Archive for March, 2011

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

The Elephant Room edition: the conversations that somebody thought none of us would ever think we’d hear from a bunch of celebrity megachurch pastors.

This event was held at Harvest Bible Chapel in suburban Chicago and simulcast to a select number of sites in the U.S. and Canada.

There is no video or audio and I have no idea if they’ll ever make it available.

The best way to get caught up on what happened is to visit Trevin Wax’s blog, where he has posted links to the notes that two bloggers did for each session.

Trevin also posted the best tweets (Twitter hashtag: #elephantroom) from the day’s happenings.

Linkathon 3/30, part 1

March 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Mike DeLong asks why Ed Dobson doesn’t do something about Rob Bell.

Could church make you fat? Bobby Ross Jr. looks at recent media coverage on the topic.

Phil Cooke on the biggest mistakes Christians make in the media.

Chad Estes on making money off the weak.

American Jesus on Paul Washer’s advice to those suffering from depression.

Roger Olson on the new fundamentalism.

Becky Garrison interviews Frank Schaeffer.

Mike Cosper encourages you to see what Radiohead sees.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey on Christian pole dancing.

Cooke asks if it’s time to consider taking a sabbath from digital devices.



Linkathon 3/23

March 22, 2011 4 comments

Chaplain Mike reviews Eugene Peterson’s The Pastor.

John Mark Reynolds calls out Peterson re: Rob Bell (I promise this is the only Rob Bell-related link I’ll put on this post!).

Todd Rhoades asks if churches discriminate against single pastors.

Jack Hayford’s radio program Living Way is now only available via podcast. I wonder if that hints at the future of other ministries on Christian radio?

David Barton says Jesus is anti-union? (HT: Andrew Sullivan)

Dan Edelen rethinks evangelicalism’s trope of faith.

Gene Vieth on the Calvinist case against Lutheranism.

Tony Campolo asks if Christianity is a casualty of war.

Ingrid Schlueter says she’s sorry. (HT: one of our numerous Linkathon readers)

Linkathon 3/16, part 1

March 16, 2011 6 comments

Martin Bashir’s interview with pastor and author Rob Bell on MSNBC (HT to poster Martin Luther’s Disciple, who linked it here at PP, and Denny Burk, who posted a transcript along with the video)

The following links touch one way or another on Christian blogland’s version of March madness: Rob Bell’s latest book Love Wins, in which many allege Mr. Bell has embraced universalism.

Kevin DeYoung posted a long critical review of the book. He’s representative of those who think Bell’s views are heretical (to put it kindly).

Julie Clawson has a more favorable view of the book. She probably is representative of those who think Bell’s views are not heretical and that he has something worthy to say to the church.

Mark Galli of Christianity Today also criticizes Bell’s points, while saying the church would be foolish to dismiss the questions he asks.

Kary Oberbrunner thinks Bell is too evasive. Margaret Feinberg isn’t sure what Bell believes and wonders who really wins.

Cathleen Falsani calls the book “a love note” to and about Jesus. Matthew Paul Turner says we shouldn’t demonize Bell and “let the matter divide us.”

Trevin Wax compares the uproar to a fever.

Carole Turner says “the various reviews and hoopla” is entertaining. Bill Kinnon finds himself confused by Calvinists again.

And Andrew Jones has one of the better observations of the whole debate I’ve read, calling the matter “a battle for the empire”.

Carl Trueman indirectly addresses the matter, saying instead that “the age old question” really is how to minister God’s grace to those who need it, and “If we really believe Matt. 16:18, I would suggest that we will not panic with every wind of false doctrine which comes our way, nor will we be intimidated by astronomical sales figures for bad books or tickets to hear false preachers.

It would be great, IMO, if everyone got saved. But the Bible clearly teaches that few will enter the kingdom of heaven…while mentioning an innumerable multitude in Revelation that made it in.

Perhaps Michael Patton’s article on why hell is eternal will be helpful to you.

Not related to Rob Bell, his book or hell but related to Reformed Calvinists: John Samson says faithful are the wounds of a friend.

Linkathon 3/9, part 1

March 8, 2011 1 comment

(Rob Bell) Linkathon 3/2, part 2

March 2, 2011 3 comments

Here’s what the Christian blogosphere was “discussing” this past week:

And here’s a list of everyone I could find who had something to say about the whole deal, beginning with the blogger who’s post kickstarted the discussion:

Justin Taylor

Joshua Harris

Trevin Wax

Roger Olson I

Roger Olson II

Roger Olson III

Tony Jones I

Tony Jones II

Tim Challies

Jason Boyett

Rachel Held Evans

Url Scaramanga (Christianity Today’s Out of Ur blog)

Carole Turner

Joe Thorn

Matt Redmond I

Matt Redmond II

David Sessions

Kevin DeYoung I

Kevin DeYoung II

Julie Clawson

Chad Estes

Albert Mohler

Eugene Cho

Eric Marrapodi (CNN Belief blog)

David Fitch

Chris LaTondresse (Sojourners)

Jonathan D. Fitzgerald (Patheos)

Adam Omelianchuk (Evangel blog at First Things)

Matt Appling

Erik Raymond

Robert Sagers (Evangel blog)

Brian McLaren

Tim Brister

Matt Dabbs

Scot McKnight

Mark Galli (Christianity Today)

Jared Wilson I

Jared Wilson II

Adam Ellis (at Matthew Paul Turner’s blog)

Matthew Paul Turner

David Hayward

Ben Witherington

Anne Jackson

Dan Waugh

Denny Burk

Notice how long that list is?

For what it’s worth, I think Tony Jones had some of the best commentary on the subject. He echoed what Michael Newnham said earlier this week:

I think we’ve been played…the internet, Twitter, and blogs blew up over the release of a Rob Bell video pushing his new book.

Utterly oblivious to the reality that Bell and his publisher wanted this reaction, the conservative and Calvinist communities extended a million dollars of free advertising in the form of hostile rants.

Strangely enough no one has read the book, but everyone seems to have an opinion on what they haven’t read…

And also for what this is worth, I am skeptical that anyone who doesn’t follow the theologians and pastors who post on Twitter and the internet is even remotely aware of this controversy…which shows perhaps how out of whack Internet controversies are in proportion to what real people face in the real world…



Linkathon 3/2, part 1

March 2, 2011 1 comment

Free audiobook this month: The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul (HT: Justin Taylor).

What Matt Chandler learned from cancer.

Chad Estes: “The words that actually lead people to repentance rarely ever need the decibels of a bullhorn

Why David French is a Calvinist. (Believe it or not, I have yet to see articles by people on why they’re Arminian, or non-Calvinist; if you know of any, let us know)

Ed Cyzewski on heresy.

John Samson on Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Everybody’s favorite pastor 🙂 Pastor Mark (Driscoll), on how to talk to your kids about sex.

Tony Jones on the one thing I managed to (largely) avoid reading about this week: Rob Bell.

Desiring God’s Fighter Verses now available for your iPhone or Android smartphone.

Paul Tripp on the grace of confession, part 1.

A blog friend, Tony P. is back in the blog world. Here’s an example of his writing. Check out his other articles, too!

“Just stop it” isn’t the best advice.

Tim Ellsworth and Scott Lamb’s biography of Albert Pujols is reviewed.

And lastly, my review of Paul Young’s The Shack.


Book Review: The Shack

March 1, 2011 11 comments

When William Paul Young’s novel The Shack was published, I managed to avoid reading the book and participating in the controversy surrounding it.

For a long time, I did not get around to reading the book, but I did keep tabs on the internet discussion of Young’s book, his theology and the debate between those who saw it as heresy and those who saw it as reflective of Jesus and His love for His kids.

Eventually, I read that book for myself.

And, what has stuck with me is the image of God’s faithful, unending, persistent love for His own.

The story is told from the perspective of Mac, a man who tragically lost his daughter after she was kidnapped by a serial killer. He finds himself going back to the shack where his little girl was murdered…and that is where he begins to heal from the tragedy and learn about the heart of God.

I cannot understand what it is like to lose a child (and I hope I never do!). But I understand what it is like to feel alienated…from God as well as others.

I emailed the following to the author some time ago:

Your book made me tear up a few times, because through it I felt as if God really did care for me, care about me.

I long to hear “Brian, I AM especially fond of you.”

His voice, as I’m sure you know, can seem faint against the screaming backdrop of skeptics and those who would demean and diminish you.

When you go out into a cold, cruel world such a word from God, whether from Scripture, or a Christian friend can be invaluable. Like cool, life-giving water to a parched plant.

In that I glimpse what the Kingdom of God is on this earth: the revolution of God on this earth creating glimpses of the world to come.

If this world is a shadow of things to come….and your book a glimpse of the Trinity and the afterlife…I can’t wait to get there. I long for it and hope I make it.

Paul, thank you for this book. May God bless you and your family abundantly.