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 “Then he called for Solomon his son and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon, ‘My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God.” 1 Chron. 22:6-7

King David set his heart on building a temple for God. However, because David had shed so much blood while preserving the peace of the nation of Israel, God would not allow David’s bloody hands to build His temple. Instead, God demanded that the temple must be built by David’s son, Solomon. David knew this and did what was necessary to pave the way for Solomon. How horrible it would have been for the nation of Israel if Solomon had not been adequately prepared.

Solomon was the beneficiary of David’s hard work. 1 Chronicles 22 and 23 describes how David assembled all of the necessary materials that his son would need to build the temple. David even went as far to put the right people into the right positions so that when Solomon took over everything that He needed would be ready for him to use and people would be ready to be used for the glory of God.

David, even the great King that he was, knew that Solomon would have a brighter future. Therefore, David did all he could to prepare the way for Solomon to take the throne.

As fathers, one of our biggest obligations is to prepare the way for our sons and daughters. Those with sons are obligated to make straight the crooked paths for them and model biblical manhood in every aspect for them. Those with daughters are also obligated to help them grow up to be beautiful God-fearing women who will marry God-fearing men.

We may not be leaving our children kingdoms but we will be leaving them the necessary tools to build a successful family and a successful relationship with their Lord. We should do all we can to leave them with the proper tools and people so that they will be prepared for the pitfalls of life.

What are you doing today to prepare your children for their calling in life?

John A. Broadus and Higher Criticism

I was reading the biography of T. T. Martin today, and found the following little story about John A. Broadus and his cautions regarding higher criticism. I thought that the readers of SBCWitness might enjoy it.

An unpublished incident in the life of President John A. Broadus given to me by one who was present: In the palmy days of higher criticism and modernism when they had not been unmasked and exposed as they have since been by such scholars as Robert Dick Wilson of Princeton, A. T. Robertson of Louisville, and others, a great mass meeting was held in Chicago to be addressed by the great and noted higher critic, Briggs, of New York, and President W. R. Harper of Chicago; when they had finished, it looked as if the Bible did not have half a dozen friends left in the audience. Just then some one arose and said, “President John A. Broadus is in the audience, and the people would like to hear from him.” The audience gave him quite an ovation. Coming forward as modestly as a school girl and beginning in his inimitable simple way, he congratulated them on having a great University in their city. He went on to tell of the great universities of the world and what they had meant to the cities where they were located. He then told of the great work of real Bible criticism and the great benefits coming from it.

Then all at once, he seemed electrified! Trembling all over, he raised his clenched right fist in the air and, shaking it, let fly a thunderbolt, “But beware, my brethren!” And again raising the clenched fist over his head and shaking it, his eyes flashing, his face livid, he again shouted, “Beware, my brethren! Jesus said, ‘Moses wrote of me.’ Jesus said, Moses wrote of me'”, and, turning, he left the platform. The effect on the vast audience was electrical. It looked as if every one wanted to go and get a rope and hang Briggs and Harper.

–T. T. Martin, Viewing Life’s Sunset from Pike’s Peak: The Life Story of T. T. Martin. 18-19. Louisville: A. D. Muse. 1939.

The Money Quote for the Southern Baptist Convention

Timothy George has been at Southeastern the last two days to deliver the annual Page Lectures. He spoke on both days about the Reformation, focusing today on Martin Luther's recovery of the biblical gospel. It was rich stuff.

Yesterday, Dr. George also met with both Southeastern's faculty and her doctoral students, answering a variety of questions on a number of topics. At one point, someone asked him to offer some thoughts about the current state of the SBC. That was when he offered the money quote, which I am going to attempt to reproduce with basic accuracy. This is not an exact quote, but it is 95% correct:

The Southern Baptist Convention suffers from both amnesia and myopia. We don't know who we are, but we know we are better than everyone else. 

This is perhaps the most succinct, intelligent, accurate thing I have heard anyone say about the SBC in the last couple of years. I think he nailed it. Which, I think, begs the question: how can we emphasize (recover?) a healthy, historic, biblical Baptist identity without spiraling into mere sectarianism, unhealthy triumphalism, or prideful self-sufficiency?

American Football in Central Asia

helmet     If there are two things that the Akin’s will be talking about when they get together it is football and Theology… The Akin family loves college football, except the oddball Paul (he thinks he is a real GM in fantasy football; he errs on the word “fantasy”), and on most Saturdays we are watching and text messaging each other about football games, especially SEC football (unquestionably the best conference). On the other hand, many of our other conversations center on topics from charismatic revelatory manifestations to Calvinism to emerging church methods and everything in-between. Tim, the youngest, has found a way to wed these two favorite pastimes of the Akin clan together. He and his wife Anna have the amazing opportunity to coach an American college football team (different than the futbol of the rest of the globe, we are talking pigskins here) in Central Asia.

    They have been joined on this trip by Josh Lanford and Jeremy Lyons. This group of young men and Anna are currently meeting the team Tim will be coaching and instructing them in “real” football. I am writing this to ask for those who read this blog to pray for the work that will be going on this area of the world. I ask for prayer that the Spirit would move in a mighty way to draw men to the Lord Jesus Christ, and that even now the Spirit would be moving with power and authority and conviction in the lives of these men who probably do not even realize that there is something so much greater than football that will be imparted to them. If you would like to know of ways that you can help support them you can email me at nateakin@gmail.com. Please pray for their safety, but more than that pray for something of eternal significance to happen. Oh yeah, and if you see the Akin’s just know that we are still talking football and theology, and at least one of us has figured a way to use this to make a difference for the Kingdom of Christ, now that will make an older brother proud of a younger.

Does Masculinity Matter in the Pulpit?

Doug Wilson thinks so. Over at the World Magazine blog, Harrison Scott Key quotes an article written by Wilson at Credenda-Agenda. He argues that the lack of masculinity in the pulpit has a lot to do with current church problems such as the the ordination of women. He writes that

 The reason the evangelical church feels the pressure to ordain women (despite clear texts) is that the standards used to evaluate the occupant of the pulpit (for well over a century now) have been the standards of feminine piety. This means that clergymen have been trying to live up to their reputation as the "third sex." Put another way, we have insisted upon effeminacy in the pulpit, and we are now being pressed with the next logical step.

What's the answer? How do we correct this? Well, as we all know, it is easier to detect a problem than it is to correct one. But I think that Wilson does a great job of moving us in the right direction. He continues

 Masculine preachers are not those who demand submission from others; masculine preachers are those who submit themselves. True masculinity is submissive. Right, submissive. Effeminacy in the pulpit is disobedient and rebellious. God tells the preacher to go and speak as the very oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11). He might not feel like it. He worries that people will think he is getting above himself. He wonders if he is really called to the ministry. When tackling any lofty scriptural subject, far above him, he is frequently as disappointed with his performance as the farmer's wife was when she asked the sow to fold the linen. But how he feels does not matter. He is told what to do, and he is under authority. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

For Wilson, the issue of masculinity is not optional. It is a matter of obedience or disobedience. God has designed men (and women) to embody certain qualities that are specific to their gender. Unfortunately, Wilson doesn't unpack his understanding masculinity much further than this.

There's no doubt that this type of understanding is controversial both in our culture and, unfortunately, in evangelicalism. But this shouldn't be our greatest concern. Our greatest concern must be about what God has said. And if we are convinced that God has called men to pastor churches with a strong biblical masculinity, then we must double our efforts. And once we re-focus our efforts we are faced with another question. What does a strong biblical masculinity look like? 

What do you think this looks like? Who have you seen who has exemplified this?

Dr. Wellum Interviewed About Baptism

Steve Wellum About a week ago Dr. Steve Wellum, professor of Christian theology at SBTS and editor of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, was interviewed by the king of the bloggers Justin Taylor. The interview contains a helpful introduction and summary of the credobaptist and paedobaptist discussion. You guys have probably already seen this. If you haven't, it is worth a look.

I thought that one of the most important points that Wellum makes in this interview was his perspective on the theological category called the "Covenant of Grace". He says 

In fact, I argued in my chapter that it would be best to place a moratorium on the category, especially if we want to make headway in the baptismal debate. In its place, we should speak of the one plan of God centered in Jesus Christ. And, furthermore, in speaking of the “covenant,” we must think in terms of the plurality of biblical covenants as we carefully unpack the relationships between the covenants across the canon. In short, it is imperative that we do a biblical theology of the covenants which, in truth, is an exercise in inter-textual relations between the covenants which, in the end, preserves a proper balance of continuity and discontinuity across the canon in regard to the biblical covenants. It is only when we do this that I am convinced we will make headway in our debate over the relationship between the biblical covenants without prejudicing the debate in one direction or the other.

Any critiques of this view or anything else he said in the interview?

What Do The Following Men Have in Common?

Question: What do the following men have in common?

Hanserd Knollys, Thomas Grantham, Obadiah Holmes, John Clarke, John Waller, James Ireland, Joseph Craig, among many others.

Answer: All went to prison for their belief in the baptism of believers alone. This is not including countless others, like early Harvard University president Henry Dunster, who were persecuted in other ways. Or the Anabaptists, who suffered and died for similiar convictions.

Would you be willing to suffer persecution for your baptismal convictions? Not the gospel itself, for which I assume (hope?) the answer is "yes." But would you be willing to suffer for the conviction that the gospel is most consistently displayed in the full immersion of new believers in water? Is baptism a conviction worthy of enduring suffering and persecution?

Your thoughts?