2008-11-04 The Brief

As America, and much of the world, awaits the outcome of the election here are two articles that I hope prove to be helpful as you reflect on this election and elections to come. These articles represent a balance that I think is lost in most pulpits around election season when many pastors preach the gospel of this kingdom and abandon the gospel of the Kingdom. I am glad that Piper, Driscoll, and many like them have kept the focus on the true gospel and provided us with a biblical perspective of politics.

Mark Driscoll – In God We Do Not Trust

John Piper – Let Christians Vote As Though They Were Not Voting

2008-10-21 The Brief

Everything Sexual
  • The Atlantic has published an article that is as hard to read as it is necessary to read.  A Boy’s Life details the lives of several transgender children as well as various methods of treatment, surgery, and hormone therapy and the debate surrounding it all.
  • This was a very hard read especially when you consider that these are children. I do not know any children who are going through this nor can I imagine a place in culture where a four year old desires to change his/her gender. Regardless of what I can, or cannot imagine, there are places where this is occurring and such occurrences will be the ever increasing norm.

    My question is what does the gospel have to say to this? If you are a parent how would you respond to your child? If you are a pastor how does this change the church’s mission or how does the church’s unchanging mission address these issues?

  • In a similar vein Al Mohler has done a series of posts on the gay marriage debate that are worth reading. I appreciate that he points out that while many would argue that it homosexuality is normative that if one views this issue from a global perspective that “same-sex marriage is, by any measure, the exception rather than the rule.” I am not particularly interested in the politics of this debate; however, I do wonder if the only response that followers of Christ have to such a situation is the “opt out.” Your child will be exposed to sex, they will be exposed to it at an early age, and they will be exposed to a wider variety of accepted modes of sexual expression than at any point in US history. As parents desiring to run a gospel-centered home how do you address these issues when they are being raised at such a young age? As pastors how do you equip parents to address such pressing issues?
  • So, What’s Really at Stake in the Gay Marriage Debate? Part One
    So, What’s Really at Stake in the Gay Marriage Debate? Part Two

Politics

2008-10-06 The Brief

Culture
Missiology
  • Early last month Dr. David Sills, of SBTS, posted a fantastic article, entitled “The Brain Drain,” in which he looks at contemporary evangelicalism and how our desire to prepare missionaries has taught missions well but failed to model it and is in some sense counterproductive. From the article:
  • It is amazing to me that the most eloquent Bible expositors and scholars who exegete so beautifully the missionary journeys of Paul have often never been on one themselves. . . . They model a ministry that talks about the nations but does not walk among the nations.

    The brightest and best aspire to follow and emulate these godly teachers, preachers, Bible scholars, and theologians who unfortunately do not model missions as a worthy life investment. As much as young people want it to, missions does not seem to fit into any responsible, biblical expression of ministry because none of the leaders or inner circle members is missions focused in anything but talk. After a time of confused struggling, young people pack away their passion for missions as misguided zeal.

    I would love for you to read this article and then share your thoughts.

Theology

Wendell Berry on Education

Last night I had the opportunity to watch a television show about the author Wendell Berry.  The following quote, from Thoughts in the Presence of Fear, struck me as particularly insightful.

“The complexity of our present trouble suggests as never before that we need to change our present concept of education.  Education is not properly an industry, and its proper use is not to serve industries, either by job-training or by industry-subsidized research. It’s proper use is to enable citizens to live lives that are economically, politically, socially, and culturally responsible.  This cannot be done by gathering or “accessing” what we now call “information” – which is to say facts without context and therefore without priority.  A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first.”

2008-09-08 The Brief

News

·         The Death of Paper – Are printed magazines, newspapers, and books nearing their demise?  Check out this article and make the call.

Politics

·         The List: McCain’s 10 Worst IdeasForeign Policy is doing a two part series on the ten worst policy proposals for the two presidential hopefuls.

·         The List: Obama’s 10 Worst IdeasForeign Policy is doing a two part series on the ten worst policy proposals for the two presidential hopefuls.

·         On Faith – The panelists at The Washington Post and Newsweek’s forum, On Faith, have recently been asked: “Women are not allowed to become clergy in many conservative religious groups. Is it hypocritical to think that a woman can lead a nation and not a congregation?”  As you can imagine this question has generated a varied number of responses and heated debate in the forums.  You can read the responses from all the panelists here; however, I would recommend the following panelists’ responses, and not necessarily because I agree with them:

Albert Mohler Jr. – President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Brian D. McLaren – Leader in the Emergent Church movement and author of A Generous Orthodoxy

Richard Mouw – President, Fuller Theological Seminary

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite – Professor, Chicago Theological Seminary

Deepak Chopra – Founder and president of the Alliance for a New Humanity

Theology

·         Lost/Found in Translation?Ed Stetzer has posted a helpful article concerning the language a church chooses to use and how this shapes missional thinking.

·         Insufficient Responses- A Thought on Nehemiah 1.4 – You need to read this post.

·         Is Divine Election Unfair?John MacArthur gives a brief explanation of why this doctrine of grace is truly gracious.

·         Six Study EssentialsMark Driscoll gives six simple yet very helpful essentials to Bible study.

The SBC

·         Pry the Baton Out of Their (C)old, Dead Hands- An Opinion on Age Trends in the SBCTodd Burus has posted on age trends in the SBC there has  not been a lot of discussion on this post and I know Todd, as well as myself, would love to hear your thoughts.

·         Convocation marks start of “year of living dangerously,” Mohler tells studentsDr. Albert Mohler’s fall convocation address at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary challenges students to live dangerously (click here for MP3).  From the address:

“I want us to be an institution that scares people,” he said. “We are gathered here at this place, with so many of us — it appears — who are committed to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; this is a dangerous place. The forces of evil and darkness and the enemies of the Gospel have more than met their match. Not because of who we are, but because of who Christ is. Not because we have any tactical skill, but because we follow a Lord who is going to vindicate His Gospel.”