Friday, August 28, 2009

A Biblical view of Free Will

Andy Naselli helped his church understand a bit clearer the nature of free will and what the Bible has to say about it. It really helped me get a grasp on some terms I wasn't familar with and think through some issues regarding this topic. If you're looking for a Biblical response on this subject, and not just a philosophical one, Andy's talk with help.

Here's the mp3 of the talk.
Here's the 7-page handout. (it helps)
Finally, a condensed essay. (4-page pdf)

A basic outline goes like this:
1.What is "free will"?
2.What have noteworthy theologians thought about "free will"?
3.What are biblical and theological reasons for compatibilisim and against incompatibilism?
4.How does "free will" relate to the origin of sin and conversion?
5.Concluding applications on the Free-Will debate.
6.Recommended Reading.

Just a bit about Andy, if you're interested in who it is that is speaking:
* Andy is currently working on a Ph.D. in Theological Studies with a concentration in New Testament Exegesis and Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he serves as research assistant to D. A. Carson and administrator of Themelios.

*He earned a Ph.D. in theology from BJU (2006), an M.A. in Bible from BJU (2003), and a B.A. in Bible from BCM (2002).

Ever get tired...

...of Christ-centered preaching? Check this guy out. The ultimate youth "pastor", Ignatius.

...and no, this guy is not for real. You're welcome, kids.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Lungs. New Records. And Keith Richards.

I ran today. My lungs were on fire, but the good kind. The kind that don't take nicely to sinus infections.

Used iTunes money to buy the new Needtobreathe record, The Outsiders. Don't think there's a track I don't like. Needtolistentoitmore.

For Jimmy and Lauren, John Mayer's latest album's coming out Nov. 17th. Single's to come soon. You're welcome.

Oh, and here's Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones showing his guitar chops to a clearly overeager fan:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Textual Confidence

Just read a 12 page pdf entitled, How Did We Get Our Bible and Has It Been Changed? by Dr. Matthew S. Harmon.

While the report is brief, it is very informative and persuasive. Here's his conclusion that the paper fleshes out in more detail:

"In closing I want to leave you with two bottom-line conclusions to walk away with today.

First, the Bible that we holding our hands contains the books that God intends for us to recognize as authoritative for faith and practice. You have no need to fear that some vast conspiracy has managed to prevent us from having documents that are inspired by God for the benefit of his people the church. The reason books like the Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Judas are not included in the Bible is because there was widespread recognition in the church from a very early period that documents such as these did not conform to the rule of faith, were not apostolic in origin and were not widely accepted by Christians through the world.

Second, you can be confident that what we read in the New Testament is exactly what God inspired the human authors to write. They are the most carefully transmitted and preserved documents from the ancient world. Even in those rare places where we cannot be 100% sure what the original said, we are always able to determine what it is likely to have said. And there are no places where a central doctrine or belief of the Christian faith is at stake.

So when you open your Bible to read about the good news of who Jesus Christ is and what he was done for us, you can rest your eternal destiny on what you read there. "

If you've thought about how looking into how we arrived at our New Testament cannon of Scripture, this should help.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Pride of Humility

From CS Lewis less than a year after his conversion, circa 1928:
During my afternoon “meditations,”—which I at least attempt quite regularly now—I have found out ludicrous and terrible things about my own character. Sitting by, watching the rising thoughts to break their necks as they pop up, one learns to know the sort of thoughts that do come.
And, will you believe it, one out of every three is the thought of self-admiration: when everything else fails, having had its neck broken, up comes the thought “what an admirable fellow I am to have broken their necks!” I catch myself posturing before the mirror, so to speak, all day long. I pretend I am carefully thinking out what to say to the next pupil (for his good, of course) and then suddenly realize I am really thinking how frightfully clever I'm going to be and how he will admire me...
And then when you force yourself to stop it, you admire yourself for doing that. It is like fighting the hydra... There seems to be no end to it. Depth under depths of self-love and self-admiration. (quoted in The Narnian by Alan Jacobs, 133)

From Jonathan Edwards in Religious Affections, circa 1740's:
If on the proposal of the question [Are you humble?], you answer, “No, it seems to me, none are so bad as I.” Don't let the matter pass off so; but examine again, whether or no you don't think yourself better than others on this very account, because you imagine you think so meanly of yourself. Haven't you a high opinion of this humility? And if you answer again, “No; I have not a high opinion of my humility; it seems to me I am as proud as the devil”; yet examine again, whether self-conceit don't rise up under this cover; whether on this very account, that you think yourself as proud as the devil, you don't think yourself to be very humble. (quoted from the online works of Jonathan Edwards)

HT:DG Blog

Monday, August 17, 2009

For Whom did Christ taste death?

If you've ever struggled with this question - in essense, dealing with how the Scriptures talk about the Atonement - then this sermon will help.

I've had to listen to it multiple times. Still praying, reading and working through it, but this really helped me.

For Whom Did Christ Taste Death?
Read it here.
Listen to it here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mr. Les Paul (1915-2009)

Mr. Les Paul died today at age 94. As far as men that were important to music, especially guitar playing, this man was it. He basically invented the electric guitar and multi-track recording. He was an accomplish jazz, country and blues player even with severe arthritis. I hope he put his trust in the Lord, because I'd love to meet him some day.

You can read more than you ever wanted to about him here.

If you're rolling with Chet, you got to bring the chops. This man had it. Brilliant.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dutch Maritime Paintings

Just wanted to share a couple of brilliant Dutch paintings I ran across while reading a WSJ article. Its hard to see the minute details of the ships in Velde's piece, so click the title of the piece's name for higher resolution. What grabbed my attention in these paintings is the realism of the lighting on the clouds, waves, and ships.

Here they are:

The first is a piece by Ludolf Bakhuizen entitled The Merchant Shipping Anchorage in the Texel with Texel Island and Oude Schild to the North West. From 1665, an oil on canvas.

The second is a piece by Willem van de Velde the Younger titled, Ships on the Roadstead. 1658.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cleaving to Christ rather than them

Here's a quotation from Parker's Portrait of Calvin [see earlier blog post for link] that rang loudly with me - I hope that if I draw a line in the sand theologically, that doing so would put me closer to Him than to any branch of thinking. In Calvin's case below, he's writing to the Holy Roman Emperor with regard to Reformation doctrines.

THL Parker writes,

"The glory of Christ is the theme that runs through the treatise on [Calvin's]
The Necessity for Reforming the Church which Calvin addressed to the Emperor
Charles V
: 'Let our opponents, then, first of all draw near to Christ and
afterwards let them accuse us of schism in daring to dissent from them in
doctrine. But, since I have made it plain that Christ is banished from their
society and the teaching of His gospel exterminated, their charge against
us simply amounts to this, that we cleave to Christ rather than to them

Monday, August 10, 2009

CliffsNotes biography of Calvin

I posted about this on John Calvin's birthday in July, but here's the complete 9-part [severely abridged, yet helpful] biography of John Calvin. It's written by David Mathis of DesiringGod. He draws, in some part, from a book I'm currently reading: Portrait of Calvin, by T.H.L. Parker (written in 1954). I'm almost done with Parker's book, which is also quite abreviated (only 120 pages), but would be an insightful next step in exploring the life of a man used by God to bring Glory to Himself all over the world.

Part 1: Born to Gerard (1509-1523)
Part 2: Off to Paris (1523-1532)
Part 3: De Clementia, Conversion, and Cop (1532-33)
Part 4: Institutes (1535-1536)
Part 5: A Night’s Stay in Geneva (1536-1538)
Part 6: The Golden Years (1538-1541)
Part 7: Return to Geneva (1541-1553)
Part 8: The Fateful Years (1553-1554)
Part 9: An Unmarked Grave (1554-1564)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Irrefutably, irrefragably, irreducibly...

... are just some of the words D.A. Carson uses in this video from the Gospel Coalition to speak about biblical inerrancy. Ok well, he was describing how Christ is bound-up with salvation.

But, if you've wondered what "inerrancy" is, you'll benefit from this video. I thought I knew all of what it meant, and again I've found that I'm not half as smart as I think I am.

What does inerrancy mean? Is it essential to Christian belief?