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Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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

  • 9 Things You Should Know About the Winter Olympics. Joe Carter writes “The 2018 Winter Olympic officially starts February 9 in Pyeongchang County, South Korea. Here are nine things you should know about the world’s leading international winter sports event”
  • 5 Christian Athletes to Watch in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Brett McCracken writes “Among the athletes competing are five Olympians who have spoken openly about their Christian faith. Learn a bit about them below and root them on during the Olympics as they seek to glorify God by excelling in their sport.”
  • BreakPoint: The 15:17 to Paris. On this episode of the BreakPoint podcast, John Stonestreet writes “A major studio has just released a film about three heroic Americans who stopped a terrorist attack—and it ties that heroism to their Christian faith.”
  • What You Should Know about Wakanda. With Marvel’s eagerly anticipated new film Black Panther set to open this week, Joe Carter tells us what we should know about the mysterious African nation.
  • Hatmaker Explains Why She Rejected the “Bad Fruit” of the Bible’s Teaching about Sexuality. Denny Burk writes “Jesus says that his commands are not burdensome (Matt. 11:28-30), but Hatmaker says that they are not only burdensome but also harmful to people. Who is right? Hatmaker or Jesus? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is unclear to many. But it won’t prove unclear to genuine followers of Christ. I hope and pray that it will one day be clear again to Hatmaker as well.”
  • Jen Hatmaker and the Power of De-Conversion Stories. Michael Kruger writes “The purpose of this article is to lay out the steps in this de-conversion playbook and offer a quick response to each. I hope to help others who hear these de-conversion stories and struggle with how to respond.”
  • Moody: What Am I Supposed to Say? Trent Hunter writes “What am I supposed to say when a member at my church asks me if Moody still holds to the inerrancy of Scripture? Should they give? Should they send their student? What am I supposed to say when they ask about these related stories of subversive teaching on Adam, a professor whom they heard supports planned parenthood, and the denial of a correspondence theory of truth among some faculty? What about the alleged hiring of an egalitarian who was herself an ordained pastor, and layoffs that may be part of a plan to silence those who registered their concerns? Given my responsibility as an undershepherd before Christ, as one charged to “follow the pattern of sound words” handed down, what am I supposed to say (2 Tim. 1:13)?”
  • Meet the First Gerber Baby with Down Syndrome; His Name is Lucas! Terri Peters writes “The 2018 Gerber baby is Lucas Warren, a 1-year-old from Dalton, Georgia who is the first child with Down Syndrome to be named a Gerber baby since the contest’s start in 2010.”
  • Walgreens Adopts Policy Allowing Males Who Identify as Females to Use Women’s Restrooms. Heather Clark writes “The nationwide drugstore chain Walgreens has adopted a policy allowing males who identify as females to use the women’s restroom, and vice versa.”
  • Jordan Peterson is Helping Disillusioned Boys Become Men. Here’s Why Liberals Hate That. Jonathon Van Maren writes “But a good question to ask Peterson’s detractors would be whyWhydo they hate him so much? Why are so many liberals so determined to mock and malign him at every turn? Why do they see him as such a dangerous figure, when the impact of his work in the real world is so overwhelmingly positive?”
  • Jumping In – Luke Weaver. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Luke Weaver writes of being baptized by fellow teammate Adam Wainright.

Courtesy of World Magazine

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

  • 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

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

TELEVISION & MEDIA:

  • Headed to the Super Bowl: Eagles’ QB Foles Says ‘All Glory Belongs to God’. Nancy Flory writes “The Philadelphia Eagles soundly defeated the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 Sunday, and heads to a Super Bowl LII showdown with the New England Patriots. For many on the team, the win was an opportunity to share their faith.”
  • Jordan Peterson, Hero. Rod Dreher writes “This 30-minute interview from Britain’s Channel 4 with clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson is INCREDIBLE. The interviewer, Cathy Newman, makes a fool of herself. She doesn’t listen to what Peterson says, and keeps badly restating his arguments as, “So, you’re saying that …” — and then completely mischaracterizing him. It is astonishing to watch — and he keeps his cool the entire time!”
  • Rachel Denhollander. Watch Rachel Denhollander, one of the victims of Larry Nassar in this video. She preaches the Gospel to Nassar beginning around the 27-minute mark. Note: the video does include some graphic detail about how she was abused.
  • No sooner had we finished season two of The Crown, and here comes the second season of Victoria on PBS. It’s one of our favorite series.
  • Oscar nominations. The Oscar nominations were announced on January 23, and were sadly led by The Shape of Water, which is a bestiality themed love story; it received 13 nominations.  I was pleased to see Dunkirk, my top film of the year, receive 8 nominations. I was also pleased to see Gary Oldman nominated for Best Actor for Darkest Hour and Christopher Plummer for Best Supporting Actor for All the Money in the World.
  • Bolivia’s President Revokes Evangelism Restrictions. Morgan Lee writes “Bolivia’s evangelical leaders led a national day of prayer and fasting in response to their socialist government making evangelism a crime. That same Sunday, their president went on TV to answer their prayers.”

World Magazine Cartoon of the Week

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

  • Body Aches, Heart Longings, and Growth in Compassion. Scotty Smith prays “An eternity of perfect health is looking better and better, Father. Our healing will be complete, and never again will we experience sickness and pain in any form. No more cancer or flu, joint replacements or even runny noses; no more addictions or heart disease; no more memory loss or even hiccups. Hallelujah, and hasten the Day!”
  • A Calvinist Evangelist? Keith Mathison writes “If I have heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: “A Calvinist evangelist? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Calvinism undermines evangelism.”
  • What Value is the Old Testament to the Christian Life? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers the question “What are the best uses of the Old Testament for giving shape to our Christian lives today?”
  • When Our Heroes Don’t Live Up to Their Theology. Thomas Kidd writes “Even the Bible tells of no perfect heroes, at least among those who were merely human. David, Peter, and Paul are examples of godly people who committed terrible sins. So hopefully we can be honest about our historical heroes’ failings, and yet maintain appreciation for the good that God did through them, by his grace.”
  • R.C.Sproul’s Final Sermon: A Great Salvation. R.C. Sproul preached his final sermon on November 26, 2017. The title of the sermon was “A Great Salvation” from Hebrews 2: 1-4. He concluded that sermon with these words: “I pray with all my heart that God will awaken each one of us today to the sweetness, the loveliness, the glory of the gospel declared by Christ.” Listen to the sermon here.
  • A Catechism on the Heart. Sinclair Ferguson writes “Sometimes people ask authors, “Which of your books is your favorite?” The first time the question is asked, the response is likely to be “I am not sure; I have never really thought about it.” But forced to think about it, my own standard response has become, “I am not sure what my favorite book is; but my favorite title is A Heart for God.” I am rarely asked, “Why?” but (in case you ask) the title simply expresses what I want to be: a Christian with a heart for God.”
  • What Is It Like to Enjoy God?Watch this message that John Piper delivered at the recent Passion Conference in Atlanta.

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

Courtesy of World Magazine

  • What’s Wrong with Dressing Immodestly for Attention?In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers the question Can you help me know how to cultivate beauty in my heart and in my faith in God alone?”
  • Lay Aside the Weight of Irritability. Jon Bloom writes “Our irritability never has its roots in the soils of righteousness. It springs out of the soil of selfishness and springs up fast, like the sin-weed that it is. We get irritated or easily provoked, not when God’s righteousness or justice is scorned, but when something we want is being denied, delayed, or disrupted.”

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

Starting the New Year:

  • 4 Christian Principles for Making New Year’s Resolutions. Burk Parsons writes “We would therefore do well to consider (Jonathan) Edwards’ prefatory remarks as we seek to glorify God and enjoy Him forever in our churches, our homes, and our hearts.”
  • Bible Reading Plans for 2018. Nathan W. Bingham has compiled a list of helpful Bible reading plans for you to choose from.
  • Get a Basic Overview of the Bible. R.C. Sproul writes “Virtually every Christian at some point has resolved to read the entire Bible. If we believe the Bible is the Word of God, it’s natural not to want to miss a word of it.”
  • 7 New Year Resolutions That Could Change Our World. Ron Edmondson writes “Whether or not you do New Year resolutions, we could all stand to improve some things in our life. And, if we do, I’m confident we could also improve the life of others.”
  • Keep Technology in Its Proper Place in 2018. Andy Crouch writes “The proper place for technology won’t be exactly the same for every family, and it isn’t the same at every season of our lives. Figuring out the proper place for technology in our particular family and stage of life requires discernment rather than a simple formula.”
  • Ask God to Rebuild What is Broken. Marshall Segal writes “If God can rebuild a relationship with us ripped apart by sin, and replant and revive souls like ours dead in sin, what new thing could he do in your life this year — in your family, in your workplace, in your neighborhood, in our nation, in you?”
  • A Gospel-Shaped 2018. Scotty Smith prays “Heavenly Father, whether or not 2018 is going to be a “happy” New Year, remains to be seen. But as in 2017, there won’t be a day this year you’ll fail to send us new mercies and give us sufficient grace. You’ll steadfastly delight in us, and rejoice over us with singing, no matter the happenstance, circumstances, or providences. Because of Jesus’ finished work, your love for us is irrepressible, immeasurable, and inexhaustible. That will be the most predictable and reliable truth in 2018. Hallelujah!”
  • New Year, New Beginnings: The Importance of Considering Our Ways. Melissa Kruger writes “There’s something refreshing about beginning a new year. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and refocus our goals for the upcoming year. I find it helpful to get away for an hour or two and spend some time in prayer, asking the Lord to guide me as I consider the time he’s given.”
  • A New Year, A New Bible Reading Plan. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper responds to the question Can you make a case for the discipline? Name the plan you use. Explain why you like it. Explain the pace of reading. And maybe what you’ve learned after doing this for so many years.”
  • Marry the Bible This Year. David Mathis writesMarrying the Bible is not a sequestering pursuit. As God fills us with the spiritual life and joy He imparts to us through His word, He will put a word in our mouth and make our meal all the more filling as we pass it around to others. The dominoes will begin falling as the word of God comes into its central, initiating, energizing place in our souls.”
  • Another New Year Knocks. Marshall Segal writes “The reason many of us feel so insecure and anxious at the end of another year is that we’ve taken gifts meant to lead us to God, and looked to them for the strength, hope, clarity, and purpose only God can give.”
  • On New Year’s Resolutions, Slow Progess, and the Grace of God. Scott Sauls writes “So, perhaps the first thing to do, then, is to begin doing what Jesus taught all of us to do—to ask our Father in heaven to give us the Spirit (Luke 11:13).”
  • Should Christians Make New Year’s Resolutions? In this four-minute video Hershael York believes it is right to make New Year’s Resolutions about the way that they intend to live.

Courtesy of World Magazine

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

R. C. Sproul

DR. R.C. SPROUL, known by many as simply “R.C.”, was my spiritual mentor for more than 30 years; he died on December 14. Here are a few helpful links.

  • Here is R.C.’s obituary in the Orlando Sentinel and in the Washington Post.
  • R.C.’s memorial service will be live streamed on R.C. Sproul.com on December 20 at 2:00 pm Eastern.
  • Chris Larson of Ligonier Ministries tells us that the Renewing Your Mind broadcast that aired December 15 (the day after R.C. died) was providentially planned several months ago. Listen to “The Believer’s Final Rest” here.
  • To read about the impact R.C. had on others, follow the hashtag #GodUsedRC
  • Tim Challies has done an excellent job compiling several tributes to R.C. here.
  • Here is my tribute to R.C., in appreciation for how the Lord used him in my life.
  • Nathan W. Bingham does a nice job compiling a number of tributes to R.C. here.
  • Here are more tributes from:
  • Here is a tribute from Todd Pruitt. Todd and Kevin DeYoung both recommend this sermon from R.C.
  • The last time I heard R.C. deliver a message was at the 2016 Ligonier National Conference. It was a very emotional time as he was given a standing ovation. I wondered at the time if it would be the last time I would hear him give a message, and as it turned out, it was. And what a message to finish with. Watch R.C. deliver his message entitled “The Transforming Power of the Gospel” here.
  • The last time I saw R.C. was at the 2017 Ligonier National Conference. Although his health did not allow him to deliver the final message of the conference as had been planned, he did participate in a few sessions earlier in the conference, including this “Question and Answer” session. Watch the beginning of this video in which he and dear friend John MacArthur debate a theological point. A great memory.
  • R.C. had many friends on the Reformed Baptist side of the aisle. Watch this brief video clip in which he makes a joke with Albert Mohler. Watch John MacArthur’s reaction.
  • Uncaging the Lion. Joel Belz of World Magazine with a recent interview with R.C.
  • Desiring God shared the video for this message from their 2010 National Conference. They write “In October of 2010, Sproul delivered a message at the Desiring God National Conference that was quintessentially “Sproulian.” He interacted with ancient and modern philosophy, science, and history in explaining, and defending, why the Bible provides the only reliable answers to our ultimate questions.
  • 40 Quotes from R. C. Sproul. Matt Smethurst shares these 40 quotes from R.C.

Christmas:

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