Friday, December 17, 2004

Paige Patterson

I've been listening to James White review a lecture given by Paige Patterson on Calvinism. Well, it is sad that someone who has such a complete disregard for serious exegesis of Scripture, and a complete disregard for the hermeneutic of allowing Scripture to interpret itself, and who completely ignores all the Scriptural arguments that have been made against his position and never responds to them with any meaningful exegesis--it is sad that such a person is teaching future pastors and is even the president of a seminary.

First, Dr. Patterson gives a list of Scripture that seems to support Calvinism. Then he gives a list of Scripture that he says seems to support Arminianism. How does one overcome such a contradiction? By sacrificing the sovereignty of God in favor or the sovereignty of man. Oh, he wouldn't call it that. He would never say that man's supposed free will is sovereign. But then, Catholics say that they don't worship Mary and the saints, the only venerate them. They give dulia to saints and latria to God. But as Calvin said, that is a distinction without a difference.

Anyway, Dr. White gives quick and basic responses to most of what Paige Patterson had to say. Patterson did a lot of spoof-texting, that technique common to dispensationalists in particular, where they just throw out a bunch of verses without ever examining the context or the original languages. For instance, he gave a lot of "whosoever believes" verses. For one thing, Dr. White points out that this is the KJV that Patterson was using. If you look at different translations, the phrase is often rendered as "he that believes" or something like that. But the main point is that these verses, without their context, does not say who "whosoever" is. All Calvinists agree that all who believe will be saved. But Calvinists argue that man is incapable of himself to believe. Only God can grant it to a man to believe, and therefore there is absolutely no contradiction between verses such as "No man can come unto me unless the Father draw him" and "anyone who comes unto Me will not be cast out." But Paige Patterson just works on his man-made tradition that says that "whosoever" must mean anybody in the whole world. Dr. White points out that many of the arguments that Patterson makes can just as easily be made by universalists. For instance, one verse says that Jesus paid for the sins of all men. Well, without looking at the context or giving any exegesis whatsoever, Patterson tells us that this must mean that every person in all of time and space had his sins paid for by Jesus Christ. WELL THEN WHY IS THERE ANYBODY IN HELL?!!! If we're going to use Patterson's hermeneutic, then the only logical conclusion is that everybody will be saved. Patterson would of course deny that everybody will be saved, but that is just because he is being happily inconsistent. If everybody isn't going to be saved, then there is only one other logical conclusion. That would be that Jesus was a failure. Metallica can now be justified in writing a song called "The God Who Failed." Of course, I'm not saying anything new. I am just pretty much rehashing the arguments made by John Owen in his irrefutable work entitled The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. It would be nice if persons such as Dr. Patterson would respond to the Scripturally-based arguments of people like Owen before teaching students their hogwash. Of course, they can't respond to Owen. If Dr. Patterson read quotes from John Owen, including Owen's Scripture references, the students would immediately see how flatly Patterson's arguments fall. So he ignores such Scripturally-based arguments and hopes his listeners will ignore them, too, and just accept his word for it. So what do those verses mean, if it would be unacceptable to say that they support universalism or a failure redeemer? Well, a look at context would help. I am not responding to any verse in particular, so I am not being specific. Many verses don't have the words "died for all men". Instead, they say "died for all." At this point, the Arminian like Dr. Patterson eisegetes the word "men" in there to fit his tradition. But a serious student of Scripture should be more hesitant to throw in a word and instead stop and say, "All what?" That is where context comes in. More often than not, the discussion has to do with God no longer dealing exclusively with the Jews but now including the Gentiles. In such a case, it is very reasonable to assume that "died for all" means "died for all nations". This doesn't have to mean every individual ever. It just means that the work of God has spread geographically. Sometimes the verse will say something like "died for you". Here the Arminians say that "you" equals "everybody". James White says that so far nobody has been able to answer his question as to why the particular epistle this verse is found in was written to everybody and not just the church. You get the point. When Peter starts out a letter (1 Peter) with the greeting to those who "are chosen" (1:1), and refers to his readers as being "born again" (1:3, 23), as those who "love Him" (1:8), as those who are "believers in God" (1:21), "a chosen race" (2:9), "the people of God" (2:10) -- why should we assume that when Peter says "He Himself bore our sins" (2:24) that Peter is suddenly, without warning, talking about everybody? Why should not "our" refer to the same people that Peter has been talking about this whole time? Why the sudden switch? Perhaps because we're imposing our traditions on the text and making Peter switch topics when we need him to in order to fuel our tradition?

Which leads to the last thing. Patterson ends his lecture by saying that many people force their grid onto Scripture. The Calvinist sees verses that don't fit his grid, so he just cuts them out. Well. James White commends him for warning against forcing a grid on Scripture, but then points out that such a grid-forcing is what we've been listening to throughout the entire lecture. I should mention that Patterson also accuses Arminians of doing the same thing, speaking as if he wasn't an Arminian himself. He must be like Norm Geisler in that respect--he accepts 90% of the tenets of Arminianism but says he's not an Arminian. Again, a distinction without a difference.

Oh well. You can listen to this stuff yourself at The shows in question are 10/28/04 and 12/14/04.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Hometown Boy Makes Good, Gets Killed

I am a guitar player. I live in Arlington, TX. This gives me two things in common with "Dimebag" Darrell. This awesome guitar player was shot and killed while performing onstage in Ohio with his band Damageplan. If you've never heard of Damageplan, perhaps you've heard of Dimebag's former band, Pantera. I've never been a fan of their music, but I am very familiar with Dimebag Darrell via guitar magazines. I always noticed a complete sincerity in his appreciation of his fans. He seemed very humble, and always acted very honored about the status of guitar hero given him by his fans and peers. I will miss the down-to-earthiness that he brought to the guitar world that so many others just don't bring. Guitar magazines just won't be the same without interviews with him. Let us pray for his family and friends and fans. Though Dimebag Darrell's music and lifestyle were very ungodly, the Lord can use this tragic death to give glory to Himself. Let us pray that His will be done.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

My Turn to Post About Discerning Reader

Like many others, I have had a bad experience ordering from, although i was fortunate enough to not receive any of the abuse and comments questioning my salvation like many other people who innocently inquire why their credit card has been charged but their ordered books haven't arrived after weeks and weeks. Now while I'm not going to question anybody's salvation, I am going to cut and paste for you a comment by DR owner Rob Schlapfer, which can be found at


I'll let you formulate your own thoughts on this.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Another John Gill Post

Gee, this will be my third post about John Gill. I seem to have taken a shining to him, haven't I? At this point, many people would probably say to me, "Oh, Stephen, be careful reading Gill. He was a hyper-Calvinist!" Oh yeah? I disagree. I am willing to admit that Gill may have been a high Calvinist, but I do not think that he was a hyper-Calvinist at all. Tom Nettles seems to agree with me in his section on Gill in By His Grace and For his Glory.

I think the main reason people think Gill was a hyper-Calvinist is because that's what they were told. If someone has listened to Dr. Curt Daniel's 75-part series on the History and Theology of Calvinism, they will believe that Gill was the embodiment of hyper-Calvinism. I have enjoyed listing to this series by Curt Daniel very much, but I believe he is wrong on this point. In the aforementioned piece, Nettles says that Daniel started with the assumption that Gill was a hyper-Calvinist, and then defined hyper-Calvinism from Gill. For ages, people have said that Gill was a hyper-Calvinist without offering any proof from the writings or sermons of Gill (or at least not in context), and people simply accept what they are told.

Another reason people mistakenly believe that Gill was a hyper-Calvinist is they do not read his supposed anti-free offer comments in the context in which they were written. Usually, in these cases, he was writing against universal salvation. He did not deny that ministers should urge sinners to believe. He simply said that this external call in and of itself can do nothing. There must also be the irresistable internal call of the Holy Spirit as well.

Now, go read some of Gill's sermons, particarly ones preached on the occasion of the ordination of another pastor, and you will see that he DOES preach that it is the duty of sinners to believe, and he exhorts sinners to believe. Then you will see that he was definately not a hyper-Calvinist.

For a nifty article that goes into more article, go "">here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

John Gill (1697-1771) on Matthew 24

I just read something that I had never thought of. I was looking through my John Gill CD-ROM, and I decided to see what he had to say about Matthew 24, so I went to his commentary on Matthew to see. There I found something interesting. In verse 3 when the disciples ask Jesus, "When shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" Well, most commentators, even dispensational ones, will admit that the first part of the question refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. However, the second half has been given all sorts of different interptretations. Some say that the disciples confused the destruction of Jerusalem with the end of the world and Jesus sets them straight, some say that this was all one question, and that they were referring to the OT language of God "coming" in judgement, and that the end of the world really means end of the age, because that is the better translation. Well, I tend to agree with the second interpretation, but John Gill points out something I had never heard anybody else say. He says that when the disciples asked about Christ's return, they did not have in mind Him being gone in the first place. Remember that they just couldn't get it through their heads that Jesus was going to go back to Heaven. They thought he would always be with them. And though they may have figured out that He was going away, they still probably thought that He meant He was leaving their presence temporarily but would still be on Earth. Like, "I'm going to Dallas for a few days, and you can't follow me there, but I'll be back." He says:

That he was come in the flesh, and was the true Messiah, they firmly believed: he was with them, and they expected he would continue with them, for they had no notion of his leaving them, and coming again. When he at any time spake of his dying and rising from the dead, they seemed not to understand it: wherefore this coming of his, the sign of which, they inquire, is not to be understood of his coming a second time to judge the world, at the last day; but of his coming in his kingdom and glory, which they had observed him some little time before to speak of; declaring that some present should not die, till they saw it: wherefore they wanted to be informed, by what sign they might know, when he would set up his temporal kingdom; for since the temple was to be destroyed, they might hope a new one would be built, much more magnificent than this, and which is a Jewish notion; and that a new state of things would commence; the present world, or age, would be at a period; and the world to come, they had so often heard of from the Jewish doctors, would take place; and therefore they ask also, of the sign of the end of the world, or present state of things in the Jewish economy: to this Christ answers, in the latter part of this chapter, though not to the sense in which they put the questions; yet in the true sense of the coming of the son of man, and the end of the world; and in such a manner, as might be very instructive to them, and is to us.

Gill then goes on to give a very preteristic interpretation of Matthew 24. It is as if it were written by Gary DeMar or Ken Gentry. And Tim LaHaye says that partial-preterism doesn't have history on its side! If all we had was John Gill, that would be enough to provide partial-preterism with more history than dispensationalism. He believes that "this generation" that Jesus says his words apply to literally meant the generation of men He was talking to. In verse 29 ("Immediately after the tribulation in those days..."), Gill says that this still must have been in the first century and,

"therefore cannot be referred to the last judgment, or what should befall the church, or world, a little before that time, or should be accomplished in the whole intermediate time, between the destruction of Jerusalem, and the last judgment: for all that is said to account for such a sense, as that it was usual with the prophets to speak of judgments afar off as near; and that the apostles often speak of the coming of Christ, the last judgment, and the end of the world, as just at hand; and that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, will not answer to the word “immediately”, or show that that should be understood of two thousand years after: besides, all the following things were to be fulfilled before that present generation, in which Christ lived, passed away, (Matthew 24:34) and therefore must be understood of things that should directly, and immediately take place upon, or at the destruction of the city and temple."

John Gill then explains the astronomical language (sun and moon darkened) in the same manner as modern day preterists. This is not literal language but, again using OT prophetic language, refers to the shekinah glory of God leaving Israel, the disappearing of the old covenant form, etc. Concerning verse 30, he says,

"And then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven, etc. Not the sound of the great trumpet, mentioned in the following verse; nor the clouds of heaven in this; nor the sign of the cross appearing in the air, as it is said to do in the times of Constantine: not the former; for though to blow a trumpet is sometimes to give a sign, and is an alarm; and the feast which the Jews call the day of blowing the trumpets, (Numbers 29:1) is, by the Septuagint, rendered hmera shmasiav, “the day of signification”; yet this sign is not said to be sounded, but to appear, or to be seen, which does not agree with the sounding of a trumpet: much less can this design the last trumpet at the day of judgment, since of that the text does not speak; and, for the same reason, the clouds cannot be meant in which Christ will come to judgment, nor are clouds in themselves any sign of it: nor the latter, of which there is no hint in the word of God, nor any reason to expect it, nor any foundation for it; nor is any miraculous star intended, such as appeared at Christ’s first coming, but the son of man himself: just as circumcision is called the sign of circumcision, (Romans 4:11) and Christ is sometimes called a sign, (Luke 2:34) as is his resurrection from the dead, (Matthew 12:39) and here the glory and majesty in which he shall come: and it may be observed, that the other evangelists make no mention of the sign, only speak of the son of man, (Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27) and he shall appear, not in person, but in the power of his wrath and vengeance, on the Jewish nation which will be a full sign and proof of his being come: for the sense is, that when the above calamities shall be upon the civil state of that people, and there will be such changes in their ecclesiastical state it will be as clear a point, that Christ is come in the flesh, and that he is also come in his vengeance on that nation, for their rejection and crucifixion him, as if they had seen him appear in person in the heavens. They had been always seeking a sign, and were continually asking one of him; and now they will have a sign with a witness; as they had accordingly."

And further on he states,

"and they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. The Arabic version reads it, “ye shall see”, as is expressed by Christ, in (Matthew 26:64). Where the high priest, chief priests, Scribes, and elders, and the whole sanhedrim of the Jews are spoken to: and as the same persons, namely, the Jews, are meant here as there; so the same coming of the son of man is intended; not his coming at the last day to judgment; though that will be in the clouds of heaven, and with great power and glory; but his coming to bring on, and give the finishing stroke to the destruction of that people, which was a dark and cloudy dispensation to them: and when they felt the power of his arm, might, if not blind and stupid to the last degree, see the glory of his person, that he was more than a mere man, and no other than the Son of God, whom they had despised, rejected, and crucified; and who came to set up his kingdom and glory in a more visible and peculiar manner, among the Gentiles."

The angels in v. 31 are, as literally translated, "messengers." That is, they are men--ministers who spread the Gospel. The Gospel is the sound of the trumpet that is mentioned. As these men spread out into the world with the Gospel, they gather the elect into the kingdom of God. Thus, the gathering of the elect is not the rapture into heaven, but the delivering of souls from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God, which now happens every day.

Many people see v. 36 as the beginning of Jesus' discourse of the ultimate second coming. They say that Jesus moved to a different topic by ending the first topic in the same way He began it (i.e., "this generation shall not pass..." v. 34). For instance, J. Marcellus Kik, a postmillennial partial-preterist, took this view. Gill did not see this as the beginning of a different subject. He thought that Jesus was still talking about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the Jewish age. In vv 40 and 41, where one person is taken and another left behind, Gill says that this is not a rapture but is the taking of one by the Roman armies to be killed, and another spared by Providence.

Gill doesn't leave Matthew 24 bereft of any meaning pertaining to the ultimate return of Christ. He says that some of what is said in chapter 24 of the end of the Jewish age refers to the end of all things, such as the unexpectedness of Christ's return.

Of interest, Gill at one point makes the comments that all of creation will not be destroyed at the return of Christ. It will merely be changed. I have been of this persuasion for a while, though I hardly ever speak of it because it seems so radical. Gill doesn't give reason for his assertion, but I would imagine that it has to do with the fact that when Paul speaks of the New Jerusalem in Galations, it is obviously not a literal new heavens and new earth, but is rather a way of referring to the Gospel age. Another reason I don't believe that heaven and earth will be completely done away with is because the Bible says that all of creation groans in anticipation of being redeemed. What sort of looked-forward-to redemption is complete annihilation? "that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." -- Romans 8:21

All that is mere sidenote. I'm too tired to read Gill's commentary on chapter 25, so I can't say where he goes from there, but I did see that he begins saying that the kingdom of heaven is the gospel church state.

Gill was one of the most influential Baptist pastors, yet his influence is very obviously not felt so much today. For shame.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A Simple Question from a Credobaptist

I know that probably half of the few people who read this blog are paedobaptists, and I do not intend any offense for this post. I just have a simple question is all.

R. C. Sproul has a little story that he sometimes relates involving the late Dr. John Gerstner. It goes something like this: Dr. Gerstner is visiting a small country church where he is asked to perform the sacrament of baptism for an infant that day. He says sure, and so they give him a white rose to pin to the baby. He asks what the rose symbolizes. They say that it symbolizes the baby's innocents. Dr. Gerstner then asks, "Oh, I see. Well, what does the water symbolize then?" And then we all laugh at his cutting down of this original sin-denying symbol of the white rose.

But I have a question. Yeah, I say, What does the water symbolize? Does this mean that a baptized infant is now innocent? I direct this question to paedobaptists who reject baptismal regeneration and reject NPism and Federal Visionism. I just don't get it. Baptismal regeneration, though grossly unBiblical, at least has some logic to it. When David says, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me," can we assume that he could also add "And eight days later when I was circumcised I was no longer in sin"?

Though, as a credobaptist I must think that the New covenant is newer than paedobaptists reckon it, I do agree that baptism is, like circumcision, the sign of entrance into the covenant people. However, I understand the Old Testament Jewish nation to be but a type and shadow to the invisible church of the elect. In the Old Covenant typology, God's elect people was represented by a visible group of people who were visibly set apart from the rest of the world (ie, being their own ethnicity and nation). In the New Testament anti-typology it is a spiritual people that are God's people. His chosen are no longer recognizable by who their ancestors were or where they live. The members of God's covenant are those who are co-heirs with the Seed of Israel, Jesus Christ. There is all this talk of covenant blessings and curses for the children of believers, but that is exactly the same error of the Pharisees who claimed Abraham as their father. But Jesus is the seed to whom all blessings of the covenant go, and these blessings are shared with His children, His co-heirs. These children are not children by birth but children by election to be justified through faith alone. Believers are the true children of God, and therefore the baptism of believers only is the proper anti-type to the typology of OT circumcision.

But if not, then well....What does the water symbolize?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A Baptist Declaration of Faith from History...

My last few posts have been about the Southern Baptist Founders Conference. What be the Founders, you ask? Well, the idea is not that they are trying to introduce doctrines foreign to Baptist theology. Rather, they are attempting to restore doctrines that were present in Baptist theology from the very beginning. Hence, the Founders moniker. They promote the doctrines taught by the founders of the Southern Baptist Convention. The doctrines of the Founders that are mostly missing from Baptist teaching today are the Doctrines of Grace. Aka, Calvinism. Now, for those of you who are certain that Baptists have always rejected the Calvinist doctrine of election, and that people like me are just making all this up, there is a plethora of examples from history to back me up. Today I offer you one. It is a declaration of faith drawn up by Dr. John Gill, who was a predecessor to Charles Spurgeon.

1729 Goat Yard Declaration of Faith

A Declaration of the Faith and Practice of the Church of Christ at Horsely-down,under the Pastoral Care of Mr. John Gill, &c.

Having been enabled, through divine grace, to give up ourselves to the Lord, and likewise to one another by the will of God; we account it a duty incumbent upon us to make a declaration of our faith and practice, to the honour of Christ, and the glory of his name; knowing, that as with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, so with the mouth confession is made unto salvation--our declaration is as follows:

I. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice.

II. We believe that there is but one only living and true God; that there are three Persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, who are equal in nature, power, and glory; and that the Son and the Holy Ghost are as truly and as properly God as the Father.

III. We believe that, before the world began, God did elect a certain number of men unto everlasting salvation, whom he did predestinate to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, of his own free grace, and according to the good pleasure of his will: and that, in pursuance of this gracious design, he did contrive and make a covenant of grace and peace with his Son Jesus Christ, on the behalf of those persons, wherein a Saviour was appointed, and all spiritual blessings provided for them; as also that their persons, with all their grace and glory, were put into the hands of Christ, and made his care and charge.

IV. We believe that God created the first man, Adam, after his own image, and in his likeness; an upright, holy, and innocent creature, capable of serving and glorifying him; but, he sinning, all his posterity sinned in him, and came short of the glory of God: the guilt of whose sin is imputed, and a corrupt nature derived, to all his offspring, descending from him by ordinary and natural generation: that they are by their first birth carnal and unclean, averse to all that is good, uncapable of doing any and prone to every sin; and are also by nature children of wrath, and under a sentence of condemnation, and so are subject not only to a corporal death, and involved in a moral one, commonly called spiritual, but are also liable to an eternal death, as considered in the first Adam, fallen and sinners; from all which there is no deliverance but by Christ, the second Adam.

V. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, being set up from everlasting as the Mediator of the new covenant, and he, having engaged to be the surety of his people, did, in the fulness of time, really assume human nature, and not before, neither in whole nor in part; his human soul, being a creature, existed not from eternity, but was created and formed in his body by him that forms the spirit of man within him, when that was conceived in the womb of the virgin; and so his human nature consists of a true body and a reasonable soul; both which, together, and at once, the Son of God assumed into union with his divine Person, when made of a woman, and not before; in which nature he really suffered and died as their substitute, in their room and stead, whereby he made all that satisfaction for their sins, which the law and justice of God could require, as well as made way for all those blessings, which are needful for them both for time and eternity.

VI. We believe that that eternal redemption which Christ has obtained, by the shedding of his blood, is special and particular, that is to say, that it was only intentionally designed for the elect of God, and sheep of Christ, who only share the special and peculiar blessings of it.

VII. We believe that the justification of God's elect is only by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, without the consideration of any works of righteousness done by them; and that the full and free pardon of all their sins and transgressions, past, present, and to come, is only through the blood of Christ, according to the riches of his grace.

VIII. We believe that the work of regeneration, conversion, sanctification, and faith, is not an act of man's free will and power, but of the mighty, efficacious, and irresistible grace of God.

IX. We believe that all those who are chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sanctified by the Spirit, shall certainly and finally persevere, so that not one of them shall ever perish, but shall have everlasting life.

X. We believe that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust; and that Christ will come a second time to judge both quick and dead, when he will take vengeance on the wicked, and introduce his own people into his kingdom and glory, where they shall be for ever with him.

XI. We believe that Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Christ, to be continued until his second coming; and that the former is absolutely requisite to the latter; that is to say, that those only are to be admitted into the communion of the church, and to participate of all ordinances in it, who upon profession of their faith, have been baptized by immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

XII. We also believe that singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, vocally, is an ordinance of the Gospel to be performed by believers; but that as to time, place, and manner, every one ought to be left to their liberty in using it.

Now all, and each of these doctrines and ordinances, we look upon ourselves under the greatest obligations to embrace, maintain, and defend; believing it to be our duty to stand fast, in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel.

And whereas we are very sensible, that our conversation, both in the world and in the church, ought to be as becometh the Gospel of Christ, we judge it our incumbent duty to walk in wisdom towards them that are without, to exercise a conscience void of offence towards God and men, by living soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

And as to our regards to each other, in our church-communion, we esteem it our duty to walk with each other in all humility and brotherly love: to watch over each other's conversation; to stir up one another to love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as we have opportunity, to worship God according to his revealed will; and, when the case requires, to warn, rebuke, and admonish one another, according to the rules of the Gospel.

Moreover, we think ourselves obliged to sympathize with each other, in all conditions, both inward and outward, which God, in his providence, may bring us into; as also to bear with one another's weaknesses, failings, and infirmities, and particularly to pray for one another, and that the Gospel and the ordinances thereof might be blessed to the edification and comfort of each other's souls, and for the gathering in of others to Christ, besides those who are already gathered--all which duties we desire to be found in the performance of, through the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit, whilst we both admire and adore the grace which has given us a place and a name in God's house, better than that of sons and daughters.

Monday, September 27, 2004

James White Messages Available

On Sunday, September 26, 2004, Dr. James White delivered two messages at Heritage Baptist Church, which happens to be the church I attend. If you would like to hear these great messages, well, now you can.

Unity Through Humility (Phil. 2:1-11)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Southern Baptist Founders Conference SW 2004 - Days 2, 3, and following

Well, I ended spending most of the night after Day 1 nursing a headache, and then the rest of Day 2 as well, so I didn't go. Arg! So I can't report on the busiest day of the conference. But it will be online soon so we can all hear the speachings. Still, it's not the same as physical fellowship. But I did go on Day 3, and it was good. It started off with Dr. James White speaking on "Knowing God's Will." It was excellent, of course. This was followed by Pastor Steve Garrick filling in for an absent Fred Malone. He spoke on "Responsibility in Sanctification." Also excellent. That marked the end of the conference, but Dr. White stuck around to preach on Sunday. His sermon was on Philippians 2:1-11. I guess the main theme was on our duty to be humble with Christ as our example. However, a lot of time was spent on Christ's deity and the difference between the orthodox Christian view of this passage and the heretical views of Jehovah's Witnesses and other Arians. The outcome is that the Arian view of Christ's humiliation isn't really humility at all. A mere creature does not grasp for godhood? Well, the only creature who has done that is Satan, so that makes Jesus as humble as...everybody else except Satan. Then Dr. White taught the afternoon service. He spoke on Mormonism, and wow did I not want him to stop. He helped to explain the communication problem that exists between Christians and Mormons--how they will use the same terminology as Christians, but mean entirely different things. And we learned, among other things, that Mormons wrote Battlestar Galactica. And that show pretty much explains their beliefs. Not as a clever metaphor, but literally. Pray that the Lord gives sight to these blind people and removes the hardness of their hearts. We too were once blind and hardened and showed no more righteousness or intelligence than they, yet God had mercy on us and graciously changed our hearts. If God is able to do that with me, then He can do that to the most die-hard Mormon. Let us pray that His will be done.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Southern Baptist Founders Conference SW 2004 - Day 1

I'm reporting to you here from Arlington, TX where I have just returned from neighboring Mansfield. Mansfield is home of Heritage Baptist Church, and Heritage Baptist Church is home of the Southern Baptist Founders Conference SW 2004. I showed up in plenty of time, got a nifty name badge that states my name, church, and city of residence, and then I walked around a bit looking at other name tags. Then things start sounding a little musical so I went to the auditorium and sat down. Ken Puls from Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL came to lead the music. The first speaker for the day was Rev. Leslie Smith, an elderly man from the United Kingdom. He gave an excellent sermon on prayer and its importance in our lives. Next was Rev. Bob Selph from Carlisle, PA, coordinator of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America. He spoke on "The Man in Romans 7." Pastor Larry Vincent of Heritage said that it was the clearest expounding of Romans 7 that he had ever heard. Then we break for dinner. It was during this time that I got to meet Dr. James White. I hope I didn't gush at him too much. I'm a huge fanboy. It's quite embarrassing, really. Then after dinner I met a fellow chatter from Dr. White's chat room who goes by the nickname of Shamgar. He looks like Ed from Radiohead! Then we all sat down to hear a marvelously wonderful discussion on Justification and Sanctification by Dr. White. Again I quote Pastor Larry, when after it was over said that he doesn't believe in clapping in church but this time he was really tempted. So good is Dr. White at getting at the heart of things and letting you know what is really important! And then the day was over. Stay tuned for Day 2!

Some links pertaining to this article: James White's webpage. Heritage Baptist Church's webpage Southern Baptist Founders webpage

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Google: Don't Be Evil

I hate to steal Dr. James White's blog ideas (, but I will anyway. Google has taken down an ad from a Christian organization website for promoting "hate speech". In other words, the ad had a link to an article that weighed in on a popular political issue, i.e., same-sex marriages. Of course we all know that this "hate speech" shinola goes way too far in its definitions, but I mention that it is a popular political issue to make a point, which is this: Does a news program engage in "hate speech" any time it spotlights a political rally on the issue? If a bunch of people go to city hall and protest same-sex marriages, is the news program that covers the story engaging in hate speech? And how are we to define hate? I know of many liberal groups, including homosexual groups, who are rabidly anti-conservative, anti-moral. When they write an article advocating that religious issues stay out of politics, is that not hate-speech as well? IT'S THE EXACT SAME THING AS AN ARTICLE AGAINST SODOMITE MARRIAGE! It's just the other side of the issue. It's not about "hate" speech at all. It's about moral speech. The culture of today is so anti-moral and so completely backwards that they call evil good and good evil. Read the whole story here:

A few items of interest from the article...

Penner said she asked Google what specifically it thought was "hate speech."
"The things they cited were all moral judgments from our religious perspective about homosexuality, that it's wrong," she explained.
"The irony is that in one of the articles they cited, we have an admonition that one of our moral perspective is that we treat homosexuals respectfully and kindly."

Penner noted that Google, which is in the midst of an IPO, or Initial Public Offering of stock, takes pride in its company motto: "Don't be evil."
"If that's your company motto then there must be some things that you don't want to do," she told WND, "and if your definition of 'hate' is calling something 'evil,' then aren't you a hate group?"

Google's online guidelines for AdWord advertisers say nothing about homosexuality or protected classes of people.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Rockers Against Morality

So I'm sure you're all aware of the big campaign by many rock n roll stars to get Bush out of office and Kerry voted in. Bruce Springsteen wrote a touching piece about how Bush has only lowered taxes for the rich. Because Kerry is scraping the bottom of the economic barrel along with the rest of his impoverished working-class Democrats, just trying to earn a break in this world full of rich, fat-cat Republicans. Oh wait, I'm thinking of the wrong Kerry! The presidential candidate Kerry is in fact not a working-class poor man, but is in fact one of the richest men in the world! And I'm sure Springsteen isn't far behind on the list! So cut the crap about all those pitiful poor people who are left in the dirt by the Republicans. If your heart is so bleeding, why don't you leave your ivory mansions and get in the welfare line! Effing hypocrites.

So I'm reading about all this in Rolling Stone, that venerable hack rag that suckles at the teat of Yellow Dog and hates anything upright and after several pages praising the degenerate rockers who want to keep their immoral interests protected by electing a Democrat, they did offer a small sidebar of three musicians who support Bush. One of whom, Jessica Simpson, isn't even actually an avowed Bush supporter. The other two are Ted Nugent and Gene Simmons. Now I can't say much for the morality of Gene Simmons (there isn't much to speak of), but I'll accept his support nonetheless. And Ted Nugent? Well, he's my hero. Nevermind the fact that his guitar playing outstrips any of his political opponents in talent. He rocks! So I'm going to get together a big concert to rival the Rockers Against Bush tour, and I'm going to have Ted Nugent, and Gene Simmons, and me and my trusty Les Paul, and we're going to take back the rock world! HOOOOOAAWWWW!!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Guess What I Got!

Being a good ol' Reformed Southern Baptist, it was only fitting and proper that I should very much want to own James Petigru Boyce's Abstract of Systematic Theology. This thing is extremely hard to find. From my searching on the internet, it even seems impossible to find. I can find it listed at stores, such as the Discerning Reader, but it is out of print and therefore there are no actual copies for sale. There are a couple of copies at the book room of my church, but I never have that kind of loose money hanging around me...I'm a debit card kind of guy and very rarely have cash or a checkbook on my person. But it turns out my dad has a copy. It was his systematic theology textbook when he went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the seventies. And he was kind enough to let me have it, and I got it in the mail today! Hooray! Now, this is all very fine and good but isn't really blog-material. I mean, who cares, right? But here's the neat part. This copy of my dad's (now mine) has a publisher's preface thingy in it that was written by the fellows who got this book re-published. One of those fellows only happens to be the founder of my church! My church is Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, TX, and the fellow in question is Dr. Fred Malone, currently a pastor at First Baptist Church in Clinton, LA. Isn't Providence neat? Incidentally, the other preface author was Ernie Reisinger, who just recently passed away. But yeah, I just thought the whole "it's a small world that goes round" idea was neat. The guy who was indirectly instrumental in my dad's theological education (by helping to republish a long forgotten textbook) is also indirectly instrumental in my theological education (by founding the church I attend). Let's all give Dr. Malone a big thanks by buying his excellent book The Baptism of Disciples Alone. Of course, all glory goes to God alone. Soli Deo gloria!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Jonathan Edwards in the Hands of Angry Sinners

So I just happened to stumble upon some Christian message board the other day, and found some comments about the great Puritan Jonathan Edwards. I think the message board belonged to the website of some Christian rock group, so I am guessing that the speakers are "youth". Oh, and they were talking about school, too. So, uh, yeah, I guess they were probably teenagers. Anyway, here are some quotes:

"J. Edwards was not cool in my mind- i dont think God is sitting there waiting to drop us off a waterfall or something...and if we were all that bad, then we would all be drowning by now and no one would be here. And i guess that it does imply that God is merciful, but does Edwards have to make Him sound like such a meanie?"

"i dont like J. Edwards either. God is cool."

" He wrote Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God... projecting God as angry, mad, merciless, fire and brimstone, etc. This was in the first Great Awakening. The second Great Awakening was the reversal; it portrayed God as loving and full of mercy."

"Thank God for the Second Great Awakening!!"

Okay, where do we begin with how INCREDIBLY WRONG this all is? I guess we should say that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of three things: Edwards, God, and sin/man.

First, Edwards. Let's be very generous and assume that these people actually have read "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." If you read this one sermon without reading any other sermon by Edwards, you are going to develop a lopsided view of the man. The God of Jonathan Edwards is indeed very merciful. Edwards often preached of the mercy of God; perhaps even more than he wrote of God's anger. In the collection of sermons put out by Banner of Truth entitled Jonathan Edwards on Knowing Christ, the "Sinners" sermon is sandwiched right between two great sermons on the mercies and goodness of God. One speaks of Christ being a rock of shade for those in the hot desert, a river of cool water to the thirsty, etc. The second sermon lists the great benefits of being a part of God's people. If just these three sermons were read together, a much better understanding of Edwards' theology would result.

Also, we must note that Edwards always refers to the wrath of God as falling on impenitant sinners. Those who, in this life, repent of their sins and fall upon Christ will indeed receive God's mercy. It is those who die in their sins that do not receive mercy from God because they rejected Him.

But all this is less important. How "cool" Jonathan Edwards is doesn't really matter. How "cool" is God?

This leads to the second misunderstanding: the character of God. It is very sad how many professing Christians don't even have a basic kindergarten knowledge of Who God is. I don't mean to sound boastful and suggest that I am a genius on the character of God, but I am saying READ YOUR BIBLES! Read all of it! Remember that the Old Testament God is also the God of the New Testament because He never changes (Malachi 3:6)!

Now, if we are to believe what the Bible says about God, and if we are to call ourselves Christians we must do this, we should see what it says regarding God and wrath. The OT is full of examples of God's wrath burning against a rebellious mankind. See Isaiah 59:18, 63:3, 66:15; Ezekiel 8:18; etc. Now suppose you just can't get it out of your system that God never changes, and that somehow God is kinder in the NT, there are verses there to confound you. God is ready to dispose of the sinful, as seen in Luke 13:7. God is the One Who sends men to hell (Luke 12:4-5). He does possess wrath that will be poured at (Rev 19:15).

Logic also speaks of the reality of God's wrath. Think for a second--if God is just some lovey-dovey guy who wishes love and goodness on everybody, then why does anybody go to Hell? You may say that men send themselves to hell by their rejection of Christ. But, I say to you, who created hell? God did, for He created all things. He created all things for a purpose. He intended from eternity past to punish sinners. He did not intend this against His own will, a sad will that was sorry to see sinners burn, because God always executes His will. He created hell because he was angry with sinners.

Another logical problem: If God is not angry, then what is mercy? By definition mercy is that which we do NOT deserve. Mercy is non-justice. We all deserve justice. Justice demands damnation. As R.C. Sproul often has to argue, God is not obligated to deal out mercy because then it wouldn't be mercy. Mercy, by definition, is NOT required. Mercy is the absence of wrath, but for mercy to exist, wrath must exist before it.

Man is a sinner. We must understand this. And sin is ultimate rebellion. It is cosmic rebellion. God is unable to look at sin. That is why Jesus could cry out "My God why have you forsaken me?" He had all of the elect's sin put into His account, so much so that He is said to have become sin Himself. He was forsaken because God could not look upon Him. Hey, that's another thought--If God is not angry, then why did Jesus suffer? The crucifixion wasn't man's idea, it was God's--see Acts 2:23. We must ask ourselves, if God is holy, just, and perfect, how could He not be angry with sinners? If being holy, just, and perfect are part of what makes God God, then He must be angry with sinners, or else He wouldn't be God.

Let us look again at one of the quotes from a professing Christian: "if we were all that bad, then we would all be drowning by now and no one would be here." Here we see the denial of real sin. oh, I'm sure this person would admit to being a sinner, after all, "all have sinned". But this person fails to see how sinful sin is. The Bible says that men are continuously wicked (Gen. 6:5), that men are at enmity against God (Rom. 8:7). The truth is, natural man hates God. He may not think so, but by the fact that he even sins ONCE is proof of that. Any "bad" is "that bad". Any sin deserves hell. If not, then why do even the most upright need a saviour? If you're not "that bad", then why do you need Jesus Christ? Apparently God isn't concerned with those who aren't "that bad", so He can let you into heaven without you believing in His Son. The only problem with this idea is that it is unBiblical and unChristian. But why aren't we all "drowning by now"? The only reason is that God is merciful, and that is precisely one of Jonathan Edwards' points in "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". That we aren't all crushed immediately is because of the mercy of God. We are "that bad" and we all deserve to have been destroyed. To deny this is to deny the Bible. But God is a merciful God who delays his wrath and bestows mercies upon those who do not deserve it. This is especially seen in the the fact that God saves people from eternal damnation, but also from the fact that even those who eventually are eternally punished receive blessings on earth.

So is God cool? Oh yes, He is very cool in that despite the fact that He ordinarily is wrathful towards sin, he nonetheless chose to love some and not feel wrath towards them and offer them the penultimate in mercy. Is He "cool" in that He lets sinners walk all over Him and He'd love to save them from their sins if they'd just let Him but He's just too darn impotent and weak and not possessed of the sovereign right and power that logically belongs to deity? Is God "cool" in the sense that, even though He's not mad at anybody, people still end up in hell for eternity? If that's God being sweet, then I'd hate to see what it would be like if He was really angry! Wow!

As I wind down my rantings, I thought I'd remark on the Second Great Awakening. Charles G. Finney was the main character in the Second Great Awakening, and he was an out-and-out heretic (see . He had many professions of faith, but most of those were not true conversions. He even admitted himself that most of his "converts" never followed up their profession. This is in contrast to the first Great Awakening featuring Jonathan Edwards, where most of those who professed Christ also lived out that profession. And not all Second Great Awakening evangelists differed from Edwards. Asahel Nettleton did not diverge from the Gospel that Edwards preached, and he also saw many professions of faith that proved true. Whereas the majority of those "converted" under Finney never attended church again, the opposite was true for Nettleton. And so it is with all preaching of the true Gospel, the Gospel of the Puritans. For the true Gospel falls on good soil that produces good fruit. The gospel of the likes of Finney is like the seed that fell on rocky, shallow soil.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Why I'm a Reverse-Yellow Dog

I used to be the sort of person that said that I didn't vote along party lines, that I was concerned with individual candidates and their positions regardless of their party. This is still sort of true. But basically I have turned into a rabid anti-democrat. I've always been rabidly anti-liberal, and I know that not all democrats are liberal, but nonetheless, I just can't vote for them anymore. We are all familiar with the term "yellow dog democrat," as in, "I'd vote for Yellow Dog if he was a democrat." Well, I'm not a yellow dog voter of any particular party. I will vote for libertarian as well as republican. I may even go for "other". But I cannot vote democrat anymore. Why? Why have I become so rabid? Two words: Michael Moore. That's right. Oh, I've voted democrat before. There are two individual democrats that I have in my mind that I know I voted for. I liked their personal stands, despite their party. But I just don't think I can do that anymore because I can't vote for anybody who is in any way affiliated with Michael Moore. He takes deception to a new level. He makes it an art. That's why he's won awards. I mean, the blank spot on the Nixon tapes is just plain amateur. Michael Moore is an expert at cut 'n paste. If I were a democrat who wasn't ultra-liberal who wanted to perhaps gain the votes of people who aren't yellow dog republicans, I would leave the democratic party because of Moore. It would be the "We're Democrats, but not like Michael Moore, Party". That way, they could retain the votes of their democrat constituents, and possibly get a vote from somebody like me.

One last thing. For all you ultra-conservative kooks out there who insist on murdering the Great Deceiver (which I do not condone, but hey, if it's gonna happen...), please do not use a gun. Then his followers might be able to claim some sort of justification on their "guns kill" theory.

I didn't say it. You liberal whackos may think I said it, but I didn't say it.

Friday, July 30, 2004

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

So at the Democratic National Convention, Jimmy Carter pointed out the differences between the military services of George W. Bush and John Kerry. The idea is that since Kerry actually served in Vietnam while Bush kind of got the pampered version of the army (no offense to the National Guard, but I'm just giving the gist of Democrat spew), then Kerry is the better man for our military. Weeeeeeeeeellllllllllll.....IF MILITARY SERVICE IS SO IMPORTANT TO THE DEMOCRATS, WHY DID CLINTON GET ELECTED OVER BOB DOLE (injured in war, just like Kerry) AND GHW BUSH?! The answer? Military service isn't important. They'll just pick and chose what qualities are important based upon what qualities their candidate actually possesses. They knew that there was no way they could gain acceptance for Clinton from true vets, so they downplayed the importance of military service. But now that they got a real war hero on their hands, it is suddenly important. What really needs to be important is the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of marriage, etc. But then, if that was important to the citizens of this country, we wouldn't have to worry about getting a Democrat into office.