Archive - June, 2007

The (Im)possibility of Platonic Friendships

Blake Roeber pens an accessible, humorous and helpful article on the subject of platonic, mixed-gender friendships. A highlight:

Platonic friendship, then, is any friendship that isn’t mediated by physical bodies. It’s friendship between Souls. It’s friendship that’s supposedly so deep that those involved aren’t even aware of (or, at least, aren’t at all concerned with) the trivial features of their respective bodies. In particular, it’s friendship where those involved aren’t at all concerned with their respective sex organs. It’s as if the friends involved are asexual.

The upshot:

All this isn’t to say that non-gay, non-celibate members of the opposite sex can’t be “just friends.” They surely can. It’s to say that being “just friends” takes a lot of caution. It takes care and a realistic appraisal of one’s ability to avoid temptation. It also takes the humility to admit it when one’s gotten oneself in over one’s head.
To say that Platonic friendship isn’t possible is also to recognize that, even where a guy and a girl do exercise enough caution to be “just friends,” the friendship they form will still be one between a guy and a girl, not one between two neuters.

Read the whole thing.
(HT: Boundless)

Another Mark Dever Interview

This time, from Martin Downes. My favorite question:
Martin Downes: What would you consider to be the main theological dangers confronting us today and how can we deal with them?
Mark Dever:

The main theological dangers I see confronting us today are a practical rejection of the authority of God’s word even by those who theoretically submit to it; a rejection of the sovereignty of God in favor of the putative sovereignty of man; a caricature, misunderstanding, or rejection of the penal substitution of Christ for sinners; a shallow understanding of conversion as a mere shift of opinions; a worldliness in our evangelism which deceives people about the very nature of the gospel we are hoping to win them to; an individualism that de-centers the congregation from the life of a Christian; and a carelessness of churches in addressing members in unrepentant sin, which causes untold confusion about what it means to be a Christian. I think that we deal with these dangers by understanding and teaching what God has called the local church to be and, by his Spirit’s power, working to be that.

Read the whole thing.
(HT: Challies)

DG Book Sale Extended!

Abraham writes: Our sale on books will continue until tomorrow at noon—12:00 PM CT, June 29.
My wife and I bought 15 books a few hours ago.

Schreiner on Moo: Romans Commentaries

Dr. Tom Schreiner (author of a great commentary on the book of Romans) reviewed Dr. Doug Moo’s commentary on the book of Romans in 1998. Both came out at about the same time (Moo in 1996 and Schreiner in 1998).
(HT: The Tinker)

Moore on the Wilson-Hitchens Debate

Russell Moore nicely summarizes the Wilson-Hitchens Debate: “Throughout the debate Wilson challenged Hitchens as to the foundational basis of his ongoing moral judgments. Hitchens seemed to misunderstand Wilson’s point as being that an atheist couldn’t be moral while Wilson, echoing Romans 2, repeatedly reasserted that, no, the issue is that an atheist cannot account rationally for his morality.”
Wilson is warm, cogent, and persuasive. If you want to better defend the reasonableness of the Christian faith to atheists and agnostics, I highly recommend this debate.

Shopping for Time – Mahaney & Family

Just Released: This looks like a needed book, if what I hear from my wife and her friends has any truth. The style is engaging and easy to follow. From the publisher’s description: “These authors offer five tips to help ladies do it all without becoming overwhelmed: rise early, sit down, sit longer (occasionally), choose friends wisely, and take fifteen minutes. By weaving biblical principles of God’s Word into these keys, these authors give women practical advice on how to fulfill—and excel in—their daily responsibilities.”
If you, or someone you love, is overwhelmed, miserable, and/or exhausted, the principles of this book will be a helpful corrective and an encouragement to set first things first and live in a God-centered, joyful and effective manner.
The blurbs:
“Like most women today, I struggle with feelings of ‘too much to do and too little time to do it’! My friend Carolyn Mahaney, along with her daughters, offers practical, biblical advice to help us plan, evaluate, strategize, and make wise choices concerning our time and priorities. As a godly mentor, Carolyn takes us by the hand, points us to God’s Word, shares out of her own life experience, and shows us how to apply God’s timeless truths to the contemporary challenges we face as women.”
Nancy Leigh DeMoss, author; Revive Our Hearts radio host

“‘We can actually do all that God has called us to do… and we can do it in a peaceful, joyful manner and get sufficient rest beside.’ When I read that, a light flashed on in my soul. Of course! I knew that! Once again Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle have created a book that’s fun to read and filled with truth that resonates because it’s biblical and practical and manageable.”

Noël Piper, wife, mother, grandmother, and author of Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God
“Shopping for Time offers a glimpse into the delightful Mahaney household. This book offers no simplistic solutions to the perils of superwoman syndrome. Instead, it deliberately leads women to the bedrock of biblical priorities and then suggests real-life methods by which to apply them.”
Mary K. Mohler, wife of R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Read the Table of Contents.
Read the first chapter.
The authors’ blog.

The Gospel Coalition Website is Up and Running

The Gospel Coalition is:

A fellowship of evangelical churches deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures. We have become deeply concerned about some movements within traditional evangelicalism that seem to be diminishing the church’s life and leading us away from our historic beliefs and practices. On the one hand, we are troubled by the idolatry of personal consumerism and the politicization of faith; on the other hand, we are distressed by the unchallenged acceptance of theological and moral relativism. These movements have led to the easy abandonment of both biblical truth and the transformed living mandated by our historic faith. We not only hear of these influences, we see their effects. We have committed ourselves to invigorating churches with new hope and compelling joy based on the promises received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Read the whole preamble. There are 40 stakeholders, which include John Piper, Mark Dever, D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, and Mark Driscoll. Their first conference occurred a few months ago, and their new website is an outstanding collection of free audio and video resources (all the talks from their conference), as well as a collection of older and newer articles on themes close to the heart of the gospel (atonement, justification, etc.). Looks like the plenary talks are up, but the interviews and panel discussions are still forthcoming.
Related: Gospel Coalition Foundational Documents
(HT: JT)

Special Message from DG on the Book Sale

The good folks at Desiring God pass along the following:

The sale has generated so much traffic to the checkout process in our store that the DG server is at its limit. In fact, the traffic is so high that even two servers couldn’t handle it. There are some solutions we can implement (namely, optimizing the code in the checkout process), but none that could be implemented by tomorrow.

Read the whole thing.
Basically, they are asking that people wait until tomorrow before trying to order books, given the unexpectedly high popularity of their unlimited, online-only $5/book sale.

The Ascendancy of Calvinism Among Young Adults

Mark Dever, in his first post in a series of ten, credits the writings of C.H. Spurgeon as one of the ten big reasons for the rise of Calvinism among Christians born in the 1970s and 1980s. Dever recalls:

“At Together for the Gospel, April 2006, at one point I asked people to stand by ages. Out of 3,000 we had a few senior citizens. Some guys in their 50’s. A lot in their 40’s. A TON in their 30’s. And even MORE in their 20’s. Now, there could be a lot of reasons for that, but let me simply say that when Collin Hansen came out with his interesting article about “Young, Restless and Reformed” in the fall of 2006, I had already observed the phenomenon and agreed with the premise of his article–that there does seem to be something of a reformed revival among those born in the 1970s & 1980s.”

Read the whole thing.

Spencer on Dever on Healthy Churches

Michael Spencer reviews and recommends Mark Dever’s latest resource, What Is a Healthy Church?.
Related: My earlier post on this book.

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