Monthly Archives: March 2010

Worth a Look 3.25.10

An update on Michael Spencer (the Internet Monk).

Hershael York writes about taking comfort in eschatology:

I often think we have missed the purpose of eschatology. We are not encouraged to be convinced of a system but to be comforted by a promise.

Christianity Today provides an excerpt from Holy Subversion, chapter 3 on Success:

Imagine interviewing for a church position today and saying, “I believe God wants us to be kingdom-focused and mission-minded. It could be that as we start to move into more intensive discipleship, we will shrink before we grow.”

Baptist Press provides a different excerpt from Holy Subversion, chapter 5 on Leisure:

Too often, we give lip service to seeking first the Kingdom, while our lives demonstrate pagan preoccupations. Structuring our free time in a God-honoring way means we will prioritize our leisure activities so that it is clear that Jesus is on the throne of our lives.

Check out this virtual choir:

American composer and conductor Eric Whitacre spliced together nearly 250 videos of individuals singing individual parts of “Lux Arumque.” He sent out the music, auditioned the singers, and then chose 250 of the submitted videos, which he spliced together to form this “virtual choir.”

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Gospel Confidence in Evangelizing Muslims: An Interview with Thabiti Anyabwile

I recently received a pre-release copy of Thabiti Anyabwile’s book, The Gospel for Muslims: An Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence (Moody, 2010). Thabiti is a former Muslim who now serves as pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Grand Cayman Islands. His book is a terrific reminder that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, for Muslims too! I’m grateful that Thabiti agreed to stop by the blog today and answer a few questions about his book.

Trevin Wax: Tell us a little about your Muslim background.

Thabiti Anyabwile: I grew up in a nominally Christian home and community in North Carolina. From time to time we’d attend church, but I don’t remember that the gospel was clearly preached. And I certainly didn’t have ears to hear it if it was.

After being allowed to join the church and being “baptized” with no understanding of the gospel or testimony of conversion, I came to believe that Christianity was “pie in the sky” myth. My father left the family when I was about 14. Between his leaving, the anger that ensued, and my experience with nominal Christianity, I was quite primed to hardened my heart toward the Lord.

My freshman year in college, I met a number of men on campus who were clean cut, upright, spoke boldly about loving your families and contributing to community, and the need to submit to God. It was the first time I’d seen that many …

Posted in Interviews, Missions / Evangelism | 7 Comments

Worth a Look 3.24.10

Fascinating interview with Tullian Tchividjian. I especially like this insight from Tullian:

Segregation is the biggest danger that shows up inside the church when the gospel is not grasped. Since the gospel is the good news that God reconciles us not only to himself but also to one another, the church should be breaking down barriers, not erecting them. God intends the church to be demonstrating for the watching world what community looks like when the reconciling power of the gospel is at work.

Is your computer stealing your Sabbath?

Composed of Internet entrepreneurs, creators of award-winning television shows, community organizers and nonprofit leaders, these “Rebooters” are people who typically have their cell phones glued to their palms. Several of them go so far as to say they have an addiction to their devices.

They pledged to observe 24 hours of freedom from their devices this past weekend: a National Day of Unplugging, lasting from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

3 reasons why disciplining your children is harder than punishment:

The other day I asked a friend of mine who also has 3 young children how much time, as a percentage, he spends in disciplining his kids. “85%” was the answer he gave. My response?

“Really? That little?

Denny Burk reviews In the Land of Believers, the chronicle of one reporter’s journey to Thomas Road Baptist Church.

Welch’s target audience for this book is secularists and elites who display open disdain for evangelicals and their faith. Nevertheless, I …

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NAMB and IMB: Will There Be Overlap?

It has been several weeks now since Ronnie Floyd unveiled the Progress Report of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force appointed by the Southern Baptist Convention. I posted a few initial questions about the Report earlier this month. As I’ve thought about the Report, I have noticed another area that could use some clarification.

(Again, let me express my gratitude for the hard work of this Task Force in considering and bringing these recommendations. I’m excited about the future of the SBC, and my question is only intended to help move the discussion forward regarding some areas that might need further explanation.)

Components 2 & 3: Reinventing NAMB and Breaking Down Geographic Barriers for the IMB

I mentioned before how excited I am about these two components of the Progress Report. NAMB would focus on church planting in cities, and the IMB would be allowed to minister to ethnic groups here in the United States.

My question concerns a potential overlap in ministry. One of the goals of the Task Force has been to reduce the “duplication” and “triplication” of ministry efforts that sometimes take place between NAMB, local associations, and the state conventions.

But it’s possible that we might wind up with overlap between the IMB and NAMB if the direction of these two entities is not clearly defined.

Consider the vision of the Task Force for a reinvented NAMB:

This reinvention of the North American Mission Board that we envision will implement a direct strategy for planting …

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Worth a Look 3.23.10

Russell Moore on the appropriate response to the health care bill:

Is it a problem that some of us who are tranquil as still water about biblical doctrine and ecclesial mission are red-faced about Nancy Pelosi and the talking heads on MSNBC? Is it a problem that some who haven’t shared the gospel with their neighbors in months or years are motivated to vent to strangers on the street about how scary national health care will be?

It’s not that I think Christians should be disengaged from issues of justice (God forbid!). It’s just that I wonder if we wouldn’t represent Christ and his kingdom better if we did it with a certain tranquility of Spirit, a tranquility that signals we’re not afraid of the rise and fall of temporal kingdoms and their policies.

Short-term benefits from the health care legislation:

Along with the longer term changes of the health reform, some changes will take place soon after the bill becomes law — unless there are last minute changes in the House debate Sunday night. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says the key reforms which take place in the short term after President Obama signs the law include…

How abortion is killing the Democratic party:

The refusal to prohibit federal funding of abortions in the health care bill shows that the Democratic leadership is either remarkably dedicated to the principle that woman should have the right to use federal funds to kill their unborn children or they are the …

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After You Believe by N.T. Wright: A Review

Some readers of this blog may wonder why a Southern Baptist minister like myself would host interviews with and read books by an Anglican Bishop (who happens to be the main evangelical proponent of a controversial “New Perspective” on Paul). These kinds of thoughts naturally lead to a bigger question: How should we approach a book written by someone like Wright? Here are some considerations:

First, I think it goes without saying that we should seek to read with discernment, no matter what book we hold in our hands (or on our Kindle!). A major part of growing in wisdom and knowledge is properly cultivating the discipline of discernment, and one cannot put the gift of discernment to good use unless he or she occasionally reads books from authors with opposing viewpoints.

Second, authors who may be wrong in some ways may be reliable and even helpful in other areas. We can benefit from their works as long as we read carefully.

Take, for example, another Anglican: C.S. Lewis. Lewis was wrong on many things. He believed Jesus was mistaken about the timing of his Second Coming. His view of the atonement is an odd amalgamation of right ideas with wrong details. He was an inclusivist (remember The Last Battle?). And his Anglo-Catholic sensibilities are credited with bringing countless Protestants back to Rome.

For evangelicals, these are big strikes against Lewis. There are more than three strikes, and yet we still consider him part of the team and love to watch him play ball. Why? …

Posted in Book Reviews | 15 Comments

Worth a Look 3.22.10

Doug Baker has a very informative podcast with Union University president David Dockery on matters of Baptist history and the recent conversations regarding the Great Commission Resurgence in the SBC.

Who wrote Hebrews? New research shows that it might have been Luke, transcribing and editing one of Paul’s sermons:

If Hebrews is a speech, then it may have had stenographer (speech recorder). The content and manuscript (external) evidence pointed to Paul while the linguistic and literary (internal) evidence seemed to us to indicate Lukan involvement. This theory seemed to handle the bulk of the evidence presented on this matter, evidence which was often dichotomized into Luke only and Paul only data. But both sets of data, to our mind, seemed significant and neither could be easily side-stepped. We found, then, that a Pauline origin best explained the main content of Hebrews, accounting for elevated style of the document via Luke’s involvement.

Has Shakespeare’s “lost play” been found? Quite possibly.

Professor Brean Hammond of Nottingham University will publish compelling new evidence next week that the play, a romantic tragi-comedy by Lewis Theobald is – as the author always maintained it was – substantially based on a real Shakespeare play called Cardenio.

Why are most bloggers male?

Guys seek thrills and speed. They go for the adrenalin rush. They get pumped by going higher, faster, farther than anyone else. They want lots of action and instant gratification. That’s also why guys like blogging – instant opinions, and lots of them.

For …

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John Stott's Morning Trinitarian Prayer

Good morning heavenly Father,
good morning Lord Jesus,
good morning Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, I worship you as the creator and sustainer of the universe.
Lord Jesus, I worship you, Savior and Lord of the world.
Holy Spirit, I worship you, sanctifier of the people of God.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in your presence
and please you more and more.

Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you.

Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God,
have mercy upon me. Amen.

- John Stott, quoted in Basic Christian: The Inside Story of John Stott

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There Are No Accidents

You can look at providence through the lens of human autonomy and our idolatrous notions of freedom and see a mean God moving tsunamis and kings like chess pieces in some kind of perverse divine playtime.

Or you can look at providence through the lens of Scripture and see a loving God counting the hairs on our heads and directing the sparrows in the sky so that we might live life unafraid. “What else can we wish for ourselves,” Calvin wrote, ” if not even one hair can fall from our head without his will?”

There are no accidents in your life. Every economic downturn, every phone call in the middle of the night, every oncology report has been sent to us from the God who sees all things, plans all things, and loves us more than we know.

Whether it means the end of suffering or the extension of suffering, God in his providence is for us and not against us.

– Kevin DeYoung, The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism

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Trevin's Seven

Seven links I recommend you read this weekend:

1. Love Needs No Reason

2. Tim Challies on “How to Review a Book”

3. A Planned Parenthood pamphlet about birth control in 1952. “Is it an abortion? Definitely not. An abortion kills the life of a baby after it is has begun.”

4. Clergy Who Don’t Believe: The Scandal of Apostate Pastors

5. Why kids love The Big Picture Story Bible

6. The Missional Conversation: On Green Lights and Red Flags

7. Abraham and Molly Piper are expecting twin girls. To know why this news is even more cause for rejoicing than in a normal circumstance, read this…

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