Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Addition to the Poythress Online Library

Vern Poythress's The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses is the latest of the author's works offered in free,electronic form. The other titles are: The Gender-Neutral Bible Controversy (with Wayne Grudem), God-Centered Biblical Interpretation, The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach, Symphonic Theology, and Understanding Dispensationalists. (HT: The Works of John Frame and Vern Poythress)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tim Keller and First Things

First Things' Anthony Sacramone interviews Tim Keller about his new book, The Reason for God (already #18 on the New York Times bestseller list (HT: Steve McCoy).

Paul Tripp Coming to Illinois

I'm pleased to announce that our church, Our Saviour Evangelical Free Church in Wheeling, will be hosting Dr. Paul Tripp for a conference called "Marriage, Family, and Friendship" on Saturday, April 19th. Here's how he describes it:
In an age that offers a diverse array of solutions for relational struggle, people easily find themselves tangled in a web of countless remedies. Married or single - we need a fresh understanding of God's plan for the key relationships of life. This conference takes you beyond the world of skills and techniques to examine the heart that shapes relationship patterns and problems.
If you're anywhere near the northwest suburbs of Chicago, I hope you'll seriously consider attending what I'm sure will be an edifying event. Registration info is available here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Some Things Never Change

From the archives of Techno Tuesday (HT: Question Technology)

The Law of Moses and the Christian

Nathan Busenitz at Pulpit Magazine has begun a two-week series of posts on the relationship of the Christian to the Mosaic law (Part I ).

In defense of the perpetuity of the Old Testament law, Greg Bahnsen has argued that without it the Christian has no basis for condemning bestiality since the New Testament, unlike the Old, contains no explicit prohibition of such acts. A few years ago I presented a paper at a national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in which I challenged that argument. The paper, To Beast or Not to Beast: Does the Law of Christ Forbid Zoophilia?, is available online via Reclaiming the Mind Ministries' free ETS Theological Paper Library.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thumbs Up for "Expelled"

American Spectator senior editor Tom Bethell reviews the soon-to-be-released documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. (HT: The Pearcey Report)

I can only say that [Ben Stein's] interviews, conducted in a wide variety of locations, from Paris to Jerusalem and from London to Seattle, are outstanding. There are many of them, and they are edited and knitted together with such skill that the whole film is pleasure to watch. By turns serious and hilarious, it manages to be instructive without ever being didactic. (I stress that I didn't see the film in its final form. Some segments may be cut and others added.)

Incompatible worldviews are at stake, and the debate between the advocates of chance and design, often a proxy for combat between atheists and churchgoers, can become acrimonious. In the movie there are somber moments, as when Stein visits World War II death camps and traces the Nazi philosophy back to the godless Darwinian world in which fitness must prevail and everything is permitted. More commonly, however, the movie defuses the underlying tension with lightness and comedy.

It is surely the best thing ever done on this issue, in any medium. At moments it brought tears of joy to my eyes. I have written about this controversy for over 30 years and by the movie's end I felt that those of us who have insisted that Darwinism is a sorry mess and that life surely was designed are going to prevail.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Leading Young-Earth Creationist to Lecture at Elmhurst College

Readers in the Chicagoland region may be interested in the following announcement from Dr. A. Andrew Das, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Elmhurst College:

Please consider our invitation to attend an event on Sunday, March 2nd at 7:00 pm that is open to the public. Dr. Kurt Wise, arguably the world’s leading young-age creationist paleontologist, will deliver a lecture in the Hammerschmidt Chapel of Elmhurst College . Dr. Wise received his Ph.D. in paleontology from Harvard University. His doctoral supervisor was the late, renowned evolutionary theorist Dr. Stephen Jay Gould. Dr. Wise is currently a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. His book, Faith, Form, and Time (Broadman and Holman, 2002) will be available for purchase and signing after the event. Dr. Wise’s presentation will be followed by responses from a panel. Dr. Alan Gishlick (Ph.D., Yale) is a professor of paleontology at Gustavus Adolphus College and represents the National Center for Science Education. Professor Mladen Turk of Elmhurst College specializes in the interface between science and religion. Dr. Wise will offer a rejoinder to the panel presentations and then take written questions from the audience.
If you have questions about the event, contact Dr. Das at (630) 617-3541 or adas@elmhurst.edu.

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Bill Clinton Snaps at Pro-Life Students

Thanks to Students for Life of America for making me aware of this video. A group of over 100 pro-life students attended a Clinton rally in Steubenville, OH last night. The above is what happened when one of them interrupted and asked about his support of abortion on demand.

“I gave you the answer. We disagree with you," Clinton said. "You wanna criminalize women and their doctors and we disagree... I reduced abortion… Tell the truth, tell the truth… If you were really pro-life, if you were really pro-life, you would want to put every doctor and every mother as an accessory to murder in prison. And you won’t say you wanna do that because you know that because you know that you wouldn't have a lick of political support. Now, the issue is who … the issue is, you can't name me anybody presently in politics that did more to introduce policies that reduce the number of real abortions instead of the hot air putting out to tear people up and make votes by dividing America."

“This is not your rally. I heard you. That's another thing you need is a president, somebody who will stick up for individual rights and not be pushed around, and she won't."

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Why Should You Read Good Christian Books?

Colin Adams gives 20 reasons (HT: Justin Taylor)

"The Cool Pastor at Obama's Church"

After 36 years as senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, Jeremiah Wright is retiring. The Chicago Tribune  profiles his successor, 37-year-old Otis Moss III.
In explaining his mission, Moss compares himself to a DJ who's playing an updated version of the Bible. Using hip-hop terms, Moss calls his message "the Gospel remix."

"How do we, with our great foundation and history, speak to a new and current generation that desperately needs to hear the word of God?" Moss asked.

"Every pastor has to be an amazing theological DJ. You've got to know what records to play, and you've got to know where the breakbeat is, and you've got to be able to create a new song that does not alienate the old, but at the same time gives a rhythm for a new generation.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pray for Al Mohler

Greg Gilbert, at the 9Marks blog, shared the following release from Southern Seminary's Office of Communications:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, will require additional surgery after a scheduled colonoscopy on February 11 revealed a tumor in his colon. An initial biopsy indicated that the tumor is pre-cancerous and further tests are to be scheduled, along with surgical options.
Mohler, 48, underwent major abdominal surgery in late December 2006, complicated by the development of bilateral blood clots in his lungs. Doctors will take special precautions to prevent a recurrence of the blood clots with this new surgery. Specialists are consulting on the case, and a decision on the date and location for the surgery is to be made in the very near future. The procedure is likely to require an extensive period for recuperation and recovery.
Mohler expressed gratitude to God that medical personnel found the tumor this early.
“Sometimes we take it for granted that we live in an age like this one, in which God has given us the blessing of medical technology,” Mohler said. “For most of human history, a tumor such as this one would have gone unnoticed until it was too late. I am thankful for modern medicine, but I am even more thankful that we live in a world in which our God hears us when we pray, a Father who listens to his children.”
Mohler said that Southern Seminary “would not skip a beat” during his recuperation.
“I have absolute confidence in the seminary leadership team. We will move forward with momentum,” Mohler said. “God has blessed and is blessing Southern Seminary. We do not take that for granted, and we pledge to be good stewards of that blessing, even through this time.”
Mohler said that his time of recuperation would necessarily alter some of his plans as he gives first priority to his health and his family.
“Some have asked how this new development affects my nomination to be president of the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis this June,” Mohler said. “I have decided to give my greatest attention right now to addressing this new challenge and to ministering to my wife and children. This is clearly not the right time for me to accept this nomination. I have asked my good friend Robert Jeffress not to proceed with nominating me for president of our Southern Baptist Convention this year.
“Frankly that decision is made much easier by my knowledge that there is at least one strongly conservative, committed pastor who intends to be nominated in Indianapolis,” Mohler said.
Southern Seminary will release additional information as it becomes available. The Mohler family has expressed appreciation for all concern, prayer and encouragement.
Like countless others, I have great admiration and gratitude for Dr. Mohler's example of being a servant-scholar to the church and an effective communicator and defender of the Christian faith to the broader public. He is a brother who, through his writing and speaking, has provoked my thinking as well as my desire to live more full-heartedly for Christ. Please join me in praying for him and his family.

More on Heaven

If you found Time Magazine's interview with N. T. Wright about heaven (to which I linked last Saturday) intriguing, you should make a point of reading this essay by J. Richard Middleton titled "A New Heaven and a New Earth: The Case for a Holistic Reading of the Biblical Story of Redemption." (HT: Paul Norridge via Steve Bishop)

Middleton convincingly argues that the Bible's plotline militates against the popularly held notion of "heaven" (i.e., an otherworldly, ethereal state devoid of cultural activity) as the goal of redemption. To the contrary, the zenith of Christ's redeeming work will be a complete restoration and renewal of creation where creation is not restricted to what is commonly referred to as "nature" but includes "the entire human socio-cultural order." Middleton states that his intention is "to explore the exegetical case for a consistent understanding of redemption as the restoration of God's creational intent, such that the appropriate hope of the redeemed is life in a renewed intra-mundane, earthly creation."

Middleton divides the essay into the following sections:

The Logic of Creation and Redemption
The Plot of the Biblical Story of Redemption
The Comprehensive Scope of Redemption in the New Testament
Problem Texts for a Holistic Eschatology
What Role Then for Heaven?

Here are some of the lines I found worthy of underlining:

With these two distinctions (concerning creation and redemption) in mind, it becomes easier to see that the traditional picture of "heaven" (found in many classic hymns and contemporary praise songs) as perpetual fellowship with, and worship of, God cannot constitute full redemption in biblical terms. This is because the traditional picture typically omits (and thus implies the negation or abrogation of) large areas of human life that God created good. "Heaven," therefore, as an eschatological state does not constitute genuine redemption of the multifaceted world God intended from the beginning. The logic of biblical redemption, when combined with a biblical understanding of creation, requires the restoration and renewal of the full complexity of human life in our earthly environment, yet without sin.

It is sometimes shocking for readers of the Bible to realize that the initial purpose and raison d'etre of humanity is never explicitly portrayed in Scripture as the worship of God (or anything that would conform to our notion of the "spiritual," with its dualistic categories). Instead, Scripture portrays the human purpose in rather mundane terms of exercising power over our earthly environment as God's representatives...To put it another way, while various psalms (like 148 and 96) indeed call upon all creatures (humans included) to worship or serve God in the cosmic temple of creation (heaven and earth), the distinctive way humans worship or render service to the Creator is by the development of culture through interaction with our earthly environment (in a manner that glorifies God).
In addition to fueling the kind of anticipation and eager expectation that the Bible describes as characteristic of the Christian life (but which, if we're honest, is frequently lacking from ours), this fuller-orbed view of redemption infuses many of the daily activities we're prone to think of as obstacles to our "spiritual" lives with profound significance.

Al Mohler on the New Atheism

Last week Al Mohler presented the W. H. Griffith Thomas Lectures in Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. The series, entitled "Atheism Remix: The New Atheism as a Challenge to Christian Theology," is available in audio and video at DTS's website.

Lecture One: The New Atheism and the Endgame of Secularism
Lecture Two: The New Atheism and the Assault on Theism
Lecture Three: The New Atheism and the Defense of Theism
Lecture Four: The New Atheism and the Future of Christianity

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Theology Links

Sovereign Grace Ministries has started a blog with contributions from C. J. Mahaney.

CT editor-at-large, Collin Hansen interviews Greg Beale and D. A. Carson, editors of the recently published Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (available from Westminster Bookstore at 40% off!)
Fred Sanders shares the Top Twelve Theology Books of Christian History, a list he compiled with fellow Torrey Honors Institute faculty members for their class "On Knowing God." In a follow-up post he points to where you can find the works online for free. (HT: Evangelical Outpost)

Monergism.com has created a free downloadable Puritan resource library appropriately called puritanlibrary.com

Saturday, February 09, 2008

N. T. Wright on the Wrong View of Heaven

I know, I know. It's been like forever since I posted. This morning, however, a friend sent me a link to a Time Magazine interview with N. T. Wright that was enough to wake me from my blogging slumber. My friend wanted to know what I think of Wright's position. I wholeheartedly agree with his take on the restoration of creation as redemption's ultimate end. I do wish, though, that he had been more clear about faith in Christ as a condition for participating in the renewal about which he so enthusiastically speaks.

Concerning the common conception of heaven as an eternal, ethereal existence, Wright says:

There are several important respects in which it's unsupported by the New Testament. First, the timing. In the Bible we are told that you die, and enter an intermediate state. St. Paul is very clear that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead already, but that nobody else has yet. Secondly, our physical state. The New Testament says that when Christ does return, the dead will experience a whole new life: not just our soul, but our bodies. And finally, the location. At no point do the resurrection narratives in the four Gospels say, "Jesus has been raised, therefore we are all going to heaven." It says that Christ is coming here, to join together the heavens and the Earth in an act of new creation.
Wright comments that almost invariably, his explanation of what the Bible teaches about the eternal state is met with a sense of excitement and a sense of "Why haven't we been told this before?" Good question.