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We need a new header

Ok, I think this blog has existed long enough under a generic WordPress header. It’s a very nice picture of some random bridge somewhere, but unless there is a troll lurking underneath (trolls always have to lurk, it’s very important) it isn’t going to cut it anymore.

So, I’m looking for suggestions. Does anyone have a good idea for what our new header should be? With this particular theme, it needs to be an image that is either 760 x 190 pixels or can be cropped to that size. Suggestions can include images that you already have or ones that you think you or someone else could create/find reasonably easily.

Flotsam and jetsam (5/26)

On Bruce Waltke’s resignation, evolution, and evangelicalism

CT just published a good piece on Bruce Waltke’s resignation from RTS over comments that he made in a video interview over at BioLogos. The article summarizes RTS’s concerns:

According to RTS interim president Michael Milton, Waltke’s resignation was accepted because of his “mainline evolutionary” views and “uncharitable and surely regrettable characterizations” of those who disagree with his biblical interpretation.

Apparently Waltke has not expressed any criticism of RTS for their decision, but did say that he sees the whole situation as “providential” in that it brought the issue to the forefront and gave him the opportunity to teach at Knox.

The article goes on to highlight several other evangelical scholars who have landed themselves in touchy situations over this issue. And, of course, it raises all over again the question of where the line is between academic freedom and confessional conviction. That’s never an easy line to draw. But when the issue is as sensitive as this one, particularly among your constituency, it gets even harder.

Flotsam and jetsam (5/25)

Expository preaching – friend or foe?

The Gospel Coalition posted an article today by Iain Murray titled “Expository Preaching: Time for Caution.” In it Murray raises some questions about the current trend toward expositional preaching, where “expositional” is understood to refer to “preaching which consecutively takes a congregation through a passage, or book of Scripture, week by week.” Although he recognizes some of the reasons often given for this style of preaching ministry, he raises five concerns:

  1. Not everyone is gifted/capable of doing this kind of preaching well.
  2. Preaching should not be seen as merely instructional.
  3. There is a role for lecturing your way through the Bible, but that is not the primary function of preaching.
  4. Expositional preaching can easily become a dull running commentary on the text, rather than the powerful and memorable declaration of important ideas.
  5. Expositional preaching is not conducive to evangelistic preaching because not all texts are equally conducive to Gospel proclamation.

He concludes with two final thoughts. (1) This doesn’t mean we should avoid this kind of expositional preaching, only that we shouldn’t make it the exclusive focus of the pulpit. (2) We shouldn’t limit “expositional” to this kind of preaching, but should extend it to any kind of sermon that seeks to explain God’s word clearly and powerfully.

My initial reaction when I started reading the article was not terribly positive. I immediately jumped to what I think of as the opposite of expositional preaching – the kind of “topical” sermon that takes its starting point from some biblical text, but never returns to it. Obviously, though, that is far from Murray’s mind. He is still talking about preaching expositional sermons, he’s just pushing back on the idea that a truly expositional preaching ministry needs to walk through entire books passage by passage.

My second reaction was one that he actually dealt with throughout the article. I concluded that of course we need expositional preaching or people won’t ever hear the whole word of God. And, I’m actually still concerned about this one. As I reflected a bit more, however, I began to wonder if the contemporary emphasis on expositional preaching was related to the modern shift away from other teaching times. With the downfall of Sunday schools and Sunday evening services, where do people hear the word of God taught/lectured on a regular basis? If Murray is right and teaching/lecturing is not the primary purpose of preaching, something that I would agree with, how are we ensuring that people are getting that other kind of equally necessary time in the word? They certainly aren’t getting it from most of the small groups that I’ve been a part of. (Hmmm, what’s the common denominator there?) Is it possible that expositional preaching of this kind is the solution to a problem that we should be trying to solve in other ways?

So, here are the questions for our consideration. First, what do you think of Murray’s arguments? Do they hold water? Second, what do you think about the contemporary emphasis on expositional preaching? Does it lie at the very heart of good preaching? Is it something that has possibly gotten overemphasized in the modern church because of weaknesses in our teaching ministries elsewhere? Or, do you just like topical preaching and would like to hear more series on “You and Your Money.” I must confess that although I’ve had many regular teaching ministries over the years, I’ve never had to preach every week. I think we all can and should have an opinion on this, but I’d be particularly interested in hearing from those of you who preach (or have preached) on a more regular basis.

Flotsam and Jetsam (5/24)

  • I meant to post this one yesterday, but I forgot. Scot McKnight reviews N.T. Wright’s After You Believe at Books and Culture.
  • Scotteriology has a brief post on the importance and usefulness of the documentary hypothesis
  • If you’re not sure what all the commotion is about the new social studies curriculum just approved by the Texas State Board of Education, here is a nice article summarizing the issues.
  • Scot McKnight has posted some interesting facts about megachurches, suggesting that they’re not as bad as we think (or, at least, they’re not worse than really small churches).
  • Apparently the long awaited (100 years) autobiography of Mark Twain is finally going to be released. Sounds like it will be fascinating reading. (HT First Thoughts)
  • If you have any interest in higher education, one of the hot issues today is what schools of the future will do with the library holdings. The Boston Glob has an interesting piece today on how Harvard is responding with its library.
  • I mentioned last week that the “Get a Mac” ad campaign had been canceled. Well, apparently there’s actually a tribute video now.

Flotsam and jetsam (5/23)

Apparently it’s been a slow bogging weekend, but here are some interesting links for today.

  • Jim West posted a link to an interview with Hans Küng that looks pretty interesting. Of course, I can’t actually say for sure since the whole interview is in Italian.
  • Nick Norelli has updated his Trinitarian Resources page, and it’s well worth checking out.
  • As an historical aside, today is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Girolamo Savonarola, the Italian preacher and reformer who was killed as a heretic in 1498.
  • Two books have recently been released from people I studied with at St. Andrews. Julie Canlis’ Calvin’s Ladder offers a new reading of Calvin’s theology focusing the concept of participation and noting a number of important parallels with patristic theology (HT Jim West). Mickey Klink’s edited volume The Audience of the Gospels continues the discussion of Gospel audiences begun by Richard Baukham and contains essays from Mickey, Baukham, Mike Bird, Craig Blomberg, Justin Marc Smith, and Adele Reinhartz (HT Euangelion).
  • If you’re into social networking, Lifehacker points out a new resource that will generate humorous status updates for you.

Flotsam and jetsam (5/22)

Old Word Version of Paper

Here is a copy of my paper in the Old Word Format for those of you who haven’t upgraded yet :). See post below for Word 2007 document.

“Becoming Like God?”

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