Daily Archives: June 21, 2014

A Very Disturbing Book

Green Baggins

Today I read this book. It was extremely disturbing to me. It was disturbing, not because I disagree with it, but because I was so shocked by it. I had been used to thinking about the reasons our children leave the church in this way: we haven’t trained them in apologetics, and so when they leave for college, their faith is attacked, and they do not have the weapons at hand to defend their faith, and actually share the gospel. To a certain extent, I think the previous analysis is still partially correct, but it has received a large wake-up call corrective from Ken Ham. His thesis, based on the research of Britt Beemer, is that very few people who leave the church do so because college started them on the road to doubt. In fact, they were already gone! Their doubts started (in 88% of the…

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This is Discipleship

Truth in Grace

This is Discipleship discipleship

Many techniques, programs and systems in the modern church are mistaken as discipleship. While those techniques may contain elements of discipleship, they are not the authentic thing. (See Part 1: “This is not Discipleship.”) This obviously begs the question: what is discipleship and what did Jesus mean when He gave us the Great Commission?

In spite of the King James’ use of the word “teach” for mathēteúō, all other translations, commentaries, and dictionaries are agreed that the word means more than simply teaching intellectual facts:

mathēteúō.Intransitively this word means “to be or become a pupil.” One reading of Mt. 27:57 has it with reference to Joseph of Arimathea; he is said to be a disciple of Jesus. In a distinctive transitive use (Mt. 13:52; 28:19; Acts 14:21) the NT also uses the term for “to make disciples.” Behind this sense possibly stands the…

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Nine Rapid Changes in Church Worship Services

If you were attending a church worship service in 1955 and then returned to the same church in 1975, the changes would be noticeable but not dramatic. Churches were slow to change over that 20-year period. If you, however, attended a church worship service in 2000 and then returned to that same church in 2010, there is a high likelihood you would see dramatic changes in just ten years.

So today, Jonathan and I discuss some of those changes that are happening in worship services. The related post for this topic was one that caused a lot of discussion and at least a little controversy. In this week’s episode, we share some of the reaction to the original post, dive deeper into some of the changes more, and I explain why I hate neckties.

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Much needed clarity on sanctification

On Wednesday of General Assembly, the Gospel Reformation Network sponsored a luncheon with Derek Thomas as the featured speaker. His subject was sanctification. It is an address that is desperately needed in the church today. As recent months have proven, it is desperately needed within the PCA where confusion over sanctification has been on public display. This is odd to me as a new Presbyterian given the fact that our confession of faith is quite clear on the doctrine of sanctification and the use of God’s law in the lives of believers.

After briefly summarizing six points that are generally agreed upon, Dr. Thomas offered three points of clarity concerning the doctrine of sanctification. Each of those points are appropriately pastoral. That is, a proper doctrine of sanctification never finally remains theoretical but speaks to how we actually live.

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Tim Challies: “So many young Christians have stunted their spiritual growth through what I callpornolesence. 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.”

Reading the Bible Narcissistically


At the Association of Biblical Counselors site, Pastor Tullian Tchividjian notes that:

“As Luke 24 shows, it’s possible to read the Bible, study the Bible, memorize large portions of the Bible–even listen to ‘expository’ preachers who are committed to preaching ‘verse by verse, line by line, precept by precept’—while missing the whole point of the Bible. It’s entirely possible, in other words, to read the stories and miss the Story.”

Read the rest of Tullian’s development of this idea at Reading the Bible Narcissistically.

Gentleness Evident to All

Gentleness (Phil 4;5)Last week, we considered Paul’s command for God’s people to be characterized by a gentle, forbearing, gracious spirit. There were five key features of that Gospel-shaped gentleness that is to dominate our demeanor as followers of Christ. And I focused the application of those features almost exclusively on how gentleness is to manifest itself in the life of the church. And that’s vitally important.

But Paul casts a wider scope than the family of God concerning on this command. Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your gentle spiritbe known to all men.” And so this reasonable flexibility, this temperate gentleness, this patient forbearance, this willing surrender of our own rights, and this happy contentment is to be made manifest not only to your family; not only to a certain group of Christian friends who are very easy for you to get along with; not even only to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. But your gentle spirit is to be made evident and manifest to all people. And if that’s the case, that means we are to manifest this gentleness in all the spheres of our life before unbelievers. Let’s consider a few of those.

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Who is intolerant because ashamed: creationists or evolutionary theologians?

It’s no longer easy to be a faithful Christian in America, says Dr. Robert P. George, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Our culture increasingly condemns Christian beliefs as bigoted and hateful:

“They despise us if we refuse to call good evil and evil good.” (American Christians Should Prepare to Be Despised, Official Tells National Prayer Breakfast, Rob Kerby, ChristianHeadlines.com, May 15, 2014)

The lost art of church discipline

The unacceptably high divorce rate in the church is an often lamented fact of modern life. Now it is true that the statistics are not actually as bad as they have been made out to be – the divorce rate among active evangelicals is actually significantly lower than in the general population – but the rate is still far higher than it should be.

Why is that? I would suggest one major contributor is that the church has virtually abandoned the practice of church discipline.

Do Not Be Surprised…This ‘n’ That (20 June 2014)


  • Yesterday was John MacArthur’s birthday.
  • What a horrible, lonely way to die, literally crushed by the bondage of your sin.
  • My alma mater is excited to announce its new chaplain, Sara Barton. Uh huh. Actually, though, she isn’t the first female to hold the position. I know, now you’re thinking I’m a closet egalitarian. Stay calm—I wasn’t actually saved when I attended there.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Thankful for this news about Tony Miano.
  • Are you sitting down? Benny Hinn is asking for money.
  • A lapsed Catholic visits Osteen’s Lakewood Church.
  • I don’t get “Christian” heavy metal. To me it’s a bit of an oxymoron, but that is just my opinion. Regardless, stories like this are unfortunate.
  • Got some extra cash laying around? Help ensure that James MacDonald keeps his spot on TBN! (Yes, more sarcasm.)
  • Al Mohler on Baptist polity and the integrity of the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • Pastor Mike Abendroth discusses false prophet Ellen G. White and the Seventh Day Adventist cult.
  • Last week on The Dividing Line, Dr. James White walked us through a study of flowers. Yes, flowers. Watch it. I think you’ll enjoy:


End Times Prophecy Headlines: June 21-22, 2014

End Times Prophecy Report

End Times Prophecy Report Headlines: Bible prophecy in Today's headlines. Bible prophecy in Today’s headlines.

End Times Prophecy Report
June 21-22, 2014

CommentaryAnd OPINION

Today’s piece will be short, as this writer has “promises to keep and miles to go before [he] sleep[s].”


DUBAI: 35 Things you see in Dubai every day – Interesting group of pictures (35 to be exact).  Dubai is one of the ultimate representations of this present world.  It is one of the wealthiest places per capita on earth.  Dubai is also one of the most expensive places on the planet.  It is a place of conspicuous consumption.  One suspects that it would be even more decadent than Sin City (Las Vegas) itself if not for the fact that it is a Muslim country.  Of course, just as in Christianity, there are many who wink at what their deity abhors.  35 pix worth the click.

EGYPT: Egypt’s Black Site Torture Camps


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As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis Says Nine Out of 10 Christian Bands Only Claim to Be Christian

Lead vocalist of Christian metal band As I Lay Dying Tim Lambesis is now serving time in prison for attempting to have his estranged wife killed by a hitman. The musician now says that he is actually an Atheist, and many so-called “Christian” bands are not what they claim to be either.

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March for Marriage Draws Thousands of Biblical Marriage Supporters to Washington, D.C.

Thousands marched on Thursday on the Capitol lawn in support for traditional marriage.
People chanted, “one man, one woman” during the rally and held signs in favor of traditional marriage.

“It’s biblically correct, not politically correct.” Cheryl Rupp, a 65-year-old woman said, of traditional marriage.

The March for Marriage was meant to show lawmakers that many Americans still support traditional marriage. However, a survey from the Public Religion Research Institute found that 53 percent of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

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7 Letters to Write Before You Turn 70

At AoM we’re great champions of the lost art of letter writing. Emails, texting, and the wide variety of other digital mediums available to us in the modern age are convenient and efficient, but they can’t hold a candle to the warm, tangible, classy nature of handwritten correspondence. Letters are the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door.

Of course, snail mail doesn’t need to replace our digital messaging — it’s just a satisfying activity (and even hobby, if you’d like) to take part in from time to time. It’s nice to have a pen pal or two you correspond with through real letters; being able to open the mailbox and find an envelope addressed to you is a true delight.

Beyond basic correspondence, there are 7 types of letters I suggest every man write at least once before they turn 70. Each kind of letter described below covers a different part of the human experience, and provides a benefit to both the writer and the recipient (though you don’t have to send them all). The former gets to participate in the exercise of putting words to feelings, a process that can hone gratitude, humility, and perspective on life. The latter gets to open an envelope filled with comfort and encouragement. It’s win-win.

With most of these types of letters, doing it once is definitely just the minimum goal. Making their writing a regular habit will keep the benefits flowing to you and the lucky recipients of your notes – until you’re 70 and beyond.

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Americans are getting into debt to afford food, gas

Credit is artificially cheap thanks to the Federal Reserve’s unwise experiments of the last 6 years. This cheap credit has filtered down to the consumer to some extent. But now prices are rising (also thanks to the Fed) and this cheap credit is being used by consumers just to make ends meet – again. (While at the same time feeding the rise in the price of consumer goods.)

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Obama widely expands government benefits for gay couples, allows burial in a national cemetery

A year after the Supreme Court struck down a law barring federal recognition of gay marriages, the Obama administration granted an array of new benefits Friday to same-sex couples, including those who live in states where gay marriage is against the law.

The new measures range from Social Security and veterans benefits to work leave for caring for sick spouses. They are part of President Barack Obama’s efforts to expand whatever protections he can offer to gays and lesbians even though more than half of the states don’t recognize gay marriage. That effort has been confounded by laws that say some benefits should be conferred only to couples whose marriages are recognized by the states where they live, rather than the states where they were married.

Aiming to circumvent that issue, the Veterans Affairs Department will start letting gay people who tell the government they are married to a veteran to be buried alongside them in a national cemetery, drawing on the VA’s authority to waive the usual marriage requirement.

In a similar move, the Social Security Administration will start processing some survivor and death benefits for those in same-sex relationships who live in states that don’t recognize gay marriage. Nineteen states plus the District of Columbia currently recognize gay marriage, although court challenges to gay marriage bans are pending in many states.

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