Monthly Archives: March 2010

 

Mar

25

2010

Trevin Wax|2:15 am CT

Worth a Look 3.25.10

An update on Michael Spencer (the Internet Monk).

Hershael York writes about taking comfort in eschatology:

I often think we have missed the purpose of eschatology. We are not encouraged to be convinced of a system but to be comforted by a promise.

Christianity Today provides an excerpt from Holy Subversion, chapter 3 on Success:

Imagine interviewing for a church position today and saying, “I believe God wants us to be kingdom-focused and mission-minded. It could be that as we start to move into more intensive discipleship, we will shrink before we grow.”

Baptist Press provides a different excerpt from Holy Subversion, chapter 5 on Leisure:

Too often, we give lip service to seeking first the Kingdom, while our lives demonstrate pagan preoccupations. Structuring our free time in a God-honoring way means we will prioritize our leisure activities so that it is clear that Jesus is on the throne of our lives.

Check out this virtual choir:

American composer and conductor Eric Whitacre spliced together nearly 250 videos of individuals singing individual parts of “Lux Arumque.” He sent out the music, auditioned the singers, and then chose 250 of the submitted videos, which he spliced together to form this “virtual choir.”

 
 

Mar

24

2010

Trevin Wax|3:26 am CT

Gospel Confidence in Evangelizing Muslims: An Interview with Thabiti Anyabwile

I recently received a pre-release copy of Thabiti Anyabwile’s book, The Gospel for Muslims: An Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence (Moody, 2010). Thabiti is a former Muslim who now serves as pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Grand Cayman Islands. His book is a terrific reminder that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, for Muslims too! I’m grateful that Thabiti agreed to stop by the blog today and answer a few questions about his book.

Trevin Wax: Tell us a little about your Muslim background.

Thabiti Anyabwile: I grew up in a nominally Christian home and community in North Carolina. From time to time we’d attend church, but I don’t remember that the gospel was clearly preached. And I certainly didn’t have ears to hear it if it was.

After being allowed to join the church and being “baptized” with no understanding of the gospel or testimony of conversion, I came to believe that Christianity was “pie in the sky” myth. My father left the family when I was about 14. Between his leaving, the anger that ensued, and my experience with nominal Christianity, I was quite primed to hardened my heart toward the Lord.

My freshman year in college, I met a number of men on campus who were clean cut, upright, spoke boldly about loving your families and contributing to community, and the need to submit to God. It was the first time I’d seen that many strong African-American men. I was drawn to them like a moth to flame. I recognized I needed the discipline and commitment they were describing.

Long story short… these were Muslim men. I began to study Islam with some of them and my sophomore year converted to Islam. For the couple years that followed, I was zealous for Islam, leading some students to embrace the faith. I was something of the campus Saul, opposing the gospel and anything having to do with the biblical Jesus.

Trevin Wax: How did God bring you out of Islam?

The Lord drew me out of Islam in about three phases. First, He allowed me to see the inconsistencies of Islam on its own terms. That began one Ramadan, when I rose early for prayer and to begin the fast. I spent some time reading the Qur’an, as was habit. But that morning, I was suddenly aware of the many inconsistent claims of Islam. That began a period of further study and questioning, at the end of which I was sure that Islam was not consistent in its claims.

The second phase had to do with coming to see my lack of righteousness. It was literally a water cooler conversation with a former college classmate who now worked with me. She described me as the most righteous person she knew. And at hearing her praise, I felt utterly bereft of any of the things she said about me. She described a lot of external behaviors that were as true as far as they went. But I knew my heart, the sin and anger and lust that dominated me. And I also knew that legalistic religion and self-righteousness were an illusion.

The third phase featured a hard blow from the Lord. My wife and I lost our first child at about three months into the pregnancy. The Lord humbled us and softened us. During that period of mourning, perhaps even of depression, we began to hear the gospel preached through a pastor’s weekly television program. We attended his church one Sunday and he preached what is till one of the best expositions I’d ever heard on Exodus 32. It was Law and Gospel. And in God’s richest kindness, He saved my wife and I through the preaching of the gospel on that day.

Trevin Wax: You write in the introduction that many Christians feel unequipped to share the gospel with Muslims. Why do we feel this way? And why should we be confident?

Thabiti Anyabwile: Many Christians seem to accept two myths when it comes to sharing the gospel with Muslims. First, many Christians tend to think every Muslim has memorized the Qur’an and is likely a radical. That’s the “super Muslim” myth.

Second, many Christians think they need to be world class apologists, able to answer ever Muslim question or critique of Christianity. That’s the “I’m so inadequate” myth.

The result of these two assumptions is that many Christians harbor a lot of fear when it comes to speaking with Muslims. And that fear causes a crisis in confidence—they doubt that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. They shrink back, telling themselves that they don’t know enough, that their Muslim neighbor is more confident, and that it’s probably no use.

The truth, however, is exactly the opposite. If we are Gospel-believing Christians, with even a basic understanding of the “good news,” then we know all that we need to know in order to effectively reach our Muslim neighbors and friends. The power of God is not in our wisdom or in our techniques; those things threaten to empty the cross of its power (1 Cor. 1:17).

But the gospel itself, that is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. In the message of Jesus’ perfect righteousness, sacrificial death for our sins, glorious resurrection, and second coming in glory, God has placed His power to make sinners new, to raise spiritually dead men to life, to change the hardest human heart into a heart that loves God, to justify us and satisfies His righteous wrath. What we need is confidence in the gospel, for God makes the gospel to triumph in every nation.

Trevin Wax: Why is the doctrine of the Trinity so important in Christian evangelism of Muslims?

Thabiti Anyabwile: The short answer is because John 17:3 tells us that eternal life is to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. John 4:24 says the Father seeks a people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. An accurate knowledge of God is what makes the difference between idolatry and a genuine personal relationship with God. If we get God wrong, we get everything wrong. So, the fact that God reveals Himself as Triune in nature—one God existing eternally in Three Persons—becomes critical for receiving eternal life.

The slightly longer answer is that each Person in the Trinity plays a significant role in the redemption of sinners. The Father administers our salvation, the Son accomplishes our salvation, and the Spirit applies our salvation (Eph. 1:3-14). If we surrender the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, we surrender the gospel itself.

Trevin Wax: You devote an entire chapter to hospitality. How does hospitality bolster our evangelistic witness?

Thabiti Anyabwile: The Scripture commands us to “be hospitable.” The active practice of hospitality has several spiritual benefits. When we move out toward others in hospitality, we make our love concrete and real. Hospitality helps us conquer the tendency to privatize our faith, fear of man, passivity, and even xenophobia. When we practice hospitality, we’re able to show kindness to strangers (Exod. 22:21; 23:9; Heb. 13:2), to build meaningful relationships, and in a certain sense to render service to Jesus himself (Matt. 25:34-40).

Sadly, most immigrants to the United States never enter a Christian home. In our failure to be inviting and to care for “the strangers in our gates,” we end up forfeiting precious opportunities to help them settle into the community, cross cultural bridges, and alter stereotypes of Christians. Hospitality brings us close to people in intimate settings. And that both commends the gospel and creates gospel opportunity.

Trevin Wax: How do Muslims view the Christian church? And how does their view help or hinder our witness?

Thabiti Anyabwile: Most Muslims confuse Christianity and the Christian with “the West” in general. They use the terms as synonyms. And since many Muslims view the West as a place of decadence, sensuality, immorality, and injustice, they tend to think of Christians as hypocrites, people professing religious faith but living lives quite contrary.

We have to be quite honest and sober about this critique. For the Lord himself said that the world could legitimately judge the authenticity of our discipleship by how we love one another (John 13:34-35). He calls us to let our light so shine before men that our Father in heaven would be praised (Matt. 5:16). So, this critique, while sometimes wrongly confusing Western culture with Christianity, needs to be heard and addressed.

I think we’ll find that there are places where we fall short of demonstrating what the new community of God’s redeemed people looks like. In those areas, we need to repent and turn to Christ for fresh grace.

But this critique also gives us an opportunity. The church is filled with hypocrites—but redeemed hypocrites. We are imperfect ambassadors of Christ, but we mourn our shortcomings, we do recognize a significant difference between the world and the church, and we have the only real solution to hypocrisy—the gospel.

In Islam, hypocrisy is always a reality. The Muslim is always conscious of his failings to submit to the will of Allah. If he or she is honest, they know that no amount of religious observance delivers them form the stain of sin and the inconsistency that arises.

Only the cross of Christ removes that stain and the sin that caused it. Only the grace of God in Christ Jesus promises a clean conscience, peace and reconciliation with God, and the power of a renewed life. So, we have the opportunity to demonstrate the power of the gospel by humbly confessing our weaknesses and sins, by living in ways that are genuinely distinct from the worldly culture that surrounds us, and by holding out the perfect righteousness of Christ as our righteousness by faith.

Trevin Wax: For those who do not know any Muslims personally, how would you recommend we start building relationships?

Thabiti Anyabwile: First, pray. Ask the Lord to lead you to specific relationships where you can be fruitful in His cause.

Second, consider your leisure and shopping habits. Are there some restaurants or retail establishments that you could visit that would put you in contact with Muslim neighbors?

Third, build a network. If you don’t have any Muslim friends, there is a good chance that someone in your church or workplace does. “Borrow” their Muslim friends by opening your home and inviting them over.

Fourth, become involved in a ministry or community service that reaches out to Muslim people in your neighborhood. Many college campuses have programs that connect international students, many of whom are Muslims, with host families in the States. Volunteer at an English-as-a second-language program where you’ll meet many people trying to adjust to life in a different culture. You could be of great service to them and build real friendships. Those would be some of the ways to personally meet Muslim neighbors and co-workers.

Once you’ve met them, take an interest in their lives and open your life to them. Do the things that are natural for you when it comes to building in friendships. Invite them to your home, to a restaurant for dinner, to a ball game to watch your kids play, and so on. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just loving. And the Lord will give you grace as you speak the good news of His salvation through faith in His Son.

 
 

Mar

24

2010

Trevin Wax|2:00 am CT

Worth a Look 3.24.10

Fascinating interview with Tullian Tchividjian. I especially like this insight from Tullian:

Segregation is the biggest danger that shows up inside the church when the gospel is not grasped. Since the gospel is the good news that God reconciles us not only to himself but also to one another, the church should be breaking down barriers, not erecting them. God intends the church to be demonstrating for the watching world what community looks like when the reconciling power of the gospel is at work.

Is your computer stealing your Sabbath?

Composed of Internet entrepreneurs, creators of award-winning television shows, community organizers and nonprofit leaders, these “Rebooters” are people who typically have their cell phones glued to their palms. Several of them go so far as to say they have an addiction to their devices.

They pledged to observe 24 hours of freedom from their devices this past weekend: a National Day of Unplugging, lasting from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

3 reasons why disciplining your children is harder than punishment:

The other day I asked a friend of mine who also has 3 young children how much time, as a percentage, he spends in disciplining his kids. “85%” was the answer he gave. My response?

“Really? That little?

Denny Burk reviews In the Land of Believers, the chronicle of one reporter’s journey to Thomas Road Baptist Church.

Welch’s target audience for this book is secularists and elites who display open disdain for evangelicals and their faith. Nevertheless, I think that Evangelicals would do well to read this book. Her journey at TRBC gives Evangelicals a chance to see themselves from an outsider’s perspective.

 
 

Mar

23

2010

Trevin Wax|3:36 am CT

NAMB and IMB: Will There Be Overlap?

It has been several weeks now since Ronnie Floyd unveiled the Progress Report of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force appointed by the Southern Baptist Convention. I posted a few initial questions about the Report earlier this month. As I’ve thought about the Report, I have noticed another area that could use some clarification.

(Again, let me express my gratitude for the hard work of this Task Force in considering and bringing these recommendations. I’m excited about the future of the SBC, and my question is only intended to help move the discussion forward regarding some areas that might need further explanation.)

Components 2 & 3: Reinventing NAMB and Breaking Down Geographic Barriers for the IMB

I mentioned before how excited I am about these two components of the Progress Report. NAMB would focus on church planting in cities, and the IMB would be allowed to minister to ethnic groups here in the United States.

My question concerns a potential overlap in ministry. One of the goals of the Task Force has been to reduce the “duplication” and “triplication” of ministry efforts that sometimes take place between NAMB, local associations, and the state conventions.

But it’s possible that we might wind up with overlap between the IMB and NAMB if the direction of these two entities is not clearly defined.

Consider the vision of the Task Force for a reinvented NAMB:

This reinvention of the North American Mission Board that we envision will implement a direct strategy for planting churches in North America with a priority to reach metropolitan areas and under-served people groups.

If I understand the Report correctly, the vision is for NAMB to plant churches in major cities, targeting ethnic groups. Sounds like a plan.

But notice the change in the IMB once we do away with geographic barriers:

This means we are unleashing the International Mission Board upon American soil to reach the unreached and under-served people groups without regard to any geographical location.

So the possibility exists, at least in theory, for NAMB and IMB to be involved in the same ministry: church planting among ethnic groups on American soil. The Task Force Report anticipates this question by stating:

We are confident that the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board can communicate with one another effectively about their respective work and communicate with our state conventions and local associations about what God is doing in their gospel work. This will alleviate any duplication…

I agree with both these components, that NAMB be reinvented and that the IMB be allowed to work on American soil. But I am not convinced that mere communication will keep these two entities from overlapping. After all, communication hasn’t stopped state conventions, NAMB, and other entities from duplication and triplication.

When it comes down to specifics, it appears that NAMB and the IMB could wind up prioritizing some of the same ministries: ethnic church plants on American soil. If that’s the case, we might be having a discussion in 15-20 years about how NAMB and the IMB are doing the same thing in the same areas, making one or the other irrelevant.

I hope that the Task Force will consider this potential overlap in ministry and ask the IMB and NAMB to clearly define their respective and distinctive roles on American soil.

 
 

Mar

23

2010

Trevin Wax|2:38 am CT

Worth a Look 3.23.10

Russell Moore on the appropriate response to the health care bill:

Is it a problem that some of us who are tranquil as still water about biblical doctrine and ecclesial mission are red-faced about Nancy Pelosi and the talking heads on MSNBC? Is it a problem that some who haven’t shared the gospel with their neighbors in months or years are motivated to vent to strangers on the street about how scary national health care will be?

It’s not that I think Christians should be disengaged from issues of justice (God forbid!). It’s just that I wonder if we wouldn’t represent Christ and his kingdom better if we did it with a certain tranquility of Spirit, a tranquility that signals we’re not afraid of the rise and fall of temporal kingdoms and their policies.

Short-term benefits from the health care legislation:

Along with the longer term changes of the health reform, some changes will take place soon after the bill becomes law — unless there are last minute changes in the House debate Sunday night. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says the key reforms which take place in the short term after President Obama signs the law include…

How abortion is killing the Democratic party:

The refusal to prohibit federal funding of abortions in the health care bill shows that the Democratic leadership is either remarkably dedicated to the principle that woman should have the right to use federal funds to kill their unborn children or they are the dumbest politicians in history. However, if they truly support abortion on demand they should stand by that conviction no matter how many elections it will cost them. And as history has shown, it has cost them plenty—and will cost them many more.

Mark Roberts shares some cool photos from his recent trip to New York.

 
 

Mar

22

2010

Trevin Wax|3:51 am CT

After You Believe by N.T. Wright: A Review

Some readers of this blog may wonder why a Southern Baptist minister like myself would host interviews with and read books by an Anglican Bishop (who happens to be the main evangelical proponent of a controversial “New Perspective” on Paul). These kinds of thoughts naturally lead to a bigger question: How should we approach a book written by someone like Wright? Here are some considerations:

First, I think it goes without saying that we should seek to read with discernment, no matter what book we hold in our hands (or on our Kindle!). A major part of growing in wisdom and knowledge is properly cultivating the discipline of discernment, and one cannot put the gift of discernment to good use unless he or she occasionally reads books from authors with opposing viewpoints.

Second, authors who may be wrong in some ways may be reliable and even helpful in other areas. We can benefit from their works as long as we read carefully.

Take, for example, another Anglican: C.S. Lewis. Lewis was wrong on many things. He believed Jesus was mistaken about the timing of his Second Coming. His view of the atonement is an odd amalgamation of right ideas with wrong details. He was an inclusivist (remember The Last Battle?). And his Anglo-Catholic sensibilities are credited with bringing countless Protestants back to Rome.

For evangelicals, these are big strikes against Lewis. There are more than three strikes, and yet we still consider him part of the team and love to watch him play ball. Why? Because even if Lewis was wrong in some areas, he was gloriously right in others.

The same is true of someone like G.K. Chesterton, the church fathers, or N.T. Wright. I disagree with Wright in a number of places (his definition of God’s righteousness is reductionistic; he wrongly denies the theological category of “imputation”; he affirms penal substitution but fails to emphasize it as much as Scripture does; he reduces “works of the law” to ethnic exclusivity; and he’s an Anglican while I’m a Baptist, which leads to a long list of ecclesiological differences).

Nevertheless, Wright is on target and extremely helpful in many areas, and his new book  After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters shows him at his best. This is a substantial work on Christian virtue destined to begin all sorts of conversations about Christian morality and behavior. (See my interview with Wright about this book here.)

Wright starts out by setting up two ways of viewing morality: the first group focuses on “rule-keeping” while the second emphasizes “being true to yourself.” Wright shows that the Bible incorporates truths from both these views, and yet transcends them by forming Christian character in light of the gospel and our eschatological future. At the heart of After You Believe, then, is the question of Christian character:

“Character – the transforming, shaping, and marking of a life and its habits – will generate the sort of behavior that rules might have pointed toward but which a ‘rule-keeping’ mentality can never achieve. And it will produce the sort of life which will in fact be true to itself – though the ‘self’ to which it will at last be true is the redeemed self, the transformed self, not the merely ‘discovered’ self of popular thought.” (7)

This book contains a number of memorable illustrations:

  • He tells the story of the Miracle on the Hudson, using Captain Sullenberger as an example of how wise and courageous choices can become “second nature.”
  • He talks about working one’s “moral muscles.”
  • He compares the formation of character to learning a second language, anticipating the day one might live in the place where that language is spoken.
  • He describes character formation in musical terms. Musicians must learn the habits of how to sing until they eventually and “naturally” take their place within the ongoing story of the music.

In an “anything goes” world where everyone is encouraged to “be themselves”, Wright appears on the scene like a chaperon breaking up a teenage party in the basement. “Supposing the ‘self’ to which you are true is the self that wants to cheat everyone you meet, including friends and family, out of as much money as possible,” he writes (51). “Spontaneity, left to itself, can begin by excusing bad behavior and end by congratulating vice.” (56)

He also points out the hypocrisy of those who despise traditional morality:

“Ironically, those who pour scorn on some of the older rules, not least about sexual behavior, are often those who insist most loudly on some of the newer rules, for instance about caring for the planet and its ecology.” (45)

But if Wright is the chap who’s breaking up the basement party, it’s not because he’s a killjoy who wants to enforce arbitrary rules. It’s more like he’s inviting the party-ers up to the roof to catch a glimpse of the glory of a virtuous life, the kind of life they have never imagined.

Joy and gratitude are themes appear again and again in this book – not merely in the subject matter, but also in the way he wrights. Ironically, Wright sounds at times much like John Piper, who also insists that Christian character is not from an externally imposed “duty” but from joy. ”If someone gives you a present merely because he is obeying a rule or doing his duty, the glory of gift-giving has slipped through your fingers.” (47)

The best part of Wright’s proposal is that he does not speak of virtue or character formation in a general sense. He makes the case for distinctively Christian virtue, showing how the New Testament authors go above and beyond Aristotle by promoting a view of virtue that is cross-shaped and hope-driven.

“We urgently need to recapture the New Testament’s vision of a genuinely ‘good’ human life as a life of character formed by God’s promised future, as a life with that future-shaped character lived within the ongoing story of God’s people, and, with that, a freshly worked notion of virtue.” (57)

There are some great one-liners in this book too. Here’s a sampling:

  • “The English word ‘love’ is trying to do so many different jobs at the same time that someone really ought to sit down with it and teach it how to delegate.” (183)
  • “Love is not a ‘duty,’ even our highest duty. It is our destiny.” (188)
  • “To accept appropriate moral constraints is not to curtail true freedom, but to create the conditions for it to flourish.” (234)
  • “The church is often called a killjoy for protesting against sexual license. But the real killing of joy comes with the grabbing of pleasure.” (253)

Wright has often been criticized for emphasizing the corporate dimensions of salvation to the exclusion of individual conversion. That’s not the case in this book. He grounds his proposal in grace that comes to the individual:

“Whatever language or terminology we use to talk about the great gift that the one true God has given to his people in and through Jesus Christ (“salvation,” “eternal life,” and so on), it remains precisely a gift. It is never something we can earn. We can never put God into our debt; we always remain in his.” (60)

Yet in all his talk about individual sanctification, he insists that virtue is God-focused:

“The glory of virtue, in the Christian sense, is that the self is not in the center of that picture. God and God’s kingdom are in the center.” (70)

Midway through the book, Wright delves into exegesis of key passages that shape our understanding of Christian virtue. He helpfully exposes the fallacy of much contemporary thinking about Jesus. Wright argues that even if Christian virtue includes looking to Jesus as an example, this view fails to deal with sin:

“The suggestion that we treat Jesus as a moral example can be, and in some people’s thinking has been, a way of holding at arm’s length the message of God’s kingdom on the one hand and the meaning of is death and resurrection on the other. Making Jesus the supreme example of someone who lived a good life may be quite bracing to contemplate, but it is basically safe… Jesus as ‘moral example’ is a domesticated Jesus, a kind of religious mascot. We look at him approvingly and decide we’ll copy him (up to a point at least, and no doubt he’ll forgive us the rest because he’s a decent sort of chap). As if! If all we need is a good example, we can’t be in quite such a bad state as some people (including Jesus himself) have suggested.” (126)

There are a few weaknesses in this book. I enjoyed Wright’s exegetical insights into Paul’s idea of virtue, and though I’m grateful that he considers Ephesians and Colossians to be authentically Pauline, I wish he had also addressed the idea of virtue in the Pastoral epistles. 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus provide a window into the idea of the virtuous Christian leader, including the list of qualifications for elders and deacons.

Another weakness in Wright’s proposal is his view of hell. For Wright (following the thought of C.S. Lewis), hell is the consequential outworking of sinful life patterns. Sin becomes its own damnation, leading to dehumanization to the point that an individual is beyond pity.

But this middle way between eternal conscious torment and annihilationism downplays the texts that indicate God will actively be involved in a sinner’s eternal destiny. It is puzzling to me that Wright never shies away from the glorious implications of resurrection and new heavens and new earth, and yet he seems to distance himself from the frightening implications of some of the descriptions of hell found in the New Testament.

Thankfully, Wright affirms evangelism as a central part of what it means to live a life of Christian virtue. He defines evangelism as proclaiming Jesus and persuading others to trust him. At this point, I wished the book would have been longer so that Wright could have written about how evangelism shapes us into God’s missionary people. Still, it was good to see an evangelistic thrust, since this subject has sometimes been neglected in his other works.

I suspect that many laypeople will have a hard time with the middle part of After You Believe (which summarizes biblical teaching on virtue). But church leaders can, with discernment, take many of the truths here and unpack them easily for their congregations.

RELATED ARTICLES:
The Rebirth of Virtue: An Interview with N.T. Wright
N.T. Wright on Protestant-Catholic Relations
Piper vs. Wright on Justification: A Layman’s Guide
My First Interview with Wright
Book Review: The Future of Justification by John Piper

 
 

Mar

22

2010

Trevin Wax|2:23 am CT

Worth a Look 3.22.10

Doug Baker has a very informative podcast with Union University president David Dockery on matters of Baptist history and the recent conversations regarding the Great Commission Resurgence in the SBC.

Who wrote Hebrews? New research shows that it might have been Luke, transcribing and editing one of Paul’s sermons:

If Hebrews is a speech, then it may have had stenographer (speech recorder). The content and manuscript (external) evidence pointed to Paul while the linguistic and literary (internal) evidence seemed to us to indicate Lukan involvement. This theory seemed to handle the bulk of the evidence presented on this matter, evidence which was often dichotomized into Luke only and Paul only data. But both sets of data, to our mind, seemed significant and neither could be easily side-stepped. We found, then, that a Pauline origin best explained the main content of Hebrews, accounting for elevated style of the document via Luke’s involvement.

Has Shakespeare’s “lost play” been found? Quite possibly.

Professor Brean Hammond of Nottingham University will publish compelling new evidence next week that the play, a romantic tragi-comedy by Lewis Theobald is – as the author always maintained it was – substantially based on a real Shakespeare play called Cardenio.

Why are most bloggers male?

Guys seek thrills and speed. They go for the adrenalin rush. They get pumped by going higher, faster, farther than anyone else. They want lots of action and instant gratification. That’s also why guys like blogging – instant opinions, and lots of them.

For my Romanian readers, Paul Negrut explains why Baptist churches accepting government funds goes against key biblical and Baptist principles:

Din punct de vedere teologica, subventiile reprezinta un amestec nepermis de Sfanta Scriptura in viata Biericii, amestec care perverteste curatia si sfintenia inchinarii adevarate. Printr-o analogie simpla, s-ar putea spune ca pe altarul Bisericii a fost adus un foc strain.

 
 

Mar

21

2010

Trevin Wax|3:16 am CT

John Stott's Morning Trinitarian Prayer

Good morning heavenly Father,
good morning Lord Jesus,
good morning Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, I worship you as the creator and sustainer of the universe.
Lord Jesus, I worship you, Savior and Lord of the world.
Holy Spirit, I worship you, sanctifier of the people of God.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in your presence
and please you more and more.

Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you.

Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God,
have mercy upon me. Amen.

- John Stott, quoted in Basic Christian: The Inside Story of John Stott

 
 

Mar

20

2010

Trevin Wax|3:48 am CT

There Are No Accidents

You can look at providence through the lens of human autonomy and our idolatrous notions of freedom and see a mean God moving tsunamis and kings like chess pieces in some kind of perverse divine playtime.

Or you can look at providence through the lens of Scripture and see a loving God counting the hairs on our heads and directing the sparrows in the sky so that we might live life unafraid. “What else can we wish for ourselves,” Calvin wrote, ” if not even one hair can fall from our head without his will?”

There are no accidents in your life. Every economic downturn, every phone call in the middle of the night, every oncology report has been sent to us from the God who sees all things, plans all things, and loves us more than we know.

Whether it means the end of suffering or the extension of suffering, God in his providence is for us and not against us.

- Kevin DeYoung, The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism

 
 

Mar

19

2010

Trevin Wax|3:16 am CT

Trevin's Seven

Seven links I recommend you read this weekend:

1. Love Needs No Reason

2. Tim Challies on “How to Review a Book”

3. A Planned Parenthood pamphlet about birth control in 1952. “Is it an abortion? Definitely not. An abortion kills the life of a baby after it is has begun.”

4. Clergy Who Don’t Believe: The Scandal of Apostate Pastors

5. Why kids love The Big Picture Story Bible

6. The Missional Conversation: On Green Lights and Red Flags

7. Abraham and Molly Piper are expecting twin girls. To know why this news is even more cause for rejoicing than in a normal circumstance, read this…