Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

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Coram Deo begins its 19th year. Thanks so much for visiting our blog. We sure appreciate it! Coram Deo began as a church newsletter in September, 1998, transitioning to a blog format in late 2013. Please use the “Contact Us” feature to ask any questions, make a comment on any content or let us know how we can better serve you.

  • Hope and Perspective When We’re Dealing with Doubt. Randy Alcorn writes “In times of doubt, difficulty, and trials, our fundamental beliefs about God and our faith are revealed. So how canChristians find faith in the midst of doubt? How can they trust God’s plan when their lives seem out of His control, and prayers seem to go unanswered or, sometimes it feels, even unheard?”
  • Resources for Depression. David Murray shares this extensive and helpful list of resources on depression.
  • Life is Short. Kevin DeYoung writes “Life is short. Enjoy the gift. Pay it forward and make known the Giver.”
  • 5 Marks of a Contented Heart. Erik Raymond writes “In his book The Art of Divine Contentment, Thomas Watson described five characteristics of a contented heart. With our course marked out for learning contentment, let’s think about how we might evaluate where we are in our own personal progress.”
  • Nancy Guthrie on What We Can Know About the Afterlife. In this new eight-minute video, Nancy Guthrie offers advice for those whose grief drives them to seek out books by people who claim to have died and been to heaven before coming back to life. “Solid comfort comes from a solid source,” Guthrie shares. “The Scriptures are the most reliable, solid source of understanding what is beyond this life.”
  • Forgiving the Wounds of a Friend. Kristie Anyabwile writes “It’s worth it to overlook an offense if you can, and to trust God is working in you and your friend’s heart, to pray for wisdom, love, and reconciliation, to rebuke gently, and to be ready to forgive.”
  • Serious Sins. Kevin DeYoung writes “If we as Christian laypeople, Christian pastors, and Christian churches never talk about sexual sin, only talk about sexual sin, ignore what the Ten Commandments say about sin, or refuse to warn people of the dire consequences of sin, we are doing something wrong.”
  • Trusting God When the Pain Seems Pointless. Randy Alcorn writes “How many times does God have a purpose in events that seem senseless when they happen?”
  • Will a Happy Marriage Prevent an Affair? Russell Moore writes “The best, most secure and stable marriages I know are not typically those that seem “happy” in the sense of self-actualization. They are instead those marriages in which, often through deep suffering, the husband and wife model self-sacrifice and care for the other.”
  • The 10 Duties of Every Christian. As he starts a new series, Tim Challies writes “The danger in a list of 10 duties is that in the hands of sinful people it risks becoming little more than a trite checklist that fosters deception and insincerity. It can be used by hypocrites to further their self-deception and by deceivers to advance their deception of others.”

  • God Will Give You Understanding. In this new three-minute video, John Piper states that you can understand plenty in the Bible without God’s help. But if you want true understanding, you need to rely on him at every moment.
  • 100 of the Best Tim Keller Quotes. Tim Keller is certainly quotable, and we have included many of his quotes. Kevin Halloran does everyone a favor by compiling 100 of the best of Keller’s quotes.
  • Declared to be Righteous. In this two-minute video clip from R.C. Sproul’s teaching series Justification by Faith, Dr. Sproul explains how the Latin translation of the Bible caused confusion surrounding the doctrine of justification.
  • God is Sovereign Over the Weather. Paul Tautges writes “What parts of the environment does God control? Over what does His sovereignty reign? Here are 21 ways God is sovereign over the environment. Let this encourage your heart and strengthen your faith.”
  • 3 Ways the Gospel Shapes Our Definition of Success. Michael Kelley writes “Consider today, friends, how you define success, no matter where you find yourself. Consider it, and then let the gospel speak through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we do that, we will stand apart from a world of people who are clamoring for their own piece of the pie.”
  • Four Types of Questions Not to Ask in Your Small Group Bible Study. Melissa Kruger writes “What can make or break a small group time together often has less to do with what teachers knowand more to do with what they ask.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

  • Should We Pull the Plug on Cable News? Trevin Wax writes “In a culture that has lost its appetite for truth and has developed an appetite for coarseness and sensationalism, cable news plays to our worst tendencies.”
  • The Largest Survey Ever Conducted of American Religious and Denominational Identity: 14 Major Findings from a Landmark Study. Justin Taylor writes “PRRI(Public Religion Research Institute)—a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy—has released their report on the 2016 American Values Atlas (AVA), which was the single largest survey of American religious and denominational identity ever conducted.”
  • The Nashville Statement’s Imperfect Clarity. Samuel D. James writes “The Nashville Statement is an attempt—an imperfect one!—at theological clarity. It summarizes in direct language what these evangelicals believe about sex, marriage, and identity. If it fails to speak accurately for every participant in this theological conversation, then we must acknowledge our own limitations and yearn for the day when we all shall know as we are known. For now, I’m thankful to be associated with institutions and leaders who believe that answers are better than non-answers, and that conviction is worth the risks.”
  • I signed the Nashville Statement. It’s an expression of love for same-sex attracted people. Albert Mohler writes “The backlash to the document shows why it is so needed: While the Christian church has held to a normative understanding of biblical sexuality for over two millennia, we now face challenges to biblical teaching that require an unprecedented level of specificity. It affirmed what would have been universally acknowledged as the historic Christian faith without question or controversy until just the last several years.”
  • On the Scandal of Divorce. Denny Burk writes “One of the most important things to understand about “The Nashville Statement” is that it was not primarily aimed at the outside world. It is aimed at the evangelical Christian world where so much confusion on these questions seems to remain.”
  • Behind the Scenes at “The Briefing”. Albert Mohler offers a unique behind the scenes look at the production of my favorite podcast “The Briefing”.
  • How Many Churches Does America Have? More Than Expected. Rebecca Randall writes “An estimated 30,000 congregations shut their doors in the United States from 2006 to 2012. Yet a recent study finds good news for churches overall—including the lowest closure rate of any American institution.”


  • New Survey Finds Majority of Protestants Are (Maybe) Not Protestant. Joe Carter writes “A new survey claims that on two key doctrines, the majority of U.S. Protestants hold views that are more in line with the Roman Catholic Church than with the historical position of the Reformation. But is that true, or were respondents merely confused?”
  • Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World. I just watched this new film from PBS, a surprisingly accurate presentation on Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. Among the contributors was Carl Trueman, who I enjoyed an excellent class on B.B. Warfield with at Covenant Seminary a few years back. Hugh Bonneville from Downton Abbey narrates the film and Padraic Delaney portrays Luther. You can purchase it or watch it for free using Amazon Fire Stick and the PBS App.
  • Fortress for Truth: Martin Luther. Steven Lawson writes “Martin Luther was a giant of history. Some believe he was the most significant European figure of the second millennium. He was the pioneer Reformer, the one God first used to spark a transformation of Christianity and the Western world. He was the undisputed leader of the German Reformation. In a day of ecclesiastical corruptions and apostasies, he was a valiant champion of the truth; his powerful preaching and pen helped to restore the pure gospel. More books have been written about him than any other man of history except Jesus Christ and possibly Augustine.”
  • Luther Today: 2017 Ligonier Regional Conference. Watch or listen to the messages from the recent Ligonier conference held in Wittenberg, Germany. Speakers include Albert Mohler, Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson and others.

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

  • We would be more patient and kind with people and less hurt if we regularly remembered that we all have deep core faults. Tim Keller
  • God is never obligated to be merciful to a rebellious creature. He doesn’t owe us mercy. C. Sproul
  • Drive a nail every day afresh through your indwelling sin. Rosaria Butterfield
  • Life isn’t about finding God’s ways to be acceptable, but finding God’s Son to be irresistible. Scotty Smith
  • Attending a church that does not preach the word is like going to a restaurant that does not serve food. Steven Lawson
  • We are to exhibit a form of behavior and attitude toward other people that will mirror for them the compassion of Jesus. C. Sproul
  • My security as a Christian does not reside in the strength of my faith but in the indestructibility of my Savior. Sinclair Ferguson
  • Ignorance of Scripture is the root of every error in religion, and the source of every heresy. C. Ryle
  • Coming to Christ means more suffering, not less, in this world. John Piper

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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