Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

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February 2010

February 28, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, a friend introduced me to the music of Christa Wells. I had never heard of her before and immediately fell in love with her music. Now I often hesitate to share my musical preferences because it seems almost inevitable that as soon as I do so, someone will email and say, “Didn’t you know that she [insert grave sin here].” (Yes, it’s happened before) Nevertheless, I wanted to draw your attention to one of her songs: “Weightless.” You can hear the song by visiting her site (look for the nimbit player and scroll to the song). Give it a listen and ponder the weightlessness of being forgiven.

February 27, 2010

Today is the long-awaited site upgrade. It’s long-awaited in my books, anyway. I designed this new version of the site several months ago now. It has taken a long time to come to fruition, primarily because I’ve been so busy with the rest of life.

First off, if you are a RSS subscriber, you will probably not notice much of a difference except that you may find that the feed has “reset” meaning that it says there are twenty or more unread items. I do apologize for this; it should just happen this once.

As much as the site has received a visual redesign, there are even bigger changes behind the scenes. I’ve upgraded from Movable Type to Drupal as the backend software. That has given me infinitely more options and abilities.

February 26, 2010

It’s time for yet another edition of Free Stuff Fridays. This week’s sponsor is the same as last week’s—Ligonier Ministries. This week they are offering five great prize packages, each of which consists of three books by Richard Phillips and a pass to a conference.

  • The Masculine Mandate
  • Jesus the Evangelist
  • What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace?
  • A pass to any 2010 Ligonier Conference

February 26, 2010
Pillar Commentary Sale
Westminster Books is having a sale on the excellent Pillar Commentary series (edited by D.A. Carson). They have the brand new Hebrews volume in stock. Buy two of the commentaries and you’ll get a further 10% off any others you buy. This is a good time to stock up on the series while it is still young and you don’t have too many volumes to catch up with!
Driscoll on Avatar
I’m a bit late to the party with this one, but I finally caught up with Driscoll’s comments on Avatar. They’re worth reading.
A Special Guest at T4G
Mark Dever: “Our brother Matt Chandler (pastor of the Village Church near Dallas, TX) has graciously agreed, health permitting, to be with us. During CJ’s slot on Thursday, CJ will introduce Matt, and Matt will then share with us about what God has been teaching him through his recent struggles. CJ will then ask him some questions, and exhort us as we conclude our time together. Pray for him and for us, that God would use this time for His glory.”
Preacher’s Essential Library
A friend pointed out that you can learn a lot about the state of contemporary evangelical preaching by looking at the contents of this “Essential Library” for the preacher.
February 25, 2010

Aileen and I were once members of a church that, after a few years of existence, began to de-emphasize doctrine. Some of the pastors seemed to reach the conclusion that “doctrine divides” and that the church really just needed to focus on evangelism and on “action.” They seemed to determine that a sound theological foundation held in common was unattainable and unrealistic. Therefore, doctrine should be laid aside and the church should rally around the things we had in common—a desire to reach others with the gospel and a desire to serve other people. It was a bit of a naive strategy, of course, and one that was bound to cause problems.

February 25, 2010
Evangelizing the Children
Paul Martin: “Robert Murray M’cheyne was a godly Presbyterian pastor in Scotland (d. 1843). He loved to preach Christ to all he came into contact with, but especially to the children in attendance. He was a convinced paedobaptist, but knew water and covenants didn’t save, the work was up to the Holy Spirit in the real-time life of the child. I love to read his letters to children, one of which I offer here to whet your appetite.”
Tiger Has Converted to Another Religion
From the Christian Science Monitor: “Tiger Woods’s confession on Friday was a forced conversion to the Oprahite religion of emotional openness and making public one’s miseries and failings.”
Happier with the Bronze
February 24, 2010

Wired for IntimacyI read recently of a researcher who wanted to study the effects of pornography on young adult males. He carefully built the structure for the study, determining how he would compare young men who had experienced pornography with a control group comprised of those who had never come into contact it. Tragically this researcher had to cancel his study. He found that he was unable to put together a control group; he could not find young men who had not discovered pornography. The experiment was impossible to conduct.

That is the kind of society we live in today, a society that is absolutely overwhelmed with pornography. The lure of porn is almost irresistible, particularly to young men. If the devil wanted to find a way of destroying young men, of impacting the ability for men to relate properly to women, of disrupting families and hardening hearts, he could hardly do better than this.

February 23, 2010

In 2006, AOL made an epic misjudgment. As part of a research project headed by Dr. Abdur Chowdhury, AOL made available to the public a massive amount of search data, releasing the search history of 650,000 users over a 3-month period. That totaled some twenty one million searches. Before releasing the data they anonymized it, stripping away user names and replacing them with numbers. Yet because of the nature of the data, people very quickly linked real people to abstract numbers—a massive violation of privacy and confidentiality. Within days AOL realized its mistake and withdrew the data. But already it had been copied and posted elsewhere on the internet where today it lives on in infamy.

Some searches were dark and disturbing, others unremarkable in every way, and still others strangely amusing. Often you could reconstruct a person’s life, at least in part, from what they searched for over a period of time. Consider this user: