I am not really sure how to introduce this, except to say that I hope that you find these links interesting and helpful. The majority of them are Theology-related, but a few are just interesting secular things that I stumbled across this week. Thus, here are my interesting links of this week. (It was surprisingly difficult to chose). 

I recently came across The Gospel Coalition’s Sermons section (found here) and this is a sermon by Don Carson (D.A. Carson for those who are primarily familiar with him from academia) entitled “What is the Gospel?” His text is Ephesians 1:3-14. I loved listening to this sermon as he draws strong lines between what the Gospel is and what it is not. For example, the Gospel is not good works done in Christ’s name. The Gospel is the Good News about Jesus. Thus it requires being spoken aloud. I would highly recommend this link if you go look at nothing else that I post today. It will encourage your faith and help you redefine a concept that may be muddled in your mind by poor theology.

Since Halloween is right around the Corner, I would like to include this blog post is from Dr. John Mark Reynolds (the Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University – both of which I graduated from). This link is a thoughtful examination of Halloween from a Christian perspective. Is it all evil and something to be avoided? Or can it be innocent fun that a Christian can feel good about participating in? John Mark answers that in his post.

While we are on the topic of Defenses of popular culture, I read a couple good blog posts on the topic of Harry Potter. A lot of Christians give Harry Potter a bad rap, most of it I think is undeserved. My friend John wrote this post in response to a guest post on his Group Blog. Both get at the heart of the issues people have with Harry Potter and give a good defense of why a Christian can (and maybe even should) read J.K. Rowling’s series about the Boy Who Lived.

This is a TEDTalk by Bunker Roy. Its entitled “Learning from the Barefoot Movement,” and is a thoughtful presentation of how to bring otherwise poor and underdeveloped areas things like electricity and industry. The basic idea is that they started a school not for credentialing, but so that the people had skills that the people thought would be useful. I wonder if a similar approach could be used to disseminate the Gospel. One of my favorite moments was when he says (and I paraphrase), “What are the greatest influences in this culture? Television? No. Telegraph? No. Telephones? No. Forget all those.  We have Telewomen!!” So great.

I would be remiss to include a Halloween article and not include one in honor of Reformation Day (which is also October 31st). This post  at The Gospel Coalition by Matthew Barrett Argues that “If we Abandon the Reformation, we abandon the Gospel.” This is an informed and brief history of the Reformation and his response to recent calls for the Catholic and Protestant church to rejoin.

Finally, here are some posts that I found refreshing on the topic of beauty. In a world where beauty is so concerned with the physical beauty of a person, it is refreshing to read about what true beauty is. Jen Schmidt write two thoughtful posts on the topic (perhaps with more to follow). For now, here and here are her thoughts on “What is Beautiful?”

Grace and Peace.