Archives for December 2008

the certainty of uncertainty

That would be the mark of neo-orthodoxy, I think. Or would it be the uncertainty of certainty? One can never tell.

This line illustrates what I mean:

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conversing with evangelicals – 2

I am writing in response to a series of posts by a pastor in Alberta (God’s country), Clint Humfrey. I like Clint because he is an Albertan, a cowboy, and a preacher of the Gospel (not necessarily in that order!). In my earlier post, I commented on the similarities between conservative evangelical frustration with the evangelical scene and the frustrations of early fundamentalists with the church of their day.

The concerns of current conservative evangelicals, though perhaps discouraging to them, are encouraging to today’s fundamentalists because we hope there might be a widening of the circle of faithful men of God as a result. This is at least part of the motivation behind the enthusiasm of ‘young fundamentalists’ for the conservative evangelical speakers and gatherings they talk so much about. (My concern with them is that they appear willing to discard fundamentalism in the process of forming a wider fellowship.)

With that in mind, then, for fundamentalists these concerns represent an opportunity for revitalizing the Bible believing church. That is why I am hopeful of conversations with evangelicals. Still, there are a number of hurdles to be overcome before any satisfactory new movement can emerge.

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conversing with evangelicals

In this space, we devote a good deal of attention towards the concerns of current fundamentalists, especially the concerns that stem from the push for a closer tie to ‘Conservative Evangelicals’ by some who call themselves Fundamentalists. Some would probably characterize my stance towards that proposal as wholly negative. That characterization would completely misunderstand my position. I am all for closer ties between conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists. But…

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a virtual service today

We are snowed out again. The main roads were clear, but our church is on an unplowed side street and our parking lot is buried. We have about a foot of snow. The mountain to the west (over which half our congregation drives) is a skating rink.

As an alternative, we held a small service in our home this afternoon with a few who were able to make it over. We recorded it (with an inferior microphone) but we offer it here so our folks can have a ‘virtual service’. Our daughter-in-law accompanies us on the violin, with a special of What Child is This as well.

Reactions to Christmas (Lk 2.15-20)

Our message is a brief meditation on the Christmas story and the five reactions we see to the announcement in this passage. We hope it is a blessing to you.


a scholar and a gentleman

Dr. Marshall Neil went to glory this last Tuesday. I just saw the notice on the BJU web-site.

Dr. Neal was one of my favorite professors (did I have any un-favorites? No). The two seminary classes I remember having with him were New Testament Introduction and a theology class on Pneumatology – the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. That Pneumatology class was at 8 am, MWF. Man… Dr. Neal was a fine teacher and a fine man, but his presentation was dry! I remember after that class running into him (in the presence of my future wife) and trying to make some off hand comment about how hard it was for me to stay awake that early in the morning. It was one of those comments that just didn’t come out the way you wanted it to… But Dr Neal just smiled and took it with his usual grace.

Dr. Neal had a wonderful sense of himself. Legend has it that when he was teaching Systematic Theology one time he brought an alarm clock to class and hid it in his desk, set to go off halfway through his lecture. I wish I could have been there!

He is the one who also gave that insight that Paul was a Southern Jew because he always says “you all” in the Greek. I think that one was in a Greek Bible book class, but I can’t remember which one.

I am sure there were other classes I had with him but I’ll have to look them up later. I am on the road picking up youngsters coming home from BJU for Christmas.

But I thought I’d just reminisce a bit about a fine Christian man who simply was faithful and poured his life into hundreds of young men. You have to love guys like that.

I’m sure the Lord does.


a new blog worth reading

I just came across a blog that I think will be well worth reading. It is written by none other than Jay Adams, the man who invented nouthetic counselling (or re-discovered it, maybe). He was my sister’s pastor for a number of years. I met him once. I disagree with him on some things … he’s a Presbyterian, I’m a Baptist, so…

But I have to say I have immensely profited from his writing and teaching, even if I disagree with him! He is a thinking man who loves the Bible and the Lord.

Here is a little bit of a recent blog on Elijah:

Elijah was too hard a worker to become depressed, and those who attempt to excuse their depression on the basis that even a mighty man of God like him got depressed, are missing the point. It wasn’t depression, but disappointment that you see haunting this man. Things didn’t go as he had expected—as he had planned—and he didn’t like it. That’s the problem with many of us as well. When God doesn’t do things our way, we quit, give up, or try to go our own way.

That’s good. Bracing, but good.

Anyway, add Dr. Adams to your blog reader. You won’t be disappointed.  (And you will probably disagree with him from time to time.)


PS: This is post # 500! Will he ever shut up?

from the dept. of you thought you’ve heard everything…

Now, via, the Christian Post, comes this:

The Italian city of Naples has for centuries made big profits through the sale of nativity scene figurines. It is home to some of the finest displays of the nativity scene in the world.

And each year, craftsmen in Naples come up with figurines of some of today’s best known public figures, which are often added to traditional displays.

This year, most likely to be standing alongside Mary and Joseph, or perhaps the three wise men, will be another heralded couple – the Obamas.

It’s a sad sad crazy world out there…


12.14.08 – No services today

Here’s why:


That’s the Malahat at 9:15am… our people who drive over it each week for church shouldn’t take the risk, not to mention the icy streets and accumulating snow we have everywhere else.

We can be thankful that this usually only happens once a year! But we think a memo to the weatherman is in order: Here in Victoria, we don’t do snow!


a little history on-line

For a little week-end change of pace, I offer you an historical artifact recently established and placed on-line for all to peruse.

That would be the archives of the British Colonist, forerunner to our local newspaper, Victoria’s Times-Colonist.

The British Colonist was founded in 1858 by a man formerly known as William Smith, but better known as Amor de Cosmos. That’s right … ‘lover of the universe’. British Columbia has always been a place for eccentrics.

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the mark of fundamentalism

I continue to delve into the DBTS theological journal and again commend the very first article in the first volume of the journal, The Self-Identity of Fundamentalism, by Roland McCune. I started reading the article last week. Recent ministry experiences brought the article to mind again, especially the section where Dr. McCune begins to write about the distinctive characteristic of Fundamentalism.

Militancy has been a defining characteristic of fundamentalism from the beginning. On that there is near unanimity of opinion.

Roland McCune, Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal Volume 1, 1:22 (Detroit Baptist Seminary, 1996; 2003).

This really is true. Fundamentalists declare it, their opponents discern and disparage it. I suppose that the opponents misunderstand it, but they do see it as perhaps the distinguishing mark of Fundamentalism.

Before we go further, perhaps a more thorough definition of militancy might help.

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