Saturday, December 10, 2005

Running Well: Andrew Bonar: Minister of the Gospel

Running Well: Andrew Bonar: Minister of the Gospel

You simply must read this little treasure posted by Darrin Brooker over at Running Well. It is a delightful list of instructions to pastors found in the inside cover of Andrew Bonar's Bible - of which Darrin just came into possession and freely posted for us all!

[Edit: fixed Darrin's last name and came into possession of a dictionary...]

Haykin on Benjamin Keach

Thanks to Michael Haykin for linking to this post on Benjamin Keach's Christmas Carol. I realized that not many know about Keach, so I have pasted in here a brief article by Dr. Haykin describing some of Keach's sufferings for Christ.
There is not much web info on Keach, but one great introduction is Haykin's little book entitled, "Kiffin, Knollys and Keach: Rediscovering our Enlglish Baptist Heritage" by Carey Publications (1996).
This article is taken from fontes, the web site of many of Dr. Haykin's writings.

Benjamin Keach (1640-1704)

Benjamin Keach found himself in trouble with the state on more than one occasion. For instance, in 1664 Keach was arrested on a charge of being “a seditious, heretical and schismatical person, evilly and maliciously disposed and disaffected to his Majesty’s government and the government of the Church of England.” It appears that a children’s primer which Keach had written containing reading lessons, simple instruction in punctuation and arithmetic, and lists of words of one, two, or three syllables had been read by the Anglican Rector of Stoke Hammond, Thomas Disney, and reported to the government authorities as not only unfit for children, but positively seditious. No copies of this primer exist today. At the time of his trial all copies of it were destroyed; though we are told Keach rewrote it later from memory and published it as The Child’s Delight: or Instructions for Children and Youth. The original primer was deemed heretical especially because of references to believer’s baptism and Keach’s interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Put on trial on October 8, 1664, Keach was found guilty, imprisoned for two weeks and fined £20, a considerable amount in those days for a poor Baptist preacher.

In addition to these punishments, Keach had to stand for two periods of two hours each in the pillory, a wooden framework that had holes for the head and hands of the person being punished. Generally the pillory would be placed in the town or village square where the offender could also be subjected to various forms of public ridicule. On this occasion, however, Keach took the opportunity to preach to the crowd that gathered around. “Good people, “ he began during his first time in the pillory, “I am not ashamed to stand here this day, … my Lord Jesus was not ashamed to suffer on the cross for me; and it is for his cause that I am made a gazing-stock. Take notice, it is not for any wickedness that I stand here; but for writing and publishing his truths, which the Holy Spirit hath revealed in the Holy Scriptures.” At this point a Church of England clergyman, possibly the local minister, sought to silence Keach by telling him that he was in the pillory for “writing and publishing errors.” Keach, recognizing a golden opportunity for public debate and witness, quickly replied, “Sir, can you prove them errors?” But before the clergyman could respond, he was rounded on by others in the crowd, who knew him to be a drunk. Keach proceeded to speak in defence of his convictions despite a couple of further attempts by the authorities to silence him. Eventually he was told that if he would not be silent, he would have to be gagged. After this he was silent except for his quoting of Matthew 5:10: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’s sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

On another occasion, when Keach was apprehended in the act of preaching by a troop of cavalrymen, four of them were so enraged with him that they swore that they would trample him to death with their horses. He was accordingly bound and forced to lie on the ground. But just as they were about to spur their horses down upon their victim, their commanding officer arrived and prevented them from harming Keach, who almost certainly would have been killed

If anyone knows of some excellent on-line bigraphy of Keach I would be most interested in linking to it!

You can also purchase this book on Keach from Joshua Press.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Running Well: Prominent Emergents Move Their Ecumenism Forward

Running Well: Click here for full post by Darrin Brooker at Running Well: "Emergent leaders Brian McLaren and Tony Jones continue their assault on the exclusivity of Christ and the gospel by announcing their involvement in a new ecumenical 'dialogue' which they hope will cause Christians and Jews to work together to help 'God's dreams come true'."

A Good Baptist Christmas Carol!

For all my reformed and baptistic brothers...

The following Christmas hymn was written by Benjamin Keach (1640-1704... the first pastor to introduce the regular singing of hymns into corporate worship... wrote over 400 hymns and published two hymnals!). It gets way too little attention, so I thought I would highlight it here and you could use it in one of your services this month! (Sorry, it is the Worship Professor in me coming out!)

Awake, My Soul, Awake, My Tongue!
Awake, my soul, awake, my tongue,
My glory wake and sing,
And celebrate the holy birth,
The birth of Israel’s King!

O happy night that brought forth light,
Which makes the blind to see,
The Dayspring from on high came down
To cheer and visit thee.

The careful shepherds with their flocks
Were watching for the morn,
But better news from Heav’n was brought;
Your Savior now is born!

In Bethlehem the Infant lies,
Within a place obscure,
Your Savior’s come, O sing God’s praise!
O sing His praise fore’er.

Words: Benjamin Keach, Spiritual Songs: Being the Marrow of the Scripture (London: John Marshal, 1700). Keach was a godly pastor in the late 1600’s who helped to write our 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 News - Scotland - one in three clergy believe in damnation

See full article here:

"The survey, 'Hell in Scotland: A Survey of Where the Nation's Clergy Think Some Might Be Heading', was conducted by Dr Eric Stoddart, a lecturer in practical theology at St Andrews University.

The divinity scholar canvassed the views of 750 clergy from the Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist and Scottish Episcopalian churches, as well as other Presbyterians and the Salvation Army, to find out what constituted a modern Hell.

Stoddart said: 'The fire and brimstone may largely have been extinguished but the beliefs that many Scottish clergy hold concerning the potential horrors that await 'the lost' continue to be dark and forbidding. All will not be well, if the majority of Scotland's clergy are to be believed.'"

HT: Steven Lee

[Edit: I changed the title to be less offensive - I did not check the original title before posting directly from]

On Being Paul Martin

For my American friends: Imagine your name was George Bush.

You have now entered my world.

The Prime Minister of Canada is a man by the name of Paul Martin. He was groomed for this position for years, and back before his first election, I wrote a piece that got published in our national news magazine, Macleans.

I am linking to it here for these reasons:
a) There is now a new election under way... and Paul Martin wants to be PM again.
b) I really don't want Paul Martin to win.
c) I thought it was at least mildly funny and you might enjoy it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

BreakPoint | Scary Science - Weeding Out the Unwanted (in the Womb!)

BreakPoint | Scary Science:
"Through a socially acceptable form of killing, we would take the opportunity to eliminate an entire group of people in order to spare ourselves from having to deal with their differences—because that’s what it really comes down to. "

Thanks to Chuck Colson for posting this.
As the father of a disabled son (whom I love like crazy) these kinds of events have taken on new meaning to me. My boy is different - but he is my boy!
We were given certain indications early on (pre-birth) that not all may be "normal." I still seeth (sorry!) when I think of the way the "health care professionals" showed us a video of drooling, dopey eyed "retarded kids" next to "normal kids" so that we could make an informed decision as to whether or not to carry on the pregnancy. Thankfully, termination was never even the slightest bit of an option for us.
Oh, where would I be today without my boy!?! My 4 kids are one of the greatest joys of my life.
The disgusting self-interest that drives selective parenting has never looked so awful to me. And the revolting attack on parents by some relationally-unconnected geneticist suggesting to them to kill their own children - when those parents are at their most vulnerable - is downright criminal in my mind.

Well, I wasn't going to write all that... but wrong is wrong.

Have your baby! Life will not be easy... but God will be glorified and you will know Him like never before and you will love that person with all of your heart!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Weighing the Word: Romans 9:17 and Hardening

Weighing the Word: Romans 9:17 and Hardening

Link to audio version of sermon

What is the "Weighing the Word Series?"

Lloyd-Jones says of God’s hardening sinners: “There is nothing, I imagine, in the whole range of the scriptural teaching which causes such offence to the natural man and to many uninstructed Christians...”

God is infinitely committed to sovereign election as one means of the display of His glory. He is equally committed to sovereign hardening.

All men are born sinners and stand guilty before God. If God were only “just” we would all be in hell! But God is able to make a way to Himself that does not contradict His justice.

Hardening is an action by God that renders a person insensitive to God and His Word. It is theology, not philosophy, and this is proven by Paul always quoting Scripture (OT) to prove the point.

Pharaoh is the proof of God’s hardening work and Paul brings him into his discussion in order to argue from the greater to the lesser.

God does not say to Pharaoh, “For this purpose I created you...” but “For this purpose I raised you up,” that is, installed you in the office of Pharaoh.

This was God’s action (hardening), prophesied in advance to Pharaoh, yet in total agreement with Pharaoh’s own choice. God pro-actively hardened Pharaoh in order to display His Name and His glory. He did this in a manner which removes all guilt from God and maintains all responsibility for Pharaoh. God cannot be tempted nor does He tempt anyone to sin (James 1:13).

The right question to ask in response to this is not, “Am I hardened?” but, “How can I be saved?”

[Edit: 12/5 Added link to audio version of sermon and link to series explanation. Thanks to Running Well (Darrin Brooker) for the suggestion to link to audio. Audio version should be available some time today or tomorrow. I will fix link to go directly to that sermon then. I finally beat the amazing Dorin!]

[Edit: 12/6 Link to audio version of sermon updated.]

New Feature: Weighing the Word

Introduction: This is an experiment. Tomgee had what I thought was a good idea – start a discussion each week where folks can interact with the preached Word. As I mulled this about, my mind was drawn to 1 Corinthians 14:29 where the prophets are instructed to “weigh what is said” by the other prophets. The Puritans called this kind of thing “improving the Word,” not so much the idea of taking a bad sermon and making it better, but dwelling on the Truth together to improve our grasp of it and our delight in its Author. So, at least for a few weeks, I will seek to put in post form a small summary of my message from Romans and open it up to any dialogue, discussion, questions and yes, even disagreements!

A few guidelines: I am not looking for kudos, so you can save all that. Also, please keep your posts on topic. I am not too interested in getting into the finer points or details of things as much as dealing with the big picture ideas. I think the minutiae should be reserved for in-person conversations.

The setting: I am anticipating that these conversations (if they take place at all!) will be primarily for the folks of GFC, but if you want to listen to the message and jump in on the discussion that would be great, too. You can download mp3’s of the message from

One last thing: You have to remember that I have been preaching Romans for well over one year now, from chapter one verse one. I have to assume a motherload of content from these chapter in these posts. That will leave some gaping holes.

With those introductory thoughts in place, I will now make our first post...