Archives for July 2008

lessons from leviticus

My commentary on Leviticus by G. J. Wenham has this interesting quote at the beginning of chapter 8:

It comes as a surprise to find the laws in Leviticus suddenly interrupted by a long narrative describing the ordination of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. We tend to think of Leviticus as a law book, not as a history book. But the reverse is really the truth. Leviticus and the other books of the Pentateuch are basically concerned with the history of God’s people. They deal with the way God brought them out of Egypt, what happened in the wilderness, how God made a covenant with them, how divine worship was established, and the like. The history provides a setting for the laws, not vice versa.

It is not just that the narrative explains when and why certain laws were given. It does that. But the events are often as important as the laws. God’s saving action is just as significant as his word. Biblical revelation is more than the bare communication of truths about God and his will. The Bible affirms that God directed the course of history in order to create a holy people who knew and did his will. [Wenham, Leviticus, p. 129, underlining mine.]

I am currently preaching in chapter 8 for our communion services (first Sunday of the month). It is rather striking to look at Leviticus from this perspective.

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so is this representative of DBTS?

I follow a blog by a Canadian evangelical who teaches at Southern Seminary in Louisville. He is by all accounts a fine man and godly professor. Of course, we would have disagreements. This post isn’t about him, except that he announced something on his blog just now that is about erstwhile fundamentalists.

Call for papers

By Michael Haykin on Uncategorized

It might seem a tad early to be advertising this, but this post will serve as an initial call for papers to be presented in the parallel sessions of the 3rd annual Andrew Fuller Center conference to be held August 24-25, 2009, on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The theme for the conference is “Baptist Spirituality.” Plenary sessions will be given by, among others: Drs. Robert Strivens of London Theological Seminary; Crawford Gribben of Trinity College, Dublin; Tom Nettles and Greg Wills of SBTS; Greg Thornbury of Union University; and Gerald Priest of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary. [bolded sections mine, for emphasis]

So… where does that leave us? Consider my post ‘parsing Doran’? No one but Dave commented there, and Dave just dismissed my points.

But isn’t this an example of the confusion and disconnect I am talking about? Am I just talking to walls? Am I nuts? Is this what being a faithful fundamentalist is about?

I suppose some might think I relish this. I assure you I do not. I would far rather write about our common salvation.


evangelism in Mongolia

I’d like once again to draw your attention to the blog of my friend and cohort, Scott Dean. He lives in the capitol, Ulan Bator, where he is starting a church. In this report, Evangelistic trip to Ovorkhangai, Scott reports on a trip to the countryside with one of his men, where they preached to people who have never heard.

May the Lord grant fruit for these labours! I would urge you to follow Scott’s ministry and support the Deans in prayer.


how we came to have an afternoon service

Over on Chris Anderson’s blog, we were discussing various ways in which we try to elevate the tone for our communion service. In the discussion, I mentioned that we have an afternoon service rather than the ‘traditional’ Sunday evening service. I thought it might be of some interest to give a little background to our practice. It might motivate some innovation for others as well.

We have always desired that the services of our church be ordered according to our mission of soul-winning and disciple-making. The ministry drives our services rather than the services our ministry. At least, that is our ‘high sounding’ goal.

Some years ago (2/29/2004), my family and I were scheduled to be a part of a missions conference in California. As our schedule dictated, we decided to leave town on the Sunday afternoon. Our folks decided to move our evening service to just after lunch so that we could get away and so that we could all enjoy a potluck fellowship dinner between our morning services and the afternoon service.

Our ‘one-time’ event was so popular that ‘Seminar Sundays’ were born. From that time forward, we made the fifth Sunday of the four five Sunday months in the year a fellowship Sunday, with our service order as follows: Worship at 10 am, Bible study/Sunday school at 11:30 am, ‘Soup and Sandwiches’ at 12:15 pm, and an Afternoon service at 1:15 pm. That is essentially the schedule we follow today.

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7.27.08 gbcvic sermons

I was out of town preaching for my good friend Darren Hammermeister today, so my son, one of our deacons, and a young man in our church stood up and took my place. They each did a credible job serving our Lord today. Included in our day’s events is a testimony from my daughter, recently returned from a summer mission team to Mexico.

Where is Your Confidence? (Phil 3.1-10)
Rory Johnson

Our pastor’s son, Rory Johnson, preached in our pastor’s absence. His message asked the question, ‘Where is Your Confidence?’ That is, for your eternal life, do you place your confidence in your works or the works of another? Do you lay aside anything in your life that you might think important for the goal of laying hold of Christ?

The Action and Reaction of a Faithful Man (Gen 5-7)
Harry Lloyd

One of our deacons preached in our pastor’s absence. His message centred around the faithfulness of Moses as a servant of God. He challenged all of us to faithfulness in our own walk with God.

Mexico Mission Team Testimony
Susan Johnson

Our pastor’s daughter gave a testimony concerning her recent mission trip to Mexico. Susan recounts opportunities for soul-winning and ministry she experienced in Mexico and testifies to our need to depend on the Lord in every circumstance. (8 min.)

Elisha and God’s Protection of Israel (2 Ki 6.8-23)
Allan Farrant

One of our young men preached in our pastor’s absence. Allan’s message focused on the protection the Lord provided for Israel through Elisha in 2 Ki 6. He called us to faith and trust in the Lord in our personal lives as well.


a little catching up

A busy week – our summer has been full of events, work, blessings, and challenges.

Some of the challenges came in the last two weeks.

  • An e-mail notice from a church member saying, essentially, ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you.’ Sigh. Of course, we’ll try to call.
  • A discovery of a failed septic system at our house. Ouch. $11K later… my son calls our yard “Johnson Ground Zero”
  • A rock heaved through my truck’s back window, damaging front windshield and dashboard as well. At least I have insurance! So now I have a slider vent window in the back for ‘only’ $200 – the deductible.

But blessings too!

  • My sweet daughter returns from her summer in Mexico with the BJU mission team. Many stories. Much enthusiasm for Christian service. And of course, just having her home! What a blessing.
  • A young couple visited again last Sunday. Third time in the last six weeks. Encouraging. Hopeful. The future of the local church is built through the commitment of couples like this.
  • Regular meetings with one of our young men. A help to his spiritual life, I think. He will be filling one of our preaching slots Sunday, along with my son. I’ll be away preaching for a friend.
  • And speaking of septics… We have a 65 suite condo going up next to the church building. They have been driving HUMONGOUS trucks all over our septic field. We finally had enough of that and will get hooked up to the city sewer … for free! Yay! Now we can expand our parking lot over the old field.

And something I found a little funny today, in the politics way:

I am thinking next month will slow down, but that might be wishful thinking. I still have a lawn to put in (and a window sitting in my basement to install) and the ongoing work of the ministry. There’s never a dull moment around here.


parsing Doran

In the comments to my ‘still no middle ground’ post, I made this comment to Dave Doran:

When Dever posted his response on 9marks to the Minnick interview, your answer (very early in the thread) was excellent. But on the other hand, you have said other things at other venues that seem disconnected with fundamentalist philosophy. Here I am thinking specifically of your recent message at the FBF conference and your speaking at a church in the “MacArthur orbit” not too long ago.

In response, Dave said this:

I’d be interested to hear what your concerns about the FBF message are. … I suppose I should say, I am interested in your concerns, but not likely to engage in much discussion over them simply because I am trying to cut back on blog discussions currently. So, please do offer your assessment and I will attempt to listen carefully, just probably won’t respond lest I find myself in a long discussion.

Well folks, I am not sure of the wisdom of publishing this commentary. This could too easily be construed as a personal attack. My focus is on what Dave said and what it seems to convey about the directions fundamentalist leaders are taking (i.e., mostly inaction while the younger set speculate about the future of fundamentalism).

So at the outset, let me offer my appreciation to Dave for requesting a more detailed assessment. I am not planning an extended discussion of this beyond this post. As Dave mentioned, understanding our busy schedules and the need to minimize some of the blog activity, I will let his response stand as is though I may add a point or two if absolute clarity is needed.

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is it just me…

Or is this an example of the old New Evangelical strategy of infiltration? Is the strategy being suggested in this series of posts ethical? Should godly laymen join churches that aren’t quite right (because no good one exists locally) and be a ‘stealth’ member for reform?


P. S. Silly me! I forgot! New Evangelicals don’t exist any more.

7.20.08 gbcvic sermons

Our messages for today…

Given over to a Depraved Mind (Rm 1.28-31)

a ‘bouquet’ of spiritual weeds

The consequences of human rejection of God includes the sins of inhumanity towards men – a whole plethora of wickedness, self-will, envy, pride, wholly lacking in any good thing. The root of these sins is idolatry, as in the sins of sensuality previously covered. The man who will not approve of God is given over to a disapproved mind – he cannot think straight and will not live straight. Any mind that approves these sins, to that extent at least, also disapproves of God.

Satan’s World

In which we take our final look at the doctrine of Satan, the adversary of man. In this lesson, we consider the teaching of Bible meaning of the term ‘world’, the authority of Satan in that world, God’s plan for the world, and the Christian’s place in the world.

Suffer the Little Children (Mt 19.13-15)

Our passage is not one we usually think of in connection with prayer, but it is said here that the parents of these children brought the little ones to the Lord for his blessing and prayers. Our Lord in this story teaches us something about salvation and something about his compassion for children. He does not teach us something about infant baptism, as some erroneously teach. Our Lord’s interest in children behooves his disciples to likewise be interested in the children of the local church, ministering to them to aid in their conversion and discipleship.


A good day in church today, a few folks away, but the third visit from a new family with two young children. They seem to be getting used to us, we hope that they will commit to involving themselves in our ministry. It was a blessing to be able to minister to them again this week.


a few more notes from the Calgary discussion

I’d like to wrap up my reporting of our discussion in Calgary led by pastor Mark Minnick. Our subject was Conservative Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism, an afternoon discussion session at the annual meeting of the Western Canada Baptist Fellowship.

My first report is here and my most recent, and perhaps most significant report is here.

This post is going to be a bit of a hodge-podge, just a few random thoughts from my notes that I didn’t include earlier, but thought worthy of your attention.

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