Albert Mohler began his recent talk at Brigham Young University exactly as I hoped he would: “I am not here because I believe we are going to heaven together. I do not believe that. I believe that salvation comes only to those who believe and trust only in Christ and in his substitutionary atonement for salvation. I believe in justification by faith alone, in Christ alone. I love and respect you as friends, and as friends we would speak only what we believe to be true, especially on matters of eternal significance. We inhabit separate and irreconcilable theological worlds, made clear with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity. And yet here I am, and gladly so. We will speak to one another of what we most sincerely believe to be true, precisely because we love and respect one another.” So, why was he there? Because he said, while “I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together.” The whole thing is well worth reading.
Thomas Kidd has a great article addressing the perennial question: ‘Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?’ The answer is especially important given the state of religion and politics in our society today.
This week, Joe Thorn started a series on blog posts on “What Small Churches Can Do.” Given that most churches in America are “small” you are probably in one and, therefore, should check out these posts.
The Gospel Coalition answers another reader question in their “You Asked” series. This is one that I hear all the time—“Why is Faith Not a Work?” Matthew Barrett’s answer is helpful on many levels. It begins with this analogy: “When you walk into a dark room, what comes first, the appearance of light or turning on the light switch? As we perceive things, they seem to happen simultaneously. However, does one cause and logically precede the other? Absolutely. We all know that turning on the light switch brings about brightness in the room, not vice versa. The same is true in initial salvation. In Scripture, faith does not cause or bring about the new birth, but God’s effectual call and the Spirit’s work of regeneration produces faith and repentance.”
Though the public debates have died down in recent years, there is still an ongoing discussion on the use and abuse of “the altar call” invitation system after sermons. Aaron Menikoff has a good article on how to be evangelistic without using the altar call.
Mark Driscoll offers a clarification about his visit to the Strange Fire conference and invites John MacArthur to come to the upcoming Resurgence Conference in Seattle to discuss the issues of cessationism. To be sure, this will be an interesting and, I hope, edifying discussion if MacArthur accepts the invitation.
If you need to catch up on the conversation generated by the Strange Fire conference, you can now download all of the messages here.
Finally, the great people at Matthias Media are launching a new site designed to increase your effectiveness at disciple-making. It’s called GoThereFor.com and it’s a growing hub of ideas, resources, and encourage for disciple-making. The really amazing part is the subscription service that allows you instant access to an array of resources for evangelism, Bible study, and leadership training. Check out the site, especially their Ministry Manifesto for more information.