Tuesday, September 3, 2013

All Around the Web - September 3, 2013

Thom Rainer - Why People Love Their Pastor: Three Observations and Seven Reasons

Three Observations

Before you jump down and read the results of my survey, allow me to make some observations from this poll and other information I have gleaned. I delineate those observations into three points.
  1. Church members overwhelmingly love their pastors. It was amazing to see both the quickness and the volume of responses to my simple question. Church members were eager to express their love for their pastors.
  2. Church members often don’t express their love for their pastors. Church members are more likely not to say anything about their pastors than express their love for them. But if they are specifically asked, they respond with overwhelming love.
  3. The critics and naysayers often drown out those who love their pastors. The negative people in the church tend to be loud but in the distinct minority. As a consequence, pastors often feel like the naysayers represent the majority. Most of the time, the vast majority of the members are very positive about their pastors, but they are quiet as well.

Ed Stetzer - Four Reasons Jesus' Ascension Matters

The benefits of the ascension are many:

  • When Jesus ascended and sat down at the Father's right hand, the Father verified the accomplishment of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and confirmed that the final payment for sin had been made (Heb. 10:11-14).
  • When Jesus ascended, the intercessory work of Jesus on behalf of His people began. In this ministry, we are assured that we will always have access to the Father forever (1 John 2:1).
  • When Jesus ascended, His eternal reign over all enemies began. As Peter wrote, "Now that He has gone into heaven, He is at God's right hand with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him" (1 Pet. 3:22).
  • Finally, when Jesus ascended, the church was empowered to accomplish its mission. In Ephesians 1:22-23, writing about Jesus' resurrection and ascension, Paul said, "[God the Father] put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way."

CNS News - 'Duck Dynasty' Star Blasts Abortion Culture: 'What in the World Happened to Us?'

Justin Taylor - An Interview with Ligon Duncan

What are your hopes and dreams for the future of RTS?

First, I want RTS to remain faithful. We live and minister in a day and age unfriendly to the commitments of confessional Christianity in the setting of higher education. RTS has stood firm in the storms of late modernity, and Gospel-believing churches and institutions here and around the world need for us to continuing standing firm. I want the students who attend to know that they will hear the truth taught right out of God’s holy, inspired, and inerrant word. I want churches and our fellow evangelical universities and seminaries to know that they can count on us to hold fast our confession and stand on the word of God.

Second, I want RTS to remain missionary in its orientation. Another unofficial motto of ours is “Standing firm, but not standing still.” One of the things we mean by that is that we aren’t aiming to just hang on. We want to deploy our resources for the Savior. We want to be outward and forward looking. To “attempt great things for God and expect great things from God.” This is exactly what Al Mohler was emphasizing at Southern Seminary in his two famous convocation addresses. The first was titled: “Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!” It emphasized standing on the truth of the Bible. The second was called: “Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something!” It emphasized deploying the truth in ministry and mission. That is what we want to do at RTS. When the PCA was formed one of our unofficial slogans was “True to the Bible, the Reformed Faith and Obedient to the Great Commission.” The PCA founders signified thereby that they stood not only for biblical faithfulness and doctrinal adherence, but for missionary boldness. Those aspirations are part of the RTS ethos.
It is clear now that all of us who share evangelical commitments are going to be sailing into stiff cultural headwinds. As Calvinists, that doesn’t surprise us. After all, we believe in depravity. People rejecting the truth isn’t a shocker. But we also believe in God’s sovereignty and so, instead of responding to increasing cultural resistance by filling up our moats with alligators and pulling up the draw bridge, we go forth with the blessing of the Father, in the name of Christ and in the strength of the Holy Spirit, and we expect the Gospel to work, because it is the power of God unto salvation.
I could share pages and pages of hopes and dreams for RTS, but one good place you could go to read my heart is “The Plan of a Theological Seminary” (1811) which was the founding document for old Princeton. You’ll find a copy in Mark Noll’s The Princeton Theology. If I may paraphrase one of its beautifully worded and biblically grounded emphases, at RTS, we want “to form men for the Gospel ministry who will truly believe and cordially love the biblical truth of Reformed Theology, and who therefore will endeavor to preach, propagate, and defend it, in its genuineness, simplicity and fullness” and “thus extend the influence of true evangelical piety and Gospel order.”

Ross Douthat - War, What Is It Good For? | You need to read the whole thing to understand the context and the argument.

MY fellow Americans, I’m speaking to you tonight because, at my orders, the United States has begun punitive strikes against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. 

There’s a formula to this kind of address: some references to the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding inside Syria’s borders, some nods to the international community’s support, some claims about the threat the Assad regime poses to American interests, and finally a stirring peroration about freedom, democracy and human rights. 

But it’s my second term, and I’m awfully tired of talking in clich├ęs. 

So let’s be frank: Striking Syria isn’t going to put an end to the killing there or plant democracy in Damascus, so it’s hard to make the case that our values are really on the line.

Beautiful Eulogy is back.

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