Welcome to the SharperIron Blogroll.

The Blogroll is a collection of blogs that are often of interest and help to SI readers. SharperIron does not create the content of these blogs and the views expressed in them are those of their respective writers.

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  • Tim Miller - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 7:54am
    This week, the Evangelical Theological Society is meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. Later today, I will be presenting a paper titled, “The Milk of the Word: Defending a Historic Interpretation of 1 Peter 2:1–3.” In sum, I am making a case against recent arguments that the analogy of milk in 1 Peter 2 does not... Read More
  • Aaron Berry - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 2:33pm
    Brian Jones, senior pastor of Calvary Bible Church in Ypsilanti, MI, preaches from Luke 9 and encourages to “drop everything and follow him.” Instead of trying to schedule Christ into our lives, we must commit to following Christ, regardless of the sacrifice. Download and subscribe to our Podcasts here
  • Jacob Elwart - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 9:06am
    Earlier this week, I pointed out that we must be ready for the Lord’s return (Luke 12:35-40). I showed that because we do not know the timing of His coming, we must always be ready. Then I argued that being ready means faithful service to Christ. Here, I want to give motivation for faithful service... Read More
  • Aaron Berry - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 2:08pm
    Jay Searcy, pastor of Grace in Hamtramck, MI, preaches from Luke 13:1-5. When tragedy strikes, the question is asked, “If God is good, why do bad things happen?” Pastor Searcy refutes the faulty answers that both unbelievers and Christians provide and argues why biblical Christianity gives the best answer to this difficult question. Download and... Read More
  • Jacob Elwart - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 7:32am
    If your father was like mine, he would give you a job to do while he was away. He would say, “Your mom and I will be gone this evening, but when I come back, I want to see this kitchen ‘spic and span’ [whatever that meant].” In order to be ready for the return... Read More
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Religious Affections (about)

  • Kevin T. Bauder - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 2:21pm
    Kevin T. Bauder [This essay was originally published on February 27, 2009.] Conservative Christians recognize that they have received a doctrinal and moral patrimony. They wish to leave this legacy to be enjoyed by their children for generations to come. In order to conserve their heritage, they must pledge themselves both to guarding the integrity […]
  • Scott Aniol - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 7:00am
    We’re looking forward to our conference and retreat in March at the Wilds Camp and Conference Center in Brevard, NC! Now is the time to register before life gets busy and you miss the early bird rate! Speakers include Kevin Bauder, Greg Stiekes, Scott Aniol, Ryan Martin, Michael Riley, and Jason Parker. The retreat will […]
  • David de Bruyn - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 5:10am
    “Why this waste?”, said the greediest member of the Twelve. Judas’ supposed concern with helping the poor and for efficient use of ministry finances was really a facade for his unvarnished envy. Judas wanted money, and like every jealous soul, disliked money being spent lavishly on someone else. The sentiment that it is frivolous waste […]
  • Scott Aniol - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 7:00am
    Last week in our discussion of Psalm 130 for today, we saw that this is one of seven of the penitential psalms, psalms that express repentance from sin and a call to God for mercy. Yet this is not simply an expression of individual repentance; this psalm is meant to be used in the context […]
  • Scott Aniol - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 7:55am
    Swee Hong Lim and Lester Ruth’s new history of contemporary worship, Lovin’ on Jesus, is a very helpful concise assessment of the formation and characteristics of the contemporary worship phenomenon. The authors, although clearly sympathetic to the movement, are objective in their treatment of the influences and priorities of contemporary worship. Among several factors the authors […]
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Thoughts on Theology (about)

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Stuff Out Loud

  • Wed, 10/11/2017 - 6:27am

    Not long ago, some evangelicals published The Nashville Statement. Unfortunately, it is not about the tripe that parades about as country music these days. It is rather about sex, gender, and marriage.

    Predictably, it drew a lot of praise for the great moral courage and clarity that it demonstrated as well as a lot of criticism for the narrow-minded hatefulness it delivered.

    And that’s just what evangelicals said about it.

    What should we make of the Nashville Statement?

    As you might guess, I have a few thoughts.

    First, it is good for Christians to have a voice in biblical and moral issues in society, even if, or perhaps especially if, it is a controversial topic on which the Bible is clear. There is nothing in and of itself that is wrong with a statement like the Nashville Statement. It might be appropriate on any number of topics. Letting Christian truth be known is a good thing and when a number of Christians band together to do it, it might be a better thing.

    Second, it can be dangerous for Christians to make statements or participate in statements that are...

  • Sat, 10/07/2017 - 6:30am

    At first is a longish article about the addictive nature of technology in smartphones. It is interesting because it talks about how the people who created the apps are now seeing the problems and refusing to participate. The guy who created the Facebook “Like” button has had his assistant setup parental controls on his iPhone so that he (the creator) can’t download apps. Beware the subtle (or not so subtle) power of connection and the ding of affirmation when someone likes your self-aggrandizing post or ridiculously-angled selfie.

    I will be back to write more right after I check Facebook and Twitter.

    Okay, I’m back.

    How come no one has liked this yet?

    I must go on anyway …

    At second is an article about John Piper and LeCrae (a Christian hip hop artist). I warn you that if you like either of them, you probably won’t like this. Which means you should read it carefully and give it...

Institute for Nouthetic Studies Blog (about)

  • Jay Adams - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 12:00am

    Again, and again, the people of God turned to Egypt for help instead of turning to God. The problem still occurs. Of course, in this article I’m not speaking of physical Egypt, but of all that Egypt came to represent.  Physical Egypt is the type of all that one trusts rather than God.

    So, what does the Bible say about Egypt? Here is but one of many passages in which God explains what happens whenever His people turn to Egypt:

    When Israel grasped you by the hand, you splintered, tearing all their shoulders; when they leaned on you, you shattered and made all their hips unsteady.     (Ezekiel 29:7).

    Christian, are you leaning on a splintering reed rather than the rock-solid One Who saved you? If so, is your shoulder beginning to hurt?

    Are you putting your trust in some modern “Egypt” of your own making rather than the unshakable, sturdy Creator and Sustainer of the universe? Foolish, if you are—and do you find yourself beginning to limp?

    Staffs made of flimsy reed cannot help. Turn from them and back to the one and only unfailing support—the God Who made you!

  • Jay Adams - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 12:00am

    Somebody you’d like to “tell off?” You think he needs a piece of your mind—a good talking to? Think twice; but first, read the following:

    When there are many words, sin is unavoidable.
    Proverbs 10:19

    Most of Proverbs is filled with wise observations given in FYI form (as in this one).  That is to say, they are not in the form of commands, but of information that a wise person, wishing to be wiser, will pay attention to. He will apply them as he sees need to do so.

    These proverbs don’t promise anything when setting forth truth in this form—they merely tell you what is happening (generally) in God’s world—in relation to Him and others. The wise will wisely apply what he learns from such observations.

    The proverb that you are examining is plain enough—but don’t stop with it. Instead, use the understanding that we have reached about many of the Proverbs from chapter 10 on, and begin to learn how to live wisely as a result.

  • Jay Adams - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 12:00am

    People may not like Nouthetic Counseling (articles appear from time to time attempting to debunk it). But that’s to be expected. Whenever anyone tries to do something to serve the Lord there will be opposition.

    What we ask for is an honest appraisal of what we teach—nothing more. We don’t expect everyone to see eye to eye with us. Far from it. But when they differ, we would like them to represent our views fairly.

    To say that we believe everything bad that happens in a person’s life is due to his personal sin, is a calumny. We have never taught any such thing. Yet, this is frequently parroted by those unsympathetic with NC. Trouble comes our way because of Adam’s sin, yes. But certainly not all of it because of the sin of individuals since. This was made perfectly clear in Competent to Counsel as early as 1970!

    Additionally, to say that we don’t believe in doing good to unbelievers is equally false. We would want to feed them if hungry, clothe them if needy, and so forth. But to ask them to do what only Christians can do is not only to treat them unkindly, it is counterproductive. It is one thing to do good to another;...

  • Jay Adams - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 12:00am

    Question: What empirical evidence do you have that Nouthetic Counseling is superior to other forms of counseling?

    Answer: Quite frankly, none. Do you wonder at that? Let me tell you why you shouldn’t. To compare Christian counseling with other forms of counseling is to compare oranges to apples (no, let’s say, oranges and socks!). Consider the goal of Christian counseling over against that of others. Most counseling seeks to solve a person’s problem in order to bring relief. That is the prime goal. In Christian counseling, however, the goal is to honor and glorify God, whether or not relief is obtained. How, then, do you compare the outcomes?

    Moreover, since the object of biblical counseling is to bring about change in the counselee that honors God, how would you test for that empirically? Would you put his soul in a test tube, shake it up and hope it turns blue? How would you test whether God was honored, whether the motives of the counselee were sound (since God looks upon the heart; not merely on outward behavior) or whether he only made changes outwardly? How would you determine the extent of the Holy Spirit’s work in the...

  • Jay Adams - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:00am

    There are all sorts of ideas floating about today in various circles concerning sanctification. If you are getting confused by them, consider the following:

    But grow in (by) the grace (help) and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:16).

    More often than not, in NT (Koine) writing, it seems that the Greek “en” (often translated “in”) ought to be translated by one of its other possibilities–“by, with,” etc. Here, I am sure that it should read “by,”as I noted in the parenthesis in the quotation. The idea of a “spherical dative” is foolish here (as in many of the translations made of this important preposition).

    What Peter was trying to get his readers to understand is that in order to grow in their faith it takes grace and knowledge—both, of course, applied to daily living—in order to grow. And growth, as one learns more about Christ and becomes more like Him, is what sanctification is all about. That grace (here, “help,” the second meaning of the word grace, is also a more appropriate translation).

    Growth comes about as a believer learns more of...

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Institute of Biblical Leadership(about)

  • Derick Jarvis - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 3:42pm

    The apostle Paul was thankful for those who partnered with him in ministry. To the Philippians he wrote, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” Philippians 1:3-5

    At IBL, this Thanksgiving month, we give thanks to God for our brothers and sisters in Christ who partner with us financially and in faithful prayer support. Please continue partnering with us each month, by looking for an updated Prayer Guide the first Tuesday of the month.

    This month, please partner with us in prayer in these special areas:

    This month’s Ministry Focus: Counseling Ministry November 12-17

    For David and Dawn Phelan as they counsel with a leadership couple this month. Please pray for God’s wisdom, guidance and victory in the lives of their counselees. Pray for the hearts of everyone, the Phelan’s, the counselees, that the Holy Spirit will have complete control and power over the week and in the weeks and days to come.

    Special staff needs: Solomon and Deborah continued health issues

    Solomon writes: “Please pray for Deborah,...

  • Joel Tetreau - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 2:55pm

    Several years ago I wrote a book on decision-making in the local church, in which I addressed how to know when to be decisive. Many leaders struggle with discerning when they should make a unilateral decision versus when to pause and listen to the views of other members of the leadership team. The question becomes, “is this a situation that requires me to lead unilaterally, or is it better to  allow others’ perspectives to shape and guide the final outcome?”

    There are several things that need to be considered. First, there is often safety in engaging a plurality of leaders. If one key leader makes all the decisions, then the team and congregation will endure the blind-spots and weaknesses of that single decision-maker. Beyond that, a “command and control” leader who makes all the decisions based on his own thinking looks very much like a tyrant.

    While there are many times when it is good and proper for a group of believers to follow a key leader, there are other times when the primary leader must listen to the collective wisdom of the group. When a primary leader doesn’t understand this concept, his leadership and those who follow him will suffer.

    On the...

  • David Phelan - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 7:22am

    We are beginning a new series of articles highlighting the key practices of leaders who are faithfully obedient in their service for Christ. The practices that we’ll explore in this series help leaders develop the roots, strengthen the limbs, and nourish the foliage of their “EML” trees (see our website for a description of the EML tree).

    Key Leadership Practice 10Utilize a personal daily devotion tool for deepening my relationship with God and growing in wisdom and character.

    To be completely honest, I’m surprised that we even need to focus on the topic of daily devotions. It is an obvious practice that all Christians ought to be utilizing.  In our churches we encourage new believers to develop this foundational practice.  So it should be second nature for God’s leaders to have a daily time alone with God. Yet we at IBL know by experience that many leaders skip right past this crucial time as they head into the hectic workday serving Christ and His Kingdom.  Unfortunately, it is commonplace as we counsel couples having significant personal spiritual struggles, or as we coach individuals stressed by the...

  • Joel Tetreau - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:15am

    One of the realities in team ministry is the constant challenge of working graciously with other ministry team leaders. It is commonplace for ministries to be lacking in resources, and it is therefore also commonplace for ministry leaders to be over-worked and underpaid.

    In such circumstances it is easy to step on each other’s toes and not even realize it. The longer you work with someone, the easier it is to take each other for granted, and the easier it is to become careless in how we navigate daily ministry situations. If we are not especially vigilant when we are tired and stressed, we will find ourselves lashing out at our brothers and sisters in a rude and careless (i.e., sinful) manner.

    Sometimes these challenges in our relationships cause us to become impatient and demanding, if not demeaning. The world might call this acting like a jerk…or worse.

    On a Southwest airline flight I took this summer, I watched a young flight attendant handle a potentially explosive situation with unbelievable grace and determination. We were experiencing a lot of turbulence and were instructed to keep our seat belts fastened to ensure the safety of all passengers....

  • Derick Jarvis - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 8:06am

    In Paul’s Holy Spirit inspired letters, he asked believers for their prayers. To the Romans he wrote, “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.” Romans 15:30

    At IBL, we are filled with the same Holy Spirit, committed to the same Lord Jesus Christ, and likewise, we appeal to our brothers and sisters in Christ, to strive together with us in your prayers to God on our behalf. Please commit to joining with us each month, by looking for an updated Prayer Guide the first Tuesday of the month.

    This month, please strive together with us in prayer in these special areas:

    This month’s Ministry Focus: Pastoral Training in Communist Vietnam
    • Pray for Pastor Solomon, Russ Lloyd, and Pastor Scott Morgan as they provide pastoral training to the underground church in Vietnam (Oct 4th – 21st)
    • Pray for safety in travel and physical well-being, for spiritual impact in our teaching/preaching, for protection from any form of harassment.
    • Pray for our team members’ wives & families while they are absent.
    • Please remember to pray for David, Russ and...
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ChurchWorksMedia Blog (about)

  • Chris Anderson - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 6:45am

    The incarnation is an audacious doctrine. The belief that the Creator of the universe “became flesh” is astonishing. An immeasurable chasm is fixed between the infinite God and finite man—and it was crossed when Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem! Understandably, this doctrine has stirred imaginations. The immortal God Whom heaven cannot contain—now […]

    The post Introducing Gospel Meditations for Christmas appeared first on Church Works Media.

  • Chris Anderson - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 8:52am

    John Huss is one of my heroes. He was a faithful preacher who lived in Bohemia—what we know as the Czech Republic. His hometown of Prague is a magnificent place. I treasure the time I spent wandering through the old town, finding the church where he preached, and gazing on his large statue in the […]

    The post Gospel-Centered Audacity appeared first on Church Works Media.

  • Guest Post - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 2:45pm

    The nature and purpose of preaching is something which should concern all Christians. If we attend Protestant churches, then the sermon stands at the very center of our worship service. While everything that happens in the worship service is important, the sermon is of singular significance. It is thus vital that both preacher and people […]

    The post Christ Crucified appeared first on Church Works Media.

  • Chris Anderson - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 9:56am

    The psalmist commands us, “Sing to the Lord a new song. Then sing several familiar songs.” Okay, I made that last part up. Lest I be cursed for adding to Scripture, I’ll go ahead and recant. But I do think it’s good (albeit uninspired) advice. Let me explain. Several months ago a pastor friend asked […]

    The post Sing a New Song. But Only One. appeared first on Church Works Media.

  • Chris Anderson - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 2:58pm

    At the end of October, Protestants around the world give thanks to God for the Reformation, the sixteenth-century movement which reclaimed the glorious doctrine of salvation by grace from the obscuring veils of Roman traditions. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther sounded the birth of the Reformation by posting his Ninety-Five Theses in protest of […]

    The post Gutenberg and Luther appeared first on Church Works Media.

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Strength for Today (about)

  • Diane - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 2:19pm

    I’m beyond excited about this opportunity to help launch Heidi St. John’s new book, “Becoming Mom Strong”! This is a timely, biblically-based perspective on today’s parenting…because what we are facing ain’t your mama’s motherhood experience. I love what Heidi has said in our launch group (don’t worry…I won’t be sharing anything of a personal nature from this private group):

    I truly believe that you are part of a very special generation of mothers—tasked with raising kids in a culture that is rapidly moving toward moral relativism and away from the things that God says bring life. We’re going to be talking about the very real struggles we are facing right now—but we’re also going to laugh (a lot) pray for each other and learn to see ourselves the way God sees us… as women who have been set apart “for such a time as this,” capable, loved, chosen. In other words, “MomStrong!”

    Do you have days (sometimes weeks?) when you feel like you’re just not doing this thing right? It’s time for some empowerment, ladies. Lasting, rock-solid, uplifting...

  • Diane - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 1:16pm

    Lately I have chosen to do a more focused reading of various books of the Bible instead of reading through it “in a year”. It has helped me pay attention to things better, rather than just reading to get it done (because I like checking off lists).  I started reading through Colossians daily for the month of August and am accompanying that with scripture writing through that epistle with Heidi St. John’s plan.  It has been good for me to read books as a whole, instead of in installments. Continuity really helps in getting the meaning. I know that’s not a profound idea, but it translates into some pretty profound stuff when you do it!

    This passage has been grabbing my attention:

     And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with...

By Faith We Understand (about)

  • Mark Ward - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 10:11pm

    I was recently interviewed by Randy Brown of the Bible Buying Guide. He asked me about Bible editions of all sorts.

  • Mark Ward - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 5:30pm

    I always like David Brooks, even when I have to disagree—or quibble. Not that he should care what an obscure redheaded conservative Christian blogger thinks… Except that I think he pays attention to religion in a way no other opinion columnist at the New York Times does, aside of course from Ross Douthat.

    Brooks’ recent column about the origins of sexual predation among men looked like it was going to be helpful and insightful, as usual, but then it took the turn from helpful description to moral prescription. Or, rather, amoral prescription:

    There hasn’t been enough research into what goes on in the minds of harassers, but the studies we do have suggest a few things.

    Brooks is not unwilling to preach morals; most of his prescriptions in the piece are not for additional scientific study but for cultural and moral retrieval. He unabashedly uses words from the moral...

  • Mark Ward - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 1:05pm

    Pre-order the book in Logos here and in print here. The book should be available for pre-order on Amazon soon.

  • Mark Ward - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 10:05pm

    The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis—and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance by Ben Sasse
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    A good-hearted, tough-minded, generous, hopeful, Mr.-Smith-goes-to-Washington who nonetheless knows his Augustine (and, more importantly, his Paul) well enough to take account of human depravity in his politics.

    An earnest, Christian, Ivy-league educated, cornfields-to-Congress husband and father and former university president who saw sad deficiencies in his students and worked to remedy them in his children.

    I don’t fundamentally share the hope Sasse has for America; I just don’t have it in me. I think we’re too far gone. But his view from the heartland—both of America and, in a way, of the Western tradition—is still one I wanted to set firmly before my vision as my own children exit toddlerhood and start...

  • Mark Ward - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 10:14pm

    The first of Luther’s 95 Theses was basically a critique of Jerome’s translation of “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

    Jerome had translated this poenitentiam agite, which renders something like “Do penance.” Luther, just a few months after writing the 95 Theses, wrote to Staupitz,

    I became so bold as to believe that they were wrong who attributed so much to penitential works that they left us hardly anything of poenitentia, except some trivial satisfactions on the one hand and a most laborious confession on the other. It is evident that they were misled by the Latin term, because the expression poenitentiam agere suggests more an action than a change in disposition; and in no way does this do justice to the Greek metanoein.

    Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 48: Letters I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 67–68.

    I was curious to see what Erasmus did with this word in his Novum Instrumentum—because it includes a fresh...

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