Today, I walked down the driveway and to my great delight I found that the wonderful people over at Zondervan has sent me a new book to review. Now, I must admit, I am increadibly excited to read this book in particular. Here is the product description on amazon.com:
Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism compares and contrasts four distinct positions on the current fundamentalist-evangelical spectrum in light of the history of American fundamentalism and evangelicalism. The contributors each state their case for one of four views on the spectrum of
evangelicalism: -Kevin T. Bauder: Fundamentalism -R. Albert Mohler Jr.: Conservative/confessional evangelicalism -John G. Stackhouse Jr.: Generic evangelicalism -Roger E. Olson: Postconservative evangelicalism. Each author explains his position, which is critiqued by the other three authors. The interactive and fair-minded nature of the Counterpoints format allows the reader to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each view and draw informed, personal conclusions. The Counterpoints series provides a forum for comparison and critique of different views on issues important to Christians. Counterpoints books address two categories: Church Life and Bible and Theology. Complete your library with other books in the Counterpoints series.
It seems like liberals. moderates and the main stream media is doing everything in its power to admonish Republicans to accept the Mormon faith of Mitt Romney. In fact, it is bigoted not to call Mormons Christian. However, does anyone remember just a few years ago these same groups were calling Mormons religious fanatics for their vocal opposition to homosexual marriage in California?
Herman Cain announced that he will be lightening his campaign load. Why? Because he has been flip-flopping all over the place and mis-speaking. His excuse has been that he is tired and over-scheduled. Well, Mr. Cain, if you can’t handle the campaign trail, what would you do if you actually got the job? Maybe take a deep breath borrow one of Mark Block’s cigarettes…
After hearing Paul Ryan speak this past week, I’m certian this man should be President. Should he ever run, he has my support.
I’m still not 100% sure who to support in the Wisconsin Senate race, but I think . Tommy Thompson is not an option in my mind. Jeff Fitzgerald seems like a guy I could get behind, but I’m not sure anyone with the name Fitzgerald can win a general election at this point. That basically leaves Mark Neumann. I didn’t vote for him for governor, but since then the guy is looking pretty good to me. If I ha to vote now, he would get my support. But, I still be convinced to go in another direction. Any thoughts?
As a political person, I often (especially lately) struggle with the relationship between politics and the gospel. In the context of that struggle, just yesterday I read the following words by John Piper. I thought I would post them here for discussion.
Because the gospel of Jesus is not an ideology or a philosophy or a methodology or a therapy but a supernatural in-breaking of God into our lives, I am concerned at how many Christians do not bring it to bear personally, critically, and explosively on the political right and left. It seems to me that too many Christians gravitate to right-wing Republican politics or left-wing Democratic politics because they see some parallel between a political plank and a part of the gospel. It’s like saying that the party that uses candles must be the true one because they’re shaped so much like sticks of gospel dynamite. The meant to explode with saving power in the lives of politicians and social activists, not help them decorate their social agenda.
Jesus did not come into the world to endorse anybody’s platform. He doesn’t fit in. He created the world. He holds it in being by his powerful word. He will return someday to judge the living and the dead. And he came the first time to die so that left-wing activists and right-wing talk-show hosts would be broken in pieces for their sin and put back together by the power of grace. He came so that from that day on Jesus himself would be the supreme treasure and authority in our lives. He came so that we would become radically devoted to the glory of God… The gospel is not a political adviser standing to the side waiting to be asked for guidance. It is the arrival of God saving people from their sin and from the everlasting wrath of God, giving them the Holy Spirit, and bringing their lives progressively into conformity to Jesus.
- John Piper, Bloodlines, pages 84-85
Resources for Reformation Day - This Sunday (October 31) is Reformation Day, commemorating and celebrating the Reformation. It takes place each year on the anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Door on October 31, 1517. For pastors (and others) who might want some resources in preparation, here are a few recommendations… – Justin Taylor
Michelle Bachmann Shares Testimony in Iowa Church – “Even though I was doing nothing wrong — I wasn’t drinking, smoking or chasing boys — I still had a wicked heart,” Bachmann says of her 1972 teenage self before she and a group of three friends entered an abandoned and unlocked Minnesota church and stood before the alter confessing their sins. “We got up. I walked home to our little apartment, and I bowed before my bed. I said to God, ‘All I know is that I’m a different person. … I will radically abandon my life to you, Lord,’ – Michelle Bachmann
Free Download: The Barber Who Wanted to Pray – In honor of Reformation Day, we are making the audiobook, narrated by R.C. Sproul, available as a free download through Reformation Day (Oct. 31). You can also pre-order the CD version of this story or buy the hardcover illustrated children’s book published by our friends at Crossway. May you and your family benefit from this helpful resource on prayer.
Does Joel Osteen Not Know, or Does He Not Care? – Evangelical Christians are going to face many questions in this season, and the question of Mormonism is now front and center. It will call upon all of us to do what Joel Osteen proudly has not done — to study and think about these issues. In this political moment, we will have to think carefully and act judiciously without confusing the theological questions. We will need the full wealth of Christian conviction. – Dr. Albert Mohler
Seven Reasons Halloween Judgment Houses Often Miss the Mark – 1. They’re not scary enough. To speak of hell, Jesus used the imagery of a garbage dump overun with worms, a place where babies were once sacrified to demons (Mark 9:43-48). Teenagers in plastic red devil masks and styrofoam pitchforks usually don’t convey what it means to “fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). The answer isn’t better technology, though, since nothing we could conjure up can convey the anguish of the damned walled off from relationship with God. – Russell Moore
ESV is apparently being revised? – All I know comes from this 4 min. video from the BBC which filmed a study session of the ESV committee at work at Tyndale House in London “last year” (not sure if that means 2010 or earlier 2011?). The discussion that was filmed revolves around the use of δοῦλος in 1 Cor 7. Interestingly, they voted (9-3) to change it to “bondservant”—a word that I don’t think I’ve ever heard used in contemporary English outside of some Bible translations. ESV currently has “slave” in the text and “Gk bondservant” in the footnote. I grant this is not an easy word to handle in contemporary culture (esp. the US where there seems to be a collective social guilt regarding our past history of slavery), but I’m not sure that “bondservant” is helpful. Nor do I see it accurate for the current edition to say that the Greek has “bondservant” in contrast to “slave” in the text. – Rod Decker
7 Types of Preacher’s Block (and what to do about them) – Sermon preparation involves creativity. No, the preacher is not creating truth. God did that. But the preacher is creating sentences, phrases, and even structures that will best communicate the truth. And like all creatives – artists, authors, architects, etc. – preachers encounter creative blocks. They just don’t know where the next thought or sentence is going to come from. Mark McGuinness has provided a helpful list of 7 types of creative block (summarized below) and also proposes some solutions (visit his blog for those). – David Murray
Title: Ron Paul: Man of Ideas
Author: Brian Bagnall
Publisher: Variant Press
Publishing Year: 2008
My Rating: 3 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)
Its no secret to anyone that I simply fascinated by any and all things Ron Paul. While I am still not sure who I will support in the GOP race this year, I would have no problem casting my vote for Ron Paul in a general election. I was a Ron Paul precinct captain in 2008 and don’t regret a moment of it. It would be a HUGE step forward for the Republican Party if Dr. Paul were to get the nod. With a unique mixture of Christian values and libertarian principles, it’s hard not to support him. That is, until he starts talking about Iran…
You can imagine my joy when one day at the dollar store I come across this biography of Congressman Paul. Of course, I bought it immediately and read it quickly. This short paperback was a very interesting read. You are not merely reading the story of one man’s life, but a history of political thought and change through the past sixty years. If you are a Ron Paul fan like me, you need buy this book. It’s short and inexpensive.
However, you get what you pay for… The book’s strength is also its weakness. The strength is what I mentioned above, this biography is a civics lesson in disguise. While the lessons learned are valuable, they are also dry. Its gets somewhat boring at times as you drag yourself through the Austrian school of economic thought. I was also irritate that just as I would get into the actual life of Paul I would be led down a contrived, libertarian rabbit-trail that diverts from the real story at hand – the life of Ron Paul. Also, as is the case with many biographies, this book tends to exaggerate the influence, moral character and greatness of its subject.
If you are looking for an in-depth biography of what makes Ron Paul Ron Paul, this book will get you started, and wanting more. But, you can’t beat the price. You get far more than you pay for, by far…
Purchase the book for only $3 at amazon.
As you may recall from previous posts, the school that I teach at (Rock County Christian School – Beloit, WI) took part in the National Pro Life Day of Silent Solidarity. You can learn more about it at www.silentday.org. Bascially, we encouraging students to wear a red armband/wristband (or red duct tape) and specially-made tee-shirts in remembrance of the over 48 million children who have had their voices silenced through surgical abortion. We had several moments of silence throughout the day, including a time of prayer for public school students who took this stand as well.
Overall I think we had a good day. Along with the activities above, the high school students also watched the 180 documentary. This gave students alot to think about and have some good classroom discussion about it. I was very glad to see many students voluntarily giving up their voice for the entire day.
In chapel that day, Randy Melchert gave students even more to think about by raising some interesting points and answering many of thier questions. You can watch Randy’s message below:
Title: Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue
Author: R.C. Sproul
Publisher: Reformation Trust
Publishing Year: 2010
My Rating: 5 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)
Yesterday students across the nation took part in the National Pro Life Day of Silent Solidarity which got me thinking about this book by R.C. Sproul. This was updated and released just in time for 37th anniversary for the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. The goal was to get this book in the hands of every congressman and senator in Washington. If they read the book, it would not doubt have an impact.
This book is well worth the read, and I would encourage everyone objectively thinking about this issue to go out a buy a copy. One by one, Sproul tackles the objections of the pro-choice crowd and systematically and intelligently dismantles each of them. There is much discussion on issues such as the role of government, imposing morality, when life actually begins and the nature of sin in general. But, wait, there’s more…
It seems as though most pro-life material out there seeks to either pull at the heart strings or outrage the civilized, clear thinking conscience. However, this book provides a well-thought out philosophical worldview that not only is not only useful in attacking pro-choice arguments, but grounds the Christian in a thoroughly Biblical foundation that promotes the sanctity of life in the image of God.
Here’s just one example of what you will find in the book:
“In so far as we are still human, we retain the image of God in the wider sense. We are still valuable creatures. We may no longer be worthy, but we still have worth. This is the resounding biblical message of redemption. The creatures God created are the same creatures He is moved to redeem. Because Christians speak so tirelessly about human sin, do they have a low view of humanity? Indeed, they have a love view of human virtue, but not a corresponding love view of human worth or importance. It is precisely because the Bible has such a high view of human dignity that Christian take human sin so seriously. If one rat steals another rat’s food, we don’t get morally outraged. But, it one human steals another human’s food, we rightly become concerned.” (pages 22-23)
Clearly, R.C. Sproul’s gift is his ability to explain difficult concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. I taught through much of this material with my high school students and found it a huge help. The summary and discussion questions at the end of each chapter also help in taking in all this material.
I don’t normally say this, but this is a “must-read.” If you have any commitment to the life issue, buy this book! If you wonder why so many are committed to the life issue, buy this book! You will not regret it.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
Last Saturday, Pastor Robert Jeffress made headlines in his introduction of Governor Rick Perry at the Value Voters Summit. Pastor Jeffress claimed Mitt Romney was a not a true Christian as Mormonism is a cult. The press went crazy! Even conservatives called the man a bigot. While there has been much discussion about the political ramifications of this statement, there has been little discussion about the real issue at hand – was Jeffress right? Is Mormonism actually a cult?
I think after you download this week’s Understanding Our Times podcast you will be left with only one conclusion – Mormonism is a cult. We have freedom of religion in our country, so Governor Romney is certainly entitled to his belief, but he is not entitled to take on a historical label that has a clear definition.
In this latest podcast I sit down with Pastor Dan Gibson of Janesville, WI (Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church) and define what a cult really is a just how Mormonism is radically opposed to the Biblical doctrines of the orthodox, historic Christian faith. Pastor Gibson has a unique perspective on this topic as he was once a leader within the Mormon church before coming to a true saving faith in Christ.
Some of our faithful USOT listeners will remember that Pastor Gibson has guest hosted this podcast twice in the past:
A Rare Foray into American Politics – I look at the media’s brutal, ruthless, and merciless treatment of political leaders with any kind of evangelical Christian faith (e.g. President Bush, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, etc.). But when it comes to Mitt Romney – silence! In fact, even more intriguingly, we find increasing numbers of the media, and even of Democratic opponents, praising him! Something very suspicious going on here. Here’s my theory. Democratic strategists know that they can use Mitt Romney’s Mormon “faith” to destroy him in a general election campaign. Therefore, keep the powder dry, help Romney get nominated, then repeatedly connect him with the utterly weird religion he is associated with; keep him on the back foot defending or explaining (or rejecting) his beliefs, and wait for sufficient independent (and evangelical) voters to take fright, as they assuredly will. And even if Romney then renounces his Mormonism, that simply plays into the already damaging “flip-flopper” narrative of someone who will say/do anything to be elected. – David Murray
Is it fair to ask if Mormons are Christians? - The “cult” allegation struck me as especially cheap. But the real debate to be had is over whether or not Mormons are, in fact, “Christians.” I’m of the opinion that one can answer “no” to that question without being rightly labeled a bigot. Yet, as it stands, that may be an unpopular opinion, at least, in the mainstream media. The post-Jeffress consensus seems to be that you’re a Christian if you say you are. This, of course, implies that the word “Christian” has no objective meaning. Most Christian theologians would disagree. – Matt Lewis