November 12, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

Nov 9 quotes

Concerning Red Cups, Coffee Companies, and Pseudo-Christian Things

Please don’t buy into this pseudo-Christian bologna. Perhaps instead of being phony, tell the barista that you hope they have a nice day. Get to know their names. (Your local barista does not make company policy.) Frequent there, and eventually, you might get to do real gospel work–sharing who Jesus is and what He has done for sinners (sinners who have done far worse things than not say, “Merry Christmas”).

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The New Intolerance of Student Activism

It ought to be disputed rather than indulged for the sake of these students, who need someone to teach them how empowered they are by virtue of their mere enrollment; that no one is capable of invalidating their existence, full stop; that their worth is inherent, not contingent; that everyone is offended by things around them; that they are capable of tremendous resilience; and that most possess it now despite the disempowering ideology foisted on them by well-intentioned, wrongheaded ideologues encouraging them to imagine that they are not privileged.

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How Arminian Has The Sanctification Debate Become?

Canons thoroughly demonstrate that when God elects someone to salvation, he will give them a living faith, assured confidence, peace of conscience, and every other saving good, including holiness. This makes the doctrine of election a sweet encouragement to the believer’s conscience, as God intended it to be. Maybe what this sanctification debate needs to recover is a robust understanding again of the Reformed doctrine of predestination.

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Study: Thankfulness still priority at Thanksgiving

Study: Thankfulness still priority at Thanksgiving

Posted on November 12, 2015 by Baptist Press

For Americans, Thanksgiving is about faith and family, and not much else, a new LifeWay Research study shows. More than half (56 percent) tell LifeWay Research the most important part of the annual holiday is ‘being thankful to God for my blessings.’

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Six signs of a dysfunctional home group

Six signs of a dysfunctional home group

Posted on November 12, 2015 by Christian Today

Most of us will have been part of a slightly dodgy one at some point, and here’s a few signs that yours might be one of them…

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3 Online Trends Parents Need to Warn Their Kids About

3 Online Trends Parents Need to Warn Their Kids About

Posted on November 11, 2015 by Crosswalk

Did you know that 70% of teens hide their online activity, 59% interact online with strangers, and one in twelve will meet that stranger in real life?

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Tell Us How to Help You Stand

by Erin Davis

How can we help you stand for truth? Weigh in.

This Changes Everything

by Samantha Nieves

Gospel focus cultivates gratitude in ways we’d never expect.

The Secret That Diamonds Tell

by Bethany Baird

We’re like diamonds in the rough. Unless we’re willing to endure the hard stuff, we’ll never fully develop into the gems God created us to be.

An Unexpected Prescription for Panic

by Erin Davis

I wish I was always cool as a cucumber, but the reality is that sometimes life makes me anxious. What should we do when anxiety hits? The Bible offers a surprising prescription.

Common Core and Eroding Education

It would appear our power grabbing U.S. government survived the backlash against the controversial implementation of Common Core State Standards in our education system. Sadly, many citizens have no idea what this is all about. The stage had to be set years ago and the players had to be in place in order for such […]

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Coming Together as “One”

There is a unity of true believers Jesus prayed for in John Chapter 17–where the apostles would be one in belief, purpose and love of and commitment to God and His Word. Then there is the counterfeit “unity” that Satan has been orchestrating in the darkness, convincing men that if we just come together and […]

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Cheapening Grace, Part Three – Church & Culture Blog

So what does it mean practically when we cheapen grace? There is an interesting case study in the New Testament in one of the letters written by the Apostle Paul to the church at Corinth related to an incident of cheap grace.
I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you — something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother. You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship.
Even though I am not with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit. And as though I were there, I have already passed judgment on this man in the name of the Lord Jesus… you must throw this man out…. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough?
When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in [such sins]…. Don’t even eat with such people.
It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” (I Cor. 5:1-13, NLT)
Someone in the church was engaging in a sexual sin. He was unwilling to repent, unwilling to say it was wrong, and he even flaunted it. In my time as a pastor, sadly I’ve seen this happen first-hand. And when you see people make a choice against the moral will of God, they tend to go in one of three directions: repent, flee or harden.
Those who repent have their heart break over what they’ve done, they seek forgiveness and reconciliation and do whatever it takes to get back on track.
Those who flee do so because they don’t want to stop what they’re doing, and they don’t want to have to face the consequences of what they have done. So they flee the church, the people in the church or those that represent their faith, and sometimes, even their closest friends and family. They run away from responsibility and accountability and they have too much pride to come clean about their sin or failure or weakness.
Those who harden themselves, however, are the ones who put their souls in the most danger. They make a choice for sin and disobedience, which they know is wrong, but instead of repenting, or even running away, their hearts turn hard and they say, “Who are you to tell me what’s wrong?  Don’t judge me!”
Then they get militant, mean-spirited, hardened, resolved, defiant and rebellious about their choice. It’s frighteningly dark. They shut down their hearts and turn cold and rebellious. Morality is flipped on its head as bad becomes good, wrong becomes right, and some even become almost boastful about their choice.
Paul felt it important to write to the Corinthians about this because the church had so screwed up grace that they thought the only thing real grace called for was acceptance, affirmation, and continuing on as if nothing was happening! Paul’s response to this was swift and to the point:
… you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship. (I Cor. 5:2, NLT)
Now we don’t like words like that, but the alternative is to make the church’s reputation a joke. And even worse, to fail to act would be to trample on the cross of Christ and make a mockery of it.
We are not to judge others in the world, but we are to make honest assessments of ourselves as Christ followers. And if someone claims to be a Christ follower and flagrantly parades a life that dishonors Christ, then we are to stand up for the reputation of Christ and His Church.
Paul says we should not even eat with them – meaning, socialize with them – while they are in that state, because it sends out the signal we are affirming their choices. They must know that no one associated with Christ feels anything but disdain for those actions.
Grace is meant to be applied to something. But make sure you understand it is not to be applied to sin. Grace is applied to repentance and to remorse. Grace is applied to someone who screws up, but admits they have screwed up.
For someone who refuses to do that, who flagrantly flaunts their sin, grace doesn’t apply to that. Grace is not about an easy “off the hook” for whatever you want to do, and it’s not about affirmation. Grace isn’t about accepting someone who says they are in Christ when they are living in a way that shames Christ – and they know it, and don’t care.
So be careful when you say, “Well, I sin, too, so who am I to judge?”
That’s not what this is about. There are things we are supposed to be discerning about. There are things that no matter how sin-stained we are, the church is to look at and take a stand against for the sake of Christ such as the wholesale embrace of sin without remorse, without blushing, flagrantly flaunting it before the world as if it’s honoring Christ.
That is beyond heinous, beyond shameful and beyond repugnant. That’s cheap grace, which is no grace at all. And you have to get this right or you screw up the entire Christian faith.
So has Meck ever removed people from membership for this? Sadly, yes. Not often – in fact I can’t even count it on one hand. But we’ve done this because the church is to be protected. The church has a collective witness; it stands for something, and membership should stand for something.
Because Christ stands for something.
If there is a habit or pattern or act of sin that brings reproach upon the church and its mission and ministry, a member who refuses to turn away from a life that brings shame on the reputation of Jesus, it must be dealt with by the leaders of the church  lovingly, and as privately as possible, with the goal of repentance and restoration. But it must not be avoided.
Grace is to flow freely toward our sin. We are all sinners – weak, frail and fragile. And we screw up a thousand times a day. The grace that was gifted to us through Christ not only saved us from our sin, but continually washes over us every day of our life. And we are to make sure we let it wash over others in Christ. No one was more of a champion for that grace than the Apostle Paul.
But when someone wants to take that amazing grace and cheapen it, distort it, reconfigure and redefine it for the purpose of pursuing sin, to use grace to say that their sin is good, acceptable, or not sin at all…
That cannot be allowed.
And the church, and those in it, must be clear about this. Or else the world will believe that we approve of such behavior, and thus dishonor the name of Christ. And we cannot, must not, dishonor the name of Christ.
So where are you with cheap grace? C.S. Lewis once wrote that God gives when He finds empty hands. Are your hands empty? Empty through remorse or repentance? Or are they full because you are clinging to your sin? Defiant?
Grace must be received. You empty your hands by admitting guilt. If you admit no guilt, there can be no forgiveness. That’s why cheap grace is no grace at all.
But real grace?
Nothing is more amazing.
James Emery White
C.S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady.
Adapted from the third installment of “Getting Grace Right,” a series at Mecklenburg Community Church, Charlotte, North Carolina. If you would like to listen to this address as originally delivered, as well as the series of which it was a part, click here. To read the first two installments of this blog series, click here.

About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

What Seems Right May Be Wrong

Every Christian wants to see the church grow. Jesus made it clear before He ascended to the Father that His followers are to be His witnesses. Believers are called to share the good news of the gospel until He returns. We want to see our churches filled to overflowing. This is right. But what happens when the Christian church, in its zeal to reach the unconverted, begins to embrace methods to attract the lost that are extra-biblical?

We must always remember that a zealous Christian leader, who has the ability to communicate, can be a subtle deceiver if he or she mixes truth with error. That is why everyone needs to be open to correction from God’s Word. Further, it is a fact that when those who are deceived (yet convinced they are standing on the truth) are confronted with biblical truth, they simply cannot see their error.

In the book of Proverbs, we are told why. Solomon wrote, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.” [1] Then to make the point even more evident, a few verses later we are admonished, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” [2]

The Bible clearly warns us that we are to be cautious about following the ideas of men, when the men who are promoting the ideas may be ignoring what God has said in His Word. In other words, there is a danger when we pay attention to what men are saying if what they are saying does not line up with what God has already said in His Word.

At the present time, there is a trend well underway that is enticing many Christians. They perceive that this present generation is attracted to experience and not impressed by biblical exegesis. If a church can provide the “Christian experiences” that attract their attention, Christianity can be expanded. Sensory, experiential, liturgical, and sacramental encounters, they say, can be effective.

However, based on church history, such methodology has been around for a while. While it may attract those who are looking for a spiritual experience, experience without a biblical basis can be very deceptive. What’s more, if that experience has an occultic premise, it is downright dangerous.

Once more, the Scriptures shed light on what happens when human ways are promoted without God’s endorsement. Jesus said:

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, hear, and understand.[3]

It’s as simple as this: Methods based on man’s views can be right in the eyes of men but in opposition with Jesus and His Word. That is why we must be like the Bereans who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” [4]

Remember – the last days will be days when deception will grow stronger and stronger. Deception means that truth can be compromised. Let us thank God we have His Word to keep us on track.

[1] Proverbs 16: 2

[2] Proverbs 16: 25

[3]  Matthew 15: 9-11

[4]  Acts 17:11


Spiritual Growth Is Not Optional

Spiritual Growth Is Not OptionalGod is not done with his work when we first believe and are saved. He intends day by day to make us into what we already are in Christ. Spiritual growth is not optional or marginal in the Christian life. Every person that truly believes in Christ is being increasingly transformed into his likeness.

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Theological Quizzes in PDF Format

Theology QuizzesA few weeks ago I began to share theological quizzes. These were created using software that allows them to be completed and graded interactively. Since I began sharing these quizzes, many people have requested versions they could download and print. I went ahead and created those versions as well, and you can now download them in PDF format. Each quiz contains a question sheet followed by an answer key. You are free to copy, share, and print them as you see fit.

As I complete new quizzes, I will add them to this page.

Check Out


Are You a Proficiently Reliant Pastor? | Jason Helopolous, The Gospel Coalition
Jason speaks to the importance of a pastor’s personal relationship with God and how it relates to his ability to pastor.

Do men need sex? Wants vs. needs and the making of weak men | Musings of a Christian Psychologist
“…when we see [sex] as a need, we are encouraging men to see themselves as weak and incapable of living without sex.”

Marriage is Not the Most Sanctifying Agent | Sayable
Great thoughts by Lore not only on sanctification but also on checking our clichéd phrases by the Word of God.

Christian toyshop owner puts Sunday over sales | Aaron James, Premier

How To Get Students To Stop Using Their Cellphones In Class | NPR
Should college classrooms be no-phone zones? An innovative solution.

New Book

Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul David Tripp ($9.59 Kindle, $14.49 Hardcover)]

Kindle Deals

Special pricing on three of my eBooks.

The Christian Ministry by David Murray ($0.99)

The Christian Life by David Murray ($0.99)

The Christian Faith: Teaching Outlines from the Westminster Standards by David Murray ($0.99)

And here’s one that came highly recommended to me. It’s about the construction and destruction of the railroad to the Florida Keys.

Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean $1.99.


Chris Christie’s Plea To Change How America Handles Drug Addicts
Moving words from this politician about how our society views life from beginning to end.

Help For Hurting Churches Dealing With Apostacy

What would you say to a church where two of its most promising young “Christians” had not only left the faith but had turned against it with mockery and hostility? That’s the very real scenario I was asked to address a while ago at a small gathering of pastors and elders. It is undoubtedly one of the most agonizing and disturbing experiences in the Christian life when a dear friend or family member, abandons his/her profession of faith. I’ve known this very personally and painfully, both among my relations and in my pastoral ministry.

I was asked to give some guidance to these pastors and elders on how to deal with such situations in their own congregations. I assumed that every attempt had been made to recover the lost “sheep,” and that the members had been excommunicated. So my advice was really limited to how to minister to the hurting and puzzled sheep who remain. Leaning heavily on John Owen’s epic work on apostasy, I suggested a series of sermons on the following themes (the same subjects should also be emphasized in pastoral visitation).

1. The perseverance of the saints

Some Christians will be shaken by the apostasy of another professing Christian. “If he can fall then what hope is there for me?” So, preach God’s great promises of eternal security to His true people (John 6:394010:28,29).

2. Apostasy is to be expected

This should really be preached before apostasy occurs, to prevent people being taken by surprise when it does happen. The whole Old Testament is a story of Israel’s apostasy. In the New Testament, we have individual apostates such as Judas and Demas. Some in Corinth denied the resurrection, and some in Galatia went back to the law as a way of salvation. No wonder the Apostles urged the churches to expect apostasy (Acts 20:29-30; 1 Cor. 11:19; 1 Tim. 4:1; 5:8; Jude; 1 John 2:19).

3. The danger areas of apostasy

John Owen highlighted three areas in which apostasy usually begins: doctrine, lifestyle, and worship.

Owen traced doctrinal apostasy to a lack of Christian experience. He said that when someone has no experience of personal need, no sense of God’s righteousness, no spiritual sight of Christ’s glory, no submission to the sovereignty of God, and no trembling at God’s Word, then doctrinal apostasy is just around the corner.

Owen actually regarded an unholy lifestyle as more likely to produce apostasy than abandoning some Christian doctrines. He saw both legalism and lawlessness as leading eventually to apostasy.

Owen also argued that if we neglect, refuse to observe, or add to God’s instructions for worship, apostasy will not be far behind.

Pastors should highlight these three danger areas of doctrine, lifestyle, and worship, and urge watchfulness upon the flock.

4. The causes of apostasy

Owen went on to list particular causes of apostasy, so that pastors and their congregations will “watch and pray.”

  • Deeply-rooted and unremoved enmity in the minds of many against spiritual things
  • Pride and vanity of the mind which refuses to bow before the authority of Scripture
  • Sloth and negligence
  • False assurance and groundless self-confidence
  • False sense of security due to neglect of the Spirit’s warnings about apostasy
  • Love of the world and its passing pleasures (Demas in 2 Tim. 4:10)
  • As the first “apostate” Satan draws many into apostasy and forces others to apostatize through persecution
  • Persons in high positions in the church leading evil lives (Jer. 23:15; 1 Sam. 2:12-17)
  • Unrepented national sins that influence the people
  • Divisions in the church
  • The uselessness of many Christians

5. The distinction between a stumble (Peter) and a fall (Judas)

Pastors need to skillfully distinguish between a Christian’s stumble and an apostate’s fall. Every Christian errs in doctrine, falls into sin, and offers faulty worship from time to time. That does not make them an apostate. Owen defined apostasy as “continued persistent rebellion and disobedience to God and his word,” or “total and final and public renunciation of all the chief principles and doctrines of Christianity.”

6. The abomination of apostasy

Hebrews 6 describes apostasy as “crucifying again the Son of God and putting him to an open shame.” By declaring they have tried Christ and His Gospel and found no truth or goodness in them, apostates do exactly what the Jews did. In fact, Owen says Christian apostasy is worse because the Jews did it in “ignorance.”

7. God’s judgment on apostasy

In addition to reminding the professing Christians in the congregation of how abominable apostasy is in God’s sight, they also need to be shown from Scripture the temporal, spiritual, and eternal judgments that fall on apostates. God uses His descriptions of how he abominates and judges apostasy as a means of grace to keep people from apostasy.

8. The need for perseverance

God’s great promises of the perseverance of the saints are given to those who persevere in the means of preservation that God has provided. Christians need to be reminded of the incalculable need and value of the Church, the Word, the sacraments, and fellowship.

9. How to avoid apostasy

John Owen wanted Christians to know that apostasy could be avoided by heart-cure and heart-care (Prov. 4:23). Keep the Gospel at the very center of our hearts; love its truth and experience its power there. Keep sin out of our hearts, especially the highly-dangerous sins of spiritual pride and a censorious, judgmental spirit.


When apostasy occurs in a congregation, it is often tempting to ignore it and put up the “business as usual” sign. However, this does not address the deep needs of Christians and non-Christians who are hurt and perplexed by such events. It also misses the opportunity to prepare the church for future disappointments. So, I would encourage pastors and elders to focus on these nine themes, both in public and in private.

Looking Death in the Face

Birth and death are the brackets of life which enclose us in the present. They are, however, quite different — birth exudes potential; death offends it, bringing life to a bitter and abrupt conclusion. Try as we may, even the best embalmers fail to restore the beauty of life.

It is taboo to talk about death, that is, until it is foisted upon us. Having looked into the face of death three times in the recent past, I have a few observations. The first instance was a stillborn child. I met baby Iris in an isolette beside her sleeping Mother, wrapped in a blanket with a cute little hat on her head. Looking down upon this precious baby, now dead, I was struck by death’s irreversibility. It destroys our hopes, dreams, and longings. Unnatural and grotesque, death — especially this sort — is a nightmare.

Through his death and resurr­ection­, Jesus conquered death’s claim, robbing it of its sting.


Much different by comparison, the second encounter with death struck a 94-year-old woman who happened to be my beloved Grandmother. She died with peace and dignity, surrounded by family and friends. I am told that before her final breath, Grandma was talking to deceased relatives as though they were at the foot of her bed. Perhaps the most poignant moment occurred at the funeral when my five cousins and I carried her casket into the church. Six Italian boys, whom Grandma once carried into their little sleeping bags after a long night of dancing the tarantella, now carefully bore her body to its final resting place.

The third instance of death happened closer to home when I learned that my wife had experienced a miscarriage. The words of Job 1:21 welled up within me, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Death, even when it is in utero, is a wound to the living.

Responding to Death

When I visited baby Iris, I was greeted by her Daddy, a young man whose wedding I officiated. He escorted me to the isolette and asked, “Would you like to see our beautiful. daughter?” I must confess, even though I have sat beside several dying congregants as a pastor, this was too much to bear. After a deep breath I silently prayed, “God, please give me a timely word for this Dad.” I then looked him in the eye and stated, “One day, when Jesus returns with healing in his wings, the light of his presence will illumine the face of dear Iris. On that day she will look at you with a smile as wide as the horizon and call you ‘Daddy.’ Now is the time for grief, tears, and indescribable loss, but the day is coming when God will wipe away our tears and make all things new.”

Does theology matter? You’d better believe it. In such moments it means everything. Such was also evident at Grandma’s wake service. The associate pastor from her Catholic parish offered a homily: “Because Grandma was a good person, we can be sure that she is in heaven. And since she is now in heaven with Jesus, she serves as our connection to God. Therefore, we ought to pray to Grandma and let her bring us to Jesus.” It was a theological (and pastoral) train wreck.

Thankfully, I had been asked to conclude the service. It turned out to be the longest benediction I’ve ever given in my life: “Dear family and friends, there is one name under heaven by which we are saved, Jesus Christ. There is one Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus. And let us be clear, there is one name in which we dare to approach Almighty God in prayer; it is the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” The relevance of theology is most evident when we find ourselves before a loved one staring at her coffin.

The Opportunity of Death

When the friends of Job visited him after his children’s death, they missed an opportunity. They started well by joining their tears with his and then sitting on the ground for seven days and nights without speaking. Such empathy and economy of words is always appropriate in the midst suffering. “I am sorry,” is usually the best response. “I know how you feel,” is typically not. An arm on the shoulder, a kiss on the cheek, these are the gestures that comfort. To simply be present, sitting quietly and available to listen, is perhaps the greatest gift that we can offer. Job’s friends managed to do this for a week. If only they had continued.

After an appropriate period of quietness in which the grieving person overcomes the initial shock of death, we ought to offer an expression of hope. It may sound cliché to unbelieving ears, perhaps even presumptuous; but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the antidote to grief. In Job’s words:

For I know that my Redeemer lives,

and at last he will stand upon the earth,

and after my skin has been thus destroyed,

yet in my flesh I shall see God,

whom I shall see for myself,

and my eyes shall behold, and not another. (Job 19:25-27)

When death — the intrusive stranger — steps into our world to claim its due, we have no human recourse, no defense. The Grim Reaper’s sickle, however, only reaches so far. Yes, all of humanity is exposed to his blade, but there is One who has overcome the sickle. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus conquered the Reaper’s claim, robbing death of its sting. Now, through his shed blood and resurrection, men and women in Christ have the audacity to look upon caskets with hearts that are simultaneously aching and full of hope, knowing that today’s grief will eventually recede before the realization of eternal life.


Looking Death in the Face

The post Looking Death in the Face appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Why We Know the New Testament Gospels Were Written Early (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #51)

In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner Wallace describes the evidence for the early dating of the Gospels. Why is this issue important to those who are examining the claims of Christianity? How does early dating contribute to the reliability of the Gospel authors as eyewitnesses? What other problem does early dating resolve? (For more information, visit

Here is the audio podcast (the Cold-Case Christianity Weekly Podcast is located on iTunes or our RSS Feed):

Links I like


Christ in the Old Testament Infographics

David Murray and Cameron Morgan teamed up on a series of Christ in the Old Testament infographics. Be sure to grab these.

Patience is Not Optional for the Christian

Albert Mohler:

Most of us recognize that patience is one of the cardinal Christian virtues—we’re just in no hurry to obtain it. Others just define patience as a delay in getting what we want. As Margaret Thatcher once famously remarked: “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.” In today’s fast-paced society and self-centered culture, patience is quickly disappearing, even among Christians.

We All Got What We Wanted From the Red Cup

A thoughtful word from Aaron Earls:

Yes, we’re all tired of talking about it. The color of coffee cups has dominated social media feeds and water cooler discussions for the past few days.

But whether we care to admit it or not, everybody involved got what they wanted out of the Starbucks red cup controversy.

While you may have lost track of who exactly is outraged at whom, the winners in this latest cultural kerfuffle are obvious.

10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling

If someone in your life has been reading this book, this is worth reading. It’ll help you with figuring out the right questions to ask.

Debunking Stupid Statements about the Bible

Greg Gilbert:

Is having The Original Piece of Paper really the only way we can have any confidence that what we do have is in fact what was written? Are we forever doomed to saying that we don’t really have any idea what Homer or Plato wrote because we don’t have the pieces of paper on which they wrote The Odyssey or The Republic? Certainly not, and to say so would be ridiculously pedantic. So what about the documents of the Bible? Are we really left simply to give up and admit that all we have are a bunch of useless copies of copies of copies of copies, and that we’ll never have any confidence that what we have is what the authors actually wrote?

Well, no. In fact, even though we don’t have the Bible’s Original Pieces of Paper, we can in fact be highly confident that we know what those original pieces of paper said. Now how can that be?

A La Carte (November 12)

I managed to dig up only a couple of new Kindle deals today: The Archaeology Book by David Down ($2.99) and What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? by Ed Welch ($0.99). You might also enjoy God’s Crime Scene by J. Warner Wallace ($5.38).

Ten Diagnostic Questions for Your Marriage

Kevin DeYoung has some good, simple diagnostic questions for your marriage.

Patience is Not Optional for the Christian

Al Mohler: “Most of us recognize that patience is one of the cardinal Christian virtues—we’re just in no hurry to obtain it.”

By His Grace God Wounded Me

Darryl Dash: “I’m much weaker than I like to admit, and I carry more than I should. It’s good that I want to work hard and get things done; it’s bad that I forget that I’m weak, and that I carry anxieties I should have handed over to him a long time ago.”

Getting a Job in Publishing

Andy Le Peau offers some useful counsel on finding a job in the publishing field.

To Moms of One or Two Children

A mother of five children writes to mothers of one or two children.

This Day in 1950. Paul Tripp turns 65 today. You can wish him a happy birthday!

Evaluating Seventh-day Adventism

Nathan Busenitz provides a brief video introduction to Seventh Day Adventism. He also provides some analysis of what they believe and what areas are problematic.

We’re Moving to Greenland

I enjoyed this little photo essay on people who are moving to Greenland, of all places. And it made me wonder if there are sound, Evangelical churches in Greenland.

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The Daily Discovery (November 12, 2015)

(Click title to go to full article)

10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling – “Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling is a phenomenon that shows no signs of slowing down. According to publisher Thomas Nelson, it ‘continues to grow in units sold each year since it was released [and] has surpassed 15 million copies sold.’ Nelson is involved in an expansive new marketing campaign that involves a new web site and daily radio devotionals. ECPA reports that ‘Thomas Nelson began its partnership with the Salem Media group to provide 60-second daily messages on Eric Metaxas’ show, which is carried on more than 100 stations nationwide and worldwide on SiriusXM Radio. The Jesus Calling radio devotional reaches more than 500,000 people each day through these segments.’ With 15 million copies sold, it has marched its way into rare company.”

Scarlett Johansson, Sexing Up The Bible Won’t Defeat Christianity – “As a Christian, I don’t know if it’s good form to give tactical advice to those on the other side of the spiritual warfare battlefield. Since I don’t desire Christianity’s destruction, I probably shouldn’t offer any pointers for how to accomplish this to those want to raze the world’s sanctuaries and tango atop the rubble.
On the other hand, Jesus did promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against his church, so giving despisers of the faith a more effective strategy to accomplish a goal they’ll never accomplish is a bit of a sanctified brag, a holy boast in the Savior whose supposed weakness is infinitely stronger than the strength of his enemies. So, in response to Scarlett Johansson reading sections of the Bible in a ‘porn voice’ on ‘Saturday Night Live’ writer Mike O’Brien’s upcoming comedy album, let’s go with the other hand.”

Heck: It’s not civil rights — it’s a revolution – “At the outset of the modern gay rights movement in 1989, homosexual activists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen authored a text called ‘After the Ball,’ in which they laid out a comprehensive strategy to revolutionize American society in favor of homosexualism. Eschewing mere tolerance or acceptance, Kirk and Madsen made clear the objective of the movement would be complete conversion of American society, affirming that it was their ‘highest goal.’”

3 Ways Women in Ministry Can Humbly Submit to Church Leaders – “In the course of ministry and editing Word-Filled Women’s Ministry, co-editor Kathleen Nielson and I heard many women grieve over their pastors’ lack of support for women’s ministry. But we’ve also heard many cheerfully report ministry among women is thriving because of their pastors’ involvement.”

Patience is Not Optional for the Christian – “Most of us recognize that patience is one of the cardinal Christian virtues—we’re just in no hurry to obtain it. Others just define patience as a delay in getting what we want. As Margaret Thatcher once famously remarked: ‘I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.’ In today’s fast-paced society and self-centered culture, patience is quickly disappearing, even among Christians.”


John MacArthur – The Lord’s Word to His Church: Laodicea


Confess With Your Mouth and You Will Be Saved?

Beware Of The False Conversion

“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur

Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)

What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.

What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.

The Gospel on 5 Fingers

If you picked up a hitchhiker (not that I recommend doing that) and he saw a Bible on your car seat and said, “I’ve heard about this thing called the Gospel – can you explain it to me before you drop me off in one minute up the street?” What would you say?

Can you explain the gospel in 30 seconds? In one minute? In five minutes?

Here’s one way I have found helpful. The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.

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

Resource Links is a website inspired by, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.

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 Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed

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