Nathan A. Finn

Historian, Theologian, Teacher, Preacher

Monthly Archive: April 2013

Monday

29

April 2013

2

COMMENTS

Introducing Andrew Fuller Finn

Written by , Posted in Family

Eleanor & FullerAndrew Fuller Finn was born on April 25. We are calling him Fuller. You can read why we gave him this name in this earlier blog post. Fuller weighed 7 lbs, 11 oz. We thank God that he is very healthy and seems to be very good-natured.

The other Finnlings love Baby Fuller, especially Eleanor, our 27-month old. Eleanor has always delighted in being the youngest (and silliest) Finnling, so we were afraid she would be jealous of Fuller. Far from it. Eleanor constantly wants to hold him and kiss him. She tells all of us that Fuller is “her” baby and gets grumpy when anyone else wants to hold him. It’s pretty cute stuff, as you can see in the picture. Georgia (age six) is very helpful. She really wants to be a help to Mommy. Baxter (age four) is fairly ambivalent about Fuller, though Baxter has tried to show him some of his Legos. That has to count for something.

Because of Fuller’s arrival, I will probably take a brief blogging hiatus this week. I hope to return to it next week. Thanks to everyone who takes time to read this blog.

Wednesday

24

April 2013

1

COMMENTS

Book Recommendation: The Young Shepherd

Written by , Posted in Books, Ministry

Wayne McDill: Preaching Guru

My friend Wayne McDill has co-authored a new book for (primarily) younger pastors titled The Young Shepherd: Nathan Murray’s First Year as Pastor (CreateSpace, 2013). Wayne is a seasoned pastor, church planter, state convention evangelism consultant, and preaching professor. He was an influential and respected professor of preaching at Southeastern Seminary for 21 years; he continues to teach for us part-time in retirement. Wayne has written many books on such topics as preaching, pastoral ministry, and personal evangelism. His preaching books in particular have been widely adopted in seminary courses on homiletics. While a professor, he also served numerous congregations as interim pastor, including my own church, First Baptist Church of Durham. Our folks still love Wayne, who is virtually considered a former pastor (he served the church for nearly two years before our current senior pastor was called in 1998).

Over at Between the Times, I offer a short summary and recommendation of The Young Shepherd. I hope you’ll read the blog post and buy the book, especially if you are a less-seasoned pastor serving in an established congregation. Be sure to also check out his other books. I have been particularly blessed by his books Twelve Essential Skills for Great Preaching and Making Friends for Christ: A Practical Approach to Relational Evangelism.

Tuesday

23

April 2013

1

COMMENTS

An Open Letter from an Eagle Scout

Written by , Posted in Culture

I grew up in a Boy Scout family. My grandfather was a Scoutmaster in the 1950s. My father was an Assistant Scoutmaster for nearly a decade into the late 1990s. My younger brother and several of my closest friends are Eagle Scouts. I’m a member of the Eagle Scout class of 1994.

Like many observers—both Scouts and non-Scouts—I’ve been troubled by the ongoing controversy surrounding the membership and leadership policies in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  In short, like many conservative and/or religious organizations, the BSA has been targeted by the LBGT lobby because the former is committed to traditional sexual ethics for scouts and leaders. And, like many organizations, the BSA is now contemplating accommodating its membership policies for the sake of political correctness. Critics on both the cultural left and right have noted that the new proposal is awkward at best and incoherent at worst because it addresses membership expectations while punting on the question of leadership.

I have published an essay at The Imaginative Conservative titled “An Open Letter from an Eagle Scout.” I hope you will read the letter and pass it on to others who wish the BSA to remain committed to its historic values. You might also consider linking arms with an organization such as On My Honor, a coalition of scouts, parents, and leaders who wish to keep sex and politics out of Boy Scouts.

(Image credit)

Tuesday

23

April 2013

3

COMMENTS

The Gospel’s Redeeming Relationships

Written by , Posted in Books, Ministry, Theology

I’m currently reading Robert Cheong’s new book God Redeeming His Bride: A Handbook for Church Discipline (Christian Focus, 2012). I’m really enjoying it so far, and though I haven’t quite finished it, I’m confident that I can recommend it as a helpful resource for pastors and other church leaders. The combination of theological exposition and practical suggestions make a welcome contribution to the growing literature related to church discipline, polity, practical ecclesiology, etc. If you want to study this important topic, especially if you are a pastor, you should also check out Jonathan Leeman’s excellent book Church Discipline: How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus (Crossway, 2012) and the relevant chapters in Those Who Must Give An Account: A Study of Church Membership and Church Academic, 2012).

Incidentally, church discipline is not the subject of this post. In his opening section on the nature of redemption, Cheong provides a wonderful short summary of how the “moral” attributes of our Triune God are modeled in our redemption and ultimately reflected, through sanctification, in the lives of the redeemed.

The redeeming work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit provides a beautiful and comprehensive portrait of our redeeming God. The story of God’s redemption of rebellious, hopeless, self-exalting, idolatrous, and unbelieving humans reveals:

  1. God the Father’s patience, mercy, sovereignty, justice, wrath, forgiveness, and love towards us;
  2. God the Son’s humble, sinless, sacrificial, self-giving, and redeeming life, death, and resurrection; and
  3. God the Spirit’s abiding, comforting, interceding and sanctifying work in us

God brings about progressive gospel change in His people through the relationship and work of each person of the Trinity so that we might live as a family in the Kingdom of God by faith in Christ and conform more and more to His image.

Evangelicals, especially those with more reformed inclinations, have a fairly solid track record when it comes to discussing the primary role each member of the Trinity plays in our redemption. For example, many would agree that the Father takes the primary role in electing us for redemption, the Son takes the primary role in securing our redemption, and the Spirit takes the primary role in the application of our redemption. I see Cheong’s short summary as a fine complementary argument about the Triune Lord who redeems us and how he forms us to reflect his character for his glory.

Monday

22

April 2013

5

COMMENTS

Favorite Baseball Essays

Written by , Posted in Culture

Though I like sports in general, my favorite sport is Major League Baseball. I’ve been a die-hard Atlanta Braves fan my entire life. My all-time favorite baseball player is Dale Murphy (pictured to the right). “Murph”  is a class act who, alas, has been denied acceptance into the Hall of Fame. I’ve also loved many other Braves such as Chipper Jones, Terry Pendleton, Andres Galarraga, Ron Gant, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine. Some other non-Braves favorites include Cal Ripken Jr., Will Clark, Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Dennis Eckersley, Andres Dawson, George Brett, Orel Hershiser, and Don Mattingly. (You can tell by the list that I came of age from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.)

One of the great things about baseball is the quality of writing it has inspired. Few would argue that many of the best sports-related essays ever written were dedicated to our National Pastime. Every spring, I read several baseball essays to help me relish the beginning of the season. Many of them are (ahem) religious reflections on baseball. I thought I’d recommend some of my favorites to you.

John Updike, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu” (perhaps the most famous baseball essay ever, written on the occasion of Ted Williams’s retirement in 1960)

Lewis Grizzard, “The Boys of Summer Go Under the Dome” (a humorous reflection on the Braves’ heartbreaking loss to the Twins during the 1991 World Series)

David Bentley Hart, “A Perfect Game” (you have to love an essay by an Eastern Orthodox theologian with the subtitle “The Metaphysical Meaning of Baseball”)

Joseph Sobran, “The Republic of Baseball” (first written in 1990, recently republished in The American Conservative)

Kevin DeYoung, “Our National Pastime” (this one was actually published this year by one of the more insightful writers among contemporary evangelicals)

My fellow Southern Baptist and baseball lover David Prince has written several baseball-themed essays for Baptist Press. You can read his most recent (on the new Jackie Robinson movie) and check out the links to his previous essays in the right sidebar.

I would also add, as a general rule, Rick Reilly’s essays about sports are hard to beat–including his essays on baseball.

Conservative columnist George Will has also written some great essays about baseball, alongside a couple of books (the latter of which, I confess, I still need to read).

(Image credit)