For those who don’t know of it, you may be interested to hear that Todd Pruitt and Carl “I’m not a celebrity, I’m just high-profile” Trueman are building their empire with a podcast entitled The Mortification of Spin. According to the spin, er … blurb, MoS is

a bi-weekly casual conversation about things that count. Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt serve up a humorous, informal podcast with bite. Join this engaging and thought-provoking conversation on the challenges the Church faces and what counts in the Christian life. Served up with a healthy dose of germane cultural references. Hear for yourself if British accents carry more weight …

The first two episodes are on rockstar pastors in Las Vegas (including notes on the imitation of the world and sanctification) and the king’s court jester (discussing such matters as suffering and the nature of evil).

I cannot promise moody monochrome videos, and I am not sure who is providing the soundtrack, but if those are not going to be a problem for you, doubtless there may be a few who wish to tune in.

from Reformation21 Blog

Baby Mama or Bride?

Our friend, Matt Marino (of “Cool Church” fame), has written another great post on the church: The Church is Christ’s Bride, Not His Baby Mama. Here’s a preview:

In case you are not up to speed on the last decade’s slang, a baby mama is someone with whom you made a baby, but have no commitment to and little contact with.  In other words, someone objectified, used, abandoned, and now mocked for being dumb enough to think the guy would actually be faithful to her.

If you are a Christian does that remind you of anything?

I hear similar attitudes towards the church expressed in Starbucks every week. People waxing eloquent about how into ‘Jesus’ and ‘spirituality’ they are, but not so much ‘religion’ or the ‘Church.’ It is why 24 million people watched Jefferson Bethke’s spoken word video “Why I hate religion but love Jesus” last year.

I am most amazed when I see Christian leaders encouraging people to use the church as their ‘baby mama’ –  for their own desires and preferences, and when she no longer ‘does it for me’ to ditch her for a younger, sexier model. What I am whining about exactly? Here are a few examples:

  • Checking to see if the “good preacher” is on before going.
  • Having one church for worship, one for small groups, and one for preaching.
  • Changing churches because you just aren’t “feeling it” anymore.
  • Driving so far across town for a church you like that your unchurched friends would never think of coming with you.
  • Picking your church, not on beliefs, but simply because your friends all go there.
  • Criticizing the church you didn’t go to from Starbucks on Sunday morning.

I especially felt the sting of, “Driving so far across town for a church you like that your unchurched friends would never think of coming with you.” You will find the rest of Matt’s post equally discomforting, but necessary even for Reformation Christians who can be guilty of the same consumerist mindset that plagues our evangelical friends.

Read the rest of Matt’s post here.

from White Horse Inn Blog

Common phrases in evangelicalism today include “I felt led to…”, “God told me to….”, and “The Lord laid it on my heart to….” I cringe every time someone uses these phrases because I’ve heard so many unbiblical endings to them. In fact, I’ve seen people’s lives take a million tough twists and turns because they were “following the promptings of God.” For one example, I hesitate to think that God would “prompt” somebody to avoid the ER when their daughter gets a deep cut that probably needs stitches.

For evangelicals, it means thinking more seriously about ecclesiology and what it will take to sustain Christianity across generations. Promise Keepers, Campus Crusade for Christ, and other parachurch groups have been important to evangelicalism. But “parachurch” makes sense over the long term in the context of a church. The danger for evangelicalism is becoming too parachurch without enough church. Some megachurches seem to function like parachurches rather than churches, as though everything else that’s going on is more important than the central life of the community of worship. It might be important for evangelicals to think of themselves as Presbyterians, Baptists, and so on, and recover the virtues of confessionalism, because it’s confessions, not just superstar pastors, that sustain Christianity over the long haul.
Ross Douthat On Rooting Out Bad Religion


Are Metro-Evangelicals Right?

Article summary:

Andy Crouch (or his headline writer) coined the catchy term ‘metro-evangelicals’ to describe the growing urban resurgence within American evangelicalism. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Crouch explains that pastors like Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll see cities as the beachhead of a new evangelization.


"You have heard that it was said have daily devotions to be close to God but I say to you learn to enjoy God’s words so much that missing a day is empty and lonely."

"You have heard that it was said attend church weekly or be a heathen, but I say to you do not attempt to make it through this Christian life solo but rather be under wise leaders and shepherds who teach the word and do it with fellow travelers."

"You have heard that it was said be holy or go to hell, but I say to you be holy for God is Holy."

post here from Barnabas Piper

An evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for Halloween.

A conservative evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for the church’s “Fall Festival.”

A confessional evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as Zwingli and Bucer for “Reformation Day.”

A revivalist evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as demons and angels for the church’s Judgment House community evangelism outreach.

An Emerging Church evangelical is a fundamentalist who has no kids, but who dresses up for Halloween anyway.

A fundamentalist is a fundamentalist whose kids hand out gospel tracts to all those mentioned above.

Halloween and Evangelical Identity

The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind

4.6 Stars (9 Customer Reviews)

By: Carl Trueman


What is an evangelical … and has he lost his mind? Carl Trueman wrestles with those two provocative questions and concludes that modern evangelicals emphasize experience and activism at the expense of theology. Their minds go fuzzy as they downplay doctrine. The result is “a world in which everyone from Joel Osteen to Brian McLaren to John MacArthur may be called an evangelical.”

Fifteen years ago in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, historian Mark Noll warned that evangelical Christians had abandoned the intellectual aspects of their faith. Christians were neither prepared nor inclined to enter the intellectual debate, and had become marginalized. Today Trueman argues, “Religious beliefs are more scandalous than they have been for many years”-but for different reasons than Noll foresaw. In fact, the real problem now is exactly the opposite of what Noll diagnosed―evangelicals don’t lack a mind, but rather an agreed upon evangel. Although known as gospel people, evangelicals no longer share any consensus on the gospel’s meaning. 

Provocative and persuasive, Trueman’s indictment of evangelicalism also suggests a better way forward for those theologically conservative Protestants once and formerly known as evangelicals.

DG Hart On Venerating Celebrity Pastors


…Protestants are not supposed to venerate saints or stars. Built-in to the Reformed faith is a spiritual egalitarianism that says all are equal as sinners. Consequently, boasting, if it happens, should be in Christ. Some converts to Rome see evangelical veneration of saints and think it’s a small step to Rome’s regard for Mary and others. Rome’s veneration surely has more dignity than Protestantism’s crass commercialism (though both cultivate the same problem of reducing Jesus’ genuine notoriety). But the solution is not to dress up sentimental attachments to mere human beings with ritual and pomp. It is to gather each Sunday with the saints and worship God’s only begotten son who offered the only sacrifice for the sins of celebrities and fans.

Article summary:

While I was reading a story about Mark Driscoll’s congregation moving into a downtown-Seattle church, a former United Methodist property, I remembered an poignant segment from one of Terry Gross’ interviews with David Rakoff. For one period in his life, Rakoff was a small-time actor and he told Gross about an essay where he described his playing a small part on one of the soap operas produced in New York City.

Read article


Should Baptism Be Spontaneous?

You see the precedent in Scripture: when the Ethiopian eunuch responds enthusiastically to teaching from Scripture about the good news of Jesus, Philip baptizes him on the spot (Acts 8:36-38). And in Acts 16:32, after the Philippian jailer believes in Jesus in response to Paul and Silas, that same hour they baptize him and his whole household. So there appears to be biblical precedent if not warrant for spontaneous baptisms when someone first professes faith.

Yet complications quickly become apparent in practice. In this video, pastors Darrin Patrick, Mark Dever, and Matt Chandler discuss some of those complications faced by church leaders in obeying the Great Commission. Church context is key, Patrick observes. In an area like St. Louis with heavy Roman Catholic influence, believer’s baptism by immersion is a bold public step of faith. But in much of Dallas, where Chandler pastors, baptism testifies to a history with the church but not necessarily genuine, saving faith. In such areas, Dever warns, we must beware giving false assurance and generating false testimonies to a watching public.

When you’ve watched the video, join the discussion about how church leaders can be mindful of the problems while “aggressively obedient” to Scripture, to borrow Chandler’s phrase. How would you respond to the argument that we’ll see false converts no matter what, so why withhold baptism from someone who’s willing?

I’ve discussed this, online, with some other brothers of mine here.

My question, having met a few church planters in the last few weeks, is, when somebody says they are looking to gather a core, is that code language for we’re looking to take people from another church and put them into our church plant? That isn’t a criticism but I think we need to call a spade a spade. Of course those of us in established churches need to be gospel hearted and generous but I think we also need to give the church planting movement a bit of a slap. To grow churches in this country is hard, hard work and to turn churches round is tough and so somebody turning up and trying to take the people you’ve cared for can be somewhat trying. I’d love it if I met with a church planter and, when I asked him what stage are you at, he replied ‘I’m trying to steal Christians from other churches.’ I’d at least give him points for honesty.
PAUL LEVY from gathering a core or stealing the sheep? - Reformation21 Blog
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