Thanks Kregel Publications, Plus News and Prayer Request

I have been (unfortunately) been able to keep up with my all book reviews, but I will try and have some up by the end of the year. Kregel Publications has sent me the first in a series of books on the text of the New Testament. They kindly sent me a copy of Revisiting The Corruption of the New Testament edited by Daniel Wallace. I hope to have a review of the book up just before Christmas. I'll also be reviewing graphic novels as I've been reading more of them lately. 

Before I go I'd just like to ask prayer for a personal matter. For the better part of the year I've no been working. I have done work as a notary, but I need steady work. I'll be embarking on new ways to look for work soon. Please pray I find something soon. It would be a big blessing.  

Finally, I plan on doing more blogging in the future, but I'll also be doing more fiction writing and blogging over at my tumblr page Frank Writes! Thanks again, and I'll see you soon. 


A Secular Noah? Aronofsky To Make "Noah" Epic

Today it was reported that Darren Aronofsky finally got 150 million dollars to make an epic movie about the biblical story of the flood and the life of Noah. The artwork he released some time ago for a graphic novel is very striking. Here's a trailer he made for the comic.

His own take on the story may not  be filled with the themes found in the Bible. In one interview he states:

“It’s the end of the world and it’s the second most famous ship after the Titanic. So I’m not sure why any studio won’t want to make it,” said Aronofsky. “I think it’s really timely because it’s about environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet. So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist. He’s a really interesting character. Hopefully they’ll let me make it"
And it shouldn't entirely surprise us, Aronofsky is an atheist. He's also very involved in environmental charity work. Of course, that doesn't stop him from touching on spiritual issues in movies like "The Fountain". However, it is a secular spirituality that according to him is based on

 "We’re all just borrowing this matter and energy for a little bit, while we’re here, until it goes back into everything else, and that connects us all. The cynics out there laugh at this crap, but it’s true....To me, that’s where the spirituality is. Whatever you want to call that connection -- some people would use that term God. That, to me, is what I think is holy."
Should we worry? Well he says that it "[i]sn't a very religious story". Of course a quick look at the Biblical text shows that this isn't so. He can anachronistically read  environmental ruin into the story, but that ruin came about because of God. Its human sin that brings about God's wrath. But his grace towards Noah is what ultimately saves mankind. Sin, mercy, and redemption, are all biblical themes that can make for great story telling. But a post-modern  twist to the story leaves us only with a Noah who has only himself to survive. It tells us that mankind hasn't really learned anything (if we're still facing the same problems Noah did) and doesn't give us much reason to hope.  But if we live in an endless cycle of matter and energy that eventually goes back to everything else, why should anyone care? But if one day we have a God who once destroyed humanity, and promises to do it again, then caring for his creation makes much more sense.


A response to "Is God A Christian"?

Hi guys, it's been a while, but I have been wanting to come back to this place and I finally found a reason. Last night, I came across a message called "Is God A Christian". I took the time to respond. Here you go. 

An interesting watch, and I'm sympathetic to what he wants to do. However, there are a few things I think he's very misguided on. I'll give some approximate quotes and times so people can follow along.
16:43 Fundamentalism is a corruption of faith...driven by fear and anger.
17:50No difference between fundametalism. Born from the same instincts, with evil results. A religion of fear leads us to a religion of violence... Fear is the root of terrorism...it acts with arrogance and bitterness. 18:34 Fear, not faith declares doctrinal absolutes and moral certainties.
I'll start with this. He's under the impression that people who believe in doctrinal and moral absolutes are fearful fundamentalists. He obviously holds Christ in high esteem. That's great. But I think it's only fair to see of Jesus himself passes his test here. He says in Matthew 7:21-23:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
That sounds pretty dogmatic and absolute to me. Apparently, just because someone says they know Jesus isn't enough. Heck, anyone who doesn't know him will get kicked out of his presence. Let's keep going.
20:05 it is ignorance, not faith that wants to teach creationism, ignorance, not faith that wants us to believe the bible is inerrant or infallible.
So. Dr. Godsey believes that anyone who teaches creationism is fear driven, afraid of reason/science. More so, anyone who teaches the Bible is inerrant or infallible is a fear driven fundamentalist. Again, let's see if Jesus passes his test. Let's start with Mark 10:5-7 (though he basically says the same thing in Matthew 19:3-5). He says:
6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
Seems like Jesus takes the teachings of the OT on creation and marriage pretty seriously. Now to be fair, Dr. Godsey may not be aware that Christians take creation differently. But according to Jesus, the Adam and Eve story was important enough for him to quote it authoritatively to settle a theological dispute. Again, seems like Jesus fails Dr. Godsey's test. What about the Bible being inerrant or infallible? Again, Jesus states in Luke 4:17-21
17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
So according to Jesus, the passage from Isaiah was a prophecy that was fulfilled in him. It seems he takes scriptures very seriously. I might add, Dr. Godsey talks a lot about people being in God's image and such. I hope he knows that that phrase originates in the Adam and Eve story in Genesis.
20:20 It is ignorance not faith that claims God is the exclusive possession of Christians etc....
Jesus mention something interesting in John 4. He's at the well talking to a Samaritan woman when he says:
22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Sounds like Jesus was making the claim that the Jews had a better grasp on God that the Samaritans did. Which would make sense, since they only held to the Torah, but not the rest of the OT (as is my understanding). Still that sounds pretty exclusivist.
23:58 Jesus came to enable to see the light of God that had been eclipsed by doctrine and systems. 24:55 Jesus message was to forgive and be makers of peace, to live a new way, and get along with those of different religious traditions. 26:10 Jesus brings a new way, that says love with prevail 26: 54 We are all seeking to prevail the light of God's presence in the world
Sounds pretty nice, but Jesus's words in Matthew 28:18-20 say other wise. He states:
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Not the teachings of someone else, his own. Again, that sounds pretty snobbish if you think God's light can be found elsewhere. But Jesus addresses that when he says in John 12
46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
Again, he says he is the light, and that anyone who doesn't believe him stands condemned. He even says his words are God's words. Pretty exclusive, and really, it just goes against whatever it is Dr. Godsey thinks Jesus' message is.
27:15 We have no basis for concluding that any of the worlds religions didn't have it's roots in authentic revelation. 27:46 Who are we to limit God's speaking?
I think the previous passages by Christ should be enough to show that he claimed his message was God's message and that it was limited to that. Again, Dr. Godsey's own standards have labeled Jesus a fundamentalist exclusivist.
27:49 What unholy arrogance promps us to say that the way the truth and the life has been communicated only to us?
What's interesting is that Jesus himself said it in John 14:6
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
By Dr. Godsey's own standards, Jesus is an unholy arrogant man.
28:54 The claim to posses absolute truth says far more than we know.
I'm glad that as a Christian, I don't have to make such claims based on my own ideas or experience. Christ is the one I look to and he seemed to have a very good grasp about what he should or shouldn't claim. I may not know everything, but he certainly does. Is Mr. Godsey ready to say Jesus stated more than he knew?
29:16 Commited believing does not require hateful and mean spirited exclusivist rhetoric.
Here we have an either/or fallacy. It seems to Dr. Godsey that if you speak in exclusive terms, it makes you mean and hateful. And yet, we have seen, this is how Jesus spoke in his ministry while being loved and hated. And he WAS hated for it. He was killed for it to be honest. Can believers today act or come off arrogant and mean? Sure. It is inexcusable. The bible itself tells us to "speak the truth in love" for a reason. But attacking the exclusive claims of Christ is not the answer.
29:40 It is misguided, wrong headed, treacherous, to think that respecting another's faith confession is disloyal to our own. It is religious narcicism at its worst. We are not wise enough or good enough to judge the faith of others.
In one sense, he's right. I can't judge another man's heart. Good thing the Bible doesn't tell me to do that. I am told :to judge their fruit and confession. Again Jesus's own words in John 10 state
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
It seemed Jesus was able to judge people's confession quite easily: if they don't believe in him they aren't his sheep. I can't judge a man's heart, but I can tell you they aren't Christ's if they don't believe in him. Does this mean Jesus is, in Dr. Godsey's words, "misguided, rong headed, treacherous"? How about narcissistic?
30:00 most people are in their tradition because of where they are. We are children of our religious traditions.
An oft stated critique of religion in general is that you're born into it. However, it's a problem for him too. He's born at a time and place where religion developed a more pluralistic outlook. Does that mean I should say that because he was born under those circumstances I shouldn't listen to him? I should add, would he be saying this had be been born a hundred years ago? Had he been born in China? These things have no bearing on the truth or validity of the claims of Christ. And it would seem that he's decided to create a Christ he's comfortable with, but not the one who said "I am the way, the truth and the life".
I empathize with his aims of having religious dialogue. But attacking the exclusive claims of Christ is not the answer.


ESV New Classic Makoto Fujimura Edition | Giveaway

This week marks the 400th anniverary of the King James Bible. In commemoration of that, the good people at Crossway commissioned the talented Christian artist Makoto Fujimura to create some incredible artwork for a commemorative ESV. Over at his blog, G.A. Dietrich is having a giveaway. I'd say it's something worth signing up for. 


Live From The Desiring God Conference-Morning Session

Spent a great time in praise and worship. Dr. Piper states, "Preaching does not follow worship, it is worship".
-We should see parables of God's glory everywhere.
-God's so called megalomania, is him seeking my joy.
-God is just stuck with being glorious, he can't point us anywhere else for Joy. He's the one being in the universe in which self-exhaltation is the most loving act.

-Think about why people do what they do. Why do they go to movies to get scared? Why do they jump out of airplanes, like in the trailer for Fast5. We were made to see galaxies made, not car crashes. Get a life! There's good stuff in the universe, not in the movies.

-No chapter on suffering in the first ed. of Desiring God. There has been one since then.
-Rom 2:9 Paul had unceasing anguish. Caring about the lost is anguish.
-2 Cor 11:28 Daily anxiety for all the churches.
-2 Cor 6:10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.
-2 Cor 7:5, 1:8 we despaired of life itself.
-Joy is not the absence of suffering. Joy is warfare.

-Always be on a quest, pursuing maximum joy in God.
-Delight Yourself in the Lord
-Pastors should work for the joy of their people 2 Cor 1:24. Paul's mission was working for their joy. Happy in God at the cost of his life, Phil 1:25
-We should pursue our Joy based on how faith is defined. John 6:35 Believing in Jesus is coming to him for soul satisfaction.

Evil is tasting God's all satisfying fountain and saying I don't like it, turning to the world and tasting the dirt and liking it. If you don't want to be evil, go to the fountain and drink and say awwww that's worship. People should come to church to GET GOD AND ALL OF GOD THEY CAN GET.

-Matt 13:44 Nothing is more precious than the Kingdom. Being in the Kingdom is having a King that valuable. -To treasure Christ is to be converted.  Treasure is a noun and a verb.
-Deut 28:47 God threatens terrible things if we will not be happy.

-What about self-denial? Jesus says that we take up our cross and follow him. Why? So if we lose our life for him, we will save it. He wants us to save our life, so lose it!!!
-John 12:25

-Piper admits that he can only read as fast as he can talk. It's a weakness, but he can atleast read a paragraph and squeeze the juice out of it.
-Be ok with the way God made you and lay envy down. We should be glad with weakness.

-2 Cor 8:2,8 In their affliction, the Macedonians were abundant in Joy and generosity. That is love. What is love? The grace of God was shown in the churches. Sovereign Grace came down and took hold of these people. Affliction increased. Joy in creased. Poverty did not go away. The joy overflowed with a wealth of generocity. Love is the overflow of joy in God, that meets the needs of others. High pressure zone of joy meets a pocket of need is wind. That wind is love.
-The more authentic your joy in Jesus is, the more there will be an impulse to include other's in it.

-Evangelicals care about suffering, including eternal suffering.
-Jesus wants a cheerful giver. When you give, God wants you happy. Giving to look good is hypocrisy. Knowing it isn't joyful and still not hypocritical.

-Joy gets bigger when it is shared with someone else.
-Christ suffered, the righteous for the unrightouss, to bring us go God, as who's right hand pleasurres forever more. Psalm 40

-Didn't get to meet Dr. Piper. I was the next person to meet him, and a bunch of people cut in front of me. Dan it!!!!!!!!

11:08 Q and A
-If we can do all things to the glory of God, we can love the people in our lives to the glory of God without making them idols.
-How do you study and find time for devotional reading? John 15:11, the Bible is for your Joy. If it hasn't moved you, it hasn't accomplished it's purpose. We can come to the Bible bored.
-IOUS is an acronym Piper uses. I-Incline my heart to your testimonies Ps 119:36. The Psalmist prays to want to go to the Bible. O-Open my eyes to see wonderful things 119:18 U-Unite my heart to fear your name Ps 86:11  S-satisfy me in the morning with your love. Psalm 90:14
-Be rigorous in your meditation and attention to the words. Say it over and over til it is memorized. Savor it. Taste it. It will take time.

-How do we deal with our affluence in So.Cal yet tithe to little? Everyone in America is wealthy. We live in the Disneyland of the world, it's called America. There are warnings against the desire to be rich. There is nothing wrong with making a lot of money, but not with keeping a lot of money. You don't have to have all the accoutrements.
-The meek will inherit the world. We are on our way. When you turn 65, the finish line is closer, and you can see Jesus more clearly. So what should we do, build a house?

-Missions is displaying the superior worth of Jesus among unreached people groups. Showing that Islam, is false, buddhism is false, secularism is false and Jesus is true.

-What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? 1 Cor 12:13 or Acts 1:8 or Luke 24 doesn't mean a second special event. It happens at conversion. We are made to drink of one Spirit. As Christians we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. Puritans used baptism's. In Acts 1, the people are already saved, but filled with the power of the Spirit. We can ask to be filled anew with the Spirit.
-Should you doubt your salvation if you're not treasuring Jesus? Not necessarily, it could only be a season. Nobody who is distant from Jesus should be comfortable with that. 

God is doing a Nu Thang!!!

Somehow, I doubt his career took off. 


Live From The Desiring God Conference

Friday Night
6:36-Registered for the conference and got a free book!

All attendants got a free copy of John Piper's Think. "It's your ticket in". Best ticket ever :)

So far I've met a friend and fellow blogger, and made friends with the good people at The Gospel for OC. I can't wait to see their coverage of this event. If you're following along, there's after party tomorrow as well.

7:08- The event should have started, but we're still waiting for people to make it. The place is definitely getting packed.

7:11-Rick Warren is up front shaking hands. That was random.

7:13- I should add that the event is very diverse. Lot's of Asians, Hispanic, White, Young, Old, Geek, Chic, etc... It truly is good to worship God with so many people from many backgrounds.

7:24-"You look like Franklin Graham, but better looking" Rick Warren said that to my Pastor. It's true, he does look like Franklin Graham.

7:34-Finally starting. Scott Anderson has given a great welcome.

8:05-Great time of worship. Now, Rick Warren is giving an introduction to tonight's message, and an encouragement to follow the leaders in our lives.

8:07 -Dr. Piper takes the state. Rick Warren is much bigger than him.

8:12-Why does he do this? Because it makes him happy. There are truth's that are just strong enough to still our boat when it is being rocked by things going on in the world. What is the origin of the book Desiring God? It was born out of the moral issue of being happy. At least it's in the Bible, so his back is covered.

8:14 The problem of motivation became a problem. Paul writes that it is good to be alone and living for other's. But he wanted to get married and be a minister. I want, I want, I want, I can't stop wanting. Human beings were made to want.

8:16 John PIper just started singing "Wouldn't it be nice" by the Beach Boys :) That is how he was feeling when he was engaged.

8:18 5 Steps
 1. God and what motivates him
      -How my wants relates to his wants.
      -God is into being God. He has no one to report to but himself.
 2. He bids all of us to join him in the goal that he be glorified.
 3. The most important discovery: God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in him.
     -This is the banner that must fly over our lives.
 4. The implications: We should devote our lives to being happy....in God.
    -We must maximize our joy.
   -Love is like a high pressure zone, that just wants to fill massive pockets of joylessness.
  -It must expand to other people.
 5. This is the only path to radical love for other people.

8:39- What drives God as the cross? Christ took on God’s wrath to show God’s righteousness. There is a link between sin and glory. People lack the glory of God.

It is God’s unwavering commitment to uphold the value of his glory. He didn’t sweep sin away, he dumped it on his son. Every day I wake up and say I’m not in hell, it’s a good day where I belong.

God does everything to display the infinite value of his Glory.

8:43 We are asked by God to join him in this goal. 1 Peter 4:11 Let him who serves, serve in the strength that God supplies, so that in everything GOd may get the glory.  Be the receiver. We do the good works, God get's the glory.

8:59 -point 3: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

It’s called desiring god, not arriving at joy in god, this isn’t finished sanctification, this is war. Don’t think any of your teachers is Jesus, none of us measure up to what we preach. John Piper

The Trinity: The nature of the Trinity is a reason for why God has designed us so that he is most satisfied in us when we are most satisfied in him.

They are 3 divine persons, one essence (appreciate the difficulty). The father has always had an image of himself, he’s always known himself, this knowledge is so full of all he is, that this self known is a fully divine person. The energy and love that flows between father and son (each with divine perfections) carries in it him, all he is, and a third person is there, The Spirit. So at the heart of God’s being is God knowing and God enjoying.

When he made us, he made our souls with two main capacities, the capacity to know and feel. What about will? The capacity to will and feel are the same.

9:07- God is glorified not only by his glories being seen, but in their being rejoiced in-Jonathan Edwards.
Phil 1:20-23  Why would death be gain? When he’s about to lose everything, and all he gets is Jesus. He’s losing everything but HIM.

9:19 -C.S. Lewis was a sceptic at 29. God’s constant command for us to praise him, is like an old woman wanting complements. Matthew 10:34-39 Some people would see Jesus’s words as an egomaniac.

Piper uses an ad for granola bars to make a point. Two people at the top of the mountain, “you never felt more alive, you never felt more insignificant”. Who are they marketing to? Do people like to feel insignificant? WHy do they go to the grand canyon, to feel big? Here’s the ad http://bit.ly/jECQ8f
Lewis realized that we praise what is praiseworthy. God is ultimately praiseworthy.

11:43 -Final Update
Wow, what a day! Dr. Piper has a lot of energy and passion for the message of joy in God. I'm really glad I got to meet some old friends, and made some new ones. Keep checking here and at twitter.com/frankfusion for my updates tomorrow.

Live Blogging Tonight's Desiring God Conference

Tonight I'll have the pleasure of going to the Desiring God Conference being held at Saddleback Church (gasp!). I've always wanted to hear John Piper preach, so I'm glad to be able to share in that with a lot of Southern California Reformed bretheren. If you're going tonight, please let me know, I'd love to say hi. I'm really excited. Thanks again to my Pastor for playing a role in making this happen. You can find him over at his blog  Treasuring Christ. See you guys later.  


James White's (short) Lecture on the Reliability of Scripture

I sat in on this presentation a few years ago. Here is the most recent presentation Dr. White gives on the reliability of the New Testament. It's very informative and helpful in dealing with some of the basic questions people might have on the reliability of the New Testament.


I'm having a BOOKSALE!!!!!!!

I've been collecting books for a few years now, and I think my collection is pretty nifty. So I've chosen to share my good finds with you, at a modest price. I would like to sell them ASAP, so feel free to make me an offer and I'll save your book/s and send it out as soon as I can. Heres' my list


Martin Bashir Questions Rob Bell, Pulls No Punches

As many of you know, Rob Bell's new book is finally out and making all waves amongst evangelicals. I'll have my own review this week, but I wanted to share a recent interview Martin Bashir (MSNBC) had with Bell. It seems that Bell's "question everything" approach doesn't help him answer many questions. Very poignant, was Bashir's question about which church father to quote from. Origen is a univeraslist (whom Bell apparently promotes) while Arius denied Christ's divinity. Why pick one and not the other? And that is the heart of the issue. People have serious questions about the here and now, as well as the afterlife. To leave things vague and fuzzy (while ignoring the clear teaching of the Word of God) is akin to spiritual malpractice.

As one of the youtube commenters says,"How does a secular journalist grasp the clarity of Rob Bell's error better than most of the evangelical community?"


Let's Play: Who Said It??????????

Here's a quote I came across in an old interview. Who said it? (No cheating!!!)

  I don’t know why as a Christian you would have to make such declarative statements. Like your friend, does he want there to be a literal hell? I am a bit skeptical of somebody who argues that passionately for a literal hell, why would you be on that side? Like if you are going to pick causes, if you’re literally going to say these are the lines in the sand, I’ve got to know that people are going to burn forever, this is one of the things that you drive your stake in the ground on. I don’t understand that.

As all one of you clamored to know who said it. It was Rob Bell.  Here's his interview with The Ooze where he said it. 

A look at an underground ant colony. Fascinating.

Take a look at what one of God's very small creatures can do (in a group of course). No wonder Solomon commended the ant.


Dr. James White Coming to Southern California March 11 & 12 Courtesy of Trinity Law School!

I'm a big fan of James White. I've listened to his podcast The Dividing Line for almost two yeas and have seen him debate. If you have the time next week, and happen to live in Southern California, he'll be here teaching on the reliability of the New Testament.I've seen the presentation before and it will knock your socks off. He'll also be giving a seminar on debating. It's his first time teaching that so I also look forward to that too. I'll see you there.

Here's a map to the church
Here's the church website: http://www.bethelgrace.org/


Advice on Open Air Preaching from R.A. Torrey

It's been good to see the positive response people have been having to Steve McCoy's post on open air preaching. I mentioned in my own post that I hope to contribute to the conversation with the advice I've found from some of the great preachers of our tradition. Well I've found some. The preacher I have in mind is R.A. Torrey. He preached around the world with D.L Moody, was one of the first deans of BIOLA University, as well as an itinerrant preacher. His legacy include a lot of devotional and theological works worth your time, Moody Bible Institute, and the streets. 

A few years ago, I came across his book How to Work For Christ. It is a great collection of ideas on how to get out and minister to people evangelisticaly. The chapter I linked to is called Open Air Meetings. Torrey believed in open air preaching and in this chapter gives some reasons to go outdoors, how to conduct meetings, and practical advice for the minister. Some of the information is outdated (unless you have a gospel wagon), but a lot of what he says still rings true. For instance, he warns that you should find a place to preach where you won't get dishwater thrown at you. It would be pretty distracting to be in the middle of a gospel presentation and all of a sudden end up wet. (I think he spoke from experience). He also advises to preach in the shade on warm days. Great practical advice that I hope helps you in your work. But I wanted to share advice that seems to apply at all times. For instance.....

Don't Be Dull
He writes "Dullness will kill an open air meeting...do not preach long sermons. Use a great many striking illustrations... Be energetic in your manner. Talk so people will listen. Don't preach, but simply talk to people". 

Don't Do It Alone
Torrey believed this was a group activity so you should find some fellow workers to go with you. You don't have to do all the heavy lifting. 

Don't Antagonize Your Audience
Forgive my bluntness, bit preachers who go out just to call women "whores" and men "fornicators" are complete idiots. Please don't be that person. All you will do is close off ears to the gospel and perpetuate the crazy street preacher stereotype. 

Don't Be Long
10 to 15 minutes is what he advises. Past that and you'll lose your audience. Though today it might be even less than that. 

Depend on God
He's the one who will touch people, not you. 

Depend on God's Word
Torrey believed in the power of the Word of God. He advised that know how to show someone their need for Christ, how they may be saved, and assurance of salvation and discipleship. Spend time in the word. Better yet, memorize it. 

What about modern technology? Does it have a role in our outdoor witness? It might surprise some to see that Torrey believed in using the latest technology. For instance, on the chapter called "The Use of Autos, Trailers etc..." he says about films
We all recognize the use of the visual in attracting and holding attention. Biblical pictures on inexpensive films can be effectively used on children and grown ups, for, remember, no one is ever too old to be interested in pictures.  
Those of us living in the age of youtube, power point, and flickr, might have use to the church yet. 


Missional Street Preaching????

Yesterday, over at the Reformissionary Blog, Steve McCoy wrote what Joe Thorn is calling "the most important post of the year". I came across it early on and thought it would be another cool blog post from a great missional reformed blog. I was certainly surprised when I read it. Was it about some new ministry method? A new Reformed book? Another (sigh) Reformed controversy? No. He's calling those of us in the Young Reformed Camp to return to our great heritage of street preaching.

Street Preaching. That is the new cutting edge idea he is advocating. I'm sure we've all seen street preachers screaming at local shopping centers or colleges that the people are sinners who are going to hell.

This is him on a good day

Heck, I've cringed at the sight of well meaning people screaming like maniacs on street corners. But Steve asks a very good question:
What if evangelicals hit America with 200, or 500, or 1,000 theologically strong, gospel-centered pastors who start preaching in open-air and public places in their cities, beyond their Sunday morning worship services, at least once a week for the rest of 2011? What would happen? 
These guys know something about street preaching

 Let that question hit you for a moment. Our movement is made up of some godly, theologically informed people. Image if more of us went out there to preach the good news? McCoy outlines ten things that might happen. Among them are a raised awareness of the gospel, and outreach to people who wouldn't normally enter your church walls.  It might shock a lot of us in the camp to know that the people we look up to (Spurgeon, Whitfield, Edwards, Van Til!) were also street preachers. Since yesterday, Steve has updated his blog with some information a few of us shared with him, and I encourage you to take a look and join the conversation. I'll try and post some of that as I can. Please visit the conversation going on at the Reformissionary blog.   Please pray and see if this is a ministry area that God is leading you into.

I should add, this may not be a ministry for everyone. But I do think there are a lot of us that might be able to use this ministry tool. I"ll try and post my findings in the days to come. 


$1 ESV Bible

Justin Taylor, over at The Gospel Colition, is reporting the good news that Crossway is now selling a paperback ESV Bible for $1 (when bought in bulk). If your ministry needs to give away free Bibles, you may as well pay a good deal for a good bible. I personally use the ESV Study Bible, read it on-line, and would recommend it to anyone who wants a good Bible to read and study from. Check out the video below, and see why John Piper likes the ESV.


Flashback Friday's: Pixar Edition

Hi Everybody! Well, I figured if I'm going to get back on this page, I should bring back some of the fun elements. Well, as you know, Flashback Friday's are my weekly nostalgic look back at pop culture. This week, Pixar celebrates it's 25th anniversary as an independent company. From the Wikipedia article, it states that "Pixar was founded as the Graphics Group, one third of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm that was launched in 1979 with the hiring of Dr. Ed Catmull from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)". And after all these years, the technology has flourished to give us some incredible movies. Pixar needs to be credited with created animated films that aren't afraid of speaking to adults as well as kids. If you've seen Toy Story 3 you know what I'm talking about. Here's a sample of the work Pixar has given us over the years.

Young Sherlock Holmes
One of the first times Pixar's technology was used in a film was from this scene from the movie Young Sherlock Holmes. I really enjoed the special effects of this movie, but for years I wondered how they did this scene. Turns out it was with a little Pixar magic.

The Incredibles
My appreciation for Pixar however started with a little movie called The Incredibles. Not that I wasn't a fan, but as I was in college at the time, this was the firs time I could appreciate one of their movies. It was a superhero movie but it felt like it belonged in the same class of movies as James Bond or Indiana Jones.Very good company to be with. The jazz score gave it a classy feel. This wasn't just a kids movie, this was for anyone whoever wanted to be a hero. Sadly, I doubt that they'll ever make a sequel, but if they do, I'll be the first in line to see it.

By the summer of 07', a lot of buzz surrounded Pixar's next film: Ratatouille. It was a gamble, I thought, to make a movie about a rat that wanted to be a chef. Kids movies could get away with this stuff, but it wouldn't appeal to adults. Yet, in the summer of '07 that is exactly what happened. Foodies of all ages rejoiced as they saw tasty recipes made by a little rat with big dreams. Pixar took the culinary world and made it relatable and in the process made a very grown up cartoon. I could be wrong, but I think this was the first step's Pixar was taking to making movies that could actually touch on adult themes while still appealing to kids.

When the teaser trailer to this film appeared, I was immediately impressed. I don't remember the last time and octogenarian was the hero of an animated film. Pixar again took a gamble, and created a truly wonderful movie that will be remembered as one of the best films of the 2000's. The first ten minutes of UP proved to be the most hauntingly beautiful as they celebrated love, life, marriage, and the pain of death. The adventure that makes up the rest of the movie made me feel like a kid again.

I hope Pixar continues to create movies that touch both mind and heart. I know I'll pay for that any day. Now say it with me, Adventure is out there.


Free Faith and Science Lectures and Research Papers

I came across the Faraday Institute. On its website is a large collection of papers and lectures from well known Christian scientists on the relationship between faith and science. It will definitely give you a lot to read and think about. From its website, here are the aims of the institute:

The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion is an academic research enterprise based at St Edmund's College, Cambridge. The Institute has four main activities:
  1. Scholarly research and publication on science and religion, including the organisation of invited groups of experts to write joint publications.
  2. To provide short-term courses in science and religion.
  3. To organise seminars and lectures on science and religion.
  4. To provide accurate information on science and religion for the international media and wider public.
The Faraday Institute has a Christian ethos, but encourages engagement with a wide diversity of opinions concerning interactions between science and religion, without engaging in advocacy. It aims to provide accurate information in order to facilitate informed debate.

A Short Guide to Exegesis

I know a lot of you are in ministry, or in school, or are just interested in better Bible study. Recently, I came across a short guide to exegesis that I think would be a great help. For those who don't know what exegesis is, it is described as "A systematic process by which a person arrives at a reasonable and coherent sense of the meaning and message of a biblical passage" I like this guide because it is short, to the point and would be a big help to anyone who wants to do better bible study. It doesn't cover everything a full guide to exegesis would cover, but it should be enough to get you started. If I run across anything else like this, I'll be sure to share.



A systematic process by which a person arrives at a reasonable and coherent sense of the meaning and message of a biblical passage
  • to explain what the text meant to its original audience and in its original historical setting
  • to explain what the text means for today

Three Steps of Exegesis

Observation: "What does the author say?"Begin by reading the passage, perhaps a few times
  • use a good translation; it may help to read a few translations
  • be sure to take account of the translation methodology
  • read the larger context; the chapter or letter or book
Determine the limits of the passage
  • where does the writer begin/end the thought / story?
Note your specific observations concerning the passage
  • what key words, images, symbols are used?
  • where else are key words used by the same writer? By other biblical writers? Outside the Bible?
  • what characters appear and what are their relationships?
  • what issues are addressed in the passage?
  • are there any variant readings noted in the footnotes? (=textual criticism)
  • is there a particular literary form (genre) to take note of (e.g., letter; healing; parable)? (=form criticism)
  • are there any structuring devices used in the text (e.g., parallelism; proofs)? (=rhetorical criticism)
  • did the passage have a source? do we have access to that source? (=source criticism)
  • what unique views or emphases does the writer place on the text? (=redaction criticism)
    • how has the writer used the sources?
    • what is the writer's life situation or theological outlook?
  • are there any parallel texts inside or outside of the Bible
  • what are the socio-cultural codes embedded in the text (e.g., honour/shame)? (=social-scientific criticism)
  • is there any independent confirmation of the events recorded? (=historical veracity)
Ask yourself what cultural assumptions you might be making; e.g., economic, health, family
Use exegetical tools (commentaries, dictionaries, atlas, etc.) only when necessary

Interpretation: "What did the author mean?"
Socio-historical context: What is the author's and audience's situation?
  • politics; geography; topography; demographics; customs
  • use a good Bible dictionary, atlas, encyclopedia
  • for whom was it written?
  • what issue(s) does the passage address?
Literary context
  • interpretation goes along with genre
    • is the passage narrative, poetic, parable, etc.?
    • should it be interpreted literally or figuratively?
  • focus on significant words, phrases, statements
    • what is its meaning (definitions; contextualize)?
    • what is its significance in the passage?
      • why would the author choose this way of expression?
      • does it have a special grammatical role?
      • does it make a difference if it were left out?
    • what is implied by the use of this term or phrase or grammatical structure?
Rhetorical context: what is the significance of the progression in the thought pattern?
  • what was the author trying to convey to the audience - e.g., theological truths, practical advice?
  • what types of responses did the author expect on the basis of writing this passage?
Theological context: what do you know about the author's theological perspective?
Investigate the secondary literature; compare and adjust your own observations
Concisely summarize the primary ideas of the passage; what is the author trying to convey?

Application: "What does it mean for me?"
This step involves the move from text to sermon or Bible study
This is the point at which hermeneutics comes to the fore
  • moving from one social context to another
  • that is, moving from the ancient world to our own world(s)
What was the author's purpose in writing this passage?
Did the author accomplish this purpose?
Does the passage contain "universal truths" (applicable in all ages) or "contextual truths" (applicable for a certain period of history)? Know how and why you make the distinction between these two "truths"
How does the passage fit with the whole message of the Bible?
Ask yourself the following questions:
  • what am I to believe?
  • what am I to do (actions, attitudes, sin)?
  • what do I learn about relationships?
  • what is the good news for me?
Now ask "how would that be initiated in my life?"
    Beware of reading twentieth century cultural norms into a passage. However, do use your imagination to apply the passage to contemporary society. This helps identify what some of the issues in the text might be.
Ask how you can address your particular audience
  • how can you best explain the original meaning of the text?
  • how can you help them connect with the truths of the text?
Be sure to understand your audience as best you can.
Use a format appropriate for your audience (e.g., sermon/homily; Bible study; case study; drama).

Writing An Academic Exegetical Paper

Note that this is not to be a sermon/homily. The emphasis should be on understanding the passage not on preaching the passage.
The aim of the paper is the first goal of exegesis: to explain what the text meant to its original audience and in its original historical setting.
The paper should concentrate on findings from the observation and interpretation steps and should only include an application if the instructor has requested it.
In writing the paper ask yourself the following questions:
  • Do I understand the text or texts I intend to discuss?
  • Are my notes clear and complete, allowing me to describe and respond to key features in the text(s)?
  • Does my opening paragraph lead to a specific and precisely formulated thesis that anticipates the main points of the argument of the essay?
  • Do my topic sentences reflect a logical development of that thesis?
  • Are there smooth transitions between paragraphs and sentences?
  • Do paragraphs cohere, usually around a single idea?
  • Is the meaning of each sentence clear, and are the structures of sentences varied?
  • Are general or abstract observations supported with concrete examples?
  • Have I carefully proof-read and revised for grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors?
  • Have footnotes and quotations been double-checked for accuracy and proper placement?
  • Has proper footnote and bibliographical form been followed?
The structure of the paper depends on the passage. Some texts unfold an argument in a step-by-step manner. They can be discussed in a verse-by-verse format. Others, especially narrations, work best if handled in a theme-oriented structure. Sometimes, a definition has the amount of pliability to fit your arguments. Always allow some time between your research and your writing for this analysis stage to jell (summarized from Hayes and Holiday 1982:110 and 112).

Guides for Biblical Exegesis

Danker, Frederick W. Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study. 4th edition. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993.Fee, Gordon D. New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors. Philadelphia: Westminister, 1983.
Harrington, Daniel J. Interpreting the New Testament: A Practical Guide. Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1979.
------. Interpreting the Old Testament. Wilmington: Michael Glazier.
Hayes, John H. and Carl R. Holladay. Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner's Handbook. Atlanta: John Knox, 1982.
Soulen, Richard N. Handbook of Biblical Criticism. 2nd edition. Atlanta: John Knox, 1981.
Stewart, Douglas. Old Testament Exegesis: A Primer for Students and Pastors. Second edition. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1984.
Wald, Oletta. The Joy of Discovery in Bible Study. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1975.

Podcasts worth your time

If any of you have an iPod (and who doesn't?) I wanted to share with you some of the podcast's that I've been listening to and that I think would be worth your time.

The Dividing Line

James White of Alpha and Omega ministries not only debates, teaches and writes, but he also hosts a podcast twice a week where he deals with apologetics issues, as well as cultural issues. He's a walking encyclopedia on Mormonism, Islam and bad theology in general.

Theology Unplugged

For many of you who use The Theology Program, Michael Patton is no stranger to you. He's the creator of Credo House, Parchment and Pen Blog, and The Theology Program. Well, few people know the man also podcasts along side people like Sam Storms. Tackling a host of theological issues, this is a podcast that is worth your time.

Fighting for the Faith

Mention the phrase "Pirate Christian" and if you've been on-line for a while you'll think of Chris Roseburough. The man is the founder of Pirate Christian Radio. Mainly Lutheran programming (not that there's anything wrong with that) his show is the main course. He offers what he calls "a daily dose of biblical discernment". I have to admit that his podcast is the longest on here (it runs for almost two hours DAILY) but the man gives you a little bit of everything. From apologetics and news, to sermon reviews, it's more Lutheran fun than an episode of Davey and Golitah!


Trust Issues

Luke 16:10 - "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."

Something I've learned is how easy you can lose trust. You can spend a lot of time building it, taking it for granted, and then one day you mess up. Bad communication, an inconsiderate comment, or plain stupidity will lose it in a second. While this verse deals with trust in the context of discipleship(and the many things God will hold you accountable for), I believe the principle behind it applies to other areas. If you can be trusted with something as simple as being there when people need you or someone else's stuff, they might just trust you with a whole lot more. Mess that up, and you'll have to earn that trust all over again. At this moment, I think I should apologize if I have lost trust with people because I've been late or unintentionally hurtful. I hope I can earn your trust. I'm willing to make the effort.