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Tim Challies

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April 01, 2015

This year I am excited to be able to offer a summer internship program through Challies.com. This program is available to high school students from around the world. All communications will be done remotely, which means you are eligible to apply and participate as long as you have a connection to the Internet, the appropriate computer equipment, and are able to attend online meetings. The internship will require a commitment of 20 hours per week and will extend from July 6 until August 28. There are 3 positions available.

The internship will focus on training in worldview and theology, as well as on developing writing and communication skills.

Opportunities

  • Take interactive online courses focusing on worldview and theology.
  • Communicate with other interns through online forums.
  • Participate in a weekly video roundtable with me and the other interns to discuss and apply the material you have learned.
  • Read supplemental material on worldview, theology, and the art and craft of writing.
  • Write non-fiction essays and articles on a variety of topics.
  • Participate in regular video meetings with me to discuss what you have learned and where you hope to see continued growth.
  • Earn a small stipend ($1,000 or international equivalent).

Qualifications

This internship is available to teenaged boys or girls…

  • …who are Christians and actively involved in their local church.
  • …who are ordinary. I am not looking for only the childhood prodigies, but for normal teens who want to impact their churches, families, and communities for God’s glory.
  • …who have completed 9th, 10th, or 11th grades (or international equivalent), or who have just completed 12th grade, but not yet started college or university.
  • …who have an interest in non-fiction writing and who would like to improve in written communication.
  • …who have an interest in worldview and theology.
  • …who are willing and able to make the full 8-week commitment and are available as per the daily schedule below.
  • …whose parents have given their consent.
  • …who have access to a computer, the Internet, a webcam, and a Skype account.
  • …who successfully complete an application and interview.

An intern may take no more than 2 weeks of vacation during the program, and will be expected to keep up (or very quickly catch up) with work missed.

Schedule

Interns are expected to commit 20 hours per week to the program, which includes the learning, reading, communicating, and writing components. Any “stretch goals” you choose to pursue may have to be completed in addition to your 20-hour commitment.

Interns are required to dedicate the following days to the program. (Note: These times are according to the intern’s local time zone.)

  • Tuesdays from 9 AM to 5 PM
    • Morning: Watch video lectures, complete coursework, communicate with other participants through online forums, write articles and essays.
    • Afternoon: Participate in a video meeting with me; complete supplemental reading.
  • Fridays from 9 AM to 5 PM
    • Morning: Watch video lectures, complete coursework, communicate with other participants through online forums.
    • Afternoon: Participate in a video conference with me and the other interns; complete supplemental reading.

Interns must participate in weekly video meetings and conferences at the following times:

  • Tuesday afternoon (various times, Eastern Standard Time)
  • Friday afternoon (3-4 PM Eastern Standard Time)

Course List

Interns will complete the following courses (using Ligonier Ministries’ Connect platform):

The Inerrancy and Sufficiency of God’s Word by Stephen Nichols (6 Lessons). “Can we really know God from a book? Is the Bible reliable? How can we know for sure? Join Dr. Stephen Nichols in Doctrine of Scripture as he carefully answers these crucial questions.”

Christian Worldview by R.C. Sproul (10 Lessons). “Do you have a biblical worldview? As Christians, we would like to believe so. Upon closer examination however, we discover just how much secularism has infiltrated our thinking. Join Dr. R.C. Sproul as he exposes the falsehood of non-Christian worldviews, and demonstrates that only Christianity answers life’s ultimate questions.”

Introduction to Reformed Theology by R.C. Sproul (12 Lessons). “You’ve heard of Reformed theology, but you’re not certain what it is. If you want a full explanation, not a simplistic one, join Dr. R.C. Sproul as he explains how Reformed theology reveals just how awesome the grace of God is.”

Reading List

  • Required Reading
    • What Is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
    • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
    • Is God Anti-Gay? by Sam Allberry
    • On Writing Well by William Zinsser
  • Optional (“Stretch”) Reading
    • Why Pro-Life? by Randy Alcorn
    • Counter Culture by David Platt
    • Wordsmithy by Douglas Wilson
    • The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

All books and courses will be provided to the interns free of cost.

Syllabus

  • Preparation (Before July 6)
    • Watch: “When Worlds Collide” and “I’ve Got Half a Mind Too”
  • Week 1
    • Coursework: The Doctrine of Scripture, lectures 1-4, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: What Is the Gospel?, chapters 1-4
    • Writing: Why Does the Gospel Matter?
    • Roundtable: Introductions and discussion of The Doctrine of Scripture.
    • Meeting: Introductions and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Counter Culture, chapters 1-4
  • Week 2
    • Coursework: The Doctrine of Scripture, lectures 5-6 and Christian Worldview, lectures 1-2, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: What Is the Gospel?, chapters 5-8.
    • Writing: Why Should I Obey the Bible?
    • Roundtable: Online Q&A and discussion with a special guest (Topic: the gospel)
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Counter Culture, chapters 5-8
  • Week 3
    • Coursework: Christian Worldview, lectures 3-6, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: Total Truth, chapters 1-4
    • Writing: Christianity: Truth or truths?
    • Roundtable: Christian Worldview and Total Truth
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Counter Culture, chapters 9-10, plus Wordsmithy by Douglas Wilson, chapters 1-3
  • Week 4
    • Coursework: Christian Worldview, lectures 7-10, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: Total Truth, chapters 5-8
    • Writing: Memoir
    • Roundtable: The Cohesive, Coherent Christian Worldview
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Christian Worldview, optional lessons 1 & 2
  • Week 5
    • Coursework: Introduction to Reformed Theology, lectures 1-4, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: Total Truth, chapters 9-13
    • Writing: Renewing Your Mind
    • Roundtable: Online Q&A and discussion with a special guest (Topic: Reformed Theology)
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Wordsmithy by Douglas Wilson, chapters 4-7
  • Week 6
    • Coursework: Introduction to Reformed Theology, lectures 5-8, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: Is God Anti-Gay? by Sam Allberry
    • Writing: Total Depravity and Me
    • Roundtable: Reformed Theology and Christian Worldview
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Why Pro-Life? by Randy Alcorn
  • Week 7
    • Coursework: Introduction to Reformed Theology lectures 9-12, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: On Writing Well, chapters 1-10
    • Writing: What the Bible Says About Sexuality
    • Roundtable: Online Q&A and discussion with a special guest (Topic: Homosexuality)
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: The Discipline of Grace, chapters 1-6
  • Week 8
    • Coursework: “Why Does the Universe Look So Old?,” “The Rock of Ages and the Age of Rocks,” “Pagan Sexuality,” and “Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert,” plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: On Writing Well, chapters 11-14, 20-25
    • Writing: The Gospel and Homosexuality (or The Gospel and Abortion)
    • Roundtable: Salt and Light
    • Meeting: Growth and future goals
    • Stretch Goal: The Discipline of Grace, chapters 7-13

(Note: This syllabus is subject to change.)

History & Rationale

I first began to consider creating an internship program while observing my son in his 9th grade public school. He professes faith and is often called upon to stand for what he believes, but both he and I see the need for continued learning and development. For that reason I decided to invest in his training through the summer. As I created the program, I saw value in opening it to other participants, both for his benefit and for theirs. My son will be part of this internship, and is not included in the three additional spots (though he, too, will be required to complete the application and all the coursework).

Application

There is a two-step application process. The first step must be completed by April 15. All applicants will be chosen and confirmed by May 15.

Step One

To be an applicant you must:

  • Prepare a 3-4 minute video in which you briefly describe how the Lord saved you
  • Complete the Application Form

As part of this first step, you will need to record a video of yourself no more than 4 minutes in length telling how you became a Christian. Video production quality is irrelevant—only the content matters. I am the only one who will watch these videos, and they will not be made public. You must upload the video to a location where I can access it (such as YouTube), but you may make it unlisted (so only people who know the link can access it).

After reviewing the videos and applications, I will choose some candidates to proceed to step two. 

Step Two

  • Provide a letter of recommendation from a pastor or elder at your current church
  • Provide parental consent to participate
  • Complete an online (Skype) interview with me

Following the interviews, I will select 3 candidates to serve as summer interns.

Are you interested in participating? Then speak to your parents, and complete step one above. This step must be completed by April 15.

Questions

You may address questions to interns@challies.com. I will attempt to answer emails promptly.

April 01, 2015

Here are today’s Kindle deals: Not Just a Soup Kitchen by David Apple ($4.99); Sex, God, and the Single Life by Hafeez Baoku ($4.99); The Complete Spurgeon Sermons on Exodus ($0.99); Tulip by Duane Spencer ($1.99). New from GLH Publishing is The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination by Lorraine Boettner ($0.99). Amazon also has a whole list of titles at $3.99 or less.

RHB @ WTS - Here’s good news for you whether you use Kindle or another e-reader: Westminster Books has partnered with Reformation Heritage Books to offer some great ebook deals starting at $1.99. A Puritan Theology for $4.99? Yes, please. 

In other deals, Logos has Brevard Childs’ commentary on Isaiah as their free book of the month while Christian Audio is giving away Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand.

Journey - Here’s the best blog-related news I’ve heard in a while: Tim Keesee has begun a blog. You’ll want to bookmark it, I’m sure. Oh, and he’s got a new episode of Dispatches From the Front coming soon. Here’s the trailer.

Images of Jesus - I tend to favor the interpretation of the second commandment that forbids images of Jesus.

An Inheritance of Tears - Here’s a great review of the latest book from Cruciform Press: Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord When Death Visits the Womb

Through the Eyes of Spurgeon - You can watch this full feature-length documentary for free on YouTube.

EnChroma - Though this video is a bit mellodramatic, it is also pretty neat. According to the color blindness test, I’m a “strong deutan” (strong red-green color blindness caused by an anomaly in the M-cone photopigment gene sequence). I’ve never really seen red or green.

Americans Muddled Morality about the Unborn - “The debate over fetal homicide reveals our society’s inconsistency in the ongoing debate over abortion: We only affirm the humanity of the unborn if the child is ‘wanted.’”

There is no sin so prevalent, so insidious, and so deep as the sin of fearing people more than we fear God. —Kevin DeYoung

DeYoung

March 31, 2015

Clean House

You have probably heard the saying before: A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. Whatever else the phrase means, it expresses some of the frustration and the sense of futility that attends life in this world. I thought of that saying when I spotted this proverb: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox” (Proverbs 14:4). A little bit of research shows that commentators are divided on exactly what it means, but I think one of the explanations rises to the top.

According to this explanation, the proverb is about the messiness of a life well-lived. Tremper Longman says the moral is that “a productive life is a messy life.”

I love productivity. At least, I love productivity when it is properly defined—as effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God. By this definition, each one of us, no matter our vocation, ought to pursue productivity with all the vigor we can muster. And if you do that, it is inevitable that along the way you will accumulate some mess. You cannot focus your time, attention, gifts, energy, and enthusiasm toward noble goals while still keeping every corner of life perfectly tidy.

The pastor’s desk will at times be crammed with books and papers. The baker’s counter will sometimes overflow with pots and pans and flour and sugar. The mechanics’s hands will be stained with grease and his shop will need a daily once-over with the power washer. And the home—the home will at times be messy and cluttered and downright embarrassing.

Longman says, “One desires a neat and tidy life, just as the ideal stall would be clean. However, a clean stall by the nature of things would mean an empty stall since oxen do not have to be in a stall long before it is messy. However, without oxen there is no productivity.”

We could as easily say that one desires a neat and tidy house, just as the ideal stall would be clean. However, a clean house by the nature of things might just mean an empty house since children and husbands and houseguests and those neighborhood kids do not have to be in the house long before it is agonizingly messy. However, without all of those people there is no productivity—no true, biblical productivity—, no children to care for, no friends to counsel, no hospitality to extend.

Like so much else in this life, you cannot have it all. You cannot have perfect order and perfect productivity. You cannot have a home that is warm and full and inviting, you cannot have every child fed and cared for, while also having every dish done and every sock laundered. You just can’t. Of course this isn’t to excuse slovenliness or laziness. But you need to understand what Derek Kidner says, that “Orderliness can reach the point of sterility. This proverb is [a plea for] the readiness to accept upheaval, and a mess to clear up, as the price of growth.” Growth, or productivity, as the case may be. Is a clean house proof of a wasted life? Not at all. But a tidy house isn’t necessarily evidence of a well-lived life.

If you do the things God tells you to do, messes will inevitably follow. But take heart: According to the wisest man who ever lived, these messes are not proof of a wasted life, but of a productive one.

March 31, 2015

Here are today’s Kindle deals: Discovering the God Who Is by R.C. Sproul ($3.99); 12 Challenges Churches Face by Mark Dever ($3.99); How People Change by Paul Tripp & Timothy Lane ($2.99); CrossTalk by Michael Emlet ($2.51).

Indiana: A Religious Liberty Bellweather - Rod: Dreher seems to get it right when he says, “This total political and media freakout over the Indiana law is the real story.”

What Dawkins, Hawking, and Harris Know About God - It’s the truth: “As we evangelize, we are not evangelizing blank slates. We are not starting with total ignorance. We are going to people who already know much about God.”

Write “Sending” Into Your Church’s DNA - Though eventually J.D. Greear mentions a forthcoming conference, you won’t want to miss the heart of the article: That every church ought to be a sending church.

Nuclear Energy Explained - This excellent little video explains how nuclear energy works.

Civil War Photos Online - The Library of Congress has acquired thousands of Civil War photographs and has put them online.

Fake Testimonials - Slate writes about Lifeway’s recent decision to stop selling heaven tourism books. “Theologically speaking it’s a sensible and belated move, one that has likely taken so long because of the immense amount of money these books bring in.”

Helping Children Benefit from the Sermon - Erik Raymond offers some tips.

If you are weak enough to confess your sins, God is strong enough to save you from them. —Thabiti Anyabwile

Anyabwile

March 30, 2015

GrovelI am not easily offended. People will sometimes apologize to me for something they have said or something they have done, concerned that I was offended at their behavior. But I rarely am. It usually doesn’t even occur to me to be offended. But then there is that one situation with that one friend.

A long time ago a friend really did offend me. He hurt me badly, actually. In the aftermath he did the right thing. I spoke to him and expressed how his behavior had hurt me, and he apologized. And that should have been enough, right?

But this is the one offense in my life I found it difficult to move past. And I mean that—for many years this offense existed in its own category in my life. It was the one wound that was so slow to heal. And I sometimes wondered why. Why was this one so hard to let go? Why did I still bear the weight of it, even much later on?

As I thought about it and as I prayed about it, I came to see that somewhere along the way I had decided that my friend was not sorry enough. My memories of the moment told me that he was not contrite enough. His assessment of his actions never quite seemed to measure up to my own. At least, that was my perception of the matter. What grieved me merely bothered him. That was how I perceived it and that is how it sat heavy on my heart.

It took me a long time to see that I was expecting too much. I was expecting the wrong thing. My friend expressed remorse and asked forgiveness, just like he should have. There were no amends he could make and no further actions he could take to make things right—that was not the nature of this offense. So he moved on. We remained friends.

But sometimes that old hurt would creep up. Sometimes I would find myself hurt all over again by that old offense. And I came to see that I wanted to measure his response by his sorrow. I wanted to see him grovel a little, as if this would prove his remorse. I wanted to see him shed a few tears for his offense against me. I wanted him to look and act sorry enough to satisfy my wounded ego. I had judged his apology sincere but insufficient, well-intentioned but trite.

Until one day I understood that he could never be sorry enough. He could never apologize deeply enough. He could never grovel contritely enough. He had done it all just right: He had apologized and asked my forgiveness and gotten on with life and relationship. The fault was with me, with unfair standards, and with unjust judgment.

I had to see that no one can ever be sorry enough. No one can ever be contrite enough. Not him, and not me. The same freedom I enjoy from the Lord—the freedom to ask forgiveness and then immediately enjoy the promise of that forgiveness—that is the very same freedom I was denying him. God doesn’t make me grovel. God doesn’t make me come back again and again to beg forgiveness for that very same sin. God sees the heart, he sees my remorse over my sin, and he forgives to such a degree that I can have absolute confidence in his forgiveness. If God were to grant me forgiveness only when my sincerity was sufficient, only when I properly understood the depth of the offense, and only when I expressed a fitting degree of remorse, I fear that few of my sins would be forgiven.

As is so often the case in life, I was holding someone else to standard I could not hold myself. I can never be sorry enough. He can never be sorry enough. But I can imitate God in granting free and full forgiveness and in letting the matter rest.

Image credit: Shutterstock

March 30, 2015

Here are today’s Kindle deals: The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges ($2.99); The Pastor’s Justification by Jared Wilson ($1.99); Sensing Jesus by Zach Eswine ($3.99); Expositional Preaching by David Helm ($3.99); Am I Called? by Dave Harvey ($2.99); The Heart of the Matter by New Growth Press ($2.99); Multiply by Francis Chan ($2.99); Forgotten God by Francis Chan ($4.99); Old Story New by Marty Machowski ($3.99); Long Story Short by Marty Machowski ($4.99).

Can Canada Teach the Rest of Us to Be Nicer? - “Canada is to niceness as Saudi Arabia is to oil. It’s awash in the stuff, and it’s about time, I say, the rest of the world imported some.” Amen!

Fake Maple Syrup - First an article about Canadian niceness and then one about Americans’ apparent love for fake maple syrup.

The Spiritual Stages - Christians progress through various spiritual stages.

The Effect of Singing - “Worship is first and foremost addressing God and giving glory to God.”

Two Kinds of Bad Singers - In a similar vein, this article tells you about two different kinds of bad singers.

Discrimination in Indiana? - Wondering what the furor in Indiana is all about? Denny Burk explains.

Whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. —C.S. Lewis

Lewis

March 29, 2015

William Struthers’ book Wired for Intimacy made quite an impact when it was released in 2009. Struthers went deep into the human brain to show that God has hard-wired us for intimacy and relationships, and to show that pornography has disrupted the brain’s circuitry in dark and dangerous ways. He spoke about other matters as well, and one that still remains important to me is his discussion of the unique importance of the masculine voice. He distinguishes between the masculine and the feminine voice and insists that both play crucial and unique functions in relationships.

The voice of the masculine speaks to affirm. All children are carried and primarily nourished by the mother. Daughters and sons first know their mother as she carries them, delivers them into the world and then is their primary source of nourishment. In many ways the child moves from becoming an extension of the mother to their own person. All children, both boys and girls, develop their own sense of identity as they separate from their mother. For boys, this process is fairly straightforward. What makes them different from their mothers is fairly easy to see: their bodies.

Both young boys and young girls need to hear from both the feminine and the masculine voice. These voices can be spoken by both mothers and fathers. A father is not incapable of nurturing because he is a man, neither is a mother incapable of affirming because she is a woman. But the masculine voice alone speaking both affirmation and nurture is not enough. The feminine voice speaking both nurture and affirmation is not enough.

Does this mean that a child who grows up in a house where one of their parents is not present is doomed to a life of truncated emotional, psychological and spiritual development? Not if there is a male presence other than the father that is able to come in and act as a surrogate for those children. Boys and girls both need a masculine voice in their life that encourages, affirms, challenges, enables and stretches them. In an ideal set of circumstances both mother and father are present in the raising of a child. Both the masculine and the feminine speak to nurture, protect and grow, albeit in different ways.

There is something special about the affirming voice of the masculine father. This voice of affirmation is not just needed for young men, but also for young women. While it may be true that “only a father can tell a boy when he is a man” (and worthy to stand among his peers), it is also true that the father’s affirmation of a daughter’s worth speaks into her being in a way that others do not. … The masculine voice of affirmation spoken to a man lets him know that he is worthy to stand in the company of his peers; he is loved because of who he is. The masculine voice of affirmation spoken to a woman lets her know that she is loved because of who she is and that she is worthy of pursuit.

When a boy realizes that he is other than his mother (his body is different and she acknowledges that he is different), who is it that tells him who he is, what he is to do, what he will become? His father. The father, the masculine voice, acts to inform, equip, instruct and model. In the absence of this voice, which at its best is loving, trustworthy and affirming, a boy is forced to look for whatever is available to discover who he is. He may look to his mother for instruction, and she rightly has much to say on the matter, her guidance on how a man should relate comes from a female perspective. He may look to another male figure in his life; a grandfather, uncle, elder brother or the media.

The masculine voice is received as a voice that speaks unchanging truth. Just as we think of the Word of God being truth that is unchanging, so a man’s words speak to what he knows to be true. The Promise Keepers movement of the 1990s hit this nail on the head. When a man makes a promise, he is honor bound to keep it because his word is who he is. The degree to which a man keeps his word is the measure of his integrity and honor. When the masculine voice affirms, it says, “It is good.” It doesn’t say, “It is okay now, but it might not be later.” The affirming nature of God is evidenced in the first chapter of Genesis after the many acts of creation. God “saw that it was good.”