CRI Online Film Review: The Church without Claws? A Figurative Reading of the Film Black Panther



I am grateful to Melanie Cogdill and CRI for posting “The Church without Claws? A Figurative Reading of the Film Black Panther.”

Lisa Robinson and Esau McCaulley previously made significant contributions to Gospel-thinking on the Black Panther movie.


My Suggested Books for A Biblical Studies Major to Read before Graduating from MBI


In yesterday’s MBI Bible Department chapel, Dr. John Goodrich asked me what books would I recommend a student majoring in Biblical Studies read before graduating. In the shortness of time, I mentioned this list:

  1. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretationbecause Hirsch used to believe meaning is stable.
  2. Johnson, Expository Hermeneutics, because Johnson built a model for interpreting Scripture based on Hirsch’s theory.
  3. Ward, Planet Narnia (also Kindle), and both the Narnia series and the Space Trilogy series by Lewis, because Planet Narnia is a great piece of literary criticism that also will help one learn to discern meaning in texts.
  4. Ellison, The Invisible Man, because it is apropos for the divided American society in which many Biblical Studies majors will serve. (Kindle)
  5. Meade, Teaching Hearts, Training Minds or Comforting Hearts, Training Minds, because many of them will begin families of their own one day and need a resource to help disciple their children, and in discipling their children they also will see a good text and method for discipling church members in theological truth.
  6. As many Christian classics as one can (including those in the Catholic tradition), because we should know our own classics and interact with their enduring ideas.

To this list immediately I would add Carson’s, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, The Gagging of God, Exegetical Fallacies, The Intolerance of Tolerance, and The Gospel of John  , because Carson is all about rightly reading Scripture and engaging culture with the gospel, and Packer’s, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, because personal evangelism should be one of the ends of teaching and learning Scripture and we should do it in the truth of God’s grace.

An exhaustive list would be too long for a blog post.

Dr. Eric Mason, Sermon: “Seeing Through the Lens of the End” (Rev. 7:9-12)

Dr. Eric Mason’s Founder’s Week sermon, “Seeing Through the Lens of the End,” is powerful, bold, and poignant for this time in American society. He preaches the gospel of grace, and courageously applies it to the American Dilemma.

I hope Pastor Mason will gain other opportunities for evangelicals in every corner of the country to hear this message. I was blessed tremendously by this word.

#Charlottesville: Some Gospel Thinking on White Supremacy, in Themelios

Cover to CharlottesvilleThemelios 42.3 posted today, and it includes the article, “#Charlottesville: Some Gospel Thinking on White Supremacy,” co-written by Walter J. Redmond, Jr. (my father), Charis A. M. Redmond (my daughter), and me. I am grateful to the editors of Themelios for their kind inclusion. I hope that an article in an evangelical journal co-written by an evangelical who works for two evangelicals institutions might gain a hearing among evangelicals.

Engaging Scripture Deeply: Spring MDL/SLA Course Registration Open


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Spring Registration is OPEN for the Spiritual Leadership Academy Course, Engaging Scripture Deeply. If you live in Chicagoland, join us!

I encourage you to invite and bring your Sunday School Class, Bible study group, small group, and/or ministry leadership team too. This course is for everyone!

Texts for the course: Ephesians (Stott) and Ephesians (Redmond). I selected Stott’s commentary because I want to demonstrate the role of using a tool in studying deeper, not because Stott offers an exegetical commentary (which he does not). But going deeper does not require the use of an exegetical commentary, if deeper involves more than intellectual inquiry. Leave the Greek exegetical work for the course professor to explain. Stott is sufficient for our learning together. I will be providing elections from Ephesians in the ESV Study Bible too.

Raymond Chang: “Open Letter to John Piper on White Evangelicalism and Multiethnic Relations”



In CT, Raymond Chang responds to John Piper’s post on Lecrae and evangelicalism. Previously Raymond shared a post on this blog here. In the current article, Raymond writes,

For better or worse, we are only at the beginnings of this “Reverse Exodus,” since, at the moment, there aren’t many better options to turn to for people who hold the same doctrines as white evangelicals hold. Evangelicals of color are growing up in, getting trained by, and seeking participation in white evangelical spaces because there aren’t many viable options of another sort who hold the same theological convictions – except in the historically black church which emerged out of exclusionary practices by white Christians who held convictions nearly identical to the ones evangelicalism promotes. Despite this, there are many evangelicals of color who still hold onto a genuine hope and willingness to endure in order to see the church demonstrate what Gospel centered unity in diversity can look like. This flickering flame is what I hope we can fan into a blazing fire.

However, the willingness of evangelicals of color to remain will likely change when they begin to realize that they too are the token/mascot/poster child for white evangelical churches or institutions. Unless white evangelicalism wakes up to the realities that it’s unwillingness to sufficiently change keeps it behind the culture, instead of leading prophetically with a clear vision of the Kingdom of God, the exodus will ensue.

My hope is we can work towards an equitable unity where all people mutually submit to and honor each other.

You can read the rest here.

Thank you, Raymond, for your love for Christ and his church.


Kuyper’s Two Life Systems in Mortal Combat


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“Moreover, besides this common parentage, there is another factor which, in the face of even a wider difference, would continue to unite your interests and ours. Far more precious to us than even the development of human life, is the crown which ennobles it, and this noble crown of life for you and for me rests in the Christian name. That crown is our common heritage. It was not from Greece or Rome that the regeneration of human life came forth ;— that mighty metamorphosis dates from Bethlehem and Golgotha; and if the Reformation, in a still more special sense, claims the love of our hearts, it is because it has dispelled the clouds of sacerdotalism, and has unveiled again to fullest view the glories of the

Cross. But, in deadly opposition to this Christian element, against the very Christian name, and against its salutiferous influence in every sphere of life, the storm of Modernism has now arisen with violent intensity.

In 1789 the turning point was reached.

Voltaire’s mad cry, ‘Down with the scoundrel,’ was aimed at Christ himself, but this cry was merely the expression of the most hidden thought from which the French Revolution sprang. The fanatic outcry of another philosopher, ‘We no more need a God,’ and the odious shibboleth, ‘No God, no Master,’ of the Convention ;—these were the sacrilegious watchwords which at that time heralded the liberation of man as an emancipation from all Divine Authority. And if, in His impenetrable wisdom, God employed the Revolution as a means by which to overthrow the tyranny of the Bourbons, and to bring a judgment on the princes who abused His nations as their footstool, nevertheless the principle of that Revolution remains thoroughly anti-Christian, and has since spread like a cancer, dissolving and undermining all that stood firm and consistent before our Christian faith.

There is no doubt then that Christianity is imperiled by great and serious dangers. Two life systems are wrestling with one another, in mortal combat. Modernism is bound to build a world of its own from the data of the natural man, and to construct man himself from the data of nature; while, on the other hand, all those who reverently bend the knee to Christ and worship Him as the Son of the living God, and God himself, are bent upon saving the ‘Christian Heritage.’ This is the struggle in Europe, this is the struggle in America, and this also, is the struggle for principles in which my own country is engaged, and in which I myself have been spending all my energy for nearly forty years.”

Abraham Luyper, Lectures on Calvinism (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishng, 1931; rpnt. 1999), 10-11. (ebook)

On Making the Abnormal Good

Source: On Making the Abnormal Good

On Making the Abnormal Good

Nathan Englander: What Jewish Children Learned From Charlottesville


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Credit Edu Bayer for The New York Times

In the NYT, @NathanEnglander) writes,

While harking back to my pious, head-covered days, I am reminded of a notion that our rabbis taught us: The theft of time is a crime like any other. Back then it was about interrupting class — one minute wasted was a minute of learning lost. But multiply that minute by everyone in the room, and it became 15, 20 minutes, half an hour’s worth of knowledge that none of us could ever get back.

Saturday in Charlottesville was just one day, but think of that one day multiplied by all of us, across this great country. Think of the size of that setback, the assault on empathy, the divisiveness and tiki-torched terror multiplied by every single citizen of this nation. It may as well be millions of years of dignity, of civility, of progress lost.

Just from that one day.

Thank you, Mr. Englander.

Read the whole article here.

John Calvin on Paul’s Unanswered Thrice-Prayer for Relief – 2 Corinthians 12:8



It may seem, however, to follow from this, that Paul had not by any means prayed in faith, if we would not make void all the promises of God. ‘We read everywhere in Scripture, that we shall obtain whatever we ask in faith: Paul prays, and does not obtain.’ I answer, that as there are different ways of asking, so there are different ways of obtaining. We ask in simple terms those things as to which we have an express promise — as, for example, the perfecting of God’s kingdom, and the hallowing of his name, (Matthew 6:9), the remission of our sins, and every thing that is advantageous to us; but, when we think that the kingdom of God can, nay must be advanced, in this particular manner, or in that, and that this thing, or that, is necessary for the hallowing of his name, we are often mistaken in our opinion. In like manner, we often fall into a serious mistake as to what tends to promote our own welfare. Hence we ask those former things confidently, and without any reservation, while it does not belong to us to prescribe the means. If, however, we specify the means, there is always a condition implied, though not expressed. Now Paul was not so ignorant as not to know this. Hence, as to the object of his prayer, there can be no doubt that he was heard, although he met with a refusal as to the express form. By this we are admonished not to give way to despondency, as if our prayers had been lost labor, when God does not gratify or comply with our wishes, but that we must be satisfied with his grace, that is, in respect of our not being forsaken by him. For the reason, why he sometimes mercifully refuses to his own people, what, in his wrath, he grants to the wicked, is this — that he foresees better what is expedient for us, than our understanding is able to apprehend.

John Calvin, Commentary on Corinthians, Vol. 2, 2 Cor. 12:8