Tuesday, July 31, 2007

2007 Stone Mountain Conference on Reformed Theology

It was a blessed event! This year's conference on Reformed Theology, while it was just the 2nd year, increased in size. But even more important than the number of attendees was the atmosphere. It was an atmosphere of Gospel preaching. Friends, the good news of the triumph of God in Christ over sin and Satan was wonderfully set forth. Those glorious things that the angels long to understand, we were privileged to hear proclaimed.

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

Stone Mountain Conference on Reformed Theology

This evening begins the 2nd Annual Stone Mountain Conference on Reformed Theology. The theme of this years conference is Recovering the Gospel: The Crucial Need for the Church. The conference will be held at Grace Presbyterian Church 650 Rowland Rd Stone Mountain GA. The conference begins at 6:00 pm with dinner and fellowship. Here is the schedule of speakers and topics:

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
8:30 Worship
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

Review of Lawson's Expository Genius of Calvin

Eric Redmond has a review of Steve Lawson's book The Expository Genius of John Calvin.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Preaching The Pilgrim's Progress

Spent most of last week at Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church in Lecanto, FL. Seven Rivers is a great place to be. Ray and the rest of the pastors have really created a gospel-filled atmosphere which makes it easy and yet challenging to preach. And that is just the way it should be. A church should challenge its preachers to preach the gospel. And when the gospel is preached, the church should receive it with joy. Also, when the preachers fail to preach the gospel, the church should remind the preacher that his calling is nothing less than the gospel. I really get this since at Seven Rivers.

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.

A Like-Minded Brother

Lance has an excellent follow-up to my Mythbuster #1. If you have not read it already, check it out today.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Has anyone seen Christian?

He will be at Seven Rivers this coming week. See ya there!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

An Interview at Pure Church

FellowElder over at Pure Church has an interview with yours truly (in case you are interested).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Question of Unity

Recently, Mark Dever at Together for the Gospel, raised the issue of Calvinist and Arminians Together. He stated, "The real front line is not between Calvinist evangelicals and Arminian evangelicals. It is between those who are lost in their sins and those who have been saved by God's sheer grace in Christ." I can find some agreement with Mark on this point. However, it has caused me to ponder a couple of questions. Perhaps you can help me with the answers.

"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

Mythbuster #2

Here is myth #2: There can be diversity without mutual submission. The recent Supreme Court decision concerning the use of ethnicity in seeking diversity in public schools has sparked much discussion and provided much fodder for internet blogs. Most of my evangelical reformed brothers and sisters are applauding this decision because it perhaps puts another nail in the coffin of affirmative action. Well, I am not sure if affirmative action should be buried or not. However, I am sure that unless my brothers and sisters of European descent learn the action of submission to their brothers and sisters of African descent, ethnic diversity in the American church is but a pipe dream, a myth of substantial proportions.
Most of my white evangelical and reformed brothers and sisters are speaking quite positively and eloquently on racial diversity. For this, I commend them. However, until we see white men and women doing what black men and women have longed learned to do(namely sitting under and being submissive to the teaching and authority of those who are not ethnically like them), we will not see real diversity.
Most of the diversity we presently see is black men and women going to where white people are. Even when predominantly white churches call a black man to be the pastor, it is black people going to where white people are most comfortable. Real diversity will happen when we see white people regularly and joyfully going to where black men preach and teach. We will see real diversity when white people learn to submit to the minority culture as black people have had to submit to the majority culture. Paul says in Ephesians 5:17-21 that one of the evidences of being filled with the Spirit is "submitting to one another in the fear of God."
Mutual submission is an undeniable evidence of the working of the Spirit. It is particularly evident when the majority learn the worth and joy of submitting to the minority. It demonstrates that these are they who fear God more than men. Where there is no mutual submission, there is no real fear of God. Where there is no real fear of God, there will be no real diversity. To think otherwise is a myth. I pray the church of Jesus Christ would learn mutual submission and bury once and for all the myth of any serious diversity without it.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mythbuster #1

There is a show on The Discovery Channel called Mythbusters. On this show, the men and women do scientific experiments seeking to prove whether or not commonly held notions and/or ideas are true or just well accepted myths. It is an interesting show, if you ever get a chance to see. Watching the show one day, caused me to think about some myths that may be common in my circle of associations. Over the next few posts (hopefully) I will seek to mention a few myths and hopefully debunk them. So here is myth #1: Reformed Theology is Anglo.
Recently I read a comment where a white PCA pastor was quoted as saying that Reformed Theology was Anglo, or even too Anglo. I find this notion to be rather nebulous. If Reformed theology is biblical (as I would assume this pastor believes) then how could it be white or black or yellow, or any race. What is white about Total Depravity? We can color sin any race or culture and we would be right. What is white about Unconditional Election. What is white about Limited Atonement? What is white about Irresistible Grace? What is white about the Perseverance of the Saints? These are biblical doctrines. They are argued from the Scriptures not from culture.
Perhaps the pastor had in mind that the PCA was Anglo, even too Anglo. On this idea I would not argue with him. But to say that Reformed Theology is Anglo, is in this instance to equate Reformed Theology with the PCA. Yet, perhaps this is another myth that we need to burst. Extra: The PCA is not Reformed Theology.
Perhaps the pastor meant to say that the Reformed Theology that is expressed within the PCA is too Anglo. Again, I will defer to him since he would know better than me. However, this is the statement as it should be understood, and not the categorical statement that Reformed Theology itself is Anglo.
The fact of the matter is that the reformed theology which I hold is not white. The reformed theology which I preach is not black. I may find myself expressing it within an African-American context, but the truths themselves are not tied to any culture or race. If they are true, they transcend cultures. The law of gravity is a law discovered by Isaac Newton, but it is not a white law, it is an universal law. Such are the truths of Scripture.
Reformed Theology. Color it Anglo? Color it African-American? No. Color it biblical and debunk this myth.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Eric Interviews Dean of HUDS

Our brother Eric Redmond has a short interview with the newly appointed dean of Howard University Divinity School (HUDS), Dr. Alton Pollard III. If the answers to the questions are any indication of the state of theological training within the institutionalized black church in America, then boys and girls, the black church is in worse condition than I first believed. God help us.