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Guest Bloggers

November 07, 2008

Guest blog by Andrew Lindsey

Mark Lamprecht is also live-blogging this Conference, and is catching some statements that I miss. Read his posts HERE.

November 07, 2008

Guest blog by Andrew Lindsey

Congregational singing: “Amazing Grace”

Prayer by Ergun Caner.

Dr. Steve Lemke:

“It is my desire that we as Southern Baptists can go forward in unity.”
Quote from Nathan Finn that we must be free to hold differing convictions and to attempt to persuade others of our convictions.

Irresistible grace did not originate at Dort, but was made famous by this Synod.

Quote from one of the Remonstrants that the grace of God is absolutely needed in order for a sinner to think, will, or do any good before God; only God can renew our understanding, our thinking and our willing. The Remonstrants utterly rejected the idea that sinners could do anything to contribute to their own salvation; therefore, the Synod of Dort is wrong to label the Arminians either Pelagian or semi-Pelagian.

Having defended the Arminians on this point, it was stressed that none of the speakers at this Conference are Arminians, Pelagians, or semi-Pelagians.

What was it the Remonstrants said that earned them such persecution from the Synod of Dort? One main point of contention was Irresistible grace, which the Remonstrants denied due to the passages in which it is said that people resisted the Holy Spirit.

Why is it that some people do not receive the grace of God? Is it because God did not desire the salvation of all persons, or was it because of something else? The Remonstrants refused to blame God, and placed the blame of rejecting grace squarely upon humanity.

2 senses of “calling” prominent within Calvinist literature:
1. The outward call, which never works
2. The inward call, which is irresistible

There are many different kinds of Calvinists, but there are many Calvinists who do not like the term irresistible grace, but they like to wrap this doctrine in a nice package.

Quotes from Piper and Sproul in which it is asserted that God “drags” people to salvation or overcomes their will, and yet they want to say that God does not force people to choose Him against their wills: Lemke asserted that these are irreconcilable.

Dr. James White quoted, “He can do so without our permission to do so” [referring to God drawing people to Himself].

What does the Bible say about Irresistible grace? “Not a lot” [this met with laughter]. Irresistible grace is not in your concordance. (Though, it is admitted, neither is the Trinity.)

Acts 7:51 and Luke 7:30 quoted to defend the idea that grace may be resisted.

Jesus Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:24 cited to demonstrate that the tenor of Jesus’ ministry was against the idea of Irresistible grace.

Rich young ruler cited to demonstrate that Jesus believed that something within a person can make it harder for someone to come to Him; if Jesus were a Calvinist, he would have just said that grace was irresistible, and so the wealth did not matter. [As a side note, when mentioning that Jesus did not lower His standards for the rich young ruler, Lemke said: One thing our Calvinist brothers are helping us get a handle on is a regenerate church membership.]


In the parable of the prodigal son, the difference between the sons is that one repented and the other resisted.

In the parable of the vineyard owner and other parables “the key differential” is whether those are willing to respond.

Acts 9 and Paul’s kicking against the goads is taken as evidence that Paul resisted and that the Holy Spirit had been working on him a long time before his salvation.

“All means all” as seen in 2 Timothy 3:16 and other texts.

Several “all” Scriptures, and the Scriptures where people ask, “What shall we do to be saved” (at Pentecost, with the Philippian jailer, etc.) are said to disprove the doctrine of Irresistible grace.

Theological concerns about Irresistible grace (these do not pertain to all Calvinists, but to those who are more extreme):

1. Irresistible grace can undermine the doctrine of conversion. The Synod of Dort taught that baptized children would be irresistibly drawn to salvation. Very few Calvinistic Baptists practice infant baptism (there are some), but when Calvinists seek fellowship with Presbyterians over other Baptists and allow those who are infant baptized to become Baptist church members without being Baptized, it is hard for those who are not Calvinists to see the difference.

2. Irresistible grace reverses the biblical order of salvation. (This is the most serious.)
a. Which comes first, regeneration or faith? R.C. Sproul quoted to demonstrate the Reformed view that regeneration precedes faith. Jesus words in John 3 concerning the serpent lifted in the wilderness and those looking to the serpent living, proves that John 5:40: coming to Christ precedes having life. John 11:25, the believing precedes the living. b. Which comes first the Spirit’s regeneration or is regeneration commensurate with justification?
c. What comes first repentance and faith or regeneration? John 20:31, the believing precedes the life [other texts cited].

3. Irresistible grace weakens missions and evangelism
a. Quote from Romans 10
b. Calvin’s distinction between the internal and external call quoted
c. Terrance Thiessen (sp?) a self-described Reformed theologian quoted to say that people in other religions can be saved
d. Irresistible grace leads to a rejection of the well-meant offer of the gospel (Prof. David Engelsma quoted to prove this).

“I’m not sure there is such a thing as a living hyper-Calvinist; it’s someone who is more Calvinistic than you are.”

Practical questions:
1. What does it mean that regeneration is logically prior to faith? (Can one be regenerated days before one is saved?)
2. Is it possible to be elect, but not be saved?
3. Does God have a secret will by which He doesn’t really love everyone?

“It’s only human nature to think of power and control” as being in control of everything, but God has different ideas than we do. If you our I had power and had people that resisted us, we might smack them. But Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient unto death of the Cross. Let’s recognize God’s maximal sovereignty and God’s maximal glory in the way that He counts glory.

November 07, 2008

Guest blog by Andrew Lindsey

Congregational singing: “Redeemed, Redeemed.”

Introduction of Dr. Allen by Dr. Jerry Vines.

Dr. David Allen:

Quote of John 3:16.

Argument against Limited atonement quoting only Calvinists.

What two things do these men have in common?
(Long list of theologians including Calvin, Bullinger, Ursinus, Bunyan, Edwards, Hodge, Strong.)
A: They are all Calvinists, and they all rejected Limited atonement.

2 Corinthians 5:19, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.”
5-point Calvinists define “world” as the “elect.”

Extent of the atonement, two possibilities:
1. Jesus died for all humanity:
a. Arminians- He died for all equally.
b. 4-point Calvinists- He died for all, but especially the elect.
2. Jesus died for the elect.

Jesus died efficiently for all, but sufficiently for the elect. In the high Calvinist position, Jesus’ death is sufficient only for the elect.

Several theologians were named who signed either the Canons of Dort or the Westminster Confession, yet rejected Limited atonement.

“The dirty little secret that you’re not often told” about Dort is that the language was left ambiguous to allow both high Calvinists and those who rejected “strict particularism” to all sign the document.

Calvinists were repeatedly enjoined to read primary sources rather than only popular authors like John Piper and John MacArthur.

The first person ever to hold to limited atonement was a 9th century monk named Gottschalk. Gottschalk was condemned by three French councils.

Luther rejected Limited atonement, as seen in his comments on 1 John 2:2 and numerous other comments.

Numerous quotes from John Calvin were offered (such as his comments on Romans 5:18 and John 3:16) to demonstrate that he did not hold to Limited atonement.

Ursinus, “Christ satisfied for all…” but not in respect to its application.

The controversy in the second and third generation was over the introduction of Limited atonement into Calvinism.

With the introduction of Limited atonement into Calvinism leads to hyper-Calvinism.

The early English reformers all held to unlimited atonement.

Quotes from at least two Westminster divines were given to argue that many at Westminster did not hold to Limited atonement. The argument centered on whether these divines interpreted “world” in John 3:16 to refer to the world of the elect.

Richard Baxter, well-known for rejecting Limited atonement, was quoted.

Jonathan Edwards quote to the effect that Christ in some sense died for the whole world, though there is a particularity to his death that effects only the elect.

The three categories of Arminianism, Amyraldianism, and Calvinism are historically not enough. Additional categories allow for definitions of Calvinism such as hypothetical universalism and four-point Calvinism. [Dr. Allen asserts that these categories are different than Amyraldianism, but I could not understand his explanation of the difference he asserted.]

3 sets of texts that affirm unlimited atonement:
1. “All” texts
2. “World” texts
3. “Many” texts

Other texts speak of Christ dying for His sheep or for His church, but these texts do not say that He died only for these groups.

Owen argued that God hates the non-elect (a quote from Owen was cited), but the Bible says that God loves the world and never says that God hates the world.

Any teaching that says one or all of these things:
1. God does not love everyone
2. God does not want to save everyone
3. Jesus did not die for everyone
is unbiblical and should be rejected.

Quote from [Reformed Baptist] Sam Waldron: The free offer of the gospel does not require us to tell people Christ died for you.

But the above is contradicted by passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:3, in which Paul related what he said to the Corinthians as he proclaimed the gospel to them, including, “Christ died for you,” and in Jesus’ statement of the cup at the Last Supper, “This is my blood,” was given while Judas was at the table.

There is no statement in Scripture that Jesus died only for the elect

Why this is important:
1. Limited atonement undermines God’s salvific will
(Dr. Allen asserted that Dr. James White is a hyper-Calvinist according to Phil Johnson’s primer on hyper-Calvinism, as Dr. White says that God does not have any desire to save the non-elect.)
2. Limited atonement undermines evangelistic zeal
(Mark Dever in is otherwise great book on personal evangelism leaves out two important motives for evangelism- that Christ died for all men and that God desires all men to be saved.)
3. Limited atonement means that we could not say to a sinner that Christ died for you.
4. Limited atonement means that the preacher must speak to his congregation as if they can be saved, when he knows that some cannot
5. Limited atonement means that we will not give evangelistic invitations. Dr. Allen asserted that a professor [left unnamed] from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said at a recent conference that we should not give an evangelistic invitation.

Conclusion: “Should the Southern Baptist Convention move toward 5-point Calvinism, such a move would be away from, and not toward, the gospel.” This was met with a standing ovation.

Dr. Allen directed hearers to BaptistTheology.org where there is apparently a paper pointing out the logical and exegetical fallacies of Owen’s “double-payment argument.”

Three pages of handouts were given, defining terms used in the presentation such as Arminianism and Amyraldianism. Dr. Allen strove for accuracy in these definitions, footnoting each definition, using Calvinistic sources to define terms to do with Calvinism.

A peculiarity in his definitions is that Dr. Allen restricts the meaning of Limited atonement to the teaching that Christ’s death in no way benefits the non-elect. This is how he can claim so many of the Reformed teachers mentioned before did not hold to Limited atonement.

After the sermon, Dr. Vines advertised several resources, including his “Baptist Battles” series of DVDs, which includes, “Calvinism: A Baptist and His Election.”

November 07, 2008

Guest blog by Andrew Lindsey

Congregational singing: “Love Lifted Me”

Intro. by Jerry Vines.

Opening prayer by Dr. Chuck Kelley.

Before Dr. Land spoke, Dr. Vines made some comments regarding the messages. One major point that Dr. Vines sought to articulate was that to disagree is not to attack, and that he hope that points are clearly articulated without animosity.

Dr. Vines also made the following additional points concerning Total depravity:
“God, in his sovereignty has given Man the capacity to choose”… this capacity “has been effaced, but it has not been erased.” In Scripture, God commands Man to believe. The Philippian jailer said, “What must I do to be saved?” and Paul replied “believe.” God does not command us to do what we are unable to do.

Dr. Richard Land:
PowerPoint title:
Congruent Election: Understanding Salvation from an Eternal Now Perspective

“We must get our doctrine and theology from Scripture”… an inerrant Word does not contradict itself. We must seek to come to an understanding of Scripture and Christian doctrine that enables us to preach from all of God’s Word. I want to have a theology that’s as congruent with the totality of Scripture as I can possibly make it.

“I believe in all of ‘P,’ I believe in none of ‘L,’ but I believe in part of all the others.”

Southern Baptists have more similar than dissimilar in their understanding of Scripture. The exclusivity of Christ is one major example of agreement among Southern Baptists.

“I don’t want to offend my Calvinistic brethren, I just think they’re wrong.” Why would this offend? Calvinists have no problem saying I’m wrong.

Some Calvinists have tried to abscond our history, which is broader than they have presented.

John Leland, 18th century Baptist, “the preaching that has been most profitable to men” has been the doctrine of the sovereingty of God mixed with a little of what has been called Arminianism. [Source cited on PowerPoint.]

Dr. Sydney Anistrom, a Lutheran scholar, has described 18th century Baptist life as “a modified version of Westminster.” The modifications to Calvinism becoming evident in the New Hampshire Confession.

“They were giving altar calls in the 1750s… you may have read differently, but I have the records to prove it… they were giving altar calls in the 1750s.”

Quote from Baptist historian Robert A. Baker that there seems to have been a providential mingling of General (Arminian) and Regular (Calvinist) Baptists in the South. “The General Baptists provided emphasis on the necessity for human agency in reaching men with the gospel; the Regular Baptists added doctrinal stability and a consciousness of the divine initiative.”

There was a distinctive Southern Baptist soteriology, best articulated by John Leland, at least 70 years before there was a Southern Baptist Convention.

Yes, we have a Charleston tradition, but this tradition has always been the harmony to the melody of the Separate (revivalistic) Baptist tradition.

“I believe that election is consistent with the free agency of Man.” Calvinists, who were Presbyterians, got their doctrine of election off kilter because they were wrong in their ecclesiology wrong, identifying Israel with the Church.
Therefore, Calvinists fail to understand that there are two different types of election in the Bible:
1. Abrahamic election- God’s electing purpose in dealing with His chosen people, the Israelites.
2. Salvific election- God’s electing purpose to save individuals.

People have always been saved through salvific election, even those under Abrahamic election.

Three differences in these two types of election:
a. Corporate in Abrahamic, individual in salvific
b. Abrahamic to “special people” status, salvific to salvation
c. Abrahamic not connected to anything, salvific connected with foreknowledge (though not based upon foreknowledge) Romans 8:28-30 cited.

Disagreement noted with Norm Geisler, as Man’s faith is not a condition for God giving salvation. ‘God gave me saving faith and He has promised to keep me.’

1 Timothy 2:3-6a. cited. Calvinists say that “all” means some of all kinds, but that is not what the text says.

Cited C.S. Lewis’ “eternal now” understanding of God’s view of time as formative in his understanding of election. God views all of history as part of His present experience. God never learns anything; God is often disappointed, but He is never surprised. God knows the future perfectly, He knows our future decisions, He knows us better than we know ourselves. “Time does not have cognitive content for God.”

Quote from Herschel Hobbs, “The foreknowledge of God is based upon His omniscience.” God’s foreknowledge and Man’s free will are both asserted in Scripture.

Quote from Baptist Faith and Message (2000) “He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.” This means that the Baptist attitude is that God would not create people for the purpose of sending them to Hell.

Sections from BF&M 2000 on salvation and election were read.

Harry Ironside notes that Romans 9-11 is a parenthesis in which Paul responds to anticipated objections from the Jews; Abrahamic, not salvific, election is in view in these chapters.

3 charts were shown on PowerPoint to demonstrate Congruent Election: Understanding Salvation from an Eternal Now Perspective. These charts were very complicated and beyond my ability to explain them here. The major points of these charts are:
1. That God experiences the rejection of the non-elect as eternally present with Him.
2. God has always dealt differently with the non-elect than with the elect.
3. That people won’t be saved from God’s perspective is different than the idea that they can’t be saved.

November 07, 2008

Guest blog by Andrew Lindsey

Before I go to the Conference this morning, I wanted to answer some questions some have been asking me about the attendance and mood of this Conference.

Attendance:

There appear to be somewhere between 800 and 1000 people at the Conference. [For readers who may be familiar with First Baptist Church Woodstock, GA- the bottom level of the “chapel” in A building, the building behind the main building housing the sanctuary, is full during sessions, with Conference-goers seated comfortably, but not too many open seats apparent at all.]

When asked to raise our hands if we are pastors, an overwhelming majority (about 90%) raised their hands. I would estimate that about 90% of Conference-goers are over 30 years old- at 28, I feel like a young guy there- with a clear majority being 40 years old or older. (Many of the younger guys who are there appear to have come with the schools represented in the vendors’ hall.)

Mood

The mood of the Conference, as best as I can determine thus far, does not seem to be vitriolic nor panicked in regards to Calvinism. From the conversations I have over-heard, Conference-goers tend to regard Calvinism as an attempt to draw systematic, logical conclusions from Scripture (rather than being based directly upon Scripture), and Conference-goers genuinely believe that Calvinists have come to wrong conclusions, which are contradicted by specific scriptural texts. Conference-goers seem to be looking to the speakers at this Conference to provide an exegetical basis from which they can offer a defense for their rejection of Calvinism.

November 06, 2008

Guest blog by Andrew Lindsey

Congregation singing: “O How Marvelous, O How Wonderful”

Dr. Paige Patterson:

The most hated doctrine is not the doctrine of election, but the doctrine of the exclusivity of Christ. The second most hated doctrine is that of human depravity.

“Everyone knows that I am not a Calvinist, I am not Reformed.”

Thank God that our Calvinist brothers are trying to preach the Word of the Lord; many non-Calvinists are entertaining their hearers rather than preaching the Word of God.

I commend my Calvinist friends for being mostly the ones who are the Bible teachers.

Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-26

You will not hear these verses read in most post-modern churches; you will even more seldom here them preached upon.

1. What does depravity mean?

a. “There is not a single human being on the face of the earth who is righteous before God” prior to regeneration. (Romans 3:10)

b. Those in a state of total depravity do not perceive God, and when they perceive things about Him, those things are distorted (Romans 3:11a.)

c. There is no one who seeks God; even good deed are done in a state of depravity (Romans 3:11b.)

d. We have become spiritually unprofitable (Romans 3:12a,)

e, No one can do anything good as counting toward a right standing before good; any good deed is tainted with the results of our sinfulness (Romans 3:13)

f. There is no ultimate peace in the sinner’s heart (Romans 3:14-17)

g. There is no real fear of God, though there may sometimes be fear of death or other things that mimic fear of God (Romans 3:18)

2. How does depravity come about? (Romans 5:15-18)

a. We all fell in Adam; in Adam all died.

b. Reference to the narrative in Genesis 3; Dr. Patterson did the best job I’ve ever heard of illustrating the stupidity and inadequacy of using fig leaves to cover the shame of sin. Dr. Patterson also brought out the significance of Adam and Eve covering their reproductive organs, and how this action points to the fact that the offspring of Adam and Eve would in sin as well.

c. Are we born guilty before God? “I do not think that can be demonstrated from Scripture.” We are born with a sin-sickness. Scripture is consistent that we are considered guilty only for our own sin.

Transition: What about Ephesians 2?

3. What can a dead man do?

a. “Dead” is a metaphor

b. Reference to Abraham being considered ‘as good as dead,’ and the ‘deadness of Sarah’s womb’ from Romans 4:19 to prove that faith can overcome deadness.

c. Illustration of a sailor damaged by an explosion, and cast into the sea. An admiral sees the sailor knocked into the sea and sends a helicopter to save the sailor. The sailor can barely hear, but faintly hears the whir of the helicopter blades, and he signals the helicopter, which saves him. Dr. Patterson says that we are like the sailor in the sea, God is like the admiral, and the whirring of the helicopter blades is the preaching of the gospel. We can barely hear the gospel due to our depraved condition, but if we respond to what we hear, we will be saved. Dr. Patterson acknowledged that this analogy, like all others, breaks down at a certain point, but was clear in asserting that everyone can respond to the gospel.

Dr. Patterson consistently referred to his position as “Total depravity.”

Dr. Patterson concluded with having everyone bow our heads, close our eyes, and raise our hands if we had never before truly called upon Christ for salvation, and now want to be saved. No one responded to this, but Dr. Patterson felt it was important to give everyone a chance to respond to the gospel.


November 06, 2008

Special signing by an FBCW member, “Gentle Savior, Lead Me On.”

Dr. Vines introduced by Johnny Hunt.

Dr. Vines has previously preached John 3:16 on August 26 of this year in a chapel service of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). That previous sermon can be heard HERE.

Having listened to Dr. Vines’ sermon from the SBTS chapel, I note that the introduction to this sermon was substantially the same as that earlier sermon; however, there was an added section on various errors refuted by John 3:16, including the following controversial statement:

“ ‘Whosoever’ answers five-point Calvinism, which says that Christ died only for the elect.”

The main points of the sermon were identical to the main points of Dr. Vines’ sermon in the SBTS chapel service. I summarize Dr. Vines’ propositions under each of these points as best as I can while he is speaking:

1. God’s love is global and that it extends to all people.
-Dr. Vines gave information on the distinction between different Greek words for “love.”
-The origin of this love is literally, “the God.”
-The verb “love” is in the aorist tense, speaking of this love in its totality.
-The Greek adverb translated “so” speaks to the intensity of God’s love.
-“World” from Greek “kosmos” in John refers to the ordered universe, the world system, or the human beings living in creation- “for God so loved the whole of humanity.” Some extreme Calvinists understand this to refer to “the world of the elect.” [This was, I believe, not said at the SBTS chapel.] But this rather speaks to a global love- a love for the church- which the Apostle Paul describes as a love “for me.”
-“There’s not a little boy or little girl on the face of the earth” who cannot say ‘God loves me.’
-We are living in a fallen world (ref. Jeremiah 17:9). God’s love is not based upon the object loved.
-Like a mother’s heart in which the love expands to love each of her children, God’s love extends to every person.
-Why personal evangelism, missions, etc.? “For God so loved the world.”

2. God’s love is sacrificial in that He gave His Son to die for us.
-There is an emotional aspect to love, but love is primarily a decision.
-“Love is a noun,” but it is also a verb.
-Love is a decision, and the love of God is a decision.
-It is the nature of love to give.
-The aorist verb “gave” speaks of the entirety of God giving His Son in the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection.
-God gave his Son “definitely” and “uniquely.”
-Dr. Vines got appropriately excited about the idea of God giving His Son, and began to pontificate- in a good way- on the details of the gospel story: Jesus’ Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, alluding to several other texts.

3. God’s love is personal and that Christ died for you.
-“Whosoever” is from the Greek word “pas,” which carries the idea of totality. (Ref. 2 Timothy 3:16, which speaks of the totality of Scripture.)
-Some say that “all those believing” is what is in view, but this would be redundant, as “believing” would be sufficient. Quote from Dr. Allen that the “pas” generalizes this phrase to extend beyond those believing to every individual.
-Ref. Romans 3:22-23 and Romans 10:12-14 to prove that “pas” refers to every individual.
-“Whosoever will may be saved.”
-In the first part of the verse God is the subject; in the phrase “whosoever believes” we become the subject.
-We have to recognize that you do not start with your systematic theology and work backward, you start with exegesis and work forward.
-The God in this Bible won’t fit in anybody’s box: if I preach from one part of the Scripture people will say, “Vines is a Calvinist!” if I preach from another part of the Scripture people will say, “Vines is an Arminian!”
-“How does this saving faith come about?” … “Is it not true that all of us have a faculty of faith?” (Ex.- faith that food is not poisoned, that a pilot is capable of navigating a plane, etc.) “Could it be that saving faith is a faith that is lifted to a higher level? How is that faith lifted?” Ref. Romans 10:17- through the preaching of the Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Ref. 2 Thessalonians 2:13, which shows both the divine side and the human side (in “believing” unto salvation).
-The word “for,” translated from the Greek “gar” connects this to previous verses in which it is said that those who look on the serpent live; the look comes first, then the life. In John 3:16 the believing comes first, then the eternal life.

[The following is, I believe, an added point to this sermon from when he preached it at SBTS.]
4. God’s love is eternal
-“Do you believe that there’s a hell? I do.”
-Dr. Vines spoke on the terrible reality of hell, and then the promise of heaven, making the point that heaven is primarily a Person: “He who has the Son has life.”

-Andrew Lindsey

November 06, 2008

Guest blog by Andrew Lindsey

Began with singing of “How Great Thou Art.” Opening prayer by SBC evangelist Junior Hill for truth, compassion for the lost, and graciousness of spirit.

Introduction of Johnny Hunt by Dr. Jerry Vines.

Johnny Hunt preached from Psalm 119:33-40, a text that Hunt preached in chapel at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on October 15 of this year. (This earlier sermon can be heard HERE.)

Johnny Hunt made comments and application from each verse in order. The following is a summary of Hunt’s comments, as best as I was able to capture them while he was speaking. The only point that I think may be considered controversial I have put in bold print.

Introductory question:
Why should we pray that God would make us do something, if we delight in doing that thing?

The Lord must grant both the content and understanding of the sermon.

1. Prayer for education (v.33)
-When God is at work in a man’s life, he becomes teachable. (Ex. from Hunt’s experience in attending Sunday School.)
-We learn in order to do (what if those attending church not only heard the sermon, but left the church and acted on what they learned?).
-The commitment to act on what is taught is given before the Lord reveals His will.

2. Prayer for illumination (v.34)
-Knowledge is what one learns through teaching, understanding is what one learns from experience, but wisdom is a gift from God.
-One can have knowledge of something without understanding. (Ex. of Mrs. Hunt getting the punchline of a joke long after the joke is told.)
-So many fill their minds with information about the Bible, but lack understanding as evidenced by their lack of commitment.

3. Prayer for direction (v.35)
-Return to original question above. The Psalmist understood the war between flesh and spirit (ref. Romans 7).
-“Aren’t you grateful that God changed our ‘want tos’?”
-“I want God to make my heart.”

4. Prayer for inclination (v.36)
-“Coveteousness” is regularly defined in Scripture right after the word is used.
- The offering time is the time of the most intense idolatry in the life of the church.

5. Prayer for attention (v.37)
-Text applied to Internet pornography

6. Prayer for realization (v.38)
-Ref. Isaiah 6 as an example of how a view of God creates reverence for God and leads to proper self-assessment and assessment of others.
-“Regardless of where anyone lands on whatever doctrine has become most important to you,” if that doctrine does not open your mouth to share the Lord Jesus, then your focus is wrong.

(In giving an example of personal evangelism, Hunt mentioned that he told a non-Christian, “God loves you and Jesus died for you.” Hunt emphasized that he could say this to anyone, and was thankful that the man who told him of Christ said this to him.)

7. Prayer for protection (v.39)

8. Prayer of aspiration (v.40)
-If your full of the Word, you out to be displaying it.

November 06, 2008

Thanks to Tim Challies for the opportunity to report on the John 3:16 Conference for Challies.com.

I registered for the John 3:16 Conference at First Baptist Church Woodstock, GA (FBCW) about 45 minutes ago and have been looking for an Internet connection since then. I do not know if I will have connectivity from the Conference floor; if not, I will not be live-blogging, but will post summaries as soon as I am able to reach a hot spot near the Church.

The schedule for the Conference is on the Internet HERE.

I was curious as to what vendors would be at this Conference. The tables in the vendors’ hall were mostly for sponsors of the Conference listed at the bottom of THIS PAGE.
A few other Baptist colleges also had tables; I am fairly certain I saw a table for Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Kentucky, which recently hosted a conference on “Meeting the Calvinist Challenge.” There was also at least one personal evangelism training course, the name of which I did not recognize, which had a table.

What’s a conference without books?
Five books were given out at registration:


  1. Holman Christian Standard Bible New Testament with Share Jesus Without Fear evangelism notes from William Fay. (I have used the Share Jesus Without Fear method of evangelism in the past and have found aspects of this to be very helpful.)

  2. Bill Wallace of China by Jesse C. Fletcher.

  3. Holman Quicksource Guide to Christian Apologetics by Doug Powell.

  4. Essential Church? Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts by Thom S. Rainer and Sam S. Rainer III.

  5. The Corinthian Confusion: A Study in 1 Corinthians by Dr. Jerry Vines.


A CD of a sermon from FBCW Pastor Johnny Hunt was also given: “A Wineskin in Smoke” from Ps. 119:81-88.
Finally, Conference-goers received a booklet advertising the Jerry Vines By The Book Sunday School Curriculum.

I have no idea how any of these resources directly relate to the subject of the Conference.

-Andrew Lindsey

October 31, 2008

Today is Reformation Day—the 491st anniversary of the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg’s Schlosskirke. That small act triggered a series of events that forever changed the world. It stands as one of the most important events in all of history—though an event that has been largely forgotten. Today we remember that day and express our gratitude to God for raising up men such as Martin Luther.

I have invited other bloggers to post their own reflections on this day and I am collecting them here in this symposium. If you would like to add your own, simply send me an email or add a comment and I’ll add your contribution to the list.

*****

3:00 PM (and Final) Update

This is the last batch I’ll be posting. Feel free to keep adding new ones in the comments section.

Dave Bish reflects on the book of Genesis.

Church Ethos wishes Happy Halloween to Martin Luther.

Per Caliginem writes about sola scriptura and the Reformed confessions.

Renewing Minds covers Luther’s theology of the cross.

Monergism Books announces the release of a new five solas sweatshirt.

Nick Bogardus says, “If one wanted an image of what obedience in Christianity looked like, we might simply say, ‘A hammer and nails.’”

Ray Van Neste writes about two chapel messages delivered this week at Union University.

Word Pictures discusses “Reformation and Election … but not the kind you’re thinking.”

Stephen Lay uses that great Reformation phrase “After darkness light.”

Barry Wallace writes about reformation with a little r.

The Spyglass offers “Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei “

*****

12:00 PM Update

Th’eternal Promise offers a three-part article on Christianity vs Calvinism.

Ron Man in his worship notes (PDF) says that Reformation Sunday is not just for Lutherans.

Gairney Bridge writes about the audacity of the pope.

Justin Pearson says that the Reformation continues, even in 2008.

James Grant looks at “The Beginnings of the Reformed Tradition: Calvin, Bucer, Vermigli, & Bullinger.”

Dispatches from the Valley of the Shadow of Death shares his Reformation Day address.

Ray Rhodes writes about Luther and prayer.

Stay, Stay at Home My Heart shares her idea for a Reformation Day party.

*****

10:18 AM Update

Martin Downes offers a Reformation Day challenge.

Then Face to Face images a world without Luther.

Jared Wilson offers five solas for evangelicalism today.

Strengthened by Grace celebrates with a look at solus christus.

Boaly asks for ideas for celebrating Reformation Day.

Listening to the Wind reflects on what God has done for us.

Relentless Grace writes about a love for reformational theology.

The Merrie Theologian takes a light-hearted look at a few of Luther’s lesser-known resolutions.

*****

Daniel Hames writes about “the dangerous thing about faith.”

Stephen Macasil gives “Analysis of John Knox’s Argument That the RC Mass is Idolatry Before the Bishop of Durham (1550).”

Rebecca Stark says that the Reformation was all about the gospel.

A Second Reformation writes, “Here in Québec city we are celebrating the 20th bay of the Église réformée du Québec (The Reformed Church of Québec)this year and tomorrow my little local church is hosting a big party for the entire province.”

SynerJACK writes about Roger Williams, the American Reformer and looks at one of the many social extensions of the Reformation.

Gospel Centered Musings compares Rob Bell to the Wild Boar.

D.J. Williams warns against the temptation to take our Bibles for granted.

Darryl Dash follows Luther in saying “the whole life of believers should be repentance.”

Doug Smith looks at the implications of sola scriptura in planning worship services.

Detours and Devotions thanks God for continued reformation.

Nephos takes a brief look at the story of James Guthrie, a Reformation martyr.

Boston Bible Geeks looks at the Reformation’s impact on the Bible.

Ligonier Ministries looks to some of the Reformation heroes.

Crossway Life has written a whole series on the Reformation solas.

168 Hours offers a profile of the Huguenot Marie Durand.

Writings of a Woman offers a few of her thoughts on Reformation Day.

*****

I thought today would be a good day to make you aware of a new book designed to help you celebrate the Reformation Season. From Ray Rhodes and Solid Ground Christian Books comes Family Worship for the Reformation Season. It offers daily Scriptures, reflections and activities that can be done in the days leading up to Reformation Day (or any other time).

Ligon Duncan says, “Imagine, leading your family in daily worship in the home, reading the Scriptures, singing and praying, but simultaneously introducing them to the history, leading figures and theology of the great sixteenth-century Reformation - all this in a fresh and interesting way, in just about a quarter of an hour each day. ‘That would be great,’ you say, ‘but it would take me hours and days to put that together. I could never do it.’ Well, Ray Rhodes has done it for you in Family Worship for the Reformation Season. Use this book with joy. It will inspire, inform and instruct you and your family. The studies are simple but meaty. The Scriptures passages are helpfully chosen. And most of the lessons can be completed in fifteen minutes. Employ and be edified!”

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