John Murray’s Motivational Words for Seminary Students

murrayIn 1944 while America was fighting in World War II, some young men enlisted at Westminster Theological Seminary instead of enlisting for military service. This is the opening address in which Professor John Murray welcomed them on June 30, 1944. Murray’s words—especially the ones I bolded below—are a motivational perspective for students who are currently enrolled in seminary (HT: Chris Brauns).

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John Murray. “Greeting to Entering Students, 1944.” Pages 104–6 in Collected Writings of John Murray, Volume 1: The Claims of Truth. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976.

[page 104] In the name of the Faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary it is my duty and privilege now to welcome to the fellowship and work of the Seminary the members of the incoming class. On behalf of the Faculty I therefore extend to you cordial congratulation and welcome. [Read more…]

“Here I Stand”: Elsa (from Frozen’s “Let It Go”) vs. Luther (at the Diet of Worms)

The following two videos each include the bold words “Here I stand.” But do they mean the same thing?

1. Elsa (from Frozen‘s “Let It Go”)

2. Luther (at the Diet of Worms)

Tim Keller explains how they differ:

“Let It Go,” by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, was sung in the Disney movie Frozen and won the 2013 Oscar for Best Original Song. It is both interesting and ironic to compare the sung speech of the character Elsa in Frozen with that of Martin Luther before the Holy Roman Emperor. Both say, “Here I stand.” But Luther meant he was free from fear and from other authorities because he was bound by the Word of God and its norms. Elsa speaks for the contemporary culture by saying she can be free only if there are no boundaries at all.

[Read more…]

Interview with Sharon Gerber on Her New Celloasis Album

My family loves Sharon Gerber’s cello music.

cellocase cellolake

Kaffeemusik1Our girls listen to her Eine Kleine Kaffeemusik each night, and according to iTunes, we’ve played that album over 15,000 times! It’s beautifully soothing. (See also albums 2 and 3.)

In the first half of this 7.5-minute video for Sharon’s church, she explains why she experienced a tragic divorce, how that caused her to doubt everything she believed about God, and how God showed grace to Sharon through members in her new church. Then she introduces her latest cello album, Into the Night, and shares the background to the song “Jehova-Rohi,” which the second half of the video features.

Sharon kindly let me interview her earlier this month:

1. How did this video come about? [Read more…]

No Regrets, No Retreat: Episode 8 (China) of Dispatches from the Front DVD Series

The latest episode of the edifying and motivating Dispatches from the Front DVD Series released last Friday: No Regrets, No Retreat   . It is set in China.

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100-second trailer:

My wife and three daughters enjoyed watching this episode together on Easter a few weeks ago.

Episodes1-8m

By the way, Tim Keesee just launched his own website, which includes a blog. He tells the backstory about this episode on China in his post “Beginning with Impossible.”

Related: Stories of Gospel Advance in the World’s Difficult Places

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…]