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Theological Insights from Southwestern

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Dr. Seuss and Good Bible Reading

My three-year old son loves to “read” Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop. Of course, he does not actually read the words (especially “Constantinople” and “Timbuktu”). However, he will flip every page and recite every word on the page, not missing more than a couple words in the whole book. Boy genius? No, just a whole lot of repetition. So, in his case, you could say that the secret to good reading is re-reading. While Seuss was a creative writer and his classics are certainly worth the re-read, something about this particular book has captured my young son’s little mind. He wants to read it every day. He wants us to read it to him. He wants to read it to us. With every read, he becomes more familiar with its words and images. He has even connected each episode in the book into a larger story, so that you cannot miss one part without having to go back and “read it right.” It is also fun to watch him trying to connect the scenes with reality as he weighs the morality of “We fight all night” or wants me to play “hop on Pop” with him (which I usually turn into a tickling match). Read More »

BibleShelf_TheoMatters

Why You Should Study Systematic Theology: Where Do I Start?

Where Do I Start?

You obviously need to start with knowing the Scripture rather than reading what someone else has said about the Scripture. So first, you should read your Bible. I would also recommend purchasing the Bible on CD. I imported the ESV Bible into my iTunes account and have it on my phone. When I am running, lifting weights or driving for an extended time, I listen to entire books of the Bible to saturate myself continuously with God’s Word. Read More »

The End of School

On my desk sits a small relief of Rodin’s “Thinker”. We know the famous statue—the nude kneeling on his left leg in the contemplative pose—as the symbol of modern thinking and philosophy. The little statue came from a small gift shop in Paris on Rue de Bellechasse, not too far from the original, which sits in the garden of the Muse Rodin. Read More »

A Grandfather Already?

I do not know exactly when I became a grandfather, but I know that for over eight months now I have been one. So far, I have not held my grandson though he lives nearby. I have seen only a black and white fuzzy image of him dating back a few months, but that is okay. I am not bothered by all of that. He moves around, and he is on the move. Read More »

He Didn’t Want to Rush into Ministry Unprepared: Jonathan Edwards and Theological Education

At Southwestern Seminary, where I serve, we regularly underscore our conviction that the call to ministry is a call to prepare. Formal seminary training is not a requirement for ministry or necessarily even a barometer to guarantee a certain level of genuine godliness or qualified fitness. However, to have 3 to 5 years to learn from professors and work out one’s understanding of foundational beliefs is not only a helpful blessing for many toward a long-term ministry of faithfulness, it is also often a form of what I call “structured discipleship” that many of us need before we are in a position of regularly leading others. Read More »

Contending with the (Alleged) Contradictions of Scripture

It is very common for someone to object to Christianity on the basis of the belief that there is a wide array of contradictions in the Bible. It is also very common that, if pressed, the person raising this objection cannot name a single contradiction. However, it doesn’t take but an internet search of “Bible contradictions” to provide an abundance of opportunities to think about possible inconsistencies. We will of course not be able to address in this short article every single contradiction that is alleged or even very many of them. Instead I want to think more generally about how to evaluate alleged contradictions. I’m happy to tip may hand from the outset here and say that I do not believe there is a single contradiction in the entirety of the Bible. This is not an article of blind faith for me. I have come to this conclusion from a long and varied study of these issues as I have tried to approach this area as unbiased as possible. Read More »

The Cacophony of Silence: Rising Global neo-Pentecostalism, World Christianity, and the Southern Baptist Convention

It had already been a long journey and I still had a long set of flights out of Nigeria routing back to the United States. During my visit to the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary in Ogobomso, I met many fine folk. They are indeed doing a tremendous job of engaging lost people with the good news in the midst of horrific conflict posed to the whole nation, and the world, from a violent stream of Islam known as Boko Haram. One of the institution’s administrators accompanied me back to Lagos, Nigeria to fly out. Read More »

Seven Summits Worth Climbing in Church History: Jonathan Edwards

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

Speaking in 1976 to a conference of ministers, London preacher, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, compared “the Puritans to the Alps, Luther and Calvin to the Himalayas, and Jonathan Edwards to Mount Everest.” As the greatest theologian and philosopher in American history, Edwards is certainly a summit worth climbing. However, for all of Edwards’s brilliance and human achievements, there must be something more to the man that transcends from eighteenth century transcontinental leader to twenty-first century t-shirt icon. To be sure, Edwards’s legacy has been assessed, not to mention at least two academic centers (at Yale and at TEDS) and one society dedicated to the study of the Northampton pastor. But for a future generation that knows not Edwards, his call for prayer for revival and the manner in which that call shaped a world missions movement might prove prescient. Read More »

MinistryofaShepherd

The Ministry of a Shepherd: Let’s Be Careful Out There

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

Years ago, in the popular police television drama Hill Street Blues, every episode climaxed with Sergeant Esterhaus completing roll call with the admonition to his officers, “let’s be careful out there.” The phrase went that generations’ version of viral because it captured the stark reality of which we are all too often reminded today that police work is dangerous business. In a very similar way, pastors must be so reminded of the dangers of their work, and they must assiduously protect the sheep. Read More »