shutterstock_166980404A few months ago I began a short series called “The False Teachers.” I wanted to look back through church history to meet some of the people who have undermined the church at various points. We looked at historical figures like Joseph Smith who founded Mormonism and Ellen G. White who led the Seventh Day Adventists into prominence, and we looked at contemporary figures like Benny Hinn, the prominent faith healer, and T.D. Jakes, who has tampered with the doctrine of the Trinity.

I will soon be starting a new series looking at The Defenders, Christians known for defending the church against a certain theological challenge or a specific false teaching. I will be focusing on modern times and modern issues such as inerrancy and Open Theism. But before I do that, I wanted to reflect on some of what I’ve learned as I’ve spent time considering false teachers and false teaching. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from false teachers.

False Teachers Are Common

The first and most fundamental thing I learned about false teachers is that we ought to expect them and be on the lookout for them. They are common in every era of church history. This should not surprise us, since the Bible warns that we are on war footing in this world, and that Satan is on full-out offensive against God and his people. And sure enough, history shows that whenever the gospel advances, error follows in its wake. When and where there are teachers of truth, there will necessarily be teachers of error. Perhaps the most surprising thing about false teachers is that we continue to be surprised by them.

False Teachers Are Deceptive

False teachers are deceptive. They do not announce themselves as false teachers, but proclaim themselves angels of light, people who have access to wisdom others have missed or misplaced. As Denny Burk says, “False teachers typically won’t show up to your church wearing a sandwich board saying, ‘I am a false teacher’.” Instead they begin within the bounds of orthodoxy and announce themselves only slowly and through their subtly-twisted doctrine. They turn away from orthodoxy one step at a time rather than all at once.

False Teachers Are Dangerous

False teachers are dangerous, and part of what makes them so dangerous is that they will affirm so much that is good and true. They will not deny all of the doctrines upon which the Christian faith stands or falls, but only select parts of it. They draw in the unsuspecting with all they affirm and only later destroy them with all they deny. There is an important lesson: We only know a person when he understand both what he affirms and what he denies.

False Teachers Are Divisive

False teachers cause division within the church and often cause division even among true Christians. Because false teachers tend to remain within the church, and because they claim to be honoring the Bible, they confuse true believers and drive wedges between them. Amazingly, it is often those who stand fast against falsehood who get labeled as divisive. The church often trusts a smiling false teacher ahead of a frowning defender.

False Teachers Give People What They Want

As Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy he warned that the time was coming when people would not endure sound teaching (and hence, sound teachers) but instead they would have itching ears and demand teachers who would satisfy this itch. False teachers do this very thing. Their concern is not for what people truly need, but for what people want. The concern of the Christian is the exact opposite—the gospel does not address what we want, but what we need!

False Teachers Are Not Innocent

False teachers know they are false teachers. This may not be true all the time, and perhaps some false teachers deceive themselves before they deceive others. But I believe most know who and what they are; in fact, I believe most know and delight in who and what they are. They are not naive people who have taken a wrong turn in their theology, but evil people who are out to destroy others. Their attack on truth is far more brazen than we may like to think.

False Teachers Cannot Tolerate the Gospel

False teachers simply cannot tolerate the gospel. At some level and in some way, they will always add to or subtract from the pure and sweet gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. They may affirm the Trinity or inerrancy or the deity of Jesus Christ, but they will never fully affirm the gospel of the Bible.

 

shutterstock_139472012It is going to take time—decades at least—before we are able to accurately tally the cost of our cultural addiction to pornography. But as Christians we know what it means to tamper with God’s clear and unambiguous design for sexuality: The cost will be high. It must be high.

We all know the cost will be high in fractured families and heartbroken parents, husbands and wives. Already we are seeing far too many of these and each one is its own tragedy. We know the cost will be high in the countless thousands of women who are used and abused in front of cameras so they can be violated for other people’s pleasure. That is a sickening tragedy as well. But an overlooked cost, and one that will only become clear in time, is that porn is stealing the best years from a million young Christian men and women. Porn is dominating their lives during their teens and twenties. It is controlling their lives during those years when energy is high and responsibility is low, when the world lies open before them and the possibilities are endless, when they are charting the trajectories for the rest of their lives. Their dreams and their abilities are being hampered and squelched by a reckless commitment to sin.

So many young Christians have stunted their spiritual growth through what I call pornolesence. Pornolescence is that period when a person is old enough and mature enough to know that pornography is wrong and that it exacts a heavy price, but too immature or too apathetic to do anything about it. Pornolescence is that period where he feels the guilt of his sin, but still enjoys it too much to give it up. He may make the occasional plea for help, or install Covenant Eyes (but keep a workaround for when he’s really burning up), or ask for an accountability partner. But he doesn’t really want to stop. Not yet. She may phone a friend on occasion or plan to speak to one of the older women in the church, but in the end her internal shame weighs heavier than her desire for holiness. So she continues on, night after night.

This is pornolesence, that period between seeing the sin for what it is and actually putting it to death, that period between the deep soul conviction of immorality and the stubborn commitment to purity. For some people it lasts days, but for many more it lasts for years. A lot of young people—too many young people—are growing up too slowly today. Their sexual awakening is coming far too early and amidst all the wrong circumstances, and it is delaying every other kind of awakening and maturing. It is especially delaying their spiritual maturation.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 makes it as clear as day: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.” A Christian’s growth in holiness and his development in Christian maturity is directly and inextricably tied to sexual purity. A person cannot full-out pursue God while also full-out pursuing porn. It’s either/or, not both/and. God will not be mocked. God will not allow you to soar to spiritual mountain tops while you stoop in pornographic filth. God will not allow you to grow in Christian maturity while you wallow in your incessant pornolesence.

And I think time will prove that this is one of the gravest costs of pornography: It is stealing the best years from so many young Christians. It is stunting their spiritual growth and delaying their entrance into Christian ministry and service. These are the people who represent the future of the church—future elders, future deacons, future women’s ministry leaders, future youth leaders, future children’s workers, future mentors, future missionaries, future seminary professors, future defenders of the faith, future denominational heads, and on and on. But with each click, with each video, with each unblushing exposure to what God deems abhorrent, they choose to worship a god in place of the God. And all the while they delay their entrance into maturity, into leadership, into who and what God calls them to be.

If this is you, hear my plea: For the sake of Christ’s church, and out of love for Christ’s church, put that sin to death. Do it for Him, and do it for us.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

WWUTT

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJbK3RBKj0E” autohide=”0″ fs=”1″ hd=”1″]

To Atheists who had been commenting on this video:

“How can you say I know there is a God?”

Because the Bible says so, and that is a solid answer. In line with scripture, because all things are the result of creation, the evidence is inescapable. You cannot even function in the world without accepting it on some level, whether you are conscious of that acceptance or not. A person can no more deny the existence of God than a Mac can gain sentience and deny the existence of Steve Jobs. Such an intelligence would actually have to refuse to think in order to make that assertion, right? You know the evidence. You just refuse to receive it. (Psalm 92:5-6)

“How would you like it if I said you don't believe in God?”

If it's mindless to say there is no creator, then it's mindless to turn the argument around and say we don't believe in one. Atheism is empirically inadequate. You cannot experience atheism. You cannot observe something coming from nothing. You cannot witness anything happening uncaused. It has no basis in reality. Whereas a person who believes in God can point to the evidence of creation everywhere. The computer, phone, or tablet you're reading this from? Created.

“But those are man-made objects you say prove creation.”

Say we asked you to give us an example of something coming into existence by accident, and you point to the universe. Then you ask us to give an example of creation, and we also point to the universe. Neither of us can witness its beginning. So we have to shrink our answers down to that which can be observed, tested, and experienced. Every single example from then on out will always point to a creator. If you can see the evidence of God in those things, you'll see it applies to the whole universe (Psalm 8:3-4).

“Oh yeah? Well here's a video that totally refutes yours!”

Implied Creator Paradox. You're actually affirming our argument that creation evidence is everywhere. It's not possible for you to refute anything in our video. You can be defiant, and that's it.

“Well if you were to flip a coin 1000 times…”

Implied Creator Paradox again.

“Okay, fine! Here's a sternly worded 450 word response!”

Implied Creator Paradox.

“Stop saying that!”

Stop implying a creator. Can an author write a story of a world with no God? The irony is that there is a god. It's him. You would not be able to read and fully deny the author's influence.

“Alright, then who created God?”

Unlike our Steve Jobs or author examples, God is eternal. He is uncaused with no beginning and no end. Only that which is caused requires an explanation for a beginning. You demand an origin story for God and think it's a solid rebuttal because you cannot discern spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14-15).

“Okay, then have your God give us a demonstration.”

He already did. And then responded to those who said they wanted a better sign than that (Matthew 16:1-4).

“Stop quoting scripture to me!”

This is our channel. If you don't want scripture quoted to you, troll someone else's channel. There's no truth to be found except by the Word of God. (Psalm 119:160)

“Why are you not answering my question?”

We responded to a few, but we're not exactly in the habit of lending ourselves to responding to persons who only want to quarrel. We're always welcoming of those who seek answers, but that wasn't the nature of the comments we were receiving. If you want to contact us, our website is http://www.wwutt.com.

“HOW DARE YOU CALL ATHEISTS REACTIONARY!!!!!!”

If the all-caps seem like a straw-man, that's pretty mild compared to comments we received. We're fine with criticism. But the tactlessness was out of hand. We had so many f-bombs, including being told that we won the *F-er* of the Year Award. Someone told our team we needed to kill ourselves. One guy who makes atheist videos and gets millions of views kept coming back to comment on ours. Another gal made an angry video response when we barely even had a hundred views (thanks for the traffic, by the way). Comment after comment affirmed everything we said in this video, especially that “some” atheists are reactionary.

“How can we know who the creator is or what he wants?”

The Bible. Tried and true. If you read scripture with a discerning spirit, seeking God with all of your heart, you'll know to repent of your sins, your defiant attitude, willfully rebellious against God, and follow Christ. Then you will be saved from God's wrath burning against all unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Whoever has the Son has life. Whoever does not have the Son does not have life but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36). Yet he is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but all to come to salvation (2 Peter 3:9). God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).

All of the above are taken from actual comments. Thank you for reading. And watching! And subscribing and sharing our videos!

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-four:

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 3:13-14)

In 1954 Roger Bannister and John Landy squared off in a monumental race. Both men had recently accomplished the unthinkable by running a mile in under 4 minutes. Landy led for most of the race, even building a lead of 10 yards at one point. But on the last leg of the race he made the mistake that runners should never make—he looked back. Bannister raced past him and never again gave up the lead.

In our battle for purity that which is behind us (our past) can steal our gaze. We can fall into the trap of thinking too much of our past successes or we can run slower because of the weight of our past failures. Here Paul is not calling us to simply forget our past as if it doesn’t exist. Instead, he is calling us to trust the Lord with our past (both success and failure) and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ.

If you’ve fallen trust the provision of a gracious Savior. If you’ve won a battle trust that it was the provision of a transforming Lord. Then keep running.

Father, I thank you that you are not only the Lord of my present and future but also my past. You know every time that I have failed and you know every time that I will fail. You know ever victory of grace that will happen in my life. And all of these you knew before the foundation of the world. Help me to trust you with my past. Whether it is the wounds left by others, my own failures, or even the times when I have triumphed in obedience, I entrust them to you. 

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

Todays devotional was prepared by Mike Leake. Mike is associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Jasper, IN. He and his wife, Nikki have 2 children (Isaiah and Hannah). Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and regularly blogs at mikeleake.net.

31DaysOfPurity2-0171Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-one:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

This passage tells us to come to Christ in our weakness and in our sin. Yet we often prefer a route that is opposed to Hebrews 4:16. I cannot describe it any better than Heath Lambert has:

Mental punishments are not helpful because they deal with sin in a self-centered way instead of a Christ-centered way. Meditating on how miserable and pathetic you are only perpetuates the sinful self-centeredness that led you to look at pornography in the first place. Condemning self-talk still has you standing center stage as you reflect on what you think you deserve because of what you did. … The only way to break this vicious cycle is to get outside of yourself to Jesus. You need to stop talking to yourself in categories of condemnation and begin talking to God in categories of confession. (Lambert, 26)

Jesus doesn’t need your condemning self-talk. Neither do you, for it accomplishes nothing good. What you need is to believe the gospel and boldly draw near to the throne of grace. It is here—in our Great High Priest—that you will find the healing that you long for. It is here that you will find the mercy and grace that you so desperately need.

Lord, you were tempted just as I have been tempted. I am thankful that where I have failed, you have succeeded. You know how strong temptation can be. You know what it is like to be in a mortal body. You can sympathize with my weakness. I am grateful that you know my frame and remember that I am but dust (Psalm 103). Rescue me from foolish self-talk and replace it with your words of grace. You say that when I confess, I am clean. Help me to believe you. Today I draw near to your throne of grace confident that you will meet me with mercy and grace to help in this time of need. 

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

Todays devotional was prepared by Mike Leake. Mike is associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Jasper, IN. He and his wife, Nikki have 2 children (Isaiah and Hannah). Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and regularly blogs at mikeleake.net.

It began with two devastating words: “tumor” and “incurable.” If they are not words you have ever heard, they are probably words heard by someone near you, someone you love or loved. They were words David McDonald heard as well.

McDonald had pastored for just about twenty years and by 2011 had decided to begin a new work. He and his family would leave Canberra, Australia, and move thousands of kilometers north to Darwin, a remote but needy city. They were going there to found a new church. They secured support, made the journey a couple of times, found a place to live, made all the necessary preparations, packed the truck, and sent it off. They were all ready to begin the next twenty years of ministry.

And then, just days before the big move, there was shortness of breath, numbness in the limbs. Something was wrong. Really wrong. There was a visit to the specialist and the terrible diagnosis: lung cancer. Incurable. Stage 4. Best-case scenario: he might live to see next Christmas.

In all the difficulty and in all the devastation, he needed to find hope. With the fatal diagnosis and with the best of modern medicine unable to offer the promise of health, he knew he had to look for hope beyond cure.

Hope Beyond Cure
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Hope Beyond Cure describes his search for hope. Yes, he was a pastor. Yes, he had walked with others through devastating and even terminal illness. But now it was him and now he was the one whose faith had been rocked and whose dreams had been shattered. He wasn’t ever tempted to throw away his Christian faith. Not at all. But he did realize the importance of deep and deeply satisfying answers.

Faith and reason have shaped this book. Together they have given me hope. I don’t know everything there is to know about cancer or God. I’ve studied them both, but my understanding is partial and limited. My ignorance outweighs my knowledge, even though I’m learning more day by day. But this knowledge of cancer and of God isn’t simply in my head—it’s deeply personal. I don’t just know about them—they are part of my life and my experience. I know cancer and I know God. And it’s because I know God that I believe there is real hope for those who have cancer, for those who are struggling, for those who have lost hope—for everyone.

The hope he describes is the best and truest hope because it is founded upon the best and truest reality—that God is real and that he has sent his Son into this world to redeem sinners. McDonald goes to the gospel, but he does it in such a faith-stirring and helpful way. These aren’t easy answers. These aren’t trite solutions to deep problems. These are truths drawn carefully and consistently from the Bible, and all the while combined with the strength of human experience.

Each of us knows someone who will suffer from cancer. Many who read these words will some day be diagnosed. Hope Beyond Cure is a book to read if you, like McDonald, are a Christian and suffering and need to be reminded of what is true. It is an appropriate book to hand to an unbeliever as well; it is written in a gentle and humble style that is not the least bit offensive.

As Christians, we have nothing better to offer than what the Bible tells us and no better hope than the hope it describes—a hope beyond cure. Here is a book that offers deep answers to deep questions, all the while tempered by deep wells of experience. It is powerful, it is helpful, and it comes highly recommended.

So how many people go to your church? This is question nearly every pastor faces at just about every conference he attends. I’ve written about the question before but, having spent the week at Together for the Gospel, and having been part of many conversations, it seems like a good time to revisit it. It usually doesn’t take long for a conversation with a pastor to progress to that point. For the pastor this can be a moment of pride or humility, freedom or shame. And somehow it is a question that always seems to come up. And it comes up for those who are not pastors as well; you begin to talk about your church and the other person inevitably asks that same question. So how many people?

I’d like to make the same two-part proposal I made a few years back: Let’s stop asking, “How many people go to your church?” And when someone asks us that question, let’s not feel obliged to give a direct answer.

We all pay lip service to the reality that we cannot necessarily measure the health of a church by its size. We all know that some of the biggest churches in the world are also some of the unhealthiest churches in the world. The history of Christianity has long-since shown that it is not all that difficult to fill a building with unbelievers by just tickling their ears with what they want to hear. We also know that the Lord is sovereign and that he determines how big each church should be and we know that in some areas even a very small church is an absolute triumph of light over darkness. And yet “How big is your church?” is one of the first questions we ask.

Why is this? I don’t know all the reasons but I’d suggest at least two. First, I think our question betrays us and shows that in the back of our minds we equate size and health. Somewhere we make the connection between big and healthy, between big and blessing. We exacerbate the problem when we ask and answer this too-easy question. Second, we just haven’t taken the time and made the effort to form better questions. Instead, we gravitate to the easy one.

I wonder, what would happen if we found better questions to ask and better ways to answer them. Instead of going to the easy question of, “How many people go to your church?” why don’t we ask things like this:

  • How have you seen the Lord working in the lives of the people in your church?
  • What evidences of the Lord’s grace has your church experienced in the last few months?
  • What are you excited about in your church right now?
  • Who are you excited about in your church right now?
  • What has the Lord been teaching you?
  • Who have you been discipling recently? Tell me about some of the future leaders at your church.

When asked, “How many people go to your church?” why don’t we consider answering something like this:

  • As many as the Lord has determined we can care for at this time.
  • Enough that we are actively working toward planting a church.
  • I don’t know, but let me tell you about a few of them…

Now obviously there are times when it is perfectly appropriate to discuss numbers, and especially so when we remember that each number is actual a human being made in God’s image that we have been tasked to care for. My concern isn’t so much that we never ask the numbers question, but that we gravitate away from asking it first.

So tell me what you think. Do you think it would benefit the church to have us migrate away from asking and answering the number question?

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from Words of Wisdom, pages 64-65, Pilgrim Publications.

“The Lord of love bestows it; His tenderness rocks the cradle for us every night; His kindness draws the curtain of darkness about us, and bids the sun cover his blazing lamp.”  

How thankful should we be for sleep! Sleep is the best physician that I know of. Sleep hath healed more pains of wearied heads, and hearts, and bones than the most eminent physicians upon earth. It is the best medicine; the choicest thing of all the names which are written in all the lists of pharmacy.

No magic draught of the physician can match with sleep. What a mercy it is that it belongs alike to all! God does not make sleep the boon of the rich man; he does not give it merely to the noble, or the rich, so that they can monopolize it as a peculiar luxury for themselves; but he bestows it upon the poorest and most obscure.

Yea, if there be a difference, the sleep of the labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much. He who toils hardest sleeps all the sounder for his work.

While luxurious effeminacy cannot rest, tossing itself from side to side upon a bed of eiderdown, the hard-working labourer, with his strong and powerful limbs, worn out and tired, throws himself upon his hard couch and sleeps: and waking, thanks God that he has been refreshed.

Ye know not how much ye owe to God, that he gives you rest at night. If ye had sleepless nights, ye would then value the blessing. If for weeks ye lay tossing on your weary beds, ye then would thank God for this favour.

As sleep is the merciful appointment of God, it is a gift most precious, one that cannot be valued until it is taken away; yea, even then we cannot appreciate it as we ought.


by Frank Turk
It's sort of an odd hiatus when I keep poking my head back in for this and that (some of it: spoiling Dan's day), but it is what it is.

As some of you know, I have been conducting a dialog with a fellow from Central Time, USA (same area code, even, as me) over at a little blog called Notebook Luncheon.  Bryan is a continualist — a full-on Jack Deere daGifts kind of guy (who, if I am to be fair to him entirely, evangelizes foreign students at the local university, and has a lovely family) — and he and I have been asking each other questions about our place in the question of cessationism vs. continualism.  While neither one of us has any kind of triumphalistic view of the exchange there, I think it has been at least as helpful as my exchange with Adrian Warnock.  The most important thing, I think, in this situation, is that the two sides at least honestly put their differences on the table.  Bryan has done that, and of course I have done that.

The reason I stopped by this weekend was because of the chain of answer Bryan has made regarding whether or not we can tell if the continualist camp is theologically/doctrinally healthy or not.  His view of it, frankly, is that we have to assume the best and forgive the worst — but that the cessationist ought to consider that there's an explosion in moderate/conservative continualism right now.

I think his view of it is naive, and I wanted to spend a few minutes saying why.

1. My first contention is that if Bryan is able to make the claim that there is a “growth” in anything that resembles the net number of Continualists on Earth (and he does), he has all the tools he needs to take a look and see how many of them actually believe and practice his “moderate” version of Continualism — let alone any form more moderate, and especially any form less moderate than he is.  He can't claim, for example, that there is an explosion of continualist scholarship (he can count those noses) and then pretend he doesn't know if they are saying anything unorthodox (he doesn't know if any need a Kleenex?).

2. My second contention is that Bryan has a stunningly-Anglo-centric view of the Christian world.  What I am not saying is that he's any kind of a racist — because I know he is not.  What I am saying is that he somehow only measures the church by the people he can see in his small group at his local church.  I have no idea how he can do that when he, again, wants to make claims about how many new scholars there on on his side.  Maybe he only sees those he likes and ignores those he doesn't like?  If that's true, why is he so worried about all the ruddy cessationists?

3. My last contention is that while Bryan (like Adrian before him) has a crystal ball into the hearts of the Cessationist, where's his crystal ball into the hearts of those who are rightly counted on his side of the ledger?  Is it really so difficult to see that the Continualist movement is really chock-full of those who are far more interested in seed money than they are in the Word of God?  Is it really impossible to see that the followers of those people are legion compared to Bryan's small colony of moderates?  The blind spots which have been demonstrated in the blog so far (not much longer to the end, all) are startling.

That's all.  Have a nice weekend.


by Frank Turk
As many of you know, I am on hiatus, but being like that does not absolve one of his responsibilities to other people.  So for example, if a friend or an acquaintance to whom you own some small debt publishes a book while you are taking a long break from your world-famous blog, it seems right to come out of hiatus for a few minutes and give your friend a hand.  It wouldn't be a sin to do otherwise, but it would be a little thick.Some of you may know Alex from his previous book, Thriving at College. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, he earned a B.S. Degree at Alfred University in Ceramic Engineering and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Material Science & Engineering from U.C. Berkeley. He worked as an engineer for IBM for three years (1996-1999). From 2005-2007 he was an apprentice at The Bethlehem Institute (now Bethlehem College and Seminary), a masters-level theological training program overseen by Pastors John Piper and Tom Steller. During those years, Alex got his start in Christian higher education at Northwestern College. As of 2007, he’s been a professor of engineering and physics at California Baptist University.Back in 2011, I met Alex and tried to do a podcasted interview with him, but due to operator error in my equipment use, that never happened.  I dutifully posted a review of his previous book, and promised to help him with his next project as thanks for the time he spent (or wasted, as it might seem) with me at the Little Rock Airport.

This week, Alex is releasing his follow-up book Preparing your Teen for College. To read a thorough review and recommendation of this book, have a look at Bob Hayton's write-up as I think he covers more than enough ground to encourage you to buy this book if you have a teen who you are preparing for college.

However, I do have a few items about this book which you might also enjoy:

1. I really have no idea how the publishing industry decides on titles for books.  Actually, I do, and I hate it.  What Alex has written is a book on teen parenting — which takes a correctly-balanced view of academics in the whole picture of preparing a young person to launch into life — and they have wrapped it in cover which does two things: tries to leverage the franchise created by Alex's first successful book, and misleads you to think this books is really about college.  It's the second part which you ought to ignore because this book really isn't about college so much as it is about focusing on the right critical few items in parenting kids through teen years in our culture so that they will become faithful, useful adults when they leave your home.  There's a better book inside the cover than the title will lead you to believe.

2. It is rare for me to endorse a book over 400 pages which is not a reference book.  I'm endorsing this book in spite of its length.  Personally, I don't have a lot of use for a book which is too long to remember unless it is also worth filling with post-it tabs for reference in the future.  This book, which covers a lot of ground, will be one you'll want to read and mark up before your kids turn 12, refer back to as they turn 14 and 16, and then review and send off with them when they turn 18 and need to know the story behind all the things you expected from them.  To call this a reference book doesn't do it good service, but you will use it for reference after you read it the first time.

3. Alex doesn't need my endorsement. He has the likes of R.C Sproul, Doug Wilson, and Gene Veith endorsing this book. But he gets it because he's the real deal as a professor, a father, and a christian guy.

I'm a fan of Alex.  He would be a good life coach for you as a parent.