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Yesterday we published Dr. Adams’ list. Here is mine. What would you add?
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 past Wednesday, Peter Hubbard, author of Love into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual, and the Church, delivered the annual William R. Rice lectures at DBTS. In his three lectures, Hubbard talked about how to understand and how to show biblical love to those who experience same-sex attraction (SSA).
In his first lecture, Hubbard explained the text of Psalm 36 and sought to provide a biblical framework for understanding SSA. He pointed out that every person’s biggest problem is not his or her sexual identity but rather his or her identity as a sinner. As fallen human beings, we are all sinners in need of Christ, and we all struggle with sin. Different people tend to struggle with different temptations. But we can all identify with the desire to do things that God has forbidden.
In his second lecture, Hubbard examined Romans 1. He noted that Paul speaks about a wide variety of sins in...
The worldwide web is a staging area for mobs. It offers us sound definitions of and warnings about mobs (Wikipedia calls them “individuals in a group to acting together without planned direction…in schools, demonstrations, riots, and general strikes, sporting events, religious gatherings, everyday decision-making, judgment and opinion-forming”), then supplies its users with the greatest forum for mob activity that the world has ever known. In the spirit of true democracy it has granted a voice to everyman, but in doing so, has also accelerated the inevitable collapse of democracy into anarchy. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
Thankfully, the “republic” part of the democratic republic that we call America makes it a place where due process and jurisprudence, while perhaps weakening, remain strong, mitigating the effects of mob justice. A person is still presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, and the wheels of justice turn at an appropriately slow pace. These principles are biblical ones. Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15 insist that punishment be meted out only in the face of duly examined and clear public evidence from bona fide witnesses. Nothing else will do....
Islam is the second largest religion in the world, with approximately 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. There are over 2.7 million Muslims in the United States. The percentage of Muslims in the U.S. population is projected to rise from 0.8% in 2010 to 1.7% by 2030. Yet most Americans, including Christians, are largely unaware of what Muslims believe and practice. This includes an ignorance of the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an. As part of a series of books by Oxford University Press (Very Short Introductions) intended to allow experts to help newcomers understand a variety of subjects, Michael Cook’s The Koran: A Very Short Introduction endeavors to alleviate some of that ignorance. Michael Cook is the Class of 1943 University Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Cook has written several works on Islamic thought and culture and uses his expertise to create an accessible introduction to the Qur’an.
After an introductory section in which Cook addresses...
In Acts 1:12-26 Peter says that Judas Iscariot had to be replaced (see Acts 1:16, 21). The vacancy his defection (and suicide) created could not be left open, otherwise Scripture would be broken. After all, what Judas had done and what, then, the remaining apostles had to do was prophesied, according to Peter, by David in the psalms, specifically in Pss 69:25 and 109:8 (see Acts 1:20). The problem with all this, however, is that on a first reading, at least, neither of these psalms is obviously prophetic, much less “spoke[n] . . . concerning Judas” (see Acts 1:16), which raises the question: Why did Peter think—and his hearers agree!—that these psalms warranted his claims and, therefore, called the early Christians to action?
The solution to this puzzle lies along the following two lines: (1) The early Christians read Pss 69, 109 and other psalms of lament messianically. They did this principally, I suspect, because this is the way Jesus read these psalms (see, e.g., John...
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...
I love these debate-books because they (usually) layout distinct positions winsomely. And my favorite parts are when the contributors interact with each other after their initial essays.
The Leader Kit includes two DVDs, which feature six thoughtful interviews with Mark Dever. Mark is incredibly gifted at speaking off-the-cuff clearly, directly, wisely, and winsomely.
In some circles Calvinism unfortunately has a reputation for being sinfully contentious, especially when self-labeled Calvinists are arrogant and when non-Calvinists misunderstand what Calvinism really is.
This 94-page book should help:
John Piper. Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace. Fearn, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2013.
It’s available as a free PDF.
Related to this are three edifying videos. If you haven’t watched them, I don’t think you’ll regret watching them. And if you have watched them, watch ’em again!
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.