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Midweek Roundup – 8/20/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. Sam Storms on what it means that Jesus was “made perfect”

What does the author of Hebrews mean when he says in Hebrews 2:10 that God the Father made Jesus, the founder of our salvation, “perfect through suffering”? And what does he mean in Hebrews 5:8 when he says that “he learned obedience through what he suffered?” Again, what does it mean to say that Jesus was “made perfect” through his suffering (Heb. 5:9a).

In both cases our author is establishing the qualifications of Jesus to serve as our Great High Priest. The fact that Jesus “suffered” in this way proves that he is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15).

2. Jen Wilkin on thinking of our children as our neighbors

If you asked me the single most important insight that has shaped my parenting, it would be this: Children are people.

It seems self-evident. Clearly, they have arms, legs, ears, noses and mouths—enough to qualify. But the idea of their personhood goes far beyond possessing a human body. It goes to the core of their being and speaks to their worth. Children bear the image of God, just like adults. Well, not just like adults. It is true that they are developing physically, emotionally and spiritually at a different rate than adults, but children’s intrinsic worth and dignity does not increase or decrease depending on the rate or extent of their development. As Dr. Seuss has famously noted, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

3. Mike Patton on taking the Lord’s name in vain

If the principle in question is that we’re not to use God’s name unless we really mean it, then we’re pretty inconsistent in our outrage. Why don’t people get offended when others say “God bless you?” Do you think that every time someone says this that they really mean it? Do you think that in their mind they are talking to God, beseeching Him on your behalf?

Just about every email I get ends with the phrase, “God bless.” I seriously doubt that that person actually said a prayer for me before he or she hit send. If this is the case, why is saying, “God bless you” not just as much a violation of the third commandment as saying “God damn you?”

4. Michael Kruger on why learning the biblical languages is worth it

One of my biggest disappointments is when I go into a pastor’s office and see that there are no (or very few) books.   It is like going into a carpenter’s shop and seeing no tools.  I remind such pastors of the words of Cicero: “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

If pastors recover their calling as ministers of the Word, then keeping up with the biblical languages should be a more natural part of their weekly activity.  If they work in a “study” instead of an “office” then studying might just come more easily.

5. Paul Tripp on the difference between needs and desires

You and I tend to say we need things that we don’t actually need. For example, we say we need a bigger house when we own one with running water and functioning appliances. We say we need a newer car when the one we drives functions normally on a daily basis.

We define needs relationally as well, not just physically. We say we need a more loving spouse, a more obedient child, or a more respectful boss. This might confuse and irritate you, but the Bible never promises those things.

August 20, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 8/13/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. Denny Burk on how gay marriage will impact your marriage

If you’ve ever been in a debate with someone about gay marriage, one of the conversation stoppers that proponents often throw out is this: “How does gay marriage hurt traditional marriage?” Or more personally, “How does my gay marriage corrupt your straight marriage?” The thinking goes like this. What two people do in the privacy of their own home ought not concern you, even if they choose to reinvent society’s most basic institution. After all, who are you to judge someone else’s pairing? If some people want to call gay unions a “marriage,” what’s that to you?

2. Jon Bloom on help for those grieving a suicide

Robin Williams’s alleged suicide has sent shock waves through the world.

Williams was a man bursting with manic energy, an out-sized personality, prodigious dramatic talent, and a completely unique comic genius. He could make us roll on the floor in laughter and he could move us deeply to tears. Many of us have memories of his performances that stretch back into our childhood.

Now, suddenly, at age 63, it appears that he has taken his own life. For this tragedy it is too early for any more words. Let us cover our mouths, weep, and pray for his family.

3. Reformed Forum interviews Marcus Johnson about his new book, One with Christ

Dr. Marcus Johnson speaks about One with Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation, his recent book, published by Crossway. While many books have been published recently on the topic of union with Christ, Dr. Johnson’s book stands out for its up-to-date analysis and unique approach. One with Christ charts a via media between federalist and realist approaches to the doctrine of union with Christ, a way which Johnson calls Christological realism. Listen to understand Dr. Johnson’s unique but scriptural treatment of the doctrine of union with Christ.

4. Joe Thorn on whether or not the Lord’s Supper should be open or closed

In baptist circles there are three positions regarding who are the proper communicants to receiver the Lord’s Supper: closed, close, and open communion. These positions are not addressing the spiritual readiness of the individual (see yesterday’s post), but are focusing on the stewardship of church authority and “fencing the table.” Fencing the table is the means by which we protect people from partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an “unworthy manner” (1 Cor. 11:2728).

5. Gene Veith on the political roots of atheism

Atheists are always invoking science, but notice how often their arguments and rhetoric use political language.  God allegedly “oppresses” human beings, taking away their “freedom.”  They say that God is “immoral,” that, in the words of John Lennon, if we imagine no religion, “the world would live as one.”

In fact, as Nick Spencer shows in Politico, the origins of atheism in the West had little to do with the rise of science; rather, it grew out of radical political movements.

August 13, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:15 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 8/6/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. Tim Challies reviews Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

So often I’ve found that the best books are the ones that appear with the least fuss, and that the ones carried in on the back of a major marketing wave prove to be disappointing. But not always.

Jen Wilkin’s Women of the Word has been the beneficiary of some major marketing efforts. It was the talk of this year’s Gospel Coalition National Conference for Women and has been pushed heavily in the blogosphere. And I’m glad to say that it proved my skepticism wrong—it is an excellent little book.

2. C. Michael Patton on God’s protection of our children

After another period of silence he asked the question of the hour, “Will God protect my children?” He went on, “Will he protect them or is he going to do to me what he did to your mom? Because from where I sit it looks like if you follow the Lord too closely, he brings terrible things into your life. I love my children and I am scared to death that he might hurt them or take them from me because I follow him… to test me or something. I don’t want that.”

3. Jonathan Leeman on how biblical theology guards and guides the church

Biblical theology is a way of reading the Bible. It is a hermeneutic. It assumes that Scripture’s many authors and many books are telling one story by one divine author—about Christ.

Sound slightly academic? It is, but…

The discipline of biblical theology is essential to guarding and guiding your church. It guards churches against false stories and wrong paths. It guides the church toward better preaching, better practices, better paths.

4. Dave Harvey on caring for pastors-in-waiting

“What do I do while I wait?” It’s a question I’ve heard dozens of times.

Trained men, ready to rumble for the gospel, can sometimes find they lack immediate opportunity to fulfill their ministry dream. It feels to them like the big game has started, and they’ve been benched by God, even as a parade of friends, classmates, and seemingly less gifted players sprint on to the field.

5. White Horse Inn interviews David Wells

Why are so many Christians focused on practical Christian living rather than on understanding who God is and what he has done for us? Why are we more interested in our own subjective experience than we are with objective truth? Joining the discussion is David Wells, author of numerous books including No Place for Truth, The Courage to Be Protestant, and most recently God in the Whirlwind.

August 6, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:43 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 7/30/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. Tim Keesee writes a letter to the leader of ISIS

Dear Mr. al-Baghdadi,

Recently, you publicly presented yourself as the Caliph, the leader of a new order for the Islamic world. In your inaugural sermon at the mosque in Mosul near the ruins of Nineveh, you said, “If you see me on the right path, help me. If you see me on the wrong path, advise me and halt me.” I’ve given that offer some thought and wanted to follow up with you.

2. The Gospel Coalition reviews Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully by John Piper

The Scripture recommends beautiful words as like “apples of gold” (Prov. 25:11) and illustrates such words in genres from David’s poetry to Jesus’ parables. How welcome, then, to read John Piper’s bracing Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully, in which the former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church reintroduces the power of “poetic effort” by considering three titans of Christian rhetoric: the poet George Herbert, the evangelist George Whitefield, and the apologist and novelist C. S. Lewis. I suspect most readers will know something of Lewis, less of Whitefield, and Herbert least of all. But in Piper’s hands, the combination of these three aptly demonstrates the value of Christians’ literary labors for the glory of God and the edification of the church.

3. Michael Patton answers alternatives to the resurrection

When it comes to the resurrection of Christ, there are an infinite number of possible alternative explanations for the development of belief in a risen Christ other than opting for the most obvious (Christ actually rose from the grave). For centuries skeptics and non-believers have offered their possibilities, but, in my opinion, they are never a probability.

4. Gloria Furman encourages us to take confidence in the wake of Easter

Sometimes when we survey the landscape of missions we feel a tremor of despair in our hearts because of either the magnitude or the complexity of the task. My own feelings of boldness come and go for different reasons, and I felt the familiar tremors of discouragement as I read the news this week.

But there is a heart-lifting truth that holds us fast in the midst of the ground-shaking wars and rumors of wars. There is one piece of earth-shaking news that our forgetful hearts need to always remember. We live in the wake of Easter. Two thousand years ago the ground shook as the Son of God died on a cross, and three days later the earth trembled again as he walked out of his tomb never to die again. Our confidence is not in our earthly circumstances, but in a Person.

5. John Piper reflects on J. I. Packer’s 88th birthday

[Packer] is not naïve. He is 88! There is no romantic idealization for the final years of this life. It will be hard. “Aging,” he says, “is not for wimps.” Some may paint a rosy picture of life after seventy. Even John Wesley, Packer observes, said that at eighty-five “the only sign of deterioration that he could see in himself was that he could not run as fast as he used to.” With characteristic understatement Packer says: “With all due deference to that wonderful, seemingly tireless little man, we may reasonably suspect that he was overlooking some things.”

July 30, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 7/23/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. The Gospel Coalition reviews Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

[I]s Wilkin overstating a crisis of biblical illiteracy? If the current statistics found in the American Bible Society’s “State of the Bible Report” are any indication, then the answer is a resounding no. Only 37 percent of adults reported reading their Bible at least once a week apart from Sunday services. Among other things, this dismal stat reveals that we’ve developed several unhelpful habits that keep us from biblical nourishment. Wilkin has identified and creatively labeled some of these as the “Xanex,” “Pinball,” and “Personal Shopper” approaches. While humorous, each habit seems far too familiar to my own journey with biblical study.

2. White Horse Inn interviews Justin Holcomb about how Christians should respond to sexual abuse

How should Christians respond to the growing number of sexual abuse cases? How does this issue affect the mental and spiritual lives of both victims and perpetrators of this form of assault? More importantly, how should we apply the gospel of grace in these situations? Mike Horton will be discussing these questions with Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, authors of Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault.

3. Jen Wilkin on helping your kids say ‘No’ to porn

The first time porn was served at the cafeteria lunch table, my son was 11 years old. Does that seem young to you? Research suggests that one in three children ages 11 to 14 have viewed pornography on a mobile device. Add to that the very real possibility that a child will stumble across explicit content on YouTube or in a pop-up ad during innocent computer usage, and one thing becomes clear: parents must be proactive in talking about porn with their kids.

4. Jonathan Leeman on when you should not submit to a church

All of us will, at times, be called to endure humbly a leader’s mistakes and sins. Nonetheless, should you find yourself in a church where the leadership is characteristically abusive, I would, in most cases, encourage you to flee. Flee to protect your discipleship, to protect your family, to set a good example for the members left behind, to serve non-Christian neighbors by not lending credibility to the church’s ministry.

5. James Anderson explains the difference between soft and hard determinism

Recall that compatibilism refers to the thesis that determinism is compatible with freedom (i.e., that people can make free choices, for which they can be held morally responsible, even if determinism is true). As I noted in my earlier post, there are different types of determinism and thus there can be various compatibilist theses. . . .

Given this basic understanding of compatibilism, we can define ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ determinism as follows: soft determinism is compatibilist determinism and hard determinism is incompatibilist determinism. In other words, soft and hard determinists agree that determinism is true, but they disagree about whether free choices are possible given that determinism is true. The ‘softies’ say they are; the ‘hardies’ say they aren’t.

July 23, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 9:30 am | 0 Comments »