SEBTS’s Danny Akin on alcohol abstinence on Between the Times:

Today there are more than 40 million problem drinkers in America.  Alcohol is the number one drug problem among teenagers.  One in three American families suspects that one or more family members have a drinking problem.  Misuse of alcohol costs our nation $100 billion a year in quantifiable cost.  Because of these experiences and many more, I have often said that even if I were not a Christian I would have nothing to do with alcohol.  There is simply too much sorrow and heartache connected to it.  Avoiding this devastating drug is simply the wise thing to do.

This year at our Convention we again passed a resolution calling for abstinence from alcohol.  The resolution passed overwhelmingly, but it did generate significant debate both during and after the Convention.  Some have accused those supporting the resolution of being pharisaical and legalistic, traditionalist and anti-biblical.  It is said that we fail to understand Christian liberty and freedom, and that we even stand against Jesus.  These are strong accusations from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  However, are they correct?  Are those like myself who believe abstinence to be the best lifestyle choice really guilty of these charges?  Let me respond as graciously and kindly as I possibly can, explaining why I hold the position I do.  I share my heart with no malice or ill will toward anyone, but from a desire to honor the Lord Jesus, and to protect others from the evils alcohol has visited on so many.


Now we often forget, I fear, that in a sense, the great business of the Old Testament is to reveal the holiness of God. We have been far too influenced, many of us, by the false teaching of the past century, which would have us believe that Old Testament history is just the history of man’s search for God. It is not. The Old Testament is primarily a revelation of the holiness of God, and of what God has done as a result of that, and, therefore, you find this teaching everywhere. What was the purpose of the giving of the law if not to reveal and to teach the children of Israel about the holiness of God? There He separated a people unto Himself, and He wanted them to know what sort of people they were. They could only know that as they realised and appreciated His holiness: so the giving of the law was primarily to that end.

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God the Father, God the Son (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1996), 70.


So, then, once more we bear in mind the injunction to take our shoes from off our feet because the ground whereon we are standing is holy ground; once more we remind ourselves that God is not a phenomenon which we are to investigate, and that when we approach the attributes of God’s great and eternal personality we are as far removed as can be imagined from the scientific procedure of dissection. No, no; we simply take what God has been pleased to tell us about Himself. We note it. We try to bear it in mind. And humbly, and full of worship and praise, we thank Him for His condescension.

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God the Father, God the Son (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1996), 58-59.


I do not want to stay here with the question of proofs, but I am anxious to be practical, and I have no doubt that many of you have read about the ‘proofs’ of the being and existence of God, and feel that they have some value, so it does behove us to say a little about our attitude towards them. There are a number of arguments, and you will find that most text books on biblical doctrines and theology go into them in great detail. There is the so-called cosmological argument which is an argument from nature: that every effect has a cause. Then there is the argument from order and design called the teleological argument, which says that everything leads up to something—that is clearly evident. Then there is the moral argument, which concludes that our awareness of good and bad, our sense of right and wrong point to the existence of a moral God. Next there is the so-called argument that people everywhere, even in the most primitive races, think and feel there is a God. It is suggested that there must be some ground for thinking so, and that that is a proof of the existence of God.

Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (1996). God the Father, God the Son (49). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.

Joel Engle, The Father I Never Had,  Brenham, Tex.: Lucid Books, 2010. $15.

Reading the first chapter of The Father I Never Had before it was published, I initially felt uneasy with the amount of detail that the author Joel Engle gave about himself and his marriage. After reading the rest of the book, however, I realize why Joel is so effective in his ministry. His ministry is about telling others about his God, who works powerfully in his life even through the rough times.

In this book, styled as a memoir, he vividly describes his heartfelt struggles of losing his mother and growing up fatherless, so as to place his readers at those key defining moments, which help him to understand, among many things: that God loves him, that God really does satisfy, and that we can overcome our fears and emptiness by finding ourselves in Christ. Sometimes those lessons come at a high price of emotional turmoil and turbulence, but at every turn, Joel sees Christ as the very equation of life. These are stories that touch and move the soul.

For these past several months, I’ve been a member at the Exchange where Joel is the lead pastor. From the onset, one thing that struck my wife and me was his genuine character, which simply exuded authenticity. He is the same person behind the pulpit as he is out of the pulpit (figuratively speaking, since there is only a table and chair). He is as real as one can get these days. I am delighted to call him my pastor, and believe we need more ministers like him–honest, authentic, driven, and reflective–who continually share the message of hope in Christ, precisely as this book is poised to do.

This is the way of the mystics and others. They say, ‘If you want to know God, then the best thing to do is to sink into yourself; within everyone there is an inner light which will ultimately lead to God. You do not need knowledge,’ they say. ‘You do not need anything but a resignation of yourself and your powers to this light and its leading.’ Now that intuitive method is something with which we are all familiar. It takes numerous forms, and is present in many of the cults in the modern world.

Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (1996). God the Father, God the Son (12). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.

The doctrines of the Bible are not a subject to be studied; rather we should desire to know them in order that, having known them, we may not be ‘puffed up’ with knowledge, and excited about our information, but may draw nearer to God in worship, praise, and adoration, because we have seen, in a fuller way that we have ever seen before, the glory of our wondrous God.

Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (1996). God the Father, God the Son (10). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.

Evangelical Textual Criticism wants to get the word out for the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon, which is freely accessible online:

However, the name ‘Comprehensive’ is fully justified. On this site you can find primary texts in all the early and middle forms of Aramaic. You have electronic versions of the Peshitta (OT and NT), Old Syriac, Christian Palestinian Aramaic versions, and of course the Targums.

What’s more, the editions are normally the best available editions. The editions of the Targums are far better than those you might pay for in a printed edition like that of Sperber. Each word of the text is linked through to a lexicon, so that you can look at that word in all other early Aramaic dialects.

Okay, so they haven’t produced a Newsletter since 1996, and the format takes some time to get used to, but the content is amazing.

Tim Challies offers some solid suggestions for reading: 1) Read. 2) Read widely. 3) Read deliberately.  From Read More, Read Better:

More than any other question that comes in via email, I’m asked this one: “How do you read so much?” While granting that I do read a lot, I think it bears mention that there are lots of people who read as much as I do or a lot more. The difference is that I write about what I’m reading, so you’re more aware of it than you are with most of these voracious readers.

Every year or so I sit down to write out a few thoughts on reading. I’m doing so again today, offering a few thoughts on how you can read more and read better. This is adapted from a list I created a couple of years ago. Actually, what I’ll do is write today about how to read more and read more widely and then tomorrow we’ll work on reading better.


I’ve often wondered where the church would be twenty years from now. It already seems like there is a shortage of men in churches, as well as in seminaries across the board. There is in general a lack of male leadership in the Christian home, which has a domino effect on the newer generations of young men. This article, When You’re Weary of Worshiping Alone, gives a glimpse of women dealing with the absence of their husbands in the church:

After several years of worshiping alone, Debe became discouraged – and sometimes even depressed – that her husband was not joining her in the most important quest in her life, and she was not growing because of it. She finally decided it was time to leave the marriage so she could find someone who would share her heart, worship alongside her, and encourage her in her walk with God. But Debe’s pastor talked her out of it. He encouraged her to start focusing on her growth with the Lord, not her husband’s. As Debe began to do that, she discovered that there was a whole new side of God she never really knew before.

The graver issue that this article doesn’t address is the ministry toward men: how can the church develop male leadership? Here are some thoughts:

1) Outreach to men. I don’t think fight clubs and UFC events are the panacea for the absence of masculinity. But if men can get together for some event or purpose, perhaps the church can think in terms of meeting certain needs of male bonding to develop relationships.

2) Outreach to young men. The church can be a place where young men can receive guidance, attention, and direction.

3) Outreach to families as a whole. The church can certainly address the myriad of issues that affect the home from roles and responsibilities to various needs that can only be met when the family comes together in unity.