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(20 posts)

Forgive Yourself

Friday··2006·05·26 · 7 Comments
Tim Challies posted a good article today on discernment. The topic he chose to address in his discernment excercise, self-forgiveness, caught my attention and inspired a few thoughts. You would probably benefit from reading his post first. I can’t think of a single Biblical example of anyone sinning against himself. It just doesn’t happen. The real motive of “self-forgiveness” is to put it all behind us. We are not supposed to do that. Continuing regret over sins of the past, although forgiven, is a good thing. Three main points come to mind: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” may not be a Scriptural proverb, but it definitely is a truism. Forgetting past sins means forgetting the lessons learned from them. Gratitude to God requires us to remember our sin. How can we remember how much we have been forgiven if we forget our sin? The memory of our sins should serve to increase our love for God (Luke 7:47). The desire to put it behind us is really a desire to justify increased self-love. The memory of our sin should cause us to abound in grace towards those who sin against us (Matthew 18:23-35). Remembering sin is not the same as wallowing in it. If you’re doing that, your problem is not guilt, but pride. It is only pride that makes you focus on yourself and suffer from so-called low self-esteem. Get over yourself. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Remember how much you have been forgiven, and give thanks. Never forget.

God Gave C2H6O Part 1: Introductory Comments

Monday··2006·07·17 · 10 Comments
This is a topic that I have never intended to write on, primarily because of the inevitable knee-jerk reactions it will provoke. Those reactions will be along the lines of, Yeah, right. Here’s another libertine trying to justify his sin, another carnal Christian (a fictitious character, by the way) indulging his flesh in the name of Christian liberty. In a post on another blog, and in the subsequent comments (the provocation for this post), the observation was made that the only people who seem to care about this issue are precisely that kind of person. That observation, which in my experience has been accurate, was intended to demonstrate that only the unsanctified and self-centered would defend such an indefensible practice, but the spiritually mature know better. I believe the commenters who questioned the motives of those who defend this practice were sincere, but very often that charge is little more than a way of disqualifying their opponents by attacking their character—Clearly, if you were more holy, you would see it my way—so, because of the very predictable ad hominem, very few are even willing to take on the argument. Hence me, here, now. The topic, in case you have forgotten your chemistry (like me—I had to look it up) is beverage alcohol use. The purpose of this post is not to defend myself, but the sufficiency of Scripture and the character of God. That may seem grandiose, but I believe the stakes are that high. You will see why as this topic unfolds. The purpose of this post is not to persuade anyone to drink wine who doesn’t want to. Also, I do not believe I am under any obligation to prove anything. I am not trying to bind anyone’s conscience, and I believe Scripture is plain enough to place the burden of proof on the prohibitionists, not me. Although it should go without saying, this is not a defense of drunkenness. It’s a shame that I have to say so, but there are those who refuse to separate drunkenness from the enjoyment of a gift from God. They will probably continue to do so in spite of this disclaimer, but there it is. Another reason I have not formally addressed this issue is the fact that many men whom I deeply respect disagree with me. In fact, the one Bible teacher who has had the greatest influence on my theology, of whom I can say with no exaggeration, I am who I am because of his ministry, will disagree with me on this. His view on this subject seem an anomaly in the midst of a stellar life of biblical exposition. I can only assume, with all due respect, that it is the baggage of a fundamentalist background. Some of the issues I will address, not necessarily in order, are: Is drinking alcoholic beverages a sin?Is abstinence a higher standard?Is moderation acceptable, but abstinence wiser?Are the rules different now than they were in “Bible times?” What about the “weaker brother?” I absolutely will not be addressing the “wine back then was Welch’s” argument. With all due respect to some pretty smart guys who say so, I just don’t think it’s a viable theory worthy of consideration. I really have nothing to say about this that has not already been said. Additionally, much of my understanding of this issue comes from God Gave Wine by Kenneth L. Gentry. If readers of that book suspect me of plagiarism, I confess right up front, but it’s not intentional. Finally, some may ask, Why address this at all? If it is such a contentious, divisive issue, why not just give it up? Why not just abstain for the sake of peace and unity? Because peace and unity cannot be had at the expense of truth. The truth cannot be sold, especially so cheaply. This issue is being discussed currently because the Southern Baptist Convention has written a resolution condemning alcohol use. Consequently, the question has been asked, How Does It Feel To Exclude Jesus From Your Denomination? Tune in next time for Sola Scriptura and the SBC. Suggested homework: Read The Sword and Spirits, Drinking with Jesus, & Akin on Alcohol by Joe Thorn. Buy God Gave Wine by Kenneth L. Gentry. Next: Part 2: Sola Scriptura and the SBC

Word of God? Ha, Ha!

Friday··2007·09·21 · 7 Comments
Doug Pagitt says, It’s just so weird to hear him say stuff like that . . . Seriously, “If you want to relieve stress, go to the Word of God”? Ha, ha! Oh, my goodness! Okay, will everyone please stop telling me emergents are Christians? Can we just dispense with that fiction? Good, that’s settled. Addendum: Pagitt answers—or doesn’t—the question, “Does a good Buddhist go to heaven?” on Way of the Master Radio.

Say that Again?

. . . the armless man attacked her brother.“They got into a big confrontation, a verbal confrontation and a fist fight . . .” I know it’s not really a funny story, but an “armless man” in a “fistfight” just cracks me up.

The Christian and Politics

Thursday··2008·03·13 · 3 Comments
I believe very strongly that Christians ought to take part in the political processes in the countries in which they live, from the national to the local level. I believe in promoting right political ideology at every opportunity. And I believe that there is an ideology that is right, and that Christians cannot land anywhere they want on issues of politics and economics and still live Biblically. There is a Biblically correct view of law and government that excludes all others, and I believe Christians ought to be actively promoting that Biblical view. But . . . I also believe that certain segments of the church—not just the apostate gospel-free church that tends to lean left, but the true church that still maintains the Biblical gospel and thinks it leans right (but, in fact, does not)—have, at best, badly obscured the gospel and severely crippled their witness in the world, and worse, in many cases have completely abandoned and actually repudiated the gospel in favor of a political transformation of society, which, ironically, can never be affected by anything but the gospel. While I would hate—really hate—to provoke you to political pacifism, I would much rather see you go Amish than join the religious right (with whose goals I largely agree) and prostitute your witness to politics. The gospel is what we are to be about. The gospel is everything we are to be about. Now, the reason I wrote this post today: I want you to listen to a seminar presented last week by Phil Johnson at the 2008 Shepherds Conference entitled Politically Incorrect? How to shepherd your congregation in an election. You may now download this message free of charge here.

Left Behind?

This has to be the best scam I’ve seen in a long time.* The home page of explains the purpose of this “ministry”: You’ve Been Left Behind gives you one last opportunity to reach your lost family and friends For Christ. Imagine being in the presence of the Lord and hearing all of heaven rejoice over the salvation of your loved ones. It is our prayer that this site makes it happen. You’ve Been Left Behind will send your email message to up to sixty-two of your loved ones who didn’t make the rapture. Imagine how taken back they will be by the millions of missing Christians and devastation at the rapture. They will know it was true and that they have blown it. There will be a small window of time where they might be reached for the Kingdom of God. We have made it possible for you to send them a letter of love and a plea to receive Christ one last time. “But wait,” you say, “who will send the emails?” Good question. I wondered, too. Maybe they have a few volunteers on staff who have intentionally, sacrificially put off “making a decision for Christ”† until after the rapture. A risky move, for sure, but what an expression of evangelistic zeal and love that would be! But no, they’ve got it figured out: We have set up a system to send documents by the email, to the addresses you provide, 6 days after the “Rapture” of the Church. This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system. Okay, now that you’re hooked, what will this cost you? The cost is $40 for the first year. Re-subscription will be reduced as the number of subscribers increases. Tell your friends about You’ve Been left behind. Alright, what are you waiting for? Subscribe now! Get my re-subscription rate down! [Update 2014: Yes, six years later, the site is still up, and it seems they’ve gotten enough subscribers to lower the price to $14.95] * I am not mocking anyone’s eschatology here. I am ridiculing anyone who thinks God will be left short-handed when I’m gone. I’m pretty sure he’s got things under control. † I am definitely mocking preachers of decisional regeneration. They’re asking for it, and worse.

Saturday Stuff

This is just an odd collection of stuff: some serious, some interesting, some weird, some fun, and some a combination of more than one of those. Canadian parental rights are under attack here and here. Freedom of speech is no longer free in France and Canada. “Church Possibly Dates to Earliest Years of Christianity.” Missing the point entirely, my first reaction was, “Well, duh!” Do you know where your feet are? If your intended has already buried four husbands, you might want to reconsider becoming number five. I went out for basketball in 7th grade. I cold barely walk and dribble at the same time. I hate this guy. I was much better at stuff like this.

What I Did Yesterday

Wednesday··2008·07·30 · 4 Comments
This is not Myspace. I just wanted to get that cleared up right away, as I’m going to do something I seldom do: ramble about my exceedingly mundane life. I got up yesterday, came to my office, and posted to the blog at 7:26 AM, according to the time on the post. Then, cup of coffee at hand, I did my Bible reading. I’m reading Romans this month. It takes a little less than an hour every day to read it through. Then I went to the dentist. I don’t really mind going to the dentist. Pain doesn’t bother me much; if I can survive the initial shot of Novocain, I’m alright. The real pain comes through speakers in the ceiling. Forty-five minutes of Lionel Ritchie is a lot to endure. “Hello—is it me you’re looking for?” No, Lionel, it’s not; please shut up. I hate morning appointments. They really mess up my day; it’s hard to get going on anything in the afternoon if I don’t get a good start in the morning. I decided to spend the afternoon fiddling around with some small projects, some important, most not. I needed to wash Lionel out of my ears, so I started up Musicmatch Jukebox. I’ve become a big fan of audio Bibles, and have several translations, so I put up a playlist of—what else?—Romans. It’s the book of Romans in six different translations, interspersed with music. It’s twelve hours long, so because of the late start, I didn’t get through it all yesterday. In case you care, and I haven’t bored you to death already, it goes like this: Romans, 1599 GenevaCeltic HymnsRomans, KJVChristopher Parkening, Simple GiftsRomans, NKJVChristopher Parkening, Grace Like a RiverRomans, ASVPaul S. Jones & the Westminster Brass, Praise God in His SanctuaryRomans, NASBPaul S. Jones, Impromptu: Meditative Hymn ImprovisationsRomans, ESVHandel, Messiah My wife made some really good beer-battered fish (now that I think of it, I didn’t even ask what kind of fish) for supper. Later, before going to bed, we watched an episode of The Twilight Zone. Now, wasn’t that just fascinating?

Weekend Miscellanies

Today is the last day to take advantage of the early-bird registration discount for Together for the Gospel 2010. I know the only reason you’re going is to meet me, and you won’t want to pay too much for that. Once upon a time, the civilizing influence of the fairer sex was highly valued. Now, among the lofty goals of feminism is one woman’s dream: “One day, a late-night writer’s room will be filled with poop jokes and fart jokes . . . and everyone will laugh, including men and women of all creeds and colors.” A syndrome for all occasions: If you should find yourself a curious, but passive, onlooker to a horrendous violent crime, don’t be concerned; it’s normal, and even expected, now that everything can be explained in terms of syndromes. Disturbing, but no longer surprising: “It’s just not normal to look over and see your wife with another man. I know a lot of people would have a real problem with that. I really don’t.” I’ve wondered what the origin of the “Al Gore invented the internet” joke was. Now I know. What caught my attention in the Late Edition interview was the typical politician’s commandeering of Scripture when convenient. Pro-abortion rights Gore can ignore the Bible on murder, socialist Gore can ignore the Bible on theft, and climate-change crisis Gore can ignore the Bible on lying, but he can quote Matthew 7:20 in reference to the alleged good fruit of the Clinton administration. The “inconvenient truth,” of course, is that when Jesus said “by their fruits ye shall know them,” he was speaking of judging false prophets. We don’t do Halloween, but, although it goes against everything I believe, this is too much fun not to pass on.

Through the Bible with Mark Dever

I have been exceedingly blessed by Mark Dever’s Bible Overview sermons from Capitol Hill Baptist Church. While I am an avid fan of detailed exposition à la John MacArthur, these birds-eye-view sermons are extremely helpful in understanding the themes of the Bible and how they all hang together. See the forest, not just the trees, by listening to these excellent summaries of the whole Bible, both Testaments, and each book. The Download link, as you might guess, is a direct download (posted with permission from CHBC). The Sermon Page link will take you to the CHBC site. Many of these sermons have a text summary available on the sermon page. All of these sermons can be found in printed form in two nice hardcover volumes, The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made, and The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept. The first sermon, The Message of the Bible: What Does God Want of Us? has also been published in a single small hardcover. The Message of the Bible: What Does God Want of Us? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Genesis: “. . . which in their seeds and weak beginnings lie enteasured.” [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Exodus: “All the world’s a stage . . .” [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Leviticus: “The world is not thy friend, nor the world’s law.” [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Numbers: “Past and to come seem best, things present, worst.” [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Deuteronomy: “What’s past is prologue.” [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Joshua: Conquest [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Judges: Stalemate [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Ruth: Surprise [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 1 Samuel: Faith in Faithless Times [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 2 Samuel: Repentence [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 1 Kings: Decline [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 2 Kings: Fall [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 1 Chronicles: Heights [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 2 Chronicles: Depths [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Ezra: Renewal [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Nehemiah: Rebuilding [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Esther: Surprise [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Job: Wisdom for Losers [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Psalms: Wisdom for Spiritual People [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Proverbs: Wisdom for the Ambitious [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Ecclesiastes: Wisdom for The Successful [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Song of Songs: Wisdom for The Married [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Isaiah: Messiah [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Jeremiah: Justice [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Lamentations: Justice Up Close [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Ezekiel: Paradise [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Daniel: Survival [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Hosea: What Is Love? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Joel: Whom Will God Save? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Amos: Does God Care? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Obadiah: Does God Have Enemies? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Jonah: Can You Run From God? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Micah: What Does God Want? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Nahum: Who Is In Charge? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Habakkuk: How Can I Be Happy? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Zephaniah: What Is There To Be Thankful For? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Haggai: Are Your Investments Sound? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Zechariah: Does God Give Second Chances? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Malachi: Does It Matter How I Worship God? [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Matthew: Jesus, The Son of David [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Mark: Jesus, The Son of Man [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Luke: Jesus, The Son of Adam [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of John: Jesus, The Son of God [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Acts: Jesus, The Risen Lord [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Romans: Justification [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 1 Corinthians: Church [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 2 Corinthians: Weakness [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Galatians: Faith [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Ephesians: Grace [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Philippians: Humility [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Colossians: New Life [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 1 Thessalonians: The Second Coming [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 2 Thessalonians: Hope [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 1 Timothy: Leadership [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 2 Timothy: Success [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Titus: Beginnings [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Philemon: Forgiveness [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Hebrews: Sticking With The Best [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of James: Faith That Works [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 1 Peter: When Things Get Tough [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 2 Peter: Certainty [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 1 John: Christianity And The Flesh [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 2 John: Truth And Love [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of 3 John: Why Go To All The Trouble [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Jude: Having Faith In Faithless Times [Download | Sermon Page] The Message of Revelation: What Are We Waiting For? [Download | Sermon Page]
Just a few links that got my attention in the past few days: Another reason to dispose of the “First Lady” title and just call her “Mrs. President”: Olive Garden, Red Lobster Join First Lady’s Anti-Obesity Campaign. Here’s an economics-in-the-real-world lesson for Olive Garden, etc: I, along with pretty much every other consumer, choose the businesses that I will patronize based on one criterion, viz., it offers the products and services I want at a price I’m willing to pay. If you tailor your menu to the whims of some unelected busybody (elected busybodies are just as bad, by the way), well, I hope you see a lot of Mrs. Obama sitting at your table eating your fruit cups. Like other consumers, I go out to eat to have food I don’t normally can eat at home, and I get all the fruit I want at home. And be serious. French fries and sugar-sweetened beverages will not become the exception rather than the rule for children, unless you take them off the menu altogether. In that case, I hope Mrs. O brings her kids, and you have to listen to them whine as they pick at their fruit and vegetables, sans butter and salt. On the up-side for consumers, service should improve as the waiting lines disappear. But then, much of the staff will have been let go . . . I could go on and on with the consequences of non-consumer-driven business decisions, but you get the picture. By the way, for anyone who thinks the first sentence of the previous paragraph demeans the dignity of the First lady, let me say that I consider a move from political activist (or absolutely anything else) to dedicated wife and mother to be a huge promotion. Not that it will solve the problem of Presidential spouses trying to make themselves politically relevant, but it’s looking more and more like Mrs. O will be a one-term Mrs. President. But you never know. A clever voter registration campaign could turn things around. Okay, then, enough of that. For those of you thinking how unspiritual this post is, here’s an excellent critique of the Blackaby (Experiencing God) view of God’s will and guidance thereto, continued here, with a testimony to its consequences here. This is another example of why I believe all shades of charismatic theology are dangerous. Anytime you look for God’s voice anywhere but in Scripture (that’s the sixty-six books from Genesis to Revelation), you’re chasing a chimera.

Nothing Personal

I have long intended to write an article on “righteous anger,” but since Paul Tautges wrote it for me and posted it yesterday, now I don’t have to. Go ahead and read 3 Criteria of Righteous Anger. Finished? Okay. Now you know that “God-centered motives, not self-centered motives, drive righteous anger.” In this post, I just want to emphasize the points I would have made, had I written my own article. The cause of righteous anger is never a personal offense. That is, I am never righteously angry because you done me wrong. You may be truly guilty, and I may be right in my assessment of your guilt, but I can use none of that as justification for my anger. The motivation for righteous anger is never personal vindication. Righteous anger is not outrage over a violation of my rights, nor does it seek revenge or punishment for personal offenses. Any anger provoked by personal offense, no matter how legitimate and grievous, is as great a sin as the provoking offense, and requires repentance. To express it as briefly as possible, righteous anger is never personal. Therefore, human nature being what it is, righteous anger is rare. If you’ve been angry today, repentance is most likely in order.

What Is the Mission of the Church?

In an interesting providence, the very morning I was choosing between two books to begin—What Is the Mission of the Church? by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert, and Preaching and Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones—both came up in my feed reader, here and here, respectively. I chose the former. “Social justice” is possibly the hottest evangelical fad going today, hotter than the embrace of figurative readings of Genesis the downgrade of prophesy and miracles (my opinion, not DeYoung and Gilbert’s, at no extra charge).The Missional movement is largely to blame for the confusion over the title question of this book. What Is the Mission of the Church? is not, however anti-“missional”, or in any way a diatribe against that movement. The authors are simply concerned about the confusion that is evident in some circles about the mission of the church, and its effects. They write: 1. We are concerned that good behaviors are sometimes commended but in the wrong categories. For example, many good deeds are promoted under the term social justice, when we think “loving your neighbor” is often a better category. Or, folks will talk about transforming the world, when we think “faithful presence” is a better way to describe what we are trying to do and actually can do in the world. Or, sometimes well-meaning Christians talk about “building the kingdom” or “building for the kingdom,” when actually the verbs associated with the kingdom are almost always passive (enter, receive, inherit). We’d do better to speak of living as citizens of the kingdom, rather than telling our people that they build the kingdom. 2. We are concerned that in our newfound missional zeal we sometimes put hard “oughts” on Christians where there should be inviting “cans.” You ought to do something about human trafficking. You ought to do something about AIDS. You ought to do something about lack of good public education. When you say “ought,” you imply that if the church does not tackle these problems, we are being disobedient. We think it would be better to invite individual Christians, in keeping with their gifts and calling, to try to solve these problems rather than indicting the church for “not caring.” 3. We are concerned that in all our passion for renewing the city or tackling social problems, we run the risk of marginalizing the one thing that makes Christian mission Christian: namely, making disciples of Jesus Christ. —Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert, What Is the Mission of the Church? (Crossway, 2011), 21–22. Concisely, We want the church to remember that there is something worse than death and something better than human flourishing. If we hope only for renewed cities and restored bodies in this life, we are of all people most to be pitied. —Ibid., 23.

The Camera Cannot Capture the Curse

With the coming of the Son of God movie it has been observed that, like The Passion of the Christ, Son of God will show crucifixion, not the cross. This will always be the problem with dramas and sermons that focus on the physical brutality of the execution of Jesus. R. C. Sproul writes: There is a sense in which Christ on the cross was the most filthy and grotesque person in the history of the world. In and of Himself, He was a lamb without blemish—sinless, perfect, and majestic. But by imputation, all of the ugliness of human violence was concentrated on His person. Once sin was concentrated on Jesus, God cursed Him. When the curse of the law was poured out on Jesus, He experienced pain that had never been suffered in the annals of history. I have heard graphic sermons about the excruciating pain of the nails in the hands, of hanging on a cross, and of the torturous dimensions of crucifixion. I am sure that they are all accurate and that it was a dreadful way to be executed, but thousands of people in world history have undergone the excruciating pain of crucifixion. Only one man has ever felt the pain of the fullness of the unmitigated curse of God on Him. When He felt it, He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” . . . God certainly did forsake Him. That is the whole point of the atonement. Without forsakenness, there is no curse. God, at that moment in space and time, turned His back on His Son. The intimacy of the pros relationship that Jesus experienced with the Father was ruptured (in His human nature). At that moment God turned out the lights. The Bible tells us that the world was encompassed with darkness, God Himself bearing witness to the trauma of the hour. Jesus was forsaken, He was cursed, and He felt it. The word passion means “feeling.” In the midst of His forsakenness, I doubt He was even aware of the nails in His hands or the thorns in His brow. He was cut off from the Father. It was obscene, yet it was beautiful, because by it we can someday experience the fullness of the benediction of Israel. We will look unveiled into the light of the countenance of God. —R. C. Sproul, Who Is Jesus? (Reformation Trust, 2009), 88–89.

Shepherds’ Conference, 2014

I am taking the day off from blogging and pretty much everything else to watch the Shepherds’ Conference. You should too, if you have the time. John MacArthur is up at 9:00 AM PT. • Schedule • Live Feed Post-conference update: Stream or download audio and video here.

Arky-Arky Malarkey

If Hollywood makes a movie on any religious theme, they are going to get it wrong. That’s my presupposition, which is based on 1 Corinthians 2:14 and Romans 8:6–8, and it has never let me down. Consequently, I am never among the crowds of neo-evangelicals quivering with excitement over the next big theatrical “opportunity for the gospel.” Still, I’m thankful for the discerning and non-quivering few who are willing to take one for the team, pay the cash, sacrifice the time, and see the junk I don’t want to so I can read their reviews and, unfailingly thus far, have my presuppositions affirmed. Most recently, the Big Deal has been Noah. Here are my favorite reviews: Sympathy for the Devil I’m a Christian and I think “Noah” deserves a four star review Great review, in spite of the honorable mention given to The Passion of the Christ. Noah Probably Would Have Sued For Defamation A No Holds Barred Review of Noah : The Movie (2014) I know it’s been said that we can’t judge movies by the same standards as sermons, but I disagree. As I said in my critique of Spiderman 3, “whenever anyone, whether Christian, Roman Catholic, Jew, Muslim, or atheist opens his mouth on anything touching on God, theology, or spirituality, he is obligated to get it right.” Furthermore, any retelling of Noah’s story that isn’t deliberately gospel-centered is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I explain why here: Baptism in 1 Peter 3.

I Dream of Jesus

I have been hearing, and possibly you have also, about Muslims seeing Jesus in their dreams and being saved. This post will serve as a collection of biblical resources addressing this alleged phenomenon. If you know of others, please leave a comment or email me, and I’ll look at it and, if appropriate, add it here. Gary Gilley, Don’t You Believe It Fred Butler, Muslim Dreams and Visions of Jesus and Thoughts About Muslims Seeing Jesus J. Brian McKillop, Repentance

Education in Sanctification

Three excellent articles on sanctification by Mike Riccardi: Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness The Means of Sanctification Beholding Glory: The Dynamics of Sanctification I agree whole-heartedly with Riccardi on all but one point. He says that sanctification should not be called monergistic or synergistic (which is definitely an improvement over the opinions of others—some of whom I greatly admire—that it is synergistic). While his view is worth considering, I still maintain that sanctification is monergistic.

Memorial Day, 2017

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. I'll be spending it like many other Americans, eating meat from the grill washed down with cold malt beverages, relaxing with family, and . . . Oh yes, remembering and honoring those who purchased my freedom with their lives. This should not be an afterthought. Speaking of freedom, while we're remembering how it was gained, let's also give some thought to how we're using it. Tyne Cot Cemetery, Flanders

Five Hundred Years and Still Not Over

Happy Reformation Day. Carl Trueman lecturing on The Reformation at The Master’s Seminary


Who Is Jesus?

The Gospel
What It Means to Be a Christian

Norma Normata
What I Believe

Westminster Bookstore

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