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Burk Parsons and 7 Filters to Guide Our New Media Use

June 23, 2010

On Thursday June 17, the Ligonier Ministries National Conference began with their pre-conference on the use of new media.  Speakers included Ed Stetzer, Tim Challies, Burk Parsons, and Albert Mohler.  They had a live-feed of the event, so when I had the opportunity, I took a moment to listen to some of it.  Throughout there were golden nuggets of wisdom by all the speakers on the use of new media.  Yet, it was Burk Parsons’ talk that  provoked me to stop my work and give my full attention to his 20 minute message.  Parsons’ talk was entitled Taking Captive New Media for the Church. In it he gave 7 filters to guide our new media use:

1. We need to be disciplined, deliberate, and discerning in the use of our time.

2. We should strive to use new media to set our minds on heavenly things.

3. We should strive to use new media to edify the body of Christ.

4. We should strive to use new media to maintain unity and purity in the church.

5. We should strive to use new media as part of our subduing the earth.

6. We should strive to use new media for the glory of God.

7. We should strive to use new media for the kingdom of God and not our own personal kingdoms.

These are excellent points to print out and place above your computer.  I’d also encourage you to listen to the archived audio/video of, not only Parsons’ talk, but all the messages as they become available.  Thanks to Alex Chediak for the detailed blog summaries of each talk.


John Calvin and Augustine of Hippo

June 19, 2010

Anthony Lane’s chapter “Calvin’s Way of Doing Theology” in Calvin: Theologian and Reformer, edited by Joel Beeke and Garry Williams, begins with this paragraph:

John Calvin is best known for his Institutes of the Christian Religion. This work went through five major editions, and Calvin continually revised it for most of his literary and pastoral life. Like Augustine, he was one of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.

That may be true, that Calvin wrote as he learned, but there is an obvious difference between Augustine and Calvin in this.  For Calvin, the fundamental substance of his theology never changed. A look at all five editions of the Institutes will reveal a development (and sometimes substantial), but never a fundamental change.  Unlike Augustine, he never had to write a book of retractions.

The Acts29 Rap at the SBC 2010

June 18, 2010

For those that did not attend the SBC 2010 or their live feed cut-off at 5:00 pm, here is the Acts29 motion in the form of a rap:

Journalism and the “Religious Angle”

June 17, 2010

Get Religion comments on the AP news story on the man caught trying to track down Bin Laden. Molly’s point (at Get Religion) is on how the “religious angle” is handled by AP.  She writes:

The AP story is no gem itself, however. Here’s how the religion angle is handled:

Catching bin Laden was 50-year-old Faulkner’s passion, his brother Scott Faulkner said. A devout Christian with a prison record, Faulkner has been to Pakistan at least six times, learned some of the local language, and even grew a long beard to blend in, relatives and acquaintances said.

Now, I by no means think that a prison record is incompatible with being a devout Christian, but this is really poor phrasing. What, exactly, makes him devout? His flouting of American law? There’s clearly a religion angle here that needs to be explored, but this only raises more questions.

Telling us that this man is a generic “devout Christian” replaces that exploration with a fairly meaningless label. What are his specific religious beliefs? How does he demonstrate devotion to those beliefs? Why is the phrase “devout Christian” being used here? Show us his devotion to Christianity rather than tell us without any evidence.

You can read the whole thing here.

Its a good example of poor journalism, whether its on religion or any other matter.

Andy Crouch and The Power to Judge

May 13, 2010

Andy Crouch puts forward the question of whether or not humans beings have the power to judge. Below is Andy’s response, its a thoughtful one:

Is this a good answer?

Kevin DeYoung and Divine Impassibility

May 12, 2010

I have recently finished reading Kevin DeYoung‘s manuscript to his talk at T4G on divine impassibility. With recent scholarship finding Jurgen Moltmann’s divine passibility more appealing, like Richard Bauckham and others, this is an encouraging talk.  DeYoung gives five arguments for divine impassibility:

  1. The weight of church history overwhelmingly supports the notion that God does not suffer.
  2. The Bible teaches that God does not change.
  3. God’s emotional life is not identical to ours.
  4. What is said about Jesus Christ cannot automatically and without qualification be said about God.
  5. Without impassibility, the necessity of the incarnation does not make sense.

The fifth point is easily the most compelling. DeYoung makes this point:

Listen to Hebrews 2:9: ―But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. This is a purpose statement. The Son of God had to be made for a little while lower than the angels so that he might taste death. Apart from the incarnation, the Son could not die, because God by definition is immortal.

DeYoung give us five reasons why divine impassibility is good news:

  1. We have an unchanging God who is not in the same mess we are in.
  2. This unchanging God – who is ontologically outside of our mess – is nevertheless intimately involved in our mess, which makes his presence all the more meaningful.
  3. God‘s love is freely given, thoroughly unmotivated by any need or deficiency in him.
  4. With divine impassibility, the incarnation is not a revelation of the eternal suffering of God, but rather the deepest expression of God‘s gracious character, whereby he chose, in love, to suffer as one of us.
  5. Finally, impassibility is good news because only an impassible God who suffered as a man can truly sympathize with us.

This is a robust defense of the traditional understanding of God’s impassibility. Yet, DeYoung still speaks deeply to our needs as sinful human beings who suffer under tremendous circumstances at times. I am happy for the appearance of this talk and I hope it has a wide  readership.

Marvin Olasky on Turning 60

May 8, 2010

Marvin Olasky (Word Mag) is turning 60. Below is a part of his reflection of the times we are in and how he wants to celebrate his 60th birthday:

Let me mention one thing that impresses me about God’s mercy. The other day a skeptical Christian in his 20’s said, in essence, “You conservatives are always alarmed. In 1968 the U.S. had terrible riots, in 1980 double-digit inflation and unemployment. Now there’s ObamaCare. Chill out!”

True, God has repeatedly shed His grace on an America that repeatedly walks close to the edge. But should we chill out so much that we take for granted His continued mercy?

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists would be an obscure publication but for its one graphically great idea. In 1947 it put a clock on its cover to symbolize the urgency of the new danger of nuclear disaster—and it set the clock at seven minutes to midnight. At best over all the years it’s been set at 17 minutes to midnight, at worst three. Right now we’re at six.

We could have a similar domestic clock. It would have been at three minutes to midnight in 1980, when inflation at one point hit 14.8 percent. We could have fallen into hyperinflation and destroyed our middle class, but the Reagan administration’s tight money policy reduced inflation to the manageable amount we’ve had for three decades now.

Should we now set our domestic policy clock at six minutes to midnight? Just as the easiest way to deal with additional guests is to put more water in the soup, so the politically easiest way (at first) to deal with massive deficits is to print money. Will hyperinflation that we barely escaped 30 years ago roar back?

Let’s pray that God will be kind to us once again. And in the meantime—in this mean time—let us celebrate the good things God has given us. So, as I hit 60 on June 12, I want to celebrate with my wife and with WORLD readers who are baseball fans. Next month from June 9 to June 15 we plan to drive and hit every day a different major league ballpark that I’ve never visited—mostly new ones in cities that had old stadiums the last time I saw a game there.