I Hate It When God “Shows Up”

Originally posted on :

I remember attending Christian retreats/festivals/revivals/conferences. These were much-loved quiet times of reflection, a time to spend in unabashed and unashamed camaraderie with fellow believers. More importantly though, they always had great music. I knew without a doubt that the evenings would be intense. It would be a kamikaze of blue lights, key changes, tears, sweat, and a 23 minute rendition of  Michael W Smith’s Let it rain.  It is a collusion of blood, bone and brain matter; fused with flickering lights, heat, glowsticks and D-chords. The synapses are firing. The skin is getting prickly. It leaves people on their knees, chest heaving and body crumpled on the floor because they could not stand the weight of the glory of God in the room. The air get thick with it, and it invariably becomes more than people’s hearts can bear.

In the aftermath, in the stillness,  we would reflect…

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Back Off the Baptists: Why Steven Furtick Does Not Anathematize the SBC

Originally posted on :

Many of have taken issue with Steven Furtick in recent years. Pointing out Furtick-level pastoral narcissism has been common fare on a number of popular podcasts. I’ll assume you haven’t actually made your habitation under a rock and that you’re aware of the Furtick controversies; the increasingly scary cult mentality of Elevation Church as it pledges allegiance to it’s “visionary,” that Elevation Church demands unity not around the Gospel but around Furtick’s “vision,” the continued “corrections” about Furtick and the church’s property and finances that are made each time the local media points out their perpetual dishonesty, contrived “spontaneous” and miraculous baptisms, manipulated book sale figures that even the New York Times has caught on to, letting women and anti-Trinitarians preach from his Southern Baptist pulpit, and his insanely self-centered eisegesis, just to name a few. I would provide links to all of this, but once again, unless you’re not…

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Are We Entering a Golden Age of 17th Century Baptist Literature?

Originally posted on Thoughts of a Pastor-Historian:

I certainly hope so. Having done my PhD in this largely unmined area of church history, I have a vested interest in making the inspiring stories and helpful theological musings of our 17th-century Baptist counterparts known. I’m committed to doing my part. In recent days, I have been encouraged by the number of solid publications about or containing the original works of 17th-century Baptists that have either been recently released or are slated to be released soon. In addition to the works listed below, I am currently revising my dissertation on Hercules Collins for publication and plan to separately publish Collins’ The Temple Repair’d in the near future.

Available Now:

The Reformed Theology of Benjamin Keach (1640-1704)Jonathan W. Arnold, The Reformed Theology of Benjamin Keach (1640-1704) (Regent’s Park College Publications, 2013).

Jonathan Arnold completed his dissertation on the most important seventeenth-century English Particular Baptist at Regent’s Park College of Oxford University. This work is a slightly…

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Elijah, Mount Horeb and the Quest for Illegitimate Religious Experience

Originally posted on :

R. Scott Clark, professor at Westminster Seminary California and author of the book Recovering the Reformed Confession, has a phrase called QIRE – the Quest for Illegitimate Religious Experience. By that, Dr. Clark refers to the desire to experience God outside of the “ordinary” means of grace in the preaching of the Word and the administration of the ordinances. That quest takes all kinds of forms – from charismatic excesses to the desire to hear that “still, small voice”. Don’t believe me? Look up a list of the fastest growing churches – the vast majority caters in providing outlets for QIRE candidates. Few cater to believers who simply want to hear the Bible taught in-depth and without frills.

Ironically, whenever I think of people who fuel their faith on the experiential and objective, I am always drawn back to the “still, small voice” passage:

And he said, “Go…

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Word for Word Translations vs. Man Centered, Agenda Driven, Works Based Translations

Be VERY careful with your Bible translations. Stick with the word for word or phrase for phrase translations. Many of the others are works based, agenda driven, and man centered. Here’s John 6:29 as an example:

NASB: Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

ESV: Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

KJV: Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

NKJV: Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

NRSV: Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

HCSB: Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the One He has sent.”

ALL of these versions state that our belief is the work of God.



Now look at some of the non word for word translations that make our belief out to be our work:

NLT: Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

VOICE: If you want to do God’s work, then believe in the One He sent.

NET: Jesus replied, “This is the deed God requires—to believe in the one whom he sent.”

CEB: Jesus replied, “This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent.”

AMP: Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].

and the worst offender of them all; The Message:
Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.”

See the difference? This is just one verse from one chapter from one book from the entire Bible. Avoid these works based man centered translations. They are NOT the Word of God.