Archive - March, 2009

Obama as Notre Dame Commencement Speaker

Sarah Pulliam of Christianity Today interviews Francis Beckwith about Notre Dame’s controversial decision to invite President Barack Obama to speak at their May 2009 commencement service and to receive an honorary doctorate in law. Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Seminary, and David Dockery, President of Union University, also chime in.

Interview With Wife of Slain Pastor Fred Winters

On Sunday, March 8, Pastor Fred Winters was tragically killed in his own pulpit by a man he had never met. I’ve still heard nothing with regard to a motive. In this five-minute clip, Mr. Winters’ widow speaks about her experience. It is wonderfully moving testimony of grace and forgiveness. Not a hint of bitterness or anger. You’ll be blessed for the viewing.

(HT: Denny Burk)

Videos of The Holiness of God Conference

The team at Ligonier Ministries has graciously made them all available. In English and in Spanish! Very impressive!
(HT: All over the place)

A New Tim Keller Wiki

There is a new Tim Keller Wiki, assembled (naturally) by Keller fans. Think you know your Keller? You can submit a brief bio and be considered as a contributor. The Wiki is well-organized and has links to Keller’s books, articles, audios, and videos.
For example, if you are looking for all the videos related to The Reason For God, you can find them all here.
(HT: Abraham Piper)

For Conservatives In the United Kingdom

Daniel Hannan speaks from the heart on the floor of Parliament. Is President Obama going to take us on the same path with his budget?

(HT: Mark Schon)

Ligonier National Conference – Links To All My Posts

I was able to live-blog most of the sessions, but I did miss a few (Albert Mohler, R.C. Sproul’s first message, the Ferguson/Lawson/Sproul Jr./Begg Q&A, and Robert Godfrey). A busy and edifying three days!
Ligon Duncan – John Calvin and The Christian Life
Steve Lawson – The Legacy of John Calvin
Steve Lawson, Ligon Duncan, Albert Mohler, and Sinclair Ferguson – Q&A Session
R.C. Sproul Jr. – Train Up Your Children: Family Worship of the Holy God
Sinclair Ferguson – Hallowed By Your Name: The Holiness of the Father
Steve Lawson – The Holy One of God: The Holiness of Jesus
Alistair Begg – The Breadth of the Almighty: The Holy Spirit
Thabiti Anyabwile – Cosmic Treason: Sin and the Holiness of God
D.A. Carson – A Holy Nation: The Church’s High Calling
Derek Thomas – Be Ye Holy: The Necessity of Sanctification
D.A. Carson, Derek Thomas, Robert Godfrey, and Thabiti Anyabwile – Q&A Session
R.C. Sproul – A Consuming Fire: Holiness, Wrath and Justice
Update: Ligonier Ministries has now made all the conference videos available — in English and Spanish.

An Interview With David Powlison

I started listening to and reading David Powlison about seven years ago. I have found him to be remarkably wise and balanced in his understanding of God, man, depravity and suffering. C.J. Mahaney just completed a four part interview with David Powlison. It serves as a great introduction to the man.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Special Olympians – The Dignity of Every Life

By now you’ve likely heard about President Obama’s gaffe on the Jay Leno show, comparing Obama’s bowling performance to the Special Olympics. Though self-depreciating, the comment was insulting to the millions of Americans born with various challenges such as Down Syndrome. Justin Reimer responds with a pointed yet gracious open letter to the President.

My life has been deeply impacted by the life of my son, Elisha who has Down Syndrome. Each day he brings joy to our home and has brought numerous spiritual blessings. Most importantly, Elisha is just as much created in the image of God as the most “normal” or intellectual or educated person on earth, even you Mr. President. He has just as much value in Christ as Abraham Lincoln or any of the historical icons in our history. He is not and should not be the punchline of a joke by the man who holds the highest position in the world.

Read the whole thing.

The Sin of Infant Baptism – Mark Dever & Scott Clark

In an article in the latest 9Marks e-journal, Mark Dever makes this statement:

“I have many dear paedo-baptists friends from whom I have learned much. Yet I see their practice as a sinful (though sincere) error from which God protects them by allowing for inconsistency in their doctrinal system, just as he graciously protects me from consistency with my own errors.”

It is a statement that has gotten him in trouble with several upstanding bloggers. That said, in my humble opinion, it is really nothing new or controversial (as Dever has sought to explain in this follow up post). Those who (by conviction) practice believers baptism only think that paedobaptized Christians (who are never subsequently baptized upon conversion) are in sin for never having been truly baptized. That is what it means to be a baptist by conviction. Meanwhile, those who practice paedobaptism by conviction (like R. Scott Clark) believe that baptists are in sin for not applying the sign of the covenant (baptism) to their children. By this logic, my wife and I are in sin for not baptizing our three-year old daughter or eighteen-month old son.
So there you have it. Each thinks the other is in unintentional sin. Nevertheless, each is able (or should be able) to work with the other for the good of the gospel’s witness in the world, as we look forward to the perfect unity of heaven. This, I think, is the right way to be “together for the gospel.” Saying we are united in Christ doesn’t mean that we disregard our convictions. On the contrary, true “tolerance” is loving a brother in Christ while remaining firmly convinced that he is wrong in this or that — even as you pray that he loves and receives you in spite of your errors (of which you are not entirely aware).
Update: This post has been updated to correct the suggestion that James Grant practices paedobaptism. Mr. Grant is in fact a Baptist (God bless him….).

Ligonier National Conference – R.C. Sproul (II)

Dr. R.C. Sproul closed out the conference speaking on the theme A Consuming Fire: Holiness, Wrath and Justice.
Very few believe in the holiness of God. And if they do, few add the concept of justice to holiness. And fewer have a concept of the wrath of God. It is far more common to believe that the love of God trumps the justice and the wrath of God. We generally assume grace. We no longer think grace is amazing. We no longer think God is holy, or a God of justice, or a God who expresses wrath.
Dr. Sproul took us to I Chronicles 13:1-12. He noted that when he was in seminary he was taught that passages such as this, where God suddenly kills a person, demonstrate that the God of the Old Testament is incompatible with the New Testament emphasis on the love of God in the teaching of Jesus. But let’s at least look at the story.
Uzzah is driving the cart which is carrying the ark of God, and when the car tips he instictively reached out to keep the arc from falling. Now some say, “Actually, Uzzah just had a heart attack.” Others say, “This just represents the dark side of Yahweh.” But we can get some help from Numbers 4. We see that the Kohathities had an elaborate process of carrying the holy vessels using poles. The details were so that humans could never actually touch them (verse 15). Given that Uzzah had this reponsibility of driving the cart, we can infer that he was probably a Kohathite. His sin, as Jonathan Edwards once preached, was the sin of arrogance.
We don’t know what was in the strange fire. But it was not offerred according to God’s command. See Gospel Worship, by Jeremiah Burroughs, for a great exposition of this text. In light of our crisis of worship, this is a book that every Christianity today needs to read.
Note that with Uzzah, David got a bit upset. And here we see that Aaron gets upset. Moses is able to calm him down by reminding him of what the Lord had said: “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.”
But the story goes on. God (through Moses) instructs that the bodies be removed from the camp. The two deceased priests had profaned God’s camp with their false worship. Furthermore, God forbade that public lamenting take place for them (“Do not let the hair of your heads hang loose, and do not tear your clothes, lest you die.”)
The imagery employed in Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon Sinners In The Hands of An Angry God. In that sermon, he employed numerous metaphors, all of which had Scriptural origin. One of them is that of a dam breaking. People are storing up wrath against the day of wrath. And another is of a spider’s web, holding sinners up by a single thread. And that single thread is held by the hand of God. We rightly remember the sermon’s topic as the wrath of God. But even moreso it is a sermon about the grace of God–holding people up from the pit, and preventing their immediate destruction.
Sadly, some believe in a “god” of love from whom there is nothing to fear. But this “god” is a figment of imagination. Edwards wisely reasoned with the people of his day: “Give me one good reason you are still alive today and not dead and in hell already.” Apart from the grace of Christ, we cannot.
Dr. Sproul recounted the story of when he was first teaching at the college level. He had 250 freshmen and he explained that there would be 5 essays to write during the semester and they all needed to be on time barring extraordinary circumstances such as a death in the family. The first deadline came, and 25 weren’t done. They begged for mercy and received it, with the warning that it shouldn’t happen again. The next time, 50 were late. And the time after that, 100 were late. Eventually, when mercy was refused, they retorted “that’s not fair.” They had totally confused mercy and justice. The first time, they were amazed by grace. The second time, they assumed it. By the third time, they demanded it as an entitlement, as an inaliable right.
Some in this room may be close to their own deaths, and to the terrors of hell thereafter. I beseech you to be covered with the righteousness of Christ and to escape for the righteous wrath of God. Receive the mercy and grace He offers to you today in Jesus Christ.

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