Friday, December 07, 2007

Speaking Schedule For Dec, Jan, Feb


Sunday Morning (9:30) Dec 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 Presidents Class, FBC (Dallas, TX)


Sunday Morning (9:30) Jan 6, 13, 20, 27 Presidents Class, FBC (Dallas, TX)
Sunday Evening (5:45) Jan 13, Baptism, FBC (Dallas, TX)
Wednesday Evening (6:15) Jan 9, 16, 23, 30 Midweek Bible Study, FBC (Dallas, TX)


Sunday Morning (9:30) Feb 3, 10, 17, 24 Presidents Class, FBC (Dallas, TX)
Monday Evening (7:00) Feb 25 Annual Expository Preaching Conference (Plenary Speaker), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Kingdom of God

"I know a place
where sinners all are saints
Virgins once were whores
Where all the freaks and the geeks
And everything in between
Walk through the doors
To the Kingdom of the poor."
- Andrew Phillip Ehrenzeller

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I just returned from the annual Southern Baptist convention, which was held in San Antonio. Each year I take several students from Criswell College to the convention site to do evangelism. This year was no exception. Our team shared the gospel at a block party, in the park, door-to-door, on the streets, in front of the Alamo and at the Henry C. Gonzalez Convention Center. We handed out hundreds of tracts and spoke to scores of people about eternal matters. In all 18 people made professions of faith. One was an 82 year old Hispanic lady who came to Christ in her living room. When we did a follow-up visit we told her how happy we were for her, and she replied, "But not as happy as I am." A 50 year old man brought his son to the Saturday block party. Both came to Christ. Afterward, the father told us that he was an alcoholic, but had been dry for two months. Then he added, "I was contemplating going on a binge tonight. Now I have been delivered!" On our last day of witnessing one of our students led a 67 year old tourist to Christ in front of the Alamo. We shared the gospel with street people, security guards, concession and maintenance workers at the Convention Center, a few were up-and-outers, an atheist and several cops. Our students did a great job!

Back at the convention two opposing factions presented their understanding of the relationship between the various SBC agencies and the "Baptist Faith and Message 2000" (BF&M), the official doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention. The main question was, "How should one view the BF&M -- as a minimalist or maximalist statement? The former means that the BF&M is the "least" one must believe to be a Southern Baptist; the latter means it is the "most" one must believe. . The minimalist position allows for SBC agencies to add requirements, to which their employees must adhere, like abstaining from alcohol or abstaining from the practice of speaking in tongues. The maximalist position declares that the BF&M is all one must believe to be hired by an SBC agency. The latter position won the day in a motion presented by Missouri pastor Rick Garner. It received a 57% favorable vote from the floor. This surprise outcome will lead to heated debate in the months ahead. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wedding Over and Moving Full Steam Ahead

This past week has brought another school year to a dramatic close. I was installed at graduation as the W. A. Criswell Professor of Expository Preaching, delivered the commencement address, traveled to Glen Rose, Texas to attend and help officiate at my son Daniel's wedding, watched the Jerry Falwell funeral, entertained out of town guests, and preached. This summer is going to be very busy. Besides preaching each week, taking a group of students on a mission trip, and teaching international students at the Global Proclamation Academy (held on the campus of DTS) for Ramesh Richard, I will also attempt to complete writing my dissertation on "The Kingdom-driven Church: Evangelism and Ecclesiology in Eschatological Perspective."

Research for the dissertation has become a joyous, although strenuous adventure. I completed my first Ph.D. in 1982; so, this has been a lot of work for an old man! In the course of the past three years I have read nearly 400 books on the subject and untold journal articles and commentaries. I believe I have a real grasp of the kingdom and hope I will be able to make a significant contribution to the body of knowledge now available. My main objective is to relate kingdom theology to the local church.

The kingdom of God is now my passion. The Lord willing, I wish to devote the remainder of my academic life to kingdom studies. If the kingdom was the focus of Jesus' ministry, it should be ours as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Apologetics Study Bible

Word arrived today from Broadman and Holman that The Apologetics Study Bible is in the final edit and will be released on October 1, 2007. I was responsible for writing "The Twisted Scriptures" commentaries section. These are comments on verses the cults misinterpret to promote their false doctrines. Each note will be offset in a display box near the text in question.

This volume will be a valuable resource for pastors, Sunday School teachers, student leaders, and lay people who want to defend the faith against cults and heresies.

You will be able to order your copy of The Apologetics Study Bible from Amazon or CBD at a discount.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell is Dead? Don't Believe it!

Dwight L. Moody said, "One day you will hear reports that D. L. Moody is dead. Don't believe it. I will be more alive then than ever before!"

Likewise, Dr. Jerry Falwell is more alive now than ever!

According the Associated Press reports, Dr. Falwell collapsed in his office this morning at 10:45, was rushed to the hospital, and never regained consciousness.

I have met Dr. Falwell on several occasions. Last fall he and I were the plenary speakers at the West Virginia Baptist Evangelism Conference. We sat together, laughed, and then we preached.

Dr. Falwell was an extraordinary man. He rose to fame, but never forgot his common roots. He always had time to speak to the "least of these my brethren." His humble heart and servant spirit is what endeared him to so many. He shared the gospel at every opportunity, especially when being interviewed on national TV.

Dr. Falwell, you will be missed. But we are right behind. See you soon!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Commencement Address

Yesterday, I delivered the 2007 commencement address to the graduating class at Criswell College, Dallas, Texas. I spoke on Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus invites 1) the toilsome and burdened to come to him for rest (the rest of salvation)and 2) to take his yoke and learn of him and thus find rest (the rest of service). I challenged the graduates to go forth with more than their B.A., the first two letters of the alphabet, but to be equipped with them all A-Z, which is found in Jesus alone, the Alpha and Omega.

Earlier in the ceremony, I was officially installed as The W. A. Criswell Chair of Expository Preaching, a position named in honor of the college's founder. Criswell College is known for training students to exegete a text, prepare and deliver an effective expository message. Dr. Criswell was one of the best expositors among twentieth century Southern Baptists. I feel a great responsibility to our students and the Board of Trustees at the college to carry on his legacy.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


As you have heard by now, Frank Beckwith, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University and unto recently, President of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), has been officially accepted back into membership of the Roman Catholic Church. News of his conversion to Rome shocked evangelicals throughout North America and caused them to ask, “Why would Beckwith switch from Baptist to Catholic?” The opinions have varied among internet bloggers. Finally, Beckwith came out with the “official” story. But is that the true story?

In the spirit of David Letterman, we offer ten alternative reasons for his return to Rome. We start with the least plausible (Reason #10) and move to the most convincing (Reason #1). If you have other explanations, please feel free to respond.

Ten Reasons why Frank Beckwith Became a Catholic:

Reason #10 – Old habits never die: Frank couldn’t find a Baptist church where he could play Bingo.

Reason #9 – Health reasons: Frank found all the genuflection in the liturgy quite reinvigorating. He plans to drop 10 pounds easy in his first year of Masses.

Reason #8 – Economics: Since the Catholic Church does not require a tithe; Frank will boost his annual income by 7% .

Reason #7 – To ease his conscience: As a Catholic he can now drink “fermented” communion wine without scrutiny.

Reason #6 – His love for seafood: Frank missed the Friday fish dinners at the local Catholic Church.

Reason #5 – To mastermind a coup: Frank hopes his move to Rome, while maintaining his membership in ETS, will inspire Roman Catholics to join and take over ETS.

Reason # 4
– His emotional stability: The trauma of putting together the 2006 national ETS led to a complete mental breakdown and this irrational behavior.

Reason # 3 – Altruism: In the spirit of brotherly love, Frank wanted to provide Norm Geisler with a subject for a new book project.

Reason #2
– A Damascus Road experience: While listening to last year’s Presidential speech by Ed Yamauchi, Frank fell into a trance and had a vision of the Pope calling him back home to Rome.

Reason #1 – Conspiracy: Frank never really left the Catholic Church, but was actually a Jesuit priest spying on evangelicals for Rome. The forthcoming Chick tract will tell the whole story.

Monday, April 09, 2007


The Spring 2007 issue of Criswell Theological Review(CTR)is hot off the press! The theme is "War and Peace." Few topics produce as much passionate discussion among Christians. The prolonged conflict in Iraq has fueled the fires of debate even more. To address this controversial and complex topic CTR invited several experts to write pro and con on just war theory and pacifism. To preview this issue go to

In the lead article J. Daryl Charles, Associate Professor of Religion at Union University (Jackson, TN), presents a strong case for just war theory by appealing to the Scriptures and the Church fathers for support, while arguing that Pacifists misinterpret both sources in an attempt to defend their view. Charles then makes a distinction between force and violence, and contends the use of the first is justified to bring about peace or free oppressed people, while the latter is not.

Richard Land, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (Nashville, TN), applies seven standards of just war theory to three real-life scenarios. After examining and analyzing the human rights abuses in Korea, Rwanda, and Darfur, he asks if the international community had a moral obligation to step in and take forceful action to rescue the millions who suffered under those totalitarian regimes. His conclusions may surprise you.

With disenchantment growing over the war efforts, many Christians are beginning to take a fresh look at pacifism. Tim Erdel, Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Bethel College (Mishawaka, IN), asserts that the term “just war” is an oxymoron and then presents a list of fourteen considerations, which he says will lead open-minded Christians to embrace pacifism. Erdel presents one of the strongest arguments for pacifism you will ever read.

Stanley Hauerwas, the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School (Durham, NC), named “America’s Best Theologian” by Time Magazine, is one of the most provocative writers of our day. In his article, “Sacrificing the Sacrifices of War,” Hauerwas takes a look at the effects killing has upon those soldiers who actually do the killing. He argues that in Christ God has created a new community which expects the resurrection and therefore has no need (or right) to kill and wage war for its survival, but instead seeks to reconcile enemies, even at the cost of death. In doing so, this community follows the example of its Lord and witnesses to the new reality of God’s kingdom.

Our final article, “War and Peace in Christian Hymnody,” is a real delight. David W. Music, Professor of Church Music, Baylor University (Waco, TX) does an excellent job culling the hymns for military imagery. He then establishes the scriptural basis for military language in hymns and shows how the writers use such language to portray Christianity as a life and death commitment. Music balances his study with an examination of many hymns which deal with peace.

Subscription to CTR is $25 per year.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Recently Dr. Jerry Johnson asked if I would consider serving a new position at the college. Here is a news release, which tells the story:

Streett Named to Endowed Chair of Expository Preaching

President Jerry Johnson and the Board of Trustees of Criswell College (Dallas, Texas) are pleased to announce the election of R. Alan Streett as Professor of the W. A. Criswell Chair of Expository Preaching. This endowed position is named in memory of the late W. A. Criswell, who served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas (1944 to 2002) and devoted his life to the mastery and promotion of verse-by-verse expository preaching.

Streett, the author of The Effective Invitation (Kregel), a text dealing with persuasive preaching, has served fifteen years as Professor of Evangelism and Pastoral Ministry and will assume the position immediately. An official installation service will be held on May 12, 2007, during the Criswell College graduation ceremony, where he will deliver the commencement address.

Recently Streett revealed plans to launch in 2009 the annual "W. A.
Criswell School of the Prophets" in celebration of the centennial year of Dr. Criswell's birth. This national conference will include plenary sessions featuring America's best known preachers and seminars designed to help pastors prepare and deliver expository sermons.

Criswell College is a regionally accredited school offering degrees at both the bachelor and master levels. It is also the custodian of the W.
A. Criswell legacy project, an internet depository of more than 2.500 of Dr. Criswell's sermons, which can be accessed at .

For more information about Criswell College or the W. A. Criswell Endowed Chair of Expository Preaching, please contact Criswell College, 4010 Gaston Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75246.

Monday, March 19, 2007


A new issue of Criswell Theological Review (Spring 07, 4.2), dealing with "War and Peace," is edited and ready for printer. It features articles by Daryl Charles and Richard Land, Stanley Hauerwas, and others who tackle various aspects of just war theory and pacifism. You can order a copy online at via Paypal.

I have included a review on Cecil Wayne Cone's book The Identity Crisis in Black Theology. Here is a preview:

The Identity Crisis in Black Theology. By Cecil Wayne Cone. Nashville: AMEC, 2003, 140 pp., $20.00, hardcover.

This is a revised and expanded edition of Cecil Wayne Cone’s 1975 book of the same title, originally written as a response to the burgeoning Black Theology movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which was founded ironically by his famous brother, James H. Cone, the Griggs Professor of Theology at Union Theological Seminary (NY). Cecil Cone constructively critiques the ideas of his brother and those of other key spokespersons for the movement.

According to the author, all attempts to develop Black Theology apart from understanding or considering the “black religious experience” produce little more than fanciful and at times, radical social and political theories. Cone describes the essence of the black religious experience as “an encounter with an Almighty Sovereign God” that results in conversion (p. 75).

In chapter 1 Cone briefly traces contemporary black theology back to the late 1960s and introduces us to three key thinkers—his brother James Cone, Joseph Washington, and J. Deotis Roberts, whose writings he will critically examine in later chapters.

In chapter 2, entitled “Black Religion: The Foundation of Black Theology,” Cone demonstrates that Black Theology begins and ends with God. Even in Africa, blacks had an awareness of a creator god. After being enslaved and brought to America, they were introduced to Christianity. White slaveholders initially wanted to evangelize their slaves, possibly thinking this would turn the “heathen” into more docile subjects. Instead, biblical teaching introduced the slaves to the Israelites who, like themselves, had been oppressed by tyrannical masters. Through the preaching of the gospel, masses were converted and experienced an inward freedom from the bonds of sin. Though still slaves in the flesh, they were a new creation and no longer defined by the slave system but by their relationship to God. They viewed Jesus as their Deliverer and King who would one day also set them free from physical oppression. While waiting for this promise to be realized, they sang praises to God for present salvation, addressed their questions and complaints to Him, and when faced with untold hardship and even death, they followed Christ’s example, knowing that resurrection lay ahead.

There were exceptions. In 1831, Nat Turner, a recent convert and zealot, believed God had called him to lead an uprising against the whites in Virginia, which resulted in fifty-one people being killed. Turner was tried, convicted and hanged. As a result, many slaveholders kept their slaves from attending church or reading the Bible, fearing such practices would motivate others to rebel (p. 56).

Chapters 3 through 5 examine the ideas of three leading black theologians. In chapter 3, Cone interacts with James Washington, the author of several Black Theology books, and challenges him on three points. First, his premise that black religious organizations are mere imitations of white religion (p. 70); second, his attempt to reduce black religious experience to a quest for social, economic and political freedom, along with his failure to grasp its supernatural and conversional aspects (p. 74); third, his call to develop a theology of Black Power (pp. 78–79).

Cone delays his sharpest criticisms until chapter 4, where he takes on his brother James Cone. He admits that “the sound and tone” of his brother’s early writings are “that of an angry black militant,” who equates blackness with Christ and whiteness with antichrist (p. 81), and calls upon blacks to embrace “Black Power,” a term first coined by Adam Clayton Powell in 1965 and popularized a year later by Stokely Carmichael (p. 83), which eventually came to mean blacks separating from whites. “The overriding motif of Cone’s work is that of liberation.” (p. 81) Cone’s “Black Power,” which he equates with Black Theology, is zealotry at its worst, and calls for armed violence and revolution. Black Theology, he asserts, “came into being when black churchmen realized that killing slavemasters was doing the work of God.” (p. 88) It is exactly here that Cone deviates from the Scriptures. He would prefer Moses kill the Egyptian soldier than depend on Yahweh for deliverance.

The difference between authentic Christianity and Black Power can be seen in the way Jesus faces the cross. Rather than raising a sword of self-deliverance, He trusts God, knowing His Father may choose to send a myriad of angels to deliver Him from crucifixion or may choose to raise Him from the dead.

This does not mean that James Cone gets everything wrong. He recognizes that Western, post-Constantinian Christianity has veered far from its origins and has distorted the gospel. Unfortunately, he has little to replace it with except revolution. Cecil Cone closes the chapter on his brother with the hope that he will rediscover the black religious experience of his youth, one which is infused with the supernatural and leads to conversion (pp. 98–99).

While this reviewer found little upon which to disagree with J. Deotis Roberts, Cone finds two points of contention. First, he calls Roberts to task because he calls upon blacks to view Jesus as the universal messiah, not merely as a “black Jesus.” Second, he believes Roberts’s view that reconciliation and intercommunication between blacks and whites constitute “the primary task of Black Theology” again missing the essence of the black religious experience.

When Cone and other black theologians speak of a “black Jesus” they do not mean that the historical Jesus was a black man, but that he stood with the blacks, not the white oppressors. This implies that salvation for whites must also come through the “black” Jesus, not through a Jesus of their own making, who has little semblance to the Jesus of the Bible. The “black” Jesus offers hope of liberation to the oppressed of the ages, which is accomplished through supernatural intervention and not through political struggle or man-made schemes.

Though not mentioned, a question that begs to be answered is, “When slavery ruled in the South, where were God’s prophets? Why were there so few dissenting voices in the church?”

This book is essential reading for those not familiar with Black Theology and for those who wish to understand it from a scriptural and historical perspective

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Kudos to Wipf and Stock publishers who plans to reprint nearly all of Oscar Cullmann's books, beginning with his classic CHRIST AND TIME. Cullmann, a premiere NT scholar in the mid-20th century, emphasized the concepts of "salvation history" and "Already/Not Yet" eschatology. Born in Germany in 1902, he lived until 1999. He taught at Basel and the Sorbonne. This reprint project will introduce Cullmann to an entire generation of scholars "who knew not Cullmann." Among Cullmann's more memorable works are:
  • Baptism in the New Testament
  • Christ and Time
  • The Christology of the New Testament
  • Early Christian Worship
  • Salvation in History
  • The Immortality of the Soul or the Resurrection of the Body: The Witness of the New Testament
  • The State in the New Testament
  • Jesus and the Revolutionaries
  • Peter