Two Competing Stories to the Christian Worldview

Jeremy Bouma on 2 hours ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310525042Last week we engaged Gregory Koukl’s new book The Story of Reality, examining what Christianity is and isn’t.

As Koukl explained, “[Christianity] is an account or a description or a depiction of the way things actually are” (23). And the way things actually are can be traced along a four-act story, familiar to many Koinonia readers: creation, fall, redemption, restoration.

Perhaps the most important part of this story is how it begins. Creation tells us how things began, where everything came from (including us), the reason for our origins, and what ultimate reality is like. Koukl explains it like this:

on the Christian view, God and the world—mind and matter—are two different kinds of things. Both are real. The first (God) is…

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What is the Grand Story All About? – An Excerpt from the Story of Reality

ZA Blog on 4 days ago. Tagged under ,,.

9780310525042“We are hungering for the thing we were made for. We are hungering for God’s Kingdom.”

In today’s excerpt from The Story of Reality, Greg Koukl explains that the main point of the story is God’s Kingdom. Read further to find out about our participation in it.

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Did you ever wonder how to sum up the main theme of the Bible accurately in a single, simple concept? It’s right there in the first line: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Put simply, the Story starts with a Sovereign who creates a domain he benevolently rules over…There is a kingdom.

This is what…

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[Common Places] Reading Notes: Christ Alone

Piotr Malysz on 5 days ago. Tagged under ,,,.

This year we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation, looking back to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and the theological debates kick-started by their posting. The Reformation continues to be lauded, cajoled, and debated in circles of all sorts today. At Common Places we will begin the year by focusing on some of the central principles and most relevant texts that shaped early Reformation theology and that have continued that conversation in the centuries that followed. Each month we will begin with a post related to an ongoing book project from Zondervan Academic that addresses the five solas of Reformation theology. We will then conclude each month with an annotated reading guide on classic and contemporary works that address that particular principle.

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Sixteen Ways Worship Pastors Can Engage Pastorally

Jeremy Bouma on 5 days ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310525196What role does a worship leader play in the modern church?

Song leader? Lead musician? Not really.

Zac Hicks wants to help fellow worship leaders realize they are actually worship pastors. So he wrote a resource to help them, called The Worship Pastor:

If you’re a new worship leader, this book is for you. It will give you an inspiring vision for the road ahead. It will hopefully also provide a set of tools to help sharpen and aim your call. If you’ve been a worship leader for a while, The Worship Pastor is for you too. It will be a fresh articulation of the job you’ve already been doing and hopefully provide some inspiration for how to make what you do even better. (19)

“Whether you know it or…

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Is Celibacy the “Right” Thing? (1 Cor 7:37)

Bill Mounce on 6 days ago. Tagged under ,,.

Does καλῶς mean “right” or “well”? This is one of those situations where I would think we hear things differently.

Paul has been arguing for celibacy, the gift that no high school or college student wants. His basic argument is that it is better to remain celibate so as to be able to focus on ministry, but it is only right for those with the spiritual ability to do so. (And all students sigh a sigh of relief.)

Within that context Paul says, “However, the man who stands firm in his resolve is under no compulsion but has control over his desire, and has determined this in his heart to keep her as his virgin, he will do well” (v 37).

The problem surfaces in the NIV 1984, which says,…

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“When They Approach the Old Testament, They Think It’s Boring”

ZA Blog on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,.

torah-story-online-course

We recently sat down with Gary Schnittjer to talk about why the Pentateuch is often read less frequently than other parts of the Bible, as well as some ways to encourage and deepen your study of the Pentateuch. Take a look:

One of the problems Christians have when they approach the Old Testament is they think it’s boring.

I think especially a book like Leviticus or Numbers or Deuteronomy—they’re not often read and studied carefully by Christians. They seem irrelevant…

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Tremper Longman, III on Studying Genesis

ZA Blog on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,.

tremper-longman-iii (2)

We recently sat down with Tremper Longman to discuss some of the challenges in studying the book of Genesis. Take a look at what he had to say:

Genesis, like the rest of the Old Testament is a difficult book for us as twenty-first Christians to understand. After all, we’re distant from this book in many ways.

For one thing, it’s an ancient book. This is a book that was written three thousand five hundred years ago and has many strange and ancient customs.

The book of

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What Is Christianity? Different than What Most People Think

Jeremy Bouma on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310525042It’s a basic question, and also a vital one. Not only for our own spiritual journey, but also for the journeys of people we know and meet.

And it’s a question Gregory Koukl engages in his new book The Story of Reality. The reason why is because of the misguided approach to religion people often take:

people are often tempted to think of religion as a kind of spiritual fantasy club…the one that meets your personal needs, that gives you rules to live by that are respectable but not too demanding, that warms your heart with feelings of spirituality…[They say] do not, however, confuse religious stories with reality. They don’t give you the kind of information about the world that, say,…

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An Exegetical Reading of the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11) – An Excerpt from John

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

Today’s excerpt is from the Gospel of John, the newest installment in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.

Written by Edward W. Klink III, the excerpt below from John 2:1-11 is an example of how each passage is interpreted in the light of its biblical setting, with a view to grammatical detail, literary context, flow of biblical argument, and historical setting.

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johnzecntJohn 2:1 – 11

Literary Context

The careful and lengthy introduction to Jesus by means of a prologue (1:1 – 18) and a two-pericope introduction to the narrative proper (1:19 – 51), along with the careful articulation of the completion of the first “week”…

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[Common Places] The Five Solas: Christ Alone

Stephen Wellum on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,.

This year we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation, looking back to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and the theological debates kick-started by their posting. The Reformation continues to be lauded, cajoled, and debated in circles of all sorts today. At Common Places we will begin the year by focusing on some of the central principles and most relevant texts that shaped early Reformation theology and that have continued that conversation in the centuries that followed. Each month we will begin with a post related to an ongoing book project from Zondervan Academic that addresses the five solas of Reformation theology. We will then conclude each month with an annotated reading guide on classic and contemporary works that address that particular principle.

 Matthias Grunewald-947266Read more

Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Hebrew Poetry and Isaiah

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,.

isaiahAccording to Duvall and Hayes in Grasping God’s Word , more than one-third of the Old Testament is written in the form of poetry. (373) Modern English versions usually mark off poetry by punctuation, namely, by arranging into poetic lines rather than a continuous running text. This helps us identify poetic sections, but there is still more to understanding Hebrew poetry.

Hebrew and English poetry often use the same devises, e.g., rhyming, figures of speech, forms of parallelism, rare words or forms. But the may use them to different degrees or ways. Of course, it is oftentimes impossible to translate poetic features. Knowing some Hebrew can help us appreciate what authors…

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Three Steps Toward Rightly Knowing the Doctrine of the Trinity

Jeremy Bouma on 3 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310491491_imageFred Sanders has an ambitious goal with his new book The Triune God: securing our knowledge of the triune God by rightly ordering the theological language with which we praise him.

To get us on toward rightly knowing the doctrine of the Trinity, Sanders outlines three crucial steps, which we’ve engaged below:

to grasp the entire two-Testament canon, to trace its unbroken narrative arc, and to recognize that arc as a self-communicative action with God as its source. (98)

Step 1: Construe Scripture as a Whole

Although space doesn’t permit a complete defense of canonical unity, Sanders spends enough time to show why construing Scripture as a whole is a necessary first step toward rightly knowing the doctrine of the Trinity:

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