Archive for the ‘links’ Category

An Introduction To The Doctrines Of Grace And Why I Dislike Calvinism

In links on May 3, 2008 at 10:11 pm

John Calvin ShirtHere is a great 9-part series on the Doctrines of Grace taught by John Piper, audio/video/text is available to suite your fancy. Yes, you could call this an introduction to Calvinism if you’d like. (HT: JT)

On a personal note, I’m beginning to dislike the term Calvinism more and more. As I look through what Calvin taught and how he taught it, I’m not so sure he would have agreed to this 5-point summary commonly referred to as TULIP. Not so much because the doctrines are contrary to his beliefs or teaching, but more so because it is such a short and quick summary of it. John Calvin seemed to go about his teaching for the long-term effect of it. He taught seminary-type classes for his more advanced “students” one day per week, every week. Given the fact that John Piper covered TULIP in 9 sessions, and that includes a bit of history and a discussion on Arminianism, it would appear that John Calvin was into a whole lot more than just five points.

If you look through what is commonly called John Calvin’s seminal work, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, you’ll see statements like this:

Moreover, it has been my purpose in this labor to prepare and instruct candidates in sacred theology for the reading of the divine Word, in order that they may be able both to have easy access to it and to advance in it without stumbling. For I believe I have so embraced the sum of religion in all its parts, and have arranged it in such an order, that if anyone rightly grasps it, it will not be difficult for him to determine what he ought especially to seek in Scripture, and to what end he ought to relate its contents.

So, it is difficult to say that Calvin was only interested in these 5-points that bear his name. It was a kind sentiment by his students to name an entire doctrinal system after the great reformer, but it’s unfortunate that something that causes so much misunderstanding and division seems to be the one thing that most folks remember John Calvin for.


Why Do We Love Expository Preaching; An Example

In links on April 27, 2008 at 1:28 pm

A great sermon on 1 Timothy 6 from Ed Nalle, Executive Pastor at Reston Bible Church. A good example from my previous post. Enjoy!

Polite Evangelism?

In links on April 26, 2008 at 3:29 pm

philiph and nathanaelI read a quote from C.H. Spurgeon over at Pyromaniacs today:

Men are perishing, and if it be unpolite to tell them so, it can only be so where the devil is the master of the ceremonies.

Out upon your soul-destroying politeness; the Lord give us a little honest love to souls, and this superficial gentility will soon vanish. I could with considerable refreshment to myself pour sarcasm after sarcasm upon religious cowardice. I would cheerfully sharpen my knife and dash it into the heart of this mean vice. There is nothing to be said in its favor.

It is not even humble; it is only pride of too beggarly a sort to own itself.

I loved how he worded this, “Out upon your soul-destroying politeness“. What great use of words there. Politeness is meant to be cordial and make others feel good. When I think of politeness, I think of doing the things my mother always told me to do: always say please and thank you, don’t point, don’t stare, don’t make fun of others, hold open the door and such. Obviously this is a different kind of politeness, this is the kind of politeness where you hold back the real message that is not very acceptable for fear of offending someone.

I’ve often asked myself this, “If I really believed what I believe, that those without a restored relationship with God will spend eternity in hell, why aren’t I more vocal about it?” and an even better question, “If I really believed a soul could be redeemed, why aren’t I sharing this with every person I run into?”

Look at the story of Philip and Nathanael in John 1:43-45:

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

Philip didn’t seem to waste any time telling Nathanael, as soon as he found out who Jesus was, he found Nathanael and told him. I think this sense of not wasting any time combined with the impolite message is much needed today.

Good Theology Questions

In links on April 25, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Reclaiming the Mind Ministries has been posting some great theological-type questions lately. As always the comments really add to the discussion as well so have a look:


Being Good For Business' Sake

In links on April 23, 2008 at 9:10 pm

My good friend Andrew posted an article from Paul Graham titled Be Good. The article hints at the idea of running a business like a charity in order to make money. He cites the example of Craigslist which has been very successful by providing folks something they want but with a not-for-profit business strategy.

Andrew asked the following questions:

  • Does this principle match up with Scripture?
  • If so, why is it still sometimes hard to determine what is right?
  • Also if so, why aren’t Christians the most decisive and least confused people you ever meet? After all, don’t we have the ultimate Moral Compass?
  • Is it wrong, as believers, to think like this?

I’m going to think over these for a few days and post something here later on this but if you’d like to join in the discussion, head over and answer some of these good questions.

How To Memorize Scripture

In links on April 19, 2008 at 8:11 pm

I found a site with a good description and a tool to help aid in the memorization of long texts. Basically, you write out the text once and then plug the text into a converter that will give you the first letter of every word. Reading over the first letters seems to be a good way to help in your memorization though I can’t say this has worked for me yet (I just found it today!).

Together For The Gospel Conference

In links on April 16, 2008 at 7:28 am

Together for the Gospel is going on right now in Louisville, KY. You can check out Tim Challies’ liveblogging of the event or wait for the talks to be posted on the T4G blog. This years’ speakers will be Ligon Duncan, Thabiti Anyabwile, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, RC Sproul, Al Mohler, John Piper and CJ Mahaney. Enjoy!

D.A. Carson Lectures

In links on April 12, 2008 at 2:16 pm

D.A. Carson spoke, along with Steve Lawson and Tim Challies, at the Nashville Conference on the Church and Theology. These are from back in February but I just now got around to listening to them. (HT: Andy Naselli)

I was particularly helped by Carson’s We Preach Christ Crucified which outlined the gospel very well.

ipodAlso, if I may, I’d just like to point out what a blessing it is for me to have sermons/lectures/conference audio to listen to while I’m in the car. I’m sure everyone has their methods for doing this but here is how I go about it, hopefully this encourages you to make good use of your time sitting in traffic:

  1. Get yourself an MP3 player and a cassette adapter for your car stereo, it doesn’t have to be an iPod, any device will do
  2. Find some preachers/teachers you enjoy listening to and download them to your computer (try here, here, or here for some help)
  3. Create a playlist on your computer and call it “unheard sermons” add all the sermons you downloaded to that playlist
  4. Sync your MP3 player with your computer and select your unheard sermons playlist next time you hop in your car
  5. As you listen to sermons remove them from your playlist so that you know which ones you’ve listened to in the past
  6. As you download more sermons, be sure to add them to the end of the list so that you don’t skip any

Please let me know if you have found a different or better way of doing this, I’d love to hear of better methods!

Ted Kooser At My Alma Mater

In links on April 9, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Well, I will fully admit that I know nothing about this man or his poetry but I couldn’t resist posting something that appeared in Christian blogdom about my undergraduate place of learning (HT: Reformissionary). For those that know anything about UC Davis…we’re not in the spotlight much unless cow research is being discussed.

Click here if the above link does not work 

Jason VanDorsten is Back to Blogging

In links on April 4, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Jason VanDorsten, pastoral intern at Reston Bible Church (where my family attends), has joined Matthew Wireman’s Off The Wire blog. I’m looking forward to some great material from Jason. Read his first post on why pastors should allow the people they minister to see all sides of their lives, even the messy ones. Enjoy!