Four years ago, Greg Habegger and I were privileged to write For the Sake of His Name for the 2010 Student Global Impact Conference in Detroit, MI. This year, we were again commissioned to write a hymn for the conference, this time focused on Philippians 1:21. The result of our collaboration is To Live or Die, which debuted at the conference around a month ago.
This article is a continuation of our ongoing Friday series by Dr. Adams dealing with homiletics (preaching). To read previous articles check out our archives.
I am not concerned here with evangelistic preaching, so-called. My concern is with the sort of edificational preaching that goes on every Sunday in Bible-teaching churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, the gospel can never be preached without also having evangelism in view. But the sort of evangelism that takes place in the regular gathering of the people of God will be that kind of evangelism that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 14:23–25—incidental evangelism.
What I am talking about is the way in which the letters of the New Testament are written by preachers, whose preaching style and content are plainly apparent in them. These books were written to Christian churches and to saved individuals; that means that the purpose of these books was not strictly evangelistic. They dealt with such themes as heresy, schism, lack of love, encouragement, truth: matters you discuss with believers. But—and here is the main point—no matter...
In discussing problems with Christian counselees, we often find ourselves deeply involved in matters concerning the providence of God. People want to know “Why?” But it isn’t always possible to respond to that question in any specific way. If it is, fine; but that is the exception, not the rule.
So what do we say? Well, of course many different things—responses that fit each individual situation—but there are some principles (abstract as they may be) that people usually find helpful.
In referring to Paul’s imprisonment at Rome (Philippians 1) we show how God used it to convert soldiers as well as encourage others to go preach. As we open up the passage at some length, the following encouraging principles emerge:
Whether or you are able to see all or even only part of what it is that He’s up to, you can rely on the fact because of Romans 8:28,29.
What is providence? It is the working out of God’s plan by God Himself. Unlike Deism, Christianity teaches that God plans His work,then works His plan. Deists believe that having...
In seminary, in one form or another, you were taught “Be sure to apply the truth that you are teaching.” That is good advice; it follows biblical precedent and precept and points to an important fact that continually needs to be reemphasized. But how does one apply truth to life? On that question advice differs and/or often thins out. It is easy to gain assent to various truisms and noble goals, but it is when you turn to the discussion of ways and means that differences begin to appear. Everyone wants peace. So far, agreement is easy, but people will battle fiercely over how to obtain it. So too, all homileticians insist on the necessity for application but argue for widely differing methods of applying truth. Therefore, I shall focus my comments not so much on the commonplace areas of agreement but on the points of difference in an attempt to provide some sort of guidelines for proceeding through this homiletic maze.
To begin with, briefly let us consider the meaning of the word application so that we may understand from the outset what it is that we are discussing. The verb “apply” etymologically means “to fold or lay upon.” The idea of...
This doctrine, which by many is derided as esoteric, is anything but. It has very important moral and social implications. But before turning to that, let’s set forth what is meant by the term and why it must be accepted as biblical.
Traducianism is the teaching that not only the body but also the soul is passed down by natural generation. That is to say, in contrast to the rival doctrine called Creationism there is no time from conception on when there was not a soul present in the child. Creationists believe that a new soul is created for every child but differ as to whether it is placed within him at conception or possibly at some other time preceding birth.
Now, the proofs for traducianism are many, among which I shall mention these:
Using this blog (which also includes a bunch of homeschooling posts) as a means to pin some Facebook links to our Pinterest page for the Facebook group Schoolin’ Swag. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Here are the links:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/HomeschoolFreecycle/ Homeschool Freecycle
https://www.facebook.com/groups/hsucs/ Homeschool Used Curriculum Swap
https://www.facebook.com/groups/239853779482578/ Used Homeschool Books and Curriculum for Sale or Free
https://www.facebook.com/HomeschoolBargainsAndMore Homeschool Bargains and More
We had the privilege of having my mom stay with us for a few years after my dad passed away. Shortly after she arrived to stay with us, I was hashing through some insurance details with her, and alluded to “what happened to dad.” She gave me a blank stare. She asked, “What happened to him?” Then she looked away, with a gesture which said she was done talking. She went to her room for the night. In the morning, with great relief in her voice, but not a smile, she stated that she had remembered what happened to him. Whether it was stress, weariness, just basic forgetfulness of old age, or something more, that event was a mere blip on the screen. I never saw anything so profound again…and I am grateful never to have seen the fear, the bewilderment, the despair that registered on her face that day. Ordinarily very sharp mentally, and proud of her crossword puzzle skills, she had had a moment of complete helplessness in which...
A few nights ago, creationist Ken Ham debated evolutionist Bill Nye on creation and evolution. I didn’t watch it for several reasons. First, it was at a bad time. I was reading to my kids and getting them in bed. Second, it didn’t sound interesting. My suspicion was that it would be a rehash of old arguments, made by both sides often and rejected by both sides equally often.
I am a young earth creationist (YEC), primarily because the Bible presents it that way, and secondarily because, as I understand the science, there is no reason not to be. Now, I admit to not understanding all the science, but I have never gotten satisfactory explanations of things from an evolutionary perspective.
Simply put, I don’t have enough faith to be an evolutionist. Too many statistically impossible things would have to fall exactly in place for it to be true. To get a one-in-a-billion occurrence to happen is unbelievable. Irrational. To get a whole series of them to happen (which is what evolution requires) is … well … I don’t have a word for it. To believe in it is either an act of extreme faith or extreme naiveté, or both.
I have read some of the articles and reviews of...
Around the Horn is back after a hiatus due to more pressing matters. So without further ado …
At first, here’s an article giving “5 Reasons Why Gay is not the New Black.” These are things that should be pretty obvious. While all humanity should be treated with dignity because they are in the image of God, we, as a society, need to stop with the nonsense. This article helps to point us in the right direction.
At second, here’s a story of a man who was offered $50,000 for his twitter handle, refused it, and then had it stolen from him. What’s the biggest lesson here? If someone offers you $50,000 for your twitter handle, give it to them. Now. Why? Cuz Twitter handles are free. So take the 50G before the other guy finds out.
At third, here’s a couple of articles on parenting (article 1,...
The NT authors’ goal was to convince their readers that Jesus was the Christ of God, sent for the salvation of the world. To prove this with an illegitimate or unapparent use of Scripture would hardly have been convincing. The Scriptures continually appeal to the OT for its authority by using phrases like “It has been written” or “As the Scripture says.” Such appeals only make sense if it can be shown that “it” has indeed been written or has been said in the Scriptures. After all, if the Christological interpretation was hidden, “then how could it have been persuasive for those considering whether Jesus was the one sent from God according to his plans for all eternity?”(Kaiser 2003, 22).
Richard Baxter is famous for his couplet, “I preached, as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.” This couplet is often quoted to press home the urgency of the task of preaching.
What you have probably never seen is what else Baxter said on either side of his couplet. It is well worth the effort it takes to read this older poetry. It is taken from Baxter’s Poetic Fragments which was published in 1821. Baxter apparently used no versification in his poetry, so the formatting here is his (or whoever typeset this edition of Baxter’s poetry).
The frequent sight of death's most awful face,
Rebuked my sloth, and bid me mend my pace!
Thou knew'st my dulness needed such a spur;
So prone was I to trifle and demur.
Who dare his soul for gain or pleasure sell,
That lives as in the sight of Heav'n and Hell ?
This call'd me out to work while it was day;
And warn poor souls to turn without delay:
Resolving speedily thy word to preach,
With Ambrose, I at once did learn and teach.
Still thinking I had little time to live,
Among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, there is a rather troubling document dated from the year 1 B.C. It’s a letter written by a husband to his wife. The husband is out of town, and the wife is apparently expecting to deliver a child in the near future. Here’s the text:
Hilarion to his sister Alis, many greetings, also to my lady Berous and Apollonarion. Know that I am still in Alexandria; and do not worry when all the others return. I am staying in Alexandria. I ask you and entreat you, take care of the child, and if I receive my pay soon, I will send it up to you. Above all, if you bear a child and it is a male, let it live; if it is a female, expose it. You have told Aphrodisias, “Do not forget me.” But how can I forget you? Thus I’m asking you not to worry.
The 29th year of Caesar, Pauni 23 (P.Oxy. 4.744).
This letter is somewhat well-known due to its striking content. Almost as an aside, Hilarion instructs his wife that if she gives birth to a daughter, she is to expose the girl (i.e., to...
Just a reminder that the Rice Lectures are now just two weeks away on Wednesday, March 19. Pastor Peter Hubbard, who is the teaching pastor at North Hills Community Church in Taylors, SC, will be presenting three lectures based on his new book Love Into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual and the Church.
The lectures will run from 8:30 a.m. till noon. A free lunch will be provided afterward. There is no cost to attend the Rice Lectures. However, for planning purposes, all guests are requested to register in advance so that adequate seating and food can be provided. Registration can be completed by calling (313) 381-0111, ext. 400, or sending an email to email@example.com.
If you have spent time counseling men in the areas of purity and pornography, you have probably, like me, struggled to find a resource that is biblical, straightforward, pastoral, and pure itself. In my opinion, Heath Lambert has written such a book, titled Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace (Zondervan, 2013). This book is designed as a resource both for those fighting against the sin of viewing pornography and for those helping those who are.
I recently read through the book while preparing for a retreat, and found it to be extremely practical. Lambert has served as a pastor and now as a teacher, and is also the Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (formerly NANC–which, in my view, bodes well for this organization). Lambert is biblical, pastoral, hopeful, and straightforward in his counsel.
Here are a few quotes I highlighted from the Kindle edition I...
I’ve visited sub-Saharan Africa a few times and have started to get a handle on the grassroots economic theory that dominates the local villages: zero-sum economics. In brief, traditional African culture understands that there is a fixed amount of wealth available at all times, so if one villager becomes wealthy, he necessarily does so at the expense of others, who conversely become poor. In such a model, a man who works hard, earns money, and starts socking that money away in a bank account is immoral, because by “hoarding” this money, he is denying his neighbors the opportunity to prosper or even to survive.
The effects of this economic theory are manifold. Some of these are not entirely bad—the Africans I met tended to be relational, communitarian, less penurious than the average American, and even quite generous (of course they expected the same from me, so this wasn’t pure altruism, but there is a certain civility in African society that is rather pleasant). Still, the problems with this theory were glaring. People still hoarded, but deceitfully and hypocritically; envy often outpaced magnanimity. But the most obvious problem of zero-sum economics was that,...
In a handful of places the NT interprets Jesus’ resurrection (+ ascension) as his exaltation to God’s right hand, which is to say, as his fulfillment of David’s prophecy about the coming messiah in Ps 110:1: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” See, for example, Heb 1:13; 8:1 and 10:12–13. Despite all this, some still insist that it isn’t appropriate to say that Jesus is presently reigning as the davidic messiah, the davidic king (see, e.g., here). One problem with this reading is that it seems to contradict what Paul says about Jesus in 1 Cor 15:25. There Paul says that Jesus “must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” The bit about the “enemies” recalls the end of Ps 110:1 and therefore...
It’s probably the best overall book on suffering because it shrewdly addresses the issue from three angles:
As with Keller’s other books, this brims with wisdom from decades of fruitful pastoral ministry.3 Videos
1. Trailer (1:43 min.):
2. Word to Pastors and Caregivers (2:05 min.):
Doug Moo is my favorite exegete on Romans, a letter he has studied carefully for over forty years. (See my chronological list of his publications on Romans.)
So I’m delighted that Logos Bible Software recently released a new course: Doug Moo on Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
Alex Chediak. Preparing Your Teens for College: Faith, Friends, Finances, and Much More. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2014. 64-page sample PDF.
Chediak’s 2011 book is for teens. This one is for their parents. Both are helpful guides.
And WTS Books has a special sale on Chediak’s book starting today.
Matt Perman has been working on this book for a long time, and it’s scheduled to release on March 4:
Matt Perman. What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014. 351 pp.
I’ve read a bit on productivity (not nearly as much as Matt), and this book is overall the most helpful one I’m aware of because it combines the best of the productivity literature (like David Allen’s Getting Things Done) with sound theology.
That’s why John Piper writes this in the foreword:
This book is simply extraordinary.
This is largely because of the way God has wired Matt...
Recently, I’ve been doing some reading regarding unhealthy and even dangerous assemblies which call themselves “churches”, but which possess characteristics that defy the healthy components of a church we see discussed throughout the Book of Acts and many of the Pauline epistles. Just for the sake of discussion, I offer a few warning signs of what I would call unhealthy churches. Perhaps after reading these you might want to debate some of my conclusions or add a few warning signs of your own.
1. Does your church leadership tightly control the flow of information within its ranks suggesting that anything that is negative or which questions something is ‘rebellious’ or ‘gossip’?
2. Does the pastor use public shaming as a method to gain the compliance of followers or does he use the pulpit as a place to “call out” individuals who have crossed him?
3. Are all the previous pastors “unwelcome” back to where they once served and is there a rather regular cycle of pastoral resignations or...
Some have asked me if I’m supporting the upcoming movies about “Noah” and “The Son of God”. I don’t care much one way or the other if people go as long as they know that historically, Hollywood does a LOUSY job of accurately portraying Scripture on the big screen. As for me, I don’t plan on seeing either movie at a theater, if ever. The church where I serve as a pastor isn’t using the movies as some sort of evangelistic outreach as many churches are. I have been reminded of an article that I wrote about 7 years ago wherein a “rethought” my participation in the great “Passion of Christ” movie debut in which I coined the phrase, “Pimping for Hollywood”. This article and the phrase were latter cited in Warren Smith’s excellent book, “A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church”. Because there are some similarities, I thought I’d post a link to that article here: