- Carl Trueman reflects on the importance of the generalist and the “vortex of specialization” in academic studies.
- Joel has posted three articles on the role of women in the early church (here, here, and here).
- David Murray argues for the importance of preaching without notes. HT
- Mark has begun commenting on David Dewey’s A User’s Guide to Bible Translations.
- Logos is a developing the new Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series.
- Denis Alexander comments on how ideology guides the use of evolution in the science and religion debates.
- And, the guy who wrote the “Jump the Shark” episode of Happy Days actually defends the episode and argues that it did not signal the downfall of the show.
- Joel Hunter offers some thoughts about the challenges of preaching on controversial issues.
- The heaviest and most expensive gold coin ever found has been uncovered at a dig in Israel. HT
- Inside Higher Ed has an article on the new company, Ultrinsic, that allows students to place bets on their grades.
- Richard Beck has some interesting comments on evangelical art, contending that our propensity for putting words on everything and having overly simplistic lyrics in our songs reflects an emphasis on evangelism and catechesis in our art and undermines the subtlety and ambiguity so important for good art.
- Rodney Stark recently argued that the mainline denominations declined because they replaced the Gospel and vital spirituality with social activism, and that evangelicalism might face a similar decline if it’s not careful. Greg Garrett responds by arguing that all is not lost for the mainline denominations, but agrees that evangelicalism is in danger as a result of its shallow spirituality. Both agree that evangelicals need to pay more attention to history if we want to avoid a precipitous decline.
- Slate.com comments on the origins of the letter grading scale and why ‘E’ is not a grade.
- Apparently tomorrow night is supposed to be the best night for watching the Perseid meteor shower. Unless, of course, you live in the NW, which has apparently forgotten that it’s still supposed to be summer.
- And here’s a list of 12 theories about Lost that were better than the actual show. HT
- CT comments on the overturning of Prop 8 in California.
- Justin Taylor offers a bunch of good quotes from Charles Spurgeon on Christless preaching.
- Here’s a good interview with Stanley Hauerwas about the spiritual gifts and callings of the elderly. HT
- Gregg Davidson has begun a series over at BioLogos on the shortcomings flood geology.
- Somewhat unsurprisingly, Google has decided to kill the Wave. Despite all the initial buzz, it was an odd application that I never could find a good use for.
- And, for you book lovers, check out this house/art/sculpture made entirely of books. HT
Yesterday morning at church I listened to a talk. It was interesting. I heard some good stuff about book of James, and I double-checked the pastor on a couple of points he made that seemed a little off. It was nice. But, I didn’t hear a sermon. And I don’t think it was the pastor’s fault.
According to Luther, the preacher has a pretty high calling.
Christ ought to be preached with this goal in mind – that we might be moved to faith in him so that he is not just a distant historical figure but actually Christ for you and me. In other words, the purpose of preaching is to make what is said about Christ effectual in us. (Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian (Fortress 2008), 69).
As I was reflecting on this, I was struck again by the fact that those hearing a sermon have an equally high calling. If the preacher’s role is to present the word of God in such a way that Christ becomes effectual in us, then we who are listening need to hear it that way. The responsibility goes both ways.
- C. Michael Patton asks “How Theologically Diverse Should Your Church Be?” Specifically, he’s asking his readers to consider not just what should be included in a church doctrinal statement, though that’s related, but more specifically, how much theological diversity we should intentionally strive for in our churches.
- Inhabitatio Dei features a multi-authored post on the Kingdom-World-Church relationship. The general argument is that we need abandon ecclesiocentric models that prioritize the church over the world, but should instead see the church as an aspect of God’s eschatological purposes for the world. There’s been quite a bit of discussion on this one that is also worth reading.
- Colin Hansen explains his concerns about comedy in the pulpit. If nothing else, this one is good for pointing out that someone actually gave a seminar for preachers on “Ten Commandments of stand-up comedy.”
- Allen Yeh offers a nice epilogue on the Edinburgh 2010 conference. Most helpful were his comments on some of the “glaring gaps” in the conference and a couple of “prophetic” moments.
- And, I’m sure that Galileo will be very happy to hear that his fingers are now on display in Florence.
Thanks to Pat for pointing out this video clip (HT SI.com). In this video, a pastor in South Carolina offers a reflection on how LeBron James can serve as a shining example for people everywhere. And, in the process, he models what is so clearly missing in the pulpits of America today: LeBron-ocentric preaching. If we just focused more on the Chosen One, all would be well in the world.