In Case You Missed It

At the Southeastern Kingdom Diversity website, Amber Bowen posted an article titled “Gender and Gifting Reversed.” Amber writes:

I love to teach. I love to teach the Bible. When I teach the Bible, I love to drop anchors and dive down deep. I also love philosophy, theology, history, literature, and every book ever written about these topics no matter how thick or dry. I never feel more alive than I do when I walk out of teaching a 3 hour class on Dante’s Inferno or Nietzsche’s The Antichrist. My favorite thing in the world is seeing people engaged, intrigued, and inspired by the riches of the word and how it relates to all of life, even to the texts of pagan philosophers.


But I am a woman.


Trevin Wax posted at The Gospel Coalition on three ways cultural engagement intersects with the Great Commission.

In previous posts, I’ve dealt with a few objections to the idea of “engaging the culture.” I made the case that we should understand cultural engagement as an aspect of our fulfilling the Great Commission.


Today, I’d like to lean in a little more on that idea and offer three ways that cultural engagement should intersect with our task as God’s people.


At The People’s Next Door, Keelan Cook posted a reminder that it’s the Great Commission we are called to fulfill, not the “Great Obligation.” 

This may be hard to believe, but there was a time when most churches did not think the Great Commission applied to them. Two hundred years ago, it was common for people to read this command at the end of the gospels as one already fulfilled. In the minds of most, the command to go and make disciples of all nations was handed directly to the apostles. When Paul made it to Rome, this signaled the completion of that mandate. That may sound crazy to us today. After all, we talk about the Great Commission all the time and we certainly think it applies to us.


But in 1792, a man by the name of William Carey published a book. It was called, “An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens.” It had a terrible name, but it is one of the most important books you have never heard of. It started what we call the Modern Missions Movement, it it has been going on ever since.


Greg Mathias posted at the Center for Great Commission studies on three mirages that promise life on the mission field.

I truly believe that people give themselves to trust in whatever they believe will give them life. In a previous post, I discussed inordinate loves and the missionary. If our loves are misdirected then we misplace our hope. On the mission field, there are many mirages, or illusions that promise life but end up leaving us spiritually bankrupt.


On the Acts29 podcast, Tony Merida interviewed Thabiti Anyabwile.

On this episode of the Acts 29 podcast, Tony Merida talks with Thabiti, Pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington DC in the United States. Anyabwile shares his testimony as a practicing Muslim to conversion by the Gospel to Christianity, church-planting endeavors, how to engage racial issues with the head, heart, and hands.


Earlier this week, The Baptist Press reported on the continued enrollment gains reported to SEBTS trustees.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees, along with individuals who support the seminary through the Southeastern Society, held their biannual meetings Oct. 9-11 at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus, receiving updates about the seminary, worshipping together in chapel and fellowshipping with faculty and students.


Danny Akin, in his presidential address to each group, reported that Southeastern Seminary is in its seventh year of record enrollment with 3,550 total students. The current fall semester is the second largest spring enrollment in SEBTS history.


SEBTS faculty also taught nearly 11,000 hours of distance learning courses, Akin reported, while diversity on campus rose from 8 percent in 2010 to 14.61 percent in 2016, with the seminary looking to increase that percentage every year.


Southeastern also saw a record year for the Southeastern Fund, raising $1.8 million during the past academic year. More than 650 new donors gave to the Southeastern Fund this year and, overall, more than 900 donors joined the SEBTS family.

In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week at The Gospel Coalition, Trevin Wax wrote about Intervarsity and the revisionist hope for a place at the table. Trevin writes:

InterVarsity made headlines this week for requiring their staff to affirm the historic Christian position that all sexual expression is reserved for male-female marriage.


Critics claimed that same-sex marriage should not be a litmus test for staff members. IVCF should, instead, model a more inclusive approach that recognizes a diversity of views within the organization. By requiring employees to agree with IVCF’s doctrinal stance on marriage, the organization had lifted marriage to a non-negotiable. Since IVCF does not treat other issues this way (baptism, speaking in tongues, women in ministry), it is problematic for the organization to lift marriage to this level, alienate longtime supporters, and marginalize LGBT-affirming voices.


I’ve written before why marriage is not an “agree to disagree” issue but an architectural doctrine of the Christian faith.


At the Intersect Project website, James Ford wrote a piece on calibrating Christian eyes.

A battle is raging. You may not know about this battle — if so, you may be more likely to become a casualty. What is this battle? It’s the battle of depiction.


The church’s mission is to call people to faith and worship; however, the stories our culture tells depict faith and worship less than favorably. When was the last time you saw a person of faith depicted on screen with whom you would like to be associated? Devout, as depicted on screen, is not something you want to be. In addition, and more generally, good is depicted as evil and evil is depicted as good.


Courtlandt Perkins shared on race and the Great Commission at the Center for Great Commission Studies blog. Courtlandt writes:

“I’m a Christian and I think white Christians don’t care about my black life.”
This was a raw but honest thought that weighed heavily on my mind this Summer of 2016. National news and social media were flooded with pictures, videos, hate filled tweets, and Scriptures addressing racial tensions in America, that were highlighted by the deaths of black people by cops and the retaliatory murders of cops by rogue black men. The loss of human life grieves me whether it is someone who looks like me or not, but after moving to a predominantly white neighborhood and attending a predominately white seminary for almost a year now, I was beginning to wonder whether or not my burden for black lives being lost was shared with others that I had the Gospel in common.


Bruce Ashford shared nine books on religious liberty (and its enemies) at this personal blog earlier this week. Dr. Ashford writes:

Here are nine books I recommend to pastors, professors, and students who wish to gain a better understanding of religious liberty and the threats against it. I will describe each book and then rank its level of difficulty on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most difficult. A Level 1 book is one you could give to any friend or family member. A Level 5 book is one that would be required in a PhD seminar. The list is also organized with the more accessible books at the beginning of the list and the more challenging books at the end.


Mark Dance recently shared his top six mistakes as a young pastor.

I made several mistakes in my first decade of ministry. I want to leverage the pain of the top six of those mistakes to help younger pastors succeed instead of suffer.


And finally, a reminder from Dr. Danny Akin, that we can maintain our commitments and convictions on one hand, and at the same time exhibit those commitments and convictions with grace and humility on the other.

In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week at The Center for Great Commission Studies website, Greg Mathias shares a reminder that missionaries need the Bible. Dr. Mathias writes:

At the risk of being labeled Captain Obvious, let me begin with a simplistic yet important statement: Missionaries need the Bible. Ministry is fulfilling, but it is also hazardous. Language, culture, and new experiences of spiritual warfare compound these hazards for the missionary. In the midst of long days and nights of ministry, missionaries often struggle with spiritual exhaustion and long seasons of spiritual dryness. One of the key ingredients behind this exhaustion and dryness is a lack of rich and nourishing time in the Word of God.


6 ways to hold onto the Word in seasons of fruitful ministry or in seasons of exhaustion and dryness.


Alan Cross posted at SBC Voices with eight ways to appreciate your pastor for pastor appreciation month.

October is pastor appreciation month. Let me tell you how to let your pastor know you appreciate him. Gifts are fine and a vacation or money is always helpful, especially if the pastor has a family he is trying to provide for. But, he didn’t become a pastor for the money. He wanted to impact lives for God’s Kingdom. That is what he gave his life to years ago. Every pastor is different, I know, but many pastors that I’ve talked to feel most appreciated when the following happens. I thank God for every instance of this that I experienced.


At The Blazing Center, Matt Rogers shares why peace is a terrible basis for decision making.

It’s become a go-to answer to justify our actions.

Sarah is a high-school senior who is trying to determine where she will go to college. After four college tours, she tells her parents that she “just feels a peace” about going to a certain school. Or a businessman considering a new career venture might quip, “I know it is risky but I just feel a peace that this is what I should do.”


Our internal sense of peace serves as the ultimate rationale for decision-making and, the great thing is, no one can question us. It’s the ultimate mic-drop—akin to saying that God told you to do something.


Who’s gonna say that God didn’t tell you this or that your sense of peace is wrong?


This might not be such a big deal in morally neutral decisions like where we go to college or what entrepreneurial venture we are going to undertake next. But it’s a massive issue when it bleeds over to our choices in other areas of life—which it almost always does.


Dr. Brent Aucoin published a two-part article at Canon and Culture arguing that the Founding Fathers would not have barred pastors from holding public office. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Dr. Aucoin writes:

Did the Founding Fathers of America want to prohibit ministers from holding public office? One of the most prolific and respected Christian historians in America thinks so and wants you to do the same. John Fea, who is chair of the History Department at Messiah College, the author of four renowned books, and a popular blogger, made this argument in an essay entitled “Why the Founding Fathers wanted to keep ministers from public office” that appeared on the Religious News Service (RNS) website on August 15, 2016.


The question of whether pastors should be able to hold elective office does not seem to be a pressing issue, as relatively few ministers ever throw their hat into the political ring. But in a society where the growing hostility of the cultural and political elites towards Christianity is matched by their questioning of the guarantees of freedom of religion, this matter suddenly takes on greater significance. One can’t help but wonder if the attempt to prohibit pastors from running for political office may follow the previously unimaginable attempts by governments in America to collect and analyze sermons, or to effectively prevent professors in Christian colleges from teaching from a Christian perspective. If one could demonstrate that the Founders wished to bar ministers from public office, it would certainly help facilitate the ongoing quest to further secularize the public square and marginalize Christians.


At the Intersect Project, Laura Thigpen shares three ways Christians can be engaged about the environment.

In a recent article, my friend Carly Abney explained why Christians should care about the environment. Now that we’ve established that Christians should care about the environment, the next question is how. Often times people choose not to enter conversations on topics like science or the environment for two reasons:

  • Genuine Intellectual Insecurity: They feel inadequate, lacking enough knowledge to speak on the issues.
  • Superficial Intellectual Security: They believe they have the right answers and are unwilling to enter conversations where disagreement is almost certain.

Carly gave us several reasons why these avoidances actually hinder sharing gospel truths in the environmental movement. Now, Carly gives three practical ways we can work to overcome our perceived barriers and be engaged, ordered in increasing difficulty


Dr. Bruce Ashford published an article at Fox News sharing the one thing that could tip the balance in the next presidential debate.

There is one thing that could tip the balance in an increasingly tight race for the presidency, and it is the one thing that probably will not be mentioned—much less emphasized—during Monday night’s presidential debate. Here’s to hope.


There are a number of things I’d like to see happen during the second presidential debate and then there’s one thing I’d like to see happen more than anything else. Let’s start with a brief enumeration of the “number of things” before we conclude with the “one thing.”