Monday, March 31, 2008

Southwest Christian Fellowship Men's Retreat '08

This past weekend was the annual Men's Retreat at Southwest Christian Fellowship. The theme for this year's conference was "Act Like Men" - taken from 1Cor. 16:13-14: Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

We spent 2 days and 2 nights at Woodlands Camp and Conference Center in Helen GA. It was time well spent. Not only were we refreshed by the relaxation and recreation of the camp, but we were encouaged and challenged from the Word of God by the teaching and fellowship of our guest preacher, Roger Skepple, pastor of Berean Bible Baptist Church in Atlanta GA. Joining Skepple in the primary teaching was Robert Benson and Ed Pugh. You can listen to and download all four of the messages by going here.

The scope and impact of the Men's Retreat is more than I can cover in this brief blog post. However, let me say that just as God says in his word, "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity...For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore" (Psalm 133), our time at the retreat was a blessed witness to the glories of this truth. Men prayed. Men played. Men confessed. Men embraced. Men fell down. Men got up. Men cried. Men laughed. Men shared. Men listened. Men ate. Men relaxed. Men loved. Men learned. Men taught. Men caught. Men grew. Men rested. Men worked. Men sang. Men read. Men prayed. All of this was because Men worshipped.

One of the many highlights of that worship was the Men's Retreat Trio (Ed Pugh, Kelvin White, and Allan Bynoe) singing The Gospel Song by Drew Jones and Bob Kauflin. The words are simple yet profound:

Holy God, in love, became
Perfect Man to bear my blame
On the cross He took my sin
By His death I live again

It was a glorious reminder that the only way we can really act like men is to believe and live upon the gospel of Jesus Christ. Men are never more manly than when they are praying and worshipping.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

RC Interviews Ben Stein

There is a new documentary that is gaining steam and is due out in theatres next month. It is Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. It is hosted by the actor/comedian Ben Stein and it takes up the issue of intolerance in the academic world against those who would challenge modern theories of Darwinism. The film looks interesting. Apparently it has even caught the eye of RC Sproul. Recently RC interviewed Ben Stein and the both of them discussed the folly of Darwinism and the inescapable reality of an Intelligent Designer of the universe. The dialogue between the two men is really interesting and enlightening. My favorite part is toward the end. As RC is concluding some of his remarks, Stein looks at him and wonders out loud, how RC could know so much about the subject. What Stein discovered is what I learned during my years of working at Ligonier. RC has a mind like a steel trap! He remembers everything. He is literally one of the most informed and diverse thinkers I have ever met. I don't recall ever having a conversation with RC and not going away from it having learned something new. In fact, I was recently listening to a Panel Discussion from the Ligonier National Conference in which RC was joined on stage by CJ Mahaney and Sinclair Ferguson. CJ made the point that the only thing about which he was confident that he knew more than Sinclair and RC was sports. RC did not respond, but I knew from personal conversations that CJ would be quite surprised to find out that RC is very proficient and informed concerning professional athletics. Furthermore, if the question was baseball or golf or the Pittsburgh Steelers, I would put my money on RC. Sorry CJ. But I digress.

Here is the video of the interview. You'll see that it isn't long before Stein realizes that RC's is a mind to be reckoned with.


Eric Redmond on Black Liberation Theology

Yesterday, our brother Eric Redmond was on The Albert Mohler Radio Program discussing Jeremiah Wright, African-American Theology, and the Church. At his blog, A Man From Issachar, Eric gives an excellent overview of Black Liberation Theology and its grandchild, the insidious Word-Faith Theology, or as Eric calls it Nuevo Negro Liberation Theology. You can read his thoughts here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bach on his Birthday (SDG)

Johann Sebastian Bach was born on this day in 1865. Though it could be argued that there were those equal to him, we can confidently say that no one as ever been any better. Listening to Bach gives you the sense that there is something more profound, more beautiful, more compelling, and more desirable than you had considered before you listened to him. As much as any composer, Bach's true inspiration comes through in his compositions. Therefore, it should not surprise us that he would sign off on his compositions with the letters SDG, meaning Soli Deo Gloria. Truly Bach sensed his giftedness was for the promotion of God's beauty, truth, and good in the world. In this, he should remind and challenge us all to be more aware of our calling and mandate found in 1Cor. 10:31: "...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

Yet, not only is it Bach's birthday but it is also Good Friday. As we remember our Lord's passion and call to mine Calvary, I thought it good to consider Bach's interpretation of it in his now incomparable piece St Matthew's Passion. Like Handel's Messiah, Bach's St. Matthew's Passion captures the biblical revelation in music like nothing before or since. If you have some time, listen and appreciate Bach's desire to communicate the suffering of his and our Saviour. Surely, our Lord was forsaken so we would not have to be.

O, the passion! O, the wonder of Christ our God!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Anyabwile a Prophet?

Yesterday Barack Obama acquitted himself well on national TV. With the eloquence of Abraham Lincoln and the presence of Ronald Reagan, Obama reminded us once again, that even if you don't agree him, you still want to listen to him. We have to wait and see if he is able to overcome the latest barrage of political attacks and steady his presidential bid. If he does, he will have no one but his wrong-headed former pastor Jeremiah Wright to thank for it. Because of the erroneous theology of Wright, Obama has been given a platform and opportunity to speak to the American public that neither Hillary Clinton or John McCain has been afforded. As usual, Obama with his eloquence was able to turn what was possibly devastating, into a unprecedented opportunity. Yet we can only lament that it was the decline in African-American theology that has brought this opportunity. Thabiti Anyabwile practically predicted such a scenario.

Anyabwile, author of The Decline of African-American Theology, on Jan. 4 2008 wondered out loud if the decline in African-American theology would derail the campaign of the first really legitimate African-American candidate for president. Thabiti prophetically stated:

People will be more alarmed at the value system at Trinity United Church of Christ where Sen. Obama worships. It is explicitly Black Nationalist in character and, interestingly, introduces "race" in a way that Sen. Obama, to this point, has not. Already several pundits have picked up on this issue and began to discuss it (see here).

One great irony would be if it were finally the weakness of the African-American church that effectively destroyed the first viable presidential bid of an African American. So many people tout the African-American church for its historic role in promoting justice, but few have seen the connection between sound theology and any true effort at justice. In a sad turn of events, it may be by God's hand the Sen. Obama campaign that forces global light on the damnable heresies and errors, the counterfeit Christianity present in so many churches.

White evangelicals may wonder why most blacks, though they disagree with Jeremiah Wright, would still support Barack Obama. Well, there are several reason. But one for sure is that most blacks who support Obama already knew about the foolishness of Wright and thus this is not new information that would change their opinions of Obama. For them, Wright's comments do not change the message or the man who is promising change to them.

Yet, I agree with Anyabwile. The greater issue is not whether or not Obama wins or loses. The real discussion should be around the damnable theology that is spewing forth from such places as Trinity United Church of Christ and the impact such theology is having on the people who hang on every word.

In the final analysis, Rev. Wright has been dead wrong for along time. We will see if Prophet Anyabwile was dead on in his proleptic analysis.

Update: Here Thabiti is interviewed by Collin Hansen of Christianity Today.

You, Me, and Computers

Have you ever wondered why we have such a love/hate relationship with our computers? Well, today I came across a quote attributed to Albert Einstein (I say attributed because like Shakespeare in literature, Einstein gets credited for every insightful scientific quote) that just may explain our necessary predicament:

"Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination." -- Albert Einstein.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ligonier Conference Online

I have participated in many Bible and theological conferences. I have attended and been encouraged by even more. And I can say with all sincerity that Ligonier Ministries puts on as good a conference as anyone could hope to do. I don't particularly like to rank elements of the kingdom of God. This is a practice that I lament to find far too often in modern evangelicalism and particularly in the blogosphere. The next time some one says this guy is the best preacher, or that blog is the best blog, consider that their thoughts are not God's thoughts and their ways are not God's ways :-). With that said, I do commend Ligonier Conference for its pursuit of excellence and commitment to theological integrity. I was not able to attend this year's conference, but am pleased to see that the conference was streamed live on the internet and the videos can be viewed again here. Of particular recommendation is Sinclair Ferguson's message from Isa. 53 on The Substitutionary Atonement of Christ. Take note that Sinclair reminds us that Christ was not just our representative, but he was also our substitute. An excellent word as we enter the week of our Lord's passion.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Still Alive!

I know. I have not blogged in a while. I have been busy with a few writing projects as well as local church work. I hope soon to have some news on both accounts. Regardless, I will be back soon and hopefully, better and badder than ever. So, thanks for your concern; but know that I am still alive!