Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

TOPICS IN THE NEWS:

  • Racism and Corporate Evil: A White Guy’s Perspective. Watch this 26-minute address from Tim Keller, which was part of an event that marked the release of John Piper’s book Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, for which Keller wrote the Foreword.
  • Charlottesville, Confederate Memorials, and Southern Culture. John Piper writes “So here I am, a Christian exile in America pondering the implications of Charlottesville. You will see below why my mind has gone in the direction of Confederate memorials. How should I think and act about that point of conflict? What are we to do as a nation? The questions multiplied. Here is my best effort so far to find some answers.” Consider his four recommendations.
  • John MacArthur on Charlottesville, Racism, and God’s Word. What’s a biblical response to racism and the tragic events in Charlottesville? John MacArthur answered that question in this interview with Frank Sontag on 99.5 KKLA in Los Angeles.
  • Special Report on Sexuality and Gender. David Murray shares interesting findings from The New Atlantis Journal’s“A Special Report on Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences”.
  • Precious Clarity on Human Sexuality. John Piper introduces the “Nashville Statement”, writing “The Nashville Statement is a Christian manifesto concerning issues of human sexuality. It speaks with forthright clarity, biblical conviction, gospel compassion, cultural relevance, and practical helpfulness. There is no effort to equivocate for the sake of wider, but muddled, acceptance.” Aimee Byrd offers this response to the “Nashville Statement”.
  • Why is Sexuality Such a Big Deal for the Church? Emily McFarlan Miller writes “Mohler describes a collision between “two massive and very powerful cultural realities.” One is the “long, consistent testimony of Christianity concerning God’s plan for human sexuality, marriage and gender” that reserves sex for one man and one woman within marriage, he said. The other is a “moral revolution being driven largely by what is considered to be sexual liberation.”
  • Why the Nashville Statement Now, and What about Article 10?Denny Burk writes “We also began to see a great deal of criticism and more than a few questions. All of this was to be expected. This will be an ongoing conversation going forward, and we will be engaging the substantive issues at stake in the days ahead in this space. But I wanted to take an opportunity to address three items that have come up today—two mundane points and one substantive.”
  • When Calling Yourself a “Christian” Isn’t Enough. Adam Parker writes “Is it possible that the term “Christian,” like “Evangelical,” isn’t enough? Since the “Nashville Statement” was released, we have seen a number of negative responses from people also wanting to claim the name of Christian.”
  • Should You Call a Transgender Person “Him” or “Her”?It’s very common to hear debates about pronoun usage. For example, should you call a transgender male “he” (as they identify themselves) or “she” (since they are biologically female)? Christians disagree—hopefully charitably—about pronoun usage, this short video offers some helpful advice from Andrew Walker, author of God and The Transgender Debate. 

Courtesy of World Magazine

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

TO MAKE YOU SMILE:

  • New Service Replaces ‘Game Of Thrones’ Sex Scenes With Glaring Kevin DeYoung.The Babylon Bee reports “Just as believers are settling in to enjoy the show’s intricate plot and wide range of morally gray characters, the Reformed reverend will suddenly pop up on the screen and shake his head in disappointment at the viewer at all of the numerous points where the show would usually feature a graphic sexual act.”
  • Dying Eagles Fan Uses His Final Wishes to Rip the Team. Jeffrey Clayton Riegel, a New Jersey man died recently. He took the opportunity of his obituary to take one final shot at the Philadelphia Eagles. “God gave Jeffrey the miracle of time to prepare which allowed him to verbalize his last wishes. He requested to have 8 Philadelphia Eagles as pall bearers so the Eagles can let him down one last time.”

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

IN THE NEWS:

  • St. Louis’s Unholy War on Religious Liberty. Nathanial Blake writes about an ordinance passed in St. Louis, Missouri which prohibits discrimination in housing or employment on the basis of “reproductive health decisions.” Promoted as an anti-discrimination measure, the law’s actual purpose is to destroy the self-government of religious and pro-life organizations.
  • Why North Koreans are rejecting Kim Jong-un and turning to Christ. Andrew Hamilton-Thomas writes of a report in the Telegraphthat claims a growing number of North Koreans are rejecting Kim Jong-un as their god and are now more open to alternative belief systems, including Christianity.”
  • Throwing Stones at the Glass Castle.  Lore Ferguson Wilbert writes about the new film The Glass Castle “The beauty of The Glass Castle is not that it ends too neatly, but that it ends messily and complicated, just as life is. We want clear delineations and boundaries and decisive clarity on whether folks are in or out, but life is not like that.”
  • Google on Abortion: 3 Fresh Ways to Make the Case for Life. Trevin Wax writes “Always be on the lookout for new ways to make the case for life. Stephanie Gray’s talk at Google is a great example of how to ask questions, probe deeper into people’s assumptions, and lead people to understand why you uphold the dignity and worth of every human life.”
  • James Kennedy Ministries Sues SPLC over Hate Map. Kate Shellnutt writes “We do not hate anyone,” Wright wrote. “We have been falsely branded by the SPLC for nothing more than subscribing to the teachings of the historic Christian faith. We are a nonprofit ministry whose deeply held Christian convictions energize our mission to faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

  • 8 Ways to Help Depressed Christians. David Murray writes “Many of us struggle with what to do when someone we know is depressed. We want to help but fear, confusion, or misunderstanding holds us back. So, let me suggest eight guidelines for helping depressed people.”
  • Should Christians Cremate Their Loved Ones? John Piper writes “My proposal in this article is that Christian churches be willing to help families financially with simple, Christ-exalting funerals and burials, so that no Christian is drawn to cremation because it’s cheaper.”
  • Please Stop Saying “Christianity Isn’t a Religion, It’s a Relationship. Kevin Halloran writes “The next time you’re tempted to say, “Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship”—hold your tongue. You’re not only wrong, you may sound dumb3, and will miss a chance to share what you wanted to communicate all along.”
  • Accept Your Leadership.Tim Challies writes “Your family needs to be led. Your wife and children need you to be the leader God calls you to be. He calls you to lead in love, to study the life and character of Jesus Christ, and to imitate him. Do that and God will be pleased. Do that and your family will be blessed. Run to win by accepting and embracing your leadership.”
  • The Knee-Buckling Weight of God’s Grace. Scotty Smith prays “Since you gave Jesus to usand for us, of course we can trust you for everything else we actually need. Forgive for thinking otherwise. Forgive our discontent, envy and unbelief.”
  • How Do We Fail in Bible Reading? Watch this four-minute video from John Piper.
  • The 11 Beliefs You Should Know about Jehovah’s Witnesses When They Knock at the Door. Justin Taylor writes “The following is a brief overview of what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, along with what the Bible really teaches, printed among the many articles and resources in the back of the ESV Study Bible.
  • The Death Knell on Legalism. Watch this less than two-minute video clip from the 2017 Ligonier National Conference in which John MacArthur explains that Jesus’ teaching of the new birth in John 3 is the death knell on legalism.
  • How Do You Do Family Worship? In this episode of “Honest Answers, Don Whitney states that “Three syllables is all you have to remember, read, pray, sing.” Watch the six-minute video.
  • Don’t Check Your Baggage. Marshall Segal writes “Someone you know — someone struggling with the same sins you once committed against God — needs to hear what God has done for you.”
  • Don’t Waste Your Commute. Having just visited my team in Atlanta, I was reminded that some folks have significant commutes to and from work each day. Nick Batzig writes “Here are four very tangible things that we can work toward as we attempt to redeem the time on our commutes.”
  • A Surprising Ingredient in Christian Contentment. Erik Raymond writes “Initially unsettling and frankly a bit off-putting, a robust doctrine of sin is an essential ingredient for our contentment.”
  • A Pilot Explains What It Really Means When There’s Turbulence During a Flight. I enjoy the benefits of air travel, but I’m certainly not a fan of turbulence. I found this article from Patrick Smith, a commercial airline pilot who currently flies Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft, to be both interesting and comforting.

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

  • Congratulations to Kurt Warner. Kurt Warner, who was my favorite NFL Player, was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame on August 5. Watch highlights from his induction speech.
  • Vatican Condemns U.S. Catholic Conservatives.Gene Veith writes “An official Vatican publication has condemned Catholic conservatives in America for participating with evangelicals in an “ecumenism of hate.”
  • Are Evangelicals Becoming More Open to Gay Marriage?Denny Burk writes “What we are witnessing in the evangelical movement right now is a winnowing—a parting of ways. It rightly grieves us because no one relishes division or departures from God’s truth. But it is all important that we see what this means. This division is real and necessary for anyone turning away from what the scriptures teach on marriage and sexuality. And all sides would do well not to obscure just how high the stakes really are.”
  • Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s CEO. David Brooks writes “There are many actors in the whole Google/diversity drama, but I’d say the one who’s behaved the worst is CEO, Sundar Pichai.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

 

  • How Do I Overcome My Fear of Evangelism?Watch this three-minute “Honest Answers” video from Timothy K. Beougher. He states “We have to confront that our fear of rejection is really loving the approval of men more than the approval of God.”
  • I Don’t Understand Christians Watching Game of Thrones. Kevin DeYoung writes “I don’t expect those who are strangers to the light to be bothered by the darkness. But for conservative Christians who care about marriage and immorality and decency in so many other areas, it is baffling that Game of Thrones gets a free pass.”
  • Managing Technology. Over half of children think that their parents check their phone too often, with a quarter of parents agreeing they want to look at their devices less. Yet it’s difficult to pry ourselves away from technology, so social media is in large part making us less social. In this eighteen-minute video, Andy Crouch reflects on these issues in his new book, and will help us think through utilizing tech in a way that contributes to relationships.
  • A Generation Passionate for God’s Holiness. In this 2003 message from Passion One Day, John Piper states “Could it be that the 200,000 that I so ache for, long for, pray for, in this generation might rise up for Jesus if their hearts were impassioned by a glimpse of the holiness of God?” Watch the 32-minute message or read the transcript.
  • Your Gifts Are Not for You. In eight-minute video, Trillia Newbell, Blair Linne, and Rosaria Butterfield discuss what you should do if your church doesn’t appreciate your gifts.
  • Humility and Greatness are the Same Thing. Scott Sauls writes “For Henri Nouwen and for us all, greatness is not found in being well liked and respected by others, not in striving to reverse the negative verdicts, not in making a name for ourselves. Instead, greatness is found as we become more boastful about Jesus and more shy about ourselves…and in a life increasingly poured out for Jesus and others.”

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

  • On Those Short-fused Temper-flaring Days. Scotty Smith prays “Heavenly Father, thank you for using heart-convicting images when confronting us with our bad attitudes. I certainly cringe at the thought of being a fool whose “bosom” provides lodging and hospitality for anger. And I take no pleasure in the notion of “exalting folly” by my “hasty temper.” Forgive me Lord, and help me be a better steward of the important and powerful emotion of anger.”
  • Texting and Driving Is Not Loving Your Neighbor. It Could Kill Them. Kevin Halloran writes “I used to text while driving all the time. I finally stopped after a few close calls that woke me up to the danger my behavior posed to myself and others. It’s not only a question of wisdom and personal safety, it is loving your neighbor. And you can’t love your neighbor by putting their lives in danger.”
  • Death by Selfie. Scott Sauls writes “Lord, free us from our addiction to being liked.”
  • 4 Ways to Enjoy God. Sinclair Ferguson writes “Scripture shows that well-instructed believers develop a determination to rejoice.”
  • Two Well-Intentioned Words That Do More Harm Than Good to Those in Pain. Michael Kelley writes “The reason these words can do more harm than good is because you don’t understand. Not really. No one does.”
  • Counseling Parents about Smart Rules for Smartphones (And All Social Media). Garrett Higbee shares 10 rules and 10 helpful guidelines that he would suggest, with the caveat that some may be different in your home.

NOW THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION!

  • Will We Maintain Our Own Identities in Heaven?Randy Alcorn writes “Our own personal history and identity will endure from one Earth to the next.”
  • Do All Religions Lead to God? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper addresses this question from a listener. Listen, or read, his response.
  • Can You Repent Without Changing?Harry Schaumburg writes “Let me say it as clearly as I can: When it comes to sexual sin and addiction, recovery is not repentance, and repentance is not Repentance is not merely human effort. It is not a self-help program. Repentance is God’s surgical procedure, in which he not only humbles the sinner, but works a change in him that is visible from the outside.”
  • Where Will You Be One Year From Today?Tony Reinke writes “One of the many questions that such tragedies raise for us is, “What role, if any, prediction plays in the Christian life?”

Courtesy of World Magazine

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

TELEVISION AND MOVIES:

  • If You Are Watching Game of Thrones, You are Watching Porn. Noah Filipiak writes “And if you think you can somehow filter out the porn and only take in the art, you are deceived and double-minded as well.  Porn does what porn does: as soon as it enters the scene, it removes all dignity and humanity.  All that is left is body parts and the consuming of other humans.  You can’t keep someone’s dignity once you have already devoured it.”
  • Funnyman Jim Carrey Finds His Way Home Through Suffering. David Rupert writes of Jim Carey speaking about troubles that have helped him find a way back home. In this video, he talks candidly to a room full of men who have been in and out of prison.  His theology is not orthodox, but I still found this encouraging.
  • The Masterful ‘Dunkirk’ Explores a ‘Miracle’ of History. Brett McCracken writes “Dunkirk is to Nolan as “David” is to Michelangelo. It’s his masterpiece.”
  • The War We Need. Marshall Segal writes “Dunkirk uncovers a war many of us need to see, because we all need to be reminded that life is war.”

IN THE NEWS:

  • Caste Aside: India’s New President Has ‘No Room for Christians’. Kate Shellnutt writes “Though India is the biggest democracy in the world, its Hindu norms have increasingly restricted Christian freedoms. Open Doors rates the persecution level in the country as “very high.”
  • Six Stages of a Dying Church. Thom Rainer writes “Somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 churches in America will close their doors in the next year. And many of them die because they refuse to recognize problems before they became irreversible.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

GODLY MEN AND WOMEN:

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week


  • Before the Throne of Social ‘Likes’. Trevin Wax writes “as Christians who want to be faithful to Jesus in this era, we need to consider what our online interaction is doing to our hearts. How do these online habits shape us? What are the benefits, the promises, and the dangers?”
  • My Life Feels Pointless. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers the question “How do we continue on when this life feels pointless, like when we are treading water and it feels like we’re just passing time until this life is over?”  
  • Repenting of Our Performance-ism and Perfectionism. Scotty Smith prays “I can still lapse into “approval suck” living–seeking to gain and maintain people’s approval by what I do. Likewise, I often consider a day “good” or “bad,” based on the quality and quantity of my production. Rather than boasting in Christ alone, I often look to find something boast-worthy in me. Performance-based living is such a crummy way to do life–one that contradicts the way of grace.”
  • Why I Love the Evening Service and You Can Too. Kevin DeYoung writes “Here are a few reasons why I’m thankful for the evening service and why I hope you’ll consider keeping yours, going to yours, finding a neighboring church that has one, or even starting one at your church.”
  • Passive Christianity is Dead Christianity. Jon Bloom writes “Do what Jesus says. Do whatever it takes to want what’s right. And then, with that new heart, do what you want.”
  • R.C.Sproul Through the Years. It’s hard for me to express how much the Lord has used R.C. Sproul’s ministry (books, teaching series, conferences) in my sanctification. I enjoyed this two-minute video clip of his ministry throughout the past 50 years.

SPIRIT OF OUR AGE:

Courtesy of World Magazine

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