Archive - August, 2012

2013 Ligonier National Conference: No Compromise

I’ve attended the last four Ligonier National Conferences. I thought they were great. But their 2013 conference just might be the most timely and provocative of them all. Listen as Dr. Sproul introduces it:

Calvinists are not Logic Driven

John Piper:

The Calvinists I have known (English Puritans, Edwards, Newton, Spurgeon, Packer, Sproul) are not logic driven, but Bible-driven. It’s the challengers who bring their logic to the Bible and nullify text after text. Branches are lopped off by “logic,” not exegesis.

Who are the great enjoyers of paradox today? Who are the pastors and theologians who grab both horns of every biblical dilemma and swear to the God-Man: I will never let go of either.

Not the Calvinism-critics that I meet. They read of divine love, and say that predestination cannot be. They read of human choice and say the divine rule of all our steps cannot be. They read of human resistance, and say that irresistible grace cannot be. Who is logic-driven?

Read the rest of this fantastic post in which Piper goes on to observe some of the paradoxes gladly embraced by true Calvinism.

FRC Survey of Religious Hostility in America

The Family Research Council and the Liberty Institute have just released an 140 page report claiming that there’s been a rising pattern of hostility toward Christians in America over the past decade. (Ironically, this report is being issued only a few weeks after the tragic shooting of an FRC security guard.)

Among the examples listed:

Matthew Reynolds, valedictorian for HLV Junior-Senior High School in Victor, Iowa, was told he had to give a ‘secular’ speech after he wished to attribute his success to his faith in Jesus Christ during his graduation speech.

Dr. Frank Turek, a Cisco employee, was fired for expressing his views on traditional marriage in his book, even though he never voiced his religious opinions at work.

Continue Reading…

Biola University Files Lawsuit over “Contraception” Mandate

Bold, courageous move by Biola University President Barry H. Corey:

You may recall that Wheaton College previously joined a similar lawsuit.

Rick Warren Cancels Presidential Forum

I was able to attend the 2008 Presidential Forum hosted by Rick Warren at Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA. So I was a bit bummed to hear that another one was in the works for this year, but has been cancelled.

The Orange County Register reports:

Warren pulled the plug on this year’s forum, explaining that the current negative campaign is opposite to what the church’s civil forum is about, even as plans had been ramping up to coordinate schedules, secure the area and get traffic control in check for a forum of this size. Planning had begun in March.

This same article has a short exchange with Pastor Warren. Here’s their first interaction:

Q. You said you canceled the presidential civil forum because of the negativity and a larger issue. What is that?

Continue Reading…

The Family Research Council Shooting

By now you’ve probably heard of the intruder at the Family Research Council who, presenting himself as an intern, pulled out a gun and started shooting. Joe Carter pens a nice tribute to his friend, Leo Johnson, the security guard who saved lives today (and at this moment is in the hospital in stable condition):

“The security guard here is a hero, as far as I’m concerned,” said Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, “He did his job. The person never made it past the front.” Leo is indeed a hero—because he did much more than his job.

Read the whole thing.

The Washington Post reports:

The shooter is in FBI custody and has not yet been charged, authorities said. A law enforcement official said at one point in the scuffle, the shooter expressed views that differed from those of the Family Research Council. The official also said the shooter was carrying a bag that had a Chick-Fil-A bag inside. Chick-Fil-A’s chief executive has expressed similar views against same-sex marriage as the Research Council.

A Back to School Giveaway Special

Dr. R.C. Sproul has a new book out last month with David C. Cook. It’s called The Work of Christ: What the Events of Jesus’ Life Mean for You.  Recently, Tim Challies interviewed Dr. Sproul about this book and other matters. Here is one of their interactions:

What motivated you to write The Work of Christ? Was it an area in which you perceived a lack of theological understanding among Christians? Was it motivated by pastoral concern?

Well, the very first series that I did in the field of adult education was in 1969 at a church in Philadelphia, and the series was on the work of Christ. That was such an exciting time for me. It really was pivotal because I acquired a taste, indeed a passion, for adult education as a result of that experience of working with the laity in the church. I saw how they responded when they gained a deeper understanding of all the things that Jesus did in His ministry. So that passion was born in 1969. It’s never really left me.

Continue Reading…

Don’t Confuse Technology With College Teaching

Good thoughts on the limitations of online learning platforms:

Educators are coaches, personal trainers in intellectual fitness. The value we add to the media extravaganza is like the value the trainer adds to the gym or the coach adds to the equipment. We provide individualized instruction in how to evaluate and make use of information and ideas, teaching people how to think for themselves.

Just as coaching requires individual attention, education, at its core, requires one mind engaging with another, in real time: listening, understanding, correcting, modeling, suggesting, prodding, denying, affirming, and critiquing thoughts and their expression.

A set of podcasts is the 21st-century equivalent of a textbook, not the 21st-century equivalent of a teacher. Every age has its autodidacts, gifted people able to teach themselves with only their books. Woe unto us if we require all citizens to manifest that ability.

Read the whole thing.

HT: Krista Jo Miller

The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom

In an election where neither presidential candidate is known as a stalwart champion for the unborn, and in which fiscal issues are guaranteed to take center stage, some consideration of the connection between economic liberty and the right to life might be helpful.  In 2009, Representative Paul Ryan wrote a four page essay called “The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom.”  It appeared in a volume that the Heritage Foundation put together called Indivisible: Social and Economic Foundations of American Liberty (not to be confused with the more recent book with the same title by Jay W. Richards and James Robison).

The essay shows that Ryan has given this matter some thought. Here’s an excerpt:

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The Debt Bomb – Tom Coburn

As an aside, the Paul Ryan announcement reminds me of a great book I read over vacation: The Debt Bomb by Senator Tom Coburn. The reality is, the USA is broke: Our national debt is greater than the entire U.S. economy (we passed that threshold in January). Ryan is a man with a plan to fix this by reigning in entitlement spending over the long haul in a way that gets our fiscal house in order and does not hurt the truly poor. (By the way, he has strong social conservative credentials as well.)

Coburn and Ryan are not afraid to criticize failures in both parties.  For example, many Republicans pledge never to raise taxes so as not to hurt businesses and individuals by lowering their income, but then they go and spend money like crazy on wasteful projects, causing the national debt to soar. They do so to curry favor with those back home (“bringing back the bacon”) rather than acting in the nation’s best interest. Coburn masterfully explores the psychology of power, and how fear of losing it can change good people of various political persuasions. A great book.

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