Around the Interweb

Sex-Trafficking at the Super Bowl

Justin Holcomb:

Large sporting events like the Super Bowl are prime targets for sex traffickers because of the high demand generated by thousands of men pouring into an area for a weekend of fun. The 2010 Super Bowl saw an estimated 10,000 sex workers brought into Miami. Despite efforts to crack down on sex trafficking at the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas, there was still a tremendous number of women and children sexually exploited. In the past, attempted crackdowns by law enforcement have misfired by treating prostitutes as criminals to be locked up rather than victims to be rescued, but new efforts are gaining traction: a bill moving through the Indiana legislature aims to toughen the state’s sex-trafficking law before the Super Bowl.  This year the event is actually near the Detroit-Toledo corridor, which has one of the highest incidences of trafficking in the country.


Also Worth Reading

Free Stuff: This month’s free book at Christian Audio: Trusting God by Jerry Bridges

The Elephant Room:

I’ve been intentionally pretty quiet about my thoughts regarding the hubbub surrounding The Elephant Room,

Carl Trueman on Gnosticism, Nicea and Celebrity

Kevin DeYoung shares Seven Thoughts on the Elephant Room and T.D. Jakes

D.A. Carson and Tim Keller offer the “official” TGC position on the event (note—it’s a bit technical).

Doug Wilson shares his thoughts in The Rogue Elephant Room

Finally, Zach Nielsen offers a careful rebuttal to Bryan Loritts in The Elephant Room and “Sucking Up To Whitey”

Commentary: Andreas Köstenberger provides helpful commentary on the recent Ehrman/Wallace debate

Resources: This weekend only, save 30% off site-wide at Ligonier.org with coupon code LOVE30OFF (Ends Feb. 6).


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Book Review: Forever by Paul David Tripp

Baby Dramarama

The Joyless Pursuit of Being Right

Take Every Opportunity

J. Gresham Machen: A Stupendous Theology

Charles Spurgeon: Tell Your Heart to Christ

The Top Ten Posts on Blogging Theologically in January

The Backlist: The Top Ten Posts on Blogging Theologically

Let’s take a look back in time and see the most-read posts from January. Go check them out:

  1. Everyday Theology: God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle (July 2009)
  2. Book Review: Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll (December 2011)
  3. Marriage, Mystery and the Gospel in Real Marriage (January 2012)
  4. Critics, Criticism and Character (January 2012)
  5. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur (May 2009)
  6. Everyday Theology: God helps those who help themselves (July 2009)
  7. Kindle Deals for the Christian Reader (January) (January 2012)
  8. Book Review: Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian (January 2012)
  9. He Descended into… Hell? (January 2012)
  10. The Dos and Don’ts of Book Reviews (or at least how I do them) (January 2011)
And just for fun, here’s the next 10:
  1. Book Review: Love Wins by Rob Bell (March 2011)
  2. 12 Books I Want to Read in 2012 (and Think You Should, Too) (December 2011)
  3. You Might Be Killing Your Ministry (And Not Even Know It) (January 2012)
  4. Why I’m Not Using a Reading Plan in 2012 (January 2012)
  5. Who Writes This? (page)
  6. Book Reviews (page)
  7. My Favorite Books of 2011 (December 2011)
  8. Why is Narnia Okay, But Not Princess and the Frog? (January 2012)
  9. Book Review: Education or Imitation by Curtis Allen (January 2012)
  10. Lessons from Nehemiah (page)

As is fairly typical, only about half of the top ten posts of the month were actually posted in January. There’s well over a thousand articles in the archives, so it’s good that they’re finding an audience, and really glad to see that with “The Dos and Don’ts of Book Reviews” in particular. The next ten is definitely heavier with recent content (again, pretty common). If you’ve not had a chance to read these, I hope you’ll take some time today to do so.

Around the Interweb

Unity Based on Truth

Kevin DeYoung shares an excerpt from Turning Around the Mainline: How Renewal Movements Are Changing the Church by Thomas Oden:

Four modern ecumenical arguments in particular misfire, as shown by David Mills. They even make Christian disunity more likely. These four following arguments have prevailed in liberal ecumenism, each unintentionally eliciting disunity. Each is a mistake “if-then” correlation… All these attempts are alike in one way: they put unity ahead of truth.


Matt Chandler–”Why I’m A29″

Appreciated Matt Chandler’s explanation of the value of being part of the Acts 29 Network:

[tentblogger-youtube h0t0abKl4-U]


Also Worth Reading:

Theology 1: The Doctrine of the Trinity in a Nutshell

The “H” Word: Carl Trueman offers his take on the Elephant Room hubbub—and as always, it’s blunt, but extremely insightful.

Theology 2: 17 Pure Speculation and/or Fringe Questions About Theology – Help Me Out

Christian Life: Should I Marry a Man with Pornography Struggles?

Preaching: 3 Reasons I Manuscript

Perseverance: Just Keep Going


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

You Might Be Killing Your Ministry (And Not Even Know It)

Book Review: Education or Imitation by Curtis Allen

Your Work is Your Calling

John Polhill: The Dangerous Side of Being an Encourager

Creativity, Christianity, and Developing Your Personal Style

Octavius Winslow: Let the Personal Conflict Cease

Around the Interweb

A Short, Free eBook on Abortion by John Piper

Desiring God is giving away a free eBook based on three sermons he’s preached on abortion. Here’s a sample from the book:

God is calling passive, inactive Christians today to engage our minds and hearts and hands in exposing the barren works of darkness. To be the conscience of our culture. To be the light of the world. To live in the great reality of being loved by God and adopted by God and forgiven by Christ (yes—for all the abortions that dozens of you have had), and be made children of the light. I call you to walk as children of light.


Is There Enough Teaching in the Church?

Good question from Kevin DeYoung:

I know this sounds like a crazy notion. I’m not 100% convinced myself. But I’ve begun to wonder if there might not be enough public teaching in today’s church.

That probably sounds nuts to many churchgoers, not to mention most pastors. Plenty of ministers already feel swamped with some combination of morning service, evening service, Sunday school, catechism, and midweek teaching, not to mention extra preps for weddings, funerals, and special events. I also realize I’m swimming up stream against the current of contemporary church thought which says the one thing we certainly have enough of is teaching. We are already stuffed full with Bible studies, services, small groups, conferences, and classes. The last thing we need is another opportunity to get our brains crammed with more information.


Ministry: Picking the Right People

Work: Myths of the Working Mom

Christian Living: Joe Thorn recommends some resources for discipling your children

Discernment: Making Necessary Distinctions

Interviews: Recently I was interviewed about getting published on the How to Be Awesome podcast and sat down to talk about Awaiting a Savior with Cory McKenna on The Cross Current radio show. Check them out.


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Book Review: Die Young by Hayley and Michael DiMarco

He Descended into… Hell?

Why is Narnia Okay, But Not Princess and the Frog?

R.C. Sproul: How Can We Love a Holy God?

Octavius Winslow: Beware of Him and Obey Him

The Non-Negotiables

In Defense of Neatniks

Around the Interweb

Revival is Always Christ-Centered

Jared Wilson:

It is the Spirit’s raison d’etre to shine the light on Christ. The Spirit is often called the “shy” Person of the Trinity because of this. He is content — no, zealous — to minister to the Church the Father’s blessings in the gospel of Jesus. He quickens us to desire Christ, illuminates the Scripture’s revelation of Christ, empowers us to receive Christ, and imparts Christ to us even in his own indwelling. For this reason, then, any church or movement’s claim of revival better have exaltation of Christ at its center, or it is not genuine revival.


Also Worth Reading

Attitudes: How To Disagree Online Without Being A Total Jerk

Learning from Criticism: Kevin DeYoung offers a helpful critique of this week’s super-popular “Jesus vs. Religion” video and Jeff Bethke’s response is a wonderful model of how to accept correction with humility.

Christian Culture: The Elephant Room as a Snapshot of Contemporary Evangelicalism

Interview: Darryl Dash interviews Daniel Darling about his Friday Five series


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Critics, Criticism and Character

The Fruit of Repentance (an excerpt from Awaiting a Savior)

Book Review: The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski

Kindle Deals for the Christian Reader (January)

The Pursuit of Excellence and the Character of God

John Owen: Who Was This Word?

Octavius Winslow: In What Way Has God Hallowed His Name?

Around the Interweb

A Forgotten Text?

Carl Trueman:

”I have often in the past stood with those who laughed at what we regarded as the ignorant, unsophisticated taboos of the older generation.  But now I worry about the ease with which the rising generation talks explicitly of ‘the fruitless deeds of darkness’ in the name of cultural engagement, fear of being thought passé or simply a desire to slough off the legalisms of their fathers in the faith.”

Read the rest.


Seven Daily Sins

Check out new Lifeway study by Jared C. Wilson:

[tentblogger-youtube tdQwScG6zeg]


Also Worth Reading

Writing: Can You Write a Better Headline Than This? Not Using Old Headline Formulas You Can’t

Commentary: The Next Billy Graham Might Be Drunk Right Now

Fundraising: The power of YES in fundraising

Reading: Biographies Are Good for the Soul!


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A Personal Evaluation of 2011

Book Review: Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian

Marriage, Mystery and the Gospel in Real Marriage

Why I’m Not Using a Reading Plan in 2012

John Murray: The Twofold Demand of the Law

Octavius Winslow: What Injustice Have We Done Him!

Stephen King: Want to Be a Writer? Then You Have to Be a Reader

December’s Top Ten Posts on Blogging Theologically

Around the Interweb

Small Changes With Big Results Next Year

Stephen Altrogge:

There is something about goal setting that gets me fired up and excited. Maybe it’s the prospect of doing something awesome in the upcoming year, like running a marathon, or reading through the entire Bible, or finally writing that book I’ve been thinking about. Or maybe it’s the prospect of finally kicking those bad habits I have, like getting up too late, or regularly eating things that will probably shorten my life in the long run. I like to set big goals that will challenge me.

But in the last couple of years I’ve started to notice something about myself: Small goals coupled with faithfulness produce the biggest results.

Read the rest.


“Sound theology has a way of doing that!”


Also Worth Reading

Preachers: Al Mohler on Mark Driscoll

Books: Christianity Today’s 2012 Book Awards

Ministry: Answering Questions People Actually Ask

Free Stuff: Christian Audio’s free book of the month is Knowing God by J.I. Packer. Get this!


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Book reviews:

Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll

You Lost Me by David Kinnaman

Three Things I’d Like to See in the Christian Blogosphere in 2012

Joel Beeke: Were the Puritans Prudes?

The Top 10 Posts of 2011

12 Books I Want to Read in 2012 (and Think You Should, Too)

Three More Books I’ll Be Reading in 2012

Octavius Winslow: Christ, the Procurer and Giver of Peace

Around the Interweb

“Christopher Hitchens Might Be in Heaven”

Bestselling author and vocal atheist Christopher Hitchens died on Thursday, December 15. Many (many) have written brief statements on his death, but most thought-provoking has been that of Russell Moore:

Hitchens expected this moment, of course, but he anticipated, wrongly, a blackness, a going out of consciousness forever. Many Christians today are sadly remarking on what it is like for Christopher Hitchens to be now opening his eyes in hell.

We might be wrong.

The Christian impulse here is exactly right. After all, Jesus and his apostles assured us that there is no salvation apart from union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection, a union entered into by faith. And Hitchens not only rejected that gospel, he ridiculed it, along with the very notion of anything beyond the natural order. The Christian Scriptures are clear: there is a narrow window in which we must be saved, the time of this present life, and after this there is only judgment (2 Cor. 6:1-2; Heb. 9:27).

But I’m not sure Christopher Hitchens is in hell right now. It’s not because I believe there’s a “second chance” after death for salvation (I don’t). It’s not because I don’t believe in hell or in God’s judgment (I do). It’s because of a sermon I heard years ago that haunts me to this day, reminding me of the sometimes surprising persistence of the gospel…

Read the rest.


“I think a fundamentalist simply means someone who takes the Bible seriously”—Christopher Hitchens

Whatever your opinion of the late Mr. Hitchens, one thing is certain—he knew what he was denying. I found this interview with self-professed liberal Christian Marilyn Sewell fascinating:

[tentblogger-youtube A7lPoGO7y8k]


Also Worth Reading

In Memorium: One more on Hitchens, this from his sparring partner, Douglas Wilson.

Giveaways: Over on Facebook, the Resurgence and Logos are giving away a preloaded iPad 2 to kick off the Real Marriage Tour.

Christian Life: Chris Poblete writes, “Whether He goes acknowledged or not, we are still dependent on God.

Christmas Sales: The fine folks at Vyrso are in the midst of their 12 Days of Vyrso sale—there are a number of terrific one-day sales going on, so be sure to check them out.

Prayer Requests: Please pray for R.C. Sproul Jr.’s wife who is gravely ill.


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Book Review: Welcome to the Story by Stephen J. Nichols

Kindle Deals for the Christian Reader

My Favorite Books of 2011

Octavius Winslow: “What a Precious Counselor is Christ

J. Gresham Machen: No Advocate of Undogmatic Religion

Jesus, The Bible and You by Dave Jenkins

Book Review: Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl by ND Wilson

Around the Interweb

What’s Next for New York Churches

John Starke, who pastors a church affected by the New York City’s recent decision to no longer allow churches to meet in public schools, shares about the situation:

Surely New York’s ban reflects the intolerance of a tolerant society, as D. A. Carson has said somewhere. “It’s ironic,” one Brooklyn city official commented at Thursday’s press conference, “that the Klu Klux Klan can meet freely in public schools, but churches, who were the backbone of the civil rights movement, are not allowed.”

“Some people are afraid of what our children will be pressured into thinking if they see churches meeting in our schools,” another city official said. “My fear is what they will think when they see that anyone can meet in public schools except churches!”

The city’s decision provides further evidence that our pluralistic society seeks to banish religion and truth from the public square to the private sphere. As Leslie Newbigin once observed, this ideal they seek would eliminate all ideals. Any society attempting to explain the world as something without ultimate truths commits itself to a reality without purpose…

Read the rest and please pray for the more than 60 churches that are affected by this decision.


Also Worth Reading

Reviving Christian Journalism: Read Telling the Truth by Martin Olasky free at Worldmag.com (HT: Justin Taylor)

Giveaway: Vyrso is giving away a 24-volume digital collection of John Piper’s books!

Christmas eBook Sale: From Dec. 8 through Dec. 20, Cruciform Press has put the following titles on sale:

Christian Living: How to Apply Scripture When It Does Not Speak Directly and Personally to You

Church: Revolutionary Ageism and the Church


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A Readers Guide to the Inspiration of Scripture

I’m Giving You a Library for Christmas!

Branch Out! Three Reasons to Diversify Your Reading in 2012

Octavius Winslow: The Wonder of the Universe

A Biblical Battle Plan for Faithful Street Ministry by Cory McKenna

Joel Beeke: “Holiness Calls for Continual Commitment

3 Reasons to Get Lovers on the Edges of the Twilight by Michael Krahn

Around the Interweb

Tim Tebow Uses Words At All Times Because They’re Necessary

Great post from Jared Wilson on the recent advice that Tim Tebow’s been getting of late to stop talking about Jesus so much:

There are a few problems with this advice:

  1. It assumes Tim isn’t already “being a good person.”
  2. It assumes one can simply imply the gospel with actions and it be understood.
  3. It assumes that the gospel isn’t offensive, really, but is made so through verbalizing it too much.

All of those assumptions are incorrect. Clearly for Tebow . . . speaking the gospel and demonstrating its implications is not an either/or proposition. He rightly understands you cannot do one without the other.

Read the whole thing.


Also Worth Reading 

Ministry: Tim Suttle on how to shrink your church (very thought provoking post)

Ministry (again): 7 Ways Satan Tries to Destroy a Church

Giveaways: Logos has teamed up with Mark Driscoll to give away a Logos 4 Scholars’ Library. Details are at the link!

Free Stuff: Christian Audio is giving away two free audiobooks this month: From Pearl Harbor to Calvary and A Christmas Carol


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

5 Biblical Names We Won’t Be Using For Our Next Child

Inerrancy and Infallibility: What’s the Difference?

All It Took Was A Question

Book Review: Getting Back in the Race by Joel R. Beeke

A Scriptural Formula For Holy Living

Joel Beeke: Seek Holiness in Christ, Not in Your Experiences of Him

Octavius Winslow: Immanuel: God With Us

The Top Ten Posts on Blogging Theologically in November

5 Biblical Names We Won’t Be Using For Our Next Child

A few weeks back, I shared that Emily and I are expecting our third child. Last Thursday (November 24), we learned a couple of new details: one, the baby is due March 19th (the day after our oldest’s birthday!) and two, the baby is a boy!

With each of our children to this point, we’ve had an… interesting time trying to agree upon a name. With Abigail, we spent weeks going back and forth before deciding on her name (looking at both name meaning and, if they appear in Scripture, who the biblical example is). With Hannah, we were inspired by John 1:16, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

But with this one, we’re not really sure what to go with. We’ve started batting around ideas (none of which we’ll be making public until his birth—we’ve got to keep something a surprise, yeah?), but have mostly agreed upon what we don’t like. No nouns, verbs or adjectives; nothing ethnically inappropriate; and nothing that’s guaranteed to get him beaten up daily at school.

One of the places we’ve naturally looked to to find ideas for names is the Bible, something not uncommon for Christian parents. While there are some pretty awesome names within its pages, there are quite a few that are just a terrible idea to ever name your child. Here are the top five that we’ve found so far that we won’t be using for our next child:

1. Mahlon. One of Naomi’s sons (see Ruth 1:2). His name means “Sick”—probably not a good idea to saddle a kid with that one. Speaking of Naomi’s kids…

2. Chilion. Naomi’s other son (Ruth 1:2). His name is equally cheery—it means “wasting away” or, even more simply, “dying.” One thing’s for sure with those names: The therapy bills will be through the roof.

3. Diklah. It may mean “palm grove,” but it sure doesn’t sound like “palm grove.”

4. Phinehas. Aaron’s grandson might have a “mouth of brass,” but phonetically this name sounds a bit too close to having a shiny rear-end.

5. Shearjashub. The symbolic name of Isaiah’s son (cf. Isa. 7:3) means “a remnant shall return.” It also means homeschooling is the only option for this kid.

So those are a few of the names we’ve found that we won’t be naming our next baby. If you’ve got any suggestions on what we might want to consider, let me know!

Around the Interweb

The devil’s playbook

Ray Ortlund suggests four ways that the devil seeks to defeat Christians. Here’s number three:

A spirit of accusation. In Revelation 12:10 the devil is exposed as “the accuser.” Another of his designs is to pierce our hearts with accusing thoughts about our sins – or even sins we haven’t necessarily committed, but we fear we have, or others say we have. He spreads a mist of vague anxiety within ourselves and dark suspicion of others. How to defeat this defeat? Run to the cross for all our sins, and refuse to counter-accuse against our accusers. A calm explanation might help at the interpersonal level. But if the negative emotions are really intense, the only thing to do is not make the feeding-frenzy worse. Wait on God to vindicate you.

Read the whole thing.


Also Worth Reading:

Life and Grace: The Root Of All Sin

School: Vote for Mark Lamphrecht to win a blogging scholarship.

Ministry: Preaching Texts You Do Not Understand

Contest: Logos is giving away $250 of store credit—five winners will be selected, so enter now.


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Book Review: Earthen Vessels by Matthew Lee Anderson

Christmas Shopping for the Bible Guy (and Gal)!

Three Things You Can Do When You’re Reading a Bad Book

The Gift Before the Demand—my sermon notes from November 20th’s message at Tree of Life Church in Smithville, Ontario.

Richard Sibbes: “Nothing So Little as Grace at First

Peter Jensen: “The Bible is a Strange Book

Dave Jenkins on Inerrancy, the Church and the Cults

Around the Interweb

Why Do We Love C.S. Lewis and Hate Rob Bell?

C. Michael Patton offers this insightful article:

First of all, no one hates Rob Bell (or at least they should not). But, speaking for myself, I am very comfortable handing out C.S. Lewis books by the dozens while I don’t keep a stock of Bell books on hand. There is not a book that Lewis wrote that I don’t encourage people to read and grow from. Even A Grief Observed, where Lewis attempts to retain his faith in God, questioning everything, in the middle of the crucible of doubt and pain, is one of my favorite books to give to people who are hurting. But I doubt I would ever recommend one of Bell’s works to establish someone in the faith. In fact, I might only recommend them for people to see “the other side.” Let me put it this way (and I must be very careful here): While I fully embrace and endorse the ministry of C.S. Lewis, I do not endorse or embrace the ministry of Rob Bell.

Read the whole thing. It’s well worth your time.


Also Worth Reading

Themelios: The new issue of Themelios is available at The Gospel Coalition

Generosity: A PLAN for Giving Generously

Life: Only Trusting In God Can Keep Me From Freaking Out

Funny: Tim Hawkins is always good for a laugh—

[tentblogger-youtube ey_IL57a-b0]

Life and Technology: Are You an Internet Busy-Body?


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Inerrancy, Inspiration and Authority: A Clearing of the Throat

Inerrancy, Inspiration and the Character of God

5 Ways to Get Attention in the Christian Blogosphere

Awaiting a Savior: Review Round-up 3

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

Richard Sibbes: A Holy Despair in Ourselves is the Ground of True Hope

Christmas Shopping for the Bible Guy (and Gal)!

Around the Interweb

Putting Unity First

Tim Challies offers an article that’s well worth reading:

Today it seems that unity, and especially unity from one group of professed Christians to another, often comes at the cost of theology. In his masterpieceEvangelicalism Divided Iain Murray says “The ecumenical call [in the mid-20th century] was not for truth and salt; it was supremely for oneness: the greater the unity of ‘the Church’, it was confidently asserted, the stronger would be the impression made upon the world; and to attain that end churches should be inclusive and tolerant. But it has never been by putting unity first that the church has changed the world. At no point in church history has the mere unity of numbers ever made a transforming spiritual impression upon others. On the contrary, it was the very period known as ‘the dark ages’ that the Papacy could claim her greatest unity in western Europe.”

Read the rest.


Who Wrote the Gospels?

Excellent video featuring Dr. Michael Kruger, Associate Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary and co-author of The Heresy of Orthodoxy:

[tentblogger-youtube V2kRn6y_qOE]


Also Worth Reading:

Christian Living: Joel R. Beeke on Getting Back into the Race

Preaching: Storytelling and Preaching: Not the Same

Current Events: Penn State and The Danger of Insular Communities

Mission: Trevin Wax offers 5 nagging questions about DeYoung & Gilbert’s “Mission of the Church”. Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert offer a friendly response and flesh out the last point with one more post.


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Does it Matter if Paul Didn’t Write the Pastoral Epistles?

Book Review: Gospel Wakefulness by Jared C. Wilson

What’s On Your To-Read Pile?

Richard Seebes: Is There More Mercy in the Stream Than in the Spring?

When Men Counsel Women (video)

Choosing a New Preaching Bible

Christian Scholars in the Secular Academy (video)

The Inauguration of a New Form of Life

Consider Your Ways