In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week, Dr. Stephen Wade published an article which offers a few foundational thoughts relative to understanding addictions biblically, and in it he also suggests some practical tips relative to ministering to addicts. In his article Dr. Wade writes:

Addictions are typically associated with alcohol and drug abuse, but when we dig deep into the human heart, we find that a clear understanding of what is going on is really a picture of the battle going on in the heart of every sinner. Pastors will find that both believers and non-believers struggle with addictive tendencies, to a greater or lesser extent, with many different things in their lives. Indeed, the grace and power of the gospel applied to the struggle of an addict is the same grace and power that every believer needs in the battle with sin.

Thom Rainer published an article describing five reasons pastors have guest blindness at the Lifeway blog earlier this week. Dr. Rainer writes:

In light of the woeful reports from mystery guests, I was very surprised at one facet of some research we conducted as we interviewed pastors across America.* One of our questions asked if the pastor’s church does a good job of meeting the needs of first time guests. Surprisingly, 90 percent of the pastors said “yes.” Did you get that? Less than 20 percent of the guests said their visit was good, but 90 percent of the pastors perceive the opposite, that most guests have a good visit.

At The Gospel Coalition, Camille Cates writes: “Why I Don’t Blame Planned Parenthood.

In Genesis 3, we see Adam shift blame to his wife, Eve, and even to God himself. Likewise, Eve shifts blame onto the serpent. Neither takes responsibility for his or her own actions; instead, they simply act as if their sin is someone else’s fault. In the years immediately following my abortion, I shifted the blame too. I blamed my baby’s father. I blamed my parents who took me to the clinic. I even blamed God.

In a recent post on his blog, Dr. Waylon Bailey gives five practical steps for wise speech.

How many times have you asked yourself: “Why did I say that?” Or, maybe you asked: “How could I say that?” Nothing seems to be as easy as saying something dumb. None of us wants to misspeak or say things we shouldn’t. What can we do to minimize our unwise words?

Reflecting on a question he was once asked about Christians eating black pudding in light of Old Testament regulations about eating blood (Lev. 17:10ff), Sinclair Ferguson writes on four principles for the exercise of Christian liberty over at Ligonier:

Although (as far as I am aware) no theological dictionary contains an entry under B for “The Black Pudding Controversy,” this unusual discussion raised some most basic hermeneutical and theological issues:

  • How is the Old Testament related to the New?
  • How is the Law of Moses related to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
  • How should a Christian exercise freedom in Christ?

Yesterday in Chapel at Southeastern, Dr. Chuck Lawless, Dean of Graduate Studies warns students not to become hard hearted to where they destroy their witness. Watch the entire message here:

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.

In Case You Missed It

Yesterday, SEBTS English professor Matthew Mullins published an article at First Things magazine about the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Dr. Mullins writes:

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. But with the 2016 elections just over a year away, the passing of the VRA has taken on new meaning. In June of 2013, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court invalidated key provisions of the VRA. In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts declared the section of the Act requiring “preclearance” from certain states and districts unconstitutional. This ruling allows these jurisdictions to make changes in voting laws with greater ease. Many have already done so, and some of the results suggest that we may have more reasons to mourn the passing of the VRA than to celebrate its passage.

Karen Swallow Prior published a story earlier this week at Think Christian about mourning Mark Zuckerberg’s miscarriages in the shadow of Planned Parenthood. In her article Karen raises an interesting point around potential life and actual life:

I can’t help but think that the contradictory ideas society holds about unborn children (who are considered babies when wanted and something else when not) owes in part to our tendency to conceive of child bearing as product- rather than process-oriented. The very term reproduction reflects such thinking. Our tendency, even within the church, to think with the product – rather than the means – in mind has dulled our understanding of a crucial distinction between potential life and actual life.

On his blog, Chuck Lawless gives 10 reasons pornography has power.

I suspect most if not all of the readers of this post know somebody who has struggled with pornography. From the teenager struggling with new desires to the senior pastor recently caught in sin, even believers wrestle with this sin. Perhaps if we understand why pornography has so much power, we would know better how to fight against it.

Thom Rainer posted an article about which books he would keep if he could only have 25 books in his minister’s library.

I began the process thinking it would be a simple exercise. I was wrong! I had great trouble narrowing the list to 25. Here are some of the parameters I used.

  • I didn’t hesitate to choose books that were simply personal preferences.
  • I decided at the onset I would strive to choose a variety of issues and topics, rather than just the 25 best books.
  • I was sufficiently lacking in humility, and put two of my own books on the list.
  • I really struggled eliminating many commentaries of individual Bible books.

Selma Wilson writes a reminder to parents: Building a yes home prepares your children to say yes to God.

Sure, children need direction and discipline. Along with boundaries, however, children crave a place to exercise physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. A yes home, with clearly established boundaries, gives them room to stretch, run, and grow with you close by.