Weekly Web Watch
Here’s my weekly round-up of recommended reads from around the web:
- In an excellent paper, introduced here, Tony Merida attempts to answer the question, expressed in the words of Bryan Chapell, “How do I preach the text that is present and preach Christ where he may not seem to be present?”
- A few years ago I had the joy of meeting and sitting under the ministry of Conrad Mbewe who has been described as the African Spurgeon. Clint Archer recently met up with him and asked him a number of questions including ‘What information would be helpful for Evangelicals in the West to know about the state of the African church?’ and ‘What would you want to tell the Evangelical church in America and the UK about how best to be involved in God’s Kingdom work in Africa?‘ The two articles appear here and here.
- Christopher Ash of The Proclamation Trust has written the first of two articles on ‘Why preach?’, based on God’s instruction to Moses to “Assemble the people before me to hear my words’” (Deut 4:10).
- Dave Kraft lists ten critical mistakes that leaders make, as well as some ways to avoid them. Over all of that he affirms, “The triune God is bigger than our mistakes and will work His plan and purpose in spite of them.” Amen to that!
- Ligonier Ministries has filmed an ambitious new 60-hour survey of church history featuring Dr. Robert Godfrey, president of Westminster Theological Seminary, California. The first part, 12 talks on on AD 100-600, is now available in both audio and video. You can also download a free study guide. More details here
- Heading up a new Bible College in Edinburgh, I found this article on ‘What Is the Biggest Change Evangelical Seminaries Need to Make Right Now?’ fascinating and there is much I agree with including the statement, “Theological seminaries are a vital resource to the global church. They will always be necessary. But these schools face a major challenge. For their future, there is a great need for the majority of faculty and decision-makers to accept more fully their crucial role as missionaries and trainers of missionaries.”
- Finally, I haven’t yet had a chance or the time to sit and watch this video right through – it’s a little over an hour long – but I am looking forward to doing so. It’s described as “a mixture of movie and documentary of the life of” Charles Spurgeon
Here’s a few treasures found as I’ve explored the web in recent days:
- having just begun a series of lectures on apocalyptic literature this very morning, I found John Walton’s comments here extremely wise and helpful – “Much confusion is caused, however, by one’s mistakenly treating the vision of a prophet as the message of a prophet. The vision was not the message, but the occasion for the message.” Incidentally this website, hosted by Baker Bookhouse, is full of great book recommendations and exerpts
- I’ll be honest – I am not a great fan of Rick Warren but I found these 13 Thoughts About Pastoral Prayers by a guest contributor to his website practically helpful and constructive
- make a cup of tea, sit back and immerse yourself in Geoff Thomas’s seven-fold beginners’ methodology to the true work of the ministry ; It’s packed full of indispensable wisdom and insights
- David Helm offers 3 Resolutions for Preachers
- Chris Castaldo offers an answer to the question, ‘Why did God use Spurgeon?’
- this piece by Fred Zaspel on How to Preach the Gospel from Every Part of the Bible has been well pugged and publicised in the last few days but just in case you have missed it – and I wouldn’t want you to – I give you the link
- the latest edition of CREDO is now available to read online or as a pdf, and it’s always worthwhile reading material, and, with thanks to The Cripplegate for the news, Pulpit Magazine is back!
Regular readers of this blog will be aware that postings have been very sporadic and less frequent of late, for which apologies. Apart from being away for a few days I have also been immersed in laying the foundations of an exciting new ministry the Lord is opening up for me and that has taken up almost all my thinking capacity! I’ll spill the beans next week.
In the meantime, here’s a roundup of some gems from the www
- Kevin DeYoung has a good piece highlighting some of the weaknesses of the ‘theistic evolution’ position, including a summary of points from Grudem. DeYoung says, correctly in my opinion, “How can we uphold the special dignity and majesty the Bible accords human beings when we are only qualitatively different from other life forms and continuous with the rest of the animal world? How can God impute sin and guilt to all humans along the lines of federal headship when some of us have no physical connection with Adam? Likewise, if we are not all descended literally from one pair, how can we all have an ontological connection with Christ who only assumed the flesh of Adam’s race?”
- On The Proclaimer blog, Angus MacLeay says, “Preachers need to always remind themselves of Paul’s own view of preaching. Here are five important principles taken from his first letter to Timothy”
- Justin Taylor draws attention to “The Biggest Announcement the Martyn-Lloyd Jones Trust Will Ever Make.”
- Jonathan Parnell tweets Romans
- Tony Reinke quotes Piper who says that, “It is of the utmost importance that college students stop trying to fill their head with facts and start trying to form the habit of fruitful, active reading. Almost all the facts will be forgotten. But the skill and discipline and love of good reading will go on bearing fruit 30, 60, 100 fold.”
- At Between the Times, J D Greear lists 35 values he wishes he had possessed when he started pastoring.
- There has been a lot on the web in recent days about making the most of theological training. Ray Ortlund contributes a thoughtful piece, saying that ‘Seminary is for Deeper Humility’ while Dane Ortlund gives advice on staying Christian while in Seminary (HT: Justin Taylor). These two pieces are among a great list of links to articles on the subject put together here by the Desiring God team.
- On the Transformed blog, John Johnson offers some helpful advice on helping our brains work at maximum efficiency.
- Jeremy Walker quotes Robert Traill’s advice to men of God striving to be faithful and longing to be fruitful.
- Guy Davies recently began a good series on a beginners guide to preaching.
- Reformation Theology has an excerpt from an article in the new ESV Study Bible called Preparing the Way for Christ, which traces the references to salvation in Christ throughout the books of the Old Testament.
- Paul Levy, at Reformation 21, gives 8 reasons from the writings of William Green why God allows the devil to attack believers.
- Justin Taylor, drawing from Ronald L. Giese Jr, stresses why context and genre are keys to interpretation.
- The Good Book blog has a key insight about Romans 7 from a conversation with Jim Packer.
- David Murray explains typology – helpfully!
- I thought I was the only one who thought and felt like this. Thank you Jeremy Walker
- An interesting comment from The Proclaimer on preaching without notes
- Thabiti Anyabwile draws attention to the variegated nature of faith from Hebrews 11
- Tim Challies on When I am God
- Here’s a great piece of writing from Albert Mohler on the demise of the Encyclopedia Britannica
- Steve Utley asks, ‘Does the New NIV Translation really suck that badly?’
- Andrew Davis on how to run an Elders’ Meeting
- Ken Livingstone, who is seeking re-election as Mayor of London, wants to make London a beacon of Islam
- Matt Smethurst on the challenge of preaching Christ in Genesis
- Albert Mohler, in his usual insightful manner, draws attention to a pernicious new development called After-Birth Abortion
- David Murray offers 20 tips on using Bible commentaries
- Charles Spurgeon said, “Where there is no unction, it does not matter what we preach or how we preach it.” Stephen Altrogge encourages us to pray for our Pastor to have unction
- I have always wished that I had learned Hebrew as well as Greek. A site like animatedhebrew.com might still do it for me
- Haddon Robinson observes that, “The aim of most sermons today is not to explain the biblical text. The aim of most sermons is to connect with the listeners’ felt needs…The Bible is used as a way to get a divine imprint on what is simply good advice.” More at preaching.com
- Jeremy Walker introduces the Twinterview, “two people joined by some common bond or interest the same set of questions, and we get to compare and contrast the answers”. The first twinterviewees are Derek Thomas and Carl Trueman
- Justin Taylor posts Goldsworthy on Exploring the Biblical Theology of Wisdom
- Perry Noble lists the 5 core values of a church in decline, but these also apply to christian organisations
- Bruce Ashford asks, Who Needs the Bible When They Have a Good Systematic Theology?
- Counselling One Another points out that Up is Down: 7 Marks of Humility
- Erik Raymond has Four Easy (and often overlooked) Tips that Could Improve Your Preaching
- Over at 9Marks Michael McKinley has 8 ways to pray during sermon preparation
- Ray Ortlund lists 9 characteristics of the kind of men God uses, as drawn from Horatius Bonar
- James Smith writes an open letter to Praise Bands
- Marc Cortez on What the Church Expects of the Seminary
- Phil Ryken has some helpful advice on How to Listen to a Sermon
- I can’t remember where I got this link, so apologies for not acknowledging the source, but this is a wonderful collection of pictures of personal libraries
- Trevin Wax has some advice for those looking for a church to join
- Kevin DeYoung lists 10 reasons to believe in a historical Adam while Richard Belcher has a concerned but very helpful review of John Collins book ‘Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?‘ and N T Wright addresses the question of whether we should interpret Genesis 1 literally
- Eric McKiddie offers a template to help with sermon preparation
- John Peters has an insightful piece on some of the lessons we can still learn from the preaching ministry of Lloyd-Jones while Evangelical Times has an excerpt from Eryl Davies’ Bitesize Biography of the Doctor
- David Murray explains the therapeutic value of the Psalms: “in a day of so many disordered emotions, worshippers are discovering how the Psalms minister so powerfully to their emotional lives.”
- Benjamin Shaw at Ligonier demonstrates the importance of proper punctuation in exegeting the Scriptures
- Gospel Obsessed agrees with the statement that “spiritually mature people are easily edified” and says, “you will like my sermons, and all sermons, a lot better if you consider some suggestions about being an easily edified person”
- Clint Archer at The Cripplegate has four reasons to preach the ‘Old(er) Testament’
- Justin Taylor expounds Romans 1:18-21, demonstrating what unbelieving pagans know about God and why they are responsible for it
- Chad Hall at Transformed has had some great posts on Understanding Change, beginning here
- Justin Taylor has a wonderful quote from Spurgeon, seeing and delighting in the hand of God
- Monday with (Bill) Mounce is almost invariably an exegetical treat. This one on Hell, Hades, Gehenna and the Realm of the Dead was no exception
- There’s some excellent and helpful advice from James Hamilton on Preaching and Teaching Revelation
- Ligonier have made available – online and for free – some of R C Sprouls’ teaching series. All i need now is time to watch them!
- Gary Brady who perhaps is involved in more blogs than anyone else I know, has put together two animated video clips called Bloggy Man 1 and Bloggy Man 2. They’re very clever and entertaining but I doubt if some of the jokes and puns will carry across ‘the pond’.
- Daryl Dash reviews Calvin Miller’s book, Letters to a Young Pastor, and has some appetising quotes, such as, “Trust no theology that doesn’t work where the crowd is small and the pay is inadequate … If your church is small, it will likely more approximate the ministry of St. Paul than Dr. Megachurch.”
- Over at Quaerentia Mark Meynell is compiling an impressive collection of links to works by and about John Stott.
- Takeyourvitaminz has an amazing video, putting the earth firmly in its place and declaring the glory of God.
- John Woolley comments on the lack of ‘Amens’ at the end of public prayer.
- Sean Lucas points out the vital difference between a lecture and a sermon.
- William Boekestein has some very useful advice for effective group Bible studies.
- Chad Hall at Transformed introduces the Pyramid method for reading books.
- Aaron Armstrong warns that you might be killing your ministry and not even realise it.
- George Guthrie has some extremely helpful guidelines for reading or listening to Job.
- Ryan Huguley explains why “every preacher should cut their teeth on the discipline of some form of manuscript” and, as a teacher of homiletics and expository preaching, I strongly agree with him.
- The Cripplegate lists “nine reasons why street-preaching should be considered as a valid way to present the gospel of Jesus Christ”
- At Desiring God, David Mathis has two wise and insightful posts on staying Christian in seminary (here and here), including this comment: “Don’t be under the delusion that seminary automatically makes you grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18). In fact, it can have quite the opposite effect. Beware of so frequently handling such holy things as the Scriptures and good doctrine and the gospel itself. And especially don’t be flippant with grace. For God’s sake, your own sake, and the sake of the people you’ll one day serve, don’t ever take grace for granted.”