In October I posted an article alerting my readers to “The Elephant in the ‘Elephant Room.’” For the uninitiated, the “Elephant Room” (ER) is a discussion forum originally designed to facilitate open, candid, and sometimes lively discussion between brothers in Christ who agree on the essentials of the faith (the inspiration and authority of Scripture, the Trinity, the gospel, etc.) but who may have differences over secondary matters (ministry philosophy and methodology, ecclesiology, etc.) James MacDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, is the founder, and he serves, together with Mark Driscoll as one of the moderators. Read more
In the eighteenth century, an Irish minister by the name of Jonathan Swift wrote a powerful satire, entitled, “A Modest Proposal.” In the most serious language, Swift suggested that Irish babies be sold for food, and that their skin be used as a kind of soft leather. As a result, there would be fewer mouths to feed, more food to go around, and a new industry that would create many jobs. This was his ‘modest’ proposal. In reality, Swift did not intend what he was recommending. Actually, he was attacking a common philosophy of the day, called “utilitarianism.” This philosophy taught that “the ends justify the means.” Read more
Should we allow minors into the membership of the church? Most evangelical churches would, without hesitation, answer this question affirmatively. Those that practice infant baptism believe the Bible warrants the inclusion of the children of believers into the membership of the church de jure. On the other hand, many Baptist churches today pressure young children to “make a decision for Christ” and accept such decisions or professions of faith without careful reflection on credibility. Read more
Matthew 20:20-28 speaks of human ambition. The disciples were jockeying for the position of “greatest in the kingdom.” Webster’s Dictionary defines “ambition” as “an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power.” Another dictionary provides a fuller definition. Ambition is “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.” The sons of Zebedee were obviously men of ambition. They aspired after greatness. Read more
In case you haven’t noticed, the doctrine of justification by faith alone (sola fide) is under attack. A growing number of modern scholars are conflating faith and obedience, confusing faith’s mode of operation in justification with its mode of operation in sanctification. This “new perspective” is based in part on a faulty reading of Genesis 15:6 where we read, “And [Abram] believed the LORD, and [God] counted it to him as righteousness” (ESV). What Luther and Calvin interpreted as a simple act of faith in God’s promise, some modern scholars are construing as a more complex demonstration of the patriarch’s faithfulness to God’s expectations. Read more
As we transitioned to a “new year,” many of us resolved to spend more quality time in the Scriptures. In light of this, I’d like to encourage my readers and especially the students of Reformed Baptist Seminary (where I serve as dean) to invest just twenty-minutes and watch the video below. Pastor Greg Nichols, a professor of Systematic Theology for RBS, develops the theme of profiting from God’s word under the headings of hungering for, sitting humbly under, and walking in obedience to the word of God. Read more
Reformed Baptist Seminary is partnering with Midwest Center for Theological Studies to offer a two-credit course on Eschatology (Last Things) the week of January 16 thru 21. Dr. Sam Waldron will examine the history of eschatological thought in the Church, the major structural considerations for an understanding of redemptive history (including the already/not yet, the kingdom of God, and the millennium), and Read more
In light of the approach of Christmas—a time when Christians celebrate the incarnation of Christ—I’d like to highlight the reality and importance of the virgin birth, or more properly, the virgin conception of Jesus Christ. Until recently, the virgin birth has been acknowledged as an important doctrine of the Christian faith. The early church fathers, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene and Chalcedon Creeds, the Lutheran Augsburg Confession, the Reformed Belgic Confession, the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, and the Westminster Confession of Faith all bear witness to the church’s faith in the virgin birth. Read more
Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is one of our family’s favorite stories. On Christmas Eve the Grinch steals every gift in “Who-ville” in order to spoil their joy. But the story goes on to tell us that on Christmas day,
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming! It came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same! Read more
Last year, I was asked to serve as a visiting lecturer in Roanoke, Virginia. I delivered two lectures on the question of whether NT prophecy and tongues are for today. The lectures were part of a course on pneumatology taught by Pastor Randy Pizzino. Some weeks prior to my lecture slot, Pastor Pizzino had invited Bruce Chick of Sovereign Grace Community Church to present the continuationist position. The task assigned to me was to present an argument for cessationism. The lectures are available on the Internet. For those interested in listening to and/or downloading the lectures, click on the links below. Read more