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

Around the Interweb (08/15)

Prop 8 Got Struck Down – Now What?

In light of the recent ruling in California over Proposition 8, Kevin DeYoung offers some helpful next steps to Evangelicals Here’s an excerpt:

We should not disengage. It’s tempting to say “We’re going to lose this one. So let’s just try to love people and not put up a fight” But laws do have consequences. Seeking the peace of the city means we defend marriage because we believe it is for the common good. We need thoughtful, winsome Christians engaging with this issue on television, in print, in the academy, in the arts, and in politics and law. . . .

We must not be afraid to talk about homosexuality.  Don’t be silenced by Christians calling for umpteen more years of dialogue or those who say you need at least one gay friend before you can open your mouth. The Bible speaks openly about sexuality and we must not be embarrassed to open God’s word. BUT when we do speak we must do so with broken hearts not bulging veins. A calm spirit and a broken heart are keys to not being tuned out immediately. . . .

We must accept that no matter how hard we try, some people will conclude we are bigots, homophobes, and neanderthals for thinking homosexuality is wrong. Our goal must not be to stop people from viewing us in this way. We can’t control perceptions. Our goal is that those ugly perceptions do not match reality.

Read the rest at Kevin’s blog.

In Other News

Correctives: Dustin Neeley continues his “Justification by X” series at the Resurgence with Justification by Theology

Culture: Al Mohler – Thank God for the new Atheists?

Free Audio: Did you know that Tim Keller’s Ministries of Mercy is available as Christian Audio’s free download of the month? Use download code AUG2010 if you’re so inclined.

Church Ministry: Jared Wilson offers some clarification on his recent post about the Awesomeness-Driven Church.

Housekeeping: I’m in the wilds of Northern Ontario this week enjoying a second week of vacation (last year, I got one all year, so this is progress). While I’m away, my friends Will Adair, Nate Bingham and a few others will be providing you with some terrific content.

In Case You Missed It

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

A review of Kevin DeYoung’s latest, The Good News We Almost Forgot

Gleaning some insights on the art of the illustration

Mark Driscoll reminds us that discernment is a good thing by looking at Twilight

Charles Spurgeon shares the joy that these words bring: “Ye are clean.”

Around the Interweb (08/01)

D.A. Carson’s “The God Who Is There” Audio Now Available

The audio for D.A. Carson’s lecture series, The God Who Is There, is now up at the Gospel Coalition. A new DVD series is being released in the fall. Here’s a preview:

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.961150&w=425&h=350&fv=]
Audio and Video for D. A. Carson’s The God Who …, posted with vodpod

In Other News

Conference Message: Burk Parsons answers the question: “Is Calvinism good for the Church?”

News: Has the environmental damage from the BP oil spill been exaggerated?

Ministry Opportunities: Desiring God has a number of internships available. Check it out.

In Case You Missed It

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

The audio from July 25’s sermon, Spiritual Poverty and the Worship of God

A review of Andreas Kostenberger & Michael Kruger’s latest, The Heresy of Orthodoxy

John Piper answers the question, “Should Christians read the “holy” books of other religions?

Some thoughts on Abigail’s favorite new record, Meet the Rizers

Eschatology Matters (even if we don’t want it to)

Calvin: Knowing yourself begins with knowing God

Around the Interweb (06/13)

Introducing PLNTD

This week, the PLNTD Church Planting Network officially launched. Distinctively Baptist and confessionally Reformed, its vision is “to cultivate community for church planters and assist churches in the process of becoming church planting churches.”

Our purpose is derived from text and context.  Textually, we see that church planting is the natural outcome of enduring commitment to the Great Commission.  Contextually, we believe that a church-based network is not only the best way to advance God’s kingdom in an area but also the best place for church planters to be trained and supported.  It is our desire to be able to facilitate both: developing church planters as well as church planting churches.  

Find out more on their site or follow them on Twitter.

In Other News

You’ve still got a couple weeks to take advantage of ChristianAudio.com’s free download of the month, Forgotten God by Francis Chan. Download code is JUN2010. (Incidentally, I reviewed the book a few months back in case you want to get an opinion before you download.)

Terrace Crawford needs your help. The other day Terrace announced that his position as Minister to Students at Crossroads Community Church, Yorktown, VA, has been cut from full-time to part-time as the church continues to struggle financially due to the economy. If you’re looking for a guest speaker in the Virginia and surrounding area, drop him a line.

Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood (Trailer):

Who Tithes?

In Case You Missed It

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

A review of Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeir Hansson

Perhaps we should work harder at getting to the point?

Reflecting on Ed Stetzer’s stats on Candian Youth and Christianity

Rejoicing in Foreknowledge, a few reflections on Psalm 139

Battling sin is hard, let’s play a game instead

George Whitefield on the necessity of intercessory prayer