Archives for March 2011

a plea for real exposition

I ran across a sermon the other day. The preacher bills himself as an expository preacher. He was dealing with a very important text, full of material for application to our present scene. His approach to the text was to read a verse, and then talk about his view of what he thought of that theme in relation to our modern situation. After awhile, he would read another verse and carry on with the development of his own opinions.

I think he might have defined a few of the words from the original language. At one point, he began mis-pronouncing one of the Greek words underlying the point he was making. He kind of lost me there, and I imagine he lost his congregation too. Most of them probably don’t know Greek.

Other than defining a few of the words, there was no interaction with the text. There was no explanation of the thoughts of the text, how they related to one another, what the apostle was teaching through the argumentation of the text, and what that argumentation meant for our situation here and now.

There was a bit of historical context offered. It was… ah… how shall we say it? Not germane to the text. It actually fit more with another text in another epistle. In short, it didn’t expose anything about the text so the hearer could read, hear, and see, “Ahah! that’s it, that’s right, that’s what the text means, and this is what God is saying to me here and now through this ancient text.”

In short, if this was exposition, there wasn’t a whole lot of exposing going on.

Oh, brothers! Please! Be an expositor! Let the text speak! Get yourself and your opinions out of the way! Speak as of the oracles of God!


is it right to be NASB-only?

In a previous thread, one of my good on-line friends posed a real dilemma that he says happened in our circles. I am sure he is reporting accurately, I am not accusing him of making any misstatements or misrepresentations at all.

The scenario is that of a missionary from a fundamentalist mission board who is required by his board to use the KJV when preaching in English in the USA. He wants to present his mission at a local church that has made the NASB the only version that can be used in its pulpit.

Obviously, if there is no give on either side, the missionary would have to forego that meeting. (From a missionary’s perspective, given the odds of getting support from any given church, missing one isn’t that big a problem.)

And from a local church perspective, I think establishing such a policy is certainly within the rights of a local church. We can quibble as to the wisdom of the policy, but it is within the purview of any local church to make a decision about a standard version for their church.

However, the scenario raises a few questions that I wonder how my readers might answer.

  1. While I can understand standardizing on a version for your local ministry, wouldn’t it be better to allow visiting speakers some flexibility in use of translations?
  2. Wouldn’t a rigid inflexibility here tend to communicate the same error that rigid King James Onlyism makes? (i.e., Only the KJV is the Word of God … or, in this scenario, Only the NASB is the Word of God.)
  3. How would you feel if you did allow guest speakers limited flexibility and they used…
    1. … the KJV in your services?
    2. … the NASB?
    3. … the ESV?
    4. … the NKJV?
    5. … the Holman?
    6. … _______? (you fill in the blank)

Just a little thought experiment. I am not pontificating, just wondering.

I am also, of course, assuming that versions other than the KJV are permissible. So, my KJO friends, this is not a thread to raise the KJV debate. I won’t post any comments that get into that fight. I am just interested in discussing this scenario and these questions. If you would only ever use the KJV, then this thread is probably not for you.


reflecting on reflections

Dave Doran offers us four articles for the purpose of justifying himself: “Reflecting on Applications”, “Reflections II”, “Reflections III” and “Reflections IV”.

I’d like to offer some reflections on the reflections. I want to see if others think I am getting Dave’s arguments right and whether they think my criticisms/agreements might be valid or invalid.

So here we go…

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interesting–a papist on dance and music

It’s my day for finding interesting videos. Check out this African Cardinal on ‘liturgical dance’ and secular music:

If he can ‘get it’, why are his points so lost on so many???

HT: ‘danofsteel’, a commenter at Remonstrans


are you a fundamentalist?

The question was asked of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in this interview. The question comes at about the 5:50 mark. The follow-up question, ‘what is the difference between you and the fundamentalists?’

Are you a Fundamentalist?

Very interesting.


Northwest Regional FBF Conference

We held our annual conference last week at Lincoln Park Baptist Church in Wenatchee, WA.

Our keynote speaker was Dr. Fred Moritz, my good friend and former mission director. He is now ‘emeritus’ with the mission and on the faculty of Maranatha Baptist Seminary.

We had a great week … all in just three days! Lots of preaching and good fellowship. We are hosting the sermons at our church site, so I thought I would make the link available for anyone who might be interested.


the ‘ph’ factor

is when a ‘phundamentalist’ talks about Truth, but says things that speak truth to him might not be the same things that speak truth to you…


the first tendency of evil prohibited

Another advantage of the Biblical morality arises from the fact that it lays its prohibition on the first tendency to evil in the heart. It does not wait for the overt act, nor for the half-formed desire. It denounces the slightest parleying with temptation, the entertaining for the briefest moment of a corrupt wish. In its view, the apostasy did not consist in plucking the fruit. The race was ruined, when the first suggestion of the tempter was not instantly repelled. Death eternal hung on a moment’s weakness in the will. All hope was gone when the moral principle wavered. In the estimate of God’s law, the highway robbery is comparatively innocent. The crime was in the covetous glance of the eye-in not instantaneously crushing the avaricious desire. What is called a fraudulent bankruptcy may be venial. The guilt was in the assumption of obligations which there was no reasonable prospect of discharging, or rather it was in the state of mind which first began to elevate riches into a god. The degenerating process began in the idolatry of gold, in the first turning of the feeblest current of the affections in the wrong direction. Men charge the deviation of the youth from the paths of virtue to some overmastering temptation, to some public and astounding offence. But the divine precept laid its finger on the desire, years before, to read a certain book, against which, at the time, conscience remonstrated. Thus the Word of God becomes the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. No latent desire can evade its searching glance; no recess of the soul is so barred as to exclude it.”-Bibliotheca Sacra, February, 1846.

quoted by Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 100, 399 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1943), 389.

the discernment deficit

I just posted an article about the default tolerance of conservative evangelicals, part of their new evangelical heritage. This is a second instance of the same affliction.

John Piper blogs today about the death of a Christian politician in Pakistan. In his article, he says:

This is my small tribute to another Christian killed for Christ’s sake. I read his story with great admiration.

I encourage you to follow the link in Piper’s post. In the article, just before a section that Piper quotes in his article are these words:

Extremists wanted to kill him because of his opposition to the blasphemy law and to Sharia legislation, and because of his work for “the oppressed and marginalised”, the Catholic politician said sombrely into the camera.

Do you catch the religious adjective? The Wikipedia article about the man clearly identifies him as a Roman Catholic.

Now… clearly this is a tragic and senseless death. Poor, bleeding Pakistan. We lament the needless loss of life and the intolerance of radical Muslims. We deplore the use of force in the name of religion.

But our concern is discernment. Here we have a prominent Christian preacher, one who influences thousands. One who is ‘Together for the Gospel’. And yet he misses a key descriptor and calls this tragic death the death of a “Christian killed for Christ’s sake.” Really? A Christian? For Christ’s sake?

Well, maybe he missed it. It is just one word in a lengthy article, after all. But we have noted a long pattern of discernment issues for this man in the past. I would urge those who are heavily influenced by John Piper to be discerning. He tends to demonstrate little discernment himself.


UPDATE: Baptist Press shows the same lack of discernment.

news flash: conservative evangelicals *still* not fundamentalists

My headline may come as a shock to some. That would be those who equate talking about error with separating from error. But, sadly, while conservative evangelicals are more bold in their criticism and rebuke of error, they can’t quite bring themselves to treat false teachers as the Bible calls for them to be treated.

A case in point is the recent brouhaha over Justin Taylor’s rebuke of Rob Bell. Already many pixels have been brought to bear on the specifics of the case, some in support of Taylor, others attacking him. One interesting little detail is noted by Christianity Today’s Liveblog, but is largely overlooked by most commenters, and is the point that launches my post today.

This is the detail noted by CT:

Taylor updated his post, changing some wording and deleting a reference to Cor. 11:14-15: “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” Instead, Taylor ended the post with the following paragraph:

  • Let’s remember to pray. Rob Bell needs to know and teach the liberating gospel of grace—including that Christ absorbed the Father’s wrath on behalf of those who trust in him and repent of their sins. And there are tens of thousands of folks who look to Rob Bell as a biblical teacher and leader. May God give much mercy.

Doesn’t that demonstrate my point about conservative evangelicalism? Almost… but not quite… separation.

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