Monday, December 12, 2011

Back in 2002 I was blessed to take a course in Early Christian Spirituality with Michael A.G. Haykin, now of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Of the many benefits from that course, one was learning about the Greek Fathers. Here is one sampling, an insight about the Trinity, that shows why being introduced to those writers was a particular blessing:

Gregory Nazianzen:

No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the Splendour of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish Them than I am carried back to the One.

When I think of any One of the Three I think of Him as the Whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking of escapes me.

I cannot grasp the greatness of That One so as to attribute a greater greatness to the Rest.

When I contemplate the Three together, I see but one torch, and cannot divide or measure out the Undivided Light.

—Gregory of Nazianzen, Orationes, 40:41

HT: JT

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Free Martyn Lloyd-Jones MP3 Round-Up, Again!


A while back I posted a round-up of free and not free Martyn Lloyd-Jones MP3's available around the web. In response to that post, the people at the ML-J recording trust recently sent me the following e-mail and link:

Dear Ian,

For your Keeping Christ Central blog, I thought that you might like to know that we plan to make another 5 MLJ sermons available to download free of charge over the next 5 weeks. They are all based on the Letter to the Hebrews.

The first one is already available at: www.mlj-usa.com/pages/hebrews

Download and be blessed! If you want to re-read the whole round-up of sermons I posted a while back, here it is. The free section of my earlier post is as follows:

There is a free weekly radio program for streaming (and I think for download as well). If I remember correctly, each week features half of a sermon, bracketed by the comments of a guy with a British accent. It is found here.

Finally, five of his regular sermons are available for free download here. The first one, entitled 'Mind, Heart, Will' is especially good. Start there!

I'll leave this with you: do you know of any free Martyn Lloyd-Jones audio download sites? Am I missing anything? Leave a comment and let me know! Or, do you want to donate large amounts of money to the Martyn Lloyd-Jones recording trust, to set up a free download extravaganza? Contact them and let them know!

Update: 3 more free downloads can be found: here.

Yet another update: 9 more free ones can be found here.

Still yet another update: 2 more free ones can be found here (one is not yet working, though).

In addition to this, someone commented the following:

The best way to get free sermons from Dr. Lloyd-Jones is through OnePlace, which will give you the url for the podcast. Then just manually add that to itunes for automatic updates.

In response to my last post, a number of people pointed out that most of ML-J's sermons are not free because it costs money to run a web site and pay a staff. Great point! I thank God for the hard work of the people at the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Recording Trust, and for this new five sermon Christmas gift!


Update: I just received the following note from the good people at the ML-J recording trust:

I see from your blog entry that you still refer to the 9 Pensacola sermons that we posted free back in 2010.

We had to take those down for reasons that I don’t fully understand, and therefore can’t explain.

In their place we posted a set of 8 sermons that MLJ preached at Hawthorne Gospel Church, New Jersey, USA.

The address of their page is: www.mlj.org.uk/pages/hawthorne

Kind regards

Robin

So, I erased the relevant sermons from earlier in this post, but encourage you to download the new ones available. Happy listening!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Paul Washer Says it Straight

This is the first time I've ever heard any Paul Washer (even though tons of people have recommended him to me). This is right on, though, and totally worth 5 mins of your time.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Do Committees Work Together to Translate the Bible?

To my knowledge, the King James Version was the first bible to be translated by a committee, that is, a number of scholars who worked together, debated, voted, etc, and produced a great translation of the Bible that was unparalleled in the English language for well over 300 years, and still, is used after 400 years. The clip that follows is more recent, and captures the translation committee of the English Standard Version presenting, debating, and then voting, on how to translate the word for slave into English. It's well worth the four minutes of your time.


HT: JT

Monday, November 14, 2011

G.K. Beale: New Testament Theology is an Unfolding of the Old Testament

In the following helpful video, author G.K. Beale explains the outline to his magnum opus, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New. In doing so, he explains why I want to buy and devour the book, and also why I have a growing desire to do doctoral work in Old Testament. Watch and be blessed:


Justin Taylor has also posted Beale's full chapter on The Eschatological Storyline of the Old Testament: The Old Testament Focus on the Latter Days in PDF format.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hansen on Keller on Marriage


I appreciated this review of Tim and Kathy Keller's new book on marriage. Collin Hansen points out what is unique about this book in particular (i.e. why do we need another book on marriage?) and made me want to buy the book to read out loud with my amazing wife.

Here is a brief interview with the authors about the book:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mr. Bean Playing the Invisible Drums


HT: challies.com

Children and Screen Time

I first heard the term 'screen time' when my buddy Tim Challies spoke about technology at the church I was then pastoring. Is thoughts were very helpful and they can be found in his book on the subject.

Today I read an article by Al Mohler (no doubt linked by Justin Taylor or Tim Challies, then tabbed by me a few days ago). Two paragraphs were especially horrifying (and helpful to know about):

The number of American homes with television outnumbers the number of homes with indoor plumbing. The average American home with children has four televisions, one DVR, up to three DVD players, two CD players, two radios, two computers, and two video game units.

If almost one third of three-year-olds have a television in their bedrooms, 70 percent of American teenagers do. At least one third of the nation’s teenagers have a computer with internet access in their bedroom.

Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Phil Kessel's Pace (after game 3)

Will he beat Wayne Gretzky's goal and point records? No. But it's fun to see the projections...


GPGAPTS+/-PPGPPASHGSHAGWGPIMShotsPCTHits
Year to date353870100221145.450
On Pace8113681217702700545430045.330


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Phil Kessel's Amazing Pace (after two games)


GPGAPTS+/-PPGPPASHGSHAGWGPIMShotsPCTHits
Year to date23254010010650.000
On Pace821238220540410041024650.000

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Elephant in the Room (and some better options for teaching on the Trinity)

The Elephant Room 2 has caused quite a stir in the circles associated with the Gospel Coalition. Billed as a conversation between Christian brothers about secondary matters, the blogosphere erupted when it was announced that T.D. Jakes was asked to join in. The original write up on the ER2 web site praised Jakes' preaching and leadership abilities, and reported that the organizers were 'totally fired up' (or something to that effect) that Jakes would be there. But for most associated with the Gospel Coalition, the real elephant in the room was plainly evident: T.D. Jakes is a modalist, and as such, does not hold to an orthodox doctrine of the Trinity; therefore, James MacDonald had invited a heretic into a discussion intended to be between Christian brothers. I have not followed the entire debate, but I have appreciated reading a few articles on the issue. Thankfully, since the originial explosion, MacDonald has broadened the scope of ER2 to include non-evangelicals and has self-confessedly eaten humble pie. But of the handful of articles I've read on this whole fiasco, two stand out as most helpful.

The first comes courtesy of D.A. Carson over at the Gospel Coalition blog. Besides explaining the nature of Gospel Coalition associations, and the difference between the Gospel Coalition and a denomination, Carson also explains why an orthodox, Biblical view of the Trinity is a part of the fabric of the gospel itself. He notes that a new Christian or a child could indeed be authentically saved without being able to articulate this doctrine (because of immaturity), he expresses concern when a mature Christian has a developed view that is contrary to the three-in-one Godhead (e.g. modalism), and then he gets to the Trinity and the gospel:
To say that the doctrine of the Trinity is tied up with the gospel is to make a claim about the structure of the gospel, about what the gospel is, about its content. The doctrine of the Trinity helps to establish the oneness of the purposes of God in the mission of the Son, to demonstrate the intra-Trinitarian love of God that bears so much on what the Son achieves in his death and resurrection (see John 17!), that differentiates the roles of the persons of the Godhead in the plan of redemption, and so forth: without the doctrine of the Trinity, the entire schema of the gospel would be transmuted into something unrecognizable. A modalist God, then, cannot save---at least not in any NT understanding of salvation.
I highly recommend that you read the whole thing here.

The second is a satirical piece by (who else) Carl Trueman over at the Reformation21 blog. I believe he hits the nail on the head, making us all laugh in the process. I reprint both paragraphs because they are worth reading:
As for me, I'm still trying to work out why a conversation between a few well-known guys, a couple of whom at least seem rather confused about the Trinity, is going to be a great conversation about the.... Trinity.

Meanwhile, for anyone interested, Paul Levy, Derek Thomas, Gabe Fluhrer and myself are planning a live podcast on the impact of developments in quantum theory since 1980 on the design of sub atomic accelerators. To be honest, we know little about the topic and, frankly, find it all a bit perplexing; but it should be a great and insightful conversation for you to listen to -- you know, four regular guys just hanging out, having a laugh, sharing the occasional inside joke, breaking down boundaries etc. Cheques should be made payable to the `Derek Thomas Holiday in Bayreuth Ministries International' No credit cards accepted.
In light of all this I'm left asking a question: why would anyone pay $99 for a simulcast of this event? I do not doubt that the ER2 will be profitable (no pun intended). I do, however, doubt whether it will be the most profitable way for most Christians to spend their time. I suspect that other venues would be better equipped to teach on this doctrine, which is essential to orthodox Christianity and a part of the fabric of the gospel itself. First, read the Gospel of John with a pencil in hand, marking up all references to intra-Trinitarian relationship (and do the same with Ephesians 1:3-14). Then, download and listen! A quick search over at desiringGod.org turned up 179 free resources with the word 'Trinity' in their content, and Sovereign Grace Ministries have a bunch of great teaching on the Trinity for free download by a bunch of great speakers (again, all for free). Since the ER2 is bound to focus on the Trinity for a good chunk of its time, why not spend your time most profitably, and save your money at the same time!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

C.S. Lewis on Hell

From Justin Taylor's Blog....

C. S. Lewis:

I spoke just now of fiddling while Rome burns. But to a Christian the true tragedy of Nero must be not that he fiddled while the city was on fire but that he fiddled on the brink of hell.

You must forgive me for the crude monosyllable. I know that many wiser and better Christians than I in these days do not like to mention heaven and hell even in the pulpit. I know, too, that nearly all the references to this subject in the New Testament come from a single source. But then that source is Our Lord himself. People will tell you it is St. Paul, but that is untrue. These overwhelming doctrines are dominical. They are not really removable from the teaching of Christ or of His Church.

If we do not believe them, our presence in this church is great tomfoolery.

If we do, we must overcome our spiritual prudery and mention them.

—C. S. Lewis, “Learning in War-Time” (1939)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Courageous

This trailer made me really want to see the movie. My wife and I really appreciated 'Fireproof', and the same group made 'Courageous'.



HT: JT

Chisso is a Friend of Mine

Here is a little snippet from our church's fellowship lunch this past Sunday. You may have seen the 'Jesus is a Friend of Mine' YouTube video. Well, in honour of our friend Chisso's birthday, our worship team did a little remix. Enjoy!

THABITI ANYABWILE: Multi-Site Churches are From Satan


I really appreciate Thabiti. Some adjectives that come to mind are: normal, authentic, humble, unassuming, gifted, homey, happy. He and his family have sat at my table and shared lunch. Our sons have played together, when they were both in diapers. As we sat and talked, he was as interested in my little ministry as I was of his broader influence. We talked evangelistic strategy and preaching, mentoring and being mentored. So when I saw the provocative title to his essay on multi-site churches, I laughed, then I wanted to read. And it didn't disappoint. As I struggle to come to convictions on this important ecclesiastical phenomenon, as I really wrestle with the desire to see lots and lots of souls saved, but also with the desire for Biblical ministries without pragmatism trumping faithfulness, his article was a great help to me. It begins this way:

Okay, that title is homage to James MacDonald, who says congregationalism is from Satan and whom I had the privilege of spending a couple days with at the recent 9marks @ Southeastern Conference. During the Baptist21 Panel, our moderator stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest by asking me what I thought about multi-site churches. Why me? I thought. Mark Dever is sitting right there. He loves talking about this stuff. Aww… man. Ask me about basketball.

So, after I finished my pity party, I answered my brother’s question, stated something like: “Thabiti, what arguments for multi-site have you found persuasive?” My articulate response: “Uh, none.”

Okay, this should be the end of the post. But because I’m in the Miami airport and the people-watching has become a bit weird, I think I’d rather invite you all to my misery and discovery.


His points are as follows:

Idolatry

Competition and Pride

Removes “Local” from “Local Churches”

Idolatry… Again

Pragmatism

Cultural Captivity


I strongly encourage you to read the whole thing here.

Steve Lawson: Notes Used in the Pulpit

I once heard Steve Lawson refer to the notes he uses in the pulpit as a mix of photocopied/cut/pasted Scripture (with literal scissors and tape) and then handwriting for all of his comments. Thanks to Josh Harris, a copy of one of those sermon notes are available for us all to view (in PDF format) here. When I first heard of this method, I naturally thought him a dinosaur. I mean, who uses scissors and tape in the sermon writing process? But now that I've seen it in PDF (ironically), I'm intrigued. As a Luddite at heart, who is equally an expositor at heart, I can now see the benefits of this. Take a look and learn from one man's model.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Paul Tripp: God’s Will for Your Wait


I'm glad a good friend sent me the following article by Paul Tripp. It begins this way:

In ministry there are often moments when you are propelled by a biblical vision but called by God to wait. Waiting can be discouraging and hard. So what does it look like to wait in a way that makes you a participant in what God is doing rather than someone who struggles against the wait? Let me suggest several things.


His points are as follows:

Remind Yourself You Are Not Alone

Realize That Waiting Is Active

Celebrate How Little Control You Have

Celebrate God’s Commitment to His Work of Grace

Let Your Waiting Strengthen Your Faith

Count Your Blessings

Long for Eternity

Read the whole thing here.

HT: JT

Monday, September 26, 2011

Luther on Pastoral Pride

I had the following quote above my desk in my study for the first number of years of my pastorate in Binbrook. I saw Justin Taylor posted it today, so I thought I'd pass it on via a copy/paste. Take heed!

Martin Luther:

If, however, you feel and are inclined to think you have made it, flattering yourself with your own little books, teaching, or writing, because you have done it beautifully and preached excellently; if you are highly pleased when someone praises you in the presence of others; if you perhaps look for praise, and would sulk or quit what you are doing if you did not get it—if you are of that stripe, dear friend, then take yourself by the ears, and if you do this in the right way you will find a beautiful pair of big, long, shaggy donkey ears.

Then do not spare any expense! Decorate them with golden bells, so that people will be able to hear you wherever you go, point their fingers at you, and say, “See, see! There goes that clever beast, who can write such exquisite books and preach so remarkably well.” That very moment you will be blessed and blessed beyond measure in the kingdom of heaven. Yes, in that heaven where hellfire is ready for the devil and his angels.

—Martin Luther, LW 34:287-288.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

MacArthur's Advice to Young Reformed Evangelicals


If I were to hand pick a few personal mentors from the crop of reformed influences today, it is likely that I'd begin with the Pipers and Kellers and Carsons of the world. John MacArthur has an awesome ministry, but I've never quite gelled with it for whatever reason. I have appreciated, though, sitting at his feet from time to time, and his article series to the Young, Reformed evangelicals of today was no different. What follows are the links the the articles, and then a few choice quotes:

1. Grow Up. Settle Down. Keep Reforming. Advice for the Young, Restless, Reformed

2. Grow Up

3. Beer, Bohemianism, and True Christian Liberty

4. Keep Reforming


Some favourite quotes:

I sometimes think no group is more fashion-conscious than the current crop of hipster church planters—except perhaps teenage girls.

Charles Spurgeon understood the principle. He became pastor of London's largest and most famous Baptist congregation at the age of 20, less than five years after his conversion. But he consciously and diligently sought to display maturity beyond his years—especially in his manners and his approach to ministry. At age 40, he reflected on the brevity of his own adolescence: "I might have been a young man at twelve, but at sixteen I was a sober, respectable Baptist parson, sitting in the chair and ruling and governing the church. At that period of my life, when I ought perhaps to have been in the playground . . . I spent my time at my books, studying and working hard, sticking to it."

If everything you know about Christian living came from blogs and websites in the young-and-restless district of the Reformed community, you might have the impression that beer is the principal symbol of Christian liberty.

God’s Word is the only true standard we have a divine mandate to conform to, and it is the ultimate standard by which we will be judged. Success or failure in ministry therefore cannot be evaluated by numerical statistics, financial figures, popularity polls, public opinion, or any of the other factors the world typically associates with “success.” The only real triumph in ministry is to hear Christ say, “Well done.”

Now let’s be completely candid: Many (perhaps most) evangelical celebrities from the past half-century or so will never be remembered like the Reformers, because they will pass away with their own self-styled faddishness.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Where Have All The (Canadian) Pastoral Training Schools Gone?


So, where have they gone? I'm not condemning the Bible Colleges for broadening their purpose and then reinventing themselves as liberal arts training institutes. But the sad reality is, the school that specializes in training pastors seems to have gone the way of the Dodo bird, especially in Canada. Such a school that is also committed to the complementarian position is even more rare. That is why my recent conversation with the academic dean of Heritage College and Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario (D.A. Carson's alma mater, by the way), was so encouraging. Their identity as a school is encapsulated by the following (taken from their web site):

1. Our Mandate
We are committed to the integration of faith and learning for the purpose of preparing our students to serve the church locally and globally, fulfilling the Great Commission. To that end, our programs provide for curricula focused on spiritual formation, a biblical foundation, theological integration, ministry and leadership preparation, critical evaluation, and effective communication.

2. Our Denominational Affiliation
Heritage College and Seminary is an agency of The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches (Central Region), whose churches we serve along with other like-minded evangelical churches, organizations, and denominations.

3. Our Epistemology
We are committed to the absolute, propositional truth of God that exists and can be known objectively. We are committed to the pursuit of sound doctrine, not simply through the transfer of knowledge from professor to student, but also through Christian life experience and spiritual growth which occur in the context of community.

4. Our Hermeneutic
We are committed to the plenary, verbal inspiration of the Bible as God’s inerrant, infallible Word as the basis for all we do and teach, our interpretation and understanding of which is rooted in discovering the original author’s intended meaning, taking into account the grammatical structure of the text, the historical and cultural meaning of the words at the time they were written, and their literary genre and context, all with a view to ascertaining the theological truth of the passage.

5. Our Ecclesiology
We are committed to the headship of the church under Jesus Christ and the mandate of the church to make disciples, equipping them for ministry and growing them spiritually. We are committed to developing men and women to their full potential to serve Christ in the various ministries of the church. We affirm that the distinctive leadership role assigned to elders (which includes any pastor serving as an elder)is reserved for biblically qualified men on the basis of creation, the fall, and redemption.

6. Our Cultural Relevance
We are committed to being a community of faith that is relevant to our culture but not so affected by it that it compromises our Christian behaviour, beliefs, or message. In our culture we are committed to the accurate, relevant proclamation of the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ and to the practical expression of Christian love, justice, and mercy.


Read more on the school's web site.

Monday, September 19, 2011

James Hamilton: How the Lord Provided For Me in Seminary

Many of my friends know that I have been prayerfully considering more schooling for the purpose of more ministry equipping. Now, I recognize that the stakes are extremely high in such a consideration, because I have a family and I am committed to leading and providing for that family. The discernment process needs to involve church leaders, one's desires, one's abilities, one's wife's support, and whether there the decision is a responsible one financially. But I have been shocked by the sheer volume of Christians who have accused me of being irresponsible for thinking of a) spending all of my savings for the purpose of school; b) entering a program when I don't have all of the funds needed to graduate. Some have even implied that the apex of Biblical faithfulness as a husband involves developing equity and padding my family's security. Sad. In my case, some financial factors fell through this past summer and we decided to defer my acceptance and continue to pray about this whole ordeal. It may be that God leads us into these studies or away from them. We are taking this time to reevaluate. Whether God uses me in the church or the classroom (or both) in the future is yet to be seen. Whether I have the privilege of studies, vocational ministry, or simply working while serving my family and church family for a while, is also yet to be seen. But as I think and pray and talk, James Hamilton's testimony of the way God provided for him to complete his two advanced degrees, was really encouraging. The simple fact is that when God's man steps out in faith, and when that man is both truly called by God and also willing to work hard, God provides. This has been the testimony of every PhD graduate I have ever talked to, and this is Hamilton's testimony as well. His article begins this way:

A friend asked me this morning how I arranged to pay for my seminary studies. I am grateful for this question because it gave me an opportunity to reflect on the steadfast faithfulness of the Lord. The truth is that I didn’t arrange anything, but God did. I moved to Dallas in August of 1996 to attend Dallas Theological Seminary, trusting that God would bring me through, and he did just that. Perhaps I was young and na├»ve, but God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness are bigger than the foolishness of those who trust him. The Lord provided, and he provided through people like my friend who asked me the question this morning—that friend bought me my first computer and printer when I started at at DTS.


Read the whole thing here.