Responding to my entry, Not Just Now, Thank You, dealing with the conversion to Roman Catholicism of many of my peers from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Greg Barnes writes:
I suspect that many of those who are converting to Rome are like so many who convert to Mormonism, in that they know very little about what they are getting into. It also shows a defect in the curriculum of whatever seminaries and Bible colleges those preachers attended...
And Pastor Paul McCain writes:
Tim, we've suffered a few diversions ourselves. Not too many though. Perhaps some of the more notorious conversions would include Richard John Neuhaus... and Jaroslav Pelican who headed East. ....What do you think accounts for it? I've identified it as a longing for some sense of "security" which is gladly provided in the "magisterium" of Rome... Your thoughts?
To which I respond:
Without getting too specific, whatever may be said about the rest of the Gordon-Conwell converts, no one would accuse Scott or Kimberly Hahn of being ignorant of what they were getting into. Scott and Kimberly were (and are) both bright ones, and would have known exactly what they were doing. On more than one occasion, I was very pleased to have Kimberly standing with me when I was arguing with Professor Roger Nicole in his advocacy of the ordination of women. And Kimberly's husband, Scott, was the cutting edge of theonomy's entrance into our campus who, like every other proponent of theonomy I've known, was no dullard.
Neuhaus is an interesting and, I think, instructive case. When he converted to Roman Catholicism he sent a number of us a letter explaining his action and I here quote what I found most telling, and have since resonated with:
I was preparing to preach on Luke's account of Martha entertaining Christ (Luke 10:38-42) last week, and, as usual, I read Calvin on the passage first.
I'm fascinated when reading Calvin's commentaries by the incredible variety of passages which stirred up controversy in his day. You wouldn't think the story of Jesus commending Mary and chastising Martha would have any relevance to the debates of the Reformation, but it did.
Why? Because, as Calvin explains, the Roman church had distorted Jesus' commendation of Mary sitting at His feet into a wholesale commendation of the "contemplative life."
Usually we regard practitioners of the contemplative life as the monks and nuns, hermits and cloistered religious of Roman Catholicism. And Calvin does condemn monks in his exposition of this passage, but he adds another, rather unexpected, profession to his list of those who have perverted this passage...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 27, 2004 - 12:33pm
Page one of the New York Time's "Sunday Styles" section carried a piece by Alex Williams on the upcoming presidential debates titled, "George 'The Squinter' Bush vs. John 'The Grinner' Kerry--A Showdown of Style!" Here are some excerpts:
...the candidate who voters perceive as the winner will probably be chosen not on the substance of what he says, but on the cut of his jib. The subtle style cues... account for as much as 75 percent of a viewer's judgement... the mano a mano is about style--those nonverbal messages that speak to hearts, not heads.
...in some sense it comes down to which man you would want in your living room for the next four years.
...even one deftly delivered witticism, as long as it seems spontaneous (like Reagan's "There you go again" in 1980) could be the deciding factor.
Each candidate must channel his gifts as an onstage communicator--that is, a thespian--said Susan Batson, a longtime acting coach. (Kerry's) greatest opportunity... is to laugh more, to radiate a vulnerability with his eyes, a sense of compassion and wisdom, as opposed to single-mindedness and aggression. He can be "sort of a combination of Henry Fonda and James Stewart," she said.
Note there's nothing here of substance. The entire discussion centers around the candidate's ability to cop a posture or to be an actor, to put his audience at ease. Even taking into account that the piece appeared in the "Sunday Style," rather than the more weighty "Week in Review" section, it's clear the debates are expected to be the pivotal event of this election. And Williams points out that campaign experts expect "hearts, not heads" to prevail in the conclusions voters draw from the debates.
So what does this say about our view of leadership? If our president must put us at ease as we sit with him in our living room, could Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill carry an election today? No, it's doubtful either Lincoln or Churchill "radiated vulnerability with their eyes."
But to get really serious, what does this say about pastoral leadership today? If presidents are picked with little concern for substance, but an overwhelming emphasis on "subtle cues," "non-verbal messages," deftly delivered witticisms" that "seem spontaneous," and their ability to "radiate vulnerability," no wonder our seminaries are turning out men who have few leadership skills.
If "single-mindedness" and "aggression" are a liability to John Kerry, one wonders which church in which suburb and denomination would issue a call to Jesus or the Apostle Paul? And anyone who responds saying that a different philosophy of leadership prevails among biblical churches should pull his head out of the sand.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 27, 2004 - 1:28pm
Assuming that, when the normal American goes through church doors, he doesn't go through a paradigm shift about the nature of leadership, it's interesting to note what the secular authorities advise concerning the speeches of Bush and Kerry:
(Kerry) uses what George P. Lakoff, a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkley, calls "hedges," words and grammatical constructions that imply uncertainty or qualification.
"There are certain forms of grammar that don't commit you, phrases like 'I believe' or 'I think,'" Mr. Lakoff said. "Kerry has to learn not to do that."
"It is possible to be decisive and not sound decisive," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. "People who speak in sentences that contain parenthetical phrases, people who begin a sentence and then deflect to add a series of illustrative examples before they end the sentences" do not seem authoritative, she said. "The language of decisiveness is subject, verb, object, end sentence." (Alex Williams, "George 'The Squinter' Bush vs. John 'The Grinner' Kerry--A Showdown of Style!" New York Times; Sunday, September 26, 2004.)
And what of pastors? Do we use "hedges?" Do we preach in a way that "implies uncertainty?" Are we careful to "qualify" our proclamations?
If so, our preaching "does not seem authoritative" to the souls we have been called to shepherd. Nuanced, yes; but not authoritative.
How sobering is that? What a contrast to the preaching of the prophets, apostles, and our Lord Himself:
Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:4, 5)
As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:9-12).
For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:18,19)
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell--and great was its fall."
When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.(Matthew 7:24-29)
by David and Tim Bayly on October 12, 2004 - 6:19pm
So what ought we to expect from the new president of Princeton Theological Seminary? Check out this excerpt from The Presbyterian Outlook, a newsweekly focused on the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA):
On the Sunday evening in his closing address to the Assembly, the retiring Moderator Professor Iain Torrance, who has recently been appointed President of Princeton Theological Seminary, chose to reflect on the need for a new approach to Christian ethics.
Just about all of us were brought up to believe that Christian ethics is a matter of drawing boundaries, of shoulds and shouldn'ts. I simply no longer believe that. Christian ethics is about transformation first and last. We persist in imprisoning ourselves within the frame of reference of 16th century issues. The disputes between Luther and Zwingli on whether the body of Christ is present or absent at communion ...is all very interesting, but it is not today's issue. What matters today is not whether we can define the mechanism of the real presence, but whether our worship encourages a mind-set of expectation and gratefulness to God, and loving openness to others...
There was plenty of food for thought in his words, not least in his quotation from Seneca about gladiators.
When the gladiator enters the arena, he has no fixed strategies. He improvises on the basis of long ingrained skills. The task of the church is to foster those skills, not to offer preset solutions in a Windows world with drop down menus for each situation.
-Simpson, Dr. James A. "Letter from Scotland: First woman Moderator Chosen" The Presbyterian Outlook (September 27, 2004):11.
To postmodern ears it sounds good. Who in his right mind would oppose exchanging the "drawing of boundaries" for "transformation"?
by David and Tim Bayly on January 7, 2005 - 5:25am
My dear brother in Christ, David Wegener, has been a great encouragement to me through the years. Now serving as lecturer at the Theological College of Central Africa under our denomination's mission agency, Mission to the World, I continue to cling to our friendship gaining much from David's knowledge of Scripture and church history.
Occasionally David writes in such a helpful way that I wish others could read him. So this time I wrote and asked his permission to put some of his reflections concerning the decline of Princeton Seminary up on this blog. He kindly agreed.
David Wegener, my brother David Bayly, and I share a growing concern over the weakness of the training offered at reformed seminaries where men from our congregations (and other friends) have taken their Masters of Divinity--what my Dad used to refer to as "the union card" of pastoral ministry.
Our criticisms of these seminaries must be developed more fully (which we hope to do), but it may be summed up by observing that it is almost a basic assumption of the curriculum that a good shepherd will avoid controversy.
Ruminate on that a bit and our good readers will quickly see how very much of faithful pastoral ministry this eliminates. Consider just two of the pastor's duties, preaching and discipline, and it's easy to see the damage the Church will suffer when reformed men trained by these seminaries stand in the pulpit and moderate session meetings having been stripped of their ability to "fight the good fight."
Ironically, though, the conflict stripped from the work of the shepherd is given back to these men in a strictly circumscribed outlet that is safe and culturally approved--the pages of Sports Illustrated. The same shepherds so meticulous in avoiding controversy in their pulpits carefully study the stats of three-hundred pound behemoths who make a living crashing through lines of scrimmage trying to sack quarterbacks.
Making common cause with the cultural forces intent on feminizing the Western World, seminaries today are turning out shepherds quite similar to the castrati who, as late as the twentieth century, sang in the Sistine Chapel Choir in a woman's voice...
The following questions were posted to the comments section of our sister "World" magazine blog, Stealth Bible: TNIV. Here is my own response.
So what then do you make of (John Doe), one of the most vocal opponents of the TNIV, who taught at (such and such seminary) for years, and only recently moved from there to (another seminary), not out of opposition to (his prior seminary's) handling of these issues, but rather because of (personal reasons)? Did he (and others like him) who teach at schools that permit women to gain "ordination-track" MDiv's demonstrate lack of zeal and sound judgment by continuing on at (his former seminary for so long)?
Should we now shun all schools that allow women to gain ordination-track MDiv's, and those who teach at them, even though they are complementarian? Should complementarians who are looking for teaching positions in the evangelical academy teach only at those schools who won't permit women to earn ordination-track MDivs? I doubt that Dallas Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary can house all of them on their faculties...
Since there are many complementarians who believe it is proper to maintain collegial relations with those who promote the heresy of feminism, let's depersonalize the issue and not limit our discussion to any particular individual. The man you've mentioned is one among many.
The nub of your question is the degree to which I believe there ought to be some separation between those who hold to the biblical doctrine of sexuality and those who reject and attack that doctrine. You raise the question in the context of academic institutions but I think the prior place to consider and resolve this question is the Church of the Living God referred to by the Holy Spirit as "the pillar and support" of God's Truth.
Men who are elders (or whatever they may be called in any given polity) ought to be disciplined for rejecting the plain teaching of Scripture...
Back Row: Matthew Miklovic, Benjamin James III, Lawrence Howell, David Canfield, Timothy Bayly, Wayne Huck, Stephen Baker, David Bayly, Robert Forney
Kneeling: Timothy Wegener, Andrew Folley, Michael Vrlenich, Michael Ahrendt, Jamie Thornton, David Curell, Andrew Dionne
The churches Tim and I serve, Christ the Word (CTW) in Toledo, Ohio and Church of the Good Shepherd (CGS) in Bloomington, Indiana, are joining forces to sponsor the Reformed Evangelical Pastors College. We'll share more about our goals for this work in days to come, but last weekend was the first formal meeting of the college board. Board members of the college are Rev. David Curell (CGS), Andrew Folley, M.D. (CTW), Ben James (CTW), Matt Miklovic (CTW) and Tim Wegener (CGS). Rev. Stephen Baker is the college's principal.
Shown are members of the CTW and CGS elder boards at a joint meeting held at the conclusion of a joint men's retreat last weekend in Fort Wayne, IN.
Pray with us that this endeavor is blessed by God with godly students, accomplished and spiritual faculty, and logistical success.
Deficient pastoral training is the primary reason the Evangelical Church has lost her way over the last century: as the training the Evangelical church has given her pastors has grown more academic and less pastoral, her pastors have become more pragmatic and less principled. Ironically, the academic trend in pastoral training and the professionalization of the ministerial office has led to men (and, tragically, women) vested with pastoral titles and roles who are neither committed theologically nor principled practically.
Iain Murray's Evangelicalism Divided describes this trend in greater detail for those who'd like to read more.
While pursuing the M.Div. at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, I took four courses from Roger Nicole, including his seminar on the Atonement. Dr. Nicole was a feminist even then (1980-1983), and we had our arguments over his dismissal of Scripture's commands. Yet at that point his feminist commitments extended only to the Church, the advocacy of women pastors and elders, and many of us felt this advocacy was more a function of his baptistic polity and almost-denial of ordination than some deep ideological commitment to feminism. At the time he still did not equivocate on the command of God's Word that the husband is to be the head of the wife. But this inconsistency never led us to feel that Dr. Nicole was essentially stable on this doctrine. Which is greater, the Church or the home?
Skip forward seventeen years or so, to the 1998 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. There I was privileged to renew my relationship with Dr. Nicole. Imagine my lack of surprise upon finding out that Dr. Nicole had moved in his commitments--and not towards honoring God and His Word, but rather toward Eleanor Smeal, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, "The New York Times," Gilbert Bilezikian, Simone de Beauvoir, Wheaton College, Hillary Clinton, and "Christianity Today."
Dr. Nicole now denied the authority in marriage of the husband...
Trace back the history of Princeton Seminary, the mother of all colleges founded to train pastors in America, and one finds two schools gave her birth: The College of New Jersey in the town of Princeton; and earlier, a little building in Neshaminy, PA, a town about twenty miles north of Philadelphia where Rev. William Tennent Sr. was the pastor of two small Presbyterian churches and put up an outbuilding to house a few apprentices in pastoral ministry. In these United States, this was the first Presbyterian educational work beyond the level of common schools.
Like the derogatory terms 'methodist' and 'puritan,' people expressed disdain for Pastor Tennent's humble effort, calling it the "Log College."
Only one person living at the time thought Tennent's work significant enough to leave a written record of its existence, but this was none other than the mighty preacher of the Great Awakening, George Whitefield. Through Whitefield we know the Log College was twenty feet by twenty feet and just a few steps away from Pastor Tennent's home. A rough building constructed of logs taken out of the surrounding woods, the college was built to house only five to ten young apprentices. Speaking of people's "contempt" for Tennent's work, Whitefield wrote:
(The Log College) seemed to resemble the school of the old prophets, for (both) habitations were mean (humble); and that they sought not great things for themselves is plain from those passages of Scripture wherein we are told that each of them took them a beam to build them a house (2Kings 6); and that at the feast of the sons of the prophets, one of them put on the pot, whilst the others went to fetch some herbs out of the field (2Kings 4:38-44). All that we can say of most of our universities is, they are glorious without. (But) from this despised place (the Log College) seven or eight worthy ministers of Jesus have lately been sent forth, more are almost ready to be sent, and the foundation is now laying for the instruction of many others. (It's interesting to note that Whitefield's journal, from which this excerpt was taken, was printed in Philadelphia in 1739 by Benjamin Franklin.)
When J. Gresham Machen left the faculty of Princeton Seminary two centuries later (in 1929), Princeton had built a reputation for training shepherds faithful to Scripture, men who guarded the good deposit handed down to them from the Apostles. By then, the list of fathers in the faith associated with the leadership of Princeton or her two mother-institutions included not only Tennent, but also Jonathan Edwards, Samuel Miller, Charles Hodge, J. A. Alexander, A. A. Hodge, and B. B. Warfield. What a heritage!
Often, though, Princeton's history is compressed, focusing on her academic achievements while neglecting the pastoral vision of those who gave her birth (and their students). The Log College was not known primarily for the academic training the men enrolled received, but rather for refusing to send out pastors who were indifferent to true religion—this was the reason Tennent founded the Log College and his apprentices were known for their piety and unflinching courage in leading their flock to examine themselves to see if they were in the faith.
Log College students encouraged heart religion. They preached for reform and revival, and were not content simply to maintain the status quo within the churches they served. They were unwilling to settle for an intellectual assent to the truths of Scripture without a believing faith evidenced by an experience of regeneration--what our Lord called being "born again." They had a deep conviction that a personal experience and testimony of the work of the Holy Spirit was an absolute prerequisite to church membership, and that without such living faith men ought not to be allowed to partake of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper by which God makes a distinction between His Own Covenant People and those who do not belong to Him.
Now, almost a century after Machen's departure signaled the end of Princeton's faithfulness to Scripture's God, the elders of Christ the Word and Church of the Good Shepherd have founded a new log college...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 25, 2005 - 6:03pm
The Spring 2004 issue of Trinity Magazine had an interview of Jonathan Edwards scholar Doug Sweeney who, prior to taking a faculty post at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, served as an editor of the Yale edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards. In the interview, Sweeney pointed out two things he believes the church needs to learn from Edwards, the second of which follows:
Edwards teaches us that theology can and should be done primarily in the church, for the promotion of Christian wisdom among God's people. In Edwards's day, America did not yet have any modern, post-baccalaureate seminaries. Pastors were our nation's most important theologians, and parishioners understood better how much our lives depend on God's Word. Today, many pastors have abdicated their responsibilities as theologians. And many theologians do their work in a way that is lost on the people of God. I want to be realistic in making this point. A certain amount of specialization is inevitable in modern, market-driven economies. And the specialization of roles within God's kingdom often enhances our Christian ministries. But when pastors spend the bulk of their time on organizational concerns, and professors spend most of their time on intramural, academic concerns, no one is left to do the work that Edwards knew is most important: the hard work of opening the Scriptures in ways that deepen the faith, hope, and love of the church.
(Interview of Edwards scholar and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School faculty member, Doug Sweeney, concerning his new book on Edwards, Rev. Jonathan Edwards: at Home and Abroad. The interview was by Steve Farish and it appeared in the Spring 2004 edition of Trinity Magazine, pp. 18-21.)
by David and Tim Bayly on January 5, 2006 - 12:48pm
With some hesitation, I post this announcement from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando concerning the invitation they have extended to Dr. Tony Campolo to give the Kistemaker Lectures on their campus this coming March. Our good readers may remember that we believe Mr. Campolo would best serve the Church of Jesus Christ by never uttering another word publicly, unless that word were to repent of the heterodoxies, heresies, and blasphemies issuing from his own and his wife's mouths and pens.
No, we are not speaking tongue-in-cheek. Although long ago Mr. Campolo should have been condemned to oblivion, sadly he continues to be a superstar on the evangelical lecture circuit. And now even Reformed Seminary has come as a supplicant and will provide him a forum to destroy the biblical faith of their students. Here is the announcement just issued through Reformed Seminary's E-newsletter:
DR. TONY CAMPOLO TO SPEAK FOR KISTEMAKER LECTURES
Dr. Tony Campolo, preacher, educator, and founder of Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, will be the keynote speaker for the annual Kistemaker Academic Lecture Series at the RTS Orlando campus in Oviedo on March 6 - 7, 2006. The Lecture Series entitled "Sociology Looks at the Church" will consist of four lectures as follows:
Lecture # 1: The Church as a Prophetic Voice
Lecture # 2: The Church in Transition from Sect to Ecclesia
Lecture # 3: The Church Faces Post-Modernity
Lecture # 4: The Church Faces its Tendencies toward Idolatry
Dr. Campolo's wife has publicly promoted same-sex marriages in the pages of Christianity Today. But instead of rebuking her for this attack upon women and men struggling with the temptation to same-sex intimacy, Dr. Campolo issued a statement...
A few weeks ago, President Frank James and his wife, Carolyn Custis James, sent the above letter to RTS students encouraging them to register for a seminar sponsored by Mrs. James' Whitby Forum, The Impact Movement, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Reformed Theological Seminary. The April 13-15 seminar titled, "Mission Critical: Women on the Frontlines for the Gospel," will be led by Drs. Alice Matthews and Diane Langberg, and Mrs. James...
For a number of years, I've thought we need a book for preachers called The Feminization of Discourse. The book would show how the feminine priorities that have taken over the Western world have turned the preaching of God's Word from authority to mutual exploration and discovery. One friend lamented the preaching he'd sat under for a number of years saying, "Along with the indicative, can't we please have the imperative?" Read anything about the differences between male and female conversation and it's no mystery why the worship and preaching of our--yes, PCA--churches feel like a tea party. Having a reformed form of godliness, we deny the power thereof.
Our preaching is so graceful--more graceful than the preaching of Jesus or the Apostles. Anyone read the book of Acts, recently? Notice how often those listening to the sermon are confronted with the statement, "You killed Jesus!" No wonder repentance was the entry point to faith and baptism back then. But today? We're compassionate Christians, kinder and gentler elders, and sensitive graceful preachers who want to be liked. Above all. Yes, insofar as we can be liked and still be obedient, that's fine. But a choice between the two is no contest; being liked wins.
Now of course, right here the feminization of discourse kicks in and many are ready to condemn me for being dogmatic, making generalizations, or demonstrating a harsh and judgmental spirit, right?
Well, meet my friend Cesar Millan and see if we preachers have anything to learn from him about our exercise of the authority God has delegated to us, particularly in the pulpit...
(Tim, w/thanks to James) Friends, here's one to keep your eyes on. David and I believe the training of pastors is best done in the context of the local church, but if we were asked which seminaries we believe hold true to biblical faith, Westminster Theological Seminary would make the short list.
Now, though, they have a professor who has written things that call his commitment to the authority and plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture into question. After suspending him from teaching, they're investigating the matter formally.
Lots of sheep think the seminary's action is scandalous. You know, criticisms of the "Don't you idiots know that the church has repented of heresy trials?" sort. Well, there you have it: "No heresy any more," say the sheep, "so don't bother guarding us--we don't need your care." How David and I thank God for allowing us to serve congregations who love us precisely because we seek to guard them as the Apostle Paul exhorted the elders of Ephesus to guard their own congregation, warning them: "From among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:30). Further, our congregations have chosen elders who share in that work with us, rather than seeking to silence this aspect of our (and their) calling. What joy!
This past week, I finished Calvin's letter to Cardinal Sadoleto. Let me end the post with this excerpt:
...the miserable condition into which the Church had fallen was owing to nothing more than to its enervation by luxury and indulgence. For the body of the Church, to cohere well, must be bound together by discipline as with sinews.
(Tim) Last night, our elders, pastors, and wives gathered for dinner and an evening's conversation with Pastor Conrad Mbewe, a dear brother who serves as the pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia. Pastor Mbewe was here in the States to preach at the missions conference of Heritage Baptist Church in Owensboro, Kentucky. Tonight, the men studying here at ClearNote Pastors College will also have dinner and an evening learning from Ba Mbewe. We all give thanks to God for this opportunity.
Some years back, Pastor David Wegener, a dear friend of my brother David and I who had served as a pastor here at Church of the Good Shepherd, moved to Ndola, Zambia, to begin serving as an instructor at the Theological College of Central Africa. Along with his wife, Terri, and their four children, Lizzie (who lives with Mary Lee and me this year), Mary, John, and Sarah, David is seconded to TCCA by the Presbyterian Church in America's mission agency, Mission to the World. At TCCA, David serves under Principal Joseph Simfukwe. Soon after beginning his work in Zambia, Pastor Wegener told us of the vital Biblically reformed work being done done in Lusaka by Pastor Mbewe, and since that time, Pastor Wegener has begun lecturing at the preaching college sponsored by Pastor Mbewe's congregation. So we knew of Pastor Mbewe through Pastor Wegener, but until last night, had never met him.
(Dr. Hollinger) will be joined in ministry by his wife of 36 years, Dr. Mary Ann
Hollinger, who is Dean of External Programs and Assistant Professor of
Family Studies at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania.
(Tim) Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is David's and my alma mater and we just received a letter from interim president, Haddon Robinson, announcing "Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger" as the president-elect.
Now, stop for a second and consider how central domestic godliness is in the qualifications listed by the Holy Spirit for church officers. An elder "must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)" (1 Timothy 3:4, 5). Again, elders are to have "children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion" (Titus 1:6). Do these qualifications apply to seminary presidents?
Well, first we must ask what a seminary president is, precisely? Is he a doctor of the church? An elder? A pastor? A bishop? Or is he simply an academic administrator to whom these biblical qualifications don't apply?
Speaking for myself, I find it inconceivable a man who will lead an institution that exists to train church officers must meet lower qualifications than the men he trains; and specifically, that he need not "manage his own household well, keeping his children under control" or have "children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion?"
But if these biblical criteria apply to seminary presidents, we look in vain for any mention of them in the two and a half pages of Mr. Hollinger's qualifications released by Haddon Robinson. Instead, the pages are filled with qualifications of an entirely
worldly nature. Degrees earned, positions held, pages published...
So, what? We blithely assume the biblical but need proof of the
worldly criteria? If so, could there not be at least a bone tossed in
the direction of the biblical ones? Something like, "The Board of
Trustees has examined Mr. Hollinger's Christian character and his
household and have found him above reproach according to the criteria
mandated by the Holy Spirit for church officers," for instance?
by David and Tim Bayly on September 15, 2008 - 8:23am
(Tim, w/thanks to David) What's wrong with this picture?
Look more closely.
In a month and a half, Dr. Diane Langberg will be preaching at the Princeton Regional Conference on Reformed Theology co-sponsored by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and she'll be sharing the
conference pulpit with Don and Al. This ought not to be, right? Who governs this national parachurch
Among others, Bob, Lig, Al, John, C. J., Alistair, Mark, Phil, R. C.,
and Gene-- you know, men we all know as stalwarts in the battle for orthodoxy. So why are they approving and publicizing on their web site a
conference where a woman will preach to men? A conference on "reformed theology," mind you.
"Well, Tim; where have you been all these years? This is old hat. Women
have been plenary preachers at R. C.'s Ligonier conferences for years,
now. Dot your i's and cross your t's, dude. Clean up your precision.
Get a focus. When the Apostle Paul forbids women to "teach" men, he's
only speaking of the Church. Neither the Ligonier conferences nor any
number of other forums--say for instance, a seminary chapel
service--are the church. They're something else. Chill out, brother...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 19, 2008 - 12:33pm
NOTE FROM TIM: I've just taken the liberty of changing a couple sentences and adding some quotes to clarify this piece. So if you already read this post in its first day on the blog, please read it again. Having two writers contributing to this piece allowed a couple things through we'd normally have caught. They've now been corrected.
(David and Tim, w/thanks to Dave) Search for "Langberg" on the Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) web site and fifty-seven links are returned offering products produced by Westminster Theological Seminary adjunct professor Diane Langberg. (Here and here are sample pages.)
Check out CBE's directory for a recommended counselor in Pennsylvania and you will find Calvary Presbyterian Church (PCA) member Diane Langberg.
Several years ago, controversy erupted within the Presbyterian Church in America over whether or not a certain woman actually preached at Covenant Theological Seminary. The controversy came to a head at the 29th General Assembly when Covenant's president, Dr. Bryan Chapell, explained the chapel address had mostly not been preaching although some parts strayed into "sermonic (and) some applicatory material." Bryan Chapell explained to the Assembly:
That Diane Langberg had been told ahead of time what the standards were for her speaking during the chapel time;
That after she spoke at Covenant Seminary, Diane Langberg received a letter reminding her of the standards, and expressing concern that those standards had not been followed; and
That the administration of Covenant Seminary met with students to explain the situation and to assure the seminary community that what had happened was not according to the standards they were committed to upholding.
Note that the chapel message at the root of the controversy was given by Dr. Diane Langberg. Yet, despite her being at the center of this controversy...
Two years ago, the Christian education arm of the Presbyterian Church in America, Christian Education and Publications (CE&P), held its 2006 International Women in the Church Conference in Atlanta. The three women employed to teach the 4,000 assembled women of the PCA? Joni Eareckson Tada, Paige Benton Brown, and Dr. Diane Langberg.
Again, at Women in the Church's (WIC) 2007 Leadership Training Conference Dr. Diane Langberg was a plenary speaker.
Diane Langberg was principal speaker at Tenth Presbyterian (PCA) Church's 2008 TenthWomen Conference.
And this same Diane Langberg is featured speaker at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals' Princeton Regional Conference on Reformed Theology--together with Al Mohler and Don Carson.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 20, 2008 - 7:37pm
(Tim) Is there a larger point that sits above this week's posts; a larger lesson to be learned from the vulnerabilities we've seen in the PCA's Christian Education & Publications, Women in the Church, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Westminster Theological Seminary, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Covenant College and Seminary, and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City? What's to be learned from the sort of leadership we've seen demonstrated this week by the men called to guard these institutions and churches?
Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them, and said to them, “You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land.” (Genesis 42:9)
We have allowed spies into our midst and they are scheming how to capture the undefended parts of the land given us by our Heavenly Father.
Trustees, presidents, parents, and alumni of confessionally reformed colleges and seminaries (and, of course, leaders of denominational agencies and church elders) are going to have to decide which side they're on.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 25, 2008 - 9:48am
(Tim) At 4:15 this morning, the God of the universe blessed Ben and Michal Crum (our son-in-law and his bride) with the safe birth of a son, Zion Bjorn Crum. Zion joins his older brother, Daniel Peregrine, and he and his mother are doing quite well. Praise God with us for this sixth grandchild.
Also, please join us in praising God for the graduation of our first class completing the three-year curriculum at ClearNote Pastors College. We have two graduates--Joseph Bayly and Steve Moxey. The worship service of thanksgiving and commencement will be held this Sunday afternoon, beginning at 5:15, with dinner and fellowship following. If any of you are close enough to join us, please do. My brother, David, will be here with us and we'd love to have you here, too.
And, as always, if you're considering pastoral ministry and your church would recommend you for preparation for that calling, check out the pastors colleges at David's church, Christ the Word, in Toledo; and our Church of the Good Shepherd here in Bloomington, Indiana. (Here's the web site of ClearNote's campus ministry at Indiana University.) For more information on Reformed Evangelical Pastors College in Toledo, please call Pastor Andrew Dionne at (419) 297-4453. For information on ClearNote Pastors College in Bloomington, please call Pastor Stephen Baker at (812) 360-7457. Fifteen students have enrolled thus far and we'd be happy to put you in touch with some of them if you have questions you'd like to ask students.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 29, 2008 - 8:25am
(Tim) Responding, I believe, to the inclination of pastors to avoid the biblical doctrine of election in their teaching and preaching work, Calvin points out that all Scripture is God-breathed, and therefore profitable. Those who avoid any doctrine Scripture reveals are denying the profitability of that doctrine for the souls under their care.
Brothers, think of the many doctrines we avoid. Do we really know better than the Spirit of God what is profitable to those whose watch-care has been entrusted to us? Are we wiser than God? Should each generation produce a Bible with the texts most suited to its day intact and all others excised?
But of course, the irony is that the doctrines we cut out today are precisely those must suited to the battle that rages around us. For twenty years, now, I've tried to get pastors to preach and teach on the biblical doctrine of sexuality--all to almost no avail. Too controverted. Too controversial. Too compromised in my personal life. Too cowardly.
Twelve years ago, I spoke with R. C. at a conference in Chicago. Lamenting the unwillingness of men to take a stand against neutered versions of Scripture, R.C. said something I've often thought of since...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 5, 2009 - 10:15am
(Tim) Last week, Nat Hentoff was laid off at the (Greenwich) Village Voice. This brings an abrupt end to Hentoff's fifty year run there, appropriately and affectionately titled "Fifty Years of Pissing People Off" by fellow Voice columnist Allen Barra in his recent tribute to Hentoff.
Hentoff started as a staff writer for the Voice back in 1958. His dismissal fifty years later coincides, almost to the day, with Louis Menand's short history of the Voice that ran in the current New Yorker. Beyond the Voice, Hentoff has also published in the New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, JazzTimes (his best-known work may be as a jazz critic and historian), and Atlantic Monthly.
I note the dismissal of Hentoff, as well as the profile of the Voice in the current New Yorker, because this past week I've been enjoying a Christmas gift received from a friend in New York City who knows me well. A former member of Church of the Good Shepherd while studying at IU's School of Music, Regina Scow sent me an autographed copy of The Nat Hentoff Reader which I've been relishing this past week.
So far, I've read a short piece on jazz clarinetist, George Lewis; a longish one on my longtime favorite, Merle Haggard; some superb essays on racism in America including a good profile of Ken Clark titled, "The Integrationist;" and a rare glimpse of the racial suffering of Louis Armstrong in "Louis Armstrong and Reconstruction." The book also reprints Hentoff's classic essay exposing the practice of infanticide in America today titled, "The Awful Privacy of Baby Doe." I'll never forget reading it when it first appeared back in 1985. When I finished the piece, I remember feeling deep gratitude for Hentoff's leadership and courage.
I've been a fan of Hentoff for years now, largely (but not exclusively) because of his heroic defense of the First Amendment, the newborn, and the unborn. Interesting trio, aren't they? Imagine someone who tenaciously defends the First Amendment against the depredations of p.c. nannies also tenaciously defending the unborn and newborn against oppression and murder. He'd have to be a Christian, wouldn't he?
by David and Tim Bayly on January 21, 2009 - 5:04pm
(Tim; pic by Perry Reichanadter/Genesis Photos) The music critic of World magazine, Arsenio Orteza, just wrote a fine short profile of Dr. David Canfield, one of the elders here at Church of the Good Shepherd. Arsenio originally intended his piece to focus on David's life as a composer of classical music, but David endearingly hijacked the interview to talk about the real love of his life: ClearNote Pastors College where he serves as one of the instructors.
ClearNote Pastors College (CNPC) is a ministry of Church of the Good Shepherd under our umbrella organization, ClearNote Fellowship. In addition to CNPC, ClearNote Fellowship oversees our support of foreign mission work, the composition and recording of music by Good Shepherd Band, the curriculum, pamplets, and books we're hoping to produce; and the planting of churches by CNPC graduates.
Christ the Word in Toledo, Ohio--the congregation served by my brother, David--has a similar ministry called Reformed Evangelical Pastors College. As sister churches, we do the largest part of the administration and instruction at both colleges together. We have had great success using a Polycom videoconferencing system for virtual classroom instruction and our principals, Andrew Dionne at REPC and Stephen Baker here at CNPC, work closely together on curriculum and schedules.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 12, 2009 - 7:08am
(Tim) Our two pastors colleges which cooperate in much of our administration and instruction--Reformed Evangelical Pastors College in Toledo and ClearNote Pastors College
in Bloomington--are in the middle of interviewing candidates for our
next matriculating class. Class size is limited and we start classes
only every two years, so if you're interested in being trained in a modern-day Log College, now's the time to apply. Click on the pastors college of your choice, above, and you'll be led to our contact information.
And while we're on the subject, here's a post I did recently on the profile World magazine ran on Dr. David E. Canfield, one of our shared instructors.
(Tim) Going through old e-mails, I found the following request from David Scholer dated April 10, 2008:
You are probably surprised to hear from me. I am currently teaching my course “Women, the Bible and the Church” for the 30th time in my career. In my introduction to the course, I was reviewing some of my experience and included a brief report on the debate you and I had in Lancaster now about ten years ago (I did not use your name).
If you are willing to write 100-300 words in an email which I could read to my class on what you would like most to say to my students, I would be pleased. I am having them read 400+ pages of works by Complementarian authors.
Blessings on your ministry in Indiana,
David M. Scholer Professor of New Testament, School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA
Following a long battle with cancer, this past August my friend David Scholer went from death to everlasting life, by grace through faith in the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. May he rest in peace.
(Tim) Last Lord's Day, our sermon was preached by a second year student at ClearNote Pastors College. He's half Arab, has never known his Dad, and never been to college. He came to Church of the Good Shepherd a couple years ago with a ring through his eyebrow, a spike through his tongue, bleached hair, and the hunger for God's Word typical of those who are brand spanking new Christians fresh from paganism and pool halls.
He doesn't have BibleWorks, Logos, or Gramcord on his computer, but he's read Calvin's Institutes and has thought carefully about the challenges Jonathan Edwards faced in Northampton and Stockbridge. He's dirt poor, but by faith he and his wonderful wife have already been blessed by God with two children.
Why do I write this? Listen to the sermon and you'll know...
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...)
by David and Tim Bayly on January 23, 2010 - 8:23am
(Tim) This excellent exhortation to church planters and other pastors by son Joseph was just posted on the ClearNote Fellowship Blog. With his wife, Heidi, Joseph is planting a church in Indianapolis and I commend the work to our readers if they know residents of Indy looking for a church home. For more information, please e-mail Joseph.
* * *
Currently, my wife and I are reading out loud together volume one of
Iain Murray’s two-volume biography of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The First Forty Years 1899-1939 (v. 1). (By the way, reading out loud is an excellent way to pass the time, but more about that another day.)
Whenever I read history, I find myself wondering at my own
stupidity... It's truly amazing I so easily forget the
truth of God’s declaration through King Solomon that “there is nothing
new under the sun.” But I always do, and this is why it's so
important to read history. Whenever I read about the past, I find that
it's just like the present. Only today we’re so conceited we
honestly think we’re the first ones to…
by David and Tim Bayly on February 4, 2010 - 7:39am
O My people! Their oppressors are children, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray And confuse the direction of your paths. -Isaiah 3:12
If we wanted to describe the repudiation of Biblical sexuality spreading across conservative churches and denominations today, we'd have a hard time finding a better text than this curse of God recorded by the prophet Isaiah. Women lead men, those who guide the People of God lead them astray, and pastors confuse the direction of their flocks' paths.
It's everywhere, from Campus Crusade for Christ to Operation Mobilization to Columbia International University to Wheaton College to the Presbyterian Church in America...
A while back, the New Yorker ran an article by Malcolm Gladwell profiling Cesar Millan, the man behind the National Geographic show, Dog Whisperer. Titled "What the Dog Saw," the piece gave readers a spellbinding glimpse into the life of a man expert at disciplining incorrigible dogs. The central thrust of the article was an explanation of Millan's "phrasing," his ability to bring his body movements, hand gestures, tone of voice, and eye contact into perfect harmony so that dogs understand Millan says what he means and means what he says.
In an interview following the publication of his article, Gladwell described Millan's good phrasing:
What we're talking about, when it comes to phrasing, is simply the ability to communicate with clarity. We all think that those around us have the ability to read our minds--and we get frustrated when our intentions are misunderstood. But the truth is that accurate communication is really hard, and only a very small number of people can do it well.
Gladwell's profile contained a number of examples of dog owners who hired Millan to tame their dogs. Here's the story of a dog named Beauty:
"I have forty-seven dogs right now," Cesar...idly scratched a big German shepherd. "My girlfriend here, Beauty. If you were to see the relationship between her and her owner." He shook his head. "A very sick relationship. A 'Fatal Attraction' kind of thing. Beauty sees her (owner) and she starts scratching her and biting her, and the owner is, like, 'I love you, too.'"
Near the end of his article, Gladwell told the story of a Chihuahua named...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 22, 2010 - 9:47am
(Tim) Please pray for Francois Murekezi's healing. This just in from David Wegener:
Serious situation at Theological College of Central Africa (Ndola, Zambia) tonight. Got a call around 7pm that one of our lecturers, Francois Murekezi (from Rwanda), was trying to get admitted to the hospital with cerebral malaria. That is very severe and people can often die within a short period of time, days or even hours.
So I decided to go over there even though visiting hours were over. (Francois) couldn't talk. Hopefully the quinine can arrest the malaria quickly.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 25, 2010 - 10:11am
(Woman) by nature (that is, by the ordinary law of God) is formed to obey; for the government of women has always been regarded by all wise persons as a monstrous thing..." (John Calvin)
(Tim, w/thanks to Jeff M.) It's worth noting how southern Presbyterianism's Union Theological Seminary has left the faith of her fathers for the heresies of her mothers.
Back when I was a minister in the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA), I noted how "out there" the woman pastors were compared to the men pastors. Whether the issue was political, ecclesiastical, or theological, they brought a whole new level of error into the church that even apostate men hadn't given themselves to.
Eve is vulnerable. Can I get an "Amen" from a man who loves his mother, sisters, daughters, and wife?
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla who gave me a heads-up and has done several good posts on the subject) Here's the setup. Mrs. Frank James (who prefers to be known as Carolyn Custis James), was teaching a group of pastors how better to utilize women in positions of authority when one pastor asked her, "If we work with women, won't we be tempted?"
Mrs. James wasn't pleased with the question or what followed. She writes:
What followed (the question was) a laundry list of precautions to safeguard oneself
from moral hazards when working or dealing with women. Women find this kind of thinking offensive, and rightly so.
This low view of women conflicts with the Bible's high redemptive view
So now, a word for church planters and new pastors. When I took my first call, Dad forwarded an article about a youth pastor who had given a young woman a ride home after youth group. Later, he was sued by the young woman's parents for some sort of sexually predatory behavior--which he denied. At the top of the article, Dad had scrawled, "This is a warning. Never give a woman a ride in your car, alone. Never counsel a woman, alone. Have a woman present or keep your door open and stay within sight of your secretary."
When we built our church-house a couple years ago, we put lights (windows) in every door as protection for everyone, everywhere...
Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they
might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along
with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach
the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.
Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or
But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are
you testing Me, you hypocrites?” (Matthew 22:15-18)
(Tim: this is first in a series, with the second, here) A few years ago, I was speaking with a friend who taught
theology at a respected evangelical seminary. We were discussing the response
of some Christian leaders to being confronted over their abuse of Scripture. I
expressed my conviction that the leaders’ commitment to turn from their sin was
only pragmatic, and that in time they would proceed to do the very thing they
had just promised not to do.
My friend was astounded that I could think these men capable
of deception. He went on to tell me why he thought I was susceptible to such
uncharitable thoughts: “Your problem, Tim, is that you spent too many years in
the mainline denomination with other pastors who weren’t even Christians. But
now, you’re back in the evangelical world and these men we’re working with are
believers. You should never accuse another believer of lying.”
NOTE TO THOSE ENTERING BAYLYBLOG FROM AQUILLA REPORT: It's surprising Jim Bruce linked to this full blog post since his description of what went down in this interview is so far afield of what you see transcribed below. But read on and see for yourself.
On the direct matter of whether Keller is capable of calling homosexuality "sin," this post is much more to the point than the post below, although both are damning. Also read these four posts demonstrating Keller's departure from the Biblical doctrine of Hell here, here, here, and here. Then there's this post documenting Keller's principle of not preaching on abortion, and many other posts on Keller's failures concerning sexuality, God's Order of Creation, etc.
Finally, note that Aquilla Report never allows comments, so it's impossible to challenge or correct them. Which is the reason my wife predicts Dominic's link to this page will soon be killed.
* * *
(Tim, w/thanks to a faithful man) By now, when the President of our own Covenant Theological Seminary invites Tim Keller to model pastoral ministry to his students over in St. Louis, he should know precisely what he's going to get and not be left batting cleanup for him. But take a listen to this exchange from one of Keller's recent visits, there.
It's a Q & A session in front of men preparing for pastoral ministry. A Covenant student asks the Rev. Dr. Tim Keller this question: "How do you think the church is or should be proactive with regard to the issue of homosexuality? I see the prevalence of homosexuality, yet the church seems to be afraid to touch the issue. How do we actively speak to believers about this topic in truth and in love?"
Which question launched the Keller/Chapell duo into this session of semantic dodge ball, with protective pads and helmets.
Was Tim Keller's answer bad?
Yes, his answer was bad.
Because he's a preacher of the Gospel and he ought to rejoice at being used by the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment. He ought to know God's Moral Law is man's schoolmaster, his crossing guard to the Cross. Pastor Keller's ministry is to singles in Manhattan, so he should (and easily could, given his gifts) excel at the proclamation of the wickedness of sodomy along with God's love and mercy for those ensnared in this foul pit...
And it will be, like people, like priest... (Hosea 4:9b)
"A feminized Christianity may work to attract a certain type of man, but
he’s probably not the man you want around when the local Imam starts
practicing taqiyya on your congregation."
(Tim, w/thanks to Tim R.) Here's an article about the effeminacy of the Christian church, today. The piece approaches the crisis by noting the attractiveness of Islam to real men, making the point that a re-masculinized Christianity is necessary to hold off the forces of Islamic jihad. But if faith in Jesus is for this life only, we are of all men most foolish. We love, worship, and trust Jesus, not because it's useful, but because we fear the Holy God and know our sin, we dread Hell's worms and fire, and we ache for Heaven's joy and peace in the presence of the Lord. And yet...
Reformed men and women need to understand how focused the PCA is on gussying herself up for this effeminate age. As a denomination, we are all about perfect pitch rather than men making music to our God Who is a consuming fire. No Delta blues for us; it's all Julliard, violins, pianos, and maybe the occasional acoustic guitar or mandolin just to keep the audience off-balance. As with music, so with preaching: we allow no danger and take no risk. After all, women don't like danger. It could hurt their child.
But men? Real men don't wake up until they see why they're needed. And that need usually has something to do with danger--bullets, grenades, bombs, sexual predators, heresy, the wrath of God, death, and Hell.
But what have wedonetoHell? We've turned it into the Narcissists' heaven. It's man getting himself forever, and what's not to like about that? No scared children. No women having hissy-fits over spiders hanging over the crackling fire. No worms eating a carcass. Just me, myself, and I forever...
(The PCA needs to) provide safe places to talk about new ideas to advance the PCA’s faithfulness to biblical belief... (The PCA needs) more seats at the table; especially younger generation, women, ethnic leaders, global church representatives... e.g. advisory voice on committees, (S)essions, Boards, speaking at gatherings, consulted by presbyteries; employed in non-ordained ministries.
-Strategic Plan for the PCA
(Tim) I've been sent a number of links to discussions of the Strategic Plan for the PCA and I think it's time we do what is necessary to provide for the work of the Stated Clerk and the Office of the General Assembly in a way that relieves them of the indignity of begging for our support. The men and women who serve in these areas are essential to our well-being as a denomination and, in my experience, carry out their duties faithfully and with real wisdom. If it requires a change in the amount or method of payment to attend General Assembly to fund these works faithfully, let's do it.
However, there's no need for all the philosophical and sociological and political and metaphysical and ontological accretions and gnashing of teeth being tacked on as riders to the bill. Fund the OGA well and stop at that. All the rest of what's known as the Strategic Plan is simply jeopardizing this one thing we should all agree is necessary...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 11, 2010 - 1:20pm
Following Tim Keller, Redeemer, Metro New York and Northern California Presbyteries, as well as all the seminaries, churches, and pastors who believe in women teaching and exercising authority over men as long as it's not in the pulpit Sunday morning or voting on the discipline of a man in a session meeting, the PCA's Mission to the World e-mailed the following announcement across the world at the end of the day, yesterday:
From: (Mission to the World) Date: September 10, 2010 10:34:32 PM GMT To: Undisclosed recipients Subject: New Senior Team Members!
I am pleased to announce that Jill Milton and Heidi Harrison have been appointed new members of the Senior Team for Mission to the World. Jill has been with MTW since 1981 and has served in various capacities during that time. In 2009 she assumed the role of Director of the newly created Resource Team Department. Heidi has been a part of the MTW family for 17 years and has served in various roles during her time in the office. Most recently she been the Assistant to the Coordinator in addition to her role on the Latin America/Africa Resource Team serving missionaries in Africa. She will be adding the role of Project Coordinator for the Senior Team to her responsibilities.
Please join us in thanking God for Jill and Heidi.
In Christ, (Mission to the World)
So here we have this unilateral announcment exhorting us to "thank God" for women getting seats at the table that sets governing policy over MTW ministries and personnel...
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 October 20, 2010 - 7:24am
"He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep" (John 10:12-15).
(Tim) Last night I read an article about the sea-change in compensation that came during the seventies. Before then, stars--corporate executives, investment bankers, and baseball players, for instance--were paid reasonable amounts of money and couldn't simply tell their employers what they required. Then things changed.
Marvin Miller, a labor organizer, came to baseball's Players Association and told them it wasn't to their benefit simply and cheerfully to receive what baseball clubs' owners offered. But baseball was a gentleman's sport and the players didn't want a man representing them who might make waves. They were comfortable being told what was what, and not knowing what went on behind the screen.
As Miller tells the story, one time in a meeting early in his work with the Players Association, a "player stood up and hesitantly asked a question...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 21, 2010 - 8:25am
(Tim) As I've mentioned before, one of the most important journals for elders, pastors, and Titus 2 women to read as we shepherd God's flock and our own families is the Howard Center's "Family in America." (Full disclosure: my longtime friend, Bob Patterson, edits the journal.)
In order to live and lead "wise as serpents and harmless as doves," we should spend time studying our culture. There's no issue pastors, elders, deacons, fathers, and mothers of covenant children should study more carefully than the interface between the church, her families, and the civil magistrate--an area of the public square commonly referred to as family policy.
Recently, a friend of mine who's stated clerk of Central Indiana Presbytery (PCA) wrote an oped piece for his local paper calling for more review and discipline of homeschoolers by state government:
What do we do with home schools?
Leave them alone? Regulate them? Ban them?
...So I ask: is it in the interests of the state, to keep an eye on this? I say yes....
by David and Tim Bayly on October 22, 2010 - 12:04pm
(Tim) Speaking of alma maters being responsible for their students' ministries years later, note that with the recent appointment of Carol Kaminski as the seminary's Academic Dean, the profs at David's and my alma mater, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, now have a woman boss. Which of course explains Baylyblog.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 25, 2010 - 10:58am
(Tim) A couple days ago, I posted concerning an oped written by a friend of mine dealing with problems with homeschools, and my friend's suggestion that it would help for state authorities to take more authority over them.
Saturday, I spoke with my friend, Pastor Tom Stein of Richmond, Indiana. We had a good conversation. Afterwards, he forwarded this e-mail he's sent to those who wrote to complain about his column. I post it here because I think his response is good.
Tom and I still disagree over the role Covenant Seminary may or may not have had in what he proposed. Yet we've both heard one another's arguments, so misunderstanding is not the source of our disagreement.
Anyhow, I thought you'd all want to read his e-mail...
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 13, 2010 - 6:47am
(Tim: a series on beliefs about spirit beings in Zambian culture by David Wegener)
** Editors Note: Readers in the US may not understand just how prevalent these beliefs are in African culture. Witchdoctors, or "Traditional Healers", are regularly consulted by Africans both inside and outside of the church. In other words, this report from David doesn't represent anything exotic where he lives. Rather, it's "business as usual". **
I’ve been teaching class on Spirit Beings this fall at our theological college. As one of their assignments, I asked the students to interview a witchdoctor and ask him a set of questions. They also interviewed a local pastor and asked him the same set of questions and then they were to evaluate the answers of both from Scripture and write things up in a paper.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 18, 2010 - 5:58am
(Tim, w/thanks to Ethan) The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a profile of a man who earns his living writing papers for students. He earns more than $60,000 a year and has this to say about his clients who are seminary students:
I do a lot of work for seminary students. I like seminary students. They seem so blissfully unaware of the inherent contradiction in paying somebody to help them cheat in courses that are largely about walking in the light of God and providing an ethical model for others to follow. I have been commissioned to write many a passionate condemnation of America's moral decay as exemplified by abortion, gay marriage, or the teaching of evolution. All in all, we may presume that clerical authorities see these as a greater threat than the plagiarism committed by the future frocked.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 17, 2010 - 9:04am
(Tim) Since we removed the comment feed, here, it's become difficult for readers to keep track of active discussions. Let me note here two discussions you may have missed that are developing under the comments below these two posts (as well as the two comments under this post which pertain to the first of the two posts, below:
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...