Blog

All Around the Web – July 4, 2020

AATWKevin DeYoung – With Liberty and Justice for All

Joe Carter – Supreme Court: Religious Liberty Is Winning—and the Pro-Life Cause Is Losing

John Stonestreet – Supreme Court Says States Cannot Discriminate Against Religious Schools

9Marks – Pastors on Social Media

Gospel Relevance – Why Some Christian Leaders Don’t Post About Current Events on Social Media

Chuck Lawless – 10 Characteristics of the Best Bad Church Leaders I’ve Ever Known

John Piper – Is There Such a Thing as Race?

F&T – Why Your Groups Ministry Is More Important Than Ever

Baptist Press – Cooperative Program giving highest in three months, down only 1.47% for year

Christianity Today – Died: Beka Horton, Who Developed Abeka Christian School Curriculum

Cord Cutters – Video Will Account for 76% of Mobile Data Consumption by 2020

Babylon Bee – Christian Briefly Considers Placing Hope In God After Supreme Court Lets Him Down Again

Babylon Bee – James Harden Still Getting Fouled Despite 6-Foot Social Distancing Rule

Babylon Bee – Hollywood Actors Pledge Never To Take A Role Where They Have To Pretend To Be Someone Else

Babylon Bee – Trump Generously Offers To Give Biden 30-Minute Head Start On All Debate Responses

All Around the Web – July 3, 2020

AATWMohler – Memory, Monuments, Morality, and Mayhem: The Burden of Reckoning with Historical Symbols

John Stonestreet – Justice Roberts Cites Precedent to Uphold Evil of Abortion

F&T – Churches, Religious Liberty Face Uncertain Future in Courts

Justin Taylor – Identity Politics and the Death of Christian Unity

F&T – 3 Principles for Guiding a Divided Church Through Re-entry

TGC – Jonathan Tjarks on Being a Christian at The Ringer

Chuck Lawless – 8 Suggestions for Weary Pastors and Church Leaders

F&T – Archaeologists Discover Infamous Old Testament Site

F&T – If Christians Follow the Prince of Peace, Why Does Church Conflict Still Exist?

WORLD – Twisting Supreme Court precedent

Disrn – Almost half the American population is now unemployed

Disrn – Americans see divorce, fornication, gay relations as more morally acceptable than wearing fur: Gallup

Mental Floss – 35 Surprising Facts About The Office

Babylon Bee – Equality At Last: Disney Confirms Winnie The Pooh Will Now Be Voiced By An Actual Bear

Babylon Bee – Controversial Video Shows Trump And Melania Brandishing Guns As Reporters Near White House

Babylon Bee – Democrats Prepare To Celebrate Dependence Day

Babylon Bee – Ventriloquist Takes Act To Next Level Thanks To COVID Mask

Where to Begin: Books for Budding Theologians – Christology

Where to Begin: Books for Budding Theologians – Introduction to Theology
Where to Begin: Books for Budding Theologians – One-Volume Systematic Theologies
Where to Begin: Books for Budding Theologians – Bibliology
Where to Begin: Books for Budding Theologians – Theology Proper
Where to Begin: Books for Budding Theologians – Christology

Some time ago I came across a list of 25 theological books composed by Bruce Ashford he believes young theologians should read and invest in. I share my enthusiasm for most on his list and would recommend his post (you can read it here) but felt that for those brand new to the study of theology, many of the writings would be overwhelming and perhaps not the best place to start. For example, Augustine’s City of God is a classic but is also an academic work that is over 1,000 pages with a unique historic context. I would not recommend a new theologian to begin there.

With that in mind, I want to compose my list of books for young theologians in various categories of theology of mostly modern books for young, budding theologians that I believe may be easier to understand. They are not classics, but I do believe they will be helpful resources to sink your teeth into.

In this fifth installment, here is a list of helpful theology proper books.

All Around the Web – July 2, 2020

AATWDavid French – I’m Not Hateful, You Are

John Stonestreet – The Link Between Marijuana, Psychosis, and Suicide

Samuel James – Impotent Rage

Crossway – 5 Myths about Hell

F&T – 4 Factors Making the Life of a Pastor’s Spouse Even More Difficult

TGC – How Can I Trust God in My Husband’s Job Loss?

SBTS – Did Moses Write all of the Pentateuch? (Even his own obituary?)

TGC – 5 Novels Christians Should Read

Tim Challies – Follow the Way You Want To Be Followed

WORLD – A day for lament at the Supreme Court

The Atlantic – Stop Firing the Innocent

Disrn – Comedy writer permanently banned from Twitter for saying “men aren’t women”

Associated Press – China forces birth control on Uighurs to suppress population

Babylon Bee – The Simpsons Will Now Only Use Voice Actors Who Permanently Dye Their Skin Yellow

Babylon Bee – Supreme Court Rules States Cannot Place Undue Burden On Abortion Providers’ Right To Make Tons Of Money Off Killing Babies

Babylon Bee – ‘We Can’t Just Overturn Precedent,’ Says Supreme Court Justice Of Nation Where Slavery Was Once Legal

Babylon Bee – Merciful God Vows To End Humanity Before ‘The Princess Bride’ Can Be Remade

Where to Begin: Books for Budding Theologians – One-Volume Systematic Theologies

Where to Begin: Books for Budding Theologians – Introduction to Theology
Where to Begin: Books for Budding Theologians – One-Volume Systematic Theologies

Some time ago I came across a list of 25 theological books composed by Bruce Ashford he believes young theologians should read and invest in. I share my enthusiasm for most on his list and would recommend his post (you can read it here) but felt that for those brand new to the study of theology, many of the writings would be overwhelming and perhaps not the best place to start. For example, Augustine’s City of God is a classic but is also an academic work that is over 1,000 pages with a unique historic context. I would not recommend a new theologian to begin there.

With that in mind, I want to compose my list of books for young theologians in various categories of theology of mostly modern books for young, budding theologians that I believe may be easier to understand. They are not classics, but I do believe they will be helpful resources to sink your teeth into.

In this second installment, here is a list of helpful one-volume systematic theologies.

  • Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology – This is the most helpful introduction one-volume resource to systematic, historic, dogmatic, and biblical theology I have come across. I would highly recommend young theologians invest in it and read it.
  • Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine – This is, I assume, the best selling one-volume systematic theology in recent years. It was the textbook of the college and seminary I attended. It is a helpful book. Grudem is a five-point Calvinists with soft charismatic tendencies.
  • Michael Bird, Evangelical Theology:A Biblical and Systematic Approach – I like a lot that Bird does in this volume, though I do not like everything about it. The best part of this book is its emphasis on the gospel. That alone makes it worth your investment. Bird is an Anglican.
  • Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth – This is perhaps the simpliest of books in this category and worth having on your bookshelf. Ryrie is Arminian and dispensational.
  • Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe – Although Driscoll’s ministry has fallen on hard times in recent years, I still consider this as his best work. Driscll and Breshear offers a systematic theology written in a biblical theology approach. I find this book to be a really helpful introduction to theology and the writers are engaging and insightful. They write from a Calvinist perspective with soft charismatic leanings.
  • RC Sproul, Everyone’s a Theologian – This is, in essence, a introductory systematic theology by Sproul. He walks the reader through the various loci of theology. Sproul is a well-known presbyterian Calvinist and writes from that perspective. He is also an accomplished philosopher and uses those skills.
  • James P. Boyce, Abstract of Theology – Though written over 150 years ago, I still enjoy the founder of Southern Seminary’s systematic theology. I wouldn’t recommend it as the first systematic theology to read, but it is worth having on your shelf.

All Around the Web: July 1, 2020

AATWJoe Carter – Americans Don’t See Human Life as ‘Sacred’—But See Humanity as ‘Basically Good’

Russell Moore – Changing the state flag is not about forgetting Mississippi’s past. It’s about acknowledging it.

Samuel James – Sentences and Movements

LifeWay Voices – 1000 Sermons Will Change Your Life

Chuck Lawless – 5 Reasons Pastors Don’t Trust Each Other, and 5 Steps We Can Take to Build Trust

Evolution News – Darwinism and “No Lives Matter”

TGC – My Christian High-School Students Have Doubts. Here’s How I Respond.

LifeWay Voices – What Does Discipleship Look Like in Real Life?

TGC – Don’t Give Up, Pastor. Change Is Slow.

F&T – What Isolated People Need Most from Your Church

Disrn – Federal judge says de Blasio, Cuomo “exceeded” executive authority by restricting worship services while condoning mass protests

Babylon Bee – Southern Baptist Convention Removes ‘Southern’ From Name

Babylon Bee – Doctors Recommend Locking Down And Reopening Repeatedly Until Everyone Has Nervous Breakdown

Babylon Bee – Crest Introduces New More Socially Conscious Tooth Blackening Paste

Babylon Bee – Dixie Chicks Change Name To ‘Three Persons Of Non-Specific Gender And Regional Background’

All Around the Web – June 30, 2020

AATWAlbert Mohler – The Gathering Storm over Western Civilization

Joe Carter – Cedarville President Reinstated Despite ‘Deeply Troubling’ Hiring Decision

Evolution News – Margaret Sanger Statues Honor a Racist and Eugenicist; but as with Darwin, Let Her Stay

Crossway – 10 Things You Should Know about John Stott

John Stonestreet – Genocide in Nigeria: Calling It What It Is, Calling for it to End

Marvin Olasky – Black lives matter: The slogan vs. the organization

Church Answers – Do You Know Your “Why”?

F&T – Stop Peddling Ministry Perfection

TGC – What the Tentmaking Business Was Really Like for the Apostle Paul

How Stuff Works – Why Is ‘Mayday’ the International Distress Call?

Cord Cutters News – Over 100 Million People Watch YouTube and YouTube TV on TV Screens Each Month

Cord Cutters News – Netflix and Hulu are Losing Viewers Now that Pandemic Restrictions Have Relaxed

Disrn – Trump appoints 200th federal judge

Babylon Bee – Infographic: How To Tell If Something Is Racist

Babylon Bee – Trump Defies Liberals By Chugging Entire Bottle Of Aunt Jemima Syrup

Babylon Bee – Cities Protecting Statues By Disguising Them As Karl Marx

Babylon Bee – Man Horrified As Kids Give Him Noose For Father’s Day

Christianity on the Small Screen: “11.22.63”

Image result for 11 22 63 showIf you could change the past, would you? What would the consequences be? In his butterfly-effect novel-turned mini-series, Stephen King explores this question in the Hulu special 11.22.63. Next to King’s 1922 novel/film, 11.22.63 is a hidden gem that is well worth one’s time (barring the unnecessary strong language that often distracts from the narrative).

As the title suggests, this miniseries centers on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Early in the series Jake Epping is told of a secret spot that allows him to travel back in time to 1960. He is tasked with going back in time and preventing the assassination of Kennedy. The rest of the series tells this three year journey to change that seminal event.

One of the major plot points during Epping’s journey is the danger of changing the past. His goal is to prevent Kennedy’s death by Oswald, but along the way he seeks to reshape history in what he perceives to be small, insignificant ways. The most prominent example of this regards the murder of Frank Dunning. In the present timeline, Epping meets an adult student who’s father killed his siblings and mother. Epping discovers when he travels back in time he can save his student’s suffering by murdering his father. By the end of the series (spoiler alert), his student isn’t grateful for Epping’s protection, but resentful. Regardless of how abusive Frank was, he was still loved by his children. In an effort to fix the future, Epping made it more complicated.

This is a consistent pattern throughout the series. Epping confronts racism, racist, the education system, and, of course, falls in love. In his pursuit of Sadie Dunhill, he directly affects her life and trajectory.

Regarding the main plot point, King explores common conspiracy theories regarding the roll of Oswald. He is clearly deranged and radical. We see him purchasing the infamous gun that would slay the president. Yet behind the scenes, King explores who really gave Oswald the idea of killing Kennedy. At the end of the series, we are largely left with Oswald himself. King is not preachy regarding the conspiracy (unlike Oliver Stone in JFK), but he does leave a door open to it.

On the day of the assassination, Epping heroically saves the President and is hailed as an American icon. He returns home and back to the future (no pun intended). What he discovers is shocking. Instead of peace and prosperity, he finds the wreckage of nuclear war. The only solution is to return to the past and reset everything.

The moral of the story is obvious: we must let the past be. King’s answer to history is faceless fate. To meddle with history is dangerous at best. The ripple effects of the smallest change is unpredictable and dangerous. Epping must learn to accept the suffering of his students, the injustice of the past, and the tragedies of history.

The Christian answer is better. Although we are all tempted to travel back and to right all of history’s wrongs, we dare not do so. History is not a cosmic action driven by the libertarian actions of nature, but under the providential care of God. We rest in our present sufferings knowing that God hears our pains and entered into our world through Christ. The mystery of the gospel is to simultaneously conclude that history is messy, but we dare not change it. For in history lies a providential God who sent his Son and continues to work through his church. What we must do we shape history for the good where we are now.