PCA geologists

June 28, 2010

[HT: Josh]

Here is a good, fairly brief, article on the conclusive evidence for the age of the earth. It is written by geologists who are members of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). For a more extensive analysis, see The Bible, Rocks, and Time by Young and Stearley, geologists at Calvin College.

Yes, I still find this topic incredibly interesting. There are still several high-profile theologians in American evangelicalism who use Romans 5 — death entered through Adam’s sin, therefore no death/evolution in the natural world before man — as the “evidence” that over-rules the unanimous consent of geologists around the world.

Tavener on Mozart

June 27, 2010

Thanks to Vox Nova for posting this clip of Sir John Tavener gushing over Mozart:

Sweet justice!

June 23, 2010

In the 91st minute, USA scores their second goal but the only “official” goal of the match, advancing to the round of 16 and winning their group!

I watched the report of the GCR committee given yesterday at the Southern Baptist Convention. The GCR passed, which is probably a good thing if it will result in some necessary fiscal and structural changes. As for the motives and rhetoric surrounding the GCR, I remain unimpressed.

The Good

Unlike the mainline denominations, the SBC is at least preoccupied with something worthwhile. I much prefer a committee report on evangelism over yet another committee report on human sexuality. The SBC can be thankful for that! The issues that currently dominate SBC energies are a far cry from those that are dividing the mainline and weakening the mainline’s unity with the worldwide Church.

The Bad

As I suspected would be the case, the urgency surrounding missions was heightened by explicit statements on the certain damnation of those who do not hear the Gospel. This urgency was then supplemented by an appeal to the conscience of those Christians who fail to evangelize or fail to fiscally support such efforts. The statistics are, of course, duly presented. The general rhetorical force intends to place the blame of pervasive “lostness” on those without a “heart” for missions. As such, salvation is contingent upon the work of those who bring the Gospel to the lost, both personally (e.g., witnessing to a co-worker) and through organizations (church plants, mission boards, etc.). Here, the operative doctrine of God implies a God who depends upon the initiative of his heralds. The salvation or damnation of any particular person or “people group” depends upon the resolve of those in the pews and those in the field. On this scheme, God’s electing purposes are limited by the reach of the visible Church.

My objection is that God could very well limit himself as such, but Scripture says nothing of the sort — because Scripture does not deal with the “how” of God’s call and regeneration of persons outside the Church. Scripture does not deal with this “how” because Scripture is concerned with the immediate situation of the Church where God has made covenant and the Gospel is being proclaimed. The lack of knowing “how,” apart from this explicit proclamation, does not entail a certain denial of the possibility. The internal work of the Holy Spirit, combined with the outer witness of a fallen but ordered creation, can very well be the means by which God reveals his promises to those outside the Church. That’s one possible understanding among others. We have to tread carefully here and perhaps not at all, but we cannot make the opposite error of treading confidently where God’s works and ways are not wholly revealed.

[By the way, you’ll have to forgive the picture. It was too funny not to use!]

SBC

The annual Southern Baptist Convention starts tomorrow and will be viewable via webcast from the SBC website. I cannot say that I’m very excited about it. The big issue for the past couple years has been the Great Commission Resurgence, and everything that I’ve read from promoters of the GCR has been dull and predictable.

Basically, Southern Baptists aren’t evangelizing as much as they used to — membership has dropped (slightly, relative to other large denominations) — so they need to start evangelizing. How do you get the people to start evangelizing or, at least, give more financially to domestic and foreign missions? Tell them that they’ve become complacent and deluded by postmodern cultural messages — oh, and remind them that, in regard to foreign missions, millions of people are dying and going to hell because they are ignorant of the Gospel. So, that’s what I’ve read over and over. Certainly there is much to commend in the GCR statements and reports. Surely we evangelicals are complacent and lack conviction, and surely we need to have a heart for those who have never heard the Gospel. (Although, I don’t buy into the “going to hell by ignorance” understanding of God’s works and ways; God’s electing purposes are bigger than the visible Church.) However, attacking complacency and blaming postmodernism is not a sufficient means for building a church culture that values personal evangelism and missions. Rather, Christians who delight in God, amidst all the secular forms that obscure his glory, will evangelize by transforming the secular, revealing its true telos in Christ, and telling others of this hope.

In other words, pinpointing the symptoms, such as complacency, is not enough, when the causes are rooted deep in the Southern Baptist psyche. The problem with the SBC’s emphasis on evangelism is that this has always and only been the distinct emphasis of the SBC. Southern Baptists have proven that they can do evangelism, but have they proven much else? Where is the catholic vision of an ecclesiology that reaches outward to include all forms of human life? Where is the discipleship that is sustained and secured, not by an intellectual sectarianism and emotional escapism, but by a disciplining of the entire scope of the human personality: reason, volition, and aesthetic? Where is the confidence, not in oneself but in the Lord’s work of a new creation, where we humbly attend to all of life (including the secular forms)?

Once these issues are addressed, the SBC may or may not have increased statistics, but she will have vibrant churches under the Lordship of Christ. She will have authentic witnesses to this Lordship.

The chapel at Beeson Divinity School (Samford University) is definitely one of the more interesting chapels I’ve ever seen (not personally, just pictures). I don’t know of any other chapel that utilizes the church art/architecture of the Italian renaissance as its basic form and then fills it with images and motifs from the Reformation and subsequent Protestant history. I’m a fan! But I’m sure that there are a lot of people who are not fans…including, if he were alive to see it, my beloved Barth, who was very much in-line with traditional Reformed sensibilities on this topic.

Here’s a nice video tour of the chapel:

FYI: Beeson was founded by Dr. Timothy George as an interdenominational evangelical seminary within Samford University, a Southern Baptist school.

Also, it’s hard to see in the video, but the dome of the chapel includes portraits of various important church figures: Athanasius, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Bunyan, Wesley, etc. — even Lottie Moon! You can view the official guidebook here.