Monthly Archives: April 2010

Trevin's Seven

Seven links for your weekend reading:

1. The need for Gospel movements, not just Gospel churches

2. I’m looking forward to this conference - Baptists and the Cross – Contemporary and Historical Perspectivesand think you should consider it too!

3. For shy worshippers, church can be overwhelming…

4. From Mega-city to Meta-city: The Shape of the Future

5. Google Earth has come to Google Maps. The 3-d imagery is stunning.

6. Heroes versus Celebrities

7. Tullian Tchividjian: Renew Where You Are

Posted in Trevin's Seven | 3 Comments

Calvinism Made Me Feel Controversial…

Take a look at this excerpt from Matthew Paul Turner’s memoir, Hear No Evil: My Story of Innocence, Music, and the Holy Ghost. Turner relates his journey from a fundamentalist Baptist background to (according to his FaceBook page) Christian universalism. For a while, he claimed to be a Calvinist:

Most people thought I was a fully-fledged Calvinist when I began carrying around a book of Puritan prayers and sayings.

But I wasn’t a full-on Calvinist. At the most, I believed three and a half of the five points to be true. The only time I became a five-point Calvinist was when I went home to Chestertown and my father and I felt like arguing about God’s sovereignty. Those arguments brought out the worst in both of us. Dad turned into the stubborn legalist who had no patience for ideas that differed from his, and I turned into the punk know-it-all son with a religious ax to grind.

I liked being Calvinist because it made me feel controversial and edgy to believe something different than what my parents believed. On those trips home, I felt like I was experiencing my own little Protestant Reformation, hammering various disagreements I had with my past into my parents’ faces.

I think that’s why people like Josiah and me sometimes turned into Calvinists. We could be passive-aggressive toward our parents and our past lives without being considered unchristian. Reformed doctrine offered a different way to think about God. And sometimes different, even when it really isn’t that …

Posted in Reformed Theology, Young Restless Reformed | 11 Comments

Worth a Look 4.29.10

Stephen Prothero (in the Boston Globe) believes it’s misleading – and dangerous - to think that religions are different paths to the same wisdom:

But this lumping of the world’s religions into one megareligion is not just false and condescending, it is also a threat. How can we make sense of the ongoing conflict in Kashmir if we pretend that Hinduism and Islam are one and the same? Or of the impasse in the Middle East, if we pretend that there are no fundamental disagreements between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam?

Trusting a promise:

The hope of the world resides in a dying man beaten beyond recognition and nailed to a Roman cross centuries ago. By His death, resurrection and ascension, the curse has been reversed, but not fully realized at present. Biblical hope by faith is the present possession of those who are called not to see Jesus with their eyes, but to hear and believe the Gospel. Through the efficacy of a divinely enabled capacity to hear and heed the biblical Gospel, hope is grounded in the historical reality of Jesus as He now stands in victory over death, Hell and the grave.

These pictures from the Iceland volcano are simply spectacular.

James Grant interviews Kevin DeYoung about his new book, which explains the Heidelberg Catechism:

1) It’s an intuitive way to learn about the faith. There’s almost a conversational element to reading through a catechism.
2) When we use old confessions and catechisms were help teach our …

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Preaching with Bold Assurance: An Interview with Hershael York

One of my favorite classes at Southern Seminary was “The Ministry of Proclamation” (i.e. Preaching 101) with Dr. Hershael York, author of Preaching with Bold Assurance: A Solid and Enduring Approach to Engaging Exposition. Dr. York’s counsel has been of great benefit to me in preaching and teaching. I’m grateful for his emphasis on biblical exposition, application, and delivery. Today, I’m thankful that he has agreed to answer a few questions about preaching.

Trevin Wax: Your book divides sermon preparation into three parts: the text, the sermon, and the delivery. In your opinion, which part is the most neglected in preaching today?

Hershael York: I am confident that each part is neglected by different segments of evangelicals. Preachers tend to react against the abuses and errors of the climate in which they were nurtured.

As a result, preachers who grew up in churches in which the pastor was all flash and little substance tend to shy away from any emphasis on delivery, believing it to be man-centered, and focus on the text. On the other extreme, preachers who grew up in a lifeless orthodoxy may lean too far the other direction and substitute a great delivery and a few spiritual insights for rich biblical revelation. Many Millennials react against the revivalist sermon structure and rhetorical devices that seem trite and settle for a rambling narrative with little discernible structure at all.

So I would have to say that of text, sermon, and delivery, the most neglected today is the one that the …

Posted in Interviews, Preaching | 3 Comments

Worth a Look 4.28.10

N.T. Wright is returning to the academy and retiring from his position as Bishop of Durham. In my first interview with Bishop Tom (Nov. ’07), he reflected on the pull between the academy and the church:

Trevin Wax: Why is it that you have never pursued exclusively an academic post? Why have you chosen to remain so connected to the local church?

N.T. Wright: It’s a good question. When I was at seminary in my early twenties, one of my teachers said to me, “You’re going to have to decide. Either you’re going to be an academic or you’re going to be a pastor. You can’t be both.” I remember thinking, Rats! I want to be both! Why are you telling me I can’t do these two things? And so I have kind of oscillated to and always wanted to do both.

For me, actually, being a bishop in a bishopric where there’s an academic tradition (going back to people like Lightfoot and Westcott and so on) gives me this fascinating, challenging, but open invitation to say, “We want you to be a scholar. We want you to go on doing this. But do it as a bishop!” And looking back to the earlier centuries of the church, most of the great teachers were also bishops and vice versa. It’s only fairly recently that the church has had this great divide.

Of course, that means that there’s lots of stuff that I can’t do. I don’t do much book-reviewing, for instance, which ordinary scholars do …

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Ted Traylor for SBC President

According to the Florida Baptist Witness, Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, will be nominated president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the June 15-16 annual meeting in Orlando.

I’ve known Bro. Ted since 2002. I was a first year theology student at Emanuel University in Oradea, Romania. Bro. Ted visited the campus, and my group benefited from several classes with him.

I remember thinking then, What kind of pastor is this who, even though he has a large church to tend to in the States, would come all the way to Romania to pour himself into young Romanian seminary students? His visit in 2002 wasn’t his last. Every year after that, Bro. Ted returned. In 2005, he spoke at the my class’ graduation.

That’s the kind of man Ted Traylor is. He is passionate about the next generation. He loves the church. And he has the heart of a missionary.

Johnny Hunt’s leadership as president of the SBC has been rejuvenating for many in the Convention. I have never seen so many young people fired up about what the Lord may be doing in our midst. I believe the man that follows Hunt needs to have a heart for missions, a heart for the younger generation, and a heart for unity for the sake of the gospel.

As long as the Lord has given me the privilege to know him, I have seen these qualities in Ted Traylor’s life and ministry. People do not travel all the way to …

Posted in Southern Baptist Convention | 3 Comments

Worth a Look 4.27.10

The greatest theological lesson in seminary:

I believe all the lessons, both inside and outside the classroom pale in comparison, to the greatest lesson to be learned -  humility.  All other learning is fruitless without this.  I am not talking about a contrived form of servanthood, but the reality of who we really are.  All the seminary education should reinforce the conclusion that only by God’s grace and gifting, are we able to participate in the learning program.  Only because he has made provisions.  And only because he has opened blinded eyes to embrace the beauty of his truth.  There by the grace of God go we.

Ten reasons to under-program your church:

We are inundated constantly with opportunities for activity from other churches (which we don’t want to turn down lest we appear uncooperative and standoffish), advertised “movements” local and national (which are good at getting people excited), and “good ideas” from our own community (which we are reluctant to deny lest we break someone’s heart). But what all this so often amounts to is a church that is merely busy, and busy does not always equal diligent or successful. Here, then, are 10 reasons to under-program a church…

Here are some details of Bush 43’s autobiography, soon to be released:

The memoir will “bring readers inside the Texas Governor’s Mansion on the night of the hotly contested 2000 election; aboard Air Force One on 9/11 in the gripping hours after America’s most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; inside …

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Jennifer Knapp & Larry King: Why We Always Lose this Debate

After viewing Friday night’s Larry King Live with Jennifer Knapp, pastor Bob Botsford, and Ted Haggard, I was struck with the question:

Why is it that whenever a proponent of Christianity’s historical view of sexuality goes head to head with an advocate for gay rights, the traditional Christian almost always loses the argument?

Read the transcript from Friday’s roundtable discussion here. Watch as the traditionalist pastor seeks to be loving and gentle, and yet still gets pelted with the pejorative term “judgmental.” Why is this so?

I’m convinced that we continue to lose the argument about homosexuality and Christianity because the traditionalist almost always makes his case within a conversation that has been framed by the opposing viewpoint. The Christian doesn’t lose the argument at the micro-level. The argument is lost from the beginning because of how the discussion is framed.

I only know Jennifer Knapp through her music. (Kansas is one of the best albums in Christian music, as far as I’m concerned.) I do not want the rest of this post (or the comments) to focus on her particular story. Instead, I want to analyze the Larry King appearance as a launching pad from which we can think clearly about how we might re-frame this discussion in ways that benefit the traditionalist position.

Here are four ways to get started:

1. We need to shift emphasis from the truth that “everyone is a sinner” to the necessity of repentance.

“We’re all sinners” comes up again and again in discussions like this. In her …

Posted in Life & Culture, Music | 109 Comments

Worth a Look 4.26.10

Andy Crouch’s review of James Davidson Hunter’s To Change the World:

I spent some of my formative years among mainline Protestants for whom “faithful presence” was the very watchword, but in practice that meant nearly complete cultural accommodation. This is perhaps the greatest practical obstacle to enacting Hunter’s vision. Creating a strong alternative community to counter the dominant culture, while still boldly commissioning that community’s members for presence even in places of great cultural power, has proven quite the sticky wicket for two millennia now.

Miley Cyrus says the internet wastes your life:

“I just think it’s kind of lame… I feel like I hang out with my friends and they’re so busy taking pictures of what they’re doing and putting them on Facebook that they’re not really enjoying what they’re doing. You’re going to look back and have a million pictures, but you’re not going to be in any of them. Because you’re not having fun, you’re too busy clicking away. So I think, just enjoy the moment you’re in, and stop telling people about it. Just enjoy it.”

Ted Traylor is the third candidate for president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Here is the news release. (I will be writing about this tomorrow.)

Traylor told the Witness he agreed to be nominated “in response to the Lord’s prompting and the encouragement of friends across the SBC.” Anticipating the future, Traylor said his goal is “to serve and lead the Convention I love into a revival of the Great Commission …

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Lord of All Life and Power

Lord of all life and power,
who through the mighty resurrection of your Son
overcame the old order of sin and death
to make all things new in him:

Grant that we,
being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
may reign with him in glory;
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be praise and honor, glory and might,
now and in all eternity. Amen.

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