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Position in preaching is an important matter about which all too little is said—and yet it can make all the difference. What am I talking about? What is ‘position’ anyway?
Position represents a preacher’s relationship to a passage as well as to the persons who are involved with it. With whom does one identify as preacher, and with whom does he identify his congregation? The answer to those two questions tells one what his position is.
There are several possible positions that one might assume. Various names may be assigned to each, and possibly more than the three that I shall mention might be distinguished, but in order to raise the question and to point toward the desired biblical position of the preacher these three will do:
There clusters about each of these positions a number of factors that are consistent with the position itself. Take the SPECTATOR, for instance. Such a preacher doesn’t identify with any one particular in the preaching portion. He does not speak as does the writer of the epistle or...
A key to the two-part nature of the Book is found in chapter 10, verse 11:
You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.
After the letters to the seven churches, there are two great sections to the Book:
Section One: The First Enemy of the Church and its destruction.
Section Two: The Second Enemy of the Church and its destruction.
This verse stands between them.
If the second section deals with all sorts of peoples of various languages (hint, hint), what do you think the first section deals with?
Just a few thoughts to get you searching. Have fun!
God’s providence is a wonderful thing; by it we know that all things work together for the good of His children. In counseling, or preaching, a man of God is able assure others of this fact. He should often revert to that comforting doctrine.
But some are not satisfied with that assurance. They want more. They insist on finding out how God is working out good in any given situation. Sometimes it is apparent how God is providentially at work (or at least partially so), but more often than not we are unable to do more than conjecture about it, Paul—an inspired prophet and apostle—at times found that he could not say for sure what God was doing providentially. In the situation in which Onesimus, a runaway slave came to know Christ through that experience, he writes “perhaps” that is why the event occurred (v.15), but (having no revelation of such facts) will go no further. It would do well for us most of the time to do the same. What we have in this little book of Philemon, interestingly, is an inspired “perhaps.”
The psalmist writes:
Rest in God alone, my soul . . . He alone is my rock (Ps. 61: 8 HCSB).
This world is a dangerous place; full of disease, war, treachery, accidents—you name it! How can you go through life in a calm, restful manner? That’s what the Psalmist is speaking about. Behind a rock was a place to find protection in biblical days. If someone was tracking you down—as Saul tracked David—to locate a large, impregnable rock to use as a wall between yourself and the tracker would be highly desirable. That is why God is frequently called one’s Rock. That is to say, He is the Protector of His people.
In this uncertain life, have you found rest in the only true Rock? There is only one way to do so—through His Son, Jesus Christ Who died in the place of all those who would trust Him as Savior. He bore their guilt and suffered in their place. He is the One Who, alone, can lead you to the Rock of this verse—the “Rock that is higher than I.”
Need rest? Protection? You need the Rock behind which you can lie down and feel safe.
That’s what Psalm 11:8 has to say.
”But what does it mean?”
The verse also compares it to silver that is purified that often.
“Does that mean the Word was impure and had to be purified?”
“Well then, why does it go on to compare it to silver that has to be purified that many times to rid it of all impurities?”
It is not the process of purification that is under comparison.
“What then is?”
The product of the process!
“What do you mean?”
Simply this: as silver that is refined seven times over is said to be totally free from all impurities, so too are the Scriptures totally free from all error and harmful teaching.
The verse means that the Bible is wholly free from error and, therefore, is pure truth! When you turn to its pages, you must have this thought in mind and be willing to accept whatever it says as absolute truth!
“You might say that it is a sterling book then . . . ?”
The foundational documents of The Gospel Coalition clearly articulate a commitment to the historic, orthodox understanding of biblical inerrancy. Nevertheless, one of the cofounders of TGC, Tim Keller, has positioned himself to defend at least some versions of theistic evolution and progressive creationism (the distinction is not always clear). In a white paper published through BioLogos, Keller claims that the first chapter of Genesis is “exalted prose narrative,” and that, because of its literary genre, need not be interpreted literally.
That Keller is in error at this point is not open to serious question. Granted, he is correct that Genesis 1 is a prose narrative that employs what could be called exalted language. Still, exalted prose narrative is not a recognizable genre. The operative words are prose narrative. Genesis 1 is history, however elevated the language might be....
Here is a very in-depth article that will help you to better understand a crucial difference between music and plastic arts such as sculpture and painting. David P. Goldman, a music historian, explores the relationship between time and eternity in the worship of the church. What is happening “while” you worship God?
Tomorrow afternoon I am taking off for Sao Paulo, Brazil, where I have been invited to speak at a conference of national pastors and missionaries. The theme of the conference is “The Gospel and Christian Affections.” I will be preaching six sermons and presenting two workshops on that theme. Here are my sessions:
Have you picked up a copy of A Conservative Christian Declaration yet? Here’s a brief review of the book that may motivate you to read it for yourself. An excerpt:
I also expected to find some rather difficult to grasp and thereby to ascribe to statements which I would be critiquing. This I was delighted to find was not the case. In fact as I was reading through, I became more excited. You see the style of the piece is plain, even ordinary, but not flat. The language, though at times novel to my eyes, was edifying to my soul and lifted my spirit. It actually began to teach me. Let me clarify, because one can learn in many ways. What I mean to say is not that I was learning new prescribed doctrinal points (although that is one of the express goals and that did happen with me). Rather the very use of the language added to the declaration. It was sweet to my soul. It communicated eloquently, simply, and at times powerfully ideas which have at times been fleeting around my little brain so fast I never quite got them down out of the ether and into words! A wonderful statement. And all this to say that it was engaging to the core. ...
We are in the midst of a series on New Testament implications of the idea that culture is essentially behavior. Here are the previous two implications:
The third implication is that New Testament authors demand that the culture of Christians be holy, pure, and distinct from the culture of unbelievers. Rather than understanding culture to be neutral, New Testament authors judge unbelieving culture as worthy of condemnation. They expect Christians, therefore, to reject the culture shaped by the world’s systems and to form a new way of life impacted by biblical values. The culture produced from unbelief is not neutral; it is depraved. As Mark Snoeberger notes, “Cultural neutrality is a myth and culture is hostile toward God; just as man is individually depraved in microcosm, so also culture is corporately depraved in macrocosm.”...
Word is going around that the city of Houston is issuing subpoenas for sermons to see if they criticize homosexuality.
Is it true? Who knows. It could be. It might not be. Like a lot of stuff on the internet, it might be overblown. Like a lot of the stuff on the internet, it may be entirely true.
But here’s the question: Why is Houston using court resources and tax payer resources issuing subpoenas for things that are publicly available?
If they want the content of these sermons, can’t they just show up at church? Or download them from the internet?
But it seems like Christians like a persecution complex and tend to go into crisis mode at the drop of a hat. So it’s a great time to note that the end of the world is almost here.
I think if I were a pastor in Houston, I would invite the people charged with this task to come to church and hear it first hand. I speak publicly several times a week, and to be frank, a lot of what I say is not in my notes, and a lot of what is in my notes never gets said. So getting my notes is no guarantee that you will get what was actually said. Not to mention that my notes often contain the opinions of...
The Minnesota Baptist Association recently hosted a panel discussion on the future of Baptist fundamentalism. You can read a summary of it here, or listen to it at … well, nowhere. Apparently, technology hasn’t reached all the way to Minnesota yet.
I heard they actually had the technology but the hamsters got tired of running fast enough to power the generator. But that may be just a rumor as well. Perhaps the participants all decided it would be better to have no audio in order to maintain some plausible deniability. You can always claim you were misquoted, unless the pesky audio exists somewhere.
Of course I digress. Some of these people are my friends. At least they were. But I find the topic interesting and, if the write-up is indicative, the panel discussion seemed interesting as well.
So what do I think of the future of Baptist fundamentalism? Thanks for asking.
I have a few thoughts, which you may have suspected if you have made it this far.
First, I wonder how the lack of agreed upon history affects...
At first, here’s an interesting interview about work and productivity from Stephen Dubner, the co-author of the very interesting Freakonomics. Habits and patterns of work are increasingly important to me. They probably should be for all of us.
At second, here’s a much needed article on Preaching and Piety. Too often, it seems like the beauty of the gospel is being used as a cover for sinfulness. The pastoral qualifications still mean something other than being able to exegete, assemble a message, and deliver it. We should take them seriously.
At third, Andy Naselli links to an article about unmarried couples making out. Andy, in his usual helpful way, highlights a few key points....
Short answer: Biblically, no; practically, perhaps.
Long answer: The public ministry of the Word is sometimes divided into preaching and teaching, with various ways to distinguish between them. Adams (Adams 1982, 5‑6), Zuck (Zuck 1998, 39‑40), and Dodd (Dodd 1980, 7‑35) distinguish between preaching (κηρύσσω and eὐαγγελίζω) and teaching (διδάσκω) in terms of the audience. In this view, preaching is evangelistic activity among unbelievers while teaching is the work of moral or ethical instruction among believers. For Dodd, in particular, the distinction is related to the content, rather than the act of preaching itself (Dodd 1980, 7‑8). Singley (Singley, III 2008, 45‑46) and Prime and Begg (Prime and Begg 2004, 125; cf. Anderson 2006, 93‑94) distinguish between preaching and teaching in terms of intent or goal. In this conception, teaching has as its goal the communication of knowledge whereas preaching has as its goal the movement of the will and emotions to respond to the truth communicated.
While these distinctions may have practical value, it seems doubtful that they can be rigidly sustained from Scripture since the various words used do not...
Resource materials from 2014 Mid-America Conference on Preaching, “Striving Together for the Faith of the Gospel,” are now available for free download. Included are audio recordings (mp3) from all general sessions and workshops, as well as printed notes (pdf) from the workshops.
Last year we were jolted when the Supreme Court struck down one of the central pillars of the “Defense of Marriage Act,” effectively releasing whatever brake was still restraining same-sex marriage. This week we moved one step closer to trouble for our churches when a lawsuit was leveraged against a pair of Idaho ministers who operate a wedding chapel and refused to accommodate a same-sex couple.
No, the situation does not involve a church (it’s a commercial wedding chapel) or pastors (it’s a mom and pop ministerial team peddling their wares); still, the threat to our churches just slid closer. Pastor, are you ready? And is your church ready? If not, consider the following:
In the midst of Paul’s argument for the bodily resurrection of believers, he offers a proverb: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” (1 Cor 15:33). At first it seems a bit out of place—why would Paul be concerned about who the Corinthians are hanging around? Isn’t his focus on what they believe? Paul’s point is that your associations can influence what you believe, and what you believe influences your behavior. That’s one of the reasons why God instructs his believers to practice separation. A failure to separate from false teachers can lead believers to be corrupted by that false teaching—even if they currently have their doctrine correct.
In a sermon on this passage, Alistair Begg gives his pastoral exhortation to believers who do not separate from false churches, urging them to apply this verse.
If you hang around with these people who say there is no resurrection of the dead, although you think there is, you’ll start to believe just as they do. And when you start to believe as they do, then you will start to behave as they behave. And he said “I want you to understand it, bad company corrupts good character.”
The Mid-American Conference begins this Thursday, October 16, at the Inter-City Baptist Church, 4700 Allen Road, Allen Park, MI. The theme is “Striving Together for the Faith of the Gospel.” The speakers are:
A few weeks ago, Mark Snoeberger had a post arguing that in the matter of salvation, especially the issue of regeneration, there are only two possible options, which he labeled as Calvinism and Arminianism. As might be expected, there was some push back to the idea of this two-option-only proposal. Mark also alluded to an ongoing series of blog posts on this issue titled “Why I’m Not a Calvinist…or an Arminian,” which is currently up to five parts. I would like to try and reinforce the point that Mark was making.
The real issue comes down to the question of who saves us. Does God save us, or do we, with some help from God, save ourselves? That’s rather stark, so let me expand upon that. What I mean, and what I’m trying to get at, is who is the ultimate decider in the matter of our...
I recently discovered that Southern Seminary makes available free PDFs of many of the PhD dissertations (and some ThM theses) that students have successfully defended there.
These students have spent years working on these treatises, and some of the theses are outstanding (e.g., David Schrock’s on definite atonement).
I wish more schools did this. I just added over 70 of these PDFs to my Zotero library.
I just happily added The Center for New Testament Textual Studies NT Critical Apparatus to my Logos library.
From the resource’s introduction:
Welcome to the CNTTS textual database. The database is presented in the form of a textual apparatus that includes as much of the textual data as possible. The base text is that of the 3rd edition UBSGNT. The sources for the manuscript readings are given below, but in brief come primarily from our own collations with some information also derived from the works noted below. Part of the ongoing work is to verify the information derived from others by means of our own collations.
Work began on this project in 2000, with some foundations having been put in...
“Flesh and Spirit.” Tabletalk 38, no. 10 (October 2014): 22–24.
Vern S. Poythress. Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014.
Here’s what Poythress calls “The Real Problem with Gambling” (pp. 279–81):
The preceding appendix has analyzed a number of gambling systems by which gamblers hope to “beat the odds” and make a killing. We could consider still more systems. In each case, careful calculations of the probabilities show that the gambler will not win in the long run. In fact, in casino games the probabilities are always stacked against the customer, so that in the long run the casino consistently takes in money from every form of gambling that it offers on its premises.
The calculation of probabilities is a form...
James M. Hamilton Jr. With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology. New Studies in Biblical Theology 32. Downers Grove: IVP, 2014.
The book of Daniel contributes to the Bible’s unfolding redemptive-historical storyline.
Like a plug in an outlet, the book joins itself to the Bible’s broader narrative, and, as the currents course through, the light of revelation shines on the way things will go until God brings about the promised consummation (see chapter 2).
The literary structure of the book of Daniel (chapter 3) demonstrates that the biblical authors used wide-angle strategies to communicate (cf. chapter 9). The books of the Bible are like cathedrals, with...