Saturday, May 31, 2014

On Southern rock, Calvinism, and mystery

Personally I'd like a little more Southern rock and a lot more mystery, but Chris Van Allsburg's take on doctrine and mystery is helpful theology, even for us non-Calvinists.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Shining the light

I had a job interview this morning with Greenhouse Ministries in Murfreesboro, and I was blessed beyond anything I expected even before I set foot on the site. I've written a brief essay at To the Word on what I learned this morning on the way.

Vertical belief and horizontal action

I'm grateful to Charles Savelle for pointing me to Ray Ortlund's blog posting on "'One Anothers' I Can't Find in the New Testament." Here's a sample:
The kind of God we really believe in is revealed in how we treat one another.  The lovely gospel of Jesus positions us to treat one another like royalty, and every non-gospel positions us to treat one another like dirt.  But we will follow through horizontally on whatever we believe vertically.

Our relationships with one another, then, are telling us what we really believe as opposed to what we think we believe, our convictions as opposed to our opinions.
Amen. I recommend Dr. Ortlund's whole article. It's short and packs a lot of punch.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

'It is true...'

As he is wont to do, Conrad Gempf packs a lot of truth into this little post: "What Saved Abraham."

On margin

In a short, pithy post, Dan Edelen explains one of the main concerns I have with spending a lot of time online. I find it significant, too, that it's Dan's only posting at his blog for the past two weeks.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

John and the cross

Peter Leithart has published a short, fascinating post about the cross (or not) in Rev. 12 and the relationship between the Apocalypse and Gospel of John.

All about me?

At Blogotional John Schroeder has noticed something about group Bible studies:
In my elder and curmudgeonly years I have come to conclude that the ubiquitous Bible study question, "What does that mean to you?" has done far more harm than good. It is meant to ask someone to re-express what a passage is saying in their own words - to grapple with the ideas and concepts sufficiently to be able to restate them. But over the decades of this question's ubiquity I think it has come to teach people that the Bible was written for them and is in fact about them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Jeff Weddle: "Jesus seemed stunned that people had no idea what He was talking about. At the same time, He was stunned when someone understood what He was talking about!"

Avoiding jerkdom

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ministry marks from Monroe

What do you think about these four marks of a great church?

Locked up no longer

At the blue fish project Dave Bish shares Good News for the Narcissist. Here's a sample:
Fallen humanity is expert at curving in on themselves. Giving us things to do is exactly what we like, but that just feeds the flesh and makes things worse. The cure is the gospel. Hear with faith. Look and live.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

What a week

I haven't posted much this week, not because I'm fading back out of blogging but because the week has included many much more pressing matters: a broken computer, a funeral, an extra class to teach in Nashville, three job interviews, our youngest child's high school graduation and valediction in front of several thousand at the local football stadium, and dozens of family members coming to our little house for barbecue afterward. It was a delightful, encouraging week, but one that didn't leave much time or energy for blogging. Still, I want to thank both of my regular readers for taking the time to stop by the blog. I hope to be back at it again next week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

'Weirdest book'

The title alone makes this one worth reading: "A Non-Creepy Application of the Song of Solomon." Here's a sample:
Generally the book is applied in two ways:

1) It’s a picture of the Gospel and Christ’s love for His bride the Church and all the various members that grab His attention, even though Paul says the unseemly parts should get some pub too.

2) It’s a guide for MARRIED people to lust after their spouses and have sex on a regular basis.

Neither of these fully seems to connect, and both leave you feeling a tad creepy.
That's Jeff Weddle, of course, and I pretty much recommend everything he writes.

Born of division

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Monarchy as solution

Dr. Claude Mariottini has published a long, informative blog post on Israel in the Book of Judges. I look forward to the next installment.

On taking up our crosses

J.D. Hatfield: "Discipleship is about self-denial, not self-discovery."

Friday, May 16, 2014

What real persecution looks like

This time it's happening in Sudan: Sentenced to death for being a Christian.

Judgment and worship

Jeff Weddle: "Worship can be a tricky thing."

'Say it out loud'

On Psalm 136: "Don’t dare read this Psalm by skipping over the repetitive phrase."

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Suffering for the faith

Although Christians are increasingly under assault for our faith in the United States, let's remember how much more serious persecution can be, as we see today in Nigeria and have seen in China.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Threefold relation

Peter Leithart sees trinitarian echoes in Rev. 4:11.

Different kingdoms

Robert Caldwell, assistant professor of church history at Southwestern Seminary, takes a look at the Mormon religion:
In recent years “Mormonism,” or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has enjoyed increased visibility in American culture, especially since the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney in 2012. Who are they, and what do they teach?
Those are good questions, and Prof. Caldwell answers them frankly in a relatively brief essay without sensationalism.

In a somewhat related post, Dr. Mark Snoeberger of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary looks at the question of Mormon or Jewish speakers at commencement ceremonies of Christian colleges.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Something's missing. . .

Peter Mead looks at John 5 and reflects on the missing dimension in biblical preaching. Peter has posted a follow-up here.

Reading Revelation

Phillip Long continues his exposition of Revelation at Reading Acts.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Reflections on Matt. 15:10-11

J.D. Hatfield:
Is Jesus saying that those things that we think are bad are not actually bad, and that it doesn’t matter what we put into our bodies and our minds? No, what He is saying is that it is the heart that makes us want bad things in the first place.
Amen. You can read J.D.'s whole-but-not-long essay here.

...And not as angels

Peter Leithart reflects on the people of God sprouting wings.

Friday, May 09, 2014

On motherhood

In anticipation of Mother's Day, OT professor Claude Mariottini has gathered links to his posts on mothers in the Old Testament.

You might be an idolater...

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Wrestling with Google

For several years Google has been prompting me for my cell phone number, and they've become increasingly pushy about doing so. Today Google wouldn't let me log in till I gave them my cell phone number and verified it with a code they would text me to re-enter in a login screen. As I have in the past, I managed a work-around, but those work-arounds are becoming more and more difficult.

I'm comfortable using Blogger and would like to stay on the site where I've been blogging for nearly ten years. But Google already knows far more about me than I like, and I certainly don't want to give them my cell phone number as well.

Google owns this site, and they aren't charging me to use it. That means they are completely within their rights to make whatever demands they want of me to continue with their otherwise free service. But if this weblog suddenly goes silent, I want you to know why.

Questions in Scripture

Doug Floyd has begun a blog conversation, and he's looking for your input: "I’ve got a questions about asking questions in Torah, and maybe you can help."

Buying converts

Voice of the Martyrs' Persecution Blog offers some fascinating insights on the growth of Islam in Malaysia: "A tactic used widely by Muslims to gain converts is bribery."

Importance of content and method

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

'Justification by astronomy'

Peter Leithart offers a brief, insightful take on Gen. 15:5-6. He notes, in part, that "Abram is justified by faith in Yahweh’s promise, but Yahweh’s is an astronomical promise."

Encouraging irresponsibility

John Aloisi's blog post, "Three Reasons Why the Lottery is a Bad Bet" contains an insight worth considering: "3. The lottery promotes a predatory relationship between the state and its citizens."

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

More on Deuteronomic concern for women

Dr. Claude Mariottini has gotten back to his study of Deuteronomy and concern for women with another accessible, informative posting.

Bit of advice for getting out of blogging

In updating my reciprocal links list, I noticed that several blogs have gone inactive, and some have disappeared completely. Probably the saddest condition are the blogs that their owners deleted and the sites are taken over by spam web pages. Keep in mind that if you have a weblog and ever decide to quit blogging, deleting the whole blog may cause links to your former blog to go to a spam site.

Monday, May 05, 2014

The real focus

J.D. Hatfield looks at the account of Jesus walking on water and makes a crucial distinction: "Jesus isn’t calling us to walk on the water; He is calling us to Himself."

Doctrinal peeves

As he studies and preaches through Galatians, Jeff Weddle confronts a couple of doctrinal pet peeves when he writes that Jesus did not keep the law for you and Christ's righteous deeds were not added to your account.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

'Me, me, me, me'

In a short but pithy blog post, Conrad Gempf observes that probably the best known psalm today "must have sounded quite odd to ancient ears."

More Brethren journals now online

Rob  Bradshaw continues to add new biblical studies journals to the extensive, free online collection at

Friday, May 02, 2014

Talking about missions

Eddie Arthur shares his perspective on talking about overseas missions in  local churches: here and here.

Hey you

Is there anybody out there?

It's humbling going from a mildly popular preaching blogger eight or nine years ago to someone with practically no readers today. That situation came about, of course, because I pretty much stopped blogging for two or three years. And a big part of what little popularity I had back in the oughts came about because I worked hard to cultivate readership. I may start trying to promote this blog again some day, but first I want to get back into the swing of regular blogging.

And if you're reading this, thanks for visiting.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Today is Victims of Communism Day

Christians, please take note: May 1 is International Victims of Communism Day. And if you're wondering what particular relationship communism has with the gospel, I strongly recommend reading this book.

Not hypocrisy

When Christians mess up, they usually aren't being hypocrites. They're just being Christians.

Timeline links

At Euangelion Kata Markon, Michael Kok shares links to timelines of early Jewish and Christian history.

Measuring spiritual growth

At Cerulean Sanctum Dan Edelen makes an important observation about spiritual growth:
What if we commit a fundamental error in checking for spiritual growth by focusing on the individual rather than on the collective church?

The language of the New Testament, again and again, is the collective you, not the singular. And the New Jerusalem at the close of the age isn’t a loose collection of people, but a unified Body—or more appropriately, a complete city.

I think one reason that leaders on the local church level burn out on growth issues is because all the emphasis is on the individual Christian. But shouldn’t successful growth be centered on what that local church is accomplishing?
Yes, I think so. And I strongly recommend reading Dan's whole article.