Monthly Archives: September 2009

Kingdom People – September 2009 in Review

Articles

Book Reviews

Series on Evangelism and Ichabod Spencer

Interviews

Devotional Thoughts

Gospel Definitions

New Endorsements for Holy Subversion

Prayers

In the Blogosphere

Notable Items from Septembers Past

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Why Should I Believe in Original Sin?

Here’s an email I recently received from a friend:

Trevin,

I have a question for you concerning some readings and discussions in class at my seminary.

Recently, we have discussed the topic of Original Sin in one of my classes. One of my professors doesn’t believe it to be biblical and is sharply critical of how it seems to condone thoughtless actions and attitudes towards others outside the church (although any theology can seem to condone wrong actions towards others. I believe it depends more on the people in this sense, although the theology has an effect). Many in the class disagree. I’ve been leaning away from Original Sin for a while, but I want some perspective on it outside of my seminary.

The view (and the one I lean towards) is that people are not inherently evil. We are all good, but a corrupted sort of good. We make mistakes, we drop the atom bomb, we create Hitler’s, but we aren’t evil, although there are some pretty radically terrible people out there.

This of course makes us wonder about Christ. Why did he die on the cross if we are already good (kinda)? In the readings we are discussing, I would say it points us toward the cross serving a different purpose than we might suppose in the theology of Original Sin…

The cross of Christ is a call and recovery. A call for us to die and live again as the imago Christi. A recovery of truer and more real humanity. Following …

Posted in Sin | 25 Comments

Gospel Definitions – PDF Format

A couple weeks ago, I posted links to dozens of definitions of “the gospel” that have been collected on this blog. Several readers have asked for a PDF version of these Gospel Definitions, to make it easier to look over.

Here is a booklet pdf that includes all of the “Gospel Definitions” I have found so far. I will be updating this document periodically.

Posted in Gospel Definitions | 7 Comments

Rouse Us Daily By Your Words

Grant, Almighty God,
that as you shine on us by your word,
we may not be blind at midnight,
nor wilfully seek darkness,
and thus lull our minds asleep.

But may we be roused daily by your words,
and may we stir up ourselves more and more to fear your name
and thus present ourselves and all our pursuits,
as a sacrifice to you,
that you may peaceably rule,
and perpetually dwell in us,
until you gather us to your kingdom,
where there is reserved for us eternal rest and glory
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

- John Calvin

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Michael Bird Endorsement of Holy Subversion

Michael Bird has quickly become one of my favorite New Testament scholars.

He recently published a helpful introduction (Introducing Paul: The Man, His Mission and His Message) to the life and letters of the Apostle Paul. His most recent book (Are You the One Who Is to Come?: The Historical Jesus and the Messianic Question) makes a persuasive case for believing that the historical Jesus understood his vocation in messianic terms.

Mike is also one of the funniest theologians on the planet. (Check out his dry sense of humor in this video.) I am grateful for his endorsement (in all seriousness!) of Holy Subversion:

Today we live in a land of self-made men who love to worship their creator. Sadly, this very same attitude has crept into the church. Quite rightly then, Trevin Wax challenges us to see what it means to confess Jesus Christ as Lord. To embrace and rejoice in the sovereignty of Jesus Christ over all things.

But this book is not about the doctrine of Jesus’ lordship; it is about how you live out Jesus’ lordship in every sphere of your life.

In an age where there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’ bidding for our allegiance, Trevin Wax calls the church to throw down these idols and to order their lives according to the story, symbols, and values of the Lord Jesus Christ. He encourages us to get our knees dirty by bowing them and our hands dirty by serving him.

This is a …

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In the Blogosphere

Justin Taylor’s “Between Two Worlds” blog (aka, the “Evangelical Drudge Report”) moves to the Gospel Coalition.

Dan Kimball takes a look at Jim Belcher’s Deep Church.

An enlightening interview with Ed Stetzer

Kevin DeYoung on the most important doctrine people don’t give much thought to.

12 reasons to believe in an historical Adam.

The demeanor of humility versus actual humility.

Bryan Chappell transcends the worship wars.

The worst sentences in Dan Brown’s novels. Writers, beware!

Rick Warren interviewed in USA Today.

Tim Challies reminds Americans to not believe everything they hear about Canadian health care.

Top Post this Week at Kingdom People: “The Emerging Church: In Retrospect”

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A Baptist Theology of the Bible

Southern Baptist have recently gone through a period of tumult over the question of biblical authority, and more specifically, biblical inerrancy.

Does the Bible have errors in any field of reality? Does the Bible contain errors when it comes to science or history?

Conservatives within the Southern Baptist Convention chose to face this question head on. Today, the inerrantist view of Scripture has become the prominent position of most everyone in Baptist leadership.

Baptists and the Bible (Broadman & Holman, 1999) by Russ Bush and Tom Nettles, was very influential during the early years of the Southern Baptist debate over inerrancy. It first was released in 1980, right at the time when the political battle over theology was beginning in Baptist life.

Baptists and the Bible was instrumental in that it makes a strong case for Baptist continuity between contemporary inerrantists and the forefathers of the Baptist heritage. Bush and Nettles argue that inerrancy is not something new in Baptist life. Historical documentation establishes a wide consensus on this issue in the past.

Baptists and the Bible is not primarily about the controversy in the Southern Baptist Convention during the last decades of the last century. It is a book of history and theology. With meticulous historical detail, the book outlines a Baptist theology of the Word of God through the centuries, asking such potent questions as:

    How is the Bible authoritative?
    How is the Bible inerrant?
    How is the Bible both a message from God and from man?

This influential book made the case that inerrancy is not an innovation, …

Posted in Book Reviews, Southern Baptist Convention, Theology of the Bible | 1 Comment

Jim Belcher's "Third Way" for the Church

Just when you thought the Emerging versus Traditional conversation had arrived at the point where everyone was safely nestled in their own camps and set in their ways, a Presbyterian pastor comes on the scene and challenges our tacit approval of evangelical fragmentation.

In Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional (IVP, 2009), Jim Belcher proposes a ”third way” between Emerging and Traditional. Deep Church is for evangelicals who resonate with much of the Emerging Church’s critique of contemporary evangelicalism, and yet have misgivings about some of the proposed solutions of Emerging advocates. Using the term “deep church” from a 1952 letter written by C.S. Lewis, Jim proposes a way forward that focuses on the strengths of Traditional and Emerging churches.

The book is as much narrative as theological analysis. Jim tells the story of his early involvement in the Emerging conversation. As he evaluates the Emerging critique, he visits actual churches. Far from being an armchair critic, Jim sets out to witness what the Emerging Church is like “on the ground.”

Relying on Ed Stetzer’s division of the Emerging Church into Relevants, Reconstructionists and Revisionists, Jim then considers the validity of Emerging concerns regarding contemporary evangelicalism. In a parenthetical statement near the beginning of the book, he sets the tone of discussion by saying, ”I believe that even when I disagree with others, I can still learn from them.” (36)

The central thrust of Deep Church is a call for unity around the central tenets of the faith. Jim seeks to ground our …

Posted in Book Reviews, Emerging Church | 7 Comments

The Emerging Church: In Retrospect

Today, I am posting an interview with a good friend of mine, Robbie Sagers.

Robbie is a Ph.D student at Southern Seminary and serves as Special Assistant to Dr. Russell Moore, the senior vice president of SBTS. Robbie has contributed a chapter to the recent book, Evangelicals Engaging Emergent: A Discussion of the Emergent Church Movement (B&H, 2009).

Trevin Wax: You and I have talked about being weary of the Emerging conversation. I’ve got my reasons for being weary of the discussion, but I wonder what about the discussion tires you and why we keep talking about it if we’re weary about it!

Robbie Sagers: It’s been said so often that it’s probably become cliche, but even trying to define the different conversationalists in the emerging church discussion can be like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.

Several different taxonomies for understanding the different groups or subsets (or even “streams”!) have been provided – Scot McKnight, Mark Driscoll, Ed Stetzer, Darrin Patrick, and Phyllis Tickle, among others, have all tried their hand at it, but up to this point it doesn’t seem that any one breakdown has won the day. The emerging/Emergent distinction was helpful for some time–and is still helpful insofar as it goes–but even it seems a bit outdated at this point. So… discourse over something that seems so inherently amorphous can be tiresome.

That being the case, in thinking critically about the emerging church movement, it can be even more difficult to critique the critiquers. Every time someone lumps, say, Dan …

Posted in Emerging Church, Interviews | 6 Comments

Walking and Talking Evangelism

I have been thinking lately about the saying, “If you’re going to talk the talk, you better walk the walk.”

The point of that phrase is to criticize those who “talk” about the gospel and yet fail to walk in the way of the gospel. Hypocrisy, of course, is a perennial problem.

But I am afraid some might hear in that phrase a downplaying of the importance of “talk.” In my experience, it appears that those who evangelize are generally seeking to walk worthy of the gospel. And the people seeking to walk the walk usually talk the talk as well.

Whenever I think of the relationship between “walk” and “talk,” I am reminded of the example of John the Baptist. Here was a prophet who foretold the coming of the Messiah in a way that captivated the people of Israel. His lifestyle (seriousness) matched his message (the kingdom is coming!).

First, John saw his own significance in light of Jesus’ identity. He knew who he was. He did not share personal thoughts about his life. He pointed people to Jesus. His entire life was oriented around Jesus, and that lifestyle made his proclamation of Jesus all the more powerful. The lesson for us is that our lives should be distinctively “Jesus-shaped” if we expect people to hear our words about Jesus.

Secondly, John the Baptist was humble. When he speaks about his unworthiness in stooping to untie the sandals of Jesus, he was expressing his lowly status. We need to follow John’s example and …

Posted in Personal Evangelism | 2 Comments