Thou Shalt Not Pirate Movies Nor Music

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by John Ellis

My six-year old heathen heart knew two things: I wanted some candy and an entire wall of candy was spread out before me. So, I took some candy, opened it, and began satisfying the lust of my little, heathen heart.

Later, as we piled into the station wagon, my mom knew two things, too: I hadn’t entered the store with any candy and she hadn’t purchased any for me while we were in the store. So, she marched me back into the store, and under her flashing, stern eyes I admitted to the manager what I had done.

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Review: ‘Authorized: The Use & Misuse of the King James Bible’

authorized 2by John Ellis

Mark Ward is nothing if not gracious, a helpful trait considering he dared write a book about the King James Bible. Thankfully, for the readers of Authorized: The Use & Misuse of the King James Bible, Ward has other positive traits beyond just his graciousness. He’s a gifted writer and a thoughtful scholar, skills that come to considerable bear on his book. More importantly, Mark Ward has the desire to see a love for God’s Word grow in his brothers and sisters in Christ. That desire is evident as he graciously plunges into the debate and argues that the KJV is too difficult for most modern readers. Sadly, I’m afraid that his graciousness is going to be obscured in the minds of those most in need of this book by his promotion of translations missing the familiar “KJV” on their spine.

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We Are All Atheists

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by John Ellis

“Even the Bible says that there isn’t a God,” my roommate smugly blustered.

The girl he was arguing with was incredulous, but as she pushed back it became obvious that a lack of confidence in her own position was growing. My roommate picked up on that, and went in for the dialectical kill, proud that he was about to convert another soul to atheism.

“It’s in one of the Psalms,” he shrugged. “I’m not making it up. The Bible says that there is no God.”

Gesturing towards me, he added, “Ask him.”

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Weekend Reading: 10/13

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by John Ellis

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a long week for me. Make that a long two weeks. Too many trips to the E.R. Too many days with disrupted schedules. Too many professional frustrations. And not enough time to read. Today, Saturday, I’m looking forward to a day filled with mostly reading (and writing).  If that’s you, whether you’ve had a long week or not, below are some links to help fill out your reading schedule for this weekend.

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Social Justice and the Gospel


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by John Ellis

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him. Genesis 18:19

The most frequent questions I field of late are about social justice and the gospel, and the ongoing dustup over social justice within conservative evangelicalism. People want to know which “side” I’m on and if I’ve signed any statements. In answer to those two questions, I don’t think that I’m on any “side” and I haven’t signed any statements about social justice, nor do I intend to (that’s not to say that it’s wrong to do so).

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Love = Obedience

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by John Ellis

As a child, obedience was a pragmatic activity for me. Navigating the tension between my desires and the possible punishment if I got caught fulfilling my desires, my decision to obey or not was rooted in a cost/benefit analysis. If the reward from my desire was greater than the risk of the punishment, obedience was jettisoned. On the other hand, if the reward was less than the risk, I was an obedient child. Not to mention the many times in which obedience enabled me to do what I wanted. As an example of how my pragmatic obedience worked, refusing to sing Patch the Pirate’s song “Obedience” with the rest of the students brought with it punishment not worth the reward of not singing. So, I dutifully sang the lyrics “obedience is the very best way to show that you believe” many times throughout my childhood.

It’s only as an adult that I get the irony.

My childhood’s pragmatic hypocrisy aside, is the song correct? Is it true that “obedience is the very best way to show that [we] believe?”

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Weekend Reading: 9/22


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by John Ellis

The weekend has already descended, but that doesn’t mean that at some point over the next day and a half you won’t be longing for something interesting to read. And that’s the purpose of this post. Over the last week, I’ve compiled some of the most interesting and/or edifying posts and articles that I’ve read. Not all of them were published this past week, but I was first introduced to them this past week. Hopefully, you’ll be introduced to an article or two that you find interesting.

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