Category Archives: Cultural Engagement
My sweet wife and I have had a number of conversations lately about shepherding our children as they begin to engage technology, and this includes what we model for them. We need discernment in this area, so I’m eager to see the book that Tim Challies has written on the issue, The Next Story. Here’s a trailer for the book:
Denny Burk preached a strong word this morning at Kenwood Baptist Church. For a taste of the passionate and righteous justice of the cause see this post, and check out the audio of this strong sermon:
God will do justice.
The only hope for sinners is repentance.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news.
The most recent issue of the Towers publication from SBTS reproduces a condensation of a pamphlet John Broadus wrote on “The Duty of Teaching Baptist Distinctives.” If the link doesn’t go straight to the article on the PDF, it’s on the lower third of page 5 (Towers, January 3, 2011). I’ve copied and pasted it below:
The Duty of Teaching Baptist Distinctives
by John A. Broadus
EDITOR’S NOTE: John A. Broadus (1827- 1895), founder and former professor at Southern Seminary, first published this material as a 35-page pamphlet with the American Baptist Publication Society. This article is a condensed version of excerpts from an issue of “The Baptist Vision.”
A duty we owe to ourselves
We must teach [Baptist] views in order to be consistent in holding them. Because of these we stand apart from other Christians. We have no right thus to stand apart unless the matters of difference have real importance; and if they are really important, we certainly ought to teach them.
This teaching is the only way of correct- ing excesses among ourselves. Do some of our Baptist brethren seem to you ultra in their denominationalism, violent, bitter? And do you expect to correct such a tendency by going to the opposite extreme? You are so pained, shocked, disgusted at what you consider an unlovely treatment of controverted matters that you shrink from treating them at all. Well, the persons you have in view would defend them-selves by pointing at you. Thus one extreme fosters another.
A duty we owe to our fellow Christians
It is urged that we ought to push all our differences into the background and stand shoulder to shoulder against Popery. It seems to us that the best way to meet and withstand Romanism is to take Baptist ground. Our brethren of the Protestant persuasions are all holding some “developed” form of Christian- ity, not so far developed as Popery, and some of them much less developed than others, but all having added something, in faith or govern- ment or ordinances, to the primitive simplicity. The Roman Catholics know this, and some- times say that the Baptists alone are consistent in opposing the [Roman Catholic] Church.
We may say that there are but two sorts of Christianity: church Christianity and Bible Christianity. If well-meaning Roman Catholics become dissatisfied with resting everything on the authority of the church and begin to look toward the Bible as authority, they are not likely to stop at any halfway house, but to go forward to the position of those who really build on the Bible alone.
It is not necessarily an arrogant and pre- sumptuous thing in us if we strive to bring our Protestant brethren to views that we honestly believe to be more scriptural, and therefore more wholesome.
A duty we owe to the unbelieving world
We want unbelievers to accept Christianity; and it seems to us they are more likely to accept it when presented in its primitive simplicity, as the apostles themselves offered it to the men of their time.
For meeting the assaults of infidels, we think our position is best. We can say to the skeptical inquirer, “Come and bring all the light that has been derived from studying the material world, the history of man or the highest philosophy, and we will gladly use it in helping to interpret this which we believe to be God’s Word.” There is in this freedom no small advantage for the truly rational inquirer.
But, while thus free to search the Scriptures, Baptists are eminently conservative in their whole tone and spirit; and for a reason. Their recognition of the Scriptures alone as author- ity, and the stress they lay on exact conformity to the requirements of the Scriptures foster an instinctive feeling that they must stand or fall with the real truth and the real authority of the Bible. The union of freedom and conservatism is something most healthy and hopeful.
A duty we owe to Christ
It is a matter of simple loyalty to Him. He met the eleven disciples by appointment on a mountain in Galilee; probably the more than 500 of whom Paul speaks were present also: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have com- manded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
The things of which we have been speak- ing are but a part of all the things which Jesus commanded; what shall hinder us, what could excuse us, from observing them ourselves and teaching them to others? Shall we neglect to teach as He required, and then claim the prom- ise of His presence and help and blessing?
If you’re in college ministry, you should check out the Recalibrate Collegiate Conference at SBTS.
There will be some breakout sessions, and here are the headliners:
General Session Speakers
C.J. Mahaney leads Sovereign Grace Ministries in its mission to establish and support local churches. He pastored Covenant Life Church for 27 years and is now a well known author, editor, and speaker.
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an esteemed authority on contemporary issues and his writings have been published throughout the United States and Europe. Full bio
Russell D. Moore is Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at Southern Seminary. He is an author, editor and also serves as a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church. Full bio
From the interview on the CBD Academic blog:
Matthew: In your book, you state “this book, quixotic as it may seem, seeks to do for biblical theology what Kevin Vanhoozer has done for Hermeneutics and David Wells has done for evangelical theology” (38). Can you unpack this statement for us in direct relation to your project?
Hamilton: In my humble opinion, modern western culture is committing intellectual suicide.
In his book Is There a Meaning in This Text?, Kevin Vanhoozer lovingly seeks to intervene by patiently vindicating the idea that the task of interpreting a text is the task of seeking to understand what the author of a text meant to communicate (authorial intent). The idea of seeking an author’s intent has been slandered and maligned with all manner of sophisticated sounding logical and rhetorical fallacies from scoundrels who refuse to do unto others as they would have done unto themselves. When they write, they want to be interpreted according to their intent, but they would deny this privilege to the authors of the texts they distort and pervert with so much post-modern slime. Vanhoozer waded through all the muck, exposing logical and rhetorical fallacies and cutting a path for any who wish to follow him to the solid ground of virtuous interpretation.
In his book, No Place for Truth, David Wells shows how evangelicalism saw liberal protestantism committing intellectual suicide with western culture, felt left out, and tried to join the party. The problem is not so much that the big ideas of Christianity were challenged as it is that big ideas have become unfashionable. As a result, in many churches the big truths that make Christianity what it is are hidden away so that no one will be troubled with the unpleasant chore of being a thinking human. Wells is calling the church to help humans be what they are–image bearers of God endowed with faculties sufficient for knowing, experiencing, and worshiping God and his mysteries.
So I see Vanhoozer and Wells (and many others!) courageously, patiently, lovingly seeking to save the west, and I want to follow them as they follow Christ. People make all kinds of claims today about how diverse the theology of the Bible is, but what is so shocking about the Bible is its unity, not its diversity. So Vanhoozer engaged the battle for hermeneutics, Wells for evangelical theology, and I’m trying to join the fray on the biblical theological front (following in the footsteps of Tom Schreiner, Desi Alexander, Greg Beale, Stephen Dempster, and others). I don’t know if I’m worthy to stand with them, but I’m honored to seek to join these knights-errant as a fool for Christ’s sake seeking to steward the mysteries of God.
From the interview on the CBD Academic Blog:
I think that our goal should be to understand and embrace the perspective reflected by the biblical authors. Our goal is not to read and evaluate the Bible according to the standards of our culture, but to seek to understand the Bible so that we can read and evaluate both ourselves and our culture from the interpretive framework modeled for us by the biblical authors.
Why I’m confident in the Bible (from the interview on the CBD Academic Blog):
I think that the Bible itself claims to be totally true and trustworthy, and that we would need far more information than we will ever have to overturn its claims or show its falsehood. Therefore, I want to approach the Bible not from a skeptical perspective but from a sympathetic one, trusting that its authors were neither stone-age idiots nor less-evolved troglodytes whose ethical and theological sensibilities are objectionable to modern, enlightened sensibilities. These biblical authors bore the image of God and communicated, I think, a coherent message in stunning artistry.
Robert P. George, Sherif Girgis, and Ryan T. Anderson move toward a profound definition of marriage in their article, “The Argument Against Gay Marriage: And Why It Doesn’t Fail.”
“In making our case for conjugal marriage, we consider the nature of human embodiedness; how this makes comprehensive interpersonal union sealed in conjugal acts possible; and how such union and its intrinsic connection to children give marriage its distinctive norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence.”
. . .
“marriages, being comprehensive interpersonal unions, are consummated and uniquely embodied in coitus—in acts that extend spouses’ union of hearts and minds along the biological dimension of their beings, much as various organs unite to form one body: by allowing them to coordinate together toward a biological function (in this case, reproduction) of the whole (in this case, the couple as a unit).”
. . .
“Marriage is a comprehensive union of two sexually complementary persons who seal (consummate or complete) their relationship by the generative act—by the kind of activity that is by its nature fulfilled by the conception of a child. So marriage itself is oriented to and fulfilled by the bearing, rearing, and education of children. The procreative-type act distinctively seals or completes a procreative-type union.”
The whole article is here–if you have concerns about what this means for adoption or infertility, you will find them addressed in the article.
Robert P. George, Sherif Girgis, and Ryan T. Anderson expose sloppy thinking in their article, “The Argument Against Gay Marriage: And Why It Doesn’t Fail.”
“Professor Yoshino’s response is long on rhetoric designed to stigmatize a position he opposes, and short on arguments that might actually cast doubt on its soundness.”
. . .
“At one point, Yoshino concedes that we have a “serious point,” but he distorts it in a manner that works to the advantage of his own critique: “They are contending that sexual activity has been privileged over other kinds of bonding activities in determining who gets to marry.” Notice the question-begging implication of the phrase “who gets to marry.” Yoshino assumes (and assumes that we assume) that the institution of marriage inherently has nothing to do with sexual complementarity, and that we are merely supporting a historical tendency to “privilege” certain activities in determining who gets access to marriage (seen as a gender-neutral institution) under the law.”
. . .
“Professor Yoshino’s rhetoric is thus, to all appearances, designed to exploit caricatures of conservatives as mean-spirited bigots out to thwart those not like themselves. But our argument is either successful or not. If it is successful, pejorative labeling cannot harm it; if it is unsuccessful, a clear explanation of its flaws—for example, by showing that it rests on a false premise or a fallacious inference—gives people all the reason they require for rejecting it.”
. . .
Finally, having ignored our central arguments, made unwarranted linguistic associations, indulged in pejorative labeling, and studiously ignored every challenge we pose, Yoshino ends with a resounding declaration of victory: Even the best argument available against gay civil marriage fails, because it “denies” marriage to same-sex partners only by “denigrating” and “demeaning” the marriages of many opposite-sex couples. But Yoshino would be warranted in declaring victory only if he had given good reasons for rejecting our actual arguments, and provided his own answer to the central question of what marriage is. He did neither.”
Read the whole thing.
This post is simply a test to see whether the instructions for putting the “AddToAny” share button, which you can find out about here, works.
If the thing appears in the bottom of the post, it worked.
If you’ve been following the discussion about the NIV 2011, don’t miss Denny Burk’s excellent post.
Brian Croft has given us yet another helpful resource in Help! He’s Struggling with Pornography.
It’s like our culture is a field, and every few feet there is a hidden steel trap. Iron jaws ready to smash shut when triggered, ripping flesh and shattering bone, crippling the unfortunate, unwary pilgrim. How do we recover from the devastation of the steel trap of pornography?
This little booklet is a great place to start. Pastor Brian’s theology is sound: the problem is that our hearts are defiled. The solution is the new birth and new heart promised in the gospel. And the help we need to navigate the dangerous field full of hidden steel traps is to be found in the accountability of the local church.
I commend this booklet to you. Flee youthful lusts. Fight the good fight of faith. Honor God and pursue holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.
You can get copies of Help! He’s Struggling with Pornography here.
I enjoyed seeing the list of authors studied in the overview of the history of ideas at the College at Southwestern. This curriculum would be great for online schools. Rather than filing it away in a word doc to come back to, I decided to post it here since it might interest others as well:
Early Western Civilization
Church & Empires
Rennaissance & Reformation
19th Century Seminar
Early 20th Century Seminar
Late 20th Century Seminar
Wouldn’t it be great to read and discuss these times and authors together! So many books . . .
I try to answer that question in a guest post over at the Sharefaith blog.
(If you’re looking at this post on a reader, you may have to click through to see the video)
Hearty thanks to William Wallace for his work on this.
Shipping soon from Amazon.
The W Conference: Simplifying Womanhood in a Complicated World
November 19-20 at Southern Seminary
Worship Leaders: Mary Kassian and Heather Payne
Breakouts on multicultural relationships, girl-girl relationships, girl-boy relationships, balancing, time management, wise spending, spiritual fitness, God’s call, and the P31 wife.
Learn to minister to young women! Bring young women! Learn to be wise in a world gone crazy.
DISCOUNT CODE: SBTS for 15% off!
Register online now: http://events.sbts.edu/wconference
For 15% off, use PROMO CODE: SBTS