Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: "Why, O God?: Suffering and Disability in the Bible and the Church"

Edited by Larry J. Waters and Roy B. Zuck
"Why, O God?" addresses issues on the challenge and need in Suffering and Disability considering the issue from  Biblical foundations, Theology, Pastoral ministry, Missions, Counselling, Professional Services.

The book is a result of a course that Daniel Thomson and Dr. Larry Waters  developed over 2 years ago on “The Theology of Suffering and Disability and the Church.” Dr. Waters describes that the main thesis of the book revolves around what we believe are weaknesses in many churches, and the Christian community as a whole, concerning a proper application and biblical response to suffering and disability. For the most part the Church today is failing to properly present the biblical view of suffering, and is not involved in developing a ministry for the disabled and then involving them in their ministry. “There is no disability or suffering ministry until the disabled and suffering are ministering.”

 Dr. Waters notes that a number of people in the Christian community can benefit from the book: Pastors, missionaries, counsellors, healthcare workers, parents who have children with disabilities, spouses who have a wife or husband suffering from a physical or mental disability, teachers in all areas of ministry. The book even deals with the issues of why Christians suffer and why does evil exist. The diversity of the topics in the 22 chapters allows for a varied appeal to readers.

This book is unique in many ways including the fact that it aims at much more than appealing to certain people, but strives for specific responses. Dr. Waters envisions five specific responses: 1). Make the church aware of its need to minister to and involve the disabled in their ministries. 2). Give a biblical foundation for understanding the existence of suffering, how suffering is used by the Lord, and how we can respond biblically both individually and collectively to the problem of pain and suffering. 3). Comfort for those who are suffering. 4). Encouragement to those who have struggle so long and so hard to start a disability and suffering ministry in their church. 5). Encourage other institutions of learning to use this book as a text or suggested text for a similar course on “A Theology of Suffering and Disability.”

The list of qualified contributors is impressive: Larry J. Waters (Editor), Roy B. Zuck (Editor), Randy Alcorn (Foreword), Joni Eareckson Tada (Contributor), Ronald B. Allen (Contributor), James E. Allman (Contributor), Victor D. Anderson (Contributor), Mark L. Bailey (Contributor), Jessica James Baldridge (Contributor), Douglas K. Blount (Contributor), Stephen J. Bramer (Contributor), Thomas L. Constable (Contributor), Patricia Evans (Contributor), Greg A. Hatteberg (Contributor), Michael A. Justice (Contributor), Linda M. Marten (Contributor), James A. Neathery (Contributor), Daniel R. Thomson (Contributor), Stanley D. Toussaint (Contributor), Richard L. Voet (Contributor), Amy J. Wilson (Contributor). They are qualified in the fact that they have dealt with their own disability (Joni Erickson Tada) or are the care giver for someone who is disabled (Gregory Hatteberg for his wife Lisa). Wisdom is truly reflected in their writings as some who has experienced what they are writing about and care deeply about those dealing with these situations. They are no strangers to suffering and not content to just share experience. Their writings are rich in Biblical reflections showing both accuracy and breadth of Biblical subject matter from the person of God Himself to His sovereign care.

This excellent tome is no mere formula to "cure or care" for people, but treats the issue of disability and suffering in the full orbed Kingdom perspective. "Why, O God?" does not merely deal with suffering and disability in the Bible and Church, but shows how God redeems suffering (Eph. 1:11) and how the Church is called on to show this fact in both word and deed.

Product Details

  • Retail Price: $22.00 US
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway Books (July 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433525801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433525803
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary: Lessons for Successful Ministry in Your Church.

What They Didn't Teach You in Seminary…
Author: James Emery White

Baker Books, 2011, 188 pp., $17.99US

 Reviewed by Matthew Kratz

Many an ordination counsel has lamented the examination of a young Pastor fresh from seminary. Often the critique from either these counsel's or search committees, is the evidence of book but not heart driven ministry. The local Church must be the developing environment for new pastor's, what White calls the "Farm League"(p.29). But what if the young Timothy does not have a Paul mentor?

James Emery White's experience as a seminary professor,  former president of a seminary, and senior Pastor helps him deal with those things the Seminary did or could not convey. The personal examples, stories and specific warnings give an informal, personal feel to his writing. This is both the strength and weakness of this book. The introduction should put the theological student on notice of what Churches are looking for.

The general concepts for church growth and concern often come without explicit biblical basis or specific steps of achievement. When Scriptural citations are given from "The Message", there are more conversational, than instructive. The cutesy/vague titles in the table of contents show you that this is not a theological tome or Biblical examination of how to pastor but a collection of various observations after years of ministry.

Even from the first chapter on "Emotional Survival" White's advice to "develop a way of life that protects, strengthens and replenishes you emotionally" (p.21), as well as having "Clear Boundaries Regarding Giftedness", reflects his focus on the personal life of the pastor.  Chapter two deals with what to look for in staff and volunteers.

Chapter three is a good example of what is right and wrong with this book. White warns of the lure of the new and that "churches are successful because they know why they do  certain things" (p.34). The big problem is any lack of what specifically "successful" means. I appreciate the value of advancing ministry but the advice that "this means you are the originator, the creator, the one who is fashioning new solutions and opening new vistas"(p.36) is dangerous. We are not the originator, for God established the expectations and procedures from scripture. Although, I suspect White would argue that this is implied, the relentless drive of pragmatism is the very danger he is warning against. Tying finances with overall kingdom objectives in chapter four, brings this back on track.

Chapter five: "It's the Weekend, Stupid" is one of the few aptly titled chapters. The contents on what people are looking for Sunday: (friendliness, children's ministry, music, and building) is pretty basic. Moving right to "Sexual Fences" in chapter six, this is a good example of my continual wonderment of transition. A good editor would have mentioned to White to group or transition the topics in a more logical manner. Instead of another anecdote of sexual failure a simple verse of 1Co 10:12  "Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall" was screaming out to be added, like at many, many other times in the book.

Chapter seven on envy takes one of the few opportunities to actually define, but not cite, an appropriate standard: "Crowns in heaven will not be based on numerical attendance, growth, acres or even decisions to follow Christ. For pastors and churches, it will be based on faithfulness to the vision of the church as cast by the New Testament" (65). Having zero tolerance for the quarrelsome (chapter eight), is one of the few "hard lined" approaches that White takes. Personal experiences of loss and devastation from the quarrelsome were especially informative. The need to involve young adults of chapter nine is straightforward enough, yet once again, chapter ten on "Hills to Die On", lists some helpful church practices (it is not on the essentials of the faith by any means) but by in large lacks scriptural reference which would show why they should be hills to die on. Chapter eleven on Vision would have tied in better with the practices of chapter ten. Likewise, dealing with the disgruntled who leave their church and arrive at yours (and talking to their old pastor) would have tied in better with dealing with the quarrelsome of chapter eight. Once again, chapter thirteen on the pastor's personal spiritual life, should have been tied to emotional survival of chapter one and sexual fences of chapter six.

Chapter fourteen on Church growth was probably the most refreshing of the book. White seemed to turn his approach around. On why the church must be different than the world: "People already have these things. They do not need to go to church to find them" (p. 107). His treatment of Acts 2:42 on the Lord adding to the church, yet us not being passive, struck the right balance. The rest of the chapter and self-test could be an excellent book in itself.

I appreciated the time considerations of chapter fifteen, yet the chapter lacked a Christ like sensitivity that Jesus would have shown in searching for the wandering sheep. The Bystander effect of inaction is true enough in chapter sixteen, yet curiously, White does not deal with the solution.

Committee structure and responsibility of chapter seventeen is linked well to the story of Numbers 13 (not directly referenced) with the spies sent into Canaan. It is a good link to the dangers of majority rule. Yet, the issue of confrontation with chapter eighteen would have a better link to the quarrelsome of chapter eight.

Chapter nineteen has an excellent quote on personal responsibility and expectations: "it's not about whether you got anything out of the service but about whether you gave God anything of service" (p. 138). We then deal with preaching (Chapter twenty) then with the personal issues of having a confidant (twenty-one) and our children as fellow ministers (twenty-two).

"What a leader does" (chapter twenty-three) is the single best chapter I've read on leadership. Twenty-four is an intriguing look at Phil. 2:25 linking our interpersonal, purpose and functional roles, and closes with the tyranny of the urgent with time considerations in twenty-five.

All in all, pastoral ministry is very much like the triathlon that White closes with in the afterword. His subject matter was broad, yet not deep, practical, not theological. His treatment on leadership (chapter twenty-three) is worth the price of the book itself. The reader who wished to be mentored by Dr. White, will indeed make "the most of the time" (Ps. 90:10).

Product Details

·  Paperback: 192 pages

·  Publisher: Baker Books (August 1, 2011)

·  Language: English

·  ISBN-10: 0801013887

·  ISBN-13: 978-0801013881

·  Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches

·  Shipping Weight: 8 ounces

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Can we know who wrote the Gospels? with Mike Licona

Special Guest Dr. Mike Licona returns and we hear his response to Bart Ehrman's claim that the four
New Testament gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Let No One Judge You (Colossians 2) John MacArhur

Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:16--17)

Legalism is the religion of human achievement. It argues that spirituality is based on Christ plus human works. It makes conformity to manmade rules the measure of spirituality. Believers, however, are complete in Christ, who has provided complete salvation, forgiveness, and victory. Therefore, Paul tells the Colossians, let no one act as your judge. Do not sacrifice your freedom in Christ for a set of manmade rules. Inasmuch as "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Rom. 10:4), to become entangled again in a legalistic system is pointless and harmful. Paul reminded the Galatians, who were also beguiled by legalism, "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery" (Gal. 5:1).

Legalism is useless because it cannot restrain the flesh. It is also dangerously deceptive, because inwardly rebellious and disobedient Christians, or even nonChristians, can conform to a set of external performance standards or rituals.

That Christians not be intimidated by legalism was Paul's constant concern. He commanded Titus not to pay attention to "Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth," because "to the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled" (Titus 1:14--15). Romans 14--15 and 1 Corinthians 8--10 also discuss Christian liberty and the only legitimate reason for restraining it: to protect a weaker Christian brother or sister.

The false teachers were telling the Colossians that it was not enough to have Christ; they also needed to keep the Jewish ceremonial law. The false teachers' prohibitions about food and drink were probably based on the Old Testament dietary laws (cf. Lev. 11). Those laws were given to mark Israel as God's distinct people and to discourage them from intermingling with the surrounding nations.

Because the Colossians were under the New Covenant, the dietary laws of the Old Covenant were no longer in force. Jesus made that clear (cf. Mark 7:14--19).

Paul reminded the Romans that "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17). That the dietary laws are no longer in force was illustrated by Peter's vision (Acts 10:9--16) and formally ratified by the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:28--29).

A festival was one of the annual Jewish celebrations, such as Passover, Pentecost, the Feast of Tabernacles, or the Feast of Lights (cf. Lev. 23). Sacrifices were also offered on the new moon, or first day of the month (Num. 28:11--14).

Contrary to the claims of some today, Christians are not required to worship on the Sabbath day. It, like the other Old Covenant holy days Paul mentions, is not binding under the New Covenant. There is convincing evidence for that in Scripture.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sermon Outline: Hebrews 6:13-20 "The Attack on Hope"

1) His Person (Hebrews 6:13a)

·       Titus 1:1-2 

2) His Purpose (Hebrews 6:14 )

·       Genesis 15:1-18 

3) His Pledge (Hebrews 6:13b, 16–18)

·       Colossians 1:3-14  

4) His Priest (Hebrews 6:19–20)

·       Romans 8:24

Friday, August 26, 2011

Live in Light of Eternity

This clip is taken from the sermon "The Times of the Gentiles," preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll at the Mars Hill Church Ballard campus in Seattle, Washington, on August 21st, 2011. It is the 87th sermon in our sermon series on the Gospel of Luke. To watch the full sermon, visit

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Should we push our beliefs on others?

On the Box" is a daily (Monday through Friday) live, 28-minute, web-based talk show hosted by Ray Comfort and the Living Waters team.
Episode #161
"What is the strangest place you have left (or found) a tract?"
"What do you say to Christians who say, 'I don't like to push my beliefs on others'?"
VIDEO: Dealing with professing Christians in Open-Air.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Advice to Study with an Open Mind? with Mike Licona

Special Guest Dr. Mike Licona returns and gives us advice on how to look at multiple sources when reading authors' interpretations of the Biblical text.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A.W. Pink - Saving Faith

A.W. Pink Playlist:

Arthur Walkington Pink (1886-1952) evangelist and Biblical scholar

A.W. Pink was born in Nottingham, England on April 1, 1886 and became a Christian in his early 20's. Though born to Christian parents, prior to conversion he migrated into a Theosophical society (an occult gnostic group popular in England during that time), and quickly rose in prominence within their ranks. His conversion came from his father's patient admonitions from Scripture. It was the verse, Proverbs 14:12, 'there is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death,' which particularly struck his heart and compelled him to renounce Theosophy and follow Jesus.

Desiring to grow in knowledge of the Bible, Pink immigrated to the United States to study at Moody Bible Institute. In 1916 he married Vera E. Russell, who was from Kentucky. However, he left after just two months for Colorado, then California, then Britain. From 1925 to 1928 he served in Australia, including as pastor of two congregations from 1926 to 1928, when he returned to England, and to the United States the following year. He eventually pastored churches Colorado, California, Kentucky and South Carolina.

In 1922 he started a monthly magazine entitled Studies in Scriptures which circulated among English-speaking Christians worldwide, though only to a relatively small circulation list of around 1,000.

In 1934 Pink returned to England, and within a few years turned his Christian service to writing books and pamphlets. Pink died in Stornoway, Scotland on July 15, 1952. The cause of death was anemia.

After Pink's death, his works were republished by the Banner of Truth Trust and reached a much wider audience as a result. Biographer Iain Murray observes of Pink, "the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century." His writing sparked a revival of expository preaching and focused readers' hearts on biblical living.

Monday, August 22, 2011

John Angell James - These are the Idols of the Heart

John Angell James (1785-1859) was an English Nonconformist clergyman and writer. He was born at Blandford Forum. After seven years apprenticeship to a linen-draper in Poole, Dorset, he decided to become a preacher, and in 1802 he went to David Bogue's training institution at Gosport in Hampshire. A year and a half later, on a visit to Birmingham, his preaching was so highly esteemed by the congregation of Carrs Lane Independent chapel that they invited him to exercise his ministry amongst them; he settled there in 1805, and was ordained in May 1806. For several years his success as a preacher was comparatively small; but he became suddenly popular in about 1814, and began to attract large crowds. At the same time his religious writings, the best known of which are The Anxious Inquirer and An Earnest Ministry, acquired a wide circulation. James was a typical Congregational preacher of the early 19th century, massive and elaborate rather than original. His preaching displayed little or nothing of Calvinism, the earlier severity of which had been modified in Birmingham by Edward Williams, one of his predecessors. He was one of the founders of the Evangelical Alliance and of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. Municipal interests appealed strongly to him, and he was also for many years chairman of Spring Hill (afterwards Mansfield) College. He was also an ardent slavery abolitionist, and is portrayed in the huge canvass depicting Clarkson's opening address at the world's first International Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840, in the National Portrait Gallery, London. He died in Birmingham. A collected edition of James's works appeared in 1860-1864. John Angell James - These are the Idols of the Heart

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sexual Immorality and Your Sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3) John MacArthur

The will of God for Christians concerning proper sexual behavior is quite clear, namely, that they abstain from sexual immorality. The conjunction for links this command to Paul's previous exhortation that the Thessalonians strive to excel more (4:1--2). Paul already knew his readers desired to do God's will (cf. 1:3--10), but he also realized they needed to know more specifically what that will encompasses. In view of the permissive culture in Thessalonica, Paul considered abstention from sexual immorality to be the first priority in the Thessalonians' devotion to sanctification. As already discussed, every imaginable sexual vice was rampant in and around Thessalonica; therefore, Paul was especially concerned that the Thessalonians could easily fall back into their former habits. So he gave them the direct, uncomplicated command to abstain from sexual immorality. Abstain means complete abstinence, in this case, staying completely away from any thought or behavior that violates the principles of God's Word and results in any act of sexual sin. Sexual immorality (porneias) is a term used to describe any form of illicit sexual behavior (John 8:41; Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:13, 18; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; Rev. 2:21; 9:21)...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Doing What I Hate To Do (Romans 7) John MacArthur

For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15) Paul's proof that sin still indwelt him was in the reality that that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do. Ginõskõ (understand) has the basic meaning of taking in knowledge in regard to something or someone, knowledge that goes beyond the merely factual. By extension, the term frequently was used of a special relationship between the person who knows and the object of the knowledge. It was often used of the intimate relationship between husband and wife and between God and His people. Paul uses the term in that way to represent the relationship between the saved and the Savior: "Now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?" (Gal. 4:9). By further extension, the word was used in the sense of approving or accepting something or someone. "If anyone loves God," Paul says, "he is known [accepted] by Him" (1 Cor. 8:3). That seems to be the meaning here and is consistent with the last half of the sentence. Paul found himself doing things he did not approve of. It was not that he was unable to do a particular good thing but that when he saw the fullness and grandeur of God's law, he was not able to measure up completely. It was not that he could never accomplish any good at all, nor that he could never faithfully obey God. The apostle was rather expressing an inner turmoil of the most profound kind, of sincerely desiring in his heart to fulfill the spirit as well as the letter of the law (see 7:6) but realizing that he was unable to live up to the Lord's perfect standards and his own heart's desire. It was not Paul's conscience that was bothering him because of some unforgiven sin or selfish reluctance to follow the Lord. It was his inner man, recreated in the likeness of Christ and indwelt by His Spirit, that now could see something of the true holiness, goodness, and glory of God's law and was grieved at his least infraction or falling short of it. In glaring contrast to his preconversion self-satisfaction in thinking himself blameless before God's law (Phil. 3:6), Paul now realized how wretchedly short of God's perfect law he lived, even as a Spirit-indwelt believer and an apostle of Jesus Christ. That spirit of humble contrition is a mark of every spiritual disciple of Christ, who cries out, "Lord, I can't be all you want me to be, I am unable to fulfill your perfect, holy, and glorious law." In great frustration and sorrow he painfully confesses with Paul, I am not practicing what I would like to do...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Law: Abolished or Fulfilled? (Ephesians 2:14-15) John MacArthur

Christ forever broke down (the Greek aorist tense signifies completed action) every dividing wall by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances. When Jesus died on the cross He abolished every barrier between man and God and between man and his fellow man. The greatest barrier between Jew and Gentile was the ceremonial law, the Law of commandments contained in ordinances. The feasts, sacrifices, offerings, laws of cleanliness and purification, and all other such distinctive outward commandments for the unique separation of Israel from the nations were abolished...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 3:1) John MacArthur

Although the precise phrase is not found there, the kingdom of heaven is basically an Old Testament concept. David declares that "the Lord is King forever and ever" (Ps. 10:16; cf. 29:10), that His kingdom is everlasting, and that His dominion "endures throughout all generations" (Ps. 145:13). Daniel speaks of "the God of heaven [who] will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed" (Dan. 2.:44; cf. Ezek. 37:25), a "kingdom [that] is an everlasting kingdom" (Dan. 4:3). The God of heaven is the King of heaven, and the heavenly kingdom is God's kingdom. Matthew uses the phrase kingdom of heaven thirty-two times, and is the only gospel writer who uses it at all. The other three use "the kingdom of God." It is probable that Matthew used kingdom of heaven because it was more understandable to his primarily Jewish readers. Jews would not speak God's name (Yahweh, or Jehovah), and would often substitute heaven when referring to Him-much as we do in such expressions as "heaven smiled on me today."...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Seeker-Sensitive or Saint-Sensitive? (1 Corinthians 14) John MacArthur

The limited function of the genuine gift of tongues can be seen in the fact that, even during its proper time in history, it could be misused and become a hindrance to worship and to evangelism. If everyone with the gift spoke at once, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are made? As in v. 16, I believe that idiotes (ungifted) is better rendered in its more common meaning of unlearned or ignorant. An unbelieving Gentile would have been turned off if ... the whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues, because he would have seen no meaning in the sign. An unbelieving Jew would have been turned off because of the bedlam and confusion. Mainomai (mad) means to be in a frenzied rage, to be beside oneself in anger. An unbeliever, Gentile or Jew, would go away from such a service thinking it was just another wild and meaningless ritual, much like those of paganism...

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

DA Carson - How do you Explain the Gospel in Five Minutes

From the Gospel Coalition and D.A. Carson. Video made available through;

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sermon Outline: The Parable of the Sheep & the Goats: Matthew 25:31-46.

1) The Setting of Judgment (Matthew 25:31–32a) a) The Judge When the Son of Man (25:31a) • Daniel 7:13-14 b) The Time comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, (25:31b) • 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 c) The Place then He will sit on His glorious throne. (25:31c) • Luke 1:31-33 d) The Subjects Before him will be gathered all the nations (25:32a) 2) The Process of Judgment (Matthew 25:32b-46) a) The Inheritance of the Saved (Matthew 25:34–40) • Romans 8:16-17; 29 • James 2:15-17 b) The Condemnation of the Unsaved (Matthew 25:41–46) • John 5:28–29

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Greg Koukl - Adam and Sin

Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason discusses the mystery of Adam and sin.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Is Jesus the Passover Lamb?

The One Minute Apologist asks the question, "Is Jesus the Passover Lamb?" Recommended book: "The Messiah in the Old Testament" by Walter C. Kaiser.

Monday, August 01, 2011

How Do We Love God? With Simon Brace.

Special Guest Simon Brace joins us once again and answers the question "How do we Love God?" Recommended Book: "Love God with All Your Mind" by J.P. Moreland.