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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever

Current Affairs

The Pope Loves Floyd

I have no idea what to make of this. L’ Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, has released a guide to the top ten rock albums of all time.  The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, Carlos Santana and Oasis (?!) all made the list.  First they publish the Bible in English... now this.  What's happening to the RCC?The WSJ has coverage here.

What Hitchens Has Learned From Wilson

There's an interesting short piece from celebrity atheist Christopher Hitchens over at Slate describing the lessons he's learned from debating people of faith (particularly Douglas Wilson).  You can read it here.Two interesting quotes:I haven't yet run into an argument that has made me want to change my mind. After all, a believing religious person, however brilliant or however good in debate, is compelled to stick fairly closely to a "script" that is known in advance, and known to me, too. However, I have discovered that the so-called Christian right is much less monolithic, and very much more polite and hospitable, than I would once have thought, or than most liberals believe.andWilson isn't one of those evasive Christians who mumble apologetically about how some of the Bible stories are really just "metaphors." He is willing to maintain very staunchly that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and that his sacrifice redeems our state of sin, which in turn is the outcome of our rebellion against God. He doesn't waffle when asked why God allows so much evil and suffering—of course he "allows" it since it is the inescapable state of rebellious sinners. I much prefer this sincerity to the vague and Python-esque witterings of the interfaith and ecumenical groups who barely respect their own traditions and who look upon faith as just another word for community organizing

WaPo on "Renewing the Evangelical Mission"

The Washington Post has a report (via the Religion News Service) on the "Renewing the Evangelical Mission" conference that Jonathan posted about here.  There's not much of interest in the way of commentary, but it's an interesting overview of what took place.

Jonathan Edwards, Zombie Multi-Site Pastors, and An Exercise in Reductio ad Absurdum

I'm sure there's some flaw in my thinking here, so I thought I'd throw this out on the Internet (where clear thinking goes to die) and get some feedback.

  1. Multi-site churches generally operate on the premise that the preacher in question has a gift that must be made available to as many people as possible.  The thinking is something like, "We need to be a good steward of ______'s gifts by piping his sermons into different locations".  I realize this isn't the only motivation for multi-site churches, but it's usually up there at or near the top.   
  2. If that's the case, shouldn't we also start churches that use recording of old, great, dead preachers?  Shouldn't we start a church with audio recordings of Lloyd-Jones sermons?
  3. Shouldn't we encourage great living preachers to record thousands of sermons on video so that they can continue to pastor the church centuries after their death?  
  4. Shouldn't we plant a multi-site church that employs someone to read great sermons by Jonathan Edwards or Augustine?  

Where's the hole in my thinking?  Where is this line of thinking inconsistent with the multi-site strategy?  I know that no one would go to a church that was just reading Edwards sermons but if hypothetically it "worked", would we be OK with it?I realize that there's a difference between a person who is alive and able to speak to the moment versus someone who is speaking from the past.  But there are all kinds of similar limitations that multi-site churches happily choose to live with (for example: the pastor doesn't know the people he's preaching to, he can't sense the movement of the Spirit in the room and adjust accordingly).  Why would someone's inability to know what's in the newspaper matter more?Anyway, my seatbelt is buckled.  Let me know why I'm wrong.  Or let me know why you think it's OK to have a zombie preacher.

It's Like John Piper in a KISS T-shirt

Today I had lunch with Mark Dever.  Strangely, when I arrived in his office, I found him wearing a Harley-Davidson shirt.  
Something made me feel like this needs to be documented for posterity.
The strangest part of the afternoon was the lady who stopped Mark on the street to ask where he got the T-shirt. 
The conversation that ensued was surreal, as Mark talked Harley- Davidson "shop" with this stranger.
I feel like the world is a little less safe and stable than it used to be.

Praying for the SBC

For all you guys who were able to attend and enjoy this year's SBC meeting, what three things would you commend to us as prayer items following the convention?

Slate on Child Quotas, Abortion, and China's Missing Girls

This piece by William Saletan at Slate is stomach turning.  Almost as wretched is Saletan's complete inability to articulate any kind of reason for his moral outrage beyond gender discrimination.

A Friendly Reminder

Pray for the persecuted brethren today.  And each day the Lord grants.
Several stories from Crosswalk.com to stir empathy and prayer:
Various incidents in India.
Religious freedom violations in Morocco.
Destruction of church buildings and forced relocations in Laos.
500 Christians face new Sharia regime under Taliban rule in Pakistan village.
Raids, arrests and harrassments in Uzbekistan.
"Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.  They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.  They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated--the world was not worthy of them." (Heb. 11:35-38)
Let's pray for them today.

Whilst we're on commercials...

Did you hear about the atheistic advertising campaign in London with backers such as Richard Dawkins? They raised over £120,000 to

put lots of posters on buses. This week there are plans for Christian responses from groups with which I'm not particularly familiar.Our technodeacon has come up with an alternative campaign...