- The Blessing(s) of Immanuel. Scotty Smith prays “Lord Jesus—Immanuel, God very with us, and God so very much for us, I cannot read this favorite Scripture without thinking about Advent, and why you came, and why you’re coming again. The hopes and hurts, fears and tears of all our years are met in this passage. You are all we need, and way beyond all we can imagine.”
- Is the Virgin Birth Essential? Kevin DeYoung writes “There are a lot of questions here, but the underlying one seems to be this: is the virgin birth really that essential to Christianity? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
- Christmas Gift Guide. The Babylon Bee has rounded up a list of unique and memorable gifts you can give to your family and friends this Christmas, conveniently sorted by the theological leanings of the recipient.
- Who Was St. Nicholas? Kevin DeYoung writes “With what little we know about St. Nicholas, it is safe to say he would not be pleased to know he had eclipsed Christ in the hearts of many as the central figure of Christmas.”
- How God Became a Man. David Mathis writes “It is striking how little we know about most of Jesus’s life on earth. Between the events surrounding his celebrated birth and the beginning of his public ministry when he was “about thirty years of age” (Luke 3:23), very few details have survived.”
IN THE NEWS:
- Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Pick, Is A Billionaire With Deep Ties To The Christian Reformed Community. Sarah Pulliam Bailey writes “DeVos is politically known in Michigan for her push for private school voucher programs, a position that has been controversial within public education circles. But in religious circles, the DeVos name is synonymous with key philanthropic efforts in Christian communities. DeVos, 58, graduated from Calvin College, a Christian Reformed Church school that is named after the famed Protestant reformer John Calvin, where the DeVos name is well-known.”
- The Sad Case of Tullian Tchividjian. Alistair Begg often states “The best of men are men at best”. Tullian Tchividjian, a pastor who was formerly in my denomination and who had been one of my favorite authors continues to stir up controversy After being deposed of his pastoral credentials, he has returned to the pulpit and is planning to release a new book soon. Recently, several pastors have called on him publicly to repent.
- “‘I Loved Heresy…But the Holy Spirit Found Me’ — Thomas C. Oden (1931-2016) and the Recovery of Christian Orthodoxy” Albert Mohler writes “Thomas C. Oden, one of the most gracious and respected theologians of our times, died yesterday at age 85. Professor Oden made the pilgrimage from theological liberalism, and what he acknowledged as an infatuation with heresy, all the way to the orthodox affirmation of biblical Christianity. His story is one of the greatest theological testimonies of our age. The following is an edited transcript of my conversation for “Thinking in Public” with Dr. Oden about his life and times and the trajectory of his theological pilgrimage.”
- Creating Silence. In this interview with Rev. James Martin, S.J., Martin Scorsese talks about his new movie Silence, starring Liam Neeson as Father Cristóvão Ferreira, a Jesuit who recants his faith after undergoing torture, and Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge) and Adam Driver as two younger Jesuits, Fathers Sebastião Rodrigues and Francisco Garupe, respectively, whose mission is to find their mentor. They, too, find themselves submitted to torture and struggle with whether to apostatize. Also check out the video in which Scorsese talks about his faith.
- If the U.S. had 100 people: Charting Americans’ Religious Beliefs and Practices. Aleksandra Sandstrom and Becka A. Alper from the Pew Research Center write “About 218 million of the United States’ roughly 245 million adults say they believe in God. Such deeply personal views might seem abstract or distant when expressed as large numbers, but this is not the only way to look at religious belief in the U.S. What if we looked at our data about people’s religious beliefs and practices through a slightly different lens – that of small community, rather than a huge country?”
- Don’t Go to Bed with Your Anger. Marshall Segal shares five reasons (among many) for us to consider why God is good to ask for our anger each night.
- Can We Do Whatever We Want in Heaven? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper responds to the question “In Heaven, will we be permitted to do anything we want?” Listen to or read his response.
- Lord, Deliver Me from Distraction. Jon Bloom writes “Our fundamental and most dangerous problem in distraction is in being distracted from God — our tendency to shift our attention orientation from the greatest Object in existence to countless lesser ones. The Bible calls this idolatry.”
TO MAKE YOU SMILE:
- Sweating John MacArthur Awakens From Nightmare In Which He’s Unsure About Something. The Babylon Bee Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire reports “According to sources close to John MacArthur, the popular Bible teacher jumped up with a start around 3 a.m. Thursday morning in a cold sweat, suddenly awakening from a nightmare in which he is slightly uncertain about something.”
- The magi were pagans who served pagans. Yet God spoke to them; that’s what he does. The faith is not for insiders, it’s for listeners. Dan Doriani
- May our passion for Christ always be greater than our passion for a pleasant and easy life. Burk Parsons
- The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of our hearts on the black horse of affliction. Charles Spurgeon
- We must never offer the benefits of the gospel without the Benefactor Himself. Sinclair Ferguson
- True humility will lead us to be bashful about ourselves and boastful about Jesus. Scott Sauls
- Formal Christianity is often the greatest enemy of the pure faith. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
- Tolerance isn’t about not having beliefs. It’s about how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you. Tim Keller
- Truth cannot be sacrificed at the altar of pretended tolerance. Real tolerance is deference to all ideas, not indifference to the truth. Ravi Zacharias
- The Day of no more cancer, abuse, human slavery, addiction, betrayal, shame, poverty, racism, hunger, evil, hatred and idolatry is coming. Scotty Smith