In Case You Missed It

Dr. Andreas Köstenberger recently published an article at his personal blog discussing Community and Mission. Dr. Köstenberger writes:

As we read at the beginning of the book of Acts, the early church was devoted to fellowship, koinonia (sharing things in common; koinon = common): “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. … And all who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:42). The emphasis on fellowship is interesting, because Acts is a book about mission. So we see that in the early church, community was the foundation for the church’s mission.

Keelan Cook recently posted a blog discussing 3 things churches think they cannot do with Internationals (but really can). Keelan writes:

Not only do I work at a seminary, I am also a local church pastor. As our church gets serious about discovering and engaging internationals in our area, I am starting to see a pattern. There are several things well-intentioned church members feel they are not supposed to do when engaging internationals that are, in fact, really good things.

Of course, everyone exists inside a culture, and church members here in America are no exception to that rule. That means certain aspects of our culture and worldview give us “rules” to live by when interacting with other people. For instance, here in the States when we meet someone we typically shake hands. It happens so naturally that we do not even realize it is a culturally conditioned response. However, when we start engaging cross-culturally, some of these cultural responses cross wires and short out communication. In other words, there are “rules” in our culture that make no sense in other cultures.

The following are three such examples where our “rules” in American culture tell us not to do something that would actually benefit our relationship with people from many other cultures. These are things we think would be wrong to do, but are actually good.

Michael J Kruger shared his top ten favorite books on the authority of Scripture in a recent blog post:

One of the most enjoyable aspects of speaking to different groups on the reliability of the Bible is the Q&A time. It is an exciting (and risky) affair because you never know what you are going to get.

Then again, sometimes you do know what you are going to get. Over the years, one question has been asked more than all others combined: “What are the best books to read on the authority of the Bible?”

Due to the popularity of that question, I have compiled an annotated list of the 10 best books on this topic. It goes without saying that such a list is highly selective (and debatable). So many good books deserve to be included.

Dr. Joe McKeever recently posted an article discussing the things we do for a great story:

“And without parables (great stories!) Jesus did not teach” (Mark 4:34).

I once sat through a long session of a convention of realtors just to hear a motivational speaker.  The story with which he opened quickly became a mainstay in my arsenal of great illustrations and sermon-helpers.

Time well spent.

I’ve read entire books and come away with one paragraph that became a staple in my preaching thereafter.  It was time well used and money well spent.

SEBTS Student (and Library Assistant) Nathaniel Martin recently shared this short biographical sketch of A.T. Robertson.

A.T. Robertson was a faithful teacher, preacher, and denominational leader. Although he came be remembered for many things and in many ways there is little doubt he will be most remembered as the greatest scholar in the history of Southern Seminary.

Finally, be sure to check out this great short story shared by George (Chef) Trudeau, a student at the College at Southeastern: “Meditated Grace

Book Notice: God’s Design for Man and Woman (by Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger)

God's Design picMany of the influencers in the West are working to blur the lines between genders, and apparently now are enjoying a significant amount of popular approval. Even the notion of gender is up for grabs. (Witness Facebook’s recent announcement that its users can select from over 50 gender options.) The culture is awash with “gender questioning” (one of Facebook’s new options). We are naïve if we think that we, or our churches, will not be affected by this cultural shift. Responsible resources are needed to equip Christians living in this gender-neutral culture.

For this reason, we are grateful to Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger for writing an excellent book that presents Scripture’s witness to God’s design for man and woman, God’s Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey (Crossway). They address God’s intentions for man and woman in the home, but also in church and society. They are clear about the importance of the topic: “Biblical manhood and womanhood is too important a subject not to think through carefully as a Christian. While it is undeniable that there’s no current consensus on this issue in the church, the probable reason isn’t that Scripture is inconclusive or conflicted.” (14-15) The authors believe, instead, that Scripture is clear and consistent on the topic. Thus, they see Scripture as the source and guide for clear thinking and loving application on what it says about man and woman, individually and in their relationships together.

In the book, the Köstenbergers seek to provide a biblical-theological treatment of God’s design for man and woman. That is, they trace the biblical storyline to see what God has said about man and woman throughout the ages. The structure of the book illustrates this helpful approach:


Chapter 1: God’s Original Design and Its Corruption (Genesis 1–3)

Chapter 2: Patriarchs, Kings, Priests, and Prophets (Old Testament)

Chapter 3: What Did Jesus Do? (Gospels)

Chapter 4: What Did the Early Church Do? (Acts)

Chapter 5: Pauls’ Message to the Churches (First Ten Letters)

Chapter 6: Paul’s Legacy (Letters to Timothy and Titus)

Chapter 7: The Rest of the Story (Other New Testament Teaching)

Chapter 8: God’s Design Lived Out Today

Appendix 1: The Three Waves: Women’s History Survey

Appendix 2: The Rules of the Game: Hermeneutics and Biblical Theology

Appendix 3: Proceed with Caution: Special Issues in Interpreting Gender Passages

In Chapters 1–7, then, the biblical-theological teaching on man and woman is presented. Each chapter contains discussion of key passages and the relevance of those passages for today. Controversial texts such as 1 Tim 2:15 (“she will be saved through childbearing”) receive special attention. On this text they conclude that “save” refers not to religious salvation but to spiritual preservation from falling into error, namely Satan’s deception (pp. 212–19). Chapter 8 contains a summary of the key points from the book and application points for churches, married and single men and women, including the biblical roles and activities for men and women. The three appendices provide interested readers with resources and arguments for further study into this important and controversial topic.

Since this book is about God’s design for men and women, nearly everyone will benefit by reading it. Pastors, small-groups, married couples, singles, and students pursuing clarity on this topic will especially benefit. The Köstenbergers begin their introduction with a testimony of God’s grace to them through the lives of faithful men and women who, in their relationships together, showed the power and beauty of the gospel (pp. 15–16). We can be helped by this book to do likewise.

In Case You Missed It

1) Watch your life and your doctrine. Eric Geiger discusses “a tale of two Mars Hills.” 

2) Andrew Branch at World Magazine tells the story of Nancy Writebol, missionary who survived Ebola.

3) Over at Baptist21, a helpful discussion of old liberalism in new clothes.

4) How now shall we evangelize and disciple those in our congregations? The folks at 9Marks asked several pastors to weigh in. Your thoughts?

5) Get a free good book from B&H, Truth in a Culture of Doubt by SEBTS professor Andreas Köstenberger, Darrell Bock (Dallas Theological Seminary), and SEBTS alum Josh Chatraw (now at Liberty University).