Next week Aubrey Malphurs will be here for our annual Barndollar Lectures (September 19-22). Dr. Malphurs was one of my teachers when I was at Dallas Seminary. I once went to see him to talk about church planting which had been in my heart for several years. He gave me the famous DISC test and interpreted it for me in relation to whether I was “wired” to be a church planter. The conclusion was that I was wired for that. Later I planted New Life Baptist Church in Scranton, PA. I would probably not have done such a thing if I had not had encouragement from Dr. Malphurs.
Archive for September, 2011
Next week is the fourth annual Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics held at Baptist Bible Seminary (Sept. 21-22). Our topic is Dispensationalism and the Holy Spirit. I am a little amazed at the paper proposals that came in. Certainly they are from good men and will tackle special issues such as the baptism of the Spirit. However, there were no papers that dealt strictly with the filling of the Spirit and the debates surrounding Ephesians 5:18-21. Furthermore, there were no papers on cessation of the sign gifts. Perhaps we can come at those issues next year or in later meetings. Elliott Johnson told our steering committee last year that dispensationalists used to own the issue of the Holy Spirit. However, it has come to the place of being neglected in many dispensational circles. The council this year is partly designed to address this problem. Those of you who are traditional dispensationalists, please pray for our meetings as we interact with each other on these important issues.
Earlier today I skimmed through the 1974 book Philosophy of Religion by Norman Geisler, one of my former profs when I was doing doctoral work in theology back in the 1980s. The problem of God and calamity is the physical problem of evil. In short form, it is the question of how an ominpotent and loving God would allow physical calamities like hurricanes, tornados, disease, etc., to cause hurt and death. This form of complaint against Christian theism is raised at many different points with calamities being only one of them.
Geisler gives an overview of his theistic solution to physical evil in the following way:
“In summation, there are many different functions served by physical evil. But all physical evil is necessary to the moral conditions of free creatures (human or angelic), which conditions are necessary for the achievement of the best possible world. Natural evils are necessary to a natural world and a natural world is essential to (or, at least not incompatible with) the conditions of full freedom that are necessary for the achievement of the best possible world.” (p. 395)