Thursday, May 13, 2010

Modern Martyrs

When Pastor Al Meredith entered the pulpit of Wedgwood Baptist Church September 19, he addressed the question nearly everyone was asking: “Where is God in all this?” And the “all this” was almost too horrible to remember.

Just four days before, the church’s sanctuary had been a place of horror and carnage as Larry Gene Ashbrook opened fire on a youth evangelism rally, killing seven participants and wounding others. He then calmly sat down in a pew and shot himself to death. In an instant, a place of worship had been reduced to a crime scene.

Once again, young people lay dead and wounded from an act of inexplicable violence. But this time the scene wasn’t a high school, but a church building. What the youth first thought was a dramatic skit turned out to be a matter of life and death. Larry Ashbrook entered the sanctuary, shouted anti-Christian curses at the young people, and then shot with cold-blooded accuracy.

The youth had met that morning around school flagpoles as a part of the national “See You at the Pole” prayer and evangelism movement. Little did they know that their witness would soon reach around the world.

How could God have let this happen? How do we explain this evil? A tragedy like this sets loose a torrent of theological questions. The response to these questions is a true test of any theology—and any Christian.

read the rest of this post here.

posted by jrd.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Silence of the Lambs

The following was posted by Pastor Mark Dever and can be viewed at

One of the most frequently commented upon aspects of the morning Lord's Day service here at Capitol Hill Baptist Church is nothing we do.  Or rather, it is the nothing we do.  It is our moments of silence.

There's silence between various aspects of the service. I encourage service leaders to NOT do the "no-dead-airspace" TV standard of busy-ness. We LIKE "dead air space."  "Dead air space" gives us time to reflect.  To collect our thoughts.  To consider what we've just heard or read or sung.  The silence amplifies the words or music we've just heard.  It allows us time to take it all in, and to pray.  We have silence to prepare ourselves.  We have silence between the announcements and the scriptural call to worship.  We even have a moment of silence AFTER the service!  I pronounce the benediction from the end of II Corinthians, invite the congregation to be seated.  And then, after about a minute of silence, the pianist begins quietly playing the last hymn that we had just sung.  During those few moments, we reflect and prepare to speak to others and depart.  We do business with God.  We prepare ourselves for the week ahead.

I'm a sound addict.  Even as I write about silence now, I've got Paganini blasting in my study!  But yesterday morning in church during one of our silences, I became aware of how corporate a labor such public silence is.  Everyone works to be quiet.  People stop moving their bulletins or looking for something in their purse.  There's no movement.  We, together, hear the silence.  It engulfs us.  It enhances our unity.  It is something we all do together.  Together we consider what we've just heard.  Together we contribute to each other's space to think.
Why has the church forgotten this?  Our culture knows it.  At the most solemn moments, we have a minute of silence.  And everyone listens to the silence.  And thinks about why we're being silent.  Why don't we do this in the church.

In the last century, E. M. Forster, in A Passage to India, referred to "poor little talkative Christianity".  Perhaps there was a day when all Christians did was gather to listen to the Bible read and preached, and to prayers.  But that day is long gone in most evangelical churches.  These days we gather more to watch than to listen.  And to sing. 
But in all the noise of our choirs, and drums, and electic guitars, and organs, and praise bands, where is the solemnity?  Where is the dignity and majesty that is so often indicated in the Bible by a stupified silence, soaked in awe and covered with wonder?

Ecclesiastes 3:7 tells us that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent, but we seem to have forgotten today that there is a time for silence.  God calls his people before Him in silence:  "the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him," (Hab. 2:20).
Certainly as Christians we have much to rejoice over--loudly and joyfully and expectantly!  But is no part of our regular assemblies to reflect the weightiness of our sinful selves before a holy God, the silence of conviction, even of sorrow?  Furthermore, is no part of our regular assemblies to reflect the stunning weightiness of our forgiveness in Christ, the silence of marvel, and even the humility of some incomprehension?

We silence ourselves exactly because God has not kept silent.  We silence ourselves in order to hear God speak in His Word (cf. Deut. 27:9)  We silence ourselves to show our assent to God's charges against us (cf. Ps. 39:9).  We silence ourselves to show respect and obedience and humility and restraint (cf. Zeph. 1:7; I Cor. 14:34; I Tim. 2:12).  We silence ourselves to search our hearts (cf. Ps. 4:4).

We silence ourselves in our own times of prayer, reading and meditation on God's Word.  And we should also silence ourselves in our periods of corporate worship.  Making silence together builds and unifies the church, witnesses to the majesty of God and tacitly proclaims His greatness to all who hear.

posted by jrd

Friday, April 30, 2010

Death of An Atheist

Does belief in "God" make you a Christian?  Read Al Mohler's review of the "conversion" of an atheist.

posted by jrd

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Beginning of the Occupation.

Frenchman Crying During Nazi Occupation of France
12/11/1941-Marseilles, France: Frenchman crying as the flags of fallen France were marched through the streets of Marseilles on their way to Africa.
3/21/2010. Democrats on their way to pass the "Health Care" bill.

posted by john d.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Preaching Pattern

"So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused [them] to understand the reading." Nehemiah 8:8 (ESV)

In many churches, there is almost no public reading of the Word of God. Worship is filled with music, but congregations seem disinterested in listening to the reading of the Bible. We are called to sing in worship, but the congregation cannot live only on the portions of Scripture that are woven into songs and hymns. Christians need the ministry of the Word as the Bible is read before the congregation and God's people -- young and old, rich and poor, married and unmarried, sick and well -- hear it together. The sermon is to consist of the exposition of the Word of God, powerfully and faithfully read, explained, and applied. It is not enough that the sermon take a biblical text as its starting point.

excerpted from

 posted by john d.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

When Sorrow Becomes Sinful

The title is taken from the second chapter of a reprint of John Flavel's "A Token For Mourners" published in 1674 and reprinted by Banner of Truth Trust as "Facing Grief". The second chapter poses the question, 'when does sorrow become sinful and excessive'?

"It becomes excessive, when, causes us to slight and despise all our other mercies and enjoyments as small things, in comparison with what we have lost....

It is a sin springing from ignorance. Did we know the desert of our sins, we should rather wonder to see one mercy left than that twenty are cut off. They that know they have forfeited every mercy should be thankful that they enjoy any, and patient when they lose any of their comforts....

If you knew God, even that sovereign Lord at whose disposal our comforts come and go, who can the next moment blast all that remain, and turn you into hell afterwards, you would prize the mercies he yet indulges you with at a higher value.....

And yet, if you be out of Christ, you are in danger of a far sadder stroke than any, or all, yet mentioned. What if God should say, Do you not prize my mercy? have you no value for my goodness and forbearance towards you? Is it nothing that I have spared you thus long in your sins and rebellions? Well then, I will stretch out my hand upon your life, cut off that thread which has kept you so many years from dropping into hell."

posted by john d.