The World Wide (Religious) Web for Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This summer, the General Council of the Assemblies of God will vote on a proposal to consolidate the three nationally owned schools in Springfield, Missouri: AG Theological Seminary, Central Bible College, and Evangel University. Dr. George O. Wood, who serves as AG general superintendent (and is my dad) outlines the proposal in the video below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Consolidation Proposal for Springfield Resident…, posted with vodpod

More information on the proposed consolidation is available here.

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In “Anthony Weiner and the National Adultery Ritual,” Kay Hymowitz writes: “Far from a vestige of American prudery, then, the National Adultery Ritual is best understood as a modern protest in behalf of women against the persistence of male infidelity in an age of equality.” Read the whole thing.

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“Nigeria’s violence political, not religious, says Muslim leader.” If you’re on the wrong end of the stick, does it matter what the stick-wielder’s motivation is?

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Make sure to read Scott Yenor on “The Family’s End” and “The Family: What Is To Be Done?” in which he battles against the notion that marriage is merely a contract between two individuals.

Marriage has contractual moments, but it ultimately, as Hegel writes, supersedes the point of view of contract as the individuals lose their identity by becoming members of the family. A healthy culture recognizes this and laws create a fertile space for such mutual self-giving. It is difficult to see how a healthy marriage culture can exist until we recover the language of self-giving to reflect its continuing reality in our lives. The language of contract is not sufficient to that experience.

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“Demonize the opposition, chapter 666”: about how the media portrays opponents of same-sex marriage, of course.

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“Can Government Get Out of the Marriage Business?” Contra Ron Paul, evidently not.

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“I Am Second.” Inspiring videos from people who have decided to live for God and others rather than for themselves.

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“The Perennial Brain-Mind Gap.” In which Raymond Tallis argues that “neuroscience cannot–not just has not yet, but cannot–explain consciousness itself.”

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“Jesus for Jews”: on the resurgence of Jewish interest in Jesus.

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“Too Late for Apologies: Three Steps the U.S. Bishops Should Take to Prevent Another Sexual Abuse Scandal.” Good advice!

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Don Carson, Tim Keller, and John Piper on pastoral succession plans.

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“Practicing Affirmation” by Sam Crabtree


Sam Crabtree, Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011). $14.99, 176 pages.

As my wife and I raise our toddler son, we notice that he responds better to affirmation than to correction. If we affirm his behavior as good and praise him for it, he increasingly behaves in the desired way. However, if he hears “No” too often, he tunes us out.

According to Sam Crabtree, “Affirmation is the purpose of the universe—specifically, affirmation of God.” But, he argues, we also should affirm “those who are not God.” The Bible teaches that God affirms us, whether believer or unbeliever, if we act in ways that reflect his image. And it further teaches us to do the same to others. When we affirm people, we praise the God in whose image they are made.

Affirmation is the “key to refreshing relationships.” According to Crabtree, it should be “detached from correction,” “steady,” “honest,” and “God-centered.” More than a compliment, an affirmation pays attention to “patterns of character that emerge from the work of God going on inside a person.”

Affirmation does not negate the need for correction. My wife and I cannot affirm every temper tantrum our son throws, for example. But affirmation—especially when it predominates in a relationship—provides the emotional space in which correction can be given and received.

Crabtree serves as executive pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where John Piper is senior pastor. The way Crabtree frames some of his remarks reflects Piper’s distinctive Calvinist theology, but Arminians can learn from the book too. Crabtree offers sound biblical advice on affirmation, a topic that should not be theologically controversial, but a practice that is sorely needed in our homes, our churches, and our communities.

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P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.