📌 Doug Ponder, “Are Missionaries Good for the World?” (Nov 8, 2018)
[M]issionaries are actually the greatest catalyst in the development and stability of nations.
Yet not just any missionaries.
Woodberry’s observations only held true for “conversionary Protestants.” That is, missionaries (1) who preached the gospel with the intent of converting others and forming churches, (2) who encouraged everyone to read the Bible in the local language, and (3) who taught that salvation comes by grace through faith.
Ponder concludes from Woodberry’s research that making disciples of Jesus Christ is the most effective way to improve the world.
📌 Thomas R. Schreiner, “The Best ‘Gift’ for Missions” (Nov 8, 2018)
What a blessing for a missionary to have the gift of evangelism or the gift of teaching, but Paul reminds us that there is an even “better way” (1 Cor. 12:31). The most important quality for a missionary is love. If missionaries don’t have love, all their evangelism and teaching is “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1). Perhaps their knowledge of apologetics and of theology is deep and profound, but without love, they are “nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2). Yes, there is even deep sacrifice which is not accompanied by love (1 Cor. 13:3).
📌 Alan Jacobs, “Writing well ≠ dumbing down” (Oct 26, 2018)
The great difficulty is to make what you have to say as simple as possible but no simpler — which means that you often have to work very hard to express certain ideas in ways that are accessible but non-reductive. … when you’re writing for a general audience who does not know the language of your guild, you have to understand those concepts well enough to translate them into a more accessible idiom.
I have seen this ability in a few teachers and writers, and consider it a hallmark of a spiritual gift.
📌 Justin Taylor, “John Frame’s 9-Point Checklist for Evaluating Theological Writings” (Oct 11, 2018)
Besides nine that are positive, Frame tries to avoid three criteria that are inadequate reasons to critique theological writing:
I must still be young because these three don’t seem like criteria to avoid. If Frame means that these three criteria are not worth critiquing because they are not problems, but symptoms of problems, then it does seem like wise advice.
It’s worth the effort to understand writing with which I disagree. Improper emphasis, comparability to other works that are poor, and unbiblical terminology are not the heart of the matter. They can be warning flags as well as an opportunity to learn the meaning behind another person’s expressions.
📌 Adam Coti, “Twenty Years as a Freelance Web Developer: Wisdom Gained and Lessons Learned” (Sep 18, 2018)
When I’m asked the more existential question of how I’ve survived so long as a freelancer, my response is always the same: above all, be reliable.
📌 “Three Questions with Alistair Begg” Towers (Sep–Oct 2018)
On sermon preparation:
- Think yourself empty
- Read yourself full
- Write yourself clear
- Pray yourself hot
- Be yourself, but don’t preach yourself
Freedom of delivery in the pulpit depends upon careful organization in the study. A good teacher clears the way, declares the way, and then gets out of the way.
On prayer and preaching:
There is no change of fire in the pews if there is an iceberg in the pulpit.… When the apostles did some reorganization of the early church, it was because they realized how crucial it was for them to give themselves continually to “prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). … We dare not divorce our preaching from our praying.
Do both well.
📌 John Gable, “Tech Companies May Be Stifling Conservative Speech. Can They Change?” AllSides (Sep 25, 2018)
[B]ecause social media companies have a business model that relies on getting users to click, they show us exactly what we want to see — and block what we don’t want to see. To navigate through an overwhelming amount of information, tech companies block out the unfamiliar and uncomfortable, shutting out diversity of thought and confirming our biases. This is both a feature of their algorithms and in their decisions to manually remove or demonetize conservative content.