Assertions Are Not Arguments


Pastor Stefan Lindblad

A Guest Post from Stefan Lindblad*

An assertion is not an argument. Obvious, right? Sadly, much of the current internet imbroglio over the doctrine of the Trinity and the novel doctrine of the eternal functional subordination of the Son (henceforth EFS, and oh yes it is novel!) belies the obviousness of this basic distinction.

I realize this is a broad generalization, but let’s be honest: the battle lines have been drawn largely on twitter, a medium that is necessarily incapable of providing the space requisite for substantial analysis and argumentation. The medium is the message; and this medium provides the platform for a lot of messengers, many of them ready to assert rather than analyze and argue (biblically, theologically, and logically, of course). There is plenty of arguing; much less argumentation. But I digress. Continue reading


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The Church Needs More Ephesian Children

Ten_commandments_monument_destroyed_in_O_2164660000_9321496_ver1.0_640_480The following is a republished post from my old Blogger blog. 

One of the more controversial positions of Confessional Reformed churches is our conviction that the Ten Commandments ought to be preached as an ethical code for Christians to follow.

It seems strange that there would be any contention on this point; ours has been the standard Christian understanding of the law for centuries. However, on one extreme fringe of Christianity are those who argue that it is contrary to the gospel to preach any ethical standard. Nearer to the center is a great mass of Evangelicals trained by the dispensational hermeneutic to reject robotically any ethical standard found in the Old Testament. Even among non-dispensational Calvinists a large number of football fans may be found who will allow the dispensational hermeneutic to reclassify the Ten Commandments if it will allow them to leave church early to catch the Packers. Confessional Christians are left falling over ourselves trying to explain that the moral use of the law is not a form of justification by works. Continue reading


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The Trinitarian Controversy and the Problem of Shallow Roots


This isn’t my Norway Maple. (How did I come on vacation without a picture?) But look how majestic that tree is!

I was looking at the enormous Norway Maple in my backyard the other day, and a question occurred.  How deep are its roots?  Living as we do in the age of Google, I soon found myself reading this fascinating and instructive article on the question of root depth.

Apparently there has been some dispute over the natural root depth of trees.  Back in the 1930s, scientists investigated this question by digging out the root systems of large trees.  The answer that they reached is one you may have seen in textbooks when you were a kid: that the root system of trees is as extensive as the branch system.  Indeed, reports exist of such trees to this day. Continue reading


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The Fallacy of Fallacies


Subtitle: “Demonstrated Herein”

The following is a republished post from my old Blogger blog.  (Which makes me wonder, since I switched to WordPress five years ago, how many complete resets / reorganizations / redevelopments has Blogger been through? Fifty?  Five-hundred? But I digress.) 

Everybody loves D.A. Carson’s Exegetical Fallacies.  Everybody, that is, except yours truly.  What’s more, I think a lot of you may agree with me when I’m through.

Exegetical Fallacies was required reading at my seminary. I suppose it was unavoidable that I would take issue with it. If you were 22 and all your classmates were coming to you and asking, “What do you think about our textbook citing your dad as an example of faulty logic?” – well, you’d probably get a bit defensive yourself. Perhaps I can be excused if I have always thought of Exegetical Fallacies as “that book that misrepresented Today’s Gospel,” even if I also acknowledge that it said some good things. Continue reading


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So You Want to Understand Impassibility

CIGMany of my readers will be aware that during the last few years a theological controversy has arisen over the doctrine of divine impassibility.  Impassibility is the teaching that God, being perfect and immutable, cannot be moved.  The idea is expressed within many of the Reformed confessions by the assertion that God is “without passions.”  The idea is that God, who in his essence is perfectly blessed, can never suffer any loss.  Therefore the experience of suffering is contrary to the divine nature; God cannot suffer.  It is imprecise to say that God has no emotions; what in us may be called an emotion (such as love) is a virtue in God.  However, whereas in us emotion involves fluctuation and change in our disposition, God is changeless.  His love is like his power, his wisdom, and indeed his very being; it is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. Continue reading


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Identity Theft

PruittTodd Pruitt has responded to my post on the MOS blog, and I appreciate the serious engagement.  I am somewhat frustrated to be asked questions on a blog that does not accept comments, but I fully understand.  Comment threads breed problems, and I have turned them off on some of my own posts.  Consequently I’ll put my answer here.

Pruitt spends most of his post arguing that Baptist life is far too complicated to describe easily in an informal conversation such as an MOS podcast.  By “Reformed Baptist” they meant Calvinistic Baptists of various stripes.  I am certain this was an unintentional error, but it was an error nonetheless.  Using “Reformed Baptist” to refer to all Calvinistic Baptists is like using “asparagus” when what you intended to say was “vegetable.” Continue reading


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A Word of Advice to our Friends at MOS


This again!

Hoo, boy! I’m getting tired of blogging on the same subject over and over, but here we go again:

I wanted to be positive about today’s episode of Mortification of Spin.  Honestly, I did. Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Aimee Byrd chatted about the difficulties facing credo-baptists and paedo-baptists who decide to marry, and that is a worthwhile discussion.  There was even much to commend in this particular episode: Continue reading


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