Wednesday, June 20, 2012

All Around the Web: Links For Your Wednesday - June 20, 2012

Christian Post - Southern Baptists Experiencing Accelerating Decline in Membership |

Membership in the Southern Baptist Convention dropped again over the last year, according to a new report. The largest Protestant denomination in the country now counts less than 16 million members.

This marks the fifth straight year the SBC has lost members. Primary worship attendance has also dropped by 0.65 percent to around 6.16 million.

One Southern Baptist and researcher lamented that the denomination is not only experiencing decline but an acceleration of decline.

Compared to a 0.15 percent drop from 2009 to 2010, membership fell by 0.98 percent from 2010 to 2011.

Scriptorium - Readings on the Trinity (Class Outline) | A good guide on resources for reading on the Trinity from the perspective primarily of church history.

Week 1: B. B. Warfield, “The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity” (from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1915), and Fred Sanders, “The Trinity,”  (from the Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology, 2007).
Week 2: The Gospel of John, and a book about it by Andreas K√∂stenberger and Scott Swain, Father, Son, and Spirit: The Trinity in John’s Gospel.
Week 3: Tertullian: Against Praxeas (ca. 165).
Week 4: Gregory of Nazianzus, The Five Theological Orations (379). 
Weeks 5 and 6: Augustine, On the Trinity (ca. 420).
Week 7: John of Damascus, Book I of On the Orthodox Faith (ca. 740).
Weeks 8 and 9: Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia, Treatise on the Blessed Trinity (Prima Pars, questions 27-43 (ca. 1270).
Week 10: John Owen, On Communion with God. (1657)
Week 11: Karl Barth, “The Way of the Son of God into the Far Country” (1953).
Week 12: Wolfhart Pannenberg, “The Trinitarian God” (1988).
Week 13: Fred Sanders, The Deep Things of God (2010)

Tim Challies - What the Bible Says About the Heaven Books | Challies has been a leader in criticizing and critiquing the renewed rise of books from people claiming to have been to heaven. They have dominated the New York Times best-seller list for years now and for Christians we must be extremely careful in joining the chorus. I have read some of these books before and one common theme among them is how culturally contemporary they are. They reflect cultural understanding of the afterlife, not Scriptural understanding.

After writing about this new genre of I went to heaven books, I received many comments and emails asking me about biblical examples of those who glimpsed heaven—John in the book of Revelation, Paul in 2 Corinthians, Isaiah in his prophecy. I will address this briefly today.
There are several themes in today’s “I went to heaven” books:
  • Each of the people experienced heaven after dying a natural death. In every case, the soul had left the body so the person was clinically and spiritually dead.
  • After the experience of heaven, each of the people was restored to life so that the soul returned to the body and the body was no longer clinically or spiritually dead.
  • Each of the people describes as much as they can remember and does so in order to offer encouragement and in order to validate what the Bible says.

IMB - Songhai Kingdoms | I went on a mission trip a few years ago to Niger, Africa and got to work with Southern Baptist missionaries who were seeking to reach the Songhai with the gospel. It was an amazing experience. The International Mission Board (IMB) has put together the following video.

EMarketeriPad Use to Nearly Double This Year | The world continues to change.

eMarketer predicts the number of iPad users in the US will rise by over 90% this year to 53.2 million, as loyal users replace older models and new consumers purchase the device. This year, the iPad will continue to be in the hands of more than three-quarters of all tablet users in the country.

That level of growth is down significantly from last year’s 143.9% jump, and will continue to decline; by 2015, the number of iPad users will rise by just under 12%. By then, more than one-third of all US internet users will have such a device.

Venture Beat - Microsoft Surface vs Apple iPad: the battle of the specs | Not sure it will top the iPad, but I'm certainly interested in seeing what Microsoft has to offer here.

A few notes:

Microsoft clearly wins in terms of ports. The company has obviously made that a point of competitive pride — it’s not even a contest. That’s mostly because that is not a field that Apple chooses to compete on, and many people may not care. Be that as it may, there are some who will like more options to connect their tablet and other devices.

For many of the sensors, especially internal ones such as a gyroscope, ambient light sensor, or accelerometer, Microsoft has not yet released data. Very likely many or most of these will be included. On others, such as cameras, Microsoft has revealed that there is both a front and rear camera, but we don’t have any specs on it yet.

Similarly, though we know that the Surface models have an ARM processor (Surface RT) or an Intel processor (Surface Windows 8), we have no information on the CPU speed or the amount of connected RAM. That data will come in time.

All I can say right now is, the world just got more interesting.

The post-PC race has just begun, and we’ve all got front-row seats.

NT Blog - John the Baptist's Bones have been found -- again! | Well . . . not quit.

According to the article, the radiocarbon research was carried out by Oxford professors Thomas Higham and Christopher Ramsey.  Also mentioned is "Dr Hannes Schroeder, who carried out the research", who is quoted as saying, "Of course, this does not prove that these were the remains of John the Baptist but nor does it refute that theory."

I will watch the story with my usual mixture of interest and scepticism.  It may perhaps be worth mentioning that the only reports we have about John's body post-mortem is the report of his disciples burying his body (Mark 6.29).  Perhaps later on, after his secondary burial, some of the same disciples saved a few bones for posterity to be carried half way across Europe a few centuries later, no doubt leaving a few bones in each of several other countries too, Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Italy.

Oh, and it's all connected, of course, to a National Geographic TV documentary this weekend

The Blaze - Here Are 41 Joe Biden Expressions You Must Know | Here is my favorite:

Yahoo! News - Marco Rubio Not Being Vetted to Be Mitt Romney's Running Mate | I think Rubio would be the best pick for Romney. I'm really surprised, if this report is true, that he isn't even being vetted. Expect Rob Portman or Chris Christy to be the pick. Put don't forget about Bobby Jindal.

Even before the Republicans chose a presidential nominee it was widely assumed that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would be at the top of anybody's list of vice presidential candidates. The reasons are obvious: Not only is he young, charismatic and wildly popular with conservatives, but he could also help Republicans win a key state (Florida) and make inroads with Hispanics.

But knowledgeable Republican sources tell me that Rubio is not being vetted by Mitt Romney's vice presidential search team. He has not been asked to complete any questionnaires or been asked to turn over any financial documents typically required of potential vice presidential candidates.

Although it is possible that Rubio may yet be asked to go through the vetting process, it has been nearly two months since Romney named his long-time aide Beth Myers to run his vice presidential search. The fact that Rubio has not been asked to turn over any documents by now is a strong indication that he is not on Romney's short list of potential running mates.

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