Saturday, December 31, 2005

Battle Stations 5

Lance Lewis' latest post in his Battle Station series is online.

Battle Stations Part 5

Reformational Women - Reformational Families

As you know by now, my heart is for the glory of God in Reformational Theology. There is no more accurate and God-glorifying expression of truth in this world than biblical, experiential Reformed Theology. Yet, reformed theology is not just the Doctrines of Grace. Reformed theology is not just the Five Solas. Being reformed is not just asserting that one is a 5 point Calvinist. No. Being Reformed is never less than these things, but it is always much more. Being Reformed is a worldview. It is understanding that the biblical truth of God's sovereign glory is to be sought and manifested in all of life. There is no sphere of my life which is not impacted by Reformed Theology. Therefore, if we are going to really seek God's favor in a movement of Reformed Theology among African-Americans, we must articulate it not just in terms of the tenets that are easily identified, but we must seek to bring the truth of reformed theology to bear on all of life. With that said, I want to make a plea for Reformed Black Women and Reformed Black Families.
The Reformed movement among African-Americans needs to here the voices of our women. We need to listen to them, even as we speak with them and to them. The family is one of those glorious realms where Reformed theology must make an impact. The role of women in the home, the church, and the world is key in God's purposes. Where are the reformed black women? I know you are out there. Let's hear from you! Where are those who are committed to Reformed truth in the black family? I know you are out there. Let's hear from you.
Recently, Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters have started a blog for women (and us men, who are so inclined to learn how to better serve the women in our lives). The blog is Girl Talk. It may be an example for what could be done among African-American women.
Brothers and Sisters, the time has come to take this truth to all of life. Reformed Theology says that God is sovereign in salvation. True. But beyond the elementary principles of the Doctrines of Grace is the understanding that God is sovereign in my home, in my worship, in my world. To this end, we need Reformational Women. We need Reformational Families. Who will be the voice articulating these needs? If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Captain Lance Calls Us To Battle

Pastor Lance Lewis has been blogging at Reformed Blacks of America. Apparently he is in combat mode (as we all should be). He is laying out a plan of action for us that we need to seriously consider as we engage our world and communities with Reformed Theology. You can read his comments below:

Battle Stations part 1
Battle Stations part 2
Battle Stations part 3
Battle Stations part 4

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Philip Ryken "Chimes" In on Veith

Here are the comments of Philip Ryken concerning Veith's "Commercialization of Christmas." Does Ryken share your sentiments?

Ryken: In response to Gene Veith's short essay in defense of commercializing Christmas, I have four short observations:

First, as a notable Christmas enthusiast and fellow-Lutheran, Luther himself would have enjoyed Gene's piece.

Second, it is quite right to give gifts -- and generous ones, too -- at Christmas and at other times. When the Bible describes the grace of God as a gift, it assumes a universe in which people give and receive gifts. It is to the credit of Christianity that gift-giving has flourished most in cultures that celebrate the birth of Christ.

Third, when secular people seek to find something special in Christmas, we should not scorn them for missing its true meaning, but rather sympathize them for grasping for what their hearts are seeking.

Fourth, while something can and perhaps should be said for the commercialization of Christmas, something always needs to be said about its over-commercialization.

(Comments are taken from Reformation 21 Blog)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Is Christmas Too Commercial?

In watching the excitement of my children again this year, I was reminded just how great was the joy of those who went to see the Christ-child. Christmas is the most joyous and celebrative time of the year and rightly so. The events surrounding the coming of Christ demonstrate this truth. However, recently Gene Veith has suggested that even the commercialization of Christmas in our culture is a good testimony to the glories that are God's in the coming of the Christ-child. He would not only have us celebrate Christmas, but also find the commercialism rather celebratory as well. Read this article and let me know what you think?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

"When the First Woman urged the First Man to sip the Sweet Poison is it so surprising that the damage was repaired through Another Woman? Is it so astonishing that this Other Woman made up for the sin of the First Man by giving birth to Christ." - Augustine of Hippo

Special Greeting: Merry Christmas from the Carter Family

Thursday, December 22, 2005

For Christmas We Need (2)...

Pastors With Conscience.

"And looking intently at the council, Paul said, 'Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day."(Acts 23:1)

Closely aligned with courage is a preachers willingness to preach with a conscience, not sparing his people the truth. This is second on my wish list this Christmas. We not only need men who will have the courage to stand up for biblical, reformed theology, but we also need men who will preach with a conscience that understands that truth-pursuing, justice-demanding, peace-seeking, and truth-telling are his calling. Often times this calling will lead him to convictions of conscience that perhaps many in his church will not hold. Often times this calling will challenge him to pursue truth and demand justice where he is not comfortable. Yet we need men who will be lead by the truth of scripture and consciences duly informed to tell the truth for the glory of God and good of His people. There will be times when hot, even political issues, become necessary topics of discourse in the church. The African-American Reformed preacher must not only have courage when he is popular, but he must have courage when his conscience has been informed by God's word though the populace may not be. Such issues of abortion, racism, feminism, male-chauvinism, and homosexuality may be contentious and even highly debated political issues, but the man of God must know that these are not just political issues. In fact, they are more importantly moral issues that a man of God with a conscience must be willing and prepared to deal with truthfully and justly when called upon to do so.

We need preachers with conscience who will say, unapologetically that where the Bible calls for a conservative stance, then he will be conservative. And where the Bible calls for a more progressive stance, then he will be progressive. We need preachers who will take these stances not because they are politically expedient, but because they are biblically right. Where police brutality or human torture is evident, we need preachers who will call it what it is, and stand of the conviction of the justice demands of the Word of God. Where abortion is out of control and the slaughter of babies is common fare, then too the man of God must be willing to the call the country and his congregation into account with the just and righteous demands of God's law. When we fail to pursue righteousness, justice, and the truth of God, we fail to truly reflect the God we claim to represent (Mic. 6:8; see also Is. 30:18, 61:8; Amos 5:12).

Have we lost all of the preachers with courage and conscience? Luther was a man of courage who would not go against conscience. John Knox was a man of courage and conscience. So too were Lemuel Haynes and Francis Grimke. Where are the Reformed African-American preachers who will not go against Scripture or conscience because it is neither right nor safe? I am hoping to find a few under the Christmas tree this year.

For Christmas We Need...

Preachers With Courage.

There is a famine in the land - not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11).

Today I begin my Christmas Wish List with a plea for Pastors with Courage. More than ever we need African-American preachers who claim to hold to biblical, reformed theology to stand up, preach up, man up and say so. Often it is popular when in the company of reformed brothers and sisters to say you are reformed. However, when the time of testing comes, that is the time of preaching and teaching, there is abject failure. In too many churches where the preacher claims to be reformed, we find little to no reference to the Doctrines of Grace. We find little to know reference to the historic confessions. We find little to no emphasis upon the glories that are the sovereignty and supremacy of God. There is little mention of the depths of human sinfulness. The notion of Christ's atonement being particular and therefore truly efficacious is foreign and far from serious consideration. And though mentioning that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone would get a hearty "amen," the fact of the matter is that few would understand or articulate it biblically so that grace is sovereign grace, faith is the gift of God, and Christ is Lord.

Many would offer the excuse that they would not want to offend anyone in their congregation. They would say that while they hold to these truths privately, it would not serve them nor their church to preach them in public. While I have some sympathy for this position, after all this man is double-minded and therefore unstable, I must challenge him to believe God and stop doubting (James 1:5-8). For such men not only lack wisdom, but ultimately they lack the faith necessary to stand bold and even die for Christ. If we hold the conviction that reformed theology is the truth of the revealed Word of God, then to preach anything else would be an utter abandonment of God's calling. Understand, we all have been in positions where standing firm upon the truth of God has made us uncomfortable. We all have had times when we thought discretion in matters of theology was the better part of valor. Nevertheless, I have found that when reformed theology is presented with gracious, loving, biblical clarity very few African-American Christians flat out reject it. And those who do find it unprofitable, it is the message they reject and usually not the messenger. For if the truth of God offends, then let God be glorified. But if the truth teller is offensive, then let him be ashamed.

Brothers and sisters, "the fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trust in the Lord shall be safe" (Prov. 29:25). This hour is calling for Pastors With Courage. We need men who will not fear men, but will graciously preach the truths of Scripture and live out the implications of these truths in worship without apology. Creflo Dollar does not apologize for preaching prosperity because it his conviction both in public and in private that prosperity is the truth of Scripture. Why should we, who hold to the historical and biblical understanding of Reformed Theology, be so apologetic and apprehensive in our convictions. As Hank Hannegraf would say, "Are we willing to do for the truth, what Creflo does for a lie?"
May we find under our tree this Christmas, men who have the courage of their convictions and give a clear, distinct sound that their people may rightly be prepared for battle.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Kind of Pastor

Recently I heard CJ Mahaney say that Josh Harris was his favorite pastor. Reading Josh's recent comments concerning this coming Sunday's worship service at Covenant Life Church makes me understand why. With the courage of his convictions and the humility to admit faults, Josh Harris has demonstrated what a shepherd after God's own heart really is. You can read Pastor Harris' remarks at Covenant Life. What an example! We could use more pastors with such courage and humility. Thanks Josh.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I know, I know, I am suppose to begin listing my Christmas Wish List. However, I just had to let you in on this new Christmas CD by Kenton Bostick entitled "Hear What I Hear!" Kenton is part of our worship band at Southwest Christian Fellowship. He plays keyboard, drums, and the saxophone. On this CD he has arranged some our favorite Christmas Songs and hymns with his gifted jazz flavor. This is a must hear and a must get. You can listen to the first track, Do You Hear What I Hear and even request a copy by going to Southwest Christian Fellowship Resources and clicking on the link to the song.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What We Need For Christmas

I always know Christmas has arrived when I receive those Christmas Wish Lists. You see, my wife encourages our children to write down what they would like to receive for Christmas. No matter how long the list, my children understand that they will likely only receive one item from their respective list. Usually, we decide to get the item that is most economical (sorry, no xbox 360 this year) and will serve the family as well as the individual. For instance, my youngest daughter (age 5) will get a bike. This serves the rest of the family in that she will no longer bug her siblings about riding theirs. It is always a joy to see children receive one of the gifts they treasured and to watch them light up with thanksgiving and praise for the faithfulness of their parents (there is a spiritual truth somewhere in there). But this year, I have decided to make my own list. I have decided to let you know what I believe we need this Christmas from those men and pastors who call themselves Reformed. I was most encouraged by the Pastors Conference in Miami last month, however I continue to be disappointed (to put it mildly) by many who say they are reformed, but show little to no evidence of Reformational understanding in their preaching and worship. I will grant that some men are Reformed, but stilling reforming. To these I say, Amen! I am with you and pray that our journey will continue to bear fruit for eternity. However, there are far too many men, particularly African-American, who say they are reformed, but are more misinformed than reformed; their preaching and worship is more deformed than reformed. To them I say, enough! We must be preachers and pastors after God's own heart. And if the Bible reveals God's heart, and if we are convinced that Reformed Theology best articulates the Bible, then my wish list for this Christmas is simple. I wish for Reformed African-American Preachers to indeed be Reformed. Over the next few days I will articulate in more detail what I mean by this. However, today know that I too have a Christmas Wish List. And I pray that we get everything on my list. Yeah I know, my children probably pray the same prayer :-).

Friday, December 16, 2005

No Lord's (Birth) Day this Year

Do you find it interesting that those churches that are opting not to hold worship services on Sunday, Christmas Day, are churches who tend not to have a theology of the Lord's Day? I could be wrong, but the churches that I have heard who are not holding services on Christmas Day are churches in which you would be hard pressed to hear articulated a message of Sabbath Celebration. This should not lead us to believe that churches who do opt to have services on Christmas do so because they have a theology of Sabbath Celebration. Nevertheless, there does seem to be a connection between the biblical and historical understanding of the Lord's Day and the decision to worship or not to worship on Christmas Day Sunday. Canceling services for Sunday and opting instead to have one or two services on Saturday is the prerogative of each church. However, developing a theology of the Lord's Day and articulating it in Word and deed is the responsibility of each Christian and church. Think about it, this year we have the awesome privilege of not only worshipping on the Lord's Day, but to celebrate the Lord's birthday on His day. Why would any church not want to take advantage of the opportunity to make the statement that Christ is Lord, not only on the Lord's Day but even more on the commercialized day that is His birthday? Apparently, Jesus is the reason for the season, but He is not reason enough to gather for worship on Christmas Morning.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Songs of the Season

Christmas undoubtedly has the best songs of all the holidays. Every year as we celebrate the Advent Season, we hear some of the most wonderful tunes, both sacred and secular. I can not recall a Christmas without repeatedly hearing Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song." My family knows that I am feeling the season when Nat's song is frequently coming through the speakers. Likewise, to hear Nat King Cole sing, "O Holy Night" is to know what God created such magnificent talent to do. I am pleased to say that not all the great songs are of years gone by. Recently I came across a song written by Stuart Townend - of "In Christ Alone" fame - entitled "From the Squalor of a Borrow Stable (Immanuel)," which has taken me by storm and has immediately been added to my favorite Songs of the Season. I am not sure if Mr. Townend meant for it to be a Christmas song, but it is on my list. The brilliant opening lines should give you some sense of why:

From the squalor of a borrowed stable
By the Spirit and a virgin's faith
To the anquish and the shame of scandal
Came the Savior of the human race
But the skies were filled with the praise of Heaven
Shepherds listen as the angels tell
Of the gift of God come down to man
At the dawning of Immanuel

If you have never heard this wonderful song, do yourself the favor and find it this Christmas season. The only disappointment I have is that Nat King Cole did not get a chance to add his soulful flare to it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bethlehem Baptist is Calling

Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN - you know, the church where John Piper is Senior Pastor - is seeking to fill two staff positions. The following is the position information provided by Bethlehem Baptist Church:

Pastor for Neighborhood Outreach - North Campus,
Pastor for Neighborhood Outreach - Downtown Campus

We are a multi-campus church of 3,500+ currently meeting on two sites in the Twin Cities. Our mission is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. We are Calvinistic in our theology, Baptistic in polity, Charismatic in our affections, committed to racial harmony and driven by the truth that
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

Bethlehem is looking for two Pastors for Neighborhood Outreach to serve each of our campuses. The Pastor for Neighborhood Outreach - North Campus and the Pastor for Neighborhood Outreach - Downtown Campus will seek to fulfill the mission of Bethlehem Baptist Church by mobilizing the church to love our near neighbors by means of evangelism and deeds of mercy for the glory of Christ.
Successful candidate must be a team-builder, flexible, able to champion a compelling vision, and inspire a movement. He must also meet the elder qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Interested? To apply for the position at the North Campus, please send a current resume to:

Jen Brendsel, Bethlehem Baptist Church - North Campus, 5151 Program Avenue, Mounds View, MN 55112
or via e-mail to

To apply for the position at the Downtown Campus, please send a current resume to:
Connie Kopischke, Bethlehem Baptist Church
720 13th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415
or via e-mail at

It would be wonderful if one of these positions could be filled by an African-American brother. If you, or someone you know would be interested in one of these positions, do contact Bethlehem and make a serious inquiry.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Hearts and Minds

Here's an interesting blog for you bibliophiles. Hearts and Minds Booknotes is the blog for Byron Borger. I recently met Byron at a staff retreat for The Coalition for Christian Outreach. I must admit that he is the most engaging and interesting bibliophile I have met in a long time. Quite the fella.

On Biblical Justice

Recently I read an informative and thought-provoking short book by Chris Marshall entitled, "The Little Book of Biblical Justice: A Fresh Approach to the Bible's Teachings on Justice." Without a doubt, justice and righteousness are essential aspects of God's revelation in the Scriptures. "...For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him" (Is. 30:18). And not only is He a God of justice, but He requires justice and equity among His people. The locus classicus for this truth is Micah 6:8: "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" The more you read and understand the Bible, the more you see just how important justice, and not only justice, but justice with equity is to God. As men and women of faith, we are unreservedly called to pursue justice and equity in our lives and in the lives of others. The recent release of Robert Clark is causing me to question, just how earnestly I pursue biblical justice and how fervently I desire to honor God by reflecting his righteousness in this world. Clearly America has a long way to go in demonstrating God-honoring justice with equity. I wonder how far I have come in my own life. How far have you gone in your understanding and pursuit of biblical justice? You may want to start with reading Marshall's book. It is short, concise, and to the point.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Justice was Late, but it was Served

On his first full day of freedom in almost 25 years, Robert Clark was served grits, eggs, and a full plate of bacon. Robert Clark was arrested and convicted of rape in 1981 when he was 22. He was sentenced to two life terms, plus twenty years. After nearly 25 years of imprisonment, Robert Clark is a free man. DNA testing, which was not available at the time of his trial, has since proven his innocence. Today, he walks the streets of Atlanta for the first time in 25 years. As I read this story, it reminded me of the painful inequities of the American judicial system. America is a great country and I thank God for it and my life in it. However, the God I thank for America is also the God that requires us to do justice and to love the right. In America, too often justice is not right. How often have the rich been wrongly imprisoned? How often do the advantaged in our society find themselves languishing on death rows? Wrongful imprisonments are saved for the poor, the disenfranchised, the disadvantaged - too often for black men. In the case of Robert Clark, one can only wonder where he would be if the woman, whom he was accused of raping, had died. His portion would probably have been the death penalty, and this day would not be in our discussion. Thank God she did not die. Thank God justice, though late in coming, has been served. I can only wonder how many disadvantaged, poor, black men are on death row wrongly accused and prosecuted, hoping that justice would one day be served. Something tells me that in most of their cases, the stove has not even been warmed up.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Calling All Bloggers!

Question: Are there any Reformed African-American bloggers out there? If you know of any, drop me a line to let me know where they are. Or perhaps, if you are Reformed and African-American, you should start blogging today. How 'bout it?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Reformed "La Cosa Nostra"

Who are these "wise guys?" I had always heard that there was a reformed mafioso, but had no evidence to confirm my suspension. Now I have it! Apparently, someone has developed a preliminary line up for us Reformed Detectives who are interested in tracking down these "good fellas." I do warn you, approach with caution. These guys are armed and dangerous. And if you are going to take them on, make sure you are well armed yourself. In fact, if you find yourself in confrontation with these men I would strongly suggest that your call for backup.
The Reformed Mafia.