipe to get more flavor. However, there are those foundational ingredients that define the concoction on your stove as "soup."

Have you been fed the Gospel soup? James McDonald explains in this 3:36 video.

(HT: Straight Up)



Master's College makes the news

College students are giving back to the community: http://www.the-signal.com/news/article/24349/
Good job, guys.

Being Most Satisfied in God

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Christian hedonism has been the call of Desiring God ministries for years.  Say what you may about using the pejorative "hedonist" as a positive attribute of Gospel living, but the concept is crucial:

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
If you are unfamiliar with this concept, or if you want to refresh yourself in its truth, then I recommend the follow link.  Last week, Bethlehem Baptist's pastors' conference was dedicated to teachings in Christian hedonism.  You can watch the seminars online for free, or download them for a later time.

Hello! (Echo!)

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I'm now trying the 30-day free trial of Echo because, well, I have few options. For those not in the know, I'm using a program called Haloscan (HS) for your comments, and HS is shutting down Feb 11.
Something about people from the future sabotaging the hardware.

So, it's either upgrade to Echo or download your HS comments to Blogger. And Blogger is boring as far as comments go. As you can see, my hands are tied.
This post is to let you know that the upgrade is complete. I am told all of your comments are safely saved and salvifically transfered.

Note the new comment-interface-thingamabobber down below this post. Have fun with it. This is a trial period, after all, and I need to decide whether it is something into which I want to invest $12/year.

Songs failing to teach our kids Gospel

This gem is an example of popular kids songs that can give our kids false ideas about our faith. Tell me what you think:


(HT: A Little Leaven)

There's beauty in the text

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From Greg Atkinson:

Named one of the best science images of 2008 by the National Geographic News, Visualizing the Bible “… brings to light the interconnected nature of one of the world’s most familiar books.” The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a single arc – the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect.

This chart was created by Chris Harrison, a Ph.D. student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with Christoph Römhild, a Lutheran Pastor. Chris won the Honorable Mention in the NSF’s Science & Engineering 2008 Visualization Challenge.

This graphic is a registered trademark of Chris Harrison. All rights reserved.

Faculty Lecture Series—Biblical Sanctification, Day 1

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Notes from Dr. Richard Mayhue on the topic “Sanctification: the Biblical Basis”
Listen to MP3
We opened this morning with the fitting hymn, “Be Thou My Vision.”

“You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”—Lev 19:2
“but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”—1 Pet 1:15–16
Common terms for us in the New Testament: Christian, doulos (slave), disciple, brother, saint

Saint is the strangest, most unlikely, most undeserved term. Why does God call us this?

1st concept of sanctification: Sabbath rest of Genesis 2.

Mayhue starts well by sharing verses that speak to God’s work in sanctification. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are sanctified.

I. Primer on Sanctification



The Relationships between Salvation and Sanctification


sozo soteria soterion

hagiazo hagiasmos hagios

Past




Titus 3:5




1 Cor 6:11
Such were some of you. Washing and sanctification took place!

Present




Phil 2:12
You are saved, but you are …

Roman Catholic Mysticism and the Emerging Church Reexamined

This is a fast post, sorry if it is a bit brief or terse.  The Emergent Movement is not dead.  It is simply, as it always was, in flux.  Now comes the ecumenical embrace of all things religious, including pagan mysticism.  Phyllis Tickle, Brain McLaren, and Shane Claiborne are just a few names to watch for.

If this is new, check out this vid comparing RCC mysticism to that of the Emergents.  Here is the description from YouTube:

Mysticism attempts to gain ultimate knowledge of God by a direct experience that bypasses the mind. Catholic mysticism, now officially married to the Emerging Church, needs to be reexamined. Old-time mystics such as Loyola, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross need to be examined again along with modern so-called evangelical mystics such as Richard Foster. All of this, and more, is accomplished in this professional presentation along with graphic inserts of persons and events. An analysis is also made of Phyllis Tickle who has surfaced as a formidable leader…

Christian Counseling

There are Christian counselors and then there are counselors are Christians.  Said another way, there are believers committed to serving their hurting brothers and sisters by biblical instruction and admonition, and then there are Christians who, with the best intentions, seek assistance from sources outside of the Bible and even outside of the Christian realm.

By "outside of the Bible," I mean mystical/pseudo-spiritual engagements that go beyond simple prayer.  The goal here is to provide a special healing that allegedly cannot come through confronting unbiblical thoughts and attitudes with biblical truths.

By "outside of the Christian realm," I mean turning to the false philosophies I highlighted here and here.

By all of this, I do not mean medication.  Counseling deals with the soul, drugs deal with the flesh.  There may be health issues that require meds, and there is nothing wrong with seeking medical help for medical problems.

Anyway, that review was to prepa…

Its Time, Once Again

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Watch the video:

Read the itinerary, and see seminar lineup:Wednesday, March 03, 2010TimeSession TitleTeacher1:30 PM – 2:45 PMDespise, Distract, or Develop? *Student Ministries Track*
Establishing a philosophy of student ministryAustin Duncan1:30 PM – 2:45 PMDon’t Couch the Truth
Biblical counseling vs. IntegrationismLance Quinn1:30 PM – 2:45 PMFrom Moses to Malachi
How to preach the Old TestamentIrv Busenitz1:30 PM – 2:45 PMHow Firm a Foundation
A philosophy of ministry built upon the text of scriptureJesse Johnson1:30 PM – 2:45 PMPreaching from a Pure Heart
Consecrating your heart as you prepare for the pulpitJerry Wragg1:30 PM – 2:45 PMThe Good Shepherd
Modeling the love of Christ in your pastoral careJim Pile
Rick McLean1:30 PM – 2:45 PMYou Might Be a Dispensationalist if…
Why most pastors are more dispensational than they thinkMichael Vlach Thursday, March 04, 2010TimeSession TitleTeacher2:00 PM – 3:15 PMA Doctrine Left Behind
The unintended repercussions of misunderstanding the raptureRich…

Sunday Notes: Gospel-Driven Resolutions

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(Delivered in Sunday School)

Since the start of the new year, the topic of our Sunday School discussion has been resolutions.  Pastor Rick gave a couple of messages that really got to the heart of our lack of resolution-keeping: sin.  They also encouraged us to make God-centered resolutions.

Because it is hard to talk about godly resolutions without talking about the Great Resolver, I was tasked with introducing Johnathan Edwards and the Puritans.  We could only briefly note what made them so committed to godly living.

These kinds of messages are good, but they don't get to issues like motivation, desire, and power.  How is a Christian able to pursue holiness?

We will not be talking a lot about New Year's resolutions today.  However, hopefully this message will give you a better framework upon which you can construct your resolutions.

The plan is to skip through the book of Galatians like a stone on a pond.  We don't have time to dig into the book, but after this message…