Tag Archives: Russ Moore

Life in a Romanian Orphanage: “A Mixture of Excrement and Open Wounds”

Global financier Arpad Busson is not one you might initially think would be an advocate for adoption.  He’s dated famous actresses and lives a lavish life.  I somehow came across a piece on him, though, and found this heartrending description of a Romanian orphanage:

For Busson, whose personal wealth is around £200 million, his Damascene moment came a decade ago, when he was setting up ARK. That first visit to a Romanian orphanage remains a vivid and deeply disturbing memory. “The most heart-wrenching thing is the smell. The awful gagging,” he recalls. “The institution was in a remote, poor region. But nothing prepares you for the moment you open the doors. That first woosh of fetid air. It is a mixture of excrement and infected wounds. Because they couldn’t afford heating, the windows were never opened. The children were emaciated because they were never given solids, only soup. They were strapped in cots. In one room there must have been 40, all banging their heads on the walls. They were naked and filthy. My son, Arpad Flynn, was just three then [he's 13 now, while Aurelius Cy, Busson's second son with Ms Macpherson, is eight] and the sight of those tiny children in such filth… with no hope. Like zombies. It made me utterly furious.

Russ Moore has talked about this kind of setting in his important book Adopted for Life (he also references orphanages in a powerful Christianity Today piece).  I would encourage you to think about whether there are things that you can personally do to give gospel-driven hope to those in such awful situations.  Also visit Together for Adoption for help and information about how to get involved.


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Monday Night Pre-T4G: SBTS Panel w/Trueman, Bethke, Harris, Moore

Just heard from the SBTS brass that this killer dinner/panel at Southern Seminary in Louisville on Monday night (two days from now) has, due to popular demand, added 100 extra seats.  Here’s the info:

Dinner & Dialogue

Monday, April 9, 6:00-8:00p.m.
Dinner in Heritage Hall, Dialogue in Alumni Chapel

Join us for a pre-conference dinner from Chuy’s Tex Mex, followed by a panel discussion on Christ-centered theology and ministry. Dialogue will feature Josh Harris, Carl Trueman, Matt Pinson, Jeff Bethke and J.D. Greear, hosted by Russell D. Moore.

Reservation deadline is April 5. Make your reservation by following the link below. Please note there will not be refunds for this event, only substitutions.

If you are registered for the T4G class at Southern Seminary, you are already registered for this event.

Go check out the info and sign up here.

The panel looks like a bunch of fun; it’s a diverse collection of evangelical leaders and leading voices.  If you have not had Chuy’s Mexican food from the iconic Texas chain, your opportunity has arrived.  This restaurant is legendary already in Louisville and makes back its operating costs from the Southern Seminary crowd.

There are two great reasons to come to SBTS on Monday.  Band of Bloggers meets at the school on Tuesday morning; I have seen the booklist, and it is phenomenal.  You’ll take home almost as many books from BoB as from T4G.

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Reflecting on the Reformed Resurgence: Band of Bloggers 2012

Timmy Brister, the mastermind/head/visionary behind Band of Bloggers, recently made this announcement:

We are excited about this year’s Band of Bloggers (on April 10, 2012, just before Together for the Gospel starts).  Each panelist has played a pivotal role with Band of Bloggers and the Young, Restless, and Reformed Movement.  At our first Band of Bloggers (April 2006), we were thrilled to have Tim Challies, Justin Taylor, Albert Mohler, and Russell Moore as panel speakers, and six years later we are even more happy to see that Justin and Tim will be joining us again.  Collin Hansen who coined the phrase “young, restless, and reformed” and wrote a journalistic book about it will also be joining us.  And for the first time, Kevin DeYoung, perhaps the most prominent Reformed blogger online has agreed to contribute his thoughts as well.  And I’m grateful for my good friend and fellow moderator, Owen Strachan, will be helping me lead the discussion at this year’s gathering.

If you want to go to BoB, you need to register ASAP.  Last I heard, the event was 2/3 full a day or two after it was announced.

I’m looking especially forward to this year’s gathering, because we’re going to reflect on the reformed resurgence and how blogging has contributed to it.  It will be fun to do that with some young leaders, and I know that many who join us will have made meaningful contributions to the broader movement.  The whole point of this is that we’ve witnessed “a thousand points of light” come to life in the last 5-6 years, a development that has allowed the books, talks, sermons, and discussions of the reformed world to spread like wildfire all over the world.

That, my friends, is a beautiful thing, one worth celebrating in six weeks’ time.

By the way, I think Southern Seminary still has some spots open in the special Together for the Gospel class.  It’s led by Russell Moore, Dean of SBTS, and will allow students to hear some great material, attend some pre-conference panels with a range of Southern faculty, and then attend the full conference.  You get three credit hours from SBTS.  It’s a fantastic bargain and has people enrolled from all over the country.

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Evangelical Guilt in Evangelism–and How John 3 Helps

Do you struggle with guilt related to evangelism?  Do you feel like you do very little as a Christian to “draw” lost people?  I sometimes struggle with this feeling–and sometimes, it’s justified.  It’s a very healthy thing to examine one’s evangelistic witness, and to push oneself out of one’s comfort zone (read: the evangelical church/parachurch bubble, oftentimes) into the pathways and patterns of lost people.

But it is also possible to carry the weight of the lostness of the world on your back.  If so, here’s a helpful text from John 3:20-21:

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

Sometimes, we can think that we are repelling lost people by living a God-glorifying life.  In fact, this may be true.  People don’t want to be around the light when they live in darkness.  They want to stay in the darkness.  They are justly ashamed.  They hate the light.

This doesn’t give us a permanent excuse for not evangelizing lost people, of course.  Just as Jesus did, we need to pray and go into the darkness, to be where lost people are, to do what we can such that they can’t help but confront their sin and the cross of Christ.

But with that said, this text does hugely help to relieve false guilt.  It shows us that, fundamentally, we’re not doing something wrong by living a holy life–and by extension, not having lost sinners approach us.  We’re doing what is right.  We are emulating Jesus (however imperfectly).  People are lost, and it is not because of us.  People are lost because of their sin.  Perhaps that takes some of the weight of our shoulders, freeing us like a ship shedding cargo to launch into the darkness and attempt the joy-giving task of evangelizing those who need most the One they hate most.


By the way, BrianD’s blog often has a great bunch of links to read through.  Here are several that caught my eye:

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The “Abba” Cry and the Gospel of Adoption

I mentioned the current Russ Moore cover story in Christianity Today entitled “Abba Changes Everything: Why Every Christian Is Called to Rescue Orphans” (pp.18-22) a couple of days back.  The piece (now online here; thanks, JT) merits more extensive quotation, though you’ll need to read it to get the full drift.  Here are a few more lines worth pondering.

Adoption as mission:

“Adoption is also mission….Without the theological aspect, the growing Christian emphasis on orphan care too often seems like one more cause wristband for compassionate conservative evangelicals to wear until the trend dies down.” (p. 20)

What true love looks like:

“Love based on the preservation and protection of genetic material makes sense in a Darwinian–not a Christian–view of reality.” (p. 20)

The sole commonality of the gospel:

“What would happen if the world saw fewer “white churches” and “black churches,” fewer “blue-collar churches” and “white-collar churches,” and fewer baby boomer and emerging churches, and saw more churches whose members have little common except being saved by the gospel?” (p. 20)

Perhaps my favorite:

“The demonic rulers of the age hate orphans because they hate babies–and have from Pharoah to Moloch to Herod to the divorce culture to malaria to HIV/AIDS.  They hate foster care and orphan advocacy because these actions are icons of the gospel’s eternal reality.” (p. 21)

On how adoption and evangelism work together to create a missional culture:

“A conscience that’s burdened for orphans, rather than seared over in the quest for more stuff, will be burdened for spiritual orphans.  A church that learns to love beyond the borders of biology will learn to do mission outside the borders of geography.” (p. 22)

This one chills your blood:

“The universe around us is creepily silent–like an orphanage in which the children no longer believe they will be heard.  But if we listen with Galilean ears, we can hear the quiet desperation of thumbs being sucked, of cribs being rocked.  As we welcome orphans into our homes, we can show the orphaned universe what it means to belong to a God who welcomes the fatherless.” (p. 22)

This is a provocative, moving, and richly theological article.  It’s now online (you can also buy the latest issue of CT).

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Filed under adoption, theology

Is President Obama the First Female President?

Don’t ask me.  Ask Kathleen Parker.  She just suggested so–in the Post, no less.  However you answer this question, it seems incontrovertible that men have adapted womanly traits and habits in just about every category–dress, speaking, physicality, you name it.  You have to hand it to Parker–she speaks her mind, with no quarter given to anyone.  I admire that.


Stephen Witmer, a Massachusetts pastor with a PhD from Cambridge, writes on a “God-Centered Understanding of Sin” at Ref21.  An excellent piece worth the extensive reading.


Kevin DeYoung “witticisms,” including the immortal term “squishitude.”  That is a neologism worth passing on.


Old media?  New media?  David Brooks and Gail Collins discuss.


How has John Roberts changed the culture of the Supreme Court?  Here’s how.


James Boice, remembered. (HT: Challies)


By the way, I don’t know if you get Christianity Today, but the new issue has a noteworthy piece by Russ Moore on adoption (not yet online).  Here’s one memorable line: “The adoption movement is challenging the impoverished hegemony of our carnal sameness, as more and more families in the church are starting to show fellow believers the meaning of unity in diversity.”  That’s a heavy-hitter.


Filed under adoption, links, politics

Books on Tap: Morley, Wax, Carson, Cole, Beale, and The Essential Edwards Collection

I’ve received some books recently, and have a minute at present to quickly pass on word about them.  I’m no expert on any of the books or subjects covered below, but I do love books, and it’s fun to try to let others know of possibly edifying works.

First, Patrick Morley’s Pastoring Men came out not too long ago (Moody, 2008).  It looks like a helpful book for practically solving a quandary many church leaders face: how do I engage men and involve them in the life of the church?  It is endorsed by a number of leaders I respect, and it looks worth checking out.  Here’s what Bryan Chappell of Covenant Seminary said about the text:

Patrick Morley’s long-standing concern to see the light of Christ in the life of men has always been inspiring. Now this exceedingly practical book helping pastors implement discipleship programs specifically directed toward men will do much to shape the future of home, church, and the next generation. Morley writes in terms that reach men—and change them.

Second, Trevin Wax of First Baptist Church of Shelbyville, Kentucky just authored Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals (Crossway, 2010, with a foreword by Ed Stetzer and endorsements by Mohler, Moore, and Olasky).  I’ve read through the book and found it a helpful meditation on an enlivening metaphor, that of subverting Satan through the gospel.  Trevin writes with clarity, passion, and a love for God’s church.  This would be a helpful book to go through with small groups, students, and many others.

Third, D. A. Carson of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and The Gospel Coalition just wrote Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Crossway, 2010).  The book is a collection of five lectures on the title topic.  Dr. Carson gave these talks some months ago at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, and they were explosive.  The Henry Center is grateful to have been a sponsor of those talks.  Pick up the book, and embrace anew the scandal of the cross.

Fourth, Graham Cole of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School recently published God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom (InterVarsity, 2009).  Some TEDS students worked through portions of this text in a memorable doctoral seminar on the atonement with Dr. Cole.  Based on that experience and brief study of the book, it looks like this would be a very rich book for scholars, pastors and thinking Christians who want to better understand the multidimensional glory of the atonement.

Fifth, G. K. Beale of Wheaton College Graduate School has penned The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism (Crossway, 2009), a collection of essays on inerrancy.  This one looks to be particularly worth chewing on for Christian Old Testament scholars, as a number of Beale’s essays wrestle with OT textual issues.

Sixth, Doug Sweeney and I have just released the five-volume series entitled The Essential Edwards Collection (Moody, 2010).  (You will hear very little from me about this project.) This series distills the essential thought of America’s greatest pastor-theologian.  It is written to be of help to all kinds of people–those who know little about Edwards and haven’t had time to read him, those familiar with Edwards who could benefit from short resource guides offering important quotations and critical but deeply appreciative analysis, and those who love Edwards and want to work through the searching material he authored.  The books are short (160 pages), readable, and include application sections.

We wrote this series not simply, though, to be a collection about Edwards, but to enlarge the modern church’s understanding of God and the life of joy and excitement He offers us through His Son.  This isn’t, in the end, a series about the colonial pastor, but a series about the majestic Lord the pastor loved.

If you have a blog and would like to do a blog review of any books from Moody (including the EEC), I might be able to rustle you up a copy.  Write to hctu [at] tiu.edu with your address.


So there you go–some books to potentially buy.  Here’s hoping that they build the faith of God’s people and give Him glory.


Filed under book reviews

The Horror of Abortion from an Abortionist’s Perspective

This chilling testimony about the emotional effect of abortion comes an article in The Weekly Standard by David Daleiden and John Shields entitled “Mugged by Ultrasound”.  It is a visceral quotation, I am warning you.

In general, abortion providers have censored their own emotional trauma out of concern to protect abortion rights. In 2008, however, abortionist Lisa Harris endeavored to begin “breaking the silence” in the pages of the journal Reproductive Health Matters. When she herself was 18 weeks pregnant, Dr. Harris performed a D&E abortion on an 18-week-old fetus. Harris felt her own child kick precisely at the moment that she ripped a fetal leg off with her forceps:

Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes—without me—meaning my conscious brain—even being aware of what was going on. I felt as if my response had come entirely from my body, bypassing my usual cognitive processing completely. A message seemed to travel from my hand and my uterus to my tear ducts. It was an overwhelming feeling—a brutally visceral response—heartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics. It was one of the more raw moments in my life.

Read the whole article.


Reading this article coincided with some recent reflection on my part on abortion.  If we conservative evangelicals think that we can avoid preaching on abortion, we’re kidding ourselves.  The Bible is far from silent on this matter.  When you’re covering Pharoah’s sacrifice of children in Exodus, or the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter in Judges 11, or the effort of Herod to kill the Christ-child in Matthew 2, you are in direct contact with texts that speak to abortion and the killing of children. (Russ Moore has an article on this that I commend to you.)

When you consider that you are not preaching these texts in a culture that celebrates the life of the fetus, but seeks to extinguish it to the tune of millions of unborn children each year, then you have a real quandary on your hands.  Even those who do only the most elementary application of the text to our age can’t help but see that there is a massive and bloody connection between the efforts to kill children in the Bible and those that continue in our own day.

We have been led by so many different commentators to think hard and well about ways to apply the Bible’s teaching to our own day.  But we have to be very careful here.  We shouldn’t pick and choose what cultural sins we call out and what sins we leave alone.  Nobody protests when we preach against our lust for success; many will protest when, in the course of our preaching through the whole canon of Scripture, we preach on the necessity to defend the lives of unborn children.

If and when they do so, we should realize that this is not an aberration; this is the way of the cross.  Yes, we should be wise as serpents, but we are also called to be salt and light.  The examples of the apostles call us to preach boldly and courageously before the Lord with no regard for our lives.  Perhaps many of us who desire to “engage the culture” should read old texts like Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, and soak up a little bit of the courage contained in it.

Of course, I am not advocating that we preach in favor of certain pro-life resolutions.  I’m also not advocating that we preach single-issue messages on abortion.  I’m also not suggesting that, if we’re preaching on Matthew 2 or some other text, that we devote the majority of our sermon to the issue of abortion.  I’m merely saying that we are not being fanciful or political when we preach on abortion from texts that cry out for application of this subject to our present-day.

Sometimes we reformed practitioners of expository preaching tie ourselves up in knots on the question of preaching and politics.  Of course we should not generally preach on certain laws and resolutions; of course we should not have a political pulpit.  But just because an issue is debated in the political realm does not mean that when we are in a given text by the natural rhythm of our preaching calendar we avoid preaching on it.  Though that action may proceed from a good motive (the desire to not politicize the pulpit), it may actually end up silencing the Scripture and its relevance for our contemporary age.

We will have to preach carefully and responsibly on abortion and other scriptural subjects, but this must not, it seems to me, muzzle our clear and courageous denunciation of a practice so wicked as abortion.

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ETS Highlights: The Moore Tour and More (Including Beignets)

As some of you know, the Evangelical Theological Society met last week in New Orleans, Louisiana.  I was able to go, and I had some thoughts on “highlights” of the experience (what is it with Americans and highlights, anyway?).

1. Russ Moore gave a fun and informative tour on the literary culture of New Orleans.  It was engrossing.  I haven’t seen any material from it on Moore’s blog (have I missed something, Robbie?), but if footage turns up from the tour, check it out.  I don’t know about you, but I love learning about literature from theologians.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  How about a book, Dr. Moore?

Moore brought out the darkness of New Orleans in his hourlong stroll through the French Quarter.  At one point, he talked about how New Orleans loves a good rogue; at another, he discussed the way area residents interact with the devil.  To paraphrase, in some places in the world, people act like the devil doesn’t exist–they keep him at arm’s length; in New Orleans, they throw their arm around his shoulder.  It’s a dark and needy place.

2. Because of this reality, it was encouraging to talk with James Welch, a pastor in New Orleans and an SBTS alum.  James is a great guy with a heart for the gospel and a comprehensive grasp on all things Nola.  We talked Lil Wayne, Bourbon Street, and miraculous conversion.  Thoroughly encouraging.  If you can, pray for Sojourn Lakeview and their ministry to the city.

3. The city itself is working hard to continue the post-Katrina recovery, but from what I could see, it’s hard going.  There weren’t many people around. 

4. I had the privilege of meeting Dave Doran, who I interacted with on this blog some months ago.  He is president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary and the pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church, and he’s a very kind and gracious man.  As we know, Detroit, like New Orleans, is hard-hit these days.  Let’s pray for the church and seminary Dave leads, asking God’s rich blessing on their promotion and defense of the gospel.

5. As readers of this blog know, I had the special pleasure of blogging Bruce Ware’s ETS presidential address.  I’ll remember that for a long time to come.

Other than that stuff, I was able to give an academic paper, see old friends (Ben Dockery did a nice job with the SBTS alumni event), eat good food (muffulettas, po’ boys from Mother’s, and more), and generally soak up the ETS atmosphere.  I’m thankful for ETS and how it encourages and showcases evangelical scholarship.  Over 2000 folks turned out, over 500 papers were read (including several from my TEDS buddies), and much glory was given to God.

Last but certainly not least, a not insignificant amount of beignets from the amazing Cafe du Monde were eaten (yes, order them!).


Filed under evangelical theological society

The Manhattan Declaration: A Bold Statement on Family and Faith

Today at 12pm, a group of evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox leaders released a statement on the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty.  Called the Manhattan Declaration, this statement represents a bold rebuke of current cultural trends and a clear call to the culture to recognize the harm it is doing itself in crucial areas.

The statement was drafted by Robby George, Timothy George, and Chuck Colson.  Prominent evangelical signatories include Al Mohler, Russ Moore, David Dockery, Danny Akin, Marvin Olasky, Ravi Zacharias, Bill Edgar, Michael Easley, and others.  Evangel has a full list of signers.  The MD is not an outreach of Evangelicals and Catholics Together. 

 The Manhattan Declaration is not simply a statement, but a grassroots movement.  All who agree with the statement are strongly encouraged to sign the Declaration in support.

 The Declaration

Join the movement!
Sign the Declaration

More on the MD:

The Manhattan Declaration is a 4,732-word statement signed by a movement of Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders who are collaborating around moral issues of great concern. Its 125+ signers affirm the sanctity of human life, marriage as defined by the union of one man and one woman, and religious liberty and freedom of conscience. The Manhattan Declaration endorses civil disobedience under certain circumstances.

Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

Visit the site for more information.


Filed under public square