Hats off to Jamie Dean for an outstanding cover story in World magazine about child sexual abuse within Christian communities (families, churches, ministries) and the enormous cost of not reporting incidents to the appropriate secular authorities. As Dean writes, “Adults may not intend to fail victims of sexual abuse, but experts say churches make a common mistake of trying to handle abuse allegations on their own.”
The news is breaking that Douglas Phillips of Vision Forum Ministries has resigned. This post should not be interpreted as a desire to heap scorn upon Mr. Phillips, his family, or the things he has courageously stood for over the years. On the contrary, while the circumstances which precipitated his resignation are sad, his resignation letter is in many ways a model of public repentance. It has become common in our day for those in positions of authority to “transition” from their duties in obscure ways, without any public acknowledgment of missteps, poor judgment, or wrongdoing. But Mr. Phillips made no attempt to be evasive. He put his behavior in biblical categories, without any attempt to “spin” himself in a positive light.
“On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther tacked up 95 theses on the church door at Wittenberg. With this act, he hoped to provoke a discussion among the scholars about the abuses of the indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. He was not trying to create a public furor by any means, but within a fortnight, these theses had spread through the country like wildfire. The last thing Luther had in mind was to start some kind of major controversy, but nevertheless major controversy did begin.” —R.C. Sproul
In honor of Reformation Day, Ligonier Ministries is offering the downloadable edition of R.C. Sproul’s ten-part series Luther and the Reformation for free. (Both audio and video.) Check it out! And Happy Reformation Day!
Andrew Wilson, pastor in Eastbourne, UK and author of If God, Then What?, writes an even-handed review of Mark Driscoll’s latest missive, A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future?. An excerpt:
At the center of the book, however, is an unresolved tension that threatens to scuttle the whole volume. On the one hand, Driscoll insists that, in order to pursue “resurgence,” the various tribes in contemporary evangelicalism need to unite around the gospel, choose our battles wisely, and allow all sorts of disagreement over non-essential matters (116). The tribes that he, John Piper, Bill Hybels, Steven Furtick, John MacArthur, Joel Osteen, Stanley Hauerwas, Scot McKnight, Andy Stanley, T. D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, and Albert Mohler represent all agree on the non-negotiables of evangelicalism (95-96 and following)—an observation I suspect will astonish some of these leaders!—and we should Continue Reading…
An exceptionally important article by John Piper on the necessity of parents requiring the first-time obedience of their children. He offers nine observations to “help rescue some parents from the folly of laissez-faire parenting.”
1. Requiring obedience of children is implicit in the biblical requirement that children obey their parents.
2. Obedience is a new-covenant, gospel category.
3. Requiring obedience of children is possible.
High youth unemployment combined with the high cost of college is leaving many 16-24 year olds in a lurch. Katrina Trinko in USA Today writes that, “according to the study released Monday by Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan organization that focuses on economic mobility, one in seven young adults ages 16-24 are not in school and not working.” Read the whole thing.
I’ve been reading a bit about John MacArthur’s recent Strange Fire conference (also the title of his new book), and of all the strange things I’ve read, this was the strangest: R.C. Sproul prayed in tongues. No, not at the conference, but earlier in his life. Here’s the opening of his article:
MANY PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED, AND SOME ARE shocked, when they hear of my involvement in the charismatic movement years ago.
It began in 1965, shortly after I returned from graduate study in Holland to teach philosophy and theology at my alma mater. Some of my senior students who were preparing for ministry kept talking to me excitedly about their experiences with the Holy Spirit and about receiving the gift of tongues.
I’ve been finishing a major book project over the last few weeks, and I’ve had little time for blogging. So here’s another cartoon, courtesy AEI:
Tullian Tchividjian appeared on Morning Joe to discuss his new book, One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World. Towards the end, they talked about Tullian’s grandfather, Billy Graham, who will turn 95 this November. Mr. Graham writes of Tullian’s book: