ScribblePreach Awards 03.11.17

From the Pub: Where Reason Directs Us Elsewhere

“The Christian statement that only He who does the will of the Father will ever know the true doctrine is philosophically accurate. Imagination may help a little; but in the moral life, and (still more) in the devotional life we touch something concrete which will at once begin to correct the growing emptiness of our idea of God. One moment even of feeble contrition or blurred thankfulness will, at least in some degree, head us off from the abyss of abstraction. It is Reason herself which teaches us not to rely on Reason only in this matter. For Reason knows that she cannot work without materials. When it becomes clear that you cannot find out by reasoning whether the cat is in the linen-cupboard, it is Reason herself who whispers, “Go and look. This is not my job: it is a matter for the senses.’ So here. The materials for correcting our abstract conception of God cannot be supplied by Reason: she will be the first to tell you to go and try experience – ‘Oh, taste and see!'” – CS LEWIS, MIRACLES

Kindle Deal of the Week: The Whole Christ

I wrote a glowing review of this book a few weeks ago. It’s on sale now for $3.99. Go. Do it.

Preaching: Nathan Preaches a 3-Point Sermon to David. 

Here’s my essay for the week, and I think it’s a darned good one.

Apologetics: Evolution’s Irony: The Kingdom of Speech

Tom Wolfe, a secularist himself, recently wrote a book-length treatment against the ridiculousness of evolution as a “theory of everything.” Great stuff here.

Theology: Hierarchy and Subordination vs. Headship and Household Mission

I think Aimee Byrd’s take on the issue of headship and submission needs to be read by all sides. She’s not a complementarian nor an egalitarian, but sees headship as fundamentally a “role” one plays. Especially important, I think, is the bit in the article she links to which distinguishes between “role” and “function” – submission as function argues God didn’t simply choose women to “play” the role of the church, but he wired women to be a submissive being and men to be a ruling being, which is a gross perversion of the situation. This was difficult for me to read in multiple ways, and I didn’t always agree. But I think the article and its links are a very important contribution to what I hope becomes a larger and more helpful conversation.

A Glimpse of Truth: In ‘Logan’, Wolverine Confronts the Wages of Sin

I’m probably too squeamish to watch a movie like this, but I’m very interested by the rawness of the thematic elements.

Books and Lit: An Interview with Professor Trevor Hart

Dr. Trevor Hart directs the ever fascinating Center for Theology and Imagination at arguably the best theological school out there today, St. Andrews. This interview, especially the bit about imagination’s sanctifying power, is captivating for anyone wired exactly like me, and no one else.

Writing: Imagine Your Reader Over Your Shoulder

“We suggest that whenever anyone sits down to write he should imagine a crowd of his prospective readers (rather than a grammarian in cap and gown) looking over his shoulder. They will be asking such questions as: “What does this sentence mean?” “Why do you trouble to tell me that again?” “Why have you chosen such a ridiculous metaphor?” “Must I really read this long, limping sentence?” “Haven’t you got your ideas muddled here?” By anticipating and listing as many of these questions as possible, the writer will discover certain tests of intelligibility to which he may regularly submit his work before he sends it off to the printer.” – ROBERT GRAVES and ALAN HODGE

Christians and Culture: D.A. Carson on the Benedict Option

Well I’m not sure Carson hits on the actual nuances of the Benedict Option here, but he does have some good things to say about Christians influencing culture, particularly in his perspective on the way conversion relates to all that.

Micro Book Review: The Pastor Theologian. 

This book was magnificent for me, but I’m not sure if others will relish it in the way I have. It’s one of those rare pieces that made me feel as though the Lord were grabbing me by the shoulders and saying: “See? THIS is what you’re supposed to be doing!” In fact the authors don’t stop short of imploring pastors, in the name of Christ, to be theologians in the very particular way they commend.

Now I realize the title at first blush is not very interesting. It’s one of those I felt I’d read already when I saw: “Pastor theologian”. Okay, pastors be theologically astute. Got it. Heard it. In the bag.

But it’s actually imploring pastors to do much more than that, namely, it’s recalling an ancient vision of the pastor as the primary source of ecclesial theology, unlike the situation today where the academy houses all the goods and we dish them out. It gives nuanced but radical challenges for exploring this vision in your own life (don’t skip to the suggestions until you’ve braced yourself with the vision they’ve laid out, it’ll scare you off). Elders could also specially benefit from this work as they encourage their pastor toward this vision.

They convinced me. They’re right. We need to get on board.

Magnificent, easy reading, life-changing.

5 out of 5 stars.

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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.