Category Archives: Reformation and Revival

Brief History of SBTS

Here’s a short video on the history of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

1 Comment

Filed under History, Reformation and Revival

Slave Master, by Donald L. Hilton, Jr.

Patrick Schreiner is probably right: everyone looks at the same blogs. Still, I have noticed that I reach a "tipping point" in deciding whether to read something after several of the blogs I look at post on the same thing. So Thabiti first highlighted this, then JT blogged on it this morning, and I’m hoping that people who look at those blogs and mine but aren’t convinced yet will go read this essay from Salvo by Donald L. Hilton, Jr, "Slave Master: How Pornography Drugs and Changes Your Brain."

Here’s a paragraph on some of the moral issues involved:

Pornography has become the sex education venue for the majority of the next generation, an internet candy store, and it teaches that sex is physically and emotionally harmless, with no negative consequences. Men and women are mere visual drugs to be used and discarded, and sex is solely for personal pleasure. The truth, of course, it that those who actually perform sexually to make the pornography are consumed and discarded by pornographers; they are “throwaway people,” as Dr. C. Everett Koop called them.

Read the whole thing, and pray for yourself, your children, and those you love. Hilton writes:

Pornography wants you, it wants your husband or wife, it wants your son and daughter, your grandchildren, and your in-laws. It doesn’t share well, and it doesn’t leave easily. It is a cruel master, and seeks more slaves.

There’s a Dark Lord who is using pornography to ensnare and enslave, a deeper evil behind Sauron’s voice. God help us to love people, and God help us to resist the siren songs that ancient Dragon, who is the Devil and Satan, uses to lure souls onto the rocks of destruction.

Leave a comment

Filed under Current Events, Discipleship, Reformation and Revival, Spiritual Discipline

Chris Castaldo’s Holy Ground

There are loads of Roman Catholics here in Louisville. Our neighbors on both sides of us are Roman Catholic, so I’m thrilled to see the publication of Chris Castaldo’s Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Roman Catholic. I would commend this book to anyone interested in seeing the gospel believed by Roman Catholics.

Chris was kind enough to stop by here for a blog tour for the new book, and I trust you’ll benefit from our exchange:

Jim, it has been a pleasure getting to know you over these past several weeks. Thanks for the privilege of this blog tour “visit.”

1.) Do you think Holy Ground would be a good book to hand to a Roman Catholic neighbor still active in the Catholic Church?

Yes, I wrote Holy Ground with Catholics in mind, with a commitment to representing them accurately and fairly. Catholic scholars and laypeople, including some author friends, read the manuscript throughout its composition and offered feedback to ensure that this was the case.

2.) Why did you write Holy Ground?

It’s mostly an outgrowth of my ministry at College Church. Several years ago I noticed some folks from our church were approaching Catholic friends in one of two ways: either attacking them like foaming-at-the-mouth pit bulls or with such open-mindedness that their brains seemed to have fallen out of their heads. Therefore, I taught a class entitled “Perspective on Catholicism” intended to bring more biblically informed balance. With the Lord Jesus as our model, the class sought to maintain the virtues of “grace and truth” in relation to Catholic friends and loved ones (John 1:14). The material eventually became a manuscript and, thanks to Zondervan, Holy Ground was born.

3.) Do you think evangelicals should actively seek to evangelize Catholics?

Yes indeed. And I also think that evangelicals must regularly evangelize evangelicals, and, for that matter, I must constantly evangelize myself. In other words, we need to reflect upon the gospel beyond the point of our personal conversion; every day I must remind myself of Jesus’ death and resurrection and who I am in light of that. Since man looks only on the outward appearance and the Lord looks at the human heart, I don’t presume to know the nature of my Catholic friend’s faith. Yet, precisely because I’m an evangelical—a person whose life is dedicated to embodying and proclaiming Jesus, the Evangel—I’m committed to evangelism, even among Catholic friends and family.

4.) What are the distinct features of Holy Ground that separate it from other such books?

Among evangelical books that address Catholicism, Holy Ground has a couple of features that make it unique. First, many such books convey an unkind attitude. The doctrinal emphasis of these works is commendable, but the irritable tone rings hollow and fails to exhibit the loving character of Jesus. It’s the tone that my seminary professor warned against when he said, “Don’t preach and write as though you have just swallowed embalming fluid. As Christ imparts redemptive life, so should his followers.” This life is communicated in the content of God’s message and also in its manner of presentation. Therefore, I seek to express genuine courtesy toward Catholics, even in disagreement.

Second, most books on Roman Catholicism and Evangelicalism emphasize doctrinal tenets without exploring the practical dimensions of personal faith. Important as it is to understand doctrine, the reality is there’s often a vast difference between the content of catechisms and the beliefs of folks who fill our pews. Holy Groundis concerned with understanding the common ideas and experiences of real-life people.

Hopefully, as a result of reading Holy Ground, people will have a deeper grasp of the gospel’s wondrous grace and more ardent commitment to the enterprise of embodying it as a vibrant witness among Catholic loved ones and friends.

Thanks again Jim for the privilege of this exchange. Blessings to you and yours!


Filed under Bible and Theology, Books, Evangelism and Apologetics, Gospel, Ministry, Reformation and Revival

Towers Article on Brian Croft’s Visit the Sick

Good article here.

No substitute for loving people this way.

Earlier post here.

1 Comment

Filed under Church, counseling, Evangelism and Apologetics, Gospel, Reformation and Revival

Happy Birthday to John Calvin! Celebrate with Robert Godfrey’s Book

Tomorrow is the the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, I suggest you give yourself a present for Calvin’s birthday: Robert W. Godfrey’s John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor.

For a long time I’ve looked for a Calvin biography that would stand with Bainton’s biography of Luther, Here I Stand, and I’m hopeful that Godfrey’s book on Calvin might rise to that stature.

Praise God for the reformation, and praise God for those who led it. May the word they preached prosper in our mouths as it did in theirs.

1 Comment

Filed under Bible and Theology, Books, History, Reformation and Revival

Greg Wills’ History of Southern Seminary

It’s out: Gregory A. Wills, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1859-2009

It is my understanding that today is its first day being sold at the Lifeway Store on the SBTS campus.

I was browsing the book and was surprised to see Scott Hafemann’s name. I won’t type up the whole story surrounding his name, but it is absolutely fascinating. Riveting. What has happened at this school is a work of God. It’s a miracle that I teach here. Praise the Lord!

Between this book on the history of Southern, Nettles’ biography of Boyce, and several other things that have come out, it’s quite a year for Baptist history.


Filed under Books, Education, Evangelism and Apologetics, Gospel, History, Reformation and Revival

Eric Schumacher’s Biblical Theology of Cooperation

As the annual meeting of the SBC draws nigh, Pastor Eric Schumacher has a timely post on how cooperation fits in biblical theology.

Check it out.

1 Comment

Filed under Bible and Theology, Current Events, Reformation and Revival

Toward a Great Commission Resurgence

May the Lord pour out his Spirit and bring this about in our day.

Check out the new site, where I just signed the statement.

I would also encourage you to have a listen to Dr. Akin’s message.

HT: Between the Times


Filed under Current Events, Gospel, Reformation and Revival, Sermon Audio

How Sweet the Sound–Hymns from Covenant Life Church

Here’s a great deal from Covenant Life Church. Tell 5 friends and get some great hymns done well, done traditionally, for free!


Leave a comment

Filed under For God's Glory in Christ by the Spirit, Reformation and Revival, Worship

Michael Haykin’s Testimony

I’m eager to listen to Michael Haykin’s testimony (HT: Historia Ecclesiastica).

I trust it will bless your soul, too.

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Reformation and Revival, Sermon Audio

Interview with Thabiti on Being a Healthy Church Member (particularly as a seminarian)

Thabiti Anyabwile was kind enough to interact with me on topics related to his new book, What Is A Healthy Church Member? Our exchange is below. Enjoy!

[JMH = me; TMA = Thabiti M. Anyabwile]


JMH: Dear Thabiti,

Thanks for your service to us, brother. If I may, I’d like to ask you for some advice that applies to my particular situation, and then I’d like to put it on my blog that it might benefit others.

Moving from one seminary to another takes me out of a role at Baptist Church of the Redeemer, where I have been serving as pastor of preaching, to a new city (Louisville) where we’ll be looking for a church for our family to join. This is going to be a radical change for us in terms of church life. In addition to the ways I’ve been involved (preaching, worship planning, song selection, involvement in pastoral conversations and situations, etc.) my wife has been heavily involved in ministering to the ladies at our church. Redeemer is a church that was planted only three years ago, so, we’re accustomed to seeking the Lord, consulting with a relatively small group of people, and then doing what we think will most honor the Lord (whether that pertains to nursery furniture, a ladies’ Bible study or book club, or even a place to meet!). We certainly have our preferences on music style, preaching style, and ministry style, and we’re leaving a congregation we love that sings songs we love and does ministry, we think, in a healthy way.

I suspect that for various reasons there are others like me, who go from being involved in shepherding a congregation to looking for a new church to join. How would you advise us? What kinds of things would you suggest we look for as we seek a new church home, and how can we be healthy church members?


TMA: Jim, that’s an excellent question.  Actually I can identify with you quite a lot.  When my family moved from N.C. to Washington, D.C., we moved from a 3-year old church plant into a situation where we knew next to nothing about the church scene.  We loved that church and we set about the task of finding something like it in many ways.  Actually, that’s the first piece of advice I’d have for someone in this situation.  Don’t look for a church that is “like” your previous church, particularly if the likeness you have in mind involves a host of secondary matters.  Our preferences can be the death of a good church search.  Hold them up to the light of Scripture and be sure to cultivate an accepting heart for other believers who do things differently in secondary matters (Rom. 14).  Look for the essentials first: a church holding a sound doctrinal stance, that preaches the gospel faithfully, that preaches the Scripture expositionally, and that at least encourages a strong “one anothering” culture.  With the word and a strong membership culture, so many other things have fertile soil in which to grow.  That would be my short list, I think.

As for being healthy members, overall it’s probably helpful to find a place where you think you can grow spiritually.  When the Lord moved us from NC to DC and Capitol Hill Baptist Church, I went from being one of three elders backing up the senior pastor in preaching and teaching duties to being #49 on the depth chart at CHBC.  It was clear to me that I knew less than most everyone there, and more important than how much I knew or they knew, they were living so much better than me it seemed.  I felt like the entire family would grow spiritually in ways that really mattered—holiness, humility, love, joy, righteousness and so on in Christ.  So, search for a place where you’ll grow spiritually, even if it’s a place where you’re one of the smartest guys there.

I think there are some temptations and sensitivities you can bring to a church given your labor as a pastor and professor.  The temptation would be to either try to influence the church in pride (“I’ve been a pastor and professor and you should do it this way”) or to assume that you should have more access to the pastors than other members (“I’m a pastor; I can help.  Why don’t they ask?”)  Either attitude, left unexamined or unidentified, could create strain and difficulty in a new church situation.  Be careful of the temptation to say, “I wouldn’t do it that way.”  There may be pride and a judgmental attitude there.  Instead, pray and look for the mindset that says, “I want to support and follow the leaders in any way I can.”  As a member, we’re called to that attitude without regard to our history as pastors.  Support the leaders the Lord has called to that place, and perhaps go out of your way to let them know of your support and that you’re not judging them.  Be a good leader to the other sheep by modeling the kind of submission you perhaps experienced or longed for in your previous church situation.  And that’s one of the unique sensitivities a former pastor brings to a new church.  He knows what it’s like to be the shepherd and for the sheep to misunderstand.  With that sensitivity, you can model so much of what nearly every pastor wishes his people understood.

Beyond that, be healthy church members by attending regularly, giving your life to the people there, sitting joyfully, humbly and eagerly under the leadership and teaching of others.  Pray fervently and without ceasing for the leaders, the members, and the ministries of the church.  Give generously and so on.


JMH: Following up on that question, do you have thoughts on how seminary professors in particular can be healthy church members?


TMA: Again, you bring perspectives and resources that most members will not have.  You can be helpful in your area of expertise, or connect the church to seminary-based resources.  When the elders or the church is working through a particularly knotty problem, you may be in a position to deliver some expertise.  Only be careful.  Remember you’re not in a classroom but in a living breathing church where histories and cultures are always at play.  Be sensitive to who those people are.

Another way you can be a healthy member is help the church leaders fight the mistaken impression that “the seminary is where it’s at.”  Your participation in the church will help with that.  But talk often of the seminary’s parachurch support role for the church.  Encourage seminarians to cultivate that understanding.  Encourage more young men with gifting to consider the pulpit rather than the academy.


JMH: And lastly, how can seminary students be healthy church members?


TMA: Seminarians should think of themselves primarily as church members, not “seminarians.”  I think a lot of men see themselves as ‘tweeners levitating somewhere between their previous church and the church or mission field they’re headed towards.  They’re in a kind of suspended animation.  And often a seminarian can suffer spiritually as they float out their in academic space somewhere.  The church suffers too without their gifting and service.

It will be tempting to think of their studies as a special status that obviates their relationship to and responsibilities in the local church.  But they are primarily Christians, and as such should be active in a local church body as members not seminarians.  We don’t excuse other college students from the expectation that they should be active in a local fellowship; and we shouldn’t do it with seminarians either.  So, they should join a local church and plant roots.  They may be leaving in a few years but learning to love a church quickly will help them learn to love new members quickly when they’re pastors or when serving in highly transient areas.

And like seminary professors, students should be humble and patient, avoid judging others and asserting unimportant preferences.  They should see the church as the main classroom of Christ, and the classroom as an auxiliary.  Given that, they should seek to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.  And by God’s grace, they will as they humbly receive the word (Jam. 1:21), receive grace through the various administrations of God’s gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11), and are equipped for service until they reach maturity in Christ, the Head (Eph. 4:11-16).


JMH: Thabiti, hearty thanks for these helpful and edifying thoughts. I am particularly grateful for the way you have applied the truth of the Scripture to the situation we face. May the Lord continue to bless your ministry!


Filed under Church, Ecclesiology, Education, Reformation and Revival, Spiritual Discipline

David Reimer on Learning Biblical Languages

David Reimer is one of three filling in for Justin Taylor this week, and I have found him to be an invariably stimulating person. Linking to another article, he had this to say about the learning of the biblical languages:

Meanwhile, one of my jobs as a teacher of biblical languages is to get the inevitable rote-learning to go down deep, so that the Hebrew (or Greek, or Aramaic) becomes a language, and not just an obscure code for what we already knew the text meant from our favourite translation.

Amen. Read the post and the post to which he links.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible and Theology, Reformation and Revival, Spiritual Discipline, Worship

Prayer for the Young, Restless, Reformed

Lord willing, our family will travel from Houston to Louisville at the end of next week, departing Houston on August 1. We are headed to what some have called “Camelot,” which I think captures the spirit of the place (even if I don’t agree with what those who called it that meant–they were partial to the pre-1993 era at SBTS, and they said something like, “once there was a Camelot” [google that if you want to see what I mean]).

So this morning I finally got around to Collin Hansen’s chapter about Southern Seminary in his book, Young, Restless, Reformed. It’s a fascinating chapter. Anyone interested in where things are in the SBC should read it. Hansen doesn’t call it Camelot, he calls it “Ground Zero.” I’ll let you read the chapter to find out why.

One thing that stands out to me about those of us who hope to be a part of a rising generation that is more biblical and less pragmatic, more thelogical and less programmed. That one thing is that we desperately need to feel and walk in the humility and love that should accompany our theology. In this regard I appreciate D. A. Carson’s words on the back cover of Hansen’s book, words that inform the prayer that ends this post. Carson writes, “It is time for quiet gratitude to God and earnest intercessory prayer that what has begun well will flourish beyond all human expectation.”

Amen. Quiet gratitude. Earnest prayer. And, as one elderly SBC pastor whose name I do not know once said to me: “preach the word and love the people; love the people and preach the word.”

As we prepare to leave Houston, I am unspeakably encouraged at the young men who will continue in the work here, young men whom it has been my privilege to know and serve, young men who are now pastoring churches. There are some older men, too, who have been at the school, and whose enthusiasm for the Bible and its teaching has been a joy to see. I’m encouraged by these guys who are shepherding flocks in the power of God’s word and prayer, men whose names are known to God, even if they are not known to the conferences, blogs, and publishing houses.

For these men, and for those whom we go to serve at SBTS, this prayer is offered. We want to see God work in power as we preach his word and rely on his Spirit to move. We long to see the fruit that cannot be credited to human power, so we want to rely on God’s word and Spirit so that he gets the glory instead of the glory going to cool buildings, billboards, and the same marketing techniques that sell coca cola and Starbucks. May our humble confidence in the sovereign God yield him the glory due his name:

These Students, Lord, are yours to bless.
Make them mighty warriors;
For our own frailty, we confess,
That all glory may be yours

Come, we pray, and in our weakness,
Set forth Thine awesome power.
You are our God. In you we rest.
Your name is our strong tower.

We come to you through Christ our Lord,
Who ever lives and reigns
With Thee and the Holy Spirit.
One nature, three persons, Lord.

Thine be the glory forever,
World without end, Amen.


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Books, Reformation and Revival

Denny Burk Named Dean of Boyce College

Big news from the undergraduate arm of Southern Seminary:

July 7, 2008

For immediate release

Criswell College professor Denny Burk named new dean of Boyce College

LOUISVILLE, Ky.Denny Burk, associate professor of New Testament at Criswell College in Dallas, TX, has been appointed dean of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Burk is an SBTS alumnus, having earned his Ph.D. from Southern Seminary in 2004. He also received a master of theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and a bachelor of arts from Louisiana Tech.

“We have the leader for the next era at Boyce College,” said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. “I am really excited about the coming of Denny Burk as the new dean of the college.  He is a great young leader, a promising scholar, a tested teacher, and a man of great vision and conviction.  He has a solid track record at Criswell College and left his mark during his doctoral studies at Southern Seminary.  He is one of our own, and he is a man who is well prepared to lead Boyce College into the future.”

Burk has published numerous books and articles and writes a popular blog on theology, politics and culture. He is also a favorite teacher at the First Baptist Church of Dallas.

“Denny Burk is one of Southern Baptists’ most perceptive young scholars,” said Russell Moore, senior vice president for academic administration at Southern. “He also is keenly in touch with culture, especially those issues facing the next generation of young Christians. He will be one of the few deans, I’m sure, anywhere who can discuss articular infinitives in the Greek, contemporary challenges for youth ministry, and how to share the gospel with a Mormon, all while turning flips on a skateboard with a group of college students in the parking lot.

“Denny will be loved by students, respected by faculty, and trusted by Southern Baptists as he leads Boyce College students toward their callings in the pastorate, global missions, youth ministry, women’s ministry, and other fields of service to our Christ. I am proud to have him on the Southern Seminary team.”

Burk and his wife Susan have been married for eight years and have two daughters. He says his aim is for Boyce College to become known as the premier training center for ministers who want to know the word of God and to make it known.

“I couldn’t be happier about the prospect of moving back to Louisville to lead Boyce College,” said Burk. “Boyce is poised to be the leading evangelical institution for training undergraduates for Christian ministry, and I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be joining the team at Southern Seminary.”

Burk assumes his new post on August 1. He replaces Jimmy Scroggins, who was elected pastor of the First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, Florida in June.

Scroggins said Burk is an excellent choice to succeed him, citing his commitment to training pastors and leaders.

“He has a great love for our seminary and our college,” said Scroggins. “It was a great honor for me to serve at Boyce College, and I have full confidence that Denny will provide excellent leadership as he moves Boyce into the future.”

Mohler said Burk will continue the legacy of great leadership at Boyce.

Boyce College has been so well led in the past by great deans — each of whom has left his mark,” said President Mohler. “Denny Burk will serve in that great tradition and will make his own mark.”


The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is the flagship seminary of the 16-million member Southern Baptist Convention. More information is available at


Filed under Reformation and Revival

Jesse James and Church Discipline

Ken Keathley has one of the best introductory paragraphs to a post I’ve seen:

A while back I had the privilege of preaching at 1st Baptist Church of Kearney, Missouri, which so happens to have been the home church of Jesse James. Jesse was a member in good standing when he led the first daylight bank robbery in Liberty, Missouri, a town about ten miles away. The church minutes record that deliberations to discipline Jesse were complicated by the concern that he might burn down the building. Everyone in the community knew Jesse was staying at his mother’s farm (she was a Sunday school teacher at the time), so two deacons were selected to go to confront him according to the guidelines of Matthew 18. The minutes of the next business meeting report that, for one reason or another, the deacons never could find the time to visit the notorious bandit. Then the minutes report that Jesse himself arrived at the meeting, and wishing to cause no embarrassment to the congregation, requested his name be removed from the roll. The church obliged.

From there he goes on to make an important point about church discipline. Read the whole thing.


Filed under History, Reformation and Revival