Midweek Roundup - 12/18/13

Every Wednesday we like to share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These links 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.  Peter Leithart reviews What Is Biblical Theology?

We gain access to this interpretive framework, Hamilton argues, by paying attention to the setting, characters, and plot of the biblical story; by grasping the symbols, imagery, types, and patterns of Scripture; and by discovering the church’s role in the story.

This is not an abstract or academic treatment of hermeneutics. It is stuffed with specific examples of recurring plots (exile, exodus, cross, salvation by judgment), symbols (trees and temples), and figures (Moses’ life foreshadowing the life of Jesus). Though the book is barely over a hundred pages, he finds a way to include a fascinating detailed examination of how Psalms 18 and 34 make use of the exodus (82-85).

2. The Gospel Coalition interviews Denny Burk about sex and marriage

In the name of promoting a high view of marriage some complementarians have at times communicated, even if by implication, a low view of singleness. What is the purpose for gender and sexuality outside of marriage?

Jesus and Paul both commend by example and by teaching the nobility of the single life. It is not a second-class mode of existence. Indeed, it's the life that the Lord Jesus chose for himself. It's also the life he sometimes chooses for his disciples as well. This is why Jesus says, "Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given" (Matt. 19:11). The Lord gives this gift to a select few, and it allows them to leverage their lives for the sake of his kingdom (1 Cor. 7:32). This is a remarkably high calling, and every Christian and every church should recognize it as such.

3. C. Michael Patton defends "playing Santa" with your kids

Some people will argue that playing Santa has many negative effects. I would like to respond to some of these objections: ...

3. If you play Santa your kids may think you are “playing” God too

The idea here is that once a child finds out that they were deceived about Santa, there is a chance that they may think that you are deceiving them about God as well. In my opinion, this is probably the weakest of all the arguments about Santa. It is a tragedy that Christian communities could believe in such a way that a comparison between the two is even possible. This objection really only makes sense for those who believe that belief in God is a blind faith.

4. R. C. Sproul explains why "Xmas" is an appropriate abbreviation for Christmas

First of all, you have to understand that it is not the letter X that is put into Christmas. We see the English letter X there, but actually what it involves is the first letter of the Greek name for Christ. Christos is the New Testament Greek for Christ. The first letter of the Greek word Christos is transliterated into our alphabet as an X. That X has come through church history to be a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ.

5. Stephen Altrogge highlights how Jesus is for people who hate Christmas

My propensity toward Christmas gloom is one of the reasons I am so grateful for Jesus. Not in a “Jesus is the reason for the season,” kind of way, but in a, “Jesus is a holy warrior,” kind of way.

This morning I was reading in Matthew 8-9. In these chapters Jesus cleanses a leper, heals a centurion’s servant, heals Peter’s mother-in-law, calms a storm, drives demons out of two raving madmen, heals a paralytic, raises a girl from the dead, heals two blind men, and heals a man who is unable to speak. In the comments section of The Gospel Transformation Bible it says:

Wherever Jesus goes he brings the reign of God, and where God reigns, the invisible powers of the universe in rebellion against him are banished and left powerless to do anyone ultimate harm…Since believers are united with Christ, they share Christ’s victory over evil.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the true meaning of Christmas.