Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
And if you're looking for an actual review of the films--sans the controversy over Chad Allen--Reformation 21 has posted one by John Ferguson.
Theme: Above All Earthly Powers: The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World
Date: September 29 to October 1, 2006
Speakers: David Wells, D.A. Carson, Timothy Keller, Mark Driscoll, Voddie Baucham, John Piper
- David Wells: "The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World"
- D.A. Carson: "The Supremacy of Christ and Love in a Postmodern World"
- Timothy Keller: "The Supremacy of Christ and the Gospel in a Postmodern World"
- Mark Driscoll: "The Supremacy of Christ and the Church in a Postmodern World"
- Voddie Baucham: "The Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Postmodern World"
- John Piper: "The Supremacy of Christ and Joy in a Postmodern World"
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Here's the outline:
First, from a biblical standpoint, this text would fail any and all of our exegesis classes.
Second, from a theological perspective, the ecclesiology espoused by Barna is plagued with problems.
Finally, from a practical effect (especially among younger people) is to encourage them to drop out of church attendance and practice a do-it-yourself religion.
"Simply put this book is heresy. Not only is it classical doctrinal heresy but Barna enthusiastically recruits people to his imagined second reformation. Open Theism is a gnat of an error next to the outright heresy of this book. The fact that many evangelicals will not even notice the doctrinal error here says even more about the state of the church than anything about good brother Barna himself."
Best line from Drury: “Church-less Christianity is like sex-less marriage—it can only last one generation.”
(HT: Todd Bolsinger)
(HT: Worship Matters)
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Mark Dever, How My Mind Has Changed: The Centrality of the Congregation
D.A. Carson, Defining Elders
Friday, January 27, 2006
I think I've said all that I plan to say on this. As I've said a number of times, the messenger is not the message. (Proof of that is Philippians 1:15-18.) But I've also said that it was not wise to cast Allen to play this part, because he's used it as a platform to advance his own agenda. Note that producer Mart Green says: "To be honest, I would not have hired Chad had I known everything about him."
Hats off to Christianity Today for their diligence in going to the horse's mouth rather than just repeating one side of the story, as many in the blogosphere have done.
"The Jonathan Edwards Center was doing some routine maintenance yesterday which may have caused you to be unable to access the site and sign up to Beta test. You can now access the site at http://edwards.yale.edu/beta."
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Here are Dr. Ferguson's exhortations to preachers:
- Get to know your Bible better.
- Be a man of prayer.
- Don’t lose sight of Christ.
- Be more deeply Trinitarian.
- Use your imagination.
- Speak much of sin and grace.
- Use “the plain style."
- Find your own voice.
- Learn how to transition.
- Love your people.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University is in the final stages of development of the WJEOnline, a complete critical digital library of the papers of Jonathan Edwards. The library will be made available to Beta testers in March of this year. If you are interested being among the earliest users of this leading-edge resource for reading, study, and scholarship, sign up now at http://edwards.yale.edu/beta. We will still be accepting Beta testers through the beginning of February. The first 25000 pages of Edwards papers to go online will be the entire Miscellanies corpus and several hundred sermons, fully searchable by scripture, theme, chronology, and so on.
Along with the development of the digital Edwards, we are in the homestretch of our letterpress series, the Blank Bible galleys are undergoing final revisions, as is the final volume of sermons.
We expect both of those to be out in the next few months.
One very interesting item of note is Doug Winiarski's lead article in the new edition of Church History about a newly discovered document that gives an account of Edwards' preaching in the Great Awakening. Check out the abstract at http://edwards.yale.edu/about-jec/news
Finally, there is a very exciting possibility of having a major Edwards conference at Yale in the next few months. This remains unconfirmed at this time, but check the website regularly for information, as spaces will fill quickly upon announcement.
Table of Contents
We return this month to the topic of preaching. Sinclair Ferguson gave us the first five of the Preacher's Decalogue back in November, and this month we get the last five.
A Preacher's Decalogue Part II By Sinclair Ferguson
Preaching from Lengthy Books of the Old Testament By Derek Thomas
New Testament Theology by I. Howard Marshall
Review by Robert Cara
Does Christianity Squash Women by Rebecca Jones
Review by Mary Mohler
Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
Review by Dale Van Dyke
WCF Study Guide by Joseph Pipa
Review by John Tweeddale
Thoughts on preaching by Richard Phillips
Window on the World:
Franklinity by Philip Ryken
Wages of Spin:
I Guess That's Why they Call it the Blues by Carl Trueman
Understanding the Times:
Broken Fences by Derek Thomas
From the Pulpit
Sermons from John MacArthur, Ligon Duncan, Derek Thomas, Richard D. Phillips, Philip Ryken, Mark Dever, and John Piper, all in audio format.
Here at home, most American Christians are busy taking care of their families, working in their churches, fulfilling their vocations, and attempting to pay some attention to domestic and international developments. A tragedy like the genocide in Darfur can all too easily escape our attention or fall between the cracks of our active consciousness.
Nicholas Kristof's courageous and clear-headed reports from Darfur should awaken the Christian conscience to the evil of genocide and the necessity of doing something more than watching as millions are massacred. Merely knowing about the crisis does not solve the crisis--but it is a necessary first step.
Read the whole thing.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Why is marking up a book indispensable to reading? First, it keeps you awake. (And I don't mean merely conscious; I mean awake.) In the second place; reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The marked book is usually the thought-through book. Finally, writing helps you remember the thoughts you had, or the thoughts the author expressed.
Read the whole thing as Adler expands on each of these points.
(HT: R. Scott Clark)
Related to this is a thoughtful editorial from CT about Christianity and culture. Key lines: "We do not shun this world that our creator God sustains, and that means participating in one subculture or another to work for change. But first things first: we must behold our heavenly Father in worship." "In short, we complain that the church has sold out to culture, but we subconsciously give our allegiance to a political or social subculture and champion its agenda."
Update: Joe Carter--who agrees that Stein is way out of his league here but is at least consistent--puts it well: "You can hate the sin, just don’t claim to 'support' the sinner." His whole post is well worth reading.
Monday, January 23, 2006
“Thought is packed tight in this masterful survey of the covenantal frame of God’s self-disclosure in Scripture, and for serious students it is a winner.”—J. I. Packer, professor of theology, Regent College
“God of Promise is a rigorous and articulate defense of a traditional view of covenant theology. Dr. Horton’s federalist emphasis gleans from well-established Reformed writers while adding his own highly readable and insightful commentary.”—Bryan Chapell, president, Covenant Theological Seminary
“Michael Horton has brought covenant theology to life in a way which engages modern thought and appeals to contemporary students and pastors alike. His book is a clear guide to an essential topic.”—Gerald Bray, Anglican professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Sanford University
Go visit it, then come back. (I'll wait.)
Reminds me of the time when I was taking a freshman humanities course. During a unit on the Reformation, one of the students was assigned to deliver an oral report on Martin Luther's wife . She began her essay as follows: "Coretta Scott King was born April 27, 1927..."
It was very painful to listen to the whole paper. Our gracious professor--who had to find a segue way to Martin Luther--didn't know quite what to say. So he just said, "Okay. All right. Thank you. Today we're going to be talking about Martin Luther--whom Martin Luther King was named after!"
Saturday, January 21, 2006
John Piper suggested I pass along this website--www.abort73.com/--which communicates the truth about abortion in America. Watch the second streamed video...weep...and resolve to do something in 2006 to fight against this great evil.
Today my father-in-law were running some errands, and I saw a guy walking along the curb. He had a big sandwhich board, with handpainted red letters that said STOP ABORTION NOW. I'm sure that 99% of the people who saw him drudging through the slush with his snow boots thought he was a kook. That was my first thought. And perhaps he is. But whoever he is, he is at least trying to do something to speak truth to a deaf nation. A guy like that is easy to mock. His methods may not be very effective. But what are we doing as a holocaust continues down the block from us throughout our country.
Are we prepared to engage in thoughtful, meaningful conversation on this issue? Can we defend the notion that the unborn baby is a person? Do we know the basic facts? Do we understand public opinion on the matter? Do we fear man?
Those are the questions I need to ask of myself and my family, and I'd encourage you to do the same.
Some suggested resources to consider:
15 Pro-Life Truths to Speak (John Piper)
Abortion...Why Care? (Self-Evident Truth)
Had an Abortion? (Self-Evident Truth)
Five Bad Ways to Argue About Abortion (Scott Klusnendorf)
How to Defend Your Pro-Life Views in 5 Minutes or Less (Scott Klusnendorf)
Toddler Tactics (Scott Klusnendorf)
Abortion Debate: A Short Defense of the Pro-Life Position (Scott Klusnendorf)
Friday, January 20, 2006
I initially said I had a hard time seeing the "big deal." But as I made clear in an early comment to Steve Camp, I was making a distinction (in my own mind) between the issue of acting per se and the platform that actors are given. If the issues are able to be separated in the abstract, then I still have a hard time seeing a coherent, persuasive argument for why a homosexual cannot accurately portray a Christian on film.
But I'm now persuaded that those two facets--performance and platform--cannot be separated in a movie of this nature. The difference between End of the Spear and films like Chariots of Fire and Lord of the Rings is that the latter films did not provide an avenue for the homosexual actors to offer a revisionist account of sexuality and spirituality. Although it's true that the messenger is not the message (as I argued in my initial post), the sad fact is that in our celebrity-saturated culture, the messenger often becomes the message for many viewers. (For example, there are tens of thousands of people throughout the whole world investigating Scientology due to the influence of Tom Cruise!)
I mentioned in my original post the title of Laura Ingraham's book, Shut Up and Sing. That continues to be my attitude toward Hollywood. I often feel like saying: "Listen, you do a great job at memorizing and make believe. That's what I pay money to watch. But I don't care to hear your unlearned opinion about foreign policy." But the fact is, too many people do want to hear everything that celebrities say, do, and think. And in the case of The End of the Spear, we see that Chad Allen is now being given a national stage upon which to express his views on Christianity and homosexuality.
Again, I commend to you Dr. Mohler's piece. At the end of his post he includes a number of links so that you can see more of the blogospheric debate.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Upshot: we are winning in Iraq, both militarily and politically, despite the constant drumbeat of negativity proferred by the MSM.
Monday, January 16, 2006
I have started a new blog called The Children’s Hour dedicated to reviews and recommendations for children’s books. Parents are often asking about good books to read to their children (and it is a good thing for pastors particularly to be ready to give guidance here), so I decided to post the reactions of myself and my boys to the books we read together. I have put up a few posts so far and will continuing posts from books we have read in the past as well as post books as we read them. I hope it will be a useful resource.
You can also check out Dr. Van Neste's main blog here.
But it gets worse. At the end of Thomas Hibbs' review of the new horror film, Hostel, directed by Quentin Tarantino and replete with graphic violience, sadism, sex, and torture, Hibbs writes:
Yet, the most depressing and horrifying thing about these sorts of films is, alas, not the explicit gore. It is the fact that at nearly every screening of a gruesome horror film I attend (from Massachusetts to Texas), I see parents in the audience with young children. That strikes me as a serious form of child abuse and a more convincing sign of the impending apocalypse than anything depicted on the screen.
Here's a review of his new book, Winning the Race. And here's the transcript for McWhorter's appearance--with others--on this past weekend's Meet the Press.
Also make sure to read Albert Mohler's commentary today, reprinted from last year: The Content of Our Character--King's Dream and Ours.
Anthony Bradley pens an op-ed called Pursue King's Dream of Freedom for All. Anthony suggests that despite King's dream, Americans remain incapable of forgoing racial reasoning. He argues that one essential component is to pay less attention to the black-white conflict. It's worth reading.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Military historian Victor Davis Hanson summed it up in an article with this subtitle: "Our bad and worse choices about Iran." Here is an excerpt, with the four options Hanson sees, marked by me in bold:
When a supposedly unhinged Mr. Ahmadinejad threatens the destruction of Israel and then summarily proceeds to violate international protocols aimed at monitoring Iran’s nuclear industry, we all take note. Any country that burns off some of its natural gas at the wellhead while claiming that it needs nuclear power for domestic energy is simply lying. Terrorism, vast petroleum reserves, nuclear weapons, and boasts of wiping neighboring nations off the map are a bad combination.
So we all agree on the extent of the crisis, but not on the solutions, which can be summarized by four general options.
First is the ostrich strategy — see and hear no evil, if extending occasional peace feelers out to more reasonable mullahs. Hope that “moderates” in the Iranian government exercise a restraining influence on Mr. Ahmadinejad. Sigh that nuclear Iran may well become like Pakistan — dangerous and unpredictable, but still perhaps “manageable.” Talk as if George Bush and the Iranians both need to take a time out.
I doubt that many serious planners any longer entertain this passive fantasy, especially after the latest rantings of Ahmadinejad. Pakistan, after all, has some secular leaders, is checked by nuclear India, and has a recent past of cooperation with the United States. Most importantly, it is more than ever a lesson in past laxity, as the United States and Europe were proven criminally derelict in giving Dr. Khan and his nuclear-mart a pass — which may well come back to haunt us all yet.
Alternatively, we could step up further global condemnation. The West could press the U.N. more aggressively — repeatedly calling for more resolutions, and, ultimately, for sanctions, boycotts, and embargos, energizes our allies to cut all ties to Iran, and provides far more money to dissident groups inside Iran to rid the country of the Khomeinists. Ensuring that democracy works in Iraq would be subversive to the mullahs across the border. Some sort of peaceful regime change is the solution preferred by most — and, of course, can be pursued in a manner contemporaneous with, not exclusionary to, other strategies.
It is a long-term therapy and therefore suffers the obvious defect that Iran might become nuclear in the meantime. Then the regime’s resulting braggadocio might well deflate the dissident opposition, as the mullahs boast that they alone have restored Iranian national prestige with an Achaemenid bomb.
A third, and often unmentionable, course is to allow the most likely intended target of nuclear Iran, Israel, to take matters into its own hands. We know this scenario from the 1981 destruction of Saddam’s French-built Osirak nuclear reactor: the world immediately deplores such “unilateral” and “preemptory” recklessness, and then sighs relief that Israel, not it, put the bell on the fanged cat.
But 2006 is not 1981. We are in war with Islamic radicalism, at the moment largely near the Iranian border in Iraq and Afghanistan. The resulting furor over a “Zionist” strike on Shia Iran might galvanize Iraqi Shiites to break with us, rather than bring them relief that the Jewish state had eliminated a nearby nuclear threat and had humiliated an age-old rival nation and bitter former enemy. Thousands of Americans are in range of Iranian artillery and short-term missile salvoes, and, in theory, we could face in Iraq a conventional enemy at the front and a fifth column at the rear.
And Iran poses far greater risks than in the past for Israeli pilots flying in over the heart of the Muslim world, with 200-300 possible nuclear sites that are burrowed into mountains, bunkers and suburbs. Such a mission would require greater flight distances, messy refueling, careful intelligence, and the need to put Israeli forces on alert for an Iranian counterstrike or a terrorist move from Lebanon. Former Israeli friends like Turkey are now not so cordial, and the violation of Islamic airspace might in the short-term draw an ugly response, despite the eventual relief in Arab capitals at the elimination of the Iranian nuclear arsenal.
If the Israeli raids did not take out the entire structure, or if there were already plutonium present in undisclosed bunkers, then the Iranians might shift from their sickening rhetoric and provide terrorists in Syria and Lebanon with dirty bombs or nuclear devices to “avenge” the attack as part of a “defensive” war of “striking back” at “Israeli aggression”. Europeans might even shrug at any such hit, concluding that Israel had it coming by attacking first.
The fourth scenario is as increasingly dreaded as it is apparently inevitable — a U.S. air strike. Most hope that it can be delayed, since its one virtue — the elimination of the Iranian nuclear threat — must ipso facto outweigh the multifaceted disadvantages.
The Shiite allies in Iraq might go ballistic and start up a second front as in 2004. Muslim countries, the primary beneficiaries of a disarmed Iran, would still protest loudly that some of their territories, if only for purposes of intelligence and post-operative surveillance, were used in the strike. After Iraq, a hit on Iran would confirm to the Middle East Street a disturbing picture of American preemptory wars against Islamic nations.
Experts warn that we are not talking about a Clintonian one-day cruise-missile hit, or even something akin to General Zinni’s 1998 extended Operation Desert Fox campaign. Rather, the challenges call for something far more sustained and comprehensive — perhaps a week or two of bombing at every imaginable facility, many of them hidden in suburbs or populated areas. Commando raids might need to augment air sorties, especially for mountain redoubts deep in solid rock.
The political heat would mount hourly, as Russia, China, and Europe all would express shock and condemnation, and whine that their careful diplomatic dialogue had once again been ruined by the American outlaws. Soon the focus of the U.N. would not be on Iranian nuclear proliferation, or the role of Europe, Pakistan, China, and Russia in lending nuclear expertise to the theocracy, but instead on the mad bomber-cowboy George Bush. We remember that in 1981 the world did not blame the reckless and greedy French for their construction of a nuclear reactor for Saddam Hussein, but the sober Israelis for taking it out...
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Tuesday May 9 – Thursday May 11
This is a conference that exists to provide encouragement, guidance, and instruction for the church and its leadership. Topics will address issues such as:
- Preaching the Christian Gospel to a secular audience
- The role of mercy ministry in cultural transformation
- Methods for engaging and decoding culture
- Practical tips for pastors
- Emerging theological errors in need of correction
Register and see the schedule here. Among the speakers: Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Josh Harris, and Anthony Bradley.
(And for those who are interested, the Reformation 21 Blog is discussing the possible connections between Wright and Emergent. I should mention that I didn't raise the question to do guilt by association, but rather out of simple curiosity.)
(HT: Jesus Creed)
But I have trouble seeing the big deal here. Film acting is a sophisticated form of make-believe. Good-looking people who talk and memorize well are paid lots of money to act out stories. In my mind, the main issue is whether they do a good job with the task.
Most of Hollywood is out of step with most of America. But at the same time, most of us simply don't care about the political or moral views of Hollywood. What does Sean Penn think about the Iraqi insurgency? What does Alec Baldwin think about the President's legitimacy? What does Tim Robbins think about civil liberties? What does Barbra Streisand think about the ethics of House Republicans? Few care! Most of us want to send them a copy of Laura Ingraham's appropriately titled book: Shut Up and Sing.
On a personal level, of course, I wish that Chad Allen would find satisfaction in the way that God has designed him. But in watching the film, my concern will be with whether or not he is doing his vocation well. As one commentator pointed out on Tim's site, Ian Charleson--who famously played Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire--was gay. (He died of AIDS in 1990.) But I don't believe that the messenger is the message.
Update: Jason Janz has an extensive, quote-filled article arguing that this is a big deal and a serious mistake on the part of Every Tribe Entertainment.
I have to say that Senator Kennedy's attempt to smear Samuel Alito with an article in a magazine he never even read, an article that was apparently meant as satire, was about as low as it gets. It was a smear. In some ways, it was a symbol of how some Democrats think of people like the Alitos, people with obviously conservative leanings, but also the kind of people who would never engage in the basest of ethnic or sexual slurs. Kennedy hurt himself more than anyone. But it was disgusting nonetheless - not that, after Kennedy's performances in other hearings, it was particularly surprising. I'm not a Kennedy-hater. He's done some good things in the Senate, and I'm close to members of his family. But this tactic was crude, inappropriate in a judicial hearing, and completely counter-productive. It reminded me again why, for all my alarm at what has happened to Republicanism, the left is always there to remind me why I couldn't ever be a Democrat. I don't think I'm the only one.
Friday, January 13, 2006
This is a very helpful article on what's wrong with contemporary Christian fiction--and what needs to be done to rectify the situation.
"The year 2006 marks the 50th anniversary of Christianity Today. To help us reflect on the role of evangelicalism in the next 50 years, we have undertaken The Christian Vision Project. The project, directed by Andy Crouch, invites leading thinkers to reflect on the shape of Christian faithfulness in the 21st century. The three-year project focuses on culture in year one (underwritten by the Pew Charitable Trusts), mission in year two, and the gospel in year three. For year one, we've asked our writers to answer this question: 'How can followers of Christ be a counterculture for the common good?' We've borrowed that piquant phrase from the Rev. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, whose own response will appear later this year."
The first essay they've posted is by Michael Horton, called How the Kingdom Comes. It's well done, in my view.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Supreme Court nominees are so mum about the major legal issues at their Senate confirmation hearings that the hearings serve little purpose and should probably be abandoned, Democratic Sen. Joe Biden said Thursday.
"The system's kind of broken," said Biden, a member of the Judiciary Committee considering the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito.
"Nominees now, Democrat and Republican nominees, come before the United States Congress and resolve not to let the people know what they think about the important issues," such as a president's authority to go to war, said Biden.
I agree with Senator Biden that the hearings should be abolished--but there may be another reason why we didn't get to hear more of Judge Alito's views. The answer is given by Richard Cohen--a supporter of Biden's politics and policies--who writes today in the Washington Post:
The only thing standing between Joe Biden and the presidency is his mouth. That, though, is no small matter. It is a Himalayan barrier, a Sahara of a handicap, a summer's day in Death Valley, a winter's night at the pole (either one) -- an endless list of metaphors intended to show you both the immensity of the problem and to illustrate it with the op-ed version of excess. This, alas, is Joe Biden.
The reviews for Biden's first crack at Samuel Alito, the humorless Supreme Court nominee, were murderous. The New York Times had Biden out on Page One -- normally a position to kill for -- only this time it was not a paean to his considerable merits, but an account of how it took him nearly three minutes of throat-clearing to ask his first question and then took the rest of his allocated 30 minutes just to get in four more. He concluded with about half a minute still left to him -- something of a personal best that even he had to acknowledge.
...his tendency, his compulsion, his manic-obsessive running of the mouth has become the functional equivalent of womanizing or some other character weakness that disqualifies a man for the presidency. It is his version of corruption, of alcoholism, of a fierce temper or vile views -- all the sorts of things that have crippled candidates in the past. It is, though, an innocent thing, as good-humored as the man and of no real policy consequence. It will merely stunt him politically.
...He has much to say -- and then too much to add. He is an anatomical disaster. His Achilles' heel is his mouth.
Someone actually did a breakdown for the Senators' questions and Alito's answers. In the alloted time, Biden spent 78% of the time asking questions and ruminating, and Alito took 22% of the time to answer. Biden's first "question" took 13 minutes.
Here's an example, courtesy of Peggy Noonan, of Biden's free-flowing talking:
What if a fella--I'm just hypothesizing here, Judge Alito--what if a fella said, "Well I don't want to hire you because I don't like the kind of eyeglasses you wear," or something like that. Follow my thinking here. Or what if he says "I won't hire you because I don't like it that you wear black silk stockings and a garter belt. And your name is Fred." Strike that--just joking, trying to lighten this thing up, we can all be too serious. Every 10 years when you see me at one of these hearings I am different from every other member of Judiciary in that I have more hair than the last time. You know why? It's all the activity in my brain! It breaks through my skull and nourishes my follicles with exciting nutrients! Try to follow me.
Noonan--who, unlike Cohen, does not agree with Biden's policies--actually finds Biden's logorrhea somewhat endearing:
The great thing about Joe Biden during the Alito hearings, the reason he is, to me, actually endearing, is that as he speaks, as he goes on and on and spins his long statements, hypotheticals, and free associations--as he demonstrates yet again, as he did in the Roberts hearings and even the Thomas hearings, that he is incapable of staying on the river of a thought, and is constantly lured down tributaries from which he can never quite work his way back--you can see him batting the little paddles of his mind against the weeds, trying desperately to return to the river but not remembering where it is, or where it was going. I love him. He's human, like a garrulous uncle after a drink.
One of the great mysteries of these hearings--as Hugh Hewitt, among others has pointed out--is why the Democrats continually kick themselves in the foot. If you want a nominee to stumble, to be caught in an inconsistency, to say something careless, what should you do? You should let him talk as much as possible! The more he talks, the more trouble he could be in. But the Democrat Senators consistently choose another strategy: talk so much that the nominee can hardly say a thing! It really is a mystery. But Cohen offers the most plausible explanation:
[Biden] has been in the Senate since 1973 and suffers, as nearly all senators do sooner or later, from the conviction that he and his colleagues are the center of the world. After all, no one -- with the possible exception of family members -- ever tells a senator to shut up. They are surrounded by fawning staff and generally treated as minor deities. They lose perspective, which is why, now that you've asked, they talk and talk at these hearings. They are convinced the world is watching. Actually, it's only a half a dozen shut-ins on C-SPAN -- and, of course, the nearly catatonic press corps. Everyone else is playing computer solitaire.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Wilkinson's different ministry ventures can be challenging to track:
Wilkinson has a history of dramatic twists and turns. As his books became bestsellers, he stepped down from Walk Thru The Bible, which he founded. He decided to move to Hollywood to make movies, but then backed out. He moved to Johannesburg, but stayed less than two years. He relocated to Swaziland. He remained there about 18 months before returning to Georgia. Wilkinson has also delayed completion of his next book for Multnomah Press. And in late September 2005, he was to launch the Dream Giver Coach Network to be merged with the American Association of Christian Counselors. But he "pulled the plug on the entire venture," a source closely associated with Wilkinson told CT. "Bruce was quite broken at this time. [Dream for Africa] had physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially taken a serious toll on Bruce."(HT: Steve McCoy)
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Perhaps I'm a pessimist, but I don't have high hopes for much fruit to come from this. I can think of lots of examples where evangelicals have nuanced their critique after listening to emergent proponents, but I'm not sure I can think of any situations where the situation is reversed. So I'm not sure what will be changed by this debate. But again, maybe I'm just too pessimistic.
check out T. David Gordon's paper. (HT: (HT: Matthew Hall)
Dr. Gordon's biblical theology is broken down into four sections:
I. Poverty and Almsgiving in the Adamic Administration
II. Poverty and Almsgiving in the Patriarchal Era
III. Poverty and Almsgiving in the Sinai Covenant
IV. Poverty and Almsgiving in the New Covenant
He then suggests "seven principles that characterize Christian understanding of poverty and almsgiving":
1. All belongs to God, the Creator; we are merely stewards.
2. Where Your Treasure Is
3. The Snare of Earthly Riches
4. The Poor You Have With You Always
5. The Christian’s Tri-fold Duty to Family, Church, and Society
6. God’s Providence Determines Our Duty
7. The Church’s Duty: Diaconal Relief of Poor Saints
There are some very helpful thoughts on the inapplicability of the Levitical tithes in the new covenant, and the fact that "the state in its totalitarian form is the enemy of true almsgiving, and not an efficient friend of the poor."
Monday, January 09, 2006
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Speaking of Frame, if you don't want to wait for the third volume of his Theology of Lordship series to be published, you can read the entire ethics textbook online for free.
- Opening Pages Word
- Table of Contents Word
- Preface Word
- chapter 1: Introduction Word
- chapter 2: Ethical Glossary Word
- chapter 3: Divine Lordship Word
- chapter 4: Christian and Non-Christian Ethics Word
- chapter 5: Ethics and the Religions Word
- chapter 6: The Existential Tradition Word
- chapter 7: The Teleological Tradition Word
- chapter 8: The Deontological Tradition Word
- chapter 9: The Organism of Revelation Word
- chapter 10: Attributes of Scripture Word
- chapter 11: Sufficiency of Scripture Word
- chapter 12: Law in Biblical Ethics Word
- chapter 13: Applying the Law Word
- chapter 14: Situation and Norm Word
- chapter 15: Our Ethical Situation Word
- chapter 16: Redemptive History Word
- chapter 17: Our Chief End Word
- chapter 18: Goodness and Being Word
- chapter 19: Motives and Virtues Word
- chapter 20: The New Life as a Source of Ethical Knowledge Word
- chapter 21: Organs of Ethical Knowledge Word
- chapter 22: Introduction to the Decalogue Word
- chapter 23: The First Commandment Word
- chapter 24: The First Commandment Contemporary Issues Word
- chapter 25: The Second Commandment Word
- chapter 26: The Second Commandment Regulating Worship Word
- chapter 27: The Third Commandment Word
- chapter 28: The Fourth Commandment Word
- chapter 29: The Fourth Commandment Theology of the Sabbath Word
- chapter 30: The Fourth Commandment Sabbath in the New Covenant Word
- chapter 31: The Fifth Commandment Word
- chapter 32: The Fifth Commandment Family Church and State Word
- chapter 33: The Fifth Commandment Man and Woman Word
- chapter 34: The Fifth Commandment Equalities Word
- chapter 35: The Sixth Commandment Word
- chapter 36: The Sixth Commandment War and Punishment Word
- chapter 37: The Sixth Commandment Protecting Life Word
- chapter 38: The Seventh Commandment Word
- chapter 39: The Seventh Commandment Divorce Word
- chapter 40: The Seventh Commandment Reproduction Word
- chapter 41: The Eighth Commandment Word
- chapter 42: The Eighth Commandment Wealth and Poverty Word
- chapter 43: The Ninth Commandment Word
- chapter 44: The Tenth Commandment Word
An Open Letter to Evangelicals on the People of God, the Land of Israel, and the Impartiality of the Gospel
David Wayne, at World Magazine's Theologica sub-blog, has reprinted the letter. It seems quite timely in view of Pat Robertson's recent remarks, and the assumption by many that a traditional dispensational view of the land is correct.
Speaking of being an ambassador: we can also learn some lessons negatively. Melinda Penner explains that Pat Robertson has been publicly taking the Lord's name in vain.
The problem with government is that it is run by people, and people are flawed. They are not virtue machines. We are all of us, even the best of us, vulnerable to the call of the low: to greed, conceit, insensitivity, ruthlessness, the desire to show you're in control, in charge, in command.
If the problem with government is that it is run by people and not, as James Madison put it, angels, the problem with big government is that it is run by a lot of people who are not angels.
She then effectively compares government to a steamroller, writing:
...the anti-big-government party isn't supposed to be so good at it, so enmeshed in it. The antigovernment party isn't supposed to be so good at oiling the steamroller's parts and pushing its levers. And so happy doing the oiling and pushing.
It isn't good to love the steamroller. In the end it can roll right over you, and all you stand for, or stood for.
Is there a way for Republicans to go? Stop trying to fit in. Stop being another atom in the steel. It does no good trying to run a better steamroller. It won't work. Steamrollers are not your friend.
Meanwhile, World Magazine looks at Ralph Reed and asks whether his hands are a bit dirty with the money game as well.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Dr. Mohler quotes from some newspapers regarding Passion 06, which saw 18,000 college students attend.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
The letter in its entirety is reprinted at Desiring God, including a way to send a word of encouragement. This link will also contain any updates. I know that he would appreciate the prayers of faithful saints before the throne of grace.
The short answer is that the proposal has been withdrawn.
There is now a short document at the Bethlehem website, called
What is the Present Status of the Baptism and Membership Issue At Bethlehem Baptist Church?
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
alienation unconnected to, or vastly disproportionate to, real-life stimulus, but maintained because it reinforces one's sense of psychological legitimacy, via defining onself against an oppressor characterized as eternally depraved. (p. 6)
McWhorter writes that it's obvious that "there's been something uniquely hideous going on in poor black America since--ironically--the War on Poverty. If the four hundred-plus years of black American history from the early 1600s to 2006 were compressed into twenty-four hours, something went seriously wrong only at about ten o'clock P.M. Why?
"My purpose will be to show that it must stop being considered "controversial" to acknowledge that cultural change played a central role here. Specifically, I believe that we cannot understand our past without fully facing that alienation and disidentification can thrive independently of modern causes because they can serve other psychological purposes. There can be no useful perspective on black America's trajectory that neglects the impact of therapeutic alientation. To move forward, we must trace it, face it, and erase it. This book, section by seciton, is about how we can do all three." (p. 12)
Resolved Conference (January 13-16, 2006). Keynote speakers are John MacArthur, Steve Lawson, C.J. Mahaney, and Rick Holland. (With special guest: Carolyn Mahaney)
2006 Shepherds' Conference (March 1-5, 2006). Keynote speakers are John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, R.C. Sproul, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, and Steven Lawson.
Let me cite just a few paragraphs of his conclusion for a summation of the book and McWhorter's thesis:
My impression is that many readers came away from my Losing the Race wondering why black America took the turn it did in the sixties. People often took the message of that book as being "Black people need to look inward and help themselves." I have no major problems with that proposition, but my aim was to show why we had gotten to the point that this that this would be considered news at all. As far as I am concerned, we can leave it to the eight-hundred-word newspaper editorialists to just proclaim that something is wrong and leave us with a final sentence along the lines of "Maybe it's time for black America to wake up."
In this book I have tried to make clearer ust what made the difference between black America in 1960 and black America today, and what this means in terms of where we go from here and why. Specifically, I hope to have shown that the nut of this issue is that black America turned upside down in a particular ten-year period, from 1960 to 1970, and that this era has left us a legacy much more damaging today than anything racism has left us.
My argument has been that it is not true that the reason for modern black America's ills is racism. The reason is a cultural shift now forty years old, that manifests itslef in the form of a meme. This meme took hold of blacks and whites in the wake of the antiauthoritarian atmosphere of the countercultural revolution. After that revolution and the specific things that sparked it were over, the meme piggybacked on human psychology and stuck around. Namely, opposition as an identity gives a sense of purpose to people deprived of one for any number of reasons and is a handy way of refreshing even an identity less damaged. The result has been especially tragic in black America: a way of responding to the world and forming judgments that correspond fitfully to reality, if at all. To not understand this is to not understand black America's past, present, or future.
Question: is anyone in evangelicalism today saying such things? If not, why not?
For those in the preaching ministry, be sure to check out Phil Ryken's post about a workshop on how to become a better expository preacher.
Finally, here's a list of upcoming conferences that may be of interest:
1) Meeting God on His Terms: Word and Sacrament as Means of Grace. January 13-14, 2006, at Westminster Seminary California. Speakers: Robert Godfrey, Michael Horton, Hywel Jones, Scott Clark, David Vandrunen, Dennis Johnson, Bryan Estelle, Iain Duguid, and Darryl Hart.
2) How Must a Pastor Die? The Price of Caring Like Jesus. The Bethlehem Conference for Pastors. January 30-February 1, 2006 in Minneapolis, MN. Keynote speaker: Ajith Fernando. Pastoral Speaker: Michael Campbell. Missions speaker: David Sitton. John Piper's biographical address will be on William Tyndale.
3) After Evangelism: The Cultural Lives of Christians and Their Neighbors. February 24-25, 2006 at Christ Presbyterian Church (Marietta, GA). Keynote speaker: Ken Myers (Mars Hill Audio).
4) Together for the Gospel: A Conference for Pastors and Teachers. April 26-28, 2006, in Louisville, KY. Josted by Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C.J. Mahaney, and Albert Mohler; with special guests John MacArthur, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul.
5) New Attitude (Na), for singles: "from graduating high school seniors, to college students, to 100 year olds)." In Louisville, KY. Speakers: C.J. Mahaney, Josh Harris, Eric Simmons, Mike Bullmore, and Mark Dever.
Friends and relatives erupted in cheers and the town's church bells began ringing as word of the 12 miners' rescue became known.
"Believe in miracles," said West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, who had expressed optimism throughout the ordeal.
"Twelve miners alive," said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia. She said she did not know where the 12 were found or their condition.The mood, she said, was of "jubilation, incredible happiness, unspeakable joy."
But CNN now says, "Despite earlier reports, family members in West Virginia now say only one trapped miner brought out alive. All 12 others dead."
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Dr. Tony Campolo, preacher, educator, and founder of Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, will be the keynote speaker for the annual Kistemaker Academic Lecture Series at the RTS Orlando campus in Oviedo on March 6 – 7, 2006.
Lecture # 1: The Church as a Prophetic Voice
Lecture # 2: The Church in Transition from Sect to Ecclesia
Lecture # 3: The Church Faces Post-Modernity
Lecture # 4: The Church Faces its Tendencies toward Idolatry
Monday, January 02, 2006
These conservatives are attacked not because of the validity or judicious consideration of their views but because those views are supposedly heterodox for American blacks. Yet it is my opinion that many black people in the U.S. are politically and philosophically conservative--and many are in fact actually closeted Republicans, fearful of persecution by friends, business associates, society clubs, schoolmates and even churches.
It is time for American blacks to have a conversation about the phenomenon of Democrats persecuting black Republicans. Why is this happening? What is it that the Democrats don't want black folks to understand about Republicans? What is it that the Democrats don't want black folks to know about Democrats? And how is it that we have come to this point--after having endured so much--where we have ourselves curtailed the freedom of political expression through the threat of retaliatory consequences?