Retired US Pastor Falsely Linked to Sexual Abuser List in Horrific Media Blunder
In a horrible mix-up, a US Southern Baptist pastor has had his picture linked with a list of Southern Baptist Convention sexual abusers by the local media station. The channel has since admitted its error and attempted to correct its mistake, but an SBC leader has highlighted the importance of holding both Church members and “the secular media” accountable.
Long-time serving pastor Charles Brown explains how in 3-minutes “80 years of my life and ministry went down the tubes” as a local National Broadcasting Corporation-affiliated station inaccurately linked his picture to a list of sex abusers.
“I don’t know how many people have heard [the incorrect news report], but at Government Street we have a private school and a very large day care program. My big hurt is … the effect it has on the church, me, the congregation, just the insinuation of it … and how parents of the children would be concerned.”
Thomas Wright, executive director of missions for Mobile Baptist Association, reflected:
“This false accusation is the worst-case scenario for publishing the list. Sexual predators must be held accountable and stopped from serial activity in one or more churches. Church members and the secular media must also be accountable to present accurate information.”
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Our Hope in the AscensionBy Kevin DeYoung — 2 weeks ago
The Ascension is a further fulfillment and vindication of the triumph of the Resurrection. It is no wonder that the Ascension is highlighted throughout the New Testament as a necessary precursor to a number of blessings in this age of the Spirit. The Ascension is linked to the giving of Messianic gifts (Eph. 4:8-10), to the intercession of our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16), and to the subjection of all things under Christ’s feet (1 Peter 3:22). Because Jesus is our conquering king, he is positioned to gift us with the spoils of victory.
We must place our hope in men,” said Gandalf.
“Men!” Elrond replied. “The race of men is weak, failing. The blood of Numenor is all but spent, its pride and dignity forgotten. It is because of men that the Ring survives. I was there, three thousand years ago, when Isildur took the ring. I was there when the strength of men failed.”
This scene from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy should remind us of the doctrine of the Ascension. Elrond was right, but Gandalf was more right. Yes, the race of men is weak. Yes, evil survives (and thrives) because one man took what he should not have taken. Yes, the strength of men failed thousands of years ago. But our hope in human flesh is not misplaced. In Tolkien’s story, there is a Man—Aragorn—to sit on Gondor’s throne. Just as because of Christ’s Ascension, human flesh now sits at the right hand of God.
Of all the aspects of Christ’s work in his state of exaltation, the Ascension is one of the most overlooked. Every Christian knows something about the Resurrection. Most look forward to Christ’s coming again. But few could tell you much about the Ascension. To be sure, it’s there in the Creed, but most Christians—if they consider the Ascension at all—think of it as little more than a heavenly transit system. Jesus ascended into heaven; that’s how the Son of God got back home. Although Easter is a high point in the church calendar for most Christians, Ascension Day is virtually forgotten in many Protestant traditions, including my own Reformed tradition.
This has not always been the case. Even as Calvin and Bucer moved away from many of the Catholic calendar’s saint days and holy days, they still retained “Five Evangelical Feasts” in the church calendar: Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, and Pentecost. The Palatinate Church Order of 1563 (an influential liturgical manual from the Heidelberg area of Germany) observed Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The Church Order coming out of the Synod of Dort (1618–19) adopted what had long been the practice of Reformed churches in the Netherlands: the observation of several feast days (including the Ascension of Christ) in addition to Sunday. In the words of Daniel Hyde, for the Reformed tradition on the continent, these evangelical feasts were “not holy but helpful.”
More important than history, of course, is the Bible.
An Attribute of God That Isn’t Discussed EnoughBy Jon Nielson — 2 weeks ago
The doctrine of aseity tells us that God’s decision to create cannot be because of any deficiency in God. He didn’t need the universe in order to be happy. He wasn’t lonely without us! So, why create? God’s creation of the universe—and human beings—must be the abundant, joyful, gracious overflow of his goodness and kindness. What an amazing thought! God’s creation must be a result of his joyful delight to share and display his glory in all the universe and with all his creatures!
The first time I heard the word aseity was while sitting in a seminary class at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with Dr. D. A. Carson. He was my advisor during my seminary years, and I heard Dr. Carson say many times: “I’ve learned over the years that my students don’t remember everything I teach them . . . but they do tend to remember what I am most excited about!” God’s aseity was a doctrine that I still remember Dr. Carson being excited to teach!
God’s aseity refers to God being eternally and completely “of himself.” The word comes from the Latin. It’s a compound word made up of two smaller words: “a” (from) and “-se” (self). To talk about the aseity of God, then, is to say that God is from and of himself. He is completely self-originating and dependent on nothing other than himself.
When we’re talking about God’s aseity, we are referring to the way that God has existed from eternity past completely independently of anything else—completely “of himself”—and therefore satisfied and delighted in himself. It goes without saying that this is not a “communicable” attribute of God (humans don’t share this attribute with God!). Now, here’s how I found this doctrine connecting with other systematic theological categories.
What does God’s aseity mean for the creation of the world?
I remember learning about creation (Genesis 1–2) in a Sunday school class when I was probably 6 or 7 years old. One of the kids asked the Sunday school teacher, “Why did God make Adam and Eve?” I remember her answering something like this: “God made Adam and Eve because he was ‘lonely’ and he wanted people to be with him and be his friends.”
Is that correct? Why would God choose to create the universe and human beings?
The doctrine of aseity tells us that God’s decision to create cannot be because of any deficiency in God. He didn’t need the universe in order to be happy. He wasn’t lonely without us! So, why create?
God’s creation of the universe—and human beings—must be the abundant, joyful, gracious overflow of his goodness and kindness. What an amazing thought! God’s creation must be a result of his joyful delight to share and display his glory in all the universe and with all his creatures!
What does God’s aseity mean for the salvation of sinners?
In Genesis 3, God could have been justifiably done with humanity! Adam and Eve had been living in the Garden of Eden, walking with God, enjoying his creation and stewarding it, and living in perfect fellowship with their Creator. And in that terrible moment, they listened to the lies of Satan and rebelled against the word of their good God. God could have wiped humanity from the earth, but he doesn’t do that.
Instead, we get Genesis 3:15, the protoevangelion or “first gospel.” God looks far into the future and promises that Eve’s seed—his own Son—will crush the head of the serpent and destroy Satan, sin, and death for his sinful people! The question is Why?
I want to suggest that the doctrine of God’s aseity gives us only one answer: God does this out of his sheer delight in demonstrating his grace! It’s the joyful overflow of God’s demonstration of this aspect of his character: his mercy and grace.
What Does It Mean for the Saints to Judge Angels?By Kyle Dillon — 2 years ago
Paul seems to assume his readers are already aware of their role in the final judgment. He twice asks the rhetorical question, “Do you not know?” And yet, if it weren’t for this very passage, how many Christians today would know? What exactly does it mean that we will judge the world and the angels?
The apostle Paul delivers several stinging rebukes to the believers at Corinth over the course of his first epistle. But perhaps the most interesting comes in 1 Corinthians 6:2–3. There we learn that due to their divisiveness and worldliness, the Corinthians have compromised their Christian identity by pursuing selfish gain through litigation against one another in secular courts. Such conduct betrays values that are no different from their pagan neighbors, so Paul reminds them of their ultimate destiny in Christ in order to expose the absurdity of their conduct.
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! (1 Cor. 6:2–3)
It’s an argument from the greater to the lesser. If they will one day judge the world and the angels, shouldn’t they be capable of handling relatively minor disputes among themselves?
What makes the passage so surprising is Paul seems to assume his readers are already aware of their role in the final judgment. He twice asks the rhetorical question, “Do you not know?” And yet, if it weren’t for this very passage, how many Christians today would know? What exactly does it mean that we will judge the world and the angels? What else does the Bible have to say about this? And what does this mean for us practically today?
Commentators through the centuries have offered several interpretations of this judgment of the saints. These can be broken down into three major options, followed by a fourth that expands on the third.
1. Judgment by Example
This view goes back to early church fathers like John Chrysostom, as well as a number of early Reformed commentators like Wolfgang Musculus. The idea here is that believers will not actively exercise judgment, since this is believed to be a prerogative of Christ (see John 5:22). Rather, it is the example of their faith that will condemn unbelievers. Jesus makes a similar point when he declares that the Ninevites and the queen of Sheba, who responded with repentance and wisdom in their day, will rise up at the judgment to condemn the wickedness of his contemporary generation (Matt. 12:41–42).