Archive for December, 2014

A glance at the website of Knoxt Theological Seminary (hereafter, Knox) reveals that the Fort Lauderdale based school, founded in 1989, is celebrating its first 25 years by “Honoring the Legacy.” The school certainly seems to be doing well. The website is attractive and up to date. According to one of the banner headlines on the website, Knox was named as one of the “Top 20 Theological Seminaries in the U.S.” by Sharefaith Magazine. This, or course, may very well be true. But it leaves open the question whether Knox actually teaches the truth in its classrooms, which is the only real test of whether the seminary is, in fact, actually honoring its legacy.

Princeton Theological Seminary was, until taken over by the liberals in the first few decasdes of the 20th centry, long the foremost bastion of reformed teaciing in the United States. When he founded Knox in 1989, Dr. D. James Kennedy envisioned that the school would serve as a New Princeton. A school that combined both the Biblical faith and rigorous scholarship that were the hallmarks of the Old Princeton. This was the original vision and true legacy of Knox.

Coming back to that “Top 20” ranking by Sharefaith, a qucik glance at the complete Top 20 list raises the question whether the Knox of 2014 is truly honoring its legacy or simply living off its reputation . For listed right along side Knox on the Top 20 list are such bastions of Biblical truth as Fuller Theological Seminary, The University of Chicago Divinity School and the University of Notre Dame. Does anyone familiar with original vision for Knox really think that the school’s legacy is honored by comparing it to Fuller, the University of Chicago or Notre Dame? If not, why does the Knox administration think so? The answer is simple, the current vision for Knox is not the original vision, but those who run the school hope you won’t notice the difference.

I’ve written at some lenght about Knox in the past (see, here, here, here, here, here, and here). For those unfamiliar with Knox, the history of the school falls into two distinct periods: 1989 through September 2007, post-September 2007. I use this framework, for it was in September 2007 that the original vision for Knox as a New Princeton was supplanted by a new, decidedly different vision. Those intersted in the details may follow the links at the top of this paragraph. But for an apples to apples comparison that makes manifiest the radical difference between the true legacy of Knox and the current school, one could hardly do better than comparing the Academic catalogs of the old and new Knox.

Having attended Knox in the Fall of 2006, I will let my copy of the 2006 Academic catalog stand for the Old Knox. For the new Knox, please reference the electronic version available on the Knox website.


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Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end? (Jer. 5:3)

It’s long been popular to compare the obvious decline of American society over the past 100 years to that of the Roman empire. Perhaps some of this owes to the influence of Edward Gibbon’s famous Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Some purport to draw lessons from the Roman experience that can be applied in our day. Some will spot similarities between events in the Roman empire and those of contemporary times, and drawing from these likenesses the idea that America is in terminal, inevitable decline. Others of a more optimistic point of view hope to drawn lessons from the Roman example on how to stop or even reverse the decline.

But long before Rome famously declined and fell, for that matter, long before the city of Rome was even founded, two other kingdoms passed through experienced their own decline and fall. I speak of Israel and Judah. The books of Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and the prophets could rightfully be called The History of the Decline and Fall of the Hebrew Republic. In them, we read how a nation originally founded as a constitutional republic, first devolved into a monarchy, next split into two separate kingdoms, and then following independent, centuries long glide paths of decline finally met their ruin.

If we want to examine the decline of American society, it is to these examples, rather than that of Rome, to which we should turn our attention. The experience of Israel and Judah are much more helpful in assessing out current condition as a nation than Rome ever could be, chiefly because we do not have to speculate as to why things happened as they did. Unlike even the best histories of Rome, the Scriptural record provides us not only a perfectly accurate account of the key events in the history of Israel, but also an infallible commentary on why these events occurred as they did. Let us now turn to God’s inspired history to see what lessons we may draw about the condition of the United States at the beginning of the 21st century.


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Mary: Ever Virgin?

Teachings about Mary, the so-called Marian doctrines, are prominent dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church-State. Even those not from a Roman Catholic background are aware of this. But even though Evangelicals have a general sense of the importance of Mary in Romanist teaching, most are uncertain about the specifics. As a result, they become easy prey for ecumenists, both of Protestant and Roman Catholic variety, who never cease from their common goal of overthrowing the Reformation.

One such recent example is Rick Warren, who recently has gone on record as saying, “We [Roman Catholics and Protestants] have more in common than what divides us.” If by this statement Warren is referring to Protestant ecumenists such as himself, then his statement undoubtedly is true. As John Robbins once commented, about the only thing today’s Protestants protest is Biblical Christianity. But if by his statement Warren intends to suggest that the historic Protestant faith has a broad base of agreement with Rome, he is merely putting on display his ignorance of both the teachings of Scripture and of the Roman Catholic Church-State.

In light of the efforts of Warren and others of his ilk, it is worth taking a more detailed look at the afore mentioned Marian doctrines. According to Rome, there are four Marian dogmas – 1) Divine Motherhood (Mary is the Mother of God), 2) Perpetual Virginity (Mary remained a virgin her whole life, even after the birth of Christ), 3) Immaculate Conception (Mary was born without original sin), and 4) The Assumption (Mary did not die, but was bodily taken into heaven) – all which are false. The focus of this short essay is on the second of these dogmas, Mary’s perpetual virginity.

For Protestants unfamiliar with Rome’s Marian doctrines, it may seem incredible that anyone could seriously argue that Mary spent her whole life as a virgin. After all, does not Scripture plainly tell us that Jesus had brothers and sisters (Mark 6:1-3, Matt. 13:55)? In Matthew 1:25 we read, “And [Joseph] knew her [Mary] not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.” But for these and other arguments from Scripture, the Romanists have ready answers. Let’s look at them.


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The study of ethics, what we ought to do, is one of the principle fields of philosophic inquiry. And many are they who presume to speak with authority on this subject. But as with all statements of all men, the Christian ought to compare all ethical claims by the standard of Scripture.

And what is the basis of Christian ethics? The law of God. A thing is right, for no other reason that God says it is right. A thing is wring, for no other reason than God condemns it Peter summarized this idea when explaining to the Sanhedrin why he disobeyed their order not to speak in the name of Christ. He told them, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:9). Understanding this one principle greatly simplifies the Christian’s task of judging the ethical merits of any proposed course of action.

For example, during the 2008 financial crisis, the powers that be so frightened Congress and the American people with visions of financial Armageddon, that TARP, a taxpayer financed $700 billion bailout package aimed at saving the so-called too-big-to-fail banks on Wall Street, was passed. It was just obviously the right thing to do. So much so, that one of my business school professors said it was boring even to question the decision.

But was this decision to rescue failing financial firms with taxpayer money self-evidently ethical? Where, for instance, in the Constitution is Congress ever given the authority to bail out anyone? More to the point of this essay, where does the Bible ever grant the civil magistrate the power to take from one person to give to another? The law of God calls this theft, and we are commanded not to do it. In short, the Bible condemns TARP and all those who planned, advocated, voted for, and benefitted from it. Guilty too are those who continue to defend it.


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“I believe things happen for a reason,” or so the saying goes. It’s remarkable how often people give voice to this pop-culture proverb. But unlike most of the world’s supposed wise sayings, this one happens to be a true. In fact, one suspects it is far more true than most people realize.

Things do happen for a reason. But it’s not because of karma, or fate, or the alignment of the stars. The reason is this: God planned it that way from all eternity and inexorably brings his plans to fruition in his works of providence. Not just some things. Not just the big things. Not even just the pleasant things. But all things.

And he does it for his own glory.

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For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. – 2 Cor. 10:5

The Bible asserts, and Christians hold, that sinners are justified by belief alone in Christ Jesus. Good works play no part in salvation. But if good works do not save us, what then is their purpose?

Glorify God

One answer to this question is that good works glorify God. Paul put it this way, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Echoing this idea, the Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that part of man’s chief end is to glorify God. When we do good works, not only do we glorify God, but we prompt others to do the same. Jesus said, “Let you lifth so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).


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