#TGC11 Day 1 Reflections—Plus Free Stuff!

Emily and I took a few minutes last night to chat about the first day of The Gospel Coalition’s national conference. Sufficed to say, we had an awesome time. But for a few details on why we felt this way, as well as some info on a book giveaway that starts today, watch the video:

Update: As I mentioned in the video, I hadTWO copies of Don’t Call It a Comeback to give away (reviewed here Monday).

The winners have now been selected and notified via email. Thanks for entering!

Around the Interweb

Would You Die For Doctrine?

Matthew Barrett offers some helpful insights from the testimonies of Tyndale, Rogers, Latimer, and Ridley:

If these men were willing to die for such truths how much more should I be willing to stand for them today? Many examples come to mind. If you are a pastor, ministering in a difficult church, do not waver in your commitment to the truth even when those in your congregation criticize the doctrines you are proclaiming. Or perhaps you are a teacher at a school where you are surrounded by more liberal colleagues. Be resolved and steadfast in affirming sound doctrine, even if it be at the expense of your own career. Maybe you are a student being criticized because you believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. Remain determined and immutable in your affirmation of God’s Word. You might be a Christian who is tempted to reject the biblical doctrine of eternal punishment or the exclusivity of the gospel. Be on guard, less you also fall prey to false doctrine and fail to heed Paul’s admonishment and warning to only agree with sound words (1 Tim 6:3-4; cf. 1 Tim 4:6; 2 Tim 4:2-3; Titus 1:9; 2:1).

Read the whole thing.

Also Worth Reading

TGC: Emily and I are at The Gospel Coalition’s 2011 National Conference this week. We’ll be part of the vast Canadian contingent. How will you recognize us? Just listen for the folks who say“Aboat.” Seriously, though, if you’re around and want to connect, shoot me a message via Twitter (@AaronStrongarm). Look for regular updates throughout each day.

Books: Check out the list for the 2011 BoB Book Giveaways. I’m going to this and am pretty excited! (I also have a few of these books, so expect a giveaway or two in the coming weeks!)

Women: Confessions of a Conflicted Complementarian

Funny: Are you a child of the 90s? If so, you’ll find this funny.

The Number One Reason To Buy The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence

 

In Case You Missed It

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

My Memory Moleskine: Panting and Provision

He Delights in the Asking

Book reviews:

Cruciform by Jimmy Davis

Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James

The Organized Heart by Staci Eastin

The Backlist: The Top Ten Posts on Blogging Theologically

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

  1. Book Review: Love Wins by Rob Bell
  2. Everyday Theology: God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle
  3. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur
  4. Book Reviews
  5. Who Writes This?
  6. Everyday Theology: God helps those who help themselves
  7. Book Review: Rid of My Disgrace by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb
  8. Rob Bell + Universalism = Fireworks
  9. Book Review: Unplanned by Abby Johnson
  10. What Good Will Come From the Bell Brouhaha?

And just for fun, here’s the next ten:

  1. So, What is Universalism, Anyway?
  2. My Memory Moleskine: Do Not Be Anxious
  3. Countering the Counterfeits: Trevin Wax on Counterfeit Gospels
  4. Think Hard, Stay Humble: Francis Chan on the Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride
  5. Reading A Book
  6. Everyday Theology (series page)
  7. Book Review: Counterfeit Gospels by Trevin Wax
  8. Twisted: Reviewing Andy Stanley’s Twisting the Truth
  9. Everyday Theology: Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words
  10. Studies & Series

March was a huge month for a variety of reasons. One of the best books I’ve read in 2011 (Rid of My Disgrace) made it into the top ten and received very favorable feedback from its author. The Rob Bell hoo-ha and the reviews of Unplanned and Counterfeit Gospels were hot topic among readers. I was also happy that this month I finally was able to unveil the new Book Reviews page after several delays.

If you have a blog, what were a couple of the highlights for you in the past month?

Around the Interweb

“Do We Really Believe What We’re Saying?”

David Platt offers a powerful challenge to fight not only intellectual universalism, but also functional universalism:

HT: JT

Also Worth Reading

Satire: A Recently Discovered Letter of Critique Written to the Apostle Paul

Encouragement: No longer a slave

Quote: “Why do bad things happen to good people? That only happened once, and He volunteered.” R.C. Sproul (via Twitter)

Thought-Provoking: The New Evangelical Virtues

In Case You Missed It

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

Perspicuity and Presuppositions

The Excellency That Not Everyone Saw

Book Review: Unplanned by Abby Johnson

So, What is Universalism, Anyway? (from John Piper’s Jesus: The Only Way to God)

My Memory Moleskine: Do Not Be Anxious

Thomas Watson: A Sickbed Often Teaches More Than A Sermon

Around the Interweb

The Only Hope We Have, And It Is Hope Enough

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)

R.C. Sproul from Together for the Gospel 2008 on the curse motif of the atonement:

HT: Kevin DeYoung

Also Worth Reading:

Controversy: Michael Krahn on what he thinks John Piper meant when he tweeted, “Farewell, Rob Bell.” (Incidentally, Piper responded: “Pretty close.”)

Men: A Bigger Problem Than “Boys Will Be Boys”

Bible: What About the Issues Scripture Doesn’t Address?

Documentary: The Life of George Whitefield as told by The Doctor, Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Apparently this video will no longer be available after March 31, so watch it while you can. It’s fascinating stuff:

In Case You Missed It:

Book Review: Rid of My Disgrace by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb

Husbands, Date Your Wives

What Good Will Come From the Bell Brouhaha?

Richard D. Phillips: Your Witness Matters

Meet My Friend Deni Gauthier

Thomas Watson: Let Us Imitate Our Father

Around the Interweb

Easy Virtues and Cruel Mistresses

In light of Rob Bell’s using a quote from a letter of Martin Luther to defend his arguments in Love Wins, Carl Trueman offers some helpful advice on interpreting Luther:

A number of comments seem apposite in regard to this statement. First, there is a basic problem of historical method here: it is illegitimate to take a small quotation from a single letter and use it to extrapolate to a person’s general theology. Now, to accuse someone of taking statements out of context is not in itself a strong criticism. Is not all historical writing an example of things taken out of one context and placed in another? But to build so much on a single, short sentence, without examining what went before or after it leaves the argument at best half-done.

Second, to extrapolate from a letter to a person’s general theology risks distortion, even if the whole letter is taken into account. If someone were ever to express an interest in my opinion on say, classic rock music of the seventies, I hope they would not focus simply on an email or two, or even on a couple of longer essays or papers. I trust they would try to read as much of my material as possible, and set each artifact in relation to others, so as to produce a coherent account of my thought on rock music as a whole. By so doing, they would create a framework for understanding the significance of any individual statement I might have made on the subject.

Thus it is with Luther: one cannot legitimately draw theological conclusions from statements in occasional letters without taking into account the theological treatises and, indeed, the confessional documents to which he appended his name. Even the briefest reading of, say, Luther’s Larger Catechism would indicate that his mature position allows no space for such postmortem second chances. Anyone can express themselves unclearly at points; anyone can make a statement that contradicts a position which he holds consistently elsewhere. Therefore, even if Luther did say exactly what Bell claims, it might prove little more than the fact he was having a bad day.

Read the whole article

Also Worth Reading

Prayer: Learning to Pray… Again

Conferences2011 Band of Bloggers » The Gospel Procession

Interview: Burk Parsons Interviews Mike Anderson

In Case You Missed It

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

A review of Love Wins by Rob Bell

Is God’s Victory Over Sin Thwarted?

Reading A Book

Sermon Audio: When God Delivers His People

Honor Your Father by Being in Awe of Him

 

 

Around the Interweb

Faithfulness Means Full of Faith

Wisdom from Jared Wilson:

I’ve already been taken to task by some inclusivist types for misunderstanding the theology here: Ghandi would not be let into heaven on the basis of his good works, they say, but on the basis of Christ’s righteousness which he unwittingly was exhibiting. (This probably makes Angelina Jolie a better Christian than you, although making such judgments is silly, of course.) Aside from the idea that one can do good works unwittingly to Christ while explicitly rejecting Christ’s gospel – as Ghandi did — being utterly unbiblical, it makes nonsensical both the Bible’s passages on justification by faith alone and the passages on good works. For instance, Paul should have saved his breath with that letter to the Galatians.

The means of condemnation in the Scriptures is simply this: rejecting Christ. The idea that rejecting Christ while doing all sorts of charity — which the Bible calls self-righteousness, which is idolatry, which God forbids and for which he promises wrath — is still in keeping with the righteousness of Christ is ludicrous.

Read the whole thing.

Also Worth Reading

Biblical Education: So You Are Thinking of Going to Seminary?

Free Books: This month’s free book at ChristianAudio.com is The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. Don’t let this one pass you by!

Cheap Books: Get Tim Challies’ next book, The Next Story, for cheap

A Head’s Up: I’ve finished reading Rob Bell’s new book. A review will appear this week.

In Case You Missed It

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

Richard Baxter: Orthodox Heads and Unorthodox Hearts

Book Review: The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask by Mark Mittelberg

Archaeology and the Seven Churches

Bear Testimony Not To Yourself, But To Christ

My Memory Moleskine: Jesus’ Righteousness, Not Rubbish!

Thomas Watson: The Lord Keeps Mercy For Thousands

The Backlist: The Top Ten Posts on Blogging Theologically

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

  1. Everyday Theology: God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle
  2. Rob Bell + Universalism = Fireworks
  3. Everyday Theology: God helps those who help themselves
  4. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur
  5. 20 Things God Does When He Saves You
  6. It Costs Something To Be A Christian
  7. Book Reviews
  8. Who Writes This?
  9. Twisted: Reviewing Andy Stanley’s Twisting the Truth
  10. Think Hard, Stay Humble: Francis Chan on the Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride

And just for fun, here’s the next ten:

  1. Everyday Theology: Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words
  2. Book Review: Slave by John MacArthur
  3. Zac Smith: “If God Chooses Not to Heal Me, God is still God and God is Still Good”
  4. Book Review: Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill
  5. Everyday Theology (series page)
  6. 5 Questions (Plus One) with Dan Darling
  7. Assurance Ministers Mightily to His Comfort
  8. Help Me Reorganize!
  9. (Audio)Book Review: Found: God’s Will by John MacArthur
  10. D.A. Carson: The Intolerance of Tolerance

Kind of cool to see some fairly major changes in the top ten. I was kind of surprised to see the Rob Bell post garner such a huge amount of attention, but such is the way of things, sometimes. I was also incredibly grateful that 20 Things God Does When He Saves You made the top ten (thanks in part to a number of bloggers linking to it); those points are ones I come back to fairly frequently in my notes. Also interesting to see what’s still getting attention from months (and in some cases years) prior, like the review of Slave and Andy Stanley’s Twisting the Truth.

If you have a blog, what were a couple of the highlights for you in the past month?

Around the Interweb

Should We Baptize Small Children?

Trevin Wax:

Because Scripture does not shackle us to a certain age or make clear prescriptions in this area, we must exercise restraint in making dogmatic assertions regarding the “proper age” for baptism. It’s wisdom we are after, not uniformity. Faithful pastors may disagree.

To be clear, I do not consider childhood baptisms invalid. I myself was baptized when I was eight.

But I do believe that we should be very careful in how we handle the precious little ones that the Lord has entrusted to our care – neither discouraging them from believing in Christ nor giving them false assurance of their decision by speedily baptizing them.

Read the whole thing here.

Also Worth Reading

Humility: The Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person

Answered Prayer: Said Musa Released from Prison!

Wisdom from Saints of Old: The Reality of Hell

Ministry: Does Preaching Make Disciples?

In Case You Missed It

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

Sermon Audio: Delighting in Devotion

(Audio)Book Review: Jesus in the Present Tense by Warren W. Wiersbe

(Audio)Book Review: Justified by Faith Alone by R.C. Sproul

My Memory Moleskine: Jesus Plus Anything Equal Nothing

Bid Them To Count the Cost

Around the Interweb

America Quiet on the Execution of Afghan Christian Said Musa

Said Musa is an Afghani Christian who was arrested on May 31, 2010, for his faith. In the time that he has been imprisoned, he has been beaten, abused, spit upon, sexually assaulted, and mocked; now, he is sentenced to death.

Newspapers in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe have reported the story, but with, the exception of the Wall Street Journal and, of course, NRO, American outlets have not found it worthy of attention. The Journal reports that “Afghan officials have been unapologetic: ‘The sentence for a convert is death and there is no exception,’ said Jamal Khan, chief of staff at the Ministry of Justice. ‘They must be sentenced to death to serve as a lesson for others.’”

The U.S. government — reportedly including Secretary of State Clinton — and other governments have pushed for his release, but to no avail.

But the president has been silent, even as we fight a war that has among its goals the creation of a government that conforms to international human-rights standards.

An American president certainly needs to guard and shepherd his political capital, and should not speak out about every prisoner. But Musa himself has appealed to “President Brother Obama” to rescue him from his current jail. And when an obscure and aberrant Florida pastor, Terry Jones, threatened to burn a Koran, not only President Obama but much of his cabinet, as well as General Petraeus, weighed in on the matter.

If the actions of a Florida pastor who threatened to destroy a book holy to Muslims deserved public and presidential attention, then the actions of the Afghan government, ostensibly a ‘democratic’ ally, to destroy something holy to Christians, a human being made in the image of God, also deserve public and presidential attention.

Read and pray.

Also Worth Reading

Books: Tim Challies new book, The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion, is going be released from Zondervan in April. Here’s the trailer for the book:

Preorder a copy from Amazon.

Biographies: Speaking of Tim Challies, this week he reviewed a new biography of A.W. Tozer that points out both his strengths and weaknesses.

Theology: Questions of Conviction on Eternal Security

In Case You Missed It

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

20 Things God Does When He Saves You

J.C. Ryle: It Costs Something To Be A Christian

Book Review: iFaith by Daniel Darling

5 Questions (Plus One) with Dan Darling

We Love by Choice, Not by Feeling

Around the Interweb

Jesus’ Death Killed the Consumer

Dave Dorr at the Resurgence:

Every dissatisfaction can be traced to our consumer mindset. Consumers are fine at the store, but don’t bring it home. And don’t bring it in the church. Or, at least, recognize your consumer attitude in the church. A church operates more like a family than a store. If we miss this, then we will always have dissatisfaction towards those who are trying to love and help us.

Read the rest.

Also Worth Reading

Disturbing: Planned Parenthood staffers counselling sex traffickers. Again.

Interview: Tim Challies asks John MacArthur 10 questions: Part 1 & Part 2

Art for Your Desktop: The Resurgence offers some new Spurgeon Wallpapers

Blogging: “What is a Personal Blog If Not Self-Promotion?”

In Case You Missed It

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

Reviews of Josh McDowell & Dave Sterrett’s Coffee House Chronicles series:

Is the Bible True…Really?

Who is Jesus…Really?

Did the Resurrection Happen… Really?

My Memory Moleskine: Philippians 2:1-18(ish)

J.C. Ryle: Assurance Ministers Mightily to His Comfort

Help Me Reorganize!

So, after two years of (usually) weekly reviews, the Book Reviews page is beginning to get a bit out of control. And since it exists for your benefit, I’d like your input on how best to reorganize it!

What would be most helpful for you, readers?

Filing by author?

Publisher?

Subject matter?

Leave a comment and help me reorganize that page!

Around the Interweb

Trafficking in the Shadow of the Superbowl

Via Carolyn McCulley:

A.H. was trafficked to Dallas/Ft. Worth and forced into prostitution when she was just a teen. Like many other girls, she was beaten, raped, and enslaved not far from Dallas Cowboys stadium, where the 2011 Super Bowl will be held. To fight back against sex trafficking in Dallas and during major events like the Super Bowl, A.H. has written an open letter to the 2011 Super Bowl Host Committee and the NFL, asking them to endorse the I’m Not Buying It campaign.

Here’s the opening of A.H.’s letter:

Dear Super Bowl Host Committee & National Football League,

My name is A.H. and I’m a survivor of sex trafficking. I’m not a big football fan, but I’ll never forget my first trip to Dallas/Fort Worth several years ago. It was 2006 when I was dragged there against my will by a pimp. I was forced to dance, strip and sell sex (along with five other young girls) for over a month while he pocketed the cash ($1,000-$3,000/night from each girl) and planned our next gig. I was trapped in a life I never wanted without any hope of escape…

Read the rest.

How the Gospel Helps Us Overcome Pornography

D.A. Carson, John Piper and Tim Keller discuss:

(via Justin Taylor)

Also Worth Reading

Church Ministry: A Phrase to Retire

An Actually Helpful Open Letter: An Open Letter to Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Free Stuff: ChristianAudio.com’s free audiobook for February is Adopted for Life by Dr. Russell Moore.

In Case You Missed It

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

J.C. Ryle: An Assured Hope is to Be Exceedingly Desired

My Memory Moleskine: Reciting Philippians 1:1-30 (and a Few Words on False Humility)

Joel Beeke: Cultivating Private Prayer as a Pastor

John Piper: The Greatest Gifts Can Become Deadly Substitutes for God

Preschooler Theology: “Why Do Monsters Scare Me?”

(Audio)Book Review: Found: God’s Will by John MacArthur

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
  2. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur
  3. Everyday Theology: God helps those who help themselves
  4. Book Review: Slave by John MacArthur
  5. Book Reviews
  6. Dear Song Leader
  7. Think Hard, Stay Humble: Francis Chan on the Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride
  8. Who Writes This?
  9. The Arrogance of Youth and the Subtle Danger of Experience
  10. Douglas Moo, the Updated NIV and Jesus’ Sense of Humor

And just for fun, here’s the next ten:

  1. My Memory Moleskine: Philippians 1:1-11
  2. Twisted: Reviewing Andy Stanley’s Twisting the Truth
  3. Everyday Theology: Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words
  4. The Dos and Don’ts of Book Reviews (or at least how I do them)
  5. Book Review: Church Planter by Darrin Patrick – The Man
  6. Cliff Notes from the Xchange
  7. Book Review: Forgotten God by Francis Chan
  8. Around the Interweb (January 2 edition)
  9. Though Ryle Be Dead, Yet He Speaks! Erik Kowalker on J.C. Ryle and JCRyleQuotes.com
  10. Book Review: Reclaiming Adoption by Dan Cruver

You folks certainly do like to read a nice variety of posts. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle continues to be the most-viewed post on the site. I was glad to see the Slave review ranked so high on the list (thanks in large part to the giveaway that accompanied it), as well as Dear Song Leader and The Arrogance of Youth and the Subtle Danger of Experience. Also it’s terrific to see folks are checking out the interview with Erik Kowalker about J.C.Ryle Quotes. Erik’s a great guy and J.C. Ryle Quotes is a must-read.

So that’s this month’s list. Now it’s your turn:

If you’ve got a blog, what was your top post last month? Any idea why?