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Tim Challies

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June 2010

June 20, 2010

Yesterday I posted a brief summary of Al Mohler’s answer to “why does the universe look so old?” Today I want to provide the answer to another tough question. In this case I’m summarizing Derek Thomas’ thoughts on how a good God could command a just holy war (as he did in the Old Testament). I’m not sure that I completely “nailed” the answer, but I tried to capture it the best I could. At the very least I think i got his main point (for which you can skim right to the end).

June 19, 2010

As you know I’m at Ligonier Ministries’ annual conference this week. I was going to give you some thoughts on the conference today but maybe I’ll do that another time. Today Al Mohler spoke on an exceedingly difficult topic—why does the universe look so old? And I think he did an exceptional job of providing an answer that affirms a young earth, 24-hour, 6-day view of creation while also maintaining theological and intellectual credibility. I thought I’d share my notes with you (and I’ll endeavor to let you know when the talk is available online).

Mohler began by saying that there are really only two options for us to follow when we seek an answer: either the world is, indeed, old or the world looks old but is not as old as it appears. He began by reading Genesis 1 and, having done so, affirmed that a straightforward reading of the text tells us of 24-hour days, 6 real days of creation and one real day of rest. And, indeed, this was the overwhelming, untroubled consensus of the church until the 19th century. However, since then four great challenges have arisen:

June 18, 2010

Free Stuff Fridays

This weekend I am away down south in Orlando taking in Ligonier Ministries’ 2010 National Conference. I spoke yesterday at the pre-conference and am now blogging about the rest of the event (which lasts until Saturday at noon). I’ll tell you more about the conference tomorrow. But in the meantime, I’ve got another edition of Free Stuff Fridays for you.

Abandoned to GodThis week’s giveaway is sponsored by Discovery House Publishers and they are offering 5 prizes, each of which contains several books.

I haven’t read all of these books, but I have read Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God and You Are the Treasure That I Seek and can vouch for each of them. In fact, you can read my review of Oswald Chambers here and my review of You Are the Treasure That I Seek right here. Dutcher’s book is one I particularly enjoyed. The publisher has this to say about it: “With honesty, humor, and compassion, author Greg Dutcher addresses a contemporary problem that most Christians aren’t even aware of: idolatry. He reminds his readers that there is a battle to be fought, and what is at stake is our lives, the lives of others, and, most importantly, the reputation of Christ Himself. With winsome anecdotes, references to modern culture, biblical references, and nods to respected theologians such as Charles Spurgeon, John Piper, and C. S. Lewis, Dutcher makes us aware of the problem, helps us isolate it, and then gives us the weapons to contain it. Study questions at the end of each chapter make this a great individual or group Bible study.”

Rules: You may only enter the draw once. Simply fill out your name and email address to enter the draw. As soon as the winners have been chosen, all names and addresses will be immediately and permanently erased. Winners will be notified by email. The giveaway closes Saturday at noon.

June 17, 2010

The Reading Classics Together program has proven quite a success over the past couple of years. The impetus for this project was the simple realization that, though many Christians want to read through the classics of the faith, few of us have the motivation to actually make it happen. I know this was long the case for me. This program allows us to read such classic works together, providing both a level of accountability and the added interest of comparing notes as we read in community.

Those who have participated since the beginning (has anyone actually done that?) will now have read Holiness by J.C. Ryle, Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen, The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross by A.W. Pink, The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Real Christianity by William Wilberforce, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs, Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray and The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. That’s quite a list of profoundly important books!

Just recently we finished up The Bruised Reed and already some of you are wondering what the next book will be. I thought it might be fun to do something just a little bit different. Instead of reading a classic book together this time around, why don’t we read a really good biography? This will make for a nice change of pace and it will introduce us to the life of an important person in the history of the church. We can look at one of the men behind the classics. I think biographies can be like classics in that there are many of them we would love to read, but we just don’t find the time to do so.

June 16, 2010

Here is this week’s episode of the Connected Kingdom Podcast. David Murray is still vacationing in Scotland and in his absence Matt Perman of What’s Best Next and Desiring God served as guest co-host. Matt and I discussed issues related to productivity and efficiency—it sounds niche, I suppose, but I think there are principles in there that will apply to anyone. Matt also gave me a little sneak preview of a book he hopes to write later this summer.

If you want to give us feedback or join in the discussion, go ahead and look up our Facebook Group or leave a comment right here. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or another program. As always, feedback and suggestions for future topics are much appreciated.

June 16, 2010

Jesus Statue Destroyed - I found this story strangely amusing. That giant statue of Jesus along the I-75 just outside Cincy was struck by lightning and destroyed. “Earlier this morning and late Monday night, motorists were stopped along the highway and along Union Road in Monroe to watch the 62-foot King of Kings statue burn. The fire was reported at 11:15 p.m. Monday, June 14. Within minutes, all that was left was the steel frame of the statue at the church.”

Ligonier Ministries Conference - Tomorrow morning I’ll be speaking at a pre-conference for Ligonier Ministries. You can catch it live via streaming video. Later in the day the conference proper will kick off featuring a long list of great speakers.

Jesus - This feature from ABC looks at several different men, each of whom claims to be Jesus.

Shepherding Everyone in the Church - Brian Croft offers wise counsel to pastors about ensuring that they are pastoring every person in the church.

June 15, 2010

Burning Down The ShackIf ever there was a book destined to see a lot of negative reviews it has to be Burning Down The Shack. Written by James De Young, professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon, this book takes on the bestselling novel The Shack, telling, according to the subtitle, how “The ‘Christian’ Bestseller is Deceiving Millions.” The Shack has a huge community of devoted fans and many of them will be distressed to see this book, and especially so if it begins to sell well and gain some kind of prominence.

It seems that I should begin this article by reviewing the facts of The Shack. But surely you know them already. The Shack has sold millions and millions of copies, has been translated into a host of languages and has remained on the besteller lists for over 100 weeks; it was self-published by an unknown author and an unknown publishing company and had an initial marketing budget of just a few hundred dollars; it is largely a word-of-mouth success that has seen many pastors buy boxes to give away within churches; it is, in short, an absolute phenomenon, the kind of phenomenon that will some day be a case study in a marketing text book.

This would all be well and good if The Shack was a good book. Sadly, though, it is not. Not only is it substandard in its writing, but more distressingly it teaches theology that is at times sub-bibical and at other times fully anti-biblical. Among its predominant themes are the Trinity, the character of God and the nature of good and evil—themes that strike to the very heart of the Christian faith. And in so many ways it is fully opposed to what is true.

June 15, 2010

Five for Father’s Day - I meant to do this last week, but never mind—there is still time to order before Sunday. Here are five books you may want to get for dad this Father’s Day: one, two, three, four and five.

Sometimes It’s Just Plain Hard - Denise Spencer, wife of the late Michael Spencer, writes about Michael’s death. She shares the false hope of a “beautiful” death and contrasts that to the harsh reality. “Michael’s illness was just plain hard. I’m not complaining; it could have been a thousand times worse and I know that. Yet from the day he got sick in late November until he died on April 5, he never again had even one good day. His life became throwing up in a bucket or trying to sit perfectly still so he wouldn’t throw up. My life became driving him to medical appointments in the dead of winter through rain and sleet and snow and fog and sometimes all of the above. I’ll condense the story for your reading enjoyment. Michael got worse. Life got harder. Then he died.”

How Soccer Explains the World - Writing for Scriptorium, Allen Yeh shares some interesting reflections on soccer. Like this one: “Football is nationalism.  Unlike the Olympics or other sporting events, the World Cup is hosted by a country, not a city.  This breeds tremendous national unity, not just provincialism.  So, while it is Rio de Janeiro who will host the 2016 Olympics, it is Brazil who will host the 2014 World Cup.  Huge difference.  The whole country unites under one flag during the World Cup.”

5 Favorite Koinonia Posts - The editors of Zondervan’s blog list their 5 favorites Mounce articles.

The Religious Lives of Young Adults - Maybe this ought to be filed in the “Well, duh” file. But I think it’s still good to have reaffirmed: parents are massively influential in the religious lives of their children. “We live in a culture where mothers and fathers hover over their children in school, on athletic fields and even on social media sites such as Facebook. Yet why do so many parents take a hands-off approach to religion and spirituality, setting youth adrift in crucial areas of moral reasoning and finding meaning in life?”