Saturday, September 27, 2008

The effect of liberalism

I was recently listening to a sermon by Joshua Harris on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. In this particular sermon Harris quotes H. Reinhold Neibuhr when he wrote:

"A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross."
You can listen to the entire sermon here. Also Justin Taylor has quoted this in the past as well--there is another great quote in that article as well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fathering in a Minefield

This from Douglas Wilson:

"Gracious fathers lead their sons through the minefield of sin. Indulgent fathers watch their sons wander off into the minefield. Legal fathers chase them there."

You can read the entire article here.


This video clip will absolutely revitalize your marriage:

(HT: Bird)

Friday, September 19, 2008

The narrowing power of the gospel

"Theories and schemes and ceremonies grow tame and dead to the man who has looked the gospel in the face."
-Phillips Brooks
Quoted from The Life of Phillips Brooks, p.41

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Daggers to my heart

Every so often you read something that shoots daggers into your heart.  The words are so convicting and yet inspiring.  This is a good way to discern whether or not its true conviction or just beating yourself up out of false pride.  I think this is a legitmate dagger.  I just finished reading a blog post by Brant Hansen.  He compares LeaderMan vs. Servant Leader, saying that we need more Servant Leaders like Jesus and no more of the LeaderMan type.  The statement that shot the biggest dagger into my heart is this one:

LeaderMan:  Loves the idea of the Gospel, and the idea of The Church 
Servant Leader: Loves God and the actual individual people God brings across his path

You can read the entire list here.


It kinda cheapens it when you learn that it's fake.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Launch of Reforming Youth Ministry

It seems as if God has been placing me in numerous situations to discuss the nature of youth ministry. By no means am I anything close to an expert. But I have been doing youth ministry for over 7 years now with almost 5 of that at our current church. Through that time God has taught me much about ministry to students. For the past couple of years I have been trying to answer this question (both for myself and for a few others): What does youth ministry look like from a reformed perspective? I would love to be able to ask, "what does youth ministry look like from a biblical perspective". But that will not cut it--because hopefully everybody at least assumes that they are doing it from a biblical perspective.

The blog should be up and running in a couple of days. You can check it out by going here:

Reforming Youth Ministry

Review of The English Puritans by John Brown

Author: John Brown

Pages: 160 pages

Publisher: Christian Heritage

Price: 7.99

Genre: Puritan/Church History

Quick Summary:

In the preface the author makes clear that his aim is to provide a middle ground to Puritan history. He does not attempt to exhaust the subject nor does he attempt to merely give a cursory reading of the rise and fall of the Puritans. Brown takes us on a journey from the early origins of Puritanism in the 1500s through its rise and downfall in the mid and late 1600’s.

Brown’s main concern in this work is not so much with outlining the theological convictions of the Puritans but in showing how their theological convictions created the Puritan political history. J.I. Packer describes the book well when he says, “John Brown’s account of the political history of the Puritans up to 1660 has not lost its freshness. It is a heroic, inspiring story and Brown tells it well.”

What I Liked:

Brown writes the story as if he were at every meeting and as if he is giving you the inner workings of the Puritan movement, therefore, it is intriguing and a very easy read. After reading the second chapter on the vestments controversy you come away with a bigger appreciation for how small things can have an effect on great things. Would I sacrifice my family’s livelihood for the sake of freedom of attire? Is it really that important of an issue? Brown does an excellent job of showing us the importance as well as consequences of such issues.

What I Disliked:

While the book is very readable it also leaves the reader in the dark on many things. The author makes clear that his aim is to provide a middle ground and not exhaust the subject. Therefore, such a work would serve well as an introductory book. However, because of the lack of footnotes the reader is forced to make notes and look up these names and events elsewhere. A work that attempts to not be exhaustive should provide footnotes for further research and explanation otherwise the book might find itself abandoned on the bookshelf.

Another aspect that is difficult for the typical American is that Brown writes as one familiar to the English political system. Without a thorough knowledge of this it can become difficult to understand the significance of what Brown is saying. This is more a result of my ignorance and not Brown’s, however, let the casual American reader be advised to at least familiarize himself with the English government.

Should You Buy It?

This depends on what you are looking for. If you are already pretty familiar with the Puritans and their movement then this would be an interesting read. If this is your first exposure to the Puritans (both historically and theologically), then perhaps you would be better served elsewhere. However, if you decide to skip this book in favor of studying the Puritans elsewhere I would suggest picking it back up after you are familiarized with the movement. It adds great insight into historical struggles.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


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