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Midweek Roundup – 3/19/14

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. Michael Horton on what really drives the Christian life

It is certainly true that Scripture—specifically, the New Testament—exposes us to a multiplicity of reasons and motives for growth in Christ. Nevertheless, some motives are more obviously “core” in the NT than others, and the good news of who we are in Christ is always the major driving force in the Christian life. For example, we are not to be driven by fear of a judge, but by the favor of a Father (2 Tim 1:7).

The problem, then, is not making the gospel the source and gratitude the primary motive for the pursuit of godly living. Rather, it is reducing the gospel to one of its gifts.  There is no divine gift greater than justification. We never “get over” or “move beyond” the wonder of that gift we have in Christ. Or at least we shouldn’t.

2. The Gospel Coalition interviews James Anderson on his new book, What’s Your Worldview?

In the end, the reality of evil and suffering actually reinforces my belief in God, for if there were no God there would be no ultimate basis for distinguishing between good and evil. How could anything be literally evil in a godless, purposeless, ultimately meaningless universe? If humans are just one of the many accidental products of mindless natural processes, why would our experiences have any special significance? The universe neither knows nor cares—but God does.

3. Aaron Armstrong reviews The Storytelling God by Jared Wilson

Those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s still remember the intensity of Zack’s confronting Jessie about her popping caffeine pills, or the time he got drunk at a party and totalled his dad’s car. The “very special episode” of our favorite sitcoms always served to drive home a moral lesson that would have made most later Star Trek writers cringe.

Strangely, this is what we seem to do with the parables of Jesus . . .

4. Stephen Nichols is named as the new president of Reformation Bible College

Dr. R.C. Sproul, the first president of RBC and soon-to-be chancellor of the institution, expressed his delight on the occasion of this announcement. “Our long-term plan to ensure that Reformation Bible College grows under the direction of godly, qualified leadership enables me to maintain effective oversight of all of the outreach of Ligonier Ministries. Adding Dr. Nichols as president of RBC advances our outreach significantly,” Dr. Sproul said. “In Dr. Nichols, God has provided us with a leader whose passion for the great truths of the Christian faith, the wisdom of the Reformed tradition, and love for education will serve the needs of our students and faculty well in the years ahead.”

5. The Gospel Coalition interviews David Mathis and Jonathan Parnell about their new book, How to Stay Christian in Seminary

What’s the most common misconception about life and ministry you perceive among those first entering seminary?

I wouldn’t know how to gauge the most common misconception, but I could raise a flag about one danger—what we might call a messianic view of the ministry, where we feel like our lives need to be worthy of written Gospel accounts. It’s a dramatized view of the Christian ministry, which subtly influences us to think that every step in life and ministry needs to be sensational and feel historic.

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

The Solution to Our Beauty Crisis

This is a guest post by Nicole Whitacre. Her latest book, coauthored with her mom, Carolyn Mahaney, is True Beauty. Read her related post, “What Women Wish Men Knew About Beauty.”

Something Needs to Change

Having tried unsuccessfully to squash the excessive drinking of sweet sodas, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a new campaign last fall before leaving office. His goal was to promote self-esteem in young girls through billboards, ads, and after-school programs. The message: “You are beautiful just the way you are.”

A few months ago, the Dove skincare company celebrated the tenth anniversary of their “Real Beauty” campaign with a short movie in which mothers and daughters take selfies for display at an art show in order to “change the way people think about beauty.”

As the self-esteem crisis among young women intensifies, so do the efforts to find a cure. And while there are good reasons for a healthy skepticism of advertising campaigns or legitimate questions about the merits of publicly funded programs, we all agree: there is problem.

The Nature of the Crisis

I can trot out facts and figures, but I don’t need to, do I? We all know young girls who are struggling as they grow up in a world with an impossible standard of beauty. And what makes us even more desperate is that we still haven’t dealt with our own beauty struggles. As one mother wrote to us: “When I try to talk with [my daughter] about true beauty, I stumble over my words because I have a hard time with the subject myself.”

At one level, Christians resonate with the messages of well meaning campaigns from Dove, Bloomberg, and others, for we believe in the dignity and the beauty of every human being as created in the image of God. We abhor the shame, discrimination, and poor self-image that are a consequence of our culture’s obsession with beauty.

But we have to ask, why do these campaigns fail to change the status quo? As Dove celebrates its tenth anniversary, is the situation for women really much better? Has the objectification of women been eradicated in NYC? More to the point: can a billboard or a commercial, however well intentioned, really solve our struggles with beauty?

More significantly, why aren’t Christians better off? Why are our struggles with beauty as deep and intractable as the next woman’s? Why doesn’t the church seem to have a clear and compelling answer for the world’s beauty crisis?

The Only Solution

For far too long, the church has been content with partial truths and platitudes about beauty.  We’ve tried to tack “Christ” on the end of worldly solutions and called them “Christian.” Or we think we have tried Scripture’s answers and found them wanting. As one woman wrote to us, “Please don’t base your book on 1 Peter 3:4” about a gentle and quiet spirit. “This verse, misapplied in my life, left me very confused, hurt, and hidden for almost fifteen years.”

But Scripture has spoken the truth about beauty all along. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that gets to the heart of our problems with beauty and addresses all our body image issues, big and small.

As we write in our book, True Beauty:

Only God’s Word can promise a beauty as supernatural as it is satisfying, as attainable as it is lasting; a beauty that blesses and does not cures; a beauty that is precious, not worthless, that leads to happiness instead of heartache; a beauty that grows more becoming even as you become more beautify. Scripture is true and tells the truth. It alone reveals true beauty.

Selfie’s and mayoral ad campaigns won’t be able to throw off a tyrannical standard of beauty, but God’s Word shows us the path to freedom and joy. The truth of the gospel is the only answer to our beauty crisis.

Nicole Whitacre is a wife and mother of four. She is the coauthor of Girl TalkShopping for Time, and True Beauty (excerpt). Nicole blogs with her mom and sisters at girltalkhome.com, a blog about biblical womanhood.

| Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Author,Books,Life & Doctrine,Marriage & Family,Women | Author: Crossway Author @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

What Women Wish Men Knew About Beauty

This is a guest post by Nicole Whitacre. Her latest book, coauthored with her mom, Carolyn Mahaney, is True Beauty. Read her related post, “The Solution to Our Beauty Crisis.”

Men, This Is For You

Recently I was talking with a group of people about our book, True Beauty, when a husband and father of daughters asked me: “How can I convince my wife that she is beautiful?”

“She stands in front of the mirror and points out her flaws” he explained, “and no matter what I say she still doesn’t seem to believe that I think she is beautiful. And then she gets a haircut! Talk about a lose-lose for me! No matter what I say it is the wrong thing. You need to help husbands know what to say when their wives get haircuts,” he laughingly concluded.

I laughed too. Men probably do need a few pointers on what to say when their wives get haircuts. But as a loving husband, his concern ran deeper than that. He wanted his wife to live in the good of God’s truth about beauty and of his husbandly love and admiration, but he didn’t know how to help her believe she was truly beautiful.

As we were writing, Mom and I often said to each other: “If only men got it! If only men understood a woman’s struggles with beauty. If only men had biblical convictions about beauty.”

Of course we want women to read our book, but we almost want men to read it more. We bandied about ideas for a new cover with sports motif or neon “Men, Read This!” stickers. In the end we settled for this blog post.

What Men Need to Know About Beauty

For one, we wish men understood the pressure women face to conform to a cultural ideal of beauty.  Our worldly culture is obsessed by an illicit and elusive ideal of beauty and daily bombards us with images and messages telling us what that beauty should look like—or else. It promises happiness to the few who attain this impossible standard and shame and rejection to those who fall short of its ideal. The pressure on women to attain and maintain an impossible standard of beauty is, as one author put it, “more tyrannical than ever before.”

We also wish men understood just how susceptible they are to the lies about beauty. The world doesn’t just tell women what they ought to look like, it tells men what to look for. After speaking about beauty, my mom had a woman approach her: “God’s perspective on beauty is all fine and good,” she said, “and I believe it is true. But the reality is, that’s not the message my husband receives from our culture about beauty.”

She’s right. Every day, men are blasted with messages about what kind of beauty they should desire, and all too often Christian men are unaware of how much this shapes their opinions and desires about beauty. Can we appeal to you? Don’t look at, long for, or buy into those messages. And be quick to tell your wife and daughters why you don’t.

Finally, we wish men understood what God’s Word says about beauty. If you really want to help your wife or daughter or the women in your church to overcome their struggles with beauty, you will study God’s Word. So often Christians have accepted partial truths and platitudes in place of a robust biblical vision about beauty. But these “solutions” don’t satisfy, which is why your wife returns to the mirror and ask you the same questions again.

Gaining a biblically informed understanding of beauty will help you the next time your wife gets a haircut or asks if she looks fat—not because you have a carefully crafted comeback, but because you understand what she is going through and have truth that will help.

3 Practical Ways to Encourage Your Wife

So what can you do?

First, start by asking your wife or daughter about the beauty pressures they face. Granted, some women may be more affected than others, but beauty issues touch us all.

Second, study Scripture. Labor to read good resources on this topic so that you can encourage, cherish, and lead your wife and daughter.

Third, encourage true beauty. Lavish your wife with affection and adoration. Be your daughter’s biggest fan.

Men who take the time to understand—or at least try to understand—the pressures women face will be able to help them resist the lies from our culture and pursue a biblical vision of beauty. Even if you don’t feel like you get it, I guarantee the effort will be greatly appreciated.

We know you may not want to be caught dead reading a book with a girly cover called True Beauty, and we respect you for that, but learning about true beauty in order to serve your woman is one of the most masculine things you can do.

Nicole Whitacre is a wife and mother of four. She is the coauthor of Girl TalkShopping for Time, and True Beauty (excerpt). Nicole blogs with her mom and sisters at girltalkhome.com, a blog about biblical womanhood.

March 18, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Author,Books,Life & Doctrine,Marriage & Family,Men,Women | Author: Crossway Author @ 8:30 am | (2) Comments »

The Official Taking God At His Word T-Shirt

New Release Blog Header

Last week, we announced a Taking God At His Word pre-order special.

There’s still time to reserve your copy of Kevin DeYoung’s important new book and also receive a copy of the e-book, the official printed study guide, and this exclusive t-shirt based on Jesus’s words in John 10:35 (click on the image to zoom).

Taking God At His Word T-Shirt

See our original post for more details, but act soon—we only have 250 t-shirts and they’re moving quickly.

Read more about the book or download a free excerpt.

| Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book Deals,Books,Impact Specials | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:15 am | (2) Comments »

Weekly Specials – 3/17/14

Crossway’s weekly specials are available to members of Crossway Impact. You can also find this week’s featured resources with participating online retailers such as AmazonBarnes & NobleBookshoutChristianbook.comeChristianiBooks (Apple)Vyrso (at each individual retailer’s discretion). Discounted prices available through 3/23/14.

The Bible’s Promises for Life

From the Holy Bible, English Standard Version

E-book: $3.99 $0.99

The ability to recall a wide-range of Scripture is rare. Thus most of us turn to useful, ready-made resources to find the encouragement and wisdom we need for ourselves or for others. The Bible’s Promises for Life is one such resource that provides immediate access to God’s promises regarding commonplace issues.

This book is a collection of verses taken from the English Standard Version® Bible—a version noted for its beauty and ideal for memorization. Because these verses are carefully organized by topics that are relevant to everyday life, The Bible’s Promises for Life is perfect for anyone who wants biblical guidance and truth.

Buy: E-book


The Bible’s Promises for Women

From the Holy Bible, English Standard Version

E-book: $3.99 $0.99

Many women want to know right where to turn in the Bible for reassurance that God cares about them and for God’s wisdom on a particular issue. They know that the Bible is filled with God’s promises to his people—promises that offer hope and help for themselves and for others.

This book is a collection of God’s promises taken from the English Standard Version® Bible—a version noted for its beauty and ideal for memorization. Because these promises are carefully organized by topics that are specific to the lives of women, The Bible’s Promises for Women is perfect for any woman who wants to know God and his Word better.

Buy: E-book


Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels

By Tullian Tchividjian

E-book: $13.99 $5.99

As Christians today struggle to grasp the gospel’s true power—for themselves and for others—Surprised by Grace unfolds a liberating story that helps us come to grips with the shocking extent of God’s compassion.

“The book of Jonah is more than the story of a prophet who ran from God. It is actually the story of the grace of God that overcomes Jonah’s stubborn rebellion. In this outstanding book Tullian Tchividjian helps us see that there is something of Jonah in all of us and that we stand in need of the same grace of God every day. I was both convicted and encouraged by this book and highly recommend it to every Christian.”
Jerry Bridges, author, The Pursuit of Holiness

Buy: E-book


When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight For Joy

By John Piper

E-book: $14.99 $1.99

In this newly redesigned, 10th anniversary edition of When I Don’t Desire God, best-selling author John Piper highlights the central importance of joy for the Christian life. Teaching us how to be people who delight in God and his glory above all else, Piper writes with insights from a pastor’s heart. This book explains how God’s supreme commitment to his own glory stands as the greatest source of peace, delight, and contentment for his people, and will arm readers with strength to fight for joy each and every day.

“This man never ceases to inspire me to be more awestruck with the supremacy of Jesus.”
Chris Tomlin, award-winning recording artist and songwriter

Buy: E-book


Contentment: A Godly Woman’s Adornment

By Lydia Brownback

E-book: $8.99 $1.99

Buying into the lie of “I can only be happy if . . . ” guarantees a frustrated existence. But God desires something far better for his daughters. This convenient On-the-Go Devotional will direct you away from empty distractions and toward what you really long for: a satisfaction that never fades.

“Skillful devotionals for those who face the challenge to ‘fit it all in.’ Biblically rigorous and deeply perceptive. Godly insights from a godly sister.”
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, counselor; speaker; author, Found in Him

Buy: E-book


March 17, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Books,Impact Specials,Weekly Ebook Specials,Weekly Specials | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »