* Thabiti Anyabwile has posted some excellent words by Jonathan Edwards in which he counsels new converts (part one, two, and three). Edwards’ advice can be found in A Sweet Flame: Piety in the Letters of Jonathan Edwards edited by Michael Haykin.
* Steve McCoy provides audio from the Gospel, Church, and Culture meeting at the St. Louis Church Planting deal. Download Darrin Patrick’s message on Gospel, Church, and Culture as well as Mark Devine’s message on the emerging church movement.
* Denny Burk gives some examples of Tony Jones’ “Gobbledygook Orthodoxy” and concludes with this word: When a movement or “Christian” community treats the seven ecumenical councils as if they were up for grabs (or otherwise as a plaything to be deconstructed), then that movement or community has crossed over from the ranks of the orthodox to join the JW’s, the Mormons and all the others who do not stand in the life-giving stream.
* Jason Meyer, friend and personal mentor, recently preached on doubt, anxiety, and worry which I recommend to you. I may be biased here, but I believe Jason is one of the most gifted biblical expositors of my generation. Listen for yourself.
* Tim Ellsworth shares the info on a church in my backyard that canceled their Sunday morning services so that the members could watch Evan Almighty. My response: “I think the reason why pastors and churches can make decisions like this so easily is because their Sunday mornings are probably not much different from what they find in the movie theaters anyway, both in what is offered and how it was offered.”
* Over at the Church Matters blog, there has been some excellent discussion over church planting versus church reforming, and Nathan Finn has added some of his thoughts as well. Following that conversation was the topic of “strategic” church planting which Matt Schmucker brought up. Greg Gilbert mentions some of the statistical incongruencies, noting, “From 1990 to 2000, just to pull one statistic, the number of Southern Baptist churches in the 17 states of the South (including D.C.) rose from 30,690 to 33,119. That’s 2429 new churches in easily the most churched region of the country. With a population of 100.2 million, the South had one Southern Baptist church for every 3027 people. Now take the six states of New England, population 14 million. From 1990 to 2000, the number of Southern Baptist churches rose from 112 to 157. Now, that’s a 40% increase, but it’s also a grand total of 45 new churches in ten whole years. All of which comes out to almost 89,000 people for every SB church in New England. . . . Why, with that sort of disparity, are we still planting almost 250 new churches a year in the South, and only 45 a decade in New England?” Gilbert also makes an important point, adding, “As good Calvinists we also have to remember that the number of the elect would simply be incomplete without those fifty precious saints some brother is pastoring in his small East Texas church. In the eyes of heaven, that’s strategic, too.” Thabiti Anyabwile chimes in with a keen observation, suggesting, “I sometimes struggle with whether or not “strategic” is the 9Marks/Reformed equivalent of the pragmatism we dislike and find unhelpful.” This is a good discussion that I hope continues both on and off the blogosphere.
* Tom Ascol shares about the continuing conversation about regenerate church membership since San Antonio as well as provides Voddie Baucham’s Founders Breakfast Message which is just great.
* Dr. Russell Moore shares his reflections and commentary on the recent “Live Earth” concerts with an article entitled, “Blood, Gore, and Global Warming.”
* In response to Outreach Magazine’s Top Multiplying Churches list, David Fairchild comments about Reformed churches topping the list, noting, “their theology is a particular kind of reformed theology, it is reformational not just reformed. This distinction is important. To use reformed theology as a cul-de-sac in our churches is to move against the entire point of God’s work in this world. Good reformed theology is going to be church planting, kingdom driven, multiplying, culture engaging, and grace centered or it is not good reformed theology.” (HT: David Wayne)
* Yesterday was John Calvin’s birthday, and Paul Lamey has provided a quote by B.B. Warfield on Calvin in which he said the following: “Calvin, was, however, a born exegete, and adds to his technical equipment of philological knowledge and trained skill in the interpretation of texts a clear and penetrating intelligence, remarkable intellectual sympathy, incorruptible honesty, unusual historical perception, and an incomparable insight into the progress of thought, while the whole is illuminated by his profound religious comprehension. His expositions of Scripture were accordingly a wholly new phenomenon, and introduced a new exegesis–the modern exegesis.”
* Paul Helm provides his analysis of N.T. Wright’s ordus salutis which is important to look at as the justification controversy continues to heat up.
* Fellow SBTS student David Roach shares why we should care about the CBF.
* Tony Kummer over at Said At Southern has provide a list of the “Top 5 Free MP3 Libraries to Encourage Pastors” which include some honorable mentions as well. Earlier, Tony made another list of the “Top 5 Blogs to Encourage Pastors” which is also helpful.
* SBC Witness makes us aware of an upcoming 20/20 special entitled “Hell: The Fear and Fascination” this Friday, July 13.
* Steve Hays provides a very resourceful bibliography on why you should believe the Bible.
* Tom in the Box reports that big churches are now installing moving aisles. A quote: “The altar call is very important” said Adams. “If someone doesn’t make it down the aisle one week, they’ve got to wait a whole other week before they can get saved. Our building is very large, and on average we have about 6,000 people in Sunday morning worship. A walk from the very back of the church can take up to seven or eight minutes. We’re usually long done with the invitational hymn by then.” (Note: this is satire.)
* For those of you planning on attending this year’s Desiring God National Conference would be interested to know that they have created a Facebook Group so that everyone can connect with each other prior to the conference. One of the things I love about DG is that they are using every means possible to spread a passion for the supremacy of Jesus Christ, including Facebook.
* Art Rogers continues his series on pastoral blogging with some good words of advice.
* Speaking of pastoral blogging, PastorBlog explains why church websites need blogs.