Archive - August, 2013

The Poverty of Nations

What can we do to assist those who live in extreme poverty? If you’re not asking that question, and you’re a Christian, you really should be. And this new book by Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus would be a great place to start.

The official description:

The whole world has a stake in the war against poverty and leaders across the globe are looking for a permanent solution. That’s why economist Barry Asmus and theologian Wayne Grudem have teamed up to outline a robust proposal for fighting poverty on a national level. These two experts believe the solution lies in a comprehensive development plan that integrates the principles of a free market system with the Bible’s teachings on social ethics. Speaking to the importance of personal freedom, the rule of law, private property, moral virtue, and education, this book offers a clear path for promoting economic prosperity and safeguarding a country’s long-term stability—a sustainable solution for a world looking for the way forward.

A few of the many endorsements:

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A Third of High School Grads Not College Ready

Phillip Elliot of the Associated Press wrote last week:

The ACT reported that 31 percent of all high school graduates tested were not ready for any college coursework requiring English, science, math or reading skills. The other 69 percent of test takers met at least one of the four subject-area standards.

Just a quarter of this year’s high school graduates cleared the bar in all four subjects, demonstrating the skills they’ll need for college or a career, according to company data. The numbers are even worse for black high school graduates: Only 5 percent were deemed fully ready for life after high school.

The report’s findings suggest that many students will struggle when they arrive on campus or they’ll be forced to take remedial courses — often without earning credits — to catch their peers.

Read the whole thing.

R.C. Sproul Jr. on His Suffering and God’s Sovereignty

Within the space of less than one year, R.C. Sproul Jr. lost his wife Denise to a protracted battle with cancer and his daughter Shannon to a rare illness. This is an outstanding personal interview on the sovereignty of God and suffering.

His new teaching series on suffering is now available.

HT: Justin Taylor

The Family Project – A Forthcoming Documentary

This looks really interesting. Rumor has it Nancy Pearcey, author of the excellent book Total Truth, will be in it.

Jesus on Every Page

Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology and pastor David Murray is out with a new book, and it looks fantastic: Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament. Having just finished reading 2 Samuel to my family over the summer, I could really use some help finding Jesus (although my kids just want to see Joab kill Absalom in the tree).  David’s book has been endorsed by Sinclair Ferguson, Vern Poythress, Iain Murray, Derek Thomas, Nancy Guthrie, Fred Zaspel, and many others.  In the video below, David spells out seven benefits of reading his new book.

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Interview with Michael Lindsay, President of Gordon College

Todd Ream interviews Michael Lindsay, President of Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, for Books and Culture. An excerpt:

Gordon College is one of only a handful of evangelical Christian colleges that has not invested in online and/or degree completion forms of education for undergraduates. What challenges do those decisions pose for Gordon?

I am persuaded—and I think almost all my colleagues are as well—that some dimension of online pedagogy is going to be part and parcel of the undergraduate experience for every institution over the next five to ten years. We’ve seen this realignment gaining momentum on many fronts. I think that that will become part of who we are. Gordon has been doing some piloted programs in online education for about three years, and I think that the pilot program was the exactly right way to go. It has given us a chance to see what we are doing and how we can make improvements. And for us it’s not about expanding the population that we serve, but instead it’s figuring out a way to better serve our existing population. We recognize that undergraduates today demand some engagement with multimedia. At the same time, we are committed to our core identity as a liberal arts college. One of the things that I think that Gordon can uniquely do is that we can demonstrate for other Christian colleges how it is that you can be committed to a liberal arts environment while at the same time preparing young people for careers. A liberal arts education prepares you not for a job but for a career. And it prepares you for a career that spans your entire lifetime. One thing that struck me in my own research is that so many of the people that I interviewed—over half of them, in fact—had a liberal arts degree. I asked them, “Why did you not major in business or in finance?” They said they were looking for something that would give a broad enough base so that they could be flexible and respond to the changing dynamics. That’s the value of a liberal arts education.

Read the whole thing.

Victor Davis Hanson on the Liberal Arts

Great article by Victor Davis Hanson on how “the therapeutic Left and the utilitarian Right both do disservice to the humanities.”   Excerpt:

…the therapeutic academic Left proved incapable of defending the traditional liberal arts. With three decades of defining the study of literature and history as a melodrama of race, class, and gender oppression, it managed to turn off college students and the general reading public. And, cheek by jowl, the utilitarian Right succeeded in reclassifying business and finance not just as undergraduate majors, but also as core elements in general-education requirements.

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President of ASU on Whether College is Worth It

A good interview with Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, America’s largest public university.  He makes two really good points:

1. Most college rankings are based on exclusivity (admissions rates), but what’s importance is achievement upon graduation. 

2. Graduation rates vary by family income (sadly).  “Having a more diverse class — more kids working while in college, more first-generation college students — affects graduation rates.”  (It seems we need to do more to help talented kids from lower income families persevere to graduation.)