1. John H. Walton, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College & Graduate School, lectures on “Genesis and Cosmology” (click his picture to get to his lecture and power point presentation).
It expanded my view of Genesis 1 and its context. He contends that Genesis 1 doesn’t address the time span for matter or structures being made (Dr. Walton affirms that God does create matter and structures), but rather Genesis 1 addresses God bringing order out of disorder, creating functionality out of non-functionality. We look at Genesis 1 and see God creating structures, when an ancient Israelite would have looked at Genesis 1 they would look at functions – we have a difference of worldviews. He says that Genesis 1 doesn’t address creation ex nihilo. In the Q & A time afterwards he says that Colossians 1 and Hebrews 1 does. Very interesting lecture. I still have questions. The one that moved me originally from having an old earth position to a young earth position was this – “how could there be disease and death before the fall of man and God’s creation being corrupted by sin?” He didn’t address that.
HT: Tim Olson
2. Chuck Colson on the Demise of Marriage in Great Britain:
According to a new report by Britain’s Office for National Statistics, the proportion of Britons getting married “has collapsed to a record low,” and that is a quote. One critic of the current government called it “a disaster for children, families, and society.” But, unlike natural disasters, this disaster is completely man-made.
In 2006, there were approximately 237,000 weddings in Britain—the fewest since 1895, when Victoria was still queen and Britain’s population was about half of what it is today. In fact, “the proportion of men and women getting married is below any level found since figures were first kept nearly 150 years ago.”
The marriage rate for British men is 22.8 per 1,000 and for women 20.5 per 1,000.
Related to this is a Break Point commentary that talks about the economic costs of family fragmentation – the rise of divorce and unwed mothers.
As I said earlier, the costs of this family fragmentation are not limited to the children. As one expert wrote, “Divorce and unwed childbearing create substantial public costs, paid by taxpayers.”
How much? A minimum of $112 billion a year. That is more than a $1 trillion a decade in “increased taxpayer expenditures for antipoverty, criminal justice . . . education programs,” and lost tax revenues.
What is more, the “human and social capital” lost from family fragmentation has an economic impact that goes far beyond government expenditures.
3. Former Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee launches his new political action committee – Huck PAC. You can also get to it at his previous domain name – http://www.mikehuckabee.com. Check out his blog post on the Fair Tax posted on 4/15/08 (for those readers outside of the U.S. that is our tax day).
4. Mark Driscoll on why he hates religion. Great video!
Amen and Amen!
HT: Steve Randall
5. Why Rob Bell makes me angry: a pastoral response to Velvet Elvis.
While I wanted to throw Velvet Elvis across the room at times while reading it, I’m not so sure I’d go quite as far as Pat Abendroth, the senior pastor of Omaha Bible Church, (where Erik Raymond the author of Irish Calvinist is on staff). He does make some good points though as to why Bell makes him mad.
Because he preaches an anti-gospel.
Because he writes off the virgin birth of Jesus as non-essential.
Because he downplays the vital role of conversion.
Because he does violence to the clear words of Jesus.
Because he is the pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church
You’ll have to read the post to read why he makes the points he does. I was also troubled by how Bell handled the virgin birth, and how he does downplay conversion. I’m not so sure that I would completely agree with Bell doing violence with the clear words of Jesus. Sometimes they are not as clear as one would think if you do not look at them from the original historical context. That is true with all scripture, not just Jesus’ words. On the other hand, Scripture is also timeless and speaks today as well.
What do you think?
6. Puritan Prayer for Preachers – adapted from The Valley of Vision
My Master God,
I am expected to preach today,
but go weak and needy to my task;
Yet I long that people will be edified with divine truth,
that an honest testimony will be given for you.
Give me assistance in preaching and prayer,
with heart uplifted for grace and passion.
Present to my view things pertinent to my subject,
will fullness of matter and clarity of thought,
proper expressions, fluency, fervency,
a deep emotion to accompany the words I speak,
and grace to apply them to people’s consciences.
Keep me conscious all the while of my defects,
and let me not gloat in pride over my performance.
Help me to offer a testimony for yourself,
and to leave sinners inexcusable in neglecting your mercy.
Give me freedom to open up the sorrows of your people,
and to set before them comforting consolations.
Give your power to the truth preached,
and awaken the attention of my slothful audience.
May your people be refreshed, melted, convicted, comforted,
and help me to use the strongest arguments
drawn from Christ’s incarnation and sufferings,
that people might be made holy.
I myself need your support, comfort, strength, holiness,
that I might be a pure channel of your grace,
and be able to do something for you.
Give me then refreshment among your people,
and help me not to treat excellent matter in a defective way,
or bear a broken testimony to so worthy a redeemer,
or be harsh in treating Christ’s death, its design and end,
from lack of warmth and fervency.
And keep me in tune with you as I do this work.
I need to pray this often.
HT: Justin Taylor
7. Looking ways to get your kids excited about missions? Tia over at Desiring God’s blog suggests 10 ways.
8. Here’s something to augment your quiet time – a meditation on grace in Psalm 119.
9. Al Mohler regarding the real issue with Sen. Obama’s comments:
Take a look again at the words most often cited from Sen. Obama’s comments:
“It’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
I will let the political pundits have their day with this. My interest is theological, for Sen. Obama has given us a near-perfect expression of a functional view of religious belief. In other words, Sen. Obama said that “religion” is a coping mechanism for hard times — lumping religion with other issues his audience members were presumably to find strange and alien.
A functional view of belief assumes or “brackets” the question of whether the beliefs are true. One who holds to a purely functionalist view of religious conviction is not concerned with the truthfulness of these beliefs, but only with the effects the beliefs have on the believer, both privately and in social contexts.
HT: Barry Carey
10. C. Michael Patton on blogging to the glory shame of God:
I believe that we are to defend the faith. I believe that we are to contend for the faith. One of my great loves in theology is the discipline of apologetics. But sometimes our zealousness for our faith can have the opposite effect and actually undermine our witness. We can shame God.
I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this. You can read a second post he did on this topic.
11. The Iowa General Assembly wants to mandate a core curriculum for public and private K-12 schools. The model core curriculum draws heavily from Dr. Willard Daggett, a controversial education consultant based in New York. You can watch a video that highlights a number of factual inaccuracies and distortions in his speeches, and an article about the controversy. It has already passed the Iowa House. If you live in Iowa, contact your state senator ask them to kill this bill.
HT: From Their Own Mouths
12. Charles Krauthammer says that the U.S. needs to develop a holocaust declaration to deter Iran is using nuclear weapons that it is well on it’s way to developing. Could we be facing a second Cold War made further complicated by Islamic Extremism?
HT: Kim Moreland at The Point
13. Want to know how to sin with money?
14. Oprah’s favorability rating takes a dive from 74% to 55%. I think people are getting tired of celebrities thinking we take our cues from them when it comes to who we support.
HT: Anthony Randazzo at World
15. Roger Overton at The A-Team Blog interviews David Wells, author of The Courage to Be Protestant.
16. Mormon Coffee highlights faith-promoting perceptions of the LDS church as it tries to distance itself from the polygamy scandal/shakedown happening at the YFZ Ranch in Texas operated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
17. I missed this earlier. John McCain on Letterman. I enjoyed this only because it was great to see David Letterman get made fun of.
HT: Paul Edwards
18. The Internet Monk, Michael Spencer asks are American Christians persecuted? I would agree with him that we are not compared to many other places, and the persecution that we do face isn’t “for righteousness sake,” (Matthew 5:10). However in the beatitudes Jesus does broaden what persecution means.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you,” (Matthew 5:11-12, ESV, emphasis mine).
Of course the caveat is being persecuted “for righteousness sake” and being persecuted on Jesus account. Thoughts?
19. Joe Carter offers a Christian view on capital punishment. I agree with his assessment of Christians applying Mosaic law to the debate. What do you think?
20. According to Ephesians 2, our children don’t need leading… so why the sign?
I wonder how effective this is in getting people to attend their parenting classes?
HT: Crummy Church Signs
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