"Being unable to cure death, wretchedness, and ignorance, men [and women] have decided, in order to be happy, not to think about such things." ~ Blaise Pascal, Pensees (133).
"Our lives are empty. We cannot face the vacuum. So we fill our lives up with junk, with trash, with refuse.... we divert ourselves from our real needs.... We invent little problems and hold them close, fixating on them to block us from seeing the bigger problems." ~ Thomas V. Moore, Making Sense of it All: Pascal and the Meaning of Life, pp. 32-33.
"The only good thing for men therefore is to be diverted from thinking of what they are, either by some occupation which takes their minds off it, or by some novel and agreeable passion which keeps them busy, like gambling, hunting, some absorbing show, in short by what is called diversion" ~ Blaise Pascal, Pensees (136).
| Systematic Theology |
"It is all a matter of semantics!"
If you have ever heard or even personally stated the comment, "It is all a matter of semantics!", then consider the following comment by Dr. Charles Ryrie. In his work, Ryrie's Practical Guide to Communicating Bible Doctrine (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2005), Dr. Ryrie states:
"...never demean the importance of semantics. How often I have heard a student attempt to rationalize a poor or imprecise statement by saying, 'It's just a matter of semantics.' Such a response is supposed to excuse fuzzy or sloppy, if not, wrong choice of words. The student is more on target than he realizes when he says it's a matter of semantics since everything we say or write or even think concerns semantics. Semantics involves the study of meaning of words; therefore, the words we use affect the meaning we are trying to convey. So as we study, think about, teach, preach, and live the Word of God, we must pay careful attention to the words we use in communicating that they are precise, clear, and exact...sobering thought: what I teach today will be a part of shaping people, church, and missions tomorrow [pg. 9]."
Summary of Moderate Calvinism
This presentation is concerned with the compatibility of Divine Sovereignty and free choice. I recommend reading Lewis S. Chafer's Systematic Theology, Millard Erickson's, Systematic Theology, Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free, Robert P. Lightner's, Sin, The Savior, and Salvation, Charles C. Ryrie's, Basic Theology, and Earl Radmacher's, Salvation for further study regarding the nature and defense of Moderate Calvinism. It is in PDF format.
Biblical Account of Miracles
In view of willful and non-willful negligence regarding the biblical concept of miracles, this lecture is given. It is largely adapted from Dr. Geisler's, Baker's Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics.
Is election based upon God's foreknowledge of those who would believe?
This presentation offers a critique of the popular notion that God elects some to be saved upon the basis of looking into the future and seeing who will believe in Christ and who will not. If God sees that a person is going to come to saving faith, then He will elect that person to be saved. Thus, election is based on foreknowledge of that person's faith. I survey the major components of this view and present three positive remarks and nine criticisms. I then offer a conclusion. It is in powerpoint. I welcome any feedback since this is a work in progress.
Another Look at Election
This presentation regarding election is a paper which contends that the doctrine of election is biblical, unconditional, and compatible with all of God's infinite-perfections; it addresses individual, pretemporal election. And while election assures that those chosen will be saved, it alone does not save them. People are saved through faith in the substitionary atonement of Jesus Christ. To be sure this paper is a continue work in progress. While this paper criticizes the Arminian notion of foresight election, it does not address corporate election as held by K. Barth. It is in PDF format.
What Can the Natural Man Know?
This is an attempt to harmonize Romans 1:18-25 with Ephesians 2:1 in order to answer the question regarding what the "nekros" may know. It is in PDF.
Synoptic Chart on Hamartiology
This is a synoptic chart on sin showing the differences and similarities between Pelagianism, Arminianism, Moderate & Princetonian Calvinism, and Dutch Calvinism. It is in PDF powerpoint.
Synopsis of Moderate Calvinism
This chart is a visual aid for teaching on moderate calvinism: Divine Election and human responsibility are both co-extensive.
Lecture 1a: What is Theology?
Here is an introduction to some of the major theological terms you will need to know. It is in powerpoint. I revised powerpoint on 12 October 2008.
Summary of Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students
This is a summary I made of some of the salient points made in Spurgeon's first chapter of Lectures to My Students, "The Minister's Self-Watch." This handout is made to assist my students in their reading of this chapter. In no way does it replace the need to read and interact with the primary source for successful completion of theology 301 class. It is in Word.
Prolegomena: Knowledge versus Opinion
Adapted from Mortimer J. Adler's, How to to Think About the Great Ideas: From the Great Books of Western Civilization, this powerpoint presentation offers a 5-fold criteria regarding the differences between "knowledge" and "opinion."
Lecture 5b: Reality, Language, and Interpretation
In this powerpoint presentation in the area of prolegomena 5 philosophical models of reality are summarized in chart form that undergird hermeneutics: (1) Representational Model; (2) Agnostic Functional Model; (3) Postconservative Relational Model; (4) Direct Realist Model; (5) Direct Realist Moderate Thomistic Model. A brief critique is offered on first three models.
Lecture 6b: How to Do Theology
This is an introductory presentation on the approach I use in order to do systematic theology. I am indebted to Dr. Lewis S. Chafer's Systematic Theology, Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology (volume 1) and Dr. Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology (volume 1) regarding the method I use in order to do theology. In particular, I very much appreciate Dr. Hodge's work on this subject. Dr. Geisler's first volume offers the very best work on prolegomena and bibliology esp. in view of current ideas and philosophical notions with an apologetic response. This presentation in powerpoint.
Theological Ignorance and Spiritual Apathy Assessment
This is an assessment to determine if one is apathetic in view of theological ignorance. It offers suggestions to begin a journey into the riches of theological studies in order to maximize one's self for His greatness and glory. It is in PDF format.
Why Does God allow False Teaching?
If God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, then why does He allow false teaching to infiltrate and negatively impact biblical, God-honoring communities of the Christian faith? This PDF handout was developed from my personal reflections on Jude 3-4 in view of preparing an exposition of this powerful epistle.
Pursue a Balanced Theology
This is a handout drawn from over a decade of observing students of Scripture and other religious folk handle, discuss, or interact with theology. It is in PDF.
Pretrib. Rapture vs. Second Coming
Clarisworks document. Interested in eschatological issues? I highly recommend purchasing When the Trumpet Sounds, ed. by Tommy Ice & Timothy Demy, John F. Walvoord's, The Rapture Question and The Millennial Kingdom; J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come; Charles C. Ryrie's, Dispensationalism: Revised and Expanded, Robert P. Lightner's, Last Days Handbook (overview of all the major evangelical perspectives with very nice charts), and Premillennial Dictionary of Theology, edited by Mal Couch.
Church Leadership Self Appraisal
This handout may serve as an example how one might seek to evaluate church leadership (pastors, elders, deacons, & staff). It was developed when I pastored at Gateway Community Church in Sugar Land, Texas.
Church Vision and Purpose Values
The intent of this handout is to discern, clarify, change, and substantiate the vision and core purpose values of a local church. This may serve as an example about what you can do if you decide to assess the vision/core values at your church. I believe that church leadership should always consciously make decisions that will promote and advance their vision/core values.
What about Those Who Can't Believe?
I recommend purchasing Dr. Robert P. Lightner's book, Safe in the Arms of Jesus for those people who are interested in comforting someone who has lost a child before the "age of accountability."
A Charge to the Church
This is a copy of a charge I gave to the congregation in view of recently participating in an ordination service at my local church. It is in PDF.
Did Jesus go to hell? A Survey of 1 Peter 3:18-21
This theological overview surveys the debate regarding 1 Peter 3:18-22 whereby we summarize the major views regarding the identity of the "spirits in prison", whether Christ preached to the "spirits in prison", and what His purposes might have been in preaching to the "spirits in prison." It is in PDF format.
Bodily Burial or Cremation?
What honors God the most? 10 reasons why bodily burial should be preferred over and against cremation. It is in Powerpoint PDF format.
Here is an important article every student of theology should read by the late Dr. Roger Nicole.
One must know when it is right to doubt, to affirm, to submit. Anyone who does otherwise does not understand the force of reason. Some men run counter to these three principles, either affirming that everything can be proved [rationalists lack doubt], because they know nothing about proof, or doubting everything, because they do not know when to submit [skeptics lack faith], or always submitting, because they do not know when judgment is called for [naive lacks reason]. ~ Blaise Pascal, Pensees, # 170.
If we submit everything to reason our religion will be left with nothing. If we offend the principles of reason our religion will be absurd and ridiculous. Ibid., # 173
Two excesses: to exclude reason, to admit nothing, but reason. Ibid., # 183
Faith certainly tells us what the senses do not, but not the contrary of what they see; it is above, not against them. Ibid., # 185.