In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week Jason Duesing wrote an article about the most important word he learned in seminary. He writes:

When I went to seminary I had only been a Christian for 4 years. I knew what it meant to be saved but was still working out what all that meant. For example, I had come to learn and love the hymn:

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

But it was not yet clear to me how exactly did Jesus wash me white as snow? I knew that Jesus died for my sins, but I don’t think I could have told you what happened when he did or how he did it. That is when I discovered I had a philology problem–a problem with words.

Dr. Bruce Ashford published an article at The Intersect Project website explaining how to engage culture like Abraham Kuyper.

Abraham Kuyper lived in the Netherlands in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He was a pastor, a journalist, a newspaper founder, a professor, a university founder, a parliament member and a prime minister. From these many vantage points, Kuyper sought to work out the implications of the gospel. Both his writings and his life story show us a Christian who not only critiqued culture but made culture.

Kuyper is known for his teachings about Christianity and culture. Here are nine points that summarize some of his most important teachings.

Aaron Earls posted an article at his personal blog this week explaining why writing, even when no one will ever read it, is so important for the writer. Aaron writes:

Recently, I spent a significant amount of time working on a blog post only to hit delete instead of publish. That decision was difficult because of the investment and sacrifices I made to write it.

Having a wife, four kids, a full-time job, and church responsibilities means my spare time is limited, verging on the nonexistent. I want to make the most of every moment I have. So having that piece never see the light of day meant something was lost — but not everything.

As I tweeted about my decision, several other writers on Twitter shared their own experiences about constructing blog posts, articles, and even books, that no one else will ever read.

Reading their experiences and reflecting on my own, I realized the loss involved in deleting that post was not all that was involved. There were gains and benefits from the decision as well.

Here are four positive takeaways when my writing ends up on the cutting room floor. When we write for an “audience of none,” here’s what you and I can gain, as well as questions we should ask to determine whether a piece should be read by others.

Sam Storms, while looking at the account of Jesus’s cleansing of the temple, addresses the question: Who is this man, Jesus?

So who is this Jesus? Is he still the humble servant, riding on a donkey, offering himself to Israel as their Messianic King and savior from sin? Is he still the holy judge who is enraged with the unrighteous ways of the religious leaders? Is he at the same time the Good Shepherd of the sheep, tender and meek? At one moment his eyes flashed like fire! No one dared make eye contact with him. A split second later his eyes are filled with tears of love and compassion.

Finally, in this blog post, J.D. Greear discusses the new book One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics with the authors: Bruce Ashford and Chris Pappalardo. J.D. writes:

I’ve often said that for Christian leaders, politics is like a skunk: touch it and that’s all anyone will notice about you for a long while. As Christians, our political convictions—no matter how passionately held or biblically based—should always be secondary to the gospel. I may be wrong about my economic views, but I know I’m not wrong about the gospel; and I never want my opinion on the former to prevent people from hearing the latter.

But just because politics is secondary doesn’t mean its irrelevant. There comes a time when the Church needs to actively equip itself to engage in politics. I believe this is one of those times.

The prospect of diving into politics scares a lot of Christians, especially in the younger generation. Many of us are tired of the “culture wars” and all of the poisonous rhetoric that so often accompanies political activism. And years of Christian over-dependence on politics has left most Christians timid to engage in the political process at all. That’s precisely why now, more than ever, we need a positive, proactive vision for how to live out the gospel in the public square.

Bruce Ashford (Provost at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) and Chris Pappalardo (Lead Researcher and Writer here at the Summit) have given the Church a masterfully constructed blueprint for doing just that. They’ve just released a book called One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics, and I asked them to respond to a few questions about evangelicals and politics today

In Case You Missed It

This week at the Peoples Next Door blog, Keelan Cook posted about how our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult.

David Roberts, a blogger at Vox.com recently wrote an article titled, “How our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult.” For a secular piece, Roberts is rather prophetic in his tone about the shape of society and its relationship with relationships.

Now, I want to be clear that this is a secular work. I am not recommending it wholesale. Roberts uses evolutionary theory and other things to ground his conclusions, and I am not there with him on some of that. However, I point out this article because it provides an excellent look into the culture around us. Pastors, church planters, and even local church members can benefit from reading this, as they try to engage the community around them.

Aaron Earls responded to the Starbucks “red cup” controversy in this post: “We All Got What We Wanted from the Red Cup.”

Yes, we’re all tired of talking about it. The color of coffee cups has dominated social media feeds and water cooler discussions for the past few days. But whether we care to admit it or not, everybody involved got what they wanted out of the Starbucks red cup controversy. While you may have lost track of who exactly is outraged at whom, the winners in this latest cultural kerfuffle are obvious.

At Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer writes about overcoming the discipleship deficit.

The topic of discipleship is one of increasing importance among many believers, and rightfully so. This topic deserves our attention even more today as church leaders realize there is a “discipleship deficit.”… This appears to be a trend across the spectrum of churches. Believers were failing to engage in taking the next step of their spiritual journey, and with regards to the steps that they were actually taking, there was somewhat a sense of dissatisfaction. Converts were being made. Churches are securing “decisions.” But far too few are growing into mature disciples of Christ.

At the Southeastern Literary and Art Magazine (SLAM), Ashley Burchett discusses editing style and mechanics.

“Imaginative writing has its source in dream, risk, mystery, and play. But if you are to be a

good—and perhaps a professional writer, you will need discipline, care, and ultimately even an obsessive perfectionism. As poet Paul Engle famously said, “Writing is rewriting what you have written.”

—Janet Burroway, Imaginative Writing

This quotation from the seventh chapter of Janet Burroway’s book Imaginative Writing is one of my favorite insights Burroway offers. If, as poet Engle notes, “writing is rewriting what you have rewritten,” then editing exists as a vital stage in the writing process, a stage to be revisited again and again and again. The following editing checklist includes the steps I take to edit style and mechanics in my academic and creative writing.

And finally, be sure to check out this interview with SEBTS Vice President of Student Services, Dean of Students and Professor of Theology, Ethics & Culture Mark Liederbach.

Mark Liederbach is the vice president for student services and dean of students at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as professor of theology, ethics and culture. Liederbach shares about growing up in a Catholic family, how he ended up teaching at a Baptist seminary and what projects he is currently working on.

In Case You Missed It

Recently a team of students from SEBTS went on a short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic. After returning from the trip, SEBTS student Shaq Hardy offered his reflections on his personal blog.

The short amount of time that I spent in the Dominican Republic doing ministry to and with Haitians was much needed in helping me see the call of the Great Commission in a better light. Going into this trip I honestly thought God was going to give me a completely different look on the need for the gospel around the world. Especially being an African-American who has never really had international missions on his radar because of the issues I see that still need to be fixed in America within the community from which I came. However, that is not what happened…Instead of giving me a new outlook on missions and how missions should be done, God has used this trip in my life to simply pull the lens with which I use to see missions back and show me more and more the necessity of GOing.

Matt Rogers recently published a helpful article addressing why local churches should work to strategically send teams to plant churches around the US and the world.

Anyone who has ever led a church to plant another church knows that sending is costly. It requires immense effort and intentionality to send well and will likely leave the sending church with a void in leadership and less money with which to operate. Not to mention the fact that local churches will send some of their best people – those who are deeply connected to the life of the church and who are loved by many. So, why send? Why should local churches (established churches and young church plants) work to strategically send teams to plant churches around the US and the world?

Karen Swallow Prior recently wrote an article at The Gospel Coalition answering the question: “What might medieval Catholic poet Dante Alighieri teach Protestants today?” According to Dr. Prior: a lot, actually.

Dante’s masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, has been rightly called “one of the essential books of mankind.” Hundreds of extant early manuscripts and printed editions attest to the popularity of the work in its own age. Its treatment by the world’s great artists, musicians, and writers over the past 700 years proves its continued lure. It has been translated into English countless times and featured regularly on lists of the world’s best books and best poetry…While The Divine Comedy most clearly reflects the Catholic faith of the poet and his medieval world, it hints at some principles the Reformation would bring to bear on the church two centuries later.

In a recent article at the SEBTS Women’s Life blog, Lesley Hildreth addressed some of the lessons she has learned in order to help missionary trainers assist women to live more effective missionary lives.

In 1999 my husband Scott and I were appointed with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to serve as career missionaries in Western Europe among unengaged peoples. At the time our two children were five and three years old respectively. Our family was confident of the call God had placed on our lives, however we had no idea how this calling would unfold in a cross-cultural setting. Before surrendering to the call to missions Scott was serving as pastor of a rural church in Alabama and I was a stay at home mom. We had no idea what a “people group” was but we knew we had to obey and that God would equip us for the work to which He had called us. Once we arrived in Germany, God used a relationship I established with another mom to force me to examine my heart and subsequently shape the way I would look at other women who needed Christ. A changed heart and a renewed love for others shaped the way I lived out the gospel in that cross-cultural setting and continues today as I work to equip other women to live on Mission with God.

In a recent blog post, Aaron Earls addresses why this world still matters to the Christian. Aaron writes:

“If Christians believe that the afterlife is such a wonderful thing, why don’t they just jump in front of a truck?”

That was a quote posted on Twitter by a prominent atheist blogger. Non-Christians have a huge misunderstanding of the Christian perspective on this life. More than likely, that is because many Christians have a huge misunderstanding about the Christian perspective on this life.

While we are constantly longing for the completion and fulfillment of our hope that is to come, we should recognize that this world, though fallen, is still good. It still has value to God, so it should still have value to us.

This week at The Gospel Coalition, Andy Naselli published two articles addressing scripture memorization:

  1. 14 Reasons to Memorize and Entire Book of the Bible
  2. 11 Steps to Memorizing an Entire Book of the Bible

As he discussed in the posts, Andy memorized 1 Corinthians over a period of about 16 months recently. On Thursday, he shared this video recorded earlier this summer in which he recites 1 Corinthians for a sermon at his church, Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.