Anticipating Our Future Because We Have Resolved Our Past

Everyone who has ever had expectations knows disappointment. Friends break their word, marriages end in divorce, our children move away and take our grandchildren with them, doctors can’t cure our ailments, people use us for their own ends, our investments go bust; but often our biggest disappointment is ourselves and what we have or have not done. We live in a world full of disappointment, and if we do not grapple with this reality, we are doomed to be unhappier tomorrow than we are today.

We have all heard the story of Alexander the Great who wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. The self-written epitaph on the gravestone of accomplished author Robert Louis Stevenson reads, “Here lies one who meant well, tried a little, and failed much.” Joe Torre, manager of the New York Yankees and broadcaster for the California Angels, mentioned that a young boy asked him before a game, “Hey, mister. Didn’t you used to be somebody?” Perhaps you’ve heard Abraham Lincoln’s reply when he was asked how it felt to lose the senate race to Stephen Douglas in 1858. His reply was cryptic: “I feel like the boy who stubbed his toe: I’m too big to cry, but it hurts too much to walk on.”
Read more about Anticipating Our Future Because We Have Resolved Our Past

Central Seminary's 50th Anniversary

Central Faculty, past and present
This year’s Foundations Conference marks Central Baptist Theological Seminary’s (Plymouth, MN) 50th anniversary and 39 years since I graduated from the school. I was in the Fourth Baptist Church (Plymouth, MN) youth group during those first years of Central’s existence and was only aware that the church was housing something in the basement with strange people. Little did I know that I would be joining this group six years later.

This was my first visit to Central since I graduated in 1967. The seminary plant with state-of-the-art classrooms and an extensive library is well-situated to serve the needs of its students and staff. I was pleasantly surprised to see degree programs with specialization in Biblical Counseling, Urban Church Planting, as well as Biblical Studies.
Read more about Central Seminary's 50th Anniversary

Shall We Reason Together? Part Six: Reason and “Reason”

In The Nick of TimeWhatever Scripture affirms is absolutely authoritative. Many of the biblical affirmations imply other affirmations. The question is, how authoritative are the affirmations that Scripture implies?

Some people suggest that only the bald statements of Scripture exert truly divine authority, and that all inferences drawn from Scripture, however necessary they may be, come with a lower level of authority or with no authority at all. These people would argue that we must not insist upon such inferences as matters of belief and practice.

I have been arguing to the contrary. I believe that it is wrong to limit the authority of any necessary implication of Scripture. Rather, the necessary inferences that we draw from the Bible should be accepted with all the authority of the Bible itself. They are part of what God has revealed in His Word.

In reading the Bible, however, we find that the writers of Scripture are sometimes highly critical of human reasoning. This creates a problem for someone who holds my view: how can reasoned conclusions be as authoritative as Scripture itself when Scripture sometimes seems to take a dark view of reason?
Read more about Shall We Reason Together? Part Six: Reason and “Reason”

Clearwater Christian College: Real Life!

Clearwater Christian CollegeI recently made my first trip to Clearwater Christian College. Dr. Dave Burggraff asked me to come and do a three-day presentation on the book that I just wrote about having daily personal devotions. I flew into Tampa on a rainy Tuesday night just ahead of Ernesto. Dick and Holly Stratton picked me up at the airport after I filled out a lost bag claim slip for my blog recorder. I must admit I was a tad nervous. They can lose my nicest suits, and I’ll be out $50; but that blog recorder is worth more than my entire wardrobe!

Tampa is the lightning capital of the world, and I must admit that it freaked me out. I have never seen such bright lightning. It seemed so close. I would’ve been more nervous, but the Strattons seemed to take it all in stride, so I tried not to appear scared. However, more people die every year from lightning there than anywhere else. On my way to the cafeteria one This part was a change for a Colorado boymorning, the thunder was so loud, I screamed like a girl. Not the best thing to do as a guest speaker.
Read more about Clearwater Christian College: Real Life!

I Am a Fundamentalist Review

Note: This article was originally posted November 1, 2005.

Rice, John R. I Am a Fundamentalist. Sword of the Lord Publishers. Murfreesboro, TN. 1975.

Arguably, the two grandfathers of modern Fundamentalism are Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., and Dr. John R. Rice. Jones founded Fundamentalism’s most influential school, Bob Jones University, and was at its helm from 1927 to 1968. Rice launched Fundamentalism’s most influential periodical, The Sword of the Lord, in 1934 and served as its editor until his death in 1980. Rice is called “the twentieth century’s mightiest pen” because of his many published works.

Jones wrote the forward to Rice’s biography, Man Sent from God, written by Evangelist Robert L. Sumner. In his forward, Jones described his “good friend” Rice as “one of the greatest spiritual assets this nation has.” He went on to complement Rice by saying, “Dr. Rice is doing God’s work in God’s way.”
Read more about I Am a Fundamentalist Review

So What Are the Fundamentals Anyway?

I have been gratified of late to hear of so many men and women discussing what exactly Fundamentalism is. The biggest recurring problem, however, is that while everyone seems to be talking about it, we have not been able to determine what exactly the “fundamentals” are. I do not believe that this question is as difficult as it may seem to be, although to a certain extent a multitude of counselors has made the discussion louder and more unclear. As I see it, a ‘fundamental’ is a doctrine that is critical to orthodox Christianity–that if it were to be removed or impugned, it would be utterly impossible to have or maintain Christian orthodoxy. While this may initially seem to be a matter of semantics, bear with me as I explain further.

A fundamental is any doctrine expressly articulated within the Scriptures that is critical to a right understanding of the Christian faith. These doctrines are similar to the “We hold these truths to be self evident” phrasing in the Declaration of Independence; or, as the Westminster Confession notes in chapter one, article seven:
Read more about So What Are the Fundamentals Anyway?

The Greatness of God and Trials

The fall colors were at their peak when the Calvary Baptist Church family gathered at a country farm to navigate a corn maze, take a scenic hay ride, and gather around a campfire to fellowship, eat smores, sing, and hear from God’s Word. I was unable to sing and share a message at this year’s campfire because of a bad case of laryngitis. As Keith led the group in singing “How Great Thou Art,” I was struck with the beauty of the moment. The harmony sounded as good as any choir I had heard, but there were some things that were so much more beautiful than the sound of the song.
Read more about The Greatness of God and Trials

Misplaced Emphasis and Missed Opportunities

Although the title of this article presents a negative connotation, my goal in writing it is one of encouragement.

Many Christian schools and homeschooling groups present a spring play with either their elementary or high school students, or both. Unfortunately, the mindset of some of those school drama instructors is that, in order for a program to be a quality presentation, it must be a “classic.” Many use only secular dramas, musicals, etc. I would like to encourage these teachers to climb out of the rut of secular thinking and view their yearly spring production as an opportunity from the Lord.

The opportunity is threefold:
Read more about Misplaced Emphasis and Missed Opportunities