Alister McGrath remembers Ravi Zacharias: “As evangelicalism became increasingly aware of the importance of rediscovering and reasserting the public truth of the gospel, Zacharias emerged as one of the leading exponents of the new concern to engage cultural and political opinion-makers. Many would single out the first Veritas Forum at Harvard University in 1992 as marking a significant change in the apologetic landscape. Christian writers—including Zacharias—showed they were able to defend the rationality and relevance of the gospel in public debate.”


Daniel Silliman tells the story of Joyce Lin: “’We feel a great sense of loss but a great sense of comfort as well, because Joyce was doing what she loved to do and she was faithful to the calling that God had placed on her life,’ David Holsten, president of MAF, told Christianity Today. ‘She gave her life serving the Lord in a way that was impacting others.’ MAF has not had a fatal accident in 23 years, Holsten said. Civil aviation authorities are investigating the cause of the crash. There were no other passengers on board because of coronavirus flight restrictions, according to Hoaglun. Travel remains restricted in Indonesia, but MAF has permission to fly cargo and people facing medical emergencies.”


Laura Martin reviews Aimee Byrd’s new book: “But besides that, it has divided men and women in the church, in a variety of ways. Instead of learning and serving together in the church as co-laborers for the gospel, the body of Christ has ended up like two bodies! A gender ghetto developed, false dichotomies made, and the church has suffered as a result. Men and women have been reduced to simplistic stereotypes, unable to function in the fullness that God intended for them as men and women, faithfully reflecting their Creator. Women in particular have been fed a diet of limited and anemic teaching. The book carefully looks at a study Bible for men and a study Bible for women, and notes how the Bible ends up interpreted through a lens of biblical manhood and womanhood (and an accompanying lens of authority and submission).” 


Kim Shay faces her anxiety:I told very few people, and a couple of Christian friends who learned the truth gave me well-meaning advice, like that I should pray more or memorize Scripture. And one person left a tract in my church mailbox, reminding me that anxiety is a sin. As I looked at that tract, I felt utterly defeated. I questioned my salvation daily. Thankfully, my family doctor was far more sympathetic. He helped me deal with some of the many health issues which had cropped up, and then he suggested I get the anxiety under control. I decided to take medication. It saved me.”


Megan Hill discovers that going to church increases the holiness of believers: “It wouldn’t take too long before the neglected church building would become derelict—entirely unusable for the congregation’s work and worship. From this perspective, an occasional Saturday morning with a mop looks extremely important. Of course, thoughtlessly discarded candy wrappers are only a small part of our problem as a church. Gossip, unkindness, lust, greed, pride, partiality, anger, idolatry, and selfishness also pollute the covenant community. They spread and multiply like mold, corrupting everything they touch. If we don’t persistently address our personal and corporate sins, they will overwhelm us.”


Chandra Crane thinks about zoom and church and how the Christian life works out: “In those early church days, meeting together had its own difficulties. Persecution made gatherings a risk. Paul chastises the Corinthian believers for their divisions, selfishness, and fulfilling the desires of the flesh—during the Lord’s Supper, no less (1 Cor 11:17-22). Folks were no doubt weary from difficult labor, often ill, and frightened. It would have been tempting to not gather, to shy away from the fellowship. But, unlike many a majority culture church today, individualism was neither a cultural norm nor even really possible. There weren’t multiple copies of God’s Word laying around. Christians had to gather to have the epistles and Old Testament passages read to them. Believers had to be ‘of one heart and soul’ and have ‘everything in common’ to survive (Acts 4:32). The technology that allowed the church to have communion one with another may seem primitive to us today: ink and parchment, Roman roads and delivery systems. But, these advances were the backbone of early church communion.”


Scott Swain continues a series on biblical anthropology: “What follows is a first step in this regard. I have three basic points to make. First, contrary to contemporary tendencies toward reductionism, I will suggest the need for bringing a greater number of concepts into play when considering topics of moral and theological significance such as anthropology. Second, I will suggest four sets of gender roles that might enrich the ways we think about the identity and calling of men and women. Third, I will suggest three social concepts that can help us think about the nature and ends of our social lives in general and of our relationships as men and women in particular.”


Justin Tinsley remembers the cultural context surrounding Stevie Wonder: “Part of what made Wonder’s music so important was how it reflected the rising societal temperature in America, in particular black America. By the start of the 1970s, the Motown of ‘Baby Love’ and ‘Bernadette’ was forced to change because America had changed. The ’60s had been defined by both celebration and tragedy, from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. But the ’70s commenced with America in recession and still fighting in Vietnam, and a diet of love songs was no longer enough. Black unemployment was nearly double that of whites and incarceration statistics began to grow rapidly, with black people twice as likely to be arrested for drug-related offenses than whites.


Stephen Greenblatt examines what Shakespeare really said about the plague: “Plague constantly appears throughout Shakespeare’s works in the form of everyday exclamations: ‘a plague upon it when thieves cannot be true to one another’; ‘a plague of sighing and grief! It blows a man up like a bladder’; ‘a plague upon this howling’; ‘a plague of these pickle-herring!’ But this is a sign less of existential horror than of deep familiarity, the acceptance of plague as an inescapable feature of ordinary life.”


Podcast of the Week: Will and Rob welcome fellow Washingtonian, Alicia Akins to the show. Alicia tells us about her experience with the church in Asia, what lessons the American church can apply today, plus a sneak peek into her book project.

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