Christ’s Active Obedience Is Essential for Our Salvation

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by John Ellis

The Biblical literacy of congregations is a frequent topic of conversation among pastors. How often do members read their Bibles? How well can they articulate important doctrines? Can they discern error from truth? Sadly, many of the pastors with whom I’ve spoken express varying degrees of cynicism about their congregations’ level of understanding of God’s Word. In my experience, many Believers are lacking in their understanding of the necessity of Christ’s life for our salvation.

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6th Grade Terrorists (or, What Happens When Heathens Take Control at a Christian School)


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by John Ellis

Spelling is not a forte of mine. As a writer, red squiggly lines are my friend. Words like “Wednesday,” “indubitably,” and “cornucopia” are beyond my ability to remember how to spell correctly. One word I’ll never misspell, though, is obedience. The spelling of that word was drilled into me via multiple performances at church and school of the Patch the Pirate song titled “Obedience.”

The chorus includes a chant of the word’s spelling –  “O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E” – followed by the lyrics, “obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.” Is the song wrong? No. Was it used as part of a larger program of a Christian version of B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism? Sort of. Enough to be problematic, but not so much as to stray into heresy.

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Christians and Coming Out Redux


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by John Ellis

When I wrote “Christians and Coming Out” a little over four years ago, I was writing for a music website and the main thrust of my writing was in a different direction than it is today. Writing and publishing it, though, had a greater impact on my writing (and life) than I realized it would at the time. It ended up being one of those things where I wrote words but without any real understanding of those words import until after the fact. That worked out in two main ways that ultimately converged.

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Husbands, Be a Man by Being a Servant

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by John Ellis

As I write this, my wife is out of town at our church’s women’s retreat. So, as I often do, I took the kids out to eat last night. And, like they often do, they left me with no one to talk to while there. My daughter was engrossed in a book; my son stared at the muted TV screen tuned to ESPN hanging just behind my head, showing little interest in the questions I directed his way. With nothing else to do, I people-watched as I ate.

One couple sitting at a high-top near us caught my attention. At first, I assumed they were on a date the way they were interacting. It didn’t take long, though, for me to notice that the man had a wedding ring and the woman did not.

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Church Elders Should be Willing to Serve in the Nursery

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by John Ellis

As the book of Hebrews concludes, the sobering claim rings loudly that elders, “are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will give account” (Hebrews 13:17). Sadly, I think many of us think of that verse only in terms of the parts I left out – “Obey your leaders and submit to them” and, underlining that opening command, the verse’s ending declaration to, “Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” As news report after news report bearing the shameful details of pastors abusing their authority splashes across the screens of our devices, elders, by God’s grace, need to make sure that they’re orienting themselves around the middle of Hebrews 13:17.

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Christians Should Not Support President Trump in 2020

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters as he takes the stage for a campaign event in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

by John Ellis

Leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election, I had started to generate some noise as a #NeverTrump writer. Becoming increasingly engaged in politics was exhilarating, and I began to understand the allure of rubbing shoulders with those in power. My articles brought me attention and I enjoyed it (death threats and all). I was having fun and beginning to see “John Ellis, Political Writer” on my future business cards.

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Halloween Versus Reformation Day: To Trick-or-Treat or Not to Trick-or-Treat?

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by John Ellis

Tomorrow is October 31, generally called either Halloween or Reformation Day. And, sadly, it’s one of the more divisive days of the year among followers of Jesus. Many have entrenched positions about the day over which they are willing to do battle on social media. Guilt is heaped. Eyes are rolled. Minor fallacies are flung near and far. Egos are bruised. On both sides, self-righteousness threatens to raise its ugly, unfruitful, and divisive head.

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