Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

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  • Waking Up with Low-Grade Irritability. Scotty Smith prays “I don’t want this to be a bad attitude day, and as tempting as it is to blame and make excuses for my low-grade irritability, I won’t. I’m canceling my plans for a pity party, returning the confetti and noise makers. I relinquish my elder-brother attitude of smugness, entitlement, and judgment.”
  • Should Teens Own Smartphones? Tony Reinke writes “To parents, I’d say: It is worth it to have your kids wait. I’ve seen it and heard it and can attest to it since I got my own smartphone — smartphones change you. They give you overwhelming and shocking access. They zap your attention span. They are massively addictive. You can (and should!) put up safeguards, but a smartphone fundamentally changes your heart and mind. If it’s possible for teens to delay that change, I think it is a wise consideration.”
  • How to Resist the Allure of Gossip. Watch this eight-minute video in which Trillia Newbell, Rosaria Butterfield, and Blair Linne discuss how to avoid gossip.
  • Far Worse Than Being Caught. John Piper writes “One of God’s merciful warnings is to tell us that there is something more dreadful than when he makes us miserable because of our sin. Namely, when he uses sin to make us miserable for our sin.”

  • Willow Creek Chooses Co-Ed Pastors to Succeed Bill Hybels. Kate Shellnutt writes “The historic transition will make Willow Creek one of the largest churches in America with a woman in the lead pastor position, as well as the only major evangelical megachurch with male-female lead pastors who aren’t married.”

  • Why Does a Good God Permit Evil? Jay Skylar writes “Despite the presence of evil, millions today do believe that God is both good and all-powerful. For some, the reality of evil causes pain but no tension; it is a sad fact of life in a fallen world. For others, however, the tension persists. They don’t give up their faith, but feel at times like their faith is shaky, or even that they’re somehow being dishonest, like those refusing to acknowledge a bad diagnosis.”
  • Where Does Ultimate Authority Lie?C. Sproul writes “The final arbiter of all theological and moral debates must be the Word of God.”
  • God’s Revealed Truth Is Something We Discover, Not Invent.Randy Alcorn writes “I know some people, including a few old friends, who say they are still following Jesus, but are walking away from God’s truth. They’re no longer believing that people need to trust Jesus to be saved and rescued from Hell (some don’t believe in Hell at all), and are no longer affirming that the Bible is entirely true or that Jesus is the only way to Heaven (John 14:6). They’re following the latest drifts of our culture and trying to be popular on social and moral issues, rather than holding on to God’s revealed truth in Scripture.”
  • Do I Have to Call Myself a Calvinist?Thomas Schreiner states that we aren’t as concerned with the word “Calvinism” as we are with being faithful to Scripture.

  • In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper responds to the question “Which of the five solas is the heart of the Reformation? Which one is most important? Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), or soli Deo gloria (to the glory of God alone)?”
  • How Luther Challenges Protestants. Gene Veith writes “Martin Luther challenged and continues to challenge Roman Catholic theology in some profound ways.  But he also challenged and continues to challenge the various Protestant theologies that followed in his wake.”
  • Four Implications of Martin Luther’s Theology. Sinclair Ferguson writes “For Luther, the Christian life is a gospel-grounded, gospel-built, gospel-magnifying life that exhibits the free and sovereign grace of God and is lived out in gratitude to the Savior who died for us, yoked to Him in cross-bearing until death is swallowed up in victory and faith becomes sight.”
  • John Calvin and the Doctrine of Irresistible Grace. Keith Mathison writes “In 1610, the followers of the Dutch pastor and professor Jacob Arminius drafted a protest called “the Remonstrance.” The document contained five negative statements that rejected specific Calvinistic doctrines, followed by five articles stating Arminian doctrines. Among the Calvinistic teachings with which the Remonstrance took issue was the doctrine of irresistible grace.”
  • When Did the Reformation Really Begin? David Mathis writes “The secret to reformation in 1517, and still in 2017, is the people of God meeting personally with him through his very words. That simple formula is strong enough today to reform any heart, any church, any neighborhood, and any nation.”
  • The Reformation: A Visual Timeline. Learn the story of the Protestant Reformation, from Martin Luther and the 95 Theses to the Affair of the Sausages, through this visual timeline from the Village Church.


Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

Courtesy of World Magazine

  • No one is saved by a mere profession of faith. One must possess faith. R. C. Sproul  
  • Either we conform to our desires to the truth or we conform the truth to our desires. Os Guinness
  • Go with ordinary faithfulness over extraordinary experience. Daily prayer and obedience beats a “Jesus high” every time. Scott Sauls
  • We have suffered bereavement after bereavement, but we are going to the land of the immortal where graves do not exist. Charles Spurgeon
  • There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us. Richard Sibbes
  • This fountain is inexhaustible; it never fails no matter how much we draw from it. Martin Luther
  • Jesus, thank you for taking every burden we bring, catching every care we cast, and giving all the grace that we need. Scotty Smith
  • Let us be more bothered by our sin than our suffering. Burk Parsons
  • People who go to hell deserve to be there. People who go to heaven do not deserve to be there. The first is justice, the second is grace. Steven Lawson

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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