Author Archive | Denny Burk

The Law of Merited Impossibility Comes True

I do not relish the cultural conflagration that we are facing right now over LGBT rights. I have been writing about this for over a decade now, and I am astonished how quickly and radically things have changed in such a short period of time. But it’s not merely that popular opinion has shifted in favor of gay marriage and transgender identities. It’s that popular opinion has become openly contemptuous of those of us who still believe what the Bible teaches about sexuality and gender.

At the beginning of the 2010’s before the tide had turned, there were warnings about what was coming. Two in particular come to mind—one from Rod Dreher and the other from Robert George. In those days, gay marriage advocates would often say things like, “How does gay marriage hurt your marriage?” On the surface, the proponents of gay marriage proposed a “live and let live” arrangement: “Give us gay marriage, you have your view of marriage, and we’ll all co-exist.” Continue Reading →

Third and Seventeen to the Championship

Earlier this evening, the LSU Tigers defeated Clemson for the college football national championship. If you want to understand this season, then you have to go all the way back to the beginning.

I knew that something was different from the first game, but the signature moment of the season happened in the second game which was against the Texas Longhorns. LSU’s offense dominated that game, but Texas was somehow able to keep the score close into the fourth quarter. Continue Reading →

Ten Exhortations concerning Gossip Blogs and Online Speech

I’ve read two different reports this week from Christian news sites written specifically to refute what amounts to online gossip and slander. I’m thankful that the stories were written even as I grieve that they needed to be written. They are worthy reports, but I’m not even going to link them here so as not to give any more oxygen to the slanders they were written to refute.

It is astonishing how many people run gossip-blogs or gossip-social-media accounts in the name of Christ and of “discernment.” Even more astonishing to me is how many readers mistake such gossip and slander for actual discernment.

Of course, we are all tempted to speak carelessly from time to time, especially when we feel like our cause is just or when we feel like we’ve been wronged. Nevertheless, the book of James warns us of the enormous power our words have—of their potential for great good and for great harm (James 3:6-10). Continue Reading →

A plan to read the Greek New Testament in a year

Several years ago, I created a plan to read through the Greek New Testament in a year. For the most part, it tracks pretty closely with Lee Irons’ excellent schedule for reading the Greek New Testament in a year. My plan, however, varies a little bit. Because John’s writing is simpler Greek, my schedule goes through John’s Gospel at a faster pace than Irons’. As a result, there are no readings scheduled at the end of the year from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. These open dates at the end can be used as catch-up days. The schedule is given in two formats below.

DOC – Read the Greek NT in a Year

PDF – Read the Greek NT in a Year

If you are serious about reading, you might consider Zondervan’s reader’s edition of the Greek New Testament (pictured at top right). This volume contains the text of the UBS Greek New Testament. It provides definitions of Greek words that appear in the New Testament fewer than 30 times. This helps readers with less common vocabulary and allows them to focus on reading, comprehension, parsing, and grammatical issues. It’s available now from Amazon.com.

Top Ten YouTubes of the 2010’s

At the end of every year, I like to post a round-up of my favorite viral videos from the year. As we close out 2019, I thought it might be fun to do a round-up of the top videos from the last decade. As usual, this ranking is totally unscientific. Only one person was polled to compile this list—yours truly. Also, there actually more than ten, but who’s counting? If you think I’ve missed one, let me know on Twitter, and I’ll consider giving it an “honorable mention.” Enjoy!

If you’re interested, here are links to lists from previous years:

2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

Continue Reading →

CT’s deeply flawed article about tax exemptions for churches

Christianity Today has a jaw-dropping cover-story arguing against tax-exempt status for churches. Paul Matzko of the Cato Institute authors the piece and concludes:

It might not be such a bad thing to lose tax-exempt status. We should consider, at the very least, the cost of maintaining this kind of cultural privilege. The true church of God, after all, is not reliant on its special status in the tax code. We can walk by faith and not by government largess. (p. 49)

It’s disappointing that this piece appears in a magazine of “evangelical conviction.” It’s a thesis that is way out of touch with rank-and-file evangelical attitudes about tax-exemption. Indeed, the effect of such a policy would be draconian for many churches and houses of worship.

Continue reading…

A postscript on a Twitter thread about choosing a college

I read an interesting little essay by King’s College professor David Talcott last week. It was the title that caught my eye: “Don’t Assume Because A College Is Christian It’s A Safe Place For Your Kid.” Talcott’s essay dealt largely with left-leaning political views on campuses, but near the end he made a comment about theological first principles:

Christian education today is still in many ways excellent and the deeply religious culture of these institutions… can be a wonderful place for spiritual growth. But on matters related to sex, gender, and politics, it is “buyer beware” and “trust, but verify.”

Parents and donors who care about Christian higher education remaining Christian for the long-term need to ask pointed questions of the institutions to which they entrust both their children and their donation dollars. We can no longer assume that everything is okay simply because the school has always been Christian and conservative.

After all, Harvard University was founded to train Christian ministers. Schools have drifted before and they can do so again. Based on the available evidence, it’s already happening.

As I said, Talcott’s article dealt largely with left-leaning political views that dominate so many campuses. But it was this last part that I felt was most important. A campus’s culture is determined largely by what its deepest convictions are, and those convictions are irreducibly theological. Continue Reading →

A Plan to Read through the Bible in 2020

In years past, my customary mode for reading through the Bible every year involved starting in Genesis and reading right through to Revelation. I estimated that about four chapters per day would get me through in under a year’s time. The method worked reasonably well, but it wasn’t without its problems. Sometimes I would miss a day (or days) and get behind, and I had no way to keep up with my progress. I needed a schedule so that I could keep myself accountable for finishing in a year.

In 2009, therefore, I did something I had never done before. I followed a Bible reading plan. I adopted Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Calendar for Daily Readings. It provided the schedule that I needed. It also outlined daily readings from different sections of the Bible. On any given day, I would be reading something from an Old Testament narrative, something from the prophets, and something from the New Testament. Although this plan provided the accountability that I needed, I found it difficult to be reading from three to four different biblical books every day. I know that not everyone is like me, but that approach lacked the focus that my brain requires. I missed reading the Bible in its canonical arrangement and focusing on one book at a time. I wished for a schedule that would go from Genesis to Revelation in canonical order. Continue Reading →

Top 10 YouTubes of 2019

It’s time for my annual posting of the Top 10 YouTube Videos of the Year (see last year’s list here). This ranking is totally unscientific. Only one person was polled to compile this list—yours truly. This year’s slate of videos has both humor and humanity with some other odds and ends thrown in. If you think I’ve left something out, let me know. I’ll think about adding it to the “Honorable Mention” category at the bottom.

If you’re interested, here are links to lists from previous years:

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

Continue Reading →

Let every heart prepare him room!

How could there possibly be anything more mysterious and wonderful than the incarnation of Jesus Christ? God became a man. God took on mortal human flesh. Even though he himself was unfallen, he subjected himself to the brokenness of this fallen world. He sneezed. He coughed. He got headaches and an upset stomach. Every morning he got up, shook the dust out of His hair, and put his hand to the plow in his Father’s field.

The incarnate Son of God was obedient even to the point of death. And three days later, what was mortal became swallowed up by immortality in the resurrection.

Even now, the resurrected Christ sits at the right hand of God in glory. As I type these words, the incarnate God intercedes in the flesh for His people before the Father (Romans 8:34).

And it all began in a manger 2,000 years ago. No, actually, we have to go nine months before that—when Jesus Christ was first conceived by the Holy Spirit within the virgin Mary, when the God-Man was an embryo. “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. . . The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:30, 35).

How can it be that God has come in the flesh? How can it be that he is in the flesh now? Yet this is precisely what the Bible teaches. “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).

As we ponder the imponderables of God, let us never cease to be amazed at the manifold mercies of God that have come to us through the incarnation of King Jesus. Let every heart prepare Him room.

Merry Christmas!

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