September 2016

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The ESV: Crossway reverses itself...

Lane Dennis just announced his business made a "mistake" and is reversing their recent decision to leave the present text of his ESV unchanged, in perpetuity. Lane ends his statement announcing the reversal with this:

We believe deeply that the translation and publication of the Bible is a sacred trust and unspeakable privilege, and we want to do all we can to steward this calling, before God, with the reverence and care that it deserves.

The "we" is Lane speaking as Crossway's CEO.

Lane talks about his "sacred trust" and "unspeakable privilege." He says his business is zealous to "steward" this "calling" they have from God. The "God" is implied—"calling" is a slightly oblique way Christians invoke God's Name.

Lane says their Divine calling is deserving of "reverence and care." Read the statement and you'll find lots of flowery words accompanying their reversal. You'll even find the word "apology," but there's no hint of moral failure or plain ordinary sin...

The good father: fight the good fight (1)...

Marriage is the melding of two incompatible forces, man and woman. Quarrels are inevitable. The point is to keep them lovers' quarrels.1

One reason I wrote a book on fatherhood is that Christian child rearing experts never bring up the fights between fathers and mothers over their children. Imagine Dave Ramsey getting through even a single radio program on money without dealing with marital conflict. It's inconceivable. Yet pastors preach and child rearing experts write books giving this and that advice to fathers and mothers on how to raise godly children without ever mentioning fights...

The PCA and the ordination of women...

Presbyterian_Church_in_America_logo.jpeg-200x288.jpegAt her 44th General Assembly in Mobile, AL, the pastors and elders of the Presbyterian Church in America debated whether to form a study committee "made up of competent men and women representing the diversity of opinions within the PCA" whose task would be to study "the issue of women serving in the ministry of the church." The proposal did not come through the normal channel of a presbytery overture, but rather by recommendation of the Administrative Committee via their recently-formed Cooperative Ministries Committee (CMC).

Here is the language of their proposal focussing their study committee's work on whether Christ's Church should have women officers:

• That the Assembly form a study committee on the issue of women serving in the ministry of the church (RAO 9-1; 9-3). The Assembly authorizes the Moderator to appoint the study committee. The study committee should be made up of competent men and women representing the diversity of opinions within the PCA (RAO 9-1; Robert’s Rules of Order [11th edition], §13, pp. 174-175, §50, pp.495- 496, §50, pp. 497-498 §56, p. 579]).

• That the committee should give particular attention to the issues of:

(1) The biblical basis, theology, history, nature, and authority of ordination;

(2) The biblical nature and function of the office of deacon;

(3) Clarification on the ordination or commissioning of deacons/deaconesses;

(4) Should the findings of the study committee warrant BCO changes, the study committee will propose such changes for the General Assembly to consider.

• The committee will have a budget of $15,000 that is funded by designated donations to the AC from churches and individuals (RAO 9-2).

• A Pastoral Letter to be proposed by the ad interim study committee and approved by the General Assembly be sent to all churches, encouraging them to

(1) promote the practice of women in ministry,

(2) appoint women to serve alongside elders and deacons in the pastoral work of the church, and

(3) hire women on church staff in appropriate ministries.

The proposal that a pastoral letter encouraging the promotion, appointment, and hiring of women in the ministries of the church be sent out to the whole denomination even before the study committee is formed or begins deliberation shows the conclusions denominational leaders expect their hand-picked study committee members to bring back to the assembly at the conclusion of their work. The results of the committee's work, whatever it may conclude about the proper subjects of ordination, must make a move toward the expansion of women's work in the church. Forged after decades of functional egalitarianism in the PCA, the Cooperative Ministries Committee's proposal was about as groundbreaking and exciting as the leaves of Autumn falling and rotting.

Note the difference between the arguments of those for and those against the formation of the committee...

Gov. Jerry Brown declares faith in the universal flood...

The Sacramento Bee just ran this headline:

Jerry Brown compares fighting climate change to building Noah’s Ark

Happily, Brown wasn't lampooning Noah, lumping "climate change deniers" in with him. Rather, he said:

It’s very hard to deal with something down the road. You know, when Noah wanted to build his Ark, most of the people laughed at him: "Why are you building this damn Ark?" Well, lucky he did, because that saved all the species and Noah and his family. [Brown added] We’ve got to build our Ark, too, by stopping climate change, by stopping dangerous pollutants and doing it as soon as possible.

Climate change Calamity Jane or climate change Denier, you gotta love the governor of California declaring that Noah's Ark "saved all the species and Noah and his family."

Feminists and libertarians: this is my Father's world...

...for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:29)

Because nature never stops telling the glory of God, authority is everywhere. Keep your eye on the ball.

First, authority is the issue—not sex. Men and women deny the authority of the male of the species not because they prefer authority to be equally shared by men and women, but because they hate all authority. Especially God the Father Almighty in Whom all authority originates and from Whom it is delegated.

Feminists lash out at men because fatherhood is intrinsic to manhood and authority is intrinsic to fatherhood. Patriarchy is not hated because the pater is always a man. Patriarchy is hated because of the arche (rule).

As for rebellion, abdication and rebellion are the same sin even though God demonstrated in his dealings with Adam and Eve that the abdicator always suffers the greater judgment.

Second, although abdicators and rebels think they're making progress when they take the word "obey" out of the bride's wedding vows and preach their wedding homily on "mutual submission," it's a fool's errand. Abdicators and rebels never have removed a single bit of authority anywhere in God's creation because God is the Father Almighty and all nature sings and round us rings the wonders of His sovereign rule. This is my Father's world.

Rebel against authority all you want, but the high point of your success will be the...

The good father: your child has no sexual orientation...

Last time, I wrote of the importance of your child's sex. At the moment of conception, God called your child to live his life obedient and faithful to whom God made him. Whom God made him was either man or woman. God has never given anyone a "sexual orientation." God did not make your son or daughter "gay." Everything else flows from God's decree of male and female assigned at the moment of conception.

If God decreed your child to be male, your son is to spend his life demonstrating his love and submission to the manhood out of which every part of his personhood has its origin. Today, we can't say it often enough: "from the beginning God made them male and female" (Matthew 19:4).

This is the truth placed in the womb of your wife before she had any clue she was...

What makes a good missionary...

Excellent post from Desiring God. Read it, especially if you are a pastor or missionary, or you give to missions.

Bitterness, crackpots, and Joe Sobran...

This post was a private e-mail sent to me by a friend who thinks Joe Sobran went sour as his age advanced. My friend was responding to a couple recent posts (first and second) and comments made under those posts. I thought the e-mail worth posting on the blog given the movement of many young Reformed into libertarianism of a toxic sort (although I myself believe libertarianism is intrinsically toxic)

It's true that Joe's libertarianism went toxic, tending towards anarchism. A friend who serves as a civil magistrate remonstrated with Joe about this, personally, but seemingly to no avail. Joe remains our hero, but listen to these good warnings from a wise young man.

* * * 

I'll take this opportunity to identify myself as the "young man" with whom Tim corresponded. I agree with about 90% of what he's written about Joe Sobran—maybe more. Joe Sobran’s essays in defense of the faith were rare gems. "Is Darwin Holy?", one he wrote toward the end, is another one that stands out in my mind.

I started reading Sobran on the recommendation of a high school teacher when I was about 16. Reading him disabused me of the notion that a young man could make a good living writing truth. It's one of the reasons I decided to become an engineer, instead. Call me cynical if you wish, but I wanted to be able to support a wife and children...

A little help from my friends...

Is anyone willing to help me by transcribing this sermon before Saturday evening? I'd be grateful. Just let me know if you're able to do it, OK?

Thanks, and love.


Crossway's ESV now written in stone...

Shows are meant to be consumed in front of the curtain—not behind it. Behind are the things you don't want the audience to see or know because it would ruin the performance.

Bible translations are hammered out behind the curtain, and for good reason. It wouldn't give people confidence in the trustworthiness of the English Bible they read to watch the arguments and votes over how to translate this or that Hebrew or Greek word or phrase. Other parts of the Bible publishing business may be even more disconcerting, but let's focus here on the academics' work.

Although the scholars who produce Bible text for their Bible publisher are paid for that work, most of their income is from tuition paid by seminaries whose curricula require those students to spend years studying Hebrew and Greek. So these scholars have two priorities at odds with each other.

First, in order for their publishers' investment in their translating work to realize a profit, scholars must not stop assuring church people that every last word of the text of their version is precisely what God Himself inspired. Nothing has been changed...

Fully Funded!!! Just a couple days left to get your advance copy...


I'm pleased to announce that the Kickstarter for My Soul Among Lions's latest studio project (Psalms 11-20) is fully funded. We're so grateful to God and to every one of you who has chipped in to support the project. Many thanks!!!