Monthly Archives: October 2007

Luther and Reformation Day

Today is All Saints’ Eve, Halloween and, most importantly, Reformation Day. Several newspapers, including the L. A. Times, have noted the significance of this date in Western history. (The year 2017 will mark the 500th anniversary.) I think the celebration of the Reformation is making a slight comeback in many of our churches over the past few years. There seems to have been a 25 year movement away from identification with our heritage in many evangelical Protestant circles.

The Rev. Nathan P. Feldmuth, professor of medieval and Reformation history at Fuller Theological Seminary, noted in the L. A. Times article that "The Reformation is about the centrality of Christ in the life of the individual and centrality of the word of God in worship. At the heart of the Reformation is the doctrine of justification by faith—meaning people are saved by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, not by good deeds."

Most people know that there were serious doctrinal debates in the Reformation era that have shaped Church history and practice ever since. People also know about corrupt practices in

By |October 31st, 2007|Categories: Reformed Christianity|

Understanding Four Views on the Lord's Supper

My new book, Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper, was released this week by Zondervan. A link for Lifeway Christian stores (in a pdf file) will let you see the book and also provides a good description of it. You can order it from our Web site for $12, plus shipping, or from any major store or online source. The book seeks to answer numerous questions about the Lord’s Supper and includes a Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran and Roman Catholic contribution. I honestly do not know another book like it, especially since we included the Catholic view of the Mass. I believe it fosters both good biblical thought and the right measure of helpful ecumenism. I hope you will agree and I hope you will read it.


By |October 31st, 2007|Categories: Biblical Theology|

The Biggest Businessman in Johnstown, PA

The Wall Street Journal ran a front page story today on the U. S. Congress and the leaders in pork spending. The biggest pork producer in the entire country is none other than peace-advocate John Murtha (D., Pennsylvania). Said the Journal, "If John Murtha were a businessman, he’d be the biggest employer in town." Murtha has used his power and influence in Congress to create thousands of jobs and steer billions of federal dollars into his hometown in Western Pennsylvania. Whether it is money to recover from flooding or money to cover for the loss of steelmakers the people of Murtha’s district can count on John to bring home the pork. He clearly delivers. And this guy is shameless. He gets a lot of this pork from spending bills for the military budget. In the new military-spending bill before Congress Murtha channels more money to his district than other other member of Congress. Does anyone besides me see the plain as daylight hypocrisy of this man?

Make no mistake about this. Your dollars, regardless of where you live, benefit John Murtha’s district

By |October 30th, 2007|Categories: Politics|

Someone Else Has a Negative Perspective on Charlie Weis

I have written several blogs about Coach Charlie Weis of
Notre Dame. My lack of respect grows the longer I watch this terrible season for
the Irish unfold. (You know things are desperate in South Bend when they “hope” they can beat Navy this week at home
and they are only a slight favorite by all the betting odds!) I am not alone in my strong response to Coach Weis. Consider this recent article by Jonathan Chait, a senior editor at The New Republic, posted at Slate.com. I think he is right on target myself.

Weiss will likely survive this one very bad season. But if there is not real improvement next year, and that includes beating a few ranked or credible teams, he will very likely be gone. Remember, his record against ranked teams is very bad regardless of what he does this season. The school will very likely buy out his long-term contract at the end of next year, a contract they never should have given in the first place. Then they can find a much better and happier fit

By |October 29th, 2007|Categories: College Football|

Reformation Sunday

I preached this morning at Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Newport Beach, California. Today was Reformation Sunday, since it is the closest Lord’s Day to October 31st. I made my message fit the occasion. My stress was on the uniqueness and sovereignty of Christ as revealed in Colossians 1:15-23.

There are those who think that we should no longer celebrate the Reformation since the doctrinal truths of the 16th century do not matter any longer. Then there are others who suggest that serious ecumenism means we should give up our Protestant confessions and positions so that we can stop the feuding. On the far right there are those who are convinced that nothing has changed in the Catholic Church at all since the 16th century, at least nothing really important. I disagree with all of these responses.

I am of the mind that the Reformation should still be celebrated as a great time of renewal and awakening in the life  of the Church. I also believe that important biblical truths were regained and some were discovered from a fresh engagement

By |October 28th, 2007|Categories: Reformed Christianity|

The Red Sox Were Clearly the Team of 2007

When all was said and done the team that played the best all season long was crowned the World Series champion tonight. Boston started strong, held off the red-hot Yankees down the stretch, came from behind down 3-1 to knock out Cleveland, and swept the hot Colorado Rockies in four. You can’t do more than they did. They dominated the baseball season in impressive fashion. Now maybe my friends who are part of the Red Sox nation will at least cut me some slack. Congratulations. The Sox had the better pitching, the better bullpen and the clutch hitting to win all year long. They deserved to win as much as any champion in recent years.

I failed to mention, and some Sox fans reminded me, that this team does have some big salary free agents but it also should be noted that some of the heart and soul of this championship team came up through the Sox farm system. Hand it to them, the dreaded Yankees spent a lot more money than the Sox and still did not have the patience to

By |October 28th, 2007|Categories: Baseball|

Wealth and Inheritance: How Shall the Godly Respond to Passing on Affluence?

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full.

Proverbs 8:17-21

The biblical wisdom literature makes it abundantly plain, as does the rest of the entire Bible, that it is God alone who grants both wealth and blessing. There are numerous ways to get wealth but the way of godly gain is by seeking God, and the way of his righteousness, alone. And those who are given wealth by God will usually have an inheritance to give at the end of their lives. This is summed up quite well in these words: “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors as it is today” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

By |October 27th, 2007|Categories: Wealth|

Bishop N. T. Wright Misses the Mark on Terrorism

Readers of this site know that I have huge respect for the biblical theological contributions of Dr. N. T. Wright, the esteemed bishop of Durham (Anglican). Wright is one of the finest biblical scholars in the world. Readers should see his books on the gospels, Jesus and Paul. Though there are areas of biblical interpretation with which you can disagree with Wright, for sure, no current writer is saying more that is so vitally important to biblical theology.

Some years ago we did a two-part interview of Wright in our quaterly journal, which is no longer published. In that interview Wright revealed some of his post-9/11 ideas politically and I chalked them up to his "Britishness" at the time. As I have continued to read him I have grown more and more distressed by his very unbalanced thinking about nations, social theory and public policy. Because a man like Tom Wright is genuinely brilliant in one area does not mean, in any case, that he is universally brilliant. Wright demonstrates this plainly in his most recent comments about the war on terror

By |October 26th, 2007|Categories: The War on Terrorism|

Wise Thoughts from William Wilberforce on Culture and a Great Evening in Orange County

My friend David Bahnsen, a member of the ACT 3 board, hosted a lovely dinner last evening in Orange County. With all the fires and mayhem here I wondered if those who committed to the dinner would actually come. Every single confirmed person showed. About 20 of us enjoyed a great meal together and then David introduced me to his friends. I spoke for about 45 minutes, telling my story and how I came to where I am today as the president of ACT 3. I told the guests that I hoped to write more in 2008—articles, blogs and books—and that I wanted to promote ACT 3 Forums that would allow genuine Christian ecumenism to take place in public events that would foster our missional emphasis for the whole Church. I have in mind to host dialogs between Muslims and Christians, Christians East and Christians West, Emergent and Non-Emergent Christians, etc. These events would be video taped and made accessible to multitudes of people. I also want to host several smaller meetings where dialog can take place around important biblical subjects, like our upcoming

By |October 25th, 2007|Categories: Culture|

Abortion and Shades of Gray

Michael Medved is an intelligent, engaging Jewish conservative. He began as a movie critic but is now a popular author, Right Turns, and talk-show host. His classic tag line line, on his the radio show, is that America is still: “The greatest nation on God’s green earth.” Some of my younger friends would find this signature statement corny, or even offensive. Like any simplistic slogan it can be faulted but in the end I like it because I agree with it. Tell me a place that is better, as a nation of laws and true opportunity, on God’s green earth than the United States of America? Tell me where freedom has brought so much blessing and so much prosperity? Michael Medved also regularly expresses a very high regard for Christians and for our Judeo-Christian culture. On top of that he also believes that a Christian revival is the long term hope for America. I’ve heard him say this more than once!

In the Wednesday (October 24, 2007) issue of USA Today Medved contributed The Forum, an

By |October 25th, 2007|Categories: Abortion|
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