Sunday, April 27, 2008

T4G 2008 Conference Audio (New Podcast Player)

If you weren't able to attend the Together for the God 2008 conference (neither was I), there are many good web resources that can help you get a feel for what the conference was like. Even better, allow you to listen to the messages of the conference. In a previous article I pointed you to some of those resources.

Now you can listen to all the 8 main speaker messages, and the six panel discussions in one convenient place-- right here on Jordan's View! Just click on my T4G 2008 Podcast Player!

Be Blessed in Him,


Saturday, April 26, 2008

James White vs Steve Gregg on Calvinism: UPDATED

Listen to all the debates right here, on Jordan's Podcast Player!

Updates: Day 4 and Day 5 of the Steve Gregg vs. James White Debates on Calvinism are now available, plus a Debate Wrap-Up segment. Carla Rolfe has been following the debates and offers interesting observations.

James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries has been engaging in a 5 day series of debates with Steve Gregg of The Narrow Path, on the subject of Calvinism (HT: Carla Rolfe). I've never heard of Steve Gregg before, but noticed that he has many MP3 teachings on various subjects at his site.

I've have sometimes heard it said that we're all born Arminians (that is, by nature, everyone is more inclined to believe Arminianism than Calvinism). But apparently-- I've not yet had the chance to listen-- Mr. Gregg opens the debates by claiming that only someone trained in Calvinism will be able to find it in the Scriptures and that otherwise, one coming to Scripture would find it neither Arminian nor Calvinistic.

In response to this claim I have read several testimonials from around the web of Calvinists who say that this wasn't their experience: rather it was through the reading of Scripture alone that they came to embrace the doctrines of grace.

Personally, I came to believe in the tenets of reformed teaching by re-examining Scripture passages that reformed teachers were pointing to. As I meditated on these Scriptures I became convinced that the Calvinist reading of them was both correct and true.

In any case, I think that one's personal experience in these matters is not the critical issue. Do the Scriptures lend their support to the Calvinist argument or to that of the Arminian? I think one can determine these things from one's own reading of Scripture. Also it seems to me that Arminian objections tend to have a strong emotional base-- that is, they think Calvinist doctrines like unconditional election and God's absolute sovereignty over all things necessarily makes God both arbitrary and despotic. How can God, who is supposed to be Love, create beings He knows ahead of time will spend eternity in hell? I admit that I don't have a full answer for this, but I plan to examine this issue in a soon-to-come post.

Coming back to the debate between White and Gregg, here are links to MP3s for the first 3 sessions of the debate:

Day 1 of the Steve Gregg vs. James White Debate
Day 2 of the Steve Gregg vs. James White Debate
Day 3 of the Steve Gregg vs. James White Debate

At his site, James White has also examined Steve Gregg's teachings on Calvinism in a number of earlier programs:

Archive to all the Critiques on Steve Gregg

Friday, April 25, 2008

Widgets Overboard!

Some may have thought I was going "overboard" with widgets here on Jordan's View. Well, now I've thrown "overboard" a whole bunch of widgets; made them "walk the plank", as perhaps Jack Sparrow might say. I guess these widgets weren't that essential since now that I've dumped them I can barely remember what they were. Anyway I believe the blog is now uploading much more easily, though the last two enhancements I added-- the one that turns each article into a podcast you can listen to, plus the green "share" button-- still manage to slow things down a bit. But it's certainly loading better and faster than it was just earlier today.

I've also been tweaking what I previously titled the "Reformed Podcast Player" and am now calling "Jordan's Podcast Player". I've changed the colors and added fresh audio-- just click and you can easily listen to the 5-part debate on Calvinism between James White and Steve Gregg that I mentioned in a previous post. I'm going to try to add I have added all the recent "Together for the Gospel Messages" to the player T4G 08 Podcast Player so that you can listen to all the messages in one convenient location. I've also brought this podcast player to a more prominent place on the blog, because I think it's especially important to bring to readers' attention the strong, interesting excellent teaching/preaching going on in reformed circles nowadays, that we may all be challenged and edified. Feel free to recommend any messages or preachers-- now that I've finally figured out how to quickly add messages to the player, I plan on keeping it updated regularly.

Plus, if you go to this site you can subscribe to this "Best of Reformed Podcasts" feed, or, get the flash player for your own site.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Widget Overload?

Well, I have been noticing lately how long it sometimes takes to upload my blog page, what with all the widgets I've accumulated and added over time. For those who have visited Jordan's View and given up because it was taking way too long to upload, my apologies. I'm often frustrated too when the widgets don't work or slow things down. It may be time to trim some of them away...

Tonight it seems there was problems with vodpod (which powers the Jordan's Video section) and also Clustermaps (the little graphic down at the bottom right that shows what countries visitors to Jordan's View are from), so page loading was especially slow.

Anyway, thanks to all the new visitors who had the patience to load up the blog and read the articles. You're the best.



Monday, April 21, 2008

How to Get a Reformed Education for Free Online

I bet you were thinking-- what other cool reformed stuff can Jordan come up with? (OK, so maybe you weren't thinking that, but throw me a bone, huh?)

Anyway I have added today yet another scrolling link list to the Reformed Theology section in my sidebar. It's a section titled "Free Reformed Christian Classics (Old and New)" and contains numerous links to great classic, contemporary (and best of all, free) resources for your study and edification.

Many of these books are required reading at reformed seminaries, and because they are in the public domain, you can read or download them online for free!

Among the links are two that recommend particular books to read as a way of gaining a seminary-level education at home. One of these links, Sound Advice for Studying Theology at Home I have already recommended to you. Another link is a Recommended Reading List from Reformed Theological Seminary-- this list contains books that the seminary recommends one reads (after the Bible and the Westminster Confession) "in preparation for the seminary journey".

I hope that you'll find something here for your edification. Reading and studying these works will not of course earn you a degree from a reformed institution, but you will be getting a good reformed education.

Here's the list so far (will be expanded as I discover new resources):

# A Body of Practical Divinity by Thomas Watson
# Confessions of Saint Augustine
# Creeds Confessions and Catechisms
# De Servo Arbitrio “On the Enslaved Will” or The Bondage of Will by Martin Luther
# Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen
# Historic Baptist Documents
# Holiness by J.C. Ryle
# Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
# Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers by John Owen
# Online Books by John Piper
# Outlines of Theology by A.A. Hodge
# Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
# RTS Recommended Reading List
# Sound Advice for Studying Theology at Home
# Summary of Christian Doctrine by Louis Berkhof
# The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther
# The Creeds and Confessions of Christendom
# The Plan of Salvation: Five Lectures Delivered by B.B. Warfield
# The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
# The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter
# Why I Believe in God by The Rev. Cornelius Van Til, Ph.D.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Great Free Reformed Seminary Resources!

In the course of doing preliminary research on reformed seminaries to attend, I have come across many helpful (and usually free) resources. For example, Desiring God Ministries (John Piper) features two articles recommending particular reformed seminaries and also distance education opportunities.

In my Reformed Theology sidebar section, you'll find a scrolling link list titled "Seminaries and Education (Reformed)" that includes these article links, as well as links to many reformed institutions.

But what I really want to bring to your attention today is the fact that there are high-quality free seminary course materials one can subscribe to, or download, from such well-regarded seminaries as Reformed Theological Seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary or Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. These resources were already available here on Jordan's View in the Christian Teaching section under "Free Seminars, Seminary and Christian Courses".

But to make it more convenient to listen to the free lectures provided by these reformed schools, I have created the following tabs at my Netvibes Universe:

On these pages you can click on a link to listen to or download any lecture title. I find this a more convenient way to listen than using an iTunes subscription, which requires downloading each file.

Additionally, there are excellent reformed ministries that provide top-notch training materials at low cost. Reclaiming the Mind Ministries/The Theology Program aims to offer "comprehensive and in-depth theological training for lay-people", and provides inexpensive and/or free versions of their materials. I have enjoyed reading Parchment and Pen, the prolific blog of C. Michael Patton, president of Reclaiming the Mind Ministries and a Calvinist teacher/writer.

Third Millennium Ministries, an Evangelical Christian parachurch ministry in the Reformed tradition, has Richard L. Pratt, an adjunct professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, for its president. Its mission is to "equip church leaders in their own lands by creating a multimedia seminary curriculum in five major languages in fifteen years." The materials at this site may also be purchased at modest prices and/or downloaded in free versions.

As one strongly considering entering seminary, I really appreciate the availability of these outstanding free resources, which I am beginning to utilize in preparation for more formal training. I hope this article also helps others find and make use of them.

Other Good Resources:
Dimensions of the Faith at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Free on-line theological education program)

Sound Advice for Studying Theology at Home

Doctrine and Theology (Audio and Multimedia links at

Biblical Training

Friday, April 18, 2008

Together for the Gospel 2008- Resources and Coverage (Updated)

UPDATE, 4-26-08: Now you can listen to all the main session messages from Together for the Gospel 2008 right here on Jordan's View. Just go to Jordan's Podcast Player the T4G 08 Podcast Player in the left sidebar, and click on the message you want to listen to.

The Together for the Gospel 2008 Conference is happening this week. With great reformed speakers like John McArthur, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, John Piper, Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney, RC Sproul, and Thabiti Anyabwile preaching, I would have loved to have been there. But the live-blogging coverage provided by Tim Challies, plus the free audio resources being made available at the Sovereign Grace Ministries website, is the next best thing.

Audio Resources: Together for the Gospel 2008 (right-click to download)

General Sessions:
Sound Doctrine: Essential to Faithful Pastoral Ministry (Ligon Duncan)

Bearing the Image: Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church (Thabiti Anyabwile)
The Sinner Neither Able nor Willing: The Doctrine of Absolute Inability (John MacArthur)
Improving the Gospel: Exercises in Unbiblical Theology (Mark Dever)
The Curse Motif of the Atonement (R.C. Sproul)
Why Do They Hate It So? The Doctrine of Substitution (Albert Mohler)
How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice (John Piper)
Sustaining a Pastor’s Soul (C.J. Mahaney)

More Free Audio Resources- Together for the Gospel (T4G) Conferences
T4G Media- 2008/2006 Conferences

Tim Challies' Live-Blogging Coverage:
T4G - Welcome & Ligon Duncan
T4G - First Panel Session
T4G - A Welcome from Mark Dever
T4G - Day One
T4G - John MacArthur
T4G - Mark Dever
T4G - Day 1 Photos
T4G - Bearing the Image
T4G - R.C. Sproul
T4G - Discouragement in Ministry
T4G - Day 2 Photos
T4G - John Piper
T4G - Day 3 Photos
T4G - The Importance of Books

Video Coverage:
Speaker Highlights
T4G Conference Reflections

British Coverage:
The Blue Fish Project (David Bish)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Web 2.0 Enhancements at Jordan's View

Hey friends,

I love trying out new web technologies that add practical value to this blog. From the beginning, I envisioned this blog as not only a place to communicate Christian truths through articles, but also as a web resource center. So the idea was to create links in my sidebar to point people to excellent web resources, and have those links organized according to categories. Thanks to ingenious hacks developed by technically-minded folks like Stephen Webber at Singpolyma Technical Blog and Hans at Beautiful Beta, I have been able to enhance features on my blog in ways I desired, but would never have been able to figure out on my own. For example, the sidebar link mentioned above were converted to mostly scrolling lists that one may show or hide, just by clicking on the title.

In addition, thanks to improvements Blogger made to its platform after being acquired by Google, I am able to categorize all posts easily, using their "labels" system.

Then there are the more "Web 2.0-type" enhancements I've added, such as the Jordan's Video section powered by vodpod that lets me share videos, or the Music Live Video Collection (powered by YouTube) I added at the bottom of the blog that lets me share favorite music video performances.

The web 2.0 enhancements continue this week, with the addition of a "Share" button next to the title of every post. This button comes courtesy of madKast. Clicking the button brings up a pop-up that allows readers to easily bookmark the post using their preferred service, or send the article by email to a friend. And today I have added a "Listen" button (powered by Odiogo) that when clicked allows you to hear a podcast of the article being read. Other options are to download an MP3 version, or subscribe to the Jordan's View podcast. What's really amazing is that the work of creating these podcasts was done entirely by Odiogo-- all I had to do was set up an account and provide my feed information. The voice that reads the articles is automated, yet sounds pretty human and is mostly clear and understandable.

So if Jordan's View is taking a bit longer to load these days, please do be patient. I think these latest features are worth the little extra time it takes to load the blog.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Calvinism or Bust!

I wrote not too long ago and asked, what is all the fuss about Calvinism? In that article, I was commenting on the contemporary resurgence of Calvinism in America as a way of introducing reformed theology to those who are perhaps new to it or just curious. Recent articles in the blogosphere continue to examine the "revival" of Calvinism. In Why Reformed? Nathan Pitchford presents five reasons he thinks reformed theology has caught on, especially with a younger generation.

I also mentioned recently Scott Lamb, who in his review of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists (the book by Collin Hansen that expands on his original article in Christianity Today), questions whether the resurgence of interest can really be viewed as a widespread movement, and warns that believing one's own press clippings is not a good direction for the reformed movement to follow. Nathan White at Shepherd the Flock also comments on these happenings in his article Reformed revival not as good as it seems, noting that "even though numbers [of Reformed] are tiny compared to other more mainstream movements," nevertheless, "Reformed influence is bringing a sort of 'sanctified’ influence upon many conservative, American Christians/ministers."

A few months back, Tom Ascol had posted an interesting article examining some Southern Baptists' reaction to the rise of Calvinism-- Southern Baptist Evangelists lament the recovery of Calvinism-- and he critiqued their stated concerns and observations about Calvinism's rising influence as being mostly inaccurate.

Of course, if a movement becomes popular enough that there's money or fame to be gained through it, the dangers of greed and lust for power arise and threaten to corrupt motives. Is it really likely though, that this movement would appeal to the masses in the way the health and prosperity message has? Probably not. But a doctrinally sound message, that is bold by its uncompromising adherence to Scripture, will appeal to those hungry for "meat" in their theology, substance in their preaching and a more serious discipleship. May reformed leaders and teachers remain true to preaching the truth of God's powerful gospel, come what may, popular or not.

Monday, April 07, 2008

How Do We Know the Will of God, Part 2 (The Way of Wisdom)

One reader expressed irritation with my recent article How Do We Know the Will of God: "Experientially" or through Scripture? (I'm not sure if he thought it was too long, or just off-base, or both). Then he said, seems to me that the approach you are prescribing is the common sense approach than anybody ought to know to do - even if they believe God regularly gives specific direction. The problem only arises when you say that a common sense approach ought to supersede and eliminate the possibility of God speaking in a more direct sense. It's such a blanket assertion, and it's hard to support from scripture.

Just for my own curiosity, can you supply just one example from scripture where a person is praised for deliberately avoiding direct direction from God, or condemned for seeking it? Because you can find tons of examples of the opposite, and it begs the question of when and why did things switch.

I think that these are good and challenging questions, to which I'd like to respond. At first I was going to reply in the comments section, but then realized that if he thought my article was overly long, what would he think of a page-long response in the comments section? But seriously, I think it would be more beneficial to address the questions raised in a new article. So here goes.

First, I wouldn’t necessarily describe the approach to God’s will I’m talking about as merely "common sense". I think that, yes, "common sense" is involved in making good decisions, meaning, one should use one’s intelligence in making choices. But the critical thing for Christians in discerning God’s will is His Word, because that is His revelation to us, and tells us what He thinks and commands (which may or may not always agree with our "common sense"). So basically I concur with the reformed view that says God’s word is sufficient to instruct us in everything we need to live godly lives that please God. Thus we don't necessarily need to hear an extraordinary "word from the Lord" in order to make good choices.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

James Montgomery Boice, in an article titled "the Sufficiency of the Word of God", wrote:

[The Bible] is what God has given us to indicate how we are to live and what we are to do to please him. All we need is in the Bible. So if there is something we want or think we need that is not in the Bible— what job we should take, who we should marry, where we should live— it doesn't matter what we do as long as we are obeying what God teaches about living a godly life. That doesn't mean that God does not have a detailed plan for our lives. He does. He has a detailed plan for all things, ordering "whatsoever comes to pass," as the Westminster Confession of Faith has it. But it does mean that we do not have to know this plan in advance and, indeed, cannot. What we can know and need to know is what God has told us in the Bible.

Second, I do not think that the approach to finding God’s will I’m talking about necessarily "eliminates the possibility of God speaking in a more direct sense". God can do whatever He wants at any time to communicate with His people. But the question is, how does He usually communicate? What is normative for today? In the Bible there are examples of God giving direct supernatural guidance to a very select group of people over a period of hundreds of years. The frequency of these direct revelations is sporadic, and aside from the select group, the Bible doesn't record that the majority of God-followers were getting personal revelations from Him. So this mode of hearing from God it would seem was not the norm but the exception. Besides, the direct revelation seen in the biblical examples is qualitatively different from what is being talked about by Eldredge and teachers along his lines. As argued in the previous article, the biblical examples reveal direct, supernatural, unmistakably-from-God revelations that came externally— via prophetic utterances, audible voices, angelic visitations, visions. These were not given in response to requests for guidance, but initiated by God to give special instructions to His people. This is certainly not equivalent to the "hearing from God", mystical approach Eldredge and others advocate, which seeks guidance for life decisions by "listening" for God to speak via internal hunches or impressions. The former is objective and God-initiated; the latter, highly subjective and initiated by human beings.

My reader asked for an example from Scripture "where a person is praised for deliberately avoiding direct direction from God, or condemned for seeking it."

The challenge made here though, misses the point: in biblical examples showing God speaking directly to people (e.g., Noah, Moses, Isaiah, Peter, Paul), we're not told that the persons involved were seeking direct revelation from God! But once they received the apparently unsought but direct revelation from God, they were obviously expected to obey it. A quote from Gary Gilley may be helpful here:

While God chose to occasionally give special leading to a few of the important New Testament leaders, we never find those individuals seeking such guidance (or being commanded to do so). Peter was sleeping on a roof, Paul was headed to a different country, Philip was involved in a preaching campaign. All of them were busy serving the Lord when the Lord chose to redirect them. As a matter of fact, the last time we find an example of God’s people seeking His specific will is in Acts 1:24-26 with the choosing of Matthias to be an apostle. And here they do not hear the voice of God, or even feel a prompting but rely on a game of chance. It is altogether questionable to me that the right decision was made through this methodology. Later Christ would handpick Paul as Judas’ replacement, leaving little room for Matthias to be part of the Twelve (emphasis mine)

The question of whether it's right or wrong to seek "direct direction" from God depends on our motives and our method. What we are really seeking, when we ask God to directly speak to us? Such seeking would be wrong if we're asking God to reveal secret information that He has not promised to reveal (Deuteronomy 29:29). God doesn't function in the believer's life as a kind of cosmic fortune-teller, revealing future events so we can plan accordingly. When we ask God to reveal secret information about the future, information He hasn't promised to give and forbids us from seeking, in effect we're practicing divination, which is indeed condemned in Scripture.

But if what we mean by seeking God "directly" is that we're humbly seeking His wisdom so that we can make choices that honor Him, yet not necessarily expecting an audible voice to speak to us from heaven, or even a strong inward impression, then I think we're approaching the guidance issue more biblically.

The Way of Wisdom
Of course, we ought to seek God and His will for our lives, but how are we instructed to do this? This is where I think the "way of wisdom" approach described by Garry Friesen and others provides a practical, biblical model. We should pray for wisdom (James 1:5), and of course, search out and obey the wisdom of Scripture to apply its commands concerning God's revealed moral will (Psalm 19:7-11, Psalm 119). We may seek the counsel of godly, mature, experienced persons (Job 12:12, Proverbs 11:14, 24:6). Knowing God's providential care for us, we can consider opportunities that present themselves as perhaps pointing towards His will in particular decisions we face. Yet as we seek God’s will through all these means, we should also understand biblically how God will communicate His answers. Should we be expecting God to reveal the future to us? Again, James 4:13-16 takes it as a given that creatures do not and cannot know the future, and that therefore our plans and choices are always contingent on God's sovereign control of all of life. Ecclesiastes 7:14 makes a similar point, saying "In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him." These verses teach that as we plan our lives and make choices, we must trust God in His providence, rather than proceed as if we can chart out a perfect course based on our presumptions about what lies ahead-- for how can finite creatures who don't know what tomorrow will bring devise perfect plans for the future? The implications of these verses, I believe, rule out an underlying assumption of the "hearing from God" approach- that we will be able to "hear" from God so clearly as to know exactly what to do, because we're getting direct, "inside" information from the God who knows all. I think these verses say "no" to such an idea. Only God knows the future, and that's the way it's supposed to be.

Or because God spoke to a relatively small number of people in the Scriptures directly and supernaturally, does that mean believers today should expect to hear from God in the same way? Again, the advocates of the "hearing from God" approach aren’t even saying that exactly— they're saying God speaks to us primarily through direct, supernatural, internal promptings. But when we look to the epistles written to instruct the church on the critical matter of knowing and doing God's will, do we find anything that resembles this teaching-- that we should be expecting to hear God speak to us directly via inner guidance? There are individual verses that perhaps sound as if they could support this view, but these are commonly misinterpreted (see Gary Gilley's article, God's Will, Lost or Found - Part 2). In the New Testament, God's will is sometimes:

  1. What actually happens, as guided by the providential hand of God- (e.g., Romans 1:10, 15:32; 1 Peter 3:17, 4:19) ;
  2. Moral directives--what God commands and desires His people to do (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 4:3,5:18; 1 Peter 2:15,4:2; 1 John 2:17).

Guidance for the Decision of Marriage
It is revealing to see the instruction the New Testament gives for what is certainly one of the most important decisions in life: whether or not to marry, and how to select a spouse. According to Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 7, we have liberty to marry or to remain single-- neither is a sin. If the "hearing from God" approach were one advocated by Scripture, here is one place especially you would expect to find Paul saying a believer should not proceed with marrying a particular person unless (or until) he or she received strong inner confirmation that "this is the one". But Paul's counsel to believers is not that they wait for a special word from the Lord that will tell them whether, and whom, they ought to marry. He advises believers that they have freedom to make a choice, and that each person ought to take into consideration their own God-given gifting and desires, so that they may decide whether being married or staying single is best in terms of maintaining "undivided devotion to the Lord". If one chooses to marry, they may marry whomever they wish, so long as that person is a believer (1 Corinthians 7:39).

Finally, my reader had said "... you can find tons of examples of the opposite, and it begs the question of when and why did things switch." I'm not quite sure what was meant here, especially the first part of the statement. If it is meant that you can find tons of examples of people seeking direct revelation from God, we've already shown that in the biblical examples the ones who received direct revelations from God were not in fact seeking them. Perhaps the meaning here is that many received direct revelation in Bible days, so why shouldn't that be the case today? I would agree that there are a number of examples in both the Old and New Testaments of God speaking directly to certain people. However, as already stated, I would qualify this by noting that it wasn't "tons" of people who were getting revelation of this kind, but a select and relatively small group of God-followers. And again, these revelations were not given given by God in response to sought after guidance about God's will, but mostly God chose certain prophets to reveal in an unmistakable manner His plans, vision and agenda for His people.

So has God's way of communicating to His people indeed changed since the coming of Jesus Christ and completion of the New Testament? Bob DeWaay writes,

The teachings of Jesus Christ are contained in the New Testament and constitute the further divine revelation that Moses promised when that new "Prophet" came. These writings are authoritative and combined with the Old Testament constitute "the revealed things" (Deuteronomy 29:29) that belong to us. This is the limit of authoritative, divine revelation. Prophecy in the New Testament is not adding to authoritative revelation, but exhorting from it and applying it. Just as the Old Testament prophets (except Moses) were not law­givers but law-appliers, so are the "prophesying ones' in the New Testament. The other function of Old Testament prophets was to inerrantly predict the future of Israel and her Messiah. Since the One to whom the prophets pointed has come and spoken in full and final revelation, that role no longer exists. All the prophecies about the future that we are allowed are already contained in the Bible (from The Dangers of Divination by Bob DeWaay)

DeWaay's argument to me is very convincing. If the full and final revelation of God is found in Jesus Christ, and if the New Testament is a Spirit-inspired record of all of the teaching of Christ and all other instructions that are authoritative for the Church, then of what value are so-called prophecies that may be inaccurate? Or how can we ever be certain that our inward impressions concerning God's will are really God speaking? The way of wisdom approach is much more helpful, since through it I can make decisions I know are pleasing to God (because they abide by His teaching) and at the same time, trust that God is working providentially in all my choices. The "hearing from God" approach leads to second-guessing myself, as I question if I really heard from the Lord and try to judge this by whether subsequent events prove my choice a good one. But in the way of wisdom I can fully rest in God's providence after I've made a decision, so long as I know from Scripture that the choice was not against God's moral will.

I think it very fortunate that we have such fine teaching resources available to us on this topic of God's will, through men like Friesen, DeWaay, and Gilley, among others. I recommend to all the following articles for further study (some of the links also were provided with the previous article):

Overview: Principles of Decision-Making by Garry Friesen

God's Will and Christian Liberty- Explaining God's Revealed Will and God's Providential Will by Bob DeWaay

God’s Revealed Will- Understanding God's Boundaries by Bob DeWaay

The Problems with Personal Words From God- How People Become False Prophets to Themselves by Bob DeWaay

Contemporary Christian Divination- The False Claims and Practices of Christian Mystics by Bob DeWaay

The Lord Told Me – I Think! by Gary Gilley

Guidance and the Voice of God by Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne-- a review by Tim Challies

God's Will Lost or Found, Part 1 by Gary Gilley
God's Will Lost or Found, Part 2 by Gary Gilley
God's Will Lost or Found, Part 3 by Gary Gilley
God's Will Lost or Found, Part 4 by Gary Gilley
God's Will Lost or Found, Part 5 by Gary Gilley

Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen- A book review by Greg Gilbert

Recommended Books on God's Will (Way of Wisdom Approach)
Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View
Guidance and the Voice of God
Decisions, Decisions: How (And How Not) to Make Them
Discovering God's Will

Garry Freisen's reviews of books on God's Will

Previous Article in this Series
How Do We Know the Will of God: "Experientially" or through Scripture?

Religion in the Public Square-Debate: Should Religion Have a Place in Politics or Government?

On March 6, 2008, The Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia sponsored a lively and fascinating debate on the resolution: "Religion should have no place in politics or government", as part of the National Discussion and Debate Series.

Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Jacques Berlinerblau, Associate Professor and Director of the Program for Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, spoke in favor of the resolution. Chuck Colson, Founder and Chairman of Prison Fellowship Ministries, and Bishop Harry Jackson, Senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church, argued against it. Evan Thomas, Editor at Large of Newsweek, moderated the debate.

At the link above, you can watch the debate in its entirety, or download video or audio of the entire debate Transcripts of the debate and a question and answer session are also available.

Facebook Online Community: National Discussion and Debate Series

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Blips on the Blogosphere 15

Young, Restless, Reformed...and So What? Scott Lamb reviews Colin Hansen's book, "Young, Restless, Reformed" and asks whether the surge of Calvinists today really represents a major influence/trend in Christianity, or if it's mostly a minor, "in-house" phenomenon. He raises good points about how those in the reformed camp should view their own "movement".

Al Mohler's articles look at trends in society and culture with keen insight, and from a reformed Christian perspective. In Marriage and the Glory of God Mohler reminds of that the biblical purpose of marriage is not primarily personal happiness but rather is a vehicle for developing personal holiness, to the glory of God.

And in Digital Natives and Digital Nomads -- New Tribes of the Internet Age Mohler reminds us that today's young generation, for good or bad, are children of the Internet, and that ministry in our age and into the future must appreciate this.

HERE A "CHRIST," THERE A "CHRIST," EVERYWHERE A "CHRIST-CHRIST"! A kind of spirituality that is "New Age" in its ideas has made its way into the church, and one of its biggest deceptions is presenting Christ not as the God-man who is Lord of Creation and to whom we must answer, but pointing people to the "christ" within themselves. Thus everyone is supposedly "indwelt by an immanent christ-spirit" by which the individual may realize their own "divinity". Read the above article for further insights on this phenomenon.

Book Review - "Still Growing" by Kirk Cameron
An autobiography by Kirk Cameron is reviewed by Tim Challies. With all the unfortunate models we have of celebrities whose fame and success ultimately proves to be their undoing, it is refreshing and inspiring to see one man's turned around for good by the power of faith in Jesus Christ.

How Do I Fit Rewards into My Grace Centered Theology? A Theology of Rewards
Michael Patton begin an interesting discussion about the theology behind rewards in heaven. Is the ability to performs works that earn us rewards in heaven (not works towards salvation of course), empowered by God's grace alone? Or is working for rewards properly seen as synergistic, so that one's efforts here on Earth is the determinative factor in the size of one's heavenly rewards?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Blips on the Blogosphere 14

Should We Really Call It a "Quiet" Time? "Quiet times" is a common "Christian-ese" phrase that refers to time one spends alone with God, in the Word and prayer. David Powlison, guest-blogging on Justin Taylor's blog Between Two Worlds, thinks the phrase may not be entirely apt, considering that God may want us to shout rather than be quiet during such times. Interesting reflections and helpful suggestions. See also: Hearing, Praying, and Speaking the Word by Justin Taylor.

6 Reasons Pastors Should Blog
These six good reasons why pastors should blog, posted by Abraham Piper, son of John Piper, seem to me to be also appropriate reasons for anyone involved in ministry to blog.

Let’s Talk About Sex—Or Not
The always interesting Dan Edelen talks no-nonsense about sex. Or does he?

The Last Evangelical in America
Joe Carter talks about why he's simply unwilling to give up on the term "evangelical".

The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity I stumbled upon this site and then realized that the Mark Greene who is its Executive Director is a friend I used to go to church with! God seems to be really using this man in the UK.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Facebook Group: "League of Reformed Bloggers"

Dear "reformed" friends, brothers, sisters and comrades:

Are you seeking a place to connect with like-minded "reformed" men and women? People who would affirm that the doctrines of grace provide an accurate biblical portrait of salvation? Do you enjoy reading reformed blogs such as Pyromaniacs, Adrian Warnock, CampOnThis,, Alex Chediak, Jollyblogger, Josh Harris, Together for the Gospel and others? Are you looking perhaps to join in conversation about these great doctrines with other believers, in order to learn more? Do you want your own life and ministry to grow in the grace of God as you apply these doctrines to your life? If so, joining my new Facebook group, "League of Reformed Bloggers" might help.

The group aims to "establish a network of bloggers of a "reformed" theological persuasion-- to interact, encourage, exhort, discuss, debate, and work together to spread the gospel. The name of the group comes from a similar network that bloggers Adrian Warnock and David Wayne began on the web." (Mr. Warnock and Mr Blayne are being invited to participate).

What are you waiting for? Establish a Facebook account, if you don't have one already, and please do come and join us!