Blog Archives

Flotsam and jetsam (2/9)

These four qualities are indispensable to good preaching, but some are more indispensable than others. The farther you go down the list, the harder the traits come. But the good news is it’s the top of the list that matter most.

To say the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is deathly ill is not editorializing but acknowledging reality.

If the phrase “son of God” is tantamount to blasphemy to Muslims, is it acceptable to translate the phrase differently into Arabic in the name of making the gospel known?

  • Patheos is adding another new blog, and this one looks like it could be very interesting. Evangelical Crossroads features Mark Russell (Asbury), Allen Yeh (Biola), Michelle Sanchez, Michelle Stearns (Mars Hill), and Dwight Friesen (Mars Hill). (HT)

Alan Hirsch on being a missionary incarnational church

Here’s Alan Hirsch explaining why he thinks that the church has to be both missional and incarnational.


Flotsam and jetsam (10/27)

They text their friends all day long. At night, they do research for their term papers on laptops and commune with their parents on Skype. But as they walk the paths of Hamilton College, a poster-perfect liberal arts school in this upstate village, students are still hauling around bulky, old-fashioned textbooks — and loving it.

Though I shared some of the frustrations, I came to a place on day five, when I finally realized: We all feel marginalized in some way. That’s the human condition. Extend grace. Move on. At the end of the day, it’s not about you or me. In the church and in ministry, we will all encounter moments when we feel marginalized and unintentionally marginalize others, but we must learning to work and serve together without resorting to the “It’s not fair!” refrain that can divide and undermine our reputation to the world around us. We must learn to display what it means to madly love God and one another in spite of our sense of inequality.

  • Roger Olson answers the question, “What is an evangelical theologian?” offering his usual emphasis on evangelicalism as a sociological  movement rather than some particular set of theological commitments.

Thus, my answer to whether Brian McLaren is an evangelical theologian is: “Of course he is. What else would he be?”  Brian’s whole shtick (I don’t mean that in any demeaning way) is only of interest to evangelicals.  His publishers are mostly evangelical publishers.  He speaks mostly in evangelical institutions.  He pastors an evangelical church.  To a very large extent he has no constituency outside of evangelicalism.  What does it even mean to declare him “not an evangelical theologian?”

As I look back on this book I see both strengths and weaknesses. The epistolary form is a wonderful choice. The tone is humble and helpful. The majority of what Smith teaches lines up well with what I believe. But as a Baptist I had to disagree with, well, a good portion of it. And looking at the endorsements, I can see that others disagreed with him as well. Two of the book’s endorsers, Tullian Tchividjian and Michael Horton offer caveats within their blurbs (Tchividjian: “No one will agree with everything here, but what I appreciate…” Horton: “Most of the time I cheered ‘Amen!’ as I read these letters, but even when I disagreed, I appreciated…”). In fact, conspicuous by their absence from the list of endorsers are any of the Baptist leaders of this New Calvinism.

Flotsam and jetsam (6/9)

  • 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.

Virtual interview with virtual church guy (Douglas Estes)

Brian has finished the third of three interviews with Douglas Estes on his book SimChurch. In this interview, Douglas discusses what he thinks about the emerging virtual church, the future of “iPastors”, the role of the virtual church in world missions, and the impact that the virtual church can/should have on seminary education. As with the other two interviews, this one’s worth checking out if you’re interested in ecclesiology and the role of technology in the church.