Monday, June 22, 2009

Putting Church Music Philosophies in Boxes

Some really thoughtful and helpful work, as well as some fair critique, from Scott Aniol here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What made Tom Schreiner become a Premillennialist?

Listen to his sermon on Revelation 20 from last Sunday (6/14/09) at his church, Clifton Baptist in Louisville. You'll hear Schreiner, widely recognized as a NT scholar of the first order, explain how he taught the Amillennial position just a month or so ago, then hear him offer three compelling arguments for Premillennialism that made him change his mind.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Concerning Chuck Phelps' Concern that John MacArthur Teaches Works Righteousness

In his address at the FBFI Conference this week, Chuck Phelps criticized a portion of John MacArthur's Hard to Believe. Here's the key quote from the book:
Salvation isn’t the result of an intellectual exercise. It comes from a life lived in obedience and service to Christ as revealed in the Scripture; it’s the fruit of actions, not intentions.
I think Phelps is right in the substance of his concerns on this portion of the quote. If one were to suggest that this statement proves something about MacArthur's true beliefs that's contrary to everything else he's ever taught would be ridiculous. But these words, taken at face value, don't teach a biblical understanding of how we receive salvation.

For what it's worth, I do agree with MacArthur that salvation is not easy and it will cost you your life. If we need to talk about some biblical texts on that point, we can do it another time, but that's not the thrust of this post (and it won't be the subject of debate in the comment thread).

Here's the point. I did a little research and found that Tim Challies raised the same question in his review of the book. Challies actually a little research of his own and discovered an explanation from Phil Johnson, MacArthur's editor. Read all about it here.

And for what it's worth, it seems to me that Grace to You/John MacArthur/Phil Johnson should release a public explanation and clarification. If it already exists, I'd love to know that.

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Decisional Regeneration"

From Ardel Caneday's intriguing chapter, "Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement" in Believer's Baptism, edited by Tom Schreiner and Shawn Wright:
[S]ince the Second Great Awakening, this same zeal [to isolate baptism from conversion] has permitted "new measures" of various kinds, such as the "mourners' bench," the "invitation system," or a recited "sinner's prayer" to displace baptism as the rite of conversion, thus shirking and even marginalizing Christ's command to the church. Zeal to avoid "baptismal regeneration," which many perceived to be the necessary consequence of Alexander Campbell's teaching, actually spawned another error, "decisional regeneration."

This was an error rooted in revivalism that is now a traditional element in American evangelicalism. If the former error is to relegate regenerating efficacy to the rite of baptism itself, the latter error assigns the same efficacy to the human decision to act upon whichever measures preachers may use. [p. 325, emphasis original]