Tag Archives: collin hansen

Band of Bloggers 2012 Audio Available: Bethke, Elephant Room & Trayvon

Audio from the 2012 Band of Bloggers panel is now live and listenable.  Justin Taylor, Collin Hansen, Tim Challies, and Timmy Brister all contributed wisdom to a diverse array of topics.  I moderated the panel.  We had a blast.

Here was the event’s central topic:

Six years ago, two movements began to gain significant traction–blogging and the young, restless, and reformed. Additionally, 2006 was the inauguration of the Band of Bloggers fellowship, and since that time God has brought gospel rental in many ways to evangelical life, including the development of organizations like Together for the Gospel and The Gospel Coalition, the upsurge of gospel literature in publishing houses, the growth of church planting and revitalization networks, and continued reformation in local churches. Throughout this period, the role of the internet, blogging, and advances in technology have played no small role. At the 2012 Band of Bloggers gathering, we will take a look back at the past six years and consider the impact–good and bad–of blogging and technology in the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement.

Apparently there’s been some dustup over the panel’s discussion of the Elephant Room.  I’m not sure I see the point, but I’ll invite you to listen in and form your own opinion.  I thought there were many helpful takeaways from the four panelists.


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Carl Henry’s Quest for the “Evangelical Harvard” and Other ETS 2011 Topics

For the small but vibrant community of people known as “evangelical theologians” or “theology aficianados” or “those zealous about the extracalvinisticum,” the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society is a big deal.  I love ETS.  This year’s meeting, centered around the theme “No Other Name,” will be held this week in San Francisco, California from Wednesday, November 16-Friday, November 18.

There are a number of fascinating topics on the docket this year, as there always are.  Andy Naselli has listed one such event, a panel on the “spectrum of evangelicalism” that features several contributors to this notable and needed book on the same topic, just published by Naselli and fellow TEDS alum Collin Hansen.

Perspectives on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism

Thursday, November 17, 2011 | 3:00-6:10 pm | Parc 55 – Divisadero

Moderator/Introduction: Andy Naselli (The Gospel Coalition)


R. Albert Mohler Jr. (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary): A Conservative Evangelical View on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism
Kevin T. Bauder (Central Seminary): A Fundamentalist View on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism
Carl Trueman
(Westminster Theological Seminary): Response to Albert Mohler and Kevin Bauder

This panel should be very interesting.  You can also see Andy’s carefully enumerated reasons to attend ETS.  He is characteristically thorough.  I would add a fifth reason–because it’s fun!–but I would not wish to do untold violence to his list.

Here’s the full listing of everything happening at ETS 2011.  Wednesday morning–11/16/11–at 10:10am in Yerba Buena 7 (I have utterly no idea where this is), I’m going to do a paper on this: “Of Holy Grails and the ‘Evangelical Harvard’: Carl Henry, IFACS, and the Untold Story of the Great Christian University.  I’m one of four presenters in the Church History: American Christianity section alongside historians A. Donald Macleod of Tyndale Seminary and John Hannah of Dallas Theological Seminary.  My topic stems from my dissertation on the re-enchantment of the evangelical mind in the mid-twentieth century, which ranges over figures like Harold Ockenga, Carl Henry, and others.

Wherever you end up at ETS, I’m sure that this year’s meeting will be richly profitable.  The fact that it’s in San Francisco doesn’t hurt anything, either…

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Two Great Societies: Jonathan Edwards and Pastor-theologians

It’s been uncomfortably quiet at this humble little blog.  This is due in large part to a friend of mine who goes by the name “dissertation.”  He’s very needy; I’m hoping soon to part company with him.

At any rate, I thought I’d share a bit about some upcoming events that you may be interested in.  The first is the annual gathering of the Jonathan Edwards Society in Northampton, Massachusetts.  Some of you out there don’t care about Edwards.  That’s fine.  We can still be friends (kind of).  Others, however, share an interest in America’s greatest theologian.  In fact, that interest borders on affection, perhaps even reverence.  I’ll go out on a historiographical limb and say that there is perhaps no one person from the eighteenth-century who draws more interest in America than Jonathan Edwards.  Perhaps Ben Franklin?  Well, the Ben Franklin society is a “giving club” at Penn.

The JES is a giving society too, but we give papers, not money.  I’m looking forward to this event held from October 6-9, 2011, just two weeks away.  If you’re so inclined, drop by and hear a number of papers on topics related to Edwards (here’s my abstract), including submissions from Collin Hansen, Wes Pastor, and Chris Chun.  Some papers, I think, will be staunchly evangelical, others more theologically progressive.  I anticipate a vital debate, even as I look forward to visiting the home of the theologian who has had the deepest impact on me.

Another society that I’m a part of is the Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology (SAET), which meets from October 9-11 in Oak Park, Illinois.  I’ve mentioned the SAET on this blog before; it’s getting a great deal of attention these days as interest in the pastor-theologian model spreads.  At the SAET, we’ll discuss James Davison Hunter’s rich monograph To Change the World (Oxford, 2010).  We’ll think together about how the book’s discussion of cultural transformation relates to evangelical and pastoral life.  Led with excellence by Todd Wilson and Gerald Hiestand, this will be a rich event.

Participants in the SAET First Fellowship this year include fellows Greg Thompson of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia; Jay Thomas of Chapel Hill Bible Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; John Yates the Younger of Holy Trinity Church in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Preston Sprinkle of Eternity Bible College in Simi Valley, California.  This group of evangelical pastors and theologians is diverse, God-driven, and high-powered.

If you’re so inclined, visit the websites of the JES and the SAET.  Perhaps some out there will be interested in joining up with these needful organizations.

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John Calvin and Sin in the Life of the Believer: The Gospel Coalition and Evangelical Spirituality

How should we who consider grace the central reality of our life think about God’s response to our sin?  This is a tricky question, one that defies some of the easy answers we offer to it.  Today at The Gospel Coalition, I ask and seek to answer this question in a post entitled “You Can Anger God But Not Lose Him.” 

Here’s a bit to chew on:

The fact that our sins displease God motivates us in practical terms to put our unrighteousness to death through the power of the Spirit offered and given us in the gospel (Col. 3:1-10). Pastor-theologian John Calvin said it best in his Institutes: “[H]e who in the end profits by God’s scourges is the man who considers God angry at his vices, but merciful and kindly toward himself” (III:4:34). Like David, God is angry at our “vices,” but if we may inject some Lutheran paradox into our treatment of Calvin, this anger is also kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).

God’s response to the sin of believers is not vengeance, Calvin noted, but “chastisement.” The Frenchman pointed out that “when a father quite severely corrects his son, he does not do this to take vengeance on him or to maltreat him, but rather to teach him and to render him more cautious therefore” (III:4:31). The authors of the Westminster Confession concurred with Calvin when they noted that believers “may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance” (11.5).

This short essay is part of a series on evangelical spirituality that TGC has been running this week.  Here are the other posts, all of which I commend to you.  Each tackles an important issue in the spiritual life of the believer.

(Image: Churchofnopeople.com)

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The Man Who Stole Hitler’s Pistol

John Woodbridge of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School has just published a book with Pulitzer-prize winning journal Maurice Possley that tells a fascinating story: how a gun owned by Adolf Hitler ended up in the possession of his family.  That is already an interesting tale, but the book, entitled Hitler in the Crosshairs: A GI’s Story of Courage and Faith (Zondervan, 2011) delves into another story, the strange and faith-building life of an unknown man named Teen Palm, who before helping bring back the gun had traveled a twisting path that led to Jesus Christ.

Here’s what a brief review at Christianity Today said about the book:

Many evangelicals know church historian John Woodbridge for his masterful scholarship. Surely very few know about his personal connection to an astounding World War II heirloom: a golden pistol owned by Adolf Hitler. Nearly six years ago, a news notice of the weapon’s impending auction triggered a flashback, sending Woodridge scrambling to locate surviving relatives of the devout young soldier who snatched it up and gave it to his father. With award-winning journalist Maurice Possley, Woodbridge reconstructs the adventures of Ira “Teen” Palm—whose team raided Hitler’s Munich apartment—and the golden gun this man of faith found in lieu of the Führer.

Collin Hansen at the Gospel Coalition had this to say:

[T]his is a book about Teen Palm’s Christian faith, which sustained him through the travails of war as friends fell before him. This is a book about Hitler’s pistol, its discovery, theft, and present-day whereabouts. But the authors seek to do much more. They juxtapose Palm’s life, recounted primarily through letters sent to and received from his affectionate wife, with Hitler’s chilling rise to power in Germany. The contrast illustrates how hundreds of thousands of citizen soldiers helped bring down one of history’s most notorious mass murderers.

I look forward to reading this book in full.  I got to read draft chapters while at TEDS and thoroughly enjoyed them.  This one would be a great summer beach-read.  It’s also an example of how a Christian can tell a compelling and accessible story that many people will find interesting.


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BookNotes: Coppenger on GCR, DeYoung on Heidelberg, Anyabwile on Muslims

It’s time for a new BookNotes list.  This being the list where we list a few recent noteworthy books.  I’ve got four for you today.

You’ve likely heard talk about the Great Commission Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention, but until now, there has been no small, easy-to-read introduction to it.  Jedidiah Coppenger of B&H Publishing has just edited a little volume entitled Retreat or Risk: A Call for a Great Commission Resurgence (B&H, 2010).  I’ve looked through it, and it has some great material.  Jed contributes a helpful chapter on the SBC,  David Platt challenges readers to take the gospel to the nations, and Al Mohler writes on the future of the SBC.  All well worth reading.  Pick it up–it’s cheap and accessible.

Kevin DeYoung recently released his interaction with the Heidelberg Catechism, entitled The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism (Moody, 2010).  The Heidelberg Catechism is perhaps best known for its question, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?,” and its answer, “That I am not my own, but belong–body and soul, in life and in death–to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.”  This is a book worth picking up, one filled with stout commentary on Scripture and the need for holy living before the Lord.  Plus, it’s got Kevin’s trademark wit and insight, and will be a fun read besides.

Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, has just published The Gospel for Muslims: An Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence (Moody, 2010).  This pastoral work is a helpful primer on the sometimes fearsome task of Muslim evangelism.  In part one of the text, Anyabwile walks through differences between Christian and Muslim theology.  In part two, he offers practical evangelistic suggestions.  I found Thabiti’s own testimony about his conversion from Islam encouraging.  This little book will help to equip those of us who want to share the gospel with Muslims to do so with confidence and hope.

Finally, M. David Sills has written Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience (Moody, 2010).  This book offers a holistic look at missiology.  Danny Akin of Southeastern Seminary says the following about this new text: “David Sills makes the argument that a holistic and biblical methodology for missions must include both search and harvest strategies.  It must include evangelism and discipleship, church planting and theological training….This book is long overdue.”

If you are looking for further book reading recommendations, see Collin Hansen’s summer reading list, which was commented on in a prominent USA Today blog run by Cathy Lynn Grossman of that paper.

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Why Johnny Can’t Preach: Collin Hansen on BibleMesh

The latest issue of Christianity Today has a great article on cutting-edge discipleship material that seeks to address the lack of theological and biblical knowledge in the church.  Entitled “Why Johnny Can’t Preach” and written by CT’s Collin Hansen, the piece sheds light on BibleMesh, an online discipleship tool that I have mentioned before (and for which I write).

Hansen sums up the contemporary problem:

Americans love their Bibles. So much so that they keep them in pristine, unopened condition. Or, as George Gallup Jr. and Jim Castelli said in a widely quoted survey finding, “Americans revere the Bible but, by and large, they don’t read it.”

He offers some words on computer-based Christian training:

Computer technology has long been a boon to high-level biblical studies. Scholars can instantly search archives of ancient manuscripts, essentially turning their offices into world-class libraries. Pastors likewise benefit from popular software that aids original language studies and sermon preparation. But the gap is widening.

“At this rate,” Emmanuel Kampouris says, “the Bible will be just a historical artifact for seminarians.”

BibleMesh is seeking to address this major issue:

BibleMesh hopes to remedy the problem of fragmented biblical understanding with a personalized learning tool that tracks what users have studied and where they are weak. The site will help users memorize Scripture and remember facts, names, and places from the passages they have read. Another component allows pastors and small-group leaders to shape their own courses. Later channels will teach church history and biblical Greek and Hebrew.

“Every church intuitively knows it needs a discipleship program that goes beyond the preaching event,” Thornbury says. “I hope BibleMesh will be Sunday school curriculum 2.0. It’s an update on what used to be done in Sunday school: taking Christians through the Bible.”

The article then goes on to consider other special initiatives on the discipleship front, including David Platt’s efforts in Alabama to spur his congregation on in learning and living out the Bible.

This piece is encouraging; one hopes it will foster a greater understanding of various groups and movements (including BibleMesh, which debuts June 2010 with an original, Christ-centered narrative of Scripture by Tim Keller) that are seeking to build in God’s people a love for the Word that will result in transformed living and greater glory to God.

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Sandra Bullock’s Dilemma, John Piper’s Decision, and Parenthood’s Complexity

David Brooks poses an interesting question in his column today:

Two things happened to Sandra Bullock this month. First, she won an Academy Award for best actress. Then came the news reports claiming that her husband is an adulterous jerk. So the philosophic question of the day is: Would you take that as a deal? Would you exchange a tremendous professional triumph for a severe personal blow?

He concludes his editorial with this–it’s worth chewing on:

[M]ost of us pay attention to the wrong things. Most people vastly overestimate the extent to which more money would improve our lives. Most schools and colleges spend too much time preparing students for careers and not enough preparing them to make social decisions. Most governments release a ton of data on economic trends but not enough on trust and other social conditions. In short, modern societies have developed vast institutions oriented around the things that are easy to count, not around the things that matter most. They have an affinity for material concerns and a primordial fear of moral and social ones.

Adultery and the dissolution of a marriage is always a complicated matter, and I of course don’t know the particulars of this sad situation.  I can say, though, that Brooks’s words make one think, especially as so many of us are thoroughly enmeshed in modernity, with its hyper-speed, adoration of status and money, and distaste for traditional–seemingly enduring–things.


Collin Hansen reflects on John Piper’s recent announcement to his church that he will be taking some time off to focus on his marriage and soul. Hansen’s historical work in the piece deserves careful pondering.


As you may have seen elsewhere, the Christian Science Monitor just did a story on surging Calvinism that prominently features Capitol Hill Baptist Church.  I recognized a number of people in the pictures–pretty cool.  With thanks to Stuart Taylor, one of my mentors in the faith, for the link.


Some of you may be watching the engrossing tv show Parenthood on NBC.  It follows the various branches of an extended family as they confront the challenges both traditional and modern that so many families today wrestle with.  I thought this piece on the show was worthy of attention.  The author, Heidi Stevens of the Chicago Tribune, calls for one of the show’s characters, Julia Braverman-Graham, to continue to honestly reflect the realities of working motherhood.

In particular, this section of the essay struck me as noteworthy:

So do me a favor. Don’t blow this. Don’t be picture-perfect “Cosby Show” Clair Huxtable working mom. Don’t be “Desperate Housewives’” Lynette Scavo mess of a working mom. The archetypes don’t leave a lot of room for being insanely enamored of your kids.

Just be a working mom who desperately tries to please her boss, compete with the stay-at-home moms for face-time, find more time for her daughter and still squeeze in wife/sister/daughter/homeowner duties.

I know. It sounds impossible. But here’s a tip: Have more tender moments with Sydney. Cut out paper dolls. Do each other’s nails. Make pancakes and play Candyland and Uno and tell her stories about your childhood.

Read the whole thing.

I discussed this article with my wife, a homemaker who identified the excellent point I now seek to develop.  Many modern women today, intimidated by archetypal June Cleaver and Betty Huxtable figures, scoff at these figures, viewing their lives as impossible to achieve.  While few stay-at-home moms would claim that their lives are complex, it seems unrealistic to suggest that traditional womanhood makes life harder than modern womanhood.

Why?  Because the Tribune piece, as is common to more contemporary feminism, seems to suggest that women can do it all.  They can be a lawyer working 90-hour weeks, “have more tender moments” with their kids, and ” still squeeze in wife/sister/daughter/homeowner duties.”  Let me just say that a woman in action boggles the mind.  I grew up under a very gifted woman and I live with one now.

However, I have to call bluff here.  How on earth can even the most omni-competent mother simultaneously complete all her responsibilities at a very demanding job, increase her special time with her children, and function in all her other roles–wife, family member, child?  That’s unrealistic.  It’s unfair.  It’s exhausting, damaging, and dangerous, whether for the woman herself, her kids, or her marriage.

Maureen Dowd, a feminist’s feminist, noted some time ago that “blue is the new black.” In public, and to her credit, she noted that modern women are unhappy, and that this unhappiness is tied to a feminist way of life.  She would not agree with much of what I stand for, I’m sure, but her candor suggests what I’m getting at here: the Julia Braverman-Graham model is untenable.  It won’t hold.

Or, if it does hold, it will come at great cost.  There is no substitute for quantity with children.  If you want to love them and see them flourish, you simply must spend lots of time with them–not time on your cell while they play, not time on the computer while they try to get your attention–but real, thick, loving, focused time.  Moms have an essential role to play on this point, even as dads do as well when their daily out-of-the-home work ceases.

Heidi Stevens is a gifted writer, and I’m guessing she’s a very sweet mother, but her model is deeply flawed.  Just as men don’t need to run themselves into the ground for the sake of career, women don’t need to run themselves into the ground for the sake of some vaunted but impossible ideal of womanhood.  Nobody said June Cleaver’s life was easy.  There’s no way, however, that an honest viewer could say that Julia Braverman-Graham’s life is any easier. The exhaustion, frustration and guilt she feels stems in substantial part not from the reactions of others, but from the model she follows.

(Image: Babble.com)


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The Link 9.4.09: 16 Straight Field Goals, Health Care, and 36 Hours in Zagreb


Got alot of good stuff for you today:

1,I’m pretty sure that you’ve never seen anything like this.  16 STRAIGHT FIELD GOALS by Jamal Crawford back in 2007.  It is a masterpiece performance by a supremely talented but enigmatic performer.

2. Speaking of Crawford, check out his dribbling skill.  He comes into the video somewhere around the 2:00 mark, and though he’s taking it easy, his “handle” is incredible.

3. Now that I have lulled you with masterful basketball videos, I proceed to up the ante.  Justin Taylor linked to this excellent piece on the problems with universal health care.  It’s long, sad, and devastating to the case for UHC.  Remember: it is good for Christians to think about these things.  We don’t care just about the afterlife (though it is central).  It’s good to think hard about difficult things.  We need to train ourselves to do so.

4. Unemployment is slowing.  Just thought you might want to know. 

5. 36 hours in Zagreb, Croatia.  Sounds pretty cool. 

6. My family and I were almost hit by a driver texting on their phone yesterday.  The NYT has an article up on a new PSA video that’s taking the web by storm.  Let me say it here, publicly: if you hit my car and injure my child because you’re texting on your phone, there will be consequences…

7. The Henry Center is webcasting the Kantzer Lectures in Revealed Theology with Stephen Williams this coming week.  If you like heady theology, you will want to tune in.  You can also follow HCTU Hansen Fellow Andy Naselli’s live-blogging on the ramped-up HCTU blog.

8. Mike Anderson has a good series over at The Resurgence going on the mission of Jesus.  Mike, as with alot of the Resurgence/Mars Hill Church/Acts29 guys, writes with clarity and punch.  Good stuff.

9. Collin Hansen has a typically thoughtful piece on young evangelicals and their approach to culture.  Check it out.

–Have a great weekend, all.  If you get a little free time, work on your dribbling.

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The Link 7.17.09: Fetuses Have Memories, Redemption Groups, and Obama on Responsibility

fetus1. This just in: fetuses have memories.  If enough time passes, the personhood of fetuses will be a fact, one demonstrated by science.  What will that mean for the pro-choice movement? (Picture: Gray’s Anatomy)

2. Mars Hill Church of Seattle has a cool program going: Redemption Groups.  Love the attention they give to reaching lost people.  So challenged by it.

3. TheResurgence has a nice series unfolding that features Collin Hansen’s reflections on the young, restless, reformed movement.  This one covers Al Mohler and Southern Seminary.

4. From the NYT, tips for taking photos of babies.  Just thought you might want to know.

5. President Obama just gave a speech to the N.A.A.C.P. that included a rousing challenge to fellow black Americans to repair their social structures and embrace responsibility.

6. Trevin Wax shares why he took a “blog sabbatical”.  Good thoughts.

–Have a great weekend, all.

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