Kindle Deal of the Day: Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. $1.99.
Seven exquisitely crafted short portraits of widely known but not well understood Christian men, each of whom uniquely showcases a commitment to live by certain virtues in the truth of the gospel.
Last week, I got into a bit of a Twitter tussle (is that a thing?) with some friends over the proper interpretation of Matthew 25. Denny Burk pointed out that, contrary to popular opinion, the “least of these” refers primarily to believers in hardship. He’s right. I don’t agree, however, on excluding “the poor” from that application. Mike Cosper has followed up with a blog post about the issue:
I don’t object to Denny’s exegesis, which is thorough and carefully articulated. I don’t object, either, to the inclusion of Evangelicals whose consciences have prevented them from providing services to same-sex weddings, and who have suffered ridicule for their decision. I object strongly, vehemently, to the phrase, “not the poor.” It is sloppy at best, and cheap political point-scoring at worst.
Really good stuff from Tim Keller on how our view of history and the future shape our vision of the present — “When Hope and History Rhyme.” (For more along these lines, check out my talk at TGC this year on discipleship in a world of false eschatologies.)
The Christian answer to the overly optimistic or overly pessimistic modern views of history is the resurrection. Christianity, paradoxically, is far more pessimistic and far more optimistic than any other worldview—simultaneously.
Wonder what mainline Christians are saying about the Pew survey on America’s religious landscape? Here’s Steve Thorngate’s take for The Christian Century. The fading of denominational affiliation is one of the big takeaways, and it affects all Christians, not just the mainline.
According to Pew, a significant number of current evangelicals used to be Baptists but aren’t anymore; the corresponding gains are in nondenominational churches. The latter are, of course, overwhelmingly evangelical in their theology and outlook. But that’s not the only way they differ from the mainline, which is at least as marked by institutionalism as it is byliberalism. Pew includes data on Christians who are “nondenominational in the mainline tradition.” It’s a small number; it’s also growing.
Some pastors feast on leadership books and apply their insights in their church. Other pastors avoid leadership books like the plague. Eric Geiger believes both extremes are dangerous, but first, he offers three reasons pastors should not read these kinds of books:
I think it is wise to avoid the extremes. We must heed the caution not to compare the bride of Christ to another organization, but there are some helpful insights to be learned. There are reasons, and seasons, that church leaders should avoid leadership books. Here are three (later in the week, I will share reasons pastors should read leadership books).