Author Archive | Denny Burk

Gospel Coalition Online

We’ve had a very busy week here in Louisville, and I have been out-of-pocket as far as this blog is concerned. Things are getting a little bit back to normal, and I want to take a minute to bring to your attention that The Gospel Coalition met this week and has made available the MP3’s from its conference. The speakers include John Piper, Tim Keller, D. A. Carson, Mark Driscoll, Lig Duncan, and many others. I have already listened to Mark Driscoll’s sermon and am looking forward to hearing the others as well. Here’s the link to the audio from the 2009 Gospel Coalition messages.

UPDATE: For those who are interested, Tim Challies has a succinct description of The Gospel Coalition.

Tom Schreiner Charges Jim Hamilton

Tom Schreiner preached today at Jim Hamilton’s installation as pastor of Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. I was out of town preaching today, so I missed it. Thankfully, the audio is available for download here. Or you can listen to it below.

(HT: Jim Hamilton)

Schreiner, Seifrid, and Vickers Assess Piper-Wright Debate at Boyce College

Yesterday, Tom Schreiner, Mark Seifrid, Brian Vickers, and I had a conversation with the students of Boyce College about Paul’s doctrine of justification. In particular, we discussed Tom Wright’s new book Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision, which is largely a response to John Piper’s 2007 book The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright. You can download the audio of this discussion at the Boyce College blog, or you can listen to it by pressing the play button below.

In the main, the panel members agree that Wright’s book doesn’t advance the discussion beyond where it was before. The central concern of John Piper’s book is his charge that N. T. Wright interprets Paul to teach final justification on the basis works. Here’s what Tom Schreiner said about Wright’s response to Piper on this point:

“Wright does not answer the question and in that sense I think the book represents no progress at all over what he had written previously. . . It’s simply a restatement, and the most fundamental question that Piper poses . . . he doesn’t answer that question.”

In the book, Wright simply reasserts what he has written elsewhere and argues that initial justification is by faith and that final justification happens on the basis of Spirit-inspired works. In this sense, Wright appears more Augustinian than Protestant. Seifrid described it this way:

“Wright doesn’t mean to be Catholic. I don’t think he knows that he’s becoming an Anglo-Catholic, but that in effect is what he is doing. I suspect (I could be wrong) that the poor man doesn’t know what he’s talking about. . . He’s very good on the historical Jesus, but here he is absolutely horrid. . . so there’s something to be appreciated but not in this book.”

The panel also agreed that the tone of Wright’s book was patronizing towards his opponents. I think this is a fair critique of Wright’s book, but readers will have to judge this for themselves.

As you can see, the response from the panel was generally critical of Wright’s exegesis of Paul and of his mode of engagement with opponents. For more on this conversation, I encourage you to listen to the whole thing at the Boyce College blog.

Colbert Lampoons Ehrman

For those of you who may have forgotten, Bart Ehrman is a New Testament scholar at the University of North Carolina. I have written about him numerous times on this blog. He’s the guy who used to be an evangelical Christian but who left the faith some years ago. He is now writing popular level books trying to convince others to leave the faith as well. I wrote a review of one of his books that you can read here.

I am not sure why Ehrman would subject himself to this, but I don’t mind that he did. Colbert is actually pretty effective at poking holes in his arguments.

Favorite line: “What’s the son of a duck? It’s a duck.”

(HT: Ben Witherington)

The Innermost Meaning of the Cross

In 1998, I went to Austin, Texas to a conference called “Passion 98.” It was there that the Lord began a spiritual renewal (a Copernican revolution of sorts) in my own heart and mind concerning the Supremacy of God over all things for the joy of all peoples. It all began with a sermon delivered by John Piper on Romans 3:25-26, “Did Christ Die for Us or for God?” This sermon more than any other has shaped my view of the meaning of Christ’s work on the cross–that it was a propitiatory sacrifice for sinners. Piper quoted C. E. B. Cranfield, calling this the “innermost meaning of the cross.”

On this Good Friday, listen to this sermon, and ponder anew what Christ’s death was and is for us.

Here is a manuscript of an earlier version of the sermon.

Assessing the Piper-Wright Debate on Justification

Next week, Boyce College is hosting a theology forum during its Wednesday morning chapel hour. We have invited three distinguished guests to discuss N. T. Wright’s new book, Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision. As I have mentioned before, Wright’s book is in large part a response to John Piper’s book The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright. I will moderate a panel featuring Tom Schreiner, Mark Seifrid, and Brian Vickers. Here’s the flier for the event. Even though the event is aimed at our Boyce College undergraduates, seminary students are welcome to attend. We will reserve some time at the end for Q & A with the audience.

After the event, we will make the audio available on the Boyce College website. In the meantime, if any of you out there in blog-world have a question that you would like for me to put to our panel, put it in the comments section below, and I will select some for the panel discussion. Continue Reading →

Maggie Gallagher Critiques Rick Warren

Maggie Gallagher has a sharp critique of Rick Warren’s recent appearance on “Larry King Live.” She writes:

‘Many religious people and groups will bow to, if not exactly endorse, the power of gay activists. Witness Rev. Rick Warren, who on “Larry King Live” this week came very close to recanting his support for Proposition 8. Rick did not quite do so. What he did, instead, is what many good people will do in the face of the massive campaign of intimidation and harassment designed to silence Christians and others of good will who support marriage: He dodged. Rick said, more or less: I am not now and never have been an anti-gay marriage “activist.”
Continue Reading →

Vermont Legalizes Same-Sex “Marriage”

Vermont has just become the fourth state to legalize same-sex “marriage” (read here). This is significant not just because the state has redefined “marriage,” but also because of how it was done. The other three states that have legalized these unions (Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa) have done so through the courts. And in each of those cases, same-sex “marriage” opponents can argue that judicial activism rather than democracy produced the result. This is not the case in Vermont. The elected representatives of the people of Vermont overwhelmingly voted to override the governor’s veto to make this happen.

It’s also important to note this. Not only are we seeing marriage redefined, but we are also witnessing the emergence of a new protected class in our country—one that is based upon sexual preference. In other words, just as discrimination based on race, class, and gender is prohibited in law, so now discrimination based on sexual preference is increasingly being prohibited in law. This is a radical change not least because the new protected status cannot logically be limited to homosexually oriented persons. There are a wide variety of sexual preferences in our culture (polygamy, pederasty, polyamory, etc.). The arguments that are being used now in the same-sex “marriage” debate will be applied to these other kinds sexual preferences as well. Make no mistake. The polygamists will be next in line for recognition.

This is a good opportunity for Christians to reflect on where things are going in our culture and what our place in it will be. It appears that the culture is drifting toward a radical redefinition of marriage—one that faithful Christians will not be able to agree with. This gradual redefinition of marriage will have many effects (some anticipated and some not) that we will have to reckon with. Come what may, we need to be ready to stand with integrity for the truth, even if it becomes costly to us.

More later.

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