God is pleased to use ordinary people and ordinary conversations to do most of the heavy lifting in his kingdom. —Ed Welch
Imperfection and Initiative in the Christian Life
Will Christians ever completely obey God in this life? Absolutely not. So then we shouldn’t work hard to grow in holiness or exhort others to do the same? Again, the answer is no. The admission of imperfection does not have to be the enemy of endeavor. We can keep trying even if we know we will never fully succeed.
“It is Going to Be an Issue” — Supreme Court Argument on Same-Sex Marriage Puts Religious Liberty in the Crosshairs
We will soon find out just how tolerant those who preached tolerance for same-sex marriage will turn out to be, now that they are ascendant in the culture. Meanwhile, even as we were repeatedly told that warnings about threats to religious liberty were overblown, the truth came out before the Supreme Court yesterday. Take the Solicitor General at his word. “It’s going to be an issue.”
The Speech Police Are at the Door
In an April 18, 2015 article entitled “It is time to put an end to anti-choice speech,” Tanya Cohen (who says she is dedicated to “freedom, respect, equality, dignity”) argues that though “people have freedom of speech, [they] also have freedom from certain kinds of speech…that have no place in society.” We would want to ban hateful, racist speech, but notice what else Cohen is eager to ban.
What Should the Church Expect as Same-Sex Marriage Moves Forward?
And here’s what it’s meant for the church here, at least insofar as I’ve been able to see: evangelical pastors have been able to, at least to this point, conscientiously object to performing same-sex ceremonies. We have also, at least so far, been free to continue to teach what the Bible says about marriage and human sexuality, though technically I am at risk for prosecution for simply having positively reviewed Kevin DeYoung’s latest book. There hasn’t been a great deal of witch hunting at this point.
Church ministry is busy. There is paperwork that needs to be filed. There are letters that need to be written. There are phone calls and emails and texts. In the midst of all the busyness of ministry, be mindful of those ordinary things to which the elders have been called. They are called to minister the Word. That is done through preaching especially; as well as discipleship, family visitation, and counseling. And they are called to prayer; both public, with brother elders, and in private.
Purity Through Food: How Religious Ideas Sell Diets
He is not at all alone in approaching food production through the romantic lenses of nature and the past. Combine that with basic puritanical fears of pleasure and the monotonic fallacy that if something is impure it must be totally avoided, and almost any popular dietary approach can be explained.
What Not to Say to Someone Who Has Been Hurt By Church
One of the most effective ways to silence a victim is to fill them with a false sense of guilt. The victim is led to believe that talking is only going to make things worse, and whatever happens as a result is their fault. Certainly, exposing spiritual abuse can divide a congregation. But that’s not a consequence of the victim talking. It’s a consequence of the abuse perpetrated in the first place.
Fear and Faith
One thing that many who are plagued by fear will like about this book is that Trillia uses the testimonies of others to God’s faithfulness in the midst of great personal trial. These testimonies don’t end all tied up in a fearless bow either. I think that Trillia wanted to really send the message that we are not alone in our temptations to be captivated by fear, and that there are many in the church who have gone before us to encourage us now.
About Bruce – Church & Culture Blog
The transgender journey of Bruce Jenner was almost old news even before it was aired on a highly-watched “reveal” hosted by Diane Sawyer. But what isn’t old news is our current “transgender tipping point,” fueled not only by Jenner but such media shapers as the Netflix hit Orange is the New Black.
We shouldn’t be surprised.
Mainstream acceptance of homosexuality and the legalization of gay marriage virtually demand the acceptance of almost any other lifestyle.
And first in line is the “T” in LGBT.
How should a thinking Christian…well, think about this?
He Who Has an Ear
The Founding Fathers of this nation realized the dangers of a powerful federal government. From the establishment of the Constitution to the Bill of Rights to the insistence on States’ Rights, our founders realized that centralized power was an open door for corruption and tyranny. They knew that sinful men could not be trusted to […]
DNA editing takes a serious step forward — for better or worse
by Marsha West
The L.A. Times has a story (below) questioning whether or not DNA editing is a good thing or a bad thing. We’re all aware that there are serious ethical and safety implication of doing this sort of research. What is the Christian to make of all this? In “The Christian and Genetic Engineering” Michael McKenzie calls […]
People with Hard Lives – This is an interesting excerpt from Carl Trueman: “Being a theologian of the cross gives you something to say to real people who are suffering.” Be sure to give it a read.
What Influence Do You Have on Your Children? – John MacArthur: “Christian parents today desperately need to own this simple principle. Before the throne of God we will be held accountable if we have turned our children over to other influences that shape their character in ungodly ways.”
The Monster Within – The Biblical Counseling Coalition takes a look at eating disorders and how to counsel those who have one.
How to Shut Down Gossip – “Gossip is one sin that seems to fall in the spiritual ‘No-Man’s Land’ between passivity and vigilance. But this should not be. Gossip is the RPG that blasts holes in the fabric of the church.”
When Mount Everest Shook – Here is an account of what happened on Mount Everest during the earthquake.
Nothing to see here?
There is so much to pray about today.When the government and military combine forces on a global scale, you’ve got the beginning of the end. And what are we doing about it? Joining us for this segment is Doug Wakefield, president of Best Minds, Inc. Doug has been in the financial industry as an advisor […]
How To Take Christ out of Christianity @AlanaMassey @WashingtonPost
by Denny Burk
Last week Alana Massey wrote a fascinating piece for The Washington Post titled “How To Take Christ out of Christianity.” The gist of the article is this. Churches need to make room for unbelievers who do not want to follow Christ but who want to remain connected to the community and moral vision of Christianity. That is precisely what she wishes for herself, an unbelieving Episcopalian. She writes:
Christians and Violent Entertainment
This past weekend I had a wonderful time at the Truth & Love Conference in Dallas, Texas. It was edifying to hear how we, as Christians, should prepare for and respond to the homosexual movement that is overtaking us like a tsunami. There was sweet worship, great fellowship, and engaging teaching. It was also just plain cool to see a man in the flesh that I have listened to for years, Dr. James White. Overall, I think it was a good-sized crowd in attendance. But there were plenty of empty seats. I find myself wondering if some of those seats were empty because of an event that had a completely full house…
The boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night was billed as “The Fight of the Century”. The venue, the MGM Grand Garden arena in Las Vegas, has a reported capacity of 16,800. When tickets went on-sale, they were sold-out in less than a minute. On Pay-Per-View, so many people were trying to tune-in that it caused cable outages, resulting in a 45-minute delay of the fight itself. As for the number of viewers:
What the Media Isn’t Telling You Regarding the Judicial Arguments Over Same-Sex Marriage
by Michael Kruger
There has been a lot of talk in the last week over the oral arguments presented for and against same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court. Not surprisingly, the mainstream media is presenting the outcome as a foregone conclusion. There are no reasonable or logical reasons to be against it, we are told.
But, there is one main reason to be against same-sex marriage that the mainstream media simply won’t talk about. And it is a reason I’ve mentioned numerous times on this website (e.g., see prior post here and here), and that many others have also observed.
The Rise of the Feminine Church of Eden
There’s no doubt that women are gaining a substantial voice in the Evangelical Church today. There’s Beth Moore, who travels extensively, speaking at conferences to audiences of both men and women. There’s Ann Voskamp, a well-known writer of personal religious experiences, and of course similar author, Sarah Young. Priscilla Shirer is gaining popularity among Evangelical congregations as well. And of course there are the famous Word of Faith pastrixes, Christine Caine and Joyce Meyer. There are many others, including Lisa Bevere, Paula White, Kelly Minter, Angie Smith and Margaret Feinberg. But what do these women all have in common? They either teach something unbiblical, practice something unbiblical, or in most cases, both.
For example, Beth Moore is known for channeling spirits claiming to receive direct revelation from God. She claims God “lifted her up” and “gave her a vision” that Roman Catholics and Protestants should forget their doctrinal differences and unite. Priscilla Shirer, a disciple of Moore, is a promoter of contemplative prayer and other mystical activities. Best selling author Ann Voskamp regularly blogs and writes about imaginative romantic love encounters she has with God, and so on. Nearly every one of these women who are rising in popularity have a regular audience of not just women, but men; and not men who are there to critique her work or to make sure she is biblically sound and safe for his beloved wife to listen. No, they are there to learn from and be instructed by these women just like the wives are. But can we really blame the problem on the women?
Glenn Beck receives a “mantle” from a false prophet
by Marsha West
If you’re among those who are wondering what in blue blazes a “mantle” is and why Glenn Beck received one, you’re about to find out. Because Glenn Beck was involved, the ceremony, held at the Global Spheres Center, caught the attention of the news media and quickly spread throughout the blogosphere. In this piece by CRN General Editor Marsha West you’ll learn who bestowed the “mantle” on Beck and what it all means.
Singleness Myth #1: Marriage = Completion
by Pastor J.D.
It doesn’t take a sociological sleuth to recognize that our society is more than a little confused about sex and relationships. But two of the biggest—and most destructive—relationship myths in our society are actually just as prevalent in the church. In fact, at times they are more prevalent in the church. Not only are these two myths simply not true; they are also incredibly destructive.
Today we’ll look at Myth 1, and pick up with Myth 2 on Wednesday.
Myth 1: Marriage = Completion
The idea here is a simple one: being married is superior to be single. This myth assumes that marriage and the traditional family is the ultimate state of mankind. The flip-side of this is that if you miss out on marriage, you miss out on the essence of a full life. Singleness is inferior and incomplete.
On Being Radical for God
by Bill Muehlenberg
In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul mentions some episodes from Israel’s life about how Yahweh judged them for their sins as recorded in parts of Exodus and Numbers. Then he says this in v. 6: “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.”
And in vv. 11-12 he says similar things: “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
Paul would have of course had much more than just these few Old Testament episodes in mind as something Christians today should not forget. Believers need to remember what happened back then, and learn the lessons thereof. That is why all Christians should never stray long from the OT. There is so much there which we need to learn about today.
One sure sign of salvation, and one sure sign of progression in sanctification, is a hatred of sin. This is not only a hatred of sin’s consequences, but a hatred of sin as it is—rebellion against a just and holy God.
A.D. The Bible Continues— Episode Five
One of the angles Downey and Burnett have chosen to pursue in order to fill out the story of early Christianity is by exploring the nature and fate of the Zealots, those in favor of the violent overthrow of Rome, sometimes at whatever cost. In Episode Five with follow the story of Boaz the Zealot, [Read More…]
How Christianity Makes Better Sense of Suffering
A common challenge by atheists raises questions that most Christians feel ill-equipped to handle. I know from first hand experience how unsatisfactory many of our “answers’ may seem. Take this question, for instance: how, it is asked, can a “loving” God allow billions of unborn babies to die. Since the beginning of human history, God has allowed countless babies to die either before birth or shortly after. The Christian God, the argument goes, has taken no prudent or loving steps to protect unborn children nor has he done anything generally to alleviate the dreadful impact of the natural world on fragile human beings.
This challenge is but a variation on the standard challenge which, atheists contend, proves that the God of the Bible – a God who is both loving and powerful – cannot exist. But the challenge proves more about the presuppositions of the challenger than it does about the existence of God. There is an assumption at play here – that the only life there is is the “natural life” prior to death and that to be “loving,” God must allow all of us to have a full, long, happy and relatively pain-free life.
The Ultimate Roman Catholic Apologetic
After the Supremes, What’s Next?
The Supreme Court is now pondering the legal fate of marriage in this country. But that’s all it can do.
Listen Now | Download
Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor
If you want to read the tale of a pastor who really did some dumb things, keep reading.
I served as pastor of four churches. It was only by the grace of God and the graciousness of the congregations that I was called and allowed to stay at those churches. I absolutely love the members of those four congregations, and I will forever be grateful to them and for them.
Frankly, I’m not sure I would give myself a passing grade as a pastor. I messed up quite a bit. I would do several things differently today. And as a point of full disclosure, my list of nine is not close to being exhaustive.
- I neglected my prayer life and time in the Word too often. It sounds absolutely insane as I write it, but I got too busy for God. As a consequence, I operated out of my own insufficient power too many times.
- I neglected my family too often. Paul wrote these words to Pastor Timothy: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5, HCSB). Ouch. So many times I communicated through my actions to my family that they were not as important as other church members.
- I let the crisis of the moment overwhelm me. In doing so I did not trust in God to see me through the situation. And I did not have a longer-term perspective to understand that difficulties are only for a season.
- I perceived most of my critics as my adversaries. Some of my critics actually had constructive input. Others were going through their own struggles, and I was a convenient target. I took criticisms personally instead of responding pastorally.
- I competed with other churches. Shame on me. Too often I wanted my church to have a greater attendance than other churches in the area. I should have been praying for and working with those other church leaders more.
- I neglected praying with my staff. My prayer time with my church staff was haphazard at best. The one thing we needed to do the most, we were doing the least. I was a terrible leader on that front.
- I often worried about what others thought about me. My sole concern should have been how Christ-like I was. Too often I sought the approval of others rather than the blessings of God.
- I often yielded to unreasonable requests and demands. Instead of spending my time doing those things that really mattered, I gave in too often to the “squeaky wheel.” I sacrificed the great in order to do the good.
- I gave up too often. Due to frustration, exhaustion or, more often, lack of faith, I gave up on challenges too quickly. I am convinced I missed out on many victories when they were just around the corner.
Those are but a few of the stupid things I did as a pastor. Most of you can breathe a sigh of relief that I never served as your pastor.
So why I am writing these self-critical comments at this stage of my life? I pray that some of you may see something in your own lives and leadership that you can correct before it’s too late. God is able. God is willing.
I look forward to your comments.
This is really great.
What we tend forget is that the hymns or chants we love were once themselves “modern” and sometimes controversial based on their tune, tempo, or similarity to “pagan” music forms. Our desire for older music is misguided because we forget that our music will one day be the “ancient” music some pine for. Age of the song should be disregarded.
R.C. Sproul Jr:
Before we answer we have to confess that the ideology is not a direct assault on any of our most ancient creeds. Our Lord never spoke specifically against the peculiar sin that animated this small group. There may be a few obscure texts in the Bible that, indirectly it would seem, touch on the sin. But truth be told, one could preach through the whole Bible without ever having to actually name the twisted doctrine of this group.
We all know insincerity when we see it. Most of really don’t like it when we see it in others. And we roundly condemn misleading marketing by mendacious merchants.
But most of us also find it hard to fully live “without wax” ourselves. I know this by observation and experience. I know it mainly because I know me. I am a clay jar (2 Corinthians 4:7) — and one that is quite flawed. And my sin-nature is a mendacious marketing merchant. It does not want you or anyone else to see my defects. It wants to hide the defects behind a deceptive wax and sell you a better version of me than is real.
I live by lists. In fact, I take so much joy in crossing things off a list that if I do something that’s not on my list, I’ll write it on there just for the sheer pleasure of crossing it off. It’s encouraging to me, then, when I look to Scripture and see other list-makers (maybe there’s a place for us in the kingdom of God, too).
The Best Christian Case Making (Apologetics) Content on Twitter
If you’re a fan of my work here at ColdCaseChristianity.com, you already know how fond I am of Twitter. I scan and read over 400 Christian apologetics blogs daily and post the best evidential apologetics articles on my Twitter account. People have described it as the “Drudge Report” of Christian apologetics. I hope it has become a daily resource for you if you are interested in making a case for what you believe as a Christian. I also follow and read Christian Case Makers on Twitter and I was recently asked about who I follow. So, here is my list of the most useful, content rich, Christian apologetics feeds on Twitter. I am sure I am leaving someone out and you may even know a few I have missed. My criteria for inclusion on the list is simple:
These Accounts Are Focused on Apologetics Content
The accounts on my list are not primarily personal accounts filled with anecdotal information. I realize personal accounts have great value and are important for fans of apologists who want to gain insight into the life and activity of people making the case for Christ. Given my time constraints, however, I use Twitter as a newsfeed (I use Facebook for more personal interaction). So, I am featuring information rich accounts.
These Accounts Are Updated Regularly
I’ve included the most active Christian Case Makers on Twitter. I post 5-10 apologetics links a day. I realize that can be a lot for many people, but more than not tell me the feed has been a blessing. For this reason, I am featuring similarly “busy” Twitter feeds.
These Accounts Are Interactive
I try my best to respond to the people who connect with me on Twitter. It’s difficult to go into great depth on an issue when you are limited to 140 characters, but I am featuring folks who do their best to engage their followers.
All that being said, here are the Twitter accounts featuring (in my opinion) the best apologetics content from ministries, apologetics authors and speakers:
Believe it or not: 5 types of doubters
Hamlet said it eloquently:
Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.”
It’s not great theology, but makes a pretty rhyme. And the poem touches on a universal theme: what can we really believe for certain?
Doubt is a haunting reality in the lives of many churchgoers. Perhaps they are uncertain of their salvation, or they question the veracity of Scripture, or maybe even at times doubt that there is a God. Are these doubters saved? Isn’t the definition of a Christian one who trusts in Jesus? Can a person be a believer while maintaining disbelief or unbelief?
I find it helpful to distinguish between the variegated species of doubt that lurk in our hearts. B. B. Warfield acknowledged that when discussing doubt there are…
…shades of meaning expressed by our words: perplexity, suspense, distractions, hesitation, questioning, skepticism, shading down into unbelief.”
Let’s meet five doubters.
The way we show love to abusive leaders – “I’m generally not a fan of leadership conferences. While a lot of people really dig these sorts of events, they tend to not be my thing, either because they’re frustratingly free of mentions of Jesus, or they’re not terribly applicable for guys like me who don’t lead from the top.”
How Jesus’ Ministry Continues Today… Through Us – “Jesus is still working today. The Savior who cried “It is finished!” from the cross has purchased our salvation and accomplished the Father’s will. His atoning work on our behalf is complete, but His mission to gather people from every tribe, tongue, and nation is going forward.”
What Influence Do You Have On Your Children? – “You can’t save your children. You can raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord, guard them from the sinful influences and temptations of the world, and cocoon them in the fellowship of others who know and love God. But in the end, as we saw last time, their repentance and faith cannot be inherited or manufactured—salvation is God’s work, not yours. As a parent, your influence can only go so far.”
Psst… Lectio Divina… Your Mysticism is Showing – “One thing I appreciate about the clothing of Jesus’ day is that there were no zippers or grommets to contribute to a wardrobe malfunction. They also didn’t have to ensure the removal of an overkill of stickers and price tags. I think we’re all grateful when someone tells us we have a dryer sheet stuck to our sweater, but are we grateful when someone points out our theological loose threads?”
John MacArthur – No One Can Separate Us
The Missing Presence of God
You’re David and Goliath Is Your Problems?
“If you alter or obscure the Biblical portrait of God in order to attract converts, you don’t get converts to God, you get converts to an illusion. This is not evangelism but deception.” – John Piper
How Long Can This Go On?
Q. A quick look at current events makes it obvious that the World is being turned up side down. With every day that passes, it seems like something new happens to make me wonder how much longer we can go on? Are the Birth Pangs getting stronger and stronger? Surely we must be the last generation?
Conversations With The Dead
Q. My sister went to a necromancer / psychic / medium to find out if our dead and buried father is well and if he is OK. As far as I can understand the Bible, when we die we either go to heaven, to be in the presence of God, or if we’re not saved we go to Hades to await judgment. So, that means that there are no “lost souls” wondering around us on the earth. If that is true, then how can those mediums contact the dead?
The Lord’s Day
Q. Please explain to me why the Sabbath was changed to the Lord’s Day. Why did the Christian Church change the day when even our own Lord and Savior, as well as the Disciples, including Paul, honored the Sabbath?
Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?
“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime
9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.
The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?
Our Time is Short
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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