Thursday, July 10, 2014

All Around the Web - July 10, 2014

Joe Carter - 9 Things You Should Know About Islam
1. Islam in Arabic is a verbal noun, meaning self-surrender to Allah (literally: "the god) as revealed through the "message and life of his prophet Mohammed." In the religious sense, Muslim means "anyone or anything that surrenders itself to the true will of God."

2. The Quran (literally meaning "the recitation") is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be the unedited revelation from Allah verbally revealed through the angel Gabriel to Muhammad while he was in a trance-like state. This "revelation" occurred gradually over a period of approximately 23 years concluding in the year of Mohammed’s death. A number of his companions who knew the Quran by heart decided to collect the book in one volume so that it could be preserved. Quranic chapters are called suras and verses are called ayahs.

3. For a believing Muslim, the Quran occupies the position Christ has for Christians. A Muslim should not handle the text unless they are in a state of ritual purity. Readings are preceded by the phrase "I take refuge with God from Satan, the accursed one," and followed by "God almighty has spoken truly." Certain verses are even credited with curative powers (the first sura is claimed to be good for scorpion bites).

Owen Strachan - Video of My Appearance on FOX News’s “Huckabee”

Denny Burk - Are evangelicals changing their views on gay marriage?
Jim Hinch has a rather ambitious analysis of evangelical piety at Politico titled, “Evangelicals Are Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage: And the Bible isn’t getting in their way.” The title reveals the fundamental flaw in this article. The flaw also appears in the fact that Hinch treats members of the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Church of Christ as bellwethers of evangelical opinion. Hinch appears to be a little fuzzy as to what an evangelical is. These are very strange evangelicals indeed—those who give little heed to the authority of scripture and who are members of liberal mainline churches.

To be sure, Hinch mentions some bona fide evangelicals like Rick Warren. But even then, these evangelicals have not in fact changed their views on gay marriage. Many of the profiled “evangelicals” who have accepted gay marriage—like Matthew Vines—have left their churches for more liberal congregations. I daresay that very few would recognize such outliers as representative of evangelical opinion. And that of course begs the question: What is an evangelical?

We can all agree that defining an evangelical is controversial, but many observers still look to David Bebbington’s quadrilateral as a helpful outline of the defining characteristics of evangelicals.

The Gospel Coalition - Wedding Planning that Leads to Worship
Revelation 19 pictures the great culmination of God’s rescue plan—his work of redeeming for himself a people, a bride for his Son. Today we anticipate this future reality as we work and wait, rejoicing in every opportunity to look on the beauty of our Bridegroom and meditate on God’s love for us in Christ.

The more we grow in grace and love, the more we want to be with him. At some point I think every engaged couple says, “We just want to be married.” Similarly, that is the ache in the heart of the Christian growing in love for the Savior—we just want to be with him at last! In a way, planning a wedding is this unique opportunity to do practically what we are all doing figuratively as we await Christ’s return. You look forward with eagerness to the wedding day, but in the meantime there are tasks you must complete and mundane decisions that must be made.

In light of eternity you might think, What does it matter which chairs we choose? Or, Who cares what the centerpieces look like? These are mundane decisions—the banal details that can send an otherwise sane bride over the edge. But while planning a wedding is an unusual experience, having to carry out seemingly pointless tasks is not.

I have two small children, and at this stage in my life many days are a series of seemingly pointless tasks. I change diapers. I wipe noses. I do laundry. I build block towers just to have them knocked down. There are many moments when these things seem insignificant. And yet I know they are not, and here are just two of many reasons why: First, they are the tasks given to me for this season of life by a sovereign God who loves me dearly. Second, these little moments are the means by which God uses me to accomplish a bigger task—loving my children and teaching them the truth of the gospel.

EerdmansComing Soon: New Editions of C. S. Lewis Classics
Although Eerdmans was not the first publisher to bring the works of C. S. Lewis to the United States — that distinction belongs to HarperCollins, which had the foresight to recognize that Mere Christianity, A Grief Observed, The Chronicles of Narnia, and so many other great books ought to make their way across the pond and into the hands of American readers — we are beyond proud to have published four minor gems from the Lewis canon.

In print since the 1960s and ’70s, these books remain timeless treasures of Christian wisdom — and this year, we’ll be releasing them all in handsome new editions worthy of a place in every Lewis fan’s library.

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