DBG Weekend Spotlight (3-24-17)

DBG Weekend Spotlight (3-24-17)

I am very grateful for the upcoming documentary by Stephen McCaskell about Martin Luther that will seek to tell a balanced story about the man who was imperfect in many ways, but was used by God to spark what we know as the Protestant Reformation. Watch the trailer and preorder your copy of LUTHER (order your copy here).

Should We Baptize the Dead? — “Baptism demonstrates and symbolically reenacts our spiritual death, burial, and resurrection in Christ. But it does not save anyone.”

Legalism and Assurance — John MacArthur explains that, “Scripture contains great and glorious promises for the believer who struggles with sin in this life. And quite simply, we need to take God at His word and believe those promises because they hinge not on what we do, but on what God has already done.”

$5 Friday: Ethics, Truth, & the Atonement — Some good book options from Ligonier for only…$5.

Dispel the Myths About Down Syndrome — “World Down Syndrome Day was started to dispel myths about the disorder. Down syndrome itself is complicated, and as a “spectrum disorder,” each person with Down syndrome (and thus, their families) will experience it in different ways. Some people with Down syndrome will grow and experience a certain level of independence as adults; most will require help and supervision for their entire lives. Many also will experience significant, lifelong health complications. Some are sassy and engaging and bold. Some can’t speak at all. Some have families and churches who love and cherish them. Some are bullied every day in their communities and schools.”

Churches, Get a Calvinist Pastor! — Tom Nettles writes, “If pulpit committees and churches would look below the façade of scare-tactic accusations and warnings being rolled out like taffy at the Mississippi State Fair, they would discover something healthy and very desirable in the men and the message preached by those against whom they are warned. No one wants a nasty confrontation between church and pastor that leads to a confused and often divided congregation and a battered pastor and his family. These are charitable warnings. Some congregations, however, might desire to consider why Baptists for so long guarded their confessional Calvinism with great care and endured many storms undergirded by that foundation. They might consider that opening themselves to embrace that which is truly “traditional” could elevate the sense of the divine presence of grace in their lives.”

Princeton Seminary Cancels Award to Tim Keller After LGBT Complaint — “A week after disgruntled Princeton Theological Seminary alumni complained that Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, should not receive the school’s Kuyper Prize because of his church’s position on the ordination of women and LGBT individuals, the seminary decided Wednesday not to give the award this year.”

Visualize the Bible in a Whole New Way — Visual tools in Logos Bible Software add great elements for teaching and studying God’s Word.

Paul Washer Recovering After his Recent Heart Attack — After suffering a heart attack on Monday night, Paul Washer has been in the hospital recovering under the care of doctors.  He is making good progress and is scheduled to be released soon.

Michael Kruger to Speak at G3 2018 — The G3 Conference announced on Thursday that Michael Kruger will be speaking in their 2018 conference next January.  Reserve your seat (G3Conference.com).

Theology Word of the Week:  God

God, the object, as revealed in Scripture, of the church s confession, worship and service.

1. The identity of God

The Christian view of God comes from the biblical revelation, in which mankind’s maker appears as mankind’s redeemer, unchangeably and unchallengeably sovereign in creation, providence and grace. Since he is not open to direct observation, a meaningful account of him can only be given by indicating at each point his relation to ourselves and the world we know. Scripture does this, setting an example that this article will follow.

a. The names of God. In mainstream Christian usage, ‘God’ (capital ‘G’) functions as a proper noun; that is, it is a personal name, belonging to one being only, which draws into itself all the thoughts that the biblical names and descriptions of God express.

The main names of God in the OT, all proclaiming aspects of his nature and his link with mankind, are these:

i. El, Eloah, Elohim (Eng. ‘God’, following ho theos in lxx), El Elyon (‘God most high’). These names convey the thought of a transcendent being, superhumanly strong, and with inexhaustible life in himself, one on whom everything that is not himself depends.

ii. Adonay (‘Lord’; kyrios in lxx). This means one who rules over everything external to him.

iii. Yahweh (‘the Lord’ in av(kjv), rv, rsv, niv, following ho kyrios in lxx), Yahweh Sebaoth (‘Lord of [heavenly, angelic] hosts’). ‘Yahweh’ is God’s personal name for himself, by which his people were to invoke him as the Lord who had taken them into covenant with himself in order to do them good. When God first stated this name to Moses at the burning bush, he explained it as meaning ‘I am what I am’, or perhaps most accurately ‘I will be what I will be’. This was a declaration of independent, self-determining existence (Ex. 3:14–15). Later God ‘proclaimed’—that is, expounded—‘the name of the Lord’ as follows: ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means dear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation’ (Ex. 34:6–7, rsv). Thus in sum ‘Yahweh’ carries the thought of a marvellously kind and patient, though also awesomely stern, commitment to the covenant people as the path chosen by the self-sustaining, self-renewing being whom the theophany of the burning bush depicted.

The NT identifies the God who is Father of Jesus Christ and of Christians through Christ as the God of the OT, the only God there is (cf. 1 Cor. 8:5–6), and it sees the Christian salvation as the fulfilment of God’s OT promises. Thus it rules out in advance all dualisms that oppose the God, or the idea of God, which the OT sets forth, to the redeemer-God seen in and described by Jesus. ‘Father’ appears as the invocation of God that Jesus, who himself prayed to God as Father, prescribed for his disciples (cf. Mt. 6:9; 1 Pet. 1:17); ‘Lord’, used as in lxx to imply deity as well as dominion, becomes the regular term for characterizing, confessing and invoking the risen and enthroned Christ (Acts 2:36; 10:36; Rom. 10:9–13; 1 Cor. 8:6; 2 Cor. 12:8–10; Rev. 22:20; etc.); and the ‘name’ (singular) into which disciples of Jesus are to be baptized, as a sign of God’s committed salvific relationship to them and their responsive commitment to him, is the tripersonal name of three distinguishable though evidently inseparable agents, ‘the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’ (Mt. 28:19). This is God’s ‘Christian name’, as Barth happily put it.

b. The concept of theism. Views of God of the Judaeo-Christian type are called theism to offset them from deism and pantheism, and monotheism to offset them from polytheism. Deism, first formulated in the 17th century, sees the cosmos as a closed system with its maker outside it and so denies God’s direct providential control of events and his miraculous creative intrusions into the ongoing life of the physical world-order. Pantheism, which goes back to pre-Christian Eastern religion, recognizes no creator-creature distinction, but sees everything, good and evil included, as a direct form or expression of God; so that as William Temple said, God minus the universe equals nought. (For theism, by contrast, God minus the universe equals God.) Polytheism, the constant form of the ancient near-Eastern and Graeco-Roman paganism which Scripture denounces, posits many supernatural beings limited by each other, none of whom is omnicompetent, so that worship must be spread and allegiance divided among them all, since we cannot know whose help we may need next. The biblical idea of God is thus diminished by deism, dissolved by pantheism, and debased by polytheism. Creation and control of the cosmos, and a beneficent disposition to rational creatures within it, are the essential tenets of theism in all its forms.

c. Trinitarianism. Distinctive to Christian theism is the belief that the personal creator is as truly three as he is one. Within the complex unity of his being, three personal centres of rational awareness eternally coinhere, interpenetrate, relate in mutual love, and cooperate in all divine actions. God is not only he but also they—Father, Son and Spirit, coequal and coeternal in power and glory though functioning in a set pattern whereby the Son obeys the Father and the Spirit subserves both. All statements about God in general or about the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit in particular, should be ‘cashed’ in Trinitarian terms, if something of their meaning is not to be lost. This form of belief, argued by Athanasius and the Cappadocian Fathers and stated in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in the 4th century, and analysed in the so-called Athanasian Creed of the 5th–6th century (see Creeds), reflects the conviction that Jesus’ recorded teaching and attitudes with regard to the Father and the Spirit (cf. Jn. 14–16), and the pervasive triadic thought-forms whereby the NT regularly presents salvation as the joint work of the three persons together (cf., e.g., Rom. 3; 1 Cor. 12:3–6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 1; 2 Thes. 2:13–14; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 1:4–5), actually reveal God rather than obscuring him. Being unique, the Trinity is to us a mystery, that is, a matter of incomprehensible fact, and rationalistic thinkers and sects have often attacked the doctrine of God’s tripersonality on that account. But the implications of the NT material are too clear to be denied.

d. The language of belief. Human language is all that we have for worshipping, confessing and discussing God, and it is adequate; but it has to be systematically adapted for the purpose. Scripture itself unobtrusively exhibits this adaptation, for it regularly presents God as the super-person who made mankind in his image (see Image of God) and whose life, thoughts, attitudes and actions are basically comparable to our own, though they contrast with ours in being free both from the limitations of our creaturely finiteness and from the moral flaws that are part and parcel of our fallenness. The Bible’s narrative and descriptive language about God is thus used in a sense analogous to, though never quite identical with, the sense that the words would carry if used of humans, and the language of theology must self-consciously follow the Bible at this point. The ontological basis for this rule of thought and speech is what Thomas Aquinas called the analogy of being that exists between God and ourselves, i.e. the qualified similarity between his existence as creator and ours as creatures (see Analogy).

When Christianity moved out of Palestine into the wider Greek-speaking world, Christian spokesmen borrowed words from Hellenistic culture. Platonic, Aristotelian and Stoic thinkers saw the world as shaped somehow by a principle, in some sense divine, that was immaterial, impassive, immobile, immutable and timeless. Apologists and theologians took over this vocabulary to express the transcendence of God and the difference between him and man. Arguably these impersonal static Greek terms were a poor fit by biblical standards, but those who have used them from the 2nd to the 20th century have never let them obscure the fact that God is personal, active and very much alive.

2. The being of God

The ‘attributes’ of God—that is, the qualities that may truly be ascribed to him—concern either his way of existing as compared with ours, or his moral character as shown by his words and deeds. The main points in historic Bible-based, time-tested Christian theism with regard to the way in which God exists are these:

a. God is self-existent, self-sufficient and self-sustaining. God does not have it in him, either in purpose or in power, to stop existing; he exists necessarily, with no need of help and support from us (cf. Acts 17:23–25). This is his aseity, the quality of having life in and from himself.

b. God is simple (that is, totally integrated), perfect and immutable. These words affirm that he is wholly and entirely involved in everything that he is and does, and that his nature, goals, plans and ways of acting do not change, either for the better (being perfect, he cannot become better) or for the worse. His immutability is not the changelessness of an eternally frozen pose, but the moral consistency that holds him to his own principles of action and leads him to deal differently with those who change their own behaviour towards him (cf. Ps. 18:24–27).

c. God is infinite, bodiless (a spirit), omnipresent, omniscient, and eternal. These words affirm that God is not bound by any of the limitations of space or time that apply to us, his creatures, in our present body-anchored existence. He is always present everywhere, though invisibly and imperceptibly, and is at every moment cognizant of all that ever was, is, or shall be. Individual theists have denied that God knows the future, but this imposes on him an unbiblical limitation and is thus eccentric.

d. God is purposeful, all-powerful, and sovereign in relation to his world. He has a plan for the history of the universe, and in executing it he governs and controls all created realities. Without violating the nature of things, and without at any stage infringing upon human free agency, God acts in, with and through his creatures so as to do everything that he wishes to do exactly as he wishes to do it. By this overruling action, despite human disobedience and Satanic obstruction, he achieves his pre-set goals. Some question the reality of the eternal decree (that is, decision) whereby God has foreordained everything that comes to pass, but this also imposes an unbiblical limitation on such texts as Eph. 1:11, and it too must be judged eccentric.

e. God is both transcendent over, and immanent in, his world. These 19th-century words express the thought that on the one hand God is distinct from his world, does not need it, and exceeds the grasp of any created intelligence that is found in it (a truth sometimes expressed by speaking of the mystery and incomprehensibility of God); while on the other hand he permeates the world in sustaining creative power, shaping and steering it in a way that keeps it on its planned course. Process theology jettisons transcendence and so stresses the immanence of God and his struggling involvement in the supposedly evolving cosmos that he himself becomes finite and evolving too; but this is yet another unbiblical oddity.

f. God is impassible. This means, not that God is impassive and unfeeling (a frequent misunderstanding), but that no created beings can inflict pain, suffering and distress on him at their own will. In so far as God enters into suffering and grief (which Scripture’s many anthropopathisms, plus the fact of the cross, show that he does), it is by his own deliberate decision; he is never his creatures’ hapless victim. The Christian mainstream has construed impassibility as meaning not that God is a stranger to joy and delight, but rather that his joy is permanent, clouded by no involuntary pain.

3. The character of God

Character is personal moral nature revealed in action. In God’s dealings with mankind his character is fully displayed, supremely in the incarnate Son: God is Jesus-like, for Jesus is God in the flesh. Concerning God’s character the key statements appear to be these:

a. God is holy love. The essence of all love is giving prompted by goodwill, with joy in the recipient’s benefit. The statement, ‘God is love’ (agapē, 1 Jn. 4:8) is explained in context as meaning that God gave his Son as a sacrifice to quench his wrath against human sins and so bring believers life. Agapē is the regular NT word for love that gives even to the unlovely and undeserving. Behind the statement, however, must be held to lie the Johannine conviction that love is the abiding quality of inter-Trinitarian relations (cf. Jn. 5:20; 14:31). Both internally and externally, therefore, giving in order to make the recipient great must be understood as the moral shape of the Triune God’s life.

But God is also ‘the holy one’ (some 50 references), and holiness (purity, hatred of moral evil, and inner compulsion to show judicial anger against it) always qualifies the divine love. The need for retributive judgment on our sins through Christ’s cross (‘the measure and the pledge of love’, cf. Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8), as a basis for the free gift of justification and forgiveness (see Guilt and Forgiveness), is rooted in this fact, and so is the requirement of holiness in the justified (Rom. 6; 2 Cor. 6:14–7:1; 1 Thes. 4:3–7; Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:15–16).

b. God is moral perfection. God’s revealed ways with mankind render him not only awesome but also adorable by reason of his truthfulness, faithfulness, grace, mercy, loving-kindness, patience, constancy, wisdom, justice, goodness, and generosity—all of which find exercise as functions of his love to believers, as well as in his sustained dominion over a rebel world which he governs with both goodness and severity. For the display of these glorious qualities God is worthy of endless praise, and right-minded study of God’s moral character will always end in doxol. [1]


  1. Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 274–277.

 

DBG Spotlight (3-22-17)

DBG Spotlight (3-22-17)

In the recent 2017 Ligonier National Conference, Steven Lawson pointed to how the preaching of the Reformers was at center stage of their work during the Reformation era.

Paul Washer’s Heart Attack — Late Monday evening, chatter started to spread through social media about Paul Washer and a possible heart attack.  Although several stories have been spread that have inaccuracies, Paul Washer did suffer a heart attack at his home in Virginia on Monday evening.  He has undergone surgery and is under the care of doctors.  Please continue to pray for him and his entire family as he recovers.  For updates, you can follow his Twitter account (@PaulWasher) or see updates on the HeartCry Missionary Society Facebook page.

ChristianAudio – Free Download — For a limited time, you can download Paul Washer’s The Gospel Call and True Conversion on audio.

Legalism and Salvation — Some good words here from Grace To You on a popular word that’s often tossed around in casual conversations in evangelical circles.

Why I Love the Psalms — Robert Godfrey explains his passion for the Psalms.

Is My Desire Sour? 4 Questions To Consider — Melissa Kruger writes, “As people living in a fallen world, we know what it is to have desires. We experience physical pain, witness injustice, suffer under various trials, and ache with loneliness and grief. Even when all is going relatively well, our minds imagine how wonderful it would be if we had just a tad more.”

Why Pastors Should Catechize Their Congregations — This is a guest post by J. V. Fesko, author of The Theology of the Westminster Standards: Historical Context and Theological Insights. The post anticipates the release of The New City Catechism: 52 Questions and Answers for Our Hearts and Minds.

Who Are ‘The Least of These’? — Kevin DeYoung looks at a popular phrase and explains what Jesus was referring to.

To the Unknown Pastor — “If you attend a church like this, you are incredibly blessed, Thank God for His grace in your life, show thankfulness to your pastor, thank him for his great attitude and his joy in teaching the Word.  Chances are he isn’t doing it for the money or for the fame, but he is doing it for your eternal good and for his Savior.”

How John Piper’s Seashells Swept Over a Generation — Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra points to one big sermon in a big field full of college students that had a big ripple effect.  Denny Burk looks back at his “Top Ten Memories of OneDay 2000” and points to some interesting memories from his perspective.

The Benedict Option, Tim Keller, South Africa and London, and an Important Announcement — James White is back and in this Dividing Line he explains his recent overseas ministry trip.

 

DBG Weekend Spotlight (3-16-17)

DBG Weekend Spotlight (3-16-17)

A number of years ago when I was in seminary and serving as a pastor of a small country church, a member in our church handed me a little CD of a sermon titled, “Shocking Youth Sermon” by: Paul Washer.  I listened to it, but then discarded it.  To be truthful, I didn’t really like it.  Years later, I have come to appreciate the ministry of Paul Washer and I’m also grateful for how He has used that one sermon to “shock” so many people back into reality.  Many people today would not know Paul Washer if it wasn’t for that one sermon in Alabama.  You can watch the sermon below.

$5 Friday: Worship, Providence, & Faith — You can always find something good for $5 on Friday from Ligonier.

An FAQ on Shaping Your Ministry Culture Around Disciple-Making — Justin Taylor explains why everyone in ministry needs to read the book,  The Vine Project: Shaping Your Ministry Culture around Disciple-Making.  It’s authored by the same two men who wrote The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything—Colin Marshall and Tony Payne.

10 Things I Did Not Do that Improved My Congregation’s Singing — This is a helpful list to evaluate and consider in relation to your own congregation.

The Gospel of James: Open Letter to Martin Luther — As I noted in my new series yesterday, Luther was a great man worthy of respect, but he had feet of clay and should not be worshipped.  His theology was flawed in places, just like ours.

Reflections on the 2017 Shepherds’ Conference — Bob Kauflin reviews the recent Shepherds’ Conference.

Sam Storms: 10 Observations on the Judgment Seat of Christ — This is a helpful (and short) list related to the Judgment Seat of Christ taken from Sam Storms’ book, A Sincere and Pure Devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 1-6), Volume 1: 100 Daily Meditations on 2 Corinthians.

J. I. Packer on One of the Most Urgent Needs in the Church Today — Some really good wisdom here from a really wise man.

Thinking Biblically about Authority: An Interview with David Wells — In a day where Christians have a natural tendency to oppose authority (really all cultures at all times struggle with this), this is a helpful interview.

MLB Baseball’s Dirty Secret — Why are MLB baseballs not as bright as new baseballs from the first pitch of the game?  You may be surprised to find out that they use a “secret” rubbing mud and apply it to every baseball before every MLB game.

2018 G3 Conference — Registration for the English and Spanish conferences are now open, including children’s registration which is FREE for a limited number of seats.

Theology Word of the Week:  Heresy

Heresy connotes doctrinal deviation from the fundamental truths taught by Scripture and the orthodox Christian church, and active propagation of the same. The primary Gk. word hairesis, which appears nine times in the NT, fundamentally meant a school of thought or sect: so the sect of the Sadducees (Acts 5:17), the Pharisees (15:5; 26:5), the Nazarenes, i.e. the Christians (24:5; 28:22). In Acts 24:14, Paul substituted ‘way’ (hodos) for ‘sect’ (hairesis) when referring to the Christian movement, probably because hairesis, even then, possessed a negative connotation. Hairesis, secondly, developed the meaning of schism or faction that developed within the church due to a strong party spirit or lack of love (1 Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20). Paul’s use of the adjective hairetikos in Tit. 3:10 suggests that a heretic is a person who is divisive or factious. The shade of meaning that came to predominate in Christian usage is that of false theological doctrine. Thus 2 Pet. 2:1 refers to the ‘destructive heresies’ of certain false teachers who denied the person and work of Christ.

The writings of the church fathers contain numerous warnings against heretical teaching. Ignatius (d. 98/117) compared heresy with the working of lethal drugs (Trall. 6:1–2) and the attacks of wild beasts and rabid dogs (Eph. 7:1). Irenaeus wrote the treatise Against Heresies to refute the various Gnostic errors in the 2nd-century world. He urged Christians ‘to avoid every heretical, godless and impious doctrine’ (Against Heresies III. 6.4). Clement of Alexandria insisted that heresies spring from self-conceit, vanity and the deliberate mishandling of Scripture (Strom. VII.15). Tertullian claimed that ‘the philosophers are the fathers of the heretics’ (Against Hermogenes 8). Cyprian added: ‘Satan invented heresies and schisms with which to overthrow the faith, to corrupt the truth and to divide unity’ (Unity of the Church 3).

In a sense, the history of the church is the history of heresies. In the 2nd century, Gnosticism and Marcionism perverted the orthodox doctrine of God. Later, various forms of modalism (see Monarchianism) and Arianism corrupted the doctrine of Christ. Apollinarianism, Nestorianism and monophysitism dealt inadequately with the two natures of Christ. At the time of the Reformation, Socinianism denied the Trinity and the efficacy of Christ’s atoning work, as did later Unitarianism. In modern times neo-Protestantism has denied the personality of God, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, and the divine inspiration of the Scriptures.

The early church defended itself against heretical teaching by appealing to ‘the rule of faith’ or ‘the rule of truth’, which were brief summaries of essential Christian truths (see Creeds). Irenaeus lamented that heretics follow neither Scripture nor the tradition that originates from the apostles and was preserved in the churches through the succession of elders (Against Heresies III.2). Tertullian added that ‘to know nothing in opposition to the rule of faith is to know all things’ (Prescription of Heretics 7). The fluid ‘rule of faith’ gave way to more precise instruments for refuting heresies and defining faith, namely, credal formulations such as the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Definition of Chalcedon and the Athanasian Creed (see Councils, Creeds). From the time of the Reformation, Protestant bodies have distinguished truth from heresy in numerous confessional statements such as the Formula of Concord, the Thirty-nine Articles, and the Westminster Confession.

Walter Bauer (1877–1960), in his book Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (1934), advanced the radical thesis that the Roman church rewrote the history of the early church, making its interpretation of primitive Christianity the ‘orthodox’ view and depicting other early Christian teachers as ‘heretical’ and immoral. According to Bauer, forms of Christianity that came to be understood as ‘heretical’ were prior to and more widespread than the so-called ‘orthodox’ teaching. Thus, many Christian movements in the early church commonly viewed as heterodox are said to constitute authentic primitive expressions of the religion of Jesus.

Canon H. E. W. Turner rejected Bauer’s thesis in his book, The Pattern of Christian Truth (1954). While allowing for certain flexibility in early Christian teaching, Turner argues that primitive Christianity universally held to three kinds of ‘fixed elements’: 1. crucial ‘religious facts’, such as the creator God and the divine Christ as the historical redeemer; 2. the centrality of biblical revelation; and 3. the creed and the rule of faith. ‘Christians lived Trinitarianly before the evolution of Nicene orthodoxy’ (p. 28).

Most evangelical authorities agree that the data of early church history and theology show that orthodoxy was earlier and more widespread than Bauer allowed. Indeed, the teachings of Jesus and the apostles were summed up at an early date in the ‘rule of faith’ and the writings of the apostolic fathers. The orthodox faith was attacked by heretical opponents (Gnostic sects, Marcion, Arius, etc.), but the latter were opposed by the apostles and early church fathers in both the East and West. Evangelical authorities likewise agree that Bauer’s account of the triumph of Roman ‘orthodoxy’ falls short of credibility.

Given the modern bias against timeless, propositional truths and the belief that faith is a matter of lived experience, the notion of heresy has been substantially diluted in non-Evangelical Christianity. For example, Karl Rahner, working from the ethical view of truth as a lived reality, views heresy as the failure to attain authentic existence at the point where God meets a person. Rather than the repudiation of particular doctrines, heresy embraces subjective attitudes, such as spiritual indifference and a critical spirit. Primary responsibility for this ‘latent heresy’ lies with the individual Christian rather than the magisterium. Yet the NT expresses serious concern for ‘false doctrines’ (1 Tim. 1:3; 6:3) and places the highest priority on maintaining ‘the pattern of sound teaching’ (2 Tim. 1:13; cf. 1 Tim. 6:3). Scripture urges Christians to be alert to doctrinal deception (Mt. 24:4) and to avoid heresy by carefully guarding the pure content of the gospel (1 Cor. 11:2; Gal. 1:8). [1]


  1. Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 296.
DBG Spotlight (3-15-17)

DBG Spotlight (3-15-17)

At the recent G3 Conference, Todd Friel talked to Steven Lawson about William Tyndale and John Rogers.

Why Pastors Should Work Hard to Write Well — Kevin DeYoung shares some good wisdom regarding the skill and discipline of writing.

When Should Christians Use Satire? — “While satire, irony, sarcasm, and ridicule all have their place in exposing evil and harm, Christians should patiently seek to win others in love.”

Southern Baptists extend olive branch to Russell Moore — Russell Moore has been on the hot seat in recent days, but it seems that the leaders of the SBC are working to repair the relationships.

1 Peter 5:12: Stand Firm in Grace — Another good Look at the Book by John Piper.

We have lost the sense of God — This is a really good article by Conrad Mbewe about the overwhelming noise that surrounds us in our culture that causes us to lose the sense of God.

2018 G3 Conference — Some big announcements were made this week regarding next year’s conference.  Make your plans to join us.  Registration is now open.

DBG Weekend Spotlight (3-10-17)

DBG Weekend Spotlight (3-10-17)

In the 2015 Ligonier National Conference, Dr. Alistair Begg looks at the threats of anti-intellectualism, relativism, and postmodernism, exhorting us to proclaim Christ as the way, the truth, and the life. Dr. Begg calls us away from a low view of truth to a view that places truth front and center in the Christian mission.

What Is Revival and Where Do We Find It? — “Revival is a concentrated work of God where Christians in various churches earnestly desire more of Christ, boldness in witness, and commitment to missions.”

Expository Preaching—The Antidote to Anemic Worship — Albert Mohler provides some very important points in this article about worship and its connection to preaching.

What Does The Shack Really Teach? “Lies We Believe About God” Tells Us — William Paul Young, the author of the highly successful (and heretical) book, The Shack, has released a new book titled, Lies We Believe About God.  In this article, Tim Challies reviews the book and points to the errors of William Paul Young’s theology.

Book Review: On Pastoring, by H. B. Charles — You will find this review of H.B. Charles’ book, On Pastoring, helpful.

$5 Friday: Truth, Creation, & God’s Glory — Some good books from Ligonier, and as always, on Friday you can grab them for $5.

What Spirit Should Characterize Elders on a Plural Eldership? — “When the New Testament writers sought to teach churches about elder plurality they did not start with an organizational manual or flow chart or rationales for effective management. They started with the sufferings of Jesus Christ.”

What Does the Author of The Shack Believe? — In this video, William Paul Young provides an explanation of his beliefs.  In this video, you will clearly see the serious theological errors that are the foundational beliefs of the author of one of the most successful books of our day.  If anyone doubted the heresy of William Paul Young before, he makes it clear in this conversation.

Theology Word of the Week:  Sexual Immorality

πορνεία, ας, ἡ (of various kinds of ‘unsanctioned sexual intercourse’: Demosth. et al.; LXX, En, Test12Patr; GrBar [in vice lists]; AscIs, Philo, apolog. exc. Ar. W. φθορά Iren. 1, 28, 1 [Harv. I 220, 14])

unlawful sexual intercourse, prostitution, unchastity, fornication, 1 Cor 5:1ab (CdeVos, NTS 44, ’98, 104–14); 6:13 (on 1 Cor 5–6 s. PTomson, Paul and the Jewish Law: CRINT III/1, ’90, 97–102); Hm 4, 1, 1. In a vice list (cp. AscIs 2:5) Ro 1:29 v.l. W. ἀκαθαρσία 2 Cor 12:21; Gal 5:19; Eph 5:3; Col 3:5. Differentiated fr. μοιχεία (Philo, Mos. 1, 300; s. also πορνεύω 1) Mt 15:19; Mk 7:21 (WGabriel, Was ist ‘porneia’ im Sprachgebr. Jesu?: Ethik 7, ’31, 106–9; 363–69); Hm 8:3; D 5:1 (the pl. denotes individual acts). On the other hand μοιχεία appears as πορνεία (cp. Sir 23:23) Hm 4, 1, 5. Of the sexual unfaithfulness of a married woman Mt 5:32; 19:9 (for the view that ref. is made in these pass. to forbidden degrees of marriage, s. 2 below.—JSickenberger, TQ 123, ’42, 189–206, ZNW 42, ’49, 202ff; KStaab [παρεκτός 2]; AAllgeier, Angelicum 20, ’43, 128–42. Cp. AFridrichsen, SEÅ 9, ’44, 54–58; AIsaksson, Marriage and Ministry in the New Temple, ’65, 127–42 [lit.]; s. also JFitzmyer, TS 37, 76, 197–226). Caused by lust D 3:3. διὰ τὰς πορνείας 1 Cor 7:2 (the pl. points out the various factors that may bring about sexual immorality; PTomson [s. above] 103–8). BMalina, Does Porneia Mean ‘Fornication’? NovT 14, ’72, 10–17. φεύγειν τὴν π. 6:18. Also ἀπέχεσθαι ἀπὸ τῆς π. 1 Th 4:3 (cp. Tobit 4:12). ἐκ π. γεννηθῆναι be an illegitimate child, a bastard (cp. Cephalion [II a.d.]: 93 Fgm. 5 p. 444, 5 Jac. ἐγέννησε ἐκ πορ.; Gen 38:24) J 8:41. On ἀπέχεσθαι τῆς πορνείας καὶ πνικτοῦ Ac 15:20 (cp. vs. 29; 21:25 and s. 2 below) s. the lit. s.v. πνικτός and in BBacon, The Apost. Decree against πορνεία: Exp. 8th ser., 7, 1914, 40–61.

participation in prohibited degrees of marriage, fornication (s. Lev. 18:16–18; cp. Acts 15:20–29, s. Bruce, comm. Ac; 21:25) Mt 5:32; 19:9 (w. some favor RSmith, Matthew [Augsburg] ’89,100; RGundry, Matthew ’82, 91: “no need to adopt obscure definitions of πορνείας, such as marriage within the forbidden degrees. … The specific word for adultery does not appear in the exceptive phrase simply because a general expression occurs in Deuteronomy” [24:1], but s. BWitherington, NTS 31, ’85, 571–76: ‘except in the case of incest’. On these pass. s. 1.).

immorality of a transcendent nature, fornication, in imagery, of polytheistic cult in the mystic city Babylon, which appears in Rv as a prostitute with an international clientele. Fr. the time of Hosea the relationship betw. God and his people was regarded as a marriage bond. This usage was more easily understandable because some Semitic and Graeco-Roman cults were at times connected w. sexual debauchery (cp. Hos 6:10; Jer 3:2, 9; 4 Km 9:22; on the positive side, for concern about propriety on the part of some cults s. e.g. SIG 820 [83/84 a.d.], in which an Ephesian official assures Rome that the annual autumn fertility festival is conducted ‘with much chastity and due observance of established customs’. This level of conduct prob. stands up well against activities associated with celebration of a modern Mardi Gras.) Rv 19:2. μετανοῆσαι ἐκ τῆς π. αὐτῆς repent of her immorality 2:21; cp. 9:21. ὁ οἶνος τοῦ θυμοῦ τῆς π. the wine of her passionate immorality 14:8; 18:3 (on these passages s. θυμός 1 and 2). ὁ οἶνος τῆς π. 17:2. τὰ ἀκάθαρτα τῆς π. vs. 4 (ἀκάθαρτος 2).—V.l. for πονηρίας Hv 1, 1, 8 (Leutzsch, Hermas 447 n. 53). S. next entry 2.—DELG s.v. πέρνημι. M-M. EDNT.


  1. William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 854.
DBG Spotlight (3-8-17)

DBG Spotlight (3-8-17)

I have had the opportunity to hear many sermons by Voddie Baucham. I’ve listened to these sermons in person in conference settings, in the church where I serve as pastor, and online. This is the best sermon I’ve ever heard from Voddie Baucham, and he does an excellent job of demonstrating the need for a biblical doctrine of the local church.

What Does God Call You? (Acts 2:39) – Mondays with Mounce 275 — “What this means is that for Acts 2:39, we can now understand the translation of the ESV. “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (italics added; also NET, NRSV). The Lord is being affected by his effectual call on people since he truly is calling them to himself.”

Three Reasons to Include a Concise Summary of the Gospel in Every Sermon — “I was persuaded of the wisdom of this approach about fifteen years ago. Having now followed it faithfully for over a decade, I can see many benefits of including a concise gospel summary in nearly every sermon.”

John Knox and the Lord’s Supper: For Believers Only — Knox was abundantly clear: “But the Supper of the Lord, we confess to appertain to such only as be of the household of faith, [and who] can try and examine themselves as well in their faith as in their duty towards their neighbours.”

Our Mother Who Art In Heaven? — This is a good take on the massive misrepresentation of God in The Shack movie.

A Small Church in a Mega-Church World — “The greatest preacher who ever lived is probably someone that only fifty people have ever heard preach. You may be small, but the gospel is not.”

7 Gospel Promises To Embrace Today — This is good wisdom from Paul Tripp as he points us to the Scriptures.

Lord, Free Me from the Fear of Death — Many people fear death and this article does a good job of explaining why we, as God’s children, have nothing to fear.