Monday, December 31, 2007
5. When Sinners Say "I Do", by Dave Harvey. Harvey begins where all aspects of our lives must begin, with the knowledge of God and ourselves. Good theology leading to good marriages makes for a good book.
4. Sermon on the Mount, by Dan Doriani. As we preached through the Sermon on the Mount this past year, many life changing truths were discovered. Doriani's book was key in my preparation as well as personal growth.
3. Decline of African-American Theology, by Thabiti Anyabwile. Excellent work. A better title would have been, "We Slipt Along Ways Baby: Theology from Jupiter Hammon to T.D. Jakes."
2. Amish Grace, by Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, and David Weaver-Zercher. After the murderous shootings at Amish School in Nickel Mines, PA, the Amish showed the world what forgiveness really looks like. Great and informative read!
1. The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan. I know, its not fair. But every year it remains on my list without peer. Every time I read it I learn something more of God's glory and grace to me in Jesus Christ.
Lastly, here are a couple of books I read that I found disappointing. I am sure some found these books to their liking; I was not among them.
From the Hood to the Hill by Barry C. Black. I really thought I was going to enjoy this autobiographical account of the first black chaplain of the US Senate. Unfortunately, the book was too self-congratulating and indulgent. I suppose that is the nature of autobiographies, but this one was more than this reader could take. Admittedly, I could not even finish it.
If God is So Good, Why Are Blacks Doing So Bad, by James Dixon. This book actually is not a bad book except it was written by a preacher. If it had been written by someone else, I might have thought better of it. However, coming from the pen of a preacher, I expected to hear not just the problem but the solution, namely the gospel. Unfortunately, I did not. Dixon did a good job in diagnosing the issues plaguing Black America but did not offer the only true and lasting solution, namely the application of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of life. Admittedly, the problem was more my expectation than the author's intention. I just hoped that two would match. They did not.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Both the "five solas" and the Synod of Dordt's doctrines of total (or radical) depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance (or preservation) of the saints provided the skeletal system for theology in the American colonies. Nearly all African American Christians inherited the "five solas" as a general Protestant framework over and against the Roman Catholic view of authority and justification and the Arminian view of man and grace rejected at Dordt. African Americans gained exposure to these views of salvation through their earliest contact with Europeans in the colonies, especially in the North. Southern slave testimonies and northern writers reveal a "soft orthodoxy" consistent with Reformation solas, with some even putting forth a stronger Calvinistic view of salvation owed largely to the influences of the Great Awakening and early Baptists in the South (p. 175).
In reading this I would not help but recall the words of Scripture in Jeremiah 6:16: Thus says the Lord: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it and find rest for your souls."
Monday, December 24, 2007
Siera Lynn and Sarah Nicole
The twins and Ana Elise
The Carter Kids being the Carter Kids!
God Bless You!
Friday, December 21, 2007
The Bible says, "...Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise..." (Matt. 21:6). Even so, out of cartoons for children.
O, that men would praise HIM!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
"Dr. Thurman denied the uniqueness of Jesus implied in the formula 'the only begotten Son'. He believed that 'any who is as sure of God as was Jesus, can hear for himself: 'Thou art my son, my beloved, this day I have begotten thee.' Moreover, becoming the son of God in the sense of acquiring the mind of Christ and having a similar relationship to God, according to Thurman, 'may be achieved without any necessity whatsoever of making a God out of Jesus (p. 152).'"
The liberal theology of Howard Thurman laid the ground work for the liberation theology of James Cone.
The appeal of liberation theology is the expediency and the immediacy of the need. It seeks to address the existential cry of the image of God for freedom, equality, and peace. Yet, the cyanide in this kool-aid is that it perverts the person and work of Jesus into nothing more than an anthropocentric exorcism. Subsequently, Jesus is only relevant in so far as He is willing and able to address my core issues. Thus, I am able to mold Jesus into the god of my issues. This Jesus inevitably becomes more like me than I like Him. Daily this Jesus is being conformed to my image (real and imagined), instead of me being conformed to His image (eternal and true).
Howard Thurman popularized it. Cone made it academically viable. African-America theology has been on a steady decline ever since.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Last evening our Children's Sunday School put on our Annual Christmas Program. Every year this is a much anticipated event as their hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm is demonstrated in their first class performance. Every year parents, family, and friends come from all around to see what production the Southwest Children will put together. This year was no different. This year the lower grades put on A Christmas Present and the older children performed, The Mystery of the Manger. Here is just a small excerpt to one of the songs they performed from the musical The Mystery of the Manger by Celeste Clydesdale. We had to change a few things to fit within our cultural context (if you know what I mean :-), yet the message was still the same. Sounds familiar? The video is amateurish by yours truly and does not do justice to these young performers. Hopefully you can still get the message.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Jupiter Hammon (1711-1806): In the Bible, we are told what man is. That he was first made holy, in the image of God, that he fell from that state of holiness and became an enemy to God, and that since the fall, all imaginations of the thoughts of his heart are evil, and only evil and that continually. That the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be. And that all mankind was under the wrath and curse of God and must have been forever miserable if they had been left to suffer what their sins deserve.
This was to demonstrat that all humanity (black and white) were under sin and in the same spiritual condition of needing Savior. It also became the foundation for biblical and theological arguments for freedom. In quoting Lemuel Haynes, Thabiti writes:
However, resident in all people despite the Fall was "an innate principle, which is unmoveably placed in the human Species." That innate principle was "Liberty and freedom," which Haynes styled as "a Jewel which was handed Down to man from the cabinet of heaven...Coaeval [sic] with his Existance [sic]" and proceeding "from the Supreme Legislature of the universe." Man's equality with man was evident in the universal impulse toward freedom written by God into the very nature of man and the laws of nature. Efforts to deny this impulse were futile attempts to deny one's self in the case of the bondsman or to usurp the prerogative of God in the case of the enslaver.
In a word, "Awesome!"
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The earliest black Christians maintained a tendency toward a Reformed or orthodox view of God as sovereign Ruler of all events. African-Americans built this understanding upon the teachings of Scripture and aligned it with the historic definitions of Christianity. A high view of God's sovereignty allowed early black Christians, despite the horrors of slavery, to trust that God had the necessary power to deliver them from oppression and that he would ultimately do so. Any perceived contradictions between this doctrine of God and the evil afflicting black people were resolved in the character of God. Such a belief implied at least two conclusions. First, these saints concluded that the events of their lives remained in the sovereign control of God. And second, they concluded that the proper response before the ineffable wisdom and providence of God was humility and faith. Both resolutions stirred more faith in God (p. 97).
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Unfortunately, these two struggles have been so intertwined by some that the latter has lost its clarity and preeminence. Some theologians have sought to use the latter to support the former and thus the struggle for the cross ultimately becomes nothing more than a struggle for Civil Rights. In this scenario, men and women gain the world, but lose their souls. They gain the right to vote, but lose the victory in Christ.
Don't get me wrong, I am down with the struggle. Having been on the demeaning side of racism and prejudice, I know that there yet remains a need for America to be diligent in living out her mandate. However, I am more gripped with the depths of my own sin than I am with the prejudice of others. I am more gripped by the cross when I understand that it was not just racism that sent Christ there, but even the pride, lust, anger, and all other unmentionables that lie in my heart and actions. In other words, as Christians wax eloquently about the struggle, I pray that the real struggle, the struggle within, is not lost or subverted by the struggle without. I pray that African-American church goers and theologians would not seek to gain America and yet lose their souls.
This morning I am particularly moved by this because my brother and friend Thabiti Anyabwile has posted an entry at his blog that I believe to be the most heartfelt post I have ever read from him. As I read it my heart was drawn across the water to that beautiful island where he currently resides. I wanted to reach my hand out to him and hug him and let him know that he has a friend and comrade in me who is down with him in The Real Struggle.
Thank you my brother and friend. For you, if I might borrow from my favorite poet:
The theological woods are dangerous and deep
But our Lord has many promises to keep
And by His grace, we have many miles to go before we sleep
Many miles to go before we sleep
Saturday, November 24, 2007
When I was asked to set forth 50 things I love about the world of politics, my first thought was that I did not have 50 things I love about politics. However, on second thought, I realized that between things I love and things I love to hate, I had more than 50 things . . .
1. The Sovereignty of God. God changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings—Daniel 2:21.
2. My mother—thirty-nine years of public service as an elected local public official.
3. The President of the United States. Without a doubt the most difficult, public, and fascinating job in the world—wouldn't want it for anything.
4. The Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
As you know the conference was on "What is the Gospel". Ken opened the conference with a message on The Gospel and the Creation. Here is an excerpt from his message as he sets the direction his presentation will take. Ken is always clear, precise, and convincing. Here is just a taste of what I mean.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Update: Michael Leach also shares some on his thoughts at the CRC website.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
More comments are sure to appear. So be on the look out. If you read them before I do, give a brother the heads up.
Update: Our brother Ebony Puritan has some excellent preliminary comments on the Conference as well.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The Protected Family by Joe Mutasa from Zimbabwe
The Traveling Family by Amos Supuni from Malawi (personal favorite)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Jonas is the Executive Director of the East Caribbean Baptist Mission and Presiding Elder of the Baptist Circuit of Churches in Antigua & Barbuda. He is a faithful pastor and teacher of God's word, and a brother on the front line of God's kingdom as it is expressed in the Caribbean. It is wonderful knowing that there are brothers in Antigua & Barbuda standing for Reformed Biblical truth. Below is an excerpt from the message he delivered at the banquet last week. He preached from Psalm 73.
Friday, November 02, 2007
If I were the last man on the planet to think so, I would want the honor of saying no woman should go before me into combat to defend my country. A man who endorses women in combat is not pro-woman; he’s a wimp... read more
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Today, I was reminded of the words I often tell my son when he is writing. I tell him to write like he talks. And then when he does. I tell him not to write like he talks. Sounds confusing? My son thinks so too. Actually Dave Zimmerman of IVP clears up the confusion for us in article "Writing, Talking, and Best Practices: An Editor's Diatribe" (HT:JT). Dave writes:
There are at least two principles in writing a book:
1. Write like you talk.
2. Don’t write like you talk.
Most people can get one or the other right. The challenge—and, on the face of it, the impossible task—is to get both right.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
You can listen to the entire interview here.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, foreclosures in the Atlanta area are up 49 percent from a year ago. The total estimated value of properties entering foreclosure in metro Atlanta was $1,076,975,783. I can not help but wonder, how many of these people are the victims of some unbiblical and greed-ladened preaching over the years. I wonder how many of these people sit in places where the preacher has told them over and over again that they can claim whatever they name. I wonder how many of these people have been hoodwinked into believing that all they needed was faith and the house and everything else could be theirs. It saddens me to know that so many of these people call themselves Christians and go to church with a sincere desire to know what the Bible says, only to be sold a bill of goods and to be robbed first of their money and then later of their faith.
Friends, I am not a prophet. Thus, I can not say dogmatically what God is saying to the Atlanta area and the rest of the country through the loss of so many homes and the prospect of financial pain. However, I do know that we, who claim to hold to the faith once and for all delivered, must continue to preach the faithful, God-exalting, self-sacrificing gospel of Jesus Christ. As more and more people are brought crashing down because of the empty worthless promises of the prosperity gospel, might we be found preaching the true faith and thus have a place for them to land - if God so wills.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
"As a pastor who loves his people, I can only preach of a God who is free to do all things as the Eternally Good God. I cannot promote a God who is limited by anything or who grants unrestrained freedom to creatures that are sinful. To do so would make for a worse calamity than the collapse of a bridge. We would instead collapse upon ourselves the very right of God to be God".
You can read the entire piece here.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
"I'm not necessarily a religious man, but I do believe in much of the wisdom from the good book, like Proverbs 12:10. It says: "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
The way he states this is interesting to me because I am currently putting together my sermon for this coming Sunday on the final words of Matthew 7. These are the summary words following our Lord's Sermon on the Mount. They state:
And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes (Matt. 7:28-29).
The people were astonished and amazed at our Lord's words. Isn't it interesting that people like Mr. Blackistone are still amazed and astonished at the truth of Scripture, but do not seem to be amazed at the God who authors those Scriptures? I appreciate the fact that Mr. Blackistone recognizes the truth when he reads it, and apparently believes that the Word of God has some authority. Unfortunately, he is not "religious" enough to submit to the authority behind the Word of God. And thus, he believes in "much" of the wisdom of the good book. Being in impressed with the truth is one thing. Trusting in the God of truth is another.
Yes, it is true that cruelty to our animals is a sin. And it is true that black men do have a good history with their dogs. This is because even a dog knows who his lord is. Do you Mr. Blackistone? I wonder, do we?
Monday, September 17, 2007
And when you remember, pray for Cheron. Or better yet, pray we would have more young men and women with the heart she has for the Glory of God and the good of the nations.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Monday, September 03, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
10. Know Your Spouse. What does your spouse enjoy? Know what would be of particular benefit to their joy, and if possible, seek to do it.
9. Appreciate God Ordained Roles. God has made men and women different on many levels. These roles are for God's glory and our good. When we learn to walk in them and to find our satisfaction in them, we find joy and hope.
8. Public Display of Affection. I have learned and am still learning to receive and give this most important aspect of marital relationship. We all need to be affirmed physically with a touch and a look. My wife does this well. I could do it better.
7. Speak Well Of Your Spouse. Never, but never, make derogatory remarks about your spouse in the company of others. Give others the assurance that your spouse has your confidence. Believe me, your spouse will eventually hear of it, one way or another.
6. Publicly Commend. When given the opportunity, be complimentary of your spouse in public. Thank God for them and how God is using them to make you more Christ-like.
5. Serve. Give up your comfort for theirs. In fact, find your joy in bringing them joy. My wife puts me to shame in this department.
4. Love Your Children. Any parent will tell you that they are inclined to love those who love on their children. Most spouses are no different.
3. Keep Sex Fresh and Selfless. Intimacy in marriage is one of the first things to go sour when a marriage begins to fade. So keep it fresh. Learn what your spouse enjoys and learn to do it well. Also (especially for men), seek the satisfaction and pleasure of your spouse before your own. Remember to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
2. Forgive Freely. If more of the couples I counsel with could learn to not be offended too easily and to forgive even before their spouses ask, they would find that their joy and hope would be greatly enhanced. Most of our bitterness is due to unforgiveness. Make forgiveness a lifestyle, rather than an event. Know that sooner or later the shoe will be on the other foot.
And the number one way to keep your marriage full of joy and hope...
1. Love God and the Gospel. Jesus said it best when He told us to Love our God with all our heart and to love our neighbors as ourself. The glory of the gospel is that we know that in our unloveliness, we have been loved by God. In return we can love our spouses even when they are unlovely. Not because of who they are, but because of who Christ is. Not because of what our spouses do, but because of what Christ has done.
The Gospel makes all the Difference!
Monday, August 06, 2007
During the sermon, he shared a quote from John Calvin, which I found most edifying:
Thy Father will reward thee. When he promises a reward from God to fastings, this mode of expression, as we said a little before with respect to prayer, is not strictly accurate. There is a wide difference, indeed, between prayer and fastings. Prayer holds the first rank among the antics of piety: but fasting is a doubtful operation, and does not, like alms, belong to the class of those actions which God requires and approves. It is pleasing to God, only so far as it is directed to another object: and that is, to train us to abstinence, to subdue the lust of the flesh, to excite us to earnestness in prayer, and to testify our repentance, when we are affected by the view of the tribunal of God. The meaning of Christ’s words is: “God will one day show that he was pleased with those good works, which appeared to be lost, because they were concealed from the eyes of men.”
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
We thank Pastor Michael Leach for the vision for this conference. We thank Grace Presbyterian for opening their doors. We also thank the PCA Bookstore for supplying a more than adequate book table. We thank all of you who prayed. But most of all, we thank God for the promise of the Gospel and the fulfillment of the gospel in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Here are a view of the sermonic highlights:
Pastor Roger Skepple on "The Need to Preach the Gospel"
Pastor Robert Benson on "The Gospel in the Life of the Church"
Pastor Michael Leach on "The Gospel and the Eschaton"
Friday, July 27, 2007
Friday, July 27
7:30 pm "What is the Gospel?" - Michael Leach
8:30 "The Unifying Impact of the Gospel in All Scripture" - Anthony Carter
Saturday, July 28
8:00 am Continental Breakfast
9:00 "The Necessity of Preaching the Gospel" - Roger Skepple
10:00 "The Centrality of the Gospel in the Life of the Church" - Robert Benson
11:00 Q and A
11:40 "The Gospel and Eschatology" - Michael Leach
If you are in the area, we would love to see you there.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
I had the wonderful opportunity to teach at their Annual Family Bible Conference. I taught four nights on The Gospel Pilgrimage in The Pilgrim's Progress. Preaching the gospel as John Bunyan teaches it in The Pilgrim's Progress is a delight for me. Preaching it at Seven Rivers is more grace than this more sinner could possibly deserve.
If you are interested, you can listen to the messages and download the outlines here. Also, there is audio from previous year's conferences as well.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
"Do I find more common ground and unity with an Evangelical Calvinist who allows for the ordination of women or with an Evangelical Arminian who does not? Can we be together with Complementarian Arminian Christians but not with Egalitarian Reformed Christians?"
Whew! Perhaps we just have too many labels to begin with.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Saturday, June 30, 2007
If you have ever been to the conference, then you know that New Life looks forward to this time of the year and they come out to serve their brothers and sisters and put on Christ. I can say from the personal experience that they wear Christ well. If you have not been to the New Life Conference, I implore you to mark your calender for next year and be sure to be in attendance. I have heard from a good and reliable source that the conference next year promises to be even better than this year. The speakers have not yet been confirmed, but with the subject matter and the short list of potential invitees promises to be as good as ever.
Dea. Chisum giving opening remarks
Pastor Love preaching on The Godly Life
Checking out the Book Table before the Session begins
Thabiti preaching on The Godly and Evangelism
Wyeth Duncan at the keyboard
Monday, June 18, 2007
These speaking dates are in addition to the regular times I preach at our home church, Southwest Christian Fellowship in Atlanta, GA. I will normally preach at our church once or twice a month.
13-18 Family Bible Conference, Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church, Lecanto, FL
27 - 28 Stone Mountain Conference on Reformed Theology, Stone Mountain, GA
5 -15 Wedding Anniversary and Family Vacation
19 Cornerstone Church, Knoxville, TN
November 2-4 Singles Retreat, Intown Community Church, Atlanta, GA
7 -10 Miami Pastors Conference, Miami FL
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
1 Campus Outreach New Years Gathering, Atlanta, GA
24-26 Symposium on Worship, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI
27-28 Covenant College Chapel Service, Lookout Mountain, TN
27-29 Southwest Christian Fellowship Men's Retreat
19-12 New Life Bible Conference, Vernon Hills, IL
5-8 Miami Pastor's Conference
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Redmond was elected with a vote of 1,765 (61.69 percent) to 1,077 (37.64 percent) over evangelist Bill Britt of Gallatin, Tenn.
"First of all, Eric Redmond is a family man," said Doyle Chauncey, executive director of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia state convention, in his nomination speech. "Eric Redmond is a pastor and a scholar. Eric Redmond is an evangelistic pastor, attempting to reach the 20,000 people who live within a mile of his church. Eric Redmond is a church planting pastor. In 2006 Eric Redmond led his church in planting a new church in College Park, Md., in cooperation with the SBCV and the North American Mission Board -- a church which continues to thrive."Redmond serves as a trustee for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and an executive board member of the National African American Fellowship of the SBC. He is an adjunct professor of hermeneutics at Capital Bible Seminary in Lanham, Md. He is also a member of the Evangelical Theological Society.
Congratulations to our brother Eric for this assignment. And congratulations to the SBC for electing such a strategic, capable, qualified, and good man.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Do you wish to comment on the influence of Calvinism or Reformed theology in light of the LifeWay survey that indicated 10 percent of Southern Baptist pastors are five-point Calvinists?
The issue is not Calvinism, per se. Nor is settling the issue as simple as considering the history of English Baptists or seeing the embracing of Calvinism as a reaction to open theism. At issue is how we speak of God and man: Is God absolutely sovereign in all things, all glorious, and absolutely holy, such that “he does whatever he pleases” (Psalm 115:3)? Is man, though constituted in the image of God, naturally soulishly wretched, blind, poor, naked, deceived, suppressing the obvious truth of the existence of God, under the just judgment of God, and completely unable to save himself (Titus 3:3-7)? When we speak rightly of God and man, the gospel of his grace is magnified.
What we need to do is speak about an awesome, magnificent, all-merciful, holy God who, in the most incredible love, gave his only Son to save people unable to save themselves—people who are ignorant of their need for salvation, and self-deceptive about his existence. If we preach of God and man in this way—as revealed in Scripture—God will be magnified by the preaching of the gospel—and that needs to happen in every sermon from every pulpit on every Sunday. Personally, I think the gravitation toward Calvinism is a gracious work of God in the hearts of many who desire to center their ministries around the gospel, and in some cases, it grew out of a reaction to becoming weary of seeing the results of people fed the pablum of self-help, self-centered, gospel-devoid sermons Sunday after Sunday.
On a popular level, many visible, non-Baptist Calvinists have been most vocal about calling pulpits back to the center of the gospel, such that many have answered the call, even within the SBC. But there are many, less-visible Southern Baptists working hard to center their pulpits and ministries on the message of the gospel. I think our seminaries are working hard to prepare future leaders to do the same. (read the rest of the interview here).
Man, I thank God for Eric. I hope the SBC will thank God too, and appoint him to VP.