Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Evangelicals and Global Warming

Here's a very interesting article on how Evangelicals have been misled with regard to climate control.

But What Are You PROTESTing?

In college, one of the foreign students, whose first language was Spanish, discovered that I was a Protestant. While eating in the dining room, he always got a kick out of asking: "So what are you protesting?" (I think he thought the relationship between "Protestant" and "protest" was purely accidental and that he'd discovered a clever pun!)

[Update: I should have known better, but it probably isn't the case that "protestant" is derived from "protest" in the sense of "oppose." Thanks to Scott Swain for the clarification. For more on this, see here.]


Well his question has been on my mind lately, especially with the publication of Noll and Nystrom's Is the Reformation Over? What, if anything, are Protestants protesting these days?

For a fair and balanced review of this book, see Gregg Allison's review that appeared in the latest edition of JETS. I think it's insightful and judicious.

C.S. Lewis Audio

Here is some rare audio footage of C.S. Lewis. (HT: A-Team)

Beyond Personality: The New Men
Hear the only surviving footage of C.S. Lewis's broadcast talks. This is the last episode in Beyond Personality, the third series. It was broadcast on BBC radio on 21st March 1944. We apologise for the sound quality.

The transcripts of all three series were published as Mere Christianity.

The New Men (Realmedia, 14m 05s)

An introduction to The Great Divorce
"Blake wrote The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. If I've written of their divorce, this is not because I think myself a fit antagonist for so great a genius, nor even because I feel at all sure that I knew what he meant..."

C.S. Lewis introduces his book The Great Divorce in a clip first broadcast on 9th May 1948.

The Great Divorce (Realmedia, 1m 58s)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Interview with Wells

Eerdmans interviews David Wells regarding his book, Above All Earthly Pow'rs. Here are the questions they asked. Click the link to read Wells' answers.

  1. You open the book with a description of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. How do you see these terror attacks affecting the church in the postmodern world?
  2. One of the things that makes your survey of the rise of postmodernism unique is the way in which you argue that immigration has contributed to the rise of postmodernism in the United States. How do you see this happening?
  3. What do you see as the difference between popular postmodernism and academic or intellectual postmodernism?
  4. Your strong critique of contemporary “seeker-sensitive” styles of worship will come as a surprise to evangelicals who see this kind of worship as necessary to bringing people into the church. What are the greatest dangers of uncritically accepting this kind of worship?
  5. Are there any benefits to it?
  6. What do you envision a church that's being faithful to the gospel to look like in the twenty-first century?
  7. So, what kind of future do you see for evangelical faith here in America?
  8. How does this book relate to the others in this series — No Place for Truth, God in the Wasteland, and Losing Our Virtue?
(HT: A-Team Blog)

Tim Keller in the NYT

Tim Keller is profiled in today's New York Times. Unfortunately you have to be registered with NYT.com to read it. Steve McCoy has posted some excerpts.

[As noted in the comments below, you can read the whole article by using http://bugmenot.com/view.php?url=nytimes.com.]

WMDs

Did Saddam have WMDs? Most believe, of course, that the answer is no. But the full story isn't in. This report seems to indicate that the world community was right, even if their intellegience was less than stellar. Much more work needs to be done on this.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Reformation 21

A new issue is now online.

AdBlock

Have I mentioned how thoroughly I am enjoying Mozilla's AdBlock? Even if you have a pop-up blocker, there are still tons of annoying advertisements on blogs and websites. You can block them all through this free extension.

Do You Pray as You Study?

From Ligon Duncan:

As we bring this consideration of the importance and conduct of pastoral reading and study to a close, I want to ask you a question. Do you pray as you study? Do you pause to praise God for a glorious truth about himself that you learn along the way in your reading? Do you stop frequently to confess your sin and beg pardon as you are convicted by the truth of God’s word even as you read of some saint possessed of a virtue that you have not cultivated, or read a biblical warning against a sin that is a sin of your heart and life too? Do you seek forgiveness for those revealed sins even as you read? Do you intercede for others in relation to the truths you are learning. Prayer and reading and studying go together, belong together!
Read the whole thing.


Here's the whole series:

Pastors- Studying and Reading (1)
Pastors- Studying and Reading (2)
Pastors- Studying and Reading (3)
Pastors- Studying and Reading (4)
Pastors- Studying and Reading (5)
Pastors- Studying and Reading (6)
Pastors- Studying and Reading (7)

The Gospel of Christ's Patience

In his book on Temptation, John Owen writes about Christ's patience toward believers:

The gospel is the word of Christ’s patience even to believers. A soul acquainted with the gospel knows that there is no property of Christ rendered more glorious therein than that of his patience. That he should bear with so many unkindnesses, so many causeless breaches, so many neglects of his love, so many affronts done to his grace, so many violations of engagements as he does, it manifests his gospel to be not only the word of his grace, but also of his patience. He suffers also from them in all the reproaches they bring upon his name and ways; and he suffers in them, for “in all their afflictions he is afflicted."

Friday, February 24, 2006

Grudem Responds to Witherington

Posted in the comments section of Ben Witherington's blog post on the ESV:

[Update: It appears that Witherington has now removed his original post, along with all the comments (including Grudem's).]
Wayne Grudem said...

Dear Ben,

I have appreciated your writings, but I don’t believe I have ever had the opportunity to meet you.

Regarding your blog about the ESV Bible on Feb. 20th, 2006, I suspect I am the “one particular scholar” to whom you refer in your second paragraph. You report on the conversation with someone on the TNIV committee (the CBT or the Committee on Bible Translation of the NIV) as follows:


"This scholar sought, and obtained a hearing before the TNIV committee years ago, and when it would not acquiesce to his demands that inclusive language NOT be used in the TNIV, it is my understanding that the process was then set in motion to buy the rights to the old RSV."


If this statement is in reference to me (as it seems to be), the statement is completely incorrect. I have only met with the CBT once in my life, the evening of July 12, 2000. That meeting was at their initiative, not mine. But the ESV translation project began in 1997, the contract to buy the rights to the old RSV was signed in 1998, and our Translation Oversight Committee had its first meeting in Orlando in November, 1998, and worked throughout 1999, 2000, and 2001.

As you mention, the ESV is indeed based on the 1952/ 1971 Revised Standard Version, but it is substantially revised.

But contrary to what you reported from your friend on the TNIV committee (which I think was his speculation), the ESV grew out of the appreciation of many scholars for the merits of the old RSV and a desire to see it updated, and not out of opposition to the TNIV Bible. The reason for my own involvement with the ESV was a long-standing desire to see an updated RSV, and had little or nothing to do with the TNIV controversy. Here are some historical markers leading up to my involvement with the ESV:

1967: I was beginning my sophomore year at Harvard. Vern Poythress, then a Ph.D. student at Harvard, encouraged me to switch from the King James Version to the RSV as my personal Bible, and I soon begin memorizing Scripture in the RSV. (In 1998 both Vern and I became members of the Translation Oversight Committee for the ESV.)

1967-1997: During these 30 years many of the scholars who would be involved in the ESV continued to use the RSV frequently, with several of them (such as myself) using it as their main study and teaching Bible. (I used the old Harper Study Bible-RSV for most of those 30 years, and even had my copy rebound.) But everyone who used the RSV realized it had some deficiencies (such as the use of “thee” and “thou” to address God) and needed some correction.

1994: I published my book Systematic Theology (Zondervan) using the RSV as the primary Bible version that I quoted throughout the textbook. However, I had received special permission from the RSV’s copyright holder to use “you” instead of “thee” and “thou” when I quoted the RSV throughout the book.

1998: Translation Oversight Committee was formed and work began on the ESV.

July, 2000 (two years after the ESV was well underway): I met once with the NIV’s Committee on Bible Translation at their initiative.

October, 2001: ESV was published.

I mention this history simply to say that the controversy over the TNIV was not the driving force behind the creation of the ESV. The ESV would have been produced whether there was any TNIV controversy or not. I was one of a number of scholars who sought an updated RSV Bible because it was the kind of “essentially literal” translation that we thought best suited for multiple purpose use in the church, and because it retained a readability and literary excellence that seemed to us to be superior to that of the other essentially literal translations that were available.

Another item on your blog is the question of the knowledge of Greek among the translators of the ESV. Someone writes and reports a comment from J.I. Packer “that only two people on the ESV translation really knew Greek as a language.” That is not an accurate report of what Dr. Packer was reported to have said in link to the interview posted in that comment, nor is it an accurate statement. In fact, eleven of our twelve-member Translation Oversight Committee had a good working knowledge of New Testament Greek, and seven of those translators had Ph.D.-level competence in New Testament Greek. (See the ESV website (www.esvbibles.com) for information about the academic credentials of the ESV Translation Oversight Committee and ESV Review Scholars.)

Finally, contrary to what you say on your blog, I do not oppose, but favor, translating Greek anthropos (singular) as “person” and anthropoi (plural) as “people” and we tried to do this fairly consistently in the ESV unless the context indicated that a man was being referred to, or in a few other constructions (such as cases where a contrast between God and man was emphasized).

Thank you for allowing me to mention these things, Ben. I appreciated very much your earlier posting in which some other background information was cleared up.

Thanks very much.

Sincerely,
Wayne Grudem, Ph.D.
Research Professor of Bible and Theology
Phoenix Seminary, Phoenix, AZ

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mother Sues Over Unsuccessful Abortion

This has to be one of the saddest stories I've read in a while. The BBC reports that a woman in Scotland sought to abort her twins. Unbeknownst to the mother or to the doctors, one of the babies survived the attempted murder. So now the mother is suing the hospital for compensation, seeking damages for the "financial burden" of raising the child.

"I have got a child now that I wasn't planning to have and I believe the hospital should take some responsibility for that," she said.

"They should have known, or at least warned me, that I might still be pregnant when I left. It has totally changed my life and my parents' lives.

(My emphasis.)

"I still don't know if, or what, I am going to tell Jayde when the time comes. Maybe when she is nine or 10 I will sit her down and explain it to her."

Try to imagine that conversation. Then weep at the depravity. Then realize that we would act in such a murderous, self-centered way but for the grace of God. May we cling to the cross, and cry out to God for both mercy and justice. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

McKnight on the Emerging Church Movement

Scot McKnight's article, The Future or Fad? A Look at the Emerging Church Movement, is finally available. McKnight, as many of you know, is both sympathetic and critical of the EMC. If you're trying to figure out what's going on with the EMC, this is a helpful place to start.

Amusing Correction

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "In a list of high school musicals in Feb. 20, 2006 editions, an incorrect title was listed for Thomas Jefferson High School. On March 9-11, it will stage "Footloose," not "Fiddler on the Roof."

Via Regret the Error, a blog soley devoted to newspaper corrections

Free Books Friday

Scott Lamb (www.wisdomofthepages.com) is hosting another "Free Books Friday." This edition has 250 books and 100 audio sermon tapes (MacArthur, Mohler, Piper, Begg, Sproul, etc.).

Half the Education for Twice the Price

Thomas Sowell on Harvard University and the resignation of its president, Lawrence Summers: "Students are getting half an education at inflated prices and learning only how to label, dismiss and demonize ideas that differ from what they have been led to believe."

The Wisdom or Foolishness of Crowds?

Hugh Hewitt sees the current port controversy as an example of the wisdom of crowds: "The widespread negative reaction suggests a "Wisdom of Crowds" moment that the Adminsitration should study closely."

Joe Carter thinks it shows exactly the opposite. "While I generally respect and agree with Hugh’s analysis on political matters, I believe that he not only is wrong on this point but that it provides an example of the 'foolishness of crowds.'”

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Origin of the ESV

The ESV Blog responds to Ben Witherington's (incorrect) secondhand account of the origin of the ESV.

Update: Professor Witherington has issued the following apology:

Dear All:

I have thought about all that has been said, and the various comments along the way, and have decided that this particular posting on my part has probably done more harm than good, which was absolutely not my intent. My concern was to get to the bottom of things that are troubling to me about why some translations are produced.

It is clear enough to me now that I was hearing only part of the story and in regard to one particular person. I should have asked around to get a wider perspective before posting anything, even though what I was told is not incorrect. It is simply partial information, and cannot be said to represent the agenda of the whole translation team.

I would therefore like to apologize for airing what was not the whole story or full truth about the ESV. Different persons had different reasons for wanting this translation to happen. This is clear to me now. There are still problems with this translation, as with all such translations, but they should be assessed on their own merits on a case by case basis.

Thank you to those who presented me with more hard data to share with all of us a broader perspective. It was a needed corrective.

I am especially pleased to hear from the ESV folks themselves that there were both complimentarian and egalitarian folks involved on the translation team, though it would be interesting to know the percentages.

The lesson I have learned from this is that assessing the motives of a team translation is not only difficult, it is often not really possible when there are many motives and reasons for such a thing.

Blessings,

Ben

Owen on Union with Christ

For those interested in studying John Owen and his thought, we've added an ThM thesis onto the John Owen page:

Matthew W. Mason, The Significance of the Systematic and Polemical Function of Union with Christ in John Owen’s Contribution to Seventeenth Century Debates Concerning Eternal Justification.

Dobson and Reciprocal Beneficiary Contracts

Joe Carter has a thoughtful post on James Dobson's decision to support legislation that "would facilitate certain contractual obligations or legal arrangements for any two 'unmarried persons who are excluded from entering into a valid marriage under the marriage laws of this state.'"

SCOTUS to Revisit the Ban on Late-Term Abortions

The Washington Post reports: "The Supreme Court, stocked with two new conservative justices, agreed today to consider the constitutionality of the federal law banning 'late-term' abortions."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Misquoting Jesus

Craig Blomberg pens a helpful review of Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus. One unique feature of this review is that Blomberg recounts how he and Ehrman have traveled similar academic paths, though they have arrived at different places.

Here's the main point of the review as it pertains to Ehrman's content:

Most of Misquoting Jesus is actually a very readable, accurate distillation of many of the most important facts about the nature and history of textual criticism, presented in a lively and interesting narrative that will keep scholarly and lay interest alike. . . . What most distinguishes the work are the spins Ehrman puts on some of the data at numerous junctures and his propensity for focusing on the most drastic of all the changes in the history of the text, leaving the uninitiated likely to think there are numerous additional examples of various phenomena he discusses when there are not.

Piper Surgery Recovery Update

Listen (MP3) to John Piper give an update on his recovery from surgery and his personal thanks for your prayers.

Jihad in Cyberspace

Michelle Malkin has the details about the latest form of jihad and cartoon rage, now being directed against bloggers and websites: Jihad in Cyberspace.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

33 Ways to Serve

"Pure and lasting religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit [care for] orphans and widows in their distress . . . " - (James 1:27 NASB)

At church tonight I had the pleasure tonight of listening to a talk by Doug Nichols, president of Action International, which focuses on ministering to street children around the world. Doug is a wonderful role model--a man who puts his faith into action and who takes James 1:27 seriously. His message tonight was his usual style--biblically based exhortation sprinkled with insightful and interesting anecdotes. One of the convicting questions he asked was: What have you done today to practice pure and undefiled religion? (See James 1:27 above.)

At the end of his talk, Doug distributed a bulletin insert on "33 ways for children, youth, teenagers, young adults, the middle-aged and seniors to serve God by ministering to needy children and the poor in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America." He gave me permission to reproduce it here. If you'd like a PDF version to use as a bulletin insert, you can download it free.

Here's the list:


By Praying
(5 ways):
  • Gather a group of twenty people for prayer with each taking 12 of the 240 countries of the world (20x12=240). Example: if each one prayed for each of the 12 countries for 1 minute, the world would be prayed for in 12 minutes.
  • Ask your pastor if you can lead in prayer one Sunday per month for the 160 million street children of the world and the 104 million orphans worldwide.
  • Pray daily for the 13 million AIDS orphans in Africa and 104 million orphans worldwide.
  • Prepare an ethnic meal of country for your Bible study, youth group or church and then pray for that country. Do this once a month, praying for 12 countries yearly. Start with the countries where your church missionaries serve.
  • Adopt one of your church's missionaries, write to him or her monthly, and then pray daily for that outreach.

By Projects
(4 ways):
  • Gather vocational and technical books to send to a school for older needy children in the Philippines.
  • Fill a 20' container with rice, beans, corn, and clothes, raise $8000, and ship the container to Malawi orphans.
  • Gather and send good used study Bibles to needy pastors in Africa, India and the Philippines.
  • Assign several from your youth group or adult class to an outgoing missionary and help with whatever is needed: packing, raising funds, storage, purchasing equipment, cleaning house. Arrange Saturday work team to help with this.

By Giving
(12 ways):
  • $ .50 - provides one evangelistic national language comic book written by Filipinos for street children. ($10 will provide twenty evangelistic comics).
  • $1.00 - gives supplementary feeding for a child in Zambia for one month.
  • $ .90 - fully clothes an orphan in Malawi or Zambia, Africa.
  • $1.50 - provides a plastic-covered Zambian-language New Testament.
  • $4.00 - sends an orphan to camp in Africa.
  • $3.50 - provides a meal, the gospel, and a gift at a Christmas party for adults and children in India.
  • $5.00 - purchases a Bible for an orphan or needy pastor in Africa.
  • $6.00 - prints 200 evangelistic booklets for the Philippines or Mexico.
  • $6.00 - provides a set of commentaries (worth $40) for a needy pastor in Africa or Asia.
  • $50.00 per month will support a pastor in Cambodia, the Philippines and India (any amount would help!).
  • $21.00 - sends a street child to camp in the Philippines.
  • $4800 - drills a well for a village for orphans and their caretakers in Malawi.
  • $56.00 - six month ?fish and bread? ministry for mothers in the Philippines including meals, medical, vitamins and training.
  • $50.00 - to send a needy boy to a one week camp in Brazil.

By Going
--short or long-term (4 ways):
  • ACTION (www.actionintl.org) has worldwide opportunities for people ages 19 to 89 (especially in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America) with orphans, needy children, and the poor.
  • Teen Missions (www.teenmissions.org) also has worldwide opportunities for all ages.
  • Rainbows of Hope (www.wcc-int.org/rainbows) is a ministry to needy children worldwide.
  • YUGO Ministries (www.yugo.org) - Mexico-- is especially for young people ages 13 to 19.

By Doing
(6 ways):
  • Make friends with people from other countries, learn of their countries and cultures for the gospel's sake.
  • You and your family can invite missionaries to your home for a meal and ask them all about their lives and ministry.
  • Make sure there is a display of world missions with pictures and literature in the main room of your church and in the youth and adult meeting areas.
  • Obtain a copy of the book Operation World and learn all you can about the 237 countries of the world.
  • If 19 or older, participate in the Missionary Apprentice Program (MAP) of ACTION (www.actionintl.org).
  • Pick out one or two of the 30 items above and trust God to do them for His glory!
Update: Some of you have asked how to give to Action. Try going here for more info. They also have some giving opportunities here.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Setting Captives Free

If you're not familiar with the ministry of Setting Captives Free, give it a look. They offer a number of God-centered, biblically based, free online courses on sexual purity, food issues, substance abuse, and gambling.

McLaren and Carey

Call Me Ishmael has a run-in with Carey.

Carey seems to be showing up a lot these days. I wish he'd simply disappear.

Church Planting

John Piper offers four reasons why we should be planting more churches:

  1. We do not have too many churches today. We have too few.
  2. Experience has shown, and the Bible would support, that new churches are one of the most effective means of evangelism.
  3. New churches awaken and engage much of the under-used leadership potential of the saints in the older, larger churches.
  4. Breaking free from the risk-free comfort of long-standing patterns of church life is a good thing. It’s good for your faith to be tested. It is good to take risks.

New Resources from Sovereign Grace Ministries

Many of the newest songs from Sovereign Grace aren't on any CD. To get them to you as quickly as possible, we release them as 99-cent MP3 downloads. You can find these (and select from 170 of our older songs, also in MP3 format) at The Songbox. We've just released five of these new "Songbox Singles": "Worthy" by Dave Brown (the song in our 2005 Mission Presentation, featuring vocals by Abby Cannon); and four songs from 1band, the singles-ministry band from Covenant Life Church in Maryland: "Ransomed," "Only Love," "Infinite in Holiness," and "Captured" (a remix of Steve and Vikki Cook's "You Have Captured Me," featuring rap by Curt "Voice" Allen). Check out song samples here and get your downloads by clicking on the song names above.

* * *

We have recently repackaged some of the most popular Sovereign Grace CD audio series as MP3 CDs. These MP3 audio series include Humility (True Greatness), In the World but Not of the World, The Dearest Place on Earth, According to Plan, Gospel-Centered Parenting, and To Teach What is Good: Wisdom for Women from Titus 2. Because each multiple-message series fits on one MP3 CD, we can pass along savings of 40 to 60 percent or more on the usual price. To find out if the audio series you're looking for is available in MP3 format, use the search function in the upper left corner of this page.

Forthcoming Books

Here are a few books of interest from Crossway’s spring lineup:

Spiritual Birthline: Understanding How We Experience the New Birth (Foreword by Charles W. Colson) -- by Stephen Smallman [I had the joy of reading a pre-pub version of this—it’s quite good]

Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace (Foreword by CJ and Carolyn Mahaney) -- by Gary and Betsy Ricucci

The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made (Foreword by Graeme Goldsworthy) --by Mark Dever [only 960 pages!]

The Great Work of the Gospel: How We Experience God's Grace (Foreword by John Piper) -- by John Ensor

Mark Dever on Evangelism

C.J. Mahaney highly recommends this audio from Mark Dever on evangelism: The Gospel and Evangelism. Dever explains the who, how, what, and why of evangelism. This is the basis for a book Dever will begin writing this fall.

Studying and Reading

Ligon Duncan posts some great thoughts on studying and reading (part 1, part 2, and part 3).

How grateful we should be to pastor-scholars like Dr. Duncan who share their wealth of wisdom and knowledge and spur us on in these great disciplines!

SiteAdvisor

This seems like a helpful tool: SiteAdvisor

SiteAdvisor helps protect you from all kinds of Web-based security threats including spyware, adware, spam, viruses, browser-based attacks, phishing, online fraud and identity theft.

Our automated testers continually patrol the Web to browse sites, download files, and sign-up for things with e-mail addresses. As you search, browse, download or register online, SiteAdvisor's safety ratings help you stay safe and in control.


(HT: Joe Carter)

Quell Quailgate

Charles Krauthammer—as usual—makes good sense in this article on the need to Quell Qualgate. At the of the article he discusses the histrionics of the media in their dismay over the delay:


Secrecy? This was hardly an affair of state. And it was hardly going to be kept secret. Arrogance? The media laying these charges are the same media that just last week unilaterally decided that the public's right to know did not extend to seeing cartoons that had aroused half the world, burned a small part of it and deeply affected the American national interest. Having arrogated to themselves the judgment of what a free people should be allowed to see regarding an issue that is literally burning, they then go ballistic over a few hours' delay in revealing an accident with only the most trivial connection to the nation's interest or purpose.

Cheney got a judgment call wrong, for reasons that are entirely comprehensible. The disproportionate, at times hysterical, response to that error is far less comprehensible.

Don Whitney

On February 21 Don Whitney will be on the Albert Mohler Radio Show, discussing his cancer and the impact it's had on his walk with God.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

VP Cheney Interviewed by Brit Hume

It's not everyday in this country that you get to hear the Vice President of the United States say: "I'm the one who pulled the trigger and shot my friend."

"Don't Waste Your Cancer"

That's the title of John Piper's most recent article, written on the eve of his surgery.

Here are his ten points:

  1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.
  2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.
  3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.
  4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.
  5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.
  6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.
  7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection.
  8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.
  9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.
  10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Piper Surgery Updates

Update on Surgery

February 14, 2006

1:30 p.m.: We got word that John Piper is out of surgery. His wife, Noël, reported that the procedure went “beautifully.” So praise God with us and continue to pray with us for John’s recovery. We will keep you updated.

11:30 a.m.: The doctors reported to Noel that John’s prostate has been removed successfully and things are going well from what they can tell. They are now beginning reconstruction. After that, Pastor John will have about a 1-hour recovery period before he is taken to his room where Noel will be able to see him.

Prayer: Please pray for the recovery period and the coming days of healing.

http://desiringgod.org/news_events/dgm_news/2006/20060106_cancer_announcement.html

Monday, February 13, 2006

"Assault Ministry"

From Newsweek Magazine:

Correction: In the original version of this report, NEWSWEEK misquoted Falwell as referring to "assault ministry." In fact, Falwell was referring to "a salt ministry"—a reference to Matthew 5:13, where Jesus says "Ye are the salt of the earth." We regret the error.

(HT: Scott Anderson)

"I Could Care Less"

Many people, including myself, have said at some point in exasperation: "I could care less" about such-and-such or so-and-so. But it's a strange expression, isn't it? Isn't the correct phrase "I couldn't care less?" "I could care less" is the opposite of "I couldn't care less."

I wonder if there are other examples out there, either where two opposite phrases mean the same thing, or where a phrase ostensibly means the opposite of what its author intends? If you think of any, feel free to comment here.

What Colleges Forget to Teach

Laments about the state of higher education in America are a dime a dozen. But few teach while they lament. The inimitable Robert George is different. His new article, What Colleges Forget to Teach, is well worth reading.

You Say You Want a Revolution?

Al Mohler looks at Barna's Revolution book. Quote:

As in the past, George Barna has served the church by describing and documenting trends that are shaping the culture and in revealing the superficiality and failings of all too many local congregations. Regrettably, his prescription is even worse than his diagnosis, for minimizing the importance of the local church runs directly counter to the Bible's vision for the Christian life. The real answer to Barna's concern is the recovery of biblical ecclesiology--a recovery that would relativize and revolutionize the entire landscape of contemporary Christianity in America.

The revolution we truly need is a recovery of the New Testament vision of the local church--a comprehensive embrace of the totality of congregational life, including all of the functions and marks revealed in Scripture. This is the great task to which this generation of Christians is called--and we will need Barna's Revolutionaries in order to make this happen. Channeling all these energies into a comprehensive recovery of the biblical vision for local churches would be a revolution worth joining--and worth celebrating. Viva that Revolution!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

"The Senate's Dr. No"

George Will has a good profile on freshman Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma). Key quote: "Coburn is the most dangerous creature that can come to the Senate, someone simply uninterested in being popular."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Biblical Illiteracy 101

Anyone see a problem with the Scripture quote in the banner of this website for a United Church of Christ Church?

Update from the church's website:

"For those of you who were kind enough to inform us about our previously inaccurate quote...we thank you!

"We were recently made aware that the former quote we had posted in the header on our site was actually not based on the word of Jesus but was a quote posed to him during his temptation. As soon as we were made aware of this we removed the quote from our site. We removed it...not hackers as some ill-informed bloggers would have you believe. This unfortunate lesson is a demonstration why when using tools online to identify quotes that you think deliver the honest and sincere message you intended you should always view the quotes in their whole context."

Update from the church's webmaster:


Clarification time:

1. There was no hack of the site. (I’d love to know where this rumor originated from.)

2. This was not a publicity stunt.

3. The quote used was from a Biblical quotation search engine and was taken out of context.

4. The webmaster (me) should have checked the full text of the quote before publishing.

5. AS SOON as we were told about the mistake we corrected it immediately.

This was nothing more than the case of a quote of text that was unfortunately missed in it’s full context by everyone who visited the site until recently....


(via Bene Diction)

[to another blog]
"Making statements like you have in your first paragraph though about being a victim of hackers is woefully inaccurate. I encourage you to contact the church to get the truth on events at any time.

Art Gelwicks
Webmaster
St. James UCC of Limerick, PA


Friday, February 10, 2006

Andreas Kostenberger

Andreas Kostenberger, Professor of NT at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the editor of The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, has a website, Biblical Foundations, that contains a number of helpful writings and links.

Knowing God

Phil Ryken passes along this excellent, Godward quote by Jim Elliot:

"I walked out to the hill just now. It is exalting, delicious, to stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and give oneself again to God--what more could a man ask? Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth! I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him. Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children that I may lead them through the vast star fields to explore His delicacies whose finger ends set them to burning. But if not, if only I may see Him, touch His garments, and smile into His eyes--ah then, not stars nor children shall matter, only Himself.

"O Jesus, Master and Center and End of all, how long before that Glory is thine which has so long waited Thee? Now there is no thought of Thee among men; then there shall be thought for nothing else. Now other men are praised; then none shall care for any other's merits. Hasten, hasten, Glory of Heaven, take Thy crown, subdue Thy Kingdom, enthrall Thy creatures." [Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor, New York: Harper, 1957, pp. 255-56].

The MICAH Fund

Some of you may have heard of the "MICAH Fund." M.I.C.A.H. stands for Minority Infant Child Adoption Help.

They now have a website: http://micahfund.org/. You can read more about adoption or make a donation. Here's the site description:

The MICAH Fund exists to glorify God by promoting the adoption of American black and black biracial infants and children by providing financial grants for qualified adopting couples who live in Minnesota and surrounding cities. In addition, the MICAH Fund seeks to support its families through education and fellowship opportunities. Since 1989, the MICAH Fund has helped place over 225 children into loving Christian homes.

The Minority Infant and Children Adoption Help (MICAH) Fund was born out of a need to facilitate the adoption of minority children whose birthparents desired to voluntarily release them in adoption. The fund provides financial assistance for qualified adoptive parents for the payment of fees to those agencies who are committed to providing quality services to birthparents, their children, and prospective Christian parents. The fund is managed by the MICAH Fund Committee.

God may be calling your family to love a child through the blessing of adoption, or you may be called to join us in the task of providing the funds necessary to help those called to adopt. It is our desire to challenge each believer to take James 1:27 to heart and invest in the life of a child.

For more information, please email us at info@micahfund.org or call (651) 636-5255.

Evangelicals and Global Warming

Joe Carter posts some helpful thoughts on evangelicals, scientific consensus, and global warming.

Dogmaticism and Humility

Mark Dever writes a post reminding us that there's nothing really new under the sun:

Bertrand Russell, the late, well-known, British philosopher wrote in 1950 that “The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment. This is the way opinions are held in science, as opposed to the way in which they are held in theology," (in “Philosophy and Politics,” in Unpopular Essays, [1950] p. 15). These days, I guess many are holding theological conclusions in such a "scientific" manner. But such hestitancy is not humility. The humility we want in our churches is to read the Bible and believe it--everything God has said, dogmatically, and humbly! It is not humble to be hesitant where God has been clear and plain.

Mark Noll Leaving Wheaton for Notre Dame

CT reports: "One of the evangelicalism's premier scholars will be leaving one of evangelicalism's premier colleges. Mark Noll will be moving from Wheaton College to Notre Dame University at the start of the school year this fall."

(HT: Guy Fain)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Best Headline Ever

Censorship at its worst:

Bush urges end to cartoon violence

I guess this means no more dropped anvils or exploding bombs on Saturday mornings!

(HT: Jonah Goldberg)

[FYI: they've now changed the headline]

Living the Cross Centered Life

Tim Challies provides a brief review of C.J. Mahaney's Living the Cross Centered Life--which combines and expands his two previous books, The Cross Centered Life and Christ Our Mediator.

If you haven't read Mahaney on the cross, I'd strongly encourage you to do so.

Cartoon Rioters

Gene Veith has some questions for the cartoon rioters. He then offers his own helpful answers, reflecting on the nature of collectivism vs. individualism.

Meanwhile, be sure to check out John Piper's latest article: Being Mocked: The Essence of Christ’s Work, not Muhammad’s.

Danish Cartoons Continued

Fellow evangelical blogger Joe Carter (one of "us") joins Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, and Michael Medved (one of "them") to discuss the Danish cartoon controversy.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Loose Lips Sink Ships

My oh my. It seems to me that if you work for the CIA, you should--at minimum--have the ability to keep a secret. But for a number of CIAers, classified information should be shared as long as it has the potential to damage the President. Note this news excerpt below about Director Porter Goss's attempt to crack down on the leaking. As you read it, remember that Goss's internal memo is classified--and yet even its contents have been leaked!

The director of the CIA has launched a major internal probe into media leaks about covert operations. In an agencywide e-mail, Porter Goss blamed "a very small number of people" for leaks about secret CIA operations that, in his words, "do damage to the credibility of the agency."

According to people familiar with the Goss e-mail, sent in late January and classified secret, the CIA director warned that any CIA officer deemed suspect by the agency's Office of Security and its Counter Intelligence Center (which handles internal affairs) could be subjected to an unscheduled lie detector test.

Goss told CIA employees there were ways other than talking to the news media to resolve any issues they had with classified CIA operations.

On Predestination

The following poem appeared in The Continental Journal on March 11, 1779. It was entitled “On Predestination.”

If all things succeed as already agreed,

And immutable impulses rule us;

To preach and to pray, is but time thrown away,

And our teachers do nothing but fool us.

If we’re driven by fate, either this way or that,

As the carman whips up his horses,

Then no man can stray --- all go the right way,

As the stars that are fix’d in their courses.

But if by free will, we can go or stand still,

As best suits the present occasion;

Then fill up the glass, and confirm him an ass

That depends upon Predestination.

Two weeks the same newspaper published an answer by another writer:

If an all perfect mind rules over mankind,

With infinite wisdom and power;

Sure he may decree, and yet the will be free,

The deeds and events of each hour.

If scripture affirms in the plainest of terms,

The doctrine of Predestination;

We ought to believe it, and humbly receive it,

As a truth of divine revelation.

If all things advance with the force of mere chance,

Or by human free will are directed;

To preach and to pray, will be time thrown away,

Our teachers may be well rejected.

If men are deprav’d, and to vice so enslav’d,

That the heart chuses nothing but evil;

Then who goes on still by his own corrupt will,

Is driving post haste to the devil.

Then let human pride and vain cavil subside,

It is plain to a full demonstration,

That he’s a wild ass, who over his glass,

Dares ridicule Predestination.



[Cited by Charles W. Akers, “Calvinism and the American Revolution,” in The Heritage of John Calvin: Lectures, ed. John H. Bratt (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), pp. 170-171. Thanks to this lecture by Sam Storms for the reference.]

Michael Gerson

The New Yorker has a lengthy and interesting profile of President Bush's speechwriter and policy advisor Michael Gerson. A Wheaton grad, Gerson talks about his relationship to the President, his faith, and the influence of the Sermon on the Mount upon his own thinking and oratory.

The New EBook

Sony eBook:

The Sony Reader, in case you haven't heard about it yet, is a device about the size and shape of an average book. Weighing a little over 8 ounces, it's basically a hand-held screen on which you can read a book page by page. The device, which will go on sale this April, uses a technology called "E ink" to display book pages in a form which Sony claims comes closer than ever to the experience of actually reading off the paper page.

Those who saw it at the big gadget fest in Las Vegas recently marveled at the readability of the device and seemed to agree with Sony's claim. There are no electronic jitters, no backlit screen (you need light to see the Sony Reader, just like any book) and therefore, such is the claim, none of the tired eyes and headaches common to staring at PC screens and other devices.

E-ink is a cool bit of micro-technology -- microscopic white and black ink capsules suspended in a thin layer of clear fluid beneath the surface of the device's screen, which is in effect a blank page until electrically charged. A negative (black) or positive (white) electric charge brings the proper capsules to the surface of the "paper" to print the page you are reading. When you have finished that page, you press a button and "turn" to the next. It's kind of like "Etch-A-Sketch goes to MIT."


(HT: Instapundit)

McCain to Obama

From a letter sent by John McCain to Barack Obama:

"I would like to apologize to you... Thank you.... I’m embarrassed.... sorry for the confusion...please be assured I won’t make the same mistake again."

Well, to get the full context, you should probably read it for yourself.

Monday, February 06, 2006

BibleWorks 7.0

Here's an update from BibleWorks, for those wanting to upgrade or for those looking for a very good Bible language software:

Greetings from BibleWorks.

We are pleased to announce the release of BibleWorks 7. With over 110 Bible translations in 32 languages, an impressive selection of lexicons and grammatical resources, and a wealth of new features to make the program easier (and more fun) to use, this release has what you need to make the most out of the time you spend studying the Scriptures.

A lot has changed since you licensed your copy of BibleWorks 4! Here is just a sampling of what you have been missing:

* An extensive set of task-oriented study guides supplemented with over four hours of instructional videos.

* A Version Database Compiler for adding your own fully searchable Bible versions.

* A Synopsis tool for viewing the parallel Gospel accounts side-by-side.

* Detailed, customizable satellite maps of the Holy Lands.

* A redesigned Editor Window with full Microsoft Word compatibility and a wealth of new features, including drag and drop editing, graphics import, hypertext links, and full support for Unicode.

* Some of the best reference works available for Greek and Hebrew exegesis, including a collection of Hebrew Lexicons (BDB, Holladay), Greek Lexicons (Friberg, Gingrich, Thayer, Lust), the Greek Works of Josephus and Philo, the Metzger New Testament Textual Commentary, Leedy's New Testament Diagrams, plus much, much more.

* Unlockable modules for a wide range of essential Greek exegesis tools like the standard BDAG Lexicon, Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, the Abridged TDNT, Balz & Schneider's Exegetical Dictionary, Moulton & Milligan's Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, the Blass, Debrunner, & Funk Greek Grammar.

* Unlockable modules for a wide range of essential Hebrew exegesis tools like the standard HALOT Lexicon, Waltke and O'Connor's Biblical Hebrew Syntax, Futato's Beginning Biblical Hebrew, Weingreen's Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew, plus much, much more.

This is only a sampling of the new resources and tools that you will find in this new release. A full list of BibleWorks 7 contents is available at www.bibleworks.com. Check it out!

Then or Now?

Anthony Esolen writes:

"The death of Coretta Scott King has caused me to wonder, if I were a black man and had the choice, whether I would prefer to have grown of age when the Reverend King did, after World War II, or whether I would be happier with the state of affairs for black men now. It isn't an obvious choice, and that itself calls for some consideration."

Read the whole post.

"Muslim Outrage and God's Grace"

Tim Challies turns in a thoughtful post on Muslim Outrage and God's Grace. Joe Carter also offers some Reflections on the Danish Cartoon Conflict.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Saturday, February 04, 2006

McWhorter

Here's another interview with John McWhorter.

(HT: A.B. Caneday)

Piper on the Muslim Outrage Over Cartoons of Mohammed

John Piper writes in:

"Am I missing it, or is there an unusual silence in the blogosphere about the Muslim outrage over the cartoons of Mohammed. To me this cries out for the observation that when artists put the crucifix in a flask of urine, Christians were grieved and angered, but not one threatened to kill anyone. Our longing is to convert the blasphemers with the Good News of Christ's death and resurrection, not kill them. Our faith is based on One who was reviled not just in cartoons but in reality and received it patiently for the salvation of the cartoonists. These riots are filled with intimations about the glorious difference between Christ and Mohammed, and between the way of Christ and the way of Islam. And the cowing of the press around the world and the US government is ominous for the fear we are under of Islam--not just extremist Islam. I do not respect the teachings of Islam which when followed devoutly lead to destruction. So I have been pondering which will take me out first, Islam, Uncle Sam, or cancer. No matter, all authority belongs to Jesus. I just want to bear faithful witness to his glorious gospel of peace to the end."

Update: Some have asked about the source of this quote. It's from a personal email, posted with permission. Yes, you can feel free to post it on your blog, attributing it (of course) to John Piper.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Piper on Tyndale

John Piper's biographical sketch of William Tyndale is now online. See:

“Always Singing One Note”—A Vernacular Bible: Why William Tyndale Lived and Died

Piper Surgery

For those who want an update on Piper's surgery, DG has posted a short note on it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

No More Telegram Stop

Hardly noticed a few days ago was news by Western Union that they will discontinue the Telegram:

"Effective January 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage."

Amazing that it's lasted till now! You can read the whole story--including details about the history and legacy of the telegraph here.

CJ on Reading

Here's CJ's response.

Scripture, Tradition, and Culture

For years I've heard about an email debate that was conducted between John Frame (then Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology at Westminster Seminary California) and Darryl Hart (then librarian and Assistant Professor Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia)--but I was never actually able to get my hands on a copy. The topic was on the Regulative Principle, and the relationship among Scripture, tradition, and culture. Frame--with Hart's permission--has now posted the whole exchange online for those who are interested.

Motives

What are motives, do they matter, and can we judge them? Those are some of the questions Doug Wilson takes up in this thoughtful piece: Imputing Motives and Justice.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

LibriVox

Here's an interesting concept: free audio of books in the public domain, through LibriVox. You can either listen or volunteer to contribute.

Some enterprising individual or group should organize a way to get the Puritan classics and others in audio form.

(HT: Kevin Meath)

Real Men

CJ posts to some good resources for fathers and sons.

(:-) [artistic rendering of CJ]

The Book Burro

For all you bibliophiles out there, Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost points out a cool new extension in Firefox:

Firefox Hack -- Next time you're looking to buy a book online, don't waste your time searching for the lowest price - let your browser do the work for you. The Book Burro extension is a Web 2.0 extension for Firefox. When it senses your are looking at a page that contains a book, it will overlay a small panel which when opened lists prices at online bookstores such as Amazon, Buy, Half.com (and many more).


You aren't still using Interet Explorer, are you??

More Dever on Reading

Mark Dever has more thoughts on reading and the books that have shaped his life and thought.