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

Yesterday, Jason Deusing shared this helpful post on his personal blog on how why and how he encourages his students to write and improve their writing. Dr. Deusing writes:

As I explain on the first day of class, one of the side effects of a journey with me as professor is that, whether one hopes for it or not, I use my courses to help improve writing skills. In the ministry assignments to which most of the students in my classes will go, the ability to communicate clearly their thoughts will prove crucial for their own efforts of building trust, strengthening relationships, resolving conflicts, organizing and casting visionary leadership, and, most importantly, communicating the gospel message well (Col 4:4). For those who find themselves set apart for the ministry of the Word in preaching, the ability to convey their message in written word only helps insure they will do even better verbally.

Spence Spencer recently published an article at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics discussing C.S. Lewis and the surprising reason we desire fulfillment at work.

When Friday afternoon arrives, sometimes we feel the sense of elation that we will cast off the bonds of our vocational labors and embark on a journey of recreation and rest.

Too soon it seems that Monday morning is looming, and we are back in the harness again for another week of toil.

In the midst of this cycle, we feel a deep longing in our souls for meaning in our weekly work beyond our paycheck and the sometimes minor progress we see.

In The Weight of Glory, a sermon preached in the Oxford University Church of St. Mary the Virgin in 1941, C. S. Lewis describes some of that deep longing and offers hope for its fulfillment.

Gavin Ortlund posted at Desiring God discussing five ways to encourage your pastor (without exalting him).

Plenty have lamented the problem of “celebrity culture” in the church, and usually that phrase brings into our minds famous pastors and leaders in the church today. But “celebrity culture” can be an equal challenge for non-famous, local ministries — and some of its most insidious effects crop up there.

The dangers of “celebrity culture” lurk anytime pastors become isolated from the normal, mutual processes of accountability and encouragement in the body of Christ — anytime leadership is characterized by Hebrews 13:17 authority without Hebrews 3:13accountability:

  • Authority: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls.” (Hebrews 13:17)
  • Accountability: “Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13)

How do we encourage both Hebrews 3 and Hebrews 13 dynamics in our church cultures? In other words, how do we affirm our pastors in their leadership over us without exalting them into some separate category above the sheep?

Who are the Millennials? Waylon Bailey discussed this at his blog recently.

Who are the Millennials, and what do we know about them?

The youngest adult generation in America is popularly known as the Millennials (some people call them Generation Y because the previous generation is known as Gen X).

The Millennial’s were born between 1980 and 2000. They are generally 15 to 35 years old. Other demographers would make them between the ages of 18 and 35.

What do we know about the Millennial’s? There are four very important benchmarks you need to know about the Millennial generation.

Earlier this week, Sam Storms posted a helpful blog entry discussing how forgetfulness is the fuel for idolatry.

“Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the Lord your God has forbidden you” (Deut. 4:23).

Forgetfulness is the fuel for idolatry. Spiritual amnesia often leads to apostasy. This is the most important lesson for us in Deuteronomy 4:1-40. God’s concern is that his people might “forget the things” that they had seen and that the memory of their gracious deliverance might “depart” from their hearts. Thus we read here of the crucial importance of remembrance, of calling to mind again and again the history of God’s dealings with us and his faithfulness at every turn.

 

Book Notice: “Adoniram Judson: A Bicentennial Appreciation of The Pioneer American Missionary”

This year marks the bicentennial anniversary for Adoiram and Ann Judson’s departure from America to Burma (now Myanmar). For this reason Jason Duesing has presented the world with an edited volume, Adoniram Judson: A Bicentennial Appreciation of The Pioneer American Missionary (B&H, 2012). In this volume, Duesing reflects upon the significance of Judson’s life and ministry and holds hope that the Baptist and evangelical world will continue in Judson’s tradition. The structure of the book, included below, guides the reader through learning from Judson and inspires one to follow Judson’s lead in living a life fully devoted to Jesus Christ. Included among the contributors to this volume are SEBTS’ very own President, Danny Akin, and brilliant historian Nathan A. Finn.

Here is the outline of the book:

Introduction – “From Judson’s Prison to the Ends of the Earth” by Paige Patterson

Historical Foundation

Chapter 1 – “Just Before Judson: The Significance of William Carey’s Life, Thought, and Ministry” by Michael A.G. Haykin

Chapter 2 – “New England’s New Divinity and the Age of Judson’s Preparation” by Robert Caldwell

Biographical Presentation

Chapter 3 – “Ambition Overthrown: The Conversion, Consecration, and Commission of Adoniram Judson, 1788–1812” by Jason G. Duesing

Chapter 4 – “‘Until All Burma Worships the Eternal God’: Adoniram Judson, the Missionary, 1812–50” by Nathan A. Finn

Chapter 5 – “So That The World May Know: The Legacy of Adoniram Judson’s Wives” by Candi Finch

Missiological and Theological Evaluation

Chapter 6 – “The Enduring Legacy of Adoniram Judson’s Missiological Precepts and Practices” by Keith E. Eitel

Chapter 7 – “From Congregationalist to Baptist: Judson and Baptism” by Gregory A. Wills

Homiletical Interpretation

Chapter 8 – “Marked for Death, Messengers of Life: Adoniram and Ann Judson” by Daniel L. Akin

Conclusion – “Please Come and Dig” by Jason G. Duesing

In my endorsement for the book, I wrote “Jason Duesing’s Adoniram Judson is a book of historical, theological, missiological, and pastoral consequence. The all-star ensemble of authors for this edited volume provides essays that appreciate Judson’s monumental life and work, but do so in an appropriately critical manner, avoiding the hagiography often present in missionary biographies. In this book, the reader is provided with an excellent and concise biographical treatment of Judson in historical context, followed by a theological and missiological evaluation of his life and ministry, and finally concluding with a homiletical interpretation of Judson. I highly recommend this book.” I stick with the endorsement, and add to it an encouragement for our readers to buy the book, read it, and allow the lessons from Judson’s life to instruct and encourage.