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 his personal blog, Dr. Bruce Ashford shared a glimpse into the life of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary as a “Great Commission” Seminary. Dr. Ashford writes:

Southeastern possesses a clear identity, confession, and mission. The seminary is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention. Its faculty members confess the Bible as the authoritative Word of God and covenant to teach in accordance with, and not contrary to, the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith & Message. They further affirm the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Together with the Board of Trustees and the administration, faculty members share a mission in which “Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Mt 28:1920).” In summary, Southeastern is a confessional seminary in the Southern Baptist stream of historic Christianity whose mission is to be a Great Commission seminary.


Karen Swallow Prior published an article on the challenge of entertainment at First Things: “Delight in the Good.”

I’m tempted to concur with the diagnosis of our current malaise offered by Carl Trueman: “[E]ntertainment is not simply a part of our world. It is arguably the dominant essence of our world. … [E]ntertainment is now ontology.”


I’ve been teaching college students for nearly thirty years, and I can affirm, with Neil Postman, that entertainment has been “the dominant essence” for students for at least that long. I’ve been a member of the body of Christ for even longer, and can attest to a similar attitude of careless consumption in too many pews (and a good number of podiums). Yet the problem, I think, is not that entertainment is ontology. Rather, it is that we don’t know what place to accord entertainment within our ontology. We should beware giving it too low a place, as well as too high.


Our human ability to delight in the world means that entertainment is part of human nature. Today, technology makes entertainment so ubiquitous that our only options may seem to be to consume it mindlessly or to reject it mindlessly.


Keelan Cook shared some tips on how to map your church members in Google for local outreach. Keelan writes:

We talk a lot about hospitality today. There is no end lately to the blog posts and articles circulating the internet concerning the importance of hospitality in outreach and missions. I have several on this site.


Hospitality is an important aspect of ministry that Western Christians often struggle to incorporate into their lives. Compared to other areas of the world, we love our privacy, and  our home easily becomes our fortress of solitude. While homes should be a place for rest, the Bible challenges us to view them as tools for ministry. Can we honestly say we are stewarding God’s gifts well when our single, biggest purchase is never used for outreach?


We should change this paradigm in our churches. Homes are not caves. They are not fortresses to protect us from the hectic world outside. They are gracious gifts from our Heavenly Father to be used, in turn, for his glory. This means opening your home up to others. Yes, it means having others from your church over, but it means even more than that. Use it as a staging ground for the Great Commission.


When was the last time you invited unbelieving neighbors into your home?


Krystal Wilson posted at The Intersect Project on Colin Kaepernick: Looking Past the Outrage.

Athletes: the only people who can go from “pent house to outhouse in seconds.”


As a former division one athlete, I’ve heard these words a thousand times, particularly from my father. He too was a former collegiate athlete, recruited by the likes of the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys, and he had become all too familiar with the unique plight of an athlete.


Athletes know it is far too easy to fall from the high graces of fans. One moment people are singing your praises, and the next they’re burning your jersey. Knowing the fragileness of the pedestal upon which many athletes sit, it is genuinely surprising when they risk it all for something they believe in. To take such a risk, they must find that their belief or stance is worthy of the consequences of a loss of fan base and endorsements.


Which brings us to Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick (and several other NFL players) have decided to silently protest racial injustice in America by kneeling or raising a fist during the playing of the national anthem.


Kaepernick isn’t the first athlete to use his platform and take a form of silent protest on behalf of the voiceless. Kaepernick joins the likes of Muhammad Ali and Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos who protested societal ills.


As we consider Kaepernick’s stance, let’s look past the distractions and consider some gospel implications and a way forward.


Sarah Rainer shared seven tips to address mental health issues in the church. Sarah writes:

One in five people in your church will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime.


You will have few people who have not been directly or indirectly impacted by mental health issues. With so many individuals impacted, church leaders need basic knowledge to handle these issues effectively.


Church leaders do not need to be experts in psychological functioning, but they do need some basic knowledge in order to offer support to individuals struggling in the church. Here are seven basic pointers that every church leader should consider when dealing with mental health issues.


In a recent roundtable discussion posted by The Gospel Coalition, Miguel Núñez, Danny Akin, and Bill Kynes got together to discuss their biggest fear in ministry.