A quick review of tomorrow’s HLN Dr. Drew Show:
OK, since I will be discussing this on the DL tomorrow, probably somewhere around 1pm PDT (hence prior to the airing of the show on HLN), I will not go into a lot of detail here. Just the highlights:
1) The episode will air Wednesday at 9pm EDT; it will re-air at 4pm EDT on Thursday, I believe.
2) It really looked like a major ambush at the start: a transgender reporter was in the green room; a transgender brother/sister were seated across the aisle from me; a transgender person was on Skype, the fellow who reverted back who was on the last program was live in studio this time (and he referred to me as “toxic” in the green room, not realizing I was the guy who had been on last time), and they began the program with Steven Anderson ranting and raving as only Steven Anderson can. Not exactly a meeting of your local Reformed Baptist fraternal!
3) Thankfully, I knew the Anderson clip was coming, so I was ready to defuse it. Then it turned out that one of the panel members, Vanessa, a black woman, comes from a Christian background, and she rather fearlessly spoke her mind and refuted allegations of hate, etc. That really helped lower the “temperature” you might say.
4) I got to say MUCH more than I did in the first program. As I had assumed, being present made a huge difference. There was more interaction, and less willingness to simply dismiss me. And I don’t tend to shrink back when challenged—I am not sure CNN is used to Christians who do not immediately default to vanilla ice cream in a bowl on a hot Phoenix day mode when challenged.
5) We got to discuss more worldview issues, and even addressed the meaning of true happiness.
6) I stayed for the after-show video—the one where I had been attacked a few weeks ago. This time I got to be the final speaker on it!
So I am thankful for the opportunity, and hope the Lord will bless the witness to His honor and glory. Thanks to all who made the trip possible by supporting A&O.
Came straight to the office from Sky Harbor Airport to do a mini-DL (30 minutes). Wanted to report on the Dr. Drew taping which will air Wednesday, June 17th at 9pm EDT, and then re-air Thursday afternoon on HLN, so that’s what we did! Hope you enjoy some of the “behind the scenes” information, and pray that God will use our witness for His own glory.
Up early and I teach till almost 10pm at Phoenix Seminary tomorrow evening, so I will be brief.
What passes for “discussion” in our culture would be laughable if it was not responsible for the utter degradation of our nation’s moral and ethical fabric. When Dr. Drew said that the conversation taking place was one of the deepest on TV he knew of, I almost laughed out loud. There wasn’t the slightest bit of depth in anything that was being said. Anyone trained in even the most rudimentary forms of logic, rationality, or critical thought would recognize that the conversation on the panel was made up of unreflected upon assertions, nothing more. There was no understanding shown of the foundations upon which those assertions were being made. And that is our culture today.
Secularists are slaves to their worldview. Christians are slaves to their worldview. The difference is, we know it, choose it, and see all of creation in light of that worldview. Because we have the mind of Christ we are able to enter into those other worldviews and demonstrate their bankruptcy and inconsistency. The secularist cannot even begin to think beyond the boundaries of his/her commitment to personal autonomy, and as a result, cannot engage in any meaningful worldview dialogue or debate, and does not even see the benefit in so doing.
I would love to invite Samantha Schacher, who could not allow the words “God” or “Jesus” to pass without uttering deep sighs of disgust, and who was given a free shot at me without my being given even a moment to respond (it was a painfully obvious audience play), to join me on the Dividing Line: no network breaks, even time, serious conversation.
Only got two sound bites in, really: Jesus is the Son of God who rose from the dead, so He has final authority in this issue. And, Jesus is not my crutch, He is Lord of all.
…As Christians consider the future, some feel fearful. They fear for the future and growth of Christianity itself. They wonder what the culture around them will look like when Christ is more and more openly ridiculed. They look warily at the rising specter of persecution. Some may even worry about whether they will be able to remain faithful to Christ in the face of such cultural hostility.
But the culture cannot crush true Christianity because true Christianity doesn’t depend upon the faithfulness of Christians or the tolerance of non-Christians. True Christianity depends upon an eternal covenant, established among the persons of the Trinity before the foundation of the world. That eternal covenant, sometimes called the counsel of peace, or the covenant of redemption, is the greatest hope and comfort for all believers. It is the reason we can have absolute confidence that God will save men and women from every tribe and tongue, that He will keep His own to the end, that Satan and his kingdom cannot win, and that one day, the Lord Jesus will return to make all things new.
1. Biblical evidence for the covenant of redemption…
[99% of the time we post stuff by pastor who are 1689’rs or from those telling about the history surrounding our confession of faith (1689). 1% of the time though we break our rules and post stuff that doesn’t technically fit our site scope. That’s because some post can give us some good insights into and perhaps a different perspective on our Reformed Baptist world… this is one such post.]
A Gentle and Quiet Spirit:
…I want to try and put into words what it’s like to be a childless wife, specifically as a Reformed Baptist. I honestly can’t write outside of who and what I am, so I thought I’d just be up front about that.
Reformed Baptists tend to lean towards big families. They tend to connect well with and be saturated with large, home schooled, ridiculous children. I can say that because I’m second oldest of five, home schooled, and moderately ridiculous myself. We were an average-sized family within the early Reformed Baptist movement surrounded by families with 7, 8, or even 12 kids. Now, more and more people cling to the 1689 and Confessionalism causing the Reformed Baptists to become more . . . interesting. We are growing to represent many different walks of life including childless couples. Looking around my own church, I see how much more diverse it is now than it was when I joined it almost twenty years ago. And I am, as a childless wife, part of that diversity…
These are my struggles and my hopes. I trust that other childless wives will find themselves here. I pray you may be encouraged in your trust in our mighty God….
0:00 – 1:34 What would Voddie say to the person who insist “No incrementalism, it’s everything or nothing!”?
1:35 – 3:20 “What do you say then to the person who responds, “Incrementalism? We don’t do that with other forms of murder. We don’t do that with rape. ‘Hey, we’re against rape BUT we’ll take this piece of legislation that doesn’t completely outlaw it…'”?
3:28 – 4:56 Scott Kluesendorf continues to answer the above
• 25:18 – 29:00 “When a homosexual says, ‘We all have our pet sin’ how do you approach that?”
• 29:01 – 30:49 “While many Christians speak of it being a reality that same-sex attraction exist amongst truly born-again people, why is it that very few dare to say the same of some of the abominations recorded in the Scriptures such as bestiality and necrophilia?”
• 30:50 – 34:47 “What part, if any, do you believe that Islam plays in the end times?”
• 34:48 – 41:31 “If you agree that the Abrahamic Covenant is a covenant of promise to believers and their children and is an eternal covenant, so how is the New Covenant any different?”
• 41:32 – 45:49 “In an interview with a King James Only guy you made the comment about Paul quoting an Old Testament variant… would you please comment on how that would affect the Word of God being perfect.” (here is the interview that was being discussed with Steve Anderson)
• 45:50 – 51:38 “How great of a danger do you see presented by the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ as compared to other religious or spiritual movements?”
• 51:39 – 55:22 “How or should we condemn Unitarianism and Modalism as damnable heresy even if it maintains a view of Christ’s deity when at the same time many Christian apologist recognize that the majority of Evangelicals in the pew could not Biblically define the Trinity without slipping into a Modalist [or Unitarian] example.”
• 55:45 – 64:00 “How would you teach the best way to approach a Muslim with the Gospel? …”
And, granted, there’s no command to commemorate the birth, death, or resurrection of Christ, but the way we do those things is through ordinary worship – gathering together as the people of God to sing, pray, receive his Word, and observe the sacraments. Wonderful! But on Ash Wednesday, folks get together to do those things and smear ash on their foreheads. Jesus gave his church two beautiful gospel pictures – baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Ash Wednesday adds a 3rd picture not ordained by Jesus or commanded by God. Adding things not prescribed by Scripture to worship is not wise.
I believe it is (as many observers of Ash Wednesday and the Lent season it kicks off point out) beneficial to think on our sin and our need for repentance; to actually repent. I believe that prayer and fasting are a good way to do this (though as I noted in a post several years ago, what typically happens in Lent is not really fasting). I believe that meditating on our sinfulness and need is helpful preparation for truly appreciating the resurrection of Jesus. But I also believe that Jesus himself gave us the perfect way to do that. It is by remembering his finished work in our observance of the Lord’s Supper. Here we remember and have our faith fed by what He has done. Ash Wednesday and Lent dangerously try to reproduce in our lives what Jesus went through in 40 days in the wilderness which tends to emphasize what we do. Dear friends, Jesus underwent that experience in the wilderness so I don’t have to! He earned acceptance with the Father because I never could.
Recently, The Gospel Coalition (TGC) site posted a blog entry entitled – “Lent Is About Jesus: A Free Devotional Guide.” No, I did not make that up… As I read the post and thought about it a bit, I concluded I would like to respond to it. So, as many of you do on various blogs, I sent a comment to that post. Before sending the comment, however, I sent copies of my response to a few friends, just to make sure I was responding correctly and clearly. They encouraged me to post my thoughts…
This is not helpful to me as an individual or, especially, as a pastor. It creates more work for me.
Days after that post, Tom Chantry chimed in as well:
It has slowly dawned on me this week that the folks at The Gospel Coalition have reached down from their lofty pinnacle to tell the rest of us that Lent is all about Jesus and that we really ought to consider celebrating it. Childish practice turns sinister when respected pastors tell me that I ought to engage in it. How should I respond?
In the above post Jeremy Walker’s post, from a year before, was quoted:
“Frankly, it seems odd to me that many of those who have proved very quick to abandon all manner of patterns and habits and convictions of Christians over decades or centuries, retain Lent, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter (Resurrection) Sunday as set in stone in the calendar, one of the high points of the Christian year (which pattern, we are informed, provides the central event in the church year – the climax of worship, expectation, and celebration, an exercise of the church’s discipline). If you’re not sold on Easter, you might be dismissed as one of the “diehard Reformed” for whom “this [Easter] Monday is like every other Monday because Easter Sunday is like every other Sunday.” To say that Easter Sunday is like every other Sunday is not to suggest an upgraded view of Easter Sunday but a downgraded view of every other one.”
Three years ago Reformed Baptist Fellowship featured this one:
Another unbiblical aspect of Lent is the very public manner in which it is practiced. Jesus condemned hypocrites for their outward displays of piety (Matt. 6:1-18), revealing the self-righteous nature of such gestures. Lent is very legalistic as well and Paul warns us against binding the conscience in areas which God has left free (Rom. 14:1-12). True sanctification involves the recognition that our consciences are liberated by Christ’s teachings (Mark 7:17-18) while also understanding that the corrupt, sinful heart is what separates us from God (vv. 20-23).
So, here’s a thought: how about giving up semi-Roman Catholic dogma, humanly-mandated asceticism, and empty gestures? Rend your heart and not your garments, and do so not because it is a particular time of year, but because you have a particular kind of heart with its particular manifestations of rebellion. Self-control is never out of fashion. Repentance and confession may have their particular seasons in the life of the saints, but it is worth remembering that when our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said “Repent,” he called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
“They supplicate what they worship and die upon their paganism.”
These are the subtitled words shown in the 5 minute ISIS video right as they are showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians on the shore in Libya. At the most gruesome point of the explicit video, as men kneeling on the backs of their victims are literally sawing through their necks with knives, those are the words on the screen. Coincidence? This is a thoroughly edited video—it is no coincidence.
Western media overlooks these words. Christians cannot. Theology matters. It matters to worldview as well. And when it comes to ISIS militants, it is vital. That’s one of the reasons secular Westerners can’t seem to predict or anticipate their actions—a secular mindset is not up to the task.
Today we spent another 90 minutes responding to Kurt Eichenwald’s Newsweek hit-piece on the Bible. I informed Mr. Eichenwald of the program and opened the phone lines for him to respond, but he chose not to. Please share these programs with those who have encountered the Newsweek article!
On today’s broad cast of After Darkness Light, Heinz Dschankilic and Michael Haykin look at the essence behind the Christmas story. This essence is described in John 1:14 where the apostle notes that “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Come join us today as they explore The Incarnation.
I’m not sure if every pastor out there gets the same questions I do, but one that seems to come up pretty regularly this time of year is all about Christmas…
While Christians often debate this issue, I am convinced that the 2nd commandment forbids the making of images of Christ in every respect. I oppose the ikons of Eastern Orthodoxy depicting the members of the Trinity, and just as strongly oppose the myriad of attempts at depicting Jesus in art of various forms (film, paintings, sculptures, crucifixes, etc.). God has said quite categorically, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4). So the nativity scenes of Christmas depicting Jesus as a baby are a violation of the 2nd commandment, and while well intentioned, should not be displayed by Christians.
There are at least five areas to consider when working through the biblical arguments against Christmas celebration. They are festivals and special days of observance, the Lord’s Day, the regulative principle of worship, cultural engagement, and Christian liberty.
It’s that time again. The run-up to Christmas. We’ve been preparing our children. We’ve warned them. They mustn’t say it. They mustn’t even hint at it. Whatever anyone says to them, they mustn’t let it slip. They don’t believe in Santa.
In a few weeks time most of us will be celebrating Christmas. So how do we, as Christians, decide what it’s right to spend at Christmas? We face the same pressures as other folk. Let me remind you of five important truths.
It directs to the observation of several fasts and festivals, which are no where enjoined in the word of God, and for which it provides collects, gospels and epistles to be read: the fasts are, Quadragesima or Lent, in imitation of Christ’s forty days fast in the wilderness, Ember weeks, Rogatian days, and all the Fridays in the year; in which men are commanded to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving. The festivals, besides, the principal ones, Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide, are the several saints days throughout the year; which are all of popish invention, and are either moveable or fixed, as the popish festivals be; and being the relics of popery makes us still more uneasy and dissatisfied with them.
It happened again last week. On Thanksgiving morning I received an email from a friend of a friend. The first line read, “It appears I am being forced out of my pastorate.” The story that unfolded in the rest of that email and upon further inquiry is filled with themes that are tragically too common…
Each year, I receive letters asking my thoughts about the celebration of Christmas. So last year, I posted over a dozen articles on the subject of Christmas expressing a number of different perspectives from respectable men…
Ponder through the Twelve Days of Christmas series and test each of them by the Word of God.
Each Christmas we hear the story about angels and shepherds, of wise men and strange sightings of a star, of a donkey, and of the Child that was laid in a stable manger. Yet the actual birth of Jesus, though highly unusual, was not entirely unique. Of course, not everyone is born to the sight of a star moving and coming to rest overhead, or to the sound of angelic announcements and trumpet blasts! Yet it is true to say that many children have been born in humble surroundings. Therefore, it was the manner in which Jesus was conceived that marks Him out from others.
The doctrine of the Virgin Birth holds that Jesus’ birth was the result of a miraculous conception whereby the Virgin Mary conceived a baby in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, without a human father.
Christ’s miraculous birth tells us much about His nature.
So, why did Caesar, the most powerful man in the known world, send out the decree? Because “this…has been written by the prophet”. Because “the heart of the King is in the hand of the Lord as rivers of water — he turns it wherever he wills”. Because the fullness of time had come, and for no other reason. It was God’s sovereign design, and not that of men.
On Sunday morning, December 21, 1856, Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon to prepare his growing church for the coming Christmas season. He titled it “Going Home,” and the aim of the message was to encourage each member of his congregation to humbly, wisely, and appropriately find opportunities to share their personal testimony with family and friends.
When we think of Christmas, we often think of the beginning of Jesus’ life here on earth, of when he was incarnate in the flesh and the beginning of the story of the Gospels. But we don’t often think of Christmas as an Eschatological event. The historical reality of the incarnation wasn’t just a sign of a new beginning, but of a completion and fulfillment. Christmas is a mark of the end, the eschaton, as the God who will bring the final day steps into time and space to bring about the culmination of all things. With him comes light and peace and hope; and also judgment and terror, and finality. Far from a celebration of just a cute little baby that we call Jesus, Christmas shows us the declarative and magnificent power of the omnipotent God who reigns over all things.
A thought occurred to me while I was driving home on Christmas Eve listening to callers to a radio station share their Christmas memories. They were all trying to be happy, but they all sounded depressed. It struck me of a sudden that I understand why this is.
Perhaps one of the reasons why the festive season is one of such excess and abandonment is because we indulge with the self-satisfying assurance that we will be sorting everything out tomorrow. So, whether it is food and drink, spending, or general laziness and laxity, we let it all hang out because tomorrow will be different.
We can do the same thing spiritually. We promise ourselves that tomorrow is the big day, the day when we will really begin to pray against a particular sin, wrestle against a particular temptation, address a particular habit. And what happens? First of all, our own sinful hearts will incline to one last fling, one last binge – after all, we will be taking ourselves in hand tomorrow. But more than that, Satan will begin to whisper. He will assure us that we might as well give in to temptation – after all, we can repent later and start over the day after. And how often does this happen?
LET MY PEOPLE *GROAN*!! I just saw Hollywood’s latest version of the Exodus story. Hollywood, especially in the 21st century, is not known for its love for, or even its mild respect for the Holy Scriptures (as they are written). It is notorious for the antithesis of that. That is a given. However, the thing I will never understand is why people who are in an industry where one of the top priorities has always been adding millions to their already overflowing wealth would create films that upset the primary audiences most crucial to appease in order to profit more abundantly (faithful Christians & Jews). Why do they continue to grossly disappoint & offend those who would have otherwise continued to feed their wealth by their eager promotion of the films they have created, not to mention multiple viewings of them, & subsequent purchases of DVDs, T-shirts, chachkies & paraphernalia related to these films???
Even coming from the standpoint of cinematic art, why make stories that are well known to the masses (even to those with just a cursory knowledge of the Bible & a mere sentimental reverence for it) far LESS interesting visually, cinematically & in every other way by removing or subduing the miraculous??? Now, having said that, this new film on the Exodus story does have some visually *stunning* special effects, such as scenes of the plagues God brought down upon the Egyptians. But [SPOILER ALERT!] the spectacular is quelled by giving mere *natural* explanations of these plagues. Also, in a day & age when special effects no longer require the risk of having supernatural occurrences look laughably hokey (even for future generations) if the filmmakers have enough capital, why REMOVE the PARTING of the Red Sea??? Here we have been given an UNNECESSARY anticlimactic LOWERING (DRAINING) of the Red Sea!!!! A movie about Moses without the PARTING of the Red Sea??? Come on!!! Why not take FULL advantage of the amazing technological advances now available in Hollywood, stick to the true Biblical account & make the BEST PARTING of the Red Sea EVER SEEN (other than the one seen by those when it actually happened, of course).
I can only assume Hollywood’s filmmakers hate God’s Truth so much, & are so embarrassed by it when they involve themselves in creating a so-called Biblical epic, that they simply find diluting & degrading what has been proclaimed in His Word far too irresistible, even if it means making less money, or losing it. It’s hard to believe (even when only looking at this as a *business* investment) that they don’t fully realize those who should have been their target consumers, true Christians & faithful Jews, will not be able to enjoy this movie in spite of anything aesthetically amazing about it. The UNNECESSARY changes in the Biblical account will have you continually wincing & shaking your head for 2 & 1/2 hours. You’ll just wind up like me, groaning in the parking lot, wishing that you did something far more interesting with your time & money, like getting a haircut. I’m so glad I only purchased 2 tickets, unlike those who will be unfortunately hauling their whole family out to see this mess.
So America is experiencing race riots again, which is simply awful.
My heart goes out to the people of Ferguson who are living this nightmare. My heart goes out to the police who risk their lives to protect ours. And my heart goes out to the Body of Christ, which is Black and White and Both and Neither, and in which we are expected to live as one.
Racial tension always exacerbates our struggle for unity, and racial violence does not bring out the best in any of us. Predictably, genuine Christian pastors of varying political, social, and cultural stripes have weighed in on the riots and their cause, and they have not agreed. Recriminations have followed. I have no desire to enter that fray.
In the midst of it, Voddie Baucham posted his thoughts on the Gospel Coalition blog, and while many have linked to his thoughts, it seems to me that most who have interacted or evaluated have either misunderstood or misrepresented his statements. It’s fairly obvious that most have read Baucham’s remarks through their own personal tinted goggles, so maybe I have also. But I’ll tell you what I think anyway, because if I’m reading him correctly, he has said some genuinely wonderful things.