TD Fri. – “Ask Anything” @ USC – RSVP

Image result for ask anything tour usc

Hey TD!

Friday

This Friday, we will have the privilege to attend the Ask Anything Tour at USC, hosted by Ligonier Ministries. Dr. Albert Mohler, a world-class prolific author, radio host, TV guest (ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX), newspaper contributor (Washington Post, USA Today, Wall St. Journal), social commentator, theologian, seminary president, and Ligonier Teaching Fellow will be inviting non–church going students, skeptics, and atheists to literally ask anything pertaining to life, faith, Christianity, culture, etc.  It will be a profound time.

This is not an event churches are invited to. It is an event for the skeptic and unbeliever. However, TD has been granted permission to attend.

Please let your leader know IMMEDIATELY if you’ll be able to attend. We will meet at church at 6 p.m. and will return by 10:30 p.m.

If you are not going with us, there will be no TD meeting at church.

Saturday Morning

TD has also been granted permission to attend Truth and Consequences, a training event to help equip Christian college students to defend the claims of Christ, to explain to unbelievers that Jesus is the way of salvation, and how to know Him more fully. Trainers will be Drs. Albert Mohler, Stephen Nichols, and Burk Parsons.

This event is already sold out.  However, we have secured a limited number of seats for TD.  If you want to go, please let your small group leader know ASAP!  We will meet at the Hsiehs’ home at 8:15 a.m. and return by 1 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

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TD Fri/Sat – TD Invited to Ask Anything at UCLA!

Image result for ask anything tour

Hey TD!

Friday

This Friday, we will have the privilege to attend the Ask Anything Tour at UCLA, hosted by Ligonier Ministries. Dr. Albert Mohler, a world-class prolific author, radio host, TV guest (ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX), newspaper contributor (Washington Post, USA Today, Wall St. Journal), social commentator, theologian, seminary president, and Ligonier Teaching Fellow will be inviting non–church going students, skeptics, and atheists to literally ask anything pertaining to life, faith, Christianity, culture, etc.  It will be a profound time.

This is not an event churches are invited to. It is an event for the skeptic and unbeliever. However, TD has been granted permission to attend.

If you have RSVP’d with your small group leader already, you are in.  If you have not but would like to go, let your leader know IMMEDIATELY and we’ll see if we have space for you. If we do, we’ll let you know when to meet and where.  The event is at UCLA from 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

If you are not going with us, there will be no TD meeting at church.

Saturday Morning

TD has also been granted permission to attend Truth and Consequences, a training event to help equip Christian college students to defend the claims of Christ, to explain to unbelievers that Jesus is the way of salvation, and how to know Him more fully. Trainers will be Drs. Albert Mohler, Stephen Nichols, and Burk Parsons.

Again, if you signed up with your small group leader, you’re in. If not, please let them know ASAP and we’ll see if we have space. The event is from 9 a.m. – Noon

We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Remembering RC Sproul (MUST reading)

Short video of clips of RC proclaiming the gospel through the years

Hi TD Family,

I’ve thought about, gave thanks for, and ached for RC everyday since I first learned of his hospitalization and then ensuing Homecoming.  I’ve reminisced fondly over our times spent together, enjoying not only fine food, but hearing him explain to us the finer details of our Real Food, our faith in Christ.

My family will remember his gentleness and frivolity with our kids over the decades.  He loved kids, knew how to make them feel comfortable, and knew how to make them laugh.  He’s the one who taught us the unique “Give me five … up high … down low … ” ritual that I use with young ones today.

RC was also sincerely humble, not taking himself too seriously, often making fun of himself.  He once was excited to tell us, “As I came out of the shower this morning, do you know what Vesta (his wife) said to me? She said, ‘When I married you, I knew I was marrying an athlete, I just didn’t know it was going to be a sumo wrestler!'” We howled in laughter together.

I have often had people address me as Pastor or Pastor Arthur, have assumed I went to seminary, or comment that they couldn’t believe that I didn’t go to seminary.  More than anyone, I owe that to RC Sproul, whose calling and vision was to bring the seminary to the layman, to bridge the gap between seminary and Sunday School.  I am the fruit of what RC envisioned, a lay theologian on the street or in the field, as it were.

I commuted for work from South Pasadena to Orange County from 1990 – 1997, before opening up my Pasadena office.  I have often called my little blue Honda Civic my seminary, for it was there that I had stacks of theological courses taught by RC Sproul sitting in my passenger seat.  Each day, for nearly an hour’s drive each way, I would listen to the audio cassette tapes over and over again, hanging on RC’s teaching and being increasingly blown away with each listen … of the same lesson!  For hundreds of hours, I listened and learned from RC, meeting ultimately with … God.

It was RC that alerted me to the fact that in order to really maximize what you get out of a lecture, you need to listen to it about a dozen times.  I have found that to be true and lament when I see Christians think they know what a passage in the Bible says because they have read that passage before or have heard a message on that passage already.

In the absence of any older spiritual mentors at church for me, RC was like a surrogate spiritual father to me; not directly, but certainly indirectly.  Thus, it was a distinct privilege and joy to interview RC for you at TD a few years ago when we did the “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” series.

It is a great interview that is personal, honest, real, and very candid.  There are things that will surprise you.  We typically receive about 20 – 25 views a day on the TD blog.  In the last few days, we have received well over 2,200 views, primarily driven by these interviews.  Some have linked them to their blogs.

I am also giving you the links to some extraordinary tributes from extraordinary people that are MUST READS.  They will not only give you more depth to understanding RC, but will also help you grow in living out your Christian life. – Arthur

Arthur’s Interview With RC

A Personal Conversation With RC Sproul, Pt. 1

A Personal Conversation With RC Sproul, Pt. 2

A Personal Conversation With RC Sproul, Pt. 3

MUST READ Tributes to RC

Steven Lawson’s Tribute to RC (this one is especially good)

John Piper’s Tribute to RC 

Joni Eareckson Tada’s Tribute to RC

Sinclair Ferguson’s Tribute to RC

John MacArthur’s Tribute to RC

Al Mohler’s Tribute to RC

RC’s Biography

Stephen Nichols

 

Happy Reformation Day! – The Reformation 500 Celebration

Reformation 500 Celebration

Happy Reformation Day, TD!

If you’re asking, “Reformation? Reformation Day? What?,” then this post is for you.  500 years ago today, October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his now famed 95 Theses that sparked the flame that spread throughout Europe and eventually … the world.

All over the world today, there have been celebrations, tributes, TV programs, articles written, video productions broadcast, and more to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  We invite you to watch a re-broadcast of Ligonier Ministries’ Reformation 500 Celebration to not only get a better theological and historical perspective of the Reformation, why God ordained it, it’s impact and need today, but also for needed reformation in our own lives.

In this celebration, you’ll get an animated history of the life of Martin Luther, new choral music written for the church (by RC Sproul and Jeff Lippencott), as well as terrific mini- messages (18 mins) addressing essential Reformation issues for our lives and our times.

Click above for the entire celebration or click below to watch the specific messages.  I encourage you to honor the Lord and what He did in the Reformation by watching at least one of the following videos. – Arthur

 

Happy Reformation Day!

Hey TD!

Hallelujah! It’s October 31! Of course you too are excited to celebrate … Reformation Day … right? Yup, you know it’s that time of year again, where we look back and commemorate a single event on a single day that changed the world … 499 years ago.

If you need brushing up on this day the world celebrates, then thanks to Dr. Stephen Nichols and Ligonier Ministries, I encourage you to read, listen, and prayerfully ask God for another reformation in our world, and then live out your life with Reformation courage and compassion in the name of the Reformer our world needs, Jesus Christ. – Arthur

What Is Reformation Day?

FROM Oct 31, 2016 Category: Articles

A single event on a single day changed the world. It was October 31, 1517. Brother Martin, a monk and a scholar, had struggled for years with his church, the church in Rome. He had been greatly disturbed by an unprecedented indulgence sale. The story has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. Let’s meet the cast.

First, there is the young bishop—too young by church laws—Albert of Mainz. Not only was he bishop over two bishoprics, he desired an additional archbishopric over Mainz. This too was against church laws. So Albert appealed to the Pope in Rome, Leo X. From the De Medici family, Leo X greedily allowed his tastes to exceed his financial resources. Enter the artists and sculptors, Raphael and Michelangelo.

When Albert of Mainz appealed for a papal dispensation, Leo X was ready to deal. Albert, with the papal blessing, would sell indulgences for past, present, and future sins. All of this sickened the monk, Martin Luther. Can we buy our way into heaven? Luther had to speak out.

But why October 31? November 1 held a special place in the church calendar as All Soul’s Day. On November 1, 1517, a massive exhibit of newly acquired relics would be on display at Wittenberg, Luther’s home city. Pilgrims would come from all over, genuflect before the relics, and take hundreds, if not thousands, of years off time in purgatory. Luther’s soul grew even more vexed. None of this seemed right.

Martin Luther, a scholar, took quill in hand, dipped it in his inkwell and penned his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. These were intended to spark a debate, to stir some soul-searching among his fellow brothers in the church. The 95 Theses sparked far more than a debate. The 95 Theses also revealed the church was far beyond rehabilitation. It needed a reformation. The church, and the world, would never be the same.

Tweet thisTHE CHURCH’S TRUE TREASURE IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.

One of Luther’s 95 Theses simply declares, “The Church’s true treasure is the gospel of Jesus Christ.” That alone is the meaning of Reformation Day. The church had lost sight of the gospel because it had long ago papered over the pages of God’s Word with layer upon layer of tradition. Tradition always brings about systems of works, of earning your way back to God. It was true of the Pharisees, and it was true of medieval Roman Catholicism. Didn’t Christ Himself say, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light?” Reformation Day celebrates the joyful beauty of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ.

What is Reformation Day? It is the day the light of the gospel broke forth out of darkness. It was the day that began the Protestant Reformation. It was a day that led to Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and may other Reformers helping the church find its way back to God’s Word as the only authority for faith and life and leading the church back to the glorious doctrines of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It kindled the fires of missionary endeavors, it led to hymn writing and congregational singing, and it led to the centrality of the sermon and preaching for the people of God. It is the celebration of a theological, ecclesiastical, and cultural transformation.

So we celebrate Reformation Day. This day reminds us to be thankful for our past and to the Monk turned Reformer. What’s more, this day reminds us of our duty, our obligation, to keep the light of the gospel at the center of all we do.

Click here to learn more about Reformation Day in Stephen Nichols’ special episode of 5 Minutes in Church History.

Dr. Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries, and teaches on the podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.

Why a College Now?

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Hey TD!

You seniors are beginning the college application process.  You juniors are now beginning to think about which colleges to apply to next year.  I want to ask you a couple of questions.  On what basis are you making your decisions?  What criteria are you using?  Who or what is influencing your thoughts most?  What are your motives?  What place have you given God in this process?  First? Last? Somewhere in between?  Your honest answers to these questions (and more) are critical to the quality and value of your college years.

Many “Christian” colleges really aren’t distinctly and thoroughly Christ-driven; more like colleges where lots of Christians attend with some Bible classes thrown in.  A few years ago, Ligonier Ministries (the teaching fellowship of RC Sproul) opened the doors of Reformation Bible College. Their vision? Distinctly rigorous, distinctly God-soaked education.

Now, I know it’s not likely you’ll be sending RBC and application for admission, but you need to read the following article to at least help you know how you should be approaching this whole process, and what kinds of things you should be thinking of and looking for.  I pray that it will at least ignite a spark within you. – Arthur

WHY A COLLEGE NOW?

From Stephen Nichols | July 2, 2014

When Jonathan Edwards was turning thirteen and ready to go off to college, his father had a difficult decision to make. Jonathan’s father, Timothy Edwards, was an alumnus of Harvard. But, his alma mater was already showing signs of drifting away from its original commitment to orthodoxy. In those days they called it “latitudinarianism,” as in professors were granted “latitude” in their commitment to the Westminster Standards. No, Harvard would not do for young Jonathan.

Instead, Timothy chose the up-start college then known simply as the College of Connecticut. It would soon be renamed Yale University.

Yale was born in 1701, two years prior to the birth of Jonathan Edwards. Its original charter declared:

WHEREAS several well disposed, and Publick spirited Persons of their sincere Regard to & Zeal for upholding & Propagating of the Christian Protestant Religion by a succession of Learned & Orthodox men have expressed by Petition their earnest desires that fully Liberty and Priveledge be granted unto Certain Undertakers for the founding, suitably endowing & ordering a Collegiate School within his Majesty’s Colony of Connecticut wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts & Sciences who thorough the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church & Civil State.

There are a number of significant phrases in this opening charge. One of them is the phrase of having “a succession of learned and orthodox” students. Another is the mention of the curriculum encompassing the arts and the sciences. Yet another still is the acknowledgement that this entire educational endeavor is through—and by and for—Almighty God.

“Learned & Orthodox”

History is riddled with examples of how the quest for academic respectability led scholars and their schools away from orthodoxy. Yale itself is such evidence. Sadly, too many mistake responsible scholarship with respectable scholarship. There really is a difference. As Christians we should pursue truth and justice and beauty—and we must pursue these with excellence. That’s responsible scholarship. That is a high and holy calling.

Seeking the respect of the academy too often means in a modern or a postmodern world that one has to check any religious commitment, especially a commitment to a religious text, at the door. As Christians we cannot do that. We cannot suspend our commitment—or our submission—to Scripture as we engage in our pursuits. Our unwavering commitment to Scripture grounds and governs all that we do.

We can be learned and orthodox. Given the complexities of the challenges the church faces today and will face tomorrow we need to be. We need to have that succession of learned and orthodox students coming out of our homes, out of our churches, and out of our colleges and seminaries.

A Curriculum of Two Books

And then there is the curriculum. It was a given that students would study theology. Edwards’s theology textbooks were written by Geneva’s Francis Turretin and by the Puritan William Ames. On the very first page, Ames tells us that theological study is the art of living toward God. Edwards took him seriously and went on to live a life of full-throttled devotion to God. They would have had to have already learned Greek and they would have studied Hebrew. They would have known their Bibles, but after college they would know them far more deeply.

Puritans were people of the Book, the Bible. Actually, they were people of two books, as they also believed that God revealed Himself in His world. So they looked to the arts and the sciences as well as to biblical studies and theology. They had a curriculum of two books, the book of Scripture and the book of nature.

In a letter home to his parents, young Jonathan asks for money (nothing ever changes) and a compass and a set of scales—absolutely essential, he assured them. Edwards was required to read and to write poetry. He would have been conversant in the classics. He knew his history. He had to study philosophy, the crowning jewel of which then went by the name moral science. We call it ethics.

What good is all this learning if one is not instructed in the way of virtue? Learning ends in loving God and loving neighbor, not at the transcript. Education entails both knowledge and character. In classical terms they spoke of scientia (knowledge) and formatio (character or ethics). Take a look at 1 Thessalonians 2:13 and Paul’s observation of how the Word of God takes root in us and is “at work” within us. So it is with all our learning of God’s word and God’s world. It shapes us; it forms us.

Through & By & For Almighty God

Scholars engage in their pursuits, students hustle to keep up, parents pray, churches rally to support, trustees oversee the goings on, donors keep the doors open—all these things come into play. Behind them, however, is what matters most. Or, should we say, who matters most.

The Yale charter makes it clear that these well-disposed and spirited persons undertaking this endeavor are entirely dependent upon the blessing of Almighty God. So we are back to William Ames and the pursuit of the Godward life. All that we do, including all that we do in college, is through, by, and ultimately for God.

Rather than lament the theological drift of institutions like Yale, we should instead focus our energies on the pressing matter of picking up the torch. Every generation has an obligation to the next generation. And in our day and age that entails an obligation to provide higher education through the blessing of Almighty God. We have an obligation to provide a “succession of learned and orthodox” men and women ready to serve their families, their churches, and their communities.

Dr. Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries. Originally published at Ligonier.org