Monday, June 20, 2011

Morning Coffee - June 20, 2011

Some stimulating links to start the day:

Andy Naselli: Theistic Evolution is Incompatible with the Bible
Evolution is secular culture’s grand explanation, the overriding ‘meta-narrative’ that sinners accept with joy because it allows them to explain life without reference to God, with no accountability to any Creator, no moral standards to restrain their sin, ‘no fear of God before their eyes’ (Rom. 3:18)—and now theistic evolutionists tell us that Christians can just surrender to this massive attack on the Christian faith and safely, inoffensively, tack on God, not as the omnipotent God who in his infinite wisdom directly created all living things, but as the invisible deity who makes absolutely no detectable difference in the nature of living beings as they exist today. It will not take long for unbelievers to dismiss the idea of such a God who makes no difference at all.

Brian Croft: What can pastors easily forget when preparing for Sunday services?
There is, however, a role the local church plays in the lives of our people that full-time pastors can easily forget.  It is a role that those of us who spend much of our days immersed in God’s Word and caring for God’s people do not experience like most all our folks.  Here is a role of the weekly public gathering we as full time pastors can forget:

The public, weekly gathering of the church provides a place of refuge, strength, and encouragement to our people who spend 5 days a week immersed in the world, surrounded by those who hate God, and constantly challenge the truths of the gospel they believe. 

Forbes: Facebook vs. Apple
In the future, any Facebook user will have to go through Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android system to get to a Facebook app.  Facebook fears this could lead to disintermediation — where both of their competitors chip away dollars and market share away from the social networking leader over time.

According to the TechCrunch article, Facebook is attempting to shore up its competitive positioning with a big push to developing its own apps on HTML5 and moving quickly to an online currency to hook users (Facebook Credits).

Is Facebook right to fear Apple and Google?  They’d be crazy not to be afraid.  Google’s leadership position in the tech world seemed unassailable 3 years ago. Now they seem to be a laggard coming back from weakness.

NYT: My Ex-Gay Friend
Though Michael had agreed to let me visit and write about him, he was skeptical about my motivations. “Why are you here?” he asked minutes after we sat down in the cafe, which was decorated with Christmas lights and staffed by a young waiter attending the Bible school.

It was a good question. Had part of me come to “save” my old friend from the clutches of the Christian right? Though I don’t doubt that sexual attraction can evolve, I was skeptical of Michael’s claim of heterosexuality — and I rejected his argument that “homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within.” Besides, I had a hard time believing that Michael’s “true self” was a fundamentalist Christian who writes derogatorily about being gay. But whatever aspirations I had about persuading Michael to join the ranks of ex-ex-gays, they were no match for his eagerness to save me.
(HT: Denny Burk)

PCMag: Google to Partner with the British Library to Bring 250,000 Books Online
With a catalog of about 14 million books, the British Library's collection is one of the biggest in the world, second only to the U.S. Library of Congress. Many of these titles will soon be available to anyone, anywhere; a new partnership between Google and the British Library will put about 250,000 of those texts online.

Google is footing the bill to digitize content that is no longer under copyright. People can view, copy, and search this content dating from 1700-1870 for free via either the British Library site or the Google Books site. Content will be available in a variety of languages, and a focus will be placed on items that have never been available online before.

WSJ: Daughters and Dad's Approval
We know that fathers play a key role in the development and choices of their daughters. But even for women whose fathers had been neglectful or abusive, I found a hunger for approval. They wanted a warm relationship with men who did not deserve any relationship at all.

Part of this need takes form early in life—when a father is a girl's portal to the world of men. I call fathers a girl's GPS—gender positioning system. It's how women begin to orient themselves in a confusing and (especially of late) fluid landscape of gender expectations.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Morning Coffee - June 10, 2011

Some stimulating links to start the day:

Baptist Press Sports: Tim Tebow Memoir Released
"It’s about my life, from before I was born, all the way up to my first year in the NFL and everything in between," Tebow said in a Florida Times-Union story. "It’s a lot of cool stuff. Some of it is stories that have been told, but also what isn’t told. There’s a lot of stuff in there that ESPN doesn’t report, just thoughts of mine before big games and different stories that people wouldn’t know unless they were right there with me."

Jhumpa Lahiri: Trading Stories: Notes from an Apprenticeship
For much of my life, I wanted to be other people; here was the central dilemma, the reason, I believe, for my creative stasis. I was always falling short of people’s expectations: my immigrant parents’, my Indian relatives’, my American peers’, above all my own. The writer in me wanted to edit myself. If only there was a little more this, a little less that, depending on the circumstances: then the asterisk that accompanied me would be removed. My upbringing, an amalgam of two hemispheres, was heterodox and complicated; I wanted it to be conventional and contained. I wanted to be anonymous and ordinary, to look like other people, to behave as others did. To anticipate an alternate future, having sprung from a different past. This had been the lure of acting—the comfort of erasing my identity and adopting another. How could I want to be a writer, to articulate what was within me, when I did not wish to be myself?

Jonathan Leeman: How Not to Grow a Healthy Church
Just about every church leader and Christian I know would affirm the doctrine of the sufficiency of God’s Word. But this is an easy box to check in the morning and forget in the afternoon, particularly when you’re sitting in Tuesday’s church staff meeting making decisions about next Sunday. One of the legacies of Mark Dever in my life is the lesson that growing as both a Christian and as a pastor means growing continually in my understanding of the Bible’s sufficiency and power. Believing in this is a faith proposition that needs feeding and nurturing, just like a belief in God and the gospel.

This is especially important for church leaders, who are going to build their congregations on one thing or another. Your beliefs about the Bible are not a box to check. The faithful pastors whom many of us admire are the men who, over the years, grow and grow and grow in knowing the Bible’s power.

NYT Book Review: Books About Bob Dylan
[Greil Marcus'] recent scrapbook compilation, “Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Writings 1968-2010,” shows him in a decades-long game of chess against the man who is his favorite subject, bugaboo, muse, hobbyhorse and intellectual crush object. Dylan will try to pull a fast one, and Marcus will usually catch him in the act and call him on it. Amusingly enough, he cannot stand one of Dylan’s most beloved songs. “Line by line,” Marcus writes, “ ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ is pious, or falsely innocent — isn’t it obvious whoever wrote ‘Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail / Before she sleeps in the sand?’ already knows the answer, assuming he or anyone can actually bring him or herself to care about such a precious question?” Neither does he care for “The Times They Are A-Changin.’ ” Or Dylan’s religious period. Or most of his 1980s output. Same with a lot of his 1970s material. He takes special glee in pointing out the horridness of a little-heard Dylan composition, from 1963, called “You’ve Been Hiding Too Long.” After quoting a few of its stilted lines, Marcus reports that it “is so awful it’s been erased from Dylan’s published song collections.” He piles on, calling it “self-congratulatory spew” and “the deformed spawn of the impulses behind ‘Masters of War.’ ”

On My Shelf Interview: Mark Dever
Any advice on how to read for comprehension?
This is the order I read nonfiction books: 1) table of contents; 2) prefatory material; 3) intro and conclusion; 4) chapter titles to figure out what the author is trying to do throughout the book; 5) rest of the book.
What book has been best adapted to the movie screen? Worst movie adaptation?
Best = “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Lord of the Rings”; Worst = Prince of Egypt (yes, the Disney animated film).

Wired: How Facebook Got an 'F' for Facial Recognition
It’s a pretty common-sense feature and examined coldly, really not very invasive and perhaps not even that useful. Similar features are baked into Apple’s iPhoto and Google’s Picasa client software. (For my money, the creepiest features of Google and Facebook are Google’s default-on Web History recording and Facebook’s behind-the-scenes ranking of the strength of your friendship with each of your friends.)

But the backlash is really about two things: 1) the fateful combination of the words “Facial Recognition” and “Facebook” and 2) Facebook’s tone-deaf handling of the feature.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

"The commencement of godliness is the love of God."

John Calvin on the greatest commandment (Deut 6:5; Matt 22:37 and parallels):

[N]o man will actually obey God but he who loves Him. But as the wicked and sinful inclinations of the flesh draw us aside from what is right, Moses shows that our life will not be regulated aright till the love of God fill all our senses. Let us therefore learn, that the commencement of godliness is the love of God, because God disdains the forced services of men, and chooses to be worshiped freely and willingly; and let us also learn, that under the love of God is included the reverence due to him.

Morning Coffee - June 9, 2011

Some links to start the day:

The Atlantic: Sorry, Settlers of Catan Is Not The New Monopoly
Full disclosure: I am a regular Settlers player. At least twice a month I get together with two to five of my friends to "Settle," as the lingo goes. I first learned how to play in 2007, which I guess makes me part of the enclave that popularized the obscure German game with a less-than-marketable name. Since then I've been hooked. My college friends played when we were too lazy to go out. And when I first moved to D.C. I used it as a way to make friends in a city where I knew few people. I get the appeal. I'm just not so quick to call it the next Monopoly or Risk.

Baptist Press: How to Use Twitter to Communicate at #SBC2011
Include the official "#SBC2011" hashtag in your tweets so others can follow your conference updates. Share comments, quotes, photos and other bits of information. Just remember that you only have 140 characters to make it happen. And if you expect people to "retweet" your messages, aim at around 100-120 characters to be safe.

Baptist Press will be tweeting real-time coverage from the floor, sharing breaking news, news stories and photo highlights from an overall convention perspective. Be sure to follow @BaptistPress to track all the parliamentary action, such as motions, resolutions or votes.

Douglas E. Baker: Border Crossings: The SBC of the 21st Century
Trinity Church's membership spans the gamut from young professionals to college students skeptical of Christianity. Many members are not lifelong Southern Baptists, even though the church was established in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention. McCullough isn't shy about being a Southern Baptist, but he is quick to point out that most members in his congregation know next to nothing of the infrastructure that comprises one of the largest denominational ministries in the world.

The small-town Alabama native (still a rabid Auburn fan) graduated from Boyce College (the undergraduate arm of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) prior to coming to Vanderbilt and works to minimize the work of the denominational machinery when it comes to the church's outreach. His attitude is not one of annoyance or ingratitude. The SBC, he happily admits, "allows us to do more together than we can do alone."

Ross Douthat: Dr. Kevorkian's Victims
We are all dying, day by day: do the terminally ill really occupy a completely different moral category from the rest? A cancer patient’s suffering isn’t necessarily more unbearable than the more indefinite agony of someone living with multiple sclerosis or quadriplegia or manic depression. And not every unbearable agony is medical: if a man losing a battle with Parkinson’s disease can claim the relief of physician-assisted suicide, then why not a devastated widower, or a parent who has lost her only child?

This isn’t a hypothetical slippery slope. Jack Kevorkian spent his career putting this dark, expansive logic into practice. He didn’t just provide death to the dying; he helped anyone whose suffering seemed sufficient to warrant his deadly assistance. When The Detroit Free Press investigated his “practice” in 1997, it found that 60 percent of those he assisted weren’t actually terminally ill. In several cases, autopsies revealed “no anatomical evidence of disease.” 

 TechLand: Sony Hack Reveals 'Seinfeld' as Most Popular Password
Randomness is also key to password strength. That means using something like “qp}Edhg!13evTOI” rather than “JustinBieberRocks”. So it's interesting that over a third of the passwords analyzed could be found in a common password dictionary. The most frequent passwords use included: seinfeld, password, 123456, purple, princess, maggie, peanut, shadow, ginger, michael, buster, sunshine, tigger, cookie, george, summer, taylor, bosco, abc123, ashley, and bailey.

Timothy Keller: Sinned in a Literal Adam, Saved in a Literal Christ
Many orthodox Christians who believe God used evolutionary biological processes to bring about human life not only do not take Genesis 1 as history, but also deny that Genesis 2 is an account of real events. Adam and Eve, in their view, were not historical figures but an allegory or symbol of the human race. Genesis 2, then, is a symbolic story or myth that conveys the truth that human beings all have and do turn away from God and are sinners.

Before I share my concerns with this view, let me make a clarification. One of my favorite Christian writers (that’s putting it mildly), C. S.Lewis, did not believe in a literal Adam and Eve, and I do not think the lack of such belief means he cannot be saved. But my concern is for the church corporately and for its growth and vitality over time. Will the loss of a belief in the historical fall weaken some of our historical, doctrinal commitments at certain crucial points? Here are two points where that could happen.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Timothy Keller Blog Series on Preaching and Preachers

Over the last few months, Timothy Keller has been blogging his way through D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones' classic book Preaching and Preachers (which is set to be re-issued by Zondervan next year). He's written four posts so far, with more to come:

Lloyd-Jones on the Problem of Preaching

Lloyd-Jones on the Permanence of Preaching

Lloyd-Jones on the Primacy of Preaching

Lloyd-Jones on the Efficacy of Preaching Today

Keller says the book has greatly shaped his own preaching, and suggests one reason why ML-J's views have not gained wider acceptance:
As I re-read his book I realized that [Lloyd-Jones'] views by no means have won the day. The objections to classic preaching have largely been accepted and people are scrambling to find alternatives. I think most young leaders who would pick his book up today will find it completely out of step with any of the last several books they may have read on preaching. And yet here I am, after twenty some years in the middle of New York City, a postmodern city by any definition, having been deeply shaped by the Doctor's definitions and prescriptions for preaching, and they have borne much fruit here. So if this advice has proved effective in the middle of NYC, why are so few people taking it? So why are so many people going in a different direction with preaching? Why aren't more people listening to it?

If you move beyond these posts and read the Doctor's book—as I hope you will—you will quickly see one possible reason why people have not followed him. Dr. Lloyd-Jones makes a host of dogmatic assertions about very specific practices. He believed strongly that the pulpit should be physically above the listeners, that the minister should wear a robe, that he should not make many personal references to himself nor use much humor. He believed that the preacher should not announce his texts and topics ahead of time. (He was that loathe to cater to people's interests and "felt needs.") He thought it was abominable to plan out exactly what your texts and topics would be months in advance. (That did not give enough space for the leading of the Spirit.) He was also opposed to having his sermons recorded (though he reluctantly agreed to it eventually.) He believed that large preaching services (Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Friday night) really would carry virtually all the "freight" of the church's ministry. He frowned on small group ministry and had few other ways for the church to gather as a community or do discipleship and instruction. As it turned out, in the end his church was too preaching-dependent and after his retirement the church experienced a crisis.
I've come to the conclusion that Lloyd-Jones's basic theses about the nature of preaching have not been followed in the U.K. nor here in the U.S. largely because of his own dogmatism on details and also because so many of his followers did not seem to know how to extract the Doctor's particular methods and personal tastes from the broad lines of the argument he laid down. That argument is, I believe, successful and crucial for us in our times.

Morning Coffee

Some links to start the day:

Carl Trueman: Geoff, Bob and Godly/Churchly Ambition
Aberystwyth is a small town of 18,000 people, 9,000 of whom are students, a university town divided into town and gown, further divided into two languages, Welsh and English, what has been dubbed the cultural capital of Wales. There I have built two churches, our own, and the one everyone goes to. You understand that there were lines that I couldn't cross, ethical lines, theological lines, ecumenical lines, liturgical lines. Others were happy, indeed zealous to cross them, but for me there were issues through which a salvation all of grace in its conception, continuance and consummation would have been compromised if I had crossed those lines, as would have been a worship which must be characterized by reverence and godly fear, for our God . . . our God . . . is a consuming fire.

Church Matters: Baseball Phenoms and Your Flaw Lines
It's true in baseball and it's true in life. We all like to do things that we're good at.  We all play to our strengths and away from our weaknesses.  But it's the weaknesses that limit us and bring us down. If you can hit fastballs but not curveballs, you're going to be seeing a lot of Uncle Charlie.
Tomorrow marks my sixth year as pastor of my church.  And while I'm not a Bryce Harper-style phenom, I can say that life (Satan?) has attacked me at my flaw lines.  In fact, I've learned that a lot of leadership consists of knowing your weaknesses and having the humility and strength to acknowledge them and get help with them.

Forbes' SportsMoney: Ohio State is Tressel-ized: The Lessons and the Future
But I say an insightful attribution of blame for a problem should start with root causes of the problem. The problem didn’t start with the players. It didn’t start with Tressel. Of course both made bad decisions but it starts with a failure of the NCAA in not giving adequate living expenses to players who work nearly full time, without real chances to make separate income.  Would the players have been so tempted to barter property for pocket change, or for rent, to help pay a car note, if they were just given fuller living expenses?  Realistically, they cannot even work for pay during the summer if they wanted to put in an honest day’s work and get paid like any other college student. The NCAA has known for years this was a problem.

NYT Book Review: The Man in the Rockefeller Suit
In the real-life story recounted in the journalist Mark Seal’s fascinating but weirdly incomplete new book, “The Man in the Rockefeller Suit,” one Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter arrives in America from Germany at 17 and over the years assumes a succession of identities, eventually passing himself off as Clark Rockefeller, “reluctant scion of the family with the country’s most famous name.” He finagles jobs with a succession of Wall Street firms; marries a woman named Sandra Boss, who quickly ascends the corporate ladder at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company; and insinuates himself into the privileged world of prep-school-and-Ivy-League-educated, upper-crust New York and Boston.

PCWorld: Why Facebook's Facial Recognition is Creepy
Obviously, we can't stop the world of technology from moving toward the development of accurate facial recognition software. But so far, no facial recognition software has really been a threat to our privacy, because nobody has that huge database of people and photos required. Oh wait, except Facebook totally does.

Yeah. So not only should you opt out of Facebook's facial recognition technology by going to Account > Account Settings > Privacy > Customize Settings > Things Others Share and disabling "Suggest photos of me to friends," you should also upload random pictures of trees and animals and stuffed toys and tag them as yourself.

Russell Moore: Are You Smarter Than Anthony Weiner?
As Christians, we believe that temptation isn’t merely biological. There’s something wild and wicked afoot in the universe. These beings have an ancient strategy, and part of that is to shield us from the future. Desire gives way to sin, James tells us, and “sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15). Temptation only works if the possible futures open to you are concealed. Consequences, including those of Judgment Day, must be hidden from view or outright denied. That’s why in humanity’s ancestral sin the serpent told our mother Eve, “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4).

Spurgeon: On the Folly of Preaching too Long
The speaker's time should be measured out by wisdom. If he is destitute of discretion, and forgets the circumstances of his auditors, he will annoy them more than a little. In one house the pudding is burning, in another the child is needing its mother, in a third a servant is due in the family; the extra quarter of an hour's prosiness puts all out of order.

WSJ Book Review: Those Guys Have All the Fun (oral history of ESPN)
By contrast, relatively little attention is given to the conflicts inherent in a network being the largest promoter of sports, the most powerful partner of sports leagues and the largest journalistic shop covering them. A curious reader might want to hear why the quantity and quality of coverage of such sports as soccer and hockey seems to vary depending on how deeply their parent leagues are partnered with the network. But to wrestle with such questions would require introspection from ESPN's key players and a realistic appraisal of the integrity and quality of their product. You won't find much of that here.

Friday, June 03, 2011

What Is Marriage For?


Yesterday we celebrated a decade of marriage. In that time, we've moved from Wisconsin to Illinois to Kentucky, switched jobs a number of times, watched siblings progress from high school to college to married life, buried loved ones, welcomed babies, started and finished seminary, and experienced disappointments and successes. You do a lot of living in ten years.

Such a milestone is cause for celebration and thanksgiving. I am deeply grateful to God for you. Ten years of life together has furnished me with ample evidence that God was especially kind in the wife he gave me. I couldn't have known, on that blustery and cold June day a decade ago, just how great a gift you would be! So one purpose of this post is to publicly give thanks to God for his goodness, and to celebrate his faithfulness to us. Proverbs 18:22 isn't true of everyone, but it's true of me: "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD."

Another purpose is to call to mind and affirm anew the overarching purpose of our marriage. What is marriage for? What are we trying to accomplish? Ephesians 5, which has taken deep root in your heart, tells us that our purpose is to display the gospel of Jesus Christ as we relate to one another in self-giving love, to be a sort of living picture of Christ and his church:
[22] Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. [23] For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. [24] Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
    [25] Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, [26] that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, [27] so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. [28] In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. [29] For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, [30] because we are members of his body. [31] “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” [32] This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. [33] However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Lauren Winner, in an article she wrote a number of years ago, beautifully summarizes this scriptural teaching:
Our surrounding society tells us that marriage is a private endeavor, that what happens between husband and wife behind closed doors is no one else’s concern. But in the Christian grammar, marriage is not only for the married couple. Insofar as marriage tells the Christian community a particular story, marriage is for the community. It reminds us of the communion and community that is possible between and among people who have been made new creatures in Christ. And it hints at the eschatological union between Christ and the Church. As Catholic ethicist Julie Hanlon Rubio has put it, “marriage consists not simply or even primarily of a personal relationship. Rather, it crystallizes the love of the larger church community. The couple is not just two-in-one, but two together within the whole, with specific responsibility for the whole. They must persevere in love, because the community needs to see God’s love actualized among God’s people.”
The inflections of community are important because they get at the very meanings of marriage. Marriage is a gift God gives the church. He does not simply give it to the married people of the church, but to the whole church, just as marriage is designed not only for the benefit of the married couple. It is designed to tell a story to the entire church, a story about God’s own love and fidelity to us.

I praise God for these first ten years, and pray that he will give us many, many more devoted to displaying his love and kindness!

Morning Coffee

Ten links to start your day:

Albert Mohler: The Church and the 'Clobber Scriptures' -- The Bible on Homosexuality

The Blazing Center: Parenting Police Language

DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed: Glory of God: Conspicuous Christlikeness

The Official Hobbit Blog: Titles and Release Dates Announced

Moore to the Point: Children's Curriculum That's Not Afraid of Blood

Owen Strachan: The Tressel Fiasco: Christians and Their Sports Heroes

Practical Shepherding: Book Recommendation...for the pastor's family

Sharper Iron: Book Review - The Greener Grass Conspiracy

Tim Challies: Free Stuff Fridays

Worship Matters: Should We Play Music Behind People Praying?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

"The Luckiest" -- Ben Folds

"The Wild Rose" -- by Wendell Berry

Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,

suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,

and once more I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Noah's Ark Replica Planned for London Olympics
In a mere 422 days, billions of people will be focused on the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. If one eccentric Dutchman has his wish, they’ll be just as focused on what’s in the River Thames as the 100-meter gold medal race.

Contractor Johan Huibers is finishing up work on construction of an ark that is — Biblically speaking — almost exactly the assumed size of Noah’s ark, some 450 feet long and 75 feet wide. Huibers built an initial ark several years ago, but that one was only half the size described in the Bible. With this second rev, Huibers has gone all out.

Built on the shores of Dordrecht, about 60 miles south of Amsterdam, the ark will contain real, stuffed and animatronic animals — all in pairs, of course — with the idea of teaching visitors and inspiring schoolchildren about Christianity.
Read the whole thing here.

Twitter Today: Notable and Quotable

Notable and quotable tweets from notable and quotable evangelicals:

Albert Mohler: "A thought for my day: 'Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.' -- Benjamin Franklin"

David Platt: "Mid East right now is filled w/unprecedented opportunity & unknown risk. Will we embrace both for the spread of the gospel?"

Denny Burk: "In memoir, Tim Tebow details blessed life rooted in faith -"

Ray Ortland: "The Lie: 'My life is basically over now because of my sins and the sins of others. The cross failed.'"

ShaperIron: "|SI Filings| I lost my inheritance to the doomsday prophet! "

Bob Kauflin: "Audio from is now available: Carson, Sproul, DeYoung, Purswell, & Oliphint on biblical worldview."

Matt Hall: "Today is National Running Day. To celebrate, Southern Baptists everywhere plan on running to the nearest Chick-fil-A. "

Morning Coffee

Ten links to start the day:

Andy Naselli: iPad Resources

Denny Burk: Teaching Gender in Public Schools

Kevin DeYoung: Rehoboam's Folly

Justin Taylor: A Front-Row Seat for Frontier Missions

Mark Driscoll: How to Honor Your Wife

Mary Kassian: What Not to Wear

Pyromaniacs: [another] Open Letter to John Piper

Thabiti Anyabwile: Desire Overcoming Dedication Leading to Destruction

Tom Ascol: John Piper Interviews Rick Warren

Tim Challies: Free Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: June 2011

Debating the Multi-site Model

Does ekklesia mean "assembly"?

Gregg Allison responds to Mark Dever's comments early in this video clip:
An assembly is certainly in view when Paul addresses celebrating the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:17-34) and regulates the exercise of speaking in tongues and prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:26-40) when the church is gathered together. But ekklÄ“sia cannot mean “assembly” in Acts 8:1, for example, when Luke’s point is that the church was “scattered”—not assembled—because of persecution. In fact, the word church can refer to meetings of Christians in houses (Acts 12:12), the church in a city (1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1), all the believers in a region (Acts 9:31), the universal church (1 Corinthians 10:32), and even the saints already in heaven (Hebrews 12:23). Saying that the word ekklÄ“sia means “assembly” commits a lexical error. (READ ON)

Jonathan Leeman responds to Allison:
 [Allison] says that "saying that the word ekklesia means 'assembly' commits a lexical error" since the word is used in the New Testament in places where no assembly is present, such as Acts 8:3: "But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged men and women..." Allison's surely right to observe that the word "church" in a text like this one refers to the church scattered, not gathered. But the multi-site argument actually requires something more. It requires one to say that a church can be a church even if the sites never gather (again, an assembly that never actually assembles). As I look at the text, I would say that the word "church" is used like the word "team." A basketball team (meaning the members of the team) can be gathered or they can be scattered. But the point is, they aren't a team if they never actually gather. The gathering is one aspect of what constitutes a team as a team and a church as a church. (READ ON)