The Presidency Deserves Respect, American Christianity Isn’t Dead Yet, & Kanye West’s Connection to Martin Luther
Wisdom for Your Weekend is your regular installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web. Presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with guidance from Pastor J.D., this is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”
While we do not always agree with everything these authors post, we share these resources because we find them challenging and enriching. As we often say around the Summit, “Eat the fish and spit out the bones.”
Podcast of the Week
How to Preach From the Old Testament, Jimmy Roh, Andreas Köstenberger, and Jason DeRouchie. All of Scripture points to Jesus, but knowing how Old Testament Scripture points to Jesus can be complicated. As DeRouchie points out, we need to read the Bible forward … and backward. If we fail to do both, we fail to honor the Bible God actually gave us.
Articles of the Week
The Overstated Collapse of American Christianity, Ross Douthat. In 1897, after an American newspaper wrongly ran an obituary for Mark Twain, the writer sent a telegram with a characteristically terse reply: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Something similar could be said for American Christianity. Many people—Christians as well as non-Christians—are quick to believe the prevailing narrative that secularization is growing and Christianity is dying. As Douthat notes, the demographics tell a very different tale.
The Presidency Deserves Respect—Even When the President Does Not, Peter Wehner. President Trump attended Game 5 of the World Series last week, where he was met with loud boos and chants of, “Lock him up!” Some public figures (like Wehner) opposed this reaction, calling for more grace and dignity in our common life. As one Democratic senator put it, “The office of the presidency deserves respect, even when the actions of our president at times don’t.” Many critics of the president aren’t buying it. “He’s reaping what he’s sowed,” they say. In our political context, does civility even matter any more? According to Wehner, more than we know.
On the Freedom of a Christian Rapper, Onsi A. Kamel. Few could have seen it coming. Many remain skeptical. Others are jubilant. But however you interpret it, this intriguing reality now stands: Kanye West is one of the United States’ most famous “public theologians” (Kamel’s words). West doesn’t claim to be a theologian, of course, but as Kamel sees it, West is channeling an even more famous theologian—Martin Luther. Kanye West’s most recent album charts a path, much like Luther, that begins with self-justification and ends with a desperate plea for God’s grace.
Is the God of the Bible a Genocidal Maniac? Michael J. Kruger. When we hear news of contemporary attempts at genocide—whether in Rwanda, Darfur, Cambodia, or Armenia—we are right to respond with horror and anger. Ethnic cleansing is a heinous evil, one that Christians should unequivocally oppose. But this raises a problem: What are we to do with the apparent genocide we see in the Old Testament? Is God any different than Hitler? Kruger offers three key principles for reading these challenging OT narratives.
On the Lighter Side
Private Jet Pastor, John Crist. “God has plans to prosper us. Does a single prop Cessna plane look like prosperity to you? No. We need a jet!”