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T4G Video Challenge on YouTube

Well, not really a ‘challenge’ per se…but since the Tube has become MUCH bigger since the first T4G back in 06, I figured a few of those planning on making the trip might as well use all this technology for something….

Here’s my intro video.  If you’re planning on heading to T4G, leave a response video on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/v/w_nTLZDaMS0 

See you at T4G…..

I’ll be there. 🙂 Leaving home around 11pm-2am to make the nice 9 hour drive down to Kentucky. Sunrise should catch me at the West Virgina-Kentucky Border, I think.

Pray for a safe drive for me – going and coming back home.

In addition, for those who don’t know, I twisted my hair about a year ago….so I’ve got dreads hanging off of me.

Pic here from Oct. 07 with me, Rachel from CA and John Piper:

http://pics.theologicallycorrect.com/displayimage.php?album=17&pos=41

Look forward to seeing all the old faces there, new faces as well as people I’ve been eChatting with for years, but never met in person.

and Frank, you’re not stealing my dessert. :)  If you need it that bad, I’ll give it to you, friend. 🙂

T4G 2008 and Band of Bloggers 08′

I’ve been buried underneath of grad school stuff so much recently that I haven’t had a chance to even talk about my anticipation of attending Together for the Gospel 08‘ and Band of Bloggers 08‘. They’ve added Thabiti Anyabwile as a speaker, which was (in my opinion) an excellent choice.  I don’t think they would’ve went wrong with either Sherard Burns, Voddie Bachum or Anthony Carter as well.

I’m currently reading Thabiti’s latest work, The Decline of African-American Theology.  If you haven’t seen it, check out the links to reviews for it on Thabiti’s site.  Nice historical overview of how the black church has ended up where it currently is as well as a good review (historical and theological) of where it came from.  I’m not that far into the book yet, but it is excellent and easy reading for whatever level of understanding you’re at in terms of theological discussion.

Off to sleep for a bit.  The days are running shorter (especially since I *LOSE* an hour with daylight savings time this weekend….).

Announcing: Fourth Friday Fundamentals!

Blending Christ-centered lyrics and rhyme schemes, expositional preaching, sound Biblical doctrine and fellowship among the saints, a few dedicated brothers have banded together to bring Fourth Friday Fundamentals to the Baltimore area. The site is available at FourthFridayFundamentals.com.

Roughly patterned after First Friday Fundamentals (sponsored by Epiphany Fellowship in Philly), FFF stresses four things:

1. The Holiness of God

2. The Sinfulness of Man

3. The Problem of Man’s Sinfulness in Light of God’s Holiness

4. The Solution to the Problem: The Gospel

Hit the media page up, check the first two messages (which actually cover these first two topics!).

If you’re in the Baltimore area on this coming Friday ( 2/22/08), drop in. We’d LOVE to have you. Directions to the event (held at Believers’ Chapel in Baltimore, MD) are on the site.

Pass the word and tell some friends!

SuperMegaBlogUpdatePost.

Okay, it’s been beyond forever since I’ve taken the time to blog. Some of you have thought I’ve fallen off the planet.

I’ve been through a few changes over the past few months. I’ve learned that some message boards are not the best places to have conversations and exchanges. I’m supposed to actually step completely back from posting on HCR for a while. A little difficult to do as an admin, but not impossible. Just going to take some discipline. Thank God for good brothers in Christ who are willing to tell you the truth about how you’ve been acting.

HCR is just like any other situation in life….if you constantly keep interacting with people who seek to do nothing but argue with you and make you look bad….you end up looking bad. I understand Paul’s admonition to avoid divisive people after a second warning. The temptation is always to respond back in the same fashion as those who attack you and what you believe.

Case in point – someone posted once asking for Calvinistic resources. They were seeking to understand reformed theology from a reformed perspective. Some guy who is a non-Calvinist pops in the thread and posts a link to some mess by Dan Corner, Bryson or one of the myriad reformed-bashers out there.

Well, I laid into dude and told him he was only out to cause confusion and that his post was symptomatic of most Calvinist-Arminian discussions on HCR. Arrogant and full of himself and wanting to cause an argument. He posts a bit back on how I came at him wrong (yes, imagine that….LOL) and how he just posted the link because he found it helpful and wasn’t trying to start an argument.

Now anyone paying half a bit o’ attention will notice:

1. It’s a thread asking for Calvinists to post links to Calvinistic resources.

2. The resource and the poster were both non-Calvinistic. With a smiley doing the ‘eyebrows raised’ thing with a sneaky smile, I might add.

Now, under normal circumstances, this could’ve been handled a lot calmer. But experience this for weeks on end…indeed, MONTHS on end… and you wear thin. Over the past few months, I’ve had random heretic vs Kerry arguments with folks, people re-asking the same questions, people doing things to cause arguments, people posting things to misrepresent reformed theology (taking advantage of the fact that some people on HCR don’t like to read anything long….) and spent hours on end typing up responses in defense of reformed theology, the Sovereignty of God, the Trinity and host of other issues including the usual defense of myself (since virtually every single attacker usually resorts to attacking me personally instead of dealing with the issue of whether or not Calvinism is taught in scripture or not).

So bad temper and ‘meanness’ start to show a bit more…even when you seek to sound ‘nice’ in the process. There’s a whole ‘snowball’ effect, because one or two people treat you like dirt (yes, they don’t notice their own attitude, actions, motives and sin…only YOURS….) everyone else joins in. You then move to defending yourself and in the process of typing many words, you encounter a Proverbs 10:19. And even if you don’t directly become sarcastic back to some of these folks, your attitude becomes one of defense and attack instead brethren to brethren.

I’m not saying all of HCR is bad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, there are a lot of GOOD people there. But HCR is a snapshot of a lot of ‘the church’ today in America. But it’s always a few bad apples that spoil the bunch.

I ain’t leavin’ the place….but I just won’t be ‘there’ as much. I’ll be investing my time elsewhere…. or mostly elsewhere (also including here, but mainly on another project coming up).

Guess I’m just needin’ sometime to detoxify like I did back from November to March. All the daily arguments and back and forth wear you down.

In Better News…..

I flew to Sacramento for the Desiring God regional conference on the Pleasures of God. For those who haven’t read the book, Piper has chapters 1-3 up online. Good taking a new picture with him and seeing him again. I have the pics up in my photo album along with others.

Cali was good. It was a good feeling to kinda be away from home and visit somewhere new. I got to hang with Rachel, Olivia and Jessica for the conference and then later on Saturday in San Francisco, got to hang with Jeff and Claire too. Good peeps all the way around. Jeff caught this cool pic of me walking on the beach (Ocean Beach in San Francisco) right after sunset and his photography was beyond excellent. I need to e-mail him again and get all the pics.

There may be a few more things to write about one day.  I’ll let you know when the manifest themselves.

Work and grad school remain constant busy factors in my life.   Just waiting for a small break to happen soon, though I know that pretty much won’t come until Christmas break weekend.

Another ministry opportunity has arisen (the other reason I need to refrain from arguing needlessly on the internet with people who aren’t really interested in truth, but mainly just winning an argument….) and in the interest of keeping the reputation of my church clean, the reputation of myself clean and the reputation of the ministries I’m associated with clean,  I’ll be focusing my energies on blogging and articles.  I can get more done with a few good articles than with going back and forth with someone who really could or could not be legitimately asking a question.

On the Album Front….

In wisdom….BlackCalvinist is still BlackCalvinist in most of the blogsphere and on the internet.  But on the upcoming album, expect to see my new name: G.R.A.C.E. Preecha.  Those of you who’ve been reading this blog know that the only thing that’s changed is the ‘Black’ part of my old name. ;)   As soon as I get done re-vamping my music sites, I’ll be posting a release date for the album (which will now be January or something near to it….since the namechange requires re-recording 1-2 songs…..).   But the good news is that I’m done with every song for the album (as far as concepts go).  I have a little production to do for 1-2 songs, and a few 2nd and 3rd verses to write, along with finalizing my guest spots.   After that….. it’s academic.  I also figure it’ll give G.R.A.C.E. Preecha a bit of time to get things in order and people a bit of a chance to realize it’s me over the old name.

There are a few evangelistic things I plan on doing soon as well.

All things in due time.  Keep me, ministry, friends, school, work, ministry at church and my personal walk in prayer.  Colossians 3 is where I’m currently ‘stuck’.   There, 1 & 2  Timothy and Titus again.

In CA at the DG RC….

That’s “In California” [Sacramento to be precise] at the Desiring God Regional Conference on the Pleasures of God.

🙂

Pray for me to get rest and get back to MD safely.

That is all. 🙂

T4G- Article I and Article II: Commentary

Yeah, bout time I got to this. :)

Article I
We affirm that the sole authority for the Church is the Bible, verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible, and totally sufficient and trustworthy.

We deny that the Bible is a mere witness to the divine revelation, or that any portion of Scripture is marked by error, incompleteness, or the effects of human sinfulness.

Article II
We affirm that the authority and sufficiency of Scripture extends to the entire Bible, and therefore that the Bible is our final authority for all doctrine and practice.

We deny that any portion of the Bible is to be used in an effort to deny the truthfulness or trustworthiness of any other portion. We further deny any effort to identify a canon within the canon or, for example, to set the words of Jesus against the writings of Paul.

Nothing new in Article I’s affirmation that we haven’t heard – even in some charismatic circles that elevate their experiences (supposedly) with God to an equal level with scripture (pragmatically, not intentionally…in some cases). What’s significant here is the denials:

We deny that the Bible is a mere witness to the divine revelation

“God is still speaking today…..just like He spoke to His prophets of old”, says one pastor.

Oh really ?

Daniel Philips of Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church in Cali made this GREAT observation during his sermon on 2 Tim. 3:14-17 entitled “On What We Stand”. After mentioning that the Bible is ‘utterly unique’, he says (and this is a rough transcript – the original audio is linked above and begins around the 18 minute mark):

I think that some things are unique by a thin margin and some things are unique by a large margin. The Bible is unique by a broad margin. There is NOTHING like it. There is no other ‘word of God’ in writing other than the Bible. It is UTTERLY unique. The trouble in modern Christendom is that we water this down with a phrase that we use too much and use in error; it’s very common for people to say very casually “Well, the Lord told me….” and then they quote some hunch, feeling or experience that they had and say it was the Lord talking to them.

“Well, the Lord told me to buy this stock.”
“Well, the Lord told me to go into gas station the other day.”
“Well, the Lord told me I shouldn’t watch tv show.”

You know, that statement isn’t used in the bible – EVER – except to mean
the very words of God that you can write down and put in your Bible
we use it all the time. There is a very mischeivous part of me that, without exception, wants to stop folks and say “Wait a minute, wait a minute! – I want to make sure I get this in my Bible! What was it that the Lord told you that is not in my Bible, I want to write it down….I guess that’s what the blank pages at the back of the Bible are for ? For all the things He kinda keeps mumbling and insinuating and nudge-nudge-wink-winking at us today ?”

The trouble with this is that when we give these feelings, hunches and experiences we have and say that this is God talking to us, the real God talking to us is brought down to a lower level as we exalt our experience to that same level. Instead, we ought to just say “I had a feeling, I got an idea, I had a hunch, I had a notion”….or better still, “I was dwelling on this scripture and my thought went this way….” But if you ever this phrase around me and it’s not a quotation from scripture, expect at least a raised eyebrow…and probably more than that.

Now I can say “The Lord told me to love my wife like Christ loved the church.” God did tell me that. It’s in His Word. God did tell me to work as to the Lord Christ, because it is Him who I serve. God did tell us that in His Word. There’s a great deal more that the Lord told us.

The trouble with this, though, is that with this trivialization with God talking, we make the Bible LESS of a special thing – when really, the speaking of God is a HISTORY STOPPING EVENT. It’s “drop everything and listen to THIS!” That’s what scripture is.

In October of last year, I posted my now semi-famous The Bible As the Word of God- For Christians! entry which covered a lot of this same ground. I mentioned to one of the people I was in dialogue with that “This is the problem that a lot of folks who claim ‘God still speaks the same way He did in the OT’ must deal with. The standard you’re comparing yourself to is TOO HIGH and the authority you’re claiming for YOUR INDIVIDUAL DREAMS is that they are ON THE SAME LEVEL AS SCRIPTURE. See, in the OT, God’s prophets wrote SCRIPTURE. They were His direct agents and representatives and spiritual leaders on earth – so much so, that even disrespecting them warranted death (2 Kings 2:23-24).

An extensive ‘dig’ into 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (which I do in the aforementioned post) shows that one’s individual experiences, dreams and such cannot carry the same level of authority that the scriptures are granted – otherwise, we would be getting true continuing revelation. This would reduce the Bible to simply ONE form of divine revelation – something the Bible itself does not do – but instead names’ itself as the ‘norm’ by which all things ‘normal’ are to be judged.

This lowering of scripture to simply being a ‘mere witness to the divine revelation’ may manifest itself in other ways (i.e.- folk reducing the Bible to simply a product of that culture and saying we need a Bible written today). But the most common form of ‘lowballing scripture’ is elevating human experience and lowering the authority and uniqueness of the scriptures.

Looming behind this (as the root cause) is an either accidental or purposeful misunderstanding of progressive revelation in the redemptive plan of God (which can lead to all sorts of hermeneutical nightmares). God doesn’t run a theocratic nation as He did in the OT. No slaying of the Amalekites. No temple. No land promise to the church in the same way Canaan was promised to Israel. Things which operated a certain way during the course of redemption history now operate differently in the New Testament versus the Old. Dreams, Prophets, Urim and Thumim, Cassting Lots…. all used by God at one time His redemptive plan for humanity. That time gone, those things no longer in use. Likewise, God no longer uses all of the ‘old means’ He did in the OT, but instead primarily uses the Word preached and proclaimed. In 180 A.D., Irenaeus said it this way: “We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.”

I would probably say that this is the most important part of the denials statement in Article I (hence, it’s gotten the most time).

Next up:

or that any portion of Scripture is marked by error

With the major premise established in the first portion of the denial statement, this one’s a breeze. God’s perfect, His Word is unique – utterly unique… and as such, its nature reflects its’ Author – God.

Now it’s interesting – some of the same people who reject the exhaustive foreknowledge of God (Open Theists like Clark Pinnock) also reject Biblical inerrancy. Pinnock spent a good amount of time obfuscating the ETS a few years back when Roger Nicole brought charges against him on the issue of his rejection of inerrancy in his book The Scripture Principle. Norman Geisler, in his ETS resignation statement, noted this in point 6 of his statement.

The logic is almost undeniable and inevitable in this respect. If God can err and change, scripture too can err and/or be changed, which brings us to the next point….

incompleteness

Every once in a while a question will pop up on canoncity. How do we know we have a complete canon ? How do we know we have the right books ? How do we know we DIDN’T accidentally leave out one of Ireneaeus or Ignatius’s books ? Or the Didache ? Or the Apocrypha ?

And how do we know that we still shouldn’t be getting ‘new revelation’ today ?

Heavy questions which deserve heavy answers. Time and space here won’t permit them in detail, but I recommend several good books such as The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce and Geisler & Nix’s A General Introduction to the bible (Revised and Expanded) to get you started.

The early church’s process of discovering (not ‘declaring’) what was and was not scripture is an interesting historical anomoly. Here you had 20 of the 27 books we call the New Testament in full use by the majority of the believing church by the mid-100’s (counting from the date of the Muratorian fragment – 170 A.D. – giving an extra 20 years for circulation). You have Peter calling Paul’s books scripture. You have Paul citing both Luke and Mark as scripture in 1 Corinthians. In fact, you have much of the early church simply accepting books that had been written by the apostles themselves or those close to them (i.e.- Luke and Mark, who traveled with Paul and Peter respectively). This was the general pattern in the early church with very little (relatively) variation. Only when heretics began to deviate from the established canon and when forgeries began to circulate, did the church react to this with the publication of lists of books which were to be accepted as scripture. After Carthage and Hippo (394 and 397), the issue was pretty much settled, but even 50 years before that, you can find Athanasius listing the same 27 books we currently call the New Testament as scripture.

or the effects of human sinfulness

A common quip tossed around is that ‘men and imperfect and the Bible is a human document…therefore, the Bible has errors in it’. This is often simply an assumption that someone raises rather than something they actually took the time to search out for themselves and make a real decision on.

Does human sinfulness have an effect on scripture and its’ authority ? Not really. Imperfect men have made or done perfect things before – thrown a basketball from across the court and had it land in the net without even scraping the rim, composed complex mathematical formulas and designed rollercoasters that run perfectly with the limits of their construction plans on paper. If one believes that a Being powerful enough to bring the universe into existence isn’t capable of guiding the pens of men to communicate His message effectively, one believes in a very small ‘god’.

Onto Article II.

We affirm that the authority and sufficiency of Scripture extends to the entire Bible, and therefore that the Bible is our final authority for all doctrine and practice.

Authority and sufficiency (2 Tim. 3:14-16).

These are strong words because they say a lot about both the ‘battle’ currently being waged in evangelical circles concerning the Bible (some profess its’ sufficiency, but deny its authority in every verse and command, others deny its sufficiency and declare that ‘new scripture’ should be written today or that those things we call ‘prophecy’ are on equal footing with scripture). I’ve spent more than a bit of time arguing back and forth with some less developed (spiritually) Christians who want to ‘believe God for everything’ (which really means ‘believe everything that could be possibly attributed to God’). There’s not much more I need to add here that hasn’t already been covered a few paragraphs ago in regard to prophecy, supposed new revelation, etc….

I’ll add that efforts to undermine ‘portions of scripture we don’t like’ are getting a little more sophisticated. Evangelical feminists and egalitarian folk aren’t simply sitting down and rolling over in defeat. The folks for ‘inclusive language’ (in light of today’s political correctness) have gone to town to get their own translations out in the marketplace (TNIV and NIVr). As much as some of these folk (and I am careful to say SOME, not ALL) claim a love for Christ, I can’t help but notice the anger and straight virtriol mixed with pride that spews out of the mouths of folk who don’t differentiate between the roles of the sexes beyond just biology.

Enough, we finish this for now.

We deny that any portion of the Bible is to be used in an effort to deny the truthfulness or trustworthiness of any other portion. We further deny any effort to identify a canon within the canon or, for example, to set the words of Jesus against the writings of Paul.

These were some of the more sophisticated attacks. Over in Islam, there is the hermeneutic of abrogation. Something in one Surah given later could abrogate or abolish something written earlier. So ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion’ is cancelled later in Muhummad’s life when he and his folks are the majority in Mecca and replaced with ‘slay the infidels or tax them till they convert’.

A few brave, but foolish souls have taken this same hermeneutic when approaching scripture.

Others have realized that exegetically, at the end of the day, they don’t have much of a leg to stand on, so they go to pitting Paul against Jesus. I ran into a hebraistic person claiming to be a believer recently that did that with Paul vs Jesus regarding the Sabbath day. It’s an interesting dance to see and go through with some of these folks.

What’s interesting (again) is the varied response from dissenters to T4G around the internet. It’s funny how the majority of them mainly have problems with the complementarian viewpoint of the authors of the document and that’s their MAIN objection.

Forget synergism vs monergism.

Forget the innerrancy of scripture.

Forget the authority of scripture.

Mixed up priorities like this are proof positive that the agenda that most critics have against T4G is pragmatic, social and personal… but not biblical.

Back again soon. :)

T4G Statement Commentary: Opening Statement Analysis

Well, time to get to breakin’ it down.

We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause – to stand together for the Gospel. We are convinced that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and marginalized in many churches and among many who claim the name of Christ. Compromise of the Gospel has led to the preaching of false gospels, the seduction of many minds and movements, and the weakening of the church’s Gospel witness.

I’ve been having an ongoing dialogue with a poster over at The 5th Quarter on this very subject. He’s a young pastor and has a heart for evangelism and seeing folks’ lives changed by Christ, which is good. I would honestly love to see him begin to realize that his theology as well as his practical example are both equally important. More specifically, since his background is not reformed, I’d love to see him come to a Biblical understanding of the great truths of the Bible and seek to teach them to his congregation. Sometimes I think people confuse visible numbers with effectiveness. Even more, I think folks think that a congregation with little or no doctrinal instruction, but plenty of moral instruction and ‘practical’ sermons will cause folks to truly grow in the faith.

I don’t doubt that some very godly-appearing folks will develop from morality and ‘practical’ topical sermons (i.e.- how to live as a Christian). But as I mentioned a few months ago, without the doctrinal background to undergird all of this as a foundation, you’re just giving folks morality. And a morality-deep Christianity is akin to being in a puddle and thinking you’re in the Atlantic Ocean.

This thinking has made its’ way into many churches (probably the majority in America) and has reduced the gospel to a set of morals with scant mention of sin (except in the ‘don’t do this, but do this’ sense of individual sins), Jesus as motivational coach and best friend (hence the ‘Jesus is my homeboy’ fad…) instead of Lord of the Universe and Judge of the living and dead and the benefits of the gospel are now
more prosperity, better relationships, a nicer marriage, success at work and good health.

This is the ‘muddling’ of the gospel message that Mohler, Dever and company speak of. And I wholeheartedly agree. Show me something that I can’t do on my own.

As in previous moments of theological and spiritual crisis in the church, we believe that the answer to this confusion and compromise lies in a comprehensive recovery and reaffirmation of the Gospel – and in Christians banding together in Gospel churches that display God’s glory in this fallen world.

Most modern Christians today have a severe lack of or connection with church history. They pragmatically act as though the church began with Billy Graham (as Al Mohler would say). They do not see that many of the problems and errors that either they themselves commit or that others around them who claim to be believers commit are ‘old battles’ fought hundreds, if not thousands of years ago.

Others implicitly treat ‘today’ with a sense of arrogance and believe that church history doesn’t matter because only ‘immature people’ argued about doctrine in the past.

Pure foolishness.

The saying is true: Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat its’ mistakes.

Many people apply their minds to other areas of life – black history, American history, but never think to see what their spiritual anscestors have been through. Such spiritual ‘nearsightedness’ has folks tripping over things left and right and (for lack of a better term) modifying the gospel to fit the current age. Hence, we have seeker friendly churches, purpose driven churches, emergent churches, non-religious churches, hip-hop churches and more…. but very few Biblical models of churches.

Everyone wants to ‘reinvent’ the church – often without ever seeing a real working model of how the church is supposed to operate.

Speaking of which:

We are also brothers united in deep concern for the church and the Gospel. This concern is specifically addressed to certain trends within the church today. We are concerned about the tendency of so many churches to substitute technique for truth, therapy for theology, and management for ministry.

Let’s break this down:

Technique for truth – pragmatism. If it brings people thorugh the front door and exposes them to Christ, it must be true. Let’s misuse ‘being all things to all men’ as a premise to make Sunday morning entertainment…er….MINISTRY! Because if we entertain them, they’ll feel good about church and us – and if they like us, they’ll love our Jesus!….right ???

Therapy for theology – the gospel is not God’s way for you to feel better about life, health, wealth and being prosperous.

management for ministry – the church pastor is NOT a ‘ceo’. Programs to draw people in based on a consumer approach to getting people in the church is NOT ‘ministry’.

Man’s greatest need is not to feel better about himself, have better relationships and live happier lives here on earth.

The church’s greatest need is not for more programs to bring people in. Bringing people into a church won’t get them saved anymore than bringing people into McDonald’s will make them hamburgers or employees. Just because they like your church and the people at your church does NOT mean that they’ll love Jesus.

These three things are theological issues. The basic assumptions about humanity’s ability to react to the truth of God, evangelism and witnessing and the nature of the gospel are all all at the heart of why these three issues have become issues in the church. Fundamentally, they reveal a misunderstanding of the gospel message.

We are also concerned that God’s glorious purpose for Christ’s church is often eclipsed in concern by so many other issues, programs, technologies, and priorities. Furthermore, confusion over crucial questions concerning the authority of the Bible, the meaning of the Gospel, and the nature of truth itself have gravely weakened the church in terms of its witness, its work, and its identity.

The enemy never works in one place. The general culture, leaning more postmodern and existential on a daily basis, rejects absolute truth (except the claim that there is no absolute truth), the church stops being the church and takes on more of the culture, mindset and attitude of the world, the church leaves the ‘hard things’ of the serious study of scripture behind in favor of being (supposedly) more relevant to the culture they live in and with no true solid Biblical foundation, no stand on absolute truth, EVERYTHING is up for grabs. Hence, we have the Emergent Church, the Seeker Movement, the latent gnosticism in the health and wealth gospel and much more – all equally attacking the foundations of Biblical orthodoxy and threatening to destroy the visible church in America.

We stand together for the Gospel – and for a full and gladdening recovery of the Gospel in the church. We are convinced that such a recovery will be evident in the form of faithful Gospel churches, each bearing faithful witness to the glory of God and the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yep. Of course, I’ve already seen a whole slew of folks who think that T4G is elitist, sexist (they excluded women from the conference) and a host of other ‘-ist’ words and adjectives because their affirmations and denials necessarily exclude a lot of people who consider themselves to be Christian and walking out the Christian life fully in God’s will. These include several women pastors and a host of egalitarian folks who just want to yap on about supposed oppression, MIScompare it to the Civil Rights era and so on….

Let them rant. Goats always make a lot of noise anyway. ;)

Okay, that wasn’t nice.

Not everyone who objects is a goat. Some are simply misled sheep. And we pray for these folk.

We also need to keep proclaiming truth, even when it’s ‘out of season’ (2 Tim. 4:1-2). Folk are changed by their constant hearing of the Word of Truth – changed first to realize their need to turn to Christ and second to actually turn. When people don’t hear truth often, they forget what truth sounds like….. and eventually, they forget truth.

Sobering, isn’t it ?

Overall, the T4G statement is a good one. I’ll be blogging point by point on each one over the next few days or so (in addition to the myriad other little mini-serieseses that I have running here).

T4G: Statement of Affirmations and Denials

Something big’s afoot here.

For those unaware, T4G came out with a statement of affirmations and denials – call it the T4G Confession of Faith of 2006.

I figure it’s about time.

Here’s the PDF version:
http://www.togetherforthegospel.org/T4TG-statement.pdf

It reads:

We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause – to stand together for the Gospel. We are convinced that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and marginalized in many churches and among many who claim the name of Christ. Compromise of the Gospel has led to the preaching of false gospels, the seduction of many minds and movements, and the weakening of the church’s Gospel witness.

As in previous moments of theological and spiritual crisis in the church, we believe that the answer to this confusion and compromise lies in a comprehensive recovery and reaffirmation of the Gospel – and in Christians banding together in Gospel churches that display God’s glory in this fallen world.

We are also brothers united in deep concern for the church and the Gospel. This concern is specifically addressed to certain trends within the church today. We are concerned about the tendency of so many churches to substitute technique for truth, therapy for theology, and management for ministry.

We are also concerned that God’s glorious purpose for Christ’s church is often eclipsed in concern by so many other issues, programs, technologies, and priorities. Furthermore, confusion over crucial questions concerning the authority of the Bible, the meaning of the Gospel, and the nature of truth itself have gravely weakened the church in terms of its witness, its work, and its identity.

We stand together for the Gospel – and for a full and gladdening recovery of the Gospel in the church. We are convinced that such a recovery will be evident in the form of faithful Gospel churches, each bearing faithful witness to the glory of God and the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Article I
We affirm that the sole authority for the Church is the Bible, verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible, and totally sufficient and trustworthy.

We deny that the Bible is a mere witness to the divine revelation, or that any portion of Scripture is marked by error, incompleteness, or the effects of human sinfulness.

Article II
We affirm that the authority and sufficiency of Scripture extends to the entire Bible, and therefore that the Bible is our final authority for all doctrine and practice.

We deny that any portion of the Bible is to be used in an effort to deny the truthfulness or trustworthiness of any other portion. We further deny any effort to identify a canon within the canon or, for example, to set the words of Jesus against the writings of Paul.

Article III
We affirm that the truth ever remains a central issue for the Church, and that the church must resist the allure of pragmatism and postmodern conceptions of truth as substitutes for obedience to the comprehensive truth claims of Scripture.

We deny that truth is merely a product of social construction or that the truth of the Gospel can be expressed or grounded in anything less than total confidence in the veracity of the Bible, the historicity of biblical events, and the ability of language to convey understandable truth in sentence form. We further deny that the church can establish in its ministry on a foundation of pragmatism, current marketing techniques, or contemporary cultural fashions.

Article IV
We affirm the centrality of expository preaching in the church and the urgent need for a recovery of biblical exposition and the public reading of Scripture in worship.

We deny that God-honoring worship can marginalize or neglect the ministry of the Word as manifested through the exposition and public reading. We further deny that a church devoid of true biblical preaching can survive as a Gospel church.

Article V
We affirm that the Bible reveals God to be infinite in all his perfections, and thus truly omniscient, omnipotent, timeless, and self-existent. We further affirm that God possesses perfect knowledge of all things, past, present, and future, including human thoughts, acts, and decisions.

We deny that the God of the Bible is in any way limited in terms of knowledge or power or any other perfection or attribute, or that God has in any way limited his own perfections.

Article VI
We affirm that the doctrine of the Trinity is a Christian essential, bearing witness to the ontological reality of the one true God in three divine persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each of the same substance and perfections.

We deny the claim that the Trinity is not an essential doctrine, or that the Trinity can be understood in merely economic or functional categories.

Article VII
We affirm that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, in perfect, undiluted, and unconfused union throughout his incarnation and now eternally. We also affirm that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners, as a sacrifice for sin, and as a propitiation of the wrath of God toward sin. We affirm the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Christ as essential to the Gospel. We further affirm that Jesus Christ is Lord over His church, and that Christ will reign over the entire cosmos in fulfillment of the Father’s gracious purpose.

We deny that the substitutionary character of Christ’s atonement for sin can be compromised or denied without serious injury, or even repudiation, of the Gospel. We further deny that Jesus Christ is visible only in weakness, rather than in power, Lordship, or royal reign, or, conversely, that Christ is visible only in power, and never in weakness.

Article VIII
We affirm that salvation is all of grace, and that the Gospel is revealed to us in doctrines that most faithfully exalt God’s sovereign purpose to save sinners and in His determination to save his redeemed people by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to His glory alone.

We deny any teaching, theological system, or means of presenting the Gospel that denies the centrality of God’s grace as His gift of unmerited favor to sinners in Christ can be considered true doctrine.

Article IX
We affirm that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s means of bringing salvation to His people, that sinners are commanded to believe the Gospel, and that the church is commissioned to preach and teach the Gospel to all nations.

We deny that evangelism can be reduced to any program, technique, or marketing approach. We further deny that salvation can be separated from repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Article X
We affirm that salvation comes to those who truly believe and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

We deny that there is salvation in any other name, or that saving faith can take any form other than conscious belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving acts.

Article XI

We affirm the continuity of God’s saving purpose and the Christological unity of the covenants. we further affirm a basic distinction between law and grace, and that the true Gospel exalts Christ’s atoning work as the consummate and perfect fulfillment of the law.

We deny that the Bible presents any other means of salvation than God’s gracious acceptance of sinners in Christ.

Article XII

We affirm that sinners are justified only through faith in Christ, and that justification by faith alone is essential and central to the Gospel.

We deny that any teaching that minimizes, denies, or confuses justification by faith alone can be considered true to the Gospel. We further deny that any teaching that separates regeneration and faith is a true rendering of the Gospel.

Article XIII

We affirm that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers by God’s decree alone, and that this righteousness, imputed to the believer through faith alone, is the only righteousness that saves.

We deny that such righteousness is earned or deserved in any manner, is infused within the believer to any degree, or is realized in the believer through anything other than faith alone.

Article XIV
We affirm that the shape of Christian discipleship is congregational, and that God’s purpose is evident in faithful Gospel congregations, each displaying God’s glory in the marks of authentic ecclesiology.

We deny that any Christian can truly be a faithful disciple apart from the teaching, discipline, fellowship, and accountability of a congregation of fellow disciples, organized as a Gospel church. We further deny that the Lord’s Supper can faithfully be administered apart from the right practice of church discipline.

Article XV
We affirm that evangelical congregations are to work together in humble and voluntary cooperation and that the spiritual fellowship of Gospel congregations bears witness to the unity of the Church and the glory of God.

We deny that loyalty to any denomination or fellowship of churches can take precedence over the claims of truth and faithfulness to the Gospel.

Article XVI
We affirm that the Scripture reveals a pattern of complementary order between men and women, and that this order is itself a testimony to the Gospel, even as it is the gift of our Creator and Redeemer. We also affirm that all Christians are called to service within the body of Christ, and that God has given to both men and women important and strategic roles within the home, the church, and the society. We further affirm that the teaching office of the church is assigned only to those men who are called of God in fulfillment of the biblical teachings and that men are to lead in their homes as husbands and fathers who fear and love God.

We deny that the distinction of roles between men and women revealed in the Bible is evidence of mere cultural conditioning or a manifestation of male oppression or prejudice against women. We also deny that this biblical distinction of roles excludes women from meaningful ministry in Christ’s kingdom. We further deny that any church can confuse these issues without damaging its witness to the Gospel.

Article XVII
We affirm that God calls his people to display his glory in the reconciliation of the nations within the Church, and that God’s pleasure in this reconciliation is evident in the gathering of believers from every tongue and tribe and people and nation. We acknowledge that the staggering magnitude of injustice against African-Americans in the name of the Gospel presents a special opportunity for displaying the repentance, forgiveness, and restoration promised in the Gospel. We further affirm that evangelical Christianity in America bears a unique responsibility to demonstrate this reconciliation with our African-American brothers and sisters.

We deny that any church can accept racial prejudice, discrimination, or division without betraying the Gospel.

Article XVIII
We affirm that our only sure and confident hope is in the sure and certain promises of God. Thus, our hope is an eschatological hope, grounded in our confidence that God will bring all things to consummation in a manner that will bring greatest glory to his own name, greatest preeminence to his Son, and greatest joy for his redeemed people.

We deny that we are to find ultimate fulfillment or happiness in this world, or that God’s ultimate purpose is for us to find merely a more meaningful and fulfilling life in this fallen world. We further deny that any teaching that offers health and wealth as God’s assured promises in this life can be considered a true gospel.

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” – I Corinthians 15:1-4

“Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.'” – Revelation 14:6-7

Signed: J. Ligon Duncan III, Mark E. Dever, C.J. Mahaney, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., with John MacArthur, John Piper, R.C. Sproul signing afterward.

The originals at the conference only had four names on them (minus Haywood, Johnny Mac, Piper and R.C.). Myself and Eddie joked about having all 3000 of us line up and walk past MacArthur, Piper and Sproul and have them sign each individual copy. :)

I’ll be doing an analysis of this shortly. I still have 2-3 ‘series’ uncompleted on here I need to get back to.

Transcript of Piper’s presentation…..

Oh yeah, this is the good stuff.

John Piper posted the text of his entire presentation at T4G.

Enjoy.

http://www.desiringgod.org/library/sermons/06/042706.html

Nothing like hearing him deliver it live, but this is close enough. If you listen to Piper, you’ll know how this sounds. :)