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Thabiti Anyabwile|2:12 am CT

Around the Blog in 80 Seconds

This past week has featured some good reading around the blogosphere. Listed below are some posts I enjoyed:

Sunday (23rd)

Charles M. Blow, “Thomas Speaks… Blindly about Race.” Loved this paragraph:

We must stop having these juvenile discussions of race and face down the big questions: How can we help people see a thing so vaporous? How can we help direct dialogue among individuals about things happening on a grand scale? How can we help avoid victim and guilt fatigue in addressing problems whose formation was glacial and whose undoing is likely to be so as well? And how can we encourage people to fight on two fronts at once: holding the culture responsible for allowing and even nurturing roadblock biases, while still encouraging individuals to make every effort to overcome those biases, identifying and eliminating self-destructive behaviors?

Monday (24th)

The Preaching of William Still

I received a real gift in a comment from Malcolm Duff, who read a post I’d written some time back on William Still’s book, The Work of the Pastor. Still was used of God to impact many better known men in the evangelical world today. He pastored Gilcomstom Church in Scotland for 52 years (1945-1997). He was committed to the exposition of God’s word, but I’d never heard him or knew his sermons were available. Then this gift called Tapes from Scotland which makes available some of Still’s preaching.

Kevin DeYoung shows us how to charitably but critically critique a book in his review of Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed by Austin Fischer. He opens:

Austin Fischer, the 28 year-old Teaching Pastor at Vista Community Church in Temple, Texas, has written an honest, intelligent, accessible book about why he is no longer Reformed. Lauded by the brightest stars in the Arminian firmament–Scot McKnight, Roger Olson, Greg Boyd, Rachel Held Evans–Fischer is to be commended for writing on such a difficult topic with disarming prose and without biting rancor. I can understand why Christians on the other side of this issue may feel like this is the Book They’ve Been Waiting For. Of course, given my position as an ordained Reformed pastor, it will come as no surprise that I found his arguments ultimately unpersuasive and, in several instances, full of significant weaknesses.

Wednesday (26th)

I’ve always respected former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Chris Carter, both for his exploits on the field and his commentary. He’s one of the likable guys from league. I thoroughly enjoyed much (not all) of what he said about the use  of the N-word and other epithets in the NFL.





Thabiti Anyabwile|4:54 am CT

Tweets and Links (Jan. 18, 2014)

A few of the things that encouraged and edified me this past week:












Thabiti Anyabwile|1:17 am CT

Begin Your Week with Some Excellent Reads

Unless you’re one of those peppy morning persons who only wake to sunshine, chances are you can use a little spiritual encouragement at the start of your week. Perhaps you’re the person who wakes up thinking, Ugh… it’s Monday. Monday morning. Already. And maybe, as Lloyd-Jones famously put it, you’re listening to yourself rather than preaching to yourself.

Well, join the club. I’m sure it’s a large club. I don’t know who manages the membership, but you’re not alone. You can use some encouragement after a weekend that was too short and too busy to actually be re-creation. Here are a few from last week that

Jared C.Wilson, What to Do With “Some People Are Saying….”

“People are saying . . .” can be emotionally crippling to even the most secure pastor. Which people? How many people? One person, two people? Members? Regular attenders? Someone who likes me? Someone who doesn’t? Suddenly every interaction with someone in the congregation is covered by a dark cloud.

Kevin DeYoung, The Front Porch (Okay, maybe this encouraged me more than it did you; but I hope The Front Porch does encourage you!)

I am thrilled to commend this new website and this new initiative. No one asked me to say anything about it. No one needs my commendation. But I can’t help but think The Front Porch represents something unique and precious in the church in our day. Of all the things happening in the evangelical church, I believe that looking back, generations from now, the most significant may prove to be the resurgence and redevelopment of strong, biblical theology in the African American church.

Trevin Wax, Good Deeds Flowing from God’s Mercy

Here’s how William Tyndale argued backward from the effects of salvation (good works) to the cause of salvation (God’s mercy).

Victor Luckerson, University of Alabama Integrates Sororities

The present finally rejected the past at the University of Alabama. On Friday, more than a week after a story about persistent segregation in the school’s sorority system attracted national attention, multiple African American women accepted bids to join traditionally white sororities. The move ends the last bastion of segregation at the tradition-bound southern university.

Hope that provides a little pep for Monday morning!





Thabiti Anyabwile|1:17 am CT

Around the Blog in 80 Seconds

I’m behind on my blog reading… again. I don’t feel bad about being behind. Blog reading is not required, and it is sometimes detrimental. But I don’t like seeing a whole heap of posts in my reader. But, on the positive side, that means there’s stuff for me to peruse and enjoy. Below are a few I recommend to you.

How Can I Tell If I’m Called to Pastoral Ministry. Kevin DeYoung has a way of making things really plain and useful. I’d be happy if he were my pastor. I might even be able to help him with his Spartan idolatry–at least I’d pray for him. But here he gives us some very simple and sound questions when thinking about a call to ministry. Reading it brought to mind one of my favorite books on Christian ministry.

Al Mohler’s Best Books for Preachers 2012. Thanks Justin for linking to this. Thanks Al for compiling this. I’ve not read one of these books and Al has likely read them all in one sitting. I don’t know how I feel about possibly reading Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. I’m compiling a few “whiteness studies” titles to read, and am currently enjoying Joan Walsh’s What’s the Matter with White People? Why We Long for a Golden Age that Never Was. I suspect she and Murray will have very different views of the last fifty years. So I feel inexorably drawn to Coming Apart… the way mice get drawn to cheese delicately placed atop a guillotine. After I’ve finished these, perhaps Nell Irvin Painter’s The History of White People.

How to Stop Church-Killing Gossip. Raise your hand if you think Justin Taylor is perhaps the most useful blogger alive. Here’s another very helpful abstract of thoughts from Kent Hughes, Dan Phillips, and Ray Ortlund. Good stuff to save friendships, heartache, churches, and reputations.

What’s the Point of Marriage? I enjoyed this reflection on the “why?” of marriage over at The Briefing. Jean Williams finds an upward, inward, and outward “why” by looking at Piper, Keller, and Ash books on marriage. I thought it was a helpful synthesis.

SBC President: We Need African Americans on the International Mission Field. Amen and amen! I appreciated this call to the great work of the Master and the articles brief look at some of the history of missions in the African American context. I don’t know how current or accurate this number is, but everything I find says there’s only 300 cross-cultural African American missionaries. That from millions of professing Christians. “Of IMB’s 4,900 missionaries, 27 are African American, 79 are Hispanic and 317 are Asian.” Much work to be done! I’m praying for a great army of African American workers to be sent into the harvest with others in our lifetime. In a couple weeks I hope to help announce an effort to fan the missions flame in the hearts of African American students!

Book Review: Center Church by Tim Keller. My brother Jonathan Leeman uses his considerable writing skills and insight to review Keller’s book on church ministry. Leeman manages to be both charitable and critical, offering differing “camps” something to take away from the book and something to leave.

Benedict, Dawkins, and the Fullness of Reason. I completely agree with Carl Trueman when he says the last sentence in this piece is worth the read! Don’t skip ahead. Read slowly. Wrestle with the philosophical arguments. Consider the nuances. And BAM!





Thabiti Anyabwile|1:49 am CT

Around the Blog in 80 Seconds

This week has been filled with some wonderful fellowship, planning, praying and travel. I’ve been in Louisville for a couple of days and will head to Memphis to join my brother Sandy Wilson and the saints at Second Presbyterian Church for their “Christian Life Conference.” If you’re in Memphis Jan. 25-27, come join us for a time in the word of God. With all the meetings, that means I can’t actually blog much, but I can sneak peeks at interesting things others are writing. So, here’s a round-up of a few things I’ve seen that have blessed me.

Okay, “A Roomful of Yearning and Regret” is by far the BEST short read on the destruction of cheating or being cheated on that I have ever read. A sample:

IN the end your marriage may not need to be trashed, though mine was. The affairs metastasized in our relationship from the inside out. By the time all was said and done, there was little left to save. Our marriage had become like a leaf eaten away by caterpillars, where the petiole and midrib remain with some ghostly connective tracery in between. Not enough to hold even a drop of rain. (Read the entire piece)

Which church are you in love with? That’s a wonderful question and Scott Cochrane identifies at least five seductions we should guard against.

My church’s discipleship guy shares seven reasons he loves the 33 manhood Bible study series. It’s been a great blessing to see God’s hand in the study so far.

Over at the new Baker Academic book blog, there’s a series of videos interviewing G.K. Beale on the New Testament’s use of the Old.

Tim Challies is learning some lessons about preaching. So far he’s written here and here. Tim, I share your pain and your joy!

There are lots of things evangelicals need. Among them is a good sense of history. But how to give that sense of historical rootedness to the church? Carl Trueman offers a few practical suggestions for cultivating a sense of history, tailored to help even the seven year olds in our congregations.





Thabiti Anyabwile|7:14 pm CT

I’m Thankful to Be Home and for Good Bloggers

I don’t know how it happened, but a rather un-American thing happened this year. After several days of preaching in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, I was scheduled to fly back to Grand Cayman today, Thanksgiving day, turkey day. How did that happen? How could I forget my favorite holiday and schedule a three-leg flight when everyone else is watching football, eating turkey, and taking L-tryptophan inspired naps?!

I suspect it’s the gradual effects of living in a British overseas territory and having an extraordinarily omni-competent though British administrative assistant.

But, I am thankful to be home at last. The Lord answered all my prayers for smooth and enjoyable travel and my prayers to be with the family He has entrusted to me. I’m a happy m an.

And since it’s Thanksgiving and everyone is dozing off, I’m catching up on  a couple weeks of blog reading. Thought I’d share a few things from around the blogosphere I’ve found helpful, encouraging, challenging, instructing and/or funny. Hope something has the same effect on you. Happy Thanksgiving!

Carl Truman in “The Joy of Sects” has a good caution about letting the culture set the agenda:

One of the key failures of the currently trendy Christian cultural engagement movement is that it takes the questions which the culture is asking too seriously.  We often assume that it is the answers which the world gives which are its means of avoiding the truth.   In actual fact, there is no reason to assume that the very questions it asks are not also part of the cover-up.   ‘Answer my question about women’s rights or saving the whale’ might simply be another way of saying, ‘I don’t want you to tell me that my neglect of my wife and children is an offence to God.’

Christianity is doomed to be a sect because not only do we refuse to give the answers to life’s questions in terms the world finds comfortable; we also refuse to allow the world to set the terms of the questions.    The sooner we grasp that, the better it will be for all of us.  Our ministers might then spend more time on theology (perhaps even do a bit of reading ‘within the tradition’ before finding it helpful to ‘read outside the tradition’), more time being different to the leaders in the surrounding culture, and much less time worrying about how the world sees us.  Trust me on this: it sees us as a cranky sect. Now keep calm and carry on.

I appreciated this anecdote and exhortation from David Sitton on persevering to reach the unreached, “Keep Thinking About Jesus“:

“I started out carrying my water bottle and small camera. However, due to the rigorous climb, I quickly handed those over to my young friend, Limb. A walking stick is all I could manage. Two days into the hike, I was sick, fatigued, and discouraged. My guide and carriers had all run way ahead of me and the trail was difficult to follow. I  suggested to limb that he should go on ahead with the others, but he refused to leave me. Limb was concerned that I might give up on the mission and turn back. He followed close behind me and at various, particularly steep points put his hand on my backside to help steady me and sad, ‘tingting long Jisas, brata, tingting long Jisas tasol.’

“That meant ‘Keep thinking about Jesus, brother, just think about Jesus.’

I enjoyed and am thankful reading some of Tim Challies’ travelogue in India

Shortly after we arrived in Lucknow we went to that meeting of church pastors and leaders from across the state; there were perhaps 30 of them there yesterday, though often more than that are able to attend. They meet on a monthly basis to learn God’s Word and to encourage one another. They are pastors and church leaders, yet few have had formal training and there are scant resources in Hindi to help them in their ministry. Murray and I were able to hear their testimonies of how the Lord saved them. For an hour we sat and listened as they recounted how they Lord had opened their eyes to his truth. That was a tremendous blessing.

Thanks, brothers, for the thoughtful pieces. Back to a working definition of preaching next week!






Thabiti Anyabwile|1:01 am CT

Around the Blog in 80 Seconds

Quite a bevy of good things to read and enjoy around the blogosphere.  Here are a few of them:

Ron Edmondson provides one excellent way to de-stress your pastor.  As a church member, you’d be surprised how many pastors work really hard trying to get you to do this one simple thing.  It makes a huge difference not only for the pastor’s stress level but also for how well the pastor then serves you.

Sean McDowell provides a nice list of ten myths about premarital sex taken from the book Premarital Sex in America.  Looks like a good list to discuss with singles and youth groups. (HT: Challies)

While we’re on the topic of premarital sex, take a look at Julia Becker’s  ”Hook-up Culture Is Good for Women, and Other Feminist Myths” over at Her.meneutics.  Also good to share with the singles of your church.

Richard Coekin at The Briefing provides a lengthy look at making disciples by church planting.  I’m wonderfully excited at the opportunity FBC has to get involved in a church plant on the Arabian peninsula.  So this thorough article was a good look at some Great Commission church-planting basics.

Trueman quoting Peter Taylor Forsyth on being a slave of Christ and the “churchianity” of his day.

Enjoyed learning from these women about the Bible and culture from diverse perspectives.  A treat to see my girl Joanna Mathew contributing–a sharp sister doing a good work.

The highlight for me this week was the release of Propaganda’s “Excellent.”  Man, I can’t commend this cd highly enough!  I don’t think I’ve heard anything anywhere near as creative, hard-hitting, truth-filled, real-world, and God-exalting in hip hop as this cd!  Get it!  At this writing, it was #7 on itunes. When you add Lecrae’s Gravity, which reached #3, I think, it’s been an extraordinary couple of weeks for Christian hip hop.  Which means we need to cover these brothers with extraordinary prayer for their sanctification, their witness, their boldness, their humility, their associations, their love for all that’s good, and their immersion in the local church. The defeated enemy still prowls and we don’t want to see a brother fall because they weren’t looking.  Check track #12, “Be Present,” on Prop’s “Excellent” for more poetic instruction on the perils of being shell shocked.  When we’ve prayed for them, let’s pray for ourselves.

Finally, do you like the Puritans?  Then you must read Joe Thorn’s series “Precious Puritans” (part one | part two) inspired by Propaganda’s song “Precious Puritans.”

It’s election season… still! Honestly, I’ll be quite happy when the next president is elected and we can get on with either our disillusionment or our unfounded optimism. In the meantime, we have to think about what’s happening and act responsibly. I found this Atlantic article, “Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama,” a useful prod for Obama supporters. And here’s one by the same author for Romney supporters.





Thabiti Anyabwile|5:31 pm CT

Around the Blog in 80 Seconds

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these.  But I’ve been encouraged with a number of things I’ve seen posted on blogs this week.  Here are a few I hope encourage and edify you:

General Interest

Yet They Stood Their Ground–A wonderful remembrance of the Freedom Riders and the challenge they present to the church to stand for righteousness.  Can you name the four in the photographs?

Disturbing Trends–Michael Horton on some problematic trajectories he sees in the Evangelical scene.

It seems that most blogs focus on the role of senior pastors whenever we talk about ministry.  So, it was refreshing to see a couple of posts focused on other ministry roles.

Help!  I’m an Associate Minister–Great counsel to associate and assistant ministers from H.B. Charles, Jr., whose blog I’ve been enjoying for a while now.

Some Advice for Youth Ministers–A brief but helpfully focused post on youth ministry.

Lessons Learned in College Ministry–A look at ministry in the university context.

Then there were a couple of helpful posts on preaching:

Four Rules for Preachers–Good counsel from Phillips Brooks.

Taking the Text Seriously–Speaking of Charles, here’s a good reminder of things to avoid if we’re going to take the biblical text seriously in our preaching.

Did a double feature last night for the first time in years.  Caught Bourne Legacy and Total Recall.  Enjoyed Total Recall and let down by Bourne Legacy.  Back to reading!





Thabiti Anyabwile|6:15 am CT

Paragraphs and Points

Is Becoming a Christian Intellectual Suicide?” (Link Fixed) I think Mark Dever’s survey of Christian intellectuals in most every intellectual field, historical and contemporary, answers the question pretty definitively.

This article from Dr. Danny Akin, Pres. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, is more than a paragraph and it’s worth the read for all those interested in the recent internet scuffle caused by the recent “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.”  Great balance and tone.  More of that would be nice.

Forward Progress thinks that being filled with the Holy Spirit might just be boring.  I agree:

“…being boring might be one of the greatest cultural sins of our time. As people who are constantly entertained and amused, it is baffling for us, even as Christians, to think that being filled with the Spirit of God might not result in something amazing and mystical in appearance.”

Dalmond Bodden: “All talk and no walk won’t make you worthy; it only makes you wordy.”  True.






Thabiti Anyabwile|5:42 pm CT

Around the Blog in 80 Seconds

by Andrew Chen

Unashamed Workman has a new look and an expanded team of writers.  Check it out!

Vintage Trueman: “A preacher should be remembered not for the numbers he once attracted or for his slick engagement with the wider culture but for whether he spoke the words of God as a man of God.”  Amen!  May we all “speak the words of God as a man of God.”  Read the entire bit on MLJ and JIP.

Could you answer these questions?

Six bullet points on preaching.  Tim Challies counts like a preacher–there are really ten bullet points in this well-worth-reading post!

Speaking of preaching, I found encouragement late Saturday night when I read of DeYoung’s weekly sermon prep routine.  So true.