Yeah, I'm still alive. Just insanely busy over the last couple of weeks, although this week has calmed down again. To get the blog going again, here's a few random thoughts.
I've started reading Herman Ridderbos' The Coming of the Kingdom, and am freshly convinced that Brian McLaren's attempts to get at the "secret" message of Jesus and the kingdom is not much more than a warmed over social gospel that focuses on the ethical demands of Jesus to the neglect of the real contours of his essential teaching about the kingdom of God.
I'm also dipping into Piper's What Jesus Demands from the World, which attempts to "hold together the meaning and motivation of Jesus' commands, the greatness of his work, and the glory of his person" (p. 23), grounding the teaching of Jesus in who he is and what he has accomplished. Good stuff.
Check out Ben Witherington's incisive critique of George Barna and Frank Viola's Pagan Christianity. Witherington is a top shelf NT scholar whose blog and books are worth exploring. He points out some of the historical blunders behind Barna and Viola's anti-institutionalism. If you are an iconoclast who doesn't like church buildings, ordained leadership, and formal liturgy in worship, and think these derive from pagan roots rather than early Christian practice, scan a couple of Witherington's posts.
My friend Ben over at Unbreakable Joy is giving away a great book by Tozer. Sign up for your chance to win.
Steve McCoy is doing a great series of posts collecting people's "Big 5" book recommendations in various categories. These include books on marriage, parenting, prayer, preaching, writing, evangelism, leadership, systematic theology, etc. It's a good way to discover good books you haven't read yet, so check it out.