Thursday, October 31, 2013

Killing Children

It is a small leap from killing children in the womb to killing, say, two-year-olds (an idea already proffered by Princeton's Peter Singer). Belgium is now considering a law that would allow children to be euthanized. This ought to outrage but not surprise. A culture that approves the killing of the unborn has lost all moral sanity.

The U.S. is not Belgium. But what is keeping us from going down the same road? We elect lawmakers for whom abortion is a sacred right to be celebrated. We elected and re-elected a President who, while in the Senate, voted three times against The Born Alive Infant Protection Act which would guard the lives of those babies fortunate enough to survive an abortion.

Once we agree to kill our most vulnerable; indeed to even pronounce God's blessing on those who do the killing, then what boundaries remain?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Constant Reader

I am excited to see the publication of Thy Word is Still Truth.
“The embattled title casts this book as an apologia for Westminster Seminary’s stand in a recent internal debate. Yes, it is all of that, but it is a great deal more. It is a massive array of extracts from major writers over five centuries, demonstrating both the breadth, strength, clarity, humility, and rootedness of international Reformed bibliology according to its historic confessional self-understanding, and also the insightful energy with which Westminster’s own scholars have labored to vindicate the Reformed position as catholic Christian truth. The book excels as a resource for study and a witness to Westminster’s integrity.”
- J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia

“We have needed this book for a long time. In Thy Word Is Still Truth, Peter Lillback and Richard Gaffin have drawn together the comprehensive witness of the church on behalf of the total truthfulness and inerrancy of Scripture. No serious reader can doubt the case for inerrancy made so consistently and clearly in these pages, and no serious defender of Scripture can be without this vital volume that amounts to the most massive arsenal of documentation for the inerrancy of Scripture ever assembled in a single book.”
- R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY

“Since its founding in 1929, Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia has specialized in the doctrine of Scripture. Nearly everyone who has taught there over the years has made some contribution to the subject. The Westminster faculty published three collections of essays on Scripture: The Infallible Word (1946), Scripture and Confession (1973), and Inerrancy and Hermeneutic (1988). The present volume, however, is a contribution of a higher order. It not only republishes some of the best articles from the previous collections, but contains important writings on biblical authority from the Reformation and post-Reformation periods (including the churches’ creedal statements) down to the present day. There are articles from the faculty of Old Princeton, from which Westminster takes its bearings, articles on controversial matters, and articles describing the rationale for Westminster’s distinctive emphasis on biblical theology. And the volume is honest in facing up to the recent controversy over Scripture at Westminster itself and the seminary’s forthright response reaffirming biblical inerrancy. Throughout the years, I have been moved again and again by Westminster’s willingness to stand against the world and for the Word of God. The issue before the world today, as in the garden of Eden, is ‘Has God said?’ I know of no body of literature that can be of more help to people wrestling with this vital question.”
- John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sunday's Sermon

Sunday was Reformation Sunday. I preached from 2 Timothy on the Scripture's authority and sufficiency. The title of the sermon is "Above All Earthly Powers" and can be listened to HERE.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Plea for Discernment

Good stuff from Aimee Byrd:
The other day I was in the middle of a workout when the phone rang. I glance over to notice that it is my grandma. Better get that. As I push the pause button and catch my breath to answer, grandma is spilling praise over the phone to me about my newly released book. Of course my grandmother is going to be biased, but it was encouraging nonetheless. Just as I was getting excited about using my book to have deeper theological discussion with my sweet grandma, she drops a bomb: "However, I haven't finished your book yet because I've also been reading another fantastic book called, Jesus Calling. Have you heard of it?" Why yes, yes I have.

Immediately I began to wonder, how can someone read the claims in my book alongside of the claims in Sarah Young's Jesus Calling and say they are both wonderful? They say two completely different things about how God speaks to us and conveys Christ to us. I wondered how you could faithfully attend a Southern Baptist church for most of eighty-four years and not have the discernment skills to see when the sufficiency of Scripture and authority of God's Word is threatened.

Read the whole post HERE.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Every May I attend the Basics Conference at Parkside Church. It is an outstanding conference for pastors. The audio and video of last year's conference has been posted online. Along with Alistair Begg, the speakers were Kevin DeYoung and Thabiti Anyabwile. The messages are well worth the time to listen.

New website

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has launched a new website called Place For Truth. Check it out.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bully Pulpit

The latest edition of Mortification of Spin us up and running. It is one of our shorter "Bully Pulpit" editions.
Mortification of Spin: Bully Pulpit gives hosts Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt a chance to briefly discuss timely issues. Listen as they discuss some criticism and backlash they have gotten because of the podcast, and some of the reasons behind their perceived "harshness" toward prominent Christian leaders. How does the Bible guide our critiques of public figures with popular books and speaking tours? Do we need to sit down over a "no-foam, non-fat latte" in order to be able to speak out against these very public ministers? Carl and Todd take a stab at some of these questions.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Reformation Reading

Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite books related (perhaps indirectly) to the Protestant Reformation:

The Consuming Fire by Michael Reeves
This is my favorite introduction to the Reformation. It is rich in historical detail and theological reflection. Highly Recommended.

Living For God's Glory by Joel Beeke
The contributors of this wonderful book trace the history of the Reformed faith exploring its key doctrines, such as the Doctrines of Grace and the five solas of the Reformation. This volume is rich in devotional appeal as well; exploring Reformed piety and worship.

The Grace of Godliness by Matthew Barrett
Without a doubt, Matthew Barrett's book is one of the best explanations of the Doctrines of Grace. He traces the historical background of the Canons of Dort and demonstrates the biblical justification for the Doctrines of Grace. But this book is also an exercise in theology as doxology. A must read.

Here I Stand by Roland Baintan
The classic biography of Martin Luther.

Reformation: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow by Carl Trueman
Dr. Trueman traces the lasting significance of the Reformation for the church today. Required reading.

Chosen For Life by Sam Storms
Outstanding explanation and biblical defense of the doctrine of unconditional election.

God Has Spoken by J.I. Packer
The Reformation was a Word-driven movement. You cannot understand the Reformation if you do not have an adequate understanding of the doctrine of Scripture. This little volume by J.I. Packer is one of the best introductions to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

A Quest For Godliness by J.I. Packer
In this excellent book, J.I. Packer examines the lives and piety of the Puritans. This is my favorite introduction to the Puritans, their theology, and their approach to Christian living.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Explaining the benefits of murder for hire...

The church needs a bit  more satire. I know evangelicals are a pretty thin-skinned bunch and things like satire and irony are often lost on them. But these helpful polemical devices are found in God's inspired Word so I believe we can safely assume that there is a proper place for them in sanctified communication. This is so, in part, because satire and irony are quite effective tools in communicating by exposing the absurdity of a particular practice or point-of-view.

To that end, Betsy Childs has written a helpful piece exposing the moral absurdity of abortion.
I'll be the first to admit it; hit men are shady. But they are shady because they are doing work that no one else wants to do, work that is, in fact, illegal. By labeling contract killing a "crime," we have obscured the fact that hit men provide a valuable service to society.

Many women find themselves trapped in unwanted marriages. Matrimony severely curtails a woman's freedom, and husbands can be unreasonably demanding. A woman in such a situation is vulnerable. She sees only one way out, and so she makes the difficult decision to kill her husband.

But the inconvenient truth is that a woman hiring a hit on her husband will likely have to pay tens of thousands of dollars, with no guarantee that the kill will actually take place. Legalizing the transaction would remove uncertainty. Hired guns could be vetted, trained, and held to professional standards of safety. No one wants a hit to go bad. Removing the threat of prosecution would drastically lower the cost of contract killings. Legalizing murder for hire would bring a sordid industry into the light.

While divorce may be an attractive alternative to murder for hire in most cases, some women do not have the emotional and financial resources to go through a divorce. A contested divorce can take more than a year to resolve. After attorneys drain the couple's finances, the woman will be left with little money to get on with her life. Additionally, a discrete and well-timed hit protects a husband from the pain of discovering that he is no longer wanted. A truly skilled assassin can take his target painlessly in an instant, without any suffering. The end of a marriage can potentially ruin a woman's life, but if her husband can be taken out quickly and cleanly, it can be a new beginning for her.
Read the entire post HERE.

Friday, October 18, 2013

God has spoken

As an ordained minister in the PCA I took vows affirming my belief that the Westminster Confession of Faith is an accurate summary of the Bible's doctrine. That does not mean that I believe the WCF to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. Indeed, that belief is contrary to the Confession! Rather, it means that I am fully convinced that the writers of the WCF accurately summarized the Bible's doctrine. A part of that accurate summary is the following statement on the necessity of Scripture and the cessation of direct revelation from God.
Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased. (WCF 1.1, emphasis added)
Kevin DeYoung has posted a helpful piece on cessationism and the Westminster Confession of Faith - HERE.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I am thankful for Albert Mohler

As a young pastor I became convinced of the Doctrines of Grace. As a young Southern Baptist pastor I was terrified of this. At that time I did not know about a resurgence of Reformed theology within the Southern Baptist Convention. Indeed, that resurgence was still in its infancy. Nine Marks Ministries was brand new and Al Mohler seemed like an outlier. But as I searched for likeminded Southern Baptist brethren I was heartened to discover both Mohler and Nine Marks. Through them I learned that it was not only consistent to be a Calvinistic Southern Baptist but was actually in keeping with the founding of the denomination.

This year marks Al Mohler's 20th anniversary as President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. What happened at Southern Seminary beginning in 1993 is nothing short of extraordinary. So I thank God today for the role that Al Mohler played in my own life and in the life of a theologically compromised and adrift institution.

Over at Ref21 I have posted an appreciation of Al Mohler HERE.

Be sure and check out the documentary that has been produced on Al Mohler and Southern Seminary.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spousal Abuse and the Church

The latest edition of the Mortification of Spin is up and running:
Author and blogger Aimee Byrd joins your regular hosts Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt to talk about a perennial issue throughout the life of the church: abuse. Though Carl and Todd have discussed this issue before, they seek Aimee's wisdom in confronting a more subtle form of abuse that happens more often than it ought within the church. What role should pastors, elders, deacons and their wives play in unveiling marital abuse and reconciling husbands and wives? How can the church better prepare women to deal with these things biblically and theologically?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday's Sermon

On Sunday I preached Psalm 13. It is entitled "How Long O Lord?" and can be listened to HERE.

Whose story are we telling?

Good stuff from the White Horse Inn:
When sharing the faith with others, should we primarily focus on what happened to Christ, or what happened to us? In other words, should we focus on the gospel of Christ as we find it unpacked in the New Testament, or should we emphasize our personal testimonies, explaining to others what God has done in our own lives? We put this question to a number of attendees at a Christian convention, and you might be surprised by their answers.
Have a listen HERE.

An antidote for disaffected evangelicals?

There is an interesting post over at Bring the Books appealing to the so-called disaffected evangelicals to embrace the Reformed Faith. I couldn't agree more.

A Quest For Godliness by J.I. Packer

Strange Fire

Are the miraculous gifts for today? Does God speak to His people outside His Word? These are some of the key questions that will be explored in the Strange Fire conference. It sold out quite early so the organizers decided to provide a live video stream of the event HERE.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Preaching Through Ruth

Beginning in November I will be preaching through Ruth. I love the book of Ruth. It is the story of a small family during tumultuous times. It takes place in the days of the Judges when "everyone did what was right in his own eyes." In the midst of those terrible times God shines a light on the story of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. But as with all the stories in the Bible, God is the central character. In this brief book, God's faithfulness, providence, and sovereignty are highlighted. In his grace, God weaves Ruth the Moabite into the genealogy of Jesus. Boaz, Ruth's kinsman redeemer, points us forward to the superlative Kinsman Redeemer who would purchase us by His own blood.

The following are some outstanding resources on the book of Ruth:
Esther and Ruth by Iain Duguid
Faithful God by Sinclair Ferguson
From Famine to Fullness by Dean Ulrich
Judges and Ruth by Cundall and Morris
The Message of Ruth by David Atkinson
A Sweet & Bitter Providence by John Piper
Ruth: Poverty & Plenty  (small group study) by Tim Chester

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Some recent goings on...

On Friday, Carl and I spent the better part of the day recording new episodes of the Mortification of Spin. We were joined by the Housewife Theologian herself, Aimee Byrd to talk about things like modesty, Halloween and the theology of preaching. We also spent some time with Gloria Furman about life and church in Dubai. Additionally we had a great time chatting with the Pyromaniacs, Dan Phillips and Frank Turk, about Cessationism and whether or not God speaks to us outside his Word. We interviewed Dr. Denny Burk about his excellent new book What Is The Meaning of Sex? Carl and I also took time to discuss the work of elders and deacons.

I must also mention that Carl dubbed me the Meatloaf of Reformed theology. This was troubling to be sure but probably not nearly as bad as my crowning Carl the Elton John of Reformed theology.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bully Pulpit

The latest edition of Mortification of Spin: Bully Pulpit is up and running. You may also want to check out Carl's suggested rating system for listening to MOS.
What has become of marriage in our society? When the rules are as bent as they are now, even something as absurd as "marrying" oneself is no longer seen as laughable as it would have once been, but is praised and even endorsed. Listen to Mortification of Spin: Bully Pulpit and hear Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt discuss the state of marriage, and God's clear words about it in Scripture.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sunday's Sermon

On Sunday I preached the final sermon in our series through Jonah. It is entitled "God's Amazing Scandalous Grace" and may be listened to HERE.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Why Jim Wallis is wrong about the government "shutdown"

Jim Wallis, a leading light in the religious left, has released a YouTube video calling the "shutdown" of the federal government unbiblical. He is wrong. Wallis employs the very same tactics he has publically deplored when used by Christian conservatives.

Take time to read the following two pieces responding to Wallis:
1. It's Not Theology, It's Ideology by James Rogers
2. Jim Wallis on the Shutdown: It's Unbiblical by Joe Carter

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Becoming Presbyterian

Check out the latest edition of Mortification of Spin.
Carl and Todd are at it again! Join them as they discuss Todd's "journey" to his new Presbyterian "tribe" from his Southern Baptist roots. Listen in and learn more about the distintives of church governmental structures between denominations. Call them "elitist" if you must, but our hosts unashamedly assert the importance of getting the right men in the pulpit, as those men are to care for peoples' souls according to God's standard laid out in his Word. This topic is becoming more and more explosive as churches continue to seek the coolest and hippest men to be pastors, instead of choosing the educated and qualified men.