Wednesday, February 27, 2008

WFB, 1925 - 2008

William F. Buckley Jr. has died.

I have been reading Bill Buckley's books and articles since college. My favorite is his first, God and Man at Yale which I think about often and have read at least twice. Also, he wrote a fabulous forward to what I think is the gold-standard for autobiographies, Witness by his friend Whittaker Chambers.

His wit, intelligence, poetic writings and grciousness towards those who he disagrees with will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Vintage Jesus

I am holding it in my girlishly delicate hands right now.

Update: Tim Challies has a review.

Update: For the record I am not in agreement with Challies in his criticism of Driscoll and the book. "Knocking boots" has neither offended me and does not strike me as something we should deem so offensive that we castigate a publisher and hope they will be more discerning in the future. I am a huge fan of Tim Challies but his review of Vintage Jesus had a Pharasaical air to it. Especially in light of passages like Ezekial 16:25 which says, "At the head of every street you built your lofty place and made your beauty an abomination, offering yourself to any passer-by and multiplying your whoring." The note in my ESV Literary Study Bible tells me that "offering yourself" should literally be translated "spreading your legs."

Sorry, I am not offended. Actually, being offended is just a luxury I cannot afford as a youth pastor.

Update: Some recommendations over at the Desiring God Blog.

Update: Tim Challies discusses Mark Driscoll and the comments about Vintage Jesus. And he does a fine job, which does not surprise me.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Counsel for Preachers Like Me

From C.J., etc.

The Wait is Over

Oh, yeah and as if it were not enough that I now have it (thanks UPS dude) in my hot little hands (technically on the coffee table) there is a website complete with audio downloads, "tour" schedule and a reader's discussion guide.

My cup runneth over!!!

Al Mohler to Undergo Surgery for Pre-Cancerous Tumor on Colon

more info here

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Abraham Lincoln's Faith

Piper comments on Marvin Olasky's article on Abraham Lincoln as the "Pilgrim Politician."

The Reason for God

Tim Challies reviews Tim Keller's new book, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepicism which I plan on buying while I am in the big city of Jackson tomorrow.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Groban and Bocelli at the Grammys

This was the closing performance at the Grammys last night and my wife and I thought it was absolutely beautiful.

Discernment and a Grammy Award Winner

Last night I resumed awith my students what are called "Learn to Discern." A Learn to Discern is a time when we sit around and listen to a particular song, watch a music video, movie clip, etc. and discuss its content. We look at the strengths and weaknesses of the music, vocals and lyrics. Then we do our best to bring the gospel to bear on the worldview being presented.

In the past we have discussed punk, country, pop, and metal. We have watched scenes from The Village and Signs. And we have talked over online dating advice. The kids enjoy it. I enjoy it. And I have seen much fruit from it in developing minds and hearts who think biblically about the world around them.

Since last night the Grammys were on TV, I thought it would be interesting to discuss a song by an artist who was nominated. So I chose Rehab by Amy Winehouse. I knew next to nothing about Amy before sitting down and listening to this song and watching the video yesterday. I did know about her drug problems, which made me want to disccuss her hit song, (and soon to be a grammy-winning single) Rehab.

Amy Winehouse's music is described as jazz, soul, R&B and doo-wop fused together to produce a sound that is magically fresh and classic. It reminds me of Van Morrison more than anyone. Although much of her music contains some graphic and gritty language there is alot of beauty to admire. I have to admit that I really like her music. It would not surprise me if people are not talking about her breakout album, Back to Black as one of the "great albums" for years to come.

Amy is either presently in Rehab and was able to leave so she could perform at the Grammy's or she has finished her "70 days." (Either way, I thought the performance was a highlight of the night along with the Josh Groban/Andrea Bocelli duet.) So we actually went further in our discussion and talked about why we thought all these young female entertainers (Spears, Olsen Twins, Lohan and now Kirsten Dunst) are ending up in Rehab. We talked mostly about the search for significance, the pressures of celebrity and the the lack of fulfillment in being famous and rich.

I closed the discussion with some confession. My default mode when I read about celebrities who are self-destructive is to judge them harshly as "losers" and "screw-ups." I write them off as weirdos who are out of touch with reality. In other words I look at them the same way the Pharisees looked at the very sinners Jesus loved. I take a position of superiority (as a believer in the gospel!) and look down on "those dirty pagans"(to qoute Keller).

But yesterday as I read about Amy Winehouse's life and music I actually was moved by the Spirit to see her as one in need of the cross just as I am. Apart from God's gracious work of the Spirit in my life I would be in the same boat with her. If I were judged by God based on my works the same way I judge celebrities of their works. If God refused me kindness because of my lack of conformity to his character and my refusal to give him the honor due him the same way I refuse to think and talk kindly about celebrities like Winehouse, I would have no hope.

I am still thinking about the implications of bringing the gospel to bear on how we think about celebrities but the following is my start:

1. The gospel should level the ground as far as moral superiority is concerned. Any morality and victory over sin I enjoy is the result of a gift. I get no credit and therefore dishonor the Giver with my pride in moral superiority.

2. I should see that what Amy Winehouse needs the most are eyes that see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus. She does not need to clean up her act so I am not offended by her behavior or language.

3. Instead of smug judgements I should pray for celebrities. I should pray that God blesses those whose talents I enjoy with a belief in the gospel. I should pray that God places in their path believing men and women who will deal with them as Jesus dealt with them. It was Jesus who was known as a "friend of sinners" (Matt. 11:19 and Luke 7:34). What if the American church was famous for loving sinners instead of judging them? What if the church took it upon itself to pray for its entertainers instead of denouncing them and blaming them for our country's ills?

4. When I see so much talent in someone like Amy Winehouse, coupled with so much self-destructive behavior I am amazed. I am amazed at how the image of God can still shine brightly in the darkness.

5. The Gospel compells me to deal first with the plank in my own eye.

Below is Amy Winehouse's video for Rehab and her performance at the Grammys singing You Know I'm No Good and Rehab.

C.J.s Testimony

At a grand opening of a new church facility C.J. Mahaney tells of God's sovereign work in his own conversion.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Abraham Piper Introduces His Dad

This is Abraham Piper introducing his Dad at the Desiring God Pastors Conference with some really good humor and some touching sincerity.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mohler's Top 10 Books for Preachers in 2008

From JT...

Each year in Preaching Magazine Al Mohler lists his "top 10 books every preacher should read." Here's the new list for 2008:

1. Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes, edited by Leland Ryken and Todd Wilson

2. Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical BiblicalInterpretation, by Graeme Goldsworthy (IVP Academic)

3. Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception, by John MacArthur (Thomas Nelson)

4. A City Upon a Hill: How Sermons Changed the Course of American History, by Larry Witham (HarperOne)

5. Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution, by Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey, and Andrew Sach (Crossway)

6. Renewing Minds: Serving Church and Society Through Christian Higher Education,by David S. Dockery (B&H Academic)

7. After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future ofAmerican Religion, by Robert Wuthnow (Princeton)

8. God’s Ambassadors: A History of the Christian Clergy in America, by E. Brooks Holifield (Eerdmans)

9. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, edited by D. A. Carson and G. K. Beale (Baker Academic)

10. Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters, edited by Donald K. McKim (IVP Academic)

Info on Union University Tornado Damage

Here is a very good slideshow displaying the damage to Union.

Said at Southern has a good roundup of news stories.

(Head, you will actually recognize some spots in the photos from when we used to go to Centrifuge.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I Was Wrong

When was the last time you heard such a confession? And this is from Social Distortion, one of the best and most respected punk bands in the world.

Ever since the song came out in '96 I have not been able to get away from it. Perhaps there is some catharsis going on here. Some readers will not be able to handle the style of music but I think it's perfect for what is going on in the song itself. If you listen (and watch!) carefully you will catch who Mike Ness is talking to in the song.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Talitha Interviews the Rebelution Guys

John Piper's daughter interviews the Harris Brothers at Desiring God Blog.

Movies and Discernment

Tim Challies provides a good review of the book Hollywood Worldviews.

"Godawa seems to fall into a trap of equating words and pictures. In so doing he ignores the power of pictures and the fact that pictures and words communicate in different ways. It is for good reason, I am sure, that God chose to communicate through a written rather than a visual Scripture. Equating “he knew her and she conceived and bore a son” with a steamy and passionate scene on the big screen is irrational."

Opposite Way


The new album comes out on Feb. 26th but you can already listen to it on their website.


It's getting bigger.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Is Driscoll a Heretic?


(Hat Tip: JT)

C.J. Answers 3 Important Questions

C.J. has kicked off his blogging with a bang by answering some important questions on the cross, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, and The Super Bowl.

Calvin and Loving Unity

Michael Haykin, who should really post more, discusses Calvin and the pain of seperation in ecclesiastical matters.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Interview With Dever on Richard Sibbes

Timmy Brister, a student at SBTS has posted an interview with Mark Dever about the Puritan Ricahard Sibbes. Sibbes wrote a number of books but the most popular I suppose is The Bruised Reed, which I read one Sunday while in Seminary. I have gone back to its pages physically and mentally for help for my own soul which sometimes feels so bruised and bleeding.

Dever is always a pleasure to listen to and the reason he is being interviewed on Sibbes is because of this which I also read in Seminary.