Saturday, May 24, 2014

All Around the Web - May 24, 2014

John Stonestreet - What Does Cultural Engagement Look Like Now? 
Yesterday I spoke with you about the increasing hostility toward those of us who disagree with the ongoing normalization of homosexual conduct and so-called “gay marriage.” In recent months we’ve seen people as varied as pro football players, TV stars, restaurant owners, wedding photographers, and others face fines, suspensions, and even the loss of their livelihoods for failing to celebrate the new sexual orthodoxy.

We’re going to have to get used to it, I’m afraid. At a recent prayer breakfast in Washington, DC, Professor Robert George, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said it more eloquently than I can.

“The days of acceptable Christianity are over. “It's no longer easy to be a faithful Christian. They threaten us with consequences if we refuse to call what is good, evil, and what is evil, good. They demand us to conform our thinking to their orthodoxy, or else say nothing at all.”

The Atlantic - Why Libraries Matter

Kevin DeYoungTheological Primer: Law and Gospel
We obey the commandments, therefore, not in order to merit God’s favor, but out of gratitude for his favor.

Don’t forget that the Ten Commandments were given to Israel after God delivered them from Egypt. The law was a response to redemption not a cause of it. We must never separate law from gospel. In one sense, the law shows us our sin and leads us to the gospel, but in another sense, the law ought to follow the gospel just as the giving of the Decalogue followed salvation from Egypt. Likewise, Ephesians 2 first explains salvation by grace and then instructs us to walk in the good deeds prepared for us (v. 10). Romans first explains justification and election, and then tells us how to live in response to these mercies (Rom. 12:1).

In short, we obey the law in gratitude for the gospel. As Louis Berkhof observed, we distinguish between the law and the gospel, but always as “the two parts of the Word of God as a means of grace” (Systematic Theology, 612).

Books at a Glance - Tribute to Tom Nettles by Albert Mohler
Tom Nettles will be remembered as one of the most legendary teachers in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention, and that’s appropriate because he’s written the history of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is known as a classroom teacher of excellence who shares from his heart and his mind with his students and who allows his passion for subject matter to be demonstrated not only in the fervency of his teaching, but in his personal testimony.

Tom Nettles will also be remembered as one of the bravest figures in Baptist history for the work he did in the 1970’s with Baptists and the Bible. Tom Nettles and Russ Bush ended the argument once and for all and demonstrated that the historic Baptist position on Scripture was the total and absolute truthfulness of the Word of God. The inerrancy controversy in the Southern Baptist Convention would have ended very differently if Tom Nettles had not put himself and his academic career on the line in the defense of the total truthfulness of God’s word.

Perhaps more than anything else, Tom Nettles will be remembered as one who honored the founding convictions of the Southern Baptist Convention. He insisted at every conceivable point that this denomination was established as a deeply theological people and that the theology of the founders mattered. For Tom Nettles, the faith of the founders has been not only a matter of history but of his own personal conviction and fervent teaching.

Thom Rainer - Pews, Chairs, or Something Else in the Worship Center?
  • There are really three choices of seating instead of two. Most of the debate is between pews and chairs. But there are really two choices beyond pews. Design/build firms often call the latter two pew chairs and theater seats.
  • Pew chairs refer to the mobile, stackable chairs. They can be moved and configured as needed. They tend to be a bit more expensive than comparable seating of regular pews.
  • Theater seats are fixed and not mobile. They are typically bolted to the floor.
  • According to design/build experts, the actual capacity of pews is much lower than the stated capacity. In fact, pews are considered full when they are at 70% of stated capacity. Pew chairs fill at 80% capacity. And theater seats fill at 90% capacity. So, from this perspective, theater seats are more economically efficient.
  • Pew chairs engender greater flexibility, but the church must have a place to store them when they are not in use in the worship center. Frankly, many church leaders are surprised to discover how much space those chairs actually need for storage.
  • The parking capacity of the church is directly impacted by the type of seating chosen. Zoning authorities look at the seating capacity to determine the number of parking places a church must have. Theater seats fare better here, because each seat is counted as a capacity of one. Pew capacity related to parking counts one person for every 18 inches. For the record, most of us can’t fit in 18 inches, so more parking is required beyond the real capacity. If a church has the moveable stacking chairs, the number of chairs is irrelevant to parking. Instead, the total square feet of the assembly space is calculated.
  • Pews tend to have more sentimental attachments, particularly in more liturgical churches. But a number of non-liturgical church members express strong emotional attachments to pews as well.
  • Because Americans are getting larger, many of the pew chairs and the theater seats must be larger. So more churches are getting both 21 inch and 24 inch seats. The latter, obviously, reduces seating capacity.
  • Theater seats allow for easier cleaning and easier access because they fold up when someone is not sitting in them. Obviously, that is not the case with pews and pew chairs (stackable chairs). Both have to be moved to clean around and under them.

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