August 20, 2011

Saturday in the wild: August 20, 2011

I must say, it has been an interesting week in the blogosphere - more than usual, even.

Timothy George wrote a piece about William Carey, whose 250th birthday was August 16 this year:

In those days, missions was a naughty word, something obsolescent, restricted to the days of the apostles long ago. But Carey read the Great Commission differently. "Go ye," he said, "means you and me, here and now." He challenged his fellow Baptists to respond to this call, to "expect great things from God, and attempt great things for God." The result was the first missionary society organized by evangelical Christians with the aim of carrying the Good News of Christ to all parts of the world.

[Read William Carey at 250]

It's sad (and a little ironic) that Carey's "Deathless Sermon" has not survived. Wouldn't you love to read the homily that touched off the modern foreign missionary movement? Carey is significant to me, for two reasons: the first adult Sunday school class I taught was on his life. (I also wrote the first iteration of Carey's entry on Wikipedia).

Smashing Magazine posted an article about typographic etiquette. While I wouldn't follow all their advice uncritically, I learned a few things, and I think I'll be trying them in future articles. (H/T: Tim Challies.)

Jeremy Pierce lampoons the inevitable leftist hysteria about "Dominionism" that crawls out of its hole every time a more-than-vaguely Christian candidate seeks high political office:

I've determined that there's a political faction out there that needs a name, because it's a group of conspiracy theorists with a particular agenda that's becoming somewhat influential, and it's achieving its agenda fairly well. Its agenda is to discredit mainstream evangelicalism by confusing it with extremist figures who have nearly zero influence on much of any importance. I'm going to call this group the Dominionismists, because their whole agenda depends on this fictional line of thought called Dominionism [sic].

[Read Dominionismist]

Joe Carter also followed up.

One of the hotter topics this week in the Christian blogosphere was John MacArthur's ongoing series on the "Young, Restless and Reformed" (YRR) crowd, particularly his article from last week titled "Beer, Bohemianism, and Christian Liberty," a broadside against the tendency within that movement to treat beer as "the principal symbol of Christian liberty."

Of course I myself am no stranger to ales, and I would take issue with MacArthur's teetotalism in that I don't believe it is biblically mandated. However, in all the resulting controversy about alcohol, it seems his main point has gotten lost:

This tendency to emblazon oneself with symbols of carnal indulgence as if they were valid badges of spiritual identity is one of the more troubling aspects of the YRR movement's trademark restlessness. It is wrong-headed, carnal, and immature to imagine that bad-boy behavior makes good missional strategy. The image of beer-drinking Bohemianism does nothing to advance the cause of Christ's kingdom.

And amen to that. I recently did a study of Titus: Paul's instructions to his protege for planting churches amidst the carnal culture of Crete. His repeated admonition to Titus was to teach the locals to set a good example by being "sensible" - not to be "incarnational" and imitate the Cretans. As he also teaches in Romans 14 and 1 Cor. 10, Christian liberty also involves a heavy dose of discretion, knowing when it is appropriate to temporarily curtail liberty for the sake of others.

That said, there was an interesting side issue raised by Mark at Here I Blog, regarding the revisionist history surrounding the composition of ancient wines:

In discussions like these two items always seem to come up. Item one, a point which MacArthur makes, is that the wine in biblical times was not like that of what we have today, but it was diluted to the point of making intoxication difficult. This has been called the "two wine theory." Item two follows the first stating that those who drank undiluted wine in early times were considered Barbarians.

[Read Alcohol: Of Greeks and Barbarians]

Justin Taylor posted an interesting bit of cultural background on 1st-century Palestine that sheds some light on Jesus' dealings with the scribes and Pharisees: 7 Differences Between Galilee and Judea in the Time of Jesus.

A "Manly Guest Contributor" to the Art of Manliness blog wrote about how to decorate your "man room." In short: it should be comfortable, of good quality, and personal to you. The author tends toward a more traditional man's study (think Teddy Roosevelt), but I'm sure the general principles could still also be directed toward something a little more, say, Gen-X. (My ideal man-cave desk, for example, would be geared toward not only writing and studying, but also computing and music.)

Steve at Triablogue spotted the works of John Owen online - probably the most significant of all English theologians.

Finally, if you think this looks good . . . it was this morning's (late) breakfast. And it was. Have a good week, folks.