25 January 2015

Woodworking 101

Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Gospel of the Kingdom, page 41, Pilgrim Publications.
"The judging faculty is best employed at home." 

Our tendency is to spy out splinters in other men’s eyes, and not to see the beam in our own. Instead of beholding, with gratified gaze, the small fault of another, we should act reasonably if we penitently considered the greater fault of ourselves.

It is the beam in our own eye which blinds us to our own wrongdoing; but such blindness does not suffice to excuse us, since it evidently does not shut our eyes to the little error of our brother. Officiousness pretends to play the oculist; but in very truth it plays the fool.

Fancy a man with a beam in his eye pretending to deal with so tender a part as the eye of another, and attempting to remove so tiny a thing as a mote or splinter! Is he not a hypocrite to pretend to be so concerned about other men’s eyes, and yet he never attends to his own?

Jesus is gentle, but he calls that man a “hypocrite” who fusses about small things in others, and pays no attention to great matters at home in his own person. Our reformations must begin with ourselves, or they are not true, and do not spring from a right motive.

Sin we may rebuke, but not if we indulge it. We may protest against evil, but not if we willfully practise it. The Pharisees were great at censuring, but slow at amending. Our Lord will not have his kingdom made up of hypocritical theorists, he calls for practical obedience to the rules of holiness.

After we are ourselves sanctified, we are bound to be eyes to the blind, and correctors of unholy living; but not till then. Till we have personal piety, our preaching of godliness is sheer hypocrisy. May none of us provoke the Lord to say to us, "Thou hypocrite"!

23 January 2015


by Dan Phillips

If you want to learn how to support extending the reach of the conference, contact Josh Feinberg.

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22 January 2015

"Sufficient Fire"

by Dan Phillips

From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland -- usually to the fear and loathing of more-polite and more-irenic bloggers and readers. The results lurk in the archives of this blog in spite of the hope of many that Google will "accidentally" swallow these words and pictures whole.

This feature enters the murky depths of the archives to fish out the classic hits from the golden age of internet drubbings.

The following excerpt was written by Dan back in May 2012.

As usual, the comments are closed.
I think the truth of the sufficiency of Scripture may be the central Biblical doctrine under attack in our day.  Of course cults, heresies and false religions attack it, as they must. What is saddest to see is all the "friendly" fire that well-meaning obsessives have leveled with a boldness that seems to be on the increase.

I've come at this topic "at sundry times and in divers manners," including here, here, and here, among many others.

Sunday was part three of our Thinking Biblically series at CBC, and the sufficiency of Scripture was one of the foci of the sermon titled What Should We Do with the Bible? (That and, well, once again too many other things.) I'll lift out a part of the sermon, part that actually wasn't in the notes.

I grant that my efforts may not have convinced everyone, though I will keep trying. But virtually all remotely-sound Christians will at least give a nod to the proviso that yes, yes, yes, the Bible is God's Word, and yes, it's some kind of sufficient, and no, no hemi-demi-semi-kindasorta revelation can displace it — well, not formally, anyway.

So agree with me on this. If you really believe what you say you really believe, this should be no problem. Here we go:

Agree heartily to believe in and use Scripture as befits what it claims about itself. Treat it like it is what you say you believe it is: God's actual, real-live, inerrant, personal, living and powerful Word. Approach it as you would actually approach such a treasure as you profess to affirm to have found in Scripture.

That is, pledge yourself exclusively to seek God and His will according to Scripture. Pray only for light to understand Scripture (cf. Psa. 119:18; 2 Tim. 4:7). Commit yourself only to regard what comes from Scripture as God's binding will for you. Set aside all the yeah-buts and evasions and distractions and special-pleadings and fourteenth-hand stories and traditions, for a time.

Set yourself to seeking and being in a church that emphatically teaches the Bible as if it were what it says it is, that devotes itself to the exposition and proclamation and practice of Scripture as God's inerrant word, without the endless distractions of entertainment and fads and dancing bears.

Devote yourself exclusively to studying Scripture, all sixty-six books. Set yourself to master every book, every chapter, every verse, every word. Seek perfect understanding of all of Scripture, and Scripture only, as containing what God really wants you to know. Memorize all of it.

Finally (and at the same time) commit yourself to practicing Scripture perfectly. All of it. Master it, and be mastered by it — exclusively. If it is not Bible or a valid straight-line application of the Bible, do not claim it as any level of special revelation from God.

20 January 2015

See you soon!

by Dan Phillips

Howdy, as we say in Texas.

As we're looking forward to seeing y'all in just a few days, preparations are going on busily all over. That includes the pastor's study!

So for once I'm not going to pare off the time to shape and shine and perfect a post. What we're all doing, including what I'm doing, will show in what you enjoy when you sit down with us here for our first-ever back-together-again-for-the-first-time Pyromaniacs Sufficient Fire conference.

It's stacking up to be a fun, encouraging, edifying time. We all appreciate your prayers.

According to the weather, bring warm clothes and a rain jacket.

See you Friday!

PS — if you're unable to come but want to support what we're doing, contact Josh Feinberg.

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18 January 2015

Sufficient Fire Edition

Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 20, sermon number 1,208, "Infallibility--Where to find it and how to use it."
"He had a great choice of weapons with which to fight with Satan, but he took none but this sword of the Spirit—'It is written.'" 

Our Lord might have overcome Satan by angelic force; He had only to pray to his Father, and he would presently have sent him twelve legions of angels, against whose mighty rush the arch-fiend could not have stood for a single moment. If our Lord had but exercised his godhead, a single word would have sent the tempter back to his infernal den.

But instead of angelic power or divine he used, “It is written”; thus teaching his church that she is never to call in the aid of force, or use carnal weapons, but must trust alone in the omnipotence which dwells in the sure word of testimony.

This is our battle-ax and weapon of war. The patronages or the constraints of civil power are not for us. And neither dare we use either bribes or threats to make men Christians: a spiritual kingdom must be set up and supported by spiritual means only.

Our Lord might have defeated the tempter by unveiling his own glory. The brightness of the divine majesty was hidden within the humility of his manhood, and if he had lifted the veil for a moment the fiend would have been as utterly confounded as bats and owls when the sun blazes in their faces. But Jesus deigned to conceal his excellent majesty, and only to defend himself with, “It is written.”

Our Master might also have assailed Satan with rhetoric and logic. Why did he not discuss the points with him as they arose? Here were three different propositions to be discussed, but our Lord confined himself to the one argument, “It is written.”

Now, beloved, if our Lord and Master, with all the choice of weapons which he might have had, nevertheless selected this true Jerusalem blade of the Word of God, let us not hesitate for a moment, but grasp and hold fast this one and only weapon of the saints in all times. Cast away the wooden sword of carnal reasoning; trust not in human eloquence, but arm yourselves with the solemn declarations of God, who cannot lie, and you need not fear Satan and all his hosts. Jesus, we may be sure, selected the best weapon, and what was best for him is best for you.

You have only to turn over your Bibles, find a text, and hurl that at Satan, like a stone from David’s sling, and you will win the battle. “It is written,” and what is written is infallible; here is your strength
in argument. “It is written.” God has said it; that is enough. O blessed sword and shield which the little child can use to purpose, fit also for the illiterate and simple-hearted, giving might to the feeble-minded, and conquest to the weak.

16 January 2015

Some Here, Some There — January 16, 2015

by Dan Phillips

Here y'go, in the last post before the Conference!

BTW, catch me for a full hour on The Janet Mefferd Show today, Friday, from 3pm-4pm Texas time.
  • When someone uses "God is not the author of confusion" in reference to feelings of confusion in discerning God's personal will, you can rest assured that you are in the presence of someone to whom "exegesis" is, at best, a Scrabble word.
  • You're welcome.
  • Todd Pruitt brings the goods on Beth Moore, who he calls a prophet for an undiscerning church. Like Pat Robertson, like Todd Bentley, like Perry Noble, like Mark Driscoll, like Joseph Smith, like Ellen G. White, and like a host of others, Moore has "Jesus" tell her things He doesn't tell anyone else.
  • You see, this is why the Sufficient Fire conference is so needed. Go now, find out if any registrations are still available, and come.
  • Did I mention Perry Noble? You all know about Noble's crazy statements about the Ten Commandments and Hebrew. Well now he's issued an apology of sorts, which in itself is rare enough in the God-tells-me-stuff-He-doesn't-tell-you set.
  • You see, parenthetically, if God tells you stuff straight-up...why bother studying Hebrew?
  • Concerning Noble's apology, Fred Butler has offered his thoughts in a careful, nuanced, helpful post sensitively subtitled It's All God's Fault I'm an Idiot.
  • Which all just goes to show you that...
  • Also, James Duncan responds to Noble's "apology."
  • Over at The Gate of Crippledness (got my Hebrew on), Steven Ingrino offers a detailed survey of books he does and doesn't find helpful in expounding the Gospel of Mark.
  • At that same blog, the gate was left slightly ajar, allowing this stray entry.
  • I will admit I'm small enough that I wondered if delicate souls who have blocked me and removed Pyro from their blogrolls — but who do still read Cripplegate — had a pea under their mattress that day.
  • Carl Trueman defends Beth Moore.
  • OK, not really. But it was fun writing it, and it was fun picturing Carl's eyebrows as he read it.
  • So the government will test the religion of homeschooled kids and see if they need to jail the parents. Where, East Germany? Nope; right here, in Oba-merica. In Virginia, no less. [See update in comments, below.]
  • Here are the doors to the dream church, in many Christians' minds:
  • On Texas in the early days: "Texas seemed to have more Baptists than people..." Texas hasn't changed. Nor have Baptist math-skills. Interesting read.
  • Phil Johnson updates and comments on the controversy surrounding the book The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, written portentously enough by a gent called Malarkey.
  • From Pulpit and Pen comes some very troubling backstory. (h-t Robert Sakovich)
  • I invented a cartoon superhero when I was a yoot, trying to draw. His name was Malarkey Man. Little-known fact. You're welcome.
  • In our family, we (or at least I) would call this "yet another unmarketable talent."
  • Lyndon Unger, the Bare-knuck Canuck, continues getting Biblely about "shacking up" (i.e. serial fornication by roommates), in part two of his series.
  • I would not be caught dead using (or thinking) the "the Gospel is true because it's good news) argument. That said, I'm having real trouble understanding how "Your life is short and meaningless and the universe cares nothing for you" is better news than the Gospel.
Updates possible through noon.

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13 January 2015

Tip: thinking of teaching/preaching Philippians? Not...just...yet

by Dan Phillips

Next month an absolutely splendid commentary on Philippians is coming in the Mentor Commentary series. It's by my friend Dr. Matthew Harmon, Professor of NT Studies at Grace College and Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, IN.

The good doctor did me the favor of checking my translations and Greek comments in The World-Tilting Gospel. Then, turnabout being fair play, Matt asked me to read and offer pastoral comments on his manuscript for this commentary. I was happy to oblige.

...and, as I went through the manuscript, I was happier and happier that I'd obliged! It's rare to find a commentary that reflects top-notch academics and a heart warm with passion for Christ and His Gospel. But that's just what you find in this volume. Harmon has done the church a real service, and set an example for Christian academics. I see this volume being used for years to come.

Get the word out. Mentor doesn't have the publicity machinery that Crossway and others have, so this book would be well-served by enthusiastic word-of-mouth. I'm seeing hopeful signs that those who have the ears of many won't let this one languish in obscurity, and that's very, very good. I hope they give it the notice it deserves, so it can gain the audience it should have.

Which is just what I'm doing right now.

For my part, I wouldn't want to preach or teach through Philippians without Harmon's book on my shelf.

Pre-order it, and you won't be sorry.

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