This and That – 10-22-16

Should Christians Feel Guilty All the Time? – Christians tend to motivate each other by guilt rather than grace. Instead of urging our fellow believers to be who they are in Christ, we command them to do more for Christ (see Rom. 6:5-14). So we see Christlikeness as something we are royally screwing up, when we really should see it as something we already possess but need to grow into. – Kevin DeYoung

20 Hungry Mongrels – We have gotten down to this atrocious choice because we have been following the “lesser of two evils” strategy for more than a generation. But when we see how the road we are on is taking us very bad places, our response ought to be to turn around. If we are under judgment, then the need of the hour is repentance. That means doing something different. Repentance is inconsistent with doing the same thing over again, only this time at the lowest levels ever. – Douglas Wilson


This and That – 09-17-16

Call to the Ministry Checklist – In my “Christian Ministry” class we put together a “Call the the Ministry Checklist.” Basically we went through the Bible, and a number of pastoral theologies, pastoral biographies, and blog posts on the subject and noted the most common recurring marks that were given by various authors. – David Murray

10 Things You Should Know about Definite Atonement – Christian doctrine is not arrived at by providing a few proof texts here or there. If we treated doctrine like that, then we would have to affirm justification by works and not justification faith alone, as there is a text clearly stating the former (James 2:24) but no such text stating the latter. The same may be said about other important doctrines like the Trinity or the two natures of Christ in one person. These doctrines are arrived at by holding together a range of biblical texts, while at the same time synthesizing internally related doctrines that relate to the doctrine in view. – Jonathan Gibson

This and That – 09-10-16

How to Talk to Your Children About Election 2016 – The most important step is to combat fear. That’s true in any election year, due to the way that partisans—and, sadly, especially Christians—speak in apocalyptic terms every four years. “If Barack Obama is elected, we won’t have a country left in four years,” was said many times in 2008. “Our country can’t survive the reelection of George W. Bush,” others said in 2004. Elections have consequences, yes. Elections are important, yes. But elections are not the pinnacle of history—for either good or for bad.  Our children should see that we are concerned about our country, but not that we are wringing our hands over the election. As Christians, we have an Apocalypse revealed to us. This isn’t it. – Russell Moore
An Open Letter to the Single Bag of Oreos at the Church Potluck – You are most welcome here! Amidst a shimmering, gelatinous sea of casseroles and Jello, you are a glorious beacon of preservatives and GMOs. You are also a symbol of hope and freedom, reminding all that attendance at a church potluck is not dependent on one’s ability to cook or one’s adherence to social conventions. You, the bag of ice, and the Fritos loudly declare that this is a safe place where judgment does not exist. – Stephen Altrogge


This and That 08-20-16

Should Christians Forgive No Matter What? – Should Christians forgive someone even if he’s not sorry? Or does true forgiveness require repentance and a desire to reconcile? This Saturday, on Up For Debate, Julie Roys will explore this issue with Chris Brauns, a pastor who believes forgiveness requires repentance, and Remy Diederich who believes it does not. – Up For Debate with Julie Roys

6 Reasons We Shouldn’t Freak Out over Word Variations in our Modern Translations – In reality, there is no such thing as a strictly “literal” translation, since all translations involve interpretation, all translations must render Greek and Hebrew grammar in ways that are understandable in English, and all translations have places that are “functional” in nature. At many points a literal rendering of Greek and Hebrew word order, for instance, would sound like gibberish in English! – George Guthrie

Some Things You Should Know About Christians Who Struggle With Anxiety – This is the anchor of our soul: That our status before God is secure because it’s not dependent on our turbulent feelings, it’s dependent on the finished work of Christ, and when God looks at us, even when we’re being smothered by a wet anxiety blanket, he sees a beloved child, perfectly clothed in the full righteousness of Jesus Christ. – Adam Ford

The Book of Proverbs and a Winning Strategy for Candidate Trump – So, here’s my counsel: Start every day by reading one chapter from Proverbs out loud, together with your closest staff or family or advisers, if possible. Then note what Proverbs says about wise people and fools, examine your conduct and your words in light of what you read, and then ask God for wisdom. – Michael Brown

This and That

A Pastor Is Not Married to the Church – More than 10 years ago, on the Sunday when my husband—newly graduated from seminary—was being ordained as a pastor, a godly older man approached us. “Well,” he said gravely to my husband, “today is the day you marry this church.”  My heart sank. I was ready to be the pastor’s wife. But I wasn’t ready to be the pastor’s other wife.  I’m so thankful I don’t have to be. – Megan Hill

Decency For President – I don’t know Mr. Trump. But I’ve been chagrined at his antics. He ridiculed a war hero. He made mockery of a reporter’s menstrual cycle. He made fun of a disabled reporter. He referred to the former first lady, Barbara Bush as “mommy,” and belittled Jeb Bush for bringing her on the campaign trail. He routinely calls people “stupid,” “loser,” and “dummy.” These were not off-line, backstage, overheard, not-to-be-repeated comments. They were publicly and intentionally tweeted, recorded, and presented. – Max Lucado

This and That 12-19-15

What Does the X in Xmas Mean? – First of all, you have to understand that it is not the letter X that is put into Christmas. We see the English letter X there, but actually what it involves is the first letter of the Greek name for Christ. Christos is the New Testament Greek for Christ. The first letter of the Greek word Christos is transliterated into our alphabet as an X. That X has come through church history to be a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ. – R.C. Sproul

Five Errors to Drop from Your Christmas Sermon – Scholars continue to debate questions such as the year of Jesus’s birth, and whether or not Jesus was born on December 25. They debate the historicity of Quirinius’s census, the year of Herod the Great’s death, the phenomena surrounding Jesus’ birth—the star of Bethlehem—and a host of related chronological and other issues. They also debate the possible pagan origins of Christmas, such as whether it provided a functional substitute for the Roman Saturnalia, and, as mentioned, the emergence of various other traditions associated with our celebration of Christmas. All of these are interesting questions worth exploring, but don’t dwell unduly on such peripheral issues. Instead, focus on the central message of Jesus’ first coming, on the biblical story of the Incarnation. – Andreas Kӧstenberger and Alexander Stewart

This and That

Swasey’s Last Sermon – A man who hated abortion and hated murder–who gave his life helping others–didn’t hesitate about going to Planned Parenthood to save lives. – Jordan Standridge

Christmas means that God IS fixing this – I do not mean to minimize the immediate problem of gun violence. Let us weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15). Let reasonable people come together and figure out how to end gun violence. I am all for that. But God forbid sweeping theological statements about God’s disinterest in His world based on this latest horror. God is not indifferent. He loves the world and is on a rescue mission even now. He will one day make all the sad things come untrue. And this is the one time of year that we ought to remember that. – Denny Burk