This Week’s Good Reads

morning paperHere’s some articles from around the web that I found interesting this week. I don’t always agree with the content, but I found them interesting nonetheless. You may find something here that you want to read too:

1. “Five Books on Idolatry/False Gods that Every Christian Needs to Read” by Matt Rawlings

My former senior pastor and colleague is a book addict of extreme proportions. So, when he says these are the five books on this subject that you should read he knows what he’s talking about.

2. “Social Justice and Young Evangelicals: Encouragement and Concern” by Matt Smethurst

TGC put David Platt, John Piper, and Matt Chandler together to talk about this subject and the result was interesting. A good healthy discussion of some of the balance needed as young evangelicals in the church rediscover the importance of caring about their world. This is a worthwhile video whether you are a “young Evangelical” or an “old Evangelical.”

3. “Derek Webb was Wrong, He’s Sorry, and He Loves You” by Mike Cosper

I have enjoyed listening to Derek Webb for years! But I have often wondered about the decisions he’s made and why he’s made them. I am very excited about his new album, with its title track “I am was Wrong, I am Sorry, and I Love You.” Many have been asking what exactly Webb is sorry for. Christ and Pop Culture interviewed him a little while ago on the subject; Webb was careful not to reveal too much. Here Mike Cosper reviews the new album and encourages us both that it’s worth listening to and that Webb, for all the frustration he gives some Evangelicals, is worth keeping in the family. My favorite statement in the piece: Scores of pieces have been written about these episodes, and I won’t retrace them all here. Suffice it to say that Webb has a way of sustaining a place in the blogosphere. Some chalk it up to loose orthodoxy, but, I must admit, part of me sees something more calculated about it all. On the one hand, the church needs internal critics, voices that skate along boundaries and borders that make us uncomfortable. Much of the tension around him (including the kerfuffle over homosexuality) is rooted in presumptions (on both sides) about what level of responsibility artists have to be doctrinarian, and how public their doctrine needs to be.

4. “Much Ado About ‘Transformalist’ Nothing” by Anthony Bradley

For some time now the “transformationalist” bent of some in the Reformed church has unsettled many others. I appreciated much about Greg Giblert and Kevin DeYoung’s response to this bent, even if I didn’t agree with all that they said in their book. But apparently some key theologians at Westminster Theological Seminary are very bothered by it and have been attacking it for some time. Here Anthony Bradley responds to some of their frustration, noting particularly the defects within their Two Kingdom Theology that prompts such an aversion to “transforming society.” As a lover of the transformationalist theology of Tim Keller, Abraham Kuyper, and others I appreciate Bradley interaction here, and even more so William Evans’ interaction with them here.

5. “Why You Need Judges: Tim Keller on a Surprisingly Relevant Part of Your Bible” by Matt Smethurst

In light of his new book the folks at TGC spent some time interviewing Tim Keller and asking him some good questions about why modern people need to read the book of Judges, how it points to Jesus, and how to deal with some of the difficult content in the book.

6. “Our Shaken Faith in Football: Should Christian Fans Step Away from Such a Physically Devastating, Violent Sport?” by Owen Strachan

Owen and I don’t often see eye to eye on the gender issues in our culture. I think we have the same starting place, but I often fear he goes too far. He, I am sure might think I don’t go far enough. But I really appreciated this piece from Christianity Today. Here Owen asks us to consider carefully the violent nature of football and prompts us to question how Christians should relate to it. The reaction was overwhelmingly negative to this piece, but I think it is a question worth considering and that Owen makes a good case for more careful evaluation.

7. “Thinking Evangelically About Tim Tebow” by Jared C. Wilson

I know nothing about Tim Tebow, most of my friends will quickly acknowledge that. But, I loved this piece from Jared which asks us to consider more carefully how we, as Evangelicals, think about American culture. Here’s my favorite line: I think evangelicals have an honesty problem when it comes to this part of the cultural marketplace. (I’m about to be pretty blunt.) We think our concert-like church services rival MTV and Disney. But they really don’t. We think our mainstream Christian music and Christian movies are just as artful as the best of the world’s offerings. But they really aren’t. We think if we pass around the right email stories and sketchy news links we will save America (or whatever). But we won’t. And we think our favorite Christian role models are the untouchable anointed. But they aren’t. What I’m saying is: It is not helpful, nor even Christian, to not be honest about Tim Tebow.

8. “Growing Your Appetite for the Lord’s Supper” by Brian Hedges

My brother Brian is a pastor’s pastor. He often helps me think about more than just my ministry, but about my own faith. I am grateful for him and for this particular piece which gives us some fresh ways to think about and approach the Lord’s Table. He writes that the table is medicine for the sin-sick soul, that it is one of the means by which God gives his grace to his children. I am thankful for that and looking forward to our next time of Communion.

9. “Prove Your Gender” by Megan Hill

Here’s a piece that I think many strong Complimentarians should read. The overemphasis on specific examples of masculinity or femininity are, I believe with Hill, going to have long-term damaging effects on the church and our children. This is such a refreshing piece to read at TGC!

10. “Is God Anti-Gay? Sam Allberry Answers” by Matthew Claridge

Sam Allberry, author of the new book Is God Anti-Gay? does an engaging interview here with Credo Magazine.

11.  “How Logic Can Help Save A College Student’s Faith” by Dave Sterrett

Despite what many think It is not only possible to maintain your faith in college, but knowing logic can actually help!

12. “False Freedom and the Slavery of Autonomy” by Derek Rishmawy

Every time my friend Derek writes an article I read it! Here is another good one. Here Derek touches on a subject that hits a little too close to home. Our hesitancy to make choices actually, he says, reveals an enslavement to autonomy. Best line: The problem with this whole approach, though, is there comes a point when not choosing becomes a choice (Kierkegaard, Either/Or). Not choosing anyone means choosing no one. Not choosing anywhere means choosing nowhere. Ironically, the inability to make a choice is not freedom but slavery to autonomy.

13. ” ‘Black to School’ Series Highlights Painful Experience of Minority Students on Christian Campuses” by Nicola Menzie

Anthony Bradley’s recent volume Aliens in the Promised Land inspired this project by Christine Cleveland to help expose some of the experiences of minority students at Christian colleges. It is important for those of who can’t relate to these experiences to be aware of them. Cleveland hopes that her project will inform those in positions of authority and power to make changes. All of us ought to be willing to listen and learn from such projects and from such works as those by Bradley.


  1. I would have read the Derek Webb article anyway, but your use of the word “kerfuffle” sealed the deal.

  2. :/ realized it was a quote. Whoops.

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