Archives for September 2012

Study Berean School of the Bible’s Curriculum in Logos!

Logos Bible Software and Berean School of the Bible (a continuing education arm of Global University) are offering a comprehensive pastoral education and Bible study platform. With these 27 courses, now available in Logos, you can learn better ministry on your own or earn credit right in Logos toward Berean’s Ministerial Studies Diploma.

Berean materials have been used to train Assemblies of God pastors since 1948. These courses offer an in-depth look at every facet of pastoral work, from preaching, exegesis, and missions all the way to conflict management, church administration, and law.

Take Your Courses Using Logos

Get the most out of these courses when you take them right in Logos. Create a new reading plan to go through your courses as quickly or as slowly as you’d like.

With the self-test feature, you can take tests in Logos. When you finish, your test will be graded. You’ll immediately see your grade and your percentage of accuracy (example). You can even listen to chapter introductions right in the software (example) and use notes and highlighting to make sure you don’t miss a thing. With Logos, your notes are always right alongside your textbooks, and your Scripture references link to your preferred Bible.

Don’t Miss This Price!

Logos and Berean School of the Bible are offering you a comprehensive pastoral education at an incredible price. Save big on this collection while it’s on Pre-Pub! Pre-order the Berean School of the Bible Digital Courses (27 vols.) today and continue your pastoral education—anytime, anywhere.

Why Would Jesus Conceal His Identity?

As the saying goes, a man is only as good as his reputation. Unfortunately, reputations are fragile: anything from whispered insinuation to broadcast slander can shatter even the most guarded image. While this is especially true in our world of instant media, it was also true in Jesus’ day—and Jesus knew it. At least, that’s what John H. Morris Jr. argues in his The Messianic Secret in Mark.

As we read Mark’s Gospel, we find Jesus charging his followers to keep quiet about his miracles and identity (Mark 1:40–45; 8:29–30). Yet in other scenes, Jesus encourages people to tell others about him. These seeming discrepancies have puzzled interpreters for centuries, leading to suggestions that Mark invented the charges of silence to explain why Jesus never revealed his messianic nature during his life.

In The Messianic Secret in Mark, Morris argues that this isn’t the case; rather, these are accurate descriptions of the normal behavior of a high-profile first-century person trying to grow his or her reputation while protecting it from people who would seek to discredit it. Jesus was doing what he could to protect his public image. Sometimes that meant keeping his identity and miraculous works a secret.

Morris’ groundbreaking work explores these passages in Mark’s gospel from a social science model of deviance and name-calling.  Approaching the Gospel of Mark in its first-century context, Morris bridges the cultural gap between the first century and today, offering new insights into the peculiarities of Jesus’ behavior in proclaiming his ministry. With an annotated bibliography showing examples of insults, name-callings, and slanders from the New Testament era, Morris explores the lengths Jesus went to to ensure that his message of good news and salvation would spread.

Pre-order your copy today.

Calvin Preached 200 Sermons on Deuteronomy

John Calvin’s dedication to preaching verse by verse through the Bible was impressive. He was a firm believer in preaching from the original language, in the historical-grammatical approach, with application to the hearer. What is even more amazing is to see the shear number of sermons he preached on various books of the Bible (emphasis mine):

Calvin’s method of preaching is well-documented: it was consecutive, expositional preaching through various books of the Bible. He would begin in verse 1, chapter 1 of a particular book and then preach through the book until the end. The next sermon would begin a new book, and he would preach that book sequentially until finished. This is serial preaching at its best. Calvin’s immediate movement to preach one book after another is what Gerstner calls ‘chain preaching.’ He spent, for example, one year preaching through Job, a year and a half on Deuteronomy (200 sermons), and three years on Isaiah (350 sermons).

According to Beeke, ‘The average length of texts covered in each of Calvin’s sermons was four or five verses in the Old Testament and two or three verses in the New Testament. His sermons were fairly short for his day (perhaps due in part to his asthmatic condition), probably averaging thirty-five to forty minutes.’

John D. Currid, Calvin and the Biblical Languages (Fearn, Ross-shire, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 2006), 22-23.

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Pastors: Abraham Ships Soon—Pre-Order Today!

As Abraham did centuries ago, pastors recognize God’s call and set off on a journey, sometimes without a map or a detailed plan or a lot of company. Logos created its complete curriculum packages to give pastors resources for the trip. Abraham: Following God’s Promise: Complete Church Curriculum provides a comprehensive, biblically sound, compelling study of Abraham’s life for individuals, small groups, or entire congregations.

Abraham’s initial response to God’s call was only the first step in a long trek. His path would take him through both humiliation in Egypt and military victory in Canaan. He struggled deeply with doubt and fear when God’s promises seemed remote and improbable. His deepening friendship with God gave him the confidence to argue for mercy for Sodom and Gomorrah and the courage to obey even when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, the promised child.

The core of Abraham: Following God’s Promise: Complete Church Curriculum is an in-depth eight-chapter commentary that puts that long trek under the microscope. The complete curriculum package expands on the study book. Pastors can take advantage of eight sermon outlines, with dynamic visual media that bring Abraham’s story to life during Sunday-morning worship. The slide shows are easy to use, work in a variety of formats, and can be customized for content and tone.

The beauty of this series is that it continues to challenge and inspire your congregation during the rest of the week. Small group leaders follow lessons plans that parallel the sermons. An in-depth leader’s guide, introductory videos, and teaching slides give small group leaders confidence and direction—and save them (and you) hours of preparation. Handouts with discussion questions and space for personal reflection engage congregants in Abraham’s story. This means that, come Sunday morning, your congregation arrives already prepared to travel farther in faith.

Abraham: Following God’s Promise: Complete Church Curriculum not only saves pastors the time and energy spent in research, writing and coordinating—it also allows them to spend more time pursuing other important aspects of ministry. Satisfy your church’s curriculum needs with Abraham: Following God’s Promise: Complete Church Curriculum. This product ships October 1, 2012, so pre-order now before the price goes up!

The Faithlife Study Bible Advantage: Part 2

“And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.”—Colossians 4:16 (ESV)

From the beginning, the Scriptures were intended to be read, interpreted, and studied within the context of a thriving community. This truth hit me recently as I was studying Colossians. And since I was studying it in the Faithlife Study Bible, sharing this insight with my own community was a snap.

When I got to Colossians 4:16 in my readings, I was reminded of the importance of being part of a community of believers whose shared lives revolve around the Word. I was also reminded of a Bible study some of us at church were talking about starting. Sharing this verse, with a reminder to my church’s Faithlife Community group about getting that study started, seemed like a great idea.

I simply highlighted the verse, right-clicked, and then chose the “share to Faithlife” icon (example). Then, from the dropdown menu, I chose the group I wanted to share this verse and message with, and I wrote my message (example). If I’d wanted to, I could have right-clicked the passage, chosen “Add community note” (example) and  shared my note in the Scripture text itself.

Not only would people from my church group see this message when they log in to their Faithlife Community (example), they’d also see a note when they’re reading through Colossians in the Faithlife Study Bible. My note would show up inline with a little icon (example). Clicking the note would open a Community Notes pane (Logos 4 example).

Sharing notes with Faithlife Community groups, creating corporate reading plans, and forming discussion groups around books and Scripture are amazing ways to anchor your community in God’s Word.

If you haven’t downloaded the Faithlife Study Bible, it’s free through March 2014!

Win a Scholar’s Library from Faithlife!

Enter now and you could win a Scholar’s Library base package from Faithlife. This grand prize will add more than 475 books and commentaries—worth nearly $8,000 in print—to your library. When you combine the Scholar’s Library with the powerful Faithlife Study Bible, you have the raw materials for profound Bible study. Enter now!

Bible Research Just Got a Lot Easier

Research is difficult. When you also need slides and media, and when you add the stress of preparing a sermon, class, or Bible study, it can be overwhelming. Add in your other teaching and preaching responsibilities and you may find it impossible to get things done. But let Logos be your research assistant. Our new Lexham Bible Guides meet your research and media needs without the expense of added personnel.

You’ve already heard how the Lexham Bible Guides simplify your study time. They organize all the relevant information from selected Bible passages, give you leading experts’ thoughts and opinions, provide word studies and relevant background information. They’re also fully linked with your Logos library, which saves you countless hours of searching and wading through texts.

But they provide other benefits, too. The Lexham Bible Guides let you present the fruits of your research quickly and easily. Each volume includes a title slide and slide templates, which save you the time-consuming hassle of stylizing and coordinating your presentation.

You’ll also get ready-made word study slides. These slides let you present the significance of original language words clearly and concisely. They’re brief but informative, so your audience will never be lost. They’re also stylized like the rest of your slides, so your material never appears out of sync.

The media for each volume is unique; you’re not merely recycling old material. And Logos makes it easy to incorporate these works of art into your church or classroom presentation. You can add them to your Proclaim or PowerPoint presentation with a couple clicks.

All these resources and benefits can be yours for considerably less than you’d pay a research assistant. But the Lexham Bible Guides are only available at their Pre-Pub prices until they reach the production stage. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to save hours of research and prep time for a low price!

Get 50% Off All Charles Stanley Books on Vyrso.com!

First Baptist Church Atlanta senior pastor, In Touch Ministries founder and president, and New York Times bestselling author Charles Stanley turns 80 today. We’ve been celebrating Dr. Stanley’s ministry all month long with a huge sale on the brand-new 46-volume Charles Stanley Collection, which you can get now for only $80 with coupon code CSCOLLECTION. In addition to this amazing offer, we’ve taken 15% off all of Dr. Stanley’s books on Logos with the coupon code CSBDAY80!

To make this celebration even more special, we’re discounting all of Charles Stanley’s books on Vyrso.com. Through September 30, you can get all of his books on Vyrso.com for 50% off! Act now and you can pick up Stanley gems like:

Get all 17 of Vyrso’s Charles Stanley books for less than $100!Whether you’re getting the new 46-volume Charles Stanley Collection for $80 with coupon code CSCOLLECTION, taking 15% off various Stanley titles on Logos.com with the coupon code CSBDAY80, or picking up your favorite Stanley books on Vyrso.com for 50% off, you need to act fast!

There’s never been a better time to add Charles Stanley’s remarkable insights to your library than right now. But these savings won’t be around long. They’re available only through September 30!

Free Plane Ticket: Sign Up for the Next DMin Classes

Knox’s next DMin classes start in October in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. We’ve extended the application deadline through Oct. 1—and if you’re among the next 30 students accepted, we’ll cover your airfare up to $500!

That gives you only six more days to complete your application. Start it right now—it won’t take long.

Here are the October preaching classes:

  • The Art of Exegetical Theology in Preaching | October 15–19
  • Biblical Theology and Preaching That Inspires | October 22–26

Start earning your DMin in Preaching and Teaching with these transformative classes. If you’re among the next 30 students enrolled, you’ll fly free (or at least $500 cheaper). The deadline to apply is October 1—save your seat now!

The Second London Baptist Confession of 1689, pt.2

Connections to Today’s Current Situation: The London Baptist 1689 Confession of Faith’s Influence on the Abstracts of Principles

James Petigru Boyce, often called the Cavalier and Puritan, was a pastor, a university professor, and above all, the founder and first president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), a seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Boyce more than appreciated Calvinistic theology—he was raised by a mother of Presbyterian descent, and he studied under Archibald Alexander at Princeton Theological Seminary. As Timothy George has stated, “Princeton provided Boyce with a systematic framework in which to cast the Calvinist theology he had imbibed from Basil Manly Sr. and his other Charleston pastors.” After his education at Princeton, Boyce pastored for two years before moving on to teach at Furman University. In 1856, Boyce gave an address titled “Three Changes in Theological Institutions,” which would not only affect where he worked at the time, but also bring about the foundation of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

As Boyce made clear during the birth of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), three ideals were essential to building a common theological seminary in the South: The first was openness, creating a seminary for everyone and anyone who was called by God regardless of academic background or social status. The second was excellence—Boyce was intent on establishing an advanced program of theological study that, in its academic rigor, would be comparable to the type of instruction offered at Princeton, Andover, Harvard, and Yale. The third change that Boyce brought to SBTS established a set of mandatory doctrines and a confessional guideline for SBTS’s instructors. Timothy George sheds light on this in his Theologians of the Baptist Tradition.

“The third ideal was confessional identity. Boyce proposed that the seminary be established on a set of doctrinal principles that would provide consistency and direction for the future. This, too, was a radical step in the context of nineteenth-century Baptist life. Newton Theological Institute, the first seminary founded by Baptists in America, had no such confessional guidelines. Nor, indeed, did the Southern Baptist Convention, organized in 1845. However, Boyce firmly believed that it was necessary to protect the seminary from doctrinal erosion. From his student days in New England, Boyce was aware of the recent currents in theology: Unitarianism, Transcendentalism, the New Divinity. In particular, he spoke against the “blasphemous doctrines” of Theodore Parker, who had denied that Christianity was based on a special revelation of God. At the same time he was concerned about populist theologies in the South, and warned against the “twin errors of Campbellism and Arminianism.”

While all three areas of Boyce’s address and vision are true of SBTS today (thanks to Dr. Al Mohler), that is not the case for the SBC. It is not false in the light that it has fallen short of Boyce’s Abstracts of Principles—the SBC was not, in fact, founded on Boyce’s Abstracts of Principles—but the SBC did not follow the examples set before it by its earlier Baptist forerunners (London Baptist in 1689, Philadelphia Baptist in 1742, and New Hampshire Baptist in 1833) in making a confessional theology, which would have given it a denominational foundation. The SBC was finally organized as a convention by 1845, but it had no foundational set of doctrines to follow until 80 years later, in 1925. These have been edited, revised, and added to a number of times throughout the past century, and they have led to the different views within the SBC on salvation, especially in the absence of the SBC doctrines’ earlier Calvinistic brother, the New Hampshire Confession of Faith (1833).

The SBTS still holds to its original confessional standard, maintaining that its professors agree to the same Abstracts of Principles that Boyce meant to define the SBC. As Timothy George points out, “The Abstract of Principles was intentionally modeled on the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, which was based on the Second London Confession, which, in turn, was a Baptist adaptation of the Westminster Confession.” Thus one sees the historical value in taking a look back into his or her church history. Seeing the godly examples, the doctrinal stances, and theological guidelines God has given to His Church brings great value to the Church’s future growth.

For Additional Information
Theologians of the Baptist Tradition, ed. Timothy George and David S. Dockery (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001).

Mary: Devoted to God’s Plan—Transformational Curriculum

I didn’t expect for my perspective to change, but it did. All this time, Mary has been a distant figure to me—someone only sung and spoken about. Working on Mary: Devoted to God’s Plan was transformational.

When we set out to create a life-changing curriculum for churches for the advent and Christmas season, we didn’t expect to reexperience the advent of Christ ourselves. But he became lord over us in a more impactful way than ever before. As we related to Mary’s struggle to understand God’s son—and his transition from being a safe child to being the God she knew, couldn’t control, and needed to learn from—we were changed. We became better bearers of Christ’s image, and we realized how much more we had to grow.

Mary: Devoted to God’s Plan is about understanding what God wants to do in your life. By journeying with Mary, you’ll learn about your own journey. What transformation does Christ want to bring in your life? How is Christ moving from being a “safe zone” for you to being a God you can follow anywhere? You’ll study with an in-depth, applicable commentary, and you’ll share your insights with elegant infographicsartifact images, and maps—prebuilt as slideshows for you.

The curriculum has everything you need as a pastor, teacher or small group leader:

  • Preaching resources and sermon starters for pastors and teachers
  • Videos, slides, and media for the tech team
  • Bulletin inserts and handouts for the congregation
  • Discussion guides and videos for small group leaders
  • A take-home book for small group members, available separately for only $14.95

This is a comprehensive program for your entire church. You’ll dig deeper into the Bible—together. You’ll even learn the methods of better Bible study, thanks to information about the ancient world and Bible study tips.

Christ uniquely made you, just like he uniquely made Mary. Christ’s work in you and through you can bring transformation to the lives of others. This curriculum will help you in that process.

Pick up the complete curriculum today.