My Summer Reading List

beach reading

by John Ellis

Shortly, Lord willing, my family and I will be enjoying a mini-vacation in the Florida Keys. We are looking forward to swimming with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center, relaxing on the beautiful, tranquil beaches of the Keys, and enjoying the best seafood that can be found in this country. During our time there, of course, I will take the opportunity to read and read some more. Some of the books I will be devouring while my kids avoid jellyfish and sharks are listed below. Sadly, I won’t be able to read all twelve books listed while lounging on the beach in Key Largo, but I’ll give it my best shot.

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A Case for Church Membership as Biblically Required


people-in-the-church-song

by John Ellis

The topic of church membership can be quite contentious. Eschewing organized religion, some professing Christians believe that churches are unnecessary at best and promote hypocrisy and division at worst. Others accept the need for churches but deny that church membership is Biblical. For them, church membership is an extra-Biblical requirement taught by those more concerned about power than about unity and love. “After all,” they protest, “I don’t need to be a member of a church to know that I am a child of God.”

For many Christians, though, church membership is simply white noise; something they dutifully do because it’s what is done. But they do so without giving much thought as to why.

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‘American Gospel: Christ Alone’ Takes on Joel Osteen and the Prosperity Gospel


joel osteen

by John Ellis

When you read the Bible, are you the hero? Do you see yourself as Joshua? As David? As Daniel?

If you answered “yes” to those questions, you should meet Katherine Berger who gently smiles into the camera as she says, “I have so much more happiness now than I ever did before.”

You see, as a wife and mother of two, Katherine is a modern-day Job, suffering immeasurable physical pain from a failing body racked by numerous diseases. And, yet, Katherine, who once prided herself on her physical strength and abilities, now confesses that she loves her current life more than her past life because when she wakes up in the morning, she now realizes that she needs God.

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A Christian Theatre Manifesto Part 1


black box theatre

by John Ellis

Earlier this week, I wrote an article for PJ Media about the Erwin brother’s latest project called Kingdom, a collaborative Christian filmmaking company. If you’re unfamiliar with Andy and Jon Erwin, they’re the creative force behind the movies Woodlawn, Mom’s Night Out, October Baby, and this past year’s smash hit I Can Only Imagine which grossed almost $90 million at the box office against a budget of only $7 million.

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Liberal Theology and the Decline of the PCUSA

abandonded church

by John Ellis

Several months ago, my pastor and I attended a lecture at a local Unitarian church (I wrote about that lecture here). Before the lecture began, a gentleman from the church gave some opening remarks. In those remarks, he bemoaned the shrinking membership of the Unitarian denomination. He also smugly criticized conservative, “white” churches for their lack of diversity. My pastor and I looked at each other quizzically. As we walked back to our cars after the lecture was over, my pastor asked me, “Were you thinking what I was thinking?” I replied, “Yes.”

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Romans 12:1-2 – Living the Gospel

A-Living-Sacrifice

by John Ellis

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

Romans 12:1-2 is one of the more famous passages in the Bible, and it’s one of the more beautiful. Tightly constructed with language that flows off the tongue, this passage is both an epilogue and a prologue. As epilogue, Romans 12:1-2 serves to recap the previous eleven chapters; but, more than just a recap, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul succinctly defines for the readers what God’s saving action means practically in the life of the Believer. God has worked out this great salvation, making a new nation, saving all who put their full hope and faith in the person and work of King Jesus, and that, the Gospel, has great significance for today.

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