The New Evangelical Virtues

My thanks to Tim Challies for this: I don’t want to keep talking about Rob Bell. Honest. And in this post I am only going to touch on him on the way to something else. I think the uproar about his view on hell has helpfully illustrated what passes as virtue in the evangelical world today. As I have read some of the controversy, reading particularly from those who have taken his side, I have seen evidence of three characteristics that seem to pass as virtues today. In some parts of the Christian world, these are now embraced as Christian virtue: doubt, opaqueness, and an emphasis on asking rather than answering questions. Doubt Doubt has become a virtue while boldness and assuredness have become marks of arrogance. The only thing we should be sure of is that we cannot be sure of much of anything. Doubt has become synonymous with humility. And so it was with the people who used to

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DeYoung and Kluck on the Church

Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck write as guest columnists today in the Newsweek/Washington Post forum on religion. Here’s an excerpt: Perhaps Christians are leaving the church because it isn’t tolerant and open-minded. But perhaps the church-leavers have their own intolerance too–intolerant of tradition, intolerant of authority, intolerant of imperfection except their own. Are you open-minded enough to give the church a chance–a chance for the church to be the church, not a coffee shop, not a mall, not a variety show, not Chuck E. Cheese, not a U2 concert, not a nature walk, but a wonderfully ordinary, blood-bought, Spirit-driven church with pastors, sermons, budgets, hymns, bad carpet and worse coffee? Their book Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion is now available. (HT: Justin Taylor)

Al Mohler’s New Book

Al Mohler’s latest book, “The Disappearance of God”, can be ordered HERE . From the Publisher: For centuries the church has taught and guarded the core Christian beliefs that make up the essential foundations of the faith. But in our postmodern age, sloppy teaching and outright lies create rampant confusion, and many Christians are free-falling for ‘feel-good’ theology. We need to know the truth to save ourselves from errors that will derail our faith. As biblical scholar, author, and president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Albert Mohler, writes, “The entire structure of Christian truth is now under attack.” With wit and wisdom he tackles the most important aspects of these modern issues: Is God changing His mind about sin? Why is hell off limits for many pastors? What’s good or bad about the emergent movement? Have Christians stopped seeing God as God? Is the social justice movement misguided? Could the role of beauty be critical to our theology?

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Five Trends in the Church Today – D A Carson

From Acts 29, via Justin Taylor: If you ever want to feel like you have the intelligence of a NASCAR fan that just finished off a six-pack (I think it’s a Red Neck law), then listen to D.A. Carson talk about, well, anything. Don is fluent in something like 7 languages and has written over 45 books. He is the esteemed Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School near Chicago. For instance, Carson said in his talk to us, “To be a non-perspectivalist is to be omniscient.” Nobody in the room was smart enough to argue with him over that. Don spoke at a luncheon at Bethlehem Baptist Church (John Piper) on Friday September 26, 2008 just before the Desiring God Conference. I attended this lunch with about 40 other church leaders. Don spoke for an hour about five trends in the American church that are troubling to him. Five Trends in the Church Today By D A

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Don Carson Talks About Culture

Derek Thomas interviews Don Carson: On the eve of the publication of Don Carson’s new and important book, Christ and Culture Revisited, Derek Thomas caught up with him in an airport somewhere in the far East…. DT:  Congratulations of the publication of Christ and Culture Revisited (Eerdmans, 2008). It obviously bears some link to the classic treatment by H. Richard Niebuhr, a volume I was asked to read at seminary thirty years ago, though it was published more than fifty years ago. Why did you feel it necessary to “Revisit” this book and its theme in 2008? DC:  Thank You. At one level, the tension between Christ and culture is perennial, and every generation must thoughtfully engage in the discussion. Moreover, the world has become much less North-Atlantic-centered than it was in Niebuhr’s day, especially the Christian world — and these changes require serious reflection. Would Kuyper have developed his gentle version of sphere sovereignty if he has been born

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The Postmodern Gospel

“The postmodern individual may be the easiest sinner in 200 years to interest in the faith. Yet he is capable of living with contradictions. He can claim to have received Jesus but not believe in his historical existence. He can claim to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture but deny absolute truth. When the gospel is presented as a means of improving self-image, giving us a spiritual and thrilling experience, providing a source for success and fulfillment, or helping us overcome loneliness, we may be speaking the language of the age; however, we have trivialized and distorted the gospel message as to make it meaningless.” … “Perhaps there has never been a time when it has been more vital to present the gospel message clearly and without apology. That Christ died on the cross to save us from our sins and give us his righteousness is the good news, which the sinner must understand. The issue on the table is

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The Emergent Church and the Gospel

This is a great piece from John Samson. I also recommend the book he quotes, ‘Why we’re not Emergent’. It is probably the best critique of the emerging church around at the moment. The gospel is not about any merit I have on my own, but is based upon Jesus’ merit alone. It is not what we have done for Jesus, but what Jesus has done for us (Rom 5:19, 2 Cor 5:21, Phil 2:8). In the covenant rainbow sign with Noah, God says He “remembers” never to flood the world this way again, so likewise in the covenant in Christ’s blood, God “remembers” not to treat us as we justly deserve for our sins. The mystery of God has been made manifest in the Person and work of the Son, who frees the prisoners, gives sight to the blind, breaks loose the chains and changes hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. We were taken captive to do Satan’s

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