Dr. John MacArthur – Genesis 1: Fact or Framework?

One popular view held by many old-earth advocates is known as the “framework hypothesis.” This is the belief that the “days” of creation are not even distinct eras, but overlapping stages of a long evolutionary process. According to this view, the six days described in Genesis 1 do not set forth a chronology of any kind, but rather a metaphorical “framework” by which the creative process is described for our finite human minds.

This view was apparently first set forth by liberal German theologians in the nineteenth century, but it has been adopted and propagated in recent years by some leading evangelicals, most notably Dr. Meredith G. Kline of Westminster theological seminary.

The framework hypothesis starts with the view that the “days” of creation in Genesis 1 are symbolic expressions that have nothing to do with time. Framework advocates note the obvious parallelism between days one and four (the creation of light and the placing of lights in the firmament), days two and five (the separation of air and water and the creation of fish and birds to inhabit air and water), and days three and six (the emergence of the dry land and the creation of land animals)–and they suggest that such parallelism is a clue that the structure of the chapter is merely poetic.

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Michael Boling – Reflections on Joshua 16-18

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Joshua 16-18

These three chapters continue to outline the allotment and divvying up of the land of promise. Specifically, the allotment of land given to Manasseh and Ephraim is provided. It is interesting to see that not all the inhabitants of the land were driven out. We see the Canaanites who lived in Gezer were not driven out completely; however, Joshua 16 notes they were required to perform forced labor.

Joshua 16-17 provides specific details as to the extent of the land allotted to Manasseh and Ephraim. In Joshua 18 we find the assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh where the Tent of Meeting was located. Apparently there were seven tribes who had not yet brought the land allotted to them under their control. Joshua told them to not wait any longer to take that which God had given them.

Joshua 18 also outlines the allotment of land provided to the tribe of Benjamin to include the towns they possessed and the borders of their allotment. So essentially we find in Joshua 16-18 a great deal of discussion of land ownership and property lines.

Ray Ortlund – Going Soft Against Wrath

A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

What is the wise response to an angry person who says something cruel, false or demanding? Proverbs 15:1 helps us in those awkward moments at home, at work, in our churches.

The key is “a soft answer.”

So, you’re standing there, stunned by those words that have just exploded in your face. In that instant of decision, as your mind is forming a response, “a soft answer” is the category you need. What is that?

Maybe, for Sure

The word “soft” means tender, delicate, gentle, even weak. We don’t like being weak, especially when we find ourselves in the crosshairs of anger. We would rather justify ourselves. It is hard to be wronged. It is doubly hard to be wronged and not fight back but respond softly.

Of course, if the angry person is a heretic, bent on wrecking your church, he or she must be confronted strongly. But if that person is not a danger but only immature, then a tender, delicate, soft, weak answer might help that person see things in a new way. Maybe not. Maybe nothing will help. When God himself answered Jonah’s anger softly, Jonah wasn’t satisfied (Jonah 4:1–11). But with the wisdom of Proverbs 15:1, the tension in the air might not escalate. The awkward moment might even be turned into something positive.

But dishing out anger in response to anger will surely go badly. Here is what we can always expect: “. . .a harsh word stirs up [more] anger.” A harsh – literally, “painful” – response can include words with sharp edges, a tone of sarcasm, implied threats of retaliation. There are many ways for the encounter to escalate quickly.

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Frank Schoenbach – How Evolution Undermines Inerrancy

For the purposes of this article, only inerrancy of Scripture of the five fundamentals will be discussed. The attacks on inerrancy, beginning in Genesis 1, brought doubt to the Creation account, which led to doubt on Biblical inspiration, doctrine and authority of not only Scripture but of God Himself.

After the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, many theologians came to accepting evolution as truth. This thinking came into once very conservative seminaries as evolutionist thinking and more liberal seminary professors inched their way into these halls of theological training.

After holding several heresy trials involving liberal seminary professors, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1910 approved what are known as the Five Fundamentals.[1] The document stated “that the following doctrines were essential and necessary to the Presbyterian system.”[2] The five approved were:

  1. The inerrancy of Scripture
  2. The virgin birth of Christ
  3. The substitutionary atonement of Christ by His death on the cross
  4. The bodily resurrection of Christ
  5. The authenticity of miracles

Needless to say, a war broke out between the fundamentalists and the liberals. This led to the famous sermon by Harry Emerson Fosdick in 1922 titled “Shall The Fundamentalists Win?”[4] Then, after the Scopes Trial of 1925, where Clarence Darrow made William Jennings Bryan, one of the stars of fundamentalism in his day, look like a complete idiot, the fundamentalist were defeated, but not down completely.

After the fundamentalist resurgence in the late 1970s, liberals were driven out of denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention. One of the casualties was one Dr. C. Welton Gaddy. Gaddy. Gaddy’s reaction, according to an article in the Charleston City Paper (no year is given as to when the article was written, only the date of April 14) “What happened that day in 1981 was part of the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC as they led the nation’s largest Protestant denomination to secede from mainstream American Christianity. Through the 1970s and ’80s, fundamentalists conducted an almost Stalinesque purge of moderates from positions of authority in the convention, its churches and seminaries.”[5] Obviously, Gaddy was not a happy camper.

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Dr. Albert Mohler – For Christian Men: The Lessons of Herman Cain

Herman Cain “suspended” his campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination on Saturday, ending one of the most interesting political campaigns of recent years. Cain’s energy and ideas had catapulted him into the front ranks of Republican candidates, even though he had never previously run for any political office. This unlikely candidate ran an unconventional campaign that collapsed under the weight of unusual developments. In a matter of minutes, it was over.

“As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” he stated. “Because of the continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family, not because we are not fighters. Not because I am not a fighter,” he said.

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Matthew Holst – 10 Wisdom Principles on Hearing and Speaking

36272-10-points 1. “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:27-28).

Restraint in speech, both in content and manner, is a mark of a Christian. How we say something can be as beneficial or harmful as what we say. The unrestrained man, in either content or manner of speech, is an example of one without knowledge and understanding. As we meet and hear people who exhibit these characteristics, we ought to treat their report with great discretion.

2. “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion” (Proverbs 18:2).

A mark of folly is a rush to judgment without hearing words of “understanding”. That often means delaying speech and judgment until better informed. We are all prone to this – we receive a report of another person’s alleged sin and are often inclined to believe it. Some will seek to publicize that alleged sin to further their own goals. Scripture has something to say about that also “Whoever covers an offense seeks love but he who repeats a matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9).

3. “A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his ruin and his lips are a snare to his soul” (Proverbs 18:7).

Sometimes we just cannot help ourselves. We have to say something. Whether we know or are ignorant of the situation, we just find ourselves having to speak. This proverb warns us that the fool, who “takes no pleasure in understanding” (18:2), receives a just recompense for his conduct. His mouth invites a beating and his lips bring his ruin. This may come through many forms: if the Christian behaves like the fool, the Lord will chasten him. If the fool remains in his behavior, it will lead to his everlasting ruin.

4. “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body” (Proverbs 19:8).

This is the danger, the great danger of being a gossip and receiving gossip. Gossip tastes so good on the tongue! When it reaches the stomach, it causes nausea – spiritual nausea. It titillates but ultimately destroys both the subject and object of the gossip. What a dangerous sin it is to receive an ill report of someone. To be sure, there are times where we have to do so. However, how we conduct ourselves in such times will ensure we do not fall foul of this sin. To receive a bad report without checking sources, speaking to the people in question, or silencing the gossip, put the hearer in great danger.

5. “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and his shame” (Proverbs 18:13).

Much like point 2, this proverb reveals the actions and the end of the proud. Why would one answer before he hears? Why would one pass judgment before finding out the facts? Why would one think it wise to comment out of ignorance? The simple answer is pride. JC Ryle once noted that some are so full of themselves, there is no room for God. That is what pride does and it always leads to folly and shame.

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Daniel Darling – The Grace of Radical Ordinariness

There has been much discussion in the evangelical world about the call to radical discipleship. Perhaps it began with Matthew Lee Anderson’s corrective to books by men like David Platt, Francis Chan, and others. I thought Matt’s piece was very helpful. On other hand, I have also been encouraged by the books and movements Anderson sought to correct. David Platt and Francis Chan and others are right in pushing the American church from it’s lethargy, of echoing Jesus call to radical discipleship.

Where the conversation, I think, is unhelpful is when it devolved into a sort of mockery of some of the radical message. I felt Anthony Bradley’s piece in World was unfair and, at times, snarky and dismissive of genuine attempts at Christian faithfulness. I also disliked Erick Erickson’s piece, which demonstrated a sort of dismissive, broad-brush approach to Christian’s answer the call to go serve Christ in hard places.

The problem, sometimes, with our discussions and our movements is that we embrace some wild, reactionary pendulum swings. I’m disturbed by this. I think it reflects our inability to embrace tension. The Scriptures are full of seemingly competing ideas that are not meant to be resolved or “won.” They are meant to be embraced as they are. One of these is the two , side-by-side ideas that form the basis of the “Radical” conversation.

On the one hand, Jesus calls us to sacrificial, out-of-the-ordinary, commitment to His call. He calls us to suffer and to die. He calls us to give up what is precious. He calls us to be His emissaries to the hard and difficult places of the world, to permeate all corners of the globe with His love.

And yet, we are called to a sort of ordinariness. A sort of faithful, anonymous regular living. We are to fulfill our unique vocations, based on the set of talents, gifts, and opportunities He has given us. We’re called not simply to be pastors or missionaries in far-flung places, we’re called to faithful living at home, in ordinary vocations, because the actual work we produce honors God as the Creator. We reflect Him when we do good work.

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Dave Jenkins – Hebrews 2:10-13: Perfect Through Suffering

This is sermon #6 in the Hebrews series. In this sermon from Hebrews 2:10-13 Dave preaches on Jesus our Elder Brother, The Pioneer of our salvation, growing in holiness, made perfect through suffering and not being ashamed of the Gospel.

Audio:

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/media.blubrry.com/servantsofgracemedia/p/servantsofgrace.org/mediafolder/Perfectthroughsuffering.mp3]

Video:

Joel Rosenberg – Why Iran’s Top Leaders Believe That the End of Days Has Come

Why would Iran authorize a major terrorist operation on American soil? Skeptics say the much-discussed “foiled” Iranian plot makes no sense. We will know soon enough if the Feds have sufficient evidence related to this specific plot. But Iranian leaders may, in fact, have a motive to accelerate direct attacks on the U.S.: Shia Islamic eschatology, or “End Times” theology.

Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are convinced that the End of Days has come. They believe the Shia messiah known as the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Mahdi” will appear soon to establish a global Islamic kingdom known as the caliphate.

What’s more, they believe the way to hasten the coming of the Twelfth Imam is to annihilate Israel (which they call the “Little Satan”), and the United States (which they call the “Great Satan”). We should not, therefore, be surprised that Iran is probing for weaknesses in American intelligence and homeland security.

Khamenei told Iranians in July 2010 that he personally met with the Twelfth Imam. He also claimed to be the personal representative of the Mahdi on earth, and said all Muslims must “obey him.” Meanwhile, Western intelligence agencies say he continues to work with Ahmadinejad and the Iranian military to develop nuclear warheads and the ballistic missiles to deliver them.

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Wyatt Graham – Worry & Happiness

08fba0f It’s pretty easy to worry when choices confront us. Worry can cripple, wound, or otherwise prevent us from experiencing the joy of our salvation. And sometimes there are no clear answers in the murky world in which we all live.

In 1931, Montagu Norman, the head of the Bank of England, had to decide how to save the economy: would he drop the gold standard and adopt bill economy or keep the gold standard and risk running out of it? Both options were possible, but the stress got to him and Montagu had a nervous breakdown. While vacation, his office made the decision and killed the gold standard. While none of us will have the same responsibility, we can easily fall into the sways of anxiety and depression due to stress, to the crippling effect choices have on us.

Stress happens and there is no easy escape, but Christians have a unique way to deal with it, overcome it, and live a stable life. At the get-go I want to be clear, some worry is not sin. You need to worry about finances, family, health, and all the rest of life or else you would dive headlong into ruin. But much worry is sin, because it trips into anxiety, and anxiety crushes us into depression, and depression makes us the walking dead.

So what happens when you don’t know what to do and just want to do what is right, and how do you overcome much worry, anxiety, and depression due to this?

I’d like to suggest that you will overcome much worry by practicing righteousness–that you walk by the Spirit–and your answer will come and your worry will die. By doing before knowing, and by doing before feeling, you are freed up to live the happy life, and when you are happy, worrisome decisions seem so much less debilitating.

DESIRE AND ASHERISM

Four people have helped to understand this: Jesus, the Author of Psalm 1, Ellen Charry, and James Smith. Together, their ideas empower us to overcome worry, grief, anxiety, because they show us how to walk by the Spirit so that we will not gratify the desires of the flesh–including much worry and anxiety. Let’s think about what each has to do say in reverse order.

James Smith argues in his Cultural Liturgies series that people are primarily lovers, that what we do shapes the way we love. In short, what we practice shapes who we are what we desire in life.

Ellen Charry, in her work God and the Art of Happiness, argues that biblical morality intends to grow us in wisdom, to make us flourish and live the happy life. Of course, the happy life according to Scripture is not pure bliss. Rather, it’s a deep seated contentment and joy garnered from a life lived wisely. She calls this sort of life the Asheristic life, which comes from Hebrew word Ashre meaning “happy.”

Asherism teaches us to think, live and then feel a certain way. Happiness comes through practicing righteousness.

In sum, Charry points to our practice of righteousness as the means to happiness, while Smith explains how our practices help us to gain what we desire­­-in this case, happiness. On Smith’s anthropology, if we want happiness we need to cultivate practices to gain it. Charry defines those practices as righteousness. But to answer the question of “What does it mean to practice righteousness?”, at least in broad strokes, we need to turn the Psalms and Jesus.

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