“Why Bother With Church?” Jeff Johnson Answers [6 min. VID]

Keith Throop, over at Reformed Baptist Blog, writes:

I also highly recommend Jeff’s book The Church: Why Bother? In fact, it is a good book to give to friends or other people in your church.

See also: The Church: Why Bother? by Jeff Johnson and episodes of the Confessing Baptist podcasts here and here.

When we first interviewed Pastor Jeff Johnson he also shared how he was saved from the brink of suicide. You can find that in the first podcast listed above. It is now in video form from the same interviewer in the video above:

Can music be evil or worldly? Ken Puls answers

Ken Puls:

Ken Puls

You may have read books or watched videos that teach on music and warn against various styles of music, pointing to their association with things that are ungodly. Those discussions about music can be both helpful and at times misleading. They are helpful in that—

  1. They make us aware that we should be concerned about the music we hear.
  2. They expose some very real issues of sin and abuse of music to promote evil.
    But they can be misleading in that—

They tend to pick on just 1 or 2 styles of music (Rock, Pop), and give the rest a pass.

  1. They often misidentify the problem.
  2. Let me give you some guidelines for thinking about music as it relates to sin…

Read “Can music be evil or worldly?” which is an excerpt from the study “What Then Shall We Sing?” Read more from Part 1: Thoughts on Music.

Did the Gospels “plagiarize” Pagan Myths? Jeff Riddle answers [AUDIO]

gospel-and-the-greeks

Pastor Jeff Riddle
Pastor Jeff Riddle

Pastor Jeff Riddle:

I recently stumbled upon a youtube video by a young atheist apologist named Jaclyn Glenn titled “Disproving Christianity: Jesus is a Lie” (posted in 2013). I thought it might be worthwhile to offer a brief critique.

Her main argument: She claims that that Christians plagiarized the life of Jesus from myths of various pagan deities, including:

The Egyptian god Horus,
The Hindu/Indian god Krishna,
And the Persian/Roman god Mithras.

Here are five logical and factual problems with this claim…

Read or listen to his answer [mp3]:

Answering Some Objections to Sabbath Observance [Tom Hicks]

reject_sabbathPastor Tom Hicks over at Founders Ministries’ THE BLOG:

In a previous post, I briefly sketched the Bible’s doctrine of the Sabbath day. Like nearly every doctrine of the Christian faith, the doctrine of the Sabbath is controversial among some Christians today. In this post, I’ll try to answer some of the most common objections to Sabbath observance.

1. New Testament Passages. Those who say Christians are not obligated to observe the Sabbath day often point to four key New Testament passages to make their case: Romans 14:1-9, Galatians 4:10, Colossians 2:16, and Hebrews 4:3-10. Though I won’t provide extensive exegesis here, I’d like briefly to consider these one at a time…

2. The Sabbath was a Sign for Israel. Some point out the Sabbath was a sign of the nation of Israel (Ex 31:16-17; Ezek 20:12). They argue that since the Sabbath was a sign of Israel, and since the church is not Israel, the Sabbath is not for the church…

3. Arguments from Silence. Some argue against Sabbath keeping from the silence of the Bible…

Pastor Tom Hicks
Pastor Tom Hicks

4. The Sabbath has been Fulfilled by Christ. Many argue that the Sabbath day has been fulfilled by Christ’s coming, and therefore, we should no longer keep the Sabbath…

5. Every Day is a Day of Worship for the Believer. Some who say that Christ fulfilled the Sabbath argue that “Every day is a day of rest in Christ and worship for the believer.”…

6. The Church Fathers from Ignatius to Augustine Taught that the Sabbath was Abolished. This argument from church history says that the early church fathers explicitly taught that the Sabbath is abolished; therefore, the doctrine of a Christian Sabbath is an innovation that was unknown in the earliest days of the church. But there are some problems here…

Read “Answering Some Objections to Sabbath Observance”.


[If you are looking for some more extensive exegesis on these passages I suggest you check out this Sunday School series.]

Exclusive Psalmody? W. J. Seaton Answers

W. J. Seaton:

Dear friends,

david-with-harp
David with Harp

According to a recent report in one of our Evangelical publications, there appears to be an upsurge of interest amongst some Pastors and Churches south of the border, on the subject of “Exclusive Psalmody;” that is, the singing of “psalms only” in the public worship of the Church. As one who writes out of a setting where this practice is commonplace amongst many, may I urge such Pastors and Churches to, perhaps, think again, on the subject. That we should sing psalms in the public worship of the Church (inclusive psalmody) is beyond question, and if we fail to do that, then we are failing to do justice to the relevant passages of scripture which deal with the worship of the Church which the Lord has ordained. The singing of “psalms only,” however, (exclusive psalmody) is a different matter altogether, and should be appreciated as such. We have no doubt that some who are leaning in the direction of exclusive psalmody are doing so with a sincere heart, and with a conscience which they have developed along those lines; but we have a sneaking suspicion that with some it is simply that age-old desire to have something different. “Purity of Worship,” as our psalm-singing friends like to describe their position is, after all, a very attractive proposition, and who wouldn’t want to be part of that? This is by no means an extended article on the subject, but simply a few thoughts that some might like to consider before they abandon good old Isaac Watts and company!…

Read the rest over at Herald of Grace.


W. Jack SeatonRev W. J. (‘Jack’) Seaton was pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church, Inverness for thirty-two years until his retirement in February 2002. Prior to that he was an evangelist with the Open Air Mission. He continues in Inverness as Pastor Emeritus.

He is the author of the Banner of Truth Trust’s booklet The Five Points of Calvinism, originally published in 1970, much reprinted.

What is Holiness? Legalism? + more [20 Short VIDEOS on Holiness] feat. Botkin, Brown, Dohm, Horn & Pollard [NCFIC]

Sanctification VidIn light of their upcoming national conference, the NCFIC has released several short videos regarding holiness. 

You may view them all on their blog.

Here are just the ones from fellow 1689’rs:

Holiness Captures Everything About God

What is Holiness?

Highway of Holiness or State of Holiness

Holiness – an Error Identified

Loving your Neighbor

What is Legalism?

Sanctification is a Marathon

What is the Sign of a Pharisee?

A True Experience of Grace

The Happiest People in the World

The Holy Spirit Who Sanctifies

Holiness and Pragmatism

Hypocrisy, Legalism and Phariseeism

Holiness – God’s Master Attribute

The Law For Believers

How Sanctification Works

​The Law Drives Unbelievers to Christ

Without Holiness No One Will See the Lord

Why Does the Bible Say So Much about Widows? Pastor Austin Walker Answers

Pastor Austin Walker, coauthor (with Brian Croft) of the new book Caring for Widows: Ministering God’s Grace, answers:

All Over Scripture

Caring for WidowsMuch earlier in my ministry, I began to include widows in the public prayers of the church where I was the pastor. I spoke at a gathering of ministers on public praying and mentioned widows among those who were often neglected in the prayers and ministry of the church. Called to care for widows in my own congregation, I began to study the Scriptures.

I soon discovered that there were very few books written about caring for widows but was taken aback by how much the Bible said about them. Whether you read Moses and the prophets, the Psalms and the Proverbs of Solomon, the four Gospels, or the book of Acts and the letters to the churches in the New Testament, you will not be able to read far without the subject of widows coming up. There are about eighty direct references to widows in the Scriptures. Why?

The Defender of Widows

Fundamentally, God is the kind of God who keeps a careful eye on the widow. He is profoundly concerned for her, together with the stranger and the fatherless. He is righteous and protects them for he is “a father of the fatherless, a defender of widows . . . in his holy habitation,” (Psalm 68:5).

The incarnate Son of God is like him. He cared for his widowed mother (John 19:25-17), he raised from the dead the son of the widow of Nain and returned him to his mother (Luke 7:11-17), and, in the spirit of the prophets, condemned those who took advantage of widows (Matthew 23:24).

Called to Imitate God

widows-blog2xIn line with this, God commanded that the nation of Israel care for widows, being diligent to not isolate them or take advantage of their vulnerability. Deuteronomy 16:11-14 shows how God provided for widows so that they were not excluded; instead, they enjoyed full participation in the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles.

However, when the nation of Israel turned away from serving God, they also turned away from his commandments. Who suffered when that happened? Widows were among the first casualties. The Old Testament prophets reproached those who wronged widows and called the nation back to its God-given responsibilities (e.g. Isaiah 10:1-3, Jeremiah 22:1-5, Ezekiel 22:6-7).

The church is called to be God-like, imitating his example and obeying his commandments. The early church cared for widows (Acts 6). In fact, the task was so important that seven men of good reputation, full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit, were selected to be responsible for the matter.

What’s more, Paul laid out clear instructions in 1 Timothy 5 about how widows were to be regarded and treated. James did not mince his words in James 1:27. He said, in effect, “Let’s be clear about the nature of real religion. It must be visible and practical. It visits widows and orphans in their trouble as well as maintains moral purity in an evil world.”


Austin WalkerPastor Austin Walker – born in London in 1946, he became a Christian at the age of 15, and later studied at the University of Aberystwyth, Wales.  Following a degree at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, he returned to the UK in 1971 and subsequently became a pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church in Crawley, Sussex where he still preaches the word of God.  From its inception the church was a confessional church, adopting The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith as an expression of what the members believe to be scriptural truth.  One of his specific interests is historical theology, especially that of the Reformation and the English Particular Baptists.  The Excellent Benjamin Keach was published in 2004 and then God’s Care for the Widow in 2010.  Very happily married to Mai for forty four years, they have four married children and ten grandchildren.

 

Does the Bible teach baptism is necessary for salvation? Tom Hicks answers

Pastor Tom Hicks interacts with the proof texts that are used by those who believe that baptism causes salvation:

Pastor Tom Hicks
Pastor Tom Hicks

A number of groups teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.  Roman Catholics, the Churches of Christ, Anglicans, and proponents of the Federal Vision, all say that the water-rite of baptism is necessary and effectual for salvation. Consider the six main passages these groups use to support their position.

[Mark 16:16 | Acts 2:38 | Acts 22:16 | Romans 6:3-7 | Galatians 3:27 | 1 Peter 3:21]

Read his two to three paragraph response to each of these.

Is it important for pastors to be on social media platforms? Pastor Marc Grimaldi + 8 others answer

This week’s question for The Rhino Room was:

Is it important for pastors to be on social media platforms?

Pastor Marc Grimaldi
Pastor Marc Grimaldi

Pastor Marc Grimaldi answered:

I think the best answer is, “It depends.”

In God’s providence, we have advanced to a time where we can impact the world at the click of some buttons. Through social media such as Facebook, blogs, emailing, sermonaudio.com… etc, our outreach can be enormous. Furthermore, by these means, we can minister to and exchange profitable communication with our local church members, as well.

That said, social media can be a drawback, if it is abused. It is important that we do not allow social media to become so preferential, that we lose the essential importance of street level, face-to-face ministry and fellowship. Factoring in the online temptations with which some may struggle, and the very successful ministries of others who simply refuse to use social media, I think each individual pastor has to personally address this matter in accordance with their own conscience before God.

Read the other eight answers.

How Can Christians be Intentional About Hospitality? The Decablog’s “Rhino Room” panel answers

This week’s question for The Rhino Room was:

How Can Christians be Intentional About Hospitality?

Pastor Nicolas Alford
Pastor Nicolas Alford

Pastor Nicolas Alford answered:

Christian intentionality about hospitality is not complicated, we’re just complacent.

Invite people into your home on Sunday afternoon for a meal. No one cares if you dusted. Talk to people at church. If they’re visiting, be welcoming and helpful. When someone invites you into their home, make every reasonable effort to accept. Incorporate fellow Christians into your daily life. Build real relationships with unbelievers so that they know they are actual people to you, not mere evangelism projects.

This is not rocket science, and yet Peter has to tell us to do it without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9). Therefore, if we aren’t showing hospitality we are probably not lacking for opportunity or knowledge, we are probably lacking in motivation. The immediately preceding verse in 1 Peter tells us to keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Hospitality is really just living out that love.

Read the other eight answers.

Are Christians morally obligated to participate in the political process? The Decablog’s “Rhino Room” panel answers

This week’s question for The Rhino Room was:

Are Christians morally obligated to participate in the political process of their local community or nation?

Pastor Wayne Brandow
Pastor Wayne Brandow

Pastor Wayne Brandow’s answer:

This is a question concerning the will of God for one’s life. Though Christians are citizens of another world, they live in the present one. They are called by God to love their neighbor and do him good. This entails civic responsibilities that would promote the public welfare, like voting or making their voice known. Being community minded and working with others in a worthy cause conveys that you genuinely care.

A word of caution is needful however. A person can be so caught up in a worthy cause that one’s primary calling is neglected. Jesus focused on a kingdom that was not of this world. On the other hand, Joseph, Daniel, Mordecai, and Esther were providentially called by God to be political. Though, it is not the will of God for all to be politicians, it is the will of God to love your neighbor.

Read the other seven answers.

What is common grace & how is it manifest? The Decablog’s “Rhino Room” panel answers

The Decablog has setup a new feature on their blog called The Rhino Room. They describe it as follows:

rhino roomEach week, we will ask a question of a panel of ministry leaders from different parts of the world, and they will have 150 words or less to answer. We hope the varied perspectives will provide a comprehensive overview of each question, and offer ample material for discussion in the comment section of the blog.

The questions will cover a wide spectrum to include systematic and biblical theology, culture, history, pastoral theology, etc. Each week’s question and answers will be posted on Tuesdays and, we hope, the remainder of the week will be filled with discussion…

Since they announced that last week, this Tuesday brought on their first question which was, “What is common grace and how is it manifest?” 

Common-Grace

Here is just one of the eleven answers they got from Reformed Baptist ministry leaders:

matt-foreman1-198x300Matt Foreman (Pastor, Faith Reformed Baptist Church of Media, Pennsylvania)

Common Grace is God’s general goodness, loving care, and providential influence for all of His creation, especially in humanity. By common grace, God retains his image in humanity, influences their consciences, restrains their sin, and manifests his goodness and gifts in their lives, irrespective of their faith or its lack. God can be at work, manifesting goodness, in and through even unbelievers and unbelieving cultures. However, God only shows special, saving grace to his elect.

Check out the rest of the answers.

Feel free to send your burning questions to the blog admins. I may even send the backlog of “Ask a Reformed Baptist” to them! :D

Barcellos’ lecture “New Covenant Theology & the Law of God” with PowerPoint + Q&A [AUDIO] from the Greenville Seminary Spring Theology Conf. + more

March 10-12, 2015 was “The Law of God in a Lawless Age” Greenville Seminary’s Spring Theology Conference which took place in Simpsonville, SC.

GPTS Conf Law 2015

(Recall that we discussed this with Dr. Pipa here and here, as well as featured this audio interview with Richard Barcellos on “Knowing The Truth” Radio regarding New Covenant Theology and the Law and this conference.)

Below is the audio from Richard Barcellos’ lecture “New Covenant Theology & The Law of God: Views, Critiques, Proposals” [64 min. mp3]:

Here is the PowerPoint he prepared for the lecture but note that “The lecture does not follow the PowerPoint presentation due to various unforeseen factors.”:

Dr Barcellos at #gpts2015

A photo posted by Mike Hutchinson (@hutch.ces) on

#gpts2015 conference attendees.

A photo posted by William Hill (@re4med) on

The Panel Discussion (Day 1) also featured Richard Barcellos with most of the questions directed towards him. Also on the panel was Jospeh Pipa and Tony Curto. Below is a timeline followed by the audio:

• 00:52 – 08:35  “In relation to the threefold division of the law, how should we understand the distinction of clean and unclean animals in Genesis 7 and what appears to be Levirate Marriage in Genesis 38?”

• 08:47 – 10:20 “Do you disagree with the Marrow Men and Fisher when they say that the substance of the Covenant of Works was Moral Law?”

• 10:44 – 13:45 “Did John Bunyan hold the Mosaic Covenant to be a republication of the Covenant of Works for eternal life?”

• 13:50 – 17:38  “Can you explain New Covenant [Theology’s] interpretation of Jeremiah 31:31ff and offer a critique?”

• 14:47 – 22:33 “Can you make a few comments about the use of the law to bring a Christian to Christ in the context of counseling…”

• 22:38 – 24:34 “What is the best and most succinct way to defend  Sabbath keeping for those who claim that since it is not a command repeated in the New Testament it is not applicable to Christians.”

• 24:43 – 28:28 “What key passages from the Apostolic practice of evangelism among the Gentiles demonstrate the Law’s role in Gospel work.”

• 28:36 – 31:48 “Given the denial of the three-fold division of the law by New Covenant Theology advocates what Biblical principles govern their understanding of the day of worship?”

• 31:56 – 42:00 “Would you open up more practically how one might open up the law… in terms of evangelism.”

Audio [mp3]:

You can find the rest of the conference audio [RSS] below: