- The Reformed Pastor
- My real name is Charlie Albright. I am the pinnacle of evil who God has flooded with His mercy. Declaring my sinful self righteous and holy in His sight! Lavishing His grace upon me by the blood Jesus shed on the cross! Carrying me through this life and giving me satiatfing joy! Anything good about me is only because of His grace!
Monday, April 28, 2008
Antipathy is sometimes showed so clearly against substitution that you cannot miss it.
Atonement, Objective, Subjective
Objective: Centered in the fact that God’s disposition towards sinners must change
Subjective: The key issue is the sinners disposition to God. Something inside the sinner must change toward God.
If we hold to the objective we will see the subjective. The subjective is always determined by the objective.
The dividing line is clear, That a holy God who must demand a penalty for sin and provides a penalty through His Son who meets the full righteous demands of the Father and satisfied the wrath of God. If not we change the atonement.
This truth is reaffirmed in the reformation and growing Protestantism.
There is a growing rejection of a need for an objective atonement
Theories of the atonement: (J I Packer)
1. The cross has it effect on humanity
2. On hostile spiritual forces
3. For God’s hostility towards sin.
Number three contains one and two.
Refer to three different problems
1. Humans problem is that they are trapped by hostile spiritual forces
2. Humans need to know that God loves us.
3. God’s righteous wrath against sin.
Penal substitution is a belief for all evangelicals.
A denial of a penal understanding is never alone. It has a system of ramifications in all fields of theology.
This controversy is across the Christian world. But it is more focused in those that want to change the whole of theology.
Four lager groups of objections to substitution,
We have misunderstood the scripture in whole or part. We have the whole bible story line wrong:
(1) It is a misconstrue of sin. It is a self induced pain Wrath.
(2)Where ever wrath is mentioned it is the natural out working of sin. It comes with its own consequences.
(3)Sacrifice. The animal was not being punished. It is a model but was not a objective. The Bible did not require sacrifice. Disobedience brings about alienation.
(4)Is. 53. The language has to been properly understood. Suffering alongside us, not for use.
Prophetic expectation. Isaiah was not looking for one that would pay for sin but one that would free.
(5)NT, OT. Reading categories in the OT text from the NT.
(6)Words of Jesus. In the NT we have no direct access because he never wrote anything. (denial is always connected to other doctrine)
(7)We miss the message of Jesus which is non-violence.
Some say, the Bible does teach it, but we are not going to believe it.
The central objection is the view of God. His holiness defines his love.
Walter Wink: "The soul message of the cross is the victory is non-violence over violence."
1. Sounds like God wanted Jesus to die.
2. We needed to be changed towards God not God towards us.
3. At the cross we meet, not wrath, love and educational experience.
4. God is not a God who punishes sinners, but a God who is merciful.
We can forgive wrongs against us, but we cannot atone for them.
1. Divine Child abuse.
2. The OT is wrong in the sacrificial system and Christ died to end it.
3. Marital abuse is from penal substitution.
1. Not compelling to today’s people. People don’t view themselves as sinners.
2. To individualistic.
With the denial rejection of penal you open the gospel up in inclusivism. Under cuts eschatology, no hell. Undercuts the church.
1. The cross is central to Christian preaching
2. There is always more to the cross than one concept can bare.
3. There is no way to modify the gospel with out repudiating the gospel
4. Gospel deals with sin.
5. A therapeutic age demands the therapeutic answer.
6. Penal is the only adequate explanation for God being loving and merciful
7. We have been to individualistic.
8. Sinners need to here the truth and be saved from the wrath to come.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The gospel according to the Bible: God is fundamental. His creation, our plight, God’s solution by sending his Son. Him redeeming the creation.
Gal 1:4,We must keep the truth of the gospel clear. There are new challenges that rise against the gospel in every culture. They say that the gospel we preach is reductionistic. Just focusing on the message of Christ, they feel, is not giving full weight to what we should preach. However, we are not reducing it, we are is preserving it.
The threats that we face today.
A misunderstanding of what the church’s responsibility and the individual responsibility can reek havoc.
Five cries that people raise.
1. Make the gospel Public:
What is the gospel about? To transform the culture more than individual salvation. We are not instructed to directly instruct the lost on how to do culture. It is the effect of instructing Christians to live out the gospel. Only the return of Christ will bring the kingdom of Christ here on earth.
How much do we see the kingdom here on earth?
Confusion is created when we confuse transforming the culture as the main mission of the church or of the gospel.
Realize that the gospel given to us is a unique message that has been entrusted with us. We must make a distinction between the gospel and other things we hold to be true. Acts 8:12. The result of preaching of the kingdom of God is that people are baptized. Unchristian do not do kingdom work. When you add an “and” to the gospel, then you confuse the gospel. Evangelism is the priority. Works of compassion are part of a Christian’s life but they are not the gospel. Never substitute good works for the preaching the gospel.
2. Make the gospel larger.
Did Jesus come only to save our souls? What is at stake from this question is the core of the gospel. The people who make this cry think through the gospel worldview. However, implication of the gospel are sometimes referred to as part of the gospel. They agree with the gospel but want to add more.
Non-Christians can hold good moral positions but that does not make them Christians. We must not misunderstand what a Christian is. We must not misunderstand what the gospel is and what its implications are. Our good deeds only commend the gospel if the gospel is already there. Should distinguish the between the life produced by the gospel and the gospel itself. 1 Thess 2:8.
If we confuse the gospel with social issues, what do we do with Christians that don’t agree with our social Christians?
3. Make the gospel relevant.
How will people be saved? Some see the gospel as irrelevant to people today; so, we must follow Paul and contextualize the gospel.
Beware, a concern for evangelism with no ties to important theological truth leads to theological liberalism.
Shouldn’t our lives other than our weakly services draw people?
Seeking just one group does not show the uniting power of Christ.
We should contextualize the gospel. There are external ways to preach the gospel. We do this, not for our own comfort or the comfort of the sinner. One way to see if you are reaching people is to see the offense the gospel brings. If human skill can bring people in the church, then greater human skill can take them out.
4. Make the gospel personal.
Are we saved alone? Some people only see salvation as individual and not as part of the church. our participations either validates or falsifies our claim to preach the gospel. What does salvation mean? Are we saved alone or through the local church. People have gifts to serve a local congregation. However, the church is just one means to grow spiritually, but it can be left out if needed.
Some see the church as a plural form of Christianity. It is just made up of individual Christians. Being vague about the church can hurt the gospel.
The audible gospel is to be displayed by the visible church. Our life is to be live congregationally. The church is a furnace that produces more light. The very reason the world exist is that Christ may have a bride and show His glory to her.
5. Make the gospel kinder.
This people say, the ultimate goal of the gospel is the greatest good for the most people. So God wants to save the most people that he can. Reaching is not seen as them hearing the gospel but making people saved.
This is a root of the other problems. This tries to justifies God before the eyes of lost people as a kind. God is about the most glory of Himself. All that exist, exist for His pleasure.
Rom 9. God does what he does to make Himself known. Eph 3:10. We should want to see people saved, for there good, but more so for God’s glory.
Defend the gospel! The gospel is not merely about social issues but about eternal issues. Keep the gospel clear! Free from distortions. Don’t try to improve it!
Monday, April 21, 2008
The doctrine of inability is the most attacked doctrine. It is the most attacked because it is the most despised.
It is the most distinctive Christian doctrine.
Because good works are the foundation for all other religions, Total inability is the most attacked.
People know that they are evil but will not see the evil in there good works.
Man is so sinful that he makes other religion.
There are so many evangelical spokes people hate the doctrine of Total depravity.
Church growth strategies are against this doctrine.
Every group that minimized this truth has strayed.
Total depravity is the historical doctrine of the church.
If you drop into the world today you would think that it is new because of the prevalent view of “free-will.”
What is the Bible’s teaching on this doctrine?
Usually in the language of death.
This is a condition that effects everything in the person.
So powerful that no sinner, unaided by God, can over come it.
Preachers don’t realize that what the sinner wants is the last thing God wants to give them
Eph. 2: 1-3. We have inherited a corrupt nature from Adam (Rom, 1 Cor). Sinners by birth.
Col 2:13. God commands and life comes.
John 1:12-13. Salvation is the work of God.
John 3:3-8 (8, it is up to the Holy Sprit. He moves when he wills)
(In none of these texts Jesus never defends the sinner’s will.)
Rom. 8:7-8. The sinners is unwilling to come to Christ.
1 Cor 2:14.
2 Cor 4:4-6. (4)It is a compounded blindness: flesh, world, Satan. (6) it is the divine miracle to give light to the blind.
Total Depravity: You can only sin. You cannot please God savingly. It affects you totally.
The contemporary idea is that there is some residual goodness in sinners.
Arminian Theology: The sinner must make the first move. Then God will move.
Depravity: The sinner can’t and won’t move.
In regeneration we neither move or cooperate.
2 tim. 2:25.
Historical of rejecting this truth:
The heart of old liberalism.
Don’t want to be about doctrine
Want to just live like Jesus.
Destroyed the church.
Church Growth movement.
(never present Jesus as the one who will meet the fallen sinner’s wants)
A Biblical approach destroys the sinner’s self-centeredness.
Never appeal to what enslaves the sinner to try and save him.
“Soft preaching makes hard people”
Never change the message according to cultural conditions.
The hearts of sinners are always the same. All need the same message.
Be Meek, be humble.
So, one should be as humble as those who preach the gospel. We are the only group that can take absolutely no credit for what we do. We can only take credit for what we fail at. We are only clay pots.
Be faithful to understand that the condition of the sinner is one that you can never change by anything you do.
The heart of the sinner never changes. The means of God changing the heart has never changed.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
We live and minister in a an age that thinks that it is anti-theological.
Doctrine is for delight.
Truth is for Growth (Matt. 28:19-20) Jesus says to teach them everything that he ever taught them. Teach them to live it out.
1 Tim. 1:3-5. The first thing in the greatest pastoral work is this: not letting people teach or listen to false doctrine. Because our charge is from faith. Good theology worked deep into our heart by the Holy Spirit produces a life of love.
1:8-11. Life is explicitly tied to doctrine. The true life is to be in accordance with the gospel. The gospel is tied to the life of the believer.
Titus 1:1. Your knowledge of truth is vital to your holiness.
Truth Matters. We must meet this Port-modern reversion petition by celebrating doctrine. We must bring the substance with the Bible theology We ought to out live and out die the critics of theology.
1.The very ideas of theology are under dourest in our time. There are many evangelical that would call into question the need of theology.
All around us we hear, “deeds not creeds.” “We need a to be more concerned with narratives.” People dislike theology because theology can kill. Six million Jews died because of bad theology. The basis for Tolerance is that theology can kill you. Scott McKnight: (1) the Bible is a story. (2) language cannot contain God. The Bible is not a story narrative. We must put the story together. The objection that language cannot contain God cannot be found in Scripture. It is found in an alien philosophy.
Biblical theology: looks through the Bible and sees the development of theology.
Systematic theology: what the Bible says on a specific issue. We do it when someone ask the question, “what does the Bible say about this.”
2.Show you from Scripture that systematic theology is necessary, important and unavoidable.
We cannot escape doing theology. Everyone is a theologian, the only question is, “are you a good theologian or a bad theologian.”
Luke 24:24-27. “the things concerning himself.” Jesus did a topically and systematic study of the Messiah.
Acts 18:27-28. “showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.”
Acts 17: 2-3. Paul doing the same thing.
Romans is divided systematically.
Systematic theology is not the produce of alien philosophy.
3.What doctrine is important for.
Doctrine is for God’s glory. Romans 11:32-36.
For our assurance. John 15:15. Why was it important for Jesus to teach election. After disciples forsake the Messiah the only assurance that they will have is when they remember the fact that Jesus, seeing all there faults and knowing what they would do, chosen them.
For Marriage. Eph. 5:25. The NT will point us to the cross and will give us commands because of it. The Atonement informs your love for your wife.
For Joy. Phil 3:1.
Theology is for life!
It was very nice to see Agent Tim for the little time that I did. But with Tim coming to Boyce in the fall I know that I will see more of Him. I was disappointed that I did not get to see Aspiring Theologian there, but I do eagerly a wait to read his takings from the conference if he posts them.
I have class in about 15 minutes, so I do not have much time. I will be posting the notes from most of the messages. Because the battery life of my laptop is not the greatest I took meager notes on Thabiti and R. C.'s messages on paper. Which, of course, are some of the best messages of the conference...(That would have to be the case right!)...But I do apologize for that.
You can, actually, download all the messages from the conference for free from here.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
First off is the Band of Bloggers. Three hours before the main conference started there was a gathering of bloggers at the Galt Hotel (the site of the first T4G). There we had lunch and listened to a panel made up of well known bloggers. It was a question and answer format where a moderator ask the panel questions then let each one give an answer. Then, after that, people in the audience were able to ask the panel questions. On the panel was Abraham Piper, Thabiti Anyabwile, Phil Johnson, and Tim Challies.
(Note: These are not direct quotes (I cannot take notes that fast!) but the general ideas that they were getting across. If it is a direct quote it will be in parenthesis.
Also, Two things other things: (1)These are not all the questions either, just the ones I was able to make good note of. (2)Some answers are not in full. Meanings that I would miss a point here a there in the whole discussion. But what I do post reflects what the person does say.)
The first set of questions were asked by a moderator,
Q: What does it mean to blog as one that has been redeemed?
Piper. He was reminded of the parable of the talents and ties it in that he has been given a stewardship with his blog. Specifically, what he as a blogger has been entrusted with is the gospel. In our posting we are not to bury the gospel. In fact our blogs should be gospel flavored.
Anyabwile. What we discuss on our blogs should be saturated by the gospel. In our blogging,“the blood should leave its stain.”
Johnson. Echoed Piper in that blogging is a stewardship.
Challies. The shadow of the cross should be over everything.
Q: (1)How does your salvation shape your blogs? (2)Why do you do what you do?
Challies. (1)Saved is who he is, so he likes to talk about it. (2) Book reviews. No one else was reviewing books for the purpose of testing its soundness theologically.
Johnson. (1)Salvation shapes his thinking so everything has a connection to the gospel.(2)What he does on his blog just depends what is going on in the week.
Anyabwile. Love and burden for the church. Yet, he tries not blog about issues that pertain to his local church.
Q: Controversy on the bloggersphere. (1)How do, or should, we handle this and (2)the temptation to use it to increase readership at your blog?
Challies. (2)Just like more money will not satisfy, more readers will not satisfy. (1) Always check your heart. It is a good idea to sit on a post for a day if it is controversial.
Johnson. The dominate issue is not controversy. We need to discuss hot button issues to think through things. But we need to be balanced and not just focus on stirring or getting into controversial subjects.
Anyabwile. (1) There are two things to keep in mind on this issue. First, we need to keep the main thing the main thing. Yes, there are hills to die on, thus we get into controversy. Number two, we do not to seek controversy on secondary issues.
Piper. We need to think about the way we go about doing controversy. Are our arguments actually causing those we disagree with to think and notice the soundness of our arguments? Or are we just being congratulated by our own circle of friends when we make a point on a comment?
Q: What do you do to hold yourself accountable?
Johnson. He has accountability with other bloggers. If he gets a email from a well respected person that he should not have posted such and such then the post probably should not have been posted. His wife, also, reads over all his
Challies. The members of his local church continually talk to him about his blog.
Question from the audience:
As pastors that are mainly responsible for the flock entrusted to you, how you manage that task and blogging?
Anyabwile. Blogging is completely unnecessary. If need be it could be dropped instantly.
Johnson. Your calling as pastor is your main responsibility. Blogging should never be a threat to that responsibility.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I got early with Alex to help setup for the Band of Bloggers. Stuffing bags with the books that differnt publishers are giving away. They have the list at the Band of Bloggers Website if you want to see what I am getting :)
We get a lunch at the Band of Bloggers meeting and get to hear a panel discussion from some well known bloggers. I will post the notes sometime. (I don't know when I will find the time during the conference, so it may be up after it finishes)
The first T4G session does not start until 2:00.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Driving down here I listened to John MacArthur on contentment. It was a message I needed to here. (What follows is the blend of MacArthur's message and my thoughts. If there is anything profound here, it is probably from MacArthur, directly or indirectly.)
We live in a culture that constantly bombards us with the message that life should be better. Every time you turn on the TV you here the messages: "you need this product," "your are not beautiful enough," "this idem will increase your standard of living to where it should be." MacArthur was right, the degree by which we are told that we should be discontent is as great as it has every been.
What this message does is feed our already fleshly desire to be discontent. Our selfishness pushes us to demand certain "rights" that we think we have. When areas of our lives to not attain to our idea of a happy life we feel offended. We believe that we deserve what we envision what our life should look like. (Of course if we go by what we deserve, we should all be in hell!)
The Christian life, however, is not to be one in want. On the contrary, as the Psalmist say, "The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want," (Ps. 23:1). God wants His children to be in a sate where they reside with satisfaction and joy, no matter the circumstance. "Because your steadfast love is better than life,my lips will praise you," (Ps. 63:3). No matter what happens in life the steadfast love of the Lord should proves more satisfying. A satisfaction (which is another way of saying contentment) should permeate a Christian's walk.
Contentment is a satisfaction in God that a Christian possess that transcends the circumstances of life. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice,"(Phil. 4:4). Rejoicing is not a action that one is suppose to do when he feels like it. Feelings have no regard in the matter. Instead, we are commanded to be in a constant state of rejoicing. There is to be a satisfaction underlining our lives that produces a flowing river of rejoicing. Even in the mist of sorrow, joy is to be seen (2 Cor. 6:10a). Gladness is a defining characteristic of the Christian.
How do we receive this contentment? I know that I do not have it in full. There are many times that I am not satisfied with my circumstances. MacArthur walks through the book of Philippians to see what are the characteristics of this contentment:
1. A content person is one that not focused on his own wants or needs but is focused on imparting the gospel to other people's lives.
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. (Phil. 1:12-18)
Paul was under arrest when he wrote this epistle. He was not in best of circumstance. On the contrary, He was imprisoned for his faith.
Yet, with him being in such a circumstance he does not focus on what he does not have. Instead, he says is, "this imprisonment is working out for the best." Why could he say such a things? He did not have any freedom. He would not have the best of living conditions. If his goal was to live a simple live and get by with good things he should feel destituted. But just to get by is not his goal. His goal is to make the glories of Christ known throughout the world. His thoughts to not dwell on himself but on the mission to proclaim Christ to the heathens. Even though he did not have much, he lived according to what drove him. What drove Him was to preach Christ crucified.
It was not just the material things that he went without because of the gospel. He laid aside his own honor for the proclamation of the gospel. In verse fifteen we read about some ministers that would preach Christ in hopes of becoming more famous than Paul. They wished to afflict Paul by thier work. What was Paul's response to such harsh and undeserved actions? "Christ is proclaimed, I am satisfied." This is being sold out for a mission! It does not matter what harm you are doing to me, as long as my Christ is brought before sinners I am happy. Paul is not concerned with himself at all. He is totally fixated on his mission and his calling given to Him by Christ. His own wants are of little too no concern in his own mind.
I think it is just mind rocking to see how the apostle Paul deals with personal attacks. People constantly attacked him and tried to discredit his ministry. Yet, if you watch Paul, He never retaliates against the attacks that will do him harm. He will just sit there and meekly take unjust blows against himself. However, if a person moves his attacks from the person of Paul and onto the message of Paul, then there are words spoken in return. If one dares to try and bring discredit upon the gospel they will meet the broadside of Paul. That is what Paul is concerned with. Not himself but on Christ's glory shown through the gospel.
Back to the text, we see that that a content person sees his task in delivering Christ's message to people. Whether they are lost or saved. He wants to Christ magnified in people's lives. The gospel, not himself, is the concern.
That hits me deeply. I ask myself, "What drives me?" Is in a passion to see the gospel become manifest in some one's life? Or is it just to have good things? Is it to get the wife, get the house, get the children, and have a minister that I look back at with satisfaction? Or is it to give my life away to turn people's eyes on to Christ? Do I look to see where Christ can be proclaimed when I am with out freedom, food, wife, or any other physical position? Or do I sit around and fret because I do not have? What drives me?
This gets into the transcendent part of my definition of contentment. When I am driven to see Christ gloried in people's lives, material possessions are subdued to fulfill that purpose. So without or with, I am to look where the message of Christ can be to someone.
Hopefully I will get to the other points during the week. If not soon.
2. The content person knows that Christ is near.
3. The content person goes to God with thankful prayers.
4. The content person saturates his mind with Godly thinking.
5. The content person learns from a godly example.