Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

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  • Preventing Sexual Abuse in the Church. In this Gospel Coalition roundtable discussion, Scotty Smith, Trillia Newbell and Justin Holcomb discuss how churches can more intentionally and effectively preempt sexual abuse.
  • Rachael Denhollander’s Cry for Justice in the Church.David Murray writes about Christianity Today’s interview with Rachael Denhollander, “What’s the biggest lesson church leaders must take from this? It’s that ignoring and covering up abuse is just as serious and sinful as the abuse.”
  • Authority and Its Abuse. Shai Linne writes “Brothers, we must realize pride is at the root of every abuse of authority—in the home, in the workplace, in the church, everywhere. We must also realize humility is the key to avoiding it. Surely this is Peter’s point in 1 Peter 5:5—“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‚God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”
  • Eldership. Paul Levy writes “These are 4 articles on Eldership by the Rev. Eric Alexander, who was formerly Minister of St George’s Tron Church Glasgow.”
  • Preachers Are Servants, Not Celebrities: What I Learned from Charles Spurgeon. Alistair Begg, General Editor of the excellent new Spurgeon Study Bible, writes “I first heard the name “Spurgeon” as a young boy in Scotland. However, when I became a man, and began to read his sermons and writings, he endeared himself to me even more. Today, as a minister, I find in his work and life a wonderful example of what it means to be a preacher of the gospel.”
  • Why Should Churches Prioritize Racial Harmony? In this three-minute video, Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church, discusses the importance of racial harmony as an implication of the gospel.
  • We’re Not Called to Contextualize the Gospel – but to Proclaim It! Steve Camp writes “At its most base level, contextualization is about proclaiming the gospel to a specific audience group without violating the truth claims of Scripture. To some, it is the attempt to make Jesus relatable by making the gospel germane; to others it is about more effectively making those truth claims lucid and salient.”
  • Do You Love the Church?  R.C. Sproul writes “Do we love the church? I doubt if there have been many times in our history when there has been as much anger, hostility, disappointment, and disillusionment with the institutional church as there is today. It’s hard not to be critical of the church because in many ways the church has failed us. But if the church has failed, that means we have failed. We are called to serve the church in the power of God the Holy Spirit.”

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week


  • How My Friend’s Pregnancy Experiences Changed My Mind About Abortion. Chad Felix Greene writes “Being pro-choice is about emotionally and physically protecting a woman from the consequences of her choices. Being pro-life is convincing her that the life growing inside her is far more significant and beautiful than any temporary emotional or physical condition.”
  • How Cecile Richards Strengthened the Pro-Life Movement. Kate Shellnutt writes “After leading Planned Parenthood for over a decade, Cecile Richards has built a legacy as one of the organization’s most effective leaders, rallying millions of new supporters to the issue of “reproductive rights.” In doing so, she also intensified the pro-life cause among those who oppose her organization—and the broader pro-choice movement—for providing and endorsing abortion.”
  • Senator Ben Sasse on What We All Know Deep Down: The Unborn Are Babies.Randy Alcorn writes “Sadly, this week the U.S. Senate blocked the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have protected unborn babies from abortion after 20 weeks, when doctors say they’re able to experience pain. But perhaps one of the benefits of this process was the attention once again given to the unborn and their humanity. Check out this excellent 10-minute speech from Senator Ben Sasse.”

  • Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules. Scot McKnight writes “While there are obvious parallels to themes of Christian belief, it would take further posts to analyze and reflect critically on the theological content of Peterson’s worldview. It would also take further posts to consider what, if any, lessons can be learnt from Peterson by churches who have a heart to communicate the breadth and depth of the Christian faith to young people today.”
  • Why The Greatest ShowmanCaptured the American Imagination. Trevin Wax writes “The secret of The Greatest Showman lies in the storytelling and songwriting that taps into several longings at the heart of the American imagination.”
  • Chick-fil-A is always closed on Sunday… except when an ox falls into a pit. Jon Dykstra writes “But, as consistent as their closed-on-Sunday position has been, they’re not Pharisaical about it – they recognize there can be a need for exceptions.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

  • When Someone You Admire Does Something Disgusting. Russell Moore writes “When someone you admire does something disgusting, don’t admire what is disgusting. At the same time, don’t let your disgust turn you to despair. Many who come in Jesus’ name are frauds. Jesus is not.”
  • 3 Things to Consider as You Seek to Exercise Self-Control. Michael Kelley writes “Friends, the Holy Spirit is at work within you. And one of the things He’s doing is building your self-control. Be aware of His work. Consider what He’s doing. And as far as you’re able, consider these truths in order to surrender to His work.”
  • Two Strategies to Win the War on Lust. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers the question Lately, I’ve been struggling with lustful thoughts that make me feel very insecure and guilty. So how do I deal with this, especially in a sex-crazed culture? I want to fight the temptations. Every time a lustful thought occurs, I feel like I’ve let God down. How do I let my mind get transformed, as the Bible says, so that I can win this overwhelming and exhausting battle?”
  • Can Anything Be Done About Our Indifference Toward “The Least Of These?”Scott Sauls writes “Many of us unconsciously build our lives on a foundation of religious behaviors and even sound doctrine, yet our lives lack an essential sign of love for God—which is to love our neighbors who are made in his image, and most especially those Jesus called “the least of these.”
  • When Parents Must Contradict Culture. In this eleven-minute Gospel Coalition video, Jen Wilkin, Gregory Thornbury, and Jason Cook discuss the times when parents ought to contradict culture.
  • 4 Essential Ways to be a Person of Substance Over Style. Tony Dungy writes “Perceptions are built by a lot of things: reputations, media portrayals, sometimes even past performance. Uncovering reality sometimes requires a little work. This is how to live a life of substance over style.”
  • Joyful Obedience to All of God’s Word. Kathy Keller considers herself the PCA’s staunchest proponent of complementarianism and the denomination’s most vehement opponent of ordaining women to authoritative office. The reason, ultimately, is simple: God’s Word speaks clearly on the issue. In this short video, she encourages viewers to joyfully obey all of God’s Word, not just the parts that make us most comfortable.

  • Three Myths about Mormonism. Travis Kerns writes “Taking into account that the whole of the Bible, and the teachings of the historic Christian church, revolve around the very issues Mormons deny, it is surely a myth to believe Mormons are Christians or that they should be considered another denomination within Christianity.”
  • 10 Things You Should Know about Suffering. Dave Furman speaks from experience as he offers these helpful thoughts about suffering.
  • How to Deal with Grief. Christina Fox writes “Grief is a strange thing. Months, even years after a loss, it can show up unexpectedly.”
  • Is God Immoral? “The charge that God is immoral is usually trotted out in response to the supposed moral atrocities he condones and even commands in the Old Testament. The Israelite conquest—God’s command to wipe out the Canaanites from the promised land—is a classic example. In this roundtable discussion, Bryan Chapell, J. D. Greear, and Mike McKinley consider street-level objections to the moral character of God. “Any kind of pat, simplistic answer is going to be unhelpful,” McKinley admits, since, well, there are none. Nevertheless, orthodox Christians have invariably believed that the Judge of all the earth will always do what’s right. Always.”
  • God is Author, Editor, and Publisher of Our Stories. Scotty Smith prays “And yet, Father, you arein control—all the time, and in every place. So, grant us fresh grace to trust, wait, and hope. Turn our whines into worship, our daily carping into carpe diem, and our daily-news frets into eternal-gospel peace. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’s beautiful and grace-full name.”
  • God Working All Things for Good Doesn’t Mean He Closes a Door to Open Another. Mike Leake writes “Bad things work out for our good. That’s a good Scriptural principle. But I don’t think that means what we think it means. I’m not confident that Scripture promises that if something really bad happens that God is going to turn it on its head and you’ll end up with an amazing material blessing in its place. Something’s aren’t replaced this side of glory.

  • Jesus asks for far more than you ever thought, but offers more than you ever dreamed. Tim Keller
  • It is a very foolish Christian who does not attend the sanctuary of God as often as he can, and who does not grieve when he cannot. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • My life didn’t begin to be complicated until I became a Christian, because only then did I have to go to war every day between that which is of the flesh and that which is of the Spirit. R.C. Sproul
  • There is not one square of creation over which Jesus Christ does not cry, “Mine!” Abraham Kuyper
  • Knowing God is your single greatest privilege as a Christian, and the one that sensitizes you to every other issue of importance. Sinclair Ferguson
  • Union with Christ is possible because of the Son’s descent to earth, not because of our ascent into heaven. The basis of our union with Christ is Christ’s union with us in the incarnation. He became one with us so that we might become one with Him. Kevin DeYoung
  • Jesus paid it all. I mean all. He not only purchased your forgiveness of sins and your ticket to heaven, He purchased every blessing and every answer to prayer you will ever receive. Every one of them – no exceptions. Jerry Bridges
  • Anxiety does not take away the sorrow of tomorrow, but robs away the strength of today. Charles Spurgeon
  • The pursuit of purity now, not in the hour of your death, is the mark of a true Christian. 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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