In Case You Missed It

At the Southeastern Kingdom Diversity website, Amber Bowen posted an article titled “Gender and Gifting Reversed.” Amber writes:

I love to teach. I love to teach the Bible. When I teach the Bible, I love to drop anchors and dive down deep. I also love philosophy, theology, history, literature, and every book ever written about these topics no matter how thick or dry. I never feel more alive than I do when I walk out of teaching a 3 hour class on Dante’s Inferno or Nietzsche’s The Antichrist. My favorite thing in the world is seeing people engaged, intrigued, and inspired by the riches of the word and how it relates to all of life, even to the texts of pagan philosophers.

 

But I am a woman.

 

Trevin Wax posted at The Gospel Coalition on three ways cultural engagement intersects with the Great Commission.

In previous posts, I’ve dealt with a few objections to the idea of “engaging the culture.” I made the case that we should understand cultural engagement as an aspect of our fulfilling the Great Commission.

 

Today, I’d like to lean in a little more on that idea and offer three ways that cultural engagement should intersect with our task as God’s people.

 

At The People’s Next Door, Keelan Cook posted a reminder that it’s the Great Commission we are called to fulfill, not the “Great Obligation.” 

This may be hard to believe, but there was a time when most churches did not think the Great Commission applied to them. Two hundred years ago, it was common for people to read this command at the end of the gospels as one already fulfilled. In the minds of most, the command to go and make disciples of all nations was handed directly to the apostles. When Paul made it to Rome, this signaled the completion of that mandate. That may sound crazy to us today. After all, we talk about the Great Commission all the time and we certainly think it applies to us.

 

But in 1792, a man by the name of William Carey published a book. It was called, “An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens.” It had a terrible name, but it is one of the most important books you have never heard of. It started what we call the Modern Missions Movement, it it has been going on ever since.

 

Greg Mathias posted at the Center for Great Commission studies on three mirages that promise life on the mission field.

I truly believe that people give themselves to trust in whatever they believe will give them life. In a previous post, I discussed inordinate loves and the missionary. If our loves are misdirected then we misplace our hope. On the mission field, there are many mirages, or illusions that promise life but end up leaving us spiritually bankrupt.

 

On the Acts29 podcast, Tony Merida interviewed Thabiti Anyabwile.

On this episode of the Acts 29 podcast, Tony Merida talks with Thabiti, Pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington DC in the United States. Anyabwile shares his testimony as a practicing Muslim to conversion by the Gospel to Christianity, church-planting endeavors, how to engage racial issues with the head, heart, and hands.

 

Earlier this week, The Baptist Press reported on the continued enrollment gains reported to SEBTS trustees.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees, along with individuals who support the seminary through the Southeastern Society, held their biannual meetings Oct. 9-11 at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus, receiving updates about the seminary, worshipping together in chapel and fellowshipping with faculty and students.

 

Danny Akin, in his presidential address to each group, reported that Southeastern Seminary is in its seventh year of record enrollment with 3,550 total students. The current fall semester is the second largest spring enrollment in SEBTS history.

 

SEBTS faculty also taught nearly 11,000 hours of distance learning courses, Akin reported, while diversity on campus rose from 8 percent in 2010 to 14.61 percent in 2016, with the seminary looking to increase that percentage every year.

 

Southeastern also saw a record year for the Southeastern Fund, raising $1.8 million during the past academic year. More than 650 new donors gave to the Southeastern Fund this year and, overall, more than 900 donors joined the SEBTS family.

In Case You Missed It

In a recent post at the Peoples Next Door, Lauren Ballard explains how regular people can minister to internationals. Lauren writes:

I want to share part of my story on how I began to engage internationals and how you can too. When I started at seminary in the Fall of 2013, sadly the thought of engaging the nations in Raleigh was not on my radar. The Lord began to soften my heart and open my eyes to the fact that the nations are coming to us and I needed to do something about it. At church one Sunday someone announced the opportunity to get involved in ministering to Muslims. This sparked my interest, but I didn’t know how to get started. You may be thinking the same thing. For example, you see a Muslim lady in line at the store and want to strike up a conversation but don’t know where to start.

Let me tell you about three ways I engage internationals here in Raleigh: eyebrow threading shops, ethnic restaurants, and mosques/temples.

You don’t think your job matters? In this article Nathaniel Williams explains why it does.

My toddler occasionally watches Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. (If you haven’t seen it, think animated Mr. Rogers with a preschool tiger.) One day I heard the characters singing this jingle:

Everyone’s job is important. We all help… in different ways.

My ears perked up, so I sat down to watch alongside my son. I learned that Daniel wanted to be the line leader. But when he received a different classroom job, he was disappointed. By the end of the episode, he learned that some classroom jobs are less glamorous, but all of them are important.

This lesson is simple enough. So simple, in fact, that the show’s creators put it to music. But believing that everyone’s job is important is painfully hard to put into practice.

In a recent article at The Anxious Bench, Thomas Kidd explains why the Founding Fathers spoke the King James Bible. Dr. Kidd writes:

One of the besetting problems of “Christian America” history writing is that it often interprets biblical quotes from the Founders as evidence that they were personally devout. Sometimes personally devout Founders did also speak in the language of the King James Bible, of course. But a broader range of Founding Fathers – including the skeptical Benjamin Franklin – spoke in the language of the King James because it was the coin of the realm. Even people who had little formal education, like Franklin, (the devout) Patrick Henry, or (the Calvinist-leaning skeptic) Abraham Lincoln thoroughly knew their Bibles from childhood, and spoke its language. So when you observe someone in America before 1877 speaking in the Bible’s phrases, you need to know more about that person before you can declare them a believing Christian.

Keelan Cook recently explained in a recent post why in the context of urban missions, the suburbs still matter.

We talk a lot about cities nowadays, and we should. The world is now more urban than not, and that does not look to change any time soon. The Great Commission is increasingly an urban mission. That being said, I think some of the language we use at times to showcase the importance of cities may cause people to overlook the complexity of the average US urban center.

Cities are engines of commerce, culture, and influence, we say. Cities emanate culture outward to the surrounding areas, regions, and even the world. Cities shape the world. While this is all true, if we are not careful, our description is a little too flat. The flow of culture, influence, and people is not one-directional.

Certainly, cities have a disproportionate influence compared to rural and even suburban areas. Think of the influence of Hollywood or Madison Avenue. It is no secret that advertising tells people what they want before they want it. In this regard, cities drive culture on a large scale. However, cities cannot do this alone. At least in America, cities need their suburbs.

Suburbs are important too.

Cities cannot exist without their suburbs. Because of the way cities developed in the United States (think about the automobile), most of our cities need suburbs to supply them people. Yes, many center cities are experiencing population growth right now, but the vast amount of commerce in cities depends on the large workforce that exists around its beltway. Not only do these people work in the city, they support the city by shopping and playing there. This is a bigger deal concerning culture and commerce than one would first think. If culture pushes out from the cities, then many of the people making decisions about it are actually suburbanites. That means this relationship is not as one-way as many claim.

At The Front Porch blog, Thabiti Anyabwile discusses the difference between a healthy church and a peaceful church.

I love the Church. And because I love the Church, I long for both her health and her peace. Sometimes in discussions with other people who love the Church, I find myself in some disagreement. Sometimes the disagreements are major and substantial—we see the world very differently. Sometimes the disagreements are matters of degree or emphasis—we see the world largely the same way but we lean in different directions.

I’ve sometimes been puzzled about why people who love the Church and want its health and peace find themselves at odds. This morning I’m convinced that sometimes the disagreements arise because we can use “health” and “peace” as synonyms when they’re not.