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What do you get when D.A. Carson, John Frame, Scott Oliphint and Michael Kruger are in agreement? A book that you need to purchase right now. James Anderson’s new book What’s Your Worldview?: An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions is available for one week only for $5.50. Click here to purchase this book.

Here is a 16pg. PDF of the book. And here are some lectures by Dr. Anderson from this past fall. He spoke on these topics “Can I Trust the Bible Over Evolutionary Science?”, “Can I Trust the Bible Over the Quran?”, and participated in a Q&A.

God’s Works of Providence

Below is information regarding Greenville Seminary’s 2014 Spring Theology Conference. Lord willing, this will be my last conference in the audio booth (I’m scheduled to graduate this Spring). I hope you can join us. The theme of the conference is “God’s Works of Providence” and will be help March 11-13, 2014 and is being help at a new location this year (a Presbyterian led conference at a local Reformed Baptist Church).

Dr. Derek Thomas, “Providence and the ‘Middle Knowledge’: A Question of ‘Now You See It, Now You Don’t.”

Dr. Joel Beeke, “The Heidelberg Catechism: Its Gripping History and Teaching on Providence.” Dr. Beeke will also preach during Tuesday’s evening service on the subject, “The Definition and Beauty of Providence.”

Dr. James McGoldrick, “Calling All Christians: Calvin’s Doctrine of Vocation.”

Dr. Benjamin Miller, “Beautiful in Its Time: A Preacher’s Journey through the Mists of Providence.”

Dr. James N. Anderson, TBA

Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr., “The Devil Made Me Do It.” Dr. Pipa will also speak during the Wednesday evening service on the topic: “Providence or Fatalism.”

Dr. Benjamin Shaw, “Just a Lot of Noise: Providence and the Problem of Evil.”

The cost will be $80 per person, spouses $35, and youths over age 12 for $20. GPTS graduates may attend for $55. These are “early bird” prices; later registrations will be higher. Online registration will be available beginning the first week of December. The early-bird rate deadline is Friday, January 31st. Watch the seminary website for further information.

We’d certainly appreciate if you tell others about this conference.

Strange Fire, Friendly Fire, Mis-Fire—How Many Puns Do We Really Need?

The last call on today’s Dividing Line asked for my opinion on what has transpired over the past few days regarding the Strange Fire Conference.  Here’s my response.  Summary: Lots of bad, bad stuff out there that the vast majority in the Charismatic movement have no ground upon which to resist, rebuke, or refute.  But when we don’t make the needed distinctions and paint with broad brushes, we allow our proper criticisms to become mired and weakened by the easy refutations of our over-reaching statements.

Click here to go to the exact spot on YouTube or advance to 50:33 in the viewer below to hear the call.

Presidential Tweet Morality

I guess we live in a day when ethics and morality are discussed in 140 character snippets. Fitting, for the level of dialogue.

I should not be shocked that those who think that man is nothing more than the random chance accident of cosmic forces, the result of atoms bouncing off one another in a cosmic soup of chaos, do not exhibit a deep interest in transcendent meaning or life-guiding morality. If you are not created, you are your own creator; if you are your own creator, you get to decide what is right, what is wrong, what has meaning, what does not. Who cares about those who came before you? They were not as technologically advanced as you anyway, right? Can anyone who lived their lives without even touching an iPad really have any insight into life?

It is interesting to contrast the above words from the current President of the United States with a little snippet found in the front cover of New Testaments that (gasp!) the US Gov’t used to issue to soldiers in World War II. I first heard these words when my fellow elder read from the New Testament he received when his father, a WWII vet, died. Then I saw them again, briefly, in the hands of EB Sledge in the mini-series The Pacific. So I looked them up on line. Here’s what was printed in each New Testament:

The White House
January 25, 1941
To the Armed Forces:

As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest inspirations of the human soul.

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Of course, we learned from Anthony Kennedy this past week that FDR—and all American Presidents before BO—were animated by animus, prejudice, and bigotry, like all Americans were until about ten years ago, so I guess we can pretty well dismiss anything any of them said, but it is still an interesting contrast.

In any case, when I saw the President’s tweet I had to laugh. It is so laughably absurd, so morally childish, so enthusiastically shallow. And yet so “now,” so reflective of the current culture of the United States, and in particular, of the generation of our youth.

You know, I was once madly in love with Wendy. I can still see her face. But we lived in bigoted times. Discrimination was everywhere. You were simply not allowed to marry the one you loved. Besides, we were in fourth grade.

I am sorta glad no one really believes what the President tweeted. We don’t think kids should get married. But then again—why not? I mean, if a 6 year old can decide he is a girl, not a boy (his parents said he decided that when he was 18 months old—yeah, right–was that during a diaper change?), as the “law” decided up in Colorado last week (anything coming out of the Colorado legal system is now tainted by a strange odor that makes its judgment just a tad bit suspect), why couldn’t I marry Wendy? If 6 year old is mature enough to decide that his biological gender isn’t his “real” gender, then surely that same 6 year old can decide to marry, right? So I should have been able to marry Wendy, since I was like almost 10! Of course, if that boy in Colorado wanted to marry another boy, maybe there would be a movement to allow it? I mean, marriage equality, right? No H8, right?

In a few years marriage will be a relic, an item for the history books. Well, forgive me, I am an older fellow now, and I keep using language in the old ways, the Before Obama ways. Bitte vergib mir! I have not been able to adopt New Speak yet. Marriage used to have a specific meaning to it. The West has been chipping away at that meaning for a very long time, to be sure. But being the bigoted, animus-animated Christian that I am, I insist upon letting a transcendent authority define it for me—that being the sole human being who died and rose again, having prophesied those events, Jesus of Nazareth. He taught that marriage is a God-ordained institution, a covenant involving a man, who is the husband, and a woman, who is the wife. As people used to understand, terms have meanings in contexts, in word groups. Marriage, husband, wife, to marry, etc., all, together, communicated a single meaning. To be a husband had a meaning. To be a wife had a meaning. And that’s what I mean when I say marriage—the real meaning of the word, the only meaning that has lasting value, the only meaning that counts—will be a relic in our society in a few years. Because an association of people—whether that is a woman and a woman, a man and a man, a man and two women, two women and one man, a man and a boy, a woman and a girl, a man and a dog, a woman and a horse, two men and a chimpanzee—whatever combinations the twisted heart of humanity can envision—is not, cannot be, will never be, a marriage. All the benighted judges in the world cannot force those groupings into the meaning of the word marriage, but, since they are obviously bound and determined to do so, what passes for “marriage” in our culture will be a sham, a worthless, shallow substitute. Real marriage will be a relic.

But, of course, relics can have great value. And amongst those who refuse to cower before the faux morality of the rabble who scream “shame!” and “bigot!” at the followers of light, marriage will always exist, because when one has been freed from slavery to darkness, the light shines upon God’s highest callings on our lives. True Christian men will desire to be husbands, men, created by God to be MEN. True Christian women will desire to be wives, women, created by God to be WOMEN. They will not give heed to the perversity of the world, but will find far greater value in God’s approbation of their lives than in the mocking derision of the secularists. They will marry, they will honor marriage, they will find God’s blessings in the midst of the rubble created by the self-destructive course of Western culture under God’s judgment.

I realize I have not been fair here. I used more than 140 characters. As Doug Wilson said to a particularly annoying homosexual zealot recently, who could not bear the burden of trying to think through multiple sentences in a row, “I often have thoughts that require more than one sentence to express.” But the reality is the worldview expressed by Barack Obama is best limited to 140 characters. Beyond that, it is truly out of its depth anyway. It progresses through promulgating its own shallowness in the minds of its adherents. And in responding I have not only demanded a few moments of concentration (look! shiny object! ad in right column! MUST CLICK LINK), but I have refused to bow down to the almighty authority of “the most recent polls.” I know what the polls say. I expect the polls to reflect the opinions of a secular culture that hates what is good and loves its own sin and rebellion. I expect pagans to think and act like pagans. I just refuse to adopt the idea that they get to determine the grounds of dialogue. I refuse to drop down to that level. I know what marriage is. So do they, since they are made in the image of God. In their foolishness they have allowed themselves to be deceived, to be robbed of the life-giving, humanity-enriching institution of natural, ordained, covenant marriage. Most don’t seem to miss it. Yet.

Whose Evidence?

I almost fell off my chair when I heard Kurt Jaros say that we (those who hold to a covenantal apologetic) are borrowing from other apologetic methodologies, when we use evidences. The covenantal apologetic has always held to the idea that everything in the created universe evidences God’s existence. The issue here, is that each particular evidence has to have a Christian interpretation of the evidence, and not simple some “fact” out there that is uninterpreted. Why? Because God created the heavens, and the earth, the sea and all that in them is (Ex. 20:11). Or, as Scott Oliphint has recently stated it “Reality is what God says it is.” This biblical notion should not be hard for the Christian to understand, but it does point out the fact that apologetics can not be separated from our theology (i.e. if God created all things, and he did, reality is what He says it is). This is the context in which we declare the existence of God and His works in creation and in providence.

Since the use of evidences in our apologetic has become an issue as of late (and I for one am glad it has), the folks at Reformed Forum recorded a program addressing this very issue. To listen click here. You may also want to get a copy of Thom Nataro’s book Van Til’s Use of Evidences.

Also, don’t forget to order your copy of Scott Oliphint’s new book A Covenantal Apologetic.