June 22, 2012

When Bullies Lose a Leader (The Pedestrian Christian)

I have to admit this made me chortle repeatedly.  Alex lets Team Pyro have it with both barrels:

When Bullies Lose a Leader

Heaven forbid I suggest his language is strong... though sometimes I was finding myself laughing with surprise at his boldness.  After all haven't I repeatedly been accused of the same?


I'm not sure what he means with the reference to hyper-calvinism, so I did ask on the comment thread. Hopefully he will clarify. (YES he changed it to neo-calvinism, which makes much more sense!)

I must say I do agree with his general point.  The whole discernment community is becoming a good old boys' network and heaven help anyone who is principled enough to question the de facto leaders and not to engage in furthering this cult of personality.

I hadn't read the thing from Phillips about worrying about his hit count on his original blog.  That is really truly pathetic.  Do people really worry about the size of their audience?  Why?  I think sometimes I've looked at my hit count... by accident.  This blog is just my thoughts. If they help someone, good, and if not, then forget about it.

June 20, 2012

AMY - Exorcism at Mars Hill - Charter member of Mars Hill speaks out

This is truly a heartbreaking story:


(disclaimer: -- some "colorful" language as is typical of those from Mars Hill, including Mark Driscoll himself... but if you aren't tempted to wax profane at the incredible nature of this story, I have to wonder if you don't have a heart.)

June 14, 2012

It really is... FINISHED

A Lutheran (LCMC) blog  "CrossAlone" questions:
Preach the gospel, not the text – 1
What’s a preacher to do? Preach the text? Or the gospel?
Even Gerhard Førde said preaching is “doing the text” to believers.[1]
But doesn’t that work better with some texts more than others?
For example, when the lectionary has those “take up your cross” texts which presuppose that we can and must do something to make salvation work: “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:38).[2]
What do you do with a text like that? What did Førde do?
In this sermon, On Death to Self, Førde preaches the gospel even though he is preaching about “dying to self,” and “taking up your cross.” Excerpt
Here is an excerpt from Gerhard Førde's sermon on The Death of Self: (bold added)
"At the betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane when the crowd comes out against Jesus with swords and clubs, the disciples want to do something. They still want to do their bit for God. They want to take up the sword and risk their lives, perhaps, and fight. One of them grasps a sword and cuts off the ear of one of the assailants. But Jesus will have none of it: ‘Put up your sword,’ he says, ‘for there is absolutely nothing you can do!’ In Luke’s account, Jesus even stretches out his hand to undo what the disciple had done – he heals the wounded man. At that point, no doubt, everything within us cries out in protest along with the disciples. Is there nothing we can do? Could we not at least perhaps stage a protest march on God’s behalf? Could we not seek, perhaps, an interview with Pilate? Could we not try to influence the ‘power structures’? Something – however small? But the unrelenting answer comes back, ‘No, there is nothing you can do, absolutely nothing. If there were something to be done, my Father would send legions of angels to fight!’ But there is nothing to be done. And when it finally came to that last and bitter moment, when these good ‘righteous’ men finally realized that there was nothing they could do, they forsook him and fled.

Can you see it? Can you see that hidden in these very words, these very events, is that death itself which you fear so much is coming to meet you? When they finally saw there was nothing they could do they forsook him and fled before this staggering truth. You, who presume to do business with God, can you see it? Can you see that this death of self is not, in the final analysis, something you can do? For the point is that God has once and for all reserved for himself the business of your salvation. There is nothing you can do now but, as the words of the old hymn have it, ‘climb Calvary’s mournful mountain’ and stand with your helpless arms at your side and tremble before ‘that miracle of time, God’s own sacrifice complete! It is finished; hear him cry; learn of Jesus Christ to die!’

At the cross, God has stormed the last bastion of the self, the last presumption that you really were going to do something for him…He has died in your place! He has done it. He made it. It is all over, finished, between you and God! He died in your place that death which you must die; he has done it in such a way as to save you. He has borne the whole thing! The fact that there is nothing left for you to do is the death of self and the birth of the new creature” (Gerhard Førde, sermon - "The Death of Self").

Read more at CrossAlone  (see link on their page for the entire sermon)

Cheap Law - revisited

NOTE 3-14-2016
I have since come to realize that there are definitely problems with soft antinomianism going on in the church today. I wrote the original post here while still not seeing that problem. There certainly is a problem with hammering the law too heavily as well. But that isn't what I'm seeing in my circles at the moment.

original post:

I know I linked to Tullian's "Cheap Law" blog post in the previous post of mine. His was essentially a republish of another post by John Dink.

But I just wanted to grab a clip from the original, because it was so good.

Hallelujah, What a Savior!
"He tabernacles among the brokenhearted. Without a shred of ignorance, he can call every skeleton in your closet by name. Yet, Jesus is not ashamed to prepare a room for you in his Father’s house. He loves to share his reward with sinners. But, I must warn you. To those who think they deserve a place at my Father’s table… not even a stale crumb is reserved for you. If you trust in some personal display of good fruit to save your seat, you have received your reward and my Christ will not vouch for you. I beg you to listen to the voice of your first love: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
read more at John Dink's "Exchange" blog.  I assure you, only the spiritually strong and capable will be disappointed by it.

disclaimer (yes, Dink unfortunately does quote from Brennan Manning on his blog in other posts.  :-(  Sorry... not a fan of Manning.  Too squishy/mystical.)

Law and Gospel (6 articles) by Tullian Tchividjian

(note 6-22-2015): I have since come to the conviction that even though I don't believe all the critiques of Tullian are fair, they do have some good points. Tullian's message has been going off the rails for a while and his associations and messages are getting more vague.  He seems to have gone from assuming the gospel to assuming the law.)

NOTE 3-14-2016
I have since come to realize that there are definitely problems with soft antinomianism going on in the church today. I wrote the original post here while still not seeing that problem. There certainly is a problem with hammering the law too heavily as well. But that isn't what I'm seeing in my circles at the moment.

original post:

Law and Gospel Part 1
Law and Gospel Part 2
Law and Gospel Part 3
Law and Gospel Part 4

If's Kill! 
Cheap Law


Joel Taylor Throws Down (Again) On John Macarthur

Joel Taylor over at 5pt Salt has thrown down on John Macarthur's eschatology, and a few other large popular ministries.   I have to wonder, will he be labeled a discernment diva now?  Will Frank respond in his inimitably disdainful way?  Will Todd Friel mockingly talk about Joel and his circular firing squad and his tendency to "Fire! Aim!  Ready!"?  Will Phil come out of retirement to set the record straight and tell us how some people, especially women, just shouldn't be blogging, especially when they don't afford the proper amount of respect toward duly ordained ministers of God?  Well no, not likely, because he's already said he just isn't interested in eschatology.  However, as most people know, secondary doctrines do very much affect the primary ones i.e. the gospel, and Joel is attempting to make that case very clearly. All those guys have said that the gospel is the issues we are supposed to have circular firing squads over.

I do think it's about time more people discussed this issue.  I tend to agree with Joel here though I'm not clear that it's quite as important as he's making it (that may very likely be my own ignorance on the matter).  I think a lot of people don't even understand how it undermines the primary issues.  It is a felicitous inconsistency.

I wish people would discuss it more, with clarity on how it affects our understanding of the exclusive and precious gospel of salvation by grace ALONE through faith ALONE.  So I'm gonna pop some popcorn and watch and see if this turns into anything at all.  However, it looks like he's been posting on Macarthur for a while and they aren't paying attention.

June 12, 2012

Ascribing Free Will to Man Does Not Fix The Problem

I was just reading this little post someone shared with me, and it made me shake my head sadly.

Election, Foreknowledge and Free Will by Vera Six

I used to believe in Free Will.  I was somewhat of a C S Lewis type, holding God's sovereignty and Man's Free Will in some sort of cognitively dissonant state, not realizing how unscriptural the latter idea is.  I am amazed at the rest and freedom from guilt and fear that came in letting go of the latter tradition for that is what it is--just a tradition, and quite an unbiblical one.  How sad it is that so many still cling to it, thinking it is what makes God worthy of worship, for them.  For if God did not allow them free will, they seem to reason, he would be a monster that they could not worship.  Very well then, worship your idol.  For that is not the God revealed in Scripture.  I pray he will have mercy on you for it, though, and will reveal the truth to you in time.

If you think that by believing in "Freedom of the Will" that it makes God more just and fair, think again. Unless you take away God's sovereignty and quite a few of his other attributes, or become a Universalist, you still cannot get around the idea that God is not exercising his saving/wooing/drawing (whatever you want to call it) power on behalf of at least SOME humans. If you say that God is willingly submitting to man's free will so as not to violate man's free will, then he is STILL by some act of his will NOT saving some.  Consider the following analogy.  Remember no analogy is perfect but hopefully it will help you see the dilemma which is not resolved:

Martin Luther's commentary on Galatians

I am going through the excellent videos by Faith Lutheran church, Capistrano Beach, CA, of Rod Rosenbladt going through Luther's commentary on Galatians.  Good stuff.  He says at the beginning it's only going to be 8 weeks but it apparently turns out to be 14.  In the first part, at about 27:50 minutes he says something that I am sure, if read or played in an adult Bible Study class, will cause a lot of pietists of both Lutheran and regular evangelical stripes to  stand up and rend their garments...regarding teaching people to "ignore the law."

Martin Luther’s Preface to His Commentary on Galatians
The greatest wisdom of Christians, then, is to have nothing to do with the law and works and the whole of active righteousness, especially when the conscience wrestles with God’s judgment. On the other hand, the quintessence of wisdom among those who are not among God’s people is to know and earnestly follow the law and active righteousness.

It is very strange to the world to teach Christians to learn to be ignorant of the law and to live before God as if there were no law. Yet unless you are ignorant of the law and convinced in your heart that there is now no law nor wrath of God, but altogether grace and mercy for Christ’s sake, you cannot be saved, for knowledge of sin comes through the law. On the contrary, works and keeping the law must be strictly required in the world, as if there were no promise or grace. This is because of the stubborn, proud, and hard-hearted, before whose eyes nothing must be set but the law, that they may be terrified and humbled, for the law is given to terrify and kill such people and to exercise the old nature, and both the word of grace and that of wrath must be properly taught, as the apostle teaches in 2 Timothy 2.

June 11, 2012

Luther on the Law (Jono Linebaugh - LiberateNet)

NOTE 3-14-2016
I have since come to realize that there are definitely problems with soft antinomianism going on in the church today. I wrote the original post here while still not seeing that problem. There certainly is a problem with hammering the law too heavily as well. But that isn't what I'm seeing in my circles at the moment.

original post:

The end of the Law (Rom 10.4), understood by Luther as Christ kicking the Law out of the conscience and rejecting its role as the regulator of the divine-human relationship, is thus the end of the “ifs” that interpose themselves between God and his creatures. In place of the “ifs” Christ has uttered a final cry: “It is finished.” These three words are the unconditional guarantee of the three words God speaks to sinners in the Gospel: “I love you.” In this unconditional context the justified person is freed from the inhuman quest to secure a standing before God and freed for the human task of serving one’s neighbor. In Luther’s memorable words: “A Christian is a perfectly free Lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all” (Freedom of a Christian 1520).
Read more at Liberatenet.org