In Case You Missed It

Dr. Russell Moore recently posted discussing the question: “Are Millennials Selfish and Entitled?” Dr. Moore writes:

The Internet lit up recently with outrage when a twenty-something woman complained about how hard it was to live in San Francisco, because her job didn’t pay her enough. The post, directed toward the woman’s employer, Yelp, caused many to point out that Millennials are, as a generation, lazy, self-obsessed, and entitled.

 

The controversy caught my attention because I tend to hear similar things within the church directed toward Millennial Christians. I don’t feel qualified to speak to the general group psychology of the entire generation of Millennials, but I have spent most of my time for the past decade or so around Millennial Christians, and I think the nasty caricatures of them are just not true.

In a recent post on his personal blog, Barnabas Piper discusses the most curious question: “Who are You?”

Who am I?

If you can’t answer this question it’s a good starting place for applying curiosity. Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Do you know what you love and what you hate? Do you know where you draw energy and what enervates you? These are important questions for understanding how God designed you uniquely and what trajectory might be best for you.

 

Such questions can’t be answered in isolation very easily. We judge ourselves both too harshly and too graciously. We have more blind spots about our own lives than anything else, so we need help. We need help from peers and mentors, so ask them what they see in you. What stands out? What is strong? What is weak? We need help from experts, so take two or three evaluations like Strengths Finder and Myers-Briggs. Take a spiritual gifts test such as the one in Discover Your Spiritual Gifts by C. Peter Wagner. None of these will define you, but they will help you understand you. Each provides a piece of the puzzle as to why you are the way you, where you will thrive, and what you should do next.

At the People’s Next Door, Meredith Cooper discusses three rules for receiving hospitality as Gospel ministry. Meredith writes:

Last week I wrote on the importance of showing hospitality to those around us. Hospitality is an important part of displaying Christ’s love, but there is another side to it that gets overlooked. We emphasize showing hospitality, but I think that learning how to receive hospitality is equally important. This is especially true in cross-cultural ministry.

 

As I mentioned briefly in the last post, the highest expression of honor you can show someone of a different culture is to enter their home. It is difficult as Westerners to wrap our minds around this, though. Here are a few things to keep in mind, remembering that these things generally apply to cross-cultural ministry (although if you try these on Americans I would love to hear how it goes!). In addition, always remember that gospel proclamation is the primary goal of both showing and receiving hospitality.

Does Scripture demand unleavened bread in the Lord’s Supper? Dr. John Hammett answers in this post at The Gospel Coalition.

It is commonly agreed that the bread Jesus broke and gave his disciples on the night he was betrayed was unleavened. He was instituting what we practice as the Lord’s Supper during a celebration of the Jewish Passover, which required unleavened bread.

 

At times the question has been raised, then, whether or not Christians should use unleavened bread in the Lord’s Supper in order to follow Christ’s example and to be fully biblical.

Dr. Jamie Dew recently posted about why we all doubt from time to time. Dr. Dew writes:

I’ll admit it. I have had my moments when I wondered if it’s actually true. In fact, I’ve had more than just moments. Those who know me best know that it’s been the seasons of wondering and questioning that ultimately led me to studying apologetics and eventually philosophy. Before I knew it, I had become an academic.

 

Here’s one thing I’ve found. Believers tend to think something is terribly wrong if they have doubts about their faith…

In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week at The Gospel Coalition, David Gundersen reviewed a great new book by SEBTS Theology professor John Hammett: “40 Questions and Answers about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.” Gundersen writes:

I can heartily commend this book not only for its good research, clear writing, and sound doctrine, but also because Hammett’s pastoral heart shines throughout…he heeds Paul’s admonition to “teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1), continually asking how Christians should obey, approach, celebrate, and appropriate these two sacred ordinances as means of grace inaugurated by the Lord of the church until he comes again.

Dr. Russell Moore (President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) published an article at The Washington Post pondering the question: A year after Ferguson, have white Christians learned anything?

The answer to racial injustice is precisely the way the Hebrew prophets once framed the answer to all social evil. It means working for courts and systems that are fair and impartial. But it doesn’t stop with policies and structures. It must also include people who are transformed, not just by greater social awareness, but also by consciences that are formed by something other than our backgrounds.

Dr. Thom Rainer posted a helpful article listing nine steps to using social media and blogs without losing your ministry. Dr. Rainer writes:

After nearly a decade of involvement in social media and, later, the blogosphere, I have seen the best and the worst. Allow me to share what I have learned from the best in ministry who are active in this realm.

Bekah Stoneking, an Ed.D. student from SEBTS, wrote a guest post at Ed Stetzer’s blog yesterday giving three reasons why your teaching style matters.

To be good stewards of the students in our care, to teach them well about God’s truths, and to equip them to participate in His mission, we must understand why our teaching styles matter.

Finally, all this week SEBTS graduate Aaron Earls has been running a series of guest posts at his blog ‘The Wardrobe Door‘ written by four ladies who share why they are pro-life.

Book Notice: “40 Questions About Baptism and the Lord’s Supper” by John S. Hammett

Hammett picSome theological topics remain on the front burner of discussion and debate in theological education. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are two of those topics. To address some of the most pressing theological and practical questions on these ordinances (or are they sacraments?), John Hammett, J. L. Dagg Chair and Senior Professor of Systematic Theology at Southeastern, has written 40 Questions About Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Kregel, 2015). The 40 Questions series is edited Ben Merkle, professor of New Testament at Southeastern.

Following a helpful introduction in which he sketches the historical and recent interest in these marks of the church, Hammett organizes the book according to four main sections: general questions about baptism and the Lord’s Supper (part 1); questions about baptism (part 2); questions about the Lord’s Supper (part 3); and concluding questions about the importance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper for theology and the Christian life (part 4).

In part 1, Hammett explores the terminology for these sacraments/ordinances, who can administer them, and whether they can be practiced outside the church. In parts 2 and 3, after exploring introductory questions such as the origin of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the ordinances (this is a Baptist blog after all) are considered from the perspective of denominational views, theological issues, and practical issues. Hammett considers the views of Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Baptist, and other traditions before asking theological questions like, “Should Infants Be Baptized?” (chs. 16–17) and practical questions like, “How Often Should the Lord’s Supper Be Observed?” (ch. 36). Finally, in part 4, he reflects on the theological and practical significance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Though deeply theological, then, the book has a practical feel, as is the design of the 40 Questions series. Each chapter, which answers one key question, contains reflection questions that prompt the reader to retain and integrate what they have just read. For instance, on the much-debated topic of infant baptism, Hammett offers historical and biblical arguments for infant baptism before providing his (Baptist) rejoinders (ch. 16). Yet, instead of leaving his points as the final word, Hammett asks the reader searching questions such as, “How might churches reflect the welcoming and positive attitude of Jesus toward children (as seen in Matt. 19:13–15; Mark 10:13–16; Luke 18:15–17) in their practices? If not by infant baptism, what would be appropriate ways?” (p. 137). This approach allows the reader to come to informed, not biased, judgments.

40 Questions About Baptism and the Lord’s Supper is also fairly and expertly balanced. After discussing the covenantal case for infant baptism (ch. 17), Hammett concludes, “Baptists think that their positive case for believer’s baptism from the teaching and example of the New Testament is sufficient to support their limitation to believers, and thus to rule infant baptism non-biblical. Nevertheless, the Baptist position is the minority position, historically and contemporarily. Thus, a consideration of the arguments offered in support of infant baptism seemed warranted” (p. 144). The balanced approach encourages readers to defend (charitably) their view while presenting other views of baptism and the Lord’s Supper in a fair-minded way. This feature, among many others, makes Hammett’s new book a sound and clear resource for pastors, teachers, students, and interested laymen in various denominations.