Archives for June 2008

so who cares about separation?

The average fundamentalist cares. Do evangelicals care?

In spite of recent interest in the fundamentalist question by Mark Dever and his ministries, doesn’t it seem that the interest is more of an amused curiosity rather than genuine interest?

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6.29.08 gbcvic sermons

I travelled home from Alberta (a surreal statement to me!) on Saturday, leaving Calgary at 4:30 am, arriving at the ferry at 2:30 pm BC time. 11 hours and 11 sermons later! The week was spiritually enriching for me!

Here are our messages from this Sunday. The first was my sermon from Family Camp, the last was preached in our living room since we are still under renovation in our fellowship room at church.

Finding Joy in the Regular Christian Routine (1 Chr 1-9)

Our message this Sunday morning was the sermon I preached at Family Camp, somewhat expanded. The message centers on our reason for rejoicing: the certainty that God keeps his promises. That is Ezra’s point in the list of the genealogies of Chronicles. In prominent place are the David line and the Levitical line, the twin centers of God’s promises in the OT – the throne and the temple, priests and king. Though the post-Babylon nation had no throne, and a diminished temple, the promises of God remained sure. And so should our confidence to go on living a life of faith in our dispensation, trusting in the still to be fulfilled promises of our good God.

The Sin of Satan

We continue our discussion of Satan, following last week’s discussion of his creation with this week looking at his sin. Two issues were the main discussion – the fact that God is not surprised by Satan’s sin (but not the cause of it) and that Satan’s sin is centered in pride: “I will”.

The Prayer you should always Pray (Lk 18.1-8)

Our series on prayer takes us to a unique lesson concerning prayer, a second coming prayer. The prayer is one that we should always pray with confidence: the prayer for the vindication of the saints. We have the Lord’s assurance that this prayer will be answered and it will be answered suddenly. We should not faint along the way, but be persistent in this prayer, believing God to the end that he will vindicate his own for his name’s sake.


I trust that you all had a great day in the Lord on the Lord’s day as well.


when I wish you could have been here

“Here” is the annual meeting of the Western Canada Baptist Fellowship, a group of good men with whom I join in hearty fellowship… but haven’t officially joined the organization! One these days…

The speaker for our conference this year was Mark Minnick, pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville, SC, my former homiletics professor and my preaching model for my own ministry.

The meeting was timely in light of recent events and personal correspondence. But I have to say that the meeting was also an especial blessing and encouragement for me in the ministry as well as for all those who attended.

Besides the content of the meetings, I am tremendously encouraged by the presence of so many solid fundamentalist ministries here in Alberta and across Western Canada. I grew up here. I was ordained here. Thirty years ago you could count all of the fundamentalists in Alberta on one hand, practically. Now there is a growing fellowship of increasingly strong churches. The Lord truly is blessing, though the growth is nowhere near as rapid as we would like. But when I compare the 30 year span, the growth is REAL.

Now, why would I wish you could have been here.

One: for pastor Minnick’s two evening messages covering Ephesians. I have never heard a more encouraging set of messages for men in ministries of any size, but especially in the small ministries we have here in Western Canada. What a privilege it is to serve the King, and to bring glory to His name … and to the Father’s name as well.

Hopefully I will be able to post copies of the messages or at least links soon. Stay tuned.

Two: for the open discussion of current issues facing fundamentalism we held this afternoon. Our session ran about two hours, no one was bored (contrary to predictions of some!!) and I think a good deal was accomplished. A few notes [more may follow later]…

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preachers of influence

I want to pick up on something I said in my last post. I was observing the influence of much admired and frequently listened to preachers on those who admire and listen to them. Here is a bit of what I said:

The preachers you listen to influence your own preaching. … I have spent hours listening to Mark Minnick. Mark was my Pulpit Speech teacher. I have intentionally tried to imitate his methods and something of his style. As I began listening to the Trinity messages this summer though (and most of them were Chuck Phelps), I caught myself a few times in the pulpit saying things in a way that sounded to me like the way Chuck would say it. I think Chuck has a certain cadence to his preaching that is a bit unique among preachers, and I was unconsciously (or semi-consciously) picking up on that.

Chuck himself mentioned this tendency among preacher boys in one of the messages I listened to today. He said that those who sat under Tom Malone often mimicked some of his habits as did those who sat under Dr Bob Sr. Of course, I have observed this with other admired preachers as well. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing!

But it does mean preachers need to be careful who they admire, who they listen to, and who influences them. I think that subject is probably worth another post at some point.

The influence of one preacher on another is all well and good if the admired and followed preacher is a fully faithful member of the clergy. You may pick up mannerisms – that is one thing. But much more you should pick up philosophy, methodology, zeal, and ministry patterns. And you will, if you make a study of a particular preacher or preachers.

That means you must choose your models very, very carefully. Some young men today are making extremely unwise choices in this regard.

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my excellent twelve hour Bible conference

I am on my way to the Western Canada Baptist Fellowship annual meeting, this year featuring the preaching of Mark Minnick. The meeting will be held in Calgary, AB, Thursday-Saturday (although I have to beat it out of town on Saturday to make it home for our own services).

On the way, I am going to spend a day with my parents in my quirky and beloved Alberta home town. I say quirky because my love for this town is mostly nostalgic. There is nothing special about the town per se, but there are excellent memories to be had on almost every street of the little burg… and it is on the prairies where you can see the sky. What more could one ask out of a home town?

I had intended to get an early ferry and make it home before I rested my weary head, but certain family responsibilities meant I had to catch a noon ferry. So here I am, twelve hours after disembarking, still a couple of hours from home, and ready to sack out. But before I do, a few comments on preaching…

When driving alone, I love nothing better than listening to sermons. With modern technology I do this with a PDA and an auxiliary plug in my CD player. In my twelve hours on the road, I managed to listen to 15 and a half sermons today! Kind of a soul-food pig-out session!

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6.22.08 gbcvic sermons

We had a blessed day in the Lord today with a visit from the Christian parents of one of your young adults in our congregation. Here are the sermon summaries and something extra…

The Judgement of Sin (Rm 1.24-31)

We come now to the judgement God metes out for sin. When we read that God’s wrath is being poured out on the sins of mankind, we may think of things like disasters, illnesses, shortened lives, and a great judgement to come. Romans 1 reveals that the ongoing outpouring of God’s wrath against sin is more sin. God, responding to man’s refusal to glorify, to man’s ingratitude and pride, by removing restraint allows men to wallow in a morass of uncleanness, shameful passions and disapproved minds. But for all that, there is hope… men can put all their sin into the past tense and become faithful children of God, clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

The Creation of Satan

In which we consider the questions when and with what nature Satan was created. We look at Ezek 28 (among other passages) and consider whether it is only a description of a human king or whether indeed it also has application to the creation of Satan.


Our fellowship hall is under renovation and the work precluded our use of it for our church lunch this week. Instead, we invited our folks over to our house for lunch. After lunch we had a time of fellowship and testimonies, replacing our pm service.

We started with testimonials about Family Camp, but our hearts were blessed with many other good words about the good work of God among us. Though we live in troubling days, we serve a great God who preserves us in the midst of our wicked world.

You can find some pictures of the event at our church site, here.


Wherever you are serving God, I trust you also had a blessed day in partnership with saints around God’s word.


listening to sermons on my way to camp

and blogging about them out of doors, with the sounds of my family enjoying themselves and me obsessively reading the latest in the unending fundi-neo wars…

A friend of mine asked me to listen to two messages preached recently by two men of similar age and relatively similar standing in the world. So my son and I listened to them on the way to camp. Here is our take:

  • One preacher knows what worldliness is; one thinks its very complicated.
  • One is clear; one is vague.
  • One is proud of his heritage; one isn’t so sure.
  • One is determined not to allow corruption any possibility of infiltration; one thinks we need to think it over oh so carefully.

One wonders what kind of impact these differences will have on the Christian church in the next few years.


I’ve also noticed another preacher taking potshots at this space. I’ll not name the preacher, or where it was done, but it is typical of the individual involved. May God help him.


do conservative ‘e’s separate?

Mark Dever asks, I think, for fundamentalists to clearly and consistently spell out what separation means to them. I could be wrong, and am willing to stand corrected, but I think he is asking the same question that I thought was unanswered in the Minnick interview (see previous posts).

Here is my initial answer to Dever’s questions as posted in the comment section of the 9marks blog (I add a bit more below my quoted answer):

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6.15.08 gbcvic sermons

The weekly update on our preaching ministry at Grace Baptist Church of Victoria. We were a little down in attendance this week … last week’s visitors did not return, but usually new visitors take time to ‘take hold’. We are praying for their return and embracing of a biblical church ministry. One young lady, newly moved in to the area dropped in for our first service. She did not stay long afterwards… not always a good sign.

In any case, we continue to press on in the work of the gospel. Here are the summaries.

How Sin Begins (Rm 1.21)

On further reflection concerning our passage last week, I decided to return to it and emphasize the beginning point of sin: resentment of God and ingratitude to God. No matter our circumstances, God’s plan and way for our lives is best. We fall into sin, even as believers, by doubting God’s sovereign disposal in our lives and failing to be grateful for his dealing with us, both by favourable and unfavourable circumstances. The end result of our murmurings can be a darkening of our hearts and a futility of our reasoning (to some extent), distancing us from God. May God find us submissive, grateful, and glorifying him!

The Reality of Satan

In which we begin a look at the teaching of the Bible concerning Satan. This is not a topic we enter because we are so much relishing it, but one we enter because it is under attack from Bible deniers and it is part of teaching the whole counsel of God. The first point: Satan is real, personal, and powerful.

A Prayer of Witness (Jn 11.41-42)

In our series following the chronological teachings and examples of our Lord on prayer, we come to the prayer uttered just before the resurrection of Lazarus. The prayer is intended to communicate God’s truth concerning our Lord to ‘the crowd’ – our public prayers should emulate our Lord’s public prayers as  much as possible.


is there an answer here?

On another blog, a discussion is ongoing regarding the Mark Dever – Mark Minnick interview. I, along with some others, contend that our friend Mark Minnick didn’t answer the last question Dever asked. Others say that he did answer. I have taken the trouble to transcribe the last six or seven minutes of the interview, hopefully accurately, so that you can analyze what was said and come to your own conclusions.

Here is the transcript, beginning at about 1:01:35 of the interview:

1:01:35 Dever: “What would we have to do to change for you to be free to preach here?”

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