Category Archives: Testimonies

N.T. Wright responds to false accusations

For those interested… Today I saw a post from the moderator on the Wrightsaid Yahoo! Group. It contained a letter from NT Wright that was written to someone that had found some egregiously bad accusations against Wright on the Internet. Here is the context that the moderator gave for the letter:

“Someone involved in translating Bishop Wright’s book on Judas and the Gospel of Jesus had ran across some incorrect information on the internet about Bishop Wright’s views. Bishop Wright wrote the following letter in response, though I have removed all the personal references. Feel free to disregard the list rule about forwarding messages and pass this along via email or the web. ”

Here is the letter from Bishop N.T. Wright defending himself from bad information that is always available from uninformed and ignorant people on the web as well as other places. Please feel free to pass this along via E-mail or on your own blog so that more people will understand what Bishop Wright believes and that he is not a heretic.

Continue reading N.T. Wright responds to false accusations

Rick Warren and Porn

This is extremely telling of how many Christian pastors view their position of authority and their calling to shepherd the sheep of Jesus. Rick Warren shows us how not to do it. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Rick Warren really has no clue about what this means. But on the Last Day he will have to give an account. Do you think that the account he will give will be very good?

Here is the article:

Continue reading Rick Warren and Porn

Q&A: Francis Beckwith

Here is an update on the Francis Beckwith news: Former ETS president speaks about what he takes from evangelicalism back to the Roman Catholic Church.

Beckwith recently announced his reversion back to the RC church. It truly is a sad event. May God, in some way, use him to change the Roman church, but it is my fear that he will simply be another defender of the heretical views of the historic RC church.

In Christ and In Defense of the Faith,

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Francis Beckwith resigned on May 5 as president of the Evangelical Theological Society. One week earlier the Baylor University philosophy professor rejoined the Roman Catholic Church, his home until age 14. He spoke with Christianity Today editor David Neff about reaction to his decision, theological misconceptions, and evangelical strengths and weaknesses.

What good things from the evangelical community will you take back with you to Roman Catholicism?

A number of things. First, I think of the evangelical emphasis on the importance of Scripture. Much of what I see in the Catholic Church is formed by my evangelical experience. When I recite, for instance, the Apostles’ Creed, I think it’s more of a cognitive experience for me than with people who have been Catholic for some time. Emphasis on the written word comes from my evangelical background—that is, when I read these things, I’m really interested in what the text is saying, not just the mystical part, which is certainly also appropriate. For instance, after reading the Apostles’ Creed, I turned to my wife and I said, “You know, there are only two proper names in the creed—Pontius Pilate and Virgin Mary. I don’t know if anyone’s ever noticed that.”

I still consider myself an evangelical, but no longer a Protestant. I do think I have a better understanding of what sometimes the Catholic Church is trying to convey. Protestants often misunderstand. The issue of justification was key for me. The Catholic Church frames the Christian life as one in which you must exercise virtue—not because virtue saves you, but because that’s the way God’s grace gets manifested. As an evangelical, even when I talked about sanctification and wanted to practice it, it seemed as if I didn’t have a good enough incentive to do so. Now there’s a kind of theological framework, and it doesn’t say my salvation depends on me, but it says my virtue counts for something. It’s important to allow the grace of God to be exercised through your actions. The evangelical emphasis on the moral life forms my Catholic practice with an added incentive. That was liberating to me.

Some of the people who have been critical say, “You’ve gone into the oppressive works system of Catholicism.” That’s not the way I look at it at all. I look at it as a chance to do good. My own work apart from God’s grace doesn’t matter for my salvation; what matters is the sort of person I become by allowing God’s grace to work through my obeying his commandments and taking the sacraments. Unfortunately, the view of justification is sometimes presented clumsily by some Catholic laypeople.

What can an evangelical learn from the great tradition without giving up the genius of evangelicalism?

Much of Christian theology that we assume to be true, key doctrines such as the Trinity and the deity of Christ, were thought out quite a while ago through rigorous arguments and analysis and debate. Evangelicals kid themselves when they believe that they can re-invent the wheel with every generation, that you have to produce another spate of systematic theology textbooks to teach people the stuff that has already been articulated for generations. Not to say those things aren’t important. They are, and obviously you have to write these things depending upon the historical context. However, I do think we have to admit that the way that we read Scripture is through the ideas and concepts that have been passed down to us by a great tradition.

Look, you’re not going to come up with the Nicene Creed by just picking up the Bible. Does the Bible contribute to our understanding? Absolutely it does; the Nicene Creed is consistent with Scripture. But you needed a church that had a self-understanding in order to articulate that in any clear way. I am not saying that necessarily means that you have to be a Catholic. But we have to understand that the Reformation only makes sense against the backdrop of a tradition that was already there. Calvin and Luther did not go back and re-write Nicea. They took it for granted. There’s nothing wrong with conceding that and celebrating it and reading those authors.

Looking at tradition would also help evangelicals learn about Christian liturgical traditions, like Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, that many evangelicals reject because they say liturgy is unbiblical. When did these practices come to be? It turns out many of them came to be very early on in church history when people were close historically to the apostles themselves. There must be something to these practices that the early Christians thought was perfectly consistent with what they had received from the apostles.

And I think that would do a couple of things. It would turn down the volume of the rhetoric from evangelicals, at least free-church Protestants. They would understand this goes back a long way. That may not convince them that it is right, but at least it would show them that it was widely held and that Christians who were right there on top of the early church practiced them. That was quite liberating for me, when I became aware of the writings of some of the church fathers and especially the liturgical aspects. Some of the folks who have read my blog post on my return to the church have misunderstood my reading of the church fathers. They think I went back and tried to find theology, and that really wasn’t it for me. It was the practices of the church that were more important. I did some research years ago on the relationship of Greek philosophy and the Christian doctrine of God, and that was very helpful. But that’s when I first began reading the fathers. One finds the practice of penance very early on during the times in which Christians were being persecuted. Some of the Christians who had denied their faith had to publicly repent for their sins and suffer penance. This was considered to be perfectly consistent with a doctrine of faith.

Were you surprised by the number and strength of the reactions you received?

Yes, I’m shocked. What it did to me, though, was create a sense of humility that I don’t think I ever had before my entire life. I felt a sense of responsibility that had been placed on me by God to conduct myself in a way that was neither scandalous to the Catholic Church nor the evangelical world. This is a unique opportunity, and I don’t know where it is going to go from here. But it is a unique opportunity to be able to engage both my Catholic friends and my Protestant friends in a way that we can have mutual understanding and maybe move toward some sort of Christian unity, even if it’s not ecclesiastical.

The number of e-mails that I have received and the number of comments on websites—I would have never predicted it. I think I underestimated the deep divisions that were still there, at least among lay evangelicals and Catholics more so than the academics who interact with each other more often. Non-denominational Bible church folks are still reading stuff about Catholicism published in the 1950s. Evangelicals have a responsibility to educate their people on this. And I think Catholics, as well, have an obligation to set the record straight about evangelicalism.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together made a helpful statement on justification some years ago and received lots of criticism.

Yeah, that was something else. The book that was very helpful to me was Mark Noll’s Is the Reformation Over? That’s what led me to read the Joint Declaration on Justification. Then I began reading some Catholic authors who did a very nice job with explaining the Catholic views of grace and faith. I thought to myself, How come every evangelical book that I’ve read on Catholicism didn’t get this right? Part of it is a paradigm problem. I don’t think it’s duplicity. I just think if you hold to a highly cognitive, almost legal model of justification, there is no component for God’s grace working out salvation within you.

You’re best known for your skill at thinking and argumentation. How do you see the less-rational instincts functioning in the Christian life?

That’s a great question. I think there are two extremes in the evangelical world, both of which are based on the same premise. They both accept the same premise that the Enlightenment view of reason is the correct view of reason. And the problem is that the Emergent people say, “We reject the Enlightenment view of reason; therefore we reject reason.” And then the other guys say, “Well, that is the right view of reason.”

I think that they’re both wrong. Rationality or reason is much more expansive than that. There’s an intuitive element of reason, and it’s not simply the rationalistic calculation that one gets out of philosophers like Descartes.

For example, let me ask you, why do you love your wife? If you said, “She’s beautiful,” a typical rationalistic Christian would say, “But that’s not enough!”

You say, “Well, she’s smart.”

“That’s not enough!”

“But she loves me.”

“That’s not enough! Your mother loves you; you’re not going to marry her!”

Wait a second! It’s an organic thing. It’s no one of these things. It’s not that I take each one separately and add them up. But it’s part of a mosaic or a tapestry where all these things are tied together.

The debate over Sola Scriptura is big between Protestants and Catholics. A Catholic thinker will say, typically, “Sola Scriptura is not mentioned in the Bible.” And the Protestant will say, “It’s not mentioned in the Bible, but it’s implied there.” But even if it’s implied there, why should I accept it? Believers in the Qur’an believe Sola Scriptura. At some point, there has to be some connection between the church and its role and the phenomenon of Scripture. There are a lot of evangelicals who believe that and aren’t Catholic. But if you accept that particularly narrow view of Sola Scriptura, then it becomes almost impossible to understand the Catholic view. And I think it’s a kind of axiomatic rationalism that doesn’t really capture why people convert, and why people believe things.

In terms of Scripture and the church, there is both a triumphalist version (We’re the ones who canonized Scripture!) and there’s a humbler version, which says the church recognized the voice of the Spirit in Scripture and submitted itself to it.

Both could be true at the same time. To say that somehow the church decreed it is to take a voluntarist model of authority. That is what you often find in real strong Calvinist views of God’s moral nature, that things ought to be obeyed because God says so, not because he’s good. In a weird way, there’s an assumption that all authority is authoritarian. I deny that assumption. I think that the church was given the authority to make these judgments, and that the Holy Spirit allowed them to make those judgments and humbly accept it. So they’re not inconsistent with each other.

Related Elsewhere:

ETS Resignation Triggers Tradition Discussion” focused on the ETS’s reaction to Beckwith’s resignation.

Collin Hansen commented in CT Liveblog on Beckwith’s resignation and the following ETS statement.

Beckwith is a contributor to Right Reasons, a blog by conservative philosophers. His most recent post explains his decision.

Beckwith’s own blog has links to online essays he has written.

Other recent news articles include:

Prominent evangelical returns to Catholic roots | Baylor professor resigns as head of conservative intellectual group. (The Dallas Morning News)

Baylor prof Beckwith becomes Catholic, resigns as head of evangelical society | Renowned evangelical philosopher Francis Beckwith has become a Roman Catholic and, as a result, has resigned as president — and also as a member — of the Evangelical Theological Society. (Associated Baptist Press)

Update on Driscoll/Hybel Situation

I always want to have clear and accurate information. Thankfully Matt Payne posted a comment on my previous entry….

He attended the conference that Mark Driscoll’s video was sent to and afterwards was able to get a copy of the video along with many other people who wanted it.

I trust that Mark’s story was sincere, but I’m not quite sure that everything Mark said about the event is accurate.

Thanks Matt!

Also, Matt, could you please further elaborate on the things that Bill Hybels said about the video and why he didn’t like it?

Someone needs to put the “Smackdown” on SOMEONE?

Correction: Please see the post after this post, along with its comments, for a clearer picture of what took place at this church planters conference regarding the Mark Driscoll video. I honestly do not want to say anything else about Mark because I trust he was sincere in his post. But after the diligence of some who were involved with the conference, I believe that my original post is no longer accurate or proper. I hope that the record can be set straight on this issue. Thanks again for all the comments.

– Glenn


Well, it’s official, Bill Hybelsjust made a very stupid decision. I will not comment about any other things regarding Dr. Hybels since I do not know much about him, but I will comment about something I know he did that was wrong.

Mark Driscoll has just made it known, this weekend, what happened with the 8 minutes video he was asked to make for a church planting conference in Florida. Some 5,000 copies were sent to the conference for distribution to all attendees. Unfortunately, Bill Hybels did not like the video when it was shown and (the video having been well received by the audience) proceeded to castigate the video for its lack of recognition… of WOMEN church planters! After this, the organization hosting the conference decided not to hand out any of the videos.

Therefore, at the bottom of this post, you will find the video that Mark posted on YouTube for everyone to see since none of the copies were allowed to be distributed. You can read about this story from the horses mouth.

By the way, I really loved the video and I fully believe that Mark Driscoll said what those church planters needed to hear. I can only hope that God will teach Bill Hybels a lesson for his egalitarian non-sense and blaspheming of God’s written word. Titus 2:4-5: “train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

My Testimony

Well, since no one E-mailed me there testimony… HINT! HINT!

I guess I will only get to post mine. This is one that I typed up recently for a scholarship application for seminary funding. I hope you are encouraged!

– Glenn

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I was born at 8:36 AM on September 28, 1981. My mother and father are Christians and members of the Southern Baptist denomination. They raised me in a Christian home and Christian schooling and from birth I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church, Red Bank Baptist, in Chattanooga, TN. There has not been a time in my life when I have been outside of participating within a local church community, or a time in my life, which I can recall to mind, that I have not known the Lord. I was raised in the covenant community and at a young age I recall praying to receive Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour. I was baptized when I was 14 years old. Throughout my life I have had struggles, but overall Christ has always drawn me to Himself and I have been able to overcome those struggles and grow in my faith by the power of His Spirit.

During high school I was engaged to think much more critically about my own faith and what I actually believed about God’s word. This started the next major phase in my spiritual growth and development. I studied every day and at night I even found myself unable to sleep until my mind had thought through all that I had read, trying to answer the questions I was asking myself. During this portion of my life I learned a great deal and I will always praise God for His mercy in granting me those desires to read and learn.

Through God’s providence, there were several factors which lead to my spiritual growth the last two years of high school. My teachers at Chattanooga Christian, in particular my Bible and English professors, were very encouraging and challenging. They pushed me to seek after Christ and His truth and by their ministry God built in me a passion for His kingdom and His truth. As I entered into college, God continued to build me into the man I have now become.

In going to a secular University I was not sure what to expect, but God showed me a place where I could minister and be ministered to – the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. I was able to learn much in the company of fellow Christians who came together to discuss the Bible and to minister to the students at the University. It is quite possible that during those years I developed my deepest and most foundational understanding of God’s word. In those years I also found my closest brothers with whom I now regularly fellowship.

This leads me to my next major phase of life. After becoming close to many of the brothers I met at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry I decided to visit the church they were all attending. I joined Concord Baptist Church at the beginning of 2005. Shortly after joining I met the woman who was soon to become my wife. We were married in October of that same year.

In September of 2006, our son (Ezekiel) was born on the tenth of the month. He has been such a blessing in our life and we are so thankful that God has given him to be part of our family. My wife left her teaching position at the end of that school year in order to take care of our son once he was born.

This is where I am now, in the great salvation God has given to me. I am working a full time job to support my family and I am enjoying every moment that I have to spend with them. My family and I are excited about my current attendance at Reformed Theological Seminary and we are praying that God will continue to reveal His glory to us as we grow in His grace.

Testimony Tuesday

Hello Blog Readers,

Tim Challies has issued a cool proposal called “Testimony Tuesday” over at his blog.

I’m inviting any of my readers to submit their testimonies to me sometime before next Tuesday, April 3, in order to have them posted on my blog. I will also send a link of each testimony to Mr. Challies and he will collect everyone’s links that are submitted to him and post a list of links on his blog.

If you have any questions, simply read his blog entry above or post a question on the comments section of this entry and I will do my best to answer. Then E-mail me your testimony if you would like it posted!

I hope you will take this opportunity to share your experience of God’s grace and faithfulness to the rest of the Internet world. Enjoy the writing if you don’t have one written already!

In Christ and In Defense of the Faith,