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Midweek Roundup – 3/12/14

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 God in the Whirlwind by David Wells

There are several notable strengths in God in the Whirlwind. First, Wells’s extended meditation on God’s holiness and love is unique. I cannot think of another book solely dedicated to how God’s holiness relates to his love. But beyond its uniqueness, this meditation on God’s holy-love is something we need, and far beyond mere intellectual apprehension (though not less than that knowledge). And Wells probes, prods, and posits that we malnourish ourselves by failing to rightly meditate on these essential attributes.

2. Evangelicals Now interviews David and Jonathan Gibson, editors of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her

Definite atonement has been called a ‘textless doctrine’ (Dr. Broughton Knox, Late Principal of Moore College, Sydney). How do you respond to that criticism?

Broughton Knox was a good man, and did great good for Moore College, the Sydney diocese, and George Whitefield College in South Africa. However, his comment fails to understand the kind of teaching that definite atonement is. Like so many other doctrines in the Bible, such as the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, or Christ’s imputed righteousness, definite atonement is a biblico-systematic doctrine. No one text proves or disproves many of the doctrines of the Christian church. Rather, Christian doctrines are constructed by holding together a whole range of texts, while at the same time synthesising internally related doctrines that connect to the doctrine in view.

3. Carolyn Mahaney offers tips for falling in love with your husband

But one of the biggest love-killers in a marriage is sinful comparison.

We’ve all done it. You spend an evening with another couple and notice how sensitive or understanding the husband is toward his wife. You then consider how your husband is doing in the communication department and find him wanting. …

It doesn’t take much. A comment or a glance is all we need to decide that, in comparison withher husband, my husband has let me down. Sinful comparison curdles into dissatisfaction. And dissatisfaction sours our love and respect for our husbands. We no longer find joy in our marriage relationship.

4. Gloria Furman reminds us of the importance of singing to God

Maybe Buddy the Elf was on to something when he said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”

We are spreading the news that death will be swallowed up forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from the earth, for the Lᴏʀᴅ has spoken (Isaiah 25:8). The mouth of the Lᴏʀᴅ has spoken it, and we sing it loud for all to hear.

5. Fred Zaspel reflects on God as Father

The verbal images of God in the Bible, just as the various names given him, constitute a significant part of his self-revelation. When Scripture likens God to a lion or rock or shepherd or  judge or King it tells us much about who God is and about our relationship to him. One of the most prominent metaphors is that of God as Father, a representation we find in reference to God repeatedly in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, but especially so in the New. And this revelation of God as “Father” itself is unpacked in several dimensions. We’ll just highlight them here.

March 12, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Books,Midweek Roundup,Midweek Roundup,News & Announcements | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 2/26/14

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. Nate Claiborne shares a letter he found from Wayne Grudem to John Frame

I found this particular gem a Saturday ago while browsing my local used bookstore, which happens to be on the RTS Orlando campus (which happens to be across the street from my neighborhood). As is my custom, I gave it a good internal perusal before spending the $6 (or rather using $6 of my credit). In the front cover, I noticed a personal note, which reads as follows:

To John Frame,

With deep appreciation for your very significant influence in the development of my own understanding of the doctrine of the Word of God.

Wayne Grudem

2. Thomas Schreiner reflects on God’s sovereignty and wisdom

It won’t work, then, to say that God is sovereign over the big picture but not the details. We only get the big picture from the details. To say God doesn’t determine the details of life is to say he doesn’t really determine the big picture. Saying God is only sovereign over the big picture but not the details is like saying a person directed a movie but didn’t direct the specific scenes of the movie, it doesn’t make sense. So too, if God isn’t sovereign over the details of life, he isn’t really sovereign over our lives.

But God is sovereign over all of life, and his sovereignty expresses itself in various ways; in this article we will examine five themes in the book of Proverbs. First, nothing is hidden from the Lord. Second, every good gift is from the Lord. Third, the Lord shows his sovereignty in punishing the wicked. Fourth, the Lord’s sovereignty is complete and comprehensive. And fifth, our decisions matter, but the will of the Lord stands.

3. The Gospel Coalition interviews Greg Forster about Joy for the World

How does the joy of God uniquely speak to the cultural moment in America today, and how should it shape our approach to the world around us?

A hundred years ago, tons of people thought they were Christians because they went to church and lived the same way everyone else did. That’s spiritually empty, but at least it kept people out of the worst kinds of depravity. It was an efficient sin management program. Almost all that is gone now. On the whole this is a good thing, but one downside of the new situation is that those who don’t really know Jesus are moving into worse and worse sins. Their lives are falling apart as a result, both individually and as a culture.

The time is ripe for Christians to shine like stars in this cultural darkness, because we have the joy of God.

4. Tim Challies quotes David Wells on the distinction between crucifixion and the cross

[Crucifixion] was a death that many others had also suffered. In fact, it was an event so common in the first-century Roman world that Jesus’s crucifixion almost passed unnoticed. …

There is a distinction between the crucifixion and the cross. The former was a particularly barbaric way of carrying out an execution, and it was the method of execution that Jesus endured. The latter, as the New Testament speaks of it, has to do with the mysterious exchange that took place in Christ’s death, an exchange of our sin for his righteousness. It was there that our judgment fell on the One who is also our Judge.

5. Ed Stetzer highlights the growing prevalence of multisite churches within Evangelicalism

Some once believed this move to grow via multiple campuses was a temporary trend, but it appears to be a trend that’s here to stay. While it was once the domain of only the largest churches, we now see smaller churches deploying the same methodology. What’s interesting to me is the number of churches that utilize a multisite methodology and are also committed to church planting. The two are definitely not exclusive of one another.

It was once the case that the only churches that expanded to a multisite model were those that simply were at capacity and could no longer hold the number of people that attended weekly services—this is no longer the case. Smaller churches who want to accomplish the mission of God by reaching their cities are now sprouting multiple sites.

February 26, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Books,Midweek Roundup,Midweek Roundup,News & Announcements | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 2/19/14

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. Gloria Furman reviews Exploring Grace Together by Jessica Thompson

I found each of these forty devotionals to be quick reads, but they are slowly simmering their way through ongoing conversations in my home. Jessica illustrates lessons from Scripture with real-life scenarios about children who are just like your kids and mine– children who need to know the love of Christ. I think any elementary-age child would be able to latch on to the stories, engage in the candid discussion of Scripture, and rehash the teachings about the gospel throughout their everyday experiences.

2. Kevin DeYoung reflects on his recent trip to England

I think I understand Carl Trueman’s critiques of American evangelical celebrity culture after touring (to use a celebrity word!) England for a fortnight (to use a British word!). No one asked to take a picture with me–not once. Actually, the one selfie I took was with two Americans (friends of a friend), and we were razzed by the Brits for doing so. Every introduction I received was in the form of a brief interview. People did not queue up after a talk for me to sign their Bible or get a photo for social media. In fact, several church leaders told me that when they really like someone they make fun of them! The culture struck me as one that would rather chop the head off all the tall poppies than point to the one others are pointing at.

3. J. V. Fesko reviews One with Christ by Marcus Johnson for Credo

Marcus Johnson brings his book, One with Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation, to a crowded field of literature on the subject of union with Christ, with the hopes of encouraging readers to consider the importance of the doctrine. In this noble venture, Johnson ably presents the significance of this subject across a broad cross-section of other doctrines, such as the incarnation, justification, sanctification, adoption, perseverance, ecclesiology, and the sacraments. And throughout the book Johnson dialogs with several conversation partners, including Calvin, Luther, and T. F. Torrance.

4. John Piper on Jesus’s tender word for Pharisees

This Sunday I preached at Watermark Church in Dallas under the title “A Tender Word for Pharisees.” There are not many tender words for Pharisees in the mouth of Jesus. Mainly his words to Pharisees are tough, even terrifying (see Matthew 23).

The most moving words of tenderness for Pharisees are in Luke 15:25–31, the words of the father to the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son.

5. Christianity Today on whether evangelicals are “bad for marriage”

Jerry Park, Joshua Tom, and Brita Andercheck report that about 17 percent of white conservative Protestants and 16 percent of black Protestants are divorced, compared to 14 percent of all Americans.

They point to the research of demographers Jennifer Glass and Philip Levchak, who argue that the evangelical encouragement to marry young and have more babies, along with discouragement to obtain higher education, is to blame. A strong evangelical presence increases divorce rates across the board, Glass reported.

“The common conservative argument that strong religion leads to strong families does not hold up,” stated Park, Tom, and Andercheck in their February 4 report for the Council of Contemporary Families.

However, Bradford Wilcox, sociology professor at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, disagrees.

February 19, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Books,Midweek Roundup,Midweek Roundup,News & Announcements | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 2/12/14

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 Chester on “growing pains” within the church

So very quickly informal arrangements are not enough. Acts 4:34-35 says: ‘There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.’ This looks like a more formal arrangement. You can imagine people saying, ‘It wasn’t like the old days when we just hung out together.’ But now caring for everyone’s needs required some kind of central fund. But by chapter 6 even this is not enough and people are being overlooked.

2. Leadership Journal interviews Justin Taylor about The Final Days of Jesus

There is some dispute among scholars about the timeline–even competing timelines. How do treat that in the book?

In the beginning of the book, we provide a detailed chart showing when everything took place in chronological order, with Scripture references. But we don’t get too bogged down in internal debates about the precise details, in part because this book is meant to be accessible, not an academic resource. Our book mainly builds on the general evangelical consensus regarding the chronology and timing. We do, however, strongly favor a date of April 3, AD 33 for the exact date of the crucifixion, though many scholars opt for the date of AD 30.

3. John Knight on why we need pastors with big hearts

As David Mathis and Jonathan Parnell point out in How to Stay Christian [in Seminary], the intellectual activities of seminary can turn a heart away from intimacy with God if academic achievement becomes more important than knowing God. Much of the great learning is going to be inadequate as he walks into that hospital room where a young couple has learned their newborn baby has lifelong disabilities. Sure, that dad might once have been impressed at the ability to read a passage in the original Greek, but in that moment he’ll need to know if his pastor trusts the God he has preached from Scripture. And if pastors neglect these affections for God in ministry training, they won’t just magically appear after the degree is finished.

4. Fred Zaspel on Psalm 27:4 and what it means to gaze on God’s beauty

The human soul was created — “wired” we would call it today — to glory in what is greater. We love to exult in that which is grand, glorious, and beyond us. And David is saying here, simply, that he has found what is most grand and most glorious and most soul-filling. And so he wants to go and stay in that place where he is least distracted and bask in the glory of the best.

“To glorify God and to enjoy him forever,” we have learned, is our chief end and created goal. As Augustine so famously reminded us, God has made us for himself, and we cannot rest save as we rest in him. This is the great glory for which we were created — to know and enjoy God.

5. Video: Sam Crabtree on the pastor as lead affirmer

February 12, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Books,Midweek Roundup,Midweek Roundup,News & Announcements | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 2/5/14

Each Wednesday we like to 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 break for the middle of your week, encouraging your faith and equipping you for life and ministry.


1. Thomas Schreiner reviews The Final Days of Jesus by Justin Taylor and Andreas Köstenberger

One of the main advantages of Köstenberger and Taylor’s book is its brevity. Here is a resource that pastors and teachers will be able to read in advance of teaching, for the commentary is concise and accessible. I especially found helpful the numerous tables that illustrated events or other truths. Sometimes busy pastors and teachers don’t have the time to plunge into technical details about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, and yet they need to be informed by responsible scholarship about what occurred. This book serves that need.

2. Michael Patton lists 8 questions to ask Christians who are doubting their faith

7. Do you believe that faith and doubt can exist at the same time?

(Some people have been brought up believing that everything is black and white. If one has faith, they have no doubt. If they have doubt, they have no faith. I have often found that the alleviation of this falsehood coupled with the introduction and application of the idea of the tension between faith and doubt is all that is needed to reintroduce bloodflow to the soul.)

3. Al Mohler reflects on the increasing popularity of sports in America

Super Bowl XLVIII may have been a bust as a football game, but it was a blockbuster as a cultural event. The telecast of the event attracted a record 111.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched television event of all-time. That record will most likely be eclipsed by the next Super Bowl, and the trajectory shows no signs of dissipating. America takes its sports seriously, and Americans take football with the most seriousness of them all.

4. Jeff Vanderstelt answers the question, “Who is the church?”

Many are asking, “What is the church?” Pastor Jeff Vanderstelt believes we’re asking the wrong question, because the Bible uses that word to describe a group of people, not a gathering or event. So we really should be asking, “Who?” not what.

5. Shaun Tabatt interviews Jonathan Parnell about How to Stay Christian in Seminary

In this episode of the Author Talks with Shaun Tabatt podcast, I speak with Jonathan Parnell about his book How To Stay Christian In Seminary (Crossway, 2014).

February 5, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Books,Midweek Roundup,Midweek Roundup,News & Announcements | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »