5 Reasons Why “Christ Transforming Culture” Is a Problem

Jeremy Bouma on sometime. Tagged under ,,,,.


Sixty years ago H. Richard Niebuhr addressed what he called Christianity’s “enduring problem”: the two “complex realities” of Christ and culture. He insisted “an infinite dialogue must develop in the Christian conscience and the Christian community” regarding their interplay. (Christ and Culture, 39)

To foster such dialogue, Niebuhr suggested five possible answers: Christ against, of, above, transforming, and in tension with culture. He argued Christians tended to fit into one of these five categories when engaging our world.

According to Michael Horton, at least one of these categories is to blame for our current fascination with living radical, revolutionary lives at the expense of ordinary callings.

In his new book Ordinary: Sustaining Faith in a Radical, Restless World, Horton makes a compelling, convincing case that recent movements to transform culture for Christ are a problem.

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What One Theme Does 1 & 2 Thessalonians Boil Down To?

Jeremy Bouma on 20 hours ago. Tagged under ,,,.

(Can’t see the video? Watch it here)

Not such a hard question when it comes to Romans and Galatians. Justification by faith or the righteousness of God, perhaps?

But what about the so-called “stepchild of the Pauline corpus,” 1 and 2 Thessalonians?

That’s how John Byron describes this oft overlooked Pauline letter in his new 1 & 2 Thessalonians commentary in the groundbreaking Story of God Commentary series. And in today’s video he boils down the main theme of the letters to one word: hope.

“What you really do end up with in the letters to the Thessalonians is Paul’s desire to infuse hope into a difficult situation.” He explains the Thessalonians were lacking in hope, for a variety of reasons, and they needed hope for daily living.

Listen to Byron…

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New Releases Today — 2 Corinthians; Theology of James, Peter, & Jude; and Gospel-Centered Counseling

Jeremy Bouma on 1 day ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,,,,,.


This fall sees the release of several informative, engaging, challenging titles that will enhance and equip your teaching and ministry.

Four of those titles release today. Here’s a quick overview:


We are pleased to announce the 1986 commentary of veteran scholar Ralph P. Martin on 2 Corinthians in the venerated Word Biblical Commentary series has been thoroughly updated. New sections  include Collection, Rhetoric, Composition, and Social Setting. As before, Martin covers such topics as the Spirit, the Opponents, Paul’s Theology, and the Resurrection in this epistle. He gives penetrating insight into the particular problems of Christianity as expressed in the hedonistic, cosmopolitan setting of Corinth, showing how Paul attempts to clearly distinguish the gospel from Hellenistic Judaism and Hellenistic Jewish Christian ideology. What was at stake at Corinth, says Dr. Martin, was “nothing less than the essence of…

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Epexegetical καί and the Power of God in Pain (Phil 3:10) — Mondays with Mounce 238

Bill Mounce on 2 days ago. Tagged under ,,.

I know. καί and pain in the same title. Strange bedfellows.

I still remember a few years back when my family was going through a time of deep pain and sadness. A good friend asked me, “Bill, why are you hanging on to the edge of the pool? Just let go and sink.” A strange idea in the midst of pain, but it has stuck with me, and it was some of the best advice I have ever received. Here’s the exegesis behind it.

Paul is telling the Philippians that no matter what he had been able to (humanly) achieve, he gladly lost all of it for the sake of knowing Christ.

Fee does a wonderful job in his commentary, discussing the fuller meaning of this word for “to know,” γνῶσις. “‘Knowing Christ’ does not mean to have a head…

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Enlarge Your Desires [Awakening Faith]

ZA Blog on 3 days ago. Tagged under ,,.


One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

It might perplex us that God asks us to pray, when he knows what we need before we ask him, if we do not realize that our Lord does not want to know what we want — for he cannot fail to know it — but wants us rather to exercise our desire through our prayers, so that we can receive what he is preparing to give us. His gift is very great indeed, but our capacity is too small and limited to receive it. That is why we are told, “Enlarge your desires, do…

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Extracurricular Activities 10.18.14 — Canonical & Non-Canonical Gospels, Bonhoeffer, A Rule for Reading

Jeremy Bouma on 4 days ago. Tagged under ,.


Simon Gathercole on the Canonical and Non-Canonical Gospels

A highlight of the British New Testament Conference this year was Dr Simon Gathercole’s scintillating and provocative plenary paper, ‘Jesus, the Apostolic Gospel and the Gospels’…This is a hot question in New Testament Studies at present, for study of the non-canonical Gospels is a growth industry (to which Dr Gathercole himself has contributed mightily with two books on the Gospel of Thomas, here and here). Professor Francis Watson’s important and substantial study Gospel Writing, argues that there is very little distance between the canonical and non-canonical Gospels, and that they should be studied as one group of Gospels. The emphasis in scholarship has moved towards emphasising the diversity in early Christianity and, with Watson, doubts that there…

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How Do You Live a Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World? — An Excerpt from Michael Horton’s “Ordinary”

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

9780310517375Radical. Epic. Revolutionary.

Transformative. Impactful. Life-Changing.

Emergent. Alternative. Innovative.

The Next Big Thing.

Sound familiar? They should. Because as Michael Horton explains in his new book Ordinary, they are influencing a “frantic search for ‘something more’” in the Christian life. (125)

At root in our quest for The Next Big Thing is “a basic discontent with God’s Word. We begin to look for programs and personalities that will make us winners in a sprint, instead of running the long-distance race with the assurance that Christ has already won the prize for us.” (125-126)

What’s a Christian to do?

In the excerpt below Horton argues we need to turn to an unlikely source in order to shift our attention from “something more” to “something more…

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[Common Places] The Promise and Prospects of Retrieval: Recent Developments in the Divine Attributes

Michael Allen on 6 days ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,.

What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?

What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? For several decades in the twentieth century, the answer seemed to be overwhelmingly: “Too much!” The influence of Greek philosophy upon Christian faith and practice was viewed as excessive and uncritical. A century ago Adolf von Harnack proposed the “Hellenization thesis,” the argument that the early church swallowed a bunch of Hellenistic fat that makes their theological approach difficult to digest today. [1] Harnack proposed a radical revision to the faith whereby we seek to cut the fat out and get back to the message of Jesus himself, a proclamation unencumbered by the metaphysics of Greece and the dogmas of the later fathers. The influence of this model of history has been and continues to be remarkably widespread, accepted not only in more revisionist circles (e.g., Jürgen Moltmann) but also by those…

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My Advice to Students: Todd Wilson Says “Don’t Begrudge Suffering God Sends Your Way”

Jeremy Bouma on 1 week ago. Tagged under .

(Can’t see the video? Watch it here)

9780310515838Todd Wilson, author of the new book Real Christian, has three things to say to students—the last one is perhaps the most powerful.

Take Professors, Not Classes: “You can have a great subject and if you have a bad professor it can be a tedious experience. But if you’ve got a topic that isn’t interesting but a great professor it can be life changing.” Stay Invested in the Church: “It’s really critical to stay in the life of the church, invest in the life of the church, and serve God’s people in that way.” Don’t Begrudge Suffering: God has a way of surprising you by sending you challenges during graduate school. While there is a temptation to see them as a…

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Michael Horton Says We’ve Got a Problem: The Problem of Everydayness

Jeremy Bouma on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,.


Several years ago when I was still safely a young adult (I’m 34 now), I briefly entertained the idea of forming a New Monastic community in the heart of Grand Rapids. Having read popular evangelical books that encouraged radical, revolutionary living, a few friends of mine and I were inspired to live an alternative, extreme, impactful life for Christ and His kingdom.

To live radically, as those books encouraged us to live.

But what if living a radical life isn’t what Christ desires for us? What if He’s far more interested in how we approach the mundane, the everydayness of life?

The ordinary?

That’s the premise of Michael Horton’s balancing new book Ordinary: Sustaining Faith in a Radical, Restless World. Horton believes we need to question “false values, expectations, and habits that we have absorbed,…

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Did Jesus Hang on a Pole? (Gal 3:13) — Mondays with Mounce 237

Bill Mounce on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,.

ξύλον is an extremely difficult word to translate, although from its entry in BDAG you wouldn’t think so. It gives three basic meanings:

Wood Something made of wood, such as a pole, club, stocks, cross Tree

Gal 3:13 in the NIV reads, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.’” The use of “pole” is, shall we say, unexpected since we know the shape of the cross. Since there are always reasons for a translation, you have to ask yourself why the NIV did this. How could Jesus have been hung on a pole when the wounds in his hands require a cross?

The other translations use “tree” (NASB [footnotes it could also be “cross”], ESV, HCSB, NRSV, NET, NLT,…

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Extracurricular Activities 10.11.14 — The Trinity, New Testament Texts, & Catholic Reformers

Jeremy Bouma on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,,.

The Baptism of Christ

Fred Sanders: The Trinity’s Irrelevance & Relevance to the Christian Life

I was excited when Kyle Strobel and Kent Eilers invited me to write the Trinity chapter in their book Sanctified by Grace: A Theology of the Christian Life (Bloomsbury / T&T Clark, 2014), and I’m more excited now that the book is in print. I described the whole book briefly in a recent post, and in this post I want to share a little of the chapter I wrote for the project…

I try to highlight how wonderfully odd it is to start a doctrine of the Christian life with sustained attention to the Trinity. Under a subhead that I hope was my own composition and not the editors’, the chapter addresses “the glorious irrelevance of the immanent Trinity.” There I argue that…

Larry Hurtado Explores New Testament…

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