Theology for the Church

In an article today at “Between the Times,” Danny Akin and Bruce Ashford remind us that the calling of SBC seminaries is “to serve the churches of the SBC.” They issue four challenges to that end, but it was number two that caught my eye as an educator in an SBC school:

“A second challenge for the seminaries is to produce ministry-minded graduates instead of seminary eggheads. The brutal fact is that seminaries sometimes produce students who can discourse on theological abstractions but who are detached from real-life ministry.” Continue Reading →

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Desiring God’s 1% Campaign

If you’ve benefitted from Desiring God’s free online resources over the years (as I have), then I encourage you to consider giving a monthly donation. They are having a “1% Campaign” right now to encourage users to contribute. Here’s a message from Executive Director Jon Bloom explaining the rationale for the campaign. This is a wonderful ministry, and I hope you’ll take time to check it out.

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Richard Hays on Homosexuality

I’ve been working on an article about the New Testament’s teaching on the moral status of homosexuality. In my research, I have been helped time and again by Richard Hays’s careful scholarship. Today, I’ve been reading an article that he wrote back in 1986 on the meaning of “nature” in Romans 1:26-27.

In particular, Hays confronts an assumption that is often held by Christians and non-Christians alike. The assumption goes like this. Actions are sinful only if they are chosen. If an action is not chosen, then it cannot be sinful. With respect to homosexuality, some people argue that homosexuality is an orientation that one is born with, not something that one chooses. Therefore, homosexuality cannot be immoral because it is an innate quality (like skin color or gender). Hays writes in response to this argument: Continue Reading →

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Oil Spill Forecast

This graphic shows a likely dispersal pathway for the oil spill over the next several months. It assumes that the spill runs continually from April 20 to June 20. As you can see, the oil moves around the Gulf coast, up the eastern seaboard, and out into the Atlantic. The Associated Press reports it this way:

“Oil could enter the Gulf’s loop current, go around the tip of Florida and as far north as Cape Hatteras, N.C. According to researchers, oil could threaten East Coast beaches by early July… The oil could then head by Bermuda on its way to Europe.”

Pray this ends soon.

(HT: Timmy Brister)

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on John Wooden

“To lead the way Coach Wooden led takes a tremendous amount of faith. He was almost mystical in his approach, yet that approach only strengthened our confidence. Coach Wooden enjoyed winning, but he did not put winning above everything. He was more concerned that we became successful as human beings, that we earned our degrees, that we learned to make the right choices as adults and as parents. In essence he was preparing us for life.” –New York Times

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Andrea Bocelli’s Pro-life Story

I didn’t know that Bocelli’s own story was a pro-life one, but it is. What makes testimonials like this one so powerful is that they cut through all the distracting garbage that afflicts the abortion debate in our culture. Stories like this one slice right through the morally bankrupt arguments of pro-choicers. Who could say with a straight face to Bocelli, “Your mother could have had you killed in utero, and that would have been a good decision too”?

When you clear away all the confusing legal arguments and debates, the bottom line is this. Unborn babies are persons. They aren’t pre-human; they are human. It’s wrong to kill innocent persons. It’s beautiful and right to affirm and value human life—especially in difficult situations. Bocelli is but one more reminder of that simple truth.

(HT: Tim Challies)

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Rob Plummer’s 40 Questions

I mentioned a while back that I’ve been reading through Rob Plummer’s new hermeneutics primer 40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible. It has been an excellent read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a smart, introductory-level text on biblical interpretation. I’ll wager it’s the only hermeneutics book in history with endorsements as illustrious and varied as Darrell Bock, Kevin Vanhoozer, and Jerry Vines.

Don’t let the title fool you though. This is not a book of 40 random questions thrown together haphazardly. The book has four parts treating the following topics: (1) text, canon, and translation, (2) interpretation and meaning, (3) biblical genres, and (4) issues in recent discussion. The 40 questions are arranged systematically under these headings. So the questions range from “What is the Bible?” to “Who determines the meaning of a text?” to “How do we interpret poetry” to “What is ‘Speech Act Theory’?” (and a host of others). Continue Reading →

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Are you a Varsity or JV Christian?

For many years, I believed that Christianity had a Varsity squad and Junior Varsity squad. The JV squad consisted of those who had accepted Jesus as their Savior, and the Varsity squad of those who had accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord. I saw members of both squads in my own church. I believed that baseline Christianity was JV. These were the people who were going to Heaven but who nevertheless didn’t care very much about Jesus. I believed that Elite Christianity was only for the few varsity players. These were the people who not only weren’t going to hell but who also followed Jesus in this life on their way to Heaven.

I didn’t know it at the time, but my two-tiered view of the Christian life was influenced by Keswick theology. This theology colored my spiritual worldview in some very unhelpful ways. It affected my evangelism, since I thought it was my job to recruit for the JV squad only. It affected my ecclesiology, since I thought widespread carnality among church members was the norm. I thought all churches were comprised of some members who really loved Jesus and of some who didn’t. Continue Reading →

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GCR in a Nutshell

Trevin Wax has a helpful primer defining the issues surrounding the SBC’s “Great Commission Resurgence.” In particular, he summarizes the report from the Great Commission Task Force and how the debate has shaken-out heading into the convention in Orlando in a couple of weeks. Here it is: “GCR in a Nutshell.”

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Caffeine Doesn’t Help After All

I gave up my caffeine addiction last Fall after my doctor told me I needed to do so for health reasons. I loved my morning coffee, and I didn’t want to give it up. I am not a morning person, and I thought I needed the morning jolt to get me going. Nevertheless, I got on-board with the doctor’s instructions, and now my morning fix has given way to my morning decaf. Notwithstanding the brief withdrawal period, it really hasn’t been that big of a deal. Continue Reading →

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