In Case You Missed It

Trevin Wax posted an article at The Gospel Coalition showing that we should stop assuming our neighbors are hostile to our faith.

Some of the headlines are ominous. The value of religious liberty is on the decline. Many Americans consider normal Christian beliefs to be “extreme”—Christianity’s foundational truths (such as, Jesus is the only way to God) or Christianity’s moral vision (Jesus’s strict sexual ethic). In some quarters, our faith is no longer merely strange; it’s bad—detrimental a free and pluralistic society.

 

The evil one would love nothing more than to have these recent developments shut up Christians or to stir up in us a fear of rejection.

Dr. Jamie Dew recently posted about how to turn your children’s mistakes into learning experiences by asking them “What did you learn?” Dr. Dew writes:

What is your first reaction when your children make a “childish” mistake? By “childish”, I mean something like spilling milk, dropping your phone in the toilet, throwing a golf ball through a window, or ripping the wallpaper off the wall. I’m not referring to malicious acts of the will like hitting a brother, lying to a parent, or refusing to obey. Let’s consider those kinds of things later. For now, let’s think about our response to childish mistakes that kids make. The kind of mistakes that kids make because they are kids.

 

I’ll admit it, if I’m not careful, my first reaction to these kinds of mistakes is anger. With four kids, there have been plenty of moments when something went wrong and I responded in a way was is understandable, but not helpful. So, how do you respond? Do you have a default way of responding? Most of us do.

 

At The Wardrobe Door, Aaron Earls shared 8 ways churches can capitalize on Pokémon Go.

Pokemon Go has quickly become a cultural phenomenon and, whether you realize it or not, that’s a big deal for churches. Let me explain. The app mixes the popular video game with an augmented reality form of geocaching. In essence, you travel around in the real world, trying to catch Pokemon that show up on your smartphone. The game shot to the top of both iPhone and Android app charts, as millions of people around began their quest to “catch ’em all.”

 

Here’s why churches should care. Part of the game features going to PokeStops, which are real life buildings and landmarks that allow players to obtain needed items. Churches are often used this way. In fact, every church we drove past this weekend was a PokeStop or gym—from a gigantic megachurch to a tiny fundamentalist church. So what can a church do to capitalize on this? Here are some practical steps to hopefully move the gamers from your steps to your pews.

 

This has lead to some interesting situations for many unchurched gamers. Some exclaimed how this would be the first time in years they have been to a church.

 

My friend Chris Martin of Millennial Evangelical noted how he saw several young guys sitting on the steps of a downtown church because it was a Pokemon Gym. (He has also written a helpful post on why pastors and church leaders should care about Pokemon Go.)

 

So what can a church do to capitalize on this? Here are some practical steps to hopefully move the gamers from your steps to your pews.

At Dr. Dew’s blog, Dr. Steven Ladd posted an invitation to Logic. Dr. Ladd writes:

One of the great joys I have in academic life is teaching an undergraduate course in traditional logic. It is also called formal, predicate, term, or syllogistic logic, but because Aristotle’s method for making valid arguments was the earliest treatment of the subject (Prior Analyticsand De Interpretatione in Aristotle’s larger work Organon), his method developed into the traditional version taught for centuries also known as Aristotelian logic. All refer to the same discipline, however, and it has generally been taught to young people (middle school age) as the way to develop clarity in the reasoning process.

 

Nothing could be more relevant in the twenty-first century, especially for Christians seeking to engage a world increasingly hostile to the worldview found in Scripture.

Walter Strickland shared a helpful post on his blog giving some thoughts for church gatherings after #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile & #Dallas.

Dear Pastor/Church Leader,

 

It has been said that the thoughtful Christian holds the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.  The events of this week have gripped our hearts and made us cling to the promises of Scripture.

 

Church leaders from Sunday school/small group leaders to senior pastors are asking the question, should these events be mentioned in our Sunday morning service?  If so, what does that look like?

 

Matt Capps shared the following post on his personal blog: “This is my son.

This is our precious son.

 

We have taught him about MLK, and that Americans have not always been nice to brown skinned people.

 

But, it breaks my heart to think that one day I will have to fully explain to him the complex brokenness of our world.

 

One day I will have to fully explain our country’s disgraceful history of racial discrimination.

 

One day I will have to help him understand that we, as a country, have not fully moved beyond these racial issues.

 

Thankfully, I will also get to point him to the coming day that we read about in Revelation 21.

 

The day when our loving Father “will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, for the former things will have passed away.”

 

On that day, God will “make all things new.”

 

On that day every believer, from every “tribe and people”, will “stand before the throne and before the Lamb”, as one (Revelation 7).

 

How long, O Lord?

In Case You Missed It

Recently at The Gospel Coalition, Trevin Wax asked: “Can we ‘agree to disagree’ on sexuality and marriage?“. Trevin writes:

The biggest issue confronting evangelicalism today is not over homosexuality and marriage, but whether or not these are “agree-to-disagree” issues.

The question takes various forms:

 

  • Can progressive evangelicals who advocate same-sex marriage share a measure of unity with the rest of the global church?
  • Is it possible to see one’s view of sexual ethics as a dividing line between evangelical churches (similar to debates over baptism, speaking in tongues, etc.), but not something that necessitates a divorce within evangelicalism as a whole?
  • Can believers simply “agree to disagree” on this contentious issue and allow various views to exist within what is commonly accepted as “orthodoxy?”

In a recent blog post, Dr. Jamie Dew reflects on why he loves Anselm. Dr. Dew writes:

“Teach me to seek You, and reveal Yourself to me as I seek, because I can neither seek You if You do not teach me how, nor find You unless You reveal Yourself. Let me seek You in desiring You; let me desire You in seeking You; let me find You in loving You; let me love You in finding You” (Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion, ch. 1).

 

What a prayer. Over the years and through the seasons of questioning, wondering, and even doubting, these words from Anselm have been the cry of my heart. Allow me to introduce you to Anselm, to the Proslogion, and to one of the greatest theological works ever written. If you are looking for a good paperback version, I recommend this one.

 

I’ve had the great pleasure of studying and teaching Anselm for over ten years in my Philosophy and History of Ideas courses. His insights and reflections are constantly nourishing to my soul. Theologically speaking, the Proslogion is dense and meaty. But, it is rather short and each chapter is brief, making it easy to work through. In fact, it can be read in one sitting if you so desire. Nevertheless, we’ll take the next few weeks to highlight a few key chapters and reflect on some of the most important points that Anselm makes. There are 26 chapters in the Proslogion, and each one is no more than just a few hundred words.

Let’s begin with chapter 1.

Joe Thorn recently published an article reminding pastors that the sheep aren’t stupid.

Pastors sometimes say stupid things. Sometimes those stupid things are catchy and wind up being repeated by many other pastors. One of the more preposterous statements I’ve heard many preachers say is, “Sheep are dumb.” They say this as shepherds in reference to the sheep of the church—the congregation. The idea is that sheep are dumb, and must be led well. We shouldn’t be surprised when they do stupid things.

 

My problem with this statement is that it disrespects people made in God’s image and redeemed by God’s Son. Its mocks the church and exalts the self. The church isn’t stupid. Sinful, yes. Stupid, no. Speaking of the church in this way will get a chuckle from some leaders (who aren’t already bored by the worn-out expression), but will create distance between leadership and the people pastors are called to lead.

 

The sheep aren’t dumb. In fact, we would do much better if we thought of the sheep the way the Puritan Thomas Watson (1620–1686) described them in his sermon, “The Good Shepherd.

The Amazing Word of God was the subject of a recent blog post by SEBTS PhD student Spence Spencer. At the end of this post, Spence shares a great video which gives the account of how a seemingly chance interaction with Scripture led to Salvation.

The word of God–the Bible–is an amazing thing. God has spoken through prophets, through poets, and through the pens of the people who wrote the Old and New Testaments by divine inspiration.

 

This is often difficult to prove from deductive arguments. If someone assumes that Scripture is not the word of God and thus not authoritative, then citing passages within Scripture that affirm the reliability, authority, and inspiration of Scripture is likely to have no effect.

 

But, the word of God is infused with life through the Holy Spirit.

In a guest post at Dr. Jamie Dew’s blog, Dr. Stephen Ladd gives an invitation to logic. Dr. Ladd writes:

One of the great joys I have in academic life is teaching an undergraduate course in traditional logic. It is also called formal, predicate, term, or syllogistic logic, but because Aristotle’s method for making valid arguments was the earliest treatment of the subject (Prior Analyticsand De Interpretatione in Aristotle’s larger workOrganon), his method developed into the traditional version taught for centuries also known as Aristotelian logic. All refer to the same discipline, however, and it has generally been taught to young people (middle school age) as the way to develop clarity in the reasoning process.