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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

September 23, 2016

If you’re into Kindle deals, you may want to grab This Is Awkward by Sammy Rhodes, Table Grace by Douglas Webster, and/or The Social Church by Justin Wise. I believe this is the first time This Is Awkward has ever been on sale. Get the deals here.

If you’re into audiobooks, perhaps consider starting a free trial with Christian Audio. I’ve selected 4 great books you’ll get for free and to keep if you begin your trial.

If printed books are more your think, Westminster Books has a deal on some accessible Puritan works. Their deals on parenting books are still in effect as well.

Leviticus Scroll Discovery Shows Scripture’s Inerrancy

WORLD reports on a neat discovery. “When archeologists in the 1970s found a charred scroll in the Holy Ark in the Synagogue of Ein Gedi, an ancient Hebrew town burned in AD 600, they never imagined they might be able to read it.” But then they found a way. (See also Joe Carter’s FAQ.)

Older, Restful, and Reforming

Jared Wilson reflects on the ten-year anniversary of Collin Hansen’s “Young, Restless, and Reformed” article in Christianity Today.

Why America Burned Spurgeon’s Sermons

Why would people in America have burned Spurgeon’s sermons? Christian George (who, by the way, is doing some top-notch blogging these days) explains.

Practical Guidelines for Reading the Old Testament Laws

If there’s any part of Scripture that’s especially hard to read and understand, it’s the OT laws. Here’s some guidance.

Why Are There So Many Varieties of Apples?

It’s apple season in Ontario. This video explains how we came to have so many different varieties (and, in theory, how you could create your own).

If We Are Really So Burdened…

Here’s a great question: “If we believe that God is good, sovereign, and holy and that he has told us to cast our burdens on him in prayer then, where are the public prayer meetings by God’s people? If we are so exercised by injustice and depravity, why don’t Christians flood to church prayer meetings to gather with their brothers and sisters and plead with God in prayer? Why aren’t prayer meetings overflowing with burdened and broken people who want God to intervene and act?”

This Day in 1950. 66 years ago today Tim Keller was born. Happy birthday, Tim! 

Delight in the Good

I enjoyed a lot about this essay by Karen Swallow Prior, though I’ll need to think more about some of her conclusions. (I believe she references the show I mentioned here.)

The Immense Value of Missionary Biographies

Yes! Missionary biographies can be a joy and a challenge to read. This article tells of their value and offers some recommendations.

Flashback: The Depth of My Depravity

My depravity was better displayed in my rejection of God and his grace than in my sins and unrighteous deeds. I proved my rebellion more in denying God, rejecting him, and shunning his grace than in any of the sinful acts I committed or could have committed. 

The fear of the Lord tends to take away all other fears. —Sinclair Ferguson

September 22, 2016

Here are some Kindle deals: New from GLH Publishing is Til He Come: Communion Meditations and Addresses by Charles Spurgeon. There are several Warren Wiersbe books on sale: Be Equipped (Deuteronomy), Be Strong (Joshua), Be Concerned (Minor Prophets), Be Right (Romans), Be Mature (James).

The Abuse of Authority in Prosperity Gospel Churches

D.A. Horton: “It became clear there’s not been enough reflection on the abuse of authority in prosperity gospel churches. I hope this article will jumpstart a worthwhile discussion that will ultimately recalibrate hearts toward a biblical understanding of authority as a good gift that God intends to be expressed in the context of a healthy local church.” Death to the prosperity gospel! 

Dealing With Someone Else’s Sin

As pastors (and leaders) we are often left dealing with other people’s sins. Jared Olivetti says, “Consider this my cheat sheet – gathered through study of God’s Word and more-or-less successful conversations with others.”

Collecting the World

This video is too short, but still a neat glimpse behind-the-scenes at the Smithsonian.

The Naked and the Nude

Karen Swallow Prior: “The recent skirmish over Facebook’s removal of a harrowing image—the Pulitzer Prize-winning, 1972 photograph of a young, naked Vietnamese girl running from a napalm explosion—certainly raises questions of censorship. Yet it also strikes me as a symptom of our porn problem.”

This Day in 1871. 145 years ago today Charlotte Elliot, English devotional writer and author of “Just As I am”, died. An illness had left her invalid at 33 and for the next 50 years of her life. *

Save Your Soul: Stop Writing

Here’s a thoughtful article from Lore Ferguson Wilbert: “As writers, we often hand over our souls and stories for the price of approval, advances, page-views, speaking opportunities, and more book deals. But sometimes (not always) the best thing to do is to be silent. To listen. To hear. “

What is the New Perspective on Paul?

Dr. Robert Cara of Reformed Theological Seminary answers the question in 5 minutes or less.

Let’s Get Serious about the Sacred Mystery of Sleep

“God created us not only with a need for sleep, but with an incredible capacity for it—most of us need to spend at least one-third of our life in sleep. Is all this sleep really a waste? a luxury we can’t afford? a haven for the lazy? Or is it an expression of our humanity, an act of submission to God, a celebration of his creation? Might it be valuable in its own right?”

Flashback: On the Shore of Glory

“Old age is the harvest of all the years that have gone before. It is the barn into which all the sheaves are gathered. It is the sea into which all the rills and rivers of life flow from their springs in the hills and valleys of youth and manhood.”

You can’t understand God’s love if you don’t understand his anger. Because he loves, he’s angry at anything that harms those he loves. —David Powlison

September 21, 2016

This week’s deal from Westminster Books is a significant discount on Paul Tripp’s new book on parenting (which I intend to review shortly). They’ve got some other parenting resources discounted to go along with it.

Today’s Kindle deals include just two: Unveiling the Kings of Israel by David Down and Preaching with Bold Assurance by Hershael York.

Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go

This is a good one from Jason DeRouchie: “In my years of pastoral ministry and parenting, I have regularly encountered confusion regarding the meaning of a well-known verse, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Let me offer some reflections on it, considering its lasting significance for the church.”

Giving to the Church Is Not Paying Your Bills

“How do you view giving in the local church? As I listen to what Christians say and read what they write I get the impression that many people think of giving simply as paying another bill. Giving is just like paying the utility or cable bill. Is this what you think?”

Watch Your Reviews

This video explains how reviews with the “free or discounted” disclaimer are often heavily biased.

Made To Flourish

Made to Flourish is an organization that “provides resources and training to empower a growing network of pastors to connect Sunday faith to Monday work for their churches.” They’ve just relaunched their website and offer lots of great resources.

Is the Bible Foundational to Christianity?

Michael Kruger has a substantial challenge to Andy Stanley’s recent suggestion that Christians need to stop basing their faith on the Bible.

This Day in 1522. 494 years ago today the first edition of Martin Luther’s German translation of the New Testament was published. *

12 Myths About Calvinism

Michael Patton attempts to dispel a few common misconceptions about Calvinism.

How Methodists Invented Your Kid’s Grape Juice Sugar High

This article is tongue-in-cheek but still informative. “If your church uses grape juice for Communion, you’ve adapted an ancient ritual by grafting in a beverage that’s roughly as old as Coca-Cola. Whether that bothers you or not, I think we all can admit that it’s still kind of…weird.”

US-Canada Border Slash

“The US-Canada border is the longest in the world. Stretching 5,525 miles from Maine to Alaska, traversing land, sea, and untouched wilderness, you’d assume that this colossal border would be left untouched by mankind, merely an invisible line on a map. You’d be wrong.”

Flashback: Did You Marry the Wrong Person?

I think most married people wonder that at one time or another. It may not be a question filled with true angst and regret, but one that may persist at the back of their mind.

Jesus Christ knows you completely. Why would you ever run from someone who knows everything about you and still loves you? —Colin Smith

September 20, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: The Pilgrim’s Regress by C.S. Lewis, A Better Way by Michael Horton, Preaching by Calvin Miller, and Women and Ministry by Dan Doriani.

Samsung’s Rush to Beat Apple

I took 4 flights this weekend and on each one we were told repeatedly not to use or recharge a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on board the plane. This article tells how they ended up with such a serious but preventable problem.

10 Things You should Know about 1 Timothy 2:11-15

Sam Storms continues his excellent series by turning his attention to “10 things we should know about the most controversial passage in the Bible when it comes to the role/relationship between men and women.”

Why Complementarianism Remains Important

On a similar note, Richard Phillips tells why complementarianism remains an important subject. He says “I am … grateful for the way this controversy, though regrettably contentious, has highlighted massively important issues of theology that tend to receive little attention. At the same time, my hope is that this attempt to reform the complementarian position will not truly damage the important stand it takes.”

My Mom Grew Up in a Utopian Colony in Iowa

What an interesting story about Amana, Iowa, and the people who once lived there.

The Sent God

Fred Sanders offers a really neat reflection on the Trinity. Only in Christianity could we rightly say “God sent God and God.”

10 Things That Are True When I Confess My Sin

“Ponder these thoughts concerning God, sin, grace, forgiveness, and the sufficiency of Christ and his sacrificial work on your behalf. When I confess my sin…”

This Day in 1884. 132 years ago today Dr. Horace Newton Allen arrived in Korea where evangelizing was illegal. Refusing to flee during the Seoul rebellion, Allen was given the opportunity to tend for a prince. Grateful, the king lifted restrictions on Christianity. *

10 Ways to Practice Normal Evangelism

Sometimes we need the simple reminders.

Don’t Let Email Zombies Eat Up Your Day

Ouch: “Let’s face it: Email is killing our productivity. The average person checks their inbox 11 times per hour, processes 122 messages a day, and spends 28 percent of their total workweek managing their inbox.”

Flashback: How To Lose Your Zeal for Christ

Are you zealous for Christ? Do you have a genuine zeal to live for him and to advance his cause in the world? Or have you lost the zeal that once marked you? 

The life of a Christian is wondrously ruled in this world, by the consideration and mediation of the life of another world. —Richard Sibbes

September 19, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include a pretty good selection from Crossway (Ancient Word, Changing World by Stephen Nichols & Eric Brandt; Understanding Scripture edited by Wayne Grudem; Why Trust the Bible? by Greg Gilbert; Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? by James Hoffmeier) and Matthis Media (Saving Eutychus by Gary Miller & Phil Campbell; Wisdom in Leadership by Craig Hamilton; One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm; etc). Browse them all here.

A Trillion First Responders

“It’s the largest security force in the world. A teeming network of first responders that live on nearly every surface of your body, inside and out. They’re not part of the body, like your immune system—they’re immigrants—but they’re still naturalized citizens, and without them your world couldn’t function.”

The Frozen Standard Version

Alan Jacobs provides his take on the final text of the ESV (both the reality of a final text and the actual text they chose to finalize).

The Mystery of Van Gogh’s Final Breakdown

“Researchers and biographers have speculated for years what exactly caused his mental deterioration, but no one has been able to definitively say, though a recent analysis by a team of experts concluded that Van Gogh suffered from repeated ‘psychosis’ in his final 18 months.”

Find a Friend to Wound You

“After the initial assault on my pride, a wave of gratitude and relief washed over me. Finally, the truth I had been evading — the God I had been evading — caught me. God used a friend’s honesty to awaken me from spiritual slumber.”

What Is Preaching Anyway?

Jared Wilson: “Contrary to popular wisdom, good preaching has little to do with eloquence, fashion, or the length of a sermon. Good preaching is all about content and posture.”

This Day in 1853. 163 years ago today James Hudson Taylor set sail from England to China where he later founded the China Inland Mission. *

Why Do We Say “Roger” or “Roger That?”

Here’s the orgin of “roger” or “roger that” as a form of confirmation.

The Biggest Temple in Town

David Mathis: “Many Christians aren’t allured in the least by spectator sports. God bless you. But for those of us who claim Jesus as Lord and also get hyped about our favorite teams, we need a regular soul-check. And especially at the onset of football season.”

Flashback: How an App Revitalized My Prayer Life

It has been at least a couple of years since I made the move from organizing my prayers in a book to organizing my prayers in an app, and, at least for now, I don’t ever see myself going back.

God loves you right now. He doesn’t love some future version of you that tries harder or is more obedient. —Justin Holcomb

September 17, 2016

I’m spending the weekend down here in Little Rock, Arkansas. I’m hoping I’ll be able to meet a few of you today at The Forging Men Conference or tomorrow at Bible Church of Little Rock.

How To Get Logos 7

Purchasing Logos Bible Software can be a little bit complicated. This article explains the various options.

I Was a Teenage Pastor

H.B. Charles Jr. (a preacher I always love to listen to) on “What diving into church leadership at 17 taught me about building a ministry that lasts.” You might want to skip up to the 8-minute mark to skip the banter between the hosts.

What Is a Vector?

You’ve probably heard the word “vector” used in various contexts. This little video explains what they are and why they are so useful.

Would You Kiss Your Bride Through a Veil?

There’s a great title for an article on the importance of knowing the original biblical languages.

Stop the Revolution. Join the Plodders

Kevin DeYoung levels an important challenge.

This Day in 1575. 441 years ago today Swiss reformer Henry Bullinger died. Bullinger had arguably the greatest influence on second-generation Reformers after John Calvin. *

Don’t Be a 9Marxist!

9Marks has a kind of warning against misusing their material. “9Marks talks a lot about authority in the church—authority in preaching, authority in membership and discipline practices, authority among the elders. The thing is, sinners like us easily abuse the authority that God gives. So even as 9Marks encourages churches to avoid the squishy complacency of nominal Christianity, we also don’t want churches to err in the direction of being doctrinaire and authoritarian.”

A Family Affair

Carl Trueman looks at a situation of a mother and daughter who are in trouble for marrying one another. This leads to an examination of consent as the ultimate determiner of morality.

Millennials Don’t Need Your “Cool”

My thanks goes to CLC Publications for sponsoring the blog this week.

Flashback: Compromising God’s Standards for Sexuality

“As Christians we are adept at looking at the culture around us and seeing how it is violating God’s good standards when it comes to sexuality. Not too long ago, though, I was asked to reflect on the ways in which Christians may compromise God’s standards for sexuality…”

Open transgression of God’s law slays its thousands, but wordliness its tens of thousands.J.C. Ryle 

September 16, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Unseen Realities by R.C. Sproul; NIV Zondervan Study Bible edited by D.A. Carson; MacArthur Study Bible NKJV or NASB; NIV Archaeological Study Bible; Four Views of the End Times by Timothy Paul Jones; The History of Protestantism by J.A. Wylie.

Westminster Books is having a clearance sale to clear out some titles they’ve got too many of. There are some really good deals to be had.

Desiring to Rule Over Genesis 3:16

Nick Batzig lays out the different interpretation options for Genesis 3:16. 

The Invention That Changed the World

I guess there have been a few inventions that have changed the world, but this video presents one you probably wouldn’t think of.

3 Ways Spurgeon Conquered His Secret Sin

“For the past century, Charles Spurgeon’s strengths have often overshadowed his weaknesses. His biographers are largely to blame, painting the preacher as a superhero incapable of vice or vulnerability. Yet warts reveal as much as dimples do. Spurgeon had both. He experienced seasons of success, but he also harbored hidden faults — secret sins that sought to undermine his ministry.”

The Racial Heresy in Southern Baptist History

Timothy Paul Jones: “The founders of the Southern Baptist Convention and of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary were zealous defenders of biblical orthodoxy. They were also heretics.” 

Seven Principles for Angry Parents Disciplining Angry Children

Here’s Kevin DeYoung: “In Ephesians 6:4, God tells fathers—though I think it’s okay for moms to listen in—to raise children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. He also warns against provoking our children to anger. So how do we do one without the other? How do we discipline exasperating kids without in turn exasperating them unnecessarily?”

This Day in 1672. 344 years ago today Puritan Anne Bradstreet, America’s first noteworthy poet, died. *

​The Seven Fears Controlling Controllers

David Murray says “Although controlling/authoritarian/obsessive people often seem intimidatingly strong and confident, at heart they are insecure people who are controlled by a number of fears.”

Highway in the Sky

I love these Wendover Productions videos. This one discusses highways in the sky.

Free OIA Summary Booklet

OIA Bible study is a wonderful tool. With this tool, anyone can get to know the Lord Jesus by learning to study his word.” Here’s a free booklet to introduce you to a great method.

Flashback: I Am An Old-Fashioned Christian

I get the books. I read the articles. I see the news. Christianity seems ready to move on. And I realize anew: I am an old-fashioned kind of Christian.

We are never more than poor beggars telling other poor beggars where there is bread.D.A. Carson

September 15, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include just a couple of new ones: How To Enjoy Reading Your Bible by Keith Ferrin and Pastors in the Classics by Leland Ryken. As always, you can find today’s deals and deals from the past few days at the Kindle Deals for Christians page.

On the ESV’s Rendering of Genesis 3:16

Denny Burk offers some thoughts on the ESV’s new rendering of Genesis 3:16.

5 Key Realities the Bible Teaches about God’s Love

D.A. Carson teaches about God’s love.

Less Redeeming Things and More Enjoying Them

I appreciate this: “As I’ve gotten older, slightly less annoying, and, hopefully, more godly, I’ve come to see that in most leisure situations, the most godly thing to do is simply sit back and experience joy.”

The Long View: Developing Faithfulness

“Mature, steady, faithful people are a precious commodity.”

God May Postpone Your Relief for His Glory

“As you ponder God’s delay, as you wait for his answer, remember that he is with you. He will glorify himself in your waiting.”

This Day in 1648. 368 years ago today the Larger and Shorter Westminster Catechisms were approved by the British Parliament. Watch Chad Van Dixhoorn discuss the Westminster Confession. *

Shorter Sermons

Josh Buice makes a case for shorter sermons. And, in general, I agree with what he says.

Don’t Live for a Compliment from Your Husband

This is equally applicable to husbands waiting for compliments from their wives.

Flashback: A Failure of Worship

“We are neither taught nor inclined to think of addicted persons as being actively and passionately engaged in the pursuit of the good life. We tend to think of them as persons who have checked out of the game or who are positively bent on destruction. But this is not so.”

I cannot comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called.C.H. Spurgeon