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Showing posts from March, 2009

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

I was preaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit yesterday and got all sorts of theological questions afterwards, so thought that this might be a good blog topic.  Despite the fact that my church is a pentecostal church and always has been, there seems to be some confusion among some of the people on this matter. I think it would be fair to say that that is often the case.  Even among my students at a pentecostal seminary there is sometimes a great deal of confusion on this the most defining aspect of pentecostalism .  What I discovered in teaching the book of Acts last year, was that much of my students' perceptions regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit came from testimonies rather than Scripture. While there's nothing wrong with testimonies, the problem is when we start building doctrine on them, or generalising from one person's experience to say that everyone must experience the same thing in the same way.  It is only that which is Scriptural which can be applied a

Bible College 1930s Style

You might not be able to see it, but that is indeed a Greek lesson. Compulsory Greek in a pentecostal Bible school all the way back in the 1930s!

This is NOT Expository Preaching

What expository preaching is  not : 1. It is not a commentary running from word to word and verse to verse without unity, outline, and pervasive drive. 2. It is not rambling comments and offhand remarks about a passage without a background of thorough exegesis and logical order. 3. It is not a mass of disconnected suggestions and inferences based on the surface meaning of a passage, but not sustained by a depth and-breadth study of the text. 4. It is not pure exegesis, no matter how scholarly, if it lacks a theme, thesis, outline and development. 5. It is not a mere structural outline of a passage with a few supporting comments, but without other rhetorical and sermonic elements. 6. It is not a topical homily using scattered parts of the passage, but omitting discussion of other equally important parts. 7. It is not a chopped-up collection of grammatical findings and quotations from commentaries without a fusing of the same into a smooth, flowing, interesting, and compelling message. 8

Good, Free Music

If you like hymns and indie rock (or just like indie rock and need to be introduced to the wonder of hymns) then try Page CXVI . For a limited time you can download their album for free . It contains: Come Thou Fount In Christ Alone My Jesus I Love Thee When I Survey the Wondrous Cross Nothing But The Blood of Jesus On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand Joy (A Medley ) What they say: ' Page CXVI is a project started with the idea of making hymns accessible and known again.They are some of the richest, most meaningful, and moving pieces of music ever written.'

My Wordled Work

Just because I love Wordle so much, here's my book (so far) Wordled. Evidently I really like the word 'thus'!

'Of Making Many Books There Is No End'

I've been doing a lot of writing recently, although evidently not on this blog.  The reason is that I've been working on a book. I'm writing an exposition of the Tenets of the Apostolic Church.  It's not a systematic theology (far from it; although I hope [D.V.] to write one eventually), but it is a brief introduction to some important doctrines. I'm about 2/3 of the way through writing now. The reason I mention it is that I would very much value some prayer for the project. So, if you'd like to pray, I'd be most grateful.  You could pray that I wouldn't be distracted from matters of first importance.  I want this to be a balanced book (in the sense that more attention is focused on the most important doctrines), thus there are 6 chapters on Tenet 3 (the person and work of Christ) as opposed to 1 chapter on Tenet 9 (church government).  Pray also that I would be able to explain things clearly. Sometimes Christians are put off doctrine because it isn&#

Good News about the Good News at CTS

Teaching at Bible College is a great privilege. Its great to know that when our students graduate from CTS that they're going to be involved in spreading the gospel all over the world.  It's also very encouraging to hear a bit about what they get up to while they're still students with us. Recently one of our students was leading a youth weekend. Eight muslims came along and four of them responded to the gospel. Two of them made public professions of faith, which is a huge step for someone converting from Islam. Another student was teaching on divine healing in a church that weekend when an elderly lady asked for prayer. God responded by instantly healing her deaf ear. Its wonderful to see God at work and to see Him using our students in the advancement of His kingdom. I pray that He will open up more doors for them (and us teachers too) to spread the gospel here in Belgium.

Brilliant Book on Prayer

Some books that I've read in the past on prayer have been somewhat tedious to read. In contrast, Bryan Chapell's Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life By Beginning in Jesus' Nam e (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005) was both easy and profitable reading.  Chapell is president of Covenant Theological Seminary and so his writing is backed up by good theology, yet he writes in a way that anyone can understand. He keeps his readers' attention, yet never loses sight of the point. I read the whole book in a single day and I'd say it's the best book I've read so far this year (out of a total of about 13). Chapell doesn't avoid difficult questions.  He squarely addresses such issues as praying without doubting with clear biblical teaching that is much needed (especially by us pentecostals; interestingly Chapell is a Presbyterian).  Chapell reminds His readers that it is God that we should not be doubting, rather than our opinion what He should do.  He writes a

Theological Perspectives: A CTS Colloquium on Pentecostal Theology

Well, the colloquium is now over, but we had a good two days together looking at some aspects of Pentecostal theology.  Dr Michael Dusing (Senior Vice President & Dean of the College at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, North Dakota) presented a paper on Thursday evening entitled Trophimus Have I Left at Miletus Sick: The Case for Those Who Are Not Healed .  Dr Dusing pointed out the huge importance for Pentecostal theology of an adequate view of suffering and those who are not healed. He warned against the dangers of an implicit link between sickness/suffering and sin or lack of faith in popular pentecostal piety, contending that 'we in the Pentecostal-Charismatic world will never develop a thoroughly balanced perspective on divine healing until we can see the necessity of simultaneously complementing it with an equally thorough, accurate and balanced perspective on suffering.'  Dr Dusing also pointed to the need for a pentecostal recognition that God works in the midst

Theological Perspectives Colloquium at CTS

The Theological Perspectives Colloquium starts this evening at 7:30pm.  Tonight our American guest, Dr. Michael Dusing, will be presenting a paper on Pentecostalism, Healing, and Suffering. Dr Dusing will also be preaching in chapel this morning. Tomorrow two of our MTh candidates will be presenting some of their research at 11 am and then, after lunch, Tommy Davidsson and I will be presenting papers on pentecostal ecclesiology (2pm - 4pm). If you're interested, you're more than welcome to come along.

What's the Old Testament all about?

On Sunday I was preaching in an assembly I had never been to before, so I didn't know anyone in the congregation. When the elder convening the meeting introduced me, he mentioned that I teach at CTS .  After the service a woman came to speak to me. She was very friendly and wanted to know what I taught at seminary. Yet, when I said that I taught a lot of Old Testament, her faced dropped immediately, and very noticeably (I dread to think of what the reaction would have been if I had managed to get as far as mentioning Philosophy of Religion...). 'Oh', she said, 'I really don't like the Old Testament.' It just so happened that my sermon that morning had also come from the Old Testament. A man also came up to me after the service. He just wanted to tell me how much he disagreed with my sermon. The problem? Well, I had preached about Christ, but I had preached from the Old Testament. 'The Old Testament isn't about Christ', he told me, 'apart f

Recommendation: The Lord's Supper: Eternal Word in Broken Bread by Robert Letham

Robert Letham, The Lord's Supper in Broken Bread (Philipsburg: P&R, 2001) Robert Letham's short book (only 75 pages) is a great, readable and understandable overview of the Lord's Supper. Letham looks at the Bible, church history, Reformed Theology and church practice, covering both the theological and the practical. Letham writes from a Presbyterian perspective, so some of what he has to say may seem somewhat unusual for Pentecostal readers. After all, paedo-communion (giving the Lord's Supper to babies and children) is probably not going to ever be an issue in churches which practice credo-baptism (i.e. that baptise believers, not babies).  At least I hope not. (By the way, Letham is against paedo-communion, just in case you're wondering). As a Presbyterian, he also takes time to look at the teaching of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) regarding the Lord's Supper; but don't be tempted into thinking this bit can be skipped if you're not