Alpha & Omega Ministry Blog

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[Note: For some reason, I ended up with the two fingers above Dr. White's head] Dr. White is very gracious to allow me to be a part of this team (not sure why) and I’ve neglected my duties (frankly I’m not sure I have any real substance to add). Lord willing, I will begin posting more.

Closing Down, Seminary, Prayer Request

Well, it is about time that I shut down posting on this blog. I’m coming up on the end of my second semester (first year) of seminary in which exams are in a few weeks.

This semester has been a blast as I’ve struggled my way through Hebrew (but enjoy it very much), I’ve pulled off A’s on mid-terms for both NT Introduction and Apologetics. I am also taking logic but was able to bring in credits from another institution and so I’m only required to audit it. Well, I also have to participate in a debate, in which I have to take the evidential apologetic side (aahhgg!). :)

Lord willing I will have OT Intro. with Dr. Shaw this summer, plus continuing to work through Greek and Hebrew – in preparation for the fall semester. In the fall I’m hoping to take: Ancient Church History (Dr. Willborn); Hebrew 2 (Dr. Shaw); Reformed Evangelism and Missions (Dr. Curto); Hermeneutics (Dr. Curto) and Prolegomena & Theology (Dr. Smith).

If there is anyone out there interested in supporting our family through seminary, we certainly could use the help at this time. You can either contact me, contact the church we are attending or contact the seminary.

Lord willing, when I am finished with my apologetics paper I will post it over at AOMin.org, which is also where you find me (not that I’ll be posting that often).

I am also starting (next week) to teach a class on the cults at Trinity, PCA which I do hope to post the audio online. Again the links will be found over at AOMin.org.

I will keep the blog up (because of the resources), but will not be posting.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Pastors Training Pastors

Dr. C.N. Willborn is one of my professors at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Lord willing I will have Ancient Church with him during the fall 2008 semester.

Dr. Willborn expresses some of the same thoughts that I have had over the years regarding the issue of training for the ministry. The difference is, he is professor at a theological seminary. Read his article titled Thoughts on Ministerial Education and Preparation. Here is a taste:

This, of course, will require pastors to become manly again—men who take their calling seriously and exercise it fully. Committing what they know and believe “to faithful men” (2 Tim 2:2). Pastors should be men who minister rather than administrate; disciple rather than manage. They are to avoid becoming entangled in anything less than that which will bear generational and eternal fruit. Where is the Calvin and the Chalmers who gave themselves to shepherding flocks and discipling the next generation of pastors?

Even though I’ve only sat under Dr. Willborn for one class thus far, I have benefitted greatly from this man, academically, but much more on a pastoral level.

I will have to say something to him though regarding his post on a blog, since he has been critical of blogging. :)

Cornelius Van Til and Karl Barth

Listen to the two Castle Church broadcast on Van Til.

The first addresses Van Til and his apologetic click here to listen.

The second addresses Van Til and his critique of Karl Barth. Click here to listen.

Visit the Castle Church by going here. There are many other programs worth listening to.

Greg Stafford on God’s Ignorance (Part 4): God As Man’s Prophet

Regarding the creation of mankind, the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q10) asks “How did God create man?” And it answers the question by stating “God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures” (emphasis mine). And because we are made in the image of God, we are to image Him (as only man can), in all of our being. We tend to look at this section of Genesis (1-3) as man either obeying and disobeying God strictly in their ethic (how they live their lives).

But as God’s creatures, Adam and Eve were to be Yahweh’s servant with all their being. We are told that the greatest commandment is “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (emphasis mine). This commandment, although not stated in Genesis was certainly Adam greatest commandment. And just as we are not to love and serve God in our own strength, according to our own dictates, Adam, again, was no different.

It is clear from the NT that part of the image that is being restored has to do with knowledge. What we know, how do we know it, etc. One picture of the Christian, is that he is as priest, offering up to God our own bodies (including our minds) as living sacrifices, and in doing so our minds will be transformed, to know God’s will. We are told in other places that we are to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2Cor. 10:5). In Eph. 4:22-23 Paul states “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” and in Col. 3:10 Paul continues this line of reason stating “and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

If one of the goals of our sanctification is that we are “think God’s thoughts after him” as Cornelius Van Til stated, we can safely assume that in the garden, prior to the fall, Adam possessed the knowledge Paul speaks about in the above verses. The difference being, that Adam before the fall did not have to “take every thought captive,” this was a given. Adam, prior to the fall, was thinking God’s thoughts after Him.

Being made in the image of God, man was to be God’s prophet, priest and king. He was to rule over creation, he was to subdue creation and he was to proclaim the works and mind of the mind of his creator to the creation. After all, if Adam failed in any of these before the actual fall, we would have a pre-fall. But we know this wasn’t the case.

When we look at the teachings of Mr. Greg Stafford, we see the roles of prophet exchanged from man being the prophet of God, to God being a prophet for man. Mr. Stafford has established for himself (with the help of Jehovah’s Witness publications) that there is knowledge God is not aware of and can not know until man reveals it. After man says what he says, it becomes revelation for God, and now God can speak forth what Adam, apart from his image-bearing, has made known. Remember, Mr. Stafford has told us that when God told Adam to name the animals, that God did not know what Adam was going to name them. God’s knowledge was limited to the free choices of man. God, now thinks man’s thoughts after him.

One important point to recognize here is that built into in Mr. Stafford’s theology, is a place for man’s autonomy. He (man) is a law unto himself. Before the fall, he can do things and say things without thinking God’s thought after him. Man, apart from God, makes decisions, which in the end, bind God and instead of man being the prophet for God, God becomes the mouth piece for man. Man becomes the final reference point and the the creator-creature distinction is blurred.

I can not say it better than Van Til at this point when he states “It is only when this point is carefully noted that the Christian and the non-Christian points of view are seen in their right relationship to one another. The two positions have mutually exclusive views of the ultimate reference point in predication” (Christian Apologetics, 2ed., 43).

[Note: The thoughts in this post are being developed for a paper I am currently writing for an apologetics class. When finished, Lord willing, I will post the paper on the blog. I am certainly open to your thoughts; positive or negative].

Scripture Hymns

Pastor Howard Sloan has been putting scripture to Hymns. Here are three so far:

1 Peter 1:3-9

Ephesians 1: 3-14 and

Philippians 2:5-11.

Stay tuned to this site for further updates.

Howard is the pastor of St. Paul’s Reformed Church in Bedford, PA. I would love to go back to PA after seminary and minister in this area.

Paradox in Christian Theology (Reviewed)

Paul Manata is at in again. This time he has produced a major review of James Anderson’s Paradox in Christianity Theology (Paternoster, 2007; ISBN#: 9-78184-22746-20), 328p).

Click here for the review.

Hermeneutical Atheists

All hermeneutic theories which play down the natue of God as communicator, and which move the focus to either the autonomous text or the autonomous reader, are expressions of hermeneutical atheism.

–Graeme Goldsworthy. Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evengelical Biblical Interpretation, Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2006, 53 Fn. 22.

Acts 17: Who is Your God?

What (or perhaps it would be better to ask, who) is Paul referring to in Acts 17 when he states “In him we live and move and have our being”? As you know Paul was quoting a pagan poet at this point.

If the a Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness or any other member of the various cults or world religions made such a statement, “In him we live move and have our being,” could we join with them and say yes, you are correct?

Or, is something else going on (in Paul’s mind) throughout Acts 17 and particularly in this verse?

Van Til Biography Reviewed

Paul Manata reviews the new biography of Van Til. Well done, Paul.

Click here to read.

NOTE: Paul even mentions that the book smells good. :)

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