Saturday, December 31, 2011

Merold Westphal Lectures for free download

This appears to be a class on Philosophical Hermeneutics (PH517) at Fuller Seminary taught by none-other than Dr. Merold Westphal. Dr. Westphal is not someone with whom I agree, but he is someone I am lucky to get a chance to listen to and learn from. I would encourage you all to download these lectures, because I have no idea how long they'll be up. It appears a student recorded the lectures with his personal recorder and then put the syllabus and lectures up on his blog.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just found this over at the AOmin blog. This is a paper presented to Presbyterian students over at Westminster Seminary on how reformed baptists can still hold covenant theology.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

TREN Database is the Theological Research Exchange Network, which, in practical terms, means it's a place for you to get (theological...duh) master's theses and doctoral dissertations. After you sign up, you'll even find some free resources. The interface is a bit clunky, but it works.

There are a couple of benefits of going to a place like TREN when you need to read that unpublished paper. 1) It's easier to deal with a website than it is to deal with the individual university library, 2) you might get lucky and find they have already scanned it, which means you can start reading it right away.

They are a bit more expensive than I would like, but hey, I'm not aware of any other options. To get a paper copy it's $0.15 per page, microfiche $3-5 per document, and pdf costs vary.

I'm not entirely sure what I would do with microfiche anymore...

Monday, October 31, 2011

For the City: Book Review

I am not a church planter. I am not an elder of a church. I believe this should be said at the outset, lest anyone give my opinion more credit than it deserves. However, I do have a teaching ministry at my church, and the joy and heartache of shepherding a small group of people. All of that to say: I was really excited to read this book and see how I could grow or change to further impact the people I am currently leading.

Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter wrote For the City which reads like an introduction to missional ecclesiology. They drive the point home over and over that they are calling for pastors and church planters to be a church that is for their city. They define this as being a church that

speaks the truth of the gospel and is not afraid to uphold a biblical worldview and moral standard. Such a church proclaims the truths of Scripture with passion, clarity, and boldness. At the same time, though, this is a church that commits itself to seeking the shalom, the flourishing of the city. This means seeking the shalom of the people they live in community with, living sacrificially and using their gifts, time, and money to seek the peace and prosperity of their neighbors. (26)

Their passion for the masses found in cities is understandable, laudable, and frankly should be on our hearts more and more, but to actually be in a city is not necessary to appropriate and grow from what they have written in this book (as they acknowledge, cf., 26). Anyone, in any church context can be challenged by what this.

These pastors are pleading for Christians to stop seeing their church as a “holy huddle” and instead to be entranced with the God-given mission of reaching the lost and seeing God's peace and grace overflow to those around them. We are called to do the same job that the prophets and the apostles did, call people to repent and live their lives under the rule of their king. If you are swept away by this vision, this will not be the only book you read. It was not meant to be. But if you believe there must be something more than a stale, inward focus for your church, then I think there are few places that would be as good as a place to start.

The chapter I appreciated most was written by Darrin Patrick on communities. As a small group leader, I know how easy it is to make the bible study the end-all and be-all of your small group event. But most leaders who develop small groups would say there is more to it than that. We all know that a small group is made to be an opportunity for people to practice the “one anothers” actually with one another. Patrick challenges us to see these groups as possible church plants that are radically oriented towards the radical proclamation of the gospel to a lost world. He argues that it is precisely when we stop focusing on ourselves and begin to focus on helping a lost and hurting world that we will actually begin to do the one anothers that we've been trying to do. It is only when we as Christians are brought to the “end” of ourselves that we begin relying on God and he most powerfully works through us.

The one thing I wish they would have spent more time on is how they see the role of partnerships with groups that do not believe the gospel. I'm not against that completely, but to see how the gospel is the one unifying factor in this whole book (as it should be) and to understand what it means to go from dead to alive in Christ, to know that everything else pales by comparison, how are we to understand partnering with groups that do not hold the gospel? The chapter on Equipping touches on this and other “sticky” spots as they seek the well-being of their cities. What is clear is that those partnerships were not taken lightly and without much thought, but I was still left unsure how I would make those same decisions.

This book will challenge you to question your interaction with your city and how you view the role of your church. You might not be left without questions, but you will certainly be blessed by how God has revealed his heart to bring people to himself as seen in these two churches. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Reformation Day Media

This is a little inane, but why not?

You can enjoy the movie Luther this reformation with your friends. Just don't forget the Diet of Worms chip dip!

Friday, October 28, 2011 and Free eBooks

There are quite a few places I troll to find free (and good) resources. One of them is, a great reformed site (and don't forget the bookstore). They have a bunch of amazing theology resources, including an extensive mp3 archive full of some incredible teaching. If you are going on a long car ride, I heartily suggest downloading a longer-than-necessary playlist and let the miles just fly by.

They also have a bunch of free ebooks in both .mobi and .epub formats. Authors range from Augustine to Van Til. Their bookstore has more ebooks, the most beneficial of which are the massive omnibus editions that compile everything you ought to know about ________. These can range from heady topics like Justification to more general things like Calvinism. Because there are typically about 8-12 full length books in each omnibus, they do charge a bit for them, but to have all of those resources together is worth a few bucks.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Keller on Preaching

Here are the various distillations of Tim Keller's series on preaching called Preaching to the Heart.

Most familiar with Keller on this topic will think of the 6 part series he gave at Gordon-Conwell. GC only sells CD's, so if you are interested in listening to them, you'll have to wait for them to ship it (not to mention having to pay for it *gasp*). Luke Simmons, a church planter in the Phoenix area says they are so good they would be worth 10x the cost (currently $25). Another church planter, Pete Williamson, agrees that paying for them in a world of free messages is still worth it.

For those not willing to spend money, there is a shorter, two-message version available for free. If that littler series whets your appetite, then I've been told that all of these messages are based on the D.Min class, Preaching Christ in a Post-Modern World, that Keller taught with Edmund Clowney, over at Covenant. Here is the 189pg syllabus for the class

It appears the syllabus is actually for a class Keller taught at RTS and not at Covenant. While I'm sure there will be much in over-lapping content, the syllabus may not match up with the lectures exactly..

***Update 2***
I found a source required by Keller on page 12 of the syllabus: Keller, Tim; "Preaching to the Secular Mind" The Journal of Biblical Counseling 14:1 (Fall 1995), 54-62.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Loeb Collection Online

This isn't really breaking news, but then, I never said that was the purpose of this website.

The Loeb collection, being out of copyright, is now freely available for peering eyes to see. For those poor souls unfamiliar with Loeb, allow a short introduction: Any college worth it's salt will have the Loeb Classics Library. They are easily recognizable by their stoutness (half the length of a normal book) and their color—the color of the cover gives away the language inside. They are great for the student because they have the original language on the right page and the English translation on the left.While not especially helpful for word studies (for that, see Perseus, or Perseus for Logos), they are great for immersing yourself in the literature that was readily known in bible times. Check out this great, free resource.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Now Online

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Museum for making these important resources freely available. Also, my hat tip to Biblical Studies and Technological Tools for making me aware of it. The Great Isaiah Scroll, the War Scroll, the Temple Scroll, the Community Rule Scroll, and the Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll are currently available with more to come. Google has done some incredible coding to highlight versification when you are reviewing the scroll at its most 'zoomed-out-ness,' as well as an English translation of the MT to give you the gist of what is being said.

See the Scrolls!.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Octavius Winslow - A whole Library!

The complete works of the post-puritan Calvinistic Baptist Octavius Winslow are now available online and in epub and mobi format here. To learn a little bit more about Mr. Winslow read this. I give my thanks out to the former website for all the work they did to make these resources available.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Preaching Christ from the OT with D. Murray

Just found this resource -- Preaching Christ from the OT -- the first 6 lectures from David Murray's class on the same. He is a professor at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. Here is a direct link to the audio in case the blog links go dead. His blog has lecture notes which seem to be rather useful.

Which books/lectures have you found useful in learning how to preach Christ from the OT?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Free(!) Certificate through Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

My darling wife connected with an old friend over the weekend and she found out that her husband is currently working on his PhD in homiletics with Haddon Robinson as his supervisor. I know. We all have our crosses to bear.

After the greenish tint left my skin she told us that GCTS has an online certificate program, and you can access the classes and get the cert. for free. Of all the certificate programs I've seen - other than SBTS's programs - this is the most extensive. There are ten different classes with study guides and exams that should offer the student a good foundation for further study. It is a shame that they only offer the classes through streaming real audio, unless you want to purchase the mp3 CD through the school bookstore. Some of us with our little mp3 players like to take classes on the go.

While I'm on this topic, I'd like to talk for a minute about why it is important for the teacher - lay or not - to continue to learn and study God's word.

First, it should continue to breed humility in the teacher. Some may think it produces the opposite, but I have found that I am far more dogmatic and arrogant the less I know about something, and the more I learn, the more I realize my knowledge on it is very limited in deed. Of course there will always be the exception, prideful people struggle with pride, but teachers who also have a teachable heart should be continually confronted with the limit of their knowledge.

Second, Bryan Chapell's lectures on preaching have taught me that when we teach the word of God, we are saying God's words after him, through our own personality. This means, that everything that we are, what we've done, seen, experienced, is the wrapper or packaging for re-spoken words of God. The vilest man on earth may give an exegetically sound exposition of scripture, but none of us are going to pay him any heed because his life is in incongruence with his message. But I would argue this "wrapper" goes beyond just character. If you, as a teacher, model a humble, teachable spirit that is always trying to grow, do you think your people will see that? Do you think that will come through in how and what you teach? As you continue to dig deep and learn more and more about the word of God, do you think that will add a vibrance to your teaching?

Now, I don't think we all need to study ourselves into a PhD. God has called some men to be Sunday School Teachers and no more. And they should be honored to have the opportunity to study and teach the word of God, Sunday after Sunday, week after week. But, aside from their job, their wives, their kids, and their preperation, they should consider scratching aside a little bit of time, even an hour a week, to push themselves just a little further. At an hour a week it would take a man a little less than two years to earn the certificate through GCTS. I think it's worth it. I think their church is worth it. I think the men and women in their classes are worth it. Do you?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Most Awesome Digital Library....Ever

Puritan Library has the complete works of around 45 of your favorite puritans, all online, most in multiple formats (pdf, epub, mobi) all for free. They even have some of the more obscure works that are harder to find, like John Owen's commentary on the book of Hebrews (4 vols!!).

The Puritans have so much to offer us in their piety, theological acumen, and pastoral examples. These books, if read, will most definitely help you along your journey.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Charles Hodge and his Sytematic Theology

Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology is available through as searchable pdfs. These scans are of a very high quality, it is the next thing to holding the original copy. (Remember, if you are using Zotero, you can link them to their bibliographic listing and then they will also be searched when you are looking for a resource.) He wrote his three-volume systematic theology in the 1870s and it is a supreme example of reformed theology.

Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3

Or, if you prefer to actually hold a book, check out CBD where you can get all three volumes in hardcover for a measly $24.99.

Friday, January 21, 2011


No, I'm not going to delve into the theological underpinings of a Frank Peretti novel, I'm talking about the Doctor of Ministry degree.

The D.Min is a "professional" degree (over and against an "Academic" degree) where a student takes approximately 30hrs worth of advanced classes and then write a 100-200 page project paper. This degree allows for specialization in areas such as management and goal setting, preaching, church planting, or missiology.

David Wells sees this type of a degree as troubling, because it reveals, he argues, a desire to be seen as a "professional" amidst other (secular) professionals. One of the many sources Dr. Wells uses is the Hartford Study that seems to have looked at why a student desired to get the degree (n.b.: I didn't read the study, I read the synopsis by one of the authors). In that synopsis, Dr. Carroll explains some of the reasons the degree was so popular:

Certainly the initial success of the degree was partly due to the broader continuing-education movement that gained momentum in the early 1970s among the professions in general. Without doubt the success of the D.Min. also reflects the importance Americans attach to credentials. Some cynics believe, too, that the D.Min. has provided one way in which clergy can try to bolster their status and enhance their careers.

 Other reasons cited later were increased pay and better self-esteem.

All that to say, I am certainly not disparaging the D.Min degree, in fact, I would probably complete such a program if given the chance. I love the chance to have outside assessment, and I think the D.Min allows pastors to continue to develop their mental acuity and be a continued blessing to their ministry. Of course, it could be taken for foolish or selfish reasons, but so could an associates degree.

If you'd like to continue to read more about this, see the Journal of Christian Ministry, which is online for free.

What do you think of the D.Min degree? Do you have one? Was it helpful? Would you consider getting one? 

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Note from a Great SBC Pastor

From: A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons by John A. Broadus. p.18

...But printing can never take the place of the living word. When a man who is apt in teaching, whose soul is on fire with the truth which he trusts has saved him an hopes will save others, speaks to his fellow-men, face to face, eye to eye, and electric sympathies flash to and fro between him and his hearers, till they lift each other up, higher and higher, into the intensest thought, and the most impassioned emotion -- higher and yet higher, till they are borne as on chariots of fire above the world, -- there is a power to move men, to influence character, life, destiny, such as no printed page can ever possess.

No, but he proves it sure can get close.

Speaking of the Founders Ministry

I recently mentioned the Founders Ministry, and I should have linked to a few more resources that could be useful.

The Founders publish their Journal quarterly-ish. It is focused on being useful for Reformed Baptist pastors and those interested in such things. Each issue has a theme and they range from Preaching, to the history of the Baptist Convention.

All in all, a good resource to be aware of. These guys are pastors in the trenches writing to the same. Here's their blog (I like the look of it).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ligonier Academy

The Ligonier Academy seems to be a great resource for pastors or laymen who would like to further their theological and biblical education but don't have the time or money to do so at a traditional institution (and who wants to be traditional, anyway?).

They offer three different levels of certificates, each one expanding on the last. The programs seem to be built around the "great books" paradigm where a student will read a book and then write a 500 word assessment afterward which will be graded by the Ligonier staff.

The intro Certificate assumes no former bible training and takes only 9-12 weeks to complete. Tuition is a paltry $99. The Adavanced Certificate looks to be similar to "M.div Lite." This program will run you $500 in tuition but that is for a directed study that lasts 2-3 years and encompasses 90 books and a research paper. This is pretty awesome.

Ligoniers is a credible ministry (started by R.C. Sproul) that gets the Gospel right. This looks like it would be a solid investment for your spiritual growth.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Audit a Class with Dr. Roger Nicole for Free

The Founders Study Center (a reformed SBC group) allows students to register for a free class each semester. This semester is Systematic Theology I. The suggested readings are Robert Reymond's Systematic Theology and J. P. Boyce's Abstracts of Systematic Theology (Grudem also suggested). This looks like a great opportunity to get some free lectures from a very serious scholar. Don't miss out. Registration ends soon. Register now.