Friday, August 11, 2006

Heading to London Saturday

I've been preparing to go to London for quite a time now. I leave with 23 others on Saturday night (Aug 12) for a long overnight flight to Gatwick to spend ten days distributing Arabic New Testaments to vacationing Muslims. I heard a figure the other day that said the groups before us had passed out over 30,000 copies of the Scripture.

God is truly doing a great thing within that people group and it will be a great privilege to be a part of it. American evangelism puts so much emphasis on the "soul winning" aspect of witnessing that little attention and no honor is bestowed upon the "seed sowing" part. Yet it is vital. All the glory goes to those who keep count in order to brag that "I've led xxx people to the Lord at my last revival meeting." To be sure, people are being regenerated in the power of the Holy Spirit during these past few weeks but the final tally will not be known until this age has come to a conclusion. I am satisfied with putting the only true way of salvation into people's hands and leaving the Lord to do His great work in their hearts as they read through His powerful Word. I am also hopeful that the Lord will allow me to engage in several conversations where perhaps I can be present when the blind are made to see and the deaf are made to hear.

Of course, to get to London means I have to fly - right on the heels of the recent terrorist activity in London earlier today. All seems to be well and all terrorist plots were averted before they could be set into motion. Praise the Lord for the diligence and hard work of the anti-terrorist protectors in London and America.

But now, my long arduous flight to London will begin with a long arduous ordeal in the Charlotte airport. I am not looking forward to that. In fact, I have no fear whatsoever of flying in this age. My trust and confidence is in the Lord and His perfect ability to complete the work He has begun in me. I don't know what my "expiriation date" is but He does and I can rest comfortably in that.

But I cannot shake the sick feeling in my stomach every time I think of standing in that long, snaking, slow moving line at the airport, shuffling my feet and luggage a fraction of an inch every couple minutes.

Then word came out that no carry-on luggage is allowed on the planes. No laptops. No MP3 players. No phones. I look forward to lack of electronic entanglements but no carry-on means no briefcases or backpacks with books. I can't imagine a flight of that length with no books. I'll take one or two in my hands that I don't mind losing if I have to toss it but I gotta try.

So, whoever reads this thing, say a prayer for our group that God would work mightily through our feeble attempts to spread His word and that many lives are made new through the reading of that powerful word.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

White/Caner et. al. Speak to Calvinism Debate

Copied from James White's website:

Since February 27th of this year, plans have been underway to schedule a debate on Baptists and Calvinism. Drs. James White, Ergun Caner, Emir Caner and Tom Ascol initially agreed to participate in this event which was scheduled to be held at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia on October 16, 2006.

Over the last five months, efforts to negotiate the terms of the debate at times degenerated into heated, antagonistic exchanges between the four participants. In both speech and tone too much of the communication has been perceived and/or characterized by sinful attitudes that have not honored the Lord Jesus Christ. We acknowledge our responsibility in this and deeply regret that we allowed it to happen. Each of us longs to represent Christ honorably and our intent is to conduct further negotiations in ways that will do so.

Through ongoing communication out of the public eye we have come to terms regarding the debate. It remains scheduled on October 16th and will involve all four of us. The topic will be, "Baptists and Calvinism: An Open Debate." The length will be three hours. The format will be modified Parliamentary. The place will be Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.

We are committed to engaging in a debate that will highlight the significant differences that exist between our respective views of how the Gospel of God works in bringing salvation to sinners. We believe that such debate can be conducted in a lively, vigorous exchange that need not violate the standard for Christian conduct that God has given us in His Word. Our goal is to do exactly this. The issues on which we disagree are important. It is because of our love for Christ and His truth that we believe these issues are worth debating. However, we regard this as a fraternal debate and intend to approach it not as antagonists, but as brothers with strong disagreements.

To that end we are asking those who have followed the issues surrounding this debate to join us in prayer that the Lord will guide us as final preparations are being made and that He will help us to conduct ourselves in a manner "worthy of the calling with which [we] have been called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).

Sincerely in Christ,
Ergun Caner
Emir Caner
James White
Tom Ascol

I am thrilled to read this. The debate had taken a decidedly unChristian turn and was bringing dishonor to the kingdom from all sides. It is good that these men (otherwise godly) stepped out of the public spotlight and came to a compromise regarding the sticking points of the debate. From what I know, the concessions are:

1) James White gets his three hours. The Caner brothers only reluctantly extended the debate from two hours to two and a half hours. At first, the Caners said no one would be interested in a three hour debate on this topic. Obviously, they underestimated people's desire to learn more.

2) The debate topic seems to have changed. Originally, the Caners insisted on a topic centering on the omnibenevolence of God. This all started from Caner's comments on Tom Ascol's blog about Calvinism being a "virus" that needed to be stamped out. It is good to see they will be debating Calvinism in the SBC.

3) The style of the debate will be a modified parliamentary debate and I can only assume that the moderator will be the coach of Liberty's national championship debate team.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Does This Mean You Get a Day Off?

Scientology has established a list of their "holidays:"
To commemorate memorable dates in its history, the Church of Scientology observes holidays in all parts of the world through the course of the year. The most significant are celebrated with internationally telecast events to link all Scientology churches.
Here are some highlights:

  • February 8 - National Founding Day United States, to celebrate the founding of the first church in the US, the Church of Scientology Los Angeles in 1954
  • March 13 - The birthday of the Founder of Dianetics and Scientology, March 13, 1911, is commemorated each year with a major celebration honoring L. Ron Hubbard’s achievements and his continuing contributions to mankind. Outstanding churches and missions are recognized for service to their parishioners and communities during the previous year. (IS THIS LIKE CHRISTMAS??!!!??)
  • May 9 - Anniversary of Dianetics: The annual international celebration on this day salutes the publication of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health on May 9, 1950. It is the occasion when Scientologists and community leaders from around the world acknowledge the contributions Dianetics has made to the betterment of individuals and society at large and the daily miracles that occur through its widespread application.
  • June 6 - On this date in 1988, the Sea Org Motor Vessel Freewinds began her maiden voyage, during which New OT VIII was released publicly. In memory of that day, OT VIII completions convene aboard the Freewinds for a week of special briefings and acknowledgments to new OT VIII completions for their work in disseminating and expanding Scientology. (WHAT?????)
  • Second Sunday in September - Auditors' Day - On this day auditors are acknowledged for their dedication in bringing man up the Bridge to Total Freedom. Top auditors from around the world are recognized for their efforts in helping their fellow man.