Theology Central

Theology Central exists as a place of conversation and information for faculty and friends of Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Posts include seminary news, information, and opinion pieces about ministry, theology, and scholarship.

It Can Never Happen!

Just last week, another high profile pastor admitted to a “sexual incident” when he was a youth pastor twenty years ago. He admitted his indiscretion publicly after which his church gave him a standing ovation for his transparency. He said the relationship was consensual. He was 20 and she was 17. He was in a position of spiritual leadership as a youth leader. She was a youth group member.

One thing needs to be repeated again and again. A pastor or a youth pastor CANNOT have a consensual relationship with a church member! When you are in a positional of spiritual leadership over another person, that relationship makes any sexual encounter an abuse of trust, a taking advantage of someone who is vulnerable. It cannot be “consensual.” Period!

God help us to repent of our tolerance of sin. Thanks to Ed Stetzer for speaking out!

Defining Culture

South African pastor (and Central Seminary alumnus) David DeBruyn continues his series on “Ten Mangled Words.” Now he’s turning his attention to the word culture.

Jackhammers are not the ideal tool for mixing cake batter. Some mess will almost certainly result. Evangelical Christians using the word ‘culture’ often remind one of a baker with a such a power tool. When most Evangelicals begin writing or speaking on culture, one winces. A migraine is certainly on its way.

Dr. Paul Hartog Speaking at 2018 MacDonald Lectures

Every winter, Central Seminary conducts the MacDonald Lectures Series in Bible and Theology. This year, Paul Hartog, professor at Faith Baptist Bible College and Seminary, will present lectures on early Christianity’s relationship with Roman culture.

Dr. Hartog is a churchman, published scholar, and a recognized expert on the early Christian father, Polycarp. He is a frequent speaker and presenter at academic conferences.

Christianity did not begin in a vacuum. As the church began, it was forced to interact with the world in which it was conceived. In doing so, the early church had to deal with many questions. Is the church to separate from culture? Did God call the church to transform culture? To what extent should Christians participate in culture? Answers to these questions remain as pertinent today as two millenia ago. Join us as Dr. Hartog explores the early church and Roman culture.

Schedule

8:00a-8:30 Registration / Greet
8:30-9:30 – Session I
9:30-9:50 – Coffee / Pastry break
9:50-10:50 – Session II (Central Women’s Fellowship will have a sessions for the ladies during this time)
10:50-11:00 – Break
11:00-12:00 – Session III
12:00 – 1:00 – Lunch
1:00-2:30 – Session IV

Purchase tickets here.

Lunch will be be included with purchase of ticket.

Email info@centralseminary with any questions.

centralseminary.edu

Eugene Green, non posse peccare

Eugene Green, 1997 DMin alumnus.

Pastor Gene pastored several churches in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin over the years. Upon retirement from full-time ministry, he served as the Executive Director of Baptists for Life of Wisconsin from 2001 – 2012, traveling throughout the state, speaking in churches and schools, and advocating for the rights of the Unborn.

His obituary is here.

Why Is Christmas on December 25th?

Everyone knows it’s because synchretistic Christians swiped the Roman Saturnalia, right? Guess again. William J. Tighe deals with “Calculating Christmas” for Touchstone Magazine. You don’t have to accept everything in the article to find it interesting.

[T]he pagan feast which the Emperor Aurelian instituted on that date in the year 274 was not only an effort to use the winter solstice to make a political statement, but also almost certainly an attempt to give a pagan significance to a date already of importance to Roman Christians.

Do Conservatives Face a Dilemma?

Howard Merken at The Imaginative Conservative thinks so. It’s a quirky article, but worth a read. Merken focuses specifically on a Bob Jones University graduate and on Jerry Falwell.

A conservative can do what he wants in a free country, and that includes supporting conservative causes. But should he think, speak, write, and act in ways that show an intense knowledge of interactions, or should he parrot the slogans of other conservatives without understanding the details and the truths which are often two-sided coins or even multifaceted gems? That is the conservative’s dilemma.

Welcome back, Theology Central blog!

Our blog has been on a hiatus in recent weeks as our website has been retooled. The new site launched yesterday and with it our new blog! We are grateful for the opportunity to keep moving forward. One bit of seminary news of interest to our readers. With our adoption of synchronized classroom instruction, we are now able to service students far and wide. As the registrar, I get to “meet” new students in advice of the rest of the faculty. I am pleased to state that our student body next semester will include students from three countries on two continents, all in our regular seminary program. This will mean that good men who cannot move to Minneapolis, especially international students, can still get the same quality education as our on campus students. As of today, we have six incoming international students for next semester. We anticipate that we will be able to take theological education to the world through our Global Initiative and our online instruction. Looking for a place to study? Contact Dan Johnson at djohnson@centralseminary.edu to start a conversation.

Bertrand Russell on Math and Epistemology

Now suppose that I am looking at a bright red patch. I may say ‘this is my present percept’; I may also say my present percept exists’; but I must also say ‘this exists,’ because the word ‘exists’ is only significant when applied to a description as opposed to a name. This disposes of existence as one of the things that the mind is aware in objects.

I come now to understanding of numbers. Here there are two very different things to be considered: on the one hand, the propositions or arithmetic, and on the other hand, empirical propositions of enumeration. ‘2+2=4’ is of the former kind; ‘I have ten fingers’ is of the latter.

I should agree with Plato that arithmetic, and pure mathematics generally, is not derived from perception. Pure mathematics consists of tautologies, analogous to ‘men are men,’ but usually more complicated. To know that a mathematical proposition is correct, we do not have to study the world, but only the meanings of symbols; and the symbols, when we dispense with definitions) of which the purpose is merely abbreviation) are found to be such words as ‘or’ and ‘not,’ and ‘all’ and ‘some,’ which do not, like ‘Socrates,’ denote anything in the actual world. A mathematical equation asserts that two groups of symbols have the same meaning; and so long as we confine ourselves to pure mathematics, this meaning must be one that can be understood without knowing anything about what can be perceived. Mathematical truth, therefore, is, as Plato contends, independent of perception; but it is truth of a very peculiar sort, and is concerned with only symbols.

The History of Western Philosophy (1972 ed.), 155.

I may have to pay more taxes! Yikes!

Again a WI judge has struck down the Clergyman’s Residency deduction. It was reversed on appeal before. If it takes affect, it only impacts Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. But who knows . . . it might change things for all clergymen in time. We’ll see what the Seventh Court of Appeals say this time. Stay tuned.

In case you were wondering if you have to tithe

A new article in CT suggests that many church leaders say you don’t have to tithe to your local church. You can split it between them and other good work. Ok, so maybe I will just give a tithe of my tithe to my local church. Ok, so because I don’t believe in “storehouse” tithing, or tithing for that matter, doesn’t mean I accept this silliness. The first and primary place a Christian should give to is the local church. Then give extra to other ministries if you like. But do not sacrifice the church for something else.

Paul Helm on the Benedict Option

Helm critiques Dreher’s Benedict Option here. Worth a read.

 

The presence of two kingdoms is a fundamental teaching of Jesus, not a political re-positioning for tactical advantage. The Benedict Option does not recognize it as mandatory. In Christianity there is always the kingdom of God and of his Christ, and the kingdom of this world. In not recognizing this the BO was making a serious error.

On Not Remembering Sermons

I used to fret that I could remember very few of the sermons I had heard. Now I fret that I can remember very few of the sermons I preach. Still, I remember none of the details from the Latin lessons I took in school, and yet I can still pick up a book of Latin prose or verse and read it. We may have forgotten the details of individual classes we’ve taken, but our minds are rewired by what we learned. In studying Latin I was changed from someone who saw Latin as an impenetrable code to someone who now delights in the cadences and periods of Cicero.

I believe preaching is like that. The point is not that we remember all the details and can perfectly recall them. Rather, it is the slow, incremental impact of sitting under the word week by week, year by year that makes the difference. That is how we mature as Christians. God uses this means of grace to make us into vessels of his grace. And that is why a Protestant theology of grace must place the clear, powerful, unequivocal proclamation of God’s word right at the center.

Trueman, Carl R. Grace Alone—Salvation as a Gift of God: What the Reformers Taught…and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series) (p. 193). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together…on Textual Criticism

Peter Gurry elaborates on Pius XII’s Divino Afflante Spiritu and shows similarities between Evangelical and Roman views of textual criticism and inerrancy.

In the present day indeed this art, which is called textual criticism and which is used with great and praiseworthy results in the editions of profane writings, is also quite rightly employed in the case of the Sacred Books, because of that very reverence which is due to the Divine Oracles. For its very purpose is to insure that the sacred text be restored, as perfectly as possible, be purified from the corruptions due to the carelessness of the copyists and be freed, as far as may be done, from glosses and omissions, from the interchange and repetition of words and from all other kinds of mistakes, which are wont to make their way gradually into writings handed down through many centuries.

Why Preachers Need to Be Trained

Preachers need to be well trained and able to speak clearly. They need to be able to rightly divide and apply the word of truth. They need to be able to study. There will always be the occasional Charles Spurgeon or Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who, with little or no formal training were yet outstanding preachers, but they are the exceptions, not the rule, and even they might have been better had they been taught the biblical languages. There is a reason why the Reformers required rigorous study as a prerequisite for pastoral ministry: most aspiring ministers urgently need that if they are to preach the word with any degree of competence.

—Trueman, Carl R. Grace Alone—Salvation as a Gift of God: What the Reformers Taught…and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series) (p. 192). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Why Preachers Need to Be Trained

Preachers need to be well trained and able to speak clearly. They need to be able to rightly divide and apply the word of truth. They need to be able to study. There will always be the occasional Charles Spurgeon or Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who, with little or no formal training were yet outstanding preachers, but they are the exceptions, not the rule, and even they might have been better had they been taught the biblical languages. There is a reason why the Reformers required rigorous study as a prerequisite for pastoral ministry: most aspiring ministers urgently need that if they are to preach the word with any degree of competence.

Trueman, Carl R. Grace Alone—Salvation as a Gift of God: What the Reformers Taught…and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series) (p. 192). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Central Seminary Begins Distance Ed

A degree online that’s not an online degree

Many pastors and missionaries desire to further their theological training and attend a seminary but cannot take time to leave their churches or mission fields. Because of this, some feel like they must settle for an online degree that is less than desirable. Central Seminary believes that pastors, missionaries, and students should not have to settle. We believe there are no shortcuts in ministry. Effective ministry often comes from effective preparation.

Central Seminary has designed a distance education program that is different from most. It puts the distance student in the classroom during the class. Through multiple high definition cameras and monitors, advanced sound equipment, and the best conference software available, distance students will be able to interact live with each class.

Central Seminary’s distance education program is not a separate program – it’s only a medium. None of our academic programs have been lessened and every requirement is the same. The only difference between resident students and distance students is just that…distance. All of our graduate programs (MAT in either Biblical Studies or Biblical Counseling and MDiv) are offered in their entirety through this medium.

  • Learn theology from theologians.
  • Learn history from historians.
  • Learn Greek and Hebrew from people that know it.
  • Learn ministry from pastors, not programs.
  • Be a student, not a consumer.

How does it work?

Each classroom has:

  • 2 high definition cameras (one facing the professor and one facing the students)
  • Large, high definition monitors
  • Microphones
  • Dedicated computers
  • Advanced conferencing software

By using Zoom software, distance students will have the ability to see and hear both resident students and other distance students, professors, and any and all presented media (which includes PowerPoint, writing on the board, etc.). In addition, the resident students and professor can fully interact with the distance students enabling complete and simultaneous interaction.

Be in the class without being in the classroom.

For more information or if you’d like to see a demonstration of how it works, contact Dan Johnson in our recruitment office: djohnson@centralseminary.edu

 

Why God Can’t Overlook Sin

The reason why an atonement was necessary, was the inflexible nature of divine justice. This attribute leads the Ruler of the universe to render to every one his due; to treat every one according to his character. The justice of God was manifested in giving to man a righteous law, and annexing a penalty exactly proportioned to the demerit of every transgression. Such a penalty being annexed to the law, it is evident that to execute it is a righteous thing; and when this penalty is incurred by transgression, the Judge of all the earth, acting justly, must inflict it. He cannot deny himself. “He is not a man that he should lie, or the son of man that he should repent.” If the penalty of the law might be set aside in one instance, it might in all, and then government would be at an end. Indeed, no reason can be assigned for a difference; if one sinner is exempted from punishment, the same treatment should be extended to all; for, in the administration of law and justice, there should be uniformity….

Archibald Alexander, A Brief Compend of Bible Truth, 109.