Either that or I’ve started a movement.
Archives For November 2009
The Encyclopedia Judaica is a massive, expensive, respected reference work. Immediately upon looking up a word in the new Internet edition, I recognized the contributor who wrote the article: Yigael Yadin, famous Israeli leader and archaeologist. The entire work has been made available for free online by the generous donation of the couple you’ll see when you click here.
Update: Numbers of people come to my blog by searching for “Encyclopedia Judaica Free Online.” I’m sorry to have to inform you that that generous couple didn’t realize they were giving something away to the entire world. The site now reads, “Please note that the password is only available to members of Austin’s Jewish Community.”
I’m compelled to say it: Logos 4 is a very attractive piece of software. This wannabe graphic designer has really enjoyed the visual improvements over Logos 3.
I hope to write more as time passes about the functionality of the interface, but so far I’m impressed with that, too.
I regularly receive e-mails from a concerned friend alerting me to conspiracies to destroy America. I’ve often struggled to know what to say to him, because if his claims are not provable, they’re equally impossible to disprove! Wild-eyed, alarmist, a little wacky—but not absolutely disprovable. Kind of like the existence of a race of hostile marshmallow people on the back side of Pluto. You never know…
G. K. Chesterton has provided me one helpful key in dealing with such a problem, and I recently got a little more help from another incisive source, Westminster church history prof Carl Trueman. It boils down to two reasons why people give credence to conspiracy theories:
- Conspiracies rationalize our powerlessness. When our efforts to combat large-scale evils bear little fruit, it must be because a massive, organized “they” are out to get us.
- Conspiracies make us feel important. We’re not just minor cogs in a machine; if people out there are conspiring against us, we must be worth targeting!
That may sound a little patronizing, but what is the most loving, appropriate Christian response to excessive credulity? If I really believe the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord (Pro. 21:1), that all the nations are a drop in the bucket (Isa. 40:15; Ps. 2), my political activity, while zealous like everything I do for the Lord, won’t be infused with anxiety or agitation. I won’t grasp for outlandish explanations for my nation’s woes (Isa. 8:12-13). Indwelling sin, “the rulers of the darkness of this world,” and God’s ultimate sovereignty are reason enough (Ps. 103:19). And I won’t feel the urge to endlessly forward right-wing (or left-wing!) political action notices to all my friends.
Sometimes a little visit to snopes.com or an earnest attempt to find a responsible voice is all a would-be forwarder needs to do. Generally speaking, however, it takes time to develop a feel for which voices are worth listening to. Responsible voices tend to coalesce into a community. They cite one another’s work, even if they disagree over it. They don’t sound breathless or screechy. They do a lot of homework. They write very well English, and they write a lot of it. They don’t accuse all their opponents of being secret agents of Fidel Castro or (on the other side) Pat Robertson. And they don’t find conspiracies under every rock.
My wife says she knows what it’s like to live with someone who talks like this.
Just one egregious example from the Greenville area: Cherrydale Point. Who chose that awful logotype? Poorly trained hamsters? Communists?!
And don’t get me started on PowerPoints…
I love Logos, and I’m going to teach others how to love it in January.
But it took till today for me to (accidentally) find out that you can upgrade to Logos 4 from Logos 3 for free. It’s all here.
And for the life of me I cannot find any page on the Logos site which describes exactly which books I’ll get if I upgrade from Gold ND to Gold LE. I gather I’ll get several more NAC volumes—but which ones?
Can anyone enlighten me?
The new Themelios is out. Along with the always excellent Carson editorial and Trueman essay, Scott Aniol has written a helpful summary of Bryan Chapell’s book Christ-Centered Worship. I hope Scott will provide a little more evaluation of the book over at his own site.
And Andy Naselli has given some reviews of several good books. Take a look.
Just because something is an imperative in Scripture doesn’t mean it’s a command to you and me. Always read the context.
Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. (Jer 9:4)
Likewise, just because something isn’t an imperative doesn’t mean it’s not a command to you and me. The moral examples of Jesus and Paul, especially, constitute a command: Go and do likewise!
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Mat 9:36)
I just finished Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will (sub-subtitle: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc.), and I came across this excerpt that made me laugh out loud:
I’ll never forget my poor beleaguered roommate talking with me after he took a risk and told a nice young lady that he liked her. They went on a long walk. He was pretty sure she would reciprocate his declaration of affection. But it turned out she wasn’t interested. She was a sweet girl, a good Christian. She didn’t mean to have bad theology. But instead of just saying “I’m not interested” or “I don’t like you” or “Quit stalking me” or something, she went all spiritual on him. “I’ve been praying a lot about you,” she demurred, “and the Holy Spirit told me no.” “No?” my confused roommate asked. “No… never,” she replied.
Poor guy—he got rejected, not only by this sweet girl, but by the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Trinity took a break from pointing people to Jesus to tell this girl not to date my roommate.
DeYoung’s point is that we should be very careful before claiming we’ve gotten a message from God. He actually argues that God has no will of direction for individuals—though he may not mean what you think he means, because God does have two wills relevant to each believer’s life:
- He has a will of decree which determines all things (DeYoung cites Eph. 1:11; Mat. 10:29; Acts 4:27–28; Ps. 139:16; Isa. 46:9–10).
- He also has a will of desire which expresses how we ought to live (1 Ths. 4:3; 1 Jn. 2:17; Heb. 13:20–21; Mat. 7:21).
To understand how all this works, you may want to pick up the book. I found it quite profitable, and it was an intensely easy read.