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Headlines (December 14)

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Peterson Gets Death – Scott Peterson, having already been found guilty of the murder of his wife and unborn child, has now been sentenced to die. “…To hear the jurors tell it, Peterson’s apparent lack of emotion, from the day his wife disappeared through the last day of testimony two years later, was the final piece that doomed him.” The man tried to force some fake tears every now and then, but clearly this was not a grieving husband and father, but a man who had taken the lives of his own wife and child. While the defense tried to cast doubt on the evidence, in the end it was only too clear that Peterson was guilty as charged. Like many, I rejoice to see justice being done, though because of appeals it will probably be 15 or 20 years before he is finally given that lethal injection. May God have mercy on him between now and then, that he may know his sin and come to know the Savior.

The Vanishing Word – I know nothing about the author of the book by that title, but the description sounds most interesting. “Is image everything? For many people in our culture, image and images are everything. Americans spend hours watching television but rarely finish a good book. Words are quickly losing their appeal. Arthur Hunt sees this trend as a direct assault on Christianity. He warns that by exalting visual imagery we risk becoming mindless pagans. Our thirst for images has dulled our minds so that we lack the biblical and mental defenses we need to resist pagan influences. What about paganism? Hunt contends that it never died in modern western culture; image-based media just brought it to the surface again. Sex, violence, and celebrity worship abound in our culture, driving a mass-media frenzy reminiscent of pagan idolatry. This book is a clear warning that the church is being cut off from its word-based heritage. And that we are open to abuse by those who exploit the image but neglect the Word. Thoughtful readers will find this a challenging call to be critical about the images bombarding our senses and to affirm that “the Word is everything.”

About Growth – In The Purpose Driven Church Rick Warren claims that growth is synonymous with life, for if something stops growing, it dies. In 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever, a book that stands in direct opposition to Warren’s, the author makes the same claim. Warren makes the claim in relation to numerical growth and Dever to spiritual growth. I wonder, though, if what they say is true. I haven’t grown vertically since I was about 21. I was six feet tall then and am six feet tall now. I have grown horizontally an inch or two since then, but I would hardly call this positive, healthy growth. I ask then, is this metaphor broken? Are trees and plants and animals and humans to continue growing forever, lest they die? It seems to me growth necessarily plateaus and this is a good and natural thing. I do not wish to indicate that spiritual growth should plateau – I’m just not sure that the metaphor works.

If You Had The Opportunity… – …to ask one of Christianity’s foremost apologists a question, would you? James White has open phones today as part of his Dividing Line online broadcast which runs from 11 – 12 AM CST (12 – 1 EST). I listen every Tuesday and have even been known to call in and pick his brain a little bit. If you have burning questions about theology or apologetics, why not give him a call or at least listen to his show? You might just learn something.

Related Stories – You may have noticed the new Related Stories box that appears on each individual posting page. I installed this feature yesterday and am assuming it will be helpful. Movabletype will now search the database that holds all the articles I have written, their titles, keywords and content, and suggest four stories that bear some similarity. The daily headlines will, unfortunately, mostly link to other headlines, but it seems to do quite a good job with other articles. For instance, yesterday’s article entitled “As Many As Wanted Salvation Were Saved” suggested my series on Calvinism vs Arminianism as a related story. Let me know if you find this feature helpful or if it just takes up space.

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    A La Carte (June 18)

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    Let’s Hear It For the Second Parents

    While today we tend to associate step-parents with divorce, in previous centuries they were almost exclusively associated with death and with either widow- or widowerhood. In an era in which lifespans were shorter and, therefore, a greater number of parents died while their children were still young, there was a distinct and honored role for…

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    The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

    Just as Olympic athletes cannot realistically expect to win a gold medal unless they strictly discipline themselves toward victory, Christians cannot hope to prevail in the Christian life unless they take a serious, disciplined approach to it. Yet lurking in the background is always the temptation to hope that we can have the result of…

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    I don’t think I am overstating the matter when I say that this has the potential to be one of the most important books you will read. It’s a book that may shape years of your life and transform the way you carry out one of the key roles God assigns to you…