Friday, April 30, 2010

Presuppositional Apologetics

Presuppositional Apologetics is a method of defending the faith that presupposes the existence of God and the infallibility of Scripture. The Bible alone provides the framework through which all experience is interpreted and all truth is known. According to Romans 1:19-23 we know that all men have a knowledge of God. In spite of this knowledge the unbeliever intentionally distorts the truth and exchanges it for a lie.

This doesn't rule out any use of external evidence such as archeology. Eternal evidence, however, is not the basis of our faith. Recently Fox News printed an article describing the claim that a group of Chinese and Turkish evangelicals had found the remains of Noah's Ark 13,000 feet up on Mount Ararat in Turkey. They said they had a 99.9 percent certainty that their find was indeed the ark. Now Fox has printed a followup article describing the find as a probable hoax -- "at best an elaborate deception." For those of us who rest upon the authority of Scripture this means nothing.

All of creation testifies to the validity of Scripture, but Scripture is not dependent upon external validation. Archeology, when properly interpreted, will always testify that the Biblical record is absolutely reliable, but our faith is not built upon external evidence. The followup article states, "There's never been evidence of a great flood." The reality is evidence abounds, but if one presupposes that the Bible is false no amount of evidence will change their mind. God came in the flesh, performed miracles, and rose from the dead and men continued in unbelief.

As we defend the faith we can go with the confidence that the Bible is true and that all men already have a knowledge of God. And we go with the power of the Holy Spirit who is able to powerfully change the hearts and minds of men. This should give us boldness as we confront the unbelief of lost men.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2010 ARBCA General Assembly

Most of you know that Trinity is affiliated with both the Southern Baptist Convention as well as ARBCA (The Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America). Each year we have an annual meeting for all of the churches to come together in one place. I'm away at this meeting this week. This years theme is, "A Biblical View for a Balanced Church." A balanced church is: (1) A church where Christ is central and there is a passion for the glory of God in all things, and specifically in the area of church life, (2) A church where the Holy Spirit has made the church to be alive with joyful and serious personal godliness, fervent worship, energetic fellowship, with real life and spiritual vitality, and not by employing artificial measures to accomplish it, (3) A Church where the missionary vision is strong, where men are being raised up to answer the call, and who will go to evangelize sinners, plant churches, and train men to lead those churches. Whether here or there, churches should be forward thinking about strategies and plans to reach out and reproduce themselves.

I'm writing this message at the close of the assembly. The three keynote speakers this year were Sam Waldron, Jim Adams, and David Vaughn, a missionary from France. David Vaughn's message was particularly stirring as we consider the great commission of the church. He said this commission demands a clear vision, an element of dependence and an element of spirituality. In addition it demands evangelistic preaching from the pulpit but also congregational contact with the world. The church must have a worldwide outlook and orientation. Finally, he said that there must be a strong element of self-denial. In this he said the church needs so much more than a mind of glorifying God through our enjoyment of Him. The problem with the modern church is too much focus on self. He directed our attention to Calvin's section on the Christian life in the Institutes, Book III, Chapter 7. It is a life of self-denial. The life of the Christian is the cross now and reward later.

The conference was Christ centered and left all with a great burden to bear God's glory to the world.

Redeeming the Time

"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:16). The KJV is the best translation in this passage. The same word for "redeeming" is used in Galatians 4:5 - "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." The word means to purchase or buy up. With regards to time it means to make the wise use of every second treating each one as a precious commodity.

Time in one sense is given equally to all. There are 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in a day. While all of us are not given the same number of days or years of life, it is certainly true that a day is the same length for one man as it is for another. It is also true that each of us have been allotted a certain amount of time upon this earth. The proverbial sand is falling rapidly through the hourglass for each of us. This makes time one of our most treasured assets. Unlike with cellphones, you cannot purchase additional minutes in life. How well are you spending your time? You cannot purchase any additional time, but you can certainly prevent this precious commodity from being wasted - you can redeem the time.

Every man is given the same number of minutes in a day, but oh how some buy up and spend those minutes. Early in his ministry Charles Spurgeon preached three times on the Lord's Day and five nights every week. Eventually he would preach twelve or thirteen times a week while traveling hundreds of miles by road or rail. He said, "I always felt that I could never do enough for Him who had loved me, and given Himself for me" (Autobiography p.359). He reserved Monday morning for meeting with people stirred in their souls from Sunday's sermons. He published a hymnal, revised the Shorter Catechism, published a new Baptist confession, founded a pastor's college in 1857, and founded an orphanage in 1867. He wrote dozens of letters each week and gave of himself tirelessly in pastoral care. He spent his life redeeming the time.

It is so easy to get distracted in this life. It is essential that we maintain a right perspective. Our lives must be fixed on three priorities: (1) the glory of God, (2) growing in holiness, (3) reaching the lost with the Gospel. We must treasure each minute as an opportunity to serve our Savior. We must see ourselves as soldiers. "No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who has enlisted him as a solder" (2 Timothy 2:4 NASB). It is important that we be good stewards of our time, using each second to the greatest benefit. In the parable of the Good Samaritan we find the Samaritan man giving of his time for this stranger. He stopped his own journey, took him to a nearby town, and cared for him overnight. He gave of his precious, highly valuable time.


This life is not the time for relaxation. This doesn't mean there is no place for leisure. We must have a sound theology of leisure which includes valuable times of respite. But we must never be lovers of pleasure or slothful wasters of time. This life is the time for diligence, watchfulness and self-discipline. We must guard against time eaters - TV, the Internet, sports, video games, etc. These things have little value to our souls or our Lord's Kingdom. Our time of rest is coming. May we labor hard until that day. "Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now is salvation nearer to us than when we believed" (Romans 13:11 NASB).