Around the Interweb

Introducing: The Erhman Project

Chances are that a great number of you have heard of Bart Erhman. At the very least, you’ve seen a great number of his books at your local bookstore. In recent years, Dr. Erhman has been one of the leading voices against the reliability of Scripture and the validity of historic Christian orthodoxy with books like Misquoting Jesus and Misqouting Scripture.

Over on Twitter, J.D. Greear pointed to a great site that his church sponsored, The Ehrman Project. The site seeks to respond to the arguments of Dr. Ehrman against Scripture and the Chrsitian faith. Check out the intro from Miles O’Neill:

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Also appreciated this one from Dr. Darrell Bock on what guided first century doctrine:

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Really looking forward to engaging with the content. Check it out.

Incidentally, Andreas J. Köstenberger and Michael J. Kruger’s recent book, The Heresy of Orthodoxy, is a wonderful resource to help better understand the arguments of Dr. Erhman. I reviewed it here.

You Might Also Enjoy

Ethics: Yesterday was the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Kevin DeYoung offers some thoughts: Jesus Loves the Little Children

Culture: Tim Challies on The Strange Phenomenon of White Middle-Aged Pastors Listening to Rap Music

Ministry & Reality TV: Carl Trueman - Profumo, Haggard, and Real Shame

In Case You Missed It

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

My Memory Moleskine: Philippians 1:19-26

The Dos and Don’ts of Book Reviews (or at least how I do them)

Book Review: Soulprint by Mark Batterson

Mark Driscoll on Ministry Idolatry

J.C. Ryle: Healthy Examination of the Soul

The Dos and Don’ts of Book Reviews (or at least how I do them)

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while has probably noticed I do a lot of book reviews, typically one per week. Recently I was asked about how I do book reviews—do I have a general guideline or process, or is approach different every time?

I tried to give a short, 140 character response, but realized that it wasn’t enough, because, frankly, “yes” is an insufficient answer.

So, for better or for worse, here’s a look into my reviewing process:

General Precepts

1. Read with the intention of reviewing. This might seem like a “duh,” but I read a lot material for a variety of purposes, and it’s not always about reviewing. Knowing I’m going to review it forces me to make sure I’m paying careful attention to what is written.

2. The “who” is less important than the “what.” Whenever I’m reading an author I genuinely enjoy, it’s easy to simply just say “I like it,” without necessarily considering what’s been written. Whether it’s MacArthur, Driscoll, Piper, Sproul, Chan or whoever is the cat’s meow, it’s important to not let preference for the person dictate approval (or disapproval) of the content. (Side note, brownie points to the person who can tell me if I used the correct form of “whoever/whomever.” :))

3. Don’t fill-in-the-blanks. When someone writes a very…ambiguous book, it’s tempting to start filling-in-the-blanks with my own theological presuppositions. A lot of books that don’t stand up against even the most rudimentary understanding of Scripture have been embraced by many evangelicals. This is why.

4. Acknowledge my biases. Similarly, I need to be aware (as best as I’m able) of my own biases and predispositions. This will reflect how I approach books by authors I don’t enjoy or who I know hold to a different theological position than I do.

5. Try to be humble. Everybody goofs sometimes. Not everyone who says something stupid is a heretic. And not everything I think is wrong actually is. Something I am continually to do (with varying degrees of success) is acknowledge that I can make mistakes and when I do, I need to be corrected. This, incidentally, is why comments can be helpful.

Guiding Questions

1. What is the main idea the author is trying to convey? Can I figure out what the big idea of the book is and articulate it in one or two sentences?

2. How does the author support his/her idea(s)? Scripture, tradition, history, illustrations from real life examples… every point made needs to be backed up with something. If it’s nothing more than “I think,” chances are, it’s wrong.

3. How does the author handle Scripture (if reading a Christian book)? How an author approaches Scripture is an indicator of their trustworthiness.

4. Do I agree with the author’s main idea? Why or why not?  Can I support my position with appropriate Scripture? In the same way that an author’s assertions must be tested against Scripture , so too must my assessments. If my position cannot be supported by Scripture, it must be rejected.

5. What difference does it make? While there are always some things that you read for which you don’t have an immediate practical application, the question of “what difference does it make in my life” is essential for why determining whether or not to recommend a book.

So that pretty much covers it. I’m sure I could come back to this later today and add a few other items. But if you’re interested in the process of reviewing books (or at least how I do it), I hope today’s post has been helpful!

Around the Interweb

The Tucson Tragedy and God’s Gift of Moral Language

Kevin DeYoung:

On Saturday a young man opened fire outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Arizona, killing six people, a 9-year old girl among them, and wounding 14 others, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. This is a tragedy. Twenty persons made in the image of God with a right to life and liberty have been killed or wounded by the attack. May God grant healing to those whose lives can still be saved and comfort to all those mourning their dead.

Most of you know all this already. And most of you know all about the political jabs going back and forth whether this attack was made more likely because of a “climate of hate” (to use Paul Krugman’s phrase describing the rhetoric of the right) or whether those who posit such theories (like Krugman on the left) are themselves the indecent ones. Personally I think Ross Douthat’s op-ed piece in the New York Times gets it just about right: “Chances are that [Jared] Loughner’s motives will prove as irreducibly complex as those of most of his predecessors in assassination.” And later, “There is no faction in American politics that actually wants its opponents dead.” Thankfully this is true.

But I noticed in Douthat’s article what I notice in every other write-up on the shooting: a reflexive reluctance to speak of the killer’s inner workings–his motivations, his make-up, his soul if you will–with moral categories. Douthat does better than most in speaking of Loughner’s “darkness,” but even here there is the subtle use of passive imagery. “Politicians and media loudmouths,” Douthat writes, “shouldn’t be held responsible for the darkness that always waits to swallow up the unstable and the lost.” True enough, but who should be held responsible? My vote is for Loughner who, by all accounts, appears to be not only the accused killer but also the real killer. Certainly darkness is appropriate imagery, but I’d argue it’s more appropriate to say he committed a dark deed rather than to imply darkness swallowed up an unstable young man.

Read the whole article.

Also Worth Reading

Music: WorshipRises just released a new song, “Maker of My Heart”

Theology: What’s the Message of the Bible in One Sentence?

Parenting: It’s Never an Interruption

In Case You Missed It

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

Book Review: By Grace Alone by Sinclair B. Ferguson

A Movement of Personalities

Cliff Notes from the Xchange

My Memory Moleskine: Philippians 1:12-18

C.S. Lewis: “A Faith Destroyed by War Cannot Really Have Been Worth the Trouble of Destroying

Around the Interweb

Should You Read 100 Books in 2011?

Trevin Wax offers a challenge:

Last year, I challenged Kingdom People readers to set a reading goal in 2010 and I offered some tips for how to reach that goal. Because I chose a high number (100) in the post title, I received some pushback from readers who thought my challenge was unrealistic or unhelpful. I responded by affirming the benefit of setting a goal and clarified that the actual number is not what is important.

This year, I’m not asking the question “Can you read 100 books in 2011?” Instead, I’m asking a different question: “Should you read this many books?” Is it wise to set a high reading goal? Is it beneficial?

Read the rest.

Also worth reading

Trevin Wax: An Open Letter to Steve Jobs

Free stuff: ChristianAudio.com’s free audiobook of the month is The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges.

Theology: Know Your Heretics – The Gnostics

Mark Altrogge: The Sure Sign of Self Sufficiency

Contest winners: The winners of the Slave contest are… A.W. Hall, Ricky Kirk, Nathan Harbottle, Ryan Higginbottom and Darrin Trammell. You’ll be receiving one copy of Slave for you, and another to give to someone else. Congratulations and thanks to all who entered!

In Case You Missed It

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

A review of Slave by John MacArthur

John Piper: Will We Worship or Will We Curse?

A.W. Tozer: You Are What You Worship

Dear Song Leader…

J.C. Ryle: All About Doing, Never About Believing

An update on my Memory Moleskine: Memorizing Philippians 1:1-11

Around the Interweb

Homosexuality, Derek Webb and Following Jesus

Last week, folks started losing their minds after reading Derek Webb’s recent (vague & somewhat confusing) interview at Huffington Post. Some responses, like Michael Krahn’s were great. Others, well… Probably the best I’ve read, though, has been from Stephen Altrogge. Here’s an excerpt:

I want to be careful that I don’t misrepresent what Derek is saying. He seems to be saying that the problem is the church’s emphasis on the morality of homosexuality, and that we’ve ignored the fact that we’re supposed to love people. This may have some truth to it. I really do want my friends and relatives who are homosexual to know that I love them and care for them.

But, I think we need to be careful about driving a wedge between loving people and calling people to righteousness. We do need to love people, but not at the expense of God’s commands. If someone that I love is engaged in sin, and I believe that homosexuality is sin, at some point I need to call them to repentance. If I don’t do that, I’m not loving them.

Read the whole thing here.

Also Worth Reading…

Stephen Altrogge: An encouragement to persevere in prayer from the life of George Müeller

The Resurgence: Essential books from & about Church History

National Geographic: Some perspective on what 7 billion people living on Earth looks like (HT 22 Words):

In Case You Missed It

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

Book Review: The Gospel and the Mind by Bradley G. Green

Looking Back: My Favorite Books of 2010

Looking Ahead: Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2011

Building (and Rebuilding) Your Library

The Backlist: The Top Ten Posts on Blogging Theologically

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

  1. Everyday Theology: God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle
  2. Book Review: Servanthood as Worship by Nate Palmer
  3. Everyday Theology: God helps those who help themselves
  4. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur
  5. It’s Time to Say Goodbye…
  6. Giving and Receiving
  7. Think Hard, Stay Humble: Francis Chan on the Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride
  8. Looking Back: My Favorite Books of 2010
  9. Book Reviews
  10. When Christ Calls a Man, He Bids Him Come and Die

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

  1. Talk Positively about Your Spouse
  2. Who Writes This?
  3. Everyday Theology: Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words
  4. Seeing the World through a Biblical Lens
  5. Sit in Front of Your Savior: An Interview with Author Nate Palmer
  6. Around the Interweb (12/05)
  7. Book Review – Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
  8. New E-Book: Lessons from Nehemiah
  9. The True Spirit of Christmas
  10. Twisted: Reviewing Andy Stanley’s Twisting the Truth

With changeover from WordPress.com to the self-hosted site, it’s been pretty cool to see how a few things have changed in terms of what’s most popular. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle continues to be the top viewed post overall, but it’s really exciting to see the review of Servanthood as Worship up so close to the top (thanks in no small part to a link from Tim Challies). Another nice surprise was seeing My Favorite Books of 2010 getting so much attention over the last few days. Glad folks have been finding it helpful.

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

Around the Interweb (12/26)

Partnering to Remember

 

Image via Tim Brister

A few weeks back, I wrote about the benefits of memorizing Scripture. Tim Brister wants to help you develop this discipline by partnering to memorize the entire book of Philippians by Easter 2011:

The goal is to memorize the entire book of Philippians by Easter Sunday (April 24, 2011) through partnering with other believers using the memory moleskine.  Paul praised the church in Philippi for their partnership in advance of the Gospel, and in the spirit of that partnership, this project intends to bring Christians together for the deepening work of God’s Word in their lives.  Simply put, we are partnering to remember.

Using the Cahier moleskine, we have created a pocket-size notebook that provides a practical and accessible way to memorize Scripture. Through collaboration with The Resurgence, a customized PDF has been created for you to download with a week-by-week outline for memorizing the book of Philippians in 16 weeks using the English Standard Version (ESV).  On one side of the moleskine you simply paste the week’s verses to memorize, and on the other side you write your reflections on the verses while indicating how many times you rehearsed them each day.

You can download the materials here.

Also Worth Reading…

 
Justin Buzzard: “The Gospel is not like dessert”

Ben Reed: “The art of small talk”

Desiring God: “An Open Letter to Clarence the Angel (from the film It’s a Wonderful Life)”

David Platt at CNN: “My take: Why my church rebelled against the American Dream”

CNN on Francis Chan: “Christian famous” pastor quits his church, moves to Asia”

In Case You Missed It…

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

A review of Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

Charles Spurgeon’s 1859 Christmas message, “A Christmas Question”: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

William H. Smith: “When I look into the manger, I come away shaken as I realize…Christmas is disturbing.”

Around the Interweb (12/19)

Bad News: Santa Claus is Coming to Town

John Piper:

In Other News

Culture: CNN on C.S. Lewis’ enduring popularity

Books: Check out a preview of Mike Wilkerson’s upcoming book, Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry (then preorder a copy):

[issuu layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Flight%2Flayout.xml showflipbtn=true documentid=101217161959-65c1d118dc5c495e939ee3d184c73f78 docname=redemption_issuu username=Crossway loadinginfotext=Redemption showhtmllink=true tag=relit width=420 height=325 unit=px]

The Road to Fame and Fortune:

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. (HT: Michael Krahn)

In Case You Missed It

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

On Friday, I released a new e-book: Lessons from Nehemiah

Seeing the world through a biblical lens

Darrin Patrick on discerning the call to ministry

A review of J.I. Packer and Gary Parrett’s Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way

Around the Interweb (12/12)

The “New” Calvinism: Stupid, Salvation, or Save-able?

The “new” Calvinism is all over the place, for better or for worse. Some think it’s completely stupid, others consider it the salvation of evangelicalism. Julian Freeman weighs in with his take:

Somewhere in the middle of those two positions, I think, lies two particularly helpful cautions. . . .  John Piper warns the New Calvinists about ‘dangling, unconnected wires’ in their lives which hang between doctrine and practice, between the sovereignty being preached and the sanctification of those preaching… Piper reminds the young Calvinists that while their ‘movement’ has the potential to do great things, if their practice doesn’t match their preaching, the whole movement will fall apart.

Just this morning I read a brilliant little article on a similar vein from Tony Reinke, called Young, Restless, Reformed, and Humbled. There we are reminded of the absolute necessity of humility (especially!) in those who claim to be Calvinists of any sort. To believe in the doctrines of grace, but not be humbled by them and your ability to live them is profoundly inconsistent. Reinke writes, ‘First, look at the depth of your theological convictions. Thank God for that–it’s a gift. Second, compare those convictions with the shallow daily decisions that are made totally uninfluenced by them.’

What I appreciate in what both Piper and Reinke are saying is this: The movement in and of itself is nothing; but it may be something, if we let the gospel do its full-orbed work of changing us from the inside out. If we are changed by what we preach and live like what we preach is really true, then maybe this movement is save-able. Maybe God really will use it to do great things for his great name in our day, in our part of this world.

That’s my hope, anyway.

In Other News

Video: I found this funny. Don’t judge me.

Theology Review: The new issue of Themelios is now available at The Gospel Coalition.

Translation: Kevin DeYoung offers his take on the new NIV’s interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12

In Case You Missed It

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

A review of Servanthood as Worship and an interview with its author, Nate Palmer

Reflecting on the classics you just can’t get into

John MacArthur on the true spirit of Christmas

Around the Interweb (12/05)

Why is X Used When it Replaces Christ in Christmas?

Christmas brings with it many things—time with family, shopping, entertainment… and, the occasional fuss over “Merry Xmas.” Here’s a reason why we maybe don’t need to get quite so irked about it:

People seem to express chagrin about seeing Christ’s name dropped and replaced by this symbol for an unknown quantity X. Every year you see the signs and the bumper stickers saying, “Put Christ back into Christmas” as a response to this substitution of the letter X for the name of Christ.

First of all, you have to understand that it is not the letter X that is put into Christmas. We see the English letter X there, but actually what it involves is the first letter of the Greek name for Christ. Christos is the New Testament Greek for Christ. The first letter of the Greek word Christos is transliterated into our alphabet as an X. That X has come through church history to be a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ…

The idea of X as an abbreviation for the name of Christ came into use in our culture with no intent to show any disrespect for Jesus. The church has used the symbol of the fish historically because it is an acronym. Fish in Greek (ichthus) involved the use of the first letters for the Greek phrase “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” So the early Christians would take the first letter of those words and put those letters together to spell the Greek word for fish. That’s how the symbol of the fish became the universal symbol of Christendom. There’s a long and sacred history of the use of X to symbolize the name of Christ, and from its origin, it has meant no disrespect.

HT: Ligonier

Announcements

Last week, I kicked off the relaunch of Blogging Theologically with a pretty incredible giveaway sponsored by Crossway. I was completely blown away by the response! Out of more than 125 entrants, the winner is… Shannon Craig! Congratulations and Merry (early) Christmas!

There’s still time to win $50 worth of merchandise (of your choice), courtesy of the Ligonier Affiliates program—enter before 5 PM EST Today! And be on the lookout for another great giveaway this month!

In Other News

Decor: Just in time for Christmas, Mark Altrogge wants to help you spruce up your decorating with the Christian Leaders Inflatable Lawn Ornament collection.

Free Stuff: This month’s free audiobook at ChristanAudio.com is Handel’s Messiah by Calvin R. Stapert

Ethics: Jared Wilson (citing Randy Alcorn) on the ethics of ghostwriting

Networking: This week, Erik Kowalker, Matthew Blair and Nick Uva launched the Reformed Quotes Fellowship, “a gathering of such like minded people who wish to see the fame of Christ spread throughout the internet by the use of God glorifying, cross centered, gospel rich, and unashamedly reformed quotes from saints of the past and present.” There are some fantastic sites among the membership, like J.C. Ryle Quotes and The Daily Spurgeon among others. Go check them out.

In Case You Missed It

With Christmas fast approaching, it was a children’s book oriented week with reviews of:

Halfway Herbert by Francis Chan

The Church History ABCs by Stephen J. Nichols and Ned Bustard

The Mighty Acts of God Bible Storybook by Starr Meade and Tim O’Connor

The Backlist: The Top Ten Posts on Blogging Theologically

With all the changes here, I thought it would be interesting to go back and take a look at the top ten posts from the last (nearly) two years. Go check them out:

  1. Everyday Theology: God won’t give you more than you can handle: (11,601 views)
  2. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur: (6,909 views)
  3. Everyday Theology: God helps those who help themselves (5,135 views)
  4. Everyday Theology: Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words (1,191 views)
  5. His Name was Smeagol (1,161 views)
  6. Don’t Study Theology (1,035 views)
  7. Book Review: Total Church (866 views)
  8. Lessons from Nehemiah 8: Anger (822 views)
  9. Twisted: Reviewing Andy Stanley’s Twisting the Truth (818 views)
  10. Prayer for Pastors (671 views)

And just for fun, here’s the next 10:

  1. Up the (Willow) Creek: Tim Keller (668 views)
  2. “What the Children Need Most is…” (592 views)
  3. New E-Book: Contending – A Study and Discussion Guide (588 views)
  4. Book Review: When a Nation Forgets God by Erwin W. Lutzer (559 views)
  5. Truth and Lies: Francis Chan – The Truth and the Lie in Social Justice (536 views)
  6. Prayer for Matt Chandler (534 views)
  7. Zac Smith: “If God Chooses Not to Heal Me, God is still God and God is Still Good” (524 views)
  8. Dug Down Deep: Impressions on the First Chapter (509 views)
  9. D.A. Carson: The Intolerance of Tolerance (465 views)
  10. Fun Dad moments (452 views)

Some of these completely surprised me (especially “Piper on Driscoll & MacArthur” and “Don’t Study Theology”), but I was glad to see a few of my favorites in the list.

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

It’s Time to Say Goodbye…

…to the old blog that is!

Welcome to the new www.BloggingTheologically.com!

I’m thrilled to unveil the new site—and my friends at Crossway are helping to launch it with a MASSIVE giveaway!

Crossway has generously provided a prize pack showcasing some of their best releases from this year:

Doctrine by Driscoll Surprised by Grace Think by John Piper

  1. Doctrine by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears (reviewed here);
  2. Surprised by Grace by Tullian Tchividjian (reviewed here); and
  3. Think by John Piper (reviewed here)

And as an added bonus, they’re throwing in a Trutone or Leather ESV Study Bible of your choice (excluding calfskin)!

Here’s how you can enter:

  1. Subscribe to the blog via RSS or Email
  2. Follow on Twitter
  3. Join the Facebook Page
  4. Write a comment letting me which of these you’ve done

Each item counts as one entry, so if you do all four, you’re entered four times!

Bonus entry for WordPress.com subscribers!

Transfer your subscription and get a bonus entry to win this prize pack—subscribe here

The contest closes on Friday, December 3rd and the winner will be announced on Sunday, December 5th.

Thanks for all the support over the last (nearly) two years—I’m really excited about what’s coming next!

Around the Interweb (11/21)

What can six seconds do for you?

Jani Ortlund offers some great advice to women:

After years of a quick shout from somewhere near the back door, it started with “Goodbye, honey. See you tonight . . .” which left us both wanting more. It stopped when we decided that before we went out to face our day we would scout the other out, wrap each other up in a warm embrace, and begin our day with an intimate, very married, six-second kiss.

Try it. Tomorrow when you say goodbye, take your husband’s face in your hands. Look deeply into his eyes. Ask him to hold you for just six seconds. Tell him you love him. Admire him. Tell him you can’t wait until the day is done and you’ll have time together again, and then kiss him like you mean it.

Go ahead. Try it! Your young children will grow up feeling secure in the love between their parents. Your adolescents will blush, groan, and hope their friends don’t see you. Your teens will hope that someday they can build a marriage like their parents. And if there are no children around? Hmmmm, now there’s an interesting situation!

“Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him and would not let him go . . .” Song of Solomon 3:4

In Other News

Announcement: The winners of the Washed & Waiting giveaway are Eric Wan & Brooke Cooney! Congratulations!

Discernment: Dan Kimball offers an admonishment to online “discernment” ministries

Housekeeping: Let’s connect on Blogging Theologically’s new Facebook page

Discipleship: How to disciple a transsexual

In Case You Missed It

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

A review of John Piper’s latest, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

What could unravel the gospel-centered movement?

Calvin: The human mind is a perpetual forge of idols

Sin clouds the mind and the will

Though Ryle Be Dead, Yet He Speaks! Erik Kowalker on J.C. Ryle and JCRyleQuotes.com

If you’re following anyone in the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” circles of evangelicalism, you’ve probably seen the odd link to a site called JCRyleQuotes.com. This website came out of nowhere a little over a year ago offering daily insights from the works of Anglican theologian John Charles Ryle.

The site’s founder, Erik Kowalker, kindly agreed take answer a few questions about how the site started and why he thinks Ryle connects with so many believers today.


John Charles Ryle (1816-1900)

Image via Wikipedia

1. How did you discover J.C. Ryle? What was it about his work that caught your attention? How did his work impact you personally?

I first discovered the writings of John Charles Ryle [1816-1900] on April 10, 2003. That is the date which is written on the inside cover of Ryle’s book Practical Religion, which a person bought for me while in a local Christian bookstore here in Portland, Oregon. Up to that time, I had never heard of J.C. Ryle.

I actually didn’t even begin reading Practical Religion until just over a year later, on April 12, 2004, for that is the date written on the last page of the chapter entitled Prayer. That chapter impacted my Christian life like no other book on the subject of prayer has ever done. I remember closing the book that night in my college dorm room and feeling like Ryle was speaking directly to me. It was convicting and encouraging, all at the same time, which sort of summarizes the style of Ryle’s books. So, from then [2004] till now [2010] I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the various Christ-centered, God-glorifying writings of Ryle.

2. When you decided to start JCRyleQuotes.com, how did your family react?

I launched the J.C. Ryle Quotes site on August 1, 2009. After several months of reading Ryle’s writings and underlining/highlighting almost every other paragraph, I remember thinking, “Wow! This guy is so incredibly quotable!”

As far as my families reaction to me launching the site, my kids are currently 6, 5 and 2 so they are more into Toy Story 3 and Dora the Explorer. :-) My wife simply said, ‘you do whatever you like Erik.’ :-)

3. Did you expect it taking off the way it has?

If you would have told me that 15 months after launching the Ryle Quotes site that I would have over 170,000 views, I would have laughed you right out of the room. I’m very grateful for “big wig bloggers” like Tim ChalliesJustin TaylorJosh HarrisStephen and Mark AltroggeTrevin WaxNick UvaZach Nielsen, etc. for being so kind as to refer their subscribers towards the site over the past year.

4. How has the site’s success affected you (if at all)?

The site’s success really hasn’t affected me in the least. I still am just Dad to my kids, Erik to my wife and a FedEx courier to my fellow co-workers. I’ve had a few opportunities to be interviewed with radio stations regarding the Ryle Quotes site, but honestly, I’ve turned them down due to being way too nervous. So, this question and answer format is much more up my alley. :-)

5. Why do you think Ryle’s work is connecting with so many people?

I truly believe Ryle’s writings connect with so many people for this one reason: clarity. Ryle has the uncanny ability/gift to make the difficult things in Christianity/theology so incredibly simple to understand. I think Charles Nolan Publishers (who have reprinted many of Ryle’s books) sum up why Ryle connects with so many today:

From his conversion [in 1837] to his burial, J.C. Ryle was entirely one-dimensional. He was a one-book man; he was steeped in Scripture; he bled Bible. As only Ryle could say, “It is still the first book which fits the child’s mind when he begins to learn religion, and the last to which the old man clings as he leaves the world.”

This is why his works have lasted—and will last—they bear the stamp of eternity. They contrast fruit which “remains” (John 15:16) against wood, hay, and stubble. Today, more than a hundred years after his passing, these works stand at the crossroads between the historic faith and modern evangelicalism. Like signposts, they direct us to the “old paths.” And, like signposts, they are meant to be read.

6. Besides Ryle, what other theologians do you have a particular affinity for?

I enjoy reading J.I. Packer and John Stott (both Anglicans) from the present, and have just started reading the Puritan John Flavel from the past.

7. Any final thoughts?

I want to thank everyone who has visited the Ryle Quotes site. When I launched the site I made sure that sole purpose for doing it was for the glory of God and the benefit of His Church, and I still stick to that. I thoroughly enjoy typing out the quotes for others to view Monday-Friday. It truly is a labor of love for my favorite author J.C. Ryle. I trust all who are introduced to Ryle for the first time will realize just how relevant his writings are over a hundred years after his death.

Though Ryle be dead, he yet speaks!