Author Archive | Denny Burk

Blomberg and Wright’s Straw Man

New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg has posted a favorable review of N. T. Wright’s book Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision. In it he characterizes Christ’s active obedience as “his obedience to the law” and Christ’s passive obedience as his vicarious death on the cross.

Justin Taylor has pointed out that Blomberg’s definition is in fact incorrect and that Blomberg has reiterated a common caricature of the Reformed view. Taylor writes, Continue Reading →

Obama Fails To Transcend Abortion Debate

barack-mainI watched President Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame with some interest this afternoon (see video and transcript below). I was curious (along with everyone else in the country) about how he would address the protests surrounding his appearance at a Roman Catholic (and ostensibly pro-life) university. The buzz leading-up to the speech was that the President would address the issue head-on while attempting to transcend the old “culture war” debates about abortion. Continue Reading →

Americans More Pro-Life Than Ever?


For the first time since Gallup began tracking this issue in 1995, more Americans now identify themselves as pro-life (51%) than those who identify themselves as pro-choice (42%). Gallup says that the “bottom line” of their survey is this:

‘With the first pro-choice president in eight years already making changes to the nation’s policies on funding abortion overseas, expressing his support for the Freedom of Choice Act, and moving toward rescinding federal job protections for medical workers who refuse to participate in abortion procedures, Americans — and, in particular, Republicans — seem to be taking a step back from the pro-choice position. However, the retreat is evident among political moderates as well as conservatives.

‘It is possible that, through his abortion policies, Obama has pushed the public’s understanding of what it means to be “pro-choice” slightly to the left, politically. While Democrats may support that, as they generally support everything Obama is doing as president, it may be driving others in the opposite direction.’

I hope that the stats are showing us what I think they are. It appears that the nation’s conscience hasn’t been completely seared on the issue of abortion. Hearts and minds can yet be won to a pro-life position, and some indeed have been. This is encouraging news. Read the rest of the survey results here.

Violence at Notre Dame

ndJames Kushiner of Touchstone magazine talks about the violence that we can expect to see during the protests of President Obama’s commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame on Sunday. He writes,

‘When it comes to whatever number of people protesting at Notre Dame, the right image is not that of Vietnam War protesters or those people that show up at the various global economy “summits”, and certainly not the PETA people. It’s not there won’t be violence–there will be violence, but it won’t be on the part of protesters, though they will be accused of angry hatred. The violence will be seen in the pictures some of them will be carrying, and the aborted fetuses depict a violence approved of, sanctioned by, and fully supported by the President who is speaking to the students on Sunday. . .

‘The fetal photos won’t be censored, and they are displayed in the hope of inciting others, not to violence (God forbid!) but to end the violence and spare the lives of thousands upon thousands upon thousands.

‘Now we know Notre Dame can read, but can Notre Dame understand pictures? The protesters aim to peacefully point out the violence in pictures. Notre Dame needs to learn something else: honoring the man who was publicly the most pro-abortion legislator in Washington and remains unrepentant is complicity with deep evil.’

Obama’s Supreme Court Philosophy

OBAMA/Peter Slevin describes in the Washington Post what qualities President Obama will be looking for as he appoints a new Justice to the Supreme Court. According to Slevin, the quality that Obama is chiefly concerned about is “empathy.” In other words, Obama is not so much looking for a Justice who will interpret the Constitution according to the framers’s intent. Rather, he is looking for a Justice who can go beyond the letter of the law and stand for justice when no one else will.

Slevin’s article reveals (perhaps unconsciously) why Obama’s approach to appointing Justices is not sound. Ever since Marbury v. Madison, the Court’s most significant power is that of “judicial review”—the right of the court to declare laws unconstitutional. This power allows the Court to have the last word on what the Constitution means. For Obama, however, a Supreme Court Justice’s job is not to bring the proper interpretation of the law to bear upon a given case. The rule of law (Constitutionally speaking) sometimes has to give way to the discretion of Justices who sometimes know better.

This article is worth reading in toto, and you can find it here.

Albert Mohler on Gender Confusion in the Culture

There was an editorial in the New York Times on Sunday that is a virtual case-study of the gender confusion that pervades our culture. Dr. Albert Mohler has an insightful riposte that is worth the read. He writes:

“The world we know is a world increasingly in revolt against the idea that gender is assigned by our Creator and is thus a fixed category. . .

“The Christian worldview is clear at this point.  The Bible presents gender as part of the goodness of creation.  God reveals his glory in every aspect of creation, and this is abundantly true with respect to the two sexes.  God glorifies himself in creating humanity in his own image, both male and female.  To deny or confuse this distinction is to deny God the glory that is his due.  And, that which brings God’s greatest glory will also bring us greatest joy.

“The distinction between male and female survives even after the Fall.  We should thank God for this gift and lean into it, preserving and honoring this distinction as necessary for understanding what it means to be human.”

Read the rest of Dr. Mohler’s article here.

Carl Trueman on Moronic Worship

Carl Trueman has a must-read essay at Reformation21 about unserious worship practices. This paragraph is a gem:

“A church service involving clowns or fancy dress or skits or stand-up comedy does not reflect the seriousness of the gospel; and those who take the gospel seriously should know better. Frankly, it is more appropriate to liberal theology which does not take the gospel, or the God of the gospel, seriously. Serious things demand serious idioms.   I heard recently of a church service involving dressing up in costume and music taken from a Tom Cruise movie.  Now, if I go for my annual prostate examination, and the doctor comes into the consulting room dressed as Coco the Clown, with `Take my breath away’ from Top Gun playing in the background, guess what?  I’m going to take the doctor out with a left hook, flee the surgery, and probably file a complaint with the appropriate professional body.   This is serious business; and if he looks like a twit and acts like a twit, then I can only conclude that he is a twit.”

(HT: Justin Taylor)

John Piper Preaches John 3:16

Dr. John Piper just completed a two-part series of sermons on John 3:16, and I hope a lot of people will take time to listen to these. Folks often wonder how a Calvinist handles texts like John 3:16 and the other “world” passages in scripture. These sermons are exemplary (in my view) of how Calvinists ought to handle them. Among other things, Piper says this:

‘We may, therefore, say to every human being, “God loves you. And this is how he loves you: He gave his Son to die, so that if you would believe, your sins would be forgiven and you would have eternal life.” Continue Reading →


From time to time, I run across headlines that communicate things that the authors did not intend. Here are a couple of recent ones that I thought you might enjoy.

“Pope’s address disappoints Muslim leaders.”
Didn’t they already know that the Pope gets his mail at the Vatican? I thought everybody knew that!

“SBC missions giving up; baptisms down.”
The news is really bad out of Nashville. Not only are baptisms down in the SBC, but apparently we’re also giving up on missions!
[I guess BP figured out the problem with this one because it’s been corrected.]

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