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Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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

  • Is Eternal Punishment in Hell Fair? Watch this short video clip from Ligonier Ministries’ 2016 National Conference in which R.C.Sproul explains that God is infinitely perfect, so even one sin is a heinous crime against Him.
  • Is It OK to Be Angry with God over Difficult Things? Randy Alcorn writes “Sometimes we legitimize being mad at God, and we need to start by correcting that. There’s a difference between being profoundly disappointed, discouraged, or even depressed by a bad situation, and being mad at God about it. Being mad is blaming God, and saying, “It’s your fault.” And blaming God is a dead-end street, because in doing so we turn away from our greatest source of comfort.”
  • My Girlfriend Affirms Homosexual Love – Is This a Deal-Breaker? On this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, a listener states that his girlfriend, who he wishes to marry, has told him on several occasions she doesn’t believe homosexuality is a sin. He asks if this is a deal-breaker for their relationship.

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

  • What Do Christians Have Against Homosexuality? Tim Keller responds to a question from David Eisenbach at the 2011 Veritas Forum. Keller offers suggestions on how Christians should treat homosexuals.
  • How Much Entertainment is Too Much? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper addresses this question “In the world we live in today, is it a sin to claim time for things other than reading the Bible or praying? Things such as watching a movie or playing a game are very enjoyable to me, but I wonder if God is disappointed in me for using some of my free time to do these things instead of claiming time for him.”
  • Are There Distinctions of Sin in Hell? Is everyone punished equally in hell? Or are there distinctions of punishment? Watch this four-minute video clip from the 2016 Ligonier National Conference in which C.Sproul, Steven Lawson, and Albert Mohler explain that more heinous sins receive greater condemnation.
  • How Do You Define a False Teacher? How do you define a false teacher? How much error is needed before they are considered false? R.C. Sproul, Albert Mohler, and John MacArthur respond to this question during the 2017 Ligonier National Conference.
  • How Do You Define Heresy? Heresy is not simply an error. It’s an error so serious that it would deprive one of salvation. From one of the Ask Ligonier events, Robert Godfrey defines heresy.

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

  • Teach Your Teen How to Read Their Bible. Jen Wilkin writes “Parents contact me frequently to ask what devotionals or young adult Bible studies I would recommend they do with their teens. As our kids enter the teen years, our responsibility as their parents is to help them develop good habits of interacting with the Bible. Finding an approach that is age-appropriate and manageable is key. My encouragement is to simply read the Bible with your teen in a way that models and trains Bible literacy—no special teen resource required.”
  • Get a Basic Overview of the Bible.C. Sproul writes “Once you understand the basic framework, you are much better equipped to read the Bible. Here is a pattern I recommend for people who have never read the Bible.”

PREACHING THE WORD

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

  • The 50% Lie. Steven Ingino writes “You’ve heard it repeatedly on radio, podcasts, and TV. You’ve read it in various books and articles. You’ve even heard it in your pastor’s sermon. The problem: it’s a lie. “50% of all marriages end in divorce.”
  • Friends Are For the Darkness. Stephen Altrogge writes “If one of your friends is struggling with depression, you want to fix it for them. To take away the sorrow and dispel the clouds of gloom. To take their hand and lead them back into the land of the living. But I can say from experience that things simply don’t work that way. You can’t tell a person to snap out of depression any more than you can tell someone to snap out of a migraine.”
  • Obligation, Stewardship and the Poor. Kevin DeYoung writes “As you consider your personal obligation to the poor and your church’s corporate obligation, keep in mind these two principles: proximity and necessity.”
  • Tim Keller on Nationalism, Race, and What Jonah Misunderstood About Grace. On this edition of the Gospel Coalition podcast, Maina Mwaura asked Tim Keller why he wrote a book on Jonah and what modern-day attitudes are reflected in the prodigal prophet. Keller points out that Jonah didn’t recognize his own lack of merit before God, which made him reluctant to extend grace to pagan people. “Because he didn’t grasp the gospel of grace in his own life,” Keller says, “he was a terrible missionary.”
  • On Hospitality and the Gospel. On this episode of the 9Marks podcast Pastors’ Talk, Jonathan Leeman sat down with Kent and Rosaria Butterfield to talk about the privilege of hospitality, the gospel, Rosaria’s latest book, and Kent’s recent 9Marks article.

  • Lauren Daigle, Persecution, and the Church’s Opportunity for Witness. Owen Strachen writes “Whatever platform we carve out in the providence of God is not given us for its own sake. If we are truly a Christian, and we truly have some measure of influence, that influence is not our own. We do not own it. That influence is God’s. That platform is God’s. Those opportunities are bought and paid for by the bloody cross of Christ. That chance to answer a hostile question, a question that could possibly derail all the hard work we’ve put in to have a public voice, is a chance given us by God for the glory of his name.” Here is Mike Leake’s take on the story.

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

  • Thanking God for His Love. In this short video, Thabiti Anyabwile reflects on a moment when the reality of God’s love in the work of election became evident to him.
  • My Soul Is Too Far Gone. Francis Chan writes “No soul is too far gone for God to bring back. No heart is too hard for God to soften. No son or daughter is too lost for God to rescue. Keep praying for God to do what only he can”.
  • Convictions and Consequences. Sophia Lee writes “When Isabella Chow, a student senator at the University of California, Berkeley, decided to abstain from a pro-LGBT vote and instead explain her Christian views, she knew she’d have to weather a storm. She just didn’t expect that storm to involve a torrent of F-bombs and demands for her resignation.”
  • “Broken”, “Authentic”, “Surrender”: The Problem of Christian Jargon. Dan Doriani, who I enjoyed two classes with at Covenant Seminary, writes “Let us strive to use the right words in the right way, for the sake of Christ and his church. I don’t ask that everyone guard their every word, but I do propose that leaders draw our language—words and meanings—from Scripture as much as possible, seeking to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5)”.
  • Your Lord’s Day Might Be Someone Else’s Way of Escape. Rosaria Butterfield writes “Radically ordinary hospitality begins when we remember that God uses us as living epistles—and that the openness or inaccessibility of our homes and hearts stands between life and death, victory and defeat, and grace or shame for most people.”

OUR HEARTS ARE IDOL FACTORIES:

  • 20 Signs You’ve Made Politics an Idol. Our friend Kevin Halloran writes “We’ve given politics and government a role they were never meant to play: solver of all our problems, provider of security, happiness, equity, and meaning. In other words, god.”
  • Are We Really in Danger of Making an Idol of the Family? Kevin DeYoung writes “The conjugal family—one man and one woman whose covenant union produces offspring—is profoundly good, a necessary and foundational element of God’s creational design. But it is not ultimate.”

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

  • Apostacy and How It Happens. Sinclair Ferguson writes “Yes, apostasy happens. Sometimes the catalyst is flagrant sin. The pain of conviction and repentance is refused, and the only alternative to it is wholesale rejection of Christ. But sometimes the catalyst is a thorn growing quietly in the heart, an indifference to the way of the Cross, a drifting that is not reversed by the knowledge of biblical warnings”.
  • What is Union with Christ? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper responds to the question What does it mean to be united to Christ, and what are a few of the most significant implications of it?”

  • Identifying and Forsaking Our Spiritual Mistresses. Scott Sauls writes “Idolatry is the root beneath all sin and beneath every choice we ever make to go our own way instead of following Jesus in faith and obedience. Sin, ultimately, is not a matter of behavior, but a matter of desire. We always obey that which we desire the most.”
  • My Girlfriend is Pregnant – Now What? On this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper responds to the question “But I am scared. Assuming this is true, what do we do? How have you counseled couples who are broken and fearful in our situation?”

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

  • How do I Know that I am Elect? How do I Know my Faith is Genuine? In this video from “Ask Ligonier”, Sinclair Ferguson looks at the doctrine of assurance and what it means to be born again.
  • Why Does John Piper Avoid Politics and What’s Trending? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper addresses the question Why do you avoid saying much about current events and politics?”
  • What Should Christians Do About Our Differences on Spiritual Gifts? In this episode of Signposts, Russell Moore offers his perspective on spiritual gifts and discuss ways that Christians might think about these issues, especially as they partner together in ministry.
  • How Can You Show Radical Hospitality as an Introvert? Rosaria Butterfield states “I think that introverts can be extremely good at managing hospitality because we tend to not just talk to hear the sound of our voice. Those quiet times are fine. They can be reflective times.”
  • Is It Really Important That You Emphasize Hell? Watch this short video in which Francis Chan discusses how the reality of hell should impact evangelism in the Christian life.
  • Is Tim Keller a Marxist? Carl Trueman, who I enjoyed a wonderful class on B.B. Warfield with at Covenant Seminary a few years back, writes “It is an unwarranted slur on his character, for we all know that cultural Marxism is not intended as a morally neutral term.  And—I almost forgot—it is to break the Ninth Commandment about a Christian brother.  And that’s a sin—not so much a sin against Tim Keller as against the God he serves.”
  • How Should Christians Respond to the Imprecatory Psalms? How should Christians respond to psalms that invoke calamity or curses upon one’s enemies? In this brief video clip from the 2016 Ligonier National Conference, Robert Godfrey, Albert Mohler, and William VanDoodewaard consider biblical prayers of judgment.

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