Points of Failure - Another Look at the BJU GRACE Report

A bad idea is one thing. Flawed execution of a good idea is something else. Thomas Edison is said to have botched the execution of the light-bulb concept about a thousand times before he got it right. Today, we’ve decided that the incandescent light bulb is not such a great idea anymore. But does anyone think that the general concept of converting electrical energy into light is a bad idea?

With changing times and advances in learning and understanding, we’re in constant danger of thinking that all old ideas are bad ideas—and in even greater danger of seeing any flawed execution of an old idea as a failure of the old idea itself. In our hurry to embrace “progress” we often don’t pause and look more carefully at where failure is truly located, and as a result, our piles of obsolete notions include increasing amounts of the wisdom of the ages.

Lately, at least in the West, we’re especially prone to do this with the social sciences. This week’s (or this decade’s) scientific consensus trumps all. And if you’re out of step with it—well, the fact that you’re wrong is self-evident. Because we just don’t do things that way anymore. We know better … until we change our minds again. Read more about Points of Failure - Another Look at the BJU GRACE Report

An Evaluation of the BJU GRACE Report

“Have you ever told your father that you love him?”

When the gray-haired, glasses-wearing lady sitting across the table from me in the Bob Jones University (BJU) Dining Common spoke these words to me after I had asked her to pray for my dad’s salvation, I felt like jumping across the table and choking her! How dare she expect me to speak such words to the man who had neglected me and treated my mother with such contempt!

At that moment, God convicted me. I still harbored negative feelings toward my father. I thought, “How can I ask people to pray that God would save a man that I don’t care for myself?”

As a seminary student at BJU, I received assurance of my salvation. God’s Spirit showed me that a right standing with God does not come through my own merits and actions, but it is founded solely upon the sacrifice and the righteousness of Christ. As I began to understand the unmerited love and forgiveness that God offers me in Christ, I knew that I needed to love and forgive my father in the same way.

Thankfully, by God’s grace and the help of BJU, I was able to forgive my father and cast off my negative feelings towards him. I know that forgiving my dad back then has enabled me to serve God and enjoy a healthy life today. Read more about An Evaluation of the BJU GRACE Report

Doctrine Worth Fighting For

From Voice, Jan/Feb 2015. Used by permission.

A few years ago I read this headline in my local newspaper. As a pastor, it grabbed my attention immediately. It said: Instruments Stolen From Five Manhattan Beach Churches. It told the story of how five local churches had been robbed in the period of one week. They took guitars, keyboards, ukuleles, drums, a tambourine, a mixing machine, audio and video equipment, projectors, laptop computers, microphones and speakers. They cleaned out those churches. The worst part is that it seems that the thieves got access to the church through unlocked windows and doors. They just walked right in!

I would like to suggest to you that as sad as it is that a church was robbed partially due to its own negligence, there is a greater danger that is facing the church—the danger of giving up the foundational doctrines that undergird our faith. And much like the robberies in those churches, the Church and each of us as members of the body of Christ are too often leaving theological and doctrinal windows and doors open allowing the thieves in. Read more about Doctrine Worth Fighting For

Book Review - Workbook in Romans

The Weaver Book Company (weaverbookcompany.com), who I have only recently become familiar with, has launched a new series of workbooks designed to help Christians better understand the flow of New Testament books. The purpose of the series is to “draw out the back story that lies behind the writings of the Bible” (p. 9). The first workbook in the series focuses on the text of Paul’s letter to the Romans. The author’s specific intent is to “draw out the main ideas in Paul’s storyline by observing what he actually said in his letter to the Romans” (p. 11). The intended audience of the book is study groups of Christians in any form (Sunday School class, small group, person study, etc).

The workbook begins with the reader doing an overview of the entire book of Romans. The reader is expected to read each section of Romans (the workbook divides the letter into 24 sections) and give in a sentence or two the main ideas that Paul was communicating. The lion’s share of the workbook is then divided into the following sections: Read more about Book Review - Workbook in Romans

Trying to Get the Rapture Right, Part 2

The Main Verses

In this installment all I want to do is to set down the main verses which are used in discussions about the rapture. Let me make it clear that this is not to say that many other passages must be considered so as to understand the doctrine. As I will be at pains to show, the rapture is not a teaching that can be established by simply comparing proof-texts. The doctrine excites many passions and this can lead to wishful thinking in exegesis. Some of the verses listed below are brought very hardly and reluctantly to bear on the doctrine we are considering.

We have already taken a quick look at 1 Thessalonians 4:17, but there are other salient passages. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 is often brought in to help. Then Jesus’s words in John 14:1-3 must be considered. Also joining the fray are 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and 13, Matthew 24:36-44, 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9, and Revelation 3:10. Let’s try to situate each one of these. Read more about Trying to Get the Rapture Right, Part 2

Are Erring and Rogue Cops “Ministers To You for Good”?

I just finished reading Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum. The cruelty that human beings can inflict on one another is staggering. KGB agents in the USSR enforced laws against anyone disagreeing with the Soviet government. They stormed into homes in the middle of the night, dragged one or more family members away to interrogate them, subjected them to a charade trial, and shipped them like cattle in freezing train cars to toil in labor camps in sub-human conditions. Many of the prisoners died, while some lived through the ordeal. Millions, yes millions, of people were subjected to this treatment. The KGB agents represented the government. Were they “ministers for good?”

What I am referring to is the section of the Apostle Paul’s letter to Christians in Rome where he instructed them about their attitude toward members of the civil government. Here is what Paul said (emphasis mine): Read more about Are Erring and Rogue Cops “Ministers To You for Good”?

One Isaiah

(About this series)

CHAPTER V  ONE  ISAIAH

BY PROFESSOR GEORGE L. ROBINSON, D. D., MCCORMICK THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

“For about twenty-five centuries no one dreamt of doubting that Isaiah the son of Amoz was the author of every part of the book that goes under his name; and those who still maintain the unity of authorship are accustomed to point, with satisfaction, to the unanimity of the Christian Church on the matter, till a few German scholars arose, about a century ago, and called in question the unity of this book.” Thus wrote the late Dr. A. B. Davidson, Professor of Hebrew in New College, Edinburgh, (Old Testament Prophecy, p. 244, 1903). Read more about One Isaiah

Trying to Get the Rapture Right, Part 1

I had been intending to write about the removal of the Church (the rapture) for quite a while now. What galvanized me to do so now was a couple of entries by Ben Witherington and Roger Olson about the pretribulational rapture. These men, (like them or not), do not usually write poorly, but their articles attacking the concept of the pretribulational rapture are pretty lame ducks, rehashing the same old populist presentations of Dispensationalism by sniping at Clarence Larkin’s charts, and bringing into the frame the names of Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye, only to mock them.

Now let me be clear about this, although I am a pretribultionist, I am not about to contend for the parity of the doctrine of the rapture and its timing with the doctrine of the Trinity, or justification by grace through faith. I will not die on a hill fighting for the timing of the rapture, be it pre-, mid-, prewrath-, or post-tribulational. Read more about Trying to Get the Rapture Right, Part 1