What Does It Mean to Be a Pastor-Theologian?
(Can’t see the video? Watch it here)
There probably isn’t a vocation in the world that suffers from as great a crisis of calling than the pastor. Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson want to change this by raising up an ancient vision of the pastor in their new book The Pastor Theologian.
What does it mean to be a pastor-theologian?
It is someone who finds their vocational identity in the Church. That’s there primary place of calling, not the academy. Yet at the same time it’s a person who feels a deep, profound responsibility to not be merely a purveyor of theology, but a contributor to theology.
Through specific examples of pastor-theologians, an expansive definition of the calling,…
The Legacy for Our Age: Rulers, Informers, & Caregivers Have Failed Us
I wasn’t born yet when a certain president addressed the nation to resign in disgrace and scandal over a break-in at Watergate. I was around, however, and remember when another president shook his finger at the camera and swore he didn’t have “relations” with “that women.” I was also around and at the State of the Union address when another president argued for a preemptive war against Iraq based on faulty intelligence.
I imagine there will be more presidents and leaders to disappoint. As Mark Meynell argues in his new book A Wilderness of Mirrors, we live with the constant “expectation of betrayal,” (17) because we’ve been betrayed:
The West in the early years of the twenty-first century seems afflicted by a deeper, more corrosive cultural mood than previously…We no longer seem willing to trust those in…
The Path of Humility [Awakening Faith]
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
Christ, the spotless lamb, became the sacrificial victim, led to the slaughter for the sheep that were blemished — as if we were merely blemished and not entirely corrupt! Such is the grace we have received! Let us live worthily of that great grace and not show contempt for it. So powerful is the Godly physician that he has healed all our sins! If we choose to be sick again, we will not only harm ourselves, but show ingratitude to the physician as well.
So let us follow the paths that Christ has revealed to us, above all the path of humility, which he himself became for us. He showed us the path by his teachings,…
What Do Deborah and Barak Want to Tell Complementarians and Egalitarians?
More women are occupying positions of leadership than ever before. Yet the jury seems evenly split whether such changes should be welcomed or resisted—both outside and inside the Church. As Carolyn Custis James explains in her new book Malestrom:
Plenty of Christian men welcome these changes and in fact have advocated for them. But others view the rise of women with concern, even alarm, and strive to stem the tide. The belief in a zero-sum game between the genders, where gains for women represent losses for men, makes the rise of women difficult to swallow. (98)
Alarm and advocacy, two positions on either side of the contemporary gender debate. But what does the Bible say? Enter Deborah and Barak, a “gender minefield” story…
3 Ways the Gospel Reoriented a 1st-Century ISIS Leader: Race, Patriarchy, Class
The images have been chilling and all too common: Masked figures staring into the camera in the desert or at sea-side locations before beheading Christians.
What if one of them wanted to talk with you about a dream he had where a man said, ‘You are killing my people’?
That’s what happened to a Middle East YWAM worker. He was introduced to an ISIS fighter who had killed many Christians and wanted to follow Jesus after dreaming of a man in white.
Like Saul of Tarsus, Muslims gripped by the malestrom are being radically transformed because of their encounters with Jesus. According to Carolyn Custis James, author of Malestrom, this makes perfect sense: “Jesus’ gospel has a subversive power to reach behind enemy lines, draw men to Jesus, and…
By Faith, Through Wisdom [Awakening Faith]
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)
So who is God? God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; he is one God. Do not ask to know more of God. If you want to see into the depths of God, you must know the depths of the natural world, for knowledge of the Trinity is compared to knowledge of the sea: “And the great depths, who shall fathom them?” (Job 11:7). Just as the depths of the sea are invisible to the human eye, so too the godhead of the Trinity is beyond human sense and understanding.
I submit, therefore, that if people want to know what they should believe, they should not think that they will understand better through arguments than through belief; if they do that, they will be further from…
The Message of Circumcision: From Patriarchy to New Man — An Excerpt from “Malestrom”
In her new book Malestrom, Carolyn Custis James’s contends the principal expression of the problem of manhood is historic patriarchy. Though it’s the cultural background of much of the Bible, “God reveals the newness of his kingdom breaking through as he over turns cultural norms that issues from the fall of Adam and Eve.” (69)
One way he overturned this norm was through the practice of circumcision. And yet James asks an important question:
Why would God choose this explicitly male rite to remind his sons of his covenant with them?
Though it seems to smack of patriarchy, it does the opposite: “Circumcision strips the malestrom and human culture of its power to define a man’s identity and purpose.” (71)
Is It OK to Doubt Your Faith? A World-Class Doubter Says ‘Yes!’
(Can’t see the video? Watch it here)
What aspects of the Christian faith that you believe today have you at some point doubted?
Perhaps the reliability of the Bible or the historicity of Jesus. Maybe the existence of God himself.
“Doubt’s are a normal part of life,” John Dickson says, author of the book A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible. The book is his tribute to doubt. In it he helps people who aren’t quite sure about the Bible, God, Jesus, and faith see how their doubts don’t have to be avoided.
Dickson describes himself as a world-class doubter, which makes him the perfect person to explain why it’s OK to doubt your faith.
Watch the above video as he share the place doubt has…
This Major Biblical Theme Is a Surprising Root of the Manhood Problem
Single motherhood is becoming the new norm for how children are raised. In 2014:
4 out 10 children were born to unwed mothers; More than 80% of all single-parent families in America are headed by women; 1 in 4 children (17.4 million) are being raised without a father.
Carolyn Custis James calls this new fatherless norm an “epidemic” in her new book Malestrom, which explores, clarifies, and remedies the problem of manhood. She argues this fatherhood disaster stems from “a powerful malestrom undertow,” (78) resulting in violence, patriarchy, and male identity confusion.
Surprisingly, not only is this major feature of the malestrom a major theme of the male experience. It’s also a major biblical theme.
Some of us understand it well. It’s what James calls the father wound.
Father Wound Defined
James contends the root cause of much…
Prayer Accomplishes Much [Awakening Faith]
But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. (Psalm 66:19)
In the past, prayer was able to bring down punishment, rout armies, and withhold the blessing of rain. Now, however, the prayer of the just turns aside the whole anger of God, keeps vigil for its enemies, pleads for persecutors. Is it any wonder that it can call down water from heaven when it could obtain fire from heaven as well? Prayer is the one thing that can conquer God. But Christ has willed that it should work no evil and has given it all power over good. Its only art is to call back the souls of the dead from the very journey into death, to give strength to the weak, to heal the sick, to exorcise the possessed, to open prison cells, to free the innocent…
What Is Jesus’ Definition of Manhood? — An Excerpt from “Malestrom” by Carolyn Custis James
In her new book Malestrom, Carolyn Custis James has spotlighted a painful reality: “Men have lost sight of who God created them to be as human beings and as men.” (21)
How do men regain their God-created identity? By embracing Jesus’s definition of what it means to be a man:
Jesus’ definition of manhood is every man’s true identity and calling—his birthright. It encompasses everything about who he is and every second of his life. (182)
What does image bearing look like in the life of Jesus? It includes several important markers:
Attention to relationship with God; Acting in step with his Father; Opposing pride and self-importance; Inversion of the malestrom social structures
James calls Jesus’ definition of manhood a “staggering proposition.”…
How Do You Raise Ordinary Children in an Extra-Ordinary World?
(Can’t see the video? Watch it here)
What tips do you have for raising children to be OK with ordinary—when the world and church only celebrate extremes?
What parent doesn’t believe their child is special, unique, extra-ordinary? Yet in his new book Ordinary, Horton cautions Christians against making the extraordinary an idol. In our video he gets specific to us parents.
“The joke is parents are living their lives through their children.” Horton says we should want our kids to find and live God’s calling—whether it’s being a janitor or surgeon—rather than our own unfulfilled ones.
Watch Horton’s video and read his book to understand how we can…