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First Century Celebrity Culture

Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars, written about 120 AD, provides interesting historical information.  His description of Nero resembles some of celebrity culture today- egotistical, pursuit of applause, self-centered, exaggerated sense of self-importance. “He [Nero] also chose a few young equites and more than 5,000 ordinary youths, whom he divided into claques to learn the various Alexandrian […]

PR Instead of Proclamation

In 1990 Saul Bellow, Pulitzer and Noble Prize winning author made this observation: “In today’s Chicago Tribune I learn that the American Catholic bishops have hired, at a fee of five million dollars, a public relations firm to direct their anti-abortion campaign… to ‘practice paid persuasion,’ says the writer of this Tribune article.  Evidently the […]

Schneider & Spirit-Empowered Boldness

Connecting my last two posts, Paul Schneider is an example of Spirit-empowered boldness.  As he shepherded his people he found himself compelled to call evil by name as he saw it in the Nazi party which was solidifying its power in Germany and in the cowardice of some church leaders. Notice the boldness and clarity […]

Paul Schneider: The Witness of Buchenwald

Until recently I had never heard the name Paul Schneider.  Then, I was introduced to his powerful story by a compelling lecture by John Dwyer.  Following that lecture I bought and read an English translation of Rudolf Wentorf’s book, Paul Schneider: The Witness Of Buchenwald. This edition is not the greatest.  The translation is odd […]

Spirit-Empowered Boldness

This past Sunday I completed our class on “True Spirituality,” with a lesson arguing that one key work of the Spirit is empowering believers to speak the gospel boldly (and often to suffer as a result).  This can be seen in 2 Timothy 1 and as a theme in Acts where, I argue, speaking the […]

Kierkegaard on a Church Visit

Brian Denker recently posted this quote from Kierkegaard and I thought it was a wonderful portrait of the church.  Here we have a pastor accomplishing his duties well, but even more a godly individual in the congregation making a powerful impact. “The church itself attracted me greatly, the clergyman who I heard every Sunday was […]

The Danger of Leadership

Last Sunday Lee Tankersley preached a searching sermon on 2 Kings 14-17, “A Sobering Call to Turn from Sin.”Â  Walking through the text, the refrain of the continuing impact on the Northern Kingdom of the deeds of Jeroboam is unmistakable.  The picture is clear- the first king of this group set an example and trajectory […]

Dobbins on Pastoral Care

Another Baptist voice from the past on the importance of oversight and pastoral care: “The leader of a church must love his people.  He must watch over them with the tender solicitude of a shepherd.  He must exercise wise oversight of their lives, thinking ahead and planning ahead for their welfare, keeping them busily and […]

Churchly Spirituality

I am finishing our class, “True Spirituality,” at church seeking to argue that biblical spirituality is earthy, everyday and communal, rooted in the gospel.  This quote from Donald Bloesch is very helpful: “A spirituality that can ignite the church will furthermore be churchly.  It will seek not the elevation of believers to a higher spiritual […]


Of Enoch: “Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” (Heb 11:5) This was also Paul’s ambition: “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” (2 Cor 5:9) A fitting goal for life. May it be said of us.