In Case You Missed It

Aaron Earls published an article this week discussing the idolatry of outrage, and how much of social media exists to answer the question: “What are we outraged about today?” Aaron writes:

If I open Facebook, I can find the cultural flashpoint that is angering at least half the nation. Perusing Twitter, I see the political issue that supposedly warrants not simply my attention, but all my emotion as well. I must be offended and I must be outraged.

The invasive outrage culture has been relentless. From coffee cups to Donald Trump (all of him), 2015 was the year of perpetual outrage and the new year seems to be more of the same.

But why is that? Why are we so consumed with feeling indignation or claiming offense? In a sense, outrage is cultural super glue, binding together individuals quickly and strongly over shared dislike and disgust. It is a shortcut to developing community and finding purpose.

At the Peoples Next Door blog, Meredith Cooper shared a post discussing how to survive the Church as an introvert.

If you register “I” on the spectrum of “HANG OUT WITH ALL THE PEOPLE” to “give me solitude or give me death”, then you, like me, probably struggle with community in the church. As an introvert, the balance between needing alone time to recharge and not neglecting others is hard. It is easy to value that time so much you neglect what is a necessary and biblical part of the Christian life — the church. I am guilty of, and I have witnessed others, using my so-called introversion as an excuse to neglect the church.

While I think there is some validity to the extrovert/introvert spectrum and how we relate to people, it is also largely a Western concept bred out of individualism and our desire to dictate who/what/when/where we spend time with people. However, this is not how we see believers relating to each other in the Bible. Christian community is illustrated throughout the Bible and rarely, if ever, do we see an individual forsaking people to get their alone time.

Ray Van Neste recently shared his review of Go Set a Watchman at his personal blog. Dr. Van Neste writes:

My first completed book of the year is Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. Despite all the criticism of the book, I thought it was superb. They say it was a draft. May I be so blessed as to write such drafts! If Lee announced she had a forthcoming volume of scrap stories about Jean Louise’s childhood, I would pre-order it today (or at least I’d start looking for a sale!). I love the way she writes, and the childhood stories are a favorite part of her books for me. So, even if such a collection had no great moral tale, I’d enjoy reading it.

At The Gospel Coalition, Garrett Kell shared an important article on finding forgiveness after an abortion.

When I was 20 years old, I loved my life. It was carefree and full of good times. School, sports, parties, and girlfriends filled my mind most days.

Until one day that changed my life forever.

A girlfriend and I discovered we were pregnant. We hadn’t planned to get pregnant, but we were. When she broke the news to me, I was a little nervous, but reassured her we’d figure out a way to make it. My empty assurance was followed by a question that would push me to a place I’d never been before. With fearful eyes, she looked at me and asked, “Are you going to be with me? Are you going to marry me?”

I was young. I had hopes and dreams and plans. I had my whole life in front of me; I wasn’t ready to be married or to raise a child. But I’m not sure I would’ve thought about it exactly like that in those days. I didn’t know how to think about serious realities. I only operated in the moment.

I told my girlfriend I wasn’t ready to get married. She knew that, but my words confirmed it. A friend gave her the $400 we needed to have “the procedure,” as they called it. I was there when she took the pill. I was there when we flushed our child down the toilet. I was there when we cried, even though we didn’t know why. And some days I’m still there.
God Intervened

Trevin Wax recently earned his PhD from Southeastern and shared some reflections this week on how no matter where he goes or whatever else he does now that his formal education is complete, he is going to write.

It was just moments before I would walk up the stairs and through the doors of Binkley Chapel, where I would then be “hooded” as a doctor of philosophy. Lined up outside with fellow graduates, all of us decked out in our regalia, I was handed a sign that said “I am going to” with a line underneath left blank.

The “I Am Going” sign is one of Southeastern Seminary’s trademarks. Southeastern faculty and staff love to ask people to answer that question with a marker and then hold the sign up for a picture. You can either write down where you are about to go or what you plan to do.

Jittery with emotions at the time, my mind drew a blank about that blank! Where am I going? What am I going to do? I’ve completed this PhD process and my formal education has come to an end. What next?

The only word that came to mind was “write.” No matter where I go or whatever else I do, I am going to write.

SEBTS Visiting Scholar Program

Did you know that Southeastern Seminary maintains the Southeastern Visiting Scholar Program to benefit scholars from other evangelical institutions? Might you be one of those scholars?

This program offers visiting professors the opportunity to participate in the academic community at Southeastern, and affords us the opportunity to enrich and support the academic research and writing of a visiting professor during his or her sabbatical leave. At SEBTS, we want to express our friendship and support our shared work in the gospel with other evangelical institutions. The visiting scholar program is a focused way for us to recognize and support men and women who already contribute to our school through their teaching and writing ministries. The program, then, is for scholars who teach in a discipline that complements the mission and vision of Southeastern Seminary.

In this program, visiting professors are provided:

1) a furnished apartment

2) a research office

3) a research assistant

4) full access to all library resources, and

5) direct support from library staff.

During their time at Southeastern, scholars are also involved in the broader academic community. This involvement occurs at formal and informal levels that may include roundtable discussions, individual lectures or other presentations, teaching a course, and conversations with various faculty and students. In 2012, Ray Van Neste, Professor of Biblical Studies and Director of the Ryan Center at Union University, utilized the program to great benefit. Here’s his take:

The Southeastern Visiting Scholar Program is a wonderful program resulting from the great vision of collaboration and hospitality at SEBTS. I had a great time as part of this program during my sabbatical. My family had a wonderful time on campus, and I deeply enjoyed the interaction and fellowship with SEBTS faculty. Not only was I able to get a lot of work done on my projects, but I was also was encouraged and intellectually stimulated by the informal discussions with faculty and students. I heartily commend this program to anyone who has the opportunity to take advantage of it.

We encourage you to consider taking similar advantage of this program. Interested scholars may apply for the Southeastern Visiting Scholar Program by sending a CV, brief description of research goals for the leave, and sabbatical schedule to Dr. Keith Whitfield (kwhitfield@sebts.edu).

Book Notice: “The Community of Jesus”

community-of-jesusChristopher Morgan has put forth a steady stream of top-shelf edited volumes in the field of systematic theology. These volumes work very nicely in theology and doctrine courses, whether the courses are introductory in nature or upper-level electives. Morgan’s volumes model how to take complex ideas and mediate them in a lucid and compelling manner to pastors, college students, and seminarians. Morgan’s most recent volume is no exception.

In The Community of Jesus: A Theology of the Church (B&H, 2013), which Morgan (California Baptist) edited together with Kendell Easley (Union University), the authors provide compelling and coherent answers to questions about the nature and practice of the church.

In the introduction, Morgan and Easley note their different experiences in and with the church and how these experiences have shaped their approach. They also point out the significance of the numerous questions that attend any discussion of church: what about Baptism; the Lord’s Supper; church discipline; the relationship to Israel; denominations? These questions, they note, are important but are “ . . . best seen through a broader, salvation historical lens the theology of the church framed by a context of the nature and mission of God.” (xiii)

Instead of seeking to answer all the questions they opt to lay a theological foundation upon which the reader can build a fuller exposition of the church. This in turn speaks to many of the more applied questions. “Our focus is to work toward a biblical, historical, systematic, missional theology of the church.” (xiii) That is, The Community of Jesus is an integrative theology of the church that paves the way for other volumes to answer myriad questions about context and application.

Readers of BtT will be familiar with the contributing scholars. In the first five chapters, Paul House, Kendell Easley, David Dockery, Ray Van Neste, and Southeastern’s own Andreas Köstenberger lay out the biblical teachings––from OT to NT––which inform an evangelical Baptist ecclesiology. In the next four chapters James Patterson, Steve Wellum, Chris Morgan, and your scribe relate the biblical teachings to church history, salvation history, God’s glory, and God’s mission. The result is a smart, clear, and responsible text on the theology of the church.

This book will be a most helpful resource for pastors, teachers, and students alike. Pastors will benefit from the well-conceived plan of the book, which helps them connect the biblical, historical, systematic, and practical aspects of the church to their own ministry. Teachers will welcome the clear writing and concise treatments of large chunks of Scripture and history on this topic. And students, especially undergraduates, will learn to love the church and why this matters to God.ctj rjgbhfqnth