Just A Word - Christianity Today

Articles from the Non-Profit Communications Ministry

Christianity Today is considered a leading voice of the evangelical movement with its coverage of the global church. Every monthly print issue and daily website updates include interviews, feature articles, essays, and commentary from leading Christian thinkers, and theological analysis on current issues, trends, people and news events that impact people of faith. Christianity Today delivers commentary from a biblical perspective, covering the spectrum of choices and challenges facing Christians today.

Take time out to follow the thoughts of the authors of Christianity Today, be encouraged and provoked to engage in current affairs of the world from an essential Christian perspective. 

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Jan

Died: Haddon Robinson, Champion of Biblical Preaching

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The seminarian who taught and inspired decades of expositors ‘goes home to God.’

Haddon Robinson, the respected author and seminary president who set the standard for expositional preaching, died Saturday. He was 86.

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where Robinson served as an interim president and professor of preaching, broke the news of his passing and posted a tribute this weekend. Robinson also taught at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and was president of Denver Seminary.

In his books, classes, and radio instruction, Robinson taught that sermons should be guided by the biblical text and focus on one idea or theme.

Christianity Today featured Robinson—formerly the senior editor of a fellow CT site, PreachingToday.com—in a 2002 article on the neglected craft of expository preaching:

Robinson has been teaching students about expository preaching for decades. His classic (and recently updated) tome Biblical Preaching, which is used in more than 150 seminaries and Bible colleges, has become the go-to text for aspiring expositors.

“The number of preachers who really begin with the text and let it govern the sermon is relatively small,” laments Robinson. “Today, the danger is that some preachers will read the latest psychology book into the text. They're not driven by a great theology but, instead, by the social sciences.”

In addition to Biblical Preaching, Robinson wrote more than a dozen books on the topic and regularly taught through radio ministries Discover the Word and Our Daily Bread. He warned preachers about veering into heresy with biblical application; distracting the congregation with sermon illustrations; or ostracizing parts of the audience with tone.

Among many striking quotes about preaching, Robinson had said, “There are no great preachers, ...

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1

Jan

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition, Quantified

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Pew examines who loves God and guns.

One of past President Barack Obama’s most infamous quotes was his 2008 campaign trail comment on small-town citizens that “cling to guns or religion.” New research identifies how many Americans actually favor both.

Two out of five self-identified white evangelicals own a gun, higher than any other religious group, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center. Four out of five have fired one.

But only a quarter of white evangelical gun owners are members of the National Rifle Association (NRA), and more white evangelicals actually want US gun laws to be more strict than less strict. (A plurality are satisfied with the status quo.)

Pew gave CT an exclusive look at the religious breakdowns behind its recent comprehensive report on firearms (which excludes air guns such as paintball, BB, and pellet guns).

The 41 percent of white evangelicals that own a gun surpasses the 33 percent of white mainliners, the 32 percent of the religiously unaffiliated (or “nones”), the 29 percent of black Protestants (two-thirds of whom identify as evangelical, according to Pew), and the 24 percent of Catholics who own one also. (By comparison, 30 percent of all American adults report owning a gun.)

However, the most faithful aren’t packing the most heat.

Americans who attend religious services weekly were less likely to own a gun than those who attend less frequently (27% vs. 31%). And Americans with a high level of religious commitment were less likely to own a gun than those whose commitment is low (26% vs. 33%).

At the same time, highly religious gun owners are twice as likely to belong to the NRA as less religious gun owners (24% vs. 12%). Gun owners who worship weekly are also more likely to join the ...

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1

Jan

‘A Ghost Story’ Is a Haunting Ode to the Privilege of Witness

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David Lowery’s superb supernatural drama offers a God’s-eye perspective on the intimate and the infinite.

Surfaces turn, find their places. In time,
The rhythm could not be simpler.

—David Wright, "Altar Piece"

The desire to leave a record of ourselves is among the most reliable of human impulses. From cave paintings to monuments to grave markers, we want to make sure that people will remember us, that some part of ourselves will remain for future generations to observe. In the digital age, this impulse manifests itself in petabytes upon petabytes of internet text, photos, and videos, all secreted away within hard drives or invisibly navigating the Wi-Fi-saturated air. We document personal events for the benefit of presumed audiences—friends, descendants, even a future version of ourselves. Accumulate enough such recordings, and the shape of a life begins to reveal itself.

Of the many reasons to treasure David Lowery’s new film A Ghost Story, one of the biggest is the way it outlines the shape not just of one human life, but of human life in general. With its round-cornered, boxy aspect ratio—familiar to anyone who’s ever used a slide projector or watched a home video on Super 8 film—A Ghost Story offers us a cosmic home video of sorts. The lives of one married couple fold into the lives of the people who come after them, which then fold into the eternal, which in turn encompasses and contextualizes the lives of the husband and wife we started with.

This may sound like the concept for an abstruse philosophical epic, but the miracle of Lowery’s film lies in how it teases out these connections through the simple act of observation. Under the patient gaze of Lowery’s camera, the ordinary becomes extraordinary, and vice versa. The cosmic and the commonplace are woven into a ...

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