Bible Reading: An Invitation To Meet With Jesus

I am grateful for an invitation from Radical, the resource ministry of IMB President David Platt, to write about Bible reading plans here at the beginning of a new year.

Bible Reading Is An Invitation, Not A Burden

Preview :

“…why start again? Life hasn’t gotten any less busy and no amount of willpower has succeeded so far. When we think about our Bible reading this way, we risk making Bible reading a burden instead of an invitation. So many of us act as if God sent his Son to earth to live a perfect life and die an atoning death, only to rise from the grave and wag a finger at us saying, “You’ll never be good enough for me unless you read your Bible every day!” Nothing could be further from the truth!

Click the linked title above to read more.

Fields of Faith

jeremiah 32

I preached this sermon for my friend John Thweatt at FBC Pell City, AL on October 16, 2016. The sermon is from Jeremiah 32. In this Scripture, Jeremiah buys a field in Israel even as the nation is on the brink of destruction. Let’s look together at how this episode in Jeremiah’s life can teach us about God’s promise, God’s character, and God’s plan for Resurrection.

Listen in: 

Keeping the Cross at the Center of our Gospel Presentation

 

cross imageHere’s something I wrote a while back for Radical, the resource ministry of IMB President David Platt, about cross-centered evangelism:

Keeping the Cross at the Center of our Gospel Presentation

Many Christians have found that it is far easier to tell people of the great love of God by pointing to Jesus’ miraculous acts of mercy or God’s desire to know us as friends. After all, is it not easier for modern man to think of God in his benevolence and relate-ability rather than crucified and bleeding upon a cross? Isn’t the point simply that God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us? Why do we need to talk about the cross? For many, good intentions have hung the curtain over the bloody cross, hiding it and putting it in the background. We don’t want to turn people away. We don’t want to make things uncomfortable. We don’t want people to think we are like those Christians.

Click the link above to read the whole thing.

“High and Lifted Up For Salvation” | A Sermon on John 3:1-16

In December I preached this sermon at FBC Jackson, AL at the invitation of the pastor (and my friend), Pastor Ben Stubblefield. I hope you are encouraged by the message of Christ, who tells us to be born again, and then dies our death in order that we might be. The God of the world dying for the sins of the world in order that we may have eternal life with him! What could be better than that?

12 27 15 FBC Message from First Baptist Church on Vimeo.

“Give Me This Hill” | A Sermon on Joshua 14

In February of this year, I preached this sermon at Beeson Divinity School for my preaching practicum class with Dr. Robert Smith, Jr. Our class collectively preached in order through the book of Joshua. As I studied for my sermon, I was amazed by the faithfulness of Caleb throughout his appearances in the Exodus narrative, as well as here in Joshua. There’s a lot to be learned here from the faithfulness of Caleb. There is even more to be learned from the faithfulness of God. May we all be stirred up by this text to a life of long, steadfast faithfulness by our God.

“Give Me This Hill” – Joshua 14 – Griffin Gulledge at Beeson Divinity School from Griffin Gulledge on Vimeo.

A Song For The Present Persecution by ISIS

My heart has been broken over the past months as news has poured out of the Middle East of atrocities committed by ISIS against their own countrymen, particularly against Christians. Christians have been shot, beheaded, tortured, and even crucified. It has been my prayer that God would stop their hand from evil and murder, as well as that he would miraculously save someone in their leadership (not unlike Saul as he ravaged the church). Likewise I have prayed for the Christians to have comfort, strength, and love for one another in this time.

Over the past three years, my favorite album has been The Water and The Blood by Sojourn, the musicians from Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY. The album is a re-imagining of Isaac Watts’ hymns, a multi-album project of Sojourn’s. Recently while driving down the road and thinking of Christians persecuted around the world, the song “Let The Seventh Angel Sound” came on. It’s long been one of my favorites, but had been out of mind for a season.

The song fits so perfectly the present situation in the Middle East.

God is not waiting back apathetically. He hears the cries of his people, and will execute justice on those who do evil to them.

Romans 12:19 says

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

The wrath of God against the oppressors of the church ought to comfort us in our distress as we are persecuted or as our brothers and sisters in the Lord are persecuted.

In light of this then, perhaps the most relevant stanza is this:

The angry heathen nations pout and roar
Their hands can harm his saints no more
On wings of vengeance flies our God
To repay the deficit of blood

Rather than go on and on about persecution and God’s justice, I’ll just give you the song to listen to for yourself. It’s number 5 on the tracklist below.


For lyrics, see the video below:

Palin’s Reprehensible Remark || Yellowhammer News

screen-capture-2

In 2009, I had the opportunity to meet Sarah Palin. At the time I was on a trajectory to work in politics (I hoped!). That was my life goal at the time. 5 years later I am in Christian ministry, no longer a member of the GOP (being an independent was helpful to being faithful to the Bible), but have retained my conservativism.

Recently, Palin drew my ire, saying,

Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we’d baptize terrorists.”

Read my commentary over at Yellowhammer News.

REVIEW: Logic by Vern Poythress

Poythress, Vern. Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013.

The book is also available free in PDF format on the Frame-Poythress siteBLogicFinal_Page_001. (In my opinion, you should buy it and support Crossway (or join their Impact program with the money and print out the PDF).

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How do you review a book on logic? I took logic courses while getting my B.A. in philosophy in college and tutored in the same subject during that time. Despite my knowledge of the subject (and love for it), I still wondered: How do you review a book on logic? After receiving this book from Crossway to reviews nearly a year ago (sorry, Crossway- I’m the worst!), I have asked myself that repeatedly. There are a number of things that make a review of Logic difficult.

  1. This book is a magisterial work. It contains 733 pages of difficult logic teaching, as well as the deepest of “deep theology” both philosophical and Biblical.
  2. Logic is a complex subject and many things have to be covered at length to do the subject justice. Logic covers them all. Does it do it well?
  3. No one can read Logic in a single sitting. Even to read it in less than two or more months would be, it seems to me, a waste of time. This is a subject that takes a long time to learn. Truly, symbolic logic (SL hereafter) is a language in an of itself. There are new terms, new symbols, new ways of thinking. To learn it takes practice, discipline, and a certain amount of intellect.

With that said, I feel comfortable saying that Poythress’s book is not for everyone. Simply stated, Logic is not the book for the average churchgoer. For someone seeking to learn a great deal more about not just what to think (though they will get that), but also how to think, Logic is perfect.

How should this book be used is the real question. It’s not for everyone, clearly.

Not only that, however, I would say that this book is not necessarily even for those seeking to learn the basics of practical logic. Keep in mind that Poythress’s goal was not merely to have written a logic textbook; rather, he sought to write a philosophical approach to thought itself that is God-centered and done through logic. Poythress believes that secular logicians do not give accurate answers to the questions of the importance of logic and it’s relation to human life, neither do they give satisfactory limits or uses of logic (on the whole, that is. Of course they offer good uses in general). Poythress says (25):

We need a new approach to the subject—we need a distinctively Christian approach… Many would say no. They would say that logic is what it is, irrespective of religious belief. I think that the reality is more complicated. There is a Christian view of logic.

What follows thereafter is a discussion accessible enough to those willing to plumb the conversation’s depths with their full attention, but also a discussion distinguished enough to challenge many academicians and logicians. Poythress not only teaches the basics of informal and formal logic (syllogisms, truth tables, symbolization, etc.), he also give the theistic foundations each, which can be an especially helpful motivator to logic students everywhere. No doubt, many a logician has despaired in their studies at one point or another (this junk is hard!). These sections, however, are both brilliant and Biblical and ought to be great motivators to those trying to study to the glory of God.

Part I.B. “God in Logic” ought to be required reading for all who would study God’s place in the academy. Poythress’s discussion on Boolean Algebra (II.B.35) and Propositional Logic (II.C) are especially helpful. His discussion of Philosophy and Logic (IV.F) also ought to be required reading for those interested in Christian philosophy. Perhaps the shortcoming of this book is its lack of exercises. Though there are though-provoking and challenging questions at the end of each section, there are very few exercises. It is exercising one’s logical skills (particularly in SL) that makes a logician. In this regard, the book suffers a tad, and I would recommend supplementary texts, such as Elements of Deductive Inference or something of the sort to those who wish to use this book in teaching. For what it is—a Christian view of logic—this book is exceptional. For Christians in the field of philosophy and logic, this text ought to be celebrated, devoured, and regularly consulted. I would recommend it to all who are up to the task.