Archives for April 2010

salt and light questions

A few years ago, I heard a clip of a prominent evangelical leader justifying the new evangelical decision to pull back from separatism. The gist of the statement was something like this:

The fundamentalists lost any chance at influence of the world by their over-emphasis on separatism.


Just how well is that influence thing working?

Is North American culture today MORE or LESS influenced by Christianity today than 60 years ago?

Is it the mission of disciples to be salt and light in such a way that they have influence in the culture of the world?

If yes, how would we go about that?

It appears that whatever the new-evangelical strategy was, it didn’t work. I’ll concede that if fundamentalists thought they would influence the world somehow, they failed also. So, let’s just posit for a moment the notion that those who follow Christ are called to be salt and light in the world, and therefore to somehow have a position of influence in the world. One would presume that influence should be towards an increase in Christianity, for starters, but failing that, one would at least hope for some influence on the culture.

So, again, exactly how should we do that?


edinburgh 2010

A friend sent me an article critical of Edinburgh 2010. Edinburgh 2010 is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of a conference in Edinburgh 1910 which set the stage for ecumenical advance, especially in missionary work.

The celebration includes events around the world including a whole host of individuals. One of the events is Lausanne III to be held in Cape Town, South Africa.

Here is the speakers list for Lausanne III:

The expositors have been named as Ajith Fernando, Director of Sri Lanka Youth for Christ; Calisto Odede, Associate Pastor of Nairobi Pentecostal Church, Kenya; John Piper , senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis , US; Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford , UK; Ruth Padilla DeBorst, General Secretary of the Latin American Theological Fellowship (Costa Rica); and Ramez Atallah, Director of the Egyptian Bible Society, and his wife, Rebecca, who has a grassroots ministry among children and Sudanese refugees in the ‘garbage village’ in Cairo.

The article I first ran across had this to say about this conference:

The Cape Town Conference will be in conjunction with The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization and is considered the most conservative of the main conferences.  It features six keynote speakers (each apparently preaching a message from the book of Ephesians) from six world regions, with John Piper representing North America. Boston University doctoral student and General Secretary of the Latin American Theological Fellowship Ruth Padilla DeBorst is one of two women expositors,  4000 leaders from 200 countries have been invited and special criteria have been established to “include men and women from a broad spectrum of nationalities, ethnicities, ages, occupations and denominational affiliations.”

Well, the ecumenism is not surprising.

But so much for Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, eh?

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

John Piper & Wayne Grudem, editors


alcohol, aging and cancer

See this article for an interesting report of a little known study.


toward an understanding of worldliness – pt. 1

What is worldliness?

On that question hangs a good deal of the debate in Christian circles about which practices are acceptable and appropriate for Christians and which are not. We are surrounded by a mass of Christian relativism that creates great confusion. For some Christians, it seems to have come down to Scriptural prohibitions as the only definition of right and wrong. Almost anything goes. Who is to say what is right and wrong about any lifestyle or practice if it is not specifically prohibited in Scripture?

For example, many Christians today are quite comfortable justifying social drinking. It used to be a major taboo in Bible-believing Christian circles, but is becoming acceptable as long as you don’t get drunk. You see, drunkenness is seen as clearly prohibited by the Bible, so we can’t go that far! But something less than drunkenness is acceptable and shouldn’t be considered worldly.

Well, what is worldliness? I wrote about godliness in an earlier post. Is worldliness an opposite of godliness? What about the Biblical term, ‘ungodliness’? How are ungodliness and worldliness related and what should the Christian do about it?

[Read more…]

4.25.10 gbcvic sermons

Last Wednesday’s psalm:

Bless the Lord, O my Soul (2) (Ps 104:1-35)

This psalm, a companion and meditation on Ps 103, speaks to us of our ordered world, set in place by our majestic and glorious God to sustain us and keep us alive so that we might praise him. What folly it is for a sinner to ignore God’s daily doings on his behalf! May we join with the psalmist in his commitment to sing to the Lord.


Today’s messages:

Abundant Grace, Abundant Righteousness, Abundant LIFE (Rm 5:17)

As we see the unfolding contrasts between the act of Adam and the work of Christ, we come at last to the notion of ‘reigning in life’. The ones who have received the abundant grace of v. 15 and the abundant righteousness of v. 16 receive also the power of grace in life that means not only a future reign, but a present reign in this life through Jesus Christ – a reign over the presence and power of sin as we yield ourselves to the Spirit and grow in grace.

Towards an Understanding of Worldliness (3)

In this lesson we are data gathering in order to get an understanding of Titus 2.12 and the meaning of ‘worldly desires’ in that verse. We are considerning the synonyms and antonyms as they are used in the Scripture to help clarify our understanding about what makes a desire ‘worldly’.

Women, Keep Silent (1 Tim 2:11-14)

In this message, we address a subject that is controversial in our culture, but not controversial in the Bible. The issue is the place of women in the church. The Bible clearly teaches that women are not to teach or take any leadership position over men in the church. The reasons for this order are rooted in the Creation and in the Fall. The spiritually minded gladly receive this word from the Lord and follows it faithfully.

on getting old

Today I was listening to a message from 1985 by Dr. Marvin Lewis. He started off with this:

“Somebody told me one time that you know you are getting old when you know all the answers but nobody asks you the questions.”


4.18.10 gbcvic sermons

Last Wednesday’s Psalm:

Bless the Lord, O my Soul (1) (Ps 103:1-22)

This is the second and last of the psalms named "A Psalm of David" in Book 4 of the psalms. It reflects the thoughts of a mature David, admonishing his own soul in a time of discipline with his knowledge of the Lord’s past benefits and the Lord’s everlasting goodness. David’s thoughts become a hymn for our admonition as well.

Today’s Sermons:

Grace Magnified (Rm 5:16)

Today the contrast between Adam and Christ highlights the incredible magnitude of Christ’s gracious gift. The act of Adam plunged all men into sin – we all sinned in Adam. But we didn’t stop sinning with that one sin. Our lives are filled with sin. The gift of God in Jesus Christ answers every one of those human sins – working out of the many sins it pronounces the sentence: "Just before God". Hallelujah!

Towards an Understanding of Worldliness (2)

Today we make an attempt at defining the term ‘worldly’ and begin to look at a key passage for understanding worldliness, Titus 2.11-12.

Women’s Adorning (1 Tim 2:9-10)

Our message today looks at the topic of women’s dress, especially in the context of public worship. The way a woman dresses should flow from a godly inner testimony, but it does reflect itself in an appropriate, sober, modest style of dress.

on the quality of expository preaching

Expository preaching is all the rage. I remember reading one blogger in ancient internet history proclaiming that his generation would be kept from the errors of the current and preceding generations of fundamentalists by expository preaching.

Well, that remains to be seen.

In the meantime, certain figures are seen by many to be the paragons of expository preaching. After them, as one commenter said, all you hear is “crickets”.

In other words, the world of preaching is dominated by these notable expositors and no one else rates.

Well… I recently had the opportunity of listening to a series by one of these princely preachers. The series was on the preaching of John the Baptist from Luke 3.1-17. The theme of the series was Repentance.

I was surprised at the repeated expositional errors this preacher made.

[Read more…]

another difference with DD

I’m not an International Baptist Friend. Dave is (you have to scroll through a lot of Iglesia’s and Independent’s to get to Inter-city). So is my brother!!! (albeit with an ancient address.) Dave points out this as a problem with the list. I suspect it comes from an old David Cloud listing. David C. has removed me from his listing for some reason (doesn’t like my e-mails??)


4.11.10 gbcvic sermons

The 4.7.10 psalm:

Hear My Prayer, O Lord (Ps 102:1-28)

Our psalm looks at a comparison between a man’s days and the Lord’s days. The Psalm has a Messianic flavour that is made definite by Heb 1.10-12. This puts a whole new construction on the psalm, but is in keeping with prophetic themes often seen in the psalms.


The 4.11.10 messages:

The Abounding Plus (Rm 5:15)

Paul is working toward a comparison of the work of Adam and the work of Christ, but first he must point out ways in which the works contrast rather than compare. The first contrast is this: although Adam’s sin plunged humanity into futility and death, Christ’s work is not simply a reversal of Adam’s sin. Christ’s work is much much more, abundantly more, it is "The Abounding Plus"!

Towards an Understanding of Worldliness

We are working on definitions. Our last lessons brought us to a definition of godliness. Now we are attempting to define worldliness. The first step is to define the term ‘worldly’, since ‘worldliness’ itself is not a Bible term. If we understand ‘worldly’, we will gain some insight into what ‘worldliness’ is. This lesson works through various passages where we find the term ‘worldly’.

Holiness Applied Distinctly (1 Tim 2:8-10)

Today we see that public prayer is ordained by the apostle for the men. The woman’s role in public prayer is supportive. Both men and women are called to every day holiness as their place in the effectiveness of public prayers and worship.