Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Still a Bad Idea

I am still aghast at John Piper’s decision to invite Rick Warren as a guest speaker at this year’s Desiring God Conference. And receiving the email advertisement this month for the conference just stirred me up a little more. Yes, I have listened to Piper’s reasons for inviting Rick Warren, but it is still not convincing. Rick Warren may claim to believe many of the same things, but in practice through his pragmatic methodologies, he distorts the message of the gospel. The practice of his ministry actually undermines what he professes to believe. Warren constantly misquotes and mishandles Scripture, and as a result, he has a tendency to obscure the meaning of Scripture. As to Rick Warren’s profession to believe what Piper believes; Rick Warren, as Phil Johnson aptly pointed out in a post awhile back, has a tendency to be “chameleonic”, changing his stance whenever the situation demands it, in an attempt to be liked by everyone by telling them what they want to hear.

Do I think that John Piper should not try and influence Rick Warren in a positive manner if he has the opportunity? No. But inviting the man to be a guest speaker at your conference is not the best way to achieve this. This sends a confusing message that somehow Rick Warren is OK, and that we are in agreement with his ministry methods, even if that perception is unintentional. Carry on a dialogue behind the scenes, but please, do not invite him as guest speaker.

Now, I still like John Piper and his ministry has been and will continue to be a great blessing to me. This situation does not change that. But I still shake my head in disbelief. Seeing Rick Warren’s picture along with men like Al Mohler and R.C. Sproul is…well…like a weed sprouting up on an otherwise well manicured lawn.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

For the Sake of the Gospel

We had a great turnout for the “For the Sake of the Gospel” conference. We had people from over 80 different churches present at the afternoon sessions (over 200 people) and at least 500 people at the evening session! The audio downloads for the conference can be accessed at the Grace Bible Church podcast page.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pastor’s Conference on June 4th

The Greater Columbus Gospel Coalition is sponsoring an event entitled “For the Sake of the Gospel” for pastors and church leaders on Friday, June 4th, with Alistair Begg as the speaker. The event will be held at our church, Grace Bible Church in Canal Winchester, Ohio. The afternoon sessions are geared more for church leadership teams and there will be an evening worship session at 7:30 PM for congregations all across the Columbus area.

The two afternoon sessions will be from 2:00 to 5:30 PM and will cover the following topics:

Afternoon Session 1: “What is the Gospel? How does it impact Ecclesiology, Philosophy, Teaching, and Discipleship?”

Afternoon Session 2: “Communicating the Exclusivity of the Gospel to An Inclusive and Pluralistic Culture.”

Evening Service (7:30 PM): “What is a Gospel Centered Church?”

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What I’ve Been Up To

Well, it has been awhile since I have posted here. I hope to get back up to speed again soon. But I figured I would give a little update on what I have been up to lately.

2009 was definitely a challenging year with getting laid off from work last spring. I finally found another job in September, and I am grateful that my period of unemployment was relatively short. So I am grateful to the Lord for His provision.

In November, I started suffering from frequent stomach pain. It was a dull ache that lingered for hours before subsiding, and by the middle of December the attacks were more frequent and increased a bit in intensity. I actually had one of these “attacks” back in August, but simply dismissed it as an isolated occurrence that was probably due to something I ate. My wife was really urging me that I really needed to schedule an appointment. Of course, being a typical guy, I put it off as long as I could and finally went to the doctor toward the end of December. I called the day before Christmas Eve and the doctor got me in during the morning of Christmas Eve. He was not sure exactly what was causing it, but he thought that it could be my gall bladder. Which is what I suspected could be a possible cause as well, after doing some research into the symptoms. Of course, there is always the concern that it could be something more serious.

The doctor scheduled me for some tests the following week, including an ultrasound to check my gall bladder, and got the results back the morning of New Year’s Eve. The diagnosis? My gall bladder, to put it in the terms of the receptionist, was “packed full of stones”. The only remedy for this, of course, is surgery to remove my gall bladder. However, I was hoping there would be an alternative, like when someone has kidney stones, that you can eventually pass the stone. But unfortunately, it does not work that way with the gall bladder. In fact, some of the home remedies that I read about where people can ingest some home-made concoction to help try and pass the gall stones can actually be dangerous. The stones can easily get lodged in the bile duct, causing bile to back up into the pancreas requiring emergency surgery, and could end up being lethal. So I ended up having surgery in January to have my gall bladder removed. Fortunately, my surgery could be done through laparoscopic surgery, requiring only three minor incisions with minimal recovery time. I went into the hospital in the morning, had surgery and was released to go home that night. A few days bed rest (and some lingering soreness for a few days) and I was back to a relatively normal schedule. Full recovery took about ten days, so I had to take it a little easy. This used to be major surgery before laparoscopic surgery, with extended recovery time. Amazing what they can do today, and very grateful. This was my first (hopefully my last!) surgery that I have ever had.

I was able to attend Together for the Gospel back in April. This year’s theme was “The (Unadjusted) Gospel”. There were about 7,000 men in attendance, and it was very encouraging and inspiring. I came back with even more eagerness to boldly proclaim the gospel. I would encourage you to listen to the messages from this year’s conference (T4G 2010).

I have had the opportunity to teach several classes at our church over the past several months including The 9 Marks of a Healthy Church (based on Mark Dever’s book), The Truth War (John MacArthur) and an abbreviated version of Systematic Theology, “Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know” by Wayne Grudem. I have enjoyed teaching those classes and look forward to teaching more this fall.

But one thing that I am particularly excited about is the prospects of attending seminary, hopefully this fall. I would actually be starting out taking many of the classes online, and it would be awhile before I would have to take class on campus. I will be applying for the Master of Divinity program at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and I am starting the application process soon. I have actually started filling out the paper work, and need to have everything submitted by the middle of July. So please keep this in your prayers, that everything will go smoothly and I will be accepted.

Well, hopefully I will get back up to speed posting here. Actually, I hope I will be able to post more frequently than I have for, oh, say the last year or so :)