Monthly Archives: August 2008
Lord Jesus Christ,
Thank you for the joy of marriage and the truth its picture represents.
Thank you for loving the Church – your Bride.
Lord, you have given me the responsibility to be the head of my family.
Help me to realize that my leadership in the home
must take place within the framework of submission to you.
Help me to love my family sacrificially, as you have loved the church.
Thank you for the truths found in your Word.
Help me to find the Scriptures sufficient for guidance and wisdom.
You are the Wonderful Counselor, our Awesome God.
You take our frail and fallen human stories and experiences
and weave them together into a patchwork of praise to your glory.
Help me to submit always to your will and to lead my family in grace and truth.
- Trevin Wax
The love for equals is a human thing – of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles.
The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing – the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.
The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing -to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints.
And then there is love for the enemy – love for the one who does not love you, but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.
- Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat, pg. 105
Nick Moore writes of the nature of church discipline and the right and wrong ways we go about it. A terrific word of challenge, encouragement, and warning to those who wish to reinstate this practice.
Many evangelicals have recently been asking the question: Is our gospel too small? Now, some evangelicals are pushing back. D.A. Carson recently warned against making the gospel too big by downplaying those doctrines “of first importance.” David Fitch writes about how making the gospel too big may actually hinder effective evangelism. Much-needed conversation and dialogue!
Tullian Tchividjian’s upcoming book Unfashionable is terrific. Check out this excerpt on his blog: “When Shock Gives Way to Submission.”
An interesting article on the nature of male friendships in previous centuries. Some of these pictures may surprise you.
Christianity Today compares the Democratic and Republican party platforms plank-by-plank on issues important to evangelicals.
I like Rick Warren more and more these days. He’s leading the charge in providing a civil political conversation for evangelicals. Check out this interview, in which he insists that evangelicals are not moving left on abortion.
Do you want to live longer? Have more kids.
Tony Kummer launches Sunday School Wiki. You’ve got to see it to believe it.
Top Post this Week at Kingdom People: Top 5 Christian Theologians – Who Did I Leave Out?
Coming up next week at Kingdom People… We’ll take a look at a new book about postmodern conversions. I am writing …
Yesterday, I reviewed a new book by John A. D’Elia on the legacy of George Eldon Ladd. Today, I am following up that review with a few questions for John about his book on Ladd. John is the senior minister of the American Church in London and is author of A Place at the Table: George Eldon Ladd and the Rehabilitation of Evangelical Scholarship in America.
Trevin Wax: In your book, you claim that George Eldon Ladd attempted to rehabilitate evangelical scholarship in the United States. How did he go about doing this?
John D’Elia: Ladd grew up in an evangelical environment where participation in the broader world of
scholarship had been largely abandoned. After the Scopes Trial in 1925 many evangelicals retreated into their own safe networks of Bible colleges and seminaries, churches and missions organizations, and as a result lost their voice among people who believed differently than they did. Ladd–and others in his era–believed that the call to Christian leadership was a call to engagement rather than separation, and so he set out to rehabilitate the image and content of evangelical scholarship in the broader academy. It should be made clear here that Ladd and his fellow travelers saw this as their contribution to the evangelistic efforts of evangelicalism. It wasn’t a sellout or accommodation, but rather a brave attempt to be a witness for Christ in the secular academy.
The ‘how’ part of this question is important: Ladd earned a Ph.D. under the rigorous guidance of
Fifty years ago, evangelicals were mired in endless debates over theories about the Last Days. Dispensational theology dominated the outlook of most evangelical scholarship and (for many) had become a key doctrine that determined whether one was orthodox or not.
Evangelical scholars found themselves largely ignored by the wider world of academia. Many happily ignored the academy in return. The scholarly dimension of evangelical identity was faltering as the movement was plagued by in-house squabbles and debates.
Into this defining era of evangelical controversy came George Eldon Ladd, professor of New Testament at Fuller Seminary from 1950-82 and one of the most important voices in 20th century evangelicalism. Though Ladd may remain unknown to most evangelicals in the pews, he left a legacy that continues to bear fruit within the evangelical academy. His theology also brought to many evangelical churches a new openness to different eschatological interpretations.
Ladd broke through the sterile debates about whether the kingdom of God was a present, spiritual reality or a future, earthly reality. He popularized a view of the kingdom as having two dimensions: “already/not yet.” Ladd was also one of the first solid evangelical scholars to go outside the fundamentalist camp in order to interact with liberal scholars in the academy, men like Rudolph Bultmann.
John A. D’Elia has recently completed a fascinating biographical look at this evangelical theologian. A Place at the Table: George Eldon Ladd and the Rehabilitation of Evangelical Scholarship in America (Oxford University Press, 2008) details Ladd’s early life, his conversion and his academic preparation. D’Elia describes the difficulty Ladd had in obtaining his own education. He shows how Ladd’s childhood negatively affected his later …
The gospel is integrally tied to the Bible’s story-line. Indeed, it is incomprehensible without understanding that story-line.
God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the universe, including us, his image-bearers.
Our misery lies in our rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance, attracts his implacable wrath.
But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he expects.
In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey the gospel.
Summarizing 1 Corinthians 15
1. The gospel is Christological.
2. The gospel is theological.
3. The gospel is …
In Romania, the mindset is very different, especially in the villages. The pace is slow and relaxed.
At first, this lack of intensity bothered me. I wanted to get things done fast, to get to my destination quickly, to finish all that I had on my agenda.
But soon, I was taken in by the relaxed, ambling lifestyle of the Romanian countryside. I found myself preferring to walk somewhere, even if it took more time than catching a cab. A walk was an opportunity to talk with friends and enjoy the company of others. The slowness of the world became something to enjoy, not something to speed up.
We are over-entertained in America. People plan their time together around vacations, sight-seeing, special events, concerts, movies, and TV shows. None of these activities are inherently bad, of course.
But isn’t it true that these activities can sometimes take away from the simplicity and joy of just spending time with people? Do you ever stop to think: Why do we have to always be on the run? Why not devote several hours to friends at home, even if you’re not playing a game, watching TV, or heading out to eat?
Often, when the village teenagers would come to visit me in the city, we would take long walks through the streets, talking and laughing and enjoying friendship. We could’ve taken a tram or a taxi so as to get where we …
Get ready. When you open your home up to Jesus, like Simon the Pharisee did in Luke 7, you are inviting the challenge and conviction that comes from Jesus’ teachings.
Allow me to warn you. When Jesus is present in your home, there are moments in which you will understand clearly that he is speaking to you personally, saying, “Listen up, I’ve got something to say to you!”
All of us slip into temptation. We give way to that little white lie. We allow our minds to fill with lust. We curse someone else in our heart. We cast judgment on another person.
In those moments, Jesus, who knows our thoughts just like he knew those of Simon, says sternly, “I have something to say to you.”
How we react in that moment reveals the level at which we are devoted to Jesus.
Some of us avoid Jesus’ presence by refusing to make time to sit down, open up his Word and discover what he says.
Some of us actually avoid Jesus by throwing ourselves into ministry - filling our time doing the tangible and visible aspects of churchwork. Better to be ”busy for the kingdom” than to sit down and through his Word discover what he has to say about our inner thoughts and “unnoticed” sins.
Some of us respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit by arguing our case. We are not open to Jesus’ words because we are too busy trying to justify ourselves, all the while aware that we are in the wrong and once again, he is in the right.
When Jesus whispers, …
God, my Father,
Thank you for beginning in me
this process of being conformed into the image of your Son.
Thank you for delivering me from the power of sin,
crucifying my flesh and its desires.
Thank you for making possible my living unto you -
a life of faith in your Son, who gave himself for me.
Lord, it is disheartening at times to know that,
though I have been crucified with you,
I still battle temptations to sin.
I often live as if your victory on the cross were imaginary,
and instead of bask in your victory, I wallow in my defeat.
Help me to take courage when facing spiritual battles,
knowing that you have the power to put to death my fleshly desires.
Continue to stomp out my pride,
my self-centered nature, my wandering will,
and my stubbornness.
I want to become less and less,
in order that you may increase.
May you fill me with your Holy Spirit,
so that I will die daily to myself,
in order that you may live ever more fully within me and through me,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
- Trevin Wax
This week, I devoted one post each day to the Top 5 Most Important Theologians in Christian history. Here are the five I considered to have been most influential:
What follows is a list of honorable mentions: theologians who impacted Christian theology in important ways, but who (usually for a few good reasons) do not make the Top 5 List.
Irenaeus – for his apologetic defense of historic Christianity in the face of Gnosticism. He also popularized the recapitulation theory of the atonement
Anselm of Canterbury – founder of scholasticism. Formulated the ontological argument for God’s existence.
Martin Luther - for his instrumental role in the Reformation. He was definitely a theologian in his own right, although I see him more as a revolutionary than a theologian. Calvin is the one who took the Reformation insights and systematized them and therefore becomes more influential as a theologian.
Friedrich Schleiermacher & Adolf von Harnack - Schleiermacher made the subjective experience of the believer (specifically the feeling of total dependency) the center of theology and thus became the “Father of Liberalism.” Together with the later work of Adolph von Harnack, these two packed quite a punch. The reverberations continue to echo throughout Christian theology.
John Wesley - an important leader of a renewal movement within Anglicanism which eventually became Methodism and the Holiness churches. While probably deserving a place in the Top …