Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blog Update

I just wanted to take some time to update the blog's readers on the status of a few things. As most of you know, I try to post at least once a week, and I have been able to maintain this over the past year for the most part. I have tried to continue posting about articles, books, websites, and software that I think will be helpful to my Christian brothers and sisters, especially those of the Reformed Baptist persuasion.

However, I haven't been able to post much in terms of original material. For example, I haven't kept up with the series of responses to the House-Church Movement, and I haven't found the time to work on a new series of posts about modifying the Baptist Confession of 1689. This is largely because of the busy and difficult days of the past year. Regular readers will remember my last Blog Update, for example, in which I referred to my wife's battle with ovarian cancer. She was diagnosed in April and underwent major surgery, after which she went through six cycles of chemotherapy ending in October. Then – in addition to some chronic pain – I came down with one cold and flu after another over the winter, which was apparently because of a weakened immune system due to a rather nasty and painful prostate infection. I am happy to say, however, that I am on the mend. And I am even happier to say that my beloved wife, Kim, has been doing very well, and follow up blood tests and CT scans still look great!

Anyway, I am not writing this update to complain, but only to inform you all about what has been going on. In fact, I don't have any complaints about the past year. God has graciously kept His promise to work through our trials for His glory and our good, and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. And now I hope to get some time to write more. Perhaps I will even write about some of the various Scripture passages that the Lord has used to guide us through some of these rough seas.

With regard to the series of articles on the House-Church Movement (HCM), I have decided not to write the article about pastor pay as part of the series, since the series has been focused primarily upon the segment of the HCM represented by Beresford Job and Steve Atkerson, and neither of them appear opposed to paying pastors. So I didn't want to unfairly associate their view with this position, and I fear that addressing the matter as a part of a series focused primarily on them might have done this. The many HCM advocates who are opposed to paying pastors appear to be influenced instead by the book Pagan Christianity, so I will probably write an article separate from the series addressing that book's assertions on the issue. This means I will write a conclusion to the main HCM series soon, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

Lord willing, I will also get back to the series on the Baptist Confession of 1689, in which I hope to offer some good suggestions for discussion among Reformed Baptists.

On a final note, I have been thinking that adding another writer to the blog might be a good idea. Or perhaps others will want to contribute the occasional article. Please pray for the Lord's leading and blessing. I am so grateful that he has used this blog thus far for the good of His people and for His own glory, and I long to see this continue and increase.

Thanks for your kind attention!

Keith

Saturday, February 21, 2009

2009 Band of Bloggers Meeting

In case you haven't heard yet, the 2009 Band of Bloggers meeting will be held in conjunction with this year's Gospel Coalition Conference. It will be held on April 22. Here is the description for this year's meeting from the Band of Bloggers website:


This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.~ 1 Corinthians 4:1

From generation to generation, God has faithfully raised up and empowered His people to be servants of Christ and stewards of the Gospel. What is unlike generations in the past is the ability through technology to literally impact the entire world. For the past 5-10 years, the advent of blogging and social media has afforded followers of Christ to personally broadcast the good news of Jesus Christ while developing a web of relationships that has formed a gospel-centered community seeking to leverage whatever means possible to spread the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ everywhere–both in person and on the web.

Band of Bloggers is an informal fellowship of gospel-committed writers seeking to encourage faithfulness in what is spoken of Christ while raising the standard of discourse to reflect the character of those called to blog worthy of the gospel to which
we have been called.

This year, we are excited to announce that Band of Bloggers is partnering with The
Gospel Coalition Conference
to host the 3rd Band of Bloggers Fellowship in conjunction with their national conference in Chicago, IL. On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, from 12:00-2:00 p.m., we will be hosting a lunch and fellowship at the Rosemont Conference Center. The theme of the conference is “Servants & Stewards” (building off of 1 Cor. 4:1), which expresses a two-pronged approach in faithfulness as servants and effectiveness as stewards. As servants, we want to make much of our Savior in not just what we say but how we say it. As stewards, we want to collectively labor to leverage all available means to propagate and publish the Gospel in our increasingly technologically-literate culture.

To do this, Band of Bloggers has sought the instruction and encouragement from well-known evangelical bloggers to addresses various issues. Taking a slightly different approach than in years past, we are given each person one question to answer in 5-7 minutes and then diving into Q&A/discussion. Here’s what we have in
store for 2009:
_______________
1. Servants and Stewards: Maximizing your blog in service to Christ (Timmy
Brister
)
2. How can we blog for the glory of God? (Justin Taylor)
3. Improving usability: How to write so people can read (Mike Anderson)
4. How can you use your blog for the edification of the church? (Tim Challies)
5. How can you make your site more accessible and visible? (Eric Johnson)
6. Why should pastors blog? (Tullian Tchividjian)
7. What is the place for art and culture in Christian blogging? (Steve McCoy)
8. How can bloggers steward the teaching of the young, old, and the dead? (Tony Reinke)
______________
One of the highlights of Band of Blogger fellowship is the opportunity to meet people you may have encountered on the Internet and network together with people of kindred spirit who share a common passion for the glory of Christ and the advancement of His Gospel. Together with The Gospel Coalition National Conference, this will be a week that you will not want to miss!


Lord willing, I will be attending both of these gatherings this year. Hope to see many of my fellow bloggers there as well!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Robert Gonzales on Divine Impassibility and Passibility

Regular readers of this blog will already have noticed that I am becoming quite a fan of Dr. Gonzales. He is a solid, thoughtful, tenaciously Biblical theologian, and he is a good writer who communicates difficult matters clearly. He is good at putting the cookies on the bottom shelf, where we can all get at them (so to speak).

Anyway, he has recently finished a three part series of articles over at the RBS Tabletalk blog on the the issue of whether or not God feels. I regard these as a must read. Here are the links to the individual posts:

"There Is No Pain, You Are Misreading": Is God "Comfortably Numb"? Part 1

"There Is No Pain, You Are Misreading": Is God "Comfortably Numb"? Part 2

"There Is No Pain, You Are Misreading": Is God "Comfortably Numb"? Part 3

Here is a quote that will give you a feel (no pun intended) for where the articles are heading:
One might say that God is “impassible” from the perspective of his transcendence and “passible” from the perspective of his immanence.
I’ve tried to think of a good illustration. Imagine God as the cosmic movie scriptwriter, producer, and director. God’s also chosen, like many modern directors, to participate in the story as one of the main actors. Indeed, he’s given himself the leading role. He’s created a magnificent epic. It’s full of tragedy. But it has a happy ending. As the scriptwriter, producer, and director, God takes pride in his work and enjoys it with a sense of peace, calm, and gratification, knowing the plot has a glorious ending. But as God actively participates in the various stages of the plot in the capacity of actor, he weeps at misfortune, grows angry at injustice, and rejoices in the triumph of good. Granted, this illustration fails to capture the full complexity of God’s heart. But I believe we must embrace all the biblical descriptions of God (those emphasizing his transcendence as well as those emphasizing his immanence) even if we can’t fully conceptualize their relations.
So I affirm that God is self-contained, independent, and wholly satisfied with himself. He possesses a kind of joy that cannot be marred. Yet, I also affirm that within the matrix of human history God experiences grief, sorrow, anger, pleasure, love, hatred, jealousy, joy and peace. All of these emotional responses are perfectly consistent with his unchanging “being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”
I personally agree with Gonzales' conclusions, and I was also impressed with the way that he interacted with both sides of the Reformed tradition on the issues involved. I encourage you to give these articles a thorough read, especially since this is one of the more crucial issues in modern theological debate.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Free CD of Albert N. Martin's Doctrinal Sermons

The Sovereign Grace Audio Treasures website is offering a series of Al Martin's sermons on doctrine. The series is entitled Here We Stand. The messages can be downloaded separately or together. Or you can request a CD containing the whole series free of charge.

The series includes messages about the person and work of Christ, as well as about the various doctrines of salvation. Here is a brief description from the website:

This series of audio messages “is intended to provide a broad overview of the major elements of the Christian faith, as understood, believed preached and practiced by the true people of God in the past, and by this congregation today; an analysis of the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” It is designed to “confirm the old-timers among us, to initiate the new comers, and to inform the on-lookers.” It is suitable for personal or group study and can be taken as a whole or in part.
May God bless the faithful preaching of His Word!