If we are to be effective in our mission and credible, I believe North American Christians should do more to combat violent and xenophobic trash like this from the former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party:
(3 paper books, 1 e-book, and 3 audio books)
- American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt by Daniel Rasmussen
- Dr. Seuss ABC’s by Dr. Seuss
- The Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate’s Code of Silence and the Biggest Marijuana Bust in American History by James Higdon
- Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events by Vern Poythress
- The Gospel for Muslims: An Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence by Thabiti Anyabwile
- The Armies of the Lamb: the Spirituality of Andrew Fuller edited by Michael Haykin
- AfterLife: What You Really Want to Know About Heaven and the Hereafter by Hank Hanegraaff
- Benjamin Shaw, a professor at Greensville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, has an excellent plan for reading the Psalms in one month.
- As is to be expected, Paul Helm once again has some great thoughts about Reformed confessionalism.
- This article lists 8 ways in which the “transparent” Obama administration is actually obstructing critical information that journalists need.
- This article deals with the commonly repeated mantra which claims that Snowden’s revelations are helping terrorists
- Gary McGath shows that the roots of the Surveillance State in the U.S. are found in World War I.
- The U.S. bombings targeted at ISIS are actually causing a surge in new recruits for ISIS.
- Check out Why the United States Will Never Defeat ISIS by Micah Zenko over at the CFR blog.
- This article at the Wall Street Journal shares some benefits of reading slowly.
- At the New York Review of Books, Tim Park has some thoughts worth reading. He explores how some practices in scholarship (specifically source references) may need some updating to reflect technological changes.
- Have you ever had a collective disagreement (or moment of indecision?) about where/what to eat? Consult this article from life hacker.
Today my church sang hymn #17 from the Trinity Hymnal.
It is written by Richard Baxter. Here is the text:
1 Ye holy angels bright,
Who wait at God’s right hand,
Or through the realms of light
Fly at your Lord’s command,
Assist our song,
For else the theme
Too high doth seem
For mortal tongue.
2 Ye blessed souls at rest,
Who ran this earthly race,
And now, from sin released,
Behold the Saviour’s face,
God’s praises sound,
As in his sight
With sweet delight
Ye do abound.
3 All nations of the earth,
Extol the world’s great King;
With melody and mirth
His glorious praises sing;
For he still reigns,
And will bring low
The proudest foe
That him disdains.
4 Sing forth Jehovah’s praise,
Ye saints, that on him call!
Him magnify always
His holy churches all!
In him rejoice,
And there proclaim
His holy Name
With sounding voice.
5 My soul, bear thou thy part,
Triumph in God above;
With a well-tuned heart
Sing thou the songs of love;
Thou art his own,
Whose precious blood
Shed for thy good
His love made known.
6 Away, distrustful care!
I have thy promise, Lord:
To banish all despair,
I have thine oath and word:
And therefore I
Shall see thy face
And there thy grace
7 With thy triumphant flock,
Then I shall numbered be;
Built on th’eternal Rock,
His glory we shall see.
The heav’ns so high
With praise shall ring
And all shall sing
Essentially, this book seeks to apply the Biblical worldview to topics like chance, happenstance, and probability. Poythress is fascinating thinker and really has a great way of communicating his ideas.
I began this book with a great deal of excitement, having recently listened to the author’s interview on the Reformed Forum. It’s a highly ambitious project. I would say that not only did he avoid failing, he succeeded in bringing forward a highly readable and helpful resource on the subject.
Poythress seeks to show how a proper view of chance and probability is bound up in the nature of God and the worldview which most accurately reflects the universe God created. For instance, Poythress says that “the very concept of probability depends on the relationship of God’s faithfulness to his creativity”
Poythress is relentless at bringing the Bible to bear on these topics. He reveals the breadth of Biblical revelation on the subjects and presents it all in a very digestible format, even with many helpful diagrams!
If you really dig the rest of the book, don’t forget the appendices! It’s loaded with material. The essays there, especially the one on the probabilities of gambling, are worth the price of the book. The appendices are probably almost 1/4 of the book!
One caution: If you don’t have a strong mathematical background, you may find certain parts of this book rather overwhelming and will need to skip through some parts. I found certain parts a bit “over my head”, though I generally stuck through with it. I simply don’t have a strong enough math background to be able to digest the top 1% of this book in terms of complexity. I sort of wish he simplified some of it, or perhaps pushed it into the appendix, though I must say that the appendix is so loaded that that probably wasn’t be an option. Don’t get too worried about this, though. You could basically skip half of this book and still find a ton of meat to “chew on”. There’s so much to this book beyond the most complex mathematical parts. The handling of the instances of “happenstance” in the Biblical narratives is excellent.
As one other minor critique, I feel like the “Alternatives are not really better” section in the “Disasters and Suffering” chapter could have used some further development. It seems like Poythress sort of rushed through that part.
All in all, this is a unique, momentous book, and Poythress has done a valuable service to Christians who want to think thoroughly through issues like probability and chance.