Advice for Integrating the Essentials of Christian Thought with Learning
Doctrine. Politics. Church government. Moral issues. Christians disagree on just about everything under the sun. Yet a unity remains, centered around a core view of God and the world. This unity is rooted in the Christian vision for ultimate reality—a vision challenged by culture and often shunned by Christians.
Which is why Roger Olson’s new book The Essentials of Christian Thought is so important.
This book contains an archeology of the implicit philosophy of the Bible—the Bible’s assumed view of reality…this philosophy is foundational to everything the Bible teaches, and orthodox, thinking Christians of all denominations throughout the centuries have believed it. (10)
He wrote it not only to help Christians distinguish between the Bible’s vision of reality and competing ones from culture.…
Worship Pastor, Are You a “Church Lover” First?
What about church lover?
Given the crisis of commitment in many churches nowadays, Zac Hicks challenges fellow worship leaders to make this role primary in his new book, The Worship Pastor:
those who commit to sticking it out with a church are becoming an endangered species. But even in times when such rare breeds were perhaps more plentiful, they were a sight to behold. The people of a bygone era once called these fanciful creatures “churchmen.” (22)
Churchmen can be translated church lover. Hicks invites his fellow colleagues in worship ministry to look to this model for leading their church. Below are six characteristics he hopes will shape such ministries.
1) Passionate Lover and Believer of the Church
First, “A worship leader who…
Can You Be Committed to Both God’s Word and the Spirit’s Gifts?
a local church in the twenty-first century that is committed to the centrality and functional authority of the Bible and to the effective, Christ-exalting operation of all spiritual gifts. (13)
While such a church may seem elusive, Storm believes it’s possible. In his new book Practicing the Power, Storms offers practical steps to understanding and exercising spiritual gifts in a way that they remain grounded in God’s Word. He shows us that, yes, you can be committed to both the authority of God’s Word and the availability of the Spirit’s gifts.
And yet, some say otherwise.
Sixteen Ways Worship Pastors Can Engage Pastorally
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…
“Redemptive Release” for Wayward Souls – 3 Biblical Examples
What do you do when someone you love—a friend, a spouse, a child—goes wayward, as we sometimes say? And how do you pursue someone who has hurt you, who has sinned against you?
These deep, important questions are often fraught with pain and confusion. Two pastors with fifty years of experience want to help you navigate them.
In their richly biblical, deeply practical new book Letting Go, pastors Dave Harvey and Paul Gilbert offer counsel for dealing with and caring for the prodigal who has strayed.
As pastors and counselors, we offer to step into your pain and confusion and point you to the One who redeems prodigals with his tough, rugged love. … He cares for the wayward person infinitely more than we do. In this book we want to look…
5 Things Russell Jeung Learned Among Ancestors & Refugees
From Syrian refugees to Latin American immigrants, Westerners are wrestling with complicated realities of exile in all of its forms.
What does it mean to be the Church for such people, and what can we learn from our refugee neighbors as we love them in the name of Jesus? Russell Jeung helps us wrestle with such questions.
In his spiritual memoir At Home in Exile, Jeung shares the joyful and occasionally harrowing stories of his life in East Oakland’s Murder Dubs neighborhood, and how those experiences with exile and relationships with refugees shaped his faith.
What I’ve learned from my family and gained from my refugee neighbors is a more precious gift. I have come to realize that both now and in the future, each of us is honored as a…
The “War on Christmas” and Jewish-Christian Dialogue
My wife and I visited our local Costco this weekend to get a good deal on a vacuum, only to be greeted by rows of fake LED-lighted Christmas trees, a life-size nutcracker, and a giant wire reindeer. Apparently the Christmas season began October 1st this year! Which makes Anthony Le Donne’s new book especially timely.
In Near Christianity, Le Donne offers us an important primer on Jewish-Christian dialogue. He takes us to the borders of the faith to help us understand and sympathize with those who remain “near Christianity.” Perhaps there’s no better time to consider this nearness than the season from Black Friday to Christmas Day.
In a chapter highlighting the dynamics at work between Christians and religious minorities during Advent, Le Donne asks us to consider the season’s relationship with cultural appropriation, the culture…
Did Jesus Claim to Be God? Muslims Say “No”
In No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, Nabeel Qureshi investigates the evidence for Islam and Christianity as a former Muslim. One of the most important parts to his investigation is his engagement with the widest point of divergence between the two religions: the person of Jesus.
“At no point is the schism between Christian and Islamic theologies broader than on the person of Jesus” (213) Qureshi reveals.
Answering his question about not only Jesus’ divinity, but his claim to be God, was a crucial one for his journey from seeking Allah to finding Jesus. “All other differences between Muslims and Christians were secondary to me, far less important than this most significant matter.” (213)
Below we explore this surprising claim by Muslims, that Jesus never claimed to be God,…
How Do Islam and Christianity Define Our Problem and Solution?
Earlier this year my family moved to a diverse neighborhood in the suburbs of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The next day, we discovered we moved next to a Muslim family. Perhaps you would have done what I did: prayed for opportunities to show them Christ’s love; and wondered how to navigate a conversation about the differences of our faith if a door opened. Thankfully, we have a new book to guide those conversations.
In No God but One, the highly anticipated follow-up book to his New York Times bestselling spiritual memoir Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi addresses the most important questions at the interface of Islam and Christianity: How do the two religions differ? Can we be confident that either are true? And most important, is the truth worth dying for?
How to Understand the Difference Between Christianity and Islam
In a year of polarizing politics, the rise of ISIS, and terrorism, it has never been more important for Christians to understand Islam.
In the Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus online course, New York Times bestselling author Nabeel Qureshi gives you a framework for thinking about how to confront Islam—and understand your own faith as well.
You will discover:
The differences between Islam and Christianity The truth about Muhammad Effective strategies for engaging Muslims in spiritual discussions The most common Muslim objections to Christianity The key beliefs upon which Islam stands or falls
It’s a learning experience that will equip you for the kind of apologetics and evangelism that led Nabeel himself to faith in Christ.
Watch the first lecture free
Ask These 5 Questions to Bring Clarity to Your Old Testament Sermons
I wish I’d had Christopher Wright’s new book How to Preach Through the Old Testament for All Its Worth when I regularly preached. It would have helped me preach the text, yes. But it would have helped me preach it in a way my congregation would have understood it.
Because let’s face it, preaching the Old Testament can be…challenging! Wright sympathizes:
to be honest, the Old Testament is a difficult set of books…trying to preach a sermon or teach a Sunday school class from the Old Testament is too exhausting for the pastor or Bible study leader and too confusing for the people. It’s much easier to stick with what we know—the New Testament. (17)
Which is why Wright offers a five-question roadmap for preaching and teaching Old Testament…
Why You Shouldn’t “Preach the Gospel at All Times and Use Words When Necessary”
There’s a famous quote. You’ve probably heard it:
“Preach the gospel at all times. Use words only when necessary.”
The original quote is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. It’s been echoed by generations of Christians.
The spirit of the quote is good, and it makes a good point. Our actions matter. What’s more: actions usually speak louder than words. People are watching what we do.
But there are some good reasons why this quote does not present a good approach in relating with others.
The first reason is that, in many cases, people use it as an excuse to avoid articulating their faith.
How many times has the gospel not been shared, because we’ve embraced a version of Christianity where words don’t matter?
The second reason is more important: