Themelios Vol 39 No 3 (November 2014)

ThemeliosThe latest issue of the academic journal Themelios is now available from The Gospel Coalition. As always, a wealth of material, including book reviews. (h/t Andy Naselli.)

A new devotional book by John Piper for Advent 2014

advent-2014 John Piper’s new devotional book for Advent 2014 is now available here as a free PDF download.

Update: An audio version is this month’s free download from Christian Audio.

Do you proclaim the gospel on Sundays?

BCP“How do our church meetings proclaim the gospel story? Of course we want all our words to point to Christ. But what about the shape of the gathering, the liturgy?

If the famous dictum, ‘the medium is the message,’ carries any truth then we would do well to reflect not only on the words spoken, but also the structures and shapes to our times together. How do our church meetings proclaim the gospel story?…”

On the Church Society blog, John Percival quotes from an article by Graham O’Brien in Churchman.

Related: Paul Helm reflects on a church service he attended recently at an Abbey.

“I was at a service at an Abbey last Sunday, an unfamiliar venue for me. When I am at a service in an strange place, such as the service in this gaunt but undoubtedly beautiful building, being a visitor I tend to try to adopt the outlook of a visitor. What impression does what goes on in the great venues of English religion give to someone, who, like me on this occasion, joins the service as a one-off?”

Mark Dever interviewed

Mark Dever interviewed by Marvin OlanskyMarvin Olansky at World Magazine recently interviewed Mark Dever – about all sorts of things.

Watch it here (YouTube, 64 minutes including question time) – and read the accompanying article here.

Is God a Religious Pluralist?

Greg Koukl from Stand to ReasonIn a recent issue of The White Horse Inn broadcast, apologetics specialist Greg Koukl spoke on ‘How are we to deal with the exclusive claims of Jesus in our pluralistic age?’.

Well worth hearing.

Album: Masterplan – Ben Pakula

MasterplanEarlier in the year, Lionel Windsor reviewed Ben Pakula’s album –

“Ben Pakula’s new album – Masterplan – is available on iTunes and at the CEP Store. I love Ben’s work, and so do our kids. It’s a powerful rock style combined with words that teach profound truths about God, Jesus, humanity and the world. Often, when our kids ask us questions about Jesus or something in the Bible, we find ourselves answering simply with a quote from one of Ben’s songs. As soon as we quote Ben, the kids go, “ah, right, I get it”!

Ben’s latest album, Masterplan, is a “biblical-theology concept album” – i.e. “a musical presentation of the whole story of the Bible, focusing on the centrality of Jesus.” It’s especially good for early high schoolers, but it works for everyone. Here are some highlights for me…”

– Read the full review (with links to song previews) at Forget the Channel.

It’s not ‘Lost’, it’s not a ‘Gospel’

lost-gospel“Today the British Library plays host to the launch of a book by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson provocatively entitled ‘The Lost Gospel – Decoding the Sacred Text that reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary Magdalene.’

According to reports in the Sunday Times last weekend the book – which is described as historical – claims that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and fathered two children with her. It also claims that there was a previously unknown plot on Jesus’s life when he was 20 and an assassination attempt on Mary and her children.

Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the history of the church at Oxford University summed up his view of the book succinctly to the Sunday Times saying: ‘It sounds like the deepest bilge.’…”

– The Church of England responds to what seems to be the marketing campaign for a book and TV special.

To End All Wars

To end all warsHere’s Glen Scrivener’s throught-provoking contribution to Remembrance Day.

Four ways to God

four-ways-to-liveTony Payne writes, “I suppose it’s like looking at old baby photos, but over the past month or so I’ve been browsing through some of the classic early articles in The Briefing.

… I couldn’t help returning to an article that I also highlighted in the special edition that marked our 21st birthday back in 2009 — ‘Four ways to live’, which appeared in Briefing #3, in May 1988. This foundational article discussed four competing sources of religious authority (the ‘authority quadrilateral’), and how the Christian is to view each one.”

– It was a good article in the days when they produced The Briefing using a Mac Plus and a LaserWriter, and it still is. Read the extract here.

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