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Archive for October, 2013

Midweek Roundup – 10/30/13

Every Wednesday we like to share a few recent links that you may find informative, insightful, or helpful. The articles and posts will often be related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting break for the middle of your week, encouraging your faith and equipping you for life and ministry.


1. Michael Ives challenges Christians to think carefully about Halloween

I realize that there are many good believers who don’t see a problem with the festivities, and I’m not prepared to discount the evident grace of God that they have. Further, we are, every one of us, filled with sins and blind spots, myself included. But it is troubling to me how little argument is made against Halloween within the Church. So if you’re on the fence – and even if you’re not – may I at least challenge you with the following questions, friend?

2. Carl Trueman on the increasing power of subjective emotion in our society

More seriously, I am struck once again at how the personal preferences of nebulous groups of people and the language of subjective emotion seem to be exerting an increasingly intrusive power over the politics of everyday life. Even the concept of airline security is now coming to be influenced by such. Perhaps this is merely material for wry reflections on contemporary life; maybe it is an ominous sign that the language and logic of public discourse are being permeated and indeed overwhelmed by those psychological and subjective notions of oppression to which there is no possibility of reasoned response and which are thus ultimately inimical to civilized debate and civic freedom.

3. Video: Mike Bird offers some advice to seminarians

Some good advice below from Mike Bird, author of a new biblical and systematic introduction to Evangelical Theology. For more along these lines, see the forthcoming How to Stay Christian in Seminary by David Mathis and Jonathan Parnell.

4. John Piper encourages parents to require obedience from their children

The defiance and laziness of unbelieving parents I can understand. I have biblical categories of the behavior of the spiritually blind. But the neglect of Christian parents perplexes me. What is behind the failure to require and receive obedience? I’m not sure. But it may be that these nine observations will help rescue some parents from the folly of laissez-faire parenting.

5. Paul David Tripp helps us evaluate whether or not we’ve been taken “captive”

Whether it’s the opinion of a friend, the lyrics of a song, the words of a text, an article from a newspaper, the plot of a sitcom, some information on a website, or the worldview of a great movie, your eyes are receiving and your mind is being influenced by a thousand voices every day. Each is telling you how to think, and in telling you how to think, is telling you how to live. We never interpret the events of our lives on the basis of pure objectivity; we’re always influenced by a myriad of cultural and interpersonal influences.

October 30, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »

Christ in All of Scripture – James 2:14-19

 

James 2:14-19

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!


James explores the nature of saving faith. There is a “faith” that cannot save. Such faith has kind words but no deeds, no aid for the naked and hungry. It is “dead” because it rests in ideas, not in a life dependent upon and reflective of Jesus (vv. 14-17). Orthodox theology “apart from works is useless” (v. 20). Demons prove this, since they hold to orthodox ideas about God yet live in terror since they don’t trust him (v. 19).

James does not suggest, then, that faith plus works equals justification. He agrees with Paul that faith alone justifies. But he knows there is a so-called “faith” that is dangerous because it deludes but does not justify. He contrasts that with the faith that does justify—a living faith that by its very nature reflects the One on whom our faith rests, delighting to love others in concrete ways.


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

October 28, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Biblical Studies,Gospel Transformation Bible,Life / Doctrine,New Testament | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

Social Media Isn’t All that Social

At this point, it goes without saying that social media shouldn’t be called “social.” “Anti-social” media would be a better name for it. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, “social” media doesn’t serve to make us any more social at all. In fact, it too often makes us more isolated, more alone.

Real Relationship?

Social media does this through pretension. It pretends to connect us with others while it cheats us out of deep companionship, true knowing, and undistracted time with those we love. It amuses us, seeming to answer our desire for relationship while robbing us of the time we need to know and be known. It purports to establish relationships, while making us jealous of the lives of others, or by giving us a platform to brag about how full of friends and fun our lives are at any particular time. “Here’s my great dessert at this great restaurant with my great friends! Don’t you wish you were me?” is the underlying message.

Our “smart” phones (another misnomer) have only served to make us a society of lonely voyeurs and exhibitionists. Yes, we feel alone—but “smarter” technology isn’t the answer and social media is only compounding the problem.

The True Answer to Our Isolation

The answer to our lostness isn’t found in technological advances, a bigger Twitter following, or more Facebook likes. The answer to our aloneness isn’t technological at all. It is human to its core—not flashy, glitzy, or dreamed up in the Pacific Northwest. The answer to our isolation doesn’t come to us in gigabytes or new apps, but in blood and amniotic fluid, in pain and deep isolation. It is an ancient answer, an answer that was spoken before time. It is an answer Who is as near to you  . . . even nearer to you . . . than that piece of technology you can’t let go of.

The desire to know and be known is deep in of all of us but social media isn’t the answer. Paul knew the answer when he wrote,

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Cor 13:12)

The answer to our aloneness is Love Incarnate and the amazingly great news is that Love incarnate is already among us; in fact, he is one of us. His name is Immanuel, “God with us”, and His purpose is to be with us and among us; to let us know that we are already known and already deeply loved . . . and that he truly understands us—not simply by his omniscience but by life lived as one of us. His media was a stone feeding trough, a hillside with lilies where he fed hungry families, a bloody cross, and an empty tomb . . . and he did it all so that we would know that we are not alone.

Forever Known

Sure, the siren’s song of false relationship blares loudly and incessantly. In fact, you’re probably reading this because you answered her call. But don’t expect her to give you something she can’t. She can’t give you union with another or the knowledge that you are already known. Only the incarnate Christ is able to do that and the good news is that he has. And his life means that you will never be alone.


Elyse M. Fitzpatrick (MA, Trinity Theological Seminary) is a counselor, a retreat and conference speaker, and the head of Counsel from the Cross Ministries. Fitzpatrick has authored 18 books, including her most recent title from Crossway, Found in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ (trailer, excerpt).

 

 

October 25, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Culture,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Author @ 8:00 am | (2) Comments »

Reformation Creeds & Catechisms Now Available on ESVBible.org

 

A new web app is now available for ESVBible.org users: Reformation Creeds & Catechisms. Users of this app will be able to study the Scriptures in concert with the historical creeds and catechisms which undergird our faith.

The Creeds & Catechisms app is completely integrated with ESVBible.org, giving users the ability to keep their own notes, highlight and share verses, and follow daily reading plans.

Reformation Creeds & Catechisms is free for anyone with an ESVBible.org account (found within the apps menu).

For a complete list of available web apps, visit our web app store.

| Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Digital News,ESVBible.org,Mobile Apps,News | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:00 am | (4) Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 10/23/13

Every Wednesday we like to share a few recent links that you may find informative, insightful, or helpful. The articles and posts will often be related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting break for the middle of your week, encouraging your faith and equipping you for life and ministry.


1. The Wall Street Journal profiles Russell Moore and his approach to conservative culture wars

For years, as the principal public voice for the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s biggest evangelical group, Richard Land warned of a “radical homosexual agenda” and pushed for a federal ban on same-sex marriage.

His successor, Russell Moore, sounded a different note when the Supreme Court in June struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. “Love your gay and lesbian neighbors,” Mr. Moore wrote in a flier, “How Should Your Church Respond,” sent to the convention’s estimated 45,000 churches. “They aren’t part of an evil conspiracy.” Marriage, he added, was a bond between a man and a woman, but shouldn’t be seen as a “‘culture war’ political issue.”

2. Barna identifies 3 trends that are redefining the information age

[David Kinnaman] observes, “There are two major forces going on here: Every year people have less time and every year they have more content being thrown at them. This is forcing them to develop the habit of skimming in response to information and content. We are becoming a nation of ‘info grazers.’ For content producers—whether publishers, writers, pastors, teachers, journalists, filmmakers and so on—this means the information age is becoming the distraction age. Consumers are easily distracted and overwhelmed by having to sift through the clutter every day. This feature of modern life is exponential with the rise of digitized information.

3. Sam Storms posts the first of a three-part response to John MacArthur’s controversial Strange Fire conference

Perhaps the best way to illustrate this difference [between cessationists and charismatics] is the way both groups think of God’s presence in times of corporate praise. Think of it this way. When you gather in corporate assembly with God’s people, whether on a Sunday morning or in a small group during the week, what are your expectations with regard to God? Do you view God’s presence as a theological doctrine to be extolled and explained or do you think of it as a tangible reality to be felt.

4. Photo Essay: 12 Hours with Al Mohler

During Southern Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s 20th anniversary convocation day, Towers photographer Emil Handke shadowed the president, capturing the day from every angle.

5. You might be a celebrity Christian wanna be if…

1. You’d rather minister to strangers on the Internet than those in the hospital, nursing home, shut-ins, or orphans. These people cannot do anything to increase your celebrity status.

2. You’re jealous when other godly voices are heard and heeded above your own. God’s glory is no longer your goal, for your voice must be heard.

3. You frequently link to other Celebrity Christians in hope that they’ll notice you, and return the favor. Thus, you rarely link to the articles of anyone who isn’t a celebrity Christian.

October 23, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »