Archive for the ‘Sermon Reviews’ category

A Must-Hear Sermon on the Doctrine of Election

September 4, 2008

In the movie The Prestige, a film about a deadly rivalry between two stage magicians, a turning point in the story occurs when one of the magicians, Alfred Borden (played by Christian Bale), introduces a new trick: “The Transported Man.” His rival, Robert Angier (played by Hugh Jackman) goes in disguise to see Borden perform “The Transported Man,” and is questioned by his assistant about Borden’s performance. In a great bit of acting, Jackman as Angier sits astonished and replies, “It was the greatest trick I’ve ever seen.”

The post you are reading is about a sermon on the doctrine of election preached by Dr. Russell Moore at the Southern Seminary chapel a week ago today. No trickery was involved in this sermon, but after Dr. Moore was through, I felt as thoroughly astonished as Angier was in the scene mentioned above. When it comes to the doctrine of election, this was the greatest sermon I’ve ever heard. (more…)

Building Bridges- A Caution

December 8, 2007

In my next few posts on Strange, I plan to draw attention to specific statements made at the recent Building Bridges conference. I hope that an examination of the substantive teaching presented at that event will be edifying to all SBF readers.

First, however, a word of caution is in order concerning the concept of “building bridges.” This caution comes from Jeff Noblit, one of the “Calvinistic” speakers at the conference and the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals, AL: (more…)

SBF’s Timmy Brister Blogs Baptist ID Conference

February 18, 2007

Last week, Strange BaptistFire blogger Timmy Brister reported on his personal blog- Provocations and Pantings– from Union University’s second Baptist Identity Conference.

As many issues Timmy encountered during this conference directly relate to matters of concern for the readers of SBF, I am posting links to Timmy’s articles from each of the sessions he covered during the conference. These links are titled by the name of the speaker at each of these sessions:

Dr. Frank Page (current President of the Southern Baptist Convention)

Dr. Thom Rainer (President of LifeWay Christian Resources)

Dr. Mike Day (Director of Missions for the Mid-South Baptist Association, Memphis, TN)

Dr. Paige Patterson (President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)

Dr. David Dockery (President of Union University)

Dr. Gregory Thornbury (founding Dean of the School of Christian studies at Union University)

Dr. Jim Shaddix (Senior Pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Denver, CO)

Dr. Ed Stetzer (Missiological and Research Team Director for the North American Mission Board)

Dr. Timothy George (Dean and Professor of Divinity at the Beeson Divinity School)

Determinism, Chance, and Freedom

January 25, 2007

This was mentioned in Dr. Vines’ sermon. I believe he called Calvinists “hard determinists.” In reality, the WCF implicitly selects for soft, not hard determinism, and in at least one article (9.1) it may be construed to opt for neither determinism or indeterminism. Moreover, hard determinism itself is a minority position in Reformed theology. (And for those wanting to oppose Calvin to Calvinism, you may do so when (a) you trace the full trajectory of his thinking and do more than prooftext from the Institutes, and (b) you place him in the context of the whole of the Reformed tradition. He is not and has never been the sole standard by which the Reformed tradition is to be judged).

Determinism, Chance and Freedom

by John M. Frame

[“Determinism, Chance and Freedom,” for IVP Dictionary of Apologetics.]

Determinists believe that every event (or every event in a certain category) has a cause that makes it happen exactly as it happens. Among the varieties of determinism are the views of (1) Plato, who held that one’s ethical choices are determined by his view of what is good, (2) B. F. Skinner, who believed that stimuli, dispositions and motives govern all human behavior. (3) Democritus, Hobbes, Spinoza, and many others, who have held that every event in the universe is determined by a physical cause. Of special interest to us are (4) theological determinists, who hold that all events occur exactly as God has foreordained them. These would include Calvin and others in his tradition. The classic exposition of theological determinism is Jonathan Edwards’ Freedom of the Will. Note that it is possible to be a determinist in sense (4) without being a determinist in sense (3). That seems to be the position of the Westminster Confession of Faith, which says in 3.1 that “God did… ordain whatsoever comes to pass,” but also says in 9.1 that man’s will “is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined to good, or evil” (compare 5.2). (more…)

Technically, sin IS still the issue.

January 16, 2007

Before any angry Calvinists start throwing rocks at Dr. Price personally…

As I begin this post, I would like to point out that there are many important ways in which Dr. Nelson L. Price has positively impacted the state of Georgia and the world for the cause of Jesus Christ. To focus attention on just one set within the many examples that could be given, take his contribution to Christian education. In his 35 years as senior pastor at Roswell Street Baptist Church, Dr. Price led his congregation in establishing a Christian preschool and elementary school to educate students according to a biblical worldview. Dr. Price was a leading figure in promoting the establishment of a North Georgia campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary so that ministers in Georgia pursuing biblical and theological education could receive training without having to leave their home church and move out-of-state. Desiring to reach the largest audience possible with biblical teaching, Dr. Price helped to establish a Christian radio station, WFTD 1080 AM, which broadcast many sermons that were of personal benefit to me (sadly, the radio station as begun by Dr. Price has more recently ceased operation as has been replaced by a Spanish-language secular music station on 1080 AM in Atlanta). Last October, Dr. Price became the chairman for the board of trustees at Shorter College in Georgia. In this position, Dr. Price has been instrumental in helping to bring the conservative resurgence to a Baptist school that had previously neglected its foundational principles. For Dr. Price’s views on what must be the heart of Christian education, I would like to refer Strange BaptistFire readers to the October 16, 2000 article of Baptist Press News, in which Dr. Price quoted the original purpose statement of NOBTS as published in 1918, “this institution shall center around the study of the Bible as the Word of God,” and he followed this with the exhortations, “That should be the foundation of your life and my life,” and, “I appeal to you to study the Scripture. [There you’ll find that] the sovereignty of Jesus Christ is the foundation for our lives.”

If only he’d stuck with that foundation in his recent sermon…

Given what is stated above, it truly grieves me to be in the position of critiquing a recent statement by Dr. Price in this post, especially as I believe his statement to touch the most crucial aspect of the biblical message– the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

On November 26, 2006 at 6:00 PM, Dr. Nelson Price spoke at First Baptist Church Woodstock, Georgia on the subject of those who never hear the Gospel– specifically those who live in countries with no access to the Gospel message. Certain portions of this sermon were dedicated to mischaracterizing and assaulting the doctrines of grace, commonly nicknamed Calvinism. Dr. Price’s zeal in attacking Calvinism led to him repeating the now-infamous “bus illustration,” which he had first published three days earlier in the November 23 edition of The Christian Index, and for which he has now been called into account by Reformed Baptist apologist James White.

Dr. Price seemed particularly interested in trying to refute the “L” of Calvinism, that is, the doctrine of limited atonement (more accurately referred to as “definite atonement”). Now, whenever a Southern Baptist preacher attempts to argue against the doctrine of definite atonement, they run up against an immediate problem. For the confession of faith that the Southern Baptist Convention adopted at the annual meeting on July 14, 2000– the current version of the Baptist Faith & Message– very clearly affirms the doctrine of Christ’s substitutionary atonement (see BF&M II.B). This is a problem for Southern Baptist pastors such as Dr. Price because historically the doctrine of substitutionary atonement has been solidified in Christian thought due to the biblical exegesis of pastors and theologians within the Reformed, or Calvinist, tradition. And theologically the doctrine of Christ’s substitutionary atonement is bound up with the doctrine of definite atonement. For to be a substitute means to stand in the place of another, and if Christ was a true substitute on the Cross, bearing God’s wrath for sinners so that they would be saved, then all those for whom Christ provided substitution will certainly not bear God’s eternal wrath against their own sins. Therefore, in order to consistently hold to the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, one must either embrace the teaching that Christ died as a substitute for a definite number of elect individuals– that is, one must accept the limited atonement view– or else one must become a Universalist, in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Lord Jesus.


The “clearest Gospel presentation”?

December 13, 2006

In my recent posts here at SBF, I have been responding to the October 8, 2006 sermon of Dr. Jerry Vines given at First Baptist Church Woodstock, GA. I have been specifically focused on the Dr. Vines’ remarks against the doctrine of “Limited atonement,” or “particular redemption”- the teaching that by His death on the Cross, Jesus secured specific benefits (forgiveness of sins and a renewed heart) that would certainly be applied to a specific people. The last few posts have been dedicated to demonstrating that particular redemption is a doctrine based on careful exegesis of the biblical text.

In this post, I would like to indicate a practical outcome of denying the doctrine of particular redemption.


An Exegetical Defense of Definite Atonement: Introduction

November 29, 2006

Imagine if you will a situation in which a headlight on your new car blew and you found that the design of the headlight fixture was so unusual that you needed to consult the owner’s manual of the car in order to know how to fix it. Flipping through the owner’s manual, you find that the headlights are mentioned in several different sections– sections devoted to topics like “Driving Safety” and “Your Car’s Electrical System.” Now, reading through these sections might tell you many things about your car’s headlights. But if there was a section specifically devoted to the topic “Headlights,” then it would make the most sense to turn to this section first to find out the answer to the question, “How do I change my headlights?” Relying on other parts of the owner’s manual alone, rather than examining the most relevant section, may actually lead you to wrong conclusions about how to change your headlights and cause great frustration to you and to others. In a similar way, when looking to examine a particular doctrine found in Scripture, one should begin by exploring the section of God’s Word that is most relevant to the discussion of the teaching in question and not by trying to draw conclusions from various other Bible passages.


Dr. James White Continues His Review of Dr. Jerry Vines’ Lecture Against Calvinism

November 2, 2006

Reformed Baptist apologist James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries has continued his response to the lecture given by Jerry Vines at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA, which has been the focus of Strange BaptistFire over the last few posts. The latest section of Dr. White’s response begins at 9:09 on his October 31 webcast.

Was the death of Christ a failure?

October 31, 2006

Dr. Vines has apparently had at least some exposure to Calvinistic exegesis of the proof-texts used for Unlimited atonement mentioned in my previous post and he has chosen to disregard these explanations in favor of his own tradition, as demonstrated in the following quote:

“There’s no way you can monkey with the text and play exegetical games and get around the fact that the Bible teaches when Jesus died on the Cross, He died for the sins of the whole world.”


Dr. James White Reviews Dr. Jerry Vines’ Lecture Against Calvinism

October 30, 2006

Reformed Baptist apologist James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries has recently begun a response to the lecture given by Jerry Vines at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA, which has been the focus of Strange BaptistFire over the last few posts. Dr. White’s response begins at 19:07 on his October 24 webcast.