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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Not long ago, Justin Taylor highlighted a lecture by Sam Williams, saying, “This is the best one-hour introduction [to the psychology of homosexuality] you can find.”

I agree.

Here are some of the questions raised and addressed (as aptly outlined by Taylor) in this presentation.

What causes homosexuality?
Can we be responsible for that which is not consciously chosen?
What is the difference between having same-same attraction, same-sex orientation, and being “gay” or “lesbian”?
How many people self-identify in these ways?
Do people with same-same attraction actually change?
How can they change?
What does the gospel have to do with this issue?
How can we promote change in the church for those who struggle?

Must Listen Factor: Quite High

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 1 Hour

To Download: Left click picture (The lecture was given on 10/18/11).

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While reading the twentieth chapter of Acts, meditating again on Paul’s farewell address to the elders at Ephesus, I was struck by Paul’s emphasis in verses 33-35.  Listen again to him,

“I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Remarkable words!  Paul purposively worked hard with his hands in order to set an example.  He wanted the saints to see his concern for the weak.  He wanted them to know, to truly know, that it is more blessed to given than to receive.  It is a sober reminder.

My reading this passage was aptly timed.  Not long ago, I listened to a short, but powerful message by Tim Keller entitled “Generous Justice.”  In a winsome but convicting way, he wove together the doctrine of justification with the Christian’s duty to care for the weak and poor.  In the usual hustle and bustle of life, working on different projects and what not, it’s easy to forget the concerns of the poor.  This message grabbed me, looked me in the eye, and said, “Don’t forget to walk as your Lord walked.  Remember the poor.”  The conviction lasted for about an hour before it was swallowed up with other thoughts.  Reading the passage out of Acts resuscitated my memory.  I feel as if the Lord is getting my attention.

Perhaps you could be reminded as well?  How about taking thirty minutes sometime soon in order to give it a listen.  You won’t regret it.

Must Listen Factor: High

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 30 minutes

To Download: Left Click picture.

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D.A. Carson has written a timely article entitled “Generational Conflict in Ministry.”  See if the first paragraph catches your attention:

“About five years after the Berlin wall came down and the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe had mostly fallen or been transmuted into something rather different, I had the privilege of speaking at a conference for pastors in one of those formerly eastern-bloc countries. The numbers were not large. Most interesting was the way this group of men reflected a natural breakdown. They were clearly divided into two groups. The older group—say, over forty or forty-five—had served their small congregations under the former communist government. Few of them had been allowed to pursue any tertiary education, let alone formal theological training. Most of them had served in considerable poverty, learning to trust God for the food they and their families needed to survive. Some had been incarcerated for the sake of the gospel; all had been harassed. The men in the younger group—say, under forty or so—without exception were university graduates. Several had pursued formal theological education; two or three were beginning their doctorates. They were interested in ideas and in the rapidly evolving cultural developments taking place in their country now that their media were a good deal freer. Quite a number were engaged in university evangelism and wanted to talk about postmodern epistemology.”

[For the rest click Here]

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Apologetics 315 Interview with David Wood

Excellent interview exploring the subject of Islam.  Instead of looking at the historical evidence, which is rarely what Muslims care to explore, David Wood very helpfully shows how one can and should use the Koran itself as a foil to the Muslim’s most common objections against Christianity.  Good stuff.

http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2011/07/apologist-interview-david-wood.html

Epistemology – Andrew Fellows

In one of the most helpful and concise sketches of the history of epistemology I’ve run across, Andrew Fellows of L’Abri ministries shows how nearly everything after Plato and Aristotle, in the history of philosophy, is but footnotes.  Well worth the 90 minutes.

http://www.labri-ideas-library.org/download.asp?fileID=395

William Lane Craig vs AC Grayling Debate: The Problem of Evil and the Existence of God

What can I say?  I’m a sucker for debates.  If you’re interested in hearing William Lane Craig clearly and masterfully present Plantinga’s free will defense against the logical problem of evil, this is it.  Look no further.  Of course, I can’t say that I feel entirely sanguine with the approach.  Possible worlds and what not simply doesn’t impress me, even if it is logically sound.  See John Frame’s “Apologetics to the Glory of God” for further reflections.

http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2011/07/william-lane-craig-vs-ac-grayling.html

Two Podcasts on the Impact of Media and the Media’s Impact on Preaching

I just happened to listen to these back to back (or nearly, anyway).  Both were very interesting and thought provoking.  David Gordon asks the simple question, “Why can’t Johnny preach?”  The answer: Because he doesn’t know how to write or read.  Curious?  Check it out.

As for the other podcast, Dr. Mohler and Sven Birkerts discuss the impact of E-readers and the digital age and future of printed material, especially that of reading books.  There’s a hint of romanticism in this podcast, but hey, I love holding a book as well.  There is something different, isn’t there?

Sven Birkerts:  http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/05/31/temp-tip-title/
David Gordon: http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/04/04/tip-temporary-title-david-gordon/

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How might you answer these questions?

Is God pleased with our owning things?
Is God pleased when we take materials from the earth and produce things?
Is God pleased when men employ others for work?
Is God pleased with commercial transaction?
Is God pleased with men making a profit?
Is God pleased with the idea of money?
Is God pleased with inequality of possessions?
Is God pleased with competition?
Is God pleased with borrowing and lending?

In his lecture “Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business,” Dr Grudem answers each in the affirmative.  And he answers them, I might add, with great pastoral care and biblical fidelity.  This is really helpful stuff.  If you’ve never thought through the subject of business or work or the basic tenets of capitalism, you’ve got to give this a listen.  It will transform your thinking and give you a greater appreciation for the depth and relevancy of God’s Word.

Actually, this is the first lecture of three related messages delivered at the 2010 Clarus Conference.  The others are equally as interesting and helpful.  Just consider their titles:

“Business Ethics: Working, Buying and Selling According to God’s Moral Standards.”

“The Bible’s Solution to World Poverty: 50 Factors within Nations that Determine their Wealth or Poverty.”

I especially enjoyed the message on nations and poverty.  I have a brother-in-law from Ethiopia.  Having come to learn more about that poverty stricken nation, many of the principles outlined in Grudem’s lecture made me think about that ailing country.  Oh, if the leaders of this world would only look to Christ.

Must Listen Factor: High.  Everyone can benefit from the messages

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: About an hour each

To Download: Click picture.  BTW, the messages by Randy Alcorn are good as well.

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The latest issue of Scientific America headlines:

The Physics of Intelligence
Evolution has packed 100-billion neurons into our three-pound brain
Can we get any smarter?

If we believe that chance exquisitely laced these neurons together, then I sure hope so.

——–

Speaking of science, it’s popular these days to talk about the incompatibility of science and religion.  I hear it all the time.  But imagine Adam being told by God to subdue and exercise dominion over the earth.  Wanting to obey his Maker, Adam immediately begins working on the various sciences- detailing material properties, figuring out chemical reactions and what not.  After a couple days of research, he stumbles upon a helpful formula.  Can you imagine him looking up from his research and exclaiming, “Aha!  I’ve unearthed a great scientific discovery!  Oh, wait!  Oh, no…  That means God doesn’t exist!!!”

Wouldn’t his conclusion be absurd?

But is it any different for us these many eons later?

——–

Today I listened to a message by Professor John Lennox, entitled, “Is Anything Worth Believing In?”  If ever there’s a man that speaks like Ravi Zacharius, it’s got to be this guy.  He sounds a lot like him, which of course is meant as a compliment.

While the message touched on a number of issues, the central thrust focused on the so called problem of science and faith.  It was a fun listen.  Very engaging.  Helpful at many points.  There are a couple small glitches here and there, but on the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture.  So if you’d like to hang out with a thoughtful and interesting speaker for an hour and half, this would be worth your time.

Must Listen Factor: Moderate

Difficulty: Moderate to High

Length: 90 minutes

To Download: Click Picture.  Sign up if necessary and download the audio.

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I am not a Rick Warren aficionado.  I don’t have the foggiest idea what he does on Thursday afternoon, nor do I listen to his sermons (I’ve heard one).  I’ve never read any of his books.  And I don’t follow his tweets.

This means that what I’m about to say concerning John Piper’s interview is strictly limited to what I heard in this interview.  I’m judging it solely on the basis of the content found therein.

So let’s start with the big question.  Is Rick Warren, based on what he said in this interview (3rd time’s a charm), a heretic?  No.  Not at all.  He’s a conservative, monergistic Evangelical.  And for that, I’m extremely thankful.

Let’s back up now.  The interview was very interesting.  Piper covered a lot of subjects, touching on everything from limited atonement to Scripture to hell to prevenient grace to the sovereignty of God.  Rick Warren answered the questions forthrightly and often with Scripture.  There weren’t any howlers, on Warren’s part.  His understanding of the New Heavens and New Earth might be a little quirky, but then again, he said that he hadn’t studied the issue at great length.  Fair enough.  For the most part, Piper and Warren could heartily agree (although I suspect that Piper communicates doctrine differently than Warren, not to mention emphasizes it more).

Clearly Pastor Warren is a man who likes to boil things down into succinct and often pithy statements.  For example, he said towards the end of the interview,

“I believe there are two great themes in scripture: Salvation and stewardship. You know, I believe that one day we’ll stand before the Lord and he’s going to ask a couple questions.  The first one is, “What did you do with my son Jesus?” That’s it, “What did you do with my son Jesus?”… The second one is the question of stewardship which is, “What did you do with what I gave you?”

Is that how you would put it?  Perhaps not, but it’s certainly clear and biblical.

Much more could certainly be said, but I’ll leave it to you to make up your own mind.  But as for myself, I’m thankful that America’s most well known pastor isn’t a flaming liberal.

Must Listen Factor: Moderate.

Difficulty: Moderate to High.  A certain measure of theological acumen will be required to grasp the subtleties in this interview.

Length: 90 minutes

To Download: For some reason, the audio file is a wave file.  So it’s like 1 gig.  Uhg.  Not sure why they did that.  Anyway, I watched the interview- a truly rare moment for me.  You can find it here: LINK.

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