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

Tim Challies

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March 2012

March 31, 2012

A Suicidal Craze - John Piper discusses the folly of the lottery. He said it well in a tweet: “Can you picture Jesus playing the lottery?” In this article he says, “There are at least seven reasons you should not gamble with your money in this way — and should tell your congressmen not to support it.”

Amazon’s New Robots - This is amazing! “Amazon announced recently that they bought a company named Kiva for $775 million. In cash. Kiva makes robots for fulfillment warehouses, of which Amazon has many. When I heard this news, I was all, robots are cool, but $775 million? But this short video on how the Kiva robots work made me a believer…”

What a Writer Owes a Reader? - “As readers, do we have a right to act as if a writer owes us something? I think we do, but not in the way that we most often make the claim. As readers we are not owed something we like or with which we agree. But writers do owe us something,a whole combination of somethings, in fact.”

The Life We Long For - James Hamilton writes about Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, a very, very powerful book.

If you live in Souther Ontario, you may be interested in two conferences coming our way: Simeon Trust will be in Mississauga from May 2-4 while Gospel Coalition will be here from May 29-31.

A home with no head is a disaster, one with two is a monstrosity. —John Blanchard

March 30, 2012

I love writing book reviews and I love reading them. Since I cannot possibly read and review all of the interesting books out there, I’ve decided to put together some occasional round-ups of reviews written by other writers. Here are a few notable links I’ve collected over the past few weeks.

The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Phillips – review by Douglas Wilson. “Phillips begins with the facts of creation and sin, moves on to God’s plan of redemption for us, discusses what justification and regeneration mean (and why they are important), and then concludes with a detailed and very helpful discussion of sanctification and Christian living. If there are any pastors who are looking for a good introductory book for new Christians and/or new members, this book ought to be on their short list. For any older Christians who are mentoring younger ones, this would also be a good book to read together.”

The Transforming Power of the Gospel by Jerry Bridges – review by David Steele. “Bridges continues his winning ways in his newest book, The Transforming Power of the Gospel. The foundation of his approach is the holiness of God. Building upon this sure foundation, Bridges carefully constructs a framework that accurately reflects the gospel – a gospel that truly transforms lives.”

Bloodlines by John Piper – review by Jeffrey Waddington. “This is a wide-ranging and searching volume that addresses a perennial problem. At the end of the day, the only satisfactory answer to racism is the reconciling blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and the integrating ministry of the Holy Spirit that glorifies God the Father. When we are reconciled to the Father by the Son through the Spirit, this spills over into reconciliation with our fellow human beings. Piper does not pretend to have offered the last word on this subject. But it is a powerful word.”

Journeys of Faith by Robert Plummer, et al. – review by Carl Trueman. “Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of this book is the passion with which the authors write. Those whose idea of theological conversation is simply to assert the relative nature of all truth, or at least all of your truth, will find themselves irritated on almost every page. The contributors to this book believe in truth and, refreshingly, believe it so strongly that they think they have each moved to positions that are better - more true - than those they once held.”

Loving the Way Jesus Loves by Phil Ryken – review by David Murray. “You will come away from his book softened, mellowed, calmed, entranced, even inspired, and all by an eloquently stunning exposition of love. As you read, you gently and enjoyably swing between praise: ‘Thank you, Jesus, for loving me like that!’ to prayer: ‘Help me, Jesus to love you; and to love like you.’ Or I could easily conceive of an unbeliever reading it and praying, ‘Lord Jesus, please love me like this.’”

March 30, 2012

Free Stuff Fridays
This week’s Free Stuff Friday is sponsored by Harvest House Publishers. As [almost] always there are five prizes to win and each prize is comprised of several books. Each of the five winners will receive:

What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him is a book I read recently and one I enjoyed a lot. In my review I said “What this book offers is interesting, helpful, mature reflections on what it means to be a man, to be a husband, to be a father. These are the little pearls of wisdom that too few men bequeath to their sons. This is manhood at its best, not some pathetic Eldredge-like counterfeit, but manhood grounded in the gospel and reflecting Jesus Christ.” 

According to the publisher “In What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him, author Byron Yawn offers vital input many men wished they had received during their growing-up years. This collection of 30 simple principles will help men to Identify and fill the gaps that occurred in their upbringing; Benefit from the hard-earned wisdom of others so they don’t make mistakes; Prepare their own sons for the difficult challenges of life.”

Giveaway 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.

Note: If you are reading via RSS, you may need to visit my blog to see the form.

March 30, 2012

Rescued - I didn’t cry while reading this article. I just had something in my eye. Honest. “When I was just a little girl, like a wee little thing, I had a different mom and dad. And they were kind to me, but they had hurts and they had addictions and they didn’t know how to take care of themselves, much less a wee girl and her little brother.”

Goodnight Moon - A strange and unexpected article, this. “For all the years that I had been reading Goodnight Moon to some child or another, I had been picturing its author as a plump, maternal presence, someone like the quiet old lady in the rocking chair whispering, ‘Hush’.” The truth is quite surprising.

Greater Than Our Hearts - In honor of the birthday of Charles Wesley, Matthew Smith is offering a Wesley track as a free download. Get it today because tomorrow will be too late!

United Families Dividing Churches - I find this article a kind and helpful introduction to and critique of the Family Integrated Church movement. 

A Currency Without Currency - Canada is getting rid of the penny. Do you see how progressive and cool we are?

Pilgrim’s Progress for Kids - Over at Redeemed Reader you can now download A Children’s Guide to The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Keeping Up to Date with Greek - I forgot almost all my Greek years ago, but I have it on good authority that many others try to keep it up. This article deals with the subject.

Begin early to teach, for children begin early to sin. —C.H. Spurgeon

March 29, 2012

Charles WesleyToday is the 224th anniversary of the death of Charles Wesley, one of history’s most well-known and best-loved hymn writers. His contributions to the English-speaking church are remarkable, which becomes apparent when you read the introduction to his brief biography at ChristianHistory.net:

He was said to have averaged 10 poetic lines a day for 50 years. He wrote 8,989 hymns, 10 times the volume composed by the only other candidate (Isaac Watts) who could conceivably claim to be the world’s greatest hymn writer.

Of these nearly 9,000 hymns, you’ll likely recognize “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” and “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” along with many others.

Duke Divinity School has done the hard work of putting together an organized collection that provides a “standard for scholarly study and citation.” The collection is organized by date of publication in PDFs that seek to match the original published resources. Each PDF also includes an editorial introduction about the resource.

Another online source for Charles Wesley hymns is, of course, CyberHymnal.org. Though this site only lists 265 of his hymns, each page gives you the option of playing a MIDI file of the tune, which is nice if you’ve forgotten (or want to learn) the melody. Once you’ve done that, you may want to search iTunes or Amazon to find a better version of the song.

March 29, 2012

Reading Classics Together
Today we continue reading John Bunyan’s classic work The Pilgrim’s Progress, and we arrive at the fourth stage of his journey. Last week Christian looked to the cross and had his burden fall from his back. And now his journey begins anew; the difficulties have only just begun.

Discussion

The fourth stage of Christian’s journey is a tale of two valleys. As he journeys toward the Celestial City, he needs to pass through the valley of Humiliation. It is here that Christian meets Apollyon, the first great enemy he will face. Apollyon is the accuser who reminds Christian of all the sin he has committed and who tries to convince him that he cannot be forgiven for such sin. I love how Christian replies. After being reminded of all his sin he essentially says to Apollyon, “You don’t know the half of it! I am far worse than that.” And then he pleads the grace of God.

All this is true, and much more which thou hast left out; but the Prince whom I serve and honor is merciful, and ready to forgive. But besides, these infirmities possessed me in thy country, for there I sucked them in, and I have groaned under them, been sorry for them, and have obtained pardon of my Prince.

Christian’s dependence on the grace of God enrages Apollyon who responds by attacking him. The battle is long and fierce, but Christian uses the spiritual armor God provides to protect himself and to do battle. I have recently preached through Ephesians 6 so appreciated this part of Bunyan’s book in a new way.

March 29, 2012

Keeping Priorities in View - “Bible scholar Don Carson cautions us about parental hypocrisy by recalling the enduring impact of his parents’ prayerful example.” This is a beautiful article.

The Kokomo Krusade - I loved reading this short anecdote from the life of James Montgomery Boice. “Like a call from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, back when I was a young pastor years ago the secretary of  James Montgomery Boice, the famous pastor whom I had never met, called and asked if I would like for Dr. Boice to preach for us in Kokomo.  I could not believe it then, so perhaps you do not believe me now.  So here’s the story.”

Are Your Sermons Too Long? - Denny Burk shares some wisdom from Charles Spurgeon.

The View - “Recently a Texas judge upheld a law that requires a woman to be shown an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion. His decision was discussed on The View and Joyce Behar and Barbara Walters made the following stunning statements…”

Christian Book Awards - Christian Book Awards tend to be as unhinged from reality as every other awards, but they’re still interesting. ECPA has just released its list for 2012.

Unexpected Joy - Watch it!

Prayerfulness is Calvinism at its best. It is a simple, open, honest declaration in the presence of God of total helplessness. —Martin Holdt

March 28, 2012

Visual Theology
This Visual Theology series of infographics has now visited the ordo salutis, the attributes of Godthe books of the BiblePhilippians 4:8the genealogy of Jesus Christ and the Trinity. Today’s graphic is a visual representation of one of my favorite texts: Philippians 2:5-11. This text challenges us to grasp the extent to which Jesus went in glorifying his Father.

While the infographics will always be free for you to download, I have also opened a store where you can buy prints of each of them. They are all professionally printed in a variety of sizes and are suitable for display. (Visit the store today and you’ll see a few coupon codes that can bring the prices down.)

(Click on the thumbnail to see the complete infographic)

To the Glory of God

Visual Theology Store

If you are after a high-res version, you can have it here in JPG format. Please feel free to download, copy, email, share, or print the graphic; I just ask that you don’t sell it.

If you have other ideas for theological infographics, please feel free to leave a comment. Several more are already in development.