Saturday, April 30, 2011

Muddy Waters - Louisiana Blues

The Democrats Royal Wedding

Tornadoes kill over 200 - The Big Picture

Over 200 are dead after over a hundred separate tornadoes left a trail of destruction across five states in the American South. The nation appears headed for a record number of tornadoes this year. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been mobilized to deal with the aftermath. Tornado watches were issued for the entire East Coast as the storm system that caused the destruction yesterday moved to new ground. -- Lane Turner (click here to see all 23 photos total)

Faye Hyde sits on a mattress in what was her yard as she comforts her granddaughter Sierra Goldsmith, 2, in Concord, Ala. April 27. Their home was destroyed. A wave of tornado-spawning storms strafed the South on Wednesday, splintering buildings across hard-hit Alabama and killing nearly 200 people in four states. At least 58 people died in Alabama alone. (Jeff Roberts/The Birmingham News/AP)

An Interview with N.D. Wilson on Screenwriting The Great Divorce

Last year brought the welcome news that author N.D. Wilson had been tapped as the screenwriter for the film adaption of C. S. Lewis's classic The Great Divorce. Now that he's completed a first draft, he was kind enough to answer a few questions. Tell us a bit about The Great Divorce. When did Lewis write it and why?
Lewis wrote the book near the end of WWII, and it was serialized by a Christian periodical. The title is Lewis' potshot at William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. (Lewis humbly claimed that he wasn't even sure what Blake meant—but he was apparently sure enough to contradict him.)
The book is set in the afterlife, but it isn't about the afterlife. In a series of episodes, we follow the narrator through Hell and onto a bus headed for the outskirts of Heaven.
The stories are fundamentally comedic and zoom in on the pettiness of sin, the narcissism of Hell, and the impossibility of goodness apart from Grace (among other things).
Lewis' genius also comes out in how he upends traditional Christian perspectives on Heaven and Hell—Heaven being radically physical and dangerous (as opposed to ethereal and fuzzy), and Hell is a boringly spiritual place full of soft—but false—comforts (whatever house you want, but it won't keep the rain out).
Throughout the work, Lewis' prose is absolutely lovely, and his characterizations are as potent as they are brilliant.
And, of course, in typical Lewis fashion, he drew inspiration for his vision of Heaven from an American pulp sci-fi story about time travel.
How do you take a set of episodes and turn them into a coherent story while being faithful and without ruffling too many feathers?
Oh, I'm not afraid to ruffle feathers. But any nervous fans out there should know that I'm as dog-loyal to Lewis and his vision as any writer could be. Where I'm adding and expanding and shaping, I am constantly trying to check myself against Lewis' broader imagination as represented in his collected works—not simply this little volume.
I will admit that when I began the adaptation, I felt like I was jumping off a cliff into (hopefully deep) mysterious waters—you can never completely predict what will happen on impact. But now that I've impacted and finished the first draft of the script, I can say that (as a Lewis fan), I'm really, really happy with it. And from here, I hope it only gets better.
How difficult is it to write mainly dialogue, leaving characterization and execution to a director and the actors?
Not difficult at all. Because what I'm seeing when I'm writing is the finished product. It's all shot, cut, and scored in my head, but that doesn't have to be on the page.
The strangeness will come when I watch real actors and a real crew take it out of my head and grow the thing with their own creativity. I'm making up a recipe that will still need to be cooked.
The Great Divorce has been referenced a fair bit lately in the Christian blogosphere, with the suggestion that there are similarities between Lewis's "supposal" and Rob Bell's "proposal." And Bell himself recommends the book in Love Wins. Any thoughts on that?
At times Rob Bell (like in the Love Wins video) sounds exactly like the kind of character that one could expect to find in the pages of The Great Divorce. He seems to enjoy chasing and massaging ideas and questions for the sake of the journey of it all and not for the arrival. Landing on objective concrete answers isn't exactly the goal. That's not meant as a comment on whether or not Bell is regenerate (we're graciously saved by faith not works, luckily enough), but it is a comment on where Bell would sit with Lewis in this whole discussion.
And, of course, Lewis put the universalist George MacDonald in Heaven and made him watch the unrepentant damned get back on the bus to Hell. A little wink and gloat at one of his favorite authors.
As for us, like Lewis, we should laugh at the absurdity of squishy thought wherever we find it. In that vein, let me plug the best response to Bell that I've seen. (Full disclosure: I am related to two of the people involved in making this little parody . . . but that doesn't make it any less funny.)
When can we expect The Great Divorce on the big screen?
Right now, I couldn't say exactly, and I shouldn't guess.
If I remember correctly, Tolkien would have hated the idea of turning his trilogy into a film. What do you think Lewis would have thought about book-to-film adaptations in general?
Lewis comments a little bit on film adaptions in his letters. While he was not a big fan of movies (or drama) in general, he didn't have a problem with adaptations.
His objections came at the willy-nilly introduction of female characters in short-pants, and at what he called a change in the types of danger. Different dangers and fears are different spices in a narrative experience. He didn't want the fear of a volcano swapped in for the fear of being trapped in a cave, etc. The two taste different.
I've kept his thoughts right in the front of my mind throughout this process.
Assuming you would have done things differently, can you summarize why the Narnia films have not had the same effect on children as the books?
No movie is going to have the same effect as a book (nor should it). Movies are transient singular experiences. They last longer than a stage production, but they should be viewed the same way—as a particular rendition of a fixed story. Someone else can do it again later (differently), but the book will be the same.
As for the Narnia movies in particular, I think they're doing service to the books (hundreds of thousands of additional units moved), but yes, I would have done things a little differently. But more power to them. . . .
Any other projects in the works that you can share?
A few! I have a new book launching with Random House this August (The Dragon's Tooth), and I'm currently working on a sequel.
A film companion to my nonfiction book Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl will be available very soon (I believe in May).
I'm working on another creative nonfiction book for Thomas Nelson, I've got a few other scripts in various stages (with various companies), and my novel 100 Cupboards is currently in development for its own film production.
Let's just say, I used to hate coffee, and now I don't. I've also gotten pretty good at deep breathing exercises and lying on the floor.
Justin Taylor

Steven Wright - the best use of 49 seconds

Friday, April 29, 2011

Jimi Hendrix - Little Wing

You're Fired!

Darth Lebowski - The Force Abides

Why a belief in hell is so practically important

We don’t believe in hell for practical reasons.  We believe in it because the Bible tells us it is so, and that settles it for us.  No matter what some may say, we cannot be shaken from that.  But, I ask, do we really live in light of that belief?  Is is something that emotionally impacts us?  Do we feel it’s truth?  If not, as Piper points out, we will both be complacent about our friends and neighbours and lacking in passion in our gratitude to Jesus for what he has done for us:
IS NOT OUR most painful failure in the pastorate the inability to weep over the unbelievers in our neighborhoods and the carnal members of our churches? A great hindrance to our ministry is the gulf between our Biblical understanding and the corresponding passions of our hearts. The glorious and horrible truths which thunder through the Bible cause only a faint echo of fear and ecstasy in our hearts. We take a megaton of truth upon our lips and speak it with an ounce of passion. Do we believe in our hearts what we espouse with our lips?
I know for myself that in order to be a true shepherd and not a hireling, in order to grieve over the straying lambs, and in order to summon with tears the wild goats, I must believe in my heart certain terrible and wonderful things. If I am to love with the meek, humble, tender, self-effacing heart of Christ, I must feel the awful and glorious truths of Scripture. Specifically:
•      I must feel the truth of hell—that it exists and is terrible and horrible beyond imaginings forever and ever. “These will go away into eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:46) . . .
•     I must feel the truth that once I was as close to hell as I am to the chair I am sitting on—even closer. Its darkness, like vapor, had entered my soul and was luring me down. Its heat had already seared the skin of my conscience. Its views were my views. I was a son of hell (Matt. 23:15), a child of the Devil (John 8:44) and of wrath (Eph. 2:3). I belonged to the viper’s brood (Matt. 3:7), without hope and without God (Eph. 2:12). I must believe that just as a rock climber, having slipped, hangs over the deadly cliff by his fingertips, so I once hung over hell and was a heartbeat away from eternal torment. I say it slowly, eternal torment!
. . . If I do not believe in my heart these awful truths—believe them so that they are real in my feelings—then the blessed love of God in Christ will scarcely shine at all. The sweetness of the air of redemption will be hardly detectable. The infinite marvel of my new life will be commonplace. The wonder that to me, a child of hell, all things are given for an inheritance will not strike me speechless with trembling humility and lowly gratitude.
John Piper, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals : A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002), 115-16.John Piper, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals : A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002), 113-15.
Adrian Warnock

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Star Wars Subway Car

For our latest mission, we staged a reenactment of the first Princess Leia / Darth Vader scene from Star Wars on a New York City subway car.

Good God! Born Again Funk - If Jesus Came - The Gospel Soul Revivals

The True Saints

Some of the old saints labored so hard to attain perfection that they lost the capacity to feel anything. When I was a monk I often wished I could see a saint. I pictured him as living in the wilderness, abstaining from meat and drink and living on roots and herbs and cold water. This weird conception of those awesome saints I had gained out of the books of the scholastics and church fathers. But we know now from the Scriptures who the true saints are. Not those who live a single life, or make a fetish of days, meats, clothes, and such things. The true saints are those who believe that they are justified by the death of Christ. Whenever Paul writes to the Christians here and there he calls them the holy children and heirs of God. All who believe in Christ, whether male or female, bond or free, are saints; not in view of their own works, but in view of the merits of God which they appropriate by faith. Their holiness is a gift and not their own personal achievement.

-- Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians

Jared Wilson

Send Trump To Libya

Your Humility Should Be Hardly Discerned

Jonathan Edwards:
An eminent saint is not apt to think himself eminent in any thing; all his graces and experiences are ready to appear to him to be comparatively small; but especially his humility. There is nothing that appertains to Christian experience, and true piety, that is so much out of his sight as his humility. He is a thousand times more quick-sighted to discern his pride, than his humility: that he easily discerns, and is apt to take much notice of, but hardly discerns his humility. (Religious Affections, 334-35)
Are you often aware of your own humility? Then you’re probably not humble.
Have you noticed your pride? Then you may be more humble than you realize.
Here are two signs of Christian maturity: a keen eye to discern your sins and blessed self-forgetfulness.
Father, make me humble. Make me love the Lord with all my heart and love my neighbor as myself. Give me that glorious paradox: the ability to see my sin and at the same time look away from myself. And when I am tempted to posture and position as the world does, remind me that the meek will inherit the earth.
Kevin DeYoung

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dealing With Objections To The Virgin Birth Of Christ

C.S. Lewis said that some of the opponents to the virgin birth of Christ, "Think they see in this miracle a slur upon sexual intercourse (though they might just as well see in the feeding of the five thousand an insult to bakers)"

Miracles, p.115

Alison Krauss & Union Station - Miles To Go

From Paper Airplane

Existential Star Wars - The French Overdub With English Subtitles From Sarte

22 Words

The Eye Of Sauron Shines through A Suburban Front Door

22 Words

What Does a Prayer of Faith Look Like?

David M’Intyre, The Hidden Life of Prayer: The Lifeblood of the Christian (original, 1891), chapter 6:
It is a divinely-implanted persuasion, the fruit of much spiritual instruction and discipline. It is vision in a clearer light than that of earth.
The prayer of faith, like some plant rooted in a fruitful soil, draws its virtue from a disposition which has been brought into conformity with the mind of Christ.
  1. It is subject to the Divine will—”This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us” (1 John 5:14).
  2. It is restrained within the interest of Christ—”Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).
  3. It is instructed in the truth—”If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
  4. It is energized by the Spirit—”Able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20).
  5. It is interwoven with love and mercy—”And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25).
  6. It is accompanied with obedience—”Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).
  7. It is so earnest that it will not accept denial—”Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9).
  8. It goes out to look for, and to hasten its answer—”The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working” (James 5:16, RV).
Justin Taylor

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

So Beautiful Or So What - New Cd From Paul Simon

 I highly reccomend this Cd to you, this is the best from Paul Simon since Graceland

Style: Classic singer-songwriter folk/rock; compare to Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, Neil Diamond
Top Tracks: "Getting Ready for Christmas Day," "Dazzling Blue," "So Beautiful or So What"
Listeners who appreciate Paul Simon as a talented poet, storyteller, guitarist, and orchestrator will be thrilled with his latest release. A glimpse at the instrumentation alone impresses; the album is full of international influences, including an Indian ensemble, angklung, bansuri flute, and a western African harp. Its heavy percussive elements, both vocally and instrumentally, also add to the "world music" feel. Once again, Simon strikes a perfect balance between new musical ideas and the funky folk we've come to expect.
Beyond the superb music, the stories Simon weaves throughout are of the utmost importance. At 69, he's brimming with the kind of wisdom that comes only through the decades, at every moment here humility, thankfulness, and, above all, love. "Love and Blessings" bespeaks the power of those two words to slake the thirst of parched hearts. Several tracks—including "Dazzling Blue" and "Love Is Eternal Sacred Light"—bask in the beauty and mystery of creation. "Let the scientists complain," he says of the lack of rain that brings the beauty of "golden days and amber sunsets." Simon is clearly content with life's perplexities, humble in the face of what is bigger than himself.
In the liner notes, Elvis Costello writes, "It seems no accident that three of the song titles contain the word 'love' and most of the others consider it in its many manifestations." But is that love human, divine, or both? Instead of answering such questions, Simon asks some of his own. For example, does "Love and Hard Times" purposefully remind believers that the times we feel abandoned by God are ironically what bring us together in community and inspire generosity, gratefulness, and love? Even "The Afterlife," which initially appears to poke fun at the notion of heaven, hints that true clarity will not come in a moment but will be the result of a process.
The title track appears comes last, and for good reason. "So Beautiful or So What" serves as a concluding statement, recalling James 4:14 with the lyrics, "I'm just a raindrop in a bucket / A coin dropped in a slot … / You know life is what you make of it / So beautiful or so what."

Alison Krauss & Union Station - Dimming Of The Day

From new CD Paper Airplane

The Real Tsunami

Is Christianity the Only 'Intolerant' Faith?

Randy Newman, in his excellent book on sharing the gospel with those close to us, records the fascinating exclusivism of Buddhism:
When asked about other religions' ability to provide refuge, the Dalai Lama replied, 'Liberation in which "a mind that understands the sphere of reality annihilates all defilements in the sphere of reality" is a state that only Buddhists can accomplish. This kind of moksha or nirvana is only explained in the Buddhist scriptures, and is achieved only through Buddhist practice.'
--'"Religious Harmony" and Extracts from The Bodhgaya Interviews,' in Christianity through non-Christian Eyes (ed. Paul Griffiths; Orbi, 1990); quoted in Randy Newman, Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well (Crossway, 2011), 87 n. 8
Dane Ortlund

Monday, April 25, 2011

Can hope be wrong? On the new universalism

This ain't your Grandma's universalism (if your Grandma was, say, a Unitarian). The (relatively) old universalism was a liberal universalism of "many-roads-to-God-who-is-a-big-cuddly-Grandpa" (or, more recently, Grandma). Such a universalism was generally embarrassed by Christian particularity and any claims to the divinity of Christ. Instead, Jesus was a kindly teacher like so many others pointing us all to that great kumbaya-sing-along in the the "beyond."

In contrast, the "new" universalism is an evangelical universalism, a Christocentric universalism. If all will be saved, they will be saved in Christ, because of the work of Christ as the Incarnate God who has triumphed over the power of sin and death (the new universalist Christ is a victor, not a redeemer).

The question, then, is just what compels one to be an evangelical universalist? Some resort to prooftexting, operating with a naive, selective reading of Scripture. I'm going to do the evangelical universalist a favor and ignore such a strategy, only because I think it can be so easily refuted. (Many of these evangelical universalists would pounce on such selective prooftexting in other contexts.)

No, the motivation for evangelical universalism is not really a close reading of the Bible's claims about eternity. Instead, it seems that the macro-motivation for evangelical universalism is less a text and more a hermeneutic, a kind of "sensibility" about the very nature of God as "love" (which includes its own implicit sensibility about the nature of love). Two phrases you will often hear from evangelical universalists involve hope and our imagination. (For a sample combination of this constellation of concerns, see Lauren Winner's essay on Rob Bell in yesterday's New York Times Book Review.) The concern is often formulated something like this:
1) "I can't imagine" that a God of love would condemn Gandhi to hell. (Always Gandhi. Why Gandhi? As Ross Douthat asks, can you insert Tony Soprano here? Doesn't the evangelical universalist case of Gandhi imply a kind of salvation by works? But I digress...) Or, as Winner puts it, evangelical universalists "can't imagine their secular friends aren't going to heaven."

2) "I don't know if all will be saved but I hope this will be true." I'm firmly committed to the particularity of Christ, the evangelical universalist will emphasize. I just hope that God's salvation is not so particular that he only saves some. And it is precisely God's love and mercy that make me hope in this way.
The question then is: are these hopes and imaginings sufficiently warranted to overturn the received, orthodox doctrines concerning final judgment and eternal damnation? Are these sufficient to overturn the narrative thrust of Scripture and the clearer reading of biblical passages that suggest otherwise. (Let's stop making this just about passages that mention "hell;" at issue here are all passages that discuss judgment.) Are these hopes and imaginings sufficient for me to set aside centuries of the church's theological reflection on these matters? Is my chronological snobbery warranted? Just how do I think my hopes and imaginings are somehow more faithful and merciful and just than the generations upon generations of my forebears in the Christian faith? (I'll confess to being a kind of theological Burkean: it's very hard for me to imagine that I am smarter or better than Augustine or John Calvin or Jonathan Edwards. I'm not generally given to whiggish theology.)

Let's attend to these two specific sorts of claims. I would note that both of these intuitions are fundamentally anthropocentric strategies--outcomes of what Charles Taylor (in A Secular Age) calls "the anthropocentric turn" in modernity. A couple of thoughts:

1) The "I-can't-imagine" strategy is fundamentally Feuerbachian: it is a hermeneutic of projection which begins from what I can conceive and then projects "upwards," as it were, to a conception of God. While this "imagining" might have absorbed some biblical themes of love and mercy, this absorption seems selective. More importantly, the "I-can't-imagine" argument seems inattentive to how much my imagination is shaped and limited by all kinds of cultural factors and sensibilities--including how I "imagine" the nature of love, etc. The "I-can't-imagine" argument makes man the measure of God, or at least seems to let the limits and constraints of "my" imagination trump the authority of Scripture and interpretation. I take it that discipleship means submitting even my imagination to the discipline of Scripture. (Indeed, could anything be more countercultural right now than Jonathan Edwards' radical theocentrism, with all its attendant scandals for our modern sensibilities?)

2) The "at-least-I-hope" strategy might seem less problematic. Doesn't it just name what all of us secretly desire? Indeed, wouldn't we be quite inhuman if we didn't hope in this way? (Then you get Winner's obnoxious suggestion that any of those who continue to affirm divine judgment are really trying to "guard heaven's gate," taking a certain delight in exclusion, as if they saw heaven as a country club. I won't dignify that with a response.)

But whence this hope? Can our hopes ever be wrong? Let's try an analogous example: I love my wife dearly. She is the best thing that ever happened to me, and our marriage has been an incredible means of grace in my life. I can't imagine life without her; indeed, I don't want to imagine life without her. And I want to hope that we will share this intimacy as a husband and wife forever.

But then I run into this claim from Jesus: "At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven" (Matt. 22:30). Should I nonetheless hope that marriage endures in eternity? Should I profess that I can't know this (since Scripture seems to suggest otherwise), but nonetheless claim that somehow hoping it might be true is still faithful? Or should I submit even my hopes to discipline by the authority of Scripture?

The new universalism is not the old universalism. Fair enough. But those of us who reject even the new universalism aren't gleeful about it. We might even wish it were otherwise. But we also recognize that even our wishes, hopes, and desires need discipline.
James K A Smith

Alison Krauss & Union Station - Sinking Stone

From New CD Paper Airplane

Emmylou Harris - Every Grain Of Sand

Peanut Zombies

Where Does Our Faith Rest?

We are not aware of our impotence, we are not aware of our weakness, and of our need for power.

As long as we think we can organise [revival], there is no hope for us. The beginning of revival is to realise that without this manifestation of God's power we can do nothing. We have got to get back to that position, in which the apostle Paul so constantly found himself. I am never tired of quoting it. It is the text, more than any other, that needs to be held before every section of the Church today.

'And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.' (1 Cor. 2:3-5)
--Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival (Crossway, 1987), 182
Dane Ortlund

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saved - Bob Dylan - I'm So Glad

He Is Risen

Christ the Lord is Risen Today! Happy Easter

"Be not affrighted. Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him." Mark 16:6

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun's eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

The wonderful tune which brings back every Easter in one's life, and a few tears, too. Composer? Unknown. Words by Charles Wesley, 1739. The verses were written for the opening of the Wesleyan Chapel in London, in an old foundry. Hence the term Foundry Collection of hymns.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bob Dylan - Every Grain Of Sand Live 1984

Mick Taylor Lead Guitar

Christ Died For Our Sins According To The Scripture

Spurgeon On The Meaning Of The Cross

The whole of the tremendous debt was put upon his shoulders; the whole weight of the sins of all his people was placed upon him. Once he seemed to stagger under it: “Father, if it be possible.” But again he stood upright: “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” The whole of the punishment of his people was distilled into one cup; no mortal lip might give it so much as a solitary sip. When he put it to his own lips, it was so bitter, he well nigh spurned it—”Let this cup pass from me.” But his love for his people was so strong, that he took the cup in both his hands, and
“At one tremendous draught of love
He drank damnation dry,”

for all his people. He drank it all, he endured all, he suffered all; so that now for ever there are no flames of hell for them, no racks of torment; they have no eternal woes; Christ hath suffered all they ought to have suffered, and they must, they shall go free. The work was completely done by himself, without a helper.
-”Justification by Grace,” delivered on April 5, 1857, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon  
Denny Burk

Rev. Al Green - He's Coming back (1999)

Don't Bother Looking For Eggs

The folly of imagining hell is not real and sin is not deadly – Spurgeon

“The sinner is a fool, because he is told in God’s word that the path of evil will lead to destruction, and yet he pursues it with the secret hope that in his case the damage will not be very great. He has been warned that sin is like a cup frothing with a foam of sweetness, but concealing death and hell in its dregs; yet each sinner, as he takes the cup, fascinated by the first drop, believes, that to him, the poisonous draught will not be fatal. How many have fondly hoped that God would lie unto men, and would not fulfill his threatenings!
Yet, be assured, every sin shall have its recompense of reward; God is just and will by no means spare the guilty. Even in this life many are feeling in their bones the consequences of their youthful lusts; they will carry to their graves the scars of their transgressions. In hell, alas, there are millions who for ever prove that sin is an awful and an undying evil, an infinite curse which hath destroyed them for ever and ever. The sinner is a fool, because, while he doubts the truthfulness of God, as to the punishment of sin, he has the conceit to imagine that transgression will even yield him pleasure. God saith it shall be bitterness: the sinner denies the bitterness, and affirms that it shall be sweetness.
O fool to seek pleasure in sin! Go rake the charnel to find an immortal soul; go walk into the secret springs of the sea to find the source of flame. It is not there. Thou canst never find bliss in rebellion. Hundreds of thousands before thee have gone upon this search and have all been disappointed; he is indeed a fool who must needs rush headlong in this useless chase, and perish as the result. The sinner is a fool—a great fool—to remain as he is in danger of the wrath of God. To abide at ease in imminent peril and scorn the way of escape, to love the world and loathe the Saviour, to set the present fleeting life above the eternal future, to choose the sand of the desert and forego the jewels of heaven; all this is folly, in the highest conceivable degree.”
C. H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel: 1871 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 78-79.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Rapper in Rehab Rising star Lecrae says he was addicted to self; now Jesus is his "drug of choice."

Theology and rap are hardly kissing cousins. One is the purview of academics laboring in seminaries, the other was born in the South Bronx in the 70s. Turns out they were made for one another. Rising rap star Lecrae seamlessly blends gospel-saturated lyrics with the hooks of southern style hip-hop, and the result is something you have to hear to believe.
Through Reach Records, the label he founded, he is leading a movement of artists spreading the message of the gospel through hip-hop which is quickly gathering a groundswell following.
His recent albums, Rehab and Rehab: The Overdose ,debuted at No. 5 and No. 4 respectively on the Billboard Rap albums chart.Rehab was also nominated for a Grammy in the Best Gospel Rock/Rap album category (Switchfoot's Hello Hurricane won). His music has piqued the interest of people from John Piper to Jay-Z.
We caught up with Lecrae shortly after the Grammys.
You just got back from the Grammys. What was that like?
It was really great. I think God strategically placed us there. I think I met everyone except Justin Bieber. I met a lot of people in the hip-hop community—Lil Wayne and Drake and those guys. I didn't have the longest of conversations with the guys at the top of the totem pole, but some of the producers and managers and lawyers. I really did get to build some strategic relationships. So I'm excited to see the fruit of those.
Let's talk about Rehab and Overdose. Why the theme of addiction?
I had just moved to a new city (Atlanta). My church (Blueprint Church) wasn't really established yet; I was helping with that. I was in a leadership seat and didn't have a lot of people who were pouring into me—just a dry season. I needed rehabilitation. And so I just wanted to cry out in music, and I think it was perfect for anybody who was saying, man, help, I need more. I need something. I need rehabilitation. You're addicted to self, and everything other than Jesus becomes the drug of choice.
Many of your songs take traditional hip-hop themes—drugs, sex, money, fame—and turn them on their heads. Tell me about that process.
It's ultimately the principle. There's something inherently wrong with created beings being the center of our desire. Let's deconstruct that perspective and then reconstruct it with the right one. People appreciate that because they're like, Man, I know. I understand what he's articulating. I just wasn't able to put words around it. I know there's emptiness, but I don't know what else there is. When you point out that they're pursuing something that is vain and empty, people relate to that.
As you become more well-known, how do you stay true to the gospel and at the same time relevant to the hip-hop conversation?
That's always the tension. The biggest thing is seeing what you do as an opportunity to tell a story, so it just depends on what story I'm going to tell. Am I going to tell the story of Christianity, or am I going to tell a story that people just want to hear that's palatable?
Also, making sure the people around you are advocates of God's heart, mission, and humility. Where a lot of people will have entourages of people who tell them how awesome they are, I have people who are constantly reminding me of why I'm there. And we're praying. I mean, we bathe every day in prayer.
I heard that Jay-Z was considering signing you. How do you process that?
I don't think there's a clear cut answer to a lot of the questions; it's always testing everything by the Spirit and according to the Scriptures. I look at someone like Abraham who helped out the King of Sodom and was offered a gift, and Abraham turned it down because he said I don't want anyone to be able to say that they made me rich (Gen.14:21-23). I don't want anyone to be able to take credit for what God has done.
Christianity Today

Eric Clapton - Cocaine

The Only Thing Planned Parenthood Doesnt Plan For is Parenthood

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Perform This Way - Lady Gaga Parody

A spectrum of belief on hell and salvation – Is Rob Bell a Universalist?

This week Rob Bell is in the UK and will be speaking at a number of evening events around the country. I trust many will see through his emotional appeals to the error that lies beneath.
Rob argues in his book Love Wins that “No one can resist God’s pursuit forever because God’s love will eventually melt even the hardest hearts” (page 108). Yet elswhere he claims not to be a universalist. Therefore, to be fair to him and in the spirit of my Arminocalvinist Spectrum and Evolution vs Creationism Spectrum I thought I would construct a similar outline of different perspectives on this fundemental issue of whether there is a hell or not and hence whether everyone is saved.
Five possible positions about hell and whether all are saved:
  1. All are saved irrespective of what they do or believe in this life or the next. I.e. Faith in Jesus is in no way necessary for salvation, and God saves all however they respond to him.
  2. All are saved irrespective of what they do or believe in this life, but because of  some kind of reponse to God in the next.  In this view there may even be a hell, but it is temporary and people have an opportunity for post-mortum repentance and faith that eventually all accept.
  3. All are saved due to some kind of faith expressed in this life, even if such faith is only present during their dying moments.
  4. Many are saved but not all. Under this view it is impossible to know for sure that a departed loved one did not respond in faith to Christ during their dying moments. Salvation is still through faith alone, and not everyone will be saved, but many more will be saved than seems likely from the evidence of what we currently see in the West.  Often proponents of this view will also believe in large revivals still to come and that there will be more in heaven than in hell. Usually they will believe that babies and children who die will also be saved, through Christ.
  5. Few are saved. The vast majority of the human race will end up in hell for ever.
From reading Love Wins, and from all that he has so far said about it, I cannot see how anyone can come to any other conclusion than that Bell holds to the second position I list above.  To me, having carefully read his book, it is clear that Rob Bell does not hold to the first of these positions, which is presumably also why he claims not to be a universalist. But, I think most people would agree that any of the first three positions are in fact universalist in that salvation is therefore universal to all. So despite his denials, I do believe that Rob Bell is a universalist.
Unlike the Arminocalvinist spectrum, I do not believe it is possible to take the Bible seriously and believe any of these views other than the 4th or 5th.
We must let our Lord Jesus speak for himself and follow him. It is Jesus himself who makes it clear that there will be some people in hell. Hell is according to Jesus a ”place of torment” (Luke 16:28), “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48).
Personally, I hold to the fourth view, but can respect there are many Christians who hold to the fifth. I am far from alone in my thoughts, however. Spurgeon was clearly an optimist when it comes to the extent of salvation, as are many others who hold to the exclusive claims of Christ. If only that was all that Rob Bell was saying!
In the midst of all the controversy, it seems to me that there is a very simple question we should ask ourselves: Do we agree with the simple, clear words of Jesus about hell? There is an important subsidiary question, which is if we DO believe in it, why do we live as though we do not? Why do we not warn people more frequently of their faith and introduce them to our Saviour? That is a question that has been troubling me personally as I consider all this.
I will close this post with the following clear words from Paul which surely apply to the current situation, as it is impossible to reject the doctrine of hell without also rejecting the clear meaning of the words of Jesus himself:
“If anyone steaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.” (1 Timothy 6:3–4)
Adrain Warnock

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Involuntary, unwanted, inescapable

“I date my break [from atheism] from a very casual happening.  I was sitting in our apartment on St. Paul Street in Baltimore. . . . My daughter was in her high chair.  I was watching her eat.  She was the most miraculous thing that had ever happened in my life.  I liked to watch her even when she smeared porridge on her face or dropped it meditatively on the floor.  My eye came to rest on the delicate convolutions of her ear — those intricate, perfect ears.  The thought passed through my mind: ‘No, those ears were not created by any chance coming together of atoms in nature.  They could have been created only by immense design.’  The thought was involuntary and unwanted.  I crowded it out of my mind.  But I never wholly forgot it or the occasion.  I had to crowd it out of my mind.  If I had completed it, I should have had to say: Design presupposes God.  I did not then know that, at that moment, the finger of God was first laid upon my forehead.”
Whittaker Chambers, Witness (New York, 1953), page 16.
Ray Ortlund

Duane Allman Pioneers a New Genre of Music

After watching this video now watch the music video Hey Jude with Wilson Pickett and Duanne Allman and you hear what happened.

Wilson Pickett - Duane Allman - Hey Jude

That Is Not Why We Call This Holy Week

Pester God With His Own Promises

In the course of one of his sermons on revival, Lloyd-Jones spoke of the great value of reading the biographies of men God has used in revival in the past. He said--
You will find this same holy boldness, this argumentation, this reasoning, this putting the case to God, pleading his own promises. Oh, that is the whole secret of prayer, I sometimes think. . . .

Do not leave him alone. Pester him, as it were, with his own promise. Tell him what he has said he is going to do. Quote the Scripture to him.

And, you know, God delights to hear us doing it, as a father likes to see this element in his own child who has obviously been listening to what his father has been saying. It pleases him. The child may be slightly impertinent, it does not matter, the father likes it in spite of that.

And God is our Father, and loves us, and he likes to hear us pleading his own promises, quoting his own words to him, and saying 'in light of this, can you refrain?' It delights the heart of God.
--Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival (Crossway, 1987), 197

'If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.' --John 14:14
Dane Ortlund

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Love Me Darlin' (1980)

Stevie Ray Vaughan - The Kings Head, Virginia 1980 (-Part 2) (RARE Bootleg)

Howlin' Wolf - 1964 - Love Me Darlin - The American Folk Blues Festival

Howlin' Wolf (guitar, vocals) with Sunnyland Slim (piano), Little Hubert Sumlin (guitar), Willie Dixon (bass) and Clifton James (drums).

Despicable Christians, Unspeakable Grace: A Response to Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais isn’t a Christian. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with his work. It’s not simply that Gervais has a propensity towards the harsh or the mean-spirited; he’s gone to great lengths to make his lack of faith clear. He first gained international acclaim for the BBC version of The Office (whose American counterpart stars Steve Carrell), where he pioneered the kind of painfully awkward humor for which he’s now known. In 2009, he wrote and directed The Invention of Lying, a film set in a world without lies. In it, one man discovers the power of the lie and uses it to invent the existence of God and religious law, manipulating everyone around him. It’s Gervais’s not-so-subtle commentary on the function of religion in society.

At Christmas time, he wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal titled “Why I’m an Atheist.” He closed the article with the summary statement, “You won’t burn in hell, but be nice anyway.” Later he answered questions in a separate post, “Does God Exist.” Gervais’s arguments are not particularly sophisticated or original, and he wears his presuppositions on his sleeve. One person questioned, “Does science really have an objective agenda?” to which he only replied, “Yes.” Any good student of epistemology (or economics, for that matter) could deconstruct that statement.
Most recently he posted an op-ed, “An (Atheist) Easter Message from Ricky Gervais,” which is subtitled, “Why I’m an Excellent Christian.” Once again, it’s familiar territory for those who know apologetics. His argument is built around the idea that most Christians aren’t particularly nice people. His criticisms are poor echoes of arguments that were better articulated by people like Christopher Hitchens and George Bernard Shaw. It’s surprising, because Gervais strikes me as a sharp thinker in his comedy writing. But in his atheism, though he bites and snarls, he lacks strong reasoning or consistency.
For instance, in one passage he says:
Jesus was a man. (And if you forget all that rubbish about being half God, and believe the non-supernatural acts accredited to him, he was a man whose wise words many other men would still follow.) His message was usually one of forgiveness and kindness.
These are wonderful virtues but I have seen them discarded by many so-called God-fearers when it suits them. They cherry pick from their “rulebook” basically. I have seen such cruelty and prejudice performed in the name of Christianity (and many other religions for that matter) that it makes me wonder if there has been a bit too much selective reading and reinterpretation of the doctrines.
Notice that in the first paragraph, he tells us to discard (cherry-picks) “all that rubbish” about the supernatural, then in the second paragraph, attacks Christians for “cherry-picking from their ‘rulebook.’” I doubt that argument would stand up to scrutiny in a first-year persuasive writing or philosophy course, but that’s not Gervais’s point. His goal is not constructive.

Calling Us to Repentance

This article comes as Lent (the season before Easter) draws to a close, and I’m reminded of Merold Westphal’s recommendation that Christians should read atheists for Lent. He argues in Suspicion and Faith that Christians should take seriously the criticism of modern atheists—not to call core doctrine into question, but to hear the voice of our critics, and look for where faith and practice aren’t in sync. Perhaps, in the voices of people like Hitchens, Nietzche, Marx, or even Gervais, there is something that can call us to repentance—a place where what we do fails to testify and illustrate what we believe.
There’s an obvious way in which this is true with Gervais’s most recent article. As he says near the opening, “It’s not that I don’t believe that the teachings of Jesus wouldn’t make this a better world if they were followed. It’s just that they are rarely followed.” This, of course, is true in many cases. Gervais is speaking in terms of kindness and forgiveness, and I’m sure we all know some very unpleasant Christians. It may well be true that you or I am one of them. So we should all attempt to be a little less unpleasant.
But there’s a less obvious way in which we can learn from the Gervais article. He seems appalled at the notion that unpleasant Christians’ faith in God results in eternal life, so he insists on measuring himself against them. He goes on to assess his own life against the Ten Commandments (and gives himself a perfect score). This, he says, is why he is a good Christian, and probably a better Christian than most Christians.
This passage shows us that Gervais, actually, is quite religious, and the lack of religiosity in the gospel is what he finds so offensive. Religion is a way of looking at the world that tells us, “If you behave, you’ll be rewarded, and if you misbehave, you’ll be punished.” The gospel turns that message on its head. “You’re an absolute mess,” it says, “and an innocent Savior (the only one who ‘behaved’) was punished in your place so that you can belong regardless of how unpleasant you may be.”
It should remind us that part of the offense of the gospel is its insistence upon our depravity. As Augustus Toplady put it:
Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law’s commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.
To a religious person, this is an incredibly offensive message. Gervais is appealing to his own superior moralism, supposing that it should be sufficient, whether there’s a God or not. He’s right to point out that Christians are often unkind and unforgiving, but the gospel anticipates that we’re a mess.

Start Where God Starts

Also, in appealing to the Ten Commandments, Gervais starts in the wrong place. The Decalogue doesn’t begin with “Thou shalt not.” It begins with “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Gervais comes to the Ten Commandments to find rules whereby to justify himself and condemn Christians. But the Scriptures place the Ten Commandments inside the context of a redemption story. God didn’t appear to the Hebrew slaves and tell them, “Do these things and I’ll rescue you.” Instead, he rescued them and invited them into a life lived in covenant community. As Marva Dawn once put it, the Ten Commandments begin with grace. “I’m you’re God. I’m the one who rescued you.” The Exodus story foreshadows the gospel, showing that at the heart of law, at its origins, is God’s grace. It’s the opposite of religion—even in the Ten Commandments.
In his abundant mercy, God looks upon the broken, the downtrodden, those crushed by the burdens of Satan, sin, and death, and provides scandalous mercy in Jesus Christ. That’s the starting place of the gospel, and the starting place of any conversation about what it means to be a Christian. Ricky Gervais looks at the Scriptures and sees only law, not grace, and responds with appeals to legal obedience.
There are millions like him, both inside and outside the church. They believe that the essential message of the Bible is, “If you behave, then you belong.” We have a better message and a much richer story, one drenched in grace and mercy. Remember, as many Christians before us have understood, the gospel tells us that we’re far worse off than we ever imagined . . . and far more loved than we ever dared to dream.
Mike Cosper is pastor of worship and arts at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He writes on the gospel and the arts for The Gospel Coalition.

Don't Mess With The Cat - Bird Picks On Wrong Cat And Learns Fatal lesson

Political Correctness Stupidity - Seattle school renames Easter eggs 'Spring Spheres'

A sophomore at a local private high school thinks an effort to make Easter politically correct is ridiculous.
Jessica, 16, told KIRO Radio's Dori Monson Show that a week before spring break, the students commit to a week-long community service project. She decided to volunteer in a third grade class at a public school, which she would like to remain nameless.
"At the end of the week I had an idea to fill little plastic eggs with treats and jelly beans and other candy, but I was kind of unsure how the teacher would feel about that," Jessica said.
She was concerned how the teacher might react to the eggs after of a meeting earlier in the week where she learned about "their abstract behavior rules."
"I went to the teacher to get her approval and she wanted to ask the administration to see if it was okay," Jessica explained. "She said that I could do it as long as I called this treat 'spring spheres.' I couldn't call them Easter eggs."
Rather than question the decision, Jessica opted to "roll with it." But the third graders had other ideas.
"When I took them out of the bag, the teacher said, 'Oh look, spring spheres' and all the kids were like 'Wow, Easter eggs.' So they knew," Jessica said.
The Seattle elementary school isn't the only government organization using spring over Easter. The city's parks department has removed Easter from all of its advertised egg hunts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Sign Says It All

This was written by the Pastor he is 5' 6" tall

Paul Simon - Love Is Eternal Sacred Light

Reviseed U.S. Credit Rating From "Stable" To "Charlie Sheen"

Moo on Justification in Galatians

Crossway has made available Doug Moo’s essay, “Justification in Galatians” (PDF) from
Understanding the Times: New Testament Studies in the 21st Century: Essays in Honor of D. A. Carson on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday, ed. Köstenberger and Yarbrough.
An excerpt:
Paul’s teaching on justification in Galatians strongly endorses the traditional Reformation emphasis on justification by faith alone.
In contrast to some recent reconfigurations of this doctrine, the Reformers did not mean by this teaching that a person gains only initial entrance into the state of salvation by faith alone—the ultimate verdict being based on faith plus works.
They intended to assert that the eschatological gift of justification, at whatever “time” or in however many stages it might be manifested, came by faith alone.
Paul seems to be saying just this in Galatians. Faith is the means not only of entering into relationship with God but also of maintaining that relationship and of confirming that relationship on the day of judgment.
Of course, it is not faith in itself that has this power; it is because faith connects the believer to Christ, in whose vindication (see 1 Tim. 3:16) the believer shares.
My brief overview confirms those who find a monergism in Paul’s teaching about salvation that stands in contrast to the synergism of covenant nomism. Justification, not only in its initial phase, but in its totality, is sola fide—and, though it has not been a focus of this study, in light of Galatians 2:21 and 5:4, sola gratia also.
Justin Taylor

Monday, April 18, 2011

Robbed Hell - Rob Bell Parody

Do we really believe that the path to eternal life is narrow? So narrow that not even atheist hippy pop stars will make it in? Don your shallow thinking cap and come wander some contours of meaning in this parody of Rob Bell's Love Wins book trailer.

Robbed Hell - C.A.S.T. Pearls Presents from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

The Difficulty with Legalists

If they are told that they trust too much to their own strength and righteousness, they go about to strive to bring themselves off from it, and it may be, think they have done it, when they only do the same thing under a new disguise.
--Jonathan Edwards, A Faithful Narrative, in Works, Yale ed., 4:165-66
Dane Ortlund

Paul Simon - Rewrite - From New Cd "So Beautiful or So What"

The Obama Hangover

You Can Be Sure of This

Lloyd-Jones, preaching on Acts 1:11--
You can be sure of this--all who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, who have seen the all-importance of the soul, who have seen their dread condition under the condemnation of the Law, who have committed themselves to him, taking upon themselves the scorn and sarcasm of the world, those who have counted all things loss for his sake, who have denied themselves and taken up their cross daily and followed him, those who have said, 'I care not what happens to me as long as all is well between me and him'--these are they who will be with him in the new heaven and the new earth and will share and enjoy his glory forever and ever.
--Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled (Crossway, 2009), 100-101
Dane Ortlund

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Paul Simon -- The Afterlife -- From New CD "So Beautiful or So What"

The Result Of 2 Cop Cars Chasing Around A Coke Addled Driver In A Corn Field

Rob Bell: a Brother to Embrace, or a Wolf to Avoid?

If Christopher Hitchens or Deepak Chopra penned a book that scoffed at the biblical teaching on hell, we would not be surprised. So why would anyone be shocked or confused when Rob Bell writes Love Wins? Has Bell shown any more commitment to gospel truth, or any more devotion to the principle of biblical authority than Hitchens or Chopra?

Is Rob Bell truly a Christian, or is he one of those dangerous deceivers Scripture warns us about repeatedly (Acts 20:29; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Colossians 2:8; 2 Peter 2:1; etc.)?
It's a fair—and necessary—question. Christ’s famous warning about wolves in sheep’s clothing is given to us as an imperative: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16). Our Lord clearly expects His true disciples to be able to spot spiritual imposters and wolves in sheep’s clothing—especially those who are purveyors of deadly false doctrines.
Rob Bell certainly fits that category. He relentlessly casts doubt on the authority and reliability of Scripture. He denies the Bible’s perspicuity, disavows its hard truths, and ridicules some of the most important features of the gospel.
Rob Bell
Granted, Bell (who was raised in the evangelical movement and is an alumnus of Wheaton College) still insists on calling himself “evangelical.” He reiterated that claim recently in a March 14 interview with Lisa Miller, where he stated, “Do I think that I’m evangelical and orthodox to the bone? Yes.”
A careful examination of Bell’s teaching suggests, however, that his profession of faith is not credible. His claim that he is “evangelical and orthodox to the bone” is, to put it bluntly, a lie. Bell’s teaching gives no evidence of any real evangelical conviction. If “each tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44), we cannot blithely embrace Rob Bell as a “brother” just because he says he wants to be accepted as an evangelical.
If, as Jesus said, His sheep hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27), then we ought to look with the utmost suspicion on anyone who doubts and denies as much of Jesus’ teaching as Rob Bell does, and yet claims to be a follower of Christ.
Scripture is crystal-clear about this: “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3-4).
Historic evangelicalism has always affirmed the authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency of Scripture, while declaring (as Jesus and the apostles did) that the only way of salvation for fallen humanity is through the atoning work of Christ, and the only instrument of justification is faith in Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the gospel.
Rob Bell believes none of those things. His skepticism about so many key biblical truths, his penchant for sowing doubt in his hearers, and his obvious contempt for the principles of divine justice as taught in Scripture all give evidence that he is precisely the kind of unbelieving false teacher Scripture warns us about.
Bell is an inveterate syncretist who loves to blend “progressive” and politically correct dogmas with eastern mysticism, humanistic jargon, and Christian terminology. His teaching is full of barren ideas borrowed directly from old liberalism, sometimes rephrased in postmodern jargon but still reeking of stale Socinianism.
What Bell is peddling is nothing like New Testament Christianity. It is a man-centered religion totally devoid of both clarity and biblical authority.
Given those facts, you might think any true evangelical would reject Bell and his teaching outright. But evidently many in the American evangelical movement think they are obliged simply to accept at face value Bell’s claim of orthodoxy. No less than Mart DeHaan, voice of Radio Bible Class, decried Bell’s critics, portraying them as the divisive ones for pointing out the unsoundness of Bell’s teaching. DeHaan wrote,
I’m left wondering… are we allowing love (and truth) to win now… by using threats of group pressure and blackballing of brothers like Rob, and those who openly or secretly stand with him? Is that really the best way to maintain a strong and healthy orthodoxy? [emphasis added]
The biblical answer to DeHaan’s question is clear and fairly simple: The best way to maintain a strong and healthy orthodoxy is to “[hold] fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching . . . to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers . . . who must be silenced” (Titus 1:9-11).
We have a duty not only to expose, refute, and silence Rob Bell’s errors, but also to urge people under his influence to run as fast and as far as they can from him, lest they be gathered into the eternal hell he denies. It won’t do to sit by idly while someone who denies the danger of hell mass-produces sons of hell (cf. Matthew 23:15).
In a series of posts this week, we will demonstrate from Rob Bell’s own published works that he has long been hostile to virtually every vital gospel truth; we will consider some of the questions he has raised about what the Bible has to say about hell; and we will compare and contrast what Bell is saying about hell with what Jesus said about it.
Buckle in and get ready to be challenged. These are admittedly some of the hardest truths in the New Testament, but there’s no reason anyone holding authentic evangelical convictions should find the subject confusing or controversial.

John MacArthur
Grace To You

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Cream performing at the Grande Ballroom, Detroit . October 15th 1967 . Were you there?

ROCK MY PLIMSOUL (1968) by the Jeff Beck Group

The Trump Card

It is there

“Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, ‘I am here because of you.  It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’  Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross.  All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary.  It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”
John R. W. Stott, The Message of Galatians (London, 1968), page 179.

Ray Ortlund

Friday, April 15, 2011

You Shook Me : Jeff Beck featuring Beth Hart

This video from Jeff Beck's 2006 USA tour, features the fabulous Beth Hart on vocals, awesome Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Jason Rebello on keyboards, Randy Hope-Taylor on bass, and of course... virtuoso Jeff on guitar.

How Americans feel About Gas prices