Check Out Our Personal Websites

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You may not know this, but most of our contributors have personal websites in addition to Between the Times. All of the websites offer a number of resources, and many of them have blogs.

Of course the reason most people read BtT is for Dr. Akin’s articles, but did you know he also has a personal website with hundreds of sermons, Bible studies, and other resources? Check out DanielAkin.com, but remember not to pass off one of Dr. Akin’s pulpit gems as your own. Congregations can spot a contraband Akin sermon a mile away.

Most of you are probably already aware that two of our contributors, Ed Stetzer and J.D. Greear, are really rockstar bloggers who subcontract with us from time to time. In fact, Ed often claims to actually run the Obama Administration, General Electric, and Midwestern Seminary from his personal website. J.D. isn’t quite so bold, but he does occasionally stir up controversy at his blog.

Alvin Reid has been blogging for quite a while, and we all agree that he has the most sophisticated website of any of our contributors. With audio, blogging, and even free E-books, this website has it all. If the 1950s ever make a comeback, they won’t know what to do with all of Alvin’s technology.

Some of our contributors have just launched personal websites in the past few months. Ken Keathley blogs at Theology for the Church; Ken’s just tickled pink that God has ordained a world where he gets to write about Molinism and other theological topics near and dear to his heart. While not a regular contributor, Steve McKinion’s been around enough lately that giving a shout out to Gospel-Centered Living just seems like the Christian thing to do. Be sure to take note of Steve’s scholarly sidebar picture.

I’m the most recent BtT contributor to add a personal website, thus returning to my pre-2008 roots as a solo blogger. One Baptist Perspective is not nearly as cool as Alvin’s website, but then church historians aren’t nearly as cool as evangelism professors. It’s our little cross to bear.

Now I know what you are thinking–what about Bruce Ashford? It’s a good question. I originally didn’t think he had a personal blog, but after doing a Google search I found Bruce’s website. While the writing isn’t always the most sophisticated, Bruce does get more traffic than the rest of us. Even Ed.

Important Announcement from Bruce Ashford

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(Administrator’s note: For posterity’s sake, we thought it was a good idea to add a disclaimer that this is an April Fool’s Day joke. We don’t want future readers who may come across this post to conclude otherwise.)

Dear Readers,

Southeastern Seminary has been a key part of my life for about fifteen years. With the exception of a two year stint overseas, I have been a student, professor, and administrator at SEBTS for most of my adult life. It has been a good ride. But like all good things, it must come to an end.

Last week I tendered my resignation to President Akin, effective June 30. Though I love teaching, I have long felt that I am neglecting my primary calling. The Lord has given me a gift, and I can no longer hide it under a bushel. Beginning July 1, I am launching a new ministry called Missional Yodeling. My hope and prayer is that this ministry will help impact one of the unreached and underserved people groups in America-yodelers.

I’ve struggled with this calling for years. For a time I thought about leaving SEBTS to become a gospel mime, but the Holy Spirit simply refused to move through my fingers. It’s all the same; when I met with my pastor, J. D. Greear, he advised me not to go the miming route because “mimes are creepy.” Frankly, I think the advice says more about J. D.’s neuroses than the practice of miming itself, but I usually take my pastor’s advice. I also batted around the idea of asking Alvin Reid if I could travel around with him and play the electric organ in his worship band, but figured he’d tell me that would be too much like a comeback of the 1950s SBC for his tastes.

Most of my Between the Times colleagues have taken the news pretty well. Dr. Akin was disappointed, but he confided that he too has the spiritual gift of yodeling and wrestles with the same calling. (I already suspected this-yodelers can sense the gift in others.) Ed Stetzer asked if I’d coauthor a pair of books with him on Missional Yodeling and Comeback Yodeling. David Nelson told me that yodeling was fine for evangelistic purposes, but I shouldn’t do it in a worship service because it would remind some worshipers of being in the Switzerland section at Epcot Center. Ken Keathley warned me that some would mock my gift, but I shouldn’t shrink back because God has sovereignly willed a world where I would freely choose to become a yodeler. Nathan Finn said he really wasn’t that surprised with my decision, though he did make some crack about lederhosen and Ricola. Then he asked if he could have all my books, since “yodelers are like recreation ministers and don’t need any books.”

I covet your prayers as I transition to this strategic, Great Commission ministry. For those of you who, like my wife and parents, are worried that I will not be able to support my family during this transition, please know that I do have a back-up plan. I have a standing offer from Heidi and the Yodelers to join their crime-fighting team if my ministry falls through.

If any of you would like to have me come and talk about Missional Yodeling at your church, small group, or Kiwanis Club, just leave a comment on this post.

Sincerely,

Bruce Riley Ashford

Hindsight and Cultural Relevance

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Much is said about cultural relevance among evangelicals. This is, of course, not new. As a new believer in my twenties I recall then “cutting edge” pastors speaking of cultural relevance. I recall them often being criticized by those older and grayer. That was in the 1980s and those pastors are now the graying figures of the SBC. And another generation now is speaking of the need to be culturally relevant.

The need for Christians to communicate effectively in the culture in which they live is self-evident. The extent to which being “culturally relevant” aids such communication is a matter of long-standing dispute. That may depend on what one means by “culturally relevant” and, more importantly, depends on possessing a well-formed theory of contextualization.

Those who know me understand that I think we do a pretty poor job of contextualization in the United States, either by being cultural gluttons or by being cultural anorexics. We either imbibe our culture uncritically, or we assume a separatist posture, either of which typically renders our witness ineffective. But I don’t intend to work all that out here. I do want to suggest a note of caution about the pursuit of cultural relevance: You may want to think about how you’ll look years later when you attempt cultural relevance today. This may give you some perspective on things, and may keep you from being “time-bound” in your rush to be relevant. There is something to be said, after all, for timelessness, especially when it comes to the gospel.

Some friends helped me think about this when we learned recently that Stryper is releasing a new album. I hope this goes well for them. That news reminded me of this. Which reminded me of cultural relevance and the benefit of hindsight. Yes, there is something to be said for timelessness.