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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

January 20, 2014

Here are a few new Kindle deals: Spiritual Warfare by Brian Borgman & Rob Ventura ($2.99)—I hope to review it tomorrow; iGods by Craig Detweiler ($3.99)—I haven’t read it, but it’s new and looks rather interesting; The Gospel at Work by Sebastian Traeger & Greg Gilbert—on pre-order at $4.27 and the price will only go up when it releases; Letters & Life by Brett Lott ($4.99); Preaching by Jason Meyer ($5.99); What Is the Meaning of Sex? by Denny Burk ($4.99).

Alone Yet Not Alone - WORLD: “Mainstream media outlets erupted in confusion and indignation Thursday over a surprise Oscar nomination for Best Song. “Alone Yet Not Alone,” the theme song for an independent Christian film of the same name, edged out a long list of songs by mainstream artists…”

Slavery and the Old Testament Law - “There is a scene in The West Wing where President Jed Bartlett fires off round after round of ridicule as he pretends to apply Old Testament laws to his life. Should he put to death his staffer for working on the Sabbath, or get the police to take over? Should footballers wear gloves to avoid touching the pigskin ball? What price could he get if he sold his daughter as a slave?” How would you answer?

What the NSA Can Do - Here’s a running list of what we know the NSA can do. So far.

Normal Prayer, Normal Life - George Grant says, “Prayer is the most common Christian expression of authentic faith; but it may be among the least practiced Christian disciplines.”

A Short History of Student Missions - This is well worth watching.

How much better to worship the God who carries us than the god who must be carried. —Richard Owen Roberts


January 18, 2014

Here are a few Kindle deals: Spiritual Warfare by Brian Borgman & Rob Ventura is a good and a brand new book that is just $2.99; The Church by Mark Dever ($1.99); Simple Church by Thom Rainer ($1.99)

What Makes a Joyful Home? - Read this one! “A joy filled-heart makes a joy-filled home, because joy flows from the inside out, not the outside in. Joy is a choice, and it is such an easy thing to choose. Why, then, is it also such a hard thing to choose?”

What It’s Like - This ad for Coca Cola is just too good.

Extinguish This Bloody Traffic - “The constitutionally protected right to murder one’s own unborn child is the preeminent social injustice of our day. Should the Lord Jesus choose to patiently prolong His coming, the history books will surely regard such a moral atrocity with the same shame and outrage that we experience as we read about the African slave trade or Hitler’s Holocaust, bewildered that such miscarriages of justice could have been allowed to persist in a civilized and educated society for so long.”

The Ability to Draw - This one has perlexed me. Why can some people draw, and some people (like me) just can’t? Science has been looking for the answer.

Great Idea - This is about as thought-provoking as a comic can get.

Those Who Never Heard - “How can God hold accountable for believing the gospel those who have never heard the gospel? Certainly God cannot send a man to Hell for not believing when he never even had the opportunity to reject the gospel in the first place. The very notion flies in the face of all our notions of justice. But the question itself is fatally flawed.”

We must love God more for what he is than for what he bestows. True love is not mercenary. —Thomas Watson


January 17, 2014

Here are just a few Kindle deals: Still Sovereign edited by Thomas Schreiner & Bruce Ware ($4.99); An Introduction to the Old Testament by Tremper Longman & Raymond Dillard ($5.99); The New Answers Book 4 by Ken Ham ($4.99).

Google Hangout with Ligonier - Today at 4 PM EST I’ll be doing a Google Hangout with the folk from Ligonier. If you’re interested, visit the link and you’ll be told how you can participate. It should be fun!

Dear Daddy in Seat 16C - This is a sweet article.

Alone Yet Not Alone - I don’t pay much attention to the Academy Awards, but a reader pointed out something interesting. In the category of Best Song you’ll find “Alone Yet Not Alone” which is performed by Joni Eareckson Tada. Google the song and you’ll see that it’s considered the least likely nomination of the year (and perhaps of all time).

In Praise of Fat Pastors - You’ll appreciate this article once you understand what Jared Wilson is not advocating. (Warning: once you see Joel Osteen with his shirt off, you can’t ever unsee Joel Osteen with his shirt off.)

Teach Your Children to Hate Ministry - Ed Stetzer offers 5 ways to teach your children to hate the ministry.

A Letter to the Family of My ICU Patient - This is well worth reading and remembering.

Heaven: Better Than Sex? - Tim Lane’s imaginary conversation: “Jesus, you have to help me out. Are you really telling me that there is something better than sex? Jesus: Is your imagination really that limited? Your fantasy life is dull and boring. Let me tell you about something far greater than sex.”

A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in the little things is a great thing. —Hudson Taylor


January 16, 2014

Money: An Instrument of Blessing - This article from 9Marks lays out the big difference between the prosperity gospel and a biblical way of understanding money: One says that money is an instrument of blessing while the other says it is an indicator of blessing. There’s a world of difference between.

Evolution is a Matter of Belief - Al Mohler: “Every mode of thinking requires belief in basic presuppositions. Science, in this respect, is no different than theology. Those basic presuppositions are themselves unprovable, but they set the trajectory for every thought that follows. The dominant mode of scientific investigation within the academy is now based in purely naturalistic presuppositions. And to no surprise, the theories and structures of naturalistic science affirm naturalistic assumptions.”

Stainless - There’s no good reason for it, but somehow this little movie is fascinating. Let it be a parable of how much of life we miss when we rush through it.

From French Atheist to Christian Theologian - Here’s a great conversion story (HT).

Old vs New - This video from Chevrolet shows just how far car safety has come in the past few decades.

Fear of Academic Books - Jared Oliphint wants to help you get over your fear of academic books.

An All-Consuming Passion for Jesus is a new, free ebook from John Piper, available in several formats. 

Being infinite, God is inexhaustibly interesting. It is therefore impossible that God be boring. —John Piper


January 15, 2014

There are just a couple of notable Kindle deals today: Speaking Truth in Love by David Powlison ($2.99); Christless Christianity by Michael Horton ($3.03). You may also want to take a look at Westminster Books’ deals as they have heavily discounted some great academic titles by G.K. Beale.

The Biggest Contradiction - David Murray looks at the contradiction between Paul’s justification by faith alone and James’ justification by works. “Can these opposing statements be reconciled? I believe they can, and the key is to understand that although Paul and James both speak of justification, they are speaking about two different kinds of justification.”

Egalitarianism and Authority of Scripture - Denny Burk looks at the all-too-common claim from some egalitarians: “The idea that a Man is the Head of the Home has its roots in secular ancient culture, not in the Word of God or the created order of humanity.” The closing quote from Ligon Duncan is very, very important.

Porn and Future Marriage - Yes, I know a link to a lot of articles about the cost of pornography. But I don’t think people can hear this too much!

The Mother I Meant to Be - I expect that a lot of mothers will identify with at least some of what Staci writes here: “I’ve had two goals over the last decade or so: lose weight and be a better mother. And every morning in the mirror I see that the weight is still there and I’m still not the mother I meant to become.”

Positive Impact of a Good Dad - A reader sent me this: A link to The Atlantic which has quite an interesting article about the distinct, positive impact of a good dad. 

Holiness is characteristic of every Christian. If we are not holy, our profession of Christ is valueless. —Martyn Lloyd-Jones


January 14, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: The Pastor’s Justification by Jared Wilson ($4.99); Kingdom, Come! by Phil Ryken ($3.99); Spectacular Sins by John Piper ($2.99); Good News to the Poor by Tim Chester ($4.99); How to Help People Change by Jay Adams ($1.99); Church History Volume 1: From Christ to Pre-Reformation ($3.99).

Sexual History - Russell Moore shows wisdom and pastoral concern in his answer to this question: When dating, how much should a Christian know about a future spouse’s sexual history?

Rescuing from Hell and Renewing the World - A very important article from Piper: “[T]he way to achieve the greatest social and cultural transformation is not to focus on social and cultural transformation, but on the “conversion” of individuals from false religions to faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life. Or to put it another way, missionaries (and pastors and churches) will lose their culturally transforming power if they make cultural transformation their energizing focus.”

A Few Good Men - I give a “like,” a retweet, and a +1 to Carl Trueman’s article.

Band of Bloggers - Looks like Band of Bloggers will be back in 2014, alongside this year’s Together for the Gospel conference.

Training for Ministry - Mez McConnell says that in the face of a shortage of biblically qualified men and women who can enter into vocational ministry, “Those of us who are in leadership bear the weight of responsibility for recruiting and training the next generation of Christian leaders. Here are some ways we can act now.”

How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none. —A.W. Tozer


January 13, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: Forever by Paul Tripp ($1.99); The Poverty of Nations by Wayne Grudem & Barry Asmus ($5.99); When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada ($1.99); A Theology of Christian Counseling by Jay Adams ($3.99); Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds ($1.95).

Life in a Dark Place - “[D]oubt is something we evangelical Christians need to get talking about. I often think doubt is like the topic of pornography was 15 years ago—a lot of people were struggling with it, but we hardly ever spoke of it. We have come at least part of the way on the pornography issue, but I’m not sure we are doing so well with doubt.”

8 Characteristics of Sanctification - “Gospel-centered sanctification tethers becoming (growing) to being (identity) by making Christ’s accomplishments and provision for us the catalyst of our lives. Here are eight characteristics of gospel-centered sanctification that frame our theology of the doctrine while also steering our practice.”

Were the Magi’s Gifts Symbolic? - Tradition ascribes significance to the gifts the Magi brought to Jesus. In Matthew 2:11 they present him “gold and frankincense and myrrh.” What symbolism should we find there?

Animals in the Womb - God is awesome.

Why Good Works Are Necessary - Anthony Burgess argued that while good works should never be construed as meritorious for our justification, they were still necessary as our duty on the way to final salvation. Here are 13 reasons why…

Since we have a Father in heaven, let us look up to heaven often. —Thomas Manton


January 11, 2014

Here are a few Kindle deals: The Digital Invasion by Archibald Hart & Sylvia Frejd ($3.99); How the Bible Came to Be by Daniel Hays & Scott Duvall (free); The Real Face of Atheism by Ravi Zacharias ($3.99); my book The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment is $2.99 for just another couple of days.

What Are We Really Watching? - Al Mohler on Downton Abbey: “[M]ost viewers are likely unaware of what they are actually seeing. They are not merely watching an historical drama, they are witnessing the passing of a world. And that larger story, inadequately portrayed within Downton Abbey, is a story that should not be missed. That story is part of our own story as well.”

Words Every Child Longs to Hear - “There’s something within us that craves the affirmation of those we adore. We want to know that what we’ve done is good enough. Deeper still, we long to believe that who we are is good enough.” This is a sweet one.

God Called Them to Adopt - This is an amazing adoption story from the NY Times (HT:Owen).

Get to Know Your Bible Translations - Here’s a lighthearted look at some popular Bible translations.

As Long as It’s Healthy - I appreciate this article: “And so, I want to flesh out with you something that’s bugged me for years.  But mostly, it’s made me cringe and made my heart sting even more so lately.” It all has to do with rubbing the pregnant belly and saying, “as long as it’s healthy…”

Pray for Your Pastor - Here are 5 ways to pray for your pastor in 2014.

When the preferences of the church members are greater than their passion for the Gospel, the church is dying. —Thom Rainer


January 10, 2014

Amazon is offering $30 off any of their Kindle tablets (use coupon code MAYDAY30). And here are some Kindle book deals: Jesus, the Only Way to God by John Piper ($1.99); Grounded in the Gospel by J.I. Packer ($3.99). Stephen Altrogge has just published a new book called Untamable God and has set it at $0.99. Finally, Amazon is having a one-day sale on educational books and many are 80% off; there’s lots of history, biography and other good stuff there.

Do You Know What Your Missionaries Actually Teach?! - “Stop sending prosperity-preaching missionaries to the jungles of Peru. They’re killing the villages here. Your missionaries are spending tens of thousands of dollars, traveling across land and sea, invading and settling into new cultures, and it’s all for nothing. They’re doing more harm than good.”

Sleep Deprivation - As an apparently incurable insomniac, this concerns me!

Pro-Life Convictions - “For Owen Strachan, convictions come with a cost. Strachan, an assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at Boyce College, has been pro-life for many years. It wasn’t until recently, however, that he decided to act on his conviction.”

How Much Do You Earn? - David Murray talks about an interesting way of teaching his kids about money.

Spurgeon’s Standards - Jeremy Walker shares some interesting facts from Spurgeon’s life and ministry.

When Women Lust - “We all know that men struggle with lust. But what about women? While it’s becoming more common to hear of women’s struggles with pornography use, many women still perceive that they have the moral high ground over men. Such comparisons don’t help because men and women often struggle in different ways.”

Be extravagant for God or the devil, but for God’s sake don’t be tepid. —C.T. Studd


January 09, 2014

Here is your daily dose of new Kindle deals: Divorce and Remarriage by Andrew Cornes ($4.99); Reformation:Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow by Carl Trueman ($3.99); Singing the Songs of Jesus by Michael Lefebvre ($2.99).

Westminster Books - Westminster Books is having a sale on many of their bestselling books of 2013. Now’s the time to stock up!

The Universe Had a Beginning - Stephen Meyer tells the story of how Hubble showed Einstein that the universe was not eternal but must have had a beginning.

School Wasn’t Canceled for Bad Weather in 1882 - According to The Atlantic, “a story from one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Little House’ books proves we’ve all gone soft.” Obviously there’s more to the story than that, but it is interesting to note the contrast.

Google Hangout - I’ll be doing a Google Hangout with Ligonier Ministries on January 17. Feel free to drop by. (Check the link for details.)

What Would Polygamy Do? - What would the acceptance of polygamy do for society? It’s worth thinking about because it may not be too far off.

Reading the Bible Like Jesus - Thabiti: “Reading the Bible is difficult work. Or at least it can be if we intend to do more than simply read it for enjoyment or duty. There are many things we have to overcome in order to read effectively: the flesh, fatigue, distractions, time pressures from various sources, cold hearts, clogged ears and so on.”

There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below. —C.H. Spurgeon