Responding to Frank Turek’s Defense of Andy Stanley (White) from Alpha & Omega Ministries

I don’t have a normal commitment to share episodes of The Dividing Line, here or on social media. If I did, it would be all I share, because of the sheer amount of content Dr. White puts out. That said, in this video at about the 16:25 mark, James White offers what I think is a standard Reformed view of the role and purpose of the local church. There are many in our day who advocate for a view that says that church meetings ought to primarily be for unbelievers. Are they? Give it a listen..

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Christon Gray – Stop Me (Youtube)

I’ve been enjoying this one for a minute. Now there’s a video. Fun stuff. Lyrics are posted below. Enjoy.

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[Intro]

Stop me
Stop me
Stop me

[Verse 1]

Once upon a time the people pleaser in me would hold back
‘Til God said this message is much bigger than rap
Been happening for years, we’ve seen it across the map
The boomerang flow, me and Tom just brought it back
Preaching at people with no love
Stay looking at sinners with cold shrugs
The like minded get met with warm hugs
Welcome to the circus, it’s all good on the surface
If you don’t agree then throw a stone
All our houses made out of glass, i’m going home
Thinking who’s who it’s the attack of the clones
I’m at the final table when cards is being shown
Gotta keep my hands folded
Throw the deuces in, I can’t hold em
Schools out, we tired of being scolded
We know the rules, just hate the way that you told ’em

[Hook]

Stop me, stop me
Oh somebody stop me
Stop me, stop me
Please, somebody stop me
Stop me, stop me
Oh, somebody stop me
And Lord if i’m doing it wrong then please stop me
Stop me, Stop me, Stop me
And Lord if i’m doing it wrong then please stop me

[Verse 2]

Feels like the cold war, but I ain’t Russian though
Slowing things down, no concussion bro
And I already know i’m not untouchable
Just tryna give em less Cosby, more Huxtable
Sam sung, the change is gon’ come
Watch it on my cell, they beating the same drum
Over crowded cells, in chains they can’t run
It’s 50 years later, where the change coming from
God said love your neighbor like you love yourself
But when a man wants a man then he’s on the shelf
She say she feel like a man and just wants some help
I guess it’s easier to love em when it’s someone else
So I apologize for the Paul disguise
We been wearing without solving the Saul inside
We don’t mean no harm, we here to harmonize
Sound the alarm, it’s time to cross the line

[Hook]

Stop me, stop me
Oh somebody stop me
Stop me, stop me
Please, somebody stop me
Stop me, stop me
Oh, somebody stop me
And Lord if i’m doing it wrong then please stop me
Stop me, Stop me, Stop me
And Lord if i’m doing it wrong then please stop me

[Verse 3]

I think it’s time for me to turn the mirror round
I don’t like what I see, i’m double blinking now
Visine, I mean it’s getting clearer now
The devil keeps talking, should I hear him out?
I’m fighting to believe i’m free
Neo sparring with Morpheus, look where I bleed
Stings like a bee, I ain’t their Ali
People funnel the cake, the only fair I see
One for the money, two for the show
I do it for free if my grass will still grow
If I don’t do it for three then who do I do it for (four)
I’m wrestling like Jacob
Wondering what i’m made of
Everyday that I wake up, I’m feeling less cushion
The logo’s a button, I been wanting you to push it
Standing at the edge, staring at the ground
Tryna keep my focus, it’s a long way down so

[Hook]

Stop me, stop me
Oh somebody stop me
Stop me, stop me
Please, somebody stop me
Stop me, stop me
Oh, somebody stop me
And Lord if i’m doing it wrong then please stop me
Stop me, Stop me, Stop me
And Lord if i’m doing it wrong then please stop me

Top Five Books on the Five Solas: Introduction (Mathison) – Ligonier

Over at Ligonier, Keith Mathison has begun a series of articles in which he will be detailing the top five books written on each of the Five Solas of the Reformation. Keep you eye out for the rest.

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A few years ago, I ran across a comic strip in which one of the figures says, “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.” This comic is a humorous, albeit somewhat cynical, play on the well-known quote by the American philosopher George Santayana (1863–1952), who wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It is a well-known and widely used quote because there is much truth in it.

The truth that Santayana grasped is abundantly illustrated in the history of the modern evangelical church. We are a people who have forgotten our roots, and in many cases we really don’t seem to care. The church exists in a world of rapidly changing technology, a world in which almost everyone has been assimilated into the incessant chatter of social media and real-time updates on everything from world politics to what your friend had for breakfast this morning. If we are to be relevant, we too must be a people of the new and the now. Or so we think. Read more…

What Is a Principled Voter to Do?

The answer seems easy, right? If you’re a principled voter, you. . . vote your principles. Duh.

Well, some in the GOP would have principled voters abandon their principles for pragmatism. They would argue that any principles that do not meet their pragmatic criteria and get their guy elected are actually a lack of principle. Why? Because the only principle worth having is winning. Take Reince Priebus for example.

This past Sunday on Face the Nation, the GOP Chairman sought to villainize principled Republicans. In the age of Populist Republicanism, there is no room for the Republican governed by anything other than other Republicans. The narrative argues that any Republicans not towing the line are completely devoid of virtue.

2016 Primary Candidates

There are several candidates from the GOP primaries who still have not bowed the knee and kissed the ring of Herr Trump. Priebus argues, “Those people need to get on board. And if they’re thinking they’re going to run again someday, you know, I think that we’re going to evaluate the process of the nomination process, and I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for them.” He later says he is not making a threat, but his words are pretty plain.

He also uses the tired argument that these candidates pledged their support for the eventual candidate and must honor the pledge. He neglects to mention the fact that Trump was the only candidate in the first debate to refuse to pledge his support for the eventual candidate. Only as the North Carolina primary drew near, a primary in which support for the eventual candidate is mandated under a draconian rule, did Trump finally pledge his support. Of course, after he won that primary, he retracted his pledge only to publicly shame others for retracting theirs.

In short Priebus, and other brown shirts, want to shame candidates who are not bound in any way to the current GOP ticket into being more virtuous than the man at the top of the ticket. This is hypocrisy at its height. Want to win principled voters? This is not the way to do it.

The Voters Themselves

Of course, there’s the issue of the voters themselves. There is plenty of shame to go around. Why heap it only on the primary candidates who have the gumption to stand when everyone else is kneeling. The assumption is that the conservative voters’ votes are the rightful property of the GOP candidate until they are robbed of it by. . . well, the evil conservative voters. Yeah. #Logic right? Consider this video from Alfonzo Rachel:

Having convinced themselves that principle is not all that important in the grand scheme of things. Therefore, we must vote for a Democrat calling himself a Republican to stop the Democrat actually being honest about being a Democrat. Don’t get it twisted; principled conservatives don’t want Hillary. However, given the choice between four years of Hillary with an emboldened, unified conservatism to counter her in 2020 and eight years of Trump and the death of conservatism as we know it, some are compelled to pull that lever. That’s not me.

Then, there’s the issue of what’s happening to the Republican Party. When no one is willing or (apparently) able to make the case for Trump to principled conservatives, and the default tactic is to shame them into voting for him and demonize the candidates they championed in the primaries right before their eyes, principled conservatives justifiably believe themselves to be abandoned by the GOP. In fact, many Millennial and Gen X conservatives are not all that sure the GOP ever cared for them to be in the tent to begin with.

For those of us familiar with history, we recognize that shaming is not merely a Leftist tactic. It’s a fascist tactic. Thus, when major figures like Priebus, Hannity, and others start shaming people into getting in line, it only solidifies our resolve to not join up with the rising regime. There are precious few Sophie Scholls left in the world, but principled conservatives in present day America are up for the challenge. We are not at all inspired to support Trump’s new brand of National Socialism (Nazism) over Clinton’s equally evil Global Socialism (Communism).

How the Bible Relates to Man-Made Creeds (Nettles) – Founders: The Blog

This morning, Rick Patrick posted an article on SBC Today entitled “The Rise of Soteriological Traditionalism.” In this article, he explains how the Traditionalist Statement was a natural product of a necessary movement in the SBC to balance its soteriology. Have I mentioned I hate the way Christians often over-use the word balance? It’s sooo imbalanced! But I digress. Having read the aforementioned article, I can’t help but think that Nettles’ article below might have perhaps been written, at least partially, in reaction to it.

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The pivotal question of how one concedes authoritative force to a creedal, or confessional, proposition holds paramount importance in their use in pedagogical and disciplinary ways. If churches, associations, or denominations as a whole are to use their creeds as instruments of ordination, church instruction, and discipline, then some method of demonstrating the biblical character of their propositions must be clearly conceived. Phillip Schaff rightly reminds Christians, that “the Bible has, therefore, a divine and absolute, the Confession only an ecclesiastical and relative, authority.” Additionally, he warns that “any higher view of the authority of symbols is unprotestant and essentially Romanizing.” Having issued that caveat, he proposed, “Confessions, in due subordination to the Bible, are of great value and use.” He called them “summaries of the doctrines of the Bible, aids to its sound understanding, bonds of union among their professors, public standards and guards against false doctrine and practice” (Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, 3 volumes, 1:7, 8.)

Confidence in the biblical authenticity of a creed’s content comes by familiarity with its historical and doctrinal context compared with the way each party interpreted Scripture. Creeds and confessions help us in consolidating the exegetical options that have characterized disagreements in the history of Christianity. They set forth propositions that are the summation of a particular group’s understanding of what Scripture teaches. The confessional propositions make possible close investigation as to their biblical fidelity and acceptance or rejection on that basis. If the creedal proposition is accepted as an accurate synthesis of biblical truth, that proposition becomes an element of an interpreter’s exegetical principles. Keep reading…

The Guilt of Pastoral Ministry (Leon Brown) – Reformation21

Leon Brown offers his thoughts on how members might help alleviate the guilt their pastors feel from sacrificing so much for pastoral ministry…

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As I was re-reading a section of Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving, these words made a Facebook debut:

“We asked our summit pastors, ‘What obstacles stand in the way of your fruitful, growing walk with Christ?’ They focused on one primary issue: workaholism. Their workaholism largely stems from two sources: the belief that they never work hard enough (and that others work harder than they do) and the assumption that they are responsible for everything that happens in the church… [Pastors] were greatly concerned that, to the layperson, their flexible schedules make it look like they are goofing off. While studies we referenced earlier show that pastors work every bit as hard–if not harder–than other professionals, the anxiety that pastors carry of having to demonstrate that they are “earning their keep” is pervasive” (34).

There is a tendency–it seems–for pastors to prove themselves. In one sense, that is necessary. Demonstrating one’s giftedness and ability to ‘meet’ and maintain the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 are required by the Lord. Books such as Called to the Ministry by Edmund Clowney and Concerning the True Care of Souls by Martin Bucer further elaborate on those qualifications and provide insight into God’s demands on those called to the ministry. The specifics of pastoral ministry, however, are not what cause the guilt that often lead to workaholism.

Have you ever heard this question or thought to ask a pastor: “What do you do?” Having grown accustomed to such questions, I often request additional information. It seems that the public, and more narrowly the church, have lost sight of the rigors of pastoral ministry. Keep reading.