Text: 1 Peter 2:1-3
Andy Naselli shares the messages from a recent conference featuring John Piper and others on how to approach God’s word at this link.
By Dr. Jason Lisle (original source here)
Recently, someone sent me a link to an article appearing in Scientific American – a popular science magazine. The article is entitled “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense.” The article was extremely revealing, but not in the way the author probably intended. The article exhibited a very common problem we often see among evolutionists: ignorance of creation literature. Creationists have written literally thousands of peer-reviewed publications showing how modern scientific discoveries confirm creation and biblical history. These range from layman-level articles, to highly technical scientific publications.
Unfortunately, most evolutionists are too intellectually lazy to read these. Consequently, the majority of evolutionists are badly uninformed about creation.
Not only are they uninformed about creation, but most evolutionists are misinformed. They have heard other evolutionists claim that creation scientists believe a particular thing, but they didn’t bother to check. Instead, most simply repeat the claim and the myth is reinforced rather than corrected. This tends to result in straw-man fallacies. Namely, an evolutionist will misrepresent what creationists claim, and then refute that misrepresentation. Indeed, most of the article’s criticisms are against a position that no informed creation scientist holds. They are not claims that are published and defended in peer-reviewed creation technical literature. So, far from refuting creationist “nonsense”, the critic has actually merely revealed his profound ignorance of the topic.
Second, the article reveals another problem commonly found among the most ardent defenders of particles-to-people evolution: a lack of critical thinking skills. Let’s face it. When it comes to origins, evolutionists simply don’t reason rationally or scientifically. They might reason very well when it comes to other areas of thinking. But for some reason, when it comes to origins, logic seems to disappear. We see several examples of this in the article. So, let’s examine the article’s claims, and see if they (1) fairly represent what creation scientists teach, and (2) stand up to rational scrutiny. I will put the article in purple font, with my comments in black.
The problems begin with the article’s subtitle:
Opponents of evolution want to make a place for creationism by tearing down real science, but their arguments don’t hold up.
This subtitle contains the first straw-man fallacy: it claims that creationists are against science – indeed that creationists are “tearing down” science. This is false. As a creationist, I really like science! I like it so much that I spent years in graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in astrophysics. Furthermore, most of the active researchers in creation science have a Ph.D. in science, such as Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson, Dr. Georgia Purdom, Dr. Tim Clarey, Dr. Andrew Snelling, Dr. Danny Faulkner, Dr. Russ Humphreys, Dr. John Hartnett, to name just a few. If they are so anti-science, then why do they spend their lives doing science?
Students of logic will also recognize the “no true Scotsman” fallacy in the critic’s subtitle. Note the phrase “real science.” Presumably the critic wants us to think that his position is scientific and the creationist position is not. And he tries to persuade by simply redefining “true science” as that which corresponds to his beliefs. But anyone could apply that rhetorical trick. I could say, “real science is creation science” and that would have no more logical weight than the critic’s assertion.
We also see an example of the question-begging epithet fallacy. This is the fallacy of using rhetoric in place of logic to persuade someone. One such epithet is subtle: evolution is contrasted with creationism. The addition of the ‘ism’ on ‘creation’ but not ‘evolution’ rhetorically suggests that creation is a belief, whereas evolution is not. But no logical argument is made for this, and nothing could be further from the truth. It is empty rhetoric, without any logical merit.
When Charles Darwin introduced the theory of evolution through natural selection 143 years ago, the scientists of the day argued over it fiercely, but the massing evidence from paleontology, genetics, zoology, molecular biology and other fields gradually established evolution’s truth beyond reasonable doubt.
Here we have the fallacy of elephant-hurling. Rather than providing actual evidence for Darwinian evolution, the critic simply claims that there is overwhelming evidence for it, and lists many fields of science. This would be acceptable if he later gave specific examples from these fields that establish his claim. But he doesn’t. His attempt to persuade is mere rhetoric with no logical merit.
Note that the kind of evolution we are discussing here is the kind Darwin believed in – that all organisms on earth are descended from a common ancestor through progressive modification over billions of years. We might call this “Darwinian evolution.”
It is also sometimes called “neo-Darwinian evolution” (since this includes the specifics of mutations and genes which Darwin did not know). It is significant that we do not mean “evolution” in some generic sense of change. Rather, we are debating a very specific claim about how organisms change.
Today that battle has been won everywhere–except in the public imagination. Embarrassingly, in the 21st century, in the most scientifically advanced nation the world has ever known, …
It doesn’t seem to even occur to the critic that there might be a connection. Could it be that the reason the United States is so scientifically advanced is because we employ creationist thinking? The creationist presumes the world is upheld by the mind of God, so we expect to find patterns in nature. The creationist believes his senses and mind were designed by God, and therefore have the capacity to learn about nature. These biblical convictions justify our faith in science. But if the universe were just an accident, if our senses are merely the result of accidental mutations, why expect science to work?
…creationists can still persuade politicians, judges and ordinary citizens that evolution is a flawed, poorly supported fantasy.
Again, we see a question-begging epithet fallacy. Presumably, we’re supposed to think, “how terrible that people can be convinced that evolution is a poorly supported fantasy!” But that would only be a problem if evolution were not a poorly supported fantasy. Second, notice that the critic does not mention the many scientists that have been persuaded that evolution is a poorly supported fantasy. But if he mentioned that, it might be harder to maintain his façade that science somehow supports Darwinian evolution.
They lobby for creationist ideas such as “intelligent design” to be taught as alternatives to evolution in science classrooms.
There are several problems here. First, there is a whopping big difference between biblical creation, and the intelligent design movement; yet the critic does not distinguish between these two. Most of the creation scientists I know are not affiliated with the intelligent design movement. Creation scientists like myself are not primarily concerned with applying political pressure to get alternatives to evolution taught in secular schools. Neither are we opposed to this. It is simply not our focus. Continue reading
In an eclipse, there is not an unveiling of something but the obscuring of reality. Isn’t that interesting? Many people right at this very moment are scrambling to look up into the heavens (with protective glasses on, because they cannot look directly) to actually see less than what is normally available to see.
An eclipse does not destroy anything, it merely hides it, covers it over, or puts a shadow on it. In the professing Church there has been a willful concealing of the true character of God and many turn out in their droves to hear of this lesser God. Unwilling to put up with sound doctrine, they heap up to themselves teachers who will tell them what their itching ears wish to hear (2 Tim. 4:3).
God has not been impacted at all, but we have cast a shadow over His character, so to speak. God is not a buffet line of options where we get to choose which attributes we wish to embrace and those we feel we can leave to the side. There’s a biblical word for that kind of exercise, “idolatry.”
May the falsehoods be put away and let us see Him as He really is, as He has revealed Himself through the word of God.
Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” – 1 Thess. 5:23-24
These verses are regularly quoted and yet their meaning and ramifications are often times overlooked.
Here’s what the text teaches: The process of the complete sanctification of the elect is God’s work from start to finish and it will happen.
There is no doubt that Paul’s desire for God to preserve them (“kept blameless” ESV, “preserved complete” NASB, “kept sound and blameless” CSB) in sanctification at the coming of our Lord Jesus, speaks of the sanctification process resulting in the full glorification of the saint, which is the very end goal of salvation. The very opposite of this, in contrast, would be for this process to stop somewhere along the way somehow and a person to be ultimately lost forever.
Notice that Paul anchors this hope and desire, not in an appeal to the will and action of the saint but in the will and action of God Himself.
Then notice further that Paul is not merely hopeful of this end result, but he is certain of it. He grounds this future certainty not in the activity and performance of the saint, but in God’s faithfulness. The sure foundation of this hope is God’s commitment to fulfill His promises and to do all that is necessary for this to happen. The One who calls is faithful to complete the work. The saints persevere because God preserves and keeps His own.
He is faithful, and He will do it.
Article by Dr. Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. He writes regularly at jasonkallen.com (original source here)
“How shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14). With airtight logic, the Apostle Paul sets forth the indispensable human link in fulfilling the Great Commission—the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In so doing, he instructs us in the way of the kingdom, that in every generation God is calling out preachers to serve His church.
Paul’s timeless question is especially relevant for the twenty-first-century church. Evangelical churches are in the midst of a massive generational transition, with vacant pastorates and empty pulpits dotting the landscape.
Vacant pulpits ought not induce the wringing of hands. Christ is building His church. He does not hope for ministerial volunteers; He sovereignly sets apart pastors to serve His church and preach His gospel.
Nonetheless, the church is to call out the called, and every qualified man of God should consider if God is calling him to pastoral ministry.
How might one know if God is calling him to the ministry? There are four essential marks.
A Burning Desire
The leading indicator of a call to ministry is a burning desire for the work. In 1 Timothy 3, Paul begins the list of ministry qualifications by asserting, “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” In fact, Paul testified that he ministered as one “under compulsion,” fearful of God’s judgment if he did not peach.
In his Lectures to My Students, Charles Spurgeon argued, “The first sign of the heavenly calling is an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work. In order to be a true call to the ministry, there must be an irresistible, overwhelming craving and raging thirst for telling to others what God has done to our own souls.”
Those who have been most used of God carried this weight of the soul. Men such as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Spurgeon owned this inner compulsion that, like an artesian well, continuously poured power and urgency into their ministries.
The preacher may not feel every Sunday what Richard Baxter felt when he famously resolved “to preach as a dying man, to dying men; as one not sure to ever preach again.” But the one called of God knows a constant, ongoing desire for the work of ministry.
A Holy Life
First Timothy 3:1–7 offers a clear and nonnegotiable list of character qualifications for the ministry. This list is prescriptive, not descriptive; it is regulative, not suggestive. In summary, the minister of God must be above reproach.
Before a church evaluates a pastoral candidate’s gifting or talent, it must first evaluate his character. To be sure, for a man aspiring to ministry, it may help to be winsome, to be eloquent, or to possess a magnetic personality. Yet, before one looks for these secondary—and tertiary—strengths, one must first meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3.
What is more, the 1 Timothy 3 qualifications do not simply represent a one-time threshold to cross. Rather, they are a lifestyle to be maintained, a character to be cultivated, and an ongoing accountability to God’s Word and God’s people. One’s call to ministry is inextricably linked to one’s biblical character. The two cannot—and must not—be decoupled.
A Surrendered Will
The Apostle Paul was set apart from his mother’s womb and testified that he “became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me” (Col. 1:25). Paul chose to preach because God chose him to preach. Every call to preach originates in heaven. Our response is total surrender.
In fact, “surrendering to ministry” used to be common parlance in evangelical churches. We would do well to recover that phrase, because that is how one enters the ministry—through surrender. God’s call to ministry comes with the expectation that you will go whenever and wherever He calls you. His ministers are His agents, deployed for service according to His providential plan.
An Ability to Teach
Finally, the one called to the ministry must be able to teach the Word of God. In 1 Timothy 3, this is the distinguishing qualification between the office of the deacon and elder. There are a thousand ways a minister can serve the church, but there is one, indispensable, and nonnegotiable responsibility—to preach and teach the Word of God.
Does the preparation and delivery of sermons fulfill you? Do the people of God benefit from your ministry of the Word? Does your church sense your gifting and affirm your ability to preach or teach about God?
Any man can choose the ministry, and too many unqualified men have. Only a select few are called by God. Discerning between being called of men and called of God is urgently important.
If God is calling you to be His servant, then realize, in the words of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “the work of preaching is the highest and greatest and most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called.” If God has called you to be His preacher, never stoop to be a king of men.
“You should not believe everything you read on the internet.” – Abraham Lincoln
“To worship God we must know who God is, but we cannot know who God is unless God first chooses to reveal himself to us. God has done this in the Bible, which is why the Bible and the teaching of the Bible need to be central in our worship.” – James Montgomery Boice
“The Covenant of Redemption is the covenant entered into by the persons of the Trinity in the councils of eternity, with the Son mediating its benefits to the elect. This covenant is the basis for all of God’s purposes in nature and history, and it is the foundation and efficacy of the covenant of grace.” – Michael Horton
“The Church is in duty bound to guard its holiness by the exercise of proper discipline. The purpose of discipline in the Church is twofold. In the first place it seeks to carry into effect the law of Christ concerning the admission and exclusion of members; and in the second place it aims at promoting the spiritual edification of the members of the Church by securing their obedience to the laws of Christ. Both of these aims are subservient to a higher end, the maintenance of the holiness of the church of Jesus Christ. If there are diseased members, the Church will first of all seek to effect a cure, but if this proves impossible, it will put away the diseased member for the protection of the other members. While all the members of the Church are in duty bound to warn and admonish the wayward, only the officers of the Church can apply Church censures. The latter can deal with private sins only when these are brought to their attention according to the rule given in Matt. 18:15-17, but are in duty bound to deal with public sins even when no formal accusation is brought.” – Louis Berkhof
“A doctrine concerning Scripture’s attributes developed in the Reformation churches as a counter to Roman Catholicism on the one hand and Anabaptism on the other. The key issue was the nature and extent of scriptural authority. Rome honors church and tradition above Scripture, while Anabaptism respects the inner word at the expense of the external word of Scripture. In Roman Catholicism the precedence of the church over Scripture eventually led to the dogma of papal infallibility. Here, materially, Scripture is unnecessary. Over against this position, the Reformers posited their polemical doctrine of Scripture’s attributes: authority, necessity, sufficiency, and perspicuity.” – Herman Bavinck
“The best evidence of the Bible’s being the word of God is to be found between its covers. It proves itself.” – Charles Hodge
“Grace … eliminates boasting; it suffocates boasting: it silences any and all negotiations about our contribution before they can even begin. By definition we cannot ‘qualify’ for grace in any way, by any means, or through any action.” – Sinclair Ferguson
“What will it cost a man to be a true Christian? It will cost him his self-righteousness. He must cast away all pride and high thoughts, and conceit of his own goodness. He must be content to go to heaven as a poor sinner, saved only by free grace, and owing all to the merit and righteousness of another.” – J. C. Ryle
“Don’t let your feelings inform your doctrine, let your doctrine inform your feelings.” – Burk Parsons
“God Himself supplies the necessary condition to come to Jesus, that’s why it is ‘sola gratia,’ by grace alone, that we are saved.” – RC Sproul
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD;
he turns it wherever he will.” – Prov. 21:1
“If Yahweh is sovereign over the greatest human will, He is sovereign over all human wills.” – Dan Phillips
“Doctrinal preaching certainly bores the hypocrites; but it is only doctrinal preaching that will save Christ’s sheep.” – J. I. Packer
“The Trinity is the basis of the gospel, and the gospel is a declaration of the Trinity in action. The Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it and the Spirit applying it.” – J. I. Packer
“To lay hold of and receive the gospel by a true and saving faith is an act of the soul that has been made a new creature, which is the workmanship of God… Wherefore whoever receiveth the grace that is tendered in the gospel, they must be quickened by the power of God, their eyes must be opened, their understandings illuminated, their ears unstopped, their hearts circumcised, their wills also rectified, and the Son of God revealed in them.” ~John Bunyan
“This is true religion, to approve what God approves, to hate what he hates, and to delight in what delights him.” – Charles Hodge
Dr. Kathy Koch has a saying that reflects the biblical thought Paul express in 1 Cor.15:33. She notes, “Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.”
“Rome often claims that it represents two thousand years of unbroken apostolic succession and practice. The implication is that no fundamental changes have taken place in the church, but only a legitimate development of principles found at the beginning. I believe that this historical claim is profoundly false, and that in the interests of truth and biblical religion it must be challenged.” – W. Robert Godfrey
is a blind,
in the fallen human spiritual system,
self-centered and self- deceiving desires,
Remember that sin desensitizes you
– J. I. Packer Continue reading
By J. I. Packer
In MOBI, EPUB, PDF, PRINTABLE BOOKLET, WEBPAGE
A five message Men’s Conference series by Dr. Sam Waldron found at this link.
Expository Preaching: A high view of Scripture should inevitably mean that God’s word is central in the life of the church so that the meaning of the passage is the message of the sermon.