Archives for February 2009

2.22.09 gbcvic sermons

Here are our sermons for this week:

As a Man Speaks (Rm 3.13-14)

Man’s depravity is betrayed by speech – by throat, tongue, lips and mouth. The wicked nature of man is universal, comprehensive, and constant. As we consider these themes in Rm 1-3, we see increasingly how desperate is man’s need of the power of God unto salvation with the righteousness that comes from God.

Pilgrim’s Progress (2): The Delectable Mountains

In this section, we see the pilgrims working their way along the way from just past Vanity Fair to the Enchanted Ground. On the way, the men of the party dispatch Giant Despair and rescue two fainting pilgrims, they meet the Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains and learn more spiritual lessons there, and meet a new manly Christian, Mr. Valiant-for-truth.

Our Church and Evangelism (Mk 16.15)

In this message we talk about our responsibility in the world as Christians, the business of preaching the gospel to the world. In our passage, as in Mt 28, going is the assumption, not the command. The activity to which we are called is preaching (heralding) where every task in the ministry of a church plays a part. And every creature is the opportunity. May God give us the courage and zeal to reach our world for Him.

What Dost Hinder Me to be Baptized?
Guest Speaker: Bill Carter, Capital City Baptist Church

This afternoon we had the great joy of offering our church building and baptistry to our fellow-workers and friends, the people and pastor of Capital City Baptist Church for a baptismal service. Three were baptized today, a great blessing to see. Several of our folks stayed for the fourth service of the day to celebrate the baptism with them.

Pastor Carter preached a solid message on the meaning and theology of message for us which we offer here for you. We pray that both churches may succeed in reaching our city for Christ.


A long day, but a good day in the Lord. It was a blessing to see three folks baptized and a privilege to serve a sister church.

the glory of ordinary ministry

I’d like to call your attention to a little book by D. A. Carson. He published this book last year, a truly wonderful tribute to his father, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The life and reflections of Tom Carson.

These Memoirs tell the story of every pastor, especially those pastors who lead small churches (most of us.) I have heard statistics that 50% of all churches are less than 100 in membership. If that is true, most men who enter the ministry will see long years of labour in small works with little increase. Such ministry can be very discouraging – the temptation to quit can ovewhelm. [Read more…]

to write or not to write, that is the question

In a recent meeting of the Minnesota Baptist Association’s men’s fellowship, a question was raised by the panel discussion moderator, Kevin Bauder. The question and answer is highlighted in a post by Ben Wright, claiming that fundamentalist churches have nothing to fear from the ministry of conservative evangelicals, especially the ministry of his hero, Mark Dever.

The question was something like this: should Bauder have availed himself of the opportunity to contribute an article to the 9Marks e-Journal or not? The answer of older pastors essentially was, “No.” Ben explains the rationale this way:

Then the conversation turned to Bauder seeking advice from these pastors as to how he should respond to a request from Mark Dever to write something for one of his publications. (He later identifies this request, which he declined, as an article in the 9Marks E-Journal on what fundamentalists look for in seminary education.

The responses were mixed. The first was a definite no, and the rest were more ambiguous. I was fascinated by what their answers revealed about their rationale, their motivations, and their fears. Their basic argument was that Bauder writing for Dever could function as an endorsement of Dever’s ideas as well as other conservative evangelicals. The chief threats to them seem to be losing members of their churches to Bethlehem Baptist Church (pastored by John Piper) and younger generations of fundamentalists identifying more with conservative evangelicals than their roots.

Bauder comments on Ben’s post, saying that he didn’t write the article due to the press of time more than anything else, and encouraging all to listen to the response of the younger pastors. So I did, and their answer was essentially, “Yes,” with my understanding of the main rationale being, “you ought to take advantage of opportunities to influence young evangelicals towards a more fundamentalist position.” (You can listen to the recording yourself to see if I have gotten it right concerning the answers.)

A comment later in the thread by someone named Dave says this:

The automatic response to avoid assimilation or discussion of conservative evangelicals teaching does not serve most ministries well, these discussions are going on among the “young” fundamentalists and unless you engage in the discussion biblically and with knowledge of the teaching in question (not just what you have heard about the teacher in your camp) you are pretty much ineffective in steering them away from what might be legitimate concerns regarding some of these ministries and teachers.

But let’s be accurate here. I think Dave is reacting to what Ben thought he heard, but that isn’t exactly what the older pastors in the panel discussion were saying! [Read more…]

2.15.09 gbcvic sermons

Guilty as Charged (Rm 3.10-12)

In this message we begin to consider the proof of Paul’s proposition: all men are sinners under the wrath of God. The proof comes from God’s written revelation, the only authority for faith and practice. It conclusively proves man’s guilt as the depravity of his character is revealed.

Pilgrim’s Progress (2): Gaius Welcomes the Pilgrims

In this section we cover two homes which host the pilgrims (and provide brides for Christiana’s sons). One of these houses is in the midst of Vanity Fair, where they find less trouble than Christian and Faithful did, due to a greater number of pilgrims and the guilty consciences of those who dwell in the Fair. The pilgrims are pictures of victorious Christians living in the midst of an evil world.

Willful Ignorance (2 Pt 3.5) [Creation]

Our message this afternoon is motivated by wide spread recognition of the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. We show that God calls such unbelief ‘willful ignorance’ and that such willfulness is an attempt to excuse some indulgence of lust, but at an awful cost.


Today was a ‘cool’ day at church. We are due for new gas furnaces in two weeks, so we wanted to make sure we used up as much of our fuel oil as possible. Well… we used it all up, so we huddled together in our first service (with temp. in the mid-50s … chilly, but not too bad) and moved to our fellowship room for the afternoon service.

Nevertheless a good day, with good attendance and a good spirit by all.

are your people stupid?

A recent blog by Mark Galli of Christianity Today includes this “gem”:

The place [the National Pastors Convention] is full of pastors who are either exhausted, burnt out, frustrated, or missional. They all amount to the same thing: a simmering anger about the church.

For most pastors that anger is directed at stupid lay people, stubborn church boards, or indifferent church bureaucrats. But “the church,” and especially “the Western church” or “the American church,” is the object of a myriad of derisive and sarcastic comments.


Pastor, would you say your people are “stupid”? [Read more…]

2.8.09 gbcvic sermons

Here are the latest messages from Grace Baptist Church of Victoria:

The Charge – All Under Sin (Rm 3.9)

As we come out of Paul’s argument with an imagined opponent (Rm 3.1-8), we are moving into the section where Paul proves his assertions by using God’s Word, the only authority for faith and practice. Just before laying out his proof, Paul states his proposition one more time, with this addition: all men are under sin. The emphasis of this notion is human bondage to sin, something that cannot be escaped, even by moral effort. I use a powerful testimony to close the message, showing how even good works can keep you in bondage. The only thing that can free you from your bondage is Christ.

Pilgrim’s Progress (2): Trials in the Valley of Humiliation

In this section, the Christian family travels through the Valley of Humiliation, the place where Christian fought Apollyon. They find this to be very fruitful ground for Christians. Then they enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, a place of much temptation and trial for believers. They learn here the value of prayer and of resisting the devil. Finally, meeting up with an elderly pilgrim, Mr. Honest, they learn the value of fearing God and shunning evil as they hear the stories of Mr. Fearing and Mr. Self-will.

The Violent Christian in the World (Gal 6.14)

In this message we reprise the teaching concerning the vigour which a Christian needs to live a Spirit filled life – he must crucify the flesh. But even beyond that we find that Paul teaches the world has been crucified to him and he to the world. As we work our way through the passage, we see that the particular aspect of the world in view in this verse is worldly approval and esteem. The Christian, in order to have God’s peace and God’s approval, must live with the approval of the world a dead issue to him. He must glory only in the cross of Christ and let the world think what it will.


Another great day in the Lord’s house. A few of our folks were out sick, but we had a day of great feasting around the word.


a Mohler interview worth reading

Hugh Hewitt is a talk-show host who I can’t get on my radio anymore. His show used to be available by a distant and scratchy signal from Seattle, but the station changed formats on him and he is no longer carried in the Seattle market (as far as I know). I keep up with his thinking by regular visits to his blog.

The other day, he interviewed Al Mohler on the subject of the changing views of young evangelical types. I think the whole transcript is worth reading, but a few highlights follow:

HH: As you talk with two distinct cohorts, the leadership elites in the Evangelical, with whom you are in daily contact, and your students, what are the reactions in those two groups to the events of November?

AM: Well, I’ll tell you, the older Evangelical leadership is in danger right now of looking really old, and old not just in chronological terms, but more or less, kind of acting as if the game hasn’t changed, as if we’re not looking at a brand new cultural challenge, and a new political reality. And so I would say that the younger Evangelicals that I look at every single day, and they are so deeply committed, so convictional, they’re basically wondering if a lot of the older Evangelical leaders are really looking to the future, or are really just kind of living in the 80s while the 80s are long gone. So I think there’s a crucial credibility issue there.

Hmmm… sound familiar?

[Read more…]

what is the meaning of this

In this post, I asked:

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.

Several readers have given their opinions:

  • Kent thinks "fundamentalism, as you knew it, Don, is essentially gone"
  • Jack thinks "they don’t appear to be concerned about being fundamental or baptist"
  • Andy thinks "We are definitely in a time of transition" though he wouldn’t look at Calvary seminary as a benchmark

No one who reads me regularly will be surprised to know that I tend to agree with these opinions. It seems to me that Ben, whose post alerted me to this conference, sees the same things I and others are seeing. His headline is "Ed Welch to Speak at CBTS Leadership Conference". He is picking up on the significance of Welch’s participation. He learned of this conference, it seems, over at SI, where the whole article reads this way:

National Leadership Conference To Focus On “Ministering God’s Truth In A Broken World”

by PastorJoeRoof at 5:48 pm January 29, 2009. 82 views. Filed under: Filings

Read here.

To date, there has been no discussion of the link at SI, but it is not too surprising, because they only mention the conference itself, not Welch’s participation. So it hasn’t received much attention over there. But Ben picks up on it. This is a fairly significant event.

Why do I say that?

[Read more…]

2.1.09 gbcvic sermons

This week we had one new visitor in our afternoon service. We also had a blessed day in the Lord as we considered his provisions for our unworthiness.

The Source of a Reprobate Religious Mind (Rm 3.5-8)

Paul concludes his argument with the Religious man as he imagines the final objections of his Jewish opponent. Paul asserts that all men, Jews and Gentiles are alike under the judgement of God. The Religious man objects that this makes his religion pointless, that surely God will still keep his promises in spite of the unbelief of ’some’ and finally that if God’s righteousness is magnified by man’s sin, surely God would be unjust to condemn man’s sin. In fact, the objector should say, we might as well sin the more, in order to make God look better. Paul strenuously dismisses these arguments as unworthy of any consideration. The Religious man stands subject to judgement as every other man.

Pilgrim’s Progress (2): At the House Beautiful

The family of believers arrive at the House Beautiful, Bunyan’s image of the local church where they gain assurance of salvation, catechising of the young, the dangers of marrying unbelievers, the healing of evil influences (by a medicine called ‘ex carne et sanguine Christi‘), and several lessons for future meditation.

He is Unclean (Lev 13) [Communion: Leviticus]

In Lev 13, we find the first chapter of laws concerning leprosy. Our message gives some of the mundane organizational details of the chapter, then distinguishes what sort of diseases are in view in Lev 13-14. As most have come to believe, the ‘leprosy’ of these chapters could not have been what we know of today as leprosy. The diseases were less serious, and in some ways a bit more puzzling to us, considering the severe response of banishment from the community (Lev 13.45-46). As we close the message, we attempt to see the point: man in his uncleanness and sin is banished from the presence of God, but our sin-bearer, the one who heals our diseases, rips open the veil covering the Holy of holies, giving us the right of access to God.