Thursday, March 31, 2011

Michael Horton Interviews Kevin DeYoung on Rob Bell

Readers of Rantifestos!

I came across this interview of Kevin DeYoung by Michael Horton of the White Horse Inn today and found it to be very insightful. It was helpful to hear not only his take on Rob Bell's book in a very candid, open way, but also to think about several important issues. Namely, the modern misconstruing of commission and Gospel and equating them to be one in the same. This is a fundamental misperception of the emergent church that, while subtle, is eventually crippling and leads to the same kind of "Build-a-bear" theology of the likes of Rob Bell and others.

What do you think? Post, comment, discuss!

Grace and peace,


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Exclusivism Clarified

Readers of Rantifestos!
I hope your Tuesday is going well. Today I found this post from Kevin DeYoung to be a good rounding out of what we really mean when we say that the Gospel is "exclusive" and what the implications are. I know that the connotation with something "exclusive" isn't always the best; it harkens to high brow imagery that snubs those not on the inner circle. The Gospel isn't "high brow", it's truth. Jesus is the Way, and the only one at that. In the same way that only one key will work for a door, so too is the Gospel of Christ the only way that we can be counted righteous. I hope this helps the believer and unbeliever alike!

Grace and peace,



Clarifying Exclusivism

Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). In saying this I am making two claims (both of which can be supported from John’s gospel): 1) The saving work of Jesus is the only way to be saved. 2) Putting faith in Jesus is the only way to appropriate that saving work.
In saying this, in espousing what is sometimes called “exclusivism,” I should be clear what I am not saying.
1. I am not saying there is nothing decent or honorable in other religions or in people from other religions. Ultimately, there is no good deed apart from faith, but Christians should recognize that Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus (and secular atheists for that matter) can be charitable, honest, and kind. Exclusivism does not demand that we reject everything about every other belief or every other religious person. What we do believe is that the most important doctrines of the Christian faith are not shared by other faiths and that even the most moral neighbor cannot be saved by good works.

Hear Me Roar! (Musings on Women's History Month)

Readers of Rantifestos,

Mark and I are both guys, therefore, it's difficult to accurately portray issues from a woman's perspective. Fortunately, Mary Kassian has done it for us on Desiring God.

In light of yesterdays post, she provides a beautiful view on Biblical womanhood and how it looks in a society that is so apposed to Scripture and its teachings on this issue of manhood and womanhood.

God bless!

I remember striding down the hallway arm-in-arm with a couple of middle-school girlfriends, belting out the words of Helen Reddy’s 1972 chart-topping song. The words of the song summed up our resolve: We were strong! We were invincible! We were women! We were going to roar in numbers too big to ignore! No man was ever going to keep us down! We were perched on the verge of womanhood. And we were confident that we would be the first generation to get the meaning of womanhood right.

"We Can Do It!" (Can't We?)

Our generation tried. We really did. We embraced education, careers, prominence. We despised all relationships and responsibilities that would hold us back. We moved marriage, mothering and homemaking from the top of our lists to the bottom—or crossed them off all together. After all, we were so much more enlightened than our fore-sisters were. The world had revolved around men, but it was our turn now. We would make it bow to our demands.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What is Biblical Manhood?

Readers of Rantifestos,

I just found this fantastic bit on, What is Biblical Manhood? This issue of masculinity, headship, and really everything pertaining to men, has come under significant attack in recent decades, courtesy of feminism. But don't be discouraged, here's a fellow blogger who actually reads his Bible!

There will be more on this in the next week(ish).



Here are my notes from our latest Men’s Group discussing biblical manhood. I left them as they were, so they are bulleted and may be a little choppy to read. I apologize for that. You can download the handout PDF here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Do Pastors Have to Get Married? Mohler's Thoughts

Readers of Rantifestos!
The New York Times put out an article out on the 21st asking the question: "is it ok for pastors to not be married?" They hit on a handful of important issues, namely women ordination and qualifications for the pastorship. We at Rantifestos found what Albert Mohler (who was quoted in the article) had to say to be very insightful. How would you answer the question? 

Think about it


Must a Pastor Be Married? The New York Times Asks the Question

The New York Times has asked the question. How would you answer it?
Is marriage a requirement for pastoral ministry? That question is not new, having been a major focus of debates at crucial points in church history, but it is being asked once again.
Erik Eckholm of The New York Times asked the question in a news story that put a focus on Mark Almlie, a single seminary graduate who has been looking for a pastorate. As Eckholm reports, Almlie, “despite a sterling education and years of experience, has faced an obstacle that does not exist in most other professions: He is a single pastor, in a field where those doing the hiring overwhelmingly prefer married people and, especially, married men with children.”

Resolutions for Mental Health

Readers of Rantifestos!
I came across these last year as I was reading John Piper's book Taste and See devotional. I found them to be immensely helpful and freeing mentally. I hope that you find them to be as helpful as I have found them. Enjoy!

Grace and peace,


Original link here

10 Resolutions for Mental Health

On October 22, 1976, Clyde Kilby, who is now with Christ in Heaven, gave an unforgettable lecture. I went to hear him that night because I loved him. He had been one of my professors in English Literature at Wheaton College. He opened my eyes to more of life than I knew could be seen. O, what eyes he had! He was like his hero, C. S. Lewis, in this regard. When he spoke of the tree he saw on the way to class this morning, you wondered why you had been so blind all your life. Since those days in classes with Clyde Kilby,Psalm 19:1 has been central to my life: “The sky is telling the glory of God.”

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Edwards on Love and Heaven

Readers of Rantifestos!
I hope your Saturday is going well. I found this insightful post today and found it very encouraging...I hope you do as well!

grace and peace,


Heaven Is a World of Love

Most people know Jonathan Edwards as the guy who preached hellfire and brimstone sermons like “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” But fewer realize that the pastor from Northampton, Massachusetts also preached sermons like this one, called “Heaven is a World of Love.”
The Apostle tells us that God is love, 1 John 4:8. And therefore seeing he is an infinite Being, it follows that he is an infinite fountain of love, Seeing he is an all-sufficient Being, it follows that he is a full and overflowing and an inexhaustible fountain of love. Seeing he is an unchangeable and eternal Being, he is an unchangeable and eternal source of love. There even in heaven dwells that God from whom every stream of holy love, yea, every drop that is or ever was proceeds.
There dwells God the Father, and so the Son, who are united in infinitely dear and incomprehensible mutual love. There dwells God the Father, who is the Father of mercies, and so the Father of love, who so loved that world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life [John 3:16].

Imitating Christ's Humility

Going to a big, cool Christian university in SoCal and having a blog that other people (about two) read is really a breeding ground for pride, vanity, etc. So here's a bit that I found just the other day, great reminder of the humility we should have in Christ. Great read! Enjoy.

"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."

Philippians 2:1-11 (NIV)


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Bible! But with more Bro...

Evangelical blogs can get so boring and serious! This was made especially evident when a friend told me I read boring things, while peering over my shoulder when I was looking at this very blog.

That being said, here is my effort to lighten the mood.
This is my brother's latest work in the realm of Christian satire: THE HOLY BROBLE.

"It has all the action, intrigue, and high-speed chases of the real Bible without any of the hard to pronounce names or hard to swallow life lessons. Psalms, Proverbs, and the Minor Prophets are out. Stephen Baldwin references and Smashmouth lyrics are in! It is, finally, a 21st century Bible for a 21st century audience. Booyah."

Even if it is borderline heresy, it's still a great laugh!
Tell him I sent you. :)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More from Mohler on Rob Bell...

Readers of Rantifestos,
The Rob Bell storm hasn't blown over yet. Now that the book's out, you can read it for yourselves. Here's Rev. Al Mohler's take on it! Read, comment, subscribe....discuss!

Grace and Peace,


original post

We Have Seen All This Before: Rob Bell and the (Re)Emergence of Liberal Theology

In this new book, Rob Bell takes his stand with those who have tried to rescue Christianity from itself. This is a massive tragedy by any measure.
The novelist Saul Bellow once remarked that being a prophet is nice work if you can get it. The only problem, he suggested, is that sooner or later a prophet has to speak of God, and at that point the prophet has to speak clearly. In other words, the prophet will have to speak with specificity about who God is, and at that point the options narrow.
For the last twenty years or so, a movement identified as emerging or emergent Christianity has done its determined best to avoid speaking with specificity. Leading figures in the movement have offered trenchant criticisms of mainstream evangelicalism.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Martin Bashir, Hell, and The Emergent Church

Readers of Rantifestos!
I understand I'm a little late in getting this out. No excuses. But I don't think anyone has ever commanded more respect from me than Martin Bashir has, and in just seven minutes! He does what no other journalist had the integrity or honesty to do. To get down to the essence of the issue and search for truth. Even if it means asking the same question three times!

Here is a fantastic follow up interview of Bashir on a talk show based out of Grand Rapids. Paul Edwards does a great job interviewing Bashir and both really get to the bottom of what Rob Bell's new book is all about. All that Rob Bell hooplah is borderline old news now, however Martin goes on to FINALLY expose the emergent church for what it is; a conglomerate of junior high youth pastors turned senior pastors rewriting scripture to fit their own whims and fancies. Hearing this kind of dialogue is so great!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Open Letter To APU: Chapel

To Whom It May Concern,
I hope all is going well, I know that you're getting busy just as we all are! I'm writing to you regarding the morning Chapel speaker for today, Wednesday the 16th. I have several concerns that I felt were worth mentioning to you after talking to other students who share the same opinion.

 I know that one of the main goals that the school has is to expose its students to a variety of speakers with different stances, viewpoints, and backgrounds. The speaker today bordered on being extreme in her message and ideology. She had some good things to say about respecting other people, but the theology she presented was very much skewed in a single direction that I found contradictory to that of the school's, my own, and Scripture. I come from a more conservative, Calvinisitic church background and my own theology is very much along the Reformed line. Despite that I still have a good time interacting with and learning from students here at APU who are from other denominations and backgrounds.
However, whatever our position on eschatology, the sacraments, or anything of non-salvific importance, there are areas that many if not all Christian students would agree upon. That is, namely, that we are saved by God's grace and that it is nothing that we do ourselves. Christ's role is essential and literally crucial. While I would say that it is ultimately God who chooses us and while still others would say that it is we who choose God, there are few who would claim that we merit our salvation. Most Wesleyans would agree that we cannot make the slightest move towards God aside from His grace.  Furthermore, most Christians would agree with Scripture in saying that we are called to be less like ourselves, and more like Christ

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A For Effort: APU and Diversity

Readers of Rantifestos!

So, this is Reed and I's second post together. The first was our maiden post...this one will be quite different. Enjoy!

College students don't often read the news. We're not sure quite what it is, but there seems to be no need to know what's happening in the outside world. What students do follow, however, is the newspaper published by students at APU, mainly because of its accessibility. However, school newspapers like the Clause tend to be a breeding ground for opinions and liberal ideology.

They are entitled to that right, in the same way that we are entitled to our right to critique what they write. A recent article on diversity caught our attention. This was surprising, as the idea of diversity is constantly foisted upon students in chapel, meetings, and in the classroom. It's everywhere. Our school and others have jumped on the diversity bandwagon, making it a prominent feature of the academic experience. Without forced diversity, schools are allegedly fragmented and one-sided; incomplete.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bellapalooza: the Fallout...Kevin DeYoung's Take

Readers of Rantifestos!
I hope your Monday went well. Whether you know it or not, a big blog post came out today on the Gospel Coalition's blog: Kevin DeYoung's review of Rob Bell's new book. I really appreciate what Kevin DeYoung has to say about a broad spectrum of theological issues; he's definitely one of my favorite bloggers to read every day. Like Tim Challies, Justin Taylor, and others, Kevin has weighed in on Rob Bell's new book and joined what has been termed the Bellapalooza. We at Rantifestos have been following the story with great interest.  I think Bell's book brings up a lot of issues and beliefs that have to be addressed, especially when he brings them to the forefront of consideration like he has with his latest book. We all need to come to grips with what Scripture says about Heaven and Hell; I think Kevin, Tim, and Justin all put it very aptly and stick to what Scripture says. We at Rantifestos hope you enjoy the post and engage in the conversation taking place about these issues!

Grace and peace,


You can find the original post here

God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins”

Note: This post is long. You can go here for a PDF version of the 20-page review.
Love Wins, by megachurch pastor Rob Bell, is, as the subtitle suggests, “a book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived.” Here’s the gist: Hell is what we create for ourselves when we reject God’s love. Hell is both a present reality for those who resist God and a future reality for those who die unready for God’s love. Hell is what we make of heaven when we cannot accept the good news of God’s forgiveness and mercy. But hell is not forever. God will have his way. How can his good purposes fail? Every sinner will turn to God and realize he has already been reconciled to God, in this life or in the next. There will be no eternal conscious torment. God says no to injustice in the age to come, but he does not pour out wrath (we bring the temporary suffering upon ourselves), and he certainly does not punish for eternity. In the end, love wins.
Bell correctly notes (many times) that God is love. He also observes that Jesus is Jewish, the resurrection is important, and the phrase “personal relationship with God” is not in the Bible. He usually makes his argument by referencing Scripture. He is easy to read and obviously feels very deeply for those who have been wronged or seem to be on the outside looking in.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Lukewarm...

"So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."
Revelation 3:16

Currently, I'm slowly going through Francis Chan's Crazy Love. I know, it was SO last year, but there are several parts that are quite convicting, in my own faith and walk in Christ. Francis writes a significant portion of his book detailing the life and faith, or lack thereof, of the nominal, complacent, or lukewarm Christian. Seeing these same examples in my own life is a slap in the face, and very humbling. Therefore, I felt the need to reproduce them below so his, and God's words may bear fruit.

Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe "good Christians" do, so they go.

The Lord says:

“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It Is Well With My Soul...

It Is Well is quiet possibly one of my favorite hymns (I want it played at my funeral). On the rare occasion it's sung at APU, it shows the richness, fulfillment, and depth of the classic hymns. So much of what we sing is filled with vague metaphors, man centeredness, and lacking in spirituality. It Is Well thrives on pure, unadulterated worship to a God of glory and honor, worthy of our praise.

But that isn't half the story! After digging a little more, I found the powerful and tragic story behind the words. This hymn was written by Horatio G. Spafford in 1873. Spafford encountered two major traumas in his life, first the Chicago fire in 1871, which ruined him financially. Then, shortly after, all four of his daughters died in a boat collision leaving only him and his wife. Thus, this hymn speaks to the eternal hope that we all have and to bring praise to God, "whatever my lot."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

You've Been Drafted

The Draft
Ephesians 6:10-20 "Put on the Whole Armor of God"
Not many of us today remember what it was like to live during the Second World war, especially not many of those reading (or writing) this. I certainly don't, I wasn't even a whisper of a person then. Despite having no memory of it, I've gleaned what I can from those who lived around that time to get a sense of what it was like.

Remembering the Past
Whenever I hear veterans or the elderly talk about their lives during the Great Wars, I always notice something. Something subtle, but altogether striking. The way they speak about their experience sends the clear message that time that they were born in and grew up in was one vastly different than our own. I see a sort detached puzzlement in their eyes at the current state of affairs, like we really have no idea as to what we have before us. In the US we are blessed to be free from war within our own borders, free from the draft, and free from the total transformation of a nation into a holistic war effort that was necessary to secure victory. Frankly, we can "go to war" and the only people that really go are the soldiers. We enjoy a freedom, among countless others, that many people will never enjoy; we enjoy insulation. Insulation from the reality of war and strife around us. One of the results of this freedom can sometimes be laxity. I think that this mindset is held by many leaders in the church and by countless Christians, especially in the US.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Death of Ash Wednesday

Today marks the beginning of the season of Lent, commonly known as Ash Wednesday. This season of Lent continues for forty days and ends Easter Sunday. It is during this time that several partake in a fast of some sorts. This isn't always food, but often things like Facebook, soda, etc. and/or often involves taking up something, like prayer, devotion, dieting, and so on.

However, Ash Wednesday, the season of Lent, and several other seasons in the Church are largely going unnoticed and unrecognized. APU thus far, has placed a substantial amount of importance and time in to Ash Wednesday and Lent. However, these times are often used to educate rather than to celebrate. Much of the student body is unaware of the traditional practices in the church by the time they get to college. The responsibility of ingraining these long-held traditions in the students is now placed on Christian colleges like APU, rather than the Church, and yet they still they often aren't taught.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kevin DeYoung on Rob Bell

Hello all,
Found this on the Gospel Coalition's website; I think Kevin DeYoung had some really good and insightful things to say not only about Rob Bell but about preaching and teaching in general. I hope this can give more perspective and hopefully ameliorate those who are so against a public criticism of a public act by Rob Bell. Let me know what you think!

Grace and Peace,

Original Post


Two Thoughts on the Rob Bell Brouhaha

Well, my ruminations got the best of me. I think there is something more to say about theRob Bell brouhaha. Yes, even before the book comes out.
Actually two somethings. Consider this an effort to clear the underbrush so we might see the forest and trees.
Good Verse, Wrong Time
One, it needs to be stated again that this is not a Matthew 18 issue. No one is obligated to respond in private to a promotional video that has been put out in public. Jesus said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone” (Matt. 18:15). Rob Bell has not sinned against Justin Taylor or John Piper. This is not a personal offense or an interpersonal squabble that should have been left in private. The general rule of thumb, supported by Matthew 18 and sanctified common sense, is we should not make a matter more public than it has to be. But by definition, YouTube videos and Vimeo clips and books and blogs are meant to be public. That’s the whole point. The Love Wins trailer was not a private email correspondence intercepted by the Reformed Gestapo. It was deliberately made public and can be commented on in public.

Postmodern/Universalist? Nothing New...

The whole Church (bloggers, pastors, writers) seem to be all in a tizzy about Rob Bell's latest statements regarding his new book, Love Wins. He outright claims ideas of universalism, liberalism, etc. and we are so shocked! Granted, it is heart breaking to see someone with such a great following and influence to mislead thousands by claiming Biblical "truth." But this is nothing new! Even Solomon knew this,

"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, 'See, this is new?' It has been already in the ages before us."
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 (ESV)

Rob Bell thinks he is being new and controversial and relevant but his same ideology has been around for centuries. The same goes for postmodernist thought, the eradication of traditional thought and acceptance of relativism, liberalism, etc. These all warrant the same conclusion; you must be willing to disregard Biblical doctrine, or silencing selective passages, and ignore a sovereign, all-powerful God. These latest cultural trends will never stall; Satan will continue his attack on Christianity and will continue to claim the popular, the influential, and the apparent "righteous." This has been, is, and always will be.

To Deny Hell...

The below post is from one of my favorite bloggers Tim Challies; thought he had some good things to say about a topic that has had its ups and downs in terms of importance within the Church (which isn't the way it should be with something as vastly important as Hell). I really liked what one of the users said in the comment section about grace and justice meeting at the Cross. Let me know what you all think about hell; is it something you've considered? I hope so...

grace and peace,


reposted from Tim Challies:

What I'd Have to Deny to Deny Hell

Everyone is talking about the existence of hell. Is hell a real place? Is it a literal place of literal torment? It seems that this issue snuck up on us a little bit. Just a month ago a book came out titled Don’t Call It a Comeback. In that book several of the “young, restless, Reformed” authors (myself included) penned chapters discussing issues pertinent to the church today: the gospel, the new birth, Scripture, social justice, homosexuality. These are some of the big issues in the church today and tomorrow. But there is no chapter on hell (the index shows only 2 references to it).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In Quest of Rest: A (Somewhat) Brief Theology of Sleep

Sleep: we all do it. In class, on the train, in a plane, in a bed, on the streets; there isn't a person alive today who has not slept. Even insomniacs, beleaguered by their inability to find peaceful or fulfilling sleep, know it and probably wish they knew it better. I find it interesting, then, that an activity that we have all participated in, one that consumes a major part of our lives, and one that is so unique in nature has been relegated to a level of lower importance. Have you ever actually thought about exactly how much time we actually spend as though dead men and women? Or, have you considered the theological and logistic implications of sleep? I have no doubt that we all, young and old, have at one time wished for more sleep. I found myself wishing just the opposite several months ago. A post from John Piper's blog (which can be found here) helped to settle my thoughts. I thoight that I might share some of my thoughts on this slumbering subject and hopefully help you to sleep a little more soundly.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Down But Not Out: Biblical Manhood/Fatherhood Pt. 1

This is part one of a two part series in my studies of Biblical manhood and fatherhood. This first part was written using only secular sources, hence the lack of Scripture, Christian references, etc. The 2nd half will be much more Scripture oriented and detailed. Stay tuned.

Manhood and fatherhood in America is undergoing a significant change. Traditional family values, goals, and ideals are being uprooted by a world of stress and pressure to be more, to be better, to exceed. Conventional masculinity is being redefined as unstable and something to be “proved”; hence the creation of the self-made man. Instead of landownership or independence, today’s men now focus on vigorous recreation and strenuous careers. These attempts to become a “real man” have manifested themselves in family units and have been a significant factor in divorces, unethical behavior, and the emotional separation of families. It is an issue that hereditarily spreads from one generation of men and their children to the next; abuse and neglect brought by fathers leaves a deeply ingrained impression on young men as they pursue manhood and fatherhood.

The eradication of traditional ideas of fatherhood have created a new age of men who are struggling to define themselves and their roles. This has led to millions who have rushed in to marriage and fatherhood unaware of the task, commitment, and struggle they will be faced with. Men and fathers have become estranged and emotionally distant to their children, they pay child support every month and maybe see the kids every weekend. Today, millions of children are dangerously lacking in a loving, caring, and most importantly, a present father. Fortunately on the other end, according to the National Census Bureau, 2.75 million children are being raised by fathers.

Knowing God-What I'm Reading and Why

Hello all,
The following is an excerpt from a book that I'm currently reading as a part of my quiet times/daily devotions. What book is it from and why I am reading it? God has been gracious in these past few months to show me a troubling trend in my life: that despite the depth and breadth of my theological knowledge of God, that there's been, at times, a disconnect between what I know about God and to what degree I know God. They should go hand in hand and increase in direct proportionally. That is, the more you know about God, the deeper you ought to know Him.

After all, how could you not want to know more and more about such an infinite, all-powerful, and loving God? The desire to know Him more and more deeply should increase as we know more and more about Him! At least, that's how it should happen. After being shown this trend, I was humbled and decided I needed to change. After all, if my thinking was correct, I was missing out! I'd often heard of the deep love for God and intimate knowledge of God that the early church fathers and great figures throughout the history of the church have exemplified.