Thursday, August 31, 2006

Being Clear in Evangelism

Mark Dever talks about what it means to be clear as we share Christ with the non-Christians around us. Check out "A Good Offence."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mark Driscoll on Biblical Principles and Cultural Methods

How do you remain biblically faithful and culturally relevant? Driscoll talks about how.

Other Driscoll videos:
Top Ten Books on Personal Piety

Here are some excellent recommendations by Joe Thorn (most are avaliable on

Thanks to Justin Taylor for the heads up.
Being Innovative Means Getting Young Men Into the Church: Driscoll

Here is a quote from Mark Driscoll (for more check here):

"The problem in the church today is just a bunch of nice, soft, tender, chickafied church boys. 60% of Christians are chicks and the 40% that are dudes are still sort of...chicks. It's just sad.

We're looking around going, How come we're not innovative? Cause all the innovative dudes are home watching football or they're out making money or climbing a mountain or shooting a gun or working on their truck. They look at the church like that's a nice thing for women and children. So the question is if you want to be innovative: How do you get young men? All this nonsense on how to grow the church. One issue: young men. That's it. That's the whole thing. They're going to get married, make money, make babies, build companies, buy real estate. They're going to make the culture of the future. If you get the young men you win the war, you get everything. You get the families, the women, the children, the money, the business, you get everything. If you don't get the young men you get nothing."

Thanks to Steve McCoy

Friday, August 11, 2006

Jonathan Edwards' Study Bible: Yes, it is True

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
is considered the greatest American preacher and theologian and has had a wide spread influence through important works such as Religious Affections, his most famous modern disciple being John Piper.

Yale University Press has just published Jonathan Edwards' The Blank Bible. Here's a description:

"In 1730, Jonathan Edwards acquired a book-like, leather-bound manuscript containing an interleaved printed edition of the King James Version of the Bible. Over the next three decades, Edwards proceeded to write in the manuscript more than five thousand notes and entries relating to biblical texts (though paradoxically he called the manuscript his 'Blank Bible'). Only a fraction of the entries has ever been published. This volume presents a complete edition of the 'Blank Bible' accompanied by an informative introduction, multiple appendices, and an extensive index."

Yes, it is a lot of money ($147.77 CDN from; see here), but as Justin Taylor says: "While I admit I'm not yet ready to fork over that amount of cash for this volume, the question should be asked: How much money would you pay if someone offered you an unlimited pass which allowed you to peer over Jonathan Edwards's shoulder as he made notes in his Bible?"

Now to convince my wife...

(Thanks to Justin Taylor for the information)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

David Wells on the Emergent Church

Watch Dr. David Wells', an expert on contemporary culture, critique of the Emergent Church.
John Piper on the Emergent Church

Listen here to hear what John Piper thinks of the Emergent Church.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hermeneutics Applied to a STOP Sign

If you are into theology like me, you will find this to be one of the funniest things of all time. If not, you will appreciate the fact smart people can be in fact quite foolish. STOP

1. A post modernist deconstructs the sign by knocking it over with his car, and thus ends the tyranny of the north-south traffic over the east-west traffic.

2. The Marxist refuses to stop because she sees the stop sign as an instrument of class conflict, since the bourgeois use the north-south route and obstruct the proletariat moving east-west.

3. A serious and educated Catholic rolls through the intersection because he believes he cannot understand the stop sign apart from its interpretive community and tradition. Observing that the interpretive community doesn’t take it too seriously, he doesn’t feel obligated to take it too seriously either.

4. Average Catholics and mainline denominationalists don’t bother to read the sign but will stop if the car in front does.

5. A fundamentalist, taking the text very literally, stops at the stop sign and waits for it to tell her to go.

6. A seminary educated evangelical preacher will research the meaning of “STOP” and discover that the word indicates something which prevents motion (i.e. plug for drain) or a location to leave passengers. The lesson is that STOP signs indicate clogged traffic, so it’s a good place to drop riders.

7. An orthodox Jew takes routes devoid of stops to eliminate the risk of disobeying the Law.

8. A scholar from the Jesus Seminar concludes that the passage “STOP” was never uttered by Jesus, since he would not stifle peoples’ progress. So, STOP is a textual insertion from stage III of the gospel tradition, when the church was first confronted by traffic in its parking lot.

9. A New Testament scholar notices that there is no stop sign on Mark street but there is one on Matthew and Luke streets, and concludes that the ones on Luke and Matthew streets are both copied from a sign on a street no one has ever seen called “Q” street. Extensive research has been done on the differences between stop signs on Matthew and Luke streets, but nothing to explain the meaning of the text.

10. An Old Testament scholar points out that there are a number of stylistic differences between the first and second half of the STOP. The “ST” contains no enclosed areas and five line endings, whereas “OP” contains two enclosed areas and only one line termination. He concludes that the author for the second part is different from the author on the first part and probably lived hundreds of years later. Other scholars determine that the second half is itself actually written by two separate authors because of similar stylistic differences between the “O” and the “P.”

11. Another OT scholar notes that the stop sign would fit better into the context three streets back, having been moved to its present location by a later redactor. He thus exegetes the intersection as though the sign were not there.

12. Yet another OT scholar amends the text, changing the “T” to “H”. The resulting SHOP is much easier to understand in context than “STOP” because of the multiplicity of stores in the area. The textual corruption is easily explained as a form geschichte alteration. Thus, the sign announces the existence of a shopping area. If this is true, it could indicate that both meanings are valid, thus making the message “STOP & SHOP.”

13. A “prophetic” preacher notices that the square root of the sum of the numeric representations of the letters S-T-O-P (sigma-tau-omicron-pi in Greek), multiplied by 40 (the number of testing), and divided by 4 (the four corners) equals 666, the dreaded “mark of the beast.” All STOPS are therefore satanic.

Taken from Ochuk's blog.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ten Books Every Youthworker (and perhaps Christian) Isn’t Reading. . . .

by Walt Mueller

Here it is. My long-promised list of good and necessary reading that most youthworkers aren’t reading, but should be. Before getting to the list. . . . . Over the last two days I’ve had two very deep conversations with two very good friends about a growing problem that seems to be rearing it’s ugly head more and more often. Sadly, it’s a problem among Christians. To put it succinctly, we just aren’t very discerning. I’m seeing it more and more in my travels. For example, we adopt worship styles, preaching styles, theological bents, ministry approaches, etc. because they generate numbers – which of course equals “success” – without regard to whether or not they bring honor and glory to God. I’ll expand on this further at another time. At this point, I’ll leave it at this. . . . we don’t take the time to ask “Why am I doing this in this particular way?” I mention this in a blog on reading because I don’t think we’re doing the type of reading that builds a good strong foundation.

So, on to my list. There are quite a few more good books than these. No doubt. I know I’m leaving quite a few off the list and I’m sure you’ve got plenty of suggestions. However, this is my list today. Are you willing to take the challenge and get reading? Each of these books has the capacity to revolutionize how you think about and do ministry. In fact, the answer to the question “Why do you do what you do how you do it at CPYU?” includes all these books. No special order here. . .

Creation Regained by Albert Wolters. This is a foundational book on worldview that will change the way you look at God’s world and understand the concept of “worldview.” If I had my way, every Christian college student would take a class on this book. . . . and within a few years, we’d begin to see the results in our culture.

The Universe Next Door by James Sire. A classic on worldviews that’s now in its fourth edition! This book explains not only what a worldview is, but it explains and evaluates the worldviews present on our current cultural landscape.

The Christian Mind by Harry Blamires. Tutored by C.S. Lewis at Oxford, Blamires explains how to love God with all our mind. . . . . something we don’t fully understand or do in today’s church.

The Contemporary Christian by John Stott. A great theologian who writes practical, accessible stuff. This has helped me understand what it means to fulfill the will of the Father by being in, but not of, the world.

Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down by Marva Dawn. Wow, can this woman think! Subtitled “A Theology of Worship for the Turn-of-the-Century Culture,” read this before ever embarking on planning worship or taking sides in the worship wars.

Above All Earthly Powers: Christ In A Postmodern World by David Wells. A brilliant theologian who takes a multi-disciplinary approach drawing from the social sciences, history, etc. This book requires some slow and deliberate stepping to maneuver and digest its content. . . . but it’s a walk you must take. This is a great assessment of postmodern thinking and its influence on the church and ministry.

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A classic that issues a calling to contemporary Christians by one who put his life where his mouth is.

The Fabric of Faithfulness by Steven Garber. Again, a multidisciplinary approach to spiritual formation during the college years. Hey, if you’re about seeing kids come to and grow in faith, this will help you understand what that means and how to foster that type of growth.

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I try to get a copy of this into the hands of every parent and kid I meet. This book lays out our human purpose and what it means to live that purpose over the course of our lives.

The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer by Francis Schaeffer. Absent from the body for over twenty years, this guy understood today’s world before it even happened, better than we understand it today. Schaeffer offers cultural analysis and a model of cultural analysis that just might shatter your paradigms and change your life.

Okay. . . . . so I cheated on that last one. . . . . it’s actually more than one book. Sorry. Now get reading!

Taken from Walt Mueller's blog at The Center for Parent/ Youth Understanding (CPYU).

Why the Dichotomy Between Pastoral Ministry and Youth Ministry?

When one thinks about how to be a good and faithful pastor, one would think to read works like The Reformed Pastor by Baxter, Lectures to my Students by Spurgeon, Biblical Preaching by Haddon Robinson, and so on. But, when one thinks about how to be a good youth pastor one would borrow more from developmental psychology and sociology than books on pastoring. Why is this? And if you are a youth pastor and you try and apply the principles in pastoral books to your youth ministry, you are not respected. If you try and teach sound doctrine (Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1), and preach (2 Timothy 4:2-5), you are not "relational" enough. Why does this dichotomy exist? Why are the standards softer to be a youth pastor than to be a senior pastor?

Looking forward to your thoughts...
Quote of the Day

This is taken from J.I. Packer's book
A Passion for Holiness:

Again and again it appears that Christians are not sufficiently in touch with themselves. They do not know themselves well enough to realize that, because of the way in which their nature has been changed, their hearts are now set against all known sin. So they hang on to unspiritual and morally murky behavior patterns, and kid themselves that this adds to the joy of their lives. Encouraged by Satan, the grand master of delusion, they feel (feelings as such, of course, are mindless and blind) that to give up these things would be impossibly painful and impoverishing, so though they know they should, they do not. Instead, they settle for being substandard Christians, imagining they will be happier that way. Then they wonder why their whole life seems to them to have become flat and empty (pg. 85).

Thanks to Mike Gilbart-Smith.