Thursday, September 29, 2005


Toronto Baptist Seminary will hold its 2005 Convocation this Saturday at 2:00PM. Dr. Tom Ascol of Founders Ministries will be preaching. In fact, he will also be preaching at 10:00AM the same day on the topic of "C.H. Spurgeon and Family Piety." Lunch is available to purchase for $10.
All events will be held at Jarvis St. Baptist Church in Toronto.
Hope to see you there!

A Definition of Worship

Don Carson offers this very extended, yet helpful definition of worship. It is long and thoughtful, but shouldn't such an important topic about such an infinite Being almost require a mouthful? Every other definition I have read pales in comparison to this.

Worship is the proper response of all moral, sentient beings to God, ascribing all honor and worth to their Creator-God precisely because he is worthy, delightfully so. This side of the Fall, human worship of God properly responds to the redemptive provisions that God has graciously made. While all true worship is God-centered, Christian worship is no less Christ-centered. Empowered by the Spirit and in line with the stipulations of the new covenant, it manifests itself in all our living, finding its impulse in the gospel, which restores our relationship with our Redeemer-God and therefore also with our fellow image-bearers, our co-worshippers. Such worship therefore manifests itself both in adoration and action, both in the individual believer and in corporate worship, which is worship offered up in the context of the body of believers, who strive to align all the forms of the devout ascription of all worth to God with the panoply of new covenant mandates and examples that bring to fulfillment the glories of antecedent revelation and anticipate the consummation.

Taken from "Worship by the Book" Edited by D.A. Carson. Zondervan, 2002.

Some things are worth reading more than once...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Lost in wonder, love and grace: Reformation and Conversation

Word People Like to Talk
Paul noted the Romans were able to "admonish one another" (Ro 15:14). I understand that little phrase to mean "encourage and refine each other by speaking Truth to one another." tomgee has a great post here that reflects on how it is done today. This was a fun read!

All Things Goodward - Without Exception!

Preaching Romans 8:28 this past Sunday, I had one of those "pry-my-head-open-and-stretch-my-brain" thoughts. I think we often view the promise that "God works all things together for good" in a much too localized way - as if it was all about ME in my glorious, post-modern, self-focused life.
The fact is, God is working toward good "all things." Reminiscient of the staggering thought of Ephesians 1:22 that Christ was put over all things for the church... here in Romans God is described as wisely connecting one thing with another in such a way as to secure the desired result of "good" for the church ("those who love Him" and "those called according to His purpose").
Fine. But consider for a moment the sheer volume of exigencies, decisions, thoughts, emotions, responses, words, directions, and contingencies that must interplay with one another in one second of time! Our God is directing every "random" fall of the dice and the choice of every world leader. And all of these events in real time are careening goodwards!
This is so much more than a mere "look for the silver lining in every cloud." This is a mind-stretching, glorious revelation of the Divine that suffering Christians can hang on to in the midst of "tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and sword."
Praise be to God for being so utterly other than us - and so utterly kind towards us!

So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Read and ponder...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Making God in the Image of Man - Open Theism

My friend Brett (not his real name) is the kind of guy we would all love to have in our church. He is one of those clean-cut, all-American, good-hearted young men. An answer to the anonymous poem, "The Boy We Want." [1] He is a loyal, encouraging, faithful servant that makes the ministry a joy.

That is what made it so surprising the Sunday he interrupted his pastor mid-sermon nearly shouting from the front pew, "You are wrong!"

What would lead a young man to blurt out such a declaration and disrupt a church worship service? It certainly was not characteristic of his life and he quickly apologized and sought the forgiveness of the church and his pastor for the disturbance. But I am not so sure his comments were out of line.

Brett had been hearing in his pastor a growing tendency to demean the omniscience and sovereignty of God. It had been a growing cloud on the horizon that the two of them had spoken about frankly and privately for several months. But on the Sunday of Brett's interjection, his pastor had finally come out and said, "God is not in control."

Brett's pastor is only one of a growing number of men embracing a new theism called Openness. The end result of this construct is a redefinition of God's knowledge and, some would argue, a redefinition of God Himself. Its effects on practical theology are enormous and its effects on how one reads their Bible even greater. It is true that lots of systems of thought come and go, but for reasons that will be expanded below, this is a system that deserves our study.

The goal of this essay is to 1. Accurately represent the Open Theism position in terms easily understood. [2] 2. To assess it. 3. To point out its benefits and/or dangers.

Such is the start of a substantial piece I wrote on Open Theism several years ago. It is somewhat buried in our church website now, so I thought I would highlight it here. There are some interesting quotes from Clark Pinnock taken from an interview I conducted with him for the paper.

The paper was written for our FRPS meeting (Fellowship of Reformation and Pastoral Studies). FRPS meets monthly in Toronto with a paper being presented then the attendees joining in a discussion period with the author. These meetings are great - I highly recommend them!!