by David and Tim Bayly on December 9, 2010 - 11:29am
(Tim) Tully tells us, "I’m ecstatic about the resurgence of gospel centrality taking place in the evangelical church."
Yes, yes; every day in every way the evangelical movement is getting better and better. We see it everywhere. It's stunning, really.
Imagine there's no judgment, it's easy if you try;
No One we must be fearing; above us only sky...
This endless mantra about Gospel centrality is really a master-scheme to rob God of the fruit He saved us to. And it's painfully clear that across hip Calvinist congregations, it subverts that sanctification without which no man will see God.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 23, 2010 - 7:07am
(Tim) At times, it seems best to promote a discussion to the main page. Readers lose track of discussions in the comments under old posts. Here's one such discussion that I'm promoting for reasons I hope are obvious.
It's my conviction that the endless mantra of grace that permeates our Evangelical/Redeemer/Westminster/Campus Crusade/R2K/Covenant world leads to us knowing little of grace because we despise God's Law and repentance.
In the midst of a discussion bearing on this matter, the historian Darryl Hart asked me to clarify what I meant when I spoke of the grace of the Law--that to preach the Law is Gospel preaching and that the Law is our Gospel schoomaster or tutor? Here I respond:
Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).
This is the great failure of Gospel preaching in our time, and the reason for the absence of fruit within our churches. We fail to preach the Law, instead trying to save unregenerate sinners from the indignities of repentance. We preach grace without leading souls there through the Law. We repudiate the Schoolmaster. It's the habit of pastors only to address the regenerate within the Covenant Community while outside that Community we gag preachers, leaving Gospel proclamation and conversion to Campus Crusade...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 27, 2010 - 9:06am
(Tim) At our recent Christmas Sing-A-Long, Church of the Good Shepherd's Mike Lockett rapped a Redemptive-Historical sermon he'd written that had me meditating on the basic doctrinal truths of God's Word. Ask some of your own young men to write a rap that preaches the Fall, the Incarnation, and the Atonement, then send a recording to us for posting here on Baylyblog. Thanks, Mike and Taylor, for busting me out of my ghetto.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 5, 2011 - 1:42pm
(David) Under the Labor Party that governed prior to the last general election, Great Britain finally achieved what had escaped her for hundreds of years of empire. She became cool. Though frequently stuffy, stubborn, vindictive, generous, arrogant, wise and pigheaded, she had never come close to the detached affect of cool. Cool was Gallic. Anglo Saxons did blood sweat and tears. And then Tony Blair defeated John Major, ushering in Cool Britannia and ending Rule Britannia not with tears or a funeral but with a decade-long party.
So too, the Reformed movement in America appears to be dying in a spasm of cool. Being young and Reformed in America has become the one thing it never was, hip. And the central pillar of the Cool Reformed movement is a celebration of grace as the all-in-one Swiss Army knife solution to the onerous problem of God's moral law. Cool Reformed is comprised of legions of young (and not-so-young) self-proclaimed ex-fundamentalists who claim to have found deliverance from the demons of legalism in a newfound Reformed understanding of the Gospel of grace.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 8, 2011 - 10:30am
(Tim, w/thanks to Matthew M.) Religious leaders in New York City came together this past week to speak out against the pervasive slaughter of unborn children in their city. Of every one hundred babies given by God to women of the city, forty-one of these precious little ones are murdered by abortionists. (The figure is 48% in the Bronx, 38% in Manhattan; here are the stats.) The Sunreported:
Some of New York City’s most prominent religious leaders are making a public demand for answers as to why decades of social welfare programs aimed at making abortions a rarity have not only failed, but failed so dramatically.
The leaders — spanning Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant clergy — issued their demand at a press conference today at Manhattan. They said they are galvanized by new data showing that some 87,000 abortions were performed in New York City in 2009, a figure that accounts for 41% of all pregnancies across the five boroughs that year. That 41% rate is nearly double the national average.
“The Statue of Liberty should be the symbol of this city, not the grim reaper,” declared the current archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, the Most Rev. Timothy Dolan.
Which religious leaders joined in the public lament? The New York Times...
by David and Tim Bayly on April 23, 2011 - 12:54pm
ClearNote Church of Bloomington holds both an evening service on Maundy Thursday and a noon service on Good Friday. Here's one of the prayers from our Good Friday service. Jody Killingsworth compiled it from historic sources and I post it here because I found it struck themes missing from our prayers in worship, and very necessary. I'm guessing this will be true of others, also.
* * *
O MERCIFUL God, You have made all men, and You hate nothing that You have made, nor do you desire the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live. Have mercy therefore, we pray, on all who reject the Gospel—on Pagans, and Atheists; on Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists; on Arians and Roman Catholics, and on all who, in their pride, like to make much of their own ability.
Knowing, Father, that You resist the proud but give grace to the humble, we ask that You...
Imagine a fortress, absolutely impregnable, provisioned for an eternity. There comes a new commandant. He conceives that it might be a good idea to build bridges over the moats—so as to be able to attack the besiegers.
Charming! He transforms the fortress into a country retreat, and naturally the enemy takes it. So it is with Christianity. They changed the method—and naturally the world conquered. 
My wife ran into a friend in the supermarket whose husband works for a large parachurch organization. Their small talk went from this to that, eventually turning to the friend listing for my wife a number of churches she and her husband had attended the past few years. Our friend had nice things to say about each church. Then she brought her list to a conclusion with the chipper exclamation, "Saving people—that’s what church is all about, isn’t it!”
This drew my mind back almost thirty years to an observation my Dad used to make about evangelicals’ single-minded focus on evangelism: “Evangelicals are only interested in getting people saved. And after he's saved, as far as they're concerned he might as well die and go to Heaven because it’s all over.”
Is there a purpose to our lives after we’ve placed our faith in Jesus? Does God have any larger plan for us...
When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”
And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:25-26).
Again, here's a response to a question asked by "Jay" under the post, "Must a gay man go straight?" I thought it best to put the response here on the main page as a post.
Jay asked: "I do know other men and women who struggle with homosexual temptation, who not only reject copulation but also gay identity and culture, but who do not have any heterosexual desires. Are they saved?"
Sorry for the lack of response. The post took all my time for the blog yesterday so I'm playing catch-up.
First, I'm doubtful these men and women you know who struggle with homosexual temptation actually reject gay identity and culture as clearly and with the finality you indicate. If we live in a culture that hates sexuality as God made it; if we pursue androgyny in the pulpit in the way we preach (see the category of Baylyblog titled "gelded discourse"), in our appearance--hair length and style, for instance; if our men are physically vain (whether macho buff or femmie bling and piercings or a sweet combination of both); it's likely no Christian tempted by homosexuality has really turned away from androgyny to Biblical manhood and womanhood. Made an effort, sure, but today within the Church there are precious few heterosexuals who pursue Biblical manhood or womanhood.
So being "straight" in our sexuality as the Bible presents manhood and womanhood is exceedingly rare, today. Men are narcissists and refuse to man up, taking responsibility for themselves or others...
There's been an exchange concerning Cru/Campus Crusade for Christ International and parachurch organizations over at a blog hosted by First Things. Here's my latest comment. Really, someone should write a book...
It's time to do the numbers. Lucas and Heather and Tenile report there are twenty-four children under a year and sixty who are five and under at ClearNote Church of Bloomington. Including the fifteen or so mothers carrying unborn Covenant children, that brings us to about seventy-five children five and under. How God has blessed us!
Cutting the grass today, I was listening to the Psalms and heard this:
The voice of the LORD makes the deer to calve And strips the forests bare; And in His temple everything says, “Glory!” - Psalms 29:9
If you think it's weird to talk about children and births, read the Old Testament. I dare you.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 16, 2011 - 8:50am
It's glorious how God leads intellectuals to shout their blindness. Things the simplest plowboy sees clearly are obscured by the intellectual's highly nuanced mists and vapors, so the plowboy is left to his centuries-old occupation of making fun of them. He's not anti-intellectual--he's anti-intellectuals.
Plowboys aren't envious of the intellectual's degrees or salary or light teaching load or clean soft hands and time alone with books. And it's certainly not that the plowboy is careless with reason, logic, history, and right and wrong. He's as careful with his tax forms as any making-of-books man, and much more sophisticated.
No, it's not that the plowboy is stupid and thinks stupid is good. Rather, it's that he's got his feet planted squarely on the ground while the intellectual is up in the mists and vapors forgetting that he's made of dust and to dust he will return. The intellectual speaks from on high while the plowboy speaks from soil and manure. The Christian sizing both up may be able to grasp that the plowboy's perspective makes all the difference for his grasp of truth and his growth in righteousness.
Applications of these fundamental truths are everywhere.
R2K intellectuals are a special interest group hounding the nation's citizenry about their pet policy issue. They're a PAC whose primary work is not on K Street and in the halls of congress, but out across the land. They publish and yell and chivy and curdle and yap at and hector and dog their fellow citizens with their political dogma, and they do it in the Name of God citing His Word and Church as their authorities...
Anyone who is familiar with Evangelism Explosion's two diagnostic questions...
Have you reached the point in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die tonight you would go to heaven?
If you were to die tonight and God were to ask you, "Why should I let you into heaven," how would you answer?
...knows how very effective they can be at revealing a hope of salvation based in good works rather than faith in Jesus.
When D. James Kennedy began Evangelism Explosion in 1962, America's primary Christian influences were mainline Protestantism (whose denominations had reached their numerical peak in the 1950s) and Roman Catholicism. Despite deep sociological differences, these two branches of Christianity were united in teaching a salvation by works: the social gospel in mainline churches; the infused righteousness of Roman Catholicism.
Dr. Kennedy's "Two Questions" provided a powerful tool for addressing the error of both camps.
But Evangelism Explosion (EE) entered the scene at a tipping point in American religious history. For a hundred years America's primary Christian heresy had been the works-based salvation (semi-Pelagianism and Pelagianism) of mainline Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 12, 2011 - 7:41am
Here's the manuscript for the sermon I preached the Lord's Day following 9/11 ten years ago, and then again yesterday on its tenth anniversary. I should add that the manuscript usually serves only as my loose outline for the preaching of God's Word.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 26, 2011 - 8:32pm
This is Dad's column from the June 1963 issue of Eternity magazine. Dad chose the title when the column was first published.
Men have long been claiming to hold to Gospel-centrality while running in terror from any declaration of God's holiness and authority. But now, instead of procaliming God's moral absolutes, Inter-Varsity staff workers here on the campus of Indiana University promote homosexual perversion. (TB)
* * *
This year, speaking to college students (as an Inter-Varsity staff member)—especially in dormitory and fraternity discussions—I’ve been asked once question again and again. It almost always takes this form: “Why is premarital intercourse wrong?”
Often there are explanatory or qualifying clauses: “—with the girl you’re going to marry some day;” “—when it seems to work out well in parts of Europe where it’s pretty commonly accepted;” “—if neither of you sees anything wrong with it;” “—since he may be shipped overseas any minute;” “—when it seems, like the psych professor says, to be merely a normal response to a human appetite.”
Those clauses reveal the more basic question, one that is foundational to the Christian religion: Are there such things as moral absolutes, or is everything relative, subject to the conditions of time and place and opinion? The latter view, probably held (consciously or unconsciously) by a majority on today’s academic scene, was expressed by the scientist Sir Julian Huxley in a recent issue of Nature...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 1, 2011 - 8:07am
There are two views of the pastoral ministry that are diametrically opposed to each other and locked in conflict. The competing views, though, aren't spoken of or written about, and the conflict passes without public notice. Jeff Bezos highlights the conflict in this explanation he gave of Amazon's view of customer relations:
Interviewer: Two years ago, you bought Zappos. Was that an attempt to absorb their so-called culture of happiness and customer service?
Bezos: No, no, no. We like their unique culture, but we don't want that culture at Amazon. We like our culture, too. Our version of a perfect customer experience is one in which our customer doesn't want to talk to us. Every time a customer contacts us, we see it as a defect. I've been saying for many, many years, people should talk to their friends, not their merchants. And so we use all of our customer service information to find the root cause of any customer contact. What went wrong? Why did that person have to call? ...How can we fix it?
That, good reader, is the view of pastoral ministry prevailing in our Reformed churches today. I say this from long and close observation. Most Reformed men run from intimacy...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 8, 2011 - 4:08am
As the Obama administration works to advance the wickedness of homosexuality around the world, the gay battle against God and His Word progresses at home.
Into this battle this week stepped a thoughtful and talented young woman who attends Christ the Word's youth group. Asked to provide her thoughts on homosexuality for a views page in her high school newspaper she wrote:
"Hearing about an individual choosing the way of homosexuality is disappointing. They have given in to the temptation to sin. Am I afraid of the person because of this choice? No. Do I hate the person because they have chosen to give in to a sin? Of course not. Christians are called to love others, even our enemies. I would not love a person any less for the reason of a sin they are committing. Fact is, we all sin and have struggles of our own, whether they are big or tiny, and it makes no difference to God. What makes the difference is overcoming the sin.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 10, 2011 - 4:14pm
Brimstone calls to mind the foul odors of the flesh, as Sacred Scripture itself confirms when it speaks of the rain of fire and brimstone poured by the Lord upon Sodom. He had decided to punish in it the crimes of the flesh, and the very type of punishment emphasized the shame of that crime, since brimstone exhales stench and fire burns. It was, therefore, just that the sodomites, burning with perverse desires that originated from the foul odor of flesh, should perish at the same time by fire and brimstone so that through this just chastisement they might realize the evil perpetrated under the impulse of a perverse desire.
A seminary professor who's been a lifelong friend wrote taking issue with my use of the word 'sodomy' to refer to same-sex carnal knowledge:
I find your use of the word 'sodomites' a bit inaccurate, because the sin of Sodom was not solely homosexuality, but also (maybe primarily) lack of concern for the poor.
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. (Ezekiel 16:49-50)
In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)
I hear this objection frequently. One close friend told me several months ago that he thought my use of 'sodomy' and 'sodomites' made me look to our readers like I was a member of the lunatic fringe...
"The use of 'sodomy' "provide(s) an unnecessary offense to the gospel."
To which I respond: I'm grateful we agree 'sodomy' is an offensive word, but why is it offensive and is the offense bad or good?
For two thousands years Christians have used words with 'Sodom' as their root to refer to men copulating with men. And this use has always been offensive because those reading or listening understand that it's an explicit reference to what happened at Sodom--namely God destroying them by his fire from Heaven. Make no mistake about it. That's the center of the issue and it's why I asked in my original post whether we are ashamed of God's judgment of the Sodomites? Whether we are willing for that judgment to live on in our language as an example, warning those souls tempted by this sin? If this association is not "Gospel," what is it? What exactly do I need to hear when my heart is unbelieving and I am having sex with other men?
This is funny. I've know a couple gentleman farmers who are a little better at it than P. J. O'Rourke.
The boarding stable where P. J.'s daughter's pony now lives does, in fact, have someone who deals with the (stuff) his daughter preferred to avoid. For several years in junior high school I worked cleaning a boarding stable's stalls. Here's a proverb I love:
Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox. (Proverbs 14:4)
Faithful ministry always gets us dirty. It's unavoidable. Anyone contending for God's Truth should first roll up his pants legs and shirt sleeves...
We're hoping later to make available to you a movie documenting Doug Wilson's Gospel witness a week ago on the campus of Indiana University. Meanwhile, watch the very short video above. This video provides a clue why campus ministries have become gnostic societies sharing secret knowledge for their trusted initiates only.
God's Word, His authority, His Moral Law, His Judgment, His Hell are met with hatred and mob fury on secular campuses today. They've been publicly abandoned by campus parachurch workers making a living off church support, because not to abandon them is to run the sort of gauntlet you see Doug and Clearnote Campus Fellowship running in this video clip.
Knowing a bad thing when they see one, parachurch ministries have run for their lives. Few of them have any grid to understand the Holy Spirit's use of conflict and martyrdom as Gospel-centered, missional tools, so any hint of conflict or rebellion teaches them what never to do again. Thus no teaching on God's authority. No proclamation of fathers' authority. No declaration of Church authority. No discipline of members. No teaching on the Created Order and the nature of manhood and womanhood. No warning and condemnation of sodomy. No warning against baby-slaughter (abortion). No mention of submission or repentance.
Just "the pure Gospel," which means the Gospel eviscerated of repentance...
Looking for a church home in Toledo, Bloomington, or Indianapolis? We'll put up a post about Christ the Word soon, but much of what is said here about Clearnote Church Indianapolis and Clearnote Church, Bloomington is characteristic of Christ the Word, Toledo, also.
It's hard to move and have to find a new church home. All of us have done it and those of us a part of Clearnote Fellowship want to make your work a little easier by telling you why we love our Clearnote churches in Bloomington and Indianapolis. So read on and spend a little time learning about the work God is doing within Clearnote Fellowship.
First, a few words about our doctrine and denominational roots. If this stuff isn't your brand of coffee, click through and start reading about our ministries.
Doctrinal and denominational roots...
The roots of Clearnote Fellowship are deep into the Presbyterian Church in America: I've served as a teaching elder of the PCA in Wisconsin and Indiana for almost twenty years; six of Clearnote Church, Bloomington's elders have been members of PCA churches; son Joseph Bayly who pastors Clearnote Church, Indianapolis was a part of the PCA's campus ministry (RUF) and attended a PCA congregation while studying at Vanderbilt; we have referred many families moving away from Clearnote Church, Bloomington to PCA congregations across the country; and several sons of our church now serve as PCA pastors.
This to say the people of Clearnote Fellowship have decades of experience as members and officers of the PCA, so those of you moving and looking for a PCA church in Bloomington or a PCA church in Indianapolis will find the congregations of Clearnote Fellowship to be spiritual homes where you and your children will thrive. Come and visit our Bloomington or Indianapolis congregations...
(NOTE: This post is part of a series showing the errors of so-called Two-Kingdom Theology. We refer to it as "so-called" Two-Kingdom Theology because what the church historically has meant by "Two-Kingdoms" bears little resemblance to what Escondido Theology men mean when they write it today. Thus sometimes we write "Two-Kingdom Theology," but more often we write "Radical Two Kingdom," "Rigid Two Kingdom," or "R2K.")
So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people. But when Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the wicked things which Herod had done, Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up in prison. - Luke 3:18-20
Where are the men of God preaching the Gospel today by reprimanding our civil magistrates for their incest and sodomy and adultery—as well as "all the other wicked things they have done?"
Among the brave and Reformed, we read this account of Godly John and learned our lesson, so we invented R2K to justify the betrayal of our calling. Right now it doesn't seem so very bad since it's just gayness being condoned and gayness has become mainstream, but what other sins will we find ourselves supporting out in the naked public square a few years from now?
Far afield from Scripture and historical Reformed theology, the R2K (Radical Two-Kingdom) movement is a modern novelty perfectly suited to our decadent age. This is the reason R2K men are currently arguing for the repeal of sodomy laws and the passage of sodomite marriage rites instead of arguing for the repeal of laws against incest and bestiality. The mainstreaming of the sodomite perversion is all around us right now whereas the mainstreaming of bestiality and incest are still down the road a piece. Take any R2K argument for the legality of sodomy and sodomite marriage, replacing the sin of sodomy with the sin of "bestiality" or "incest," and clarity of thought will return.
Thus R2K men arguing for sodomy rights and rites are demonstrating now where they'll be in twenty years. Whatever form of wickedness liberals are working to normalize right now is the wickedness R2K men will argue for right now. They just go with the flow. Having argued that Christian conscience and charity should be entirely private with respect to sodomy, they'll port their arguments to the normalization of whatever sexual perversion...
Here on Baylyblog, David and I are pastors first, second, and last. Thus it is our purpose to call men and women who are former gays or lesbians, fornicators and adulterers, those unbiblically divorced alongside gossips and materialists growing old with their first wife to be witnesses to their neighbors and thus to fulfill the law of love.
Sincere Christians willing to obey their Lord in this matter of loving their neighbor by being salt and light ought not to be ridiculed and shamed into silence by professional intellectuals claiming the Name of Christ. We aim to protect them from this abuse. By exposing the Biblical and spiritual—not to mention theological, legal, and historical—errors of R2K, it's our purpose to create a safe space for faithful men and women of God to witness to their Lord without fear of...