Aug 6, 2011


R. Kent Hughes and Bryan Chapell, commenting on 1 Timothy 4:13 criticize “. . . the ‘disexposition’ that is issuing from so many evangelical pulpits today.” Adding that, “The congregation hears the text read and waits in anticipation for its exposition — only to be disappointed when the text is never alluded to in the next thirty minutes. Or, more commonly, the text is handled superficially with no serious engagement of its meaning. The preacher mouths its words, but there is no substance. ‘Disexposition’ takes many forms. Sometimes the text is so encrusted with stories and jokes that it is unseen and unheard. Other times it is so distorted because it is preached through a therapeutic, political, or social lens.”

R. Kent Hughes and Bryan Chapell, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit, Preaching the Word, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2000), 116.

Aug 5, 2011

The Screwtape Letters

Some might be interested in this Wall Street Journal article on C. S. Lewis and The Screwtape Letters.

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below.

Cornelis Bennema
Encountering Jesus: Character Studies in the Gospel of John
Reviewed by Nijay K. Gupta
Scott N. Callaham
Modality and the Biblical Hebrew Infinitive Absolute
Reviewed by Jeremy Hutton
Thomas B. Dozeman, ed.
Methods for Exodus
Reviewed by Danny Mathews
Jennie R. Ebeling
Women's Lives in Biblical Times
Reviewed by Aren M. Maeir
Swift Edgar, ed.
The Vulgate Bible, Volume 1: The Pentateuch: Douay-Rheims Translation
Reviewed by Mark Elliott
Troels Engberg-Pedersen
Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul: The Material Spirit
Reviewed by Kevin McCruden
John Paul Heil
Colossians: Encouragement to Walk in All Wisdom as Holy Ones in Christ
Reviewed by Rodrigo J. Morales
Robert Kugler and Patrick Hartin
An Introduction to the Bible
Reviewed by Lily Vuong
Heikki Räisänen
The Rise of Christian Beliefs: The Thought World of Early Christians
Reviewed by Gosnell Yorke
Robert Titley
A Poetic Discontent: Austin Farrer and the Gospel of Mark
Reviewed by Mark A. Matson 

Aug 4, 2011

Why, O God?: Suffering and Disability in the Bible and the Church

Suffering and disability have been innate human problems since the Fall. The topic presents a number of pastoral, theological, philosophical, and practical challenges. So I am excited to share a new resource that seeks to address these challenges biblically and from an Evangelical perspective.

Larry J. Waters and Roy B. Zuck, eds., Why, O God?: Suffering and Disability in the Bible and the Church (Wheaton: Crossway, 2011).

Publisher’s Description:

With two in seven American families affected by disability, the body of Christ has a great opportunity for ministry. This new anthology uniquely points the way, training churches, caregivers, pastors, and counselors to compassionately respond.
The book’s contributors—ranging from Joni Eareckson Tada and others living with disabilities, to seminary professors, ministry leaders, and medical professionals—do more than offer a biblical perspective on suffering and disability; they draw from very personal experiences to explore Christians’ responsibility toward those who suffer. The volume addresses various disabilities and age-related challenges, end-of-life issues, global suffering, and other concerns—all the while reminding readers that as they seek to help the hurting, they will be ministered to in return.
This unprecedented work, which includes a foreword by Randy Alcorn, belongs in the hands of every Christian worker and caring individual who is seeking a real-world, biblical perspective on suffering. 

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Randy Alcorn

Part 1 Challenge and Need

1. Redeeming Suffering – Joni Eareckson Tada
2. A Biblical Disability-Ministry Perspective – Daniel R. Thomson
3. Church-Based Disability Ministry – Jessica James Baldridge
4. Disabilities and the Church – Michael A. Justice
5. The Rolling Throne – Greg A. Hatteberg

Part 2 Biblical Foundations

6. Suffering in the Pentateuch – Stephen J. Bramer
7. Suffering in the Historical Books – Stephen J. Bramer
8. Suffering in the Book of Job – Larry J. Waters
9. Suffering in the Psalms and Wisdom Books – Ronald B. Allen
10. Suffering in the Writing Prophets (Isaiah to Malachi) – Stephen J. Bramer
11. A Biblical Theology of Suffering in Gospels – Mark L. Bailey
12. Suffering in Acts and the Pauline Epistles – Stanley D. Toussaint
13. Suffering in the Non-Pauline Epistles – James E. Allman
14. Suffering in the Book of Revelation – Thomas L. Constable

Part 3 Theology, Pastoral Ministry, and Missions

15. Receiving Evil from God – Douglas K. Blount
16. Pastoral Care and Disability – Victor D. Anderson
17. Global Suffering – James A. Neathery

Part 4 Counseling and Professional Services

18. Dealing with Disabilities in Adults – Amy J. Wilson
19. Children with Disabilities – Patricia Evans
20. Bioethics and Suffering – Richard L. Voet
21. Death and Dying ­– Linda M. Martin

Part 5 Conclusion
22. Wheelchairs in Heaven? – Joni Eareckson Tada

General index
Scripture Index

You can read an excerpt here.

Aug 3, 2011

Sleeping in Church

See this humorous editorial.

Savior as a Nomina Sacra?

Tim Henderson has an interesting post discussing why Savior was not apparently a major nomina sacra in the earliest manuscripts. Read the post here.

Sermon Titles

Although sermon titles are not the most important aspect of creating a sermon, David Murray points out that it can be beneficial and then discusses some helpful ways to create better titles here.

Aug 2, 2011

Blog: The Time Has Been Shortened

This is not exactly a new blog, but you might want to check out The Time Has Been Shortened. This team written blog looks like they are doing some interesting stuff.

Aug 1, 2011

Any Given Sunday

“On any given Sunday in today’s preaching pantheon, one can observe a diverse group of devotees, some paying homage to the chapel of ‘creativity,’ others sitting at the feet of the ‘culturally relevant.’ Some are transfixed at the nave marked ‘narrative,’ whereas others have their hearts strangely warmed at the chasse of ‘pop-psychology.’ There is never a shortage of worshippers at the ‘new homiletic’ altar, and the ‘topical’ shrine always receives its share of Sunday patrons. Fearful that some as yet undiscovered  homiletical ‘method’ might be missed, the gatekeepers of the pantheon have installed an altar inscribed ‘to the unknown preaching method.’ It is that method which the authors of this book declare unto you. Actually, the method itself is not ‘unknown’ at all, and like the true church on earth, it has always had its practitioners in every era of church history. In fact, it is the oldest method in the preaching pantheon, having been used by the earliest preachers as far back as the apostolic era of the church. It is called ‘expository preaching.’”

David L. Allen, “Introduction,” in Text-Driven Preaching: God’s Word at the Heart of Every Sermon, ed. Daniel L. Akin, David L. Allen, and Ned L. Mathews (Nashville: B & H Academic, 2010), 1.

You can see an introduction to this book here and an interview with David Allen concerning the book here.

Jul 31, 2011

Review of Futurecast

People in ministry need to be able to exegete the Scriptures and also to exegete the culture in which they seek to minister. Seeing where people are and taking an educated guess to where they will be is part of the second task. To that end, Barna’s book is a helpful resource. It provides both statistical data in clearly defined categories and analysis of the data.

The book contains nine chapters, not counting the introduction and two appendices. The chapters are arranged categorically (e.g. family life, attitudes and values, etc.). The writing is fairly straightforward, and I enjoyed Barna’s clarifications of some of the intricacies of evaluating statistical data (e.g., the difference between membership and attendance, pp. 178–9). He also does a nice job of developing helpful categories. For example, see Barna’s distinctions related to church participation, i.e. unattached, intermittents, homebodies, blenders, conventionals (pp. 159–60).

There are times when I found the explanation a bit confusing. For example, concerning spiritual gifts Barna writes, “a large share of the Christian public (32 percent) remains either unaware of the existence of these capabilities or aware of the gifts but not cognizant of which ones they possess. Surprisingly, fewer Christians today are aware of the existence of spiritual gifts (68 percent) than was true ten or fifteen years ago (72 percent and 71 percent respectively)” (p. 168, italics mine). The confusion is apparently caused by emphasizing different numbers such as 32% are ignorant vs. 68% who are informed. While one can figure things out by doing the math, I found this unnecessarily confusing. Thankfully, such examples are few and far between.

Sprinkled throughout Futurecast are helpful bullet lists and tables. The two tables that I found most interesting were “critical shifts in values and attitudes” (p. 79) and “percentage of adults who believe these Bible stories are literally true” (p. 135). The latter will likely provide introductory material for numerous sermons and lessons. For those looking for introductory material, a topical index would have been helpful.

Overall, I appreciated Barna’s work in Futurecast. It provides a snapshot of some of the significant and rapid changes and trends in society today. It is not and should not be the only source for exegeting our culture, but it is a helpful resource to that end.

My review copy was provided by Tyndale House Publishers.