Friday, January 30, 2015

Christiana at the Cross

From part 2 of John Bunyan's book Pilgrim's Progress which tells the story of Christian's wife, Christiana's, pilgrimage.
Christiana said, "Now I remember the Gatekeeper told us we would come to the word and deed by which we are pardoned. The word is the promise, and the deed was the way our pardon was obtained. I know something of the promise, but of the deed and how it should be obtained, I don't know. Mr. Great-Heart, if you know, please tell us."

"We are redeemed from sin at a price," said Great-Heart. "And that price was the blood of your Lord, who came and stood in your place. He has performed righteousness to cover you and the spilled blood to wash you in."

"But if he parts with his righteousness to us, what will he have for himself?"

"He has more righteousness than you have need of, or than he needs himself."

 "now I see that there was something to be learned by our being pardoned by word and deed. Good Mercy, let us labor to keep this in mind. And my children, you remember it also. But, sir, was this not what made my good Christian's burden fall of his shoulder and made him give three leaps for joy?"

"Yes, it was the belief of this that ut those strings that could not be cut by any other means."

"My heart is ten times lighter and more joyous now," said Christiana, "yet it makes my heart ache to think he bled for me."

"There is not only comfort and ease of a burden brought to us by the sight and consideration of these things, but an endeared affection that is born in us by it. For who can but be affected with the way and means of redemption, and so with the Man who worked it for him?"

"It makes my heart bleed to think that he should bleed for me," said Christiana. "You deserve to have me; You have bough me. You deserve to have all of me, for You have paid for me ten thousand times more than I am worth."

For more:
Pilgrim's Progress: The Heart is Made Clean

All Around the Web - January 30, 2015

Justin Taylor - The Drop Box: A Heart-breaking and Hope-giving Documentary on Orphan Care

Denny Burk - Will Christians be allowed to serve as judges in California?

The Gospel Coalition - Why the Prosperity Gospel Is the Worst Pyramid Scheme Ever

Trevin Wax - The Surprising Good News of Hell, Judgment, and Holy War

Doug Wilson - 11 Theses on the Meaning of Scriptural Authority

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

From Lewis's Pen: Far Too Easily Pleased

From The Weight of Glory:
If you asked twenty good men to-day what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.(25-26)

AlL Around the Web - January 28, 2015

Russell Moore - Abortion and the Gospel

Kevin DeYoung - 9 Myths about Abortion Rights and Roe v. Wade

Justin Taylor - Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: 9 Months in 4 Minutes

Joe Carter - Who Do You Say I Am? – A Mormon and an Evangelical Discuss Jesus

New York Times - Study Finds Reading to Children of All Ages Grooms Them to Read More on Their Own

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Martin Luther on how John 1:1 Contradicts Modalism & Arianism

In the introduction of each chapter in his book Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar (Zondervan, 2003), Dr. William Mounce applies the Greek lesson to the practice of exegesis assuring the reader that the work they are about to do is worth the effort. In his chapter on nominatives and accusatives, Dr. Mounce discusses John 1:1 and argues that the lack of article before theos ("God" - in the nominative case) shapes our Christology and Trinitarian theology by referencing Martin Luther. He writes, As Martin Luther said, the lack of an article is against Sabellianism; the word order is against Arianism (27).

I have often wanted to read Luther's argument on this in more detail and finally found it. In his Sermon for the Principal Christmas Service: Christ's Titles of Honor; His Coming: His Incarnation; and the Revelation of His Glory (taken from John 1:1-14), Luther explains how John 1:1 contradicts both modalism (or Sabellianism) and Arianism.

On Arianism
The Arian heretics intended to draw a mist over this clear passage and to bore a hole into heaven, since they could not surmount it, and said that this Word of God was indeed God, not by nature, however, but by creation. They said that all things were created by it, but it had also been created previously, and after that all things were created by it. This they said from their own imagination without any authority from the Scriptures, because they left the simple words of the Scriptures and followed their own fancies.

Therefore I have said that he who desires to proceed safely on firm ground, must have no regard for the many subtle and hair-splitting words and fancies, but must cling to the simple, powerful, and explicit words of Scripture, and he will be secure. We shall also see how St. John anticipated these same heretics and refuted them in their subterfuges and fabrications.

Therefore we have here in the Books of Moses the real gold mine, from which everything that is written in the New Testament concerning the divinity of Christ has been taken. Here you may see from what source the gospel of St. John is taken, and upon what it is founded; and therefore it is easy to understand.

This is the source of the passage in Ps. 33, 6: "By the Word of Jehovah the heavens were made." Solomon in beautiful words describes the wisdom of God, Prov. 3, 22, saying that this wisdom bad been in God before all things; and he takes his thoughts from this chapter of Moses. So almost all the prophets have worked in this mine and have dug their treasures from it.

But there are other passages by this same Moses concerning the Holy Ghost, as for example in Gen. 1,2: "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Thus the Spirit of God must also be something different from him who breathes him into existence, sends him forth, and yet he must be before all creatures. Again, Moses says in Gen. 1, 28-31: "God blessed the creatures, beheld them, and was pleased with them." This benediction and favorable contemplation of the creatures point to the Holy Ghost, since the Scriptures attribute to him life and mercy. But these passages are not so well developed as those which refer to the Son; consequently they are not so prominent. The ore is still halfway in the mines, so that these passages can easily be believed, if reason is so far in subjection as to believe that there are two persons. If anyone will take the time and trouble to compare the passages of the New Testament referring to the Holy Ghost with this text of Moses, he will find much light, as well as pleasure.

Now we must open wide our hearts and understanding, so as to look upon these words not as the insignificant, perishable words of man, but think of them as being as great as he is who speaks them. It is a Word which he speaks of himself, which remains in him, and is never separated from him. Therefore according to the thought of the Apostle, we must consider how God speaks with himself and to himself, and how the Word proceeds from within himself. However, this Word is not an empty sound, but brings with it the whole essence of the divine nature. Reference has been made in the Epistle to the brightness of his glory and the image of his person, which constitute the divine nature, so that it accompanies the image in its entirety and thus becomes the very image itself. In the same manner God of himself also utters his Word, so that the whole Godhead accompanies the Word and in its nature remains in, and essentially is, the Word.

Behold, here we see whence the Apostle has taken his language, when he calls Christ an image of the divine essence, and the brightness of divine glory. He takes it from this text of Moses, when he says that God spoke the Word of himself; this can be nothing else than an image that represents him, since every word is a sign which means something. But here the thing signified is by its very nature in the sign or in the Word, which is not in any other sign. Therefore he very properly calls it a real image or sign of his nature.

The word of man may also in this connection be used in a measure as an illustration; for by it the human heart is known. Thus we commonly say: I understand his heart or intentions, when we have only heard his words; as out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks, and from the word the heart is known, as though it were in the word. In consequence of this experience the heathen had a saying: Qualis quisque est talia loquitur. (As a man speaks, so is he). Again: Oratio est character animi (Speech is an image of the heart). When the heart is pure it utters pure words, when it is impure it utters impure words. With this also corresponds the gospel of Matthew, 12, 34, where Christ says: "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." And again, "How can ye, being evil, speak good things?" Also John the Baptist says, John 3, 31: "He that is of the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he speaketh." The Germans also have a proverb: "Of what the heart is full, overfloweth out of the mouth." The bird is known by its song, for it sings according to its nature. Therefore all the world knows that nothing represents the condition of the heart so perfectly and so positively as the words of the mouth, just as though the heart were in the word.

Thus it is also with God. His word is so much like himself, that the Godhead is wholly in it, and be who has the word has the whole Godhead. But this comparison has its limits. For the human word does not carry with it the essence or the nature of the heart, but simply its meaning, or is a sign of the heart, just as a woodcut or a bronze tablet does not carry with it the human being, but simply represents it. But here in God, the Word does not only carry with it the sign and picture, but the whole being, and is as full of God as he whose word or picture it is. If the human word were pure heart, or the intention of the heart, the comparison would be perfect. But this cannot be; consequently the Word of God is above every word, and without comparison among all creatures.

There have indeed been sharp discussions about the inner word in the heart of man, which remains within, since man has been created in the image of God. But it is all so deep and mysterious, and will ever remain so, that it is not possible to understand it. Therefore we shall pass on, and we come, now to our Gospel, which is in itself clear and manifest.

"In the beginning was the Word."

What beginning does the Evangelist mean except the one of which Moses says: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth?" That was the beginning and origin of creation. Other than this there was no beginning, for God had no beginning, but is eternal. It follows, therefore, that the Word is also eternal, because it did not have its origin in the beginning, but it was already in the beginning, John says. It did not begin, but when other things began it was already in existence; and its existence did not begin when all things began, but it was then already present.

How prudently the Evangelist speaks; for he does not say: "In the beginning the Word was made," but it was there," and was not made. The origin of its existence is different from the beginning of creation. Furthermore he says: "In the beginning." Had he been made before the world, as the Arians maintain, he would not have been in the beginning, but he would have himself been the beginning. But John firmly and clearly maintains: "In the beginning was the Word," and he was not the beginning. Whence has St. John these words? From Moses, Gen. 1, 3 "God said, Let there be light." From this text evidently come the words: "In the beginning was the Word." For if God spoke, there had to be a Word. And if he spoke it in the beginning, when the creation began, it was already in the beginning, and did not begin with the creation.

But why does he not say: Before the beginning was the Word? This would have made the matter clearer, as it would seem; thus St. Paul often says: Before the creation of the world, etc. The answer is, because, to be in the beginning, and to be before, the beginning, are the same, and one is the consequence of the other. St. John, as an Evangelist, wished to agree with the writings of Moses, wished to open them up, and to disclose the source of his own words, which would not have been the case had he said: "Before" the beginning. Moses says nothing of that which was before the beginning, but describes the Word in the beginning, in order that he can the better describe the creation, which was made by the Word. For the same reason he also calls him a word, when he might as well have called him a light, life or something else, as is done later; for Moses speaks of a word. Now not to begin and to be in the beginning are the same as to be before the beginning.

But if the Word had been in the beginning and not before the beginning, it must have begun to be before the beginning, and so the beginning would have been before the beginning, which would be a contradiction, and would be the same as though the beginning were not the beginning. Therefore it is put in a masterly way: In the beginning was the Word, so as to show that it has not begun, and consequently must necessarily have been eternal, before the beginning.

"And the Word was with God."

Where else should it have been? There never was anything outside of God. Moses says the same thing when he writes: "God said, Let there be light." Whenever God speaks the word must be with him. But here he clearly distinguishes the persons, so that the Word is a different person than God with whom it was. This passage of John does not allow the interpretation that God had been alone, because it says that something had been with God, namely, the Word. If he had been alone, why would he need to say: The Word was with God? To have something with him, is not to be alone or by himself. It should not be forgotten that the Evangelist strongly emphasizes the little word "with." For he repeats it, and clearly expresses the difference in persons to gainsay natural reason and future heretics. For while natural reason can understand that there is but one God, and many passages of Scripture substantiate it, and this is also true, yet the Scriptures also strongly oppose the idea that this same God is only one person.
On Seballianism/Modalism
Thus arose the heresy of Sabellius, who said: The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are only one person. And again Arius, although he admitted that the Word was with God, would not admit that he was true God. The former confesses and teaches too great a simplicity of God; the latter too great a multiplicity. The former mingles the persons; the latter separates the natures. But the true Christian faith takes the mean, teaches and confesses separate persons and an undivided nature. The Father is a different person from the Son, but he is not another God. Natural reason can not comprehend this; it must be apprehended by faith alone. Natural reason produces error and heresy; faith teaches and maintains the truth; for it clings to the Scriptures, which do not deceive nor lie.

"And God was the Word."

Since there is but one God, it must be true that God himself is the Word, which was in the beginning before all creation. Some change the order of the words and read: And the Word was God, in order to explain that this Word not only is with God and is a different person, but that it is also in its essence the one true God with the Father. But we shall leave the words in the order in which they now stand: And God was the Word; and this is also what it means; there is no other God than the one only God, and this same God must also essentially be the Word, of which the Evangelist speaks; so there is nothing in the divine nature which is not in the Word. It is clearly stated that this Word is truly God, so that it is not only true that the Word is God, but also that God is the Word.
 On how John refutes both in a single verse:
Decidedly as this passage opposes Arius, who teaches that the Word is not God, so strongly it appears to favor Sabellius; for it speaks as though it mingled the persons, and thereby revokes or explains away the former passage, which separates the persons and says: The Word was with God.

But the Evangelist intentionally arranged his words so as to refute all heretics. Here therefore he overthrows Arius and attributes to the Word the true essential of the Godhead by saying: And God was the Word; as though he would say: I do not simply say, the Word is God, which might be understood as though the Godhead was only asserted of him, and were not essentially his, as you, Arius, claim; but I say: And God was the Word, which can be understood in no other way than that this same being which every one calls God and regards as such, is the Word.

Again, that Sabellius and reason may not think that I side with them, and mingle the persons, and revoke what I have said on this point, I repeat it and say again:

"The same was in the beginning with God."

The Word was with God, with God, and yet God was the Word. Thus the Evangelist contends that both assertions are true: God is the Word, and the Word is with God; one nature of divine essence, and yet not one person only. Each person is God complete and entire, in the beginning and eternally. These are the passages upon which our faith is founded and to which we must hold fast. For it is entirely above reason that there should be three persons and each one perfect and true God, and yet not three Gods but one God.

If your still with me or maybe you've skipped to the end, here is Luther's basic argument as explained by James Cantelon in his book Theology for Non-Theologians: An Engaging, Accessible, and Relevant Guide
Martin Luther used one Scripture to expose the error of both heresies. He alluded to John 1:1 and said, "'the Word was God' is against Arius; 'the Word was with God' is against Sabellius."

For more on the Trinity:
Ware on the Trinity & Relationships
"For the Doctrine of the Trinity" by RC Sproul
DeYoung on the Trinity 

For more from Luther:
Martin Luther: The Reluctant Revolutionary
Luther on the Estate of Marriage
Martin Luther on the Secular/Sacred Dichotomy
"I fly Unto Christ": Luther on Imputation For When the Devil Accuses
We Preach Christ: Martin Luther, the Apostle Paul, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ "The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther" by Steven Lawson: A Review
Luther on the Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration
Luther on the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 1
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 2
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 3
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 4
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 5
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 6 
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
The 95 Theses, 490 Years Later
For Reformation Day:  An Insightful Documentary  

All Around the Web - January 27, 2015

Thom Rainer - Six Observations about Speaking to Pastors Right Before They Preach

The Gospel Coalition - 9 Things You Need to Know About Widows

Justin Taylor - Bonhoeffer: Beware of Community, Beware of Being Alone

Justin Taylor - An Interview with David Dockery

TIME - What Wikipedia’s First Users Got Wrong

Do you want to know what's wrong with America?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Free eBook: "The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make" by Hans Finzel

Today only, the good folks at David C. Cook Books are making Hans Finzel's book The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make available for free as a digital download. Here is the publisher's description:

Although leadership is the hot topic on conference agendas and book tours, most people who find themselves in positions of leadership have little or no training for the role. They simply continue to make the same old mistakes.

With additional and newly updated material, this leadership classic reveals the most common errors that leaders consistently make-regardless of training or age-and the way to stop these bad habits from undermining their positive talents and accomplishments.

Whether you are leading a company, a ministry, a Girl Scout troop, or your family, The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make is a must-read for anyone who wants to lead others effectively.

"If you're like me, you've grown weary of the published cookie-cutter approaches on how to lead effectively. And so has Hans Finzel. He drills to the core of the current issues on effective leadership."?
-Charles R. Swindoll, author and president of Dallas Theological Seminary

"Rise" by Trip Lee: A Review

The only way you can rise is if you rise with Him. . . .
If you’ve submitted yourself to Jesus, your new life has already begun. There’s no in-between phase where we just exist in a youth, college, or young singles ministry. You’re a real human being, a real follower of Christ, a real world-changer right now. If you’ve been given new life, why would you wait to start walking in it? It’s a new day, the sun is shining in the window, and we should rise early instead of sleeping in. (11)

Perhaps the greatest frustration I had with youth ministry which plagued, not just the youth but also their parents and the leaders of the church reflects the cultural baggage that goes unnoticed within the church. That frustration is simply that we have low expectations of young people. Leadership is for the adults – who often do so out of duty rather than delight. Spiritual and theological depth is for more seasoned veterans, not students.

In his book Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story, artist and author Trip Lee (under 30 himself) calls on Christians in general and young people in particular to, as he puts it, “get up and live." Lee challenges the cultural assumption that students are to “wait their turn” exhorting them, and those in leadership, raise the bar and set higher goals for students.

If God has saved you, then now is the time to get to work. Get up and live. Right now!

I am sure many reading this review will be familiar with Lee’s work. He is a successful rapper who has established a large following. He is, personally, one of my favorite such artists. It is his music, and its deep and worshipful content, that has drawn me to both of his books (read my review of his first book The Good Life here). Lee bleeds his love for our Savior and his theology is rich. He is the sort of model young people need.

This is what makes this book a delight to invest in. Its content is not deep or difficult to grasp. There were areas where I thought Lee could have expanded or explored more but his audience isn’t well-educated preachers, but everyday believers and everyday Christian students.

I cannot praise the overall message of the book enough. We in the church have settled for too little from our own ranks and repentance is our only option going forth. As our culture becomes more secular and hostile to Christianity, the same-old watered-down spirituality will not suffice. We must demand that all of us, young and old, pick up their cross and follow Jesus. Trip Lee is a voice calling for such repentance. I pray we heed his call.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I review for BookSneeze

From the album "Rise":

For more:
"The Good Life" by Trip Lee: A Review
Hip Hop Theology: I am a Robot
GBC - Trip Lee - "War" 

All Around the Web - January 26, 2015

Russell Moore - The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage: Why This Matters for the Church

The Washington Post - ‘Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’ actually didn’t; books recalled

New York Observer - State Senators Look to Introduce ‘Death With Dignity’ Legislation This Month

John Stonestreet - The War on Christians

Bloomberg - Netflix Weighs Expansion in Hotels With Marriott TV Service

Friday, January 23, 2015

Exhortations Without the Gospel Are Legalistic

From Graeme Goldsworthy book Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture:
[W]e are legalists at heart. We would love to be able t say that we have fulfilled all kinds of conditions, be they tarrying, surrendering fully, or getting rid of every known sin, so that God might truly bless us. It is a constant temptation to want to take our spiritual pulse and to apply the sanctification barometer. This is not necessarily the same as the worthwhile discipline of self-examination. Self-examination is a way of uncovering and coming to terms with the very problem under review. True self-examination is a means of going back to the source of our salvation b/c it reminds us of the constant need of grace.

The preacher can aid and abet this legalistic tendency that is at the heart of the sin within us all. All we have to do is emphasize our humanity; our obedience, our faithfulness, our surrender to God, and so on. The trouble is that these things are all valid biblical truths, but if we get them out of perspective and ignore their relationship to the gospel of grace, they replace grace with law. If we constantly tell people what they should do in order to get their lives in order, we place a terrible legalistic burden on them. Of course we should obey God; of course we should love him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. The Bible tells us so. But if we ever give the impression that it is possible to do this on our own, not only do we make the gospel irrelevant, but we suggest that the law is in fact a lot weaker in its demands than it really is. Legalism demeans the law by reducing its standards to the level of our competence. There is a hopelessly misleading adage that one hears from time to time, and from people who ought to know better, that God does not require of us anything that we cannot give. This implies either that God requires less than perfection, or that perfection is less than perfect b/c we can achieve it. In fact the law of God was not framed according to the sinful human ability to keep it, but as an expression of the perfect character of God.

In practical terms, if we as preachers lay down the marks of the spiritual Christian, or the mature church, or the godly parent, or the obedient child, or the caring pastor, or the responsible elder, or the wise church leader, and if we do this in a way that implies that conformity is simply a matter of understanding and being obedient, then we are being legalists and we risk undoing the very thing we want to build up. We may achieve the outward semblance of conformity to the biblical pattern, but we do it at the expense of the gospel of grace that alone can produce the reality of these desirable goals. To say what we should be or do and not link it with a clear exposition of what God has done about our failure to be or do perfectly as he wills is to reject the grace of God and to lead people to lust after self-help and self-improvement in a way that, to call a spade a spade, is godless. (118-119)

All Around the Web - January 23, 2015

Justin Taylor - 5 Scientific Problems with Current Theories of Biological and Chemical Evolution

The Gospel Coalition - 7 Reasons to Teach Our Children Church History

Thom Rainer - Eight Reasons Why Some Full-time Pastors and Staff Should Go Bivocational

The Blaze - Did Moses Really Exist? Filmmaker’s New Archaeological Exploration Examines Historical Merits of the Exodus

Mirror - Facebook now crops up in a third of divorce cases over cheating and old flames

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Free eBook: "On Guard" by William Lane Craig

Today, the good folks at David C. Cook is offering their book On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision by philosopher and apologists William Lane Craig. The forward is written by Lee Strobel and this is a deal you don't want to pass up.

Here is the description:
This concise guide is filled with illustrations, sidebars, and memorizable steps to help Christians stand their ground and defend their faith with reason and precision. In his engaging style, Dr. Craig offers four arguments for God’s existence, defends the historicity of Jesus’ personal claims and resurrection, addresses the problem of suffering, and shows why religious relativism doesn’t work. Along the way, he shares his story of following God’s call in his own life.
This one-stop, how-to-defend-your-faith manual will equip Christians to advance faith conversations deliberately, applying straightforward, cool-headed arguments. They will discover not just what they believe, but why they believe—and how being on guard with the truth has the power to change lives forever.

The Gospel According to the Epistle to Titus

Recently I completed a series of eight sermons through the Pauline pastoral book of Titus. The audio and notes from those sermons are available below.

Titus 1:1-4

Titus 1:5

Titus 1:5-9

Titus 1:10-16

Titus 2:1-10

Titus 2:11

Titus 2:11-15

Titus 3:1-8
Titus 3:9-15

For more:
Revival Sermons
Sermon Resources on the Gospel of Matthew

All Around the Web - Early Gospel of Mark Fragment

Recently, news broke about a very early fragment of the Gospel of Mark that likely dates within the first century was released. If true, this is a huge deal. Below are a few links in regards to that news.

Justin Taylor - How Should We Respond to Reports that a Fragment of Mark Dates to the First Century?

Joe Carter - Mummy Mask May Reveal Oldest Fragment of the Gospel of Mark

Ben Witherington - Earliest Fragment of Mark’s Gospel Apparently Found

Live Science - Mummy Mask May Reveal Oldest Known Gospel

Evangelical Textual Criticism - Questions about "First Century Mark"

Denny Burk - Possible first-century copy of Mark’s Gospel discovered

Michael Bird - More on Alleged First Century Fragment of Mark

The Blaze - Bible Scripture Found Hidden in Mummy Mask Could End Up Being the Oldest Gospel Ever

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The State of Our Union 2015

Here is the President's speach:

Here is the Republican response

For more:
The State of Our Union 2014
The 2013 State of the Union Address & Responses
The State of Our Union 2012
The State Of Our Union 2011
The Contrast Are Clear: Obama and Jindal's Proposals
President Obama's Second Inaugural Address

From Spurgeon's Pulpit: Weep Over Your Sin

From his sermon on Titus 3:4-8 - The Maintenance of Good Works:
Eyes that have wept over our own sin will always be most ready to weep over the sins of others. If you have judged yourselves with candor, you will not judge others with severity. You will be more ready to pity than to condemn, more anxious to hide a multitude of sins than to punish a single sinner. I will give little for your supposed regeneration if there is not created in you a tender heart which can truly say— 

“My God, I feel the mournful scene;
My heart yearns over dying men;
And gladly my pity would reclaim,
And snatch the firebrands from the flame.” 

All Around the Web - January 21, 2015

Kevin DeYoung - Ten Books that Have Shaped Me as a Christian

The Gospel Coalition - Get More Rings in Your Tree

Joe Carter - When Was the Exodus? – A Review of ‘Patterns of Evidence: Exodus’

John Stonestreet - Radical Islam, Secularism and Christianity

Chicago Tribune - Men who post lots of selfies may have psychopathic traits, study says

Monday, January 19, 2015

From Spurgeon's Pen: Preach Christ

From Lectures To My Students:

Of all I would wish to say this is the sum; my brethren, preach Christ, always and evermore. He is the whole gospel. His person, offices, and work must be our one great, all-comprehending theme. The world needs still to be told of its Saviour, and of the way to reach him. Justification by faith should be far more than it is the daily testimony of Protestant pulpits; and if with this master-truth there should be more generally associated the other great doctrines of grace, the better for our churches and our age. If with the zeal of Methodists we can preach the doctrine of Puritans a great future is before us. The fire of Wesley, and the fuel of Whitfield, will cause a burning which shall set the forests of error on fire, and warm the very soul of this cold earth. We are not called to proclaim philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel. Man's fall, his need of a new birth, forgiveness through an atonement, and salvation as the result of faith, these are our battle-axe and weapons of war. We have enough to do to learn and teach these great truths, and accursed be that learning which shall divert us from our mission, or that willful ignorance which shall cripple us in its pursuit. More and more am I jealous lest any views upon prophecy, church government, politics, or even systematic theology, should withdraw one of us from glorying in the cross of Christ. Salvation is a theme for which I fain enlist every holy tongue. I am greedy after witnesses for the glorious gospel of the blessed God. O that Christ crucified were the universal burden of men of God. Your guess at the number of the beast, your Napoleonic speculations, your conjectures concerning a personal Antichrist--forgive me, I count them but mere bones for dogs; while men are dying, and hell is filling, it seems to me the veriest drivel to be muttering about an Armegeddon at Sebastopol or Sadowa or Sedan, and peeping between the folded leaves of destiny to discover the fate of Germany. Blessed are they who read and hear the words of the prophecy of the Revelation, but the like blessing has evidently not fallen on those who pretend to expound it, for generation after generation of them have been proved to be in error by the mere lapse of time, and the present race will follow to the same inglorious sepulchre. I would sooner pluck one single brand from the burning than explain all mysteries. To win a soul from going down into the pit is a more glorious achievement than to be crowned in the arena of theological controversy as Doctor Sufficientissimus; to have faithfully unveiled the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ will be in the final judgment accounted worthier service than to have solved the problems of the religious Sphinx, or to have cut the Gordian knot of Apocalyptic difficulty. Blessed is that ministry of which Christ is all.

All Around the Web - January 19, 2015

Thom Rainer - Nine Observations about Announcements in Worship Services

The Gospel Coalition - Why the Church Needs Intergenerational Friendships

Westminister Seminary - A Pastor’s Reflections: What Should I Read to Prepare for Seminary?

The Blaze - Fire Chief Loses His Job After Controversy Over Christian Book He Wrote — and Here’s the Bible Verse Atlanta’s Mayor Used Against Him

The Blaze - 1795 Time Capsule Buried By Sam Adams, Paul Revere Opened In Boston

Sunday, January 18, 2015

An Example of Good Exposition By Alister Begg

One of my favorite expositors is Alistair Begg. Here is a series of three sermons he preached from Titus 3:9-15, the very end of the short letter, that is a great example of biblical exposition.

Titus 3:9-11 - Steer Clear!

(video not embeddable)

Titus 3:12-14 - Ordinary People and Everyday Events

Titus 3:15 - Grace Be With You All

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Shrewd Apologetic: Doug Wilson's Take on Beowulf

I have recently discovered the ancient Old English epic poem Beowulf and have enjoyed reading and studying it. Its writer is likely a monk during the early Middle Ages and most scholars argue it was passed along through oral tradition and the monk(s) reinterpreted the epic poem to be more Christian. Most interpret the poem as a type of syncretistism merging both pagan and Christian elements.

In an article for Touchstone Magazine Doug Wilson argues otherwise. Wilson has released a new translation of the classic tale and offers some great insight and a new perspective in it. He suggests that Beowulf is actually a "shrewd apologetic" for Christianity in a post-pagan, newly Christianize England. He writes:
Our poet is no conflicted monk, reading James Joyce under the covers at night with a flashlight. A thoroughly Christian poet is not showing us this paganism to say, “See, pagans can be noble too—even without Jesus!” Rather, he is refusing to engage in a fight with a heathen straw man of his own devising. He acknowledges the high nobility that could be present in that culture, but then bluntly shows us that same nobility at the point of profound despair.

The effect is extremely potent. Instead of saying that nobility is possible without Christ, the poet shows that such nobility does not keep a people from being utterly and completely lost. Though a heroic poem about pagans that never mentions Christ, Beowulf is the opposite of syncretistic compromise. It is written to highlight the treachery as a way of life that afflicted these pagan societies from within, and the greed and plunder as a way of life that afflicted them from without (whether they were the marauders or the victims).

Our poet shows us this pagan hopelessness in a period of history just before their conversion to the Christian faith. He is recounting the testimony of his people, and, just as with modern testimonies, the sin is highlighted.
To defend his thesis, Wilson turns to the history behind the poem. The epic leaves the Geats in a hopeless situation and one may wonder why. Wilson suggests its because the original readers already knew the historic sequel: the Christians were coming. He writes:
Beowulf kills Grendel shortly before A.D. 521 and comes to the throne of the Geats shortly after. We know this because Gregory of Tours gives us a hard date for the disastrous raid on the Frisians that occurred just before Beowulf became king.

Now the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to the Christian faith began in earnest about seventy years later, in the 590s. If we place the Beowulf poet in the early eighth century (as some reasonably do), he is writing just one century after the Anglo-Saxons began this process, and only about fifty years after it was generally concluded.

. . . Paganism was still the faith of numerous other European tribes and peoples. That world was dead and gone for them, but it was not “long ago and far away.”

The Christian faith has not yet arrived in the pages of Beowulf. Nevertheless, the first audience knew that it was just about to arrive, and that the world described in that poem was a world that was shortly to pass away. Everyone would know about the great unspoken sequel.
Then, after summarizing the internal and external sin of individuals and society at the time as portrayed through the villains Grendel, his mother, and the dragon, Wilson asks the question he believes the epic poem is asking, What can be done to save this people from their lost condition? By the end of the poem, it is absolutely certain that there is nothing that the people of this culture can do themselves about their lostness. Though Beowulf is the hero, and a type of Christ if you will, he certain is no Jesus. He fights dragons and defeats enemies, but the problem is found within. He, too, like all the heroes before him, cannot save man.

He then concludes:
If Hrothgar is the penultimate Viking hero, Beowulf is the ultimate Viking hero. And yet everything they do still comes to nothing, and must come to nothing. The true hero, who is standing just off stage as the poem ends, is Christ.

He is the savior-hero, and everyone who first heard this poem was expecting him, and was worked over by the poem to long for him. But it cannot be emphasized too strongly that this coming Christ was a different kind of hero, one who conquered by dying, and not by killing.

The people described in this great poem would be quite eager to hear a preaching monk. And I cannot imagine that a king like Wiglaf would turn such a monk away.
I appreciate what Wilson does here. He has certainly reimagined this classic tale, fitting it within its historic and theological context, yet he has left out some other important details. Yes Grendel, his mother, and the dragon do represent a type of sin that must be defeated, yet the reader realizes that "I" am no different. We are no different.

At the same time, notice precisely what Beowulf does. In my review of this tale, I concluded highlighting some of the parallels between the metanarrative of Scripture and the epic of Beowulf:
So though it would be farce to suggest that Beowulf is Christian, there are certain themes in the story that medieval, and even modern, Christians can (and should) resonate with. Beowful, in essence, is portrayed not just as a hero who has won many battles, but as a slayer of demons and dragons. He is alien (Geatish) who comes to save a foreign people from the demons Grendel and his mother and eventually a hellish dragon. And he does so alone.

Near the end of the poem, the narrator tells us simply, yet profoundly from the Christian perspective, that after the death of the dragon that Now the serpent lies dead (74). That is the hope of the Christian story and the reference to Grendel's mother and Cain is by no means an accident. Beowulf is a fantasy that reflects the battle of the seeds narrative of Scripture from Genesis 3:15 to the end of Revelation. . . . Though Beowulf is a flawed character who suffers death (an enemy he cannot defeat), his story is similar to that of Christ who comes as more than a hero, a Savior who conquers demons (see Mark 5:1-20) and the dragon - the serpent of old (Isaiah 27:1; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2).

The poem, then, is not just great literature, it reminds us Christians why we live by hope. Our hope is not that a hero might come and protect us from one of many enemies, but that in the end, God Himself will conquer the enemies of death, depravity, and the dragon himself. That process began at the incarnation of Christ and will be finished at the parousia.
To miss these themes in Beowulf is to miss the point and context of the Beowulf we possess. I have no doubt the original version was much different, more pagan, and certainly less Christian. Yet this is the version we possess. This is the classic we love. I appreciate and embrace what Wilson does here. He shows just how shrewd an apologetic the author is. Christianity changes things. Its arrival leads to civilization. Its departure, as we are witnessing now in the West, will return us back to barbarity.

Doug Wilson - The Anglo-Saxon Evangel

For more:
"Beowulf": A Review
Beowulf: Resources and Links
Clash of the Gods: Tolkien's Monsters Documentary
"The Fellowship of the Ring" by J. R. R. Tolkien: A Review 
"The Two Towers" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
"The Return of the King" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
An Encouraging Thought: Gandalf on Providence 
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Dramatized Audio
"Beyond The Movie": A National Geographic Documentary on the Lord of the Rings

All Around the Web - January 16, 2015

Albert Mohler - Religious Liberty vs. Erotic Liberty — Religious Liberty is Losing

The Gospel Coalition - What to Say to Church Members Leaving for Bad Reasons

Parchment and Pen - Intolerance is Bad. Inequality is Bad. But What About Intolerance Inequality?

Thom Rainer - Seven Ways Pastors and Church Staff Find Jobs

The Atlantic - What Happens to a Woman's Brain When She Becomes a Mother

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spurgeon: You Were Giving Yourself a Horse

From Charles Spurgeon:
Once upon a time there was a gardener who grew an enormous carrot. He took it to his king and said, “My lord, this is the greatest carrot I’ve ever grown or ever will grow; therefore, I want to present it to you as a token of my love and respect for you.” The king was touched and discerned the man’s heart, so as he turned to go, the king said, “Wait! You are clearly a good steward of the earth. I own a plot of land right next to yours. I want to give it to you freely as a gift, so you can garden it all.” The gardener was amazed and delighted and went home rejoicing. 

But there was a nobleman at the king’s court who overheard all this, and he said, “My! If that is what you get for a carrot, what if you gave the king something better?” The next day the nobleman came before the king, and he was leading a handsome black stallion. He bowed low and said, “My lord, I breed horses, and this is the greatest horse I’ve ever bred or ever will; therefore, I want to present it to you as a token of my love and respect for you.” But the king discerned his heart and said, “Thank you,” and took the horse and simply dismissed him. The nobleman was perplexed, so the king said, “Let me explain. That gardener was giving me the carrot, but you were giving yourself the horse. 

-See Trevin Wax, Counterfeit Gospels, 57

All Around the Web - January 15, 2015

Justin Taylor - Porn: Human Trafficking at Your Finger Tips

Denny Burk - The firing of Atlanta fire chief is an intolerable precedent

Thom Rainer - 10 Distractions Regarding Worship Music

Eric Metaxas - Science, God, and the Improbability of Life

Obeying Christ - Stop Beating Up the Church

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Beowulf: Resources and Links

Earlier today I posted a review of the epic poem Beowulf. Below are a number of documentaries and other resources associated with the classic that I believe are worth your time and investment.

Clash of the Gods - Beowulf (History Channel)

In Search of Beowulf (embeding disabled) - This is a good BBC documentary that explores the world of Beowulf and interacts with the Christian vs. pagan themes in the book.

Beowulf (2007) Movie Trailer


Audiobook - you can download this podcast in mp3 form.

J. R. R. Tolkien - Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics - The person that has shaped modern Beowulf scholarship the most in the last century is without a doubt JRR Tolkien. This article, based on a lecture he gave, is the reason why.

For more:
"Beowulf": A Review
Clash of the Gods: Tolkien's Monsters Documentary
"The Fellowship of the Ring" by J. R. R. Tolkien: A Review 
"The Two Towers" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
"The Return of the King" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
An Encouraging Thought: Gandalf on Providence 
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Dramatized Audio
"Beyond The Movie": A National Geographic Documentary on the Lord of the Rings

"Beowulf": A Review

Listen. We have learned the song of the glory of the great kings of the Danes, how those princes did what was daring.

Never while in grade or high school would I have ever desired more assigned English classical reading. Certainly after having to read a number of Shakespearean greats along with other literary classics, the last thing I wanted to do in high school was read an ancient poem from the Middle Ages. However, when it comes to Beowulf, such adolescent conventional wisdom would have been wrong.

After watching a History Channel special on the story and a similar documentary on works that influenced J. R. R. Tolkien I became interested enough to go to my local library and read the epic poem for myself. I chose William Alfred's translation of the tale included in the book Medieval Epics which, in addition to Beowulf, includes three other ancient tales none of which I read or are familiar with.

The challenge in reviewing a classic like this centers around my status as an amateur fan of the poem. In other words, I always kept a copy of SparkNotes next to me for help. Needless to say, if you are looking for rare insight into a classic that scholars have poured over, debated, and dedicated entire thesis', disertations, and academic articles to, you've turned to the wrong place. However, as a pastor and theologian, a number of things stuck out to me worth sharing on this blog.

First, the story. The plot centers around three epic battles that Beowulf, a Geat, fights. He is an outsider who has heard that a demon is murdering innocent civilians of Hrothgar's kingdom. He comes as a hero[1] seeking glory for the avenging the Skyldings. The first villain is Grendel, a demon the anonymous author describes as a creature beyond salvation (14). No physical description of Grendel is ever given and the reader is left to their own imagination as to what he looks like.[2] Nonetheless, Grendel is a demonic being who merciless murders anyone and everyone (but the king) at the mead-hall where there is celebration. Singing and glad tidings seem to conjure up the vile beast, that devil to mankind (15).

Beowulf's first battle is with Grendel and he wins by severing the beasts arm. The victory over that hateful stalker (15) leads to more celebration until Grendel's mother, a descendent of Cain (she is not given a name), avenges her son's death. She too is vile, demonic, and merciless. Beowulf is absent during her rampage against the Skyldings, but seeks her out later for vengeance. The hero, as before, wins over the she-wolf (46).

The reader is left to assume that now that both mother and son are dead, the narrative is completed. Yet the story quickly skips fifty years and now Beowulf is king who is faced with one last challenge - a challenge that will lead to his death. This last battle is against a dragon who mortally wounds the hero before being killed himself.

The poem ends with the burial of the fallen king/hero. And that is the tale. But as a Christian, why it matters goes deeper than the mere plot.

The story is clearly written by a Christian - perhaps even a monk. There are countless allusions to  "God" and the "Lord God." Yet this is not a Christian tale. The story is actually pagan and the narrator at times makes that clear. Consider for example a few lines before the epic battle against Grendel:
From time to time at heathen sanctuaries, they came right out and promised blood-sacrifices, put into words the prayer that the Demon-Slayer should be of help to them int he face of this disaster striking at the whole people. Such was their religion, such was hope among the heathens. (15)
On the very next page, we are more clearly told that the Skyldings had no knowledge of the Lord God. (16) Many scholars, in my brief research, have highlighted this tension. As Britain was Christianized (if you will), many of the pagan stories of old were modified and it seems that the story of Beowulf went through the same revision.

So though it would be farce to suggest that Beowulf is Christian, there are certain themes in the story that medieval, and even modern, Christians can (and should) resonate with. Beowful, in essence, is portrayed not just as a hero who has won many battles, but as a slayer of demons and dragons. He is alien (Geatish) who comes to save a foreign people from the demons Grendel and his mother and eventually a hellish dragon. And he does so alone.

Near the end of the poem, the narrator tells us simply, yet profoundly from the Christian perspective, that after the death of the dragon that Now the serpent lies dead (74). That is the hope of the Christian story and the reference to Grendel's mother and Cain is by no means an accident. Beowulf is a fantasy that reflects the battle of the seeds narrative of Scripture from Genesis 3:15 to the end of Revelation. As a Christian pastor and theologian, this is why I love this tale so much. Though Beowulf is a flawed character who suffers death (an enemy he cannot defeat), his story is similar to that of Christ who comes as more than a hero, a Savior who conquers demons (see Mark 5:1-20) and the dragon - the serpent of old (Isaiah 27:1; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2).

The poem, then, is not just great literature, it reminds us Christians why we live by hope. Our hope is not that a hero might come and protect us from one of many enemies, but that in the end, God Himself will conquer the enemies of death, depravity, and the dragon himself. That process began at the incarnation of Christ and will be finished at the parousia.

Come Lord Jesus quickly!

[1] In the movie, Hrothgar actually says that what they need is a hero.
[2] The connections between Beowulf and J.R.R. Tolkien's tales from Middle Earth are many. I will highlight only a few. First, Tolkien has written one of the most important scholarly articles on Beowulf called Beowful: The Monster & the Critics. Furthermore, the phrase "the lord of the rings" appears on page 65 of the book cited above. The Hobbit is a story about a dragon, just like Beowulf. Finally, some have suggested that Tolkien's schizophrenic character Gollum was inspired by Grendel. More could be added, but these stick out to me.
[2] We have clear evidence of this. In 797 AD, theologian Alcuin wrote a letter to Bishop Higbald of Lindisfarne questioning the interests among monks with pagan, heroic legends. He asked simply, What has Ingeld to do with Christ? Ingeld, interesting enough, is mentioned by name in Beowulf.

For more:
Clash of the Gods: Tolkien's Monsters Documentary
"The Fellowship of the Ring" by J. R. R. Tolkien: A Review 
"The Two Towers" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
"The Return of the King" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
An Encouraging Thought: Gandalf on Providence 
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Dramatized Audio
"Beyond The Movie": A National Geographic Documentary on the Lord of the Rings

All Around the Web - January 14, 2015

Ben Withington - News Weak—- The Problems with Mr. Eichenwald’s Article

The Gospel Coalition - Advice to Young Pastors from Bryan Chapell, Miguel Núñez, and Darrell Bock

Denny Burk - Some Shortcomings of Modern Views on Gender Identity

The Blaze - The 10 Most Dangerous, Deadly and Horrific Places in the World to Be a Christian — and the Worst Could Be Yet to Come

True Woman - What to Say to That Immodestly Dressed Girl at Church

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - Complete Series

I have said before that not all books are created the same. Some are barely worth cracking the spine. Others are simply a regurgitation of old arguments. Certain books, however, deserve to be devoured slowly. It has been my attempt the past few years on this website to explore such books.

Recently I concluded blogging through the book Baptists Through the Centuries: A History of a Global People. Shortly after beginning the book, it became clear that the author, Dr. David Bebbington, has penned a book worth further exploration.

Since we have completed our series, below you will find the links to each article exploring the book. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of the book yourself.
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - Introduction
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - Roots in the Reformation
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - The Anabaptists 
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - The General vs. the Particular Baptists
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - 18th Century Revival
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - Theological Polarization
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - Baptists and the Social Gospel
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - Baptists and Race
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - Baptists and Women
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - Church, Ministry, & Sacraments
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - Baptists and Religious Liberty
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - Baptist Identity

Here are the other books we have explored.

All Around the Web - January 13, 2015

Carl Truman - A Medieval Perspective on Modern Identity Politics

Denny Burk - Gov. Jeb Bush’s ambivalence on gay marriage

Thom Rainer - Fifteen Trends for Churches in 2015, Part 2

Liberate - The Pressure of Pinterest and the Weight of Facebook

Virtue Online - Scientific Evidence Debunks the Existence of a 'Gay Gene'

Turn the car off!

Monday, January 12, 2015

"A Commentary on Exodus" by Duane Garrett: A Review

Every pastor is constantly on the lookout for high quality commentaries to help them in their preaching and studying of Scripture. Recently I was given a copy of Dr. Duane Garrett's new commentary on one of my favorite Old Testament books, Exodus. The book is simply titled A Commentary on Exodus (Kregel, 2013).

Dr. Garrett was a professor of mine at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he teaches, among other classes, Hebrew. As such I had high expectations on the commentary. Kregel could not have chosen a better scholar to pen a commentary on the second book of Moses.

Each section includes a discussion on the translation and structure of the text followed by a commentary of each verse. The final section regards what the author calls a "Theological Summary of Key Points." This, I find, is a helpful balance of what most readers need in a scholarly commentary.

With that said, one will need to be familiar with the original languages and "scholarly talk." Some commentaries are written for those who have no background in Hebrew or Greek while others spend  more time with the original text realizing that untrained Christians will not be able to follow as easily. This commentary fits within the latter category. The book is well-footnoted and Dr. Garrett's ability to handle Hebrew is evident on every page.

In addition to Garrett's commentary on the text, there is a helpful introduction to Exodus. Those familiar with modern scholarship will not be surprised the amount of space Garrett dedicates to introducing Exodus. Scholars have called into question Mosaic authorship, the date of Exodus, etc. much of which stems from the Documentary Hypothesis. Then there are historic questions, when did the events in Exodus take place, who was the Pharaoh of Joseph and Moses, etc. Garrett handles all of this.

In the end, I would recommend this book to students of Scripture in general and to preachers in particular. Its a great resource to have in your library. The liberation of Israel in Exodus is the cross/resurrection of the New Testament. Therefore, we cannot ignore this text. Garrett offers us a helpful guide to understanding this second book of God's Word.

This book was given to me courtesy of Kregel Publications for the purpose of this review

All Around the Web - January 12, 2015

Trevin Wax - Empty Cathedrals and the Myth of Religious Decline

Denny Burk - How to think and pray about the suicide of a transgender teen

Thom Rainer - Fifteen Trends for Churches for 2015, Part 1

Tim Challies - 5 Reasons We Eat Together as a Family

LifeNews - 10-Eye-Opening Quotes From Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Reliability of the New Testament

All Around the Web - January 9, 2015

Russell Moore - The best books I read this year

First Things - To Defend the Disposable

Church Tech - 12 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Church or Ministry

Bible Gateway - The 100 Crucial Bible Passages to Know

Newsweek - Photos: 10 Years After Indian Ocean Tsunami, the Coast, and Its People Have Bounced Back

Denny Burk - Louis Zamperini – After “Unbroken”