Tuesday, March 31, 2009


There are a couple ways to say something in the past tense in Greek. Scholars say that people make too much of these distinctions. But they are just that - distinctions.

The AORIST tense is a snapshot of the past. We know that something happened. We know that an event occurred. But we're not too sure about all the details of that past event and their significance. The PERFECT tense, which is rarely used in contrast to the AORIST tense, sees an event or a happening in the past as a completed action with durative and continuing effects to the present.


The first three verses of the book of Hebrews are its overture. There are many descriptive ideas in this passage. However, there are only two true verbs. The first is in 1.2. God "spoke." The second is in 1.3. The Son "sat down" [AORIST].

In Heb 1.1-3 there are six phrases that detail the person and the work of Jesus, but all of them await this verb "sat down." But why though? Who cares about Jesus sitting down? What's the deal with that? Why is it so important?

If you keep reading Hebrews you will soon see that its purpose is to show Jesus as the faithful High Priest of the New Covenant. In the OT, high priests don't sit down because their job is never finished. But not so with a perfect High Priest who offers a perfect Sacrifice.

This little verb ["sit"] is so important to the writer of Hebrews that when he gets to 8.1 he says that the main point of what he has said is this: we have a high priest who has "taken his seat" [AORIST]. The writer of Hebrews uses this verb two other times. In 10.12 he repeats the vast theological significance of the sitting [AORIST] of Jesus at the right hand of God after He suffered once and for all for sins.

It seems as though these above references to Jesus sitting are primarily to assert theological points. However, the writer of Hebrews cannot hold it in any longer. When he arrives at his last usage of the "sitting" of Jesus [12.2], an AORIST verb will not cut it.
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down [PERFECT] at the right hand of the throne of God.
The point of this exhortation is to show HOW and WHY the sitting of Jesus presently means something to believers who need perseverance [10.32-39, ch 11]. He is the example we should look to. He has finished His work and endured more than we ever will [2.16]. He can sympathize us [4.15]. His finished work, His sitting down... it has continually effective results right now.


Finally. The courtship has gone on long enough. Here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

stand by me

This is beautiful. It makes the heart light. And for several cool points, the place in Santa Monica where the video begins, I've been there. It's pretty sweet. Enjoy.

For those who heeded and enjoyed [and sometimes can't help but appreciate the melodious Bob Marley], here's more.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Baptists are not Protestants.

This is the premise of the short little booklet, "The Trail of Blood" [J. M. Carroll]. It was first published in 1931 and has still strangely remained.

He argues, with ample historical and biblical ammunition, that the majority of the groups that were persecuted and often condemned through church history were baptistic in nature [the Montanists, Paulicans, and many others].

Cardinal Hosius was the president of the Catholic Counter-Reformation at the Council of Trent in the mid-1500s. He said:
Were it not that the baptists have been grievously tormented and cut off with the knife during the past twelve hundred years, they would swarm in greater number than all the Reformers.
Sir Isaac Newton [1643-1727] said, "The baptists are the only body of known Christians that have never symbolized with Rome."

The Lutheran church historian Johann Laurenz von Mosheim [1693-1755] says,
Before the rise of Luther and Calvin, there lay secreted in almost all the countries of Europe persons who adhered tenaciously to the principles of modern Dutch Baptists.
There are two extremes that should be avoided after reading these quotes. First, they're too forthright not to take seriously in some way or another. Second, they're claiming something too radical to to be accepted without reservation.

I would never say this 56-page polemic is unalloyed gospel truth. But for tons of fun, humor, and ecclesial disorientation, please make it a purchase :)


Go Here. It's by my friend Steven who pastors one of the fastest growing churches [also here] in the country. It was eighth in 2007. His blog is always fun to read.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"sweet sacramental sabbath" OR "foretaste"

There really is something grace-laden about Sundays to me. Driving on an unbusy Highway 14 with hymns lightly playing in the car has a satisfaction that that same route never affords. It is usually never too warm or too cool. After Sara quietly finishes her make-up, we usually sing a verse or so of whatever is playing. Then, with right blinker on as we pull into the parking lot, I turn the volume down and pray.

I ask our Father to bless His people coming together. I ask that He make us unified, humble, and happy. I ask the Spirit to empower the word that day and also to give utterance to other pastors we know.

There's just something about it. It's transcendant. I love it.

In a book I'm reading, this same feeling is put another way.

Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life.

conversation stoppers for over-educated evangelicals

I don't get all of them. Some are hilarious. All were stolen from here.

  1. Yeah, I never really got that into the Narnia series.
  2. Flannery O'Connor is overrated.
  3. I was actually hoping global warming would hasten the eschaton.
  4. But weren't the Crusades a response to Islamic aggression?
  5. Christendom? Count me in!
  6. I'm not sure Anglicanism is working for me.
  7. Sure you can filch patristic milk for a while, but you should buy the cow eventually.
  8. Did you ever get the sense that more of us should have become pastors or missionaries?
  9. Hello! [contains too much hell]
  10. While it's the early Kinkade that most moves me, I'm convinced the best is yet to come.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


The girl who is teaching our birthing class says that breastfeeding can be tougher than giving birth. Clearly, I have no clue and I never will. But there are a couple things about it that I find intriguing, beautiful, remarkable, and/or just dang weird. 

First, if you're a believer, you're called to think about this. It's a picture of our dependence on what God has revealed. Read 1 Pe 2.1-3.

Secondly, when a child is born, the extent of their vision is usually about 18 inches or so. This happens to be about the distance from the mother's breast to her face. Newborns are hardwired for intimate dependence and not mere provision from a distance. This is explicitly the product of nothingness, chaos, chance, random mutations over billions of years, and people with real emotions surviving because they're better than others [like Hitler]. Or... even as Darwin suggets ["To suppose that the eye... could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."], there is likely another Source for its intricate design and beauty.

Lastly, [and I'm sure I'll miss some miniscule biological detail here], when a baby first latches on to breastfeed, he/she exchanges fluid with mama through the breast. This newborn spit tells mama's body what the appropriate balance of nutrients should be for that child. Thus, mama's body makes a special batch of milk for her kid that wouldn't be the best for any other kid.

Again, because we worship the scientific method and human reason, this is easily explainable as surviving to be fit. But if you actually think about it, it's humans needing humans to remind humans that we need something other than humans. Any school of thought demands that we need external means to survive. But surely that cannot apply spiritually because spirituality is a product of the human psyche to pacify humanity so that they can get through tough times. It is "the opiate of the masses" [Marx]. Or... There is a good and wise God who sent Jesus [who went through more crap on earth than you'll ever go through] in order to make whole those who trust Him.

This is how theological neatniks think about breastfeeding. Maybe this is also what Jesus had in mind when he said, "Consider the lilies." I sure hope so.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

i had a coupon

This book is usually $50-55. I was blessed to find it for $36 today. And the justification for its purchase was simple - we just got our tax return. This is my "Uncle Sam present" and Sara gets one too. I'm already encouraged and challenged by it. Read its first paragraph below.

Of the making of dictionaries there would seem to be no end. What, then, could possibly justify adding one more item to an already well-stocked inventory? Neither the editors nor the contributors are under the illusion that new reference work will change the world. Nevertheless, we believe that the time is ripe for a resource that combines an interest in the academic study of the Bible with a passionate commitment to making this scholarship of use to the church. [This book] aims to provide clarification, analysis, and evaluation of the various approaches to biblical interpretation currently in the marketplace, with a view to assessing their theological significance - in particular, their value for reading Scripture in and for the community of the faithful. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

never let the gospel get smaller

This is pure thievery from our good brother, John Piper. I know he doesn't mind. It's succinct and poignant. Go read.


What an odd designation for anything. Well, like it or not, it is what Time Magazine calls the third most important idea that is changing the Western world right now.

Mark Driscoll and his trendy pals have some thoughts on it here. I thank God for the work being done through Mars Hill Church in Seattle even if it is not always your cup of tea. They would be "pro-New Calvinism."

He might not say that he is "anti-New Calvinism" because that might be too mean, but Scot McKnight gives his opinions here and here. McKnight is likewise an excellent and aware thinker of culture and theology.

Ok. That's enough. I feel ridiculous writing as much as I have. I'll stop now.

Monday, March 16, 2009

how to do unbiblical youth ministry in the 21st century

If you're remotely aware of pop-culture evangelicalism, this will be funnier. If you are a rabid atheist and know how America works, it'll still be funny. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Frederick Douglass on American Christianity [from his 1845 autobiography]

Between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference - so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ; I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial, and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Holy Moses.

Those things are incredible. I just sucked down a whole sleeve of shortbread cookies with a glass of orange juice. If these girls play their cards right, they could fix the whole recession with the Thin Mints alone.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


It was fun introducing this to my Systematic Theology classes. They had never heard of such a heretical, arrogant, and narrow-minded doctrine.

However, when they understood Jesus' claims in Jn 10, who Jesus said the "world" was in Jn 3.17 [17 generally follows 16], Paul's language in Ac 20 and Eph 5, and Paul's "us" and "we" language throughout his epistles, they realized that they had more to think about. We also discussed those texts which hint at the universality of the atonement [2 Pe 2, Heb 2, 1 Tim 2, and others]. Like a good rookie teacher, I left them confused for now. We are going to discuss it more in a few weeks. Still, there are a couple of things that I wanted them to draw from this.

First, cute and shallow evangelicalism sees the work of Jesus on the cross as merely an opportunity. Now it is all up to us. This is wrong; this is massively humanistic, anthropocentric, and far from the minds of any NT writer.

The cross is an accomplishment. It actually DID something. The cross is not just God kicking open a salvation door. It is God kicking open a door and, through His Son's death and resurrection, DOING a saving work. Even our Lord's dying words hint at this, "Tetelestai" ["it is finished"]. The cross and resurrection are more than a possibility, they are an accomplishment.

Second, after I gave them the options of limited or unlimited atonement, I told them that there are four things on which both sides would agree.
  • Not all people will be saved.
  • The gospel must be freely offered to all.
  • The cross is sufficient for all.
  • The cross is efficient for those who believe.
Some would even seek to rebut these four. That's pure pride. To me, there is a beauty to the fact that something actually happened on the cross - something definitive [Jn 17]. And at the same time, we are encouraged to dutifully and delightfully share the gospel with all peoples. Those who feel no tension here are the ones who just might have it wrong :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Pete Maravich averaged over 44 points per game in his college career even before they put in the three-point line! He is the greatest college basketball player that has ever lived. He became a Christian after his NBA career ended. He then traveled to tell people about this Jesus who saved him.

When I was six, although I didn't know it at the time, I got to hear Maravich speak at a Billy Graham Crusade in Columbia, SC. The below clip is of that evening in 1987.

Less than a year after this video, Maravich had a heart attack and died. I am proud that this guy is one of my heros. 

i love south carolina

For many reasons, actually. But the one I'm thinking about right now is this: Sunday March 1st it was 15 degrees and we got 5-6 inches of snow. Saturday March 7th it is currently 76 degrees without a cloud in the sky.

What the heck?! I love it.


I think Edwards would regard it as a massive abduction of scholarship that so many Christians do academic work with so little reference to God. If all the universe and everything in it exists by the design of an infinite, personal God, to make his manifold glory known and loved, then to treat any subject without reference to God's glory is not scholarship but insurrection.

Friday, March 6, 2009


My Sara loves to think about heaven. But not vaguely. She says that she loves to think about being with Jesus. Probably a dozen times since we've been married she has told me that when she was scared at night when she was younger, she would imagine Jesus wrapping her in His strong, secure, yet gentle arms. This is good hope.

Stupid hope that really isn't hope is thinking that heaven is going to be halos, harps, clouds, and waltzing with sky fairies. Of course, Jesus will be there too. But who cares. He only "saved" me. He is of no importance to heaven because the real importance of heaven is that it's not hell.

Nearly every Christian I have spoken with has some idea that eternity is an unending church service. We have settled on an image of never-ending sing-along in the sky, one great hymn after another, forever and ever, amen. And our heart sinks. That's it? That's good news? And then we sigh and feel guilty that we are not more "spiritual" [John Eldridge].
Honestly, I'm not opposed to singing. I'm definitely not opposed to singing hymns. And I'm not opposed to singing hymns for a really long time. BUT... If this is the apex of "hope" then it is a total joke.

Look in Gen 1-2. Man was made to reign and rule with God, like, and for God over all of creation. Our hope is that the Gen 1-2 will be restored. Rev 19-22 proves that it shall be so in the new heavens and the new earth. The echo of this kind of hope is heard in many places. Here's a great one:
To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labour, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes [Charles Spurgeon].
Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory [Col 3.1-4].

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


How much do I love witty, dry humor? This much:

She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationary.

I wondered why the baseball kept getting closer. Then it hit me.

Don't join dangerous cults. Practice safe sects.


This is from Calvin's "Epistle to the Reader" that prefaced his last edition of The Institutes. It is a fresh reminder that if upright doctrine is not tried, it is not complete. Forget not this fitting adage, my friends — true THEOLOGY and true DOXOLOGY always walk hand in hand.
As a clear proof of the diligence with which have I laboured to perform this service to the Church of God, I may be permitted to mention, that last winter, when I thought I was dying of quartan ague, the more the disorder increased, the less I spared myself, in order that I might leave this book behind me.

For, by the blessing of God, my most ardent desire has been to advance his kingdom and promote the public good — although I feel perfectly conscious, and take God and his angels to witness, that ever since I began to discharge the office of teacher in the Church, my only object has been to do good to the Church, by maintaining the pure doctrine of godliness, yet I believe there never was a man more assailed, stung, and torn by calumny [as well by the declared enemies of the truth of God, as by many worthless persons who have crept into his Church—as well by monks who have brought forth their frocks from their cloisters to spread infection wherever they come].

But the devil, with all his crew, is mistaken if he imagines that, by assailing me with vile falsehoods, he can either cool my zeal, or diminish my exertions. I trust that God, in his infinite goodness, will enable me to persevere with unruffled patience in the course of his holy vocation.

Farewell, kind reader. If you derive any benefit from my labours, aid me with your prayers to our heavenly Father.

Geneva, 1st August 1559.

"I profess to be one of those who, by profiting, write, and by writing profit." —Augustine

Monday, March 2, 2009

23 seconds of sweet hilarity

Ladies and gentlemen, now presenting Bizkit the Sleepwalking Dog.

mi casa es muy bonita

March 1 gave us one the prettiest South Carolina snows in a long time. It was unimpressive to our midwestern friends. But who cares what they think about our puny little snow. We happen to enjoy it. 




I love messing around with music. I'd love for you to go listen to some of the nonsense I've recorded. Don't get too excited. 

You can click here, and give it a listen. I've also added a link in the right hand column. If you scroll down and click on this picture, ye shall receiveth the same result.