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Theological Matters

Theological Insights from Southwestern

An Embrace: A Madagascar Tale

At the end of a long, arduous overland journey below the Tropic of Capricorn on the island of Madagascar in January 2013; I along with a team of Southwestern Seminary students went out for one more stroll into the streets of Abovombe, in the southwest part of the island, to talk to willing listeners about the Good News of Jesus Christ. We were on our first team trip to find and share with the Antandroy people of Madagascar. The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention challenged the Convention to respond to the call to Embrace the remaining Unreached Unengaged People Groups (UUPG) of the world. Little did I realize how literal that term, Embrace, would become for me at the end of that long day. Read More »

Why I Have Freedom from Lent

If you are like me, trying to lead your family well, then on occasion questions arise about certain “religious practices.” Every year about this time I wonder why so many Protestants begin to practice Lent. Lent clutters the pages of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. At first, I get frustrated…am I the only Protestant left in the room? Then, I feel guilty thinking they are more spiritual than I. If you have ever had these feeling, then this post is for you. Read More »

Gospel Lessons from a Train Whistle

I have always been partial to train whistles. My grandparents lived about a half mile from the railroad tracks in the little lazy mill town of Lindale, Ga. I would hear the train whistle blow day and night. My favorite time to listen was late on a fall night. Everything else in the house was quiet and tranquil. Suddenly, off in the distance, the first whistle pierced the darkness. The whistle grew louder as the train neared. After the powerful locomotives passed the crossing and the whistle stopped, the only sound was the rhythmical clickety-clack clickety-clack of the wheels as car after car rolled past and then disappeared into the darkness. I don’t know why, but somehow it brought to me a sense of comfort. Read More »

children

Use of “Morning-After Pill” on the Rise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report last week that flew under the radar of most news organizations. They conducted a five-year study (2006–2010) on the use of the “morning-after pill” (labeled “emergency contraception” in the study—more on that later) and found that 11% of “sexually experienced women aged 15–44 . . . had used emergency contraception, up from 4.2% in 2002.” Thus, in less than ten years, use of this form of birth control has almost tripled. Read More »

Seven Summits Worth Climbing in Church History: Martin Luther

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on B&H Academic Blog and is the second in a series of theological biographies by Jason Duesing: Seven Summits Worth Climbing in Church History.

Lightning needed only to strike once near the young contemplative Martinus Ludher (1483-1546) to prod him toward conscription to the confines of monasticism. At this point in his life, Luther was beyond the fear of death. Rather, he feared not knowing if he was prepared for death. Shackled by uncertainty, Luther sought freedom in the avenues commonly thought to travel closest to the gates of heaven. Not only did this include departure from his family into seclusion but also any and every form of self-discipline and strict asceticism. Well aware of his many sins, Luther hoped to cross over into the free lands of God’s favor through abandonment from the world. But the more sins he confessed the more sins he found. Like Sisyphus at a new day’s dawn, Luther grew weary and angry at the paradox of an unattainable standard of holiness. With scowls directed toward the distant God he sought to please, the roots of Luther’s fits of frustration bore deep down to a simmering cauldron of ensnaring hatred. Read More »

IntentionalEvangelism

Intentional Evangelism: Approaches & Strategies for Sharing the Gospel

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Southwestern News magazine, which gives churches and individuals strategies for sharing the Gospel.

Most Christians recognize the importance of evangelism, but they are at a loss when it comes to striking up a conversation with a stranger on a plane, in a grocery line, or at the gas station. The following is an analysis of five common approaches to sharing the Gospel with some additional evangelism tips. Each approach has potential strengths and weaknesses, but not all approaches are created equal. The first two strategies are not recommended as normative approaches for evangelism. Queen recommends a blended use of the final three approaches. Each has its own advantages and usefulness in particular situations. The leading of the Holy Spirit should dictate which approach, or approaches, should be incorporated in any given evangelistic encounter. Read More »

BibleShelf_TheoMatters

We Should Study Systematic Theology for Ourselves

In Matthew 22, the Pharisees asked Jesus a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus’ answer is recorded in Matt 22:37-38:

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV) Read More »

Disciple32

Things that I love … (but much more than I should)

Last autumn, I wrote a post on “Things That I Hate” describing eight things that I hate, so I am now providing the opposite list. Now, this is no Valentine’s list where I talk about my precious bride or my five, dear children. The things on this list are things that I love but are out of balance with what is right. Some of these things should not be “loved” at all, and others are loved much more than they ought. Read More »

MinistryofaShepherd

The Ministry of a Shepherd: Is there no balm in Gilead?

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series on the The Ministry of a Shepherd from Ezekiel 34.

February is the month we like to talk about love. Valentines are written, gifts are exchanged, and vows are made. It is estimated that this year 36 million heart-shaped boxes of candy will be sold, 50 million roses will be given, 1 billion cards will be sent, and 8 billion candy hearts will be produced. Read More »

Why You Should Study Systematic Theology: God is a God of Order

Can we truly understand God? No…and yes.

As sinful men and women, even our logic has suffered the effects of sin. We cannot expect to completely understand a God that lies beyond our comprehension; however, the God who created us also revealed Himself to us. Because of both general revelation in creation and special revelation in God’s written Word, we can a great deal about God. Read More »

BibleShelf_TheoMatters

Why You Should Study Systematic Theology: Starting the Journey

How could something so simple be so complex?

For Christmas, my daughter received the Mega Bloks Power Rangers Samurai HQ Battle set. One box, one nice picture but open it up to find 518 small Lego-like pieces with a whole lot of assembly required. The directions contained over seventy steps each with multiple items to put into the right place. I’ve seen online classes with less content. We spent about three hours together building this set, and I loved every minute of it. Every time I picked up one of those little pieces, I tried to envision how that piece fit into the big picture. The little pieces actually built four larger structures, which then fit together seamlessly to make the one whole. And of course along the way, I found the need to customize the way the fighting surface attached to the wall to make it more secure. Read More »

Seven Summits Worth Climbing in Church History: Augustine

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on B&H Academic Blog and is the first in a series of theological biographies by Jason Duesing: Seven Summits Worth Climbing in Church History.

“London remains a vast and exhilarating mystery to me,” said novelist Bill Bryson. Even after living in the United Kingdom for decades he stated that he still found that there were great fragments of London “that I have not just never visited but never heard of.” Indeed, there are some subjects that are so immense that no matter how much one reads or visits there remains more to know and master. Read More »

church-planting-wife

Hoover talks about new book for church planting wives

Editor’s Note: The following is an interview with Christine Hoover about her recently published book The Church Planting Wife. Christine and her husband Kyle moved to Charlottesville, Va., in 2008 to plant Charlottesville Community Church. Christine also shares her thoughts about life and ministry at her blog, Grace Covers Me.

What made you decide to write this book?

When my husband and I planted a church in 2008, we attended church planting conferences and read countless resources, but none specifically spoke to me as the church planter’s wife. I wanted direction and help as we approached the church planting process. Then we actually planted the church, which is an immense undertaking, and my want for resources turned to craving. I love reading and learning through reading, so I read books that encouraged my faith, such as missionary biographies and books about spiritual warfare. All along, however, I longed for a book that addressed the specific needs and struggles that I had as a church planting wife. I started my blog out of that longing, knowing that others might benefit from my experiences, and the book followed soon after.

I write my blog and I wrote this book out of a desire to encourage myself and other ministry wives to joyfully embrace our unique calling. Read More »