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August 25, 2009

Glory RoadThere are certain things I never get tired of hearing. I never get tired of hearing Tom Cheek’s call of Joe Carter’s home run—the one that won the Blue Jays the World Series in 1993 (“Touch ‘em all, Joe! You’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life!”). I never get tired of hearing the “Hallelujah Chorus” performed by a world-class choir. I never get tired of hearing the laughter of little children (Okay, this is a lie, and especially so when I hear kids laughing and giggling with hyperactivity in that witching hour before dinner). And I never get tired of hearing testimonies of God’s grace in the salvation of his people.

August 18, 2009

The Death Penalty on TrialThat the Bible advocates and even commands the enforcement of the death penalty seems almost like it should be beyond controversy. The dignity God gives to humans, created as they are in his image, demands the utmost penalty for those who would recklessly and deliberately destroy life. Yet controversy abounds with many of those who profess Christ insisting that a God of love and justice would never endorse the use of this ultimate human punishment.

August 13, 2009

A Lovers Quarrel with the Evangelical Church“My name is Warren, and I’m a recovering evangelical.” There are plenty of books today that begin in roughly this way—biographies by Franky Schaeffer and Bart Ehrman come to mind. But Warren Cole Smith is different in that he remains an evangelical, he remains a professed Christian. His recovery from evangelicalism does not involve tossing away the faith, as others have prescribed. His recovery involves reformation, not of the Christian faith but of its evangelical (and largely American) expression. His quarrel with evangelicals is a lover’s quarrel, not a pitched battle. A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church is “intended primarily for Christian believers, particularly those who might generally fit into the category of theologically conservative, evangelical believers.

August 07, 2009

At a time of global economic crisis, in all of the talk of a subset of that crisis, the housing boom and bust, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the cause of that bust is so very simple. “Behind all the esoteric securities and sophisticated financial dealings are simple, monthly mortgage payments from millions of home buyers across the country.” When the housing payments slowed or stopped, sometimes by necessity and sometimes by choice, the boom turned to a bust. Real estate markets that had seen an unparalleled explosion of growth suddenly saw a catastrophic fall. Behind all the talk of stimulus and bailouts and increasing billions and trillions of dollars is normal people unable to make their $1000 or $2000 monthly mortgage payments.

July 28, 2009

Mark Tubbs is a good friend and my co-laborer over at Discerning Reader. If you have enjoyed that site recently, thank Mark more than me. As Managing Editor, he is heavily involved in the day-to-day management of all that happens there. Because I am on vacation this week, I asked if he would mind if I borrowed a review he had published at Discerning Reader. It is for Paul David Tripp’s brand new Broken-Down House. I trust you’ll enjoy the review and consider purchasing the book!

Broken-Down HouseUsing the concept of the house as a metaphor for life isn’t a novel idea. In Scripture, both the psalmist and Christ himself employ the metaphor. More recently, author William Paul Young situated the majority of the action of The Shack in a ramshackle structure in which the Trinity helps the main character to process the tragic events of his life. Even the secular world has employed the metaphor, such as in the 2001 film Life as a House.

July 21, 2009

The New Shape of World ChristianityThose of us who are Western Christians continue to hear reports that the church is migrating to the south and to the east—that as our nations increasingly turn their collective backs on God, God begins fresh work in other parts of the world. Says Mark Noll in his new book The New Shape of World Christianity, “It is as if the globe had been turned upside down and sideways. A few short decades ago, Christian believers were concentrated in the global north and west, but now a rapidly swelling majority lives in the global south and east. [If a Christian] Rip Van Winkle wiped a half-century of sleep from his eyes … and tried to locate his fellow Christian believers, he would find them in surprising places, expressing their faith in surprising ways, under surprising conditions, with surprising relationships to culture and politics, and raising surprising theological questions that would not have seemed possible when he fell asleep.”

July 07, 2009

Why We Love the ChurchChurch is out, spirituality is in. This is true outside Christians circles but, shockingly, it is true within as well. Recent years have seen a long succession of books talking of the revolution to come (or the revolution underway) which will see Christians abandon the institutional church in favor of expressions of the faith that are supposedly more pure. Christians meeting together in Starbucks in twos or threes, Christians meeting on park benches or around a backyard swimming pool. This, say some, is a true, pure, biblical expression of Christian community. It is in reaction to this kind of misinterpretation of Scripture that Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck have written, Why We Love the Church.

June 23, 2009

The BetrayalI wonder what Calvin would have said, what he would have thought, if he could have peered five centuries into the future and seen how he would be honored on the five hundredth anniversary of his birth. Several new biographies; a long list of conferences; books discussing every aspect, every facet of his theology; a bobblehead; and now The Betrayal, a novel that recounts his life as historical fiction.