Monthly Archives: September 2007

O Lord, Draw Near

We bring before you, O Lord,
the troubles and perils of people and nations,
the sighing of prisoners and captives,
the sorrows of the bereaved,
the necessities of strangers,
the helplessness of the weak,
the despondency of the weary,
the failing powers of the aged.
O Lord, draw near to each;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

- Anselm of Canterbury

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Free Download from Keith & Kristyn Getty

Keith and Kristyn Getty (the writers of “In Christ Alone” and other modern hymns) have released a new song called “Love of God.” You can download the audio for free here.

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In the Blogosphere

The Episcopalians met in New Orleans this week to decide whether or not to obey the wider Anglican Communion by ceasing to ordain homosexual clergy. Take a look at what their Scripture readings were that day (from the lectionary.) 

N.T. Wright’s political stances have always made me shake my head in bewilderment that a man of such knowledge and wisdom could be so naive in regards to the means toward a peaceful resolution in the War on Terror. The Weekly Standard rightly takes on Wright’s views.

One of John Piper’s greatest sermons. His warning? Don’t buy into the American dream!

Tim Challies reviews Brian McLaren’s newest work: Everything Must Change.

A compendium of Spurgeon quotes on the gospel

Mark Driscoll: “Everyone needs a rabbi. We have one. His name is Jesus!”

It’s about time someone stood up and told Reformed-leaning evangelicals to stop taking pot shots at Rick Warren.

Top Post this Week at Kingdom People: Why the SBC Outpost Should Change Its Name to the SBC Outhouse

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In Memory of John: June 21, 1981 – September 27, 1997

Ten years ago today, my next-door neighbor and best friend committed suicide.

John and I didn’t have a lot in common. He liked things I didn’t. I liked things he didn’t. But we made our friendship work. Both of us loved pretending, something that seems to be a lost art for many kids today. So, from 1992-95, John and I tape-recorded more than 100 episodes of a “radio sitcom” we called The Trevin and John Show. We were silly. We were carefree. And boy, it was fun.

But the fun did not last. In late 1996, John went through a period of depression. We were both 15 at the time. I didn’t quite know how to relate to John during the last year of his life. He was listening to music that seemed to darken, not brighten his world. He began dressing funny – the Gothic, black-jacket look. He began hanging out with different kinds of people. John stayed drug-free. He hated the thought of getting “high,” and never once tried. He wasn’t a drinker. He wasn’t a smoker. He was one of the “tortured” youth of the 1990′s, and his pain drove him to suicide on a pretty Saturday morning in September.

John’s death affected me profoundly and his absence still leaves a hole in my life. Whenever I listen to one of our Trevin and John Shows, the laughter is quenched by sadness. How could my happy-go-lucky friend arrive so quickly at a place of such desperation?

Easy answers elude me. For the weeks and months after …

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Book Review: The Christian and the Pharisee

Do you ever wonder how Jewish leaders interpret the Old Testament passages that seem to so explicitly point to Jesus Christ? Do you ever wonder what a Jewish rabbi thinks about the messianic Jews that are growing in number? Do you ever wonder what a genuine, respectful dialogue between a Jewish rabbi and a Christian minister would look like?

The Christian and the Pharisee contains a series of letters between Dr. R.T. Kendall and Rabbi David Rosen. Both men are well-known and well-respected in their respective religious circles. The Christian and the Pharisee compiles their correspondence and features their discussion and debate regarding the pertinent issues that divide Jews from Christians. The friendship of these two men is evident in the books, even as the differences are sometimes starkly contrasted.

R.T. Kendall does not attempt to hide his desire to see Rosen evangelized and converted. His letters are overtly evangelistic, even as he respects Rosen and his faith. Rosen, on the other hand, does not consider his Judaism to be exclusive, and therefore, he affirms that Kendall may indeed be saved, even as he strongly disagrees with his Christian faith.

Just when The Christian and the Pharisee begins to delve into significant issues of Scriptural interpretation, the book comes to an end. I am not sure why these two men ended their correspondence so soon. Another set of 10 letters or so would surely not have exhausted this discussion. Perhaps a sequel will be in the works? Let’s hope so. The Christian and …

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Book Review: Worship Seeking Understanding

Worship Seeking Understanding: Windows into Christian Practice by John Witvliet is one of the only books on the market that offers a look at Christian worship from so many angles - biblical, theological, historical, musical, and pastoral. Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, brings his extensive knowledge of worship and tradition to bear in this book of essays that examine the current state of Christian worship in light on biblical and historical practice.

The book succeeds in providing several different perspectives from which to look at today’s worship. It fails to present these cohesively, perhaps because the variety is at times too much for a single book. But there is gold in this book, if you persist in looking for it.

Most helpful for me were the chapters analyzing the Americanization of worship and the theological issues that the frontier worship traditions were forced to encounter. The historical chapters help today’s readers understand the roots of American worship today and provide an opportunity for critical self-reflection. The “Musical Studies” section was also helpful, although some of the chapters were needlessly technical.

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I Love Revelation, but Eschatology Scares Me

Revelation is one of my favorite books of the Bible, yet I’m not quite sure what to make of it. The different interpretations of Revelation can be overwhelming at times. How can it be that so many good, biblical theologians have come to so many different conclusions regarding the last book of the Bible? How is anyone to know who is right and who is wrong?

Sometimes, I feel like an agnostic when it comes to John’s apocalypse. I know there is an answer and a correct interpretation, but I wonder whether or not we finite humans will ever completely understand it.

My own eschatological journey began deep in Dispensationalism. When I was in the 7th grade, I wrote a series of stories about a teenager who was “left behind” after the Rapture. (This was before Left Behind ever hit the shelves. I’m still waiting on LaHaye to send me some royalties.) The book was an amalgam of all the Dispensationalist ideas I’d heard in my Christian school. Man-eating locusts. Solar flares that baked the world. Millions dying from plagues and wars.

Growing up in an independent Baptist school, the pretribulational, premillennial rapture was considered one of the “fundamentals” of the faith. It was like the Virgin Birth or physical Resurrection of Jesus. You just didn’t question Dispensationalism.

Then I moved to Romania. I soon discovered that no one over there had even heard of a Rapture, a 7-year tribulation and all that jazz. For a couple weeks, I tried to convert everyone to …

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The Prodigal Son 1

For the next 17 Mondays or so, we will be looking in depth at the parable of the Prodigal Son. No passage of Scripture has gripped my heart more than the picture of the running father to meet his rebellious son. I am going to be writing on the Prodigal Son in its historical context. Some of the cultural details bring the parable to life and will allow us to read the story afresh.

“There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’”
- Jesus, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-12)

Jesus’ table fellowship with well-known “sinners” stirred up controversy among the Jewish religious leaders. Facing their criticism head on, Jesus told a parable about a loving father who had two rebellious sons.

The sons knew that upon their father’s death, they would gain a sizeable inheritance, comprising the family’s assets and property. But the younger son demanded his portion early. In Middle Eastern culture, such a request would be unspeakable and scandalous. Today’s equivalent would be a teenager spitting in his dad’s face and screaming, “I WANT YOU DEAD!” Asking for the inheritance early insinuated that the son couldn’t wait for his father to die. He wanted what his father could give him now, at the expense of their relationship.

Through the younger son’s example, Jesus is retelling the story of Israel. The Jews had often rebelled against God, craving His blessings …

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A Blessing

Let nothing disturb you,
nothing frighten you;
all things are passing,
God never changes!

Patient endurance attains all things;
who God possesses
in nothing is wanting;
alone God suffices.

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

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Why the SBC Outpost Should Change Its Name to the SBC Outhouse

Blog attacks on Southern Baptist leaders have reached an unprecedented level. Leading the charge is the website SBC Outpost. For weeks now, the bloggers behind this blog have been loading, aiming, and firing at just about every Southern Baptist leader that does not cater to their sensationalistic reporting. Most of the attacks come insidiously masked as “questions” and “curiosity” when in reality they are simply veiled attempts to mock, ridicule, and drag our Convention through the mud.

When Marty Duren first began SBC Outpost, the intention of the site was to bring renewal to the SBC by uniting younger leaders and asking tough questions about the burgeoning SBC bureaucracy. As long as Marty was at the helm, the Outpost remained a viable, respectable option for those who wanted to hear a different perspective. (I often disagreed with Marty’s conclusions, but I appreciated the tone of the debate.)

Since Marty “retired” from blogging, the site has been left in the hands of a renegade bunch who are determined to smear current SBC leaders and their families. Last night, I followed a link to an animated video that featured the faces of each Seminary present pasted onto dancing showgirls. Incensed by the mockery found in the post, I then breathed a sigh of relief…

They’ve finally done it. The SBC Outpost guys have shown their true colors. Their site is not ”news,” not respectable, not even gracious. It is a site meant to anonymously assassin the character of other men, openly mock the legacy of our seminaries, demean the positions of leadership …

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