Monday, March 29, 2010

Bits & Tidbits, March 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Video tidbits, March 2010

  • Curious about Asperger's Syndrome? Arthur's friend Brain explains:
  • Very cool technology:
  • Effective (but a little scary) Super Bowl commercial:
  • Sir Ian McKellen, on acting (somewhat tongue-in-cheek, though frankly pretty spot-on):

Friday, March 26, 2010

For All the Saints

Some of my tens of readers already know that I have just had a new book published. For All the Saints: Praying for the Church was just released by Doulos Resources earlier this week.

I started working on this book a little over a year ago, when the president of our Women in the Church ministry, Jane Mitchell, asked me if I could help her find a resource for the women on learning to pray for the church. (This fit well into our
Ministry Focus for last year, which was prayer.) She had already looked and found nothing. I looked myself, and I couldn't find anything either. I was astonished; surely there was something out there on how to pray for the church?

If there was, I couldn't find it. So I told her I would write up a guide for them. I set out to fill a page with ideas, and that quickly became a few pages front-and-back. This evolved into a pamphlet, then a booklet, and eventually a small book.

My colleagues at Doulos Resources liked my small book, and after a few changes and improvements to the original, it became what it is today. I'm grateful to see it in published form, and I hope that it will serve the church as a useful resource.

One of the things I really like about how Doulos Resources offers books is that they want to make them easily affordable for churches. If a church wants to buy more than one copy for distribution or re-sale (like on a book table, etc.), Doulos Resources will discount the price to just $5 per copy.

anyone can get a 10% discount through the Doulos Resources E-Store by entering this discount code: JF8PT64K (that discount applies to ALL Doulos Resources titles!).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Calvinist or "Hyper-Calvinist"? Or, the more careful use of labels...

Not long ago, someone dropped by my study who was dropping something off for an event. While there, she said, "I have a question for you: are you a Calvinist or a Hyper-Calvinist?"

I realized this was a loaded question; usually people don't speak with that sort of language of comparison unless they have a particular pre-disposition about both. It's sort of like the label "TR" which can be used pejoratively, meaning "more 'Reformed' than me;" or it can be used haughtily, meaning, "more 'Reformed' than YOU." Either way, it's always done relative to the speaker.

So it turned out to be with my curious visitor. I answered, "I would call myself a Calvinist" at which point she relaxed with relief. But I came to find out that by "Calvinist" she meant, essentially, that God's election of the saints was conditioned on His foreknowledge that they would respond to His offer of grace with faith.

I recognize that position, and I don't begrudge someone their right to conclude that from Scripture if their study so leads them (though I confess I don't see how it does; I've tried to examine the Bible through the "lens" of the Arminian position and it simply isn't my prescription). But what she articulated was not Calvinism.

It reminded me of how carefully we must use such labels. By this lady's estimation, she would conclude that I am, in fact, a "Hyper-Calvinist" (though I would deny it with some enthusiasm). In fact, she probably doesn't really know what either term meant.

I just read last night that, when David Martyn Lloyd-Jones was asked why, in his preaching through the first two chapters of Ephesians, he never once mentioned Calvinism. "The Apostle Paul didn't choose to use that term," said he.

Perhaps we might follow Dr. Lloyd-Jones's model more frequently.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Books for February 2010

  • Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (re-read). This series of 20 novels is my favorite collection of fiction, and I decided during the recent snow days to begin reading them again. Though I've read them through twice before, I still find the stories fresh, engaging, and excellently written. (10)
  • Post-Captain by Patrick O'Brian (re-read). (10)