Archives For Resources

It has been a while since we’ve shared a penny pinching tip around here (sorry about that). But today I have a pretty good tip for you: Buying groceries online.

Now, the first time I saw amazon’s online grocery store, I was pretty skeptical. For me, there is just something strange about order my cereal on a website and having it delivered to my house. However, my wife (the bargain hunter) noticed that there were often some really good deals (50% off section) at the amazon grocery store. Not only were there good deals, but I didn’t even have to drive to the store!

The great news is that the savings can get even better! You can get 15% off your order PLUS free shipping using the subscribe and save feature. Here are the details:

  • Set a delivery schedule that fits your needs–every one, two, three, or six months
  • Extra 15% discounts on our everyday price
  • Free shipping on every order
  • E-mail reminders of upcoming shipments
  • The flexibility to change your schedule or cancel at any time–no risks, no fees

We’ve used subscribe and save in the past for children’s vitamins and other regular items we go though. I’m telling you, online grocery shopping is a sweet tip.

Top off the good deals with good selection (they have a great selection indeed) and the amazon grocery store is a great thrifty idea.

The New Media Frontier: Blogging, Vlogging, and Podcasting for Christ, ed. By John Mark Reynolds and Roger Overton. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008. 254 pp. $16.99.

The New Media Frontier (TNMF) is a call to arms for the Christian where it concerns the use of technology. This book is directed at any Christian who uses a computer, especially those who blog. The book begins with the oft quoted statement (changed somewhat), “It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.” Those reading this review immediately know what is being implied in regards to TNMF. Every search in a search engine runs the risk of pornography. However, the Internet can most certainly be used for Kingdom purposes as is evidenced by this website and others like it.

TNMF is a series of papers divided into two parts. The first part is called “The Landscape of New Media” and offers an introduction to things like blogging and podcasting. Matthew Lee Anderson offers three dangers to accepting this new media uncritically: desensitization, the deficiencies of online communication, and losing reality by sitting in front of our computer screens.

The second part of TNMF is how to engage the new media. With chapters topics like youth ministry and facebook and virtual classrooms and evangelism and apologetics, this section of the book is like one of those Time Life do-it-yourself series (before DIY was cool!) offering up tips and advice on how to use the Internet for the glory of God.

Each author does a decent job of providing the pros and cons to the use of TNMF. They caution against getting carried away with this new resource and to be mindful of Who is reading. One statement in the book that I thought was of special interest was at the end of the chapter on pastors and the new media. “Blogging turned out to be, like most pastoral efforts, hard work with limited rewards (at least this side of heaven).” (p. 136)

If you are reading this review, then you should read this book. Because the Internet is here to stay, we must all as Christians, and even more so as ministers, become conversant with what is being called the New Media. Yes, it does have its evil side, but it also has its good side. It is our job, I believe, to use this resource for the purpose of the Kingdom, but to do so in a discerning and critical way. This book will be a good start to becoming just that.

During the last redesign of Going to Seminary I installed a seminary forum. I thought it was going to be a great idea. Seminarians from all over the globe could come to one spot and have discussions and dialogues (and an occasional monologue) about things related to seminary. I created a section for seminarians to bounce paper ideas off one another, discuss jobs, talk about family issues, and a place to help those considering seminary to ask questions. Well… the forum has been less than active. So, today’s two cent Tuesday question is “should we dump the forum?”

If you’re answer is yes, then I’ll give it the ax. If it is “no” then get over there and start using it. Whatever you decide I’ll do at the end of the week.

Cheers!
_ryan

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Nearly every aspect of American society has been affected by the feminist movement, and the church turns out to be no exception. The feminist movement did not merely change the way evangelicals view themselves; it changed the way they view the Word of God.

In Jesus and the Feminists: Who Do They Say That He Is? Margaret Elizabeth Kostenberger tells the story of a movement through the stories and writings of its principal figures. Kostenberger explains, “I have tried to supply you with the facts—the story of these women and their views of Jesus—so that you can form your own opinion as to whether their positions are tenable and biblical.”

Her survey of the feminist movement reveals the radical misunderstanding of Jesus it has facilitated by investigating a wide range of feminist views—including radical, reformist, and evangelical. Jesus and the Feminists enables readers to recognize the assumptions behind feminist interpretations of Scripture and the consequences of building upon those assumptions.

Kostenberger concludes by offering a constructive alternative to all types of feminism in complementarianism. In this way, Jesus and the Feminists guides readers into a better understanding of the biblical message regarding Jesus’ stance toward women and offers both men and women a biblical view of their roles in the church and the home.

Von Kamecke, Fred. Busted: Exposing Popular Myths about Christianity (Advanced Readers Copy). Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009. 208 pp. $16.99.

Introduction

Fred Von Kamecke is assistant pastor at The Chapel in Graslake, Illinois and an adjunct professor at Bethel College. He has also served as an adjunct at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) where he also received his PhD in New Testament theology and exegesis. He teaches in the area of New Testament studies.

Summary of Busted

Busted is divided into four sections dealing with various charges, by non-Christians, against Christianity. For the most part, those who bring these charges consider themselves to be open-minded (except when it comes to truth) and more intelligent than those who have faith. However, most who say the things in this book usually parrot the claims. In other words, they heard it once said that the Bible contradicts itself so they now say it even though they have never researched the claim and probably cannot give a specific example.

In the first section, myths about the Bible are tackled. The problem of having so many translations is dealt with along with the reliability of the gospels. Also in this section is a chapter on the validity of miracles.

The second section engages the various myths about Jesus Christ. Was He just another guru? Did He claim to be God or the Messiah? In answering these questions, the author also answers the attacks on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

Myths about God is the subject of the third section. Subjects like relativism and the Trinity are dealt with in these chapters. Of particular note, the charge that Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God is handled.

Finally, myths about the Christian faith in general are discussed in the fourth section. Dealing with the concept of orthodoxy and anti-Semitism can be found here. Also, perhaps one of the more common charges of worshipping God on a golf course or somewhere but church is handled.

Critique

The author does an excellent job of writing to his stated intended audience—the “average” Christian who has not gone to a Bible college or seminary and honest seekers of truth. Having personally studied apologetics in the past, this book makes for an excellent introduction to the field of philosophically defending the faith.

The scholarship in answering the charges is present but unlike many other introductory apologetic books, Busted is not dry. Fred von Kamecke has a wonderful sense of humor and is very candid in his answers. Reading this book is not like reading a text book. It is conversational in tone and is more representative of an actual conversation that would occur in the workplace or the supermarket.

Each chapter is divided into easily identified sections that show you where the author is directing the conversation. The Going Deeper section at the end of every chapter is nice in that he traces his research and enables the reader to get a head start for his own investigation.

Recommendation

Busted is an excellent introduction into the world of apologetics. This would be a great book to put in the hands of a Christian college student who will undoubtedly be presented with many of these “problems.” I would recommend this book to any Christian or anyone who is questioning the authenticity of the faith.

While many Bible college and seminary students will look at this book as too introductory, I think they would benefit from reading this book as much if not more than the younger Christian who will never enroll in a Bible class at a Bible college or seminary. Sometimes it helps the seminary trained student to learn how to relate to the everyday person rather than the philosophical discussions that abound in the classroom.

Piper, John. Spectacular Sins. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008. 121 pp. $15.99. Listen to the Spectacular Sins sermon series at Desiring God.

Have you ever picked up a book thinking it was going to be about one thing and it turns out you were completely wrong? Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ is one of those books. I thought it would be a testimony about how God has glorified His Son through men like Hitler and Stalin. I figured it would be about how God can use the major sins in your life to bring glory to His Son.

I was wrong. Instead, John Piper sounds an alarm to all Christians that a time is coming when it will no longer be safe to be a Christian. He claims that Christians in the West are being “coddled” and therefore we need to prepare ourselves for the trials and tribulations that are sure to come. In calling Christians to a preparedness for these tribulations, Piper seeks to answer the question “Why does God even allow evil?”

Using Colossians 1:16 as a springboard, he gives us his answer. In short it is all for Christ’s glory. Piper showed that God allowed such spectacular sins as the rebellion of Satan, the fall of Adam, the tower of Babel, Joseph, the demand for a king by the Israelites and the betrayal of Judas Iscariot to take place in order that Christ may receive more glory. In essence, if Col. 1:16 is true, then we must live our lives—trials and all—in light of this biblical truth.

I found this book extremely hard to put down. I was enraptured by what Piper had to say. It seemed as though all throughout the book he was building to a crescendo only to see the book just end. It is only then that you realize that the crescendo is your living out the biblical truths presented in Spectacular Sins.

This book is a must read for all Christians. I must agree that there is a time coming when being a Christian will be not only frowned upon but will hazardous to your wellbeing. We need to be reminded that even all the evil and sin that takes place is ultimately for Christ’s glory and we have something far better waiting on the other side of death than what this world has to offer—if you are found in Christ.

Have you ever been in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean where all you see is water everywhere you look? Have you ever driven in North Dakota where you actually see the rolling hills? In both instances, you realize that you are only able to see a fraction of the beauty that you could otherwise see from high above in the air. However, in most cases, you must be content with the fraction that you are able to see and praise God for the beauty you can behold. The same is true for the ESV Study Bible. There is so much in this study Bible that one does not know where to begin.

Contributors

With an editorial oversight committee including Wayne Grudem, J.I. Packer, and Thomas Schreiner, you know that you are getting quality study notes. The study note contributors come from institutions such as Union Theological College in Belfast, Regent College, Covenant Theological Seminary, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Westminster Seminary California.

In addition to the editors and the theological institutions, you have theologians like John Polhill, Ray Van Neste, Paul D. Wegner, and Gordon J. Wenham among those contributing to the study notes. As if these study notes were not enough, there are forty-four articles written by even more scholars that appear after the Bible itself. Some of the writers of these articles include Gregg R. Allison, Daniel R. Heimbach, Mark Dever, Darrell L. Bock, and Ron Rhodes.

Contents

A quick perusal of the table of contents pages shows how in depth this study Bible really is. The Old Testament begins with “The Theology of—” and then gives a timeline of the OT. Before each genre found in the OT, there is an introduction that explains how to read the next portion of scripture along with various themes found therein.

In between the testaments, there is a rather lengthy (18 pages) “Background to the New Testament.” The New Testament is introduced with the theology and the timeline of found in the Old Testament. Also included, is a great article on the date of the crucifixion of Christ. As before the various genres in the Old Testament, there is an introduction to the reading of the gospels and Acts and the Epistles. The Scriptures themselves are in a single column with a center-column cross-reference system. The single column is offset by the double column study notes at the bottom of each page.

Some of the articles after the text of the Bible itself include Biblical ethics, Biblical doctrine, the Bible and world religions, archaeology and the Bible, and the reliability of the Bible manuscripts. The color maps throughout the Bible are a nice added touch usually reserved for what is commonly called “The Book of Maps” at the end of the Bible. Finally, the concordance has been expanded for this study Bible.

Critique

Alright, with all that is right with this study Bible, there has to be something wrong, right? While I am sure there are more notable reviewers who have criticized various components of the ESV Study Bible, this particular reviewer is not one of them. However, I did notice a couple of things.

First, with over 2,750 pages, this Bible is best used at your desk. It is hardly a Bible that can be carried everywhere you go as some do with other study Bibles. Second, I would have liked to have seen an introduction to reading apocalyptic literature especially with the book of Revelation since this book has been at the center of much debate and discussion in recent decades.

Recommendation

The love affair with the ESV will not only continue, but, I believe, will escalate with the publication of this study Bible which has become (almost by default and certainly by design) the premier study Bible available to Christians today. A tip of the cap goes to Justin Taylor (project director and managing editor) and Lane T. Dennis (executive editor) for their work in producing this magnificent Bible.

I think it goes without saying that I would recommend this resource to any Christian unhesitatingly. The ESV Study Bible takes a backseat to no other study Bible available on the market. However, I would not recommend this Bible as an everyday Bible. What I mean is that when you are reading the Bible for daily devotion and personal edification the study notes end up becoming more of a hindrance than a help. It is too big to carry with you to church or in the car or to the coffee shop on a regular basis. I think it would be best suited as a desk reference Bible more than a “nightstand” Bible.

What more can be said than already has been said? I would like to submit that by reading through this particular study Bible a Christian would receive an introduction to the seminary educations found in the institutions represented by those who contributed.

It’s been a while since we had a Two-cent Tuesday. Time for some interaction here — chime in!

Is it midterms yet at your seminary? Here at Multnomah we’re stepping into that season, wading into the deeper waters of papers and projects and exams.

When life gets busy like this, what priority do you place on blogging?

(Answer according to your true practice, not how it should be in your life.)

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First off, this post will only be helpful to those who own a Logos Library. If you don’t own Logos yet, you might want to after you read this post. If you go shopping after this, remember you can save 25% on your Library purchase using the code goingtoseminary.

Now, imagine if you had the ability to search the content of 5,000+ books and find exact locations of a key phrases or verses for a research paper. Do you think that might be a little bit helpful? Well, if you’re a Logos user, you have that ability right at your finger tips. See, as I discovered the other day, Logos allows you the ability to search the entire content of all their books… even the resources that you haven’t unlocked. What this means is that you can search the entire Logos library and find what you’re looking for, even if you don’t own the title!

Now, you might be thinking, “Great… but I still don’t own the book. How is that helpful?” Simple. By doing this search you can find all the books that reference your search query AND the exact page number that the result is found. Here you have two options. First, you could just buy the book in Logos and have it available right then and there… OR, head over to the library, find the book on the shelf and flip directly to the page you are looking for. Imagine the time this will save you!

Well, it has been a while since we launched our first Going to Seminary interview. We were honored to start with such a great professor and theologian like John Frame, however, that did set the bar pretty high for us. That said, I’ve been thinking about who we should interview next. So, for today’s poll I thought I’d let you determine our next interview. Now, I’m not going to guarantee that I can land the interview, but I can promise that I will give it a really good try. So, that said, if you could interview anyone about going to seminary, who would you interview?

Again, I will attempt to land an interview with the top vote getter, so if you really want the interview… then blog it up and get the votes! Also, I started the list with a few names, but the poll is open so you can add your own people as well.

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