Posted tagged ‘Blue Collar Theology’

Oprah the Pluralist

July 10, 2008

This is one of many reasons why in seminary I have devoted my studies to critiquing philosophical pluralism and soteriological inclusivism. Oprah’s pluralism is answered by the good intentions of inclusivism (which I disagree with as well), and while academia is responding to John Hick’s Copernican revolution and Clark Pinnock’s “faith principle,” the everyday person is responding to Oprah Winfrey and the neighbor next door.

Again, I don’t endorse the answer or the attitude in which the lady responds to Oprah, but this shows the need for Blue Collar Theology in defense of the faith once for all handed down to the saints.

Blue Collar Theology 29: 2+2 for Pastors

May 12, 2008

A couple of week ago, I mentioned the great discussion I had with an IMB representative. One of the things I asked him was, “If the 2+2 and 2+3 programs are so effective for assimilating and training missionaries on the field, why aren’t we adopting this strategy for the rest of seminary students going onto the ‘field’, including those preaching/teaching and leading worship?” He thought it was a good idea, so I began thinking about it a little more.

I briefly mentioned the disconnect between seminary and the local church last fall–a disconnect that has spawned the pursuit of theological education in the local church and the development of a blue collar theology. I have been looking at how different churches and ministries address this problem, such as The Pastor’s College (Sovereign Grace), TBI (Bethlehem Baptist), Internship and Weekenders (Capitol Hill Baptist), Internship and Extension (Lakeview Baptist), and elsewhere; but even with the encouraging and promising efforts made by the growth of church-based theological education, the fact remains that the majority of seminary students graduating are leaving with a diploma in their hands and little to no experience under the belts.

The lack of “field training” and experience is evidenced on a continual basis. Furthermore, students are assessed and placed on the basis of educational accomplishment and whatever else a short resume can reveal. Missionaries, however, are given much greater scrutiny and examination. Their theology is examined, their family and personal life assessed, and several years of on-the-field training are provided through a well-integrated program called 2+2/2+3. The first two years are completed at the seminary and includes the core curricula; the second-half of the program is field-based education that emphasizes an ongoing practicum for the remainder of their degree. You can read more about what this program looks like by going here.

SBC President Frank Page recently argued that the SBC could like shrink by half by 2030, and with the reality that many pastors will retire or die without a successor, one has to wonder who and how (and if) they will be succeeded. If we can be so committed to the Great Commission overseas to train and equip missionaries with field-based missiological education, then why can’t we be equally committed to the Great Commission here in the homeland to train and equip ministers with church-based ecclesiological education?

It would be great to see a 2+2 program made available for pastors.  Together with my four years of college, I have now completed eight years of academic training. Fortunately for me, sandwiched in the middle of those eight years was four years of serving on staff at local churches, but even those years were spent in the “school of hard knocks” and trial-and-error, not having the know-how prior to that tenure.  So much that is required for ministerial effectiveness can never be learned at seminary or Bible college, but at the same time, there are many things that the seminary can effectively teach that many local churches simply cannot provide.  Having said that, it is my hope that something can be developed for ministers in a pastoral context where they can experience both excellence in education as well as competence in training so that our churches can succeed and communities better reached with the gospel.

Blue Collar Theology 28: TBI TULIP Seminar

May 12, 2008

Having wrestled with the doctrines of grace for more than two years as a college student, I became convinced of the sovereignty of God in salvation both through the study of Scripture and the experience in my own life.  Shortly thereafter, one of the most helpful resources I benefited from was the TBI TULIP Seminar which I purchased in cassette form.  These were messages by John Piper on the five points of Calvinism presented in a humble, fair, and faithful manner, and I tended to return to these messages time and again throughout the years.

A couple of months ago, John Piper again held a TBI Seminar on TULIP, and Desiring God has made the messages available in text, audio, and video format.   I want to recommend this seminar to all Blue-Collar Christians because I believe it is one of the most helpful, accessible, and instructive ways of understanding the doctrines of grace.  Here is the links to each session of the TULIP seminar:

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Assumptions – Irresistible Grace
Part 3: Irresistible Grace – Total Depravity
Part 4: Total Depravity – Unconditional Election
Part 5: Unconditional Election
Part 6: Unconditional Election
Part 7: Limited Atonement
Part 8: Perseverance of the Saints
Part 9: Ten Effects of Believing the Five Points of Calvinism

Unfortunately, the majority of what lay people in churches hear these days regarding Calvinism is by those who are vehemently against it, and rarely if ever are the truths accurately and fairly presented.  As a result, those who disagree with the doctrines of grace are not so much disagreeing with the truths so much as they are disagreeing with the caricatures wherein they have been so poorly packaged.  If you want to know what Calvinists believe, listen and read from the Calvinists, such as this seminar by John Piper.  You still might not agree, but at least you will know that your disagreements are with the facts and not with a false representation of them.  For those of you who do believe in the doctrines of grace, you will find this seminar incredibly enriching and encouraging as scores of Scriptures are unfolded for you.  Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike should appreciate the balanced, humble, and accurate approach Piper takes on TULIP.

Desiring God also has two booklets that might be of interest to you (both are $4).  They are:

* What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism

* TULIP: The Pursuit of God’s Glory in Salvation (the seminar in booklet form)

Blue Collar Theology 27: IX Marks e-Journal

May 5, 2008

One of the most valuable online resources dealing with contemporary issues in a topic manner is the IX Marks e-Journal. Every two months, IX Marks Ministries comes out with a great series of articles addressing a particular issue and includes very helpful book reviews on current popular works as well. In their latest issue (May/June 2008), the journal contains a series of Sunday school lessons on what it means to live together as a church. Jonathan Leeman writes,

There’s plenty of material out there on living the Christian life. But there’s not so much, from what we can tell, on living together as a church.

To help with that deficit, 9Marks is using this issue to present pastors and churches with what we believe is a useful tool, a short class on living together as a local church. If you’ve never provided your congregation with an opportunity to meditate together on what it means to live together as a church, we hope you’ll take a look at this material. Teach it yourself; let a young man you’re discipling teach it; or let it prompt you to write your own class.

Below are the lessons:

Also included in the journal are some good articles and reviews, including:

You can go check out the entire e-journal online or download it in a PDF format. Those of you embracing the vision of Blue Collar Theology in your church would be well served by subscribing and benefiting from the great resources provided by IX Marks Ministries.

Blue Collar Theology 26: The Works of John Bunyan (PDF)

May 5, 2008

We live in a day and age where we have access to the works of the most eminent saints of church history. One such saint is John Bunyan, and his complete works have been compiled here for your benefit. Each link directs you to a PDF document which can be downloaded to your computer. All of these files have been made available via Bunyan Ministries under the direction of Dr. Barry Horner. You can also find these links in other formats at the John Bunyan online page developed by Mount Zion Chapel Library. I find it most appropriate that Bunyan’s Works be included in the Blue Collar Theology series as this “tinker of Bedford” who was rather poorly educated left quite a legacy. Check it out!

Volume 1

Memoir of John Bunyan
Grace Abounding to Chief of Sinners
Relation of Bunyan’s Imprisonment
Continuation of Bunyan’s Life
Bunyan’s Dying Sayings
Bunyan’s Prison Meditations
The Jerusalem Sinner Saved
The Greatness of the Soul
The Work of Christ as an Advocate
Christ a Complete Savior
Come and Welcome to Christ
Justification by Imputed Righteousness
Saved by Grace
The Strait Gate
Light for Those who Sit in Darkness
Treatise on the Fear of God
Doctrine of Law and Grace
Israel’s Hope Encouraged
A Discourse Touching Prayer
The Saint’s Privilege and Profit
The Acceptable Sacrifice
Paul’s Departure and Crown
The Desire of the Righteous Granted

Volume 2

Saint’s Knowledge of Christ’s Love
Of Antichrist and His Ruin
The Resurrection of the Dead
Some Gospel Truths Opened
Vindication of Gospel Truths Opened
Discourse on Pharisee and Publican
Defence of Doctrine of Justification
Reprobation Asserted
Questions About Seventh-Day Sabbath
Of the Trinity and a Christian / Of the Law and a Christian
Scriptural Poems
Exposition of Genesis 1-10
A Holy Life the Beauty of Christianity
Christian Behavior
Caution to Watch Against Sin
Discourse of the Building of God’s House
A Confession of my Faith and Practice
Differences About Water Baptism
Peaceable Principles and True / On the Love of Christ
A Case of Conscience Resolved
John Bunyan’s Catechism
Seasonable Counsel
An Exhortation to Peace and Unity
Bunyan’s Last Sermon

Volume 3

Pilgrim’s Progress – Introduction – Editor
Pilgrim’s Progress – Synopsis – Editor
Pilgrim’s Progress – Part I
Pilgrim’s Progress – Part II
The Holy War
A Map of the Order of Salvation
The Heavenly Footman
The Holy City, or The New Jeusalem
Solomon’s Temple Spiritualized
Discourse of the House of the Forest of Lebanon
The Water of Life
The Barren Fig Tree
The Life and Death of Mr. Badman
A Few Sighs From Hell
One Thing is Needful / Ebal and Gerizim
A Book for Boys and Girls
The Struggler (and Chronological Listing of Bunyan’s Works)

Several of these works have been modernized and included in the Puritan Paperback series published by Banner of Truth (including The Jerusalem Sinner Saved, Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ, The Acceptable Sacrifice, Prayer, and All Loves Excelling. Also, Soli Deo Gloria has also published several editions as well. For more information about John Bunyan in general and a list of reprinted works, check out the Meet the Puritans entry.

Blue Collar Theology 25: ESV Study Bible

April 21, 2008

When the Bible first began to really make sense in my spiritual growth, it came through the help of some good study Bibles. While I was in college, I purchased a new study Bible each year (with a different translation) with the goal of reading through it and taking notes that given year. Even now I can look back and see evidences of grace and sanctification in what God had been teaching me as I worked through these study Bibles.

And yet, despite all the good that study Bibles bring to the table, there is a real danger of becoming a second-hander when it comes to personal study, interpretation, and wrestling with the biblical texts. It is tempting to simply look at what a commentator had said below the line and assume it is just as valid as the inspired text. There is a danger of bypassing what Spirit says and what the human author said to find out what ____________ said.

Nevertheless, personal study Bibles do have an important role to play in the spiritual and doctrinal development of believers today, and the best ones provide the resources and tools necessary to do the hard work of going deep with God in His Word. From what I can tell so far, the ESV Study Bible does just that and perhaps better than anything available today. The ESV does not spoon-feed you commentary for a sound-byte generation or drive-by devotional; rather, it provides you with more than 2,750 pages of meaty resources, including:

* 25,000-plus notes—focusing especially on understanding the Bible text and providing answers to frequently raised issues.
* Over 50 articles—including articles on the Bible’s authority, reliability, and interpretation; on biblical archaeology, theology, worship, prayer, and personal application.
* Over 200 full-color maps—created with the latest digital technology, satellite images, and archaeological research; printed in full color, throughout the Bible.
* 200-plus charts—offering key insights and in-depth analysis in clear, concise outline form; located throughout the Bible.
* 80,000 cross-references—to encourage easy location of important words, passages, and biblical themes.
* More than 40 new full-color illustrations—including historically accurate reconstructions of the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, Solomon’s temple, Herod’s temple, the city of Jerusalem in Jesus’ time and throughout the history of Israel, and many more.

The ESV editorial team, under the leadership of Justin Taylor, has done a fantastic job of putting together 93 first-class biblical scholars to contribute with articles and resources what would be the equivalent of a 20-volume resource library. To have these resources readily accessible in one volume will do much to further the vision of a Blue Collar Theology, and I am happy to commend the ESV Study Bible to you for your consideration.

A final note should be made here. We live in a biblically illiterate age where there are more Bibles, more sermons, more articles, more journals, more magazines, and more books available than ever before, and yet we are suffering from spiritual anemia today. You can have the genuine leather edition of the best study Bible in the world, but if you do not read it, it will be worthless to you. The Bibles we have are not to be living room decoration; our lives should rather be a showroom of the inward transformation that comes from those who “day and night” meditate on the law of the Lord. I know it sounds like I am preaching to the choir, but the point needs to be made that we should treasure God’s Word regardless if it comes with the bells and whistles. It is my hope and prayer that the vision of BCT will encourage all Christians to treasure and apply the Word of God in their lives. Indeed, it is my prayer that the ESV might re-introduce believers to the life-changing revelation of God preserved and handed-down to us.

Blue Collar Theology 24: beard, pipe, and library not needed

April 21, 2008

From Christian George, in his article, “Younger Evangelicals and a Restlessness for Revival” in the latest issue of the Founders Journal:

Every Christian is a theologian.  We don’t need a beard, a pipe and a library to think about God.  In fact, everyone has a theology.  Some people think God doesn’t exist–that’s a theology.  Others think if He did exist we couldn’t know Him–that’s a theology too.  Every action is based on a theology.  At the end of the day, our theology of God exists for our relationship with God.  Our thoughts about God lead us into a deeper worship of God.  And a day is coming when the Great King will separate wheat from chaff, sheep from goats, saved from lost.  But those who love God with head and heart will be ushered into eternity.

Blue Collar Theology 23: A New Kind of Accountability

March 24, 2008

One of our modern-day, evangelical methods for holiness and purity in the church has been what are called “accountability groups.” An accountability group takes many forms–two, three, or eight people–who meet regularly. Some groups have a list of questions to go through, while other groups sit over coffee and let words be shared as they come to mind, whatever the topic of the day might be. The majority of our questions revolve around behavioral questions: have you looked at anything you should not have, have you loved your spouse in an honorable way, have you faithfully read the Scriptures this week.

If we are to pursue true holiness, the object that we pursue must be true. That may seem obvious enough, but so many people do not act accordingly.  In an age where “spirituality” is defined by ethereal experience and some kind of nebulous deity, holiness is a foreign word. In some people’s religion, it is a four-letter word. Paul exhorted Timothy to pay close attention to his life and his doctrine. These two cannot be divorced. As A.W. Tozer said, what we believe about God is the most important thing about us. While we pursue holiness as the people of God, we must include, with our questions regarding ethics, questions also pertaining to our doctrine. When we ask if we have looked at something we should not have, instead of including only pornography, we should also include theology that is not considered orthodox. Pornography is not the only moral issue in our lives. We need to remember that wrong views of God (theology) are also sinful. For those that are not as discerning in what they read, we could make the question broader to be: “What have you read over the past week?”

This may seem like a silly issue to even write about when we speak of theology for all people, but it is an underlying problem in every accountability group that is not asking questions related to theology. I am not arguing for a mere group of puffed up minds. Rather, I am pushing on us to become a community of believers, who believe what it true, noble, and pure. If a group of armchair theologians get together for the fun of debate, this is not accountability.

I have been the instigator of too many conversations that merely puffed up. I have touted the latest esoteric book I just finished with no attempt to speak about its conviction in my life. I have tried to glean as much knowledge from people I interact with without seeking to have my life changedAccountability is going further than talking about the sovereignty of God. It is asking what you believe to be limits of God’s rule in your life. Once that is explicated, we then move on to how this has affected you over the past week. Did you go to a website you should not have? Did you think about God’s omnipresent, sovereign rule while you were clicking away?

What I am arguing for is that as community-dwellers, we begin to enter into discussions about theology in such a way that it is not mere academia. If we stop with theology without delving into the depths of the moral implications, we will be clanging cymbals.

If we speak about our ethic without making explicit the theology grounding it, we will become hypocrites.

Our theology must be tested through the fires of community.In the next post I will talk about how we can begin to wed the two – life and doctrine.

Blue Collar Theology 22: Recent Biblical Theology Resources

March 24, 2008

Over the past month, Southern Seminary (where I attend) has had some excellent lectures on Biblical Theology, and they have been kind to not only provide the MP3 of each lecture, but you can also download the lectures in PDF format. The lectures are from Graeme Goldsworthy (2008 Gheens Lectures) and Jim Hamilton (Julius Brown Gay Lecture).

Graeme Goldsworthy

>> “The Necessity and Viability of Biblical Theology” (MP3) (PDF)
>> “Biblical Theology in the Seminary and Bible College” (MP3) (PDF)
>> “Biblical Theology and Its Pastoral Application” (MP3) (PDF)

Jim Hamilton

>> “The Typology of David’s Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel” (MP3) (PDF)

Of course, the only thing I would like to ask Goldsworthy to speak on is “Biblical Theology for Blue Collar Christians.” Maybe we can work that out later. 🙂

Note: The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology (SBJT) Summer 2006 volume is focused on Biblical Theology, with articles from Stephen Wellum, Tom Schreiner, Graeme Goldsworthy, Jim Hamilton, Peter Gentry, and Mark Seifrid. I highly recommend you check it out. Two of the articles are available online to download:

Preaching and Teaching the Whole Counsel of God” by Stephen Wellum
Preaching and Biblical Theology” by Tom Schreiner

Matthew Wireman Partners with Blue Collar Theology

March 23, 2008

It’s really amazing how things have been coming together over the past 3-4 months. The first blog development was bringing Jason Meyer on for book reviews and contributing to blog series; then came Owen Strachan for culture commentary as well as various contributions; and now I am excited to share the news that Matthew Wireman will be coming on board to help develop a major part of P&P – Blue Collar Theology.

Matt and I have talked several times over the past couple of weeks about our passions, goals, interests, and future ministries. Prior to coming to Southern, Matt attended The Bethlehem Institute (TBI) in Minneapolis, MN (2003-2005) as well as served with Campus Crusade for Christ in Argentina (2000-2002). Currently, he is working on PhD in Systematic Theology at Southern Seminary with the future plans of pastoring, teaching, and and developing a form of church-based training with an emphasis on training future elders. Both the academic pursuit and ministerial vision of Matt line up beautifully with the purposes of Blue Collar Theology, for we both believe that the local church should be the place where leaders are developed, trained, and educated. Matt writes,

My vision for our ministry is to plant churches and form good church-based theological training. I want to have an elder-training center where we build into men’s lives who aspire to the office of elder and send them out to plant/re-vitalize churches.

I am thrilled about Matt coming on board to help develop a robust Blue Collar Theology where lay people are encouraged in their theological pursuits, churches are strengthened in their vision for theological education, and pastors are given resources to develop their people to love God, apply the truth, and communicate the gospel. Matt will begin his contributions this week, starting with theological accountability. Please welcome Matt to P&P as I know that his contributions will assist, edify, challenge, and encourage you in the journey ahead.

Blue Collar Theology 21: New Books on Jesus

March 17, 2008

I realize that it has been over a month since I have written a post on Blue Collar Theology, but I hope to get back at it soon. In fact, I have been talking to a friend here at Southern about coming on to help me develop this series. He has a great passion for the Word and for teaching and training lay people in Scripture. More on that later.

But for now, I want to direct your attention to four books on Jesus that have recently been published. They are all different in their own respect, but they all are putting the spotlight on Jesus which I love.

In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel-Centered Life by Sinclair B. Ferguson (Orlando: Reformation Trust, December 2007). 256pp. $18.00.

Use: This book is laid out in 50 short chapters (2-4 pages usually) which is a great supplement to your devotional reading. A great read for understanding what it means to be “in Christ” and how the gospel works in our lives from one of the most well-respected authors and scholars of our day.

Vintage Jesus: Timeless Answers to Timely Questions by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears (Wheaton: Crossway, February 2008). 256pp. $19.99.

Use: This book is a great introduction to the person and work of Jesus Christ, especially those of the younger generation. Driscoll and Breshears have done a fine job in communicating Christ to an emerging generation faced with the question, “Who do you say that I am?”

Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ by Robert M. Bowman Jr. and J. Ed Komoszewski (Grand Rapids: Kregel, August 2007). 392pp. $18.99.

Use: This is a very helpful apologetic for the deity of Jesus Christ made accessible and understandable through the H.A.N.D.S. acronym (honors, attributes, names, deeds, seat) in which the book is structured. Consider reading this especially when dealing with Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, or anyone else who denies the deity of Christ.

Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective: An Introductory Christology by Fred Sanders and Klaus Issler (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Academic, October 2007). 244pp. $24.99.

Use: For those who want to go deeper into Christology (don’t let the “introduction” part fool you!), consider this compilation of essays on Christ in his relation to the Trinity. In particular, check out Bruce Ware’s essay, “Christ’s Atonement: A Work of the Trinity.”

These are four very different approaches by four different publishers (and multiple authors); nevertheless, I am encouraged by the quality and variety of books being published on Christological matters. If there are other books on Christology, new or old, feel free to chime in and share them with others in the comments (and why you like them as well).

Blue Collar Theology 20: Karis, Schreiner, and Christ

February 11, 2008

Those of you who remember from last December the fallout between Acts 29 and the Missouri Baptist Convention will likely recall Karis Community Church and their pastor Kevin Larson who was one the churches defunded by the MBC for their affiliation with the Acts 29 Network.  Earlier this month, Karis held a “Theology Weekend” where Dr. Tom Schreiner spoke on the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Here’s the audio from the weekend:

“Jesus… Who?” A Forum on the Person and Work of Jesus: Tom Schreiner, Shakir Al-Ani, and Bill Haney

“Ask the Theologian” Q & A on Christianity and the Bible: Tom Schreiner

“Jesus: The Mission” A Sermon: Tom Schreiner

“Jesus: The Man” A Lecture: Tom Schreiner

What really excites me about this “theology weekend” is Kevin’s vision and passion to equip the people of Karis with a greater understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Is this not a wonderful picture of what Blue Collar Theology is all about?  I am ever hopeful that the vision Kevin has for Karis will continue in the minds and hearts of many young pastors as they seek to channel their investments and efforts into being gospel-centered and mission-driven.

In previous generations, churches geared towards church growth often subscribed to a form of pragmatism and revivalism that in one popularized personalities and marginalized doctrinal development.  Perhaps that day is soon coming to a close.  In any case, I am eagerly anticipating more expressions of and efforts for a Blue Collar Theology from churches across America.

HT :: Karis

Blue Collar Theology 19: Packer on the History and Theology of the Puritans

January 21, 2008

[Here is a fantastic point where Blue Collar Theology and the Puritan Reading Challenge collides. The Puritans were the forerunners to BCT through their “conventicles,” town lectureships, and blue-collar language in their preaching.]

J.I. Packer delivered 16 lectures entitled “History and Theology of the Puritans” at Reformed Theological Seminary. RTS has been gracious to provide all 16 lectures to download from their “RTS on iTunes”–a total of over 11 hours of Puritan education from the best Puritan scholar alive today!

Here are the lectures:

1. The Puritan Identity – pt. 1 (45:14)
2. The Puritan Identity – pt. 2 (33:10)
3. Puritan Theological Concerns – pt. 1 (45:54)
4. Puritan Theological Concerns – pt. 2 (45:03)
5. The Bible in Puritan Theology – pt. 1 (46:53)
6. The Bible in Puritan Theology – pt. 2 (46:01)
7. Salvation by Grace – pt. 1 (46:41)
8. Salvation by Grace – pt. 2 (46:37)
9. Faith and Assurance – pt. 1 (46:32)
10. Faith and Assurance – pt. 2 (46:16)
11. The Good Fight – pt. 1 (46:22)
12. The Good Fight – pt. 2 (31:45)
13. Conscience (44:06)
14. Reformed Monasticism (43:01)
15. The Christian Minister (44:22)
16. Worship, Fellowship, and Discipline in the Church (27:40)

To download these lectures, you need to (1) make sure you have iTunes on your computer, (2) go here and click on “Launch RTS on iTunes”, (3) click on “Church History” under virtual courses, and (4) click on “History and Theology of the Puritans” which will take you to the downloads. From there you can get them all at once or pick the tracks that you want to “get.”

Be sure to get these lectures as they will be a wonderful resource as you are reading the Puritan Paperbacks!

Blue Collar Theology 18: New Reference Works

January 14, 2008

It’s been about a month since my last BCT post, but I hope to resume regular posting on this series. One of the things a Blue Collar Theology believes in is equipping yourself theologically with good reference works. Over the past year, there have been some excellent reference works, and I thought I’d direct you to some of them. Here they are:

* Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament – edited by G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson (creative and helpful resource)

* New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ – Tom Schreiner (excellent resource from top NT scholar)

* An Old Testament Theology: A Canonical and Thematic Approach by Bruce Waltke and Charles Yu (perhaps best resource on OT)

* Faith Comes by Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism – edited by Robert Peterson and Christopher Morgan (coming in March)

* The Works of Andrew Fuller – edited by Michael Haykin (one-volume edition)

* Perspectives on the Doctrine of God: Four Views – edited by Bruce Ware (four contributing authors are Paul Helm, Bruce Ware, John Sanders, and Roger Olson; coming in March)

* Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters edited by Donald McKim (great resource to see how various folks in church history interpreted the Bible)

* Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4: Holy Spirit, Church, New Creation by Herman Bavinck (4th volume in this excellent series)

* Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper – edited by John Armstrong (four contributing authors are by Russell D. Moore, I. John Hesselink, David P. Scaer, and Thomas A. Baima)

* Koine Greek Reader: Selected Readings from the New Testament, Septuagint, and Early Christian Writers – by Rodney Decker (new reader for on various Greek texts; helpful to stay fresh on reading)

* The UBS Greek New Testament: Reader Edition

* The Expansion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Wilberforce, More, Chalmers, and Finney by John Wolffe (third volume in a series; good resource on church history)

Blue Collar Theology 17: Building a Digital Library and Kiosk

December 17, 2007

One of the amazing things about the day in which we live is the ability to gather resources for Christian edification and spiritual growth. There are more books, articles, sermons, conferences, and lectures available today than ever before; however, as one professor recently said to me, what has all this knowledge and resources done for Christianity today? How many Christians out there are actually reading books, attending conferences, or downloading sermons? I think his assessment is fair and denotes the legacy of anti-intellectualism in evangelicalism that has spawned a contemptible attitude to theology and Christian education.

Part of the vision behind Blue Collar Theology is to correct this woeful state we are currently in through encouraging theological education in the local church, providing resources and ideas for fellow Christians, and placing an emphasis on doctrinal development for a robust theology. In this post, I want to offer the idea of building a digital library for you and/or your church–one that can be accessed by fellow church members on a regular basis.

This time last year I bought my first MP3 player, a little iPod Nano. Before that time, I had not downloaded a single MP3 song, sermon, or lecture. Although I was quite slow in catching up with the digital revolution, I have worked hard this year to intentionally download resources for my spiritual growth almost on a daily basis. At the current moment, I have nearly 500 MP3’s in my digital library which I try to work through on a regular basis. In recent weeks, I have tried to organize the audio according to various categories, such as:

* Audio Books
* Chapel Messages
* Church Planting
* Conferences
* Interviews
* Lectures
* Sermons
* Worship

Granted, there will be some overlap in these categories, but they do help me organize my listening in order to either provide balance, or to give specific emphasis (e.g. church planting). As the library continues to develop, more concentrated categories will develop (such as emerging church movement, new perspectives of Paul, etc.).

Digital Library

So you might be ask, “Where do I begin to build by digital library?” Let me offer twelve places to that offer free downloads where you can begin: