Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

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  • How Homosexuality Undermines Male Friendships. Denny Burk writes “Anthony Esolen has a prescient essay in which he demonstrates that homosexuality undermines male friendships. He argues that the removal of the taboo and the openness of homosexual relations in the modern age cast a shadow over male friendships in general.”
  • At Least as Dangerous as Porn. Jon Bloom writes “When you think of the kind of trials that test your faith (James 1:2), do you ever think of material prosperity as one of them? Most of us don’t. We tend to think of suffering, adversity, and loss that put us in places of significant need.”
  • Why John Piper Abominates the Prosperity Gospel. In this six-minute video, John Piper offers five reasons why the prosperity gospel does great damage to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
  •  The Stupidity of Sin. Kevin DeYoung writes “Everyone who knows the Bible, knows people, or knows his own heart, knows this to be true: sin makes us stupid.”
  • Risk Your Kids for the Kingdom? John Piper writes “Should a Christian couple take their children into danger as part of their mission to take the gospel to the unreached peoples of the world? Short answer: Yes.”
  • What I Learned in My Season of Depression. Shona Murray writes “When I was a pastor’s wife and a mother of four children, I was T-boned by burnout and depression. As an energetic, motivated, organized, and outgoing person, I could never have anticipated the anxiety, fear, and endless despair that enveloped me. But God, in his love and wisdom, chose this very specific trial for me. Perhaps he has chosen it for you, and you too are bewildered. Let me give you some hope by sharing some of the lessons I learned from this shocking providence.”
  • After Darkness, Light. We’ve linked to this message from Michael Reeves in the past, but it’s so good, I wanted to do so again. This was the opening message at the 2017 Ligonier National Conference, which had a theme of The Next 500 Years.
  • Why the Coming Resurrection Frees You from the Bucket List Mentality. Randy Alcorn writes about the distinction between making a bucket list and having some things you would like to do and experience with your family if God gives you the opportunity.
  • Grace to Accept Changes. Scotty Smith prays “You put change into perspective. Change doesn’t have sovereignty; you do. Nothing in this world is random. Nothing catches you off guard. The scary becomes the sacred, chaos turns into cosmos, and disruption leads to adoration, when we’re wearing the lens of the gospel.”
  • 10 Marks of a Grace-Alone Church. Carl Trueman, who I enjoyed a wonderful course on B.B. Warfield with at Covenant Seminary a few years back, writes “As we look back to the sola gratia cry of the Reformation, it is helpful to ask ourselves: What would a “grace alone” church look like today? What would characterize its life as a church? How might we recognize such a church when we see it? The answer to these questions falls into two parts: doctrinal and practical. But these parts are closely connected.”
  • If Only. Jon Bloom writes “What are your if only’s? We all have them, because if only’s are a form of regret, and regrets are simply unavoidable in our experience — though not all of them are unavoidable. Some are nothing more than delusions.”


Was that Martin and Katie Luther visiting R.C. and Vesta Sproul recently at Reformation Bible College?

  • The Most Dangerous Thing Luther Did. “Luther could not have imagined in 1517 that his most influential act during the German Reformation, the act which would touch most lives and effect the budding Protestant movement the most would not be his Galatians or Romans commentaries, his theological tracts like “The Bondage of the Will,” or even his insistence on justification by grace through faith alone. No, the biggest rock he threw into the ecclesiastical pond, which produced not only the most ripples but real waves, was his production of the Luther Bible.”
  • 5 Lessons from Reformation Women. Rebecca VanDoodewaard writes “Women who lived during the Protestant Reformation can give us a unique perspective on the Christian life. They didn’t teach from pulpits, but they did teach from printing presses, throne rooms, and hospitable homes.”
  • What is the Difference between Catholics and Protestants? In this six-minute video, Greg Wills states that the question of authority has always been the central dividing line between Catholics and Protestants.

  • Why Was the Reformation Necessary? Robert Godfrey writes “The church is always in need of reform. Even in the New Testament, we see Jesus rebuking Peter, and we see Paul correcting the Corinthians. Since Christians are always sinners, the church will always need reform. The question for us, however, is when does the need become an absolute necessity?”
  • The Gospel. Martin Luther was a sixteenth-century example of what it means not to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without the bold proclamation of the true gospel, there is no church. In this session, Albert Mohler will consider Luther’s emphasis on the doctrine of justification by faith alone as the article on which the church stands or falls and show why we must never compromise this essential doctrine in any generation of the church. This session took place in the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This is the church where Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on October 31, 1517 and where he is buried.
  • The Real Engine Room of the Reformation. Michael Reeves writes “But a half-millenium ago, the Reformation demonstrated the astonishing transformative power of regular, clear, faithful biblical exposition. It stands as historical evidence that there is nothing inevitable about church decline. The spiritual darkness of our day can be checked and turned back. Five hundred years ago, it was—and by the same Word that has lost none of its inexorable power.”
  • 3 Things Pastors Should Learn from Calvin. How did the pastors of Geneva form people into real Christians? Listen to Tim Keller expound three principles we can take from Calvin and apply to pastoral practice today in a message that was delivered at the Gospel Coalition 2017 National Conference.
  • The Story of Martin Luther’s Conversion. Stephen Nichols writes “The actual date of Martin Luther’s conversion is disputed. Some place it before the posting of the Ninety-Five Theses; some put it before the Heidelberg Disputation. It is highly likely, however, that Luther’s conversion came in 1519.”
  • Justification by Faith Alone: Martin Luther and Romans 1:17. Watch this four-minute video from R.C. Sproul’s teaching series Luther and the Reformation in which he describes the moment of awakening Martin Luther had as he read Romans 1:17, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’
  • The Genius of Geneva. John Piper writes “The essential meaning of Calvin’s life and preaching is that he recovered and embodied a passion for the absolute reality and majesty of God.”
  • The Champion of the Kirk. In writing about John Knox, Sinclair Ferguson states “Many explanations have been forthcoming for Knox’s influence and that of the Scottish Reformation. No doubt there were many factors at work in the providence of God that brought about such spiritual renewal. But Knox’s own conviction was this: “God gave His Holy Spirit to simple men in great abundance.” Therein lies the greatest lesson of his life.”
  • Why Luther? Gene Veith writes “The best answer to the question “Why Luther?” is that God called him.”
  • How Unhindered Access to God’s Word Changed History. This month marks the five hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany—an event commonly cited as the flash point of the Protestant Reformation. Believers around the world are celebrating the legacies of Luther and the other Reformers, who worked to recover the true gospel from the dogma and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. But how had the gospel of Christ been obscured for so long? How did the Roman Catholic Church gain and maintain such spiritual dominance over people? And how did the light of God’s truth finally break through such pervasive darkness? Watch John MacArthur respond to these questions in this short video.

Courtesy of World Magazine


Study: Women Find Men Carrying Leather-Bound ESV More Attractive. The Babylon Bee reports “A new study performed by LifeWay Research found that Christian women find men who are carrying a high-quality, leather-bound ESV Bible significantly more attractive than men who carry other versions of the Scriptures, or no Bible at all.”

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

  • Why does God allow evil and suffering? Look at the cross of Jesus. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he is indifferent. Tim Keller
  • Prayer equips human weakness with divine strength… and gives the peace of God to troubled souls. Charles Spurgeon
  • God knew the worst about you when He accepted you for the sake of His Son. Alistair Begg
  • Grace stands in direct opposition to any supposed worthiness on our part. To say it another way: Grace and works are mutually exclusive. Jerry Bridges
  • The key to usefulness in the Kingdom of God begins with self-forgetfulness. John Calvin
  • When people say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” their emphasis is too often on “I can” rather than “through Christ.” Burk Parsons
  • You are as much serving God in training your own children, as you would be if you lead an army to battle for the Lord. Charles Spurgeon
  • I want people to love the Lord, not just for what he does for them but for who he is. R. C. Sproul
  • Sin is treason, not sinus trouble. God forgives sin; he does not heal sin. Rosaria Butterfield

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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