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A La Carte

June 29, 2012

Contend for the Faith - This is just a short article, but it asks an important question: “are we more eager to police other Christians’ theology, quietly gleeful when we diagnose error, or are we more eager to rejoice in what we have in common with other Christians? Both are crucial. Neither is negotiable. But which is our deepest joy and instinct?”

Baptized Lions and Talking Crosses - Timothy Paul Jones looks at a couple of real-life examples of how some writings ended up excluded from the churches’ collections of authoritative books.

Trashing Icons of Innocence - “In June of 1989, rocker Don Henley struck a chord with his melancholy musical commentary ‘The End of the Innocence.’ In that song, guileless idealism runs headlong into harsh realities of adult life. Divorce. Deception. Duplicity. But Henley’s Top-10 hit didn’t chronicle the final, dying breath of sweetness and naïveté in America. Twenty-three summers later, there’s still a little left. And it’s taking a beating.”

Toward Short-Term Missions - Darren Carlson continues his look at short-term missions. “In the first article I laid out the history of short-term missions and some of the opportunities it has provided. The second article pointed to some of the problems that surround the enterprise. Now I want to offer a way forward.”

Obamacare - “The Supreme Court this morning ruled that two main provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare’) were, for the most part, constitutional. How did this happen? What does it mean for our constitutional system? Here’s a few answers.”

The London Olympics - The 2012 Olympics are ramping up in England, and so are the visualizations of all the data related to the games. You can see a collection of Olympic-related infographics at the link.

This Is the Gospel Project - This is a great little look at redemptive history via classical art.

Ah! if there be degrees in glory, they will not be distributed according to our talents, but according to our faithfulness in using them. —C.H. Spurgeon

June 28, 2012

Take Care How You Listen - Desiring God has released a free ebook from John Piper “on listening well. It is comprised of five unedited sermon manuscripts from the preaching ministry of Pastor John. We pray this resource will serve your personal reflection as you heed Jesus’ command to ‘take care how you listen’ (Luke 8:18).” 

Able to Teach - Nathan Finn looks at one of the biblical qualifications for an elder—that he be able to teach. He offers some useful correctives to the way many people understand it.

Chris Fabry Live - I spent an hour with Chris Fabry yesterday, as a guest on his radio program. If you’ve got time and inclination, you can listen in at the link.

The SBC Family - The Southern Baptist Convention has been in the news a lot lately and much is being said about what appears to be a growing rift within it. Tom Ascol gives his take on it.

Sexual by Design - Douglas Wilson was invited to Indiana University by Clearnote Church to talk about sexuality from a Biblical perspective. Bloomington Indiana is home to the Kinsey Institute, started by Alfred Kinsey who is famous for his experiments in sexuality. They recorded videos of the full lectures, as well as the very long Q&A that followed. A large crowd of “dissenters” gathered to demonstrate their disapproval of Wilson’s message in word in action.

Praise God for those Baptisms - Erik Raymond rebukes Ed Young for mocking a Reformed that baptized “only” 26 people last year.

The doctrines of grace humble man without degrading him and exalt him without inflating him. —Charles Hodge

June 27, 2012

Problems with Unconditional Forgiveness - “While automatic forgiveness sounds like an antidote to bitterness, this is not the case. Those who try and simply dismiss grave offenses, apart from resting in the justice of God, often encounter emotional and theological problems. Here is an incomplete list of problems that sometimes arise from unconditional forgiveness.”

Nourish and Cherish - Rick Thomas takes a look at Ephesians 5 and what it means for a husband to nourish and cherish his wife.

Don’t Waste Your Vacation - Trevin Wax on a book I enjoyed a lot: “Last week, I interviewed Steve Dewitt about his book Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything. With his permission, I am posting a section of his book titled ‘Meeting God at the Edge of Infinity and Why I Like Walking Ocean Beaches.’ Since summer is here and vacation season is upon us, I thought it would be a good reminder for us to see through the beauty of nature to our beautiful Creator.”

Guard Your Purity - I love this: “A key and often overlooked aspect of God’s goodness is that He doesn’t give us commands we cannot fulfill. He doesn’t taunt us with impossible directions or challenge us with tasks beyond our ability. Part of the assumption in each of God’s commands to us is that, through the assistance of His Spirit, we’re able to accomplish what He has commanded us to do.”

Ed Young on Reformed Theology - I presume lots of people will be writing about Ed Young’s ridiculous anti-Calvinistic rant. Denny Burk has a few of the details.

How We Die - This is an interesting chart that compares causes of death today versus causes of death in 1900.

The increase of the kingdom is more to be desired than the growth of a clan. —C.H. Spurgeon

June 26, 2012

An Eye for an Eye - This is an interesting take on the “viral youtube video of grandmother and bus monitor Karen Klein being harassed and bullied to tears by small gang of seventh graders.” (Note: I don’t recommend watching the YouTube video at the end of the post)

Reliance - My friend Elisha describes an all-too-typical scene at family devotions and shows that the Lord worked even through chaos.

Darwinism at the End of Its Rope - Here’s a headline I like: Peer-Reviewed Paper Concludes that Darwinism ‘Has Pretty Much Reached the End of Its Rope.’ I am seeing more and more Darwinian infighting, something that can only be helpful in the end.

Answers - I recently wrote an article for Answers magazine from Answers in Genesis. They’ve made it freely available online if you’d like to give it a read. I deal with the question, “How can you believe in a God who would condemn people to suffer the torments of hell eternally? I reply with a question of my own: How can you believe in a God who would not?”

Marriage Defined - I don’t know that I’ve ever tried to define marriage before. Mike Leake takes a shot at it here and does quite a good job.

Our prayers run along one road and God’s answers by another, and by and by they meet. —Adoniram Judson

June 25, 2012

How Do Plants Know Which Way Is Up? - It’s a good question, isn’t it? “It’s dark down there in the potting soil. There’s no light, no sunshine. So how does it know which way is up and which way is down? It does know. Seeds routinely send shoots up toward the sky, and roots the other way. Darkness doesn’t confuse them. Somehow, they get it right…”

When Homosexuality Became a Man - This is a really good article from Jon Bloom.

Green Drivel - “Two months ago, James Lovelock, the godfather of global warming, gave a startling interview to msnbc.com in which he acknowledged he had been unduly ‘alarmist’ about climate change. The implications were extraordinary.”

Book Deal - Here’s something new from Cruciform Press (the publishing company I co-founded). “Our Ebook Distribution Licenses allow you to give away Cruciform Press ebooks inexpensively—not to mention legally and with a good consience. This service is intended primarily for church and ministry leaders, but anyone is welcome to participate.”

Piper, Same-Sex Marriage and Media - Amy Hall sounds an important warning for those who may be reading in the media about John Piper’s stance on same-sex marriage.

Josh Hamilton: The Movie - Josh Hamilton, the Christian baseball superstar, is going to be the subject of a movie. Here’s hoping they are explict about the role of the gospel in his recovery from addiction.

Christianity is a faith that is based upon and rooted in miracles. Take away miracles, and you take away Christianity. —R.C. Sproul

June 22, 2012

St. Andrews Hymns - I’ve been enjoying this new album of reimagined hymns. You can listen to the whole thing at the site. There are a few well-known ones, and a few that you may not have sung before. (lyrics are here)

Is Obama a Christian? - Owen Strachan writes about how Christians might think about the Gospel and the President, suggesting that there is little evidence that he is a Christian. Another writer responds and disagrees.

$5 Friday - This week’s $5 Friday at Ligonier is a good one. There’s a Sinclair Ferguson book for $5 (in hardcover, even) and several R.C. Sproul teaching series.

The 2012 SBC Convention - Al Mohler shares some reflections on the 2012 Southern Baptist Convention. From what I’ve been reading, it seems like it was a particularly noteworthy event.

Acknowledging Daily Mercies - Part of the joy of doing Reading Classics Together is in seeing how other people respond to the books we read. Here’s a reflection I enjoyed on a chapter in The Hidden Life of Prayer.

Aging Biblically - Here’s a word from Francis Chan on aging biblically. This is an urgent issue when you consider that the people who watch the most television (something like 7.5 hours a day!) are those 65 and older. Too few people use their later years well.

Stop Stealing from Your Children - “There’s a crime wave going on in your neighborhood—possibly even in your own home. It’s a crime wave that won’t make it to the nightly news, but not because it isn’t serious, for it scars generations and teaches them to commit the same crime.”

Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world. —Francis Schaeffer

June 21, 2012

Why I Love Marilynne Robinson - In The New Yorker, Mark O’Connell writes about his love for Marilynne Robinson’s novels. “When I say that I love Marilynne Robinson’s work, I’m not talking about half of it; I’m talking about every word of it.” (Here’s my review of Gilead)

McDonald’s Photo Shoot - Why does the picture of a Big Mac always look so much better than the Big Mac you get from the store? This short video explains it all.

The Curse of Motivational Speaking - Conrad Mbewe, speaking of an occasional visitor to his church, says, “On this visit, he asked that I help him to overcome a failure in his life, and it was a failure to progress. He said that his greatest problem is that he does not believe in himself. Could I help him believe in himself so that he could become successful?”

Data Per Minute - This infographic shows just how much data we are creating every minute of every day. Example: in one minute there are 2,000,000 Google searches, 48 hours worth of YouTube uploads, and 204,000,000 email sent.

Bible Memorization - Here is a veritable smorgasbord of tips about how to memorize Scripture, whether long or short passages.

West Coast Conference - “On June 8–9, more than 3,000 saints gathered in Seattle to stand firm for the central doctrines of the Christian faith. Drs. Steven Lawson, John MacArthur, and R.C. Sproul boldly proclaimed the authority of the Bible, the Trinity, the resurrection of Jesus, the exclusivity of Christ, justification by faith alone, the mortification of sin, and the existence of God.” The messages are now available online.

I tell you our strength, whenever we have any, is our greatest weakness, and our fancied wisdom is our real folly. —C.H. Spurgeon

June 20, 2012

Steve Saint: The Next Chapter - Steve Saint was recently in a bad accident and may now be permanently paralyzed. Randy Alcorn shares a video from Steve’s hospital bed. You can read details of the accident here.

TGC Women’s Conference - You can watch the Gospel Coalition women’s event live online starting Friday at noon.

The All-Sufficiency of Christ - For the rap fan, here’s a new, free track from Timothy Brindle. He speaks of the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. On a similar note, you may enjoy this article from Christianity Today (PDF).

Our Eugenic Past and Future - Here’s an article from the New York Times that traces our eugenic past and future. “Having left behind pseudoscientific racial theories, it’s easy for us to look back and pass judgment on yesterday’s eugenicists. It’s harder to acknowledge what we have in common with them. First, a relentless desire for mastery and control, not only over our own lives but over the very marrow and sinew of generations yet unborn. And second, a belief in our own fundamental goodness, no matter to what ends our mastery is turned.”

And What Remains - I enjoyed this short film, though I kept hoping for a good, gospel punch!

Libraries, Studies, Writing Rooms - The Art of Manliness has a gallery of the libraries, studies and writing rooms of famous authors.

A Little World Made Cunningly - We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made. And that includes being indwelt (or ondwelt) by a myriad of other fearfully and wonderfully made little creatures. “The ancients talked about the human body as a microcosm, as a little world.  Now scientists have shown just how true that is, how each of us is a world with millions of inhabitants.”

We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.A.W. Tozer