Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tom Ascol on Bi-Vocational Ministry

Tom Ascol, of Founders Ministry, posted a brief blog post on bi-vocational ministers that really struck home for many

Personally, while I would love to be full-time (or the preferred term of "fully funded") and I am a bit curious as to what my full-time brethren do all week since so many of them preach only once on Sunday, I do find being bi-vocational to be somewhat liberating. I feel pretty free to preach the truth, and not have to be as concerned about offending someone. It strikes me, and I have said on more than one occasion, that there seem to be a lot of preachers who get the truth and know what it is, but still flinch when they stand in front of the congregation on Sunday. I imagine that it would be hard in many ways to see someone look disapprovingly from the pews if you depended on feeding your family and paying your mortgage solely from what you made from your ministry.

That doesn't mean I don't want to minister full-time, but I am resigned in some ways to the reality of Northern Michigan means that unless God deigns to do some pretty mighty work around here, I have two options: a) continue to minister bi-vocationally indefinitely or b) relocate my family to minister full-time at a larger church. I guess this is where patience comes in, which has never been my strongest suit.
Funny stuff!

The boys at Pyromaniacs have a (sort of) famous talent of creating cutesy looking signs that poke fun at the emergent church movement. This is a YouTube video that is a musical compilation of many of their funniest signs. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pellston beats Petoskey!

Madison and Noah played Petoskey , here are some clips...(Noah is number 6 Maddie is number 30)

Maddie and Noah on the line for a successful extra-point try by Petoskey...

Maddie and Noah on the defensive line together!

Maddie and Noah on the sidelines together!

Friday, September 14, 2007


The Indians magic number is down to 10 after a walk-off home run by Casey Blake. With two weeks left the Indians have three 15 game winners in C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona and Paul Byrd. Pretty good 1-2-3 punch for a short series and with a decent bullpen we should be in good shape for a 7 game series.
The Newness of the New Covenant

From the Bill Shisko-James White baptism debate...

James White briefly lays out the case for the New Covenant being different from the Old Covenant, and thus how circumcision and baptism are not one and the same, but that the sign of the Old Covenant (circumcision) was given to both believers and unbelievers, but the sign of the New Covenant (baptism) ought only be properly given to is only a couple of minutes but it is good stuff! It was brought about by some people apparently accusing Dr. White, one of the greatest defenders of Reformed theology in modern times, of being insufficiently Reformed enough. That is one of the most annoying habits of paedobaptists, and again it is ironic that those that claim to be truly Reformed are those who have failed to reform a key doctrine: baptism.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Using tragedy to score theological points

In one of the most misguided attacks on Calvinism I have ever read, Dr. Roger Olson, professor of theology at Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, creates such a caricature of Calvinism that it becomes unrecognizable to it's adherents. In doing so, he exposes his own Arminianism that has led to what can only be described as an "open-theism" view that is misguided at best and heretical at worst. Speaking about Calvinism and John Piper in particular regarding the collapse of the bridge in Minneapolis and the accompanying deaths.

This theology is sweeping up thousands of impressionable young Christians. It provides a seemingly simple answer to the problem of evil. Even what we call evil is planned and rendered certain by God because it is necessary for a greater good.

But wait. What about God's character? Is God, then, the author of evil? Most Calvinists don't want to say it. But logic seems to demand it. If God plans something and renders it certain, how is he not culpable for it? Here is where things get murky.

Some Calvinists will say he's not guilty because he has a good intention for the event -- to bring good out of it, but the Bible expressly forbids doing evil for the sake of good.

Many conservative Christians wince at the idea that God is limited. But what if God limits himself so that much of what happens in the world is due to human finitude and fallenness? What if God is in charge but not in control? What if God wishes that things could be otherwise and someday will make all things perfect?

That seems more like the God of the Bible than the all-determining deity of Calvinism.

I love the line: "This theology is sweeping up thousands of impressionable young Christians. " Poor, impressionable young Christians, being encouraged to place God in His rightful place as Lord of Creation. How tragic that our young people are developing a high opinion of God and reading His Word for what it says!

How in the world is it more comforting to think of God this way? At least if you see God as sovereign, you can rest assured that despite not always understanding everything, you know that God is ultimately in control. In Dr. Olson's world, God is a victim of His own creation, unable or worse, unwilling to exert control over it in fear that in doing so He would somehow impact or diminish man's vaunted "free-will". God has so limited Himself that He is helpless to intervene in the affairs of the world He created for His pleasure or the lives of His creatures made in the express image of Himself. It is Dr. Olson, not John Piper, that has created a idolatrous god of his own imagination that stands directly opposed to the God of the Bible.

Dr. Olson further states:
In this world, because of our ignorance and sinfulness, really bad things sometimes happen and people do really evil and wicked things. Not because God secretly plans and prods them, but because God has said to fallen, sinful people, "OK, not my will then, but thine be done -- for now."

And God says, "Pray because sometimes I can intervene to stop innocent suffering when people pray; that's one of my self-limitations. I don't want to do it all myself; I want your involvement and partnership in making this a better world."

Funny, but I don't recall reading anything like that in the Bible. Oh that's right, that is because the Bible says no such thing! When God "says" something, it appears in His Word. How dare Dr. Olson presume to put his own thoughts out there as God's Word!

No shocker here, a number of Reformed folks have made excellent, well-reasoned responses to these scurrilous charges by Dr. Olson, see Tim Ascol's here and Steve Hays here. What is a shame is that we have to waste time responding to such inane charges, capped off by this statement that exhibits Dr. Olson's utter misunderstanding of Reformed doctrines: The God of Calvinism scares me; I'm not sure how to distinguish him from the devil. I am sure Dr. Olson cannot distinguish Him because he worship a god of his own sinners imagination. Think again of the implication of that statement, as pointed out by the good folks at Dr. Olson states that he believes that Calvinists worship a being indistinguishable from the devil. We certainly can and should disagree heartily with one another, but that crosses a serious line of discourse that shows how intellectually shallow Dr. Olson is, which should be a source of extreme embarrassment for Baylor Univerisity.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007


That is the Indians magic number for a division title, showing up tonight in the standings after the Indians beat Johan Santana again this season (I think that is the fourth or fifth time, Santana is not the same pitcher he used to be). Any combination of Indians wins or Tigers losses equaling 20 means a division title for the Indians.

Go Tribe!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

So much for a National Title

Nothing like starting off the season ranked #5 and then losing to 1-AA Appalachian State. Remind me again why Lloyd Carr is still employed? Three of the best players at their position, three of the best players period, against a tune-up opponent and they lose?