Thursday, March 27, 2008

Review of Always Ready

Check out this review of Always Ready. I think it is pretty good.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Book Review

Title: Memoirs Of An Ordinary Pastor

Author: D.A. Carson

Memoirs of An Ordinary Pastor is a wonderfully entertaining book. D.A. Carson tells us about the life and ministry of his dad, Tom Carson. Tom was a pastor/missionary/church planter in French Quebec. French Quebec was mainly Roman Catholic with very few, if any, evangelical churches. Tom learned to speak fluent French so as to minister to this people group. While he ministered he faced opposition from a powerful anti-evangelical Roman Catholic Church. In French Quebec during the 1940's and 1950's the Roman Catholic Church had a strong political and social influence over the region. Some of the Evangelical Baptist ministers in Quebec were thrown in jail.

The book highlights the turmoil and depression that pastors often go through as they try to minister to their people. Tom was, as the title suggest, an ordinary pastor. Pastor Tom ministered for over 15 years at a small church that hardly ever grew. He wept over his people. He prayed for his people. He was concerned over his people's spiritual health. He was aware of his own inadequacies.

The book was a delight to read. Growing up in a home of an "ordinary pastor" I identify with Tom's son Don. I know what is like to see your dad struggle to feed his sheep and reach out to the surrounding community.

This is a book about realistic pastoral ministry. This book shows you what the majority of pastors lives are like. If your not a pastor then it will give you a glimpse of what pastors go through. Thus, it will hopefully give you more appreciation for your pastor. If you are a pastor it will encourage you as you fulfill God's calling.

written by Stephen Stanford

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Top 10 Ways To Be a Christian Intellectual

1.) Submit yourself to Christ as Lord of your heart and intellectual life as well as savior and redeemer.
2.) Read and know your Bible
3.) Meditate over and apply the bible to your life as your ethical and epistemic authority
4.) Pray and ask the Lord for wisdom and humility
5.) Keep a regular systematic reading program. Make sure that books that pertain to theological and biblical studies are the majority of your reading.
6.) Be informed of current events by reading news papers from a variety of locations (see and watch news programs.
7.) Read and be informed about secular philosophical positions
8.) Read and be informed about the history of peoples, places and ideas.
9.) Understand and be informed about positions held within both secular and biblical sciences.
10.) Have an intrest and appreciation for the Arts and other cultures.

Written by Stephen Stanford

Monday, March 24, 2008

My trip to SBTS

I have taken my sweet time to write about my trip to louisville. Two weeks ago my wife, parents and I traveled all the way to Louisville Kentucky from Austin Texas. We went a long route. We went through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois. Kentucky. Then on our way home we went through Kentucky, Tennesse, Arkansas and finally back through Texas. Needless to say we went a long way.
My purpose for going to Louisville was to see the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It is the oldest and largest of our SBC seminaries. Louisville is a wonderful town. In some ways it is very similar to Austin and in other ways different. The similiarities consist in the fact that it is a university city. There are a number of universities that are in both cities. Also, they are both overwhelmingly politically liberal. A less important similarity is that they both have a liberal PCUSA seminary.
The citie of Lousiville in distinction from Austin has many old neigborhoods and buildings. Of course in Austin there are older building and such, but most of the neighborhoods are relatively new. Louisville's neigborhoods are very nice, though. Even though the buildings are older they are well kept. The architecture was really nice. Some of the images I got driving down the street in Louisville reminded me of San Francisco.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary surpised me. I knew that the campus would be nice. I had seen pictures. However the campus is much nicer than I expected. The campus buildings all match and they take a neo-classical colonial architecture. Also the buildings were much bigger that I expected. The campus was absolutly fantastic.
While I was visiting the campus I was paired with professor Dr. Coppenger. I did not tell the admissions office that I was a philosophy major, but Dr. Coppenger is a Philosophy and Apologetics proffessor. We had lunch together and talked about the apologetics program at SBTS. It was interesting to be able to sit and talk to a christian philosopher becuase all my philosophy professors have been non-christians and/or explicitly anti-christian.
One of my tour guides was named Bruce. He was great. Very friendly. He answered every question I had. He was in a MDiv program with a specialization in Biblical counciling. He spent a couple of hours showing Kym and I around. At one point we toured some particular seminary apartments. Kym and I were not that impressed. However Bruce called up some friends that lived in those apartments and they invited us over. We went and I was able to chat with a random student about living in on campus and what it was like to be a seminary student. The students that I met on campus really had a high regard for the school. You could tell it was genuine. Sometimes it is the students who can give you good information of their emperiences.
That Sunday we went to Clifton Baptist church and heard Dr. Bruce Ware preach. He is a Theology professor over at SBTS. His sermon was on Isaiah 6.
I was about 95% sure that SBTS was where I was headed, however after the visit I am 110% sure.

Written By Stephen Stanford

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Scandals, Scandals America in Shambles

The Governor of New York recently joined the ranks of known corrupt officials as his political involvement in a prostitution ring comes to light. It is an all too common story I'm afraid. A few years back, in my hometown a similar elite prostitution ring was exposed. Sex Scandals have been rocking the churches as well. Not long ago a minister in one of the most influential churches in Austin was arrested. Some papers argue that it is merely a personal problem for the politician, but not for the Churchman. But if it is unconscionable for a minister to be a hypocrite, it is equally so for the politician. Christ had much to say about and to hypocrites, namely the pharisees. Our minister would do well to consider Christ rebuke. If you are a minister, hiding your secret sins consider the parable of the wedding feast, how he who attended, but wore no wedding clothes was treated as the outsider. The flames will not stop tormenting you. Consider the wrath of God for the way is narrow that leads to life. Confess your sin to God, confess it also to your brother that he may help you out of it. The church will help the repentant. The church is gracious and will forgive and help you, because God is gracious, but if you do not repent you have only to fear. God has provided you with a way out of your temptation, confess your sins and your weakness and the church will help you to be purified. This is your way of escape. If you are thinking of going into the ministry be sure that you are worthy, deal with your sins now, or you will ruin and lose your ministry later. Secret sins destroy the church, they destroy careers and they destroy families, and souls. The repentant man will forget his shame in the joy of his salvation, the unrepentant will not escape it. Please, hear me when I say turn away from your folly and the Lord will help you, he will save you.

By Samuel Gantt

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Weds. Prayer service Message

This is a summary of message I gave tonight at my church in Austin. It was a privilege for me to speak while our pastor is away visiting Southern Seminary with his son, Stephen. We prayed for NAMB missionaries and this message was designed to encourage our members to urgently preach the gospel. I hope that it is of benefit to you and please let me know what you think.

II Samuel 17

The text we for tonight is that famous story of David and Goliath. I will highlight a few parts of this text, but first allow me to summarize the story. Goliath taunts the Army of Israel, Challenging them to send a soldier to fight him. Israel, seeing his size and confidence, cowers. Even Israel’s mighty king Saul is afraid. David hears Goliath as his comes forward to mock Israel, and is indignant. David takes the challenge and fights, saying “God will give us victory.” And the rest is history.

There are three points of which I want you to take note.

  1. Saul and Israel was “much afraid.” (vs. 11&24.)

Twice the text mentions their fear. Israel, the ever faithless and easily dismayed, quivered at the taunts of a giant, though it had all its peculiar history to encourage it. The God of heaven and earth, creator, the God who delivered them from Egypt by unmistakable miracles had given them all the reason in the world to hope. Saul, the anointed of God, who had seen prophecy fulfilled and prophesied himself, was much afraid.

  1. David was Zealous for the Lord. (v. 26.)

His concern is not for the people, nor is it for fame and wealth. He is indignant because this fool mocked God, the living God, creator and redeemer of Israel. David’s concern was for the Glory of God.

  1. David recognized that his zeal and confidence were from the Lord. (v. 46&47.)

David gave thanks to the giver of all good things. He recognized that it is God who delivered Israel and would do it again. This would be a sign to the world that there is a God in Israel, and that Israel would know that it is not by the might of men that Israel is persevered.

This week is the Annie Armstrong week of prayer for North American missions. The theme for the week, according the “On Mission” is for us to “live with urgency.” The urgency, here, is to preach the gospel. It is urgency in missions, a zeal for it. This connects to our text in that David was zealous for the glory of the Lord; the purpose of missions is also for the glory of God. So we must ask ourselves, Are we like David, are we zealous for God or are we like Israel, much afraid? If we are like Israel then let us pray that we would be like David. Let us remember the mighty works of the living God. Living he is indeed, for both us and Israel have much to testify to this fact. God delivered Israel form Egypt with twelve miraculous plagues and Christ was resurrected for our salvation. Remember that he is living and take courage for our God has shown us favor. Then we can say “to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” for we shall then glorify God in life and see the magnificence of his face in death. And we long to see the beam beaming rays of light that shine forth from his presence. And Finally, Give thanks to the giver of all good things. Spineless cowards we may be, forgetful and fearful, but God has shown is light upon us and has granted us redemption from our sins and gives us zeal for his name, for the sake of his name. It is his pleasure to give to those who ask and it shall be given for we ask that we may glorify his name.

by Samuel Gantt

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Next week my wife, my parents, and I will be traveling to Lousiville Kentucky. We will be visiting The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. We are about 95% sure that SBTS is where God will have us go, however I think that the visit will be illuminating. I am not exactly sure what I will do when I get there. Hopefully I can meet Albert Mohler but we will see about that. I would like to meet some faculty.
Moving to Louisville will be a difficult experience. I am not sure where I will work. I am not sure where I will go to church. I dont know anybody there. However I do trust that God is faithful and that he will provide Kym and I with all that we need.

Written by Stephen

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Van Til as a Christian Hedonist

Many that know me know that I am a huge John Piper fan. I think that he is one of the most balanced pastor/theologians that there are today. It is easy for Christians to veer into one of two camps. Often times a Christian is concerned with either the objective aspects of the Christian faith (like doctrines & orthodoxy) to the expense of the subjective aspects (holiness, sanctification, godliness and the like) or the disproportion is the other way around, emphasizing the subjective aspects to the minimization of the objective. The choices are presented as either feelings or facticity. By themselves both present an equal danger. To choose one without the other is to deny the robustness of the Christian faith. It is unhealthy. So Christian beware.
John Piper represents a balanced position in that he emphasizes both aspects. That is exactly what Christians need to do.Furthermore Piper's Christian Hedonism (get over the name) presents an aspect of the Christian life that many people have not considered. That aspect being the fact that happiness and pleasure in doing good is an essential part of a good act. In other words if pleasure is absent, then so also is the moral good. One should not interpret the pleasure that I am speaking of in a shallow sense that excludes pain and toil.
Anyhow, not only am I a John Piper fan but I am also a Cornelius Van Til fan. He was an apologetics professor at Westminster Theological Seminary for many years. He is of a previous generation to Piper. Yet he is a Christian Hedonist himself! Anyhow consider the following quotes:

"Originally there could not possibly be any contrast between seeking happiness and seeking righteousness in the kingdom of God. A man could not possibly wish for happiness unless he also wished for righteousness. It is only after the entrance of sin that these ideas have been separated. The members of the kingdom would not think of the one without also thinking of the other."

"For the member of the kingdom there are no ulterior motives. Their motives with the realization of the kingdom itself is the glory of God. Their motive with their own self-realization is the glory of God. Their motive in seeking their own happiness is the glory of God. None of these matters can be seperated. Not one of them can be antithetical to another. He that seeks righteousness seeks to realize himself, seeks the good will, seeks happiness, seeks usefulness, seeks rewards, seeks the kingdom of God, and seeks God himself."

These quotes are taken from Van Til's book "Christian Theistic Ethics."

Written By Stephen Stanford