5 Free Classes on Ethics

This semester is my first time teaching a course on Biblical Ethics. It’s been a steep learning curve for me, so I’ve been preparing by reading more than I normally do for a class.

Over Christmas break I also listened to five free thought-provoking courses:

justice1. Michael J. Sandel’s course “Justice” at Harvard University. Sandel has taught political philosophy at Harvard since 1980, and over 15,000 students have taken his course. WGBH and Harvard University coproduced the course as a TV series in 2005, which is what you can watch free online or via iTunes. I watched the course and then read Sandel’s corresponding book that released in 2009: Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? Sandel is thoughtful, respectful, and provocative. I disagree with his liberal political bent and the ultimate grounds for his ethical views, but I love how he engagingly teaches with the Socratic method. [Read more…]

Sam Storms’s Tough Topics 2: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions

stormsSam Storms has a sequel to his first Tough Topics book:

Sam Storms. Tough Topics 2: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions. Fearn, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2015.

My endorsement:

Each controversial question Sam Storms poses could be the subject of an entire book, but he manages to give thoughtful brief answers that aren’t superficial. As a model pastor-theologian, he answers with clarity, wisdom, and grace.

These are the 25 questions: [Read more…]

Toolbox for Skillful Shepherding

Andrew M. Davis, “The Practical Issues of Church Discipline,” in Those Who Must Give an Account: A Study of Church Membership and Church Discipline, ed. John S. Hammett and Benjamin L. Merkle (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2012), 172:

toolbox

Related:

  1. Andy Davis writes about the amazing story of his church in this 9Marks article and tells Mark Dever about it in this 9Marks interview.
  2. Seven Essential Elements of an Effective Shepherding Ministry
  3. 22 Mistakes Pastors Make in Practicing Church Discipline (an excerpt from probably the single most helpful accessible book on church discipline)

 

The First Sermon I’ve Ever Heard That Addresses IVF

I’m sure that others have preached sermons on IVF (in vitro fertilization). But I hadn’t heard one until last Sunday. Jason Meyer preached it to Bethlehem Baptist Church (video, audio, and notes here):

Jason said that it’s the hardest sermon he’s ever preached, and he wisely shepherded our church on a difficult issue.

At the end of Jason’s sermon, our church watched this video: Paul and Susan Lim, who attend Bethlehem’s North Campus and are both medical doctors, briefly share their story about embryo adoption:

The Lims shared their story in more detail in a chapel for Bethlehem College & Seminary last year: [Read more…]

Josh Harris Resigns So He Can Attend Seminary

Josh Harris humbly announced that to Covenant Life Church yesterday.

Hats off to him.

Here are two statements that stand out to me—a seminary professor who teaches New Testament and theology (including ecclesiology):

  1. If I had been seminary trained with established convictions about church polity, pastoral leadership and other topics, I don’t think I would have been chosen to lead our church. (I might not have accepted the job!)
  2. [Abraham Lincoln] said, “If I had eight hours to cut down a tree I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.” I believe Jesus is calling me to do some ax sharpening.

(God doesn’t call every pastor to do what Josh Harris is doing, so I don’t intend for this post to induce false guilt in current pastors. My motive is to encourage current seminary students to sharpen their ax!)

Read (or watch) the whole thing.

Beer and Bacon: Christian Hedonism 2.0

RigneyThat’s not the title of Joe Rigney‘s next book, but it could be:

Joe Rigney. The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015.

The four men who have most influenced Joe’s thinking on this subject are Jonathan Edwards, John Piper, C. S. Lewis, and Doug Wilson. Wilson quipped a while back that Piper’s Christian hedonism could use a little more “beer and bacon.” Joe has fleshed that out, and this book is the result.

Check out the contents in this 48-page sample PDF, including a foreword by John Piper. I’m not sure I’ve read a more glowing foreword. [Read more…]