The Maturing of the Evangelical Mind

brain exercising (300x286)Almost 20 years ago, Mark Noll’s The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind critiqued evangelicalism, quite simply, for not having much of a mind. In this short video, three leading evangelical, all presidents of key evangelical institutions, discuss whether we can now talk about “the maturing of the evangelical mind.” Al Mohler (Southern Seminar), Phil Ryken (Wheaton College), and Michael Lindsey (Gordon College) all argue that we’ve come a long way in the last two decades.

In the video, they specifically highlight the following as evidence of evangelicalism’s increased intellectual vigor:

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Nothing New Under the Sun: Theological Novelty and Heresy

It’s always a little sad when you run across someone who is excited about some theological concept they just came across, thinking that it will revolutionize the way people think about God or themselves, and you have to point out that it’s actually an ancient heresy that the church considered and rejected long ago.

That’s the gist of this cartoon: “new” theological ideas are almost always simple repetitions of older heresies. There’s nothing new under the sun, right?

Not quite. At first, I thought this comic was just funny. Then I thought again. Scroll down to see what I mean.

theological novelty

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How to Google Like a Boss (infographic)

Almost everyone uses Google these days, especially students. But with just a few tips and tricks, you can use it much more effectively. Here’s how.


There Were No “Dark Ages”

eclipse (300x300)I have written before about why we need to eliminate the idea of a “Golden Age” of Christianity, a time when the church was nearly perfect, an era that we just need to imitate if we want to create healthier churches today. And, after a few minutes reflection, most people accept that every generation had its flaws and foibles. We learn from them not because they were perfect but because they walked before us and modeled how to live faithfully in the midst of a horribly broken world.

But many still want to hold on to the Golden Age’s evil twin brother: the Dark Age, an age where the church was so fallen and its understanding of the truth so twisted that we have virtually nothing to learn from those who lived through those dismal days. An age when the lights went out, leaving only darkness.

For most Protestants, the Dark Age was not just a particular generation, or even an entire century. No, we have our sights on something bigger, blacker, and more tragic: the wasteland of medieval Christianity. A thousand years lost in the dark void between the bright lights of the early church and the Reformation.

[This is the beginning of my most recent post over at Head over there to read the rest, and let me know what you think.]

Flotsam and jetsam (10/9)

boomerang fear

Good Reads

  • It’s Time to Talk about Power: As one who frequently wears what I have come to call the Wireless Headset of Authority, I have begun to worry that it is not just our microphones that are becoming invisible. What is also becoming invisible, especially to those with the most to gain and to lose, is power. (Andy Crouch)

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Selfless Saint or Arrogant Jerk? A Church Search Dilemma

body of christ (300x300)If the church is a body, I’m definitely a mouth. I’d like to believe that I’m a brain — the one that gets all the smarts and makes all the decisions — but in reality I’m more of a mouth: I talk when I should be listening, and I don’t like to get my hands dirty. Of course, that’s because a mouth doesn’t really have hands. But you get the point.

And Paul says that a healthy church needs to have all the body parts. After all, a mouth is pretty pointless without at least a few ears around. And if we were all eyes, we’d always be getting stuff in our eyes, probably from rolling around on the ground all the time, and we wouldn’t have any fingers to get it out, which would be super annoying.

So we need variety in the body. I get that.

The Question

But here’s my question. When you’re looking for a new church, should you consider whether a church already has people with your particular gifts, focusing on churches where there seems to more of a need in areas where you can make a real contribution, or should you just find the best church around you and trust that God will find a way to use you there?

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The Best Excuse Ever for Not Remembering a Source

You know those times when you know that you know what you know, but you don’t know from where you know it? In this fabulous video clip, David Mitchell not only defends why he can’t remember his sources, but why it would be detrimental for him even to try. 


I am totally going to use this the next time I can’t remember where I learned something. But if you’re one of my students, don’t even think about it. I have no problem with double standards.

HT 22 Words

Flotsam and jetsam (10/7)


Good Reads

  • Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy: Researchers at The New School in New York City have found evidence that literary fiction improves a reader’s capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling. (Scientific American)
  • The Conference Shaking Up America’s Evangelicals: On Wednesday evening, 30 of America’s most influential evangelicals met on the patio of Marlow’s Tavern outside Atlanta for a private dinner….They met to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and brainstorm possible future endeavors together. (Time)
  • Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online: When I first started writing about religion for an online news site, I eagerly turned to the comment section for my articles, fishing for compliments and wondering if I had provoked any thoughtful discussions about faith. I don’t wonder anymore. (CNN)
  • Stop Slandering Christ’s Bride: the surest sign that thousands of Christian in church congregations across the country are talking about an issue is that someone will claim that believers in America are not talking about it. (Gospel Coalition)

Other Info

Just for Fun

  • The never-ending epic struggle continues: Geeks vs. Nerds.

A Prayer for Sunday (Teresa of Avila)

teresa of avila (250x360)Living in 16th century Spain, Teresa of Avila was a famous Carmelite nun, a key figure in the Catholic Counter Reformation, and one of the most prominent mystical theologians of the medieval church. Along with John of the Cross, she was a key figure in establishing Spanish mysticism as a formative influence in Catholic theology and a prominent feature of the Spanish renaissance.  For her writings and ministry she was named a Doctor of the Church, albeit not until 1970.

Teresa of Avila died on October 4, 1582. In honor of her life and ministry, today’s prayer comes from her.

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25 Signs You’re Addicted to Books

book hangoverIf you’ve ever found yourself yelling at a book in public, buying books you don’t need (and may not ever read), or getting your “old book fix” by walking into a used book store and breathing deeply, then it’s entirely possible that you’re an addict. You should seek help if there’s any possibility that the piles of books in your house might tip over and crush someone or if you have gone more than three days without speaking to a living human (besides yourself).

If you’re still not sure whether you’re a book addict, you may want to consult this illustrated guide: 25 Signs You’re Addicted to Books. Or, if you’d rather have all the images in one place, someone has now put the whole guide together in a handy infographic. Be aware, though, that some of the images contain some rather “colorful”  language.

According to the guide, I may need help, since I score high on quite a few criteria:

  • When reading a good book, I sometimes forget to eat or sleep.
  • I occasionally yell at books.
  • I often like rainy days better than sunny days because of the excellent reading opportunity.
  • dream homeThe picture on the right is definitely what I think of when I picture my dream home (though it needs a big, comfy sofa)
  • Whenever I start a new project, of course the first step is always to read a book about it. Are there other ways to learn?
  • Of course the book is always better.
  • And yes, I’ve experienced both “book hangover” (inability to start a new book because you’re still living in the last book’s world) and “book insomnia” (staying up all night to finish a book).

Fortunately, I’ve outgrown at least one problem. Instead of going on a trip and packing my suitcase so full of books that I barely have room for clothes, I now just take my iPad. But that probably doesn’t mean I’m less addicted, just more efficient at feeding my addiction.

book suitcase