Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ascol/White Vs. Caner/Caner

Ok, here is what you all have been waiting for.

Baptists and Calvinism: A Debate at the New Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Virginia
Monday, October 16th, 2006, 7pm, at the New Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. A debate on Calvinism, featuring:
Speaking against "Calvinism" will be the Dean of Liberty Theological Seminary, Dr. Ergun Ehmet Caner. Dr. Caner has been a vocal critic of Reformed theology in Baptist life. He is the author of numerous books and a professor at Liberty University in Lynchburg.
Joining him will be his brother, Dr. Emir Caner of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Dallas. Dr. Caner is likewise an author, and both Caners are converts from Islam. You can visit Dr. Ergun Caner's website here, and Dr. Emir Caner's website here.
Speaking in defense of "Calvinism" will be the President of the Founder's Ministries, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, author and lecturer, Dr. Tom Ascol. In his role with the Founder's movement Dr. Ascol has often addressed the issue of the role of Reformed theology in historic Baptist life. Dr. Ascol has likewise spoken for us in our conferences, and will be part of our conference in November in Orlando as well.
And I have the great privilege of joining Dr. Ascol in defense of "Calvinism." This will be my fifth opportunity in sixty formal debates to specifically address the doctrines of grace and give a biblical defense of my faith.
There will be no cost for admission. The debate will be audio and video recorded and will be made available through the ministries of those involved.

Will you join me in praying for:

1. God's Word to be proclaimed and explained truthfully.
2. Open minds & hearts to be had by all in attendance.
3. A humble spirit to be exhibited by all involved.
4. For God's glory to be the ultimate aim of the evening.

It is doubtful I can make this trip, so I will be anxiously awaiting the recordings of this debate.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Without Excuse

Let me go ahead and set this article up exactly like Justin Taylor did.

You finally have that opportunity to explain the gospel to that co-worker who has been asking a few questions of late. She tells you that one of the things that keeps her from taking religion seriously is that each one claims absolute, final truth. Obviously, they can't all be right, since they contradict each other at key points. Can a Japanese Buddhist really be held accountable for accepting Christianity if Buddhism has been his only frame of reference? How then can we continue to say that Jesus is the only way? How can we say that God cannot be truly known, at least in a saving way, unless one has been exposed to the Christian Scriptures somehow? Religion all seems hopelessly naive and impossible. More than that, it seems to fuel the religious strife that drives intolerance around the world. As a result, your co-worker has simply adopted the cultural dogma of tolerance that assumes a pragmatic view of religion. Buddhism "works" for one person, Islam for another, and Christianity for still others. The belief that religion is therapy more than truth seems pervasive, in evangelicalism as everywhere else.

You'll have to read the article from Modern Reformation Magazine to see how Michael Horton answers these questions.

(Tar Heel Finger Point (hereafter THFP): Justin Taylor)

Final 4 Predicts

Keeping with the basketball theme.

As others have said, I am not a prophet or a son of a prophet, but here are my final 4 pics which I picked before the tournament began...I promise.

Atlanta Region: LSU (Still alive)
Oakland Region: UCLA (Still alive)
Washington D.C. Region: UCONN (Still alive)
Minneapolis Region: BC (Still alive)

Championship game: UCLA vs. UCONN
National Champ: UCONN

Its wait and see time!

Anyone else want to share their picks?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

T4TG Blog

Those of you who have not been keeping up with the Together for The Gospel blog are missing out, especially you basketball fans. What I particulary am enjoying is CJ Mahaney's strong distaste for a particular basketball team located in Durham, NC. I share Pastor Mahaney's strong dislike for this team and also refuse to even type the name. What a wise man he is. Anyway, this combined with the pastoral encouragements, which all of us Christians can use whether we are pastors or not, is making this blog a great read.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

USA Today Article on Franklin Graham

There is an interesting article on Franklin Graham over at USA Today. You can read it here.

Overall it seems good that Franklin stands firm for the Gospel, and my personal experience hearing him on the radio would back that up. I just hope his organization's Gospel presentations are the true Gospel and not the watered down imposter that is so rampant today. For more on that check out the Way of the Master link over on my list of sites.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Vocational Calling

On a discussion board I lurk at, one of the posters there brought to my attention an excellent article from the Westminister Theological Seminary Bulletin. I think it is dead on in how the American Church today divides vocational calling. I know I agree with the article and still have to fight my own tendancy to elevate "full-time Christian ministry" as the peak of Christian piety, maturity, and service before God. Here is the article. It is well worth the short read. I have put in bold the central paragraph. Comments are vociferously welcome.

Calling in Every Area of Life by William Edgar

Calling in Every Area of Life
by William Edgar
Professor of Apologetics, Moderator of the Faculty

Arguably the most significant book for late Medieval piety is Thomas à Kempis’ De Imitatione Christi. Still popular today, it contains many valuable teachings about sanctification. But it has a fundamental flaw. One can sense the problem by looking at the full title: On the Imitation of Christ and Despising All Vanities on Earth. An even more brutal translation says: and Contempt for the World. According to this kind of piety, the world is altogether a distraction from our proper calling, which is to draw close to Christ.

At first, monasteries were crucial parts of the preserving and nurturing of civilization. But gradually monks and nuns became isolated from the world, unable to relate to the religious aspirations of the laity, nor to some of the innovations of the day, such as the printing press and nascent science. Calling, or vocation, was defined as “devotion,” meaning a narrow and intense dedication to the sacred.

The Protestant Reformation blasted through this split universe. Because of their robust understanding of creation and of the so-called cultural mandate (Genesis 1:24-31; Psalm 8:5-9), Luther, Calvin, then the Puritans, and other post-Reformation orthodox, proclaimed the vocation of every Christian. The idea of the priesthood of all believers issues in the conviction that we are all called to work in the everyday world. Thus, farming, artistry, parenting, citizenship—all are a part of our vocation before the Lord. Luther, who was given to extravagant statements, once declared that the work of the least householder was worth more than that of all the priests, monks, and nuns put together! He did not disparage the ordained ministry; quite the contrary. Yet he found much of the monastic life of no use in the Kingdom of God. He urged all clergy to marry and work with their hands.

This radical, biblical idea led to many results. When Calvin came to Geneva, some 400 people were in the employ of the church, yet the city was known for its corruption and degenerate life. After his arrival, church employees were reduced to a handful as other jobs were found for former clerics, and public morality improved. Work, according to Calvin, is not socially demeaning, but honorable, though toilsome. William Perkins wrote extensively on how to find one’s calling in life. He carefully compared the gifts of each person to the surrounding needs and opportunities. In countries where the Reformation took root, a higher standard of living could generally be found, since everyone was accountable to God for his or her livelihood.

Today we are in danger of returning to a Medieval model, not so much through the attraction of the monastic order, but in making evangelism or “soul-saving” such a priority that areas such as social justice, business, politics, science, or the arts, are neglected. Many evangelicals believe missions is the highest calling, followed by the pastorate, or other kinds of “full-time Christian service.”

To which we must say, No! Every kind of Christian service is full-time. The gospel applies to every sphere of life, as Abraham Kuyper would remind us. Of course, evangelism is important. But if we engage in it without at the same time recognizing the legitimacy of calling into every realm of life, we are becoming “so heavenly minded we are no earthly good.” Heaven, though, is the earth remade. The New Jerusalem comes down from heaven. But Jesus opens the door, now. Heaven is not a far away place, but the place where God reigns, and he reigns right here! The seventh angel of the Revelation blows the trumpet, and loud voices proclaim, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (11:15).

Sam Logan’s full time Christian service for over twenty years has been as dean of students, academic dean, and then president of Westminster. His calling today is to the chancellorship. In his administration we moved from being pre-technological to being “smart.” He inaugurated the Contemporary Issues Conferences, which exhibited the Kuyperian principle that says every sphere belongs to Christ. He stressed our impact around the world, not only by multiplying our campuses, but also by bringing world Christian leaders to them to be trained in the Reformed worldview and then return to strengthen the kingdom in their respective countries. In all of these areas, and many more, he refused the Medieval sacred-secular dichotomy, but instead led Westminster to equip leaders who could equip others in every walk of life. We wish Sam and Susan well in this new vocation. May they not only bring glory to God, but enjoy him thoroughly, and forever.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Shepherd's Conference

For those of us who could not attend the Shepherd's Conference out at John MacArthur's church, Grace Community, here is a link to Tim Challies' site where he is live blogging. Enjoy.


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