Friday, November 28, 2008

happy black friday from JOHN NEWTON

These lyrics are awesome. I had fun writing new music for them this morning. You can go here and listen to an older melody. I just went and sang it with that old melody by myself and Mac. Fun times. Also, go here for some of my favorite hymn lyrics of all time... also by Jonny Newton himself. Be blessed and enjoy.
Why should I fear the darkest hour
Or tremble at the tempter's power
Jesus vouchsafes to be my Tower

Though hot the fight, why quit the field
Why must I either flee or yield
Since Jesus is my mighty Shield

When creature comforts fade and die
Worldlings may weep, but why should I
Jesus still lives and still is nigh

Though sin would fill me with distress
The throne of grace I dare address
For Jesus is my Righteousness

Though faint my prayers and cold my love
My steadfast hope shall not remove
While Jesus intercedes above

Against me earth and hell combine
But on my side is power divine
Jesus is all and He is mine

Thursday, November 27, 2008

why do feel so much smarter?

Because I just bought a pipe for $2 at a thrift store. And it was made in Italy! It reminds me of an old CS Lewis quote:

I believe that many who find that “nothing happens” when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity

It is philosophically elementary of me to say that there is a clear divide between the two. Saying that something is absolutely objective or subjective is the same as saying that you can absolutely scientifically prove that God does or does not exist. Neither are possible.

Further, I do not believe the two are diametrically opposed. All of history, all of personal experience, all of math, all of science, all of life - everything is a sweet combination of this pair, regardless of how narrow or broad you define them.

As far as how the objective relates to the subjective, I have found the following quite intriguing. 

The deeper someone goes into any field of study, the more knowledge concerning that field they acquire. Obviously, this warehouse of knowledge is more objective than subjective. However, when those individuals begin to apply or use that knowledge, it seems as though the appropriation and application of it becomes more subjective. 

Example - If you asked a college freshman English major what a participle was, they could tell you in perhaps 12 words or less. However, if you ask that same person 8-10 years later when they are completing their doctoral work on the use of adjectival participles in Shakespeare, they might begin their answer in a similar fashion. But... How they grasp the idea and employ the reality of "participle" will be drastically nuanced, and likely - far more fluid.

In my personal experience, the more I study the Bible, the more I read, the more knowledge I gain, the more I realize that there's more to know and the tougher it becomes for me to apply the existing knowledge I have. The greater the mass of the "objective" I attain, the more significant and fragile its "subjective" outworking becomes. I don't think this is merely a spiritual tension though.

A geologist will always become a better geologist if he keeps studying. But his becoming will never be only theoretical [mere study] or only functional [mere practice]. The marriage of these two - the theoretical and practical, the objective and the subjective - causes deeper pursuit of both.

The reason for this is that we are hard-wired for full fellowship without any partiality. We were not made to be befuddled by this seeming dichotomy. One day though, we will know fully and be fully known. There is no apparent contrast between objectivity and subjectivity in the forever flawless presence of God. "As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end" [Bob Marley] - redeemed man will be unhindered and be with God, like God, and for God... world without end.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

how pregnant is my wife?

Wow. I knew there would be hormones. I knew there would be emotions. I call this combination "hormotional." I know it doesn't sound good, but owell. I have to have create new words to describe stuff like this:

She just cried over a Publix commercial. Dang.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

fun and games

A. Attached or single? COVENANT LOVE
B. Best friend? WIFE, ANDY, ?
C. Cake or pie? PIE
D. Day of choice? FRIDAY
E. Essential item? BOOKS, GUITARS
F. Favorite color? BLUE, GREEN, HAPPY COLORS
G. Gummy bears or worms? SOUR GUMMY BEARS
H. Home town? HOPKINS, SC
I. Favorite indulgence? OLD PUNK AND SKA 
J. January or July? JULY
M. Marriage date? JULY 29, 2006
N. Number of brothers and sisters? 1 BRO - DANIEL, THE MAN
O. Oranges or Apples? SWEET, SMALL ORANGES
Q. Quote?  ROMANS 8, MATTHEW 5-7
R. Reasons to smile? MERCY, HOPE, SARA, MUSIC
S. Season of choice? SPRING, SUMMER
U. Unusual fact? I HAVE OVER 1000 TIC-TAC BOXES
X. Xray or ultrasound? I DON'T GET IT?
Y. Your favorite food? CHEAP, TASTY FOOD
Z. Zorro, Zoo, or Zaxby's? ZOO

Friday, November 21, 2008


book list for dad [and my OCD materialism]

My dad told me to make a list of books I might like for Christmas. Usually, I'm quick to say I don't need anything. Somehow though, I can always justify moving books from the want column to the need column. This puzzles and sometimes bothers me. Owell.

  1. VINTAGE CHURCH [Driscoll and Breshears]
  3. COMMENTARY ON THE NT USE OF THE OT [Beale and Carson]

Maybe I got it from him. Me and Pops like to go to and drool over books we don't have. This website gives you the cheapest place online to find the price, the shipping, and the total to whatever book you're hunting - all on one page! Don't thank me because if you're like me, it will be your doom!

presence [don't read this b/c it's really long]

Sometimes I'll be studying in our office/library room and my lovely Sara will call from the living room, "Come in here with me." So, of course, I proceed to move my procrastination down the hall to be with her.

She sits on the love seat and I might be on the couch. Perhaps she has the computer and I have a couple of books. Regardless of the precise circumstances, 25-30 minutes could pass without a word spoken between us.

What's the deal with this? Why did I get up from the ideal place to study [the study!] to move into the living room with Sara? The answer is clear, but complex. I love her. But doesn't love mean communication, words, information exchange, affection exchange, etc? Yes, but there is something more there.

Job's three friends [Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar] were good friends when they sat with him and didn't say a word. They began to show themselves morons when they opened their mouths.

Let's chase Derrida's dog for a second. Do words have meaning? For example, what is the meaning of "meaning"? You understood those questions. Therefore they must have some sort of meaning. Why does the certain arrangement of letters call you to action and then an arrangement of letters such as "pasygerzysod" have absolutely no significance to you?

I bet if your 16-month old girl said "pasygerzysod" to you that it would mean something. Why though? I don't exactly know what Derrida would say about this, but it's safe to say that words only have meaning when they are nestled in a context. That context only has meaning [denotation or connotation] because of relationships - human relationships.

Some have said that 93% of communication is non-verbal. That seems obscenely high to me. Others say 70% and few even say that 55% is a safer estimate. Still! - that means that over half of what you're saying you're not really saying!

Now let me feebly attempt to sift all of this gibberish into a point. Why does my wife want me to sit in the room with her? Why were Job's friends only good friends when they kept their fat mouths shut? Why do we question whether or not words have meaning? Why do I say so much without saying anything? Here's the skinny:

There is a design in the human psyche, soul, and spirit that necessitates relationship. But this is not "relationship" in a vague sense. This relationship must include presence. My wife knows that we are married from the other room. She's got some shiny rocks on her left hand to remind her. But she wants my being to be there. Job knew his friends were his friends when they were far away. But he had to sense their nearness [Job 2.11-13]. We want to communicate and we want to be communicated to. Presence does this. I'm not saying it does it fully. But presence means relationship and presence is communication.

Perhaps this is why He is Emmanuel. This is why YHWH led them by cloud and fire. This is why He gave the Tabernacle. This is why He came. This is why He has given us His Spirit. And this is why He will be with us until the end of the age.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a treatise on modern American evangelicalism

"Our problem is that we no longer have martyrs. We only have celebrities." -Anonymous

Monday, November 17, 2008

Elia Ruth?

I think we like Elia Ruth Thompson for a girl's name. "Elia" comes from the Greek word for mercy. We'll see.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

ain't that cute

The day I got to tell my students that Sara was pregnant, one of them went home and knitted some little baby booties for us. They're too cool. I had to put 'em on here.

This might be the least manly post of all time. I'm totally unashamed and proud of it :)

ROMANS 11.33-36

The breakdown in Romans is chapters 1-4, 5-8, 9-11, and 12-16. All are distinct sections. All are thick and thorough. As you know, 9-11 is likely the toughest. However, thick thinking for Paul doesn't lead to theological restlessness or apathy or anything of the sort. In Paul's heart and from Paul's pen, deep thinking about God's plan leads to elaborate praise. For Paul theology leads to doxology. It must be the same for us.

Let's look at how he closes ch 11. Rom 11.33-36 gets more intense the more I muse over it. Here's a fun way to remember it: 2, 2, 3, 3

Paul lauds the great depth of WISDOM OF GOD and the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. That's your first 2.

He then asks, "how UNSEARCHABLE ARE HIS JUDGMENTS and how UNFATHOMABLE ARE HIS WAYS?" There's your second 2. 

Both of Paul's sets of three begin with the word "for" [NASB]. In Greek, this simply means that he is explaining something or continuing his train of thought. So, in 11.34-35 Paul asks three "who" questions. 
  • WHO has known the mind of the Lord
  • WHO has become His counselor
  • WHO has first given to Him...
This is your first 3.

Lastly, Paul chooses three prepositional phrases to depict why glory will eternally and rightfully be to God. 11.36 reads, "For FROM Him and THROUGH Him and TO Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen." This is your second 3.

So, in Rom 11.33-36 we have two exclamatory couplets that lead to two explanatory triplets, but that are all under one consuming goal - the fame of God.

Just this structure is enough to make me delight in God's wisdom and beauty. Now go read Rom 9-11 and see His mercy and it the will be greater grounds for glorying in and rejoicing in His goodness.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I'm sure most of you who read my blog nonsense know already. But still, we're quite excited. Our Father is faithful. He gives and takes away. We will rejoice at whatever comes from His hand.

The little human Thompson is due on or close to June 23, 2009. If it is a boy, we are going to go with James Walker Thompson V. I'm JWT4. That should be fun.

If it is a little lass, we like Ruth as a middle name, but still don't know exactly what might flow nicely with it? We're open to suggestions as long as you don't mind us rejecting them :) Someone's name is kind of important.

Sara made this video to send to her far-away relatives. It's fun and the music is happy.

If you want a more consistent Thompson baby report, my wife is sure to keep it real on her blog.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Is it easier to morally and ethically justify abortion or to biologically and sociologically justify homosexual marriage? I know what I think.

how do the NT writers understand the OT?

This is an awesome discussion. Two recent books should be helpful on this. This is an important question for anybody who reads the Bible.


Go here to see an overview chart.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

LEViTiCUS [overview]

I went over some of the grammatical and theological themes of Leviticus today with my class. They were fun to outline for them. I thought I'd share.

First, when sacrifices were offered, it says that they were a "soothing aroma to YHWH" [NASB]. This phrase is used 16 times in Leviticus to anthropomorphically describe God's pleasure in the sacrifices [1.9, 1.13, 1.17, 2.2, 2.9, 2.12, 3.5, 3.16, 6.15, 6.21, 8.21, 8.28, 17.6, 23.13, 23.18, 26.31]. The most pleasing blood sacrifice to God, however, is the death of His Son. Paul notes this in Eph 5.2. It is the most pleasing to God because of the finality of atonement it brings.

Second, is atonement. This word is found 49 times in Leviticus. It implies the idea of appeasement, forgiveness, and/or a covering for sin. Atonement is also part of the idea behind the powerful NT word "propitiation" [found only in Rom 3.25, Heb 2.17, 1 Jn 2.2, 1 Jn 4.10].

Third, the phrase "without defect" [NASB] is used 18 times in Leviticus [also 18x in Numbers]. This phrase is used to show that those animals offered as sacrifices must be blameless and have no blemishes.

Lastly, and most significantly, the melody line of Leviticus is holiness. YHWH commands His people to "Be holy because I am holy" in 11.44-45, 19.2, 20.7, 20.26, and 21.8. He said that if they obeyed Torah they would be a holy nation to Him and for Him [Ex 19.5-6]. Israel's distinctness in how they lived was to point to the distinctness and holiness of their God. This likewise applies to us as the New Covenant people of God [1 Pe 1.16]. He has beckoned us to walk in such a way that shows forth who He is. He has given us the perfect example of this in His Son.

EDWARDSEAN TRiNiTARiANiSM [not for the young or faint of heart]

Jonathan Edwards' "Unpublished Essay on the Trinity" is beautifully baffling. It is a short, but tough read. Edwards also said that Trinity was within the reach of naked reason.

Hold on. Here we go.

Edwards surmised that if an eternal and divine being existed then that eternal and divine being must not only be perfect, but must also love, adore, and exult in perfection. So, there must be some sort of duplicity in the make-up of this divinity.

However, the reciprocity and reflexivity of that being loving itself could not be fully expressed or experienced with mere duality. The mutual nature of its personal adoration would be too linear and merely mutual. But what if there was more than a duplicity in this divine being? What if there was a Tri-Unity in this being? 

If a divine and eternal being exists, posits Edwards, then it must exist in a plurality of three. Its subsistence cannot be two, yet one - this would not accomplish its innate purposes [to love and adore perfection perfectly]. And its subsistence cannot be four, yet one - this quadality would be superfluous to its purposes.

Pretty fun, eh? I told this to one of my students today and they got it! I did have a board to draw on. Perhaps I just felt that after posting that video, I had to post something that stretched the brain a bit. It stretched mine to write it. 

"To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen." [Jude 25]

how you might think of JESUS if you grew up in conservative Christianity before 1999

a ministerial kick in the teeth

Maybe these are a few reasons why "not many of you should become teachers, my brothers" [Js 3.1]. I convictingly perused through these this morning in a Puritan book of quotes I have. Both Richard Baxter and Charles Spurgeon also have poignant considerations about pastoral ministry. This book is at the most $7. Tis worth every penny and would probably look good beside your bed or on your toilet.
  • He that is more frequent in his pulpit to his people than he is in his closet for his people, is but a sorry watchman [John Owen].
  • The doctrine of a minister must credit his life and his life must adorn his doctrine [Jean Daille].
  • Ministers are not cooks, but physicians and therefore should not study to delight the palate, but to recover the patient [Jean Daille].
  • Brethren, it is easier to declaim against 1000 sins of others than to mortify one sin in ourselves [John Flavel].
  • Three things make a preacher - reading, prayer, and temptation [John Trapp].
  • Unholiness in a preacher's life will either stop his mouth from reproving or the people's ears from receiving [William Gurnall].

Friday, November 7, 2008

heavy metal hymnody [reprise]

I went to a pastor's conference this past spring. It was tasty. One of my favorite parts was 5000 pastors singing to the tune of songs written by dead guys and a grand piano. They're finishing production on it right now. Soon, it better be spinning at your house on Sunday mornings. Here's the line-up:
  • A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
  • It Is Well with My Soul
  • How Firm a Foundation
  • Oh the Deep, Deep Love
  • Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • How Deep the Father’s Love For Us
  • How Sweet and Aweful Is the Place
  • My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less
  • I Will Glory in My Redeemer
  • Arise, My Soul, Arise
  • The Power of the Cross
  • My Song Is Love Unknown
  • And Can It Be That I Should Gain
  • There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood
  • Before the Throne of God Above
  • In Christ Alone

Thursday, November 6, 2008

a tribute to John Williams and Star Wars

Most of my nerdiness stems from enjoying theology or philosophy a little too much. There is another small slice of the nerd pie that I do enjoy, however. The below video will show you just that.

If you didn't grow up on Star Wars and/or don't appreciate John Williams, this will be lame to you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

this might not make any sense. it just came out of the keyboard. it's not my fault.

In a sense, works justify justification. They are also inseperably linked to it, follow it, and flow forth from it.

Also, since when did good works get a bad rap?

Probably since we deduced from the Protestant Reformation that Judaism and Catholicism are both merely morality-based expressions and attempts at a relationship with the God of the Bible.

Or, probably since we have set the post-Enlightenment human psyche as the goal and end of all thinking. When this happens, human motives behind works take a seat on the throne.

But all of this - works, motives, justification, sanctification, salvation, etc - all of this takes its proper order and place when our focus is correct. Our focus is God Himself [2 Cor 3.17-18]. This means we must "hear with faith" [Gal 3] and walk by the Spirit [Gal 5, Rom 5-8] as we have our eyes perpetually fixed on what God has done in Jesus.

Søren Kierkegaard

Lord, give me weak eyes for the things that are
of no account but clear eyes for all Thy truth.

prayers for Election Day

If you're reading this on Election Day 2008, join with God's people in prayer for His "will to be done and His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven" [Mt 6.10]. Also, go read and join Dr Mohler in prayer.

Don't forget, our King of kings doesn't question the extent His reign. He is not curious to whether His term as commander and chief will end. His kingdom is not of this world. To the increase of His government there will be no end. He will bring shalom.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

MARK 2.13-17

Our church is going through Mark together on Sunday mornings. It has been fun. This morning was particularly sweet. Our teaching/discipleship pastor is finishing up his PhD in the Gospel of Mark. So, whenever he gets a shot at it, you sense his fresh familiarity with the text of Mark.

His text this morning was Mk 2.13-17 about Jesus eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners. It is here where Jesus says that people who are well don't need doctors. People who are sick need doctors. He also says, "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners" [2.17].

The way this should hit us is huge.

Give it a listen here ["You're in Good Company" on 11/02/08]. Trust me, ye shall be blessed [two syllables on "bless-ed"].

Story Time with Pastor Spurgeon

There is a young girl in heaven now, once a member of this church. I went with one of my beloved deacons to see her when she was very near her departure. Fair and sweetly beautiful she looked, and I think I never heard such syllables as those which fell from that girl's lips. She had had disappointments, and trials, and troubles, but all these she had not had a word to say about, except that she blessed God for them; they had brought her nearer to the Saviour. And when we asked her whether she was not afraid of dying,

"No" she said, "the only thing I fear is this - I am afraid of living, lest my patience should wear out. I have not said an impatient word yet, sir; I hope I shall not. It is sad to be so very weak, but I think if I had my choice, I would rather be here than be in health, for it is very precious to me; I know that my Redeemer liveth, and I am waiting for the moment when He shall send His chariot of fire to take me up to Him."

I put the question, "Have you any doubts?"

"No, none, sir; why should I? I clasp my arms around the neck of Christ."

"And have not you any fear about your sins?"

"No, sir, they are all forgiven; I trust the Saviour's precious blood."

"And do you think that you will be as brave as this when you actually come to die?"

"Not if He leaves me, sir, but He will never leave me, for He has said, 'I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.'"