Sunday, July 31, 2005

Tonight's the Night

Tonight I deliver my first sermon. I think I'll post it here on the blog after I deliver it, plus I'll give my impression of how things went. If you read this, pray for me tonight. I only want to say what God wants me to say.

Monday, July 25, 2005

May God Put His Words in My Mouth

I am two semesters away from FINALLY having a college degree. Whew. It feels good to be able to say that. I graduated from high school in 1996, and I must say it has been a long and winding road, if I may quote The Beatles). I think I've had a total of one semester off since '96, but of course I haven't been going to school full time for a while now (marriage, two kids, and a full-time job preclude such things). By June of next year I will be a college graduate, but in the mean time, I'm getting geared up for classes at Tri-State Bible College (see ministry links in the sidebar).

As a prerequisite for graduation at Tri-State all students in a four year program, which includes me, must complete seven semesters of work in "Christian Service" program. I currently have six, and will be doing the last this semester. Until you've reached senior status you have a great degree of lattitude in what your Christian service might be. Once you're a senior, however, the administrators like you to take service opportunities that will prepare you for the ministries you will undertake after graduation. I, along with my advisor (college president Dr. Clifford Marquardt), thought that teaching at the church I attend (Living Hope Bible Church; see ministry links again) would be a good idea, so that's what I'll be doing for the most part. I've done that a number of times before and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, Dr. Marquardt also wanted me to take some speaking opportunities around the area to gain preaching experience. I agreed and that was that.

I suppose I must not have expected a speaking opportunity to come up in such short order. My wife took a phone call from Mr. Leroy Fulford, head of the Christian Service Program, asking me to get in touch with him. When I called, I learned that Dr. Marquardt had indeed secured a speaking engagement for me, and that the date will be July 31. That's next Sunday. Here's the thing: I've never preached before except for a five minute mini-sermon I did when I was a teenager, and now I have a week to prepare for a full length sermon. I'm kinda nervous.

The text I have chosen is the entire book of 1 John. One reason is that I've taught on the Epistles of John at Church, so I have some familarity with the text. Also, I'd like to do an overview of the whole book because sometimes we take an atomistic view of Scripture because we study just a few verses at a time. Not to mention the fact that knowing the general message of a book helps in interpreting the text. It's probably a bit too much to bite off in a week, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Anyway, pray for me, and pray for the people of Kenwood Missionary Baptist Church in Ashland, KY. They don't know what they're in for...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

God the Clever?

A charge that Calvinists often level at Arminians is that their system robs God of His sovereignty because of the role man is allowed to play in salvation. Arminians will sometimes retort, "hey, which God is more sovereign, the one who simply decrees everything or the one who works with the free actions of men and achieves His will anyway?" It seems to me that this is playing fast and loose with the concept of sovereignty. Sovereignty is the exercise of supreme authority. It makes no sense to say that anyone is more sovereign because they allow other beings to exercise authority and achieve their ends anyway.

Sometimes the response is altered thusly: "Which God is more powerful, the one who decrees everything or the one who works with the free actions of me and achieves His will anyway?" This does avoid any sort of strange redefinition of sovereignty, but neither does it help the Arminian's cause. The reason being that it does not reveal anything about the amount of power a being might have. If God chose to do one thing, does that mean the other was outside of His power? No, obviously enough. This doesn't conclusively tell much about God's power other than the fact that He can do what He chose to do.

I think the best one could say is that a God who works with free willed beings has found a more clever way to achieve His ends, but that hardly inspires worship. I don't recall any Psalms praising God for such cleverness. No, the focus is on His sovereignty and power. I think that we can now see that, since the Arminian rejoinder to the accusation of diminishing the sovereignty of God fails, the accusation itself stands. The Calvinist view best preserves the sovereignty of God as it is revealed in the Bible.

Monday, July 11, 2005

More New Links!!

I've picked up a few more blog links from reading Phil Johnson's "Blogspotting" posts. First up is Kerry Gilliard, with THINK! I'm Wrestlin' With Words and Ideaz.... Also, I've linked Theological Meditations. Of particular interest is Tony's post titled "Radio Interview on Hyper-Calvinism."

PyroManiac has become a terrific source for great new material to read. The collective blogosphere owes you one, Phil!

edit: I just found Steve Camp's blog. I'm-a-linkin' it.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I AM Obi-Wan

Heck yeah. I took the Star Wars quiz. I AM Obi-Wan, baby. By far the coolest character in Eps. I, II, and III. Now...I'm going to Indiana. HT: Johnny Dee at Fides Quaerens Intellectum.

Which Revenge of the Sith Character are you?
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