Where Did Those "Hateful" Christians Come From?
Calling Christians "hateful" for pointing out sinful behavior is a tactic born of slick corporate image consultants, but it is not an argument. By declaring the intent of Christians either hateful or bigoted (i.e. sinful) for simply expressing what God teaches is to profoundly misrepresent the intentions and beliefs of Christians. Not to mention the fatal inconsistency of calling Christians "sinful" for their declaring certain behaviors as "sinful". How can one consistently say that anyone who calls someone's behavior "sinful" is sinful? Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black? Aren't you guilty of the very thing of which you accuse another? Furthermore, how do you know if Christians are wrong? What standard is being appealed to here? This sinister scheme of marginalizing Christians for their beliefs actually promotes the most ignorant form of intolerance there is. For it pretends objectivity while giving a wholesale monopoly to secularists to determine for all of us, what is, and what is not, sinful ... thus making themselves into the new gods of the age.
Fact is, contrary to bumper-sticker wisdom, true Christians do not think they are more moral than others... we believe we are all in the same boat and, often times, much worse than others. We believe the world that has been pulled over ALL of our eyes to blind us ALL from the truth. The truth revealed by God that we are ALL slaves born into bondage. So we are merely sinners pointing other sinners to freedom and to bread ... and the intent, for the most part, is not from the vantage point of moral superiority (we're not), but rather one of love, to help mankind by pointing to their only hope for escape. Any so-called Christian who does it for any other reason is probably a moralist, or at least not being consistent at all with Christianity's central teaching of grace. For we believe that morality will damn just as much as immorality, apart from the Savior.
Starbucks, Saving Babies, and Calvinism
In today's broadcast, the folks at Apologia Radio speak out from a Christian perspective on some vital current cultural issues in a no-nonsense, hard hitting, but I believe, loving way.
I commend the Apologia radio ministry for both your prayers and support. I am interviewed in the final half of the show. The program can be found here. - JS
Evil as a Social Construct
The random acts of violence in our society demonstrates how desperately wicked we are. What profoundly sad news this week from both coasts. When people in the news ask why? My question in return is why not? If we have no ultimate standard to appeal to in our society, and are simply left to our own self-declared authority, then how is a massacre any different than a day at the beach? I am not claiming that I am any better or beyond evil, since I share in the same fallen humanity, but the Law of God acts as a restraint, and if it is not taught to our children then we are abusing them and are more likely to grow up despairing in the meaninglessness of it all, so why not be bad? What is bad anyway if there is no real truth, but a social construct and nothing more.
A revealing quote from a leading atheist speaks volumes:
"The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference." Richard Dawkins, God's Utility Function, Scientific American, p 85, November 1995 ...Consistency demands, then, that we should be indifferent to all so-called "evil" events, including the events that transpired this week. This bleak and inconsistent worldview, I believe, has played a large part in taking us down the road to the meaningless destination to which we have arrived ... with no inherent right or wrong and where no action is necessarily preferable to any other, giving rise to an environment where life has no objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Of course, not one atheist or nihilist can live consistently under this idea, demonstrating that they know, in their heart of hearts, that objective meaning really exists.
If you are in the Phoenix, AZ area...
POST TENEBRAS LUX - AFTER DARKNESS, LIGHT
REFORMATION POT LUCK
If you are anywhere near Phoenix, Arizona this Sunday (October 28) you are more than welcome to join us for a special pot luck event in celebration of Reformation Sunday.
The last Sunday in October is traditionally the time when evangelicals remember how God brought the clarity of the Gospel back to the Church when Martin Luther (on October 31, 1517) nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg Church in Germany, sparking the Protestant Reformation.
Start time is 11:00 am. We will join together in singing praises to our God and then start watching an excellent 6 part DVD series called "Reformation Profiles" by Dr. Stephen Nichols. People new to Reformed theology may wonder just what it was about a five-hundred-year-old historical movement that affects our thinking so much today. So join Dr. Nichols for an inviting, approachable take on “Reformation 101.” More than a history lesson, each session highlights one of the main personalities of the Reformation (including Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and Lady Jane Grey) and is just 23 minutes in length. These men and women affirmed the fact that on the sure foundation of God's word alone, justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, all to the glory of God alone.
Each character is seen in their historical context and then tied to one of the solas, making these vital doctrines come alive, as we come to understand how standing for these truths was a matter of life and death. Dr. Nichols helps believers understand why the Reformation mattered then and matters now.
Why the Reformation Matters
Sola Scriptura: Martin Luther & The Rediscovery of the Authority of Scripture
Sola Gratia: Ulrich Zwingli & the Rediscovery of Grace
Sola Fide: Lady Jane Grey & the Rediscovery of Justification by Faith
Solus Christus: John Calvin & the Blessing of Christ Alone
Soli Deo Gloria: Glorifying God in Everything
In between the teaching sessions there will be lots of great fellowship and great food.
ALL ARE WELCOME. If you share a passion for the Gospel and enjoy meeting like minded people, we'd love for you to join us. We aim to finish our time together by mid afternoon.
Further details here. - John S
Please Pray for the Sproul family
Dr. R. C. Sproul, Jr, wrote this today, "My precious girl Shannon's mute tongue is now loosed, though once lame she now leaps for joy. She and her mom are held by our Lord."
May God bring His comfort and peace to all the Sproul household.
Back in June, R. C. Jr wrote the following at the Ligonier website:
It had been my plan to be in Virginia this week, teaching what we call Couples Camp, a small group gathering where we talk for a few days about the sovereignty of God, the family, and the kingdom of God. I looked forward to the trip, my old stomping grounds, visiting dear old friends, talking about issues that matter to me. In God’s providence I am not in Virginia. I am not teaching, but am learning. I am not talking so much as listening. And worst of all, I am in some old stomping grounds, roughly 100 yards from the hospital room where my beloved spent much of the last months of her life.
Five days ago, concerned over a radical increase in seizure activity, and a frightening lethargy I called Shannon’s neurologist. Shannon is my 14 year old daughter. Her brain did not develop properly, and she has the mental capacity of a toddler. She also suffers from seizures. The nurse with whom I spoke had no uncertainty with her advice- call 911 and get her to the emergency room. She has been wonderfully cared for. Sundry experts have run their tests. Nurses have loved on her. Visitors have come to cheer her. And, by God’s grace it looks likely she will get over this, and in a day or two we will go home. Why then is my heart so heavy?
Because I don’t trust my Father as I ought. I know that the fear that raced through me for those long hours when I didn’t know if she would make it, that fear was medicine for my soul. That is, I know that the immediate hardship I have been through this week is strong plant food for spiritual fruit. I trust Him to break my heart for the sake of making me more like Him. I trust in turn that He loves my little girl with a perfect love, that she, because she is my spiritual better, feels His loving arms holding her every day, in sickness and in health.
It’s my other children I weep for. When their mother was dying, they had, by and large, their father with them. When she passed, I was there. The children have their physical needs cared for. The older children are amazing- giving, loving, and diligent. Meals are being brought in. We have help for this need and that. But my children, who love their sister as tenderly as their dad does, worry without me there. They have no mother to comfort them. I am not there to remind them how to trust, to model faith before them. That this breaks my heart, however, reveals my awful lack of faith.
I am here and not there because He has brought this to pass. I am here for Shannon’s sake, for her good. I am here for my own sake, for my good. And I am here for the sake of Darby, Campbell, Delaney, Erin Claire, Maili, Reilly and Donovan. My Father knows what each of my children need. He knows how to grow the fruit of the Spirit in each of them. He knows precisely what they each need to become more like Jesus. And He has the power to bring this to pass. What they need right now if for me to be here.
Loss of a mother, worry for a sister are not emotional meteorites hurtling haphazardly toward the psyches of my children. They are the plans He has for them, plans to prosper them and not to harm them, plans to give them hope, and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Which, by His grace, are the same plans He has for me. By His grace I will hope in Him and praise Him, for the help of His countenance (Psalm 42:5).
Back in June I was interviewed by Pastor Kevin Boling about my new book "Twelve What Abouts" on the "Knowing the Truth" Radio broadcast. The radio station covers all of South Carolina and parts of the adjacent states.
There seems to have been a great deal of interest in the broadcast, with more than 700 mp3 downloads, and so I was invited back to do a second interview about the book today. We were able to talk about a number of the "what abouts." Here are the links to the two programs:
First Interview (MP3)
Today's Interview (MP3)
Monday in Tucson
I am looking forward to spending most of today with a TV/film production crew in Tucson, Arizona.
Lord willing, I will be teaching for around 4 hours in total with the purpose of making a DVD seminar as a supplement to my new book "Twelve What Abouts."
Obviously our wish is that the final product could really be a blessing to people and help many to understand God's grace in election in a new and fresh way. I would really appreciate your prayers.
Twelve What Abouts - Paperback Edition - Now Available
“After finishing a sermon from Ephesians 1, I was immediately confronted by three hostile young visitors who asked the question, ‘What about John 3:16?’; as if the Bible contradicted itself. This non-thinking, non-theological, feelings-oriented mindset is typical of today’s postmodern generation. Pastor Samson has given us a warm and simple (without being simplistic) introduction to the Doctrines of Grace, so this type of ignorance can be biblically combated. This book is a very helpful tool to give to a young Christian or to someone newly encountering the truths of free and sovereign grace. Distribute it widely.” – Earl M. Blackburn, Heritage Baptist Church, Shreveport, Louisiana
I now have the paperback edition of the book in my hands. It has a very attractive front and back cover, the print is large enough to read (my mother loves this aspect), and at 160 pages, it can be read in just a short time. I hope that in time the book will come to be something of a Pastor’s or Bible Teacher’s “best friend” in terms of having something simple, clear and easy to read available for those who struggle with the very weighty issues of God’s Sovereignty in salvation. - JS
You can buy it from monergismbooks at a 44% discount here.
Why Are Secular Progressives So Threatened by the Christian's View of Homosexual Behavior?
Why do the the secular progressives feel so threatened when homosexual behavior is called a sin by Christians? Is this sin unique among sins? The recent fury by the Hollywood crowd over Kirk Cameron's honest answer to a journalist's question got me to thinking about this.
For thousands of years the church has declared many various things as sinful; practices that are in direct rebellion against the Creator. These are acts that God Himself revealed to men as opposing his Lordship. The church has always declared the sinfulness of sex outside the covenant of marriage (before and after marriage), the sinfulness of idol worship, greed, hatred, pride and arrogance, self-righteousness, murder and many more. And the largest proportion of these are directed toward the church's own sin. You can see this every morning in our prayers and every Sunday (in confessional churches) during the corporate confession of sin where we remind ourselves that we are sinners and do so by then naming specific sins we ourselves are all guilty of ... and the very grace in the gospel constantly reminds that we are no better than others (this is such an easy sin for all of us to fall into), and we also remind ourselves that but for the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ alone would would have no hope at all. We confess daily that if we based our ability to please God and earn eternal life on our own broken sinful lives, that none of us would make it, since we all justly deserve God's wrath. Humanity, therefore, needs a Savior because it is in slavery to sin and bent on rebellion against the only one who can deliver us. None of us are immune from sin and our personal sin is not above the sin of the gay person. We are all equally damned without God's grace.
When we tell others that something they are doing is sinful behavior in the eyes of God it is not because we hate them or think we are better than them. On the contrary, it is a call from other sinners like them to escape their slave-master and flee to Jesus Christ, the one who lived the life we should have lived and, in our place, died the death we justly deserve. None of us are born free. Only Christ can set us free.
Now, the secularist may not agree with that and think it is foolish to believe in God, but it is only spreading the greatest ignorance to imagine that when the Christian says homosexuality is sin that it somehow promotes hatred, bigotry and bullying, all sins that are equally bad, if not worse, than homosexual behavior itself. When we declare these other practices sinful, I noticed that the progressives do not call it hatred. They may laugh and shrug their shoulders but they do not think it is bigotry. So why is it then that this particular sin is singled out? It seems to me that the purpose has more to do with the political rhetoric used when someone wants power, than anything based in reality. If Christians are bullying people because they are gay, then in all likelihood they are not Christians. I think deep down the progressive secularists know that Christians declare God's law, not out of hatred but of love. We can even see this in popular culture. On Seinfeld, When Elaine's Christian boyfriend did not warn her about hell, she complained that he did not care about her because if he thought there was a hell, he should at least warn her about it, even though she didn't personally think there was a hell.
This is not not say that there are not so-called Christians who hate or are bigoted. It is to say that this is not the motive behind the vast majority of those in the true church. We rail against bigotry and hate in ourselves every bit as much, if not more, than we do someone's perverse sexual behavior. Homosexuality is really not something we think about very often. But if you ask us or if you would have us vote our conscience when the issue comes up then we will. Christians will never, and I repeat NEVER, change their mind about this. God's law always triumphs over social pressure. Time to be tolerant yourselves and get used to it without calling other people hateful. This reaction is evidence of Christophobia rather than anything resembling what is going on in our minds.. That is merely to spread false reports and may help a political cause but it does not match reality.
Remember it is one thing for individuals to commit a sin and yet know its wrong and feel remorse about it. All men do this and such sin is forgivable. But it is entirely another matter when society begins to call good "evil", and evil "good"... by calling good "bigotry". This is the height of mass self-deception.
Psalm 51:5 - 'Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.'
Soon to be out in Paperback
Since the new book was published in an eBook format, many have asked if it would ever be published in a paperback format. The answer to that question is "yes" and it is now available for pre-order and will ship out as soon as it is published (an expected date being late February, 2012). It was very encouraging to then learn that a gentleman named Randy, in hearing this, immediately placed an order for 40 books, as he wants to make them available to the students in his Bible class.
I just received this encouraging feedback on the book today: "Highly recommend. Samson gets right to the point in a very well organized book. It seemed that every time a question would pop into my head, I would turn the page and the answer to my question was waiting for me. I have recommended it to a number of my Arminian friends, but they are very resistant. I can identify with that because I know from past experience (as a libertarian free-will believer) I was predisposed to reject Calvinism. But what freedom is found when the blinders come off and the truth slaps you in the face. I pray that this book would get into the hands, then the hearts and minds of people everywhere."
God bless, JS
New Book Published
The long awaited eBook is now published and available. My prayer is that God will use this to change many hearts and minds and cause His people to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of His all conquering grace. - JS
Full details can be found here.
I would value your prayers
I would very much appreciate your prayers. I am in the final stages of writing a book which, God willing, will be published in an e-book format. I hope to be finished by the end of the month. - JS
Here's the first working cover art work (thanks J):
Religiously Neutral in the Public Square?
Have you ever noticed that that those who pour the most scorn on traditional principles in the public square as being "religious", not least about sexual behavior and abortion, all the while, insist most loudly on establishing their own principles on the same issues and yet exempting it from the category of religion? At least be honest ... Establishing a universal moral principle is never religiously neutral.
Was Norway Terrorist Anders Behring Breivik a Christian?
In connection with the youth camp massacre on Friday that left 85 people dead, Norwegian police have arrested a man Saturday, whom they describe as a â€œright-wing fundamentalist Christian,â€ Hmm Fundamentalist? I think perhaps they are using the wrong word. If anyone murders in the name of Christ it is not because they are taking the Bible too seriously, but because they are not taking the Bible seriously enough. Many people in Norway think they are Christian simply because they are Norwegian. Don't get me wrong, I believe as fallen human beings any of us are capable of the most heinous atrocities. So, I would argue, that human nature is the cause rather than the teachings of the Bible.
I predict the media may be too quick to jump on this one. This is because the teachings of Christ are primary to the Christian faith, especially of the "fundamentalist kind, but it does not include or condone the taking of human life for any reason. If, by the grace of God, you live by Jesus' teachings, you do not murder another human being, period, regardless of their ideology. Killing may be fundamental in other religions and ideologies, but certainly not in the Christian faith! In many ideologies, the greater the degree of fundamentalism the greater danger of violence it poses on society. In Christianity, the more conservative the theology the less likelihood there is of violence.
Next, it is a simple fact that followers of Christ are not threatened by Islam, Secularism or Paganism. God is sovereign over all things, including the unfolding of the minutest details of history. It is ours merely to proclaim Christ and what He has done for sinners - and God causes the growth or not. The small political gains we might make in this world do not help sinners know Christ and find salvation, only the gospel or grace does that. Christianity does not flourish by taking over the reigns of power, or by beating down opposing ones. On the contrary, it has been shown over and over in history that Christ advances his kingdom in the least likely of places. China for example, has been closed to Christianity almost through their entire history. But when Mao decided to persecute and make it extremely difficult for indigenous Christians, God saw to it that this oppression would create the greatest revival the world has ever seen - from 1 million Christians in 1949 to well over 100 Million today, in just 60 years. From this we can only conclude that the gospel is not chained. We advance our cause through proclaiming good news to every creature, not by wielding physical weapons or political power. That is not to say we do not vote or get involved in politics. As long as it is legal we will vote our conscience based on God's law, but the success of the gospel does not depend on it and again there is no place for violence to accomplish these goals. Christ forbade his followers from stopping him from being killed in Jerusalem at the hands of evil men. Likewise, when people want to stamp Christians out, the faith has historically grown because the message of the cross in their lives has been the most powerful witness against falsehood, and its all done without picking up a sword. Lastly, as Christians we recognize that we are no better than other people in the world. We are not Christians because we are more moral than others or better in any way, but only because God was merciful to hell deserving sinners like us. Apart from the grace of God, we have nothing.
So the answer to the question of whether or not he was a Christian should be clear. He is not. But, whatever he called himself, he certainly was not of the conservative gospel kind of Christian. His statements rejecting Protestantism and embracing the strange beliefs of the Free Masons might also give us a clue. Police have speculated that the attack may have been politically motivated. Behring's political comments appearing on some political blogs seem to suggest that "fundamentalist Christian" is a very misleading description. There his views appear to be more ideological rather than religious with his overall focus being his opposition to multiculturalism.
Lets hope the press does not botch this as they did with Jared Laughner, who was well-known for this atheism yet strangely enough, people not associated with him or his insane ideology at all, were thought to be to blame.
"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Breivik is a Darwinist who sees Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform, who supports a monocultural Christian Europe. An agnostic/atheist who claims to want to preserve the basics of the European "Christian" cultural legacy.
Terrorist proclaimed himself 'Darwinian,' not 'Christian'
Norwegian's manifesto shows Breivik not religious, having no personal faith
Update: Gospel Tract Printing in India
God has His elect people in every tribe, tongue, people and nation. That's what gives us courage and persistence in evangelism and world missions. When the Gospel call goes out, He will certainly gather in His sheep, and all who are ordained to eternal life will believe (Acts 13:48).
I am excited that a Gospel tract I wrote has been warmly received in India. It has been translated into the local Malayalam language. With 10,000 of these tracts handed out at Easter time, there is a call for a further 100,000 to be printed. Perhaps this vision is something you might consider supporting in prayer and even in giving. God bless you. - John S
Thank you for your prayers
Thanks for your prayers regarding tonight's radio show. I think it went well. Callers asked some great questions and I think I was able to say enough to point people in the right direction biblically. If you missed the show, you can hear it for the next month or so on a podcast here.
One caller asked a question about 1 John 2:2 which I didn't really have time to answer (with less than 90 seconds before the end of the show) and I promised I would post a fuller answer before the end of the evening... so here we go. Three things might be helpful:
My article on 1 John 2:2 here.
...this article on John's use of the word "world" here.
.. and Dan Phillips' article here.
God bless - and please remember Thursday in your prayers when I host the show again. Thanks so much. - JS
Tuesday (and now Thursday) Evening Radio Show
I would really value your prayers for tomorrow evening, Tuesday, May 24, when God willing, I will be hosting a one hour live call in radio program (the Andrew Tallman show). Andrew is taking a well earned break and has asked me to fill in for him.
My subject will be "Divine Election" as well as handling some of the many objections that are often raised by the subject. The show can be heard live across the Phoenix area at 6:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. EST) and also live on the internet (same time of course) at www.kpxq1360.com - (when you get there, click on the "Listen Live" button at the top of the page)
(For those wanting to listen in on the internet live broadcast, here is a website giving you the current time in each time zone around the world. For instance, 6:00 p.m. Tuesday in Phoenix is 2:00 am Wednesday in the United Kingdom.) - JS
UPDATE: In addition to Tuesday's hosting of the Andrew Tallman show, I have just been asked to do the same on Thursday (May 26) also at the same time, where I believe we will continue the theme of Divine election.
I would really value your prayers
A few weeks ago, I mentioned the possibility of a short Gospel tract I had written being printed and put into 10,000 newspapers in Kerala, India later this month on Good Friday. Here's an update. - JS
For those who have been continuing on with the TULIP seminar, the final post is now up here, where I invite your comments and feedback. - JS
For those following the TULIP online seminar, part 9 has now been posted here. - JS
Needed Prayers for New Zealand
A good friend of mine who lives in Christ Church New Zealand, sent me the following letter this morning with permission to share its contents. Last night when I heard the news of Christ Church having been lain waste,I thought of he and his family right away I was glad to hear from him this morning and this is what he has to share:
Dear John my old Bro., on September 4th last year we had a 7.1 earthquake here in Christchurch with one death linked indirectly to it and multitudes of buildings and infrastructure damage in the billions of dollars. Well yesterday 22nd at around 1:00 pm our time we had another earthquake at 6.3 far shallower and with much much more violent shaking and the aftershocks have been on going ever since with much more damage and scores of deaths. Very frightening and many Christchurch residents are in shock and homeless. As of midnight 22nd the death toll stands at 65 with many more people unaccounted for and at first light will probably paint an even more grim picture but also there is good news and many have been pulled to safety. Our power (80% of Christchurch was out intially) was down until around 12:30 am this morning 23rd our time and is now back on but our water and sewerage is out and we do not know for how long. We do have supplies stored away for about a week with some spare to share with neighbours if the need arises. It is a mess here in Christchurch and the face of Christchurch has been changed forever. Many many historic buildings have been lost and even the cathedral in the centre of the city has been severely damaged and some people were killed that were up the spire which had collapsed. We have specialist teams flying in from Australia and the USA to help in search and rescue which is a real blessing.
Anyway John my friend, I am emailing you this to ask you if you would please pray for Anne and I and for the people of Christchurch for strength to face the tough days ahead. Thanks.
Here is a link to one of the newspapers here that is covering it: http://www.stuff.co.nz/
and a link to television coverage: http://tvnz.co.nz/
Man vs. Machine
There's something very exciting about seeing a super computer in action on a TV show. Four years in the making, this super computer recognizes human language and can answer questions fast enough to beat the best of the best mankind has to offer.
Its all very fascinating, but more than a little scary too.
"Watson is the name given to IBM's supercomputer, which proved both faster and smarter than the two most decorated Jeopardy champions of all time.
Watson, which is much too large to fit behind a podium, was represented by an avatar and fed the questions via text. This occurred at the same time Jeopardy host Alex Trebek read the questions out loud to Ken Jennings, who hold's Jeopardy's longest win streak ever at 74 games, and Brad Rutter, whose more than $3.2 million in winnings is also a record. But they were no match for Watson, who rang in faster and answered more questions correctly, including a pair of Daily Double questions, one of which Watson was only about 32 percent sure of his answer yet still got it correct."
For those following the online study of TULIP at my blog, part 7 has now been posted here, the subject being "Limited Atonement." - JS
To whet your appetite, here are some quotes by C. H. Spurgeon on this theme:
â€œI had rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than an universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of man be joined with it.â€ (Sermon number 173 â€“ Metropolitan Pulpit 4:121)
â€œThe doctrine of Holy Scripture is this, that inasmuch as man could not keep Godâ€™s law, having fallen in Adam, Christ came and fulfilled the law on the behalf of his people; and that inasmuch as man had already broken the divine law and incurred the penalty of the wrath of God, Christ came and suffered in the room, place, and stead of his elect ones, that so by his enduring the full vials of wrath, they might be emptied out and not a drop might ever fall upon the heads of his blood-bought people.â€ (Sermon 310 â€“ â€œChrist our Substitute â€“ New Park Street, Southwark)
Conference on Adoption in Portland, OR
The Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, which is being held in the Portland area this year is just around the corner. It begins three weeks from today to be exact. For one, I am excited about the caliber of preachers that will be addressing the subject of "Adoption" this year. We will be joined by Dr. Steve Lawson, Dr. Joel Beeke, Rev. Al Martin, and Rev. Richard Phillips. Registration is still open and I would be excited to see each of you there.
The conference is being held at the Estacada Christian Church on February 25 and 26 with the conference concluding with the Lord's Day worship on February 27. If you would like more information or would like to register log on to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals website: www.alliancenet.org and register. Of course, if you have any questions I invite you to send me an email or contact me at 503-522-0340.
For those continuing on through the TULIP series online, part 6 has now been posted here. - JS
Is Christianity to Blame for Violence Against Homosexuals
On facebook I ran across a discussion about an article about the violence against homosexuality in Uganda. Below is one person's comments (named Kevin) with my response
It's partly the church leaders fault for implanting the ridiculous notion that homosexuality is wrong. Obviously, they weren't preaching violence, and these idiots went way too far, but this is the problem with missionary work. MOST of the ...people here in America have grown up understanding various religions and know the positions on things, so they aren't prone to violence (not all, but most) against these groups. But introducing a new religion to people, telling them these things that the deity says are evil, what reaction do they expect? New converts are going to be over-zealous by nature.
@Kevin, If this were the case then they would also be murdering thieves, adulterers, liars, polygamists, and other people who have sin problems like me. There are a lot of things that Christians believe about right and wrong -- and they do not lead to violence toward them. Here's why....
The first truth about Christianity is that I personally justly deserve the wrath of God for my sin save for his mercy in Jesus Christ alone. ANYONE who believes this most basic truth of Christianity has ZERO interest in violence toward others because he has realized for the first time that apart from grace, there he goes as well. That other sinner is JUST LIKE ME. If someone does not believe this basic truth then they have not been taught true Christianity at all. Homosexuality is wrong but so are many things I have done and now unfortunately still occasionally do. Being born with an inclination toward something, however, is no excuse for them or for me. We all are born with such inclinations. So Christians, seeing the reality of the situation, can only view themselves as beggars leading other beggars to bread. We cannot be angry with them for being sinners because we are too. Telling people God's law which shows them to be sinners or is not only not unloving, it is the most loving thing we can do. Because Jesus offers forgiveness for all of their sin. There is nothing extraordinary about the sin of homosexual acts. Certainly no worse than the many things I have done. And I am sure many of them a better citizens than I have ever been. But this is not the issue.
When someone has a drug problem, a good friend will intervene. You don't call him a hater or inciter to violence because of it. On the contrary, you see that he cared enough about his friend to act. The same goes for Christians who tell it bluntly. And they can do so gently simply because they also have the same disease. Now you may not share this worldview, but don't call them haters. From their perspective they are doing the only thing that can help. If Christianity is true then it will end up that the real haters will be those who stood by and agreed who rebelled against God.
John, I see your point, but if you re-read my post, I said the church was only partly to blame and I made it clear the church does not promote violence.
And I'm relatively positive Liars, Adulterers, thieves and the like are also murdered i...n these countries, but there isn't as much media attention at the moment because of the contentious gay issue and the current law being presented to their congress.
Your lesson in Christianity is understood, and in theory it works, but do you really think that in practice, it is always the same? People don't preach the same just as
â€Ž@Kevin, Indeed ... I have no doubt in my mind that there is and has been a great deal of false and inadequate teaching in the name of Christianity leading to countless problems. This has been the case through church history. But I believe... the resolution to the problem is not to take the Bible less seriously (since this is what led to the problem in the first place) but to take its contents more seriously. Grace is such a difficult lesson that if it is not taught, and it merely becomes a list of dos and don'ts, then I can look down on others who are not LIKE ME. But this is not Christianity but Phariseeism, the natural inclination of a large percentage of people both inside and outside Christianity.
Yeah definitely. I'm not a christian in any way shape or form, but if the missionaries are teaching something more along the lines of peace and love and universal brotherhood, rather than just "this is right, this is wrong', its impact will be greater and more constructive.
Without grace, telling people to simply change their behavior is not helpful. But with the gospel of grace, you CAN preach right and wrong because, at the same time, you see the log in your own eye as you tell others about forgiveness and escaping the sin through grace.. This way it is proclaimed without condescension, hatred or an "I am better then you" attitude. But to be sure, peace and brotherhood does not come from saying evil is OK. It comes from understanding oneself to be evil and having fallen woefully short and pointing others to Christ, who alone is without sin and can save the lost.
If I was doctor who went to a remote island where all of the peoples there were dying of a disease ... a disease I also had ... Loving them would have to include telling them they had to stop eating a certain root, but also that they needed the medicine that I am also taking. Both are important. Many may not believe me but this does not make me less loving for telling them. It is loving them.
@John: Yes, but it's one thing to preach against evil and another to preach against something that is simply natural for 10% of the population.
@Kevin, I was personally born with many evil propensities. My being born with them does not alleviate me of responsibility. We live in a post- fall world where ALL people are born with a natural tendency toward some forms of evil. Homosexual acts are just one of them. Christianity has preached against adultery and polygamy forever but these are frankly the natural inclination of the majority of men. Do we stop saying it is wrong simply because they were born with the inclination. This is what separates us from the animals. We have ideals and morals. What are morals except shooting toward an ideal that we do not presently live up to. Why don't we live up to it? Because we can't. We are born with the natural tendency to disobey God. Just try obeying the ten commandments for a week and you will know what I am talking about.
I would respond, but then this would become a theological debate, which just deviates too far from the original topic and, as I am greatly outnumbered among Franks friends, i will relent and not subject anyone to my hedonistic and darwinian views.
I understand completely Kevin. But I will leave you with this challenge.
As a Darwinist, (Quoting Doug Wilson), all the things you mention (like calling homosexuality sin) and other things you are morally outraged by are in the "meaningless" category. Morality, tragedy, and sorrow are equally evanescent. They are all empty sensations created by the chemical reactions of the brain, in turn created by too much Chinese food the night before. If there is no God, then all abstractions are merely chemical epiphenomena, like swamp gas over fetid water. This means that we have no reason for assigning truth and falsity to the chemical fizz we call reasoning or right and wrong to the irrational reaction we call morality. If no God, mankind is a set of bi-pedal carbon units of mostly water. And nothing else. You have no way to account for morality. You should have no objection to the way others behave or for Christians who say there is right or wrong. Given your worldview, there is no moral difference between genocide and a day at the beach. In both cases, all you have is atoms banging around.
Objective and universal standards of reason, morality, and beauty simply cannot exist in your purely material world. So when you are morally outraged, you are fighting Christianity with borrowed Christian weapons.
For those following the online TULIP seminar, part 5 is now posted here on the subject of unconditional election. - JS
For those following the online TULIP seminar, part 4 is now posted here. - JS
For those interested in the continuing treck through the TULIP (an online video seminar), part 3 has now been posted here. - JS
For those interested in the on-going treck through the TULIP (an online video seminar), part 2 has now been posted here. - JS
We give thanks to God and send our many congratulations to Mr and Mrs John Hendryx on the birth of their son, Shaun Luke Hendryx on December 13, 2010, weighing 8 pounds, 3 oz, and measuring 20 inches. We celebrate this happy news with you and pray for continued health for you and all your family John and a long and prosperous life for young Shaun.
I had an interesting interaction this morning on the internet. A lady I know in another state wrote to me saying...
6:56 a.m. EST - M: "I am asking for prayers for my sister- she was found by my brother hanging in her closet and is still alive but on a ventilator and they are not detecting any brain activity- Thanks."
8:49 a.m. EST - Me: "oh nooooo - of course - praying.."
10:15 a.m. EST - M: "Thank you for your prayers!!! She just opened her eyes!"
11:31 a.m. EST - Me: "wow - thank you Jesus - let me know when you know more."
As I say, I don't know any more details than this, but its interesting to note what rises in our hearts when we hear something like this. Unbelief? Thanksgiving to God? perhaps what we call a healthy scepticism (believe it when I see it approach)?
I really am not sure about what happened today exactly. All I know is what I have written here, but I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther, "The Holy Spirit is not a sceptic."
Just something to ponder. - JS
Crossing the line?
If a Bishop in the Church of England is in an openly homosexual relationship, no problem; denies the virgin birth or the resurrection of Christ, that's ok too; doesn't even believe in God; well, its still within the realm of "orthodoxy" - but suggest the Prince's proposed marriage to Kate wont last and you're outta here!
Imagine walking into Macy's and experiencing this...
On Saturday, October 30, 2010, the Opera Company of Philadelphia brought together over 650 choristers from 28 participating organizations to perform one of the Knight Foundationâ€™s â€œRandom Acts of Cultureâ€ at Macyâ€™s in Center City Philadelphia. Accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ â€“ the worldâ€™s largest pipe organ â€“ the OCP Chorus and throngs of singers from the community infiltrated the store as shoppers, and burst into a pop-up rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handelâ€™s â€œMessiahâ€ at 12 noon, to the delight of surprised shoppers.
A New Personal Blog Called "Effectual Grace" Launches Today
I really love this reformation theology website. For more than 5 years I have had the joy and privilege of being a contributor here and it continues to be a tremendous blessing to serve in this way. I can say that this experience has shaped and honed me in ways I did not imagine when I first started writing here. There's something about making a written public statement and then getting comments and feedback from fellow travelers on the internet highway. Some of the unexpected benefits have been that it has made me think through things a whole lot more and to clarify things better. I must admit that there has also been times when I realized that my initial thoughts on a subject may not in fact have been as convincing or water tight an argument (biblically) as I thought. The comments I have received have really made me think, and that is a very good thing. I also hope the process has also made me a better writer. If the readers of this site have been blessed, I have been far far more. God (and John Hendryx who oversees and administrates everything at the site here as well as monergism.com) willing, I will continue to post things here with the same zeal and freshness as the first day I put fingers to the keyboard. As I say, I really love this site.
So in addition to this writing privilege here, today I am launching my own personal blog site called "Effectual Grace" where I can share more about what is currently impacting me as I grow in my walk with the Lord. Its a place where I can delve deeply into the Scriptures on a variety of subjects as well as share things that made me laugh or smile. Its where I will do a lot of my thinking "out loud" so to speak. I invite you to take the journey with me. Hopefully we can grow together at the effectualgrace.com blog. - John Samson
Chile: God at work amongst "the 33" miners
A minister friend of mine from England wrote the following to me today: "Reports have been flooding in of the way that each one of the Chilean miners (â€˜los 33â€™) either continued in their faith or came to know the Lord Jesus during their prolonged stay underground. Just as the Lord moved amongst the three in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:24-25) so they movingly recorded that the 33 became 34, because they were so aware of the Lord Jesus right there with them. Many of them had the words "In whose hand are the depths of the earth" (Psalm 95:4) inscribed on the back of their jackets. It is a wonderful reminder that there really is no place that the Lord cannot reach. cf. see here.
The President of Chileâ€™s chaplain gave a well handled interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, which really gives the glory to the Lord. "Revd Cooper: â€œI am a chaplain in the presidential palace and so we had to quickly put together an emergency prayer meeting and it was with all our hearts because to imagine these 33 men a kilometre under the earth not knowing whether they were alive or what was going through their minds. 17 days we prayed and then the miracle came when the boring machine glanced off a rock and hit them â€“ hit the cavern they were in â€“ and of course we just erupted in praise. The second service the president called for was a praise meeting so we had a thanksgiving service and then of course weâ€™ve had constant prayer. And this has been one of the interesting factors for folk like us to notice. Many of the miners went down as atheists or unbelievers or semi-believers and they have come up to a man testifying that they were not 33 but that there were 34 down there â€“ that Jesus was there with them and that they had a constant sense of his presence and guidance.â€ You can read or listen to it all here." - JS
Friday Sale at Ligonier Ministries
Fantastic sale for the next few hours only at Ligonier Ministries. Especially recommended is the "Evangelism According to Jesus" Conference CD set normally $65, but today just $5. I just bought 10 sets to hand out to the leaders at my church. Might be a good idea for others to do the same. But its only a limited time offer. - JS Get your Ligonier $5 Friday Items
God, the Gospel and Glenn Beck
Russell D. Moore wrote an excellent article concering the Glenn Beck rally and the reaction of American Christians. He writes:
A Mormon television star stands in front of the Lincoln Memorial and calls American Christians to revival. He assembles some evangelical celebrities to give testimonies, and then preaches a God and country revivalism that leaves the evangelicals cheering that theyâ€™ve heard the gospel, right there in the nationâ€™s capital.
The news media pronounces him the new leader of Americaâ€™s Christian conservative movement, and a flock of Americaâ€™s Christian conservatives have no problem with that.
If youâ€™d told me that ten years ago, I would have assumed it was from the pages of an evangelical apocalyptic novel about the end-times. But itâ€™s not. Itâ€™s from this weekâ€™s headlines. And it is a scandal.
Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, of course, is that Mormon at the center of all this. Beck isnâ€™t the problem. Heâ€™s an entrepreneur, heâ€™s brilliant, and, hats off to him, he knows his market. Latter-day Saints have every right to speak, with full religious liberty, in the public square. Iâ€™m quite willing to work with Mormons on various issues, as citizens working for the common good. What concerns me here is not what this says about Beck or the â€œTea Partyâ€ or any other entertainment or political figure. What concerns me is about what this says about the Christian churches in the United States.
Ever seen something like this?
Have you ever seen something like this in the Bible - God saying, "Go meet with the Baal worshippers' and arrange a huge rally, an ecumenical inter-faith service - talk about honor and integrity and family values.. and you can pray to Me, of course, and they can pray to Baal - in fact, hold the priest of Baal's hand as he prays.. that will be such a nice touch.. and its quite ok with me.. I, the Lord your God, the holy One, really don't mind.. that's because it will show so much love to people and it will open hearts to My religion and everyone will so appreciate you not being closed minded elitist bigots. It will do wonders for people's view both of you and of Me. Go do this in My Name."?
Ever seen that? Even a hint of it? No? Me neither. - JS
For a Limited Time, 2 Radio Shows Online..
A number of people have asked me how to access the archives found on the KPXQ Christian radio station in Phoenix, AZ website in order listen to the 2 radio shows I recently did online. They are available to listen to for a LIMITED time (2-3 weeks).
The show dates were July 19 and July 26 and split into hour one of the show here: and hour two found here. People have written to me from as far away as Northern Ireland and England to say that enjoyed the shows online. The internet certainly brings people together worldwide in a way unforseen by former gernerations. God bless. - Pastor John Samson
The Next 2 Mondays...
THE NEXT 2 MONDAY EVENINGS (July 19 and 26), God willing, I will be hosting a live 2 hour LIVE Christian radio program (the Andrew Tallman show) covering all Phoenix, Arizona (1360 on the AM dial locally). Andrew is taking a well earned vacation and has asked me to fill in as a host. The show airs live from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. AZ time, and it can be heard all around the world live on the internet at www.kpxq1360.com.
Apparantly anywhere between 3,000 and 12,000 people are listening at any given moment (the vast majority of listeners are Christians, but of course some are not) and so over a 2 hour time frame, that adds up to a lot. Its a tremendous opportunity. I get to teach/share on any subject and take comments and questions from those calling into the show. I would really value your prayers. - John Samson
What is Reformed Theology? by R. C. Sproul (DVD series)
The roots of evangelical Christianity are found in the soil of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation, which brought a return of true biblical theology to the world. In this series, Dr. R. C. Sproul offers an introduction to Reformed theology, the heart of historical evangelicalism. C.H. Spurgeon once said that Reformed theology is nothing other than biblical Christianity. These highly recommended twelve 23-minute messages include: Introduction; Catholic, Evangelical, and Reformed; Scripture Alone; Faith Alone (part 1): Faith Alone (part 2); Covenant; Total Depravity (part 1); Total Depravity (part 2); Unconditional Election; Limited Atonement; Irresistible Grace; Perseverance of the Saints.
From now until June 4, 2010, Ligonier Ministries is making this 12 part DVD series "What is Reformed Theology?" available for ANY size gift here.
For Any Size Gift - From Now until May 30, 2010
The chief end of all theological learning is to glorify God alone. This is a point well recognized by men throughout history, including Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, and Charles Spurgeon. Join Dr. R.C. Sproul in this teaching series as he guides us through an introduction to the five solas of the Protestant Reformation â€“ biblical doctrines that accentuate the unsurpassable glory of God. With his trademark clarity and concern for biblical fidelity, Dr. Sproul shows us that with Scripture alone as our sure foundation, we must affirm that justification is by faith alone because of Christ alone through grace alone â€” for the glory of God alone. The Ten 23-minute messages are: Faith Alone (2 parts); Grace Alone (2 parts); Christ Alone (2 parts); Scripture Alone (2 parts); Glory to God Alone (2 parts).
These are available here from now until May 30, 2010 for any size gift. I have heard each of these messages more than once and would recommend them very highly. - Pastor John Samson
Large Boat Found High in the Mountains of Ararat?
Explorers are claiming to have found Noah's ark. They are 99.9% certain of it anyway. Read the Fox News report here. - JS
There's something about Mary?
Who is Mary, the mother of Jesus? According to the Roman Catholic Church, she was the only person other than Jesus who was born without original sin, she remained a virgin throughout her life, she was assumed into heaven, she is to receive prayer and devotion, she is a mediatrix between God and man, and she dispenses grace to those in need. In their reaction to Roman Catholic excesses, many Protestants have ignored Mary altogether. In this series, R.C. Sproul explains what the Bible teaches us about Mary, separating truth from falsehood, and giving appropriate honor where honor is due.
Five 23-minute messages on CD:
A Model of Submission
Mary's Magnificent Savior
Listen to Him!
Questions and Answers
Available for any sized gift to Ligonier Ministries until Sunday March 21, 2010 here.
Cultivating a Gospel Centered Marriage
If you live in the Portland area, you're invited to a marriage workshop entitled, "Cultivating a Gospel Centered Marriage." Evergreen Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, is hosting this workshop for married and engaged couples on March 12 and 13 (Friday night, Saturday morning). The speakers are Stu and Ruth Ann Batstone of World Harvest Mission. The cost is an affordable $50 per couple. Hotel and registration information is available on Evergreen's website. You can click on the image to download a brochure (.pdf).
Due to the high purchasing volume over the Christmas season, some of our titles went out of stock for a couple of weeks. The following are some of these excellent books that we now have back-in-stock and on the shelves @MonergismBooks.
The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D.A. Carson
Bioethics and the Christian Life: A Guide to Making Difficult Decisions by David VanDrunen
The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges
The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm
Promises Kept: The Message of the New Testament by Mark Dever
What He Must Be: ...If He Wants to Marry My Daughter by Voddie Baucham Jr.
Why We Believe the Bible (DVD) by John Piper
What Jesus Demands from the World by John Piper
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink
The Bondage and Liberation of the Will by John Calvin
Putting Amazing Back into Grace (Second Edition) by Michael Horton
COLLISION Playing at BAGDAD THEATER & PUB
BAGDAD THEATER & PUB
Sunday, December 13
5 Points Media presents
Featuring leading atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian apologist Douglas Wilson
Doors at 6 p.m.; event at 7 p.m. | $5 | Minor with parent
In May 2007, leading atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian apologist Douglas Wilson began to argue the topic "Is Christianity Good for the World?" in a series of written exchanges published in Christianity Today. The rowdy literary bout piqued the interest of filmmaker Darren Doane, who sought out Hitchens and Wilson to pitch the idea of making a film around the debate.
In Fall 2008, Doane and crew accompanied Hitchens and Wilson on an east coast tour to promote the book compiled from their written debate titled creatively enough, Is Christianity Good for the World?. "I loved the idea of putting one of the beltway's most respected public intellectuals together with an ultra-conservative pastor from Idaho that looks like a lumberjack", says Doane. "You couldn't write two characters more contrary. What's more real than a fight between two guys who are on complete opposite sides of the fence on the most divisive issue in the world? We were ready to make a movie about two intellectual warriors at the top of their game going one-on-one. I knew it would make an amazing film."
In Christopher Hitchens, Doane found a celebrated prophet of atheism. Loud. Funny. Angry. Smart. Quick. An intimidating intellectual Goliath. Well-known for bullying and mocking believers into doubt and doubters into outright unbelief. In Douglas Wilson, Doane found the man who could provide a perfect intellectual, philosophical, and cinematic counterpoint to Hitchens' position and style. A trained philosopher and and deft debater. Big, bearded, and jolly. A pastor, a contrarian, a humorist--an unintimidated outsider, impossible to bully, capable of calling Hitchens a puritan (over a beer).
It was a collision of lives.
What Doane didn't expect was how much Hitchens and Wilson would have in common and the respectful bond the new friend/foes would build through the course of the book tour. "These guys ended up at the bar laughing, joking, drinking. There were so many things that they had in common", according to Doane. "Opinions on history and politics. Literature and poetry. They agreed on so many things. Except on the existence of God."
Visit collisionmovie.com for more information.
Christopher Hitchens (b. April 13, 1949) is a popular political journalist and the author of several books, including "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything". Hitchens is regarded as one of the most fundamental figures of modern atheism. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly and Slate, Hitchens also appears regularly on The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, Washington Journal, and Real Time with Bill Maher. He was named one of the US's "25 Most Influential Liberals" by Forbes and one of the world's "Top 100 Public Intellectuals" by Foreign Policy. Hitchens lives in Washington, DC.
Douglas Wilson (b. June 18, 1953) is a pastor of Christ Church, editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine, and a Senior Fellow at New Saint Andrews College. A prolific writer, he is the author of many books, including The Case for Classical Christian Education, Letter from a Christian Citizen, Reforming Marriage and Heaven Misplaced: Christ's Kingdom on Earth. Wilson lives in Moscow, Idaho.
Darren Doane is a Los Angeles-based independent filmmaker. Doane made his name as a music video director. His work for Blink-182, AFI, Jimmy Eat World and Pennywise is credited for helping bring punk rock into the mainstream in the 1990s. His previous documentary film, The Battle For LA, explored the underground battle rap scene in Los Angeles. Doane is currently in production on the documentary film To Be Born Again about legendary musician Van Morrison and has also written and directed several feature films, including Godmoney, 42K and Black Friday.
R. C. Sproul on The Manhattan Declaration
By now, most of our readers will be very much aware of the recently released Manhattan Declaration. Dr. R. C. Sproul has provided a written response here. To quote Dr. Sproul, "The Manhattan Declaration confuses common grace and special grace by combining them. While I would march with the bishop of Rome and an Orthodox prelate to resist the slaughter of innocents in the womb, I could never ground that cobelligerency on the assumption that we share a common faith and a unified understanding of the gospel." I wholeheartedly agree with Sproul's sentiments, and for the exact same reasons stated in his article, will not be adding my signature to the Manhattan Declaration. - Pastor John Samson, King's Church, Phoenix, Arizona.
Monergism Books Site Search
Christianity Explored Conference
You're invited to join us at our training conference being held on Saturday, November 21st in Estacada, Oregon.
Training conferences are for any pastor or church leader thinking about running a Christianity Explored course at their church. It will give you a chance to become familiar with the course or ask your own questions before making any commitment.
Our one day course also aims to show you what Christianity Explored has to offer in helping churches to develop an evangelistic strategy.
Date: Saturday November 21st 2009
Address: Estacada Christian Church, 29101 SE Eagle Creek Road, Estacada, Oregon 97023, UNITED STATES
Speakers: Peter Kozushko, Faber Austin, Harry Roach, Callan Crossland
Sign in: 9am
Cost: $15 - Covers lunch and Participant's Guide
>> Book now
David Thommen, Senior Pastor, Estacada Christian Church
(Warning) VBS - when the Gospel doesn't matter anymore...
""Justification by faith alone is the article of the standing or falling Church."
"Whoever departs from the article of justification does not know God and is an idolater . . . For when this article has been taken away, nothing remains but error, hypocrisy, godlessness, and idolatry, although it may seem to be the height of truth, worship of God, holiness, etc. . . If the article of justification is lost, all Christian doctrine is lost at the same time."
"When the article of justification has fallen, everything has fallen. Therefore it is necessary constantly to inculcate and impress it, as Moses says of his Law (Deut. 6:7); for it cannot be inculcated and urged enough or too much. Indeed, even though we learn it well and hold to it, yet there is no one who apprehends it perfectly or believes it with a full affection and heart. So very trickish is our flesh, fighting as it does against the obedience of the spirit."
"This doctrine [justification by faith alone] is the head and the cornerstone. It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God; and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour. For no one who does not hold this article or, to use Paul's expression, this 'sound doctrine' (Titus 2:1) is able to teach aright in the church or successfully to resist any adversary . . . this is the heel of the Seed that opposes the old serpent and crushes its head. That is why Satan, in turn, cannot but persecute it." - Martin Luther
Back in the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Church believed (then as it does now) that justification is by grace, through faith and because of Christ. What Rome does not believe is that justification is by faith alone, or by grace alone, or by Christ alone. For Rome, justification is by grace plus merit, through faith plus works; by Christ plus the sinner's contribution of inherent righteousness. In contrast, Martin Luther and the Reformers called the Church back to the one true Biblical Gospel: Salvation is by God's grace alone, received through faith alone, because of Christ alone, based on the Scriptures alone, to the Glory of God alone.
Tomorrow marks the anniversary of Luther's posting of his 95 theses to the Wittenberg Church door, October 31, 1517. Its a sad reflection of the current crisis in the church at large to read the following report. This is what happens when things like the truth and the Gospel do not matter to people anymore - read about it here.
This sort of thing is happening more and more. Another example is the hugely successful and international ministry (more than 33,500 courses run in 163 countries) of Alpha with its introduction to the Christian faith materials provided for both a Protestant and a Catholic context (here). - JS
Monergism's New Abode
We want to express our thanks for all of your prayers and support over the last few weeks. Our move into our new office went as smooth as one could have hoped for except we are exhausted. The huge amount of work keeping up Monergism, coupled with the move, took a toll on us, but we are thankful the Lord has been favorable and given us a building with a lot more room (over 6100 sq feet) plus a giant open upstairs which could be used for a number of functions, such as seminars, teaching & training in apologetics, missions, Bible and theology, or more office space.
Unfortunately, due to a variety of circumstances, we have recently had to lay off a couple of content producers who worked for us. This was really a difficult decision as these brothers took care of our MP3 library and other subsections of the Monergism website. I cannot express how great a job they have been doing for the couple of years and how thankful I have been to have them. Maintaining this site is now more than a full time calling, one which I love, but it is truly exhausting to do it without enough outside help. Pray the Lord raise up skilled laborers willing to work along side us to create, produce and maintain Monergism.com.
Fall Theology Conference with Dr. Kim Riddlebarger
October 17th, 2009 is the Fall Theology Conference in the Northwest with Dr. Kim Riddlebarger. He will be speaking on Eschatology. Our Blessed Hope: A biblical look at the end times. Register by logging on to www.estacadachristianchurch.org and click on the events registration tab. All who attend will be given a free copy of messages given by Kim Riddlebarger, Michael Horton, and R. Scott Clark on the topic of eschatology. Graciously donated by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. Any questions call 503-630-6707
State of the Nation - Why are the Churches losing their young people?
America has more Christian resources and Bible colleges than ever in its history, yet the nation is on a spiritual downward spiral. What has happened? Why is the church not reaching the culture? Get the full reportâ€”find out the reasons behind the collapse of Christianity in the Western world!
A most shocking and profound message on the state of the nation in America from Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis. Parts 1, 2 and 3 available here.
Awaiting Our Blessed Hope: A Biblical Look at the End Times
The Reformation Society of Oregon is pleased to welcome Kim Riddlebarger, pastor and host of The White Horse Inn Talk Show, to the Fall Theology Conference, Saturday October 17th 2009. If you live in the Pacific Northwest please join us:
For more informaiton, download the flyer here
Establishing a New Religion of State
As I was online discussing current political and social issues in America with someone this morning, we were commenting that philosophical pluralism (or if you prefer - progressive secularism) is becoming the established religion of the state. It is difficult to get over the irony of this view since they often attack in others the very thing they have become in themselves. Though many of them would not want to be branded religious, their drumbeat of moralizing to the American masses (while all other views are ridiculed) make this indictment harder and harder for them to evade. This of course blatantly violates the separation of church and state which has traditionally meant that we should allow all religious views to be expressed in the public square. True tolerance was to fight for the right of people with opposing views, but now it spiralled out of control to mean "our view of pluralism is right" so if you don't like it, keep it to yourself. If they can really pretend they are not religious, they imagine they have a trump card to establish their statism while marginalizing all traditional views as "religious". This is, of course, being done at the expense and marginalization of other views in the free market of ideas --- modern day secularists are not merely secular, but secularists and so have clear religious dogmas but pretend (or are blind to the fact) that they have none. A simple example is today I heard someone I work with speaking with a friend from Congo who was telling him about the kind of questionnaires he has to fill out for his immigration paperwork. He said that among the questions one asked something like, "Do you oppose homosexual freedom?" It's as if there are a certain number of new commandments declared to be moral law by the new thought police, thoughts which are must be accepted in this country by the Secular Progressives to pass the test. But I suppose none of this should surprise us. If political power is your religion and only hope, I guess anything is possible, including establishing a tyranny.
What is so dangerous about this is, not that Secularists have a clear agenda that is different than mine, but rather that they don't even recognize their position is one among many philosophies and religions, a position which falls under the separation clause. Simply because they don't have a traditional view of God, does not mean their self-declared authority allows them to marginalize all other intellectual positions aside from their own. Many of them appear to be blind to the fact that they have a bias or religious viewpoint. For all their talk of pluralism and tolerance, they appear to fail most miserably at this point - tolerant of other cultures at the surface (when it comes to music and food) but not tolerant of other culture's traditional principles.
What I found really striking this morning is that soon after we were discussing this issue, I ran across a quote by Doug Wilson (posted by someone on Facebook) that I thought did a good job expressing the similar idea, but with some added humor:
One area of secular blindness (one of many) is their inability to see how religious they are being. Having defined religion quite narrowly as church buildings and altars, they are utterly incapable of seeing the all-pervasive and quite religious nature of their frenzies and crusades. The problem with invisible religions like this is that one cannot watch them to see if they are going bad. And so they don't.
They do not see Tetzel in carbon offsets. They do not see shunning in the treatment the neighborhood gives the guy who doesn't sort his garbage according to the dictates of the regulatory bishops. They don't see a fierce imposition of morality in their crusades for the sake of saving us all from climate change. They do not see blasphemy laws in thought crimes legislation. They do not see their religion in everything they do, and this is because idolaters are blind.
Philosophical & Religious Relativism by Tim Keller and Charles Garland
Why is Secularism Exempt from the Separation of Church and State? by J.W. Hendryx
As We Celebrate
As we celebrate the great freedom we have in our country today, please remember the victims of a horrific attack against Christians in Pakistan that has left over a hundred houses vandalized and eleven people acid-scarred - see here.
A Way You Can Help Make Monergism a Better Site
Thank you for your continued support of Monergism.com and for the constructive comments you have made over the years. There is an additional way you could help us become a more helpful site: by reporting broken links when you see them. Managing 10s of thousands of links is often more than our staff can handle on our own so, if you feel inclined to help, we have made this extremely easy for you to do for each particular broken link. Here are some simple instructions with visuals:
Step 1: When you find a broken link click in the small box next to the link.
John Calvin's 500th - Collection of Resources
Useful Links for Mid-May 2009
More Americans â€œPro-Lifeâ€ Than â€œPro-Choiceâ€ for First Time
A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion and 42% "pro-choice." This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.
The Girl Nobody Wanted by Tim Keller
Succumbing to the world's definition of success brings devastation and disappointment, but God works with, through, and in weak people to give satisfaction.
The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory by Al Mohler
commencement address --- In just moments, these scholars of theology and the arts of ministry will receive their educational rewards, â€˜with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities, appertaining thereto.â€™ There is but one problem â€” not one of these ministers is qualified to enter this calling.â€
â€œThe Convergence of Doctrine and Delight.â€ Desert Spring Church hosted Ray Ortlund, Jr. and Sam Storms - The audio is now available:
The Puritans - Perhaps the Web's most vast resource on the Puritans
The common spirituality that united Puritanism emphasized Christian experience and promoted corporate revival based upon the preaching of the Bible and wrought by the Holy Spirit.
Kelly M. Kapic and Randall C. Gleason
Understanding Mormons and Jehovahâ€™s Witnesses on iTunes for free
Here's How Oregonians will Celebrate Calvin's 500th
In Celebration of John Calvin's 500th birthday Professor James T. Dennison will be presenting three lectures:
The French Connection (John Calvin) and the
Italian Connection (Francis Turretin)
Working from his latest book, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English
Translation, Volume 1: 1523-1552, James T. Dennison will examine the life, catechisms, and
confessions of John Calvin in an illustrated power-point presentation. Beginning with this Calvin
quincentenary tribute, we will then â€˜cross the bridgeâ€™ via the Italian Refugee Church in Geneva to the great Reformed scholastic, Francis Turretin. Dennisonâ€™s edition of Turretinâ€™s Institutes of Elenctic Theology will provide the context for our final presentation.
Friday June 12 (7:00 - 8:30) & Saturday, June 13 (9:30 - 4:00)
Friday: 7:00pm - 8:15pm John Calvin and the Geneva Confessions with Q&A.
Saturday: 9:30am - 10:15am Puppeteers
Saturday: 10:30am - 11:45pm The Italian Church in Geneva with Q&A.
Saturday: 12:00pm - 1:30pm Potluck Lunch
Saturday: 1:30pm - 2:00pm Puppeteers
Saturday: 2:15pm - 3:30pm Francis Turretin at the Dawn of the Enlightenment with Q&A
Tucker Maxon School
2860 SE HOLGATE BLVD * PORTLAND 97202
$10 PER ADULT - CHILDREN FREE
DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE FOR STUDENTS AND SPECIAL NEEDS
PLEASE PRE-REGISTER AT GRACEWL.COM OR CALL (503) 619-7387
Gospel-Driven: Good News People in a Bad News World by Michael Horton
Gospel-Driven: Good News People in a Bad News World
by Michael Horton
Reformation Society of Oregon Spring Theology Conference!
Session #1: The Front-Page God
Session #2: The Promise-Driven Life
Session #3: Feasting in a Fast-Food World
Session #4: Question and Answer
Our Recent Visit to Mars Hill Church, Seattle
This last weekend on the spur of the moment my wife and I decided to drive up to Seattle for the weekend. It is a 3 hour drive from Portland and a badly needed getaway from our daily routine. After arriving in our downtown Seattle hotel our first stop was Piroshky Piroshky, a hole in the wall on the waterfront at Pikeâ€™s Market which sells incredible Russian pastries. My wife and I both love the meat-filled pastries the best and we ate a couple while we enjoyed the rare sunny afternoon on the park bench overlooking the water. It was really a blessing to sit in the sun after a solid month of grey skies. We had a lot to be thankful for. We were excited to be there and saw this as an opportunity for a time of refreshment. We were not disappointed.
Bill Clinton the "Calvinist"
Spring Theology Conference with Michael Horton Registration Open
Monergism.com is sponsoring the Spring Theology Conference with Michael Horton coming up on May 2nd, 2009. It will be hosted by The Reformation Society of Oregon and Estacada Christian Church. If you live in the Northwest, this is the conference to go to this year. Everyone is welcome.
Gospel Driven: Good News People in a Bad News World.
This topic will cover the question of whether the gospel is good news or good advice.
At this event Michael Horton will challenge us to re-orient our faith and practice toward the gospel. In his recent book 'Christless Christianity' Horton argued that much of evangelicalism has given into moralistic and therapeutic sermons rather than pointing to the risen Christ. Now, in anticipation of a follow-up book, Horton points us to the solution: a Christ-centered gospel. Please join us as we spend the day with Horton who calls us back to Christ-honoring worship.
John Piper on the Current Economic Downturn
Grace United Reformed Church in West Linn - New Church Plant
Immanuelâ€™s Reformed Church of Salem, in conjunction with several West Linn families, would like to invite anyone that has an interest in learning about Christ Centered, Reformed Doctrine to come participate in the worship of our new church plant in West Linn, Oregon. Doctrines that are taught each week will be grounded in Scripture alone and summarized in the Reformed Confessions (Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and Canons of Dordt).
It is our prayer that this new local church will continue to attract families together who have a passion for the gospel, which is the announcement of salvation by Godâ€™s grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone..
If you feel Godâ€™s leading to become part of a new church plant in West Linn, or just want to learn more about Reformed theology, please join us! Our Sunday morning Worship service is held at the Sunset Fire Hall. Worship Times: 10 a.m. & 6 p.m.
Marriage is Defined by Love not Dogma?
Before I start I want to make it clear that Scripture does not conceive of the church's primary role in the world as one of opposing public immorality through political means. This is because in doing so we promote the law without the lawgiver. This message gives the world the impression that if they just changed their behavior patterns then all would be okay but we all know this simply is not the case. The problem is with our nature, not the mere symptoms of that nature. So our first essential as Christians is to witness to the historic fact of the resurrection, to pray for our friends, to worship, and, by grace, to live pious & holy lives. This witness, is ultimately the only one that matters in influencing society at a root level. If there is to be a vast change of public ideas of morals, it would have to come through the grace of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by an imperial edict or judicial ruling. The hostility of unrgenerate hearts must be disarmed so they love the law so if we are to make a global impact, our proclimation of the law must be accompanied by the gospel. Culture wars generally tends to have the opposite effect on people. Laws do very little to change people's thinking or heart's disposition. And there is no evidence that Jesus went out of his way to take on any political causes, probably because, in themselves, they do have any power to change hearts.
Of course, many wanted Jesus to be a political organizer but that wasn't His interest (except in an eschatological sense). So because of this I have always viewed moralizing crusades with great suspicion. Jesus' did not mistake any symptomatic aspect of our lost condition--sexual depravity, greed, poverty, war, ignorance--from the root cause (depravity) and remedy of that alienation: the gospel. So as Christians we should not distinguish ourselves by obsessing on the various homosexual and other political agendas. Of course when we vote, we must vote our conscience according to Biblical standards. But, considering the recent events in California, it is clear that homosexuality has by no means outpaced heterosexuality in the committing acts of evil.
I say all this as a preface to some of the strange arguments coming from the pro-homosexual "marriage" rights people in California. I saw in front of some megachurches the holding up of protest signs with slogans such as this: "Marriage is Defined by Love not Dogma?" Look at this statement very closely. The slogan is severely problematic. It is a atrocious argument for the reason that it is essentially a dishonest statement. How? you ask. It is dishonest because it is distraction from itself. This is because the slogan that decries dogma is itself is inherently dogmatic. It is not neutral as it would have one believe. When someone says "Marriage is defined by love not dogma", is this not itself dogma? Is this concept not someones' arbitrary preference based on someones' self-declared authority? If the placard was honest it would say what they really mean which is: "marriage is defined by my dogma, not yours." But instead they have chosen a sleight of hand type argument. Unfortunately this is how most debates (on a variety of issues) are conducted these days and if you watch out closely for each persons presuppositions you can expose such hypocricy from the start. The honest thing to do from the start is to acknowledge that there is no neutrality and we all have core beliefs or dogmas. The question isn't love versus dogma but rather, which dogma will be imposed on our society.
Principles for Voting by Dr. R. C. Sproul
In Acts 14, Luke sets forth for us the events that took place on Paul's first missionary journey, a journey on which Barnabas accompanied him. We've seen this pattern emerge over and over again. The apostles would come into the synagogue or the public square known as the agora. They would proclaim the gospel openly. And there would always be some people who responded in faith by the power of the Holy Ghost while others in attendance would stand up in outright hostility and oppose them. Indeed, it was through great tribulation that the gospel bore fruit in places like Antioch and Iconium. And everyday Paul and Barnabas were subjected to threats, insults, hostility and even physical danger. We can see how things degenerated to such a degree here in the latter part of chapter fourteen: the Jewish leadership actually convenes a kangaroo court and imposes the death penalty upon Paul! A rioting mob is gathered and begins to throw stones at Paul with deadly force. Paul is knocked down by the repeated blows to the face, arms, torso, and head. His would-be executors then drag him out of the city, leaving him for dead.
Now ladies and gentlemen we can't read that and say, "Ho-hum, isn't that interesting?" Passages like this speak to the truthfulness of the adage "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." These sorts of things happened to a multitude of Christians who did not recover as swiftly as Paul did on this occasion. Indeed, many in the Christian community of the first century became human torches in the gardens of Nero. Others were thrown into the arena to go against professional gladiators, or to be fed to the lions while crazed emperors and a depraved public watched the spectacle with perverted glee. That's our history as Christians. And down through the ages every time the gospel has been preached openly in the public square, it has been met with some degree of hostility, violence and persecution. And no doubt such things continue in our day in various pockets of the world.
Now one of the things that I think about in terms of my own ministry is why I've never been cast into jail. Why has no one ever thrown a stone at me because of the boldness by which I preach the gospel? Well, I preach it in a safe zone, I suppose--a zone that has been declared something of a reservation. The church has been banished in our day from the public square, and a deal has been made. The deal goes something like this: If we confine our preaching and teaching to spiritual matters (matters of the world to come) and keep our mouths shut about what's going on all around us in the culture in which we live, then we will be protected by the powers that be. But if we venture off the reservation and intrude our opinions into the public square, then we will feel the full measure of the wrath of the culture and indeed of the government itself. That government today perpetuates a myth which is totally ungrounded in American history.
CPRF | Christian Publication Resource Foundation
We are delighted to report to you that this last week we were approved to form a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called CPRF | Christian Publication Resource Foundation. We currently employ a small team of people to develop, mine, build and maintain Christian content and applications that benefit tens of thousands individuals and churches around the world. Some of the ministries that CPRF currently directs and oversees are Monergism.com, ReformationTheology.com, Puritanlibrary.com, Monergism MP3 Library, and the Hall of Contemporary Reformers.
All donations to CPRF are tax deductible and will help support the development and maintenance of these online ministries. We are encouraged and deeply comforted to know that many of you earnestly pray for our ministry. Likewise you are often in our prayers that Jesus Chirst would be formed in you, that your lives might increasingly reflect His image and spread abroad the fragrance of the glories of His name through His gospel in you. We pray that the Holy Spirit might awaken His slumbering church to the amazing redemptive message of salvation by grace ALONE in Christ Alone.
We are working daily on issues that you have told us are close to your heart - We know you are deeply concerned about the recovery of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our time, as are we. We thank God daily for his mercy toward us in Christ. We also confess that faith does not spring from our unregenerated human nature (1 Cor 2:14) but rather springs from the working of God's regnerative grace in us (John 6:63-65) to open our eyes, unplug our ears and grant us a new heart that we might be united to Christ and His redemptive benefits. A blind man cannot see if a flashlight shines into his eyes but needs new eyes to see. Likewise those who are spiritually blind cannot see on their own but need the Holy Spirit to give them new eyes and a new heart. We thank the Lord that He is using CPRF first and foremost to highlight the gospel and the Biblical truth of monergistic regeneration and that it is finding its way to more and more people around the world. This is where the rubber meets the road and where the battle has raged in and against the church from the beginning. What people believe about this issue is crucial in revealing the degree and sufficiency to which one believes Christ redeems us. All of grace or partly of grace? What makes one to differ? Jesus alone or Jesus plus something else?
We continue to daily add content and new websites so that now Monergism.com has by far become the largest Reformed website in the world with tens of thousands of essays and Mp3s. As many of you know, with the help of our engineering team, we recently completed the new Monergism MP3 Library with dozens of new quality MP3s added each week.. Our team needs your prayers and support to develop and maintain the Christ-honoring content and applications that we daily mine and produce. May the Lord richly bless you and shine HIs face upon you as you minister to others in and through your calling in the world.
Big Bangs... Big Bucks... Big Leaps?
"At 12:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday, scientists on the Franco-Swiss border will flip the switch on the Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile underground ring where subatomic particles will be accelerated to astonishing speeds and then smashed into each other. It'll be months before any usable data comes out from the experiments, but the so-called "Big Bang machine" already has physicists salivating at the prospect of unlocking the mysteries of the universe..."
I think its interesting - some people are ever so excited because a fine team of scientists are working ever so hard around the clock (and have done so for quite some time), using their combined high intelligences and cutting edge skills to seek to replicate what they believe to be the BIG BANG in a controlled environment.. and, here's what we know.. if this thing works, many will no doubt point to it to try to prove that the Universe came about by a random act of "chance," without the need for any Intelligence behind it at all. :-)
full story here
Around the Web
What Everybody Should Know About God - ReformedMissionary.org. Gospel Presentation
Paul & Timothy Conference
The Conference is designed to help todayâ€™s church catch the vision of pre-eldership ministry. From the Pastoral Epistles (particularly the book of Timothy) we will be challenging young men to preach the Word, seek ministry mentorship, and to avoid prematurely taking up the office of elder/pastor. The church as whole will be challenged to create a space for young, aspiring preachers to minister in their years before being eligible for church office. In addition to this, we are encouraging everyone that registers (men, women, young and old) to be involved in the work of evangelism, beginning now! This is inspired by Paulâ€™s charge to Timothy, (do the work of an evangelist). The Friday night portion of the conference will be free to all non-registrants, and will be an engaging evangelistic presentation. We encourage everyone who registers to bring friends, family, co-workers and neighbors who have not yet personally trusted in the work of Christ on Calvary. Also see their blog
Dr. R. C. Sproul and Mel Duncan Interview
With the September 26, 27, 2008 Ligonier Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona in view, Dr. James White used his Dividing Line program yesterday (Thursday, August 7) to interview R.C. Sproul about the gospel (for the first 30 minutes), then Mel Duncan (Dr. J. Ligon Duncan's brother) for the second half hour - a very interesting interchange...
3rd Annual Monergism Multi-Volume Set and Banner of Truth Sale
Jesus in China
Frontline World will show Jesus in China this evening at 9 on PBS
A massive wave of Christianity has been sweeping across China in recent years, and the Chinese ruling party, officially atheist, is now struggling how to figure out how to control it.In Jesus in China a joing project of FRONTLINE/WORLD and the Chicago Tribune, reporter Evan Osnos investigates one of the fastest growing Christian populations in the world, and how it could potentially transform China at this explosive moment in the country's development.
There is also an article in the Chicago Tribune on the same topic called Jesus in China: Christianity's rapid rise
Evangelical Christians "more tolerant" than Previously Thought
Yesterday I read a very discouraging (but not surprising) article by Time Magazine online which, frankly, made my heart a little heavy for the rest of the day. It says that 57% of those who attend evangelical churches now say they believe that adherents of non-Christian religions might also be saved. Time writes:
Americans of every religious stripe are considerably more tolerant of the beliefs of others than most of us might have assumed, according to a new poll released Monday. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life last year surveyed 35,000 American, and found that 70% of respondents agreed with the statement "Many religions can lead to eternal life." Even more remarkable was the fact that 57% of Evangelical Christians were willing to accept that theirs might not be the only path to salvation, since most Christians historically have embraced the words of Jesus, in the Gospel of John, that "no one comes to the Father except through me." Even as mainline churches had become more tolerant, the exclusivity of Christianity's path to heaven has long been one of the Evangelicals' fundamental tenets. The new poll suggests a major shift, at least in the pews. Read more...Comments: The first reason to be sad, of course, is to see so many so-called brother and sisters have no real comprehension of the necessity of good news of the gospel. That there is no hope save in the mercy of Jesus Christ alone. I wonder: do they expect that God will be unjust and simply waive his hand at all the flagrant rebellion we all have committed against Him each day? How is it that people, especially evangelicals, cannot not see the seriousness of our situation here on earth? We all, including me, have no hope unless God provides a Savior. No amount of moral exertion that I can do will make a difference. My so-called contribution of goodness woefully falls short of what God requires. If 57% of Evangelicals believe there are other ways to God then, by default, they are rejecting the necessity of Christ and, in turn, believing in their own inherent goodness and moral ability. Nothing less than self-justification. As a result how can they, in good conscience, any longer call themselves Christians? What is distinctively Christian about it any longer? Is it because they are moral people? Well, people from many religions and backgrounds believe we must be moral. But that has very little to do with Christianity since God's Law only reveals our true spiritually bankrupt condition. Yeah if you are perfect you don't need a Savior but I don't run into perfectly holy people very often, do you? We don't need moral improvement but an entirely new person. It is my contention that most people prefer to avoid this bad news so they create false gospels that appeal to their self-righteousness. Don't we all have a tendency to do this? Itâ€™s in our nature. But we must face the reality about ourselves as humans. I mean, anyone who believes that God will accept them into His presence based on their own merit must think of pretty highly of themselves, no? Perhaps "tolerance" has finally become the norm for evangelicals and frankly, this news shows the church is in just as bad of shape as the Roman Catholic Church during the middle ages.
China Earthquake Relief
Friends, there are millions of Chinese homeless because of the May 12 earthquake. Here is a summary article about the disaster. Here is where you can donate online to the PCA's Mission to the World relief effort as your heart is moved.
Finally Alive: What Happens When We are Born Again
On his recent leave, among other projects John Piper completed a book called "Finally Alive: What Happens When We are Born Again" - A book about the miracle of sovereign, regenerating grace, and how God makes the gospel of Christ the means of raising the spiritually dead. I hope that showing that the new birth is not in our control helps make pastors and other Christians desperate for the supernatural in their ministries.
Since this a close subject to our heart at Monergism.com we eagerly anticipate its release.
I would value your prayers...
I would value your prayers for today (Wednesday) and Friday as I have the opportunity of hosting a live 2 hour Christian radio call in show at KPXQ 1360AM in the Greater Phoenix area. The normal host of the program (Andrew Tallman) is away on vacation and has asked me to fill in for him for these two evenings.
The show consists of a 10-12 minute teaching segment that I will do (at the start of each hour) and then people can call in with comments and questions. I am told that up to 20,000 people are listening in at any given moment. Please pray that the word of God will go forth clearly and boldly and that I would have the grace and wisdom to handle any questions from the callers.
Though the radio station can only be heard in Arizona, should you be interested, you can also hear both shows live as they air from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Arizona time) on the internet here. - John Samson
May Giveaway - Win a $200 Shopping Spree
Challies.com and Monergism Books pair up to give away some great prizes
This monthâ€™s prizes will actually let you build your own prize. Weâ€™re giving away gift certificates that are redeemable for anything youâ€™d like to buy from Monergism Booksâ€”books, Bibles, commentaries, DVDs, t-shirts, music, tractsâ€¦whatever catches your eye.
First prize: $200 gift certificate for Monergism Books and a Five Solas t-shirt.
Second prize: $75 gift certificate for Monergism Books and a Five Solas t-shirt.
Third Prize: $35 gift certificate for Monergism Books and a Five Solas t-shirt.
Click Here to learn More
What was in C. S. Lewis' mind as he was writing the Chronicles of Narnia?
As the movie "Prince Caspian" starts to play in movie theaters in America today, it is very interesting to discover exactly what was in the mind of C. S. Lewis as he penned the book (of the same title) and the seven book series of which it is a part, known as "the Chronicles of Narnia." Dr. Leland Ryken has written a short but insightful article on this subject here that is well worth reading.
A Christian group is seeking to collect data through an online survey. If you have time to take part in a 3 minute survey on the relationship between Christian doctrine and personal experience click here.
The Rebelution - Do Hard Things - Coming to Portland, OR
On May 3rd, 2008 The Rebelution will finally be coming to Alex and Brett's home-state of Oregon. The Portland Conference primarily serves Oregon, Washington, Northern California, Nevada, and Idaho.
ROLLING HILLS COMMUNITY CHURCH (Church Website)
9AM-5PM, SATURDAY, MAY 3RD, 2008
3550 SW Borland Road - Tualatin, OR - 97062
Read this letter to parents about this conference
Coming in October
There are people I like and respect a great deal who seem to be getting VERY excited about the new ESV Study Bible that is due to come out in October (Dr. Wayne Grudem is the General Editor). They are saying some extra-ordinary things about it - and this from folk who are not generally known for "hype" or "exaggeration." The quotes below certainly have peaked my interest...
"The ESV Study Bible is the finest study tool I have seen in fifty years of Bible teaching." Jerry Bridges
"The ESV is a dream come true for me. The rightful heir to a great line of historic translations, it provides the continuity and modern accuracy I longed for. Now the scope and theological faithfulness of the ESV Study Bible study notes is breathtaking. Oh how precious is the written Word of God." - John Piper
"Wow! Concise, lucid, enlighteningâ€”the ESV Study Bible is an amazing resource. With its textual fidelity, doctrinal substance, and artistic beauty, the ESV Study Bible will be an immense help to all who hunger for God-breathed Scripture. I wholeheartedly recommend this exceptional resource." - Randy Alcorn
â€œOutstanding! The ESV Study Bible is a treasureâ€”a beautiful volume, filled with a wealth of resources. It will be just as useful for the seminarian and long-time pastor as it will be accessible to the brand-new Christian.â€ - R. Albert Mohler Jr.
"I canâ€™t imagine a greater gift to the body of Christ than the ESV Study Bible. It is a potent combination indeed: the reliability and readability of the ESV translation, supplemented by the best of modern and faithful scholarship, packaged in an accessible and attractive format. A Christian could make no wiser investment for himself, a pastor could recommend no better resource for his congregation." - C. J. Mahaney
â€œLike the ESV itself, this Study Bible sets a new standard in excellence. The craftsmanship invested in every pageâ€”from the insightful articles and informative notes to the crisp design and gorgeous illustrationsâ€”makes it an invaluable tool for students of Godâ€™s Word. As a pastor itâ€™s my goal to get one into the hands of every member of my church.â€ - Joshua Harris
You can find out more about the ESV Study Bible here.
Tim Keller in Portland 03/08
ON Tim Keller's recent visit to Portland, my new friend David DeYoung snapped a few good pictures before and during his book discussion.
Current Specials 2-14-08
Here are some current limited-time specials on theological books that we would encourage you to not pass up:
Spirit Empowered Preaching: Involving the Holy Spirit in Your Ministry by Art Azurdia 50% off - probably the best price you will ever find on this truly helpful book. We want to get as many of these into hands of pastors as possible. Great gift for your pastor.
Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave by Edward T. Welch - 50% discount!!!
best price ever - Although this title uses thereputic language, and thus will likely turn many of you off, the content is about idolatry and is thouroughtly God-honoring.
The Divine Inspiration of Scripture by Louis Gaussen - Classic! 50% off
Morning & Evening: Daily Readings (Burgundy) by C.H. Spurgeon - Classic Spurgeon - 50% off
Hearts and Hands: Volume 4: Chronicles of the Awakening Church by Mindy and Brandon Withrow - 50% off
This is a history of the first Great Awakening writen for children.
The Sermons of Martin Luther (7 volume Set) - 88% discount
Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: Four Volume Set by Richard A. Muller - 61% discount
Important Links 02-12-08
Here are some really helpful links
An Exposition of the Book of Revelation - Free MP3 CD Giveaway
Dr Arturo Azurdia III - (mp3s) - 81 Sermons Free MP3 CDs!
With the generous permission of Dr. Arturo Azurdia III, Monergism is giving away for free this life-changing 81-part Exposition on the Book of Revelation in MP3 format on 2 CDs. These will to be mailed directly and we only ask that you cover shipping. (Includes 2 CDs with 81 MP3s).
CHRISTIAN THUMBNAILS, a survey of the core beliefs of Christianity (.pdf)
Dr Joseph Mizzi - an introduction to biblical doctrine from a Reformed Baptist and amillennial perspective
The Reason for God (7 MP3 Sermons)
by Tim Keller - The Trouble with Christianity: Why it's so Hard to Believe it. Sermons which relate to his new book coming out Valentine's Day
The Children of Caesar (DVD) Voddie Baucham, Jr. (Presenter) New!!!
Dr. Voddie Baucham knows what most parents are too quick to dismiss: whoever is teaching our children is also discipling them. Voddie persuasively argues that Christian parents need to take the initiative in their children's education and stop turning them over to the anti-God environment of the government school. Using Scripture, statistics, and sound reasoning, Voddie powerfully makes the case that whoever controls the schools does indeed control the world.
Thoughts & Excerpts from Culture Shift by Al Mohler
Dr. Mohlerâ€™s stellar cultural and political commentaries on his daily blog made me curious about his new book on the subject ... a subject, frankly that I am usually skeptical about due to the many Christian books that overemphasize (or underemphasize) the importance of the Christian's cultural or political role, but we gladly recommend Al Mohlerâ€™s new book, which strikes the right balance. In Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth, Dr. Al Mohler crafts air-tight arguments against the intellectual dishonesty and bankruptcy of those who espouse a secularist state void of all religious influence. The book is a beautiful exercise in clear thinking, such that, it should lead Christians to engage and participate in the culture and the political process in meaningful ways. Mohler correctly notes that many Christians have the tendency to â€œswing between two extremes, either ignoring the City of Man or considering it to be our main concern â€¦ Love of neighbor for the sake of loving God is a profound political philosophy that strikes a balance between the disobedience of political disengagement and the idolatry of political as our main priority.â€
In chapter 3 of the book Mohler articulately exposes of the myth of the secular state, a position which I personally consider foundational if we are to actually have the opportunity to engage and persuade. The following are some extensive quotes from this chapter which expresses some very important basic truths that we should all take the time to understand. Mohler begins by explaining three secular myths:
Reformation Society of Oregon - January 18th Meeting
Special Guest Speaker: Dr. Art Azurdia
January 18, 2008 - At Estacada Christian Church - 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Topic: monergistic regeneration
Doors open at 10:30 am, We will have two lectures with a lunch served from 12:00 to 1:00. Lectures will begin promptly at 11:00 am. The charge for this event is $5 per person (pay at the door). Immediately following our last lecture we will have a short meeting to discuss membership in the Reformation Society of Oregon. Monergism Books will be on site and have a number of titles available for sale as well. Please register no later than January 15, 2008. ALL ARE WELCOME.
Contact: Pastor David Thommen @ 503-630-6707.
Estacada Christian Church is located at: 29101 SE Eagle Creek Road. Estacada, Oregon, 97023.
Buliding Bridges Conference: Southern Baptists and Calvinism
Streaming audio and/or MP3 podcasts of sessions from the Building Bridges: Southern Baptists and Calvinism conference, sponsored by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Founders Ministries. The conference, which takes place Nov. 26-28 at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center, consists of sessions featuring speakers who address different perspectives of each of the topics listed below.
Stem Cell Breakthrough Uses No Embryos
By MALCOLM RITTER, AP Science Writer
NEW YORK - Scientists have made ordinary human skin cells take on the chameleon-like powers of embryonic stem cells, a startling breakthrough that might someday deliver the medical payoffs of embryo cloning without the controversy. More....
Thank you for continuing to use the vast resources available at Monergism.com God has graciously blessed us over the past several years by increasing the traffic more than we anticipated. By order of magnitude, it has now become the largest Reformed website on the Internet (having 10s of thousands of links to valuable resources). This has now exploded into various side projects such as the Hall of Contemporary Reformers, TakeUpAndRead ((book reviews), China Christian Books (Free Reformed Essays in Chinese), and our disount retail online store Monergism Books and several other new surprise projects that are soon-to-be-launched.
If you are considering supporting this ministry, remember that you can do so simply by purchasing books & resources at our newly designed store. Today there are many new items we have put on deep discount in our sale section. Take note that one of our most popular sellers, Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges and its study guide are now available again after the first printing sales were exhausted at the publisher. We are also building a section for recommended Christmas gift bundles. Peace on Earth
Reformation Study Bible for $15.17
This Wednesday, October 31 (in a one day sale) Ligonier Ministries is commemorating Reformation Day by offering their Reformation Study Bible for $15.17. See here.
Monergism Books Launches Major Website Upgrade
We are excited to announce that the new and improved reformed Monergism Books Website is now here! Monergism Books has been completely redesigned, redeveloped, and reformed to provide you with even better service. Just as at Monergism.com, we at Monergism Books are committed to equipping you in the faith by making available the finest classic and contemporary books in the rich tradition of historic Christian orthodoxy.
We encourage you to visit MonergismBooks.com to check out these new and improved features:
Customer profile: Now you can save your personal information so that you donâ€™t have to reenter it every time you make a purchase. In addition, your profile will keep track of your purchase history.
Easier browsing: Our products have been completely re-categorized to make it even easier for you to find what youâ€™re looking for. Now you can also browse for titles according to the publisher.
Improved search functions: We now offer an advanced search function in addition to the basic search. Also, search results now display images of the book covers for quicker identification.
Recommendations: Many items now have a section with several related items that you may also like. In addition, each product page displays a list of products also purchased by customers who purchased that product.
Customer reviews: Now you can read what other customers think about a particular item, and you can also post your own reviews for others to read.
Wish list: You can create and save a list of products that you wish to purchase at a later date.
Product ratings: You can rate each product (on a scale of one to five stars) for your own personal reference as a way to record your research and increase the efficiency of your shopping.
Email items to friends: You can now email product pages to a friend to whom you want to recommend certain items.
Affiliate program: As a shopkeeper or blogger, you can now earn store credit for cross selling our products on your website. If customers make purchases on Monergism Books as a result of clicking through a link on your site, you will receive a commission.
Also, be sure to take advantage of our even better price for economy shipping. For only $3.99 we will ship an unlimited number of items (in the continental US).
Please remember that every time you purchase something from Monergism Books, you help support the ministry of Monergism.com. In doing so, you enable us to continue to provide you with an ever-growing number of high quality resources for absolutely free.
California Conference on Reformed Theology
The Meaning of the Cross
What does the cross mean for our daily lives? Historically, Christians have believed that the death of Jesus Christ bore the fruits of justification, adoption and sanctification for all believers. But what do those terms mean and how do they matter? To help us understand the crossâ€™ centrality in all these benefits, weâ€™ve brought together two nationally recognized Christian pastors and scholars who will join us for the second annual California Conference on Reformed Theology and a Christ-centered weekend of worship, fellowship and teaching. We warmly invite you to come and participate. Speakers include Dr. Derek Thomas and Dr. Stephen Nichols.
November 3-4, 2007
Sierra View Presbyterian Church
2435 N Thesta
Fresno, California 93703
Dr. Michael Horton to Appear on CBS's 60 Minutes
Currently scheduled for Sunday, Oct 14th, the interview will focus on the teaching and ministry of popular televangelist Joel Osteen, author of Your Best Life Now. 60 Minutes airs on CBS Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT (check your local listings).
Monergism Books Getting Major Upgrade!!!
Monergism Books Getting Major Upgrade!!! (pdf screenshot 1.2 Megabytes)
Completely Redesigned, Redeveloped, and Reformed - Coming VERY Soon. Big News!
On the Net - August 17th, 2007
New Reformed Blog - Theology and Steak - Meat for the Mind, Body, and Soul (Assembly of God Semi-Pelagian turned Calvinist - now pursuing a ThD at Whitefield Theological Seminary)
Lamp Mode Recordings is an independently owned and operated recording label based out of Philadelphia, PA. Highlighting the Character of God, while presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ and a biblical world view through hiphop culture.
Includes Calvinist hip-hop with such song titles as "Solus Christus project" "Killing Sin"...ect
Even in their resource section all of the links are to reformed theology, including monergism. Wild eh?
Reformation Society of Oregon, Inaugural Meeting
Reformation Society of Oregon, Inaugural Meeting
Special Guest Speakers:
Dr. R.C. Sproul & Rev. Richard D. Phillips
The Old Church
422 SW 11th Avenue, Portland
Friday September 14th, 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Dr. R. C. Sproul will conduct a question and answer discussion specific to pastors, and Rev. Richard Phillips will give a devotional and discuss his new Ligonier / Reformation Trust book Jesus the Evangelist.
There is no cost but seating is limited! Please register by emailing the Reformation Society at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please give your name, phone, address, email address, and affiliated church when you register. You will receive a confirmation response notice.
Doors open at 8:30 am, Breakfast served promptly at 9:00 am, Lectures begin promptly at 10:00 am. This is a free event sponsored by Monergism Books and Estacada Christian Church. Open to all pastors, elders and local church leaders. Event only open to the first 100 registrations. Contact: David Thommen 503-630-6707 or John Hendryx (503) 620 6926.
You may also log on to the Estacada church's website to register
John Piper responds....
Response to Rabbi Kushner....... August 6, 2007: By: John Piper
From 11 to 12 this morning, Gary Eichten of Minnesota Public Radio interviewed Rabbi Harold Kushner about the collapse of the 35W bridge. Kushner is best known for his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People. There were several astonishing things about this interviewâ€”not unusual for religious talk shows on public radio, but astonishing still.
1. The most astonishing thing is that Godâ€™s grace is so great neither the Rabbi nor I was struck dead by God during the interviewâ€”he, because of his blasphemous belittlings of God, and I, because of my contaminated anger at what he said.
2. Another astonishing thing is that Gary Eichten, as far as I heard, never challenged the Rabbi to support anything he said with an authority beyond his own opinion. Think of it. Here is a solitary, flawed, finite, fallible human being (like you and me) speaking over public airwaves with no support beyond his own personal viewpoint making unchallenged pronouncements, with no accountability whatsoever, about the greatest Person in the universeâ€”statements that are contrary to what most Christians and Jews and Muslims have believed during the entire history of those religions. And they let him just go on and on preaching his opinions.
Announcing the Launch of the Reformation Study Center in Phoenix, Arizona
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! SATURDAY, JUNE 30, 2007 marks the flaunch of the Reformation Study Center in the Greater Phoenix, Arizona area. Full details here.
Believing that the greatest need of the church today is a biblical understanding and proclamation of God as He really is, and the Gospel as it really is, the Reformation Study Center is being established to come alongside the Christian community to provide teaching and resources that will promote sound Christian doctrine.
OUR VISION LOCAL, GLOBAL AND COMPREHENSIVE
We seek to use all available means to propagate sound biblical and theological teaching. As God gives us the means (energy, man-power and financial resources) this includes:
THE PRINTED PAGE (books and theological articles)
TRANSLATIONS INTO OTHER LANGUAGES
TEACHING AND TRAINING CURRICULUM
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CENTER OF LEARNING
This vision that started as a seed in my heart, has become my burning passion, and my prayer is that it is something that will be shared by many. As God graciously provides a united team of commited praying people giving of their time, talents and treasure I believe so much will be accomplished as God blesses our efforts. Would you pray about your potential involvement in this vision? I covet your prayers enormously.
As we work together in this great venture, I believe God will be glorified and His purposes will be served in the earth, bringing Him much glory and honor. May God bless you richly.
Yours in the Master's service,
Rev. John F. M. Samson
Monergism Books: 3rd Annual Banner of Truth Mega Sale
Works Of John Owen-16 Vol Set ; The Works of Jonathan Edwards ; Works of Richard Sibbes:The Works of John Bunyan ;D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Romans 14 Volume Set:Works of Flavel ;Exposition of Hebrews by John Owen ;Works of Thomas Brooks;Puritan Paperback Bundle
Simply amazing! Go to the link here at Dr. James White's blog and scroll down the page until you come to the entry for "06/16/2007 - This Is Just...Special" - then just click on the link there.. and.. just enjoy!!!
Web Designer Position at Monergism
Do you have a passion for creating great cutting edge web projects? Monergism is looking for a front-end web designer to join our Interactive group. You should be a hard-working and self-motivated individual who has proven experience in brand development.
You will be leading all design aspects of Monergismbooks.com, Monergism.com and its' planned online community, email newsletters, online advertising and collateral. This is an energetic work environment that thrives on individual creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit. If you like to get in and get involved taking charge and driving the direction of your projects, then this is the place for you!
The ideal candidates must be extremely creative, have plenty of experience working on logos, the Web, brochures, print collateral, and some packaging.
Ideally the candidate is based in Portland, Oregon but we are open to off-site freelance based on qualifications.
PCA General Assembly to Look at Federal Vision
Just found out from Justin Taylor's blog that the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is being webcast live. This afternoon they will be looking at the Federal Vision.
New Particular T
A big thank you to Tony Reinke, Monergism's moderator for TakeUpandRead, who helped deign our T-Shirt concept, then took the following photos of his son wearing it:
Revelation 5:9 - Particular T
Photos (c) 2007, Tony Reinke, The Shepherd's Scrapbook
Reformation Theology Booksale
To Kickoff the Summer, Monergism Books is extending some really deep discounts on some Reformed titles:
Truth in All Its Glory: Commending the Reformed Faith by William Edgar (A great intro to the Reformed Faith)
Regular Price: $14.99 Special Price $4.50 - 70% Discount
Let the Reader Understand:A Guide to Interpreting and Applying the Bible
by McCartney, Dan and Clayton, Charles Retail Price $16.99 Sale price: $12.49 .... $6.79 - 60% Discount
("The best introduction to biblical hermeneutics for serious seminarians and other students of the Bible ... Each section presents profound concepts simply and clearly." Bruce Waltke)
The Pacific Northwest Lâ€™Abri Conference 2007
See you there.
Monergism Books - Full Catalog by Author
At Monergism Books, for your convenience, we just put together a full catalog of our books listed by Author. This was not previously available so those of you who find it easier to search by author, hopefully this is beneficial to you. You may actually find some books on the site that you did not know we carried. Thanks to Jonathan Bicker for putting this together.
Messianic Jews in Israel
An video from Israel Channel 2 News - 23 on Messianic Jews in Israel
John Piper Gets a Face Lift
You may be interested to know that John Piper got a face lift at the
Hall of Contemporary Reformers. <<< See his face lift here
We also now have stock of Piper's New Book & DVD
Battling Unbelief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure
Helpful Links 03-22-07
Calvinism Vs. Arminianism Debate
Reclaiming the Mind Ministries is hosting a special Converse with Scholars during the next two weeks. I am very excited about this program as there will be two fine scholars on to represent their respecting positions. Tonight, March 22 at 10pm EST, Roger Olson will be joining the program to discuss the Arminian position. The following Thursday, March 29 at 10pm EST, Samuel Storms will be discussing the Calvinist position.
The Morning I Heard the Voice of God by John Piper
Prayer List - J.W. Hendryx - making a list of things to pray for.
Vast Numbers of MP3s Available by Reformed Speakers
Book Review: Unless You Repent by Jonathan Edwards - by Tony Reinke
Take Up and Read
New Feature at Monergism.com
Take Up and Read, a website of weekly book reviews at Monergism.com.
At takeupandread.com our goal is to sift through the thousands of good volumes to recommend the very best literature for your time and money. Our goal is to expose you to historically important volumes, old books that are timeless in application, excellent contemporary books hot off the press, multi-volume facsimile reproductions, small single-volume books you can read in one day, and searchable electronic books on CD-ROM. Our weekly reviews are published in the hopes of helping you build a diverse library of Christian volumes with tested theology and reliability.
This week's review:
Unless You Repent by Jonathan Edwards
A Sample of Comments Received on the New Monergism.com
The following are samples of emails I have received over the past week regarding the launch of the new website. . Names have been removed...
Dear Mr. Hendryx,
Thank you for Monergism.com. I am an Area Director for Young Life and on the long term track at RTS and monergism.com has been a great asset to those of us in Young Life who are distinctively reformed. Your site is the first place I refer younger staff folks and is the place where I go for quick reference.
One thing I have looked for and have not been able to find is a summary article that categorizes major contemporary publishing houses, seminaries and "celebrity" authors by their theological distinctives. This would be useful because I am often given books, articles or particular fad authors to read and knowing the theological background of their source would be useful. There maybe a forum for this already and this may be something that is already a part of Monergism.com, but I have not been able to find it.
Thanks for all you do!
Your website it excellent and contains an immeasrable wealth of truth. Having a resource such as this is a treasure, expecially in this semi-Pelagian dessert of central Kansas. A more penurious understanding of the doctrines of grace and appreciation of the Reformation would be hard to locate than what one finds all around us here. So I appreciate your work and generous resources. Keep up the good work.
Monergism.com To Launch Major Upgrade
Important News from Monergism.com
Hear ye, hear ye.... Glad tidings! If the Lord wills, Monergism.com will finally be launching its long anticipated major upgrade sometime next week (the week starting Feb 18th), corresponding to the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival). It is pretty certain that we will receive some hate mail from those of you who have become comfortable with the old site, but when you experience the ease of finding what you are looking for, it is likely that your complaints will be quickly silenced. :)
New Features will include:
Redesign of the look and feel of the site. Color theme similar.
RSS and Email Subscriptions
Dynamic databased driven directory of theology
Search on Every page (smooth as silk)...
The capacity for "Moderators", of whom we can assign a password and category. In other words, Monergism.com will no longer be limited to the work of one person but is slated to be a collaborative effort among Christ-centered, Reformed-minded folk. Categories can be assigned to experts or Aficionado on the various topics.
While the focus of the content will remain the same, Lord willing, we will continue to add new features, articles and categories to the site. The goal is continue to be a vertical Christ-centered portal for the historic Christian faith.
Friday, Dec. 29, 2006 and Tuesday, Jan. 2nd, 2007
Just a short note to ask if you would kindly pray for me and all those who will listen in to two upcoming live Christian radio programs. Each program lasts a full 2 hours and allows me as the host to speak for 10-12 minutes on any given biblical subject (one subject for each hour) and then take callers' comments and/or questions. It is an amazing opportunity as I am told that 20,000 plus people are tuning in at any given moment. Unfortunately, only those in the Phoenix, Arizona area can listen in to the show and there is no web casting, but please pray for the word to go forth in clarity and power and for many lives to be impacted. In the 4 hours of live programming I am planning on talking about the Deity of Christ and the challenge of the cults; justification by faith alone; the nature of true saving faith; and the preservation of the saints. The details: KPXQ 1360AM Radio, Phoenix; Friday, December 29 & Jan. 2, 2007, both from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Arizona time) - Pastor John Samson
As you may know, three experienced mountain climbers were lost here on Mt. Hood (right near where we live) in Oregon. One of them was Kelly James, who's body was found after 8 days of failed rescue attempts. The bad weather made it nearly impossible for any resue crews to reach them. Kelly was a member of a PCA congregation in Dallas, TX. His brother, Frank James, is President of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL and was my Church History professor. Please pray for their family and for the continued rescue effort for the remaining two men who have not yet been found found. The weather has been quite terrible, but the rescue crews and the families are hopeful that these men are hunkered in a snow cave waiting for the weather to pass.
If you need a beautiful example of a Christian interacting with the media and hoping in God during a trial, go to KATU Channel 2 News (www.katu.com) and watch the raw video coverage from last Wednesday. Frank James addresses the media and reads a statement from the families. It is moving and instructive to those of us who represent Christ Jesus in this world.
Keep Looking at the Unseen!
Coming from England, the birthplace of soccer (or football as it is called there), I maintain an interest in "the beautiful game." As I read this story online today, my first thought was that this must be some elaborate joke, but apparantly this is real. The World Blind Soccer Championship is taking place right now in Argentina (please check out the story on the CNN web site here). All players (excluding the goalkeepers) are legally blind, they use a ball which sounds like a rattlesnake, the crowd isn't allowed to make too much noise to help the players hear the sounds around them, and they play on a hard surface rather than grass for the same reason... Those who observe this spectacle, are amazed at how sightless players are so attuned to the sounds, vibrations and the quick-changing position of their opponents and adjust accordingly. These highly gifted players are extremely attuned to their surroundings, making lightning fast decisions based on the kind of sounds and noises they are hearing at the time.
As I read the story, I have to admit, my imagination kicked into gear as I pictured myself being in the stands of the stadium, really trying to get into the spirit of the game. I've got a pretty good imagination and I laughed out loud as I imagined obnoxious fans around me shouting out at the referee when they didn't agree with a call... something like, "O come on ref, are you a SEEING PERSON or something!!!" or "hey ref, your SEEING EYE DOG isn't real!!!"
Monergism.com Ministry Update
I know many of you are anxious to see the roll out of the new website. There is a huge amount of data at Monergism so it is a lot of work for the engineer to carry it over into the database for the new site. But, as promised, and Lord willing, it will be launching soon, but unfortunately we do not yet have a date for you. The new design is complete and it looks good but still some technical hurdles to overcome.
In the meantime, Monergism.com continues to grow. Last month (September) we had over 91,000 unique visitors and nearly 600K page views. This is a new record. Thanks to you and for continuing to tell others about the site.
Many of you also know that we have moved our ministry and bookstore into a much larger facility. We tried to make the transition seamless and we apologize if our service lagged in any way in the last week or two. The new facitlity has an office up front and a warehouse for our books in the rear. Around 2100 square feet in all. Many expenses were incurred so thank you for continuing to support us by purchasing books though us and for your generous donations.
Here are the top 25 pages listed by traffic at Monergism.com over the last month:
The Hall of Contemporary Reformers
John Piper (in Hall of Contemporary Reformers)
Bible Research and Bibliology
Eschatology (Study of the Last Things)
Doctrines of Grace
Freewill & Bondage of the Will
Attributes of God
Church History A.D.
Credo Baptism Vs. Paedo Baptism
Seeker Sensitive Purpose Driven
Comprehensive Jonathan Edwards Resource Available Online
A Comprehensive Internet Resource: The Works of Jonathan Edwards Online is an extensive source for Jonathan Edwards texts on the web. Drawing heavily on the fifty-plus years of editorial work done by the Works of Jonathan Edwards project at Yale University, the Works of Jonathan Edwards Online will digitally publish manuscripts and edited versions of all of the 100,000 pages that Jonathan Edwards produced in his lifetime. Editorially tagged and fully searchable by chronology, theme, and scripture, as well as full text, the Works of Jonathan Edwards Online offers an expertly guided research experience in the papers of Jonathan Edwards.
Baptists and Calvinism Debate, October 16, 2006
On October 16, 2006, Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries, and Pastor Dr. Tom Ascol, will be debating Dr. Emir Caner of Southwestern Seminary, and his brother, Dr. Ergun Caner of Liberty University, at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA, on the topic of "Baptists and Calvinism."
Concerning this debate, John Orlando writes, "The matters being discussed are central to Biblical Christianity. Some people refer to this as an in house debate, but I prefer to call it an in community debate. We are in the same community, in that we are united in Christ, believing that salvation is by faith alone in the finished work of Christ. But if weâ€™re honest, these are two completely different houses built upon two totally different foundations. One house is built on the sure foundation of an omnipotent and absolutely sovereign, Triune and perfect God who brings about all of His perfect will without fail, and the blood of a perfect Savior who never fails to save those given to Him by the Father, and the mighty regenerating power and grace of the Holy Spirit of God, who never fails to bring those chosen from before the foundation of the world to saving faith by first removing their stony hearts and giving them hearts of flesh. The other house is built on the sand of human autonomy and vain human philosophy that ultimately places man as the captain of his own ship, and God as the innocent bystander who nervously paces the halls of heaven in hopes that someoneâ€¦anyone, might â€œselectâ€ Him. One house can rightly say that salvation is by grace alone, because it is a grace that is truly amazing in that it secures, and bestows, all that is necessary for salvation, to include the ability to savingly believe the Gospel and repent from sin. The other house can only say that salvation is by grace, but that grace doesnâ€™t secure or bestow anything except an â€œopportunityâ€ for the person, in the power of his own flesh, to muster up the moral ability to comply with the command to repent and believe the Gospel."
This quote is taken from an article John Orlando has written that highlights the issues foundational to the debate, found here. Though the article is a little lengthy, I am sure many of our readers will find the citations regarding the Arminian view of the atonement and inerrancy to be highly informative.
When Charles is crowned King of England
Prince Charles has long been a proponent of religion - all types of religion. One of the titles given to the King or Queen of England is "Defender of the Faith" - the faith here refering to the Christian faith. However, Charles has long said that he would want to change this title to "Defender of the Faiths" in keeping with his snycretistic religious world view.
Along this line, it has emerged this week that when the time finally comes for Prince Charles to become King of England, his coronation will not be a distinctly Christian ceremony, breaking with the tradition of many centuries. Instead it will be a decidedly multi-faith event. See here.
Questions for R. C. Sproul
From the blog at http://fide-o.blogspot.com, Jason Robertson writes:
Today, I am attending â€œThe Cross of Christ: Redemption Accomplishedâ€ Conference in Anaheim, California with R.C. Sproul and Ligon Duncan.
Last night I got a chance to spend some time with Dr. Sproul and talk about eschatology. I mentioned to him that I felt like in his book â€œThe Last Days According to Jesusâ€ that he really didnâ€™t let his readers know which eschatological camp he was in: Premil, Postmil, or Amil. He laughed heartily and replied, â€œThatâ€™s right, because I donâ€™t actually know. I see valid points in all of them and weaknesses, too.â€
R.C. made sure that I knew that he was a partial preterist who viewed this age in a very positive way. He talked about how the church in the West is filled with apostasy and liberalism but in other parts of the world the church is doing great. When he spoke of these matters he sounded like an Amillennialist. But he said that when it came to Romans chapter 11 that he agreed with Charles Hodge and believed that there was something in the future specially for the ethnic Jews of Israel. His view of Romans 11 was similar to Historical Premil. He then apologized to me for being confused. Now that was humbling. If it were not for Dr. Sproul quite possibly I could still be an Arminian â€“ so donâ€™t apologize to me, Dr. Sproul. In fact, to confess that some theology confuses you encourages me and reminds me that we all approach the Bible from the same place â€“ a place of desperate need for Godâ€™s wisdom!
Desiring God Website Update
Dr. John Piper's ministry has long been appreciated for its God centered, Christ centered and Gospel centered emphasis. The news this week is that the Desiring God website, which was already a treasure trove of resources, has expanded even further. All 25 years of Dr. Piper's sermons are now available to listen to free of charge here. This expansion of resources is a very generous gift to both the Body of Christ and to our world.
Let us continue to pray for John and his family, his church (Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota), and for the staff at Desiring God Ministries. May God's hand continue to be upon this ministry. May He use it mightily. Our prayer is that He would be pleased to cause the ripple effects of this gift to resound to His glory, now and for all eternity.
Pastor John Samson
John Piper to Write Book in Response to N.T. Wright
NEWS: August 2, 2006. John Piper is writing a new book which he says, "is a response to N. T. Wright on the doctrine of justification. I have no immediate plan to publish it until I get the feedback from critical readers. My motivation in writing it is that I think his understanding of Paul is wrong and his view of justification is harmful to the church and to the human soul. Few things are more precious than the truth of justification by faith alone because of Christ alone. As a shepherd of a flock of Godâ€™s blood-bought church, I feel responsible to lead the sheep to life-giving pastures. That is not what the sheep find in Wrightâ€™s view of Paul on justification. He is an eloquent and influential writer and is, I believe, misleading many people on the doctrine of justification. I will keep you posted on what becomes of this manuscript." From this essay
Members of Federal Vision Study Committee Appointed
The 34th PCA General Assembly approved erecting an ad interim committee "to study the soteriology of the Federal Vision, New Perspective, and Auburn Avenue Theologies, which are causing confusion among our churches. Further, to determine whether these viewpoints and formulations are in conformity with the system of doctrine taught in the Westminster Standards, whether they are hostile to or strike at the vitals of religion, and to present a declaration or statement regarding the issues raised by these viewpoints in light of our Confessional Standards." The GA authorized the moderator to appoint the members of this committee. The moderator, TE Dominic Aquila, has appointed the following:
TE Paul Fowler, Convener
Assistant Pastor, First Presbyterian Church
TE Ligon Duncan
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church
TE Grover Gunn
Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church
TE Sean Lucas
Assistant Professor of Church History
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, MO
RE Robert Mattes
Christ Presbyterian Church
RE William Mueller
Kendall Presbyterian Church
RE John White
Westminster Presbyterian Church
The General Assembly authorized receiving designated gifts to cover the expenses for the study committee. Send your gifts to: PCA Administrative Committee, 1700 N. Brown Rd., Suite 105, Lawrenceville, GA 30043. Indicate for: "Federal Vision Study Committee."
Source: By Faith Online, Web Magazine of the PCA
Monergism Updates & Other Virtual Phantasma
"The theologian's task is not to divert the ears with chatter, but to strengthen consciences by teaching things true, sure, and profitable" (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 1.14.4).
Christian Biography - Subsection Updated @Monergism.com. Lots of helpful resources, articles & MP3s.
Credobaptism & Paedobaptism Subsection Updated @Monergism.com.
Presuppositional Apologetics Subsection Updated @Monergism.com
Legalism & Antinomianism Subsection Updated @Monergism.com
Biblical Anthropology Subsection Updated @Monergism.com
Perseverance of the Saints Subsection Updated @Monergism.com
Christianity 101 An Introduction to the Historic Christian Faith. Subsection Updated @Monergism.com
Biblical Theology Updated subsection @Monergism.com
Check out the new Jonathan Edwards Blogspot
simul justus et peccator by James Spurgeon
â€œNowâ€¦Thisâ€: Daily News and the Death of Wisdom by Joe Carter
Are current events anything other than a mindless form of amusement?
I Went to the Movies Today by Pastor John Samson
"Everything in The Da Vinci Code is wrong, except Paris is in France; London is in England and Leonardo da Vinci painted pictures. All else is fabrication." - Sandra Miesel, coauthor of The Da Vinci Hoax.
"Don't they have editors at Doubleday in New York; don't they have fact checkers? Put it this way: there is not one ranking scholar in the entire world who supports what Dan Brown has done with history." - Dr. Paul Maier, coauthor of The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?
"Perhaps not since the third century â€” when Arius used prose and verse to spread his antichrist heresies â€” has popular culture been more thoroughly seduced by â€œdoctrines of demonsâ€ dressed up in the guise of literature." - Promotional Material for The Da Vinci Delusion (DVD) by Dr. D. James Kennedy
I went to the movies today and saw the Da Vinci Code. I would not recommend that everyone see it, but as a pastor, I felt it was my duty to do so. I had prepared the flock that I serve by speaking about the Dan Brown book, bringing in my friend, Dr. James White, an expert in church history and apologetics, to speak on the issue to the Church (back in January). I bought copies of the May 2006 edition of Tabletalk magazine (from Ligonier Ministries) for each family (as it is devoted to debunking the many falsehoods the book churns out). I felt I also had to see the movie for myself so that I would know exactly what was being communicated to people. I want to be armed and ready to serve my neighbor who will see it, and perhaps may ask me why I still believe the Bible when, in his eyes, Dan Brown has once and for all debunked the claims of Christianity. I also want to serve those under my care who will no doubt see the movie and become troubled by the many false and outlandish claims they hear. Again, I do not suggest that everyone should go and see the Da Vinci Code. Not at all. But I felt I just had to.
Dan Brown's book is one of the best ever selling books of all time (more than 40 million sold), next to the Bible, yet in our visual age, the impact of the movie may perhaps be even greater than the book. I've no doubt that many will simply take the movie's false claims as "Gospel" and not check out the facts. Its strange to use the word "Gospel" in this context, because it is the true Gospel of Christ which the book and the movie seeks to destroy. (Just try for a moment to imagine the complete uproar that would ensue if a movie of this nature was made about Mohammed and the Quran).
All who hate the true Gospel will find much comfort in this movie. The heart of unregenerate man hates God and His gospel with a vengeance, and this movie will cause many to at least try to still the voice of their consciences. Yet it does provide us as Christians with a marvellous opportunity to share the truth with people. In many ways, the movie can actually become a great witnessing tool.
I didn't go to the movie alone. I went with my friend Dr. James White. After the movie we had lunch and discussed the movie together...
Renewing Your Mind with Dr. R.C. Sproul launches on DirecTV Â®
Orlando, Fla., April 22, 2006 â€” Renewing Your Mind (RYM) is embarking on a new era of outreach by broadcasting on the NRB Network, channel 378 on DirecTV Â®, with a potential audience of more than sixteen million subscribers. This new broadcast will contribute quality programs that provide a platform to expand the kingdom of God by increasing the reach of biblical truth. RYM will feature teaching by Dr. R.C. Sproul, airing for thirty minutes at both 7:30 EST in the morning and evening.
Since Americans are watching television now more than ever, the need for solid Christian programming with content that rivals secular channels has increased. John Duncan, executive producer for RYM, said, â€œThe opportunity on the NRB Network brings the ministry to its knees in prayer, because we are at the threshold of something that has the potential to be as effective as the radio outreach. As we did not realize the profound impact that the radio ministry would have in the world, so the new television ministry opportunity has also opened up endless possibilities.â€ For the first time, Dr. Sproul will be invited into viewers homes, while they come face-to-face with his deep theological knowledge and characteristic, practical teaching style.
The NRB Network â€œexists to represent the Christian broadcastersâ€™ right to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.â€ Senior vice president and chief operating officer of the NRB network, Troy Miller, said, â€œAs of yet, there is not a Christian network seeking to compete with the secular broadcasters such as the Hallmark Channel, the Discovery Channel, Bravo, Fox News, PBS, PBS Kids, and so on. The NRB Network enters the market to answer the challenge â€” bringing a solid biblical world and life view, coupled with a modern and more mainstream programming approach.â€
Dr. R. C. Sproul is featured on RYM, an international radio broadcast that has aired for more than ten years with an estimated two million people tuning in every week. Dr. Sproul is a respected teacher, theologian, and pastor. He is currently serving as the director of Serve International, and senior minister of preaching at Saint Andrewâ€™s Chapel in Sanford, Florida. He has had a distinguished academic teaching career, written scores of articles for national publications, is general editor of The Reformation Study Bible, executive editor of Tabletalk magazine, and he has written more than 60 books, produced more than 300 lecture series, and recorded more than 80 video series â€” which will be prepared to air on the RYM television program. For more information please visit www.ligonier.org.
In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:
"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
Will We Stick Our Necks Out for His Faith? By MARK STEYN
Thanks to Between Two Worlds for this link
Fundy Turned Skeptic
Bart Ehrman, previous evangelical/fundy turned skeptic, in his New York Times bestseller, Misquoting Jesus, argues that we can't trust the New Testament documents and we can never truly know what they originally said. He is getting a lot of press and some are making a bit of noise about it. His most recent book is number 9 on the Amazon list and he was even on Jon Stewart's Daily Show on Comedy Central the other day, which I suppose is an appropriate forum for his speculations :) I suggest if visitors to Reformation Theology.com have not already done so, that you get to know a little about him. As the Davinci Code comes out in Theaters, his theories will likely be brandished about by naive people in the street and you should all be ready to give an answer.
Until recently, Bart Ehrman was basically only known in the academic field of New Testament studies. Among academics, he was mostly well known for his work in textual criticism, and his controversial book, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. In recent months Ehrman made the contents of the academic book into a more more digestible form and popularized it for the masses in the pages of Misquoting Jesus. Ehrman essentially argues that scribes maliciously changed the New Testament text to create doctrines like the Trinity and the deity of Christ. Thus, according to Ehrman, we can't trust the New Testament documents and we can never truly know what they originally said.
Believe it or not, this textual criticism for lay people, has becomes a New York Times bestseller. This guy Ehrman is now all over the place talking about this book--in national television, radio, and print interviews. The recent interview in the Washington Post will give you a bird's eye view of what Ehrman's all about. Perhaps only The Da Vinci Code has a bigger platform for radical skepticism than Misquoting Jesus.
Monergism.com Needs Your Advice
Thank you for reading this. Monergism.com is due for a major overhaul. We are writing to ask for your advice about going forward in the functionality of the website. As you may know, Monergism is something I designed in 2001 mostly as a hobby and it has grown in content and traffic more than I could have possibly imagined ... to the extent it is now a full time endeavor with 80,000 unique visitors a month. Although it is bulging with 1000s of essays and information, one of the key factors of its success, I believe, is that it is not a data dump. Our society is now overwhelmed by the amount of information we intake every day. Our brains hardly know how to process so much data, nor which information is important enough to store, but at Monergism.com we have tried, by God's grace, to cut through the clutter and useless information, and rather, focus in on that which we believe is worthwhile, meaningful and God-honoring. Hopefully we have succeeded to some extent in doing this though we could do it much better.
Tim Keller Written Up in the NYT
Tim Keller Redeemer Presbyterian Manhattan (PCA) and member of Monergism's Hall of Contemporary Reformers, was recently written up in the New York Times.
Preaching the Word and Quoting the VoiceBy MICHAEL LUO
In the twilight of the biggest snowstorm in New York City's history, the pews of a rented Baptist church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan were packed for the Rev. Timothy J. Keller's fourth sermon of the day.
The 600 or so who braved the snow for the evening service got what they had come to expect â€” a compelling discourse by Dr. Keller, this time on Jesus' healing of the paralytic, that quoted such varied sources as C. S. Lewis, The Village Voice and the George MacDonald fairy tale "The Princess and the Goblin." It was the kind of cogent, literary sermon that has helped turn Dr. Keller, a former seminary professor whose only previous pulpit experience was at a small blue-collar church in rural Virginia, into the pastor many call Manhattan's leading evangelist.
Over the last 16 years, Dr. Keller's church, Redeemer Presbyterian, has swelled to 4,400 attendees, mostly young professionals and artists who do not fit the prototypical evangelical mold, spread out across four different services on Sundays. Although Dr. Keller, 55, is hardly a household name among believers outside New York â€” in part because he has avoided the Christian speaking circuit â€” his renown is growing in pastoral circles and in the movement to establish or "plant" new churches, a trend among evangelicals these days.