(Tim) Today is John Calvin's 500th birthday. We didn't plan it this way, but I can't think of a better way of celebrating this day than attending the ClearNote Fellowship conference which begins this very evening. So far, we've received registrations for about 125 adults and 60 children for Standing in the Gap. It's not too late for you to come!
Even if you're not registered, you can show up this evening from 6:30-7:00 PM when we'll have open registration. The first session, "Who Will Stand?" begins at 7:00 PM, followed by a concert.
We'll continue tomorrow (Saturday) morning with breakfast at 9:00 AM and our second session, "Fight or Flight," at 9:30.
If you have any questions, please call us at (812) 825-2684. (Download a conference brochure, here.)
by David and Tim Bayly on January 1, 2010 - 8:18am
(Tim) Today, the ClearNote Fellowship Blog is up with its first post by Josh Congrove titled, Why Study Church History: The Myopia of the Modern. If you like Baylyblog, you'll want to add the ClearNote Blog to your bookmarks or RSS feeds. We'll have posts by people involved with ClearNote, posts by women for women, and posts by a number of pastors. I'll be posting there, too.
To whet your appetite, here are a couple paragraphs from Josh's piece posted today, the first day of 2010. We hope the work of ClearNote Fellowship will be a great encouragement to you and that you'll join with us in any way you're able. May God bless your new year!
* * *
...Understanding Church history shows us that the most incredible, most
sophisticated discoveries in the Christian faith were made long ago. It
shows us that our great need today is not to let postmodernism inform
the doctrine of the Trinity, but rather to proclaim its doctrine,
already discovered, to a world that needs old truth explained, not new
truth uncovered. Church history shows us that most of the new
perspectives we think we've opened today are really little more than
rehashing of old heresy. Open theism is nothing more than the posterity
of Pelagianism; and its adherents, if more sophisticated, are only the
degraded descendants of the man St. Augustine defeated 1,600 years
ago. Feminism is nothing but...
Playing a musical instrument requires hours and hours of private
practice and study before it can be done in public. A man who has never
touched an organ would be a fool if he thought he could publicly
perform a Bach fugue on the first try. The same is true with playing
basketball. One does not learn to play like Michael Jordan simply by
watching from the stands. A surgeon does not perform intricate brain
surgery without years of preparation. In all of these disciplines,
there is a direct connection between the quality of the private
preparation and the outcome of the public performance.
The same principle applies to the pastorate. A man who neglects the
private duties of the ministry cannot expect to be fruitful in the
public duties. Despite this clear reality, however, the emphasis in
pastoral training at the seminary level is usually on the outward,
public duties of the pastorate. In seminary, the vast majority of time
and energy is devoted to making men capable shepherds, preachers, and
counselors. But the emphasis in the New Testament is on making pastors
holy men who meditate on the Word who do not shrink from suffering
hardship. (To read the rest of Pastor Baker's post...)
Why aren’t you taking advantage of your blessed condition of
having been born in an age in which you have the freedom to get an
education, make something of yourself, make a difference in the world,
and enjoy the opportunities that are available to you today but were
unavailable to your grandmother in her day?
I was just standing at my stove this evening, working on dinner, and
thanking God that I'm not where I was a little over a year ago...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 12, 2010 - 7:40am
(Tim) As I've noted before, ClearNote Fellowship is planting a church in Indianapolis. The men leading the plant are Joseph Bayly and David Abu-Sara, both from ClearNote Pastors College. Here's a post by Joseph on ClearNote Church of Indy. If you live in Indy or have friends or relatives there, I encourage you to join in this good work.
* * *
When we think of missions work, we often think of working in a
far-off country like Peru or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In
other words, we think of foreign missions. But if we define a missionary
as someone fulfilling the Great Commission, sent to preach the Gospel to those who have not heard the good news of Christ’s salvation, we'll remember that missions work is truly global. If you're reading
this, it's likely you're somewhere on the globe, there
are people around, and you've found a good place for
missions work. Jesus said to “make disciples of all nations…” so
missions work can and should be happening everywhere.
This is an update on some missions work that ClearNote Fellowship is
doing in Indianapolis. In November, Heidi and I moved from Bloomington to
Indianapolis to plant ClearNote Church; and, after graduation, David and
Vanessa Abu-Sara are planning to move up here to join in this work.
“But,” you might be thinking, “aren’t there enough churches in
Indianapolis already? Why start another one?”
(Tim: This from Heidi Bayly and the ClearNote Blog)
"I am strong, I am
invincible; I am woman!" -Helen Reddy
The majority of women would not admit to
being fearful and anxious. We roll our eyes at the women of the
past who fainted far too often and squealed much too high. Fear has
become distinctly un-American. After all, in America, what do we have to
fear except fear itself?
But if we're honest with ourselves, we realize our life is
governed by fear: the fear that we'll never get married, never have
children, our babies will die, our husband will stop loving
us, our children will not repent, the pain in our back will
not go away, we'll not have any friends, or that God will
require too much of us. The list goes on.
So now, from the time we're little girls, we're fed lies that we can
conquer our fears on our own. Or maybe with a little help from a medical
professional. We're taught to think of ourselves as invincible, powerful,
strong, independent, and fearless... (continue reading)
(Tim: this from Pastor Dave Curell on the ClearNote Fellowship Blog)
...There’s always that one guy who not only attacks the morality of
the film, but also claims an absolute authoritative
understanding of what is morally acceptable. He doesn't simply imply
that, in his view, something is right or wrong, but he claims his view is the authoritative view. And by this piece of chutzpah,
he becomes the worst of the killjoys—the dogmatic one. Why? Because his
conviction calls into question every piece of entertainment we consume. Nothing's sacred or safe any longer. Seriously, if he casts down Avatar, won’t Star Wars soon fall along with
Christians hate such killjoys. They're cosmic bummers.
"Forget all the books. Forget all the men whose success you so
desperately want for yourself. Forget Rick Warren. Forget Mark Driscoll.
Forget Tim Keller. Forget Andy Stanley. None of them have anything to
do with you."
(Tim) When I entered the pastorate, Dad's advice was sparse but memorable. Four offhand comments at different times, with no explanation.
"Preach them down, then preach them back up again." (I had a yoked parish of two congregations.)
"Don't use Pardeeville as a stepping stone." (Think William Still. Or better, Doug Wilson still out there in Moscow, Idaho.)
"Go for the men and the women will follow." (Duh. We live in a day when wise men don't assume even the most basic truths.)
"A visiting pastor makes a church-going people."
It's this fourth word of advice I want us to think about...
(Tim) Over at ClearNote Blog, my number two daughter, Michal Louise Crum, has people gasping for breath with her modest proposal that a college education isn't a prerequisite for godliness or contentment. Poor benighted Michal, barefoot but not pregnant. The most intense hissy fits are over at the bump: the inside scoop on pregnancy. Take a gander.
(Tim, w/thanks to Lucas and our CGS musicians) Every church should celebrate Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday--and particularly Good Friday--if they're to be allowed to celebrate Easter. And a corollary: no believer should be permitted into Easter morning worship unless he's first been in attendance at a Good Friday service. But of course, who's making any rules in Protestantism, today?
Anyhow, yesterday we held our noon Good Friday service and, on the spur of the moment, I decided to record some of our worship liturgy on my iPhone to share with you. First, from Bach's St. Matthew's Passion, "Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben:"
We speak of worship and music often, here and on the ClearNote blog, and many of our readers are uncomfortable with our commitment to musical worship that's in the vulgar tongue. So I thought I'd provide a taste of what it looks and sounds like, admittedly on a more unplugged day in our congregational life...
(Tim) Last year, we had an excellent turnout for our first ClearNote Fellowship Conference held each year the weekend following the Fourth of July. This year the conference will be Friday, July 9 through Saturday, July 10. I hope you'll make plans now to come. And bring your whole family.
(Tim:This from ClearNote Blog, by Pastor Stephen Baker) There's a lot being said these days about the feminization of the
Church. It’s an objective fact there are more women in churches
than men. This cuts across all denominations, liberal and conservative,
Protestant and Roman Catholic. Overwhelmingly, the Church has become the
realm of women.
Some contemporary writers have noticed this trend and offered their
remedies. Churches can attract men by using sports illustrations, preaching short sermons, showing clips from movies, perfecting the
art of the man hug. All these solutions are shallow and superficial.
The key to
getting men back to church is worship, but the evangelical Church has reduced worship to an emotional,
feminine activity. Case in point: The Sacred
Swoon. Here's another version. Go ahead, click on the links.
If you've been in an American Evangelical church for five
seconds, you've seen this: eyes closed, head back, hands limply
raised, body swaying… (to continue reading...)
(Tim) Our ClearNote Fellowship Conference is fast approaching, but there's still time for you to make plans to come. So, register now. The conferene is coming up the weekend after the Fourth of July; Friday and Saturday, July 9th and 10th. We're hoping to break 200 registrants this year and it's looking like God will give us that many (for which we're grateful).
And that's without some of you!
Pastors Curell, Baker, and I were interviewed about the conference. Watch the videos...
(Tim) This past weekend, many brothers and sisters and their children joined us for the ClearNote Fellowship Conference. The theme of our worship and preaching was, In the Godly, Fear and Love Embrace. The fellowship, preaching, and worship strengthened us all, greatly.
Then, following morning Lord's Day worship and a feast, we held the ordination service for my son, Joseph Bayly, to the work of planting ClearNote Church, Indianapolis. My brother, David, preached the sermon. Then we laid hands on Joseph and set him apart to the work of an Evangelist.
Soon, links to the sermons will be available and those of you who weren't able to join us will be able to listen to them. If you're wise, you won't miss them.
(David--w/thanks to Bob Forney) The 2010 ClearNote Fellowship Conference held last weekend at Church of the Good Shepherd was a rich time of considering the Christian's duty to fear and love God forcefully and simultaneously. I believe conference audio and/or video will soon be made available--check the ClearNote audio site (only 2009 conference audio is available as I write).
Under the overall theme of "In the Godly, Fear and Love Embrace," David Curell spoke Friday night on fear and love embracing on the cross. Saturday, Stephen Baker spoke on fear and love embracing in the Godly, CTW elder Robert Fornery spoke on fear and love in the home and Jody Killingsworth spoke on fear and love in worship.
The sessions were superb. The food was great. The cost was next-to-nothing. The fellowship was wonderful. And the music was glorious--including the rap which followed Saturday's lunch.
(Tim: This article originally appeared in ClearNote Fellowship's newsletter. If you'd like to be added to our mailing list, please send us an e-mail.)
Each time we sat under the ministry of our much-loved Iain Murray at the old Banner of Truth conferences, the Bayly brothers could predict at some point during the Q & A sessions Murray would strike a plaintive note, asking, “Why is there no evangelism in Reformed churches?” After a while, we realized it wasn’t a question, but a lament.
No one ever suggested he was wrong. The question brought on a guilty silence.
But if Reformed congregations don’t have new births, why aren’t our churches dying? Some pollsters even say the Reformed slice of the conservative Christian pie is growing. Doesn’t this prove Reformed men have changed their priorities and are giving themselves to evangelism--that we're all missional, today?
Sadly not. Our converts have simply moved up the social register. To keep our pews filled, we depend upon men and women raised in Christian homes getting their graduate degree and trading in their parents’ Arminian church for a more respectable Reformed congregation...
Mark your calendars now for the ClearNote Conference next year. We'll be announcing the subject soon. The dates are July 8-9, 2011. The conference is always the weekend following the Fourth of July. Don't miss it.
(Tim) Churches mired in the conceit of being urban and cosmopolitan speak frequently of being "in the city" and "for the city." Leaving aside "in the city," what does it mean to be "for the city?"
There's no one better to take that question to than our early church father, Augustine. As Rome fell, Augustine wrote his magisterial City of God. It was a voice from the City of God to the City of Man--which at that time was the City of Rome. To Augustine, being for the city didn't consist of taking in a play, hanging at the local pub, or hiring Indie musicians to lead worship. He'd been down that road quite a ways prior to his conversion and he was younger than that now.
Instead, Augustine wrote against these things--relentlessly and as an insider. He'd spent his entirely dissipated youth...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 7, 2010 - 10:08am
(Tim) From Augustine's City of God, let's sample a few notes rarely struck by pastors marketing their church as "in the city" and "for the city;" but really, rarely struck by almost any shepherd working in the pastorate today in North America.
Take, for instance, the matter of food: how would we compare our declaration of the Order of Creation and the meaning of the Sixth Commandment to the vegans and vegetarians in our own congregations--of which there are as many now as back in the time of Augustine and the Apostle Paul (1Timothy 4:1-4)--to Augustine's own declaration, here?
...some attempt to extend "Thou shalt not kill" even to beasts and cattle, as if it forbade us to take life from any creature. But if so, why not extend it also to the plants, and all that is rooted in and nourished by the earth? For though this class of creatures have no sensation, yet they also are said to live, and consequently they can die; and therefore, if violence be done them, can be killed. So, too, the apostle, when speaking of the seeds of such things as these, says, “That which thou sowest is not quickened except it die;” and in the Psalm it is said, “He killed their vines with hail.”
Must we therefore reckon it a breaking of this commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” to pull a flower? Are we thus insanely to countenance the foolish error of the Manichæans?
Putting aside, then, these ravings, ...when we say, "Thou shalt not kill," we do not understand this of the plants, since they have no sensation, nor of the irrational animals that fly, swim, walk, or creep, since they are dissociated from us by their want of reason, and are therefore by the just appointment of the Creator subjected to us to kill or keep alive for our own uses... (I:20)
Are we similar to Augustine in his work magnifying, making the most of the distinction between the city of God and the city of man? What a contrast he provides here to our effeminate attempts to blur all distinctions--particularly that essential distinction on which eternity hangs, drawing the line of God's election between the slaves of God and the slaves of Satan. In his comments, Pastor Beatty has illustrated typical attempts today to market the Church as not other or peculiar or God-fearing or holy, but "we're just like you, really; and you're just like us." Contrast this...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 17, 2010 - 8:33am
(Tim, with tongue planted) Nearly every one of my friends is sending me a link to this Wall Street Journal piece announcing the earthshaking news that evangelicals are in love with hip and cool and dude and are trying to make their churches hip and cool and dude, also.
I'm floored. Someone quick call PCA and MNA headquarters so they can get a jump on battening down the hatches.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 11, 2010 - 7:52am
(Tim) From ClearNote Blog: The notable disciple of Spurgeon, Archibald Brown, warns:
The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!
...In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the 'gospel of amusement'. Their message is, "Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them... Don't touch their filthy things..." Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon. (Read more.)
by David and Tim Bayly on September 11, 2010 - 2:54pm
(Tim) Back in 1993, I wrote an article on a conflict over the policy of Westminster School in Atlanta that required board members of this private Christian school to be confessing Christians. The New York Times had done an article on the controversy and I took the piece as a jumping-off point to say a few things about home, public, and Christian schools. Since then, Mary Lee and I have educated our five children (as well as several other children who lived with us through the years) in each of those ways--home, public, and Christian school. This is the final year we have a child at home and Taylor, our youngest, is finishing high school at the school my wife Mary Lee, with a couple others, founded and served as principal--Lighthouse Christian Academy.
It's been years since we've had a child at LCA. When it put up a building, we watched its former commitments decline. It seemed bent on becoming the sort of Christian school that, from the beginning, we'd worked hard to avoid. But this is the ho-hum way of all institutions, Christian or otherwise, and there have been some encouraging changes at LCA the past couple of years--hence Taylor's presence there this year.
But as I point out in the article below, the best antidote to school decline is the founding of a new school. It worked with Yale as a reform of Harvard, Princeton as a reform of Yale, and it's still working with schools like New St. Andrews being a reform of Wheaton, Westmont, Gordon, and Covenant.
Tired and timid souls always laugh at the upstarts...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 29, 2010 - 8:32am
(Tim) In his post below, David is right. We shepherds often sin by healing the sin of the souls under our watch-care superficially. We commend the grace of God without condemning sin. We drone on about forgiveness and never mention repentance. Luther saw the same thing among the shepherds of his day:
In regard to doctrine we observe especially this defect that, while some preach about the faith by which we are to be justified, it is still not clearly enough explained how one shall attain to this faith, and almost all omit one aspect of the Christian faith without which no one can understand what faith is or means. For Christ says in the last chapter of Luke 24:47 that we are to preach in His name repentance and forgiveness of sins.
Many now talk only about the forgiveness of sins and say little or nothing about repentance.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 13, 2010 - 6:54am
(Tim) Pastor Sam Andreades, a longtime member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, now serves New York's Village Church affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America. Recently, Pastor Andreades did a five minute spot on WFMU's Seven Second Delay radio show concerning Village Church's willingness to help those "who are conflicted in their desires and their identity and would like to determine themselves differently." (Here's a pic from the occasion.)
Near the end, Pastor Andreades was asked if he wanted to lead in prayer? The interview begins around 18:30 and the concluding prayer at 23:30. Here's Pastor Andreades' prayer:
HOST: Sam, would you like to lead a prayer?
SAM ANDREADES: Uh, I'd be willing to pray if nobody laughs; if we can do it reverently.
HOST: Sure, let's give it a try and see what happens, OK? Ready?
by David and Tim Bayly on October 28, 2010 - 11:32am
(Tim: Nathan Alberson writes) Dear Dad or Mom:
Your average teenage boy already knows about the birds and bees. But how on earth are you going to talk your darling child through all the issues that come along with it: from lust to porn... Wouldn't it be nice if there was some sort of book about sex written for young men...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 29, 2010 - 7:37am
(Tim) Under the post about Wheaton's quarter-billion capital campaign, a reader asked, "(If a man) wants to prepare to be an Old or New Testament Professor... (w)here would you recommend him to study for a Ph.D. and why is this a better place to go than Wheaton?" Taking this as a jumping-off point for some related thoughts, I commented:
The academy has taken over the Reformed church and needs to be pushed back to being a servant, rather than a master. And its service needs to be circumscribed to the end that, once its overreaching has been disciplined, it doesn't have an easy time taking back lost ground.
The first necessary act of discipline is to reclaim for the church the training of shepherds. The academic model has utterly failed. It turns out men whose basic orientation is to avoid conflict. Not to be too hard on seminaries, though; this is only what academic institutions are ordered to produce. We shouldn't be harsh on them for doing what they're made to do.
The academy in its current manifestation is set up to manufacture men committed to being good disciples (of their profs) who will be hired by good colleges and universities...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 9, 2010 - 10:34am
(Tim, w/thanks to a longtime friend of Baylyblog) Over at another blog, Denny Burk does a good job exposing just one of many hundreds of places where the recently-released New International Version 2010 deletes or changes God's words in order to make Scripture more palatable to postmoderns. The verse in question is 1Timothy 2:12 which has, up until now, always been translated in such a way as to make clear to English speakers that, through the Order of Creation and the Fall, God has made clear woman is not to "teach" or "exercise authority" over man.
Now, though, such a message is horribly embarrassing, so it must be changed. This, of course, is precisely what Doug Moo and his colleagues paid by Zondervan and Biblica are eager to do, so it's a serendipitous set of associations. Thus this latest Bible product they're trying to sell, the New International Version 2010, gives us a much more approachable text:
I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;b she must be quiet.
b Or over her husband
Yes, it's one thing to "assume authority" and something else entirely to "exercise authority." That's the point, dear readers. But hey, you can justify your change with a whirlwind of words as Doug does in the comments under Mr. Burk's post...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 22, 2010 - 5:35pm
(Jody Killingsworth) Each year, our worship band joins forces with our adult and children’s choirs and fifteen or so orchestral musicians from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music to lead the Bloomington community in celebrating the Incarnation of our promised Messiah. It’s exuberant, ecstatic, poignant, energetic, stirring, tremendous, resplendent; and best of all, participatory!
So come sing your Christmas hearts out with us. Then join us for Lord’s Day worship the next morning. We’d love to have you, especially if you’re from out of town. Let us know, and we'll do our best to find a home for you and your family while you're here.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 24, 2010 - 8:09am
(Tim) In the preface to his book, Alias Shakespeare, the late Joe Sobran wrote: "I would much rather be in the tradition of great American cranks like Thoreau, Ambrose Bierce, Lysander Spooner, and H. L. Mencken, than belong to the mass of scholars who, ever mindful of tenure, promotion, grants, and that last infirmity of ignoble minds, respectability, never deviate from scholarly consensus."
Everyone wants to have led a scientific revolution, but where's the man willing to lead one?
This Thanksgiving, I thank God for the nobility and fear of God that led Joe Sobran and Joe Bayly to deviate from the consensus and to oppose the regnant racism and sexism that deny the moral agency of blacks, women, and Jews...
Paul is a Zambian Christian leader, a graduate of the school where I teach. I’ve taken him as representative of one of my students so I can have a face to look at in my mind as I write these letters.
Often my students puzzle over what they hear coming from the church in the west. Much of their background has led them to accept without question what comes from western Christians. "After all, they brought us the gospel and keep coming back and helping us." My exhortation to Paul is the one given by his namesake: “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thess 5:21).
Letters to Paul: Language in the Emergent Church
Dear Paul: I want to write a few letters to you about the atonement of Christ, criticizing several teachings that are coming from the west. But first I need to write one about language and communication styles.
A number of American Christian writers today have adopted a style that feels very inviting. They ask a lot of questions. They word their statements in a way that seems humble. They admit that they don’t have all the answers. They show an admirable hesitancy in making truth statements. They don’t rebuke people but want to leave us all feeling affirmed, one of the group, encouraged, like a fellow pilgrim on a journey...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 28, 2010 - 7:42am
(Tim) ClearNote Fellowship is holding a pastors conference titled "The Reformed Pastor: Reviving Pastoral Care in the Church" on Thursday, February 3rd, and Friday, February 4th, 2010 here at Church of the Good Shepherd. If you are (or aspire to be) a pastor, elder, or deacon, I hope you'll come. And if you're not an officer, would you please encourage your own pastors, elders, and deacons to attend?
It's been a theme of Baylyblog that, in order for church officers to fulfill our callings, we must be intimate with the souls God has placed under our care. Not acquainted or familiar with them, but intimate. Sadly, Reformed churches lack the practice of hospitality and fellowship that produce that intimacy, and so we lack the Biblical context God has ordained for the protection and sanctification of His sheep.
Intimacy shows up everywhere in the New Testament church. There are tears, kisses, scrolls and parchment, household qualifications for officers, personal examination of widows and their families, specific rules for children, slaves, husbands and wives, name-specific rebukes and commendations; the New Testament has personal pastoral care woven in and above and below every word of doctrine. It's beautiful!
And think about it: among postmoderns who grew up in broken homes and think Facebook is friendship, what could be more attractive than true Christian fellowship and the organic...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 17, 2011 - 9:12am
(Tim, w/thanks to Joseph) If you'd like to see into the future of churches that market themselves as Evangelical or hip and Reformed, this article gives a clear picture of how it will fall out next with sodomy. First we threw out God's Order of Creation concerning patriarchy and next we're going to throw out God's Order of Creation concerning heterosexuality. But the work will be hidden behind the high moral ground of past church reforms in slavery and male dominance, and the wreckers will be chattering on about love.
If we could deny the application of Adam first, then Eve, to anyone other than Christians, and only among Christians to tie-breaking votes at home, men preaching Sunday mornings, and women having voice but no vote in our elders meetings, the next step is only logical: we'll deny that God creating Eve (rather than Steve) for Adam bars practicing sodomites from church membership and we'll think it's progressive to refer to heterosexual marriage as "God's ideal" while approving monogamous sodomite unions as a worthy second-best. Outside the Christian home and Church, we'll seek to repeal laws against sodomy because, like patriarchy, heterosexuality is a private Christian truth.
Trimming God's Word and authority is a coherent strategy that moves on to the next project and giving away territory to Satan never causes him to be less aggressive on his next mission. Every last bit of territory we concede will serve him well as the staging ground for his next attack on God's Order of Creation.
Some complementarians have written about the inevitability of the feminist hermeneutic giving birth to the homosexualist hermeneutic. By this they only mean that the complete denial of Adam's headship over Eve will also result in the complete denial of God's gift of Eve to Adam and His limiting of sex to monogamous heterosexual marriage. They're right, as far as they go. But they fail to see the inevitability, also, of their own minimalistic complementarian hermeneutic giving birth to an equally minimalistic heterosexualist hermeneutic...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 25, 2011 - 11:43am
(Tim) Two weeks from now, we'll be holding the ClearNote Fellowship Pastors Conference. It will go from Thursday dinner to Friday afternoon, so it'll be no problem for you to be home for Lord's Day worship. If you're an elder or pastor, or aspire to those offices, we invite you to attend. (Since God has ordered these offices be held only by men, please understand registration is limited to men.)
Our subject is pastoral care. Thursday night, my brother, David, will preach on...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 31, 2011 - 9:48am
(Tim, w/thanks to Eric) Our Lord, the Apostle Paul, and economists are agreed that money matters quite a lot. For instance, check out the comments on this blog responding to the news that, in China, a law is being proposed that would make an adult child's failure to visit his parents actionable in court. If the law passes, parents could sue their child for failure to visit and the child could be fined and directed to submit to a visitation schedule. What wonderful visits that would produce! Beyond the question of banks, pensions, and Social Security, though, there's another set of numbers worth noting, here.
We have a fair number of international students who attend ClearNote Church, Bloomington (our new church name), and some are from China. Due to China's one-child policy, these students rarely have siblings or cousins. Picture it: one father and mother had one child--a son; another father and mother had one child--a daughter; that son and daughter married and had one son who married someone else's daughter--again, an only child. Now what do you have?
You have a married couple who themselves have one child who will grow up with two parents, four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents. It's entirely conceivable he'll have some of his great-grandparents live to the time of his marriage, at which time he'll take on through his wife another set of two parents, four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents. Let's assume only half of that couple's great grandparents survive to the time of their marriage; then that couple each has two parents, four grandparents, and four great-grandparents, which brings the total number of aging relatives on the shoulders of that young couple to twenty. And if all their great-grandparents are still alive, the total is twenty-eight.
Which is to say that, beyond the hundreds of millions of little babies slaughtered by the one-child policy and forced abortions of China in the past century, they now have a rapidly aging population. It's estimated one in four adults will be over the age of sixty-five by 2050.
Let's be practical about this. When my mother-in-law and mother want to move into someone's house...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 7, 2011 - 8:59am
(Tim)ClearNote Press today announced a free MP3 recording of Horatio Bonar's Words to Winners of Souls. We're grateful to the men who did the work of recording and puting the file up on the server. We're especially grateful to Jeff Ewer for his reading. The audio is free to anyone who registers and I trust many will find it helpful.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 14, 2011 - 1:01pm
(Tim) Whether in the U.S. or Western Europe, Reformed hipsters have fallen in love with art. For communicating the Gospel, preaching is out and art is in--it's the great white hope. Draw the Gospel. Sculpt the Gospel. Paint the Gospel. Use words only if you must.
David Baker is a student here at ClearNote Pastors College who, with his wife Marta and their children, were raising support under the Presbyterian Church in America's Mission to the World when God led them to move to Bloomington and begin training for pastoral ministry. David's a painter and he'd been headed to Dublin, Ireland, where he planned to be a part of an MTW team there, and to focus on the arts community. Recently, David corresponded with another MTW missionary in a Western European country about the arts movement within MTW and the PCA.
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Dear (John Doe),
I should give you a brief background and update on what we are doing. As you may know we were on the path to work in arts ministry in Dublin, Ireland with MTW. We took a 5-year leave-of-absence from MTW for education and because of some other issues that made it clear that the yoking with the Irish church was not a good one. I'm now a pastor in training at ClearNote Pastor's College in Bloomington, Indiana. I continue to make art and I participate in a local gallery. I love using God's gift of artistic talent to His glory. He gives us these gifts.
When we were working on support raising we spent time with various churches around the country and we got to hear and see a lot of what was going on in the the arts ministry movement.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 17, 2011 - 8:27am
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the LORD in holy array. (1 Chronicles 16:28-29)
(Tim) Young men reading the stuff published on worship today would be quite justified in fearing that worship is very, very complicated and only the people who buy lots of books and read lots of articles and think very deeply about this matter could possibly design and lead a worship service that does what it's supposed to do. Why, simply the debates over what the Regulative Principle prohibits and requires are endless! What's a poor boy to do?
In the interest of cutting through some of the verbiage and helping Reformed pastors who want to follow the early Reformers in worship as they follow them in preaching God's Word, here are a few reforms which take their cue from Geneva.
1. The main method of restoring congregational participation within Reformed worship was to call congregants to sing. Thus the music had to be (and was) quite simple. Under Calvin, the congregation sang only the melody; it was plainsong with no parts. Certain men of our time debate endlessly over whether popular tunes known outside the church were used during early Protestant worship. Both sides have their scholars, but my recommendation is that you not waste time on the argument. Leave it alone.
Following the Geneva pattern of repudiating the high style of the idolatrous Roman Mass and cultivating a simplicity that would encourage the common man to join in the singing, we ourselves should repudiate high classical style that communicates our most-excellent taste while masquerading as being all about reverence for God...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 18, 2011 - 6:50am
(Tim, w/thanks to many) Joel Northrup wrestles for Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa. Wrestling's big in Iowa--something like football in Massilon, Ohio--and Joel had done very well, making it to state. But lightning struck.
Joel drew Cassy Herkelman as an opponent and decided to forfeit. He released this statement explaining his decision:
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan (Black, the tournament’s other female entrant) and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most of the high school sports in Iowa.
Is anyone surprised a young man who's retained some modicum of sexual modesty today is a homeschooler? Is anyone surprised the secularists consider this...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 26, 2011 - 9:08am
Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:43,44).
(Jesus said) "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:42-44).
(Jesus said) "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).
(Tim) We've warned against Rob Bell before here and here. That second link is a post titled, "Just one more savage wolf..." alluding to this warning to the Ephesian elders by the Apostle Paul:
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. (Acts 20:28-31)
If possible, that savage wolf, Rob Bell, becomes bolder in his wickedness. Watch this video:
by David and Tim Bayly on March 11, 2011 - 11:22am
(Tim) When ClearNote Church was founded and her officers were exploring extending a call to me to serve as her pastor, I asked for something quite large from them. What I wanted was the freedom to hold to, live, and preach and teach historic Christian, Protestant, Reformed doctrine. Nothing new--just the old stuff. Were they willing to grant me that inestimably precious liberty?
They said "Yes," and on such a very simple question and answer hang the destinies of men and women across the ages and around the world.
Today, churches would do well to know the historic Christian, Protestant, and Reformed (which is to say the Biblical) faith and doctrine, and to fire any pastor or elder who wants to go a different way. Oppositely, churches should love and protect any pastor or elder who has those commitments and teaches truth, rebukes sin and false doctrine, and lovingly calls the souls under His care back to the Word of God.
This thought came to mind reading this from an e-mail just received from a friend who described his teaching and writing ministry...
"...it's indie or classic rock that moves our spirit."
(Tim) You all know ClearNote Church is filled with classical musicians but we worship mostly under the leadership of amplified instruments. This EP just released by our worship musicians gives you a good feel for how we're led. What distinguishes our worship leaders is that they use instrumentation and tunes and rhythms that are familiar to those who attend. We're not asked to go back into genres of previous centuries when we sing God's praises and pray.
Then too, we believe our music should be characterized by masculine zeal. The congregation should have men pushing us to express our joy and firm commitment and worship for the majesty and glory of God. Faint spirits and cold hearts are challenged when singing God's praises, here.
So you'll notice how well-matched the music and instrumentation and beat are to our goal. If you were to worship with us one Lord's Day morning, you'd notice this is how we pray and preach, also--we don't give people space for unbelief and ambivalence...
(Tim, w/thanks to Tenile: One blogger produced a very, very rough transcript of Martin Bashir interviewing Rob Bell and I asked Tenile Victorsen if she'd give us a good one. Here it is. If you find an error, please let us know and we'll correct it. Interspersed in the text are a few comments of my own in black text between brackets, italicized.)
Bashir: One mega church pastor has ignited a theological firestorm by suggesting that our response to the Christian message in this life will not necessarily determine our eternal destiny. In his book Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Rob Bell says that ultimately all people will be saved, even those who’ve rejected the claims of Christianity. He argues people will eventually be persuaded by God’s love, postmortem, in the life to come.[Note how straighforward Bashir is stating Bell's thesis. As we enter the murkiness of Bell's words, we must remind ourselves of this straighforward warning from God: "...it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment..." (Hebrews 9:27)]Pastor Rob Bell joins us now. Good afternoon, sir. Before we come to talk about the book, just help us with this tragedy in Japan. Which of these is true? Either God is all-powerful but he doesn’t care about the people of Japan and, therefore, they’re suffering, or he does care about the people of Japan but he’s not all-powerful? Which one is it?[Do we really have to choose between these two, Mr. Bashir?]
Bell: I begin with the belief [Let the listener understand he means no offense to those with a different belief.] that God--when we shed a tear, God sheds a tear.[Hallmark card sentiment, but the scale of the senitment doesn't match the scale of the horror. Pastor Bell trivializes the massive death and destruction of the earthquakes and tsunamis, or the terrible suffering of the Japanese people. Just one tear? Whole cities destroyed and "a tear" for Pastor Bell and "a tear" for God?]So I begin with a divine being[Speaking to the Areopagus surrounded by the pantheon of gods, the Apostle Paul declares: “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth..." (Acts 17:24). Speaking to the world today in the midst of our pantheon of gods, Pastor Bell can't even bring himself to use the definite article to refer to his god. It's not "the God Who is there" but "a divine being."]who is profoundly [Adverbs weaken arguments but strengthen sentiment. Pastor Bell adores adverbs.] empathetic, compassionate and stands in solidarity with us.[Actually, God stands in solidarity only with those who, by faith, are "in Christ" and His Church. Concerning all others, the ax is at the root. Thus note how, by leaving "us" undefined, Pastor Bell denies the distinction between the Church and the world. This denial of distinctions is central to his false prophecies and is a defining prejudice of post-moderns--Pastor Bell's target audience.]Secondly, the dominant story[To speak of the work of redemption recorded in Scripture as a "story" reminds me of what everyone said when the planes took down the World Trade Center on 9/11: "It was just like the movies." The false images of movies helped our mind's eye to see...
(Tim: this is first in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven] responding to to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at a Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011.)
Back when David's and my father and mother, Joe and Mary Lou Bayly, were living on Mass. Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they were InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's (IV) first staff workers in New England, it would have sickened them to know their children would live to see the day when IV was advocating sodomy in the Name of Jesus Christ and His Word. That's what happened this week here at Indiana University.
IV brought in a longtime IV staff worker (he recently left IV staff) to speak against homophobia at a special attention-getting series of public meetings and that man promoted sodomy in the Name of Jesus Christ, His Church, His Word; and certainly in the name of that parachurch organization known in this country as IV. They're the sponsor of Urbana and they own the book marketer that does the best job of promoting the feminist heresy within the Evangelical world, InterVarsity Press.
Weird, isn't it? I mean, that an organization and its publishing arm would use the Name of Jesus to obliterate the meaning of sexuality in society, the home, and the Church concerning the relationship between the sexes would then go on to work to obliterate the meaning of sexuality also in the matter of how body parts go together? Check out the caption under the pic: the Indiana Daily Studentgot this one right.
Honestly, I thought IV would try to keep these two parts of Gods' Creation Order separate so the scandal of giving in on the second would not undercut the massive progress they've made in destroying the first. Do you think people might be on guard now that it's obvious its full-out sexual anarchy IV's committed to? Or do you think IV will be able to finesse the matter, claiming it's a one-off and purely accidental that in this particular chapter and speaker, feminism and sodomy are both promoted?
Yes, yes, of course. I know IV's leadership will claim that this is an anomaly...
(Tim: this is fourth in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven] responding to to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at a Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011.)
“The unique Divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible.” - InterVarsity’s Doctrinal Basis
Sola Scriptura is a cornerstone of Protestantism. From the beginning, Protestants have objected to the idea that we can know God and what He commands from any source other than His divinely revealed Word. As the Westminster Confession puts it: “The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture” I.10
Of the many things that were wrong with the event “Jesus and the end of Homophobia” hosted by Indiana University’s InterVarsity chapter, the most disturbing was the silencing of God’s Word. As a Protestant, Evangelical organization, InterVarsity is supposed to be committed to the Bible. It is supposed to be committed to the Bible because it is in the Bible that God speaks to us most clearly. If we have a question about Who God is and what He requires of us, the Bible is where Protestants turn for the answer.
But that is not what happened at last week’s event. Last week, InterVarsity sponsored an event where the Bible was not allowed into the discussion. God was not allowed to speak through His Word...
(Tim: this is fifth in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven] responding to to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at a Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011.)
ClearNote Campus Fellowship is, with IU/InterVarsity, an Evangelical campus ministry working on the campus of Indiana University. CNCF's pastor, Jacob Mentzel, has written a response to InterVarsity's promotion of homosexual sin, along the way making some good suggestions for how InterVarsity should correct the scandal.
(Tim: this is sixth in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven] responding to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at an Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011. Pic on right.)
This past Monday, April 4, 2011, Jacob Mentzel and Lucas Weeks met with Mark Abdon, InterVarsity's staff worker for their undergraduate chapter here at Indiana University, to state their concern over InterVarsity's promotion of homosexuality at an InterVarsity forum the previous week, and to ask Mr. Abdon and InterVarsity to issue a public correction. As a courtesy to InterVarsity and its staff, prior to this meeting with Mr. Abdon InterVarsity's office of the president had been called and informed this meeting was going to occur later that day.
The following account was written the same day as the meeting and edited for accuracy yesterday (4/5) and today (4/6). It's posted here as one more part of the historical record.
An Account of Our Meeting With Mark Abdon
by Jacob Mentzel and Lucas Weeks
On Monday, April 4th, we met with Mark Abdon, the undergraduate staff worker for InterVarsity at Indiana University, to discuss IV's recent forum on homosexuality. Mark had an undergraduate woman present with him who plans to go on staff with IV this coming year. It was obvious Mark knew what we wanted to talk about, so we asked him about how the decision was made to have former IV staffer, William Campbell, speak.
Mark told us the majority of the planning for the week's forums belonged to one of his undergraduate students and that the planning began in May of 2010. He made it clear IV's goal from the beginning was to live at peace with the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Queer (LGBTQ) community in Bloomington. InterVarsity partnered with Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality (SAGE), a LGBTQ student advocacy group on campus, to sponsor the event. Mark did not mention the involvement of any other student groups. He noted InterVarsity campus groups were being expelled from universities around the country over the issue of homosexuality, and he was very concerned that the Bloomington chapter not face the same fate.
Because of these concerns, InterVarsity had adopted a policy that the event would be viewpoint neutral. It was decided there would be no "theological content" in the forum...