Archive by Author

Gymnasts, Prophets, and Us

The following article is a guest post by Rebecca VanDoodewaard, author of Uprooted: A Guide for Homesick Christians, Your Future ‘Other Half’: It Matters Whom You Marry, and Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth. She is also the author of the Banner Board Series, a four-volume set of books written for young children on church history figures.

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The Nassar trial ended today, and it was close to home. About a year ago, I was in a courtroom where a judge handed down a verdict that told everyone that little girls aren’t worth much, really. Yet in the Nassar trial itself, there is a lot to be thankful for in how this horrific situation has concluded: a life sentence, a culture that places blame and shame on the predator and not victims, and widespread support for those brave young women who stood up and faced down an abuser.

But the situation is shot through with so much failure, that this conclusion is hardly a satisfying ending. In her concluding testimony, Rachael Denhollander was eloquent in her assessment of the situation, pressing home the hollowness of dead works and the need for Christ. She was a lonely voice. So many other young women spoke, […]

3GT Episode 69: The Sound of Silence

Now, for our most ironic episode yet. Yes, a podcast where we talk about being quiet!

With the digital age readily providing megaphones such as Facebook and Twitter to make our every thought known, believers should consider anew the Biblical wisdom regarding silence. The 3GTers point out how restless hearts create restless tongues. Meddling, self-inflation, failure to listen and other sources of this restlessness are discussed. The Lord’s examples of silence are explored. Practical words from Proverbs and James are given.

Please join us for another episode of 3GT!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/3gt-episode-69.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

A Hidden Source of Boaz’ Compassion

The story of Ruth is a tender one. This young widow came with her likewise widowed mother-in-law Naomi to Israel and began, through the hard work of gleaning, to provide for them. As a foreign woman from a cursed nation, Ruth could have easily been rejected or mistreated.

Instead, in God’s providence she was led to glean from the fields of Boaz. A relative of Naomi’s deceased husband, Boaz showed compassion to Ruth in providing more “easy pickings” from his fields. The subsequent appeal by Ruth for him to engage in the kinsman redeemer statutes from the Mosaic law (Lev. 25) so they could wed – and Boaz’ eagerness to fulfill it – not only warms the heart but encourages the soul. In the redemption Boaz brought to Ruth and Naomi, we see the merciful and protective love of God revealed in Christ. Like Boaz, Christ loved and redeemed an unlikely, unworthy bride. To eternally commemorate this story, God not only captured it in His holy Word. The book of Ruth ends by showing that Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David, from whom Christ came.

As we reflect on the compassion of Boaz for Ruth, certainly it was stirred by many […]

Now That You Are Behind in Your Bible Reading Program…

Sorry for the pessimistic title! But knowing that a large number of New Year’s resolutions typically get dropped by mid-January, I wouldn’t be surprised if many reading this post do not find themselves in this predicament. I want to offer you some encouragement and perhaps a plan that may refresh instead of burden you.

As I explain in the article I am reposting below, many Bible reading programs do not account for human nature. Such things as the unforgiving character of a checklist, the legalistic tendencies of our hearts, and the common disruptions in our calendars can make following a typical Bible reading program frustrating rather than freeing.

As I explain below, I have journeyed through many types of reading plans. That experience, combined with my own desire for Bible reading to be worshipful, meditative, and joyful, led me to put together what I call the STAR Bible Reading Program. If you are already behind and discouraged in your Bible reading, or even if you just want to try a different approach, perhaps this method might revitalize your time in God’s Word.

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Over the years I have used a number of Bible reading programs.  From choosing different books of interest to McCheyne’s classic […]

3GT Episode 68: Cyber Church Lite

No, we are not encouraging Kyle to start a multisite internet church! Rather, we draw upon the digital dexterity of Aaron, who flips classrooms with ease, to hear how congregations should (and in some cases should not) use the internet for their ministry. Drawing upon his experience in teaching a seminary class on the subject, Aaron schools us on social media, webpages, blogs and the like. He explains how much emphasis such things as aesthetics and theological content should have on a webpage, and delves into many other practicalities. But not before Kyle begins trying to recruit a cyber congregation!

Join us for another lively episode of 3GT!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/3gt-episode-68.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes! Please leave a review there!

The Gospel is Not Paralysed

The following article is a guest post by Sarmishta “Shammi” Venkatesh. This article is a follow-up to yesterday’s post “Two Broken Hearts, One Love.”

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Adoption is risky. As someone who evaded this possibility for several years, I know how it feels. After losing our two children in the womb, I became somewhat withdrawn from children in general. Sure, I taught middle school children Sabbath school. Sure, I baby-sat for several of my friends. But that was all on the Lord’s insistence to heal me. Not once was I able to attach myself to any of these children whom I taught of shared life with. That would mean tearing open my womb again. Seeing the blood spill. The grief would be too much to handle. Adoption was a scary thing for me. How would I be able to bond emotionally with someone whom I have not birthed? How can I love when my womb is still bleeding?

When Venky and I applied to the central adoption agency in India, I had to trust my husband’s lead. Trust my Lord’s sovereignty in closing all other doors. Lean on His Fatherly provisions. If I had to mother a child, I had to receive […]

Two Broken Hearts, One Love

The following article is a guest post by Sarmishta “Shammi” Venkatesh, the wife of a church planter in India. I had the privilege of knowing Venky and Shammi when they were students at Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. They were sent out along with another family from the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis where Gentle Reformation blogger James Faris is the pastor.  

Recently Venky and Shammi went through the process of adopting a young boy named Abhi.  In a beautiful fashion Shammi has chronicled the difficult yet ultimately joyful journey the Lord took them on in this adoption. With their permission, I am sharing today and tomorrow two of her articles in the hope they bring encouragement to a wider audience.

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Today is Children’s Day (Note: This article was originally posted privately on November 14, 2017). Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the founding fathers of our nation and our first Prime Minister loved children, and his birthday is commemorated every year as Children’s day. I think today is a good day to pen down an important milestone for one little child. Abhi is coming home in 21 days! It’s also a worthwhile day to think about children unwanted by the world, whom God urges […]

3GT Episode 67: On Eternity’s Brink

The prof heard the pastor preach judgment at a funeral recently. So it got the guys talking along the lines of Ecclesiastes: “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” Nothing like a funeral to make us stand on eternity’s brink and meditate a bit.

So laying our mortality to heart, the guys discuss eternity. C.S. Lewis and Jonathan Edwards are quoted a few times. The denial by many in the church that Christians will go through a final judgment is addressed with Biblical appeals. The relationship between justification by faith and the final judgment is explained, as is the place of eternal rewards. The difference between living carpe diem versus coram Deo is highlighted. The longing for Christ’s return is encouraged.

Hopefully, it’s an edifying, eye-raising episode of 3GT!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/3gt-episode-67.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes! Please leave a review there!

Brief Book Reviews by Russell Pulliam

The following brief, interesting book reviews are by Russell Pulliam, an Indianapolis Star columnist who directs the Pulliam Fellowship summer intern program for the Indianapolis Star and the Arizona Republic.

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1) With Him, A Biblical Model of Discipleship for Men, Ken Smith, 2017. 60 pages of excellent commentary on our union with Christ. 

2) ReSet: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture, by David Murray, 2017. An excellent short book about resetting priorities in life and guarding against being Crazy Busy. 

3) How Does Sanctification Work? By David Powlison, 2017. A very good analysis that avoids the fallacy of the false dilemma, or taking sides between discipline and grace; or strenuous effort and walking in the Spirit.

 4) Coach Wooden and Me, Our 50-year friendship On and Off the Court, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 2017. Jabbar tells this story as well as he shot that sky hook and pays tribute, as a Muslim, to UCLA Coach John Wooden and his Christian faith.

 5) The Road to Jonestown, by Jeff Guin, 2017. Such a sad story about Jim Jones, a gifted preacher/activist in Indianapolis and San Francisco and how he made an idol out of himself. The result was the tragic mass suicide in their colony in South America.

 6) Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir […]

Ecclesiology and Womanhood by Rebecca VanDoodewaard

The following article is a guest post by Rebecca VanDoodewaard, author of Uprooted: A Guide for Homesick Christians, Your Future ‘Other Half’: It Matters Whom You Marry, and Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth. 

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I love your Kingdom, Lord! The house of your abode; the Church our blest Redeemer saved with his own precious blood! For her my tears shall fall; for her my prayers ascend; for her my cares and toils be given ‘till toils and cares shall end.

Our culture tells women that we are to pursue our dreams, our goals, our careers. In the church, that’s more sanctified: we pursue our ministries, our spiritual vision, our goals.

But Scripture tells us something else. Individualism is antithetical to Christian living. And in the many discussions about biblical womanhood, I think that one essential principle is missing: Christian women are to be devoted to the Body of Christ. Because Jesus loved the Church and was willing to die for her, Christlikeness means a similar, sacrificial commitment to the church visible, particularly the local expression of which we are a part. Jesus was incarnated, lived a perfect life, paid the full penalty of sin, and died in service to the church. […]