Archive for the ‘Evangelicalism’ Category

Redeeming Words

My new blog project exists to redeem Christian terminology from misuse and misunderstanding.

Check it out: Redeeming Words

Advertisements

I’ll Be Over Here:

So coming back to this particular blog doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. However, the other blogs to which I’ve been contributing have been revamped and that’s where I’ll be spending most of my blogging time. Hope to see you over there!

Re: Fundamentals KJV Only Debate Blog

Easy to Believe?

Easy to Believe?

The old rugged cross on which Jesus died
Is foolishness to those not made alive
Its bloody details cause them to grieve,
And you say it is easy to believe?

The Greek thinks it nonsense to accept the risen Christ,
The skeptic thinks the disciples pulled off the greatest heist
The New Atheist wishes all Christians would leave
And you say it is easy to believe?

To the Jews it is a block of stumbling,
It provokes the educated toward grumbling,
A story no one could ever conceive,
And you say it is easy to believe?

The Lord invited man to take up his cross,
To count the cost and consider all things loss –
Things the natural man cannot receive,
And you say it is easy to believe?

The scriptures say salvation is of the Lord,
A supernatural work man’s hands cannot afford
To think man can raise the dead is very naive,
The results of these methods can only deceive

Regeneration is the work of the Spirit,
Otherwise men would never hear it
You say that it is easy to believe?
Saving faith is only something God can achieve!

Darrell Bock on Paul’s Christianity

Jesus was a revolutionary leader of a Jewish reform movement against religious legalism and political oppression. Years later, Paul came around and elevated him to a god-like status. The latter is the Christianity we’ve inherited.

This is the argumentation of the day when it comes to refuting Christianity. And I believe it’s fueled by man’s hatred of the Church. This is why I detest the Emergent ideas of repainting the entire faith as if we’ve got it wrong for 2,000 years. Oh believe me, we’ve gotten many things wrong. Christians have done terrible things. And I stick by the motto “Reformed and Always Reforming.” But this doesn’t suggest we’ve been duped all along. The fundamentals have stayed the same. Jesus claimed he was Lord and exalted Himself. Paul wasn’t giving anything new, just elaborating on established truth given to him by Jesus Himself.

Continuing in the stream of a previous post, here’s what Darrell Bock recently said about the Jesus-Paul connection in a recent interview with John Dickson:

Continue reading

The Package Theory of Election

packageIn no uncertain terms, the Apostle Paul is inspired by the Spirit to write in Ephesians 1 that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and predestined to be adopted as God’s children. What does this mean? It means what it says.

The non-Calvinist doesn’t think so, however (I’d like to use terms like Arminian or Semi-Pelagian, but most non-Calvinists I know reject those. A simple glance at a comparison between Calvinism and Arminianism, however, will reveal that many non-Calvinists are at least 4-point Arminians. But I’ll  stick with the elusive term, “non-Calvinist” for now). He is adamantly opposed to the idea that God would predestine an individual for salvation. The problem, however, is that the New Testament is replete with that kind of language. Something is predestined by God, but it can’t be me. So what is it? The Package.

It’s sort of like buying insurance. There are several different packages one may choose. One has a higher deductible, but a lower premium. Another includes a rental car, free of charge, if needed. Those kinds of stipulations are worked into the package, and are available for the one who chooses said package. But, ultimately, the choice is yours.

Continue reading

The Sovereignty of God Conference, Day 2 (am)

sovGodconfDue to work, I missed the morning session of Day 2, which included 2 messages. However, I was able to listen to them yesterday on CD. What a blessing! Each message fit right into the theme and continued in this wonderful conference of solid, biblical preaching.

Bill Poss, an elder at the host church, kicked it off with the topic, “God’s Sovereign Choice of the Younger Son.” His sermon was very exegetical, drawing from the text the only conclusion that can be consistently made: God will mercy whom He will and harden whom He will. Consequently, the message focused on Romans 9 and God’s unconditional election based on His purpose.

Eric Redmond followed him and spoke on “God’s Sovereignty and the Call of the Pastor.” He had us open to 2 Timothy, and I smugly thought I knew where he was going, but I was surprised. I figured he would preach on Paul’s charge to Timothy, or the qualifications of a pastor, or something to that extent. He did touch on those things, but the thrust of his message actually dealt with Paul’s terrible conditions in chapter 4:9-22 and how Timothy was called to be by his side. The point was clear: the call of God on one’s life is more important than the place in which he serves. Coming from a leader familiar with the tough, transient, often unrecognized nature of urban ministry, this message was profound. For me, it hit home, for I’ve been involved in urban ministry myself and feel that is where God will be using me for the rest of my life.

Continue reading

The Sovereignty of God Conference (with amazing cell phone pics), Day 1

sovGodconfToday, the Sovereignty of God conference, put on by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, hosted by Bread of Life Fellowship in Haledon, NJ, came to a conclusion. The speakers included pastors from New Jersey as well as James White and Eric Redmond.

Well, I’m no Tim Challies, and I didn’t live-blog it, but I’m going to give a quick recap because this conference was a tremendous blessing to me.

How refreshing it was to attend a conference that had little to do with ourselves, our circle, convention, or denomination, or that promoted anyone’s agenda. The only agenda was the promotion of God’s sovereignty – a true conference on doctrine about God. And I say that it hit the nail on the head.

This conference was much more than expounding on a particular theological position, namely Calvinism. Despite the fact that there’s so much controversy and so many pot-shots going back and forth, the purpose wasn’t to arm us Calvinists with better arguments and more proof texts. Sure, some of the debate points were mentioned, but the emphasis was on the truth of God’s sovereignty as revealed in His word and the implications thereof. Instead of leaving me with ammunition to propagate the agenda of spreading 16th century soteriological nuances, I was left with a sense of awe about our mighty God. I was also given a humility about how I go about thinking about our sovereign God, communicating our sovereign God to others, and serving our sovereign God each day.

Continue reading

Taking a Stand: A Rant

standPlease excuse the incoherency and lack of flow in this post, but I’ve got a few things to say.

I’ve been slacking a bit in blogging, but I think that’s ok. In the meantime, I have posted a few things on the King James Only blog, and, as a result, posts about that topic will be exclusive to that website, for the most part. This will allow me to focus on other topics. I’ve also been lurking around other blogs recently, and a few things have come to my attention. So I’ll make some comments. After all, small-fry bloggers like me have opinions that really matter, right?

The concern over the “YF Reformation” (if I can coin the term) is not diminishing at all. The demographic of 18-35 year old Christians who are tied to fundamentalism in some way (the Young Fundamentalists, “YFs”) is undergoing a major facelift in recent years.

And we YFs haven’t been silent about it. Those who are against the shift haven’t been either. The blogosphere has added significant volume to all our insignificant voices, as well as popularized diatribes and analyses by influential leaders of both camps. Currently, there’s much ado over Dan Sweatt and the FBFI. John MacArthur and Mark Driscoll. Peter Masters’ assessment of this movement. Colin Hansen’s Young, Restless, and Reformed is still being discussed. And of course, commentary on all of these issues abound from pastors and lay leaders alike.

Certainly, a reformation of sorts is underway. It’s both a privilege and a scary thing to be living in these times. I don’t know how this all will conclude, but God does. He is still in control. And we must remember, reformation is never easy.

Continue reading

Dr. D.A. Waite’s King James Only Seminar: Conclusion

I stopped taking notes at around slide #150. I did note some of the Q&A time, but I addressed much of that in previous posts. Plus, I see this series has run its course. So I want wrap to this up with a few concluding thoughts.

The good

1. Dr. Waite’s gentlemanly demeanor. It’s unfortunate that Dr. Waite has to share a position with Texe Marrs, Peter Ruckman, Gail Riplinger, and Samp Gipp. Though he does generalize more than necessary and oddly singles out John MacArthur, Waite comes off as a sincere Christian man who is defending a view he really believes in. 

2. Non-ruckmanism. Dr. Waite did all he could to avoid Ruckmanism in his presentation and Q&A. He even went further than most non-Ruckmanite KJVO would go, in saying that the King James Version is not “inspired.” In fact, at one point he said he would hesitate to call anything man-made as “perfect”, and cited the fact that the original 1611 contained the Apocrypha as proof of its imperfection. I was both surprised and in agreement. I doubt Jeff Fugate would be.

3. Decent presentation of typical KJVO arguments. Overall, his 4-point outline is a decent presentation of what the more typical arguments for moderate KJVO are: 1. Text 2. Translators 3. Technique 4. Theology. I would be more than happy to stick with those four headings to counter his claims.

The bad

1. Overstating his case. Interestingly, the first time I attended, a man began to proclaim, a little more loudly than was necessary during the Q&A, “you’re overstating your case!” He said he was a Bob Jones grad who actually agreed with Dr. Waite, but wanted to say he overstated his case. I was a bit caught off guard at the time, but now, I couldn’t agree more. To relate textual variation in transmission to the serpent’s questioning in the garden; to make it seem like all modern versions depend on dynamic equivalence and the King James only uses formal/verbal equivalence; to make a long list of terrible synonyms for dynamic equivalence (ignoring the fact that the KJV uses it at times); to include different Bibles which varied one with another in the list of “good” Bibles; and to use the word “deny” as if modern versions actually reject certain doctrines of the Faith are all outstanding examples of how Dr. Waite indeed overstated his case.

2. The scholarship. Dr. Waite presents this to laymen in churches, not scholars in ivory towers. However, that doesn’t mean his claims shouldn’t be backed by good scholarship. Judging by his credentials (and the fact that his works all list those credentials), he should be able to provide a scholarly basis for his claims. But things like claiming the Septuagint was created by Origen “because it is found in his Hexapla” or using the Peshitta (which did not contain 2 Peter, I John 5:7, II John, III John, Jude or Revelation as part of its canon) as part of the good line of “received kind” Bibles lacks that basis. In addition, his out-of-context, tailor-made Westcott and Hort quotes reveal a failure in accuracy, whether oversight or willful deception (I believe the former).

3. Double standards. The argumentation was full of double standards. It’s ok for the KJVO to include different Bibles in his line of pre-1611 “types” of KJVs, but anything different today is not the Word of God. Dynamic equivalence is seen as evil, yet the KJV uses it. Talk of scholarship in the non-KJVO realm is seen as arrogant and man-centered, yet an entire section is given on the great scholarship of the King James translators. The fact that the Nestle-Aland text has reached 27 editions shows it’s “unsettled”, yet the TR itself has gone under multiple editions (roughly 30 according to Art Farstad). The science of textual criticism is man-made and wrong, yet Waite cites Burgon’s reasoning behind the inclusion of variants like Mark 16. Why should that even matter? If we were to employ the same argumentation Burgon did for Mark 16 to the whole New Testament, the King James would not be the result.

4. Lack of counter-argumentation. I realize this wasn’t a debate, but it would have been nice to offer some of what non-KJVO say on this issue. A lot has been written for the other side, but Waite hardly mentions it. The only time he did, he used multiple slides to show how many fundamentalists believe no doctrine is affected by the changes in the modern versions. People like James White, D.A. Carson, and others were dismissed as though they didn’t believe biblically. The audience is left thinking that anyone who is not King James Only is just plain ignorant.

Final thoughts: I attended Dr. Waite’s seminar the first time as a Byzantine/Majority text-type preferred Christian questioning whether or not I made a mistake dropping my King James Onlyism. Afterwards, I was convinced that it was not a mistake. The second time I attended, I had been persuaded by critical text arguments. Though I wasn’t necessarily committed to the critical text at that time, I recognized it as my default position and went into the seminar with an open heart for the King James Only side one more time. At the end, I was even more convinced that King James Onlyism was fundamentally flawed.

Dr. Waite’s seminar will only work for those who are already convinced of the King James Only position, or for those who do not bother to check what is being said. After examination of his points, however, I have hoped to prove in this series that when one does his homework, he will remain unconvinced of the KJVO view.

From now on, I will be writing on the King James issue on the King James Only blog, and will switch to new topics on this blog.

About that Bridge to Nowhere. . .

bridgeUnlike Sarah Palin, I won’t deny that I indeed supported a bridge before I decided against it (oops, now I sound like John Kerry). But I’m not talking about politics or transportation routes that apparently lead to nowhere. I’m talking about my original intentions for this blog.

When I first desired to express my views publicly, I was still enrolled in an Independent, Fundamental Baptist Bible college. A few of my friends were concerned about fundamentalism’s direction and we decided that we’d start a website that would be dedicated to what we believed was true fundamentalism. So we began the Contend For Truth website with hopes that we can defend the Christian faith from an articulate, fundamentalist perspective. And that was the problem.

Continue reading