Mark Dever on Evangelism

Here are some videos in preparation for next year’s Desiring God Pastor’s Conference.

(HT: JT)

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Hiestand on the Differences between Ecclesial and Academic Theology

Gerald Hiestand is pastor of Harvest Bible Church and Executive Director of The Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology (SAET).  Hiestand has been dedicated to reforming the misconception that theology is reserved for the realm of academics and not the local church.  One of the difficulties he notes is distinguishing between “ecclesial theology” and “academic theology”.  In his most recent post he compares and contrasts these two “theologies”.  Read the whole post here.  He is also encouraging any comments and thoughts you might have on this subject.

Gerald Hiestand:

My article, “Pastor-Scholar to Professor-Scholar: Exploring the Theological Disconnect between the Academy and the Local Church” is now out in the current issue of Westminster Theological Journal (vol 70, 2008). In the article, I argue that the eighteenth-century transition from pastor-scholar to professor-scholar has had significant implications for North American evangelical theology, namely that evangelical theology has become too apologetically focused and has lost sight of distinctly ecclesial concerns. In the paper I argue for a resurrection of the pastor-scholar.

But “pastors writing academic scholarship” is not my vision of a pastor-scholar. Instead, I’m calling for a return to the sort of theological reflection done by past pastor-scholars such as Augustine, Athanasius, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Edwards, etc.–theologians who wrote from within the social location of the Church, whose reflection was driven by ecclesial concerns, and who were unashamedly Christian and prophetic. As Luther has said, theologians who are willing to “assert”.

You May Be Too Fashionable If…

Tullian Tchividijian presents this “unfashionable quiz” in his upcoming book:

  1. You can look around at church and notice that everybody is basically the same age and they look and dress pretty much like you do.
  2. You can’t stand singing a worship song that was “in” five years ago—much less singing a hymn from another century.
  3. You believe social justice is more important than evangelism OR evangelism is more important than social justice.
  4. The church you go to is so dimly lit during worship that you can’t see the person singing next to you, much less the person singing across the room.
  5. You’ve attended a “leadership” conference where you learned more about organization and props than proclamation and prayer.
  6. Your goal in spending time with non-Christians is to demonstrate that you’re really no different than they are and to prove this you curse like a sailor, drink like a fish, and smoke like a chimney.
  7. You’ve concluded that everything new is better than anything old OR that everything old is better than anything new.
  8. You think that the way Jesus lived is more important than what Jesus said–that his deeds were more important than his doctrine.
  9. You believe that the best way to change our culture is to elect a certain kind of politician.
  10. The church you’ve chosen is defined more by its reaction to “boring” churches than by its response to a needy world.
  11. You’ve decided that everything done by the church you grew up in was way wrong and you’re now, thankfully, part of a missional “community” that does everything right.
  12. The one verse you wish wasn’t in the Bible is John 14:6 where Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by me.” That’s way too narrow!

(HT: blog.worship.com)

Professors and Blogging

Fred Sanders addresses the topic of Why Professors Blog at The Scriptorium daily.  In this post he highlights scholars such as Scot McKnight and NT Scholar Andreas Köstenberger.  It still amazes me how they keep up with blogging.

Excerpt from Sanders post:

It’s easy enough to find horror stories of professors “fired for blogging” (just google the phrase), or job applicants who suspect their strong online opinions have rendered them less than hireable. But what I wanted was evidence that somebody had been hired for blogging, or promoted for it, or that professors were using new media activity to make progress on their professorial goals. Instead of just brainstorming about my own reasons, I interviewed a handful of my favorite academic bloggers in my own field, Bible and theology. Here are some of the most helpful remarks from Michael Bird, Scot McKnight, Andreas Köstenberger, and Peter Leithart. Some of these quotes you’ll find in the book, some didn’t make it through the final edit and are appearing for the first and only time in this post.

Another excerpt:

New Testament scholar Michael Bird, who blogs at euangelion and also at evangelical textual criticism, had some good remarks about how he thinks of his online work as counting toward his overall academic goals, and enthusiastic testimony about the opportunities it has afforded him:

I’ve included on my CV my contribution to the “Evangelical Textual Criticism” website because it is part of my academic activity in that it contributes to scholarship and is read by many leading scholars, authors, and post-grad students. I consider it a legitimate and noteworthy activity in terms of academic practice, but I am cognizant of (a) not everyone knows what a blog is yet (still), and (b) some have a distaste for them too. Also, I do not include my own blog “Euangelion” on my CV because it is a mixture of journaling, biblical studies experimentation, networking, and shameless self-promotion.

My blog has put me on the radar of several publishers and editors who have noticed my blog, liked what they read, and asked to meet with me and discuss possible projects that cohere with their publishing goals (which is currently bearing great fruit!). More obliquely, through blogging I’ve established several friendships and partnerships with other junior scholars like myself whom I have successfully roped in to various publication projects that I am undertaking. In this sense, starting a blog has been one of the best things I’ve ever done.

In terms of marketing for seminaries and colleges is a brilliant tool. A fair few people who have either applied or inquired about post-graduate study at my college have done so on the basis that they want to do a Ph.D with me given what they have seen me do on my blog. So blogging I think is a great way of attracting research students if you can establish a niche of some kind that draws in people to the kind of stuff that you’re interested in.

Christianity Today on the Best Music Albums of 2008

Christianity Today:

As we went back into the process of selecting the year’s best albums, some of the panelists expressed initial concern that there weren’t enough great releases in 2008. They quickly changed their tune after the nominations came pouring in and we whittled our way down from 40 albums to a top 12. Once again, it proved an interesting year as the final list includes a mix of relatively unknown independent releases and new bands making their national debut, as well as some more familiar names. Even our top choices are intriguing in that one of them released gradually over several months time, while another album released a couple years ago (and is still eligible for our consideration). Read on to learn more about our favorites from 2008.

Check out the 12 Albums here.

(HT: Z)