The Sacred VS. the Secular: Having a Party Instead of a Bible Study

Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.” Job 41:11b

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by John Ellis

Several years ago, pretty much every other Sunday evening at my house, I hosted a group of men from church. We would gather, drink Scotch or beer, listen to music, and talk. Sometimes, we discussed theology. Often, though, we discussed sports or movies or philosophy, current events, politics, music, literature, you get the picture; our evenings together were rather unstructured, and we discussed whatever came to our minds. The evenings were fun and edifying.

At some point, we invited several of our younger brothers in Christ (they were in their early to mid-twenties). Several of them took advantage of the invitation, and showed up at one of the Sunday evening gatherings in my library. As the evening came to a close, it was obvious that our young brothers were disappointed. We discovered later that they were expecting a structured time of Bible study and/or prayer. The following Sunday, one of the younger brothers haughtily confronted me and a friend and accusingly asked, “What’s the point of your getting together? It was a waste of time!”

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David & Goliath: A Tale of Two Songs

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by John Ellis

If the Old Testament stories were to be ranked based on popularity, the story of David and Goliath would undoubtedly rank in the top-three. I wouldn’t be surprised if most people’s list didn’t rank the tale as number-one. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in Sunday School or VBS is familiar with the story of the young Israelite who was destined to become king taking down the Philistine giant with only a sling. The Biblical story is so ubiquitous, in fact, that “David and Goliath” has become a cultural colloquialism used to refer to any underdog tale. Sadly, though, the story of David and Goliath is as misunderstood as it is popular.

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Faith Will Move a Mountain

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by John Ellis

Several weeks into my new life as a follower of Jesus, something went wrong with the front end of my car, including the brakes. Over the previous decade or so, I had changed the brake pads and rotors on cars many times. But whatever was wrong this time eluded my limited capabilities as a mechanic. I also didn’t have any money. I did have Matthew 17:20, though.

Matthew 17:20 is the famous and oft-quoted passage in which Jesus tells his disciples, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”[1]

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I Didn’t Want to Become a Christian

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by John Ellis

“A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.”[1]

The above quote is from Lorainne Boettner’s seminal book The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, which I am currently reading. Why it’s taken me so long to finally read this great book is a question that is irrelevant. Why I’m reading it at this point and time is relevant, however. Recent conversations with a brother in Christ from my church about Calvinism prompted me to begin writing an article titled, “Why I Believe in Limited Atonement.”[2] That was a month ago.

(Edit: “Why I Believe in Limited Atonement” is finished and can be read here.)

The article is taking longer than I anticipated, which, ironically, doesn’t surprise me. Considering the topic, I want to be thorough; being thorough includes washing myself with robust and God-honoring articulations of the topic. Hence, the Boettner book. While reading The Reformed Doctrines of Predestination, the quote above reminded me of a topic that my friend and I briefly touched on during one of our conversations, and I thought that it would make a good “tune-up” article, whet appetites for the coming, much longer, and much denser article, and, Lord willing, be edifying and encouraging[3].

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Progressive Proof-Texting: Defending a Libertine Spirit With Matthew 15

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by John Ellis

And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciple came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you still also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passed into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:10-20

Recorded in Matthew 15, Jesus’ words cut two ways. On one hand, the passage challenges legalism (Neonomianism), but on the seemingly-opposite hand, it confronts antinomianism, especially the self-proclaimed progressive kind. Sadly, many legalists ignore this passage and many progressive Christians rip Jesus’ words out of context in order to justify their libertine-loving antinomianism.

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Why My Family Will Not be Watching the Super Bowl Halftime Show

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by John Ellis

During her Super Bowl halftime show, Lady Gaga has promised that she is going to continue to promote a message of inclusion and equality – synonymous for promoting a pro-lgbtq agenda. She proudly asserted during press conferences over the last few weeks that, “The only statements I’ll be making during the halftime show are the ones that I’ve been consistently making throughout my career.” Considering that Lady Gaga has made a career out of flaunting and celebrating her overt rebellion against my King, my family and I will not be watching Lady Gaga’s halftime show at the Super Bowl this evening.

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Praise God for Nails in Tires

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by John Ellis

Since today is the 24th, I prayed through Psalm 24 this morning, by God’s grace. While praying, the Holy Spirit confronted me with my spirit of discontentment, impatience, and overall sense of entitlement.

Earlier, while taking my kids to school, a light on the dash signaled low air pressure in one of the tires. At the school, I hopped out and did a quick visual inspection. The tires appeared fine, so I felt secure driving the two miles back to my house. At home, I checked the air pressure, discovered that one of the tires was indeed low, but I was unable to locate a nail that would explain the low air pressure.

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