The ScribblePreach Awards 10.01.16

Kindle Deal of the Week: Surprised By HopeN.T. Wright’s fantastic recovery of the idea of the resurrection from the impoverished ideas we have of heaven. A must read, for $1.99.

Apologetics: For the Bible Tells Me So – A critique of Andy Stanley’s recent claim that Christians shouldn’t believe the gospel because “the bible tells me so.” Here is an important rejoinder. I think what all of the responses have been missing is the fact that Andy, here, is simply conceding the enlightenment idea that our own intellects are the best source of knowledge about the universe. That’s incredibly naive and egotistical, and I don’t think it will ultimately lead many people to Christianity (as per the last few hundred years, for example).

Preaching: Marks of Gospel Preaching – Dave Harvey suggests some ways to measure the fruitfulness of preaching without metrics.

Theology: The Three Persons of the Trinity in Tradition – Kevin DeYoung wisely weighs in on this hot topic.

Spiritual Life: The Singing Man – What an incredibly touching video, and story to boot.

Fun: Artificial Intelligence Tries to Write a Beatle’s Song: I love the Beatles, and I love the science of art, so naturally this is the most entertained I’ve been all week.

A Glimpse of Truth: Infinite Jest: On the hypocrisy of addicts: “They’ll p*** and moan your ear off if somebody else f*** with the rules, but they don’t deep down see themselves subject to them, the same rules. And they’re constitutionally unable to learn from anybody else’s experience: if some jaywalking B.U. student does get splattered on Comm. or some House resident does get his car towed at 0005, your other student’s or addict’s response to this will be to ponder just what imponderable difference makes it possible for that other guy to get splattered or towed and not him, the ponderer. They never doubt the difference— they just ponder it. It’s like a kind of idolatry of uniqueness. It’s unvarying and kind of spirit-killing for a Staffer to watch, that the only way your addict ever learns anything is the hard way. It has to happen to them to like upset the idolatry.” – David Foster Wallace

Writing: How to Be a Writer – 10 beautiful and penetrating points.

Books and Lit: Who Gets to Write What? Kaitlynn Greenidge has a powerful NY Times piece against the pc claim that people can’t write about cultures other than their own.

Christians and Culture: Life in a Secular Age – The Art of Manliness podcast features James K.A. Smith this week, and it covers everything from the haunting of secularism to the X-files. 

Leadership and Productivity: How to Send E-mails – Some good and courteous advice.

New! Mercy and Justice: From My Journal: I’ve been thinking about the mercy of evangelism lately. I think it’s conspicuous that the only people told to evangelize in the New Testament are pastors. In my opinion, that’s likely not a mistake. Evangelism goes hand in hand with the gift of teaching. That’s not to say lay-people shouldn’t evangelize, but only that it seems the locus of attention for most people will be about pre-evangelism: asking good questions, sharing their personal testimony, inviting friends to church events, having non-Christian neighbors over to dinner, giving away good books, etc. I wonder if more people would engage in the mission if pastors encouraged pre-evangelism, rather than burdening people to have gifts they simply don’t possess (or by over-simplifying the gospel into an easy-to-present-format that, though doable for everyone, actually waters the thing down).

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Nicholas McDonald is a blogger, pastor, and author of the book "Faker: How to Be Real When You're Tempted to Fake it." He studied creative writing and communication at Oxford University and Olivet Nazerene University, and received his M.Div from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He currently resides in Lexington, NC, with his wife and two boys, Caleb and Owen.


  1. As always, lots of good stuff. On the Andy Stanley, I am confused in your remarks whether you are saying he was being naive? I have listened to this whole series, and that particular sermon twice, and just have a couple of things to say.
    First, his critics really do need to listen to the whole thing. He was targeting a particular group of people, those who have walked away from the church and the different reasons they did, the ones we lately call “nones.”
    Secondly, he was simply engaging in the apologetics that we actually depend on a great deal. He just did it in a way that said there are better answers to doubters than “because the Bible says so.” His point is that when someone who doubts, doubts because the facts seem confusing, giving them an answer like this is completely unhelpful for answering their questions. I struggled personally for years with doubts because not only did no one give me good answers for my questions, they made it seem that even asking questions was evidence of unbelief.
    Andy is provocative and not always careful with his words, to be sure. But the vicious attacks that people launch against him are at best out of proportion and at worst attacking the work that God is doing through him and his ministry.
    Thanks again for your ministry. You always make me think.

    • Hey Jennifer – thanks for your reply. I do think Andy Stanley’s getting unfair flack, which is why I posted Andrew Wilson’s important rejoinder alongside Al Mohler’s article.

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