Archives for January 2009

everything has meaning, so…

What does this mean?

Ben Wright thinks it means something. Notice carefully Ben’s headline. Then consider the full schedule of events. Notice the place and prominence given to what Ben calls a "special guest lecturer".

I would suggest, "featured speaker," would be more accurate.

But, dear reader, what do you think it means? I have an opinion. Of course. I’ll share it with you shortly. But I’d like to see if anyone would care to "pontificate", as Ben calls it, before I charm you with my opining.


1.25.09 gbcvic sermons

Just two messages today. We had our annual business meeting in the afternoon service time. As always, we had a good spirit among our people with a blessed time of reviewing the past year and our hopes and plans for the coming year.

The Faithfulness of God (Rm 3.3-4) – Romans Series

The foundation of the Gospel is the doctrine of condemnation as developed in Romans 1 and 2. Paul shows that all men, Jew and Gentile, pagan and moral, infidel and religious, all men are under the judgement of God. Our message today deals with the second typical Jewish objection that Paul raises and answers in Rm 3. This objection minimizes Jewish sin and insists that God ‘owes’ the Jews because of his covenant obligations. The assumption was that God might punish a man for his sins, but since he is a Jew and he is in the covenant, he will ultimately be saved. (Many so-called Christians make similar assumptions today.) Paul thoroughly demolishes this objection, using Ps 51.4 in particular to show that God is faithful and righteous in judgement as well as in blessing.

Great Heart Guides Christiana (Pilgrim’s Progress)

In this section, the man Great-heart begins to serve as an escort for Christiana and her company on the pilgrim pathway. The chapter begins with a fairly complicated discussion of the particular righteousness from Christ that is imputed to sinners in salvation, that is, the righteousness of his obedience to the Law. The chapter retraces Christian’s footsteps up the Hill of Difficulty to the cross and then on to the gates of the House Beautiful. Along the way, the company learns the same lessons Christian learned, but in new ways and with new perspectives. Great-heart dispatches a new enemy, Mr. Grim Bloody-man, who would bar their entrance into the House Beautiful as the chapter closes.


wrestling with fundamentalism

A comment over on Pensees prompts this post. My exchange over there with the commenter is taking the conversation in a bit of a different direction than Bob’s original post, so I thought I would give an extended response here.

I reacted in particular to this paragraph:

A generation of believers is wrestling with fundamentalism. Many have completely forsaken the truth of the gospel itself because of hypocrisy and poor theology within the movement. Others still have a relationship with Christ, but have completely compromised theology. Still others, myself, and I believe Bob and Joel, are desperately trying to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The original principles of fundamentalism are sound, but the application and traditions have weakened the message over time.

The highlighted sentence particularly stirred me up.

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state of the Canadian church is publishing a series of articles describing the state of the Canadian church. This must be an annual thing, because they published a series of seven articles last year. Today’s article is called "Protestant realignment". I thought I’d highlight a few paragraphs that struck me.

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a follow-up on Welch

A friend takes me to task a bit for the review I linked to here. I thought his comments were worth posting. He agreed to let me do so, as long as I kept him "Annie Mouse" (my term), which I am happy to do. He starts off this way:

Arms review was interesting but I think he misses the boat.  I’ve read all of the Adams, Bobgans, etc. type books. Very helpful stuff, but to them, fear, anxiety, depression, etc. are always due to a spiritual problem. I disagree. Berg comes the closest to my position by recognizing that there can be a physical component.

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a review of Welch on depression

Donn Arms reviews Ed Welch’s book, Depression, A Stubborn Darkness here.

I have been positive of Welch in the past, especially for his book on addictions. I have read several of his other books as well. However, if this review is accurate, Welch is basically an integrationist and an unreliable guide for Christian counsellors. Arms is quite severe in his criticisms.


1.18.09 gbcvic sermons, prairie version

I am updating you from a most wonderful place, my home town in Alberta. I began the day in our pulpit in Victoria, rushed through a few last minute errands at home, then boarded a plane for my favorite place on earth: home. The town isn’t much to look at, perhaps, but to me, it is what home means.

The trip is a quick one to help my parents with some business matters. Being able to travel out on a Sunday evening like this is one of the benefits of our compressed schedule with our afternoon instead of an evening service.

Here are our summaries:

The Advantage of the Jew (Rm 3.1-2) – Romans Series

We resume our Romans series with the first objection of the Jew to the message of the gospel. The gospel is necessary for all men, for all men are under condemnation for their sins, including religious men. In Romans 2, Paul’s argument specifically points to the Jews. The Jews are God’s chosen people, but in order for them to benefit from their religion, they must see that it first points to their need of redemption from sin. They, like the Gentiles, are subject to the judgement of God.

The Jew objects at this argument. Paul employs a rhetorical style called diatribe as he imagines an opponent arguing with him: What good is being a Jew then? (Implied: we might as well give it all up and indulge in sin – see Rm 3.8.) Paul counters: there are many advantages and the first is the oracles of God, i.e., the written revelation of God found in the Bible. This is a great trust and a great benefit, but only if one is willing to stop arguing with God and accept his verdict on your sinful condition.

The Interpreter’s House

Christiana and Mercy arrive to a loving welcome in the House of the Interpreter, where they are taught many lessons from Bunyan’s homely examples. It seems that the Interpreter represents the Holy Spirit who instructs believers in the way of wisdom. The Spirit also washes, sanctifies and prepares the pilgrim for the journey. All believers would do well to halt at Interpreter’s house and gain wisdom for the way.

The Violent Christian (Gal 5.24) Galatians Series

This message has been percolating since before Christmas, but was delayed by our snowstorms.

We are talking about the fruit of the Spirit passage in Galatians. Part of the passage that is often ignored is Gal 5.24, a verse that reveals the human means in the sanctification process: crucifying the flesh. We couple that passage with Mt 11.12, to show that both Jesus and Paul talk in a particularly graphic way about the kind of vigour necessary for a fruitful spiritual life. You cultivate the ground of your heart by a particularly violent process. We attempt to highlight how violent that process is by looking closely at the vocabulary employed.


Wherever you are, I trust you had a good day in the LORD’s house. We had a great day, although we had a number out sick and one flying back from Holland. One of our fellows returned from the "injured list" however, he had been out for some weeks with a surgery, but he was looking good today. It was great to see him back.


the subtle scholarly unbelief

I’ve given up on a commentary. I am one willing to read the works of quite a range of authors, but I get so fed up with the scholarly evangelicals and the subtle way they cast doubts on inspiration. Give me an honest liberal any day, they are worth far more than the "perhaps" and "maybe-so" crowd.

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a well deserved rebuke

Lighthouse Trails alerts us to a Memorandum to Christian Leaders concerning Mark Driscoll. The memo is written by Cathy Mickels, co-author of Spiritual Junk Food: the Dumbing Down of Christian Youth, (also available from the authors here). Cathy Mickels is calling the men of the so-called Gospel Coalition to account for their refusal to repudiate Driscoll’s repulsive ministry. Another evangelical woman, Ingrid Schlueter joins the fray at Slice of Laodicea.

You should read the memo, especially if you are among those alleged fundamentalists who promote Driscoll’s materials. It is time for the heroes of the FINOs to do something heroic, like kick this blasphemer out of their fellowship.


two are better than one

By that I mean, marriage is a good idea. I am always mindful of this on those occasions when my wife and I are apart for a significant length of time, like more than a few hours.

Yesterday and today she was off driving our sons to Sea-Tac for their trek back to school. They’ll probably make it back before she gets home, but that is a fact of Island life.

In her absence… well, things haven’t fallen apart, but let’s just say her presence is sorely missed…

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