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.