Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles, Cartoons & Quotes

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  • Should Christian Parents Ever Give Kids a Smartphone? In this discussion, Russell Moore, Scott Sauls and Trevin Wax talk about how they’ve made their own parenting decisions about technology.
  • What Do You Feed Your Eyes? Marshall Segal writes “As you walk through the wonderland of God’s creation, watch your eyes carefully. These thrills are whispers of Wonder, mere shadows of Light. They’re meant to make us more in awe of Christ, and to prepare us to spend eternity looking to him.”
  • What’s the Point of My Life? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper addresses the questions “What is the overarching concept for my life, my reason for existence, and relationship with God?” 
  • Can Your Soul Really Survive Social Media? Russell Moore writes “I’m not arguing that we all should delete our social media accounts. I am wondering, though, if you should spend some time asking whether your social media account is leading you places you can’t handle. Are you given over more to anger or anxiety or envy or pack thinking? Then maybe it’s time to step back, or even to leave for a while.”

  • What is God’s Name? R.C. Sproul writes “I think the greatest weakness in our day is the virtual eclipse of the character of God, even within our churches.”
  • Who Are God’s Covenant People? Sinclair Ferguson writes “God’s covenant commitment to His people, made in successive promise-bonds, forms the scaffolding within which He builds His church; its shape and growth are determined by it. But like a medieval cathedral, the church is built over centuries; and like a great book, its story is divided into chapters.”
  • “What is the big idea of Christianity?”   In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul explains that it is living life Coram Deo—before the face of God.
  • Is Double Predestination Biblical?  R.C. Sproul writes “If “double” predestination means a symmetrical view of predestination, then we must reject the notion. But such a view of “double” predestination would be a caricature and a serious distortion of the Reformed doctrine of predestination.”
  • Isn’t Hedonism a Bad Word? John Piper writes “Ever since then, I have wanted to find words to show how jolting and shocking and radical the Christian life is. It is not an easy or comfortable way of life. It is extremely threatening to those who just want to play church, while they keep on loving God’s gifts more than God. The word hedonism is my way of getting in the face of those kinds of fake Christians. If they stumble over my words, they might stumble out of illusion into truth.”
  • What’s So Great about Limited Atonement? Richard Phillips writes “I am writing to praise the doctrine of limited atonement because it so exalts the cross of Jesus Christ, which gained a full redemption for all those appointed by God to eternal life. But what is the cash value of this doctrine? Does it offer something to my Christian experience or is it just abstract theology?”
  • Ligonier Live with Robert Godfrey. Watch this live broadcast in which Robert Godfrey answers live questions.

  • The Joel Osteen Sermon That Changed Oprah’s Life. Tim Challies writes “This marks the final entry in a series of videos I’ve very much enjoyed putting together: “The Great Sermon Series”. And for this last video we are going in a different direction by looking at a not-so-great sermon. Joel Osteen’s “The Power of I Am” may be the most popular sermon on YouTube, but it’s also got to be the worst.
  • How to Be Hospitable in a Post-Christian World. Listen to this message from Rosaria Butterfield delivered at the 2018 Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference in which she discusses the role of the home in evangelism.
  • The FAQs: What Christians Should Know About Social Justice. Joe Carter writes “Over the past few years the rise of the term “social justice” among Christians has coincided with a growing level of misunderstanding, misuse, and misapplication of the term.”

Courtesy of World Magazine


  • How to Be Hospitable in a Post-Christian World. In this episode of the Gospel Coalition podcast, Rosaria Butterfield discusses the role of the home in evangelism from the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference 2018.
  • When God Answers “No” to Our Prayers. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper addresses the question “How do I respond to this ‘no’ from God when I pray for good things?”
  • Your Suffering Can Be the Pathway to Greater Godliness. Randy Alcorn writes “Perseverance through suffering, for Christ’s glory, is the sure pathway to godliness.”
  • The Imperfections of Perfectionism. Stephen Nichols writes “In his critique of perfectionism, Warfield names names and offers detailed criticisms of its teachings, dismantling it literally line by line. These varied and multiple criticisms may be boiled down to three major contentions.”
  • The Final Judgment and the Christian Life. Steven Lawson writes “What happens to those who die while denying the truth of God in their lives? What will their rejection of the truth mean for them? Most people today do not want to think about the final judgment.”
  • The Lord is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want. Sinclair Ferguson writes “What looks at first like a shepherd’s lessons from shepherding turns out to be the confidence of a believer based on the truth of the Word of God and the revelation of His character.”
  • Satan’s Go-To Temptation Against You. J.D. Greear writes “Satan’s go-to tactic in our lives is to break the hold the word of God has on us. So, he takes what God has declared and casts doubt on it.”
  • Jesus Commands Us to Judge. Watch this short video in which J.D. Greear teaches Christians what it means to properly judge as Jesus did.

  • Lessons from 7 of History’s Greatest Theologians. Access nearly five hours of video content exploring key teachings (from Michael Reeves, Stephen Nichols, etc.) on the Christian life from seven of church history’s greatest theologians.
  • A Portrait of God’s Glory. John MacArthur writes “While God’s Word does not give us all the details about our future home with Him, Scripture is hardly silent when it comes to His eternal kingdom. In fact, the Bible contains many descriptions of heaven.

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

  • Not only can we say, “He is risen indeed,” but we can also say “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command. …And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive…will be caught up together with them…and so we will always be with the Lord.” Jerry Bridges
  • True enjoyment of God must lead naturally to mission—to helping others see the beauty you see. God never draws us in except to send us out—to serve and reach others. Tim Keller
  • At the heart of reformed theology this axiom resounds: Regeneration precedes faith. R.C. Sproul
  • If you are in Christ, temptation is not about some essential truth or inherent wisdom about us—and therefore should not become a term of selfhood, self-representation, or identity. It is about warfare. Rosaria Butterfield 
  • God is not going to negotiate His holiness in order to accommodate us. R.C. Sproul
  • All joy is really found in God, and anything you do enjoy is derivative, because what you are really looking for is him, whether you know it or not. Tim Keller
  • Jesus is not so much a teacher as he is a rescuer. Because that is what we most need. Nothing in who we are or what we do saves us.  Tim Keller
  • Is God unfair in not choosing to save everyone? ‘Fair’ would send everyone to hell. You don’t want fair, you want mercy. John MacArthur
  • “False teachers creep into the church not because they look like false teachers but because they look like angels. Burk Parsons

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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