My gratitude goes to Christian Focus for sponsoring the blog this week to tell you about Rob Ventura’s excellent new resource on Romans.
There’s a small selection of Kindle deals today.
(Yesterday on the blog: How To Elevate Your Street Smarts)
Joe Carter: “In a world where the sanctity of marriage is increasingly under siege, it’s crucial to reevaluate the reasons often cited for divorce. There are undoubtedly situations where divorce may be a biblically justifiable option, such as cases of abandonment, abuse, or infidelity. But as the survey shows, there are many instances where a better understanding of commitment and values could be enough to save the marriage.”
You have probably heard, as I have, that Jonathan Edwards was a neglectful father. But where did that charge come from? And is there evidence to support it?
A friend sent along this amazing recreation of Herod’s Temple.
Love your church anyway. That’s always good counsel…
I’m sure it says something important (and concerning) that 4 in 10 Evangelicals say they have been visited by the dead.
Jeff Eastwood borrows insights from Kevin DeYoung and applies them to a Canadian context to suggest why Reformed Evangelicalism here has splintered over the past few years.
Each of these people had experienced heaven as a sinner. As far as I know, not one had claimed to have their sin removed for the duration of their experience. They had entered heaven as sinners, experienced heaven as sinners, and returned as sinners.
No one can be robbed of his delights whose joy is Christ. —Augustine
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By Tim Challies — 2 months ago
Every word of the Bible matters. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” The entire word of God is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow.” Its every part discerns “the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Every chapter and every verse serves a God-given purpose.
That’s not to say, though, that every chapter and every verse is equally important when it comes to knowing God, understanding his will, and living for his glory. Some sections carry special significance. Some sections are so important that the rest of the Bible cannot be understood apart from them. One of these is the third chapter of Genesis, for it stands between the perfect world of Genesis 2 and the utterly shattered world of Genesis 4. It explains what went so tragically wrong.
Genesis 3 is the subject of Mitchell Chase’s book Short of Glory: A Biblical and Theological Exploration of the Fall. ”All of us are born outside Eden,” he explains, “so Genesis 1–3 is a special set of chapters. God makes the world, and specifically a garden, for his people. And there, in the sacred space of Eden, God’s image bearers defy his word and succumb to the tempter. When God exiles them, we are exiled in them too.” This is the great tragedy. Yet all is not lost, for “in that same chapter where God announces judgment, he gives a promise of hope that a deliverer will come one day and defeat the serpent. The rest of the biblical story grows out of the ground of Genesis 3. When we meditate on the content of this chapter, many biblical themes and connections become clear. The events in Genesis 3 become a lens through which to read and understand the progressive revelation of God’s redemptive epic.”
He wants the reader to think of Genesis 3 as containing a number of seeds that grow into fuller form later in the Bible. “There are temptation and shame and coverings. There are a tree of wisdom and one of life. There are messianic hope, the reality of death in the dust, and exile from sacred space. There are blame shifting, hiding, and a response of faith.” It’s as we spend time carefully studying Genesis 3 that we come to understand so much of the Bible’s storyline, so much of its imagery, and so much of its promise. And further, we come to live better, for “if we situate the fall in Scripture’s storyline effectively, an exploration of Genesis 3 will result in greater joy in the good news about Jesus. By tuning our ears to creation’s groanings, our hope will be stirred along the way.”
This is the task Chase takes on in Short of Glory and he does it well. He explores a number of the themes that are introduced in Genesis 3 and that then carry on through the rest of the Bible. He begins with sacred space, “the kind of theme that locks the metanarrative together. Sacred space is given, lost, promised, and at last received again. As readers cross the threshold into Genesis 3, they come to a sacred place that God gave his people. God had made the heavens and the earth, and part of his work on earth included a garden in a place called Eden (2:8).” In this chapter we see that sacred space violated and lost, but also the promise that it will be recovered. We eventually see the shadow of that recovery in the tabernacle and temple and long to see its full recovery in heaven.
From here he turns to the two trees, to the God who walks and talks with his people, to the ancient serpent who leads them astray, and to the idea of taking and eating. And so it goes through several other themes, each of them introduced in Genesis 3 and each of them carrying into the rest of the Bible. In each case, he doesn’t merely explain these themes, but also applies them to the Christian life. And so this is not just a book of abstract theology, but a book that calls us to better Christian living.
Short of Glory is a relatively small book, but it is one that deals with one of the most important passages in the entire Bible. It explains it, applies it, and calls Christians to live according to it. For those reasons and many more, I highly recommend reading both the chapter itself and this excellent explanation of it.
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By Tim Challies — 7 months ago
As I share this update I am just setting off to begin the project I have titled Worship Round the World. The premise of Worship Round the World is that I will visit 12 different churches in 12 very different places to get to know those congregations and to join them for a Sunday service. Each of these churches will worship in a way that is consistent with Scripture, yet also faithful to the local language, customs, and culture. In this way each worship service will be unique yet distinctly biblical. I will be making the journey with my friend Tim Keesee.
This was a project I dreamed up a few years ago and fundraised for in 2019. I had intended to set out in 2020, but then the world slammed shut because of the pandemic and is only now getting back anywhere near to normal. If all goes well, the great majority of the travel will take place by the end of this year. In 2024 we will produce a book and video series based on all we saw and experienced. Our great hope is that it will encourage us all to praise God for what he is doing each and every Sunday as his people gather together to join in a worldwide chorus of praise to his name.
While we very nearly reached our fundraising goal in 2019, travel costs have increased substantially since then and we know we will fall short. If that sounds like something that would interest you, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the project through Frontline Missions. (Click and then scroll to the bottom of that page.)
In other news, I have a new site design that will be launching in the days ahead. This is a huge project that has been underway for some time now. When it launches you will quickly see that things look a lot different, but I hope you’ll also find that things function better. I’m sure there will be some initial bugs and errors, so please just bear with me through those. I’ll have more to say about this project soon.
Last month I undertook what I think may prove one of the most difficult things I have ever done: I changed my keyboard layout. I learned to type, as you did, on a keyboard with a standard QWERTY layout. In fact, I learned on an actual manual typewriter back in ninth grade, the teacher tapping a yardstick while together we rhythmically chanted (and typed) “A … S … D … F … G … H … J … K … L … semi.” I learned well and have been able to type at nearly 100 words per minute ever since with almost perfect accuracy. Yet it is now well-known that while the QWERTY layout may have made sense for typewriters it doesn’t make as much sense for computers. And it has the unfortunate problem of putting the most-used keys in some of the most awkward spots—spots that often require stretching the weakest fingers. I deal with significant pain when typing and, having exhausted most other solutions, decided it was time to take this radical step.
I researched the different options and landed on Colemak (in the “DH” variant for those who follow such things). It has been extremely difficult to overcome 30+ years of muscle memory but bit-by-bit I am getting it and my typing speed and accuracy are slowly recovering. I expect it will be ages before I am back to my old speeds, but I am, at least, getting closer to being able to type at the speed of my thoughts. I am also correcting some bad typing habits and forcing myself to strike the right keys with the right fingers.
I probably didn’t help my cause a lot by also changing to a new keyboard at the same time. I picked up the strangely-named and strangely-shaped Moonlander which offers some very helpful functions, such as a way to eliminate the shift keys (thus mitigating a lot of wear and tear on pinky fingers). Anyway, the whole process has been extremely difficult and frustrating, but I am hopeful the results will be good in the end—and that eventually my brain will clue in to where the “d” key now is, since that’s the one that continues to torment me the most.
As for the family, all is well, I think. Abby is into the second semester of her junior year at Boyce College while her husband Nate is working full time and taking classes online through The Master’s University as he works toward finishing up his degree in business. Michaela is pressing on in her final year of high school and looking forward to beginning at Boyce in August. Ryn is working full time at a coffee shop in Louisville while also auditing some classes at Southern Seminary. Aileen is still enjoying her job as a personal assistant for a neighbor who works in real estate. The Lord continues to bless us in so many ways and we continue to wish only that we might honor and serve him.
By Tim Challies — 1 year ago
May God bless you as you worship and serve him this weekend.
Westminster Books has a sale on a new book by Dane Ortlund.
There are some new Kindle deals to look at today.
(Yesterday on the blog: What Kind of Men Does the Church Need?)
Laura to Jake and back again
This is a fascinating story that tells of one women’s transition and de-transition.
Painful Surprises and the Emmaus Road
This article is about those times when “something unexpected and unwelcome occurs, and you are stunned by the pain. The most painful surprises are the ones you never saw coming.”
How can I get out of my bad mood?
How do you get out of a bad mood? This article offers some direction.
One Step Deeper
“Whoever you are and wherever you are in your journey of studying the Bible, you can go one step deeper.” You can and should!
Serving from the Shadows
“We have all been conditioned by the celebrity culture in which we live to fall into the trap of believing that truly great Christian ministry should be placarded on a platform and subject to public accolade. This is one reason why so many have given their praises to celebrity pastors in America over the past fifty years. However, it is a yet more subtle evil in our hearts…”
A tale of two taxis
Here’s a reminder that there are opportunities to share the gospel if only we’ll take them.
Flashback: How Many People Go To Your Church?
I wonder, what would happen if we found better questions to ask and better ways to answer them. Instead of going to the easy question of, “How many people go to your church?” why don’t we ask things like this…
The race conversation often feels like talking to each other at the Tower of Babel. We may be trying to build together, but we’re frustrated and speaking past one another. —Isaac Adams