If anyone would be able to peruse my Facebook account for a day, they would find (and should not be overly surprised) that I like to debate. I confess, debating—particularly being right—as of late has been a struggle for me (in that it falls dangerously close, and many times extends into, idolatry). However, I think debating is truly a lost art, and an important one. Truth matters. (That should not be a point of debate!) And, as long as it is done in a Christian manner, debating is very useful, for the debaters and especially for those watching/listening. Therefore, my main goals in debating are honesty, charity, and transparency. I say this because nothing aggravates me more than a debater—even if he or she is on my side (and right in their conclusions!)—who debates dishonestly. Therefore, I want to make these resolutions (a la Jonathan Edwards) for myself in my debating endeavors. Some of these I have broken; others I have sought to maintain faithfully. Continue reading
Just recently I have “come out” in regards to my Reformed convictions. This is scary and liberating at the same time. It is scary because, as a Calvinist, I have been on the receiving end of some of the most vicious, vitriolic and vile speech I have ever seen in my life. But, it’s liberating because, now, I get to write more freely about things which I feel are important about the issue. Romans 9:19 is one of those things. Continue reading
According to the liturgical calendar, almost 2,000 years ago a wonderful thing happened. No, it actually wasn’t Pentecost. Pentecost had been happening for centuries; it was nothing new. What I am speaking of just so happened to be on the day of Pentecost. Of course, most know what I am referencing by now. What happened is that the promised Holy Spirit was sent to the people of God, and the Church was born. If this has been happening for so long, why write a post about it? Continue reading
Part of my self-imposed summer reading this past summer was to read through all four volumes of Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics. I only ended up getting about half of the way through (although riveting, it is dense), but it was a very enriching experience. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago I did a guest review of the ESV Men’s Devotional Bible for the blog of a friend and fellow Trinity Evangelical Divinity School student, Jennifer Guo. Below is the review. Click here to visit Jennifer Guo’s blog.
For centuries, there have been commentaries, cross references, study notes, and doctrinal articles written in the margins of published Bibles. It seems today that this has become the norm. Every major Bible translation has its own study Bible. Beyond that, the modern world has seen the advent of many more interesting specialty Bibles: journaling Bibles, note-taking Bibles, waterproof fishermen’s Bibles and much more. All of these things are great resources, as they put seemingly limitless amounts of knowledge and insight into the hands of lay people everywhere. This, I believe, is one of the most important things happening right now in terms of Biblical education. If it had not been for my first study Bible, I might never have come to know the the gospel of God’s grace. Continue reading
I like watching sermons—a lot. It edifies me, both as a Christian and as someone who feels called to preach/teach. But, every now and then, perhaps when I find a feisty urge rising up in my soul, I’ll watch a sermon of someone with whom I know I will disagree, be it by a little or great deal. Now, to assure you, I do not go seeking these sermons out (most of the time). Many times (as is the case with the sermon under discussion), these sermons show up in my “Recommended for You” section on my YouTube front page. And, if it’s a preacher with whom I know I will disagree preaching on a topic about which I am passionate, I certainly can’t resist watching it. Needless to say, this was one of those times. Now, believe it or not, I actually recommend this practice of listening to disagreeable sermons. Hopefully, it will challenge your interpretation of Scripture or, if they are bad, further bolster them. Now, of course, this has its dangers, as it can lead to the encouragement of a cynical or critical attitude toward preachers in general. This is not what any of us want, so we have to be mindful of the risk.
Now, to the topic at hand. This particular sermon, entitled “The Sovereignty of God,” was hard to resist, as God’s sovereignty is the doctrine about which I am probably most passionate. I will not name the preacher, as my only interest is discussing the theology that was asserted. That said, I will deal with numerous quotes from the sermon.
I am a Conservative, both socially and economically. I believe in a small, limited-power, fiscally-responsible government which seeks only to protect the liberties, well-being and safety of its people. I think there is something to be said about each of those qualities in a government.
However, the more I grow in God’s Word and the more I become familiar with other viewpoints, the more I am beginning to see that many of the values I once held as a Conservative are counter-biblical. This has never become more apparent to me than in the recent controversies over the Confederate flag after the massacre in Charleston, SC and the very recent issue over gun laws following the killing that occurred in Oregon this past week.