Get fired in the interview

When I was in college and aspiring to ministry, I was greatly influenced by a pastor in Denton, Texas. His name is Tommy Nelson, and he is preaching in the chapel of Southern Seminary this morning. Among the many nuggets of wisdom that I gleaned from him in those days was this: “Get fired in the interview.”

What was he talking about? He was telling all of us young aspiring preachers exactly what we should be doing when candidating for a pastorate. It was sage advice for me then, and I reckon it is sage advice for any aspiring pastor who may be reading this now. When the pastor-search committee interviews you, don’t hold anything back in terms of your beliefs or philosophy of ministry. If there’s a deal-breaker between you and the church, it’s better for that to come out in the interview stage than after they’ve already hired you. Lay all your cards out on the table, and let the chips fall where they may. Continue Reading →

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Lenten Curmudgeon: Carl Trueman on Evanglicals and Lent

Carl Trueman is perplexed at Evangelical fascination with Lent. He writes:

I can understand Anglicans observing Lent. Hey, I can even approve of them doing so when I am in an exceptionally good mood or have just awoken from a deep sleep and am still a little disoriented. It is part of their history. It connects to their formal liturgical history. All denominations and Christian traditions involve elements that are strictly speaking unbiblical but which shape their historic identity. For Anglicans, the liturgical calendar is just such a thing. These reasons are not compelling in a way that would make the calendar normative for all Christians, yet I can still see how they make sense to an Anglican. But just as celebrating July the Fourth makes sense for Americans but not for the English, the Chinese or the Lapps, so Ash Wednesday and Lent really make no sense to those who are Presbyterians, Baptists, or free church evangelicals.

What perplexes me is the need for people from these other groups to observe Ash Wednesday and Lent. My commitment to Christian liberty means that I certainly would not regard it as sinful in itself for them to do so; but that same commitment also means that I object most strongly to anybody trying to argue that it should be a normative practice for Christians, to impose it on their congregations, or to claim that it confers benefits unavailable elsewhere. 

You can read the rest here.

(HT: Hershel York)

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The progressive wish to replace marriage

In the larger debate over gay marriage, progressives have typically resisted the conservative argument that gay marriage “redefines” marriage. That is why they dismiss natural law arguments about the meaning and nature of marriage. They regard such arguments as irrelevant to the question.

But Brian Epstein argues in The New York Times that progressives need to get over that and admit what they are really doing. I quote at length: Continue Reading →

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Tough review of N. T. Wright’s 2-volume work on Paul

John Barclay has written a hard-hitting review of N. T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. If you know anything about the interactions between Barclay and Wright over the last several years, you will not be surprised that Barclay comes down pretty hard on Wright. Barclay concludes:

The stimulus offered by this book will be lessened, and perhaps cancelled, by its persistently shrill and overheated rhetoric.

Ouch. Like I said; it’s a tough review. Read the rest here. Continue Reading →

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Wrapping a Lie in the Cloak of Faith

Secular journalist, Matt Lewis, tries to explain to secular people why President Obama’s lie about gay marriage is such a big deal to real believers. In short, it is because the President wrapped his lie in a cloak of faith. Lewis writes:

Consider this imperfect analogy. You say, “On the life of my daughter, I’m telling the truth…” and I find out that you lied. The lie itself might be about something terribly minor. But what kind of person would do that?

That’s the problem here. Obama cited his belief in something sacred to buttress an argument he apparently didn’t actually believe. By making his faith an accessory to a lie, he subjected something sacred to something profane.

For the faithful, this really is a damning revelation.

I’m less interested in how Obama feels about gay marriage than I am in the fact that he’s the kind of person who would cite his faith to justify a lie.

Continue Reading →

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Why “50 Shades” is not the same as biblical submission

I hadn’t planned on contributing anything to the 50 Shades meme that appears to be taking over the internet. In fact, I was studiously avoiding it. I changed my mind this morning after watching a CBS News package that deals with female “submission” in relationships (see it here).

The report compares the sado-masochism of 50 Shades of Grey to the submissive roles of two well-known wives, Candace Cameron Bure and Gabby Reece. By the end of the piece, the CBS journalists seem scandalized by Bure and Reece, but it is not clear whether they are equally troubled by 50 Shades of Grey. Continue Reading →

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President Obama’s cynical lie about gay marriage

In his new book, David Axelrod admits that President Obama lied about his views on gay marriage in order to get elected in 2008. In particular, he wished to deceive black voters, whom he knew were largely opposed to gay marriage. Here’s the report from TIME Magazine:

Barack Obama misled Americans for his own political benefit when he claimed in the 2008 election to oppose same sex marriage for religious reasons, his former political strategist David Axelrod writes in a new book, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.

“I’m just not very good at bulls—-ing,” Obama told Axelrod, after an event where he stated his opposition to same-sex marriage, according to the book.
Continue Reading →

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Ravi Zacharias slams President Obama’s reference to the Crusades

Ravi Zacharias has a sharp response to President Obama’s reference to the Crusades last week. I was surprised to see this–mainly because it’s unusual to see Zacharias get so close to the political wood-chipper. But he does it here. For that reason alone, it’s worth passing it along to you. Here’s an excerpt:

For those who did not hear the talk, it is sufficient to say that it was the most ill-advised and poorly chosen reprimand ever given at a National Prayer Breakfast. I have been to several and have never, ever heard such absence of wisdom in a setting such as this. I wasn’t at this one but have heard the speech often enough to marvel at the motivation for such thoughts. President Obama basically lectured Christians not to get on a moral high horse in their castigation of the ISIS atrocities by reminding them that the Crusades and slavery were also justified in the name of Christ. Citing the Crusades, he used the single most inflammatory word he could have with which to feed the insatiable rage of the extremists. That is exactly what they want to hear to feed their lunacy. ?In the Middle East, history never dies and words carry the weight of revenge.

Read the rest here. Continue Reading →

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A Klansman with liberal admirers

“This American Life” recently featured the little-known backstory of Forrest Carter, author of the book The Education of Little Tree. The book has become a modern classic and is read in high school literature classes across the country.

“The American Life” traces the genesis of this book through the dark past of its author Forrest Carter. The result is a riveting piece of Southern history. But it is also a story about hermeneutics. Perhaps what it illustrates above all is the central role that authorial intent plays in our interpretation of texts. Is The Education of Little Tree a story of humanity and conservation, or is it a thinly veiled tribute to Jim Crow racism? I don’t know if we know the answer to that question. But the answer really does come down to what the author intended when he wrote it. Once you hear the author’s story, there is more than a reasonable doubt about his good intentions.

You can listen to the story below beginning at 7:15. Highly recommended.

Continue Reading →

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