Lots and lots of little bits to pass on, some of which is important. The first one? Not so much. But it’s funny.
Timing Is Everything
I’ve driven for 20 years without getting a speeding ticket. Twenty years! Well, I picked a doozy of a time to get my first. The car? A borrowed Lexus. The passenger? Stephen Jones, following a day of preaching at TCBC. The witnesses? My little girls. Mommy thoughtfully pulled over to give the girls a clear view of their father getting accosted by a police officer. Nice.
Mahaney on the Pastor and Reading
C.J. Mahaney’s take on the importance of the pastor’s reading is worth the read:
“And I would want to encourage pastors who I think might be tempted to view reading and study as selfish. I view reading and study as one of the most important ways I can serve the church. So it is not a selfish act for me to set aside this time. It is really the most effective way I can serve this church, by tending to my soul and by preparing for the various forms and expressions of ministry. The best way I can serve a church is by responding to the command to watch your life and watch your doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16). It is the example of a pastor over a period of years and decades that will make a difference in the life of a congregation. And therefore I want to guard my heart from growing familiar with the pastoral world, growing familiar with God’s Word, growing familiar with corporate worship, growing familiar when I am listening to preaching, growing familiar when I am taking communion, growing familiar with God. I want to guard my heart from that. And the best way I can do that is by attending to his Word and applying his Word to my heart on a daily basis. I think that is the most effective way I can serve those I care for and those I have been called to serve and lead.”
Home Schooling Under Fire
Speaking as a home school dad and the pastor of many home school families, this is alarming.
The SI discussion of Matthew Hoskinson’s 9Marks article “A Christian Fundamentalist Travel Guide” (discussed at MTC here) is interesting. Though it gives me no joy to admit it, I think Joseph’s comment about the failure of fundamentalists to publish scholarly materials biting them in the long run is insightful.
Piper on Machen and Separation
I’ve noted a number of times that I’m appreciative of Piper’s biographical sketches. Today, jogging and driving, I got to take in his lecture on J. Gresham Machen. I enjoyed the first 60 minutes, as they familiarized me with Machen, a man I need to learn more of. (Suggested reading, anyone?) The last 30 minutes contain Piper’s conclusions, then a Q&A time that includes his discussion of separation and his take on staying in the BGC. Frankly, those comments lack the typical clarity and sharpness I’ve come to expect from Piper, and (not surprisingly) I disagree with his take on separation and the way to determine when one is polishing brass on a sinking ship. It’s fascinating to hear him work through it, though.
“He’s a machine.”
Turns out that the “he” of this video is Zach Hamilton, my friend and the son of my friend, Paul Hamilton who pastors Westerville Bible Church near Columbus, Ohio and serves as the current President of the OBF.
Typical Bible-thumping fundamentalist. :)
I finally finished up Ryle’s Holiness last night. I’ve been reading it with a friend from TCBC, and it’s been a very profitable study. It ends on a high note: chapters 18 (Unsearchable Riches) and 20 (Christ Is All) exalt Christ as the center of biblical Christianity, and indeed of all that exists. Thrilling stuff.
Parts of chapter 19 (Wants of the Times) could have been written as a modern polemic against postmodernism. I’ll close this post by quoting several chapters from it because it is so timely. If I didn’t know better, I’d assume the following was taken from Carl Trueman’s The Wages of Spin. There’s nothing new under the sun:
I cannot withhold my conviction that the professing church is as much damaged by laxity and indistinctness about matters of doctrine within, as it is by skeptics and unbelievers without. Myriads of professing Christians nowadays seem utterly unable to distinguish things that differ. Like people afflicted with color blindness, they are incapable of discerning what is true and what is false, what is sound and what is unsound. If a preacher of religion is only clever and eloquent and earnest, they appear to think he is all right, however strange and heterogeneous his sermons may be. They are destitute of spiritual sense, apparently, and cannot detect error. Popery or Protestantism, an atonement or no atonement, a personal Holy Spirit or no Holy Spirit, future punishment or no future punishment, “high” church or “low” church or “broad” church, Trinitarianism, Arianism, or Unitarianism, nothing comes amiss to them: they can swallow all, if they cannot digest it! Carried away by a fancied liberality and charity, they seem to think everybody is right and nobody is wrong, every clergyman is sound and none are unsound, everybody is going to be saved and nobody is going to be lost. Their religion is made up of negatives; and the only positive thing about them is, that they dislike distinctness, and think all extreme and decided and positive views are very naughty and very wrong!
These people live in a kind of mist or fog. They see nothing clearly, and do not know what they believe. They have not made up their minds about any great point in the gospel, and seem content to be honorary members of all schools of thought. For their lives they could not tell you what they think is truth about justification or regeneration or sanctification or the Lord’s Supper or baptism or faith or conversion or inspiration or the future state. They are eaten up with a morbid dread of controversy and an ignorant dislike of “party spirit,” and yet they really cannot define what they mean by these phrases. The only point you can make out is that they admire earnestness and cleverness and charity, and cannot believe that any clever, earnest, charitable man can ever be in the wrong! And so they live on undecided; and too often undecided they drift down to the grave, without comfort in their religion and, I am afraid, often without hope.
The explanation of this boneless, nerveless, jellyfish condition of soul is not difficult to find. To begin with, the heart of man is naturally in the dark about religion, has no intuitive sense of truth and really needs instruction and illumination. Beside this, the natural heart in most men hates exertion in religion and cordially dislikes patient painstaking inquiry. Above all, the natural heart generally likes the praise of others, shrinks from collision and loves to be thought charitable and liberal. The whole result is that a kind of broad religious “agnosticism” just suits an immense number of people, and specially suits young people. They are content to shovel aside all disputed points as rubbish, and if you charge them with indecision, they will tell you, “I do not pretend to understand controversy; I decline to examine controverted points. I dare say it is all the same in the long run.” Who does not know that such people swarm and abound everywhere?
Now I do beseech all who read this message to beware of this undecided state of mind in religion. It is a pestilence which walks in darkness, and a destruction that kills in noonday. It is a lazy, idle frame of soul which, doubtless, saves men the trouble of thought and investigation; but it is a frame of soul for which there is no warrant in the Bible, nor yet in the Articles or Prayer Book of the Church of England. For your own soul’s sake dare to make up your mind what you believe, and dare to have positive distinct views of truth and error. Never, never be afraid to hold decided doctrinal opinions; and let no fear of man and no morbid dread of being thought party–spirited, narrow or controversial, make you rest contented with a bloodless, boneless, tasteless, colorless, lukewarm, undogmatic Christianity.
Filed under: Book Reviews & Discussions, Contemporary Issues, Fundamentalism, History Bits, Mp3's Tagged: | C.J. Mahaney, Carl Trueman, J. Gresham Machen, J.C. Ryle's Holiness, John Piper, Matt Hoskinson, Paul Hamilton, postmodernism, Zach Hamilton