Friday, September 26, 2014

James White Discussion With KJV-Only Advocate Steven Anderson

Thanks to Drew Mery over at the Reformed Baptist Daily blog for drawing my attention to this interview. As Drew states:
Steven Anderson, a King James Only advocate, interviewed James White as part of a video documentary on the (supposed) corruption of non-KJV translations. The documentary only contains a very brief segment of the 2.5 hour interview that took place between them. The following video is the full interview.
In this interview Dr. White does a masterful job of interacting with a staunch advocate of the KJV-Only position. He is patient and loving as he listens to Steven, but he is uncompromising in the position he takes. As usual, he serves as a very good example of how to interact with those who are in error. If you are interested in reading Dr. White's book on the subject, which I consider to be the best available, you can find it here.

By the way, I am not sure how I missed it up to now, but the Reformed Baptist Daily blog looks to be a very solid and helpful blog. Well done Drew!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Will Scott Brown Answer My Challenge?

A little over a month ago I posted a blog article entitled Answering Scott Brown's Challenge Concerning Age Segregated Education. In that article I challenged Scott Brown, the director of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC) and a major advocate of the Family Integrated Church Movement (FICM), either to show that my arguments for age segregated instruction in the churches clearly are not Biblical or to revise his statements asserting that such a Biblical case has not or could not be made. As the blog's readers no doubt know, over a year ago I had written a three part series offering a Biblical defense of age segregated instruction in the churches and, as I noted in the aforementioned article, I had let Brown know about my own series in a comment on his blog. Then, when I posted last month's article, I even sent him an email message via his church's website, to which I have received no response. In addition, on August 23 I posted the following message on the NCFIC Facebook page:
Scott Brown has publicly asserted that he has never seen a Biblical case for the use of age segregated instruction in the churches, but I wrote a series of blog articles over a year ago presenting such a case. I have invited Scott Brown to respond here: [This note is visible if you scroll down the page and look on the left-hand side in the "Posts to Page" section. By the way, the only "Like" it received was from my wife.]
I also received no response to this Facebook posting. So, now I am writing a second blog article to call upon Scott Brown to defend his arguments. As I see it, if he is going to publicly say things like, "I have yet to hear a biblical case for age segregation. Why? Because it does not exist in Scripture" (here), or things like, "After many years, I have never seen a credible exegetical argument FOR age segregation. I have heard dozens of arguments for age segregation that are not based upon the Bible, but none that are grounded upon the Bible" (here), then it behooves him to back it up when challenged. This is especially so since his organization currently has this statement in Article XI of its Biblical Confession For Uniting Church And Family:
We affirm that there is no scriptural pattern for comprehensive age segregated discipleship, and that age segregated practices are based on unbiblical, evolutionary and secular thinking which have invaded the church ....
These are the kinds of accusations that Scott Brown and other FICM advocates have leveled at the rest of us for years -- even those of us in Reformed Baptist circles -- simply because we may have age segregated Sunday school classes in our churches. They have essentially accused us all of having given up faithfulness to Scripture in favor of "evolutionary and secular thinking." So, as I see it, since such extreme and unfair accusations regarding age segregated education are present in the foundational document of Brown's organization, and since he has apparently based such accusations upon the assumption that there is no Biblical case to be made for such a practice, he has an obligation to respond to someone who has publicly challenged his assertions. Yet, unless I have missed it while doing numerous internet searches, no such response has been made. Will he respond? Will anyone of note in this movement respond? I guess we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, I guess I will also have to get used to the sound of crickets chirping.

Monday, September 08, 2014

"Why Does the Universe Look So Old?" by Albert Mohler

This video contains a message delivered by Dr. Albert Mohler at the Tough Questions Christians Face: 2010 National Conference. In it he argues for a literal 24-hour days in Genesis 1, and he discusses the great exegetical and theological importance of this issue. Ultimately he therefore holds to a young earth view.

Dr. Mohler outlines four basic options for understanding the opening chapter of Genesis: 1) the traditional 24-hour calendar day view, 2) the day-age theory, 3) the framework theory, and 4) the literary myth view. After briefly describing each view, he concludes:
Now what do these have to do with the age of the earth? Well of all of these options, only the understanding of a 24-hour day creation necessitates a young earth. The rest of them all allow for, if they do not directly imply or assume, a very old earth. As we work backwards in terms of evangelical options, the idea that Genesis is merely literary has to be rejected out of hand as in direct contradiction to our understanding of the Bible as the inerrant and infallible word of God. That option, for any credible and faithful evangelical Christian, must be taken off the table. So then we are left with the framework theory, held by some prominent evangelicals but, I would argue, one of the least defensible positions when we understand that it is based upon the assumption, not only that there may be a very long period of time that is involved and incorporated in Genesis 1 and in the sequence of the days, but actually that the sequence does not matter. It simply is not credible, at least to me, that God gave us this text with such rich detail and sequential development merely that we would infer from it his providential direction without any specific reference to all the direct content he has given us within the text. It certainly seems by any common sense natural reading of the text that it is making historical and sequential claims.
The Day-Age view, working backwards, is much more attractive on theological grounds—much more attractive on exegetical grounds. It involves far fewer entanglements and issues, but as we shall see it involves issues that go even beyond exegeses. (30:24)
The first thing we need to note, as has been noted by even more liberal scholars such as James Barr, is that any natural reading of the text would indicate that the author intended us to take 24-hour days, calendar days, as our understanding. I am arguing for the exegetical and theological necessity of affirming 24-hour calendar days.
Dr. Mohler then goes on to discuss the important exegetical and theological issues involved, concluding that the earth may look old to us but that it is actually young. He ultimately asserts:
I want to suggest to you that when it comes to the confrontation between evolutionary theory and the Christian gospel we have a head-on collision. In the confrontation between secular science and the scripture we have a head-on collision. I want to suggest to you that it is our responsibility to give an answer when we are asked the question “Why does the universe look so old?” In the limitations of time, it is impossible that we walk through every alternative and answer every sub-question. But I want to suggest to you that the most natural understanding from the scripture of how to answer that question comes to this: The universe looks old because the creator made it whole. When he made Adam, Adam was not a fetus; Adam was a man; he had the appearance of a man. By our understanding that would’ve required time for Adam to get old but not by the sovereign creative power of God. He put Adam in the garden. The garden was not merely seeds; it was a fertile, fecund, mature garden. The Genesis account clearly claims that God creates and makes things whole.
Secondly—and very quickly—if I’m asked why does the universe look so old, I have to say it looks old because it bears testimony to the affects of sin. And testimony of the judgment of God. It bears the effects of the catastrophe of the flood and catastrophes innumerable thereafter. I would suggest to you that the world looks old because as Paul says in Romans chapter 8 it is groaning. And in its groaning it does look old. It gives us empirical evidence of the reality of sin. And even as this cosmos is the theater of God’s glory, it is the theater of God’s glory for the drama of redemption that takes place here on this planet in telling the story of the redemptive love of God. Is this compatible with the claim that the universe is 4.5 billion years old in terms of earth, 13.5 billion years old in terms of the larger universe? Even though that may not be the first and central question it is an inescapable question and I would suggest to you that in our effort to be most faithful to the scriptures and most accountable to the grand narrative of the gospel an understanding of creation in terms of 24-hour calendar days and a young earth entails far fewer complications, far fewer theological problems and actually is the most straightforward and uncomplicated reading of the text as we come to understand God telling us how the universe came to be and what it means and why it matters.
At the end of the day, if I’m asked the question “why does the universe look so old?” I’m simply left with the reality that the universe is telling the story of the glory of God. Why does it look so old? Well that, in terms of any more elaborate answer, is known only to the Ancient of Days. And that is where we are left.
I encourage the blog's readers to watch the video and to give Dr. Mohler's arguments careful consideration. The transcript of the message (quoted above) can be found here if you wish to read along while listening.

Friday, September 05, 2014

"A Few Thoughts for Consideration in the Modern Republication Debate"

The Particular Voices blog recently posted a brief article entitled A Few Thoughts for Consideration in the Modern Republication Debate. The article offers for Presbyterians a summary of points in favor and against the notion that the Mosaic Covenant is a republication of the Covenant of Works. Here is the primary portion of the post for your consideration.
These thoughts are directed primarily at members in the OPC and PCA.
For those contra republication:
1. The view that the Mosaic covenant was a covenant of works is a view found among Reformed divines in the 17th and 16th centuries.
2. The Westminster Confession of Faith is not the exclusive expression or boundary of Reformed orthodoxy.
For those pro republication:
1. The fact that a given divine at the Westminster Assembly held to a given view does not mean that the Confession itself either reflects, includes, or accounts for their view. They debated many things. The conclusion of the debates was a majority vote in one direction, not a unanimous vote.
2. A covenant of works and a covenant of grace are as different as wood and stone. They are different “substances.” If the Mosaic covenant is a formal covenant of works (not just containing a remembrance of Adam’s covenant) it cannot be the covenant grace. See John Ball, A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace (London: Printed by G. Miller, 1645), 93-95. Ball is discussing John Cameron’s view that the Mosaic covenant (the old covenant) is neither the covenant of works nor the covenant of grace but a legal covenant for the nation of Israel to live life in the land of Canaan. Ball concludes that this view makes the old covenant differ from the new in substance. See also John Owen, A Continuation of the Exposition of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (London: Printed for Nathaniel Ponder, 1680), 324-42. Owen considers the majority view as expressed in the WCF and rejects it because he views the Mosaic covenant as a works covenant for life in the land. This is the result of the simple logic of substance as applied to covenant theology.
My thanks to Richard Barcellos for drawing this to my attention. The whole article is posted here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Mark Driscoll Steps Down From Mars Hill Church

It has recently been reported that Mark Driscoll will Step Down While Mars Hill Reviews Charges. The same article details the fallout in other ways. For example, Mars Hill canceled its fall Resurgence Conference, and "After Acts 29 removed Driscoll from its membership, LifeWay Christian Resources, the nation’s second largest Christian book retailer, pulled Driscoll’s books from its website and 186 stores." Here is the video of Mark's statement before his church family, in which he discusses stepping down:

You can read the text of the statement here.