by John Ellis
I freely and happily admit that I have cribbed this idea from many other writers and bloggers. So be it. A good idea is a good idea, right? There is so much content vying for our attention on the internet, it’s often hard to find the diamond in the rough, so to speak. Although, there are plenty of diamonds hidden throughout the interwebs. That fact means that aggregate sites are useful, and websites and blogs that devote articles and posts to serving as an aggregate for interesting and/or useful content are likewise useful. While I have next to zero desire for this blog to become an aggregate site, or even provide daily posts that offer some help to my friends and readers uncovering some diamonds that they may have missed, a weekly post seems fun for me and possibly profitable for others.
Below, are several of the more interesting articles and blog posts that I read over the last week. Enjoy.
“Church is not about having it our way.” – very true words from Thom Rainer in his helpful article that lists six practical ways in which churches can help guard against an entitlement mentality in its membership. http://thomrainer.com/2017/02/entitlement-mentality-crept-churches/
Speaking of protecting churches from being infected with an entitlement mentality … Few pastors/authors are better attune to healthy Biblical church discipline than Jonathan Leeman. I’ve had the privilege of hearing Leeman teach on the topic, and have benefited from that teaching. Thankfully, by God’s grace, I serve in a church that understands and seeks to put into practice a healthy, Biblically informed church discipline. If you are unsure what you think about church discipline, I recommend this article from Jonathan Leeman, which provides a concise and yet rich treatment of the topic: https://www.imb.org/2017/02/28/why-healthy-churches-in-every-context-practice-church-discipline/
Every year, at the beginning of Lent, I tweet something like, “This year for Lent, I gave up Lent.” or “Lent makes me extra thankful that I’m a protestant.” However, my snarky subtweets pale in great and embarrassing comparison to this article that my pastor brought to my attention. Brian Lee’s article from 2014 may be the best thing that I’ve read on Lent. http://thefederalist.com/2014/03/05/repent-of-lent-%e2%80%a8how-spiritual-disciplines-can-be-bad-for-your-soul/
Tim Challies ably and winsomely attacks the modern church idol of pragmatism, especially as fleshed out in things like Creative Arts Directors. http://www.challies.com/articles/the-creative-arts-director
If I were to list the articles in the order of importance (and maybe I should) this IX Marks article would be at the top this week. In other words, if you’re only going to read one article from my list, read this one. The belief that preachers should include the gospel in each and every sermon is a no brainer for me. Unfortunately, and head-scratchingly, not everyone agrees with that. I pray that Timothy Raymond’s article will help change some minds. https://9marks.org/article/three-reasons-to-include-a-concise-summary-of-the-gospel-in-every-sermon/
If you support small businesses, you should call your Congressperson in support of this bill. If you believe in small government, you should call your Congressperson in support of this bill. If you love craft beer, you should call your Congressperson in support of this bill. http://wearebrewstuds.com/stories/news/craft-beer-tax-cuts-reintroduced-115th-congress/
Four years ago, I you had asked me if I were a continuationist or a cessationist, I would’ve replied that I am just on the continuationist side of the line. Over these last four years, though, through prayer, study, and counsel, I have moved to the cessationist side of that line, solidly so. As I continue to study, my belief that the sign gifts have ceased continues to be strengthened. Two weeks ago, Cripplegate published an article tackling a specific belief about speaking in tongues. I find it very helpful. By God’s grace, I pray you will, too. http://thecripplegate.com/addressing-continuationist-arguments-from-1-corinthians-14/
J. Christian Adams once wrote an article about me. Specifically, Adams wrote an article to point out how wrong and ignorant he believed me to be. The why and what is now irrelevant, because I forgive him. Even if didn’t forgive him, though, I would still recommend his latest article about an interesting moment in history when a US Senator did collude with the Russians in an attempt to rig a US Presidential Election. https://pjmedia.com/jchristianadams/2017/03/02/us-senator-colludes-with-russians-to-influence-presidential-election/
Occasionally, I’m asked if a Christian can attend a same-sex wedding. Usually, I respond with a series of questions because I’m not always sure of the answer. Or, rather, I’m sure, maybe, of the answer in most occasions, but am willing (and do) leave it open for Believers to work about before God under Christian liberty. For the record, I believe that for most cases, the answer is, “No, a Christian cannot, in good conscience, attend a same-sex wedding.” However, in my experience, the problem takes care of itself if the Christian is upfront about their beliefs regarding sexuality and marriage with the same-sex couple. As an aid, or even merely a prompt for brothers and sisters in Christ to begin prayerfully thinking through this issue, I share this YouTube video from The Good Book Company (at some point, TGBC is going to have to put me on their payroll).