Posted tagged ‘Tim Challies’

Tim Challies, Rick Warren, and My Take on the John Piper Interview

June 1, 2011

Last Friday, I took some time to post my thoughts on John Piper’s interview of Rick Warren.  And I was entirely not surprised by the comments my post received. However, I did appreciate the interaction I received offline with my fellow pastors and with other friends through email, Tim Challies included. Tim shared with me that he was going to share his thoughts in greater detail, which he did yesterday. I encourage you to check it out, though I take a little different approach, as you will see here.

In his post, Challies shared with his readers that I “marveled at the theological agreement between the two men” and used my blogpost as typical of what the blogosphere was positively regarding the interview. I guess you could say that my blogpost was an appreciative response to Piper’s appreciative interview. Obviously, Challies and I interacted with the interview with different perspectives and came away with different conclusions. Having said that, I thought I’d elaborate more on my take of the interview.

First, I do not consider myself a careful observer of all things Rick Warren.  I have read a couple of his books, follow him on Twitter, and occasionally here about what he is doing during the year. I don’t read the watchdog blogs that are obsessed with him, nor do I care to try to correct him every time he says something I disagree with. It is not that I am entirely ambivalent about Warren as much as it is that I have far greater concerns about the issues in my own life that demand far greater attention. The scope of the interview with Warren was limited to his book The Purpose Driven Life, and while that may have not felt to be sufficient material for a thoroughgoing critique, I’m glad Piper stuck with a first-hand source that all of us can evaluate on its own merits.


Tim Challies – The Next Story

February 22, 2011

Movie trailer for his new book. Hilarious and convicting. “Do you own technology, or does technology own you?”

Blue Collar Theology 30: The Need (Case Study 1)

May 28, 2008

I know it’s not Monday (when I usually post my BCT of the week), but things have been a little off as of late. Nevertheless, I wanted to post a couple of YouTube videos regarding the latest buzz among Christian literature to reveal how deeply we need a Blue Collar Theology today. The book, The Shack, currently ranks has an Amazon sales rank of #5 of all the books they sell (with over 500 book reviews). While it has only been on the shelves for a little over a year, it produced a massive amount of interest among Christians and non-Christians alike.

So I want you to consider the responses as I juxtapose them here for the purpose of showing how biblically illiterate and theologically incompetent we are today to address old heresies in contemporary garb.

FOR: 700 Club

“When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of ‘The Shack.’ This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ did for his. It’s that good!” –Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

“The Shack will leave you craving for the presence of God.” – Michael W. Smith

“Love it for lots of reasons. First of all, I love books that touch the emotions and inspire the imagination. This book does that. But it also has an amazing storyline that is really gripping.” – Mark Batterson, Pastor of National Community Church

“Alright, I have to admit- I am usually a major critic of Christian fiction books. They just usually don’t deliver on expectations. But I recently came across a gem- The Shack by William Paul Young. You have to check it out. It will change your perspective and stretch your spiritual paradigm, especially as it relates to the Trinity and God’s desire for relationship with us humans.” – Brad Lomenick, Director of Catalyst Conference

AGAINST: Mark Driscoll

“This book includes undiluted heresy.” – Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY

See also Tim Challies’ 17-page critique.

While the potpourri of heresies in recent years has generated considerable push back by the evangelical world (such as The Da Vinci Code and Gospel of Thomas), one has to wonder if the scent of this fictional book has enough attraction to delude many believers whose theology is no deeper than the front shelves of their local bookstore. Is this not a clear case of our need for a Blue Collar Theology today?!

I’ve Got a Confession to Make

January 4, 2008


Here goes.

I like Tim Challies.

And I endorse his book.

Even though he is a Canadian.

And no, he did not ask me to write this.

But seriously, all this jib-jab about Tim’s book release is immature and unwarranted. The fact that God has used Tim in such a way in the past five years through blogging, reading, and writing should be a cause for rejoicing, not credential-checking. I have had the privilege of getting to know Tim offline and in person since the first Band of Bloggers where I had him, JT, and Drs. Mohler and Moore on the panel. After the T4G conference, I spent the day riding around town, having lunch, and perusing bookstores with Tim and his pastor, Tall Paul (Martin). Since then, we have met on several occasions, including the 06 DGNC and 07 NA Conference as well as correspond via phone on a regular basis. I say all that to say Tim is a humble, genuine brother in Christ who is seeking to honor God and serve his fellow Christians with the gifts and talents God has given him.

The success of his book will not depend upon those who have endorsed it or the size of his blog; rather, it will be a reflection of what Tim has done day in and day out as a personal discipline and practice. Rather than engaging in knee-jerk reactions to fleeting controversies to build a readership, Tim has built, not only his blog, but also The Discerning Reader upon substantive reviews of books that Christians are currently reading. I have never seen Tim try to prostitute his blog for influence or promote himself for popularity. Rather, he has consistently sought to draw attention to other bloggers and use his influence to bring greater exposure to their lesser known blogs. No, he does not have the pomp of a Ph.D or the credentials of a megachurch pastor. To the contrary, I have found Tim to be a normal guy like you and me.

And that is why I find the criticisms so ironic. It is not from the elitists of academia challenging him, but his fellow bloggers and blog readers. If you ask me if I have read his book, I will tell you that I have not. But what I have read and watched is his life, and in my book, that’s credentials enough for me.