Articles Tag Archive

SolaWednesdayFinal

“Sola Wednesday” is going to look a little different for the next two weeks.

As many of you know, I’ll be getting married this Saturday (WOO HOO). Then I’ll be on my honeymoon next week.

So this week I give you a list of the top 5 read posts of 2013 so far. I’ve been at this thing since April 2013, and there are already plenty of posts with quite a few hits!

Have you read them all? Please comment on and share your favorites!

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1) Bacon, Jesus and the New Covenant

“Being the complete nerd that I am, I couldn’t help but think about the relationship between bacon and my faith as a Christian. Which naturally led to me thinking about what it must’ve been like to be held in bondage under the law as the Jews once were (and many still are). From there I began to think about how many times in our current culture I’ve heard Christians being blasted as hypocrites for eating pork (and/or shellfish). After all, doesn’t the Bible say we can’t eat them? The common analogy I hear is that Christians treat the Bible as if it is trail-mix, picking and choosing the parts that we like or don’t like. We’ve all seen it right? The email-chains being forwarded around about all the commands in the Bible Christians don’t keep (especially those from Leviticus), the blasts on Facebook about how we’re hypocrites and Jesus just wants us to be nice to one another (is a half-truth still truth?).”

2) Why the Marriage Debate has Already Destroyed Us

“Let me begin by simply stating the premise of this article: I am issuing a desperate plea for rationally-based, hope-filled, tolerance-understanding, people-loving discussion on the subject of marriage not only in the United States, but across the globe. I truly believe that we are currently in the middle of an issue that has our culture more polarized and divided than any other in history. I realize those who lived through the civil-rights movement may disagree with me, however with the spread of technology and social media we are now able to relay information and arguments faster than ever before causing the polarization of people to increase at never-before-seen rates. My fear is that, because of the rapid spread of information and growing trends in our society, we have officially lost the ability to have calm discussion and solve problems together.”

3) Man of Steel: Our Modern Desire for a Savior

“I was recently talking to a friend (thanks, Tom) about the level of gospel-related imagery present in many Hollywood movies today. We specifically talked about the latest Batman trilogy – one of the reasons everyone loves Batman is that he’s the unlikely hero who is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of others. Isn’t that why we love the idea of heroes today? One of the subplots in last years Avengers was that Tony Stark wasn’t a true hero until he learned what it meant to sacrifice himself and put his own life on the line. Captain America is the selfless boyscout who, despite being mocked and humiliated by his peers, continually demonstrates that others lives are more valuable than his. Selflessness, humility, sacrifice – things we love to see in our ideal heroes – are all things that Christ demonstrated through his earthly ministry and ultimate death on the cross.”

4) Judge Not, Lest Ye Be a Hater

“The truth is, everybody want’s Jesus on their side. We live in an age where the majority of the population is Biblically illiterate, and rather than investigate what they hear for themselves they trust the first thing they hear that already agrees with their beliefs. Those who hold to the belief that Jesus’ followers aren’t to judge anyone will often reference either John 8:7 (“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”), or Matthew 7:1 (“Judge not, that you be not judged.”). From a plain reading, one might conclude that Jesus did in fact teach that his followers are not to make any judgment whatsoever. The Bible has a lot to say about judging one another – but since even non-Christians like to quote Jesus to make their point, let us look specifically at these verses in their appropriate contexts to see what Jesus really had to say about judging people.”

5) Macklemore’s Mackled Love

“It has been requested of me for some time to address the song Same Love by Macklemore. I don’t really listen to Pop-radio, so I am both blissfully ignorant and culturally unaware of the music circulating today. At first I denied the request to write on this issue – after all I’d already waded in the boiling water with this post, so two posts on a similar subject seemed too close to beating on the aforementioned dead horse. However, after some brief discussion and further thought on this song, as well as the recent DOMA/SCOTUS decisions, I’ve decided to once again put my thoughts out there for the interwebs to read. It is my hope and prayer that this will contribute to the discussion on both sides, and that it will be edifying to anyone who reads it regardless of their position.”

SolaWednesdayFinal

1) Twelve Myths About Calvinism

“Calvinists to do not believe that people are robots or puppets on strings. Calvinists believe in freedom and, properly defined, free will. While Calvinists believe that God is ultimately in control of everything, most are compatibalists, believing that he works in and with human freedom (limited though it may be). Calvinists believe in human responsibility at the same time as holding to a high view of God’s providential sovereignty.”

These are helpful notes for anyone new to the idea of Calvinism.

2) Are You Needed in Your Church?

“A lot has been written lately about people in my age demographic leaving the church. Some have suggested reasons for this, others countered with other possibilities. Solutions have spanned the spectrum. We’re told our generation is wary of anything that hints at consumerism, and then in the next breath we’re given reasons for attending church that center on what we can get out of it. It’s no wonder we are leaving the church–we’re not even sure what it’s for.”

The Church isn’t about what you get, but what you give of yourself.

3) Redoubling Failing Efforts

“But Franklin admitted no Savior, no God who was personally present in his world, so he had no choice but to look within and to continue his efforts. With his notebook full of holes, rubbed through by all these evidences of his depravity and inability, he bore down all the more. ‘He transferred his charts to ivory tablets that could more easily be wiped clean.'”

Even the most intelligent of man may never “get it.”

4) The Amalekite Genocide

“One of the standard ways that the New Atheists attack Christianity is by using some of the Old Testament war passages to argue that God is violent and petty. One of the favorite passages for this is the so-called Amalekite Genocide of 1 Samuel 15. But difficulties with passages such as this are not restricted to atheists. In 2009, the popular website Ship of Fools ran a feature called Chapter and Worse. Readers were invited to submit their least favorite Bible passages, and an evangelical acquaintance of mine submitted 1 Samuel 15:3.”

This is very helpful exegesis on a relatively common brought up issue.

5) Seminary Wives: 10 Encouragements for the Journey

“My husband and I have enjoyed the privilege of ministering to seminary students for the past 12 years at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s an honor to watch the Lord train up church leaders and to be involved in their lives for this special season. In particular, my heart is always concerned for the wives, knowing the sacrifices they bear and the quiet yet powerful service they give behind the scenes as they support their husbands. Of course, many women attend seminary as well, and that’s a wonderful thing! But if you’re a seminary wife who isn’t a student, here are some words of the encouragement as you partner with your husband in the seminary journey.”

My wife-to-be said she teared up as this helped her realize the profound impact she could have on my life. This is an excellent article.

6) Ten Things Pastor’s Like Most About Their Jobs

“1. Seeing lives transformed. This response was an overwhelming number one. You could almost feel the enthusiasm for this aspect of their ministry as they responded. These pastors feel that God call them to lead toward transformation of others, and seeing that happen is their greatest joy in ministry.”

Unfortunately, personal discipleship is number 10.

7) An Interview with Anthony Weiner

“Smith: Do you feel like you’ve damaged her place in that world?

Weiner: I feel that what I’ve done has hurt her, yeah. It’s hurts her professionally. It’s hurt her personally. We made a decision that these things were behind us and we made a calculated gamble on the question of whether or not citizens would be more interested in their family’s future than in my personal failings that are behind me. She’s gotten roughed up and it’s been completely unfair in my view.”

Seriously, this guy seems so nonchalant about his behavior I can’t believe he hasn’t been forced out of the race yet. Disgusting.

8) California Law Protects Rights of Transgendered Students

“A new law requires public schools to allow pupils from kindergarten to the 12th grade to access male or female toilets according to their preference.

The legislation also allows transgender schoolchildren to choose whether to play boys’ or girls’ sports.”

We live in an age where anything goes – as long as it makes you happy.

9) The Beginner’s Guide To Interpreting Old Testament Law

“For Christians, the interpretation and application of the Old Testament law doesn’t begin with the law—it begins with Jesus. The law points us to him (Luke 24:44). The law is fulfilled in him (Matt. 5:17). And the law takes on a new meaning for us today in him (e.g., “You have heard that it was aid…but I say to you…”). For us to interpret the law rightly, we need to understand it in light of Jesus.”

Super, super helpful words on reading through Old Testament law.

SolaWednesdayFinal

1) Diabolical Ventriloquism: A 1-Sentence Summary of Each of Screwtape’s Letters

“In The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis masterfully “teaches in reverse” by wryly using demonic points of view to enforce a biblical one. He calls it “diabolical ventriloquism.” Here is a one-sentence summary of each of Screwtape’s thirty-one letters that advise Wormwood how to tempt his “patient” (who becomes a Christian between letters one and two).”

2) The Complacent Christian

“What the Puritans saw is that God stirs up our zeal through his ordinary means of grace. Zeal is not a quality available only to those who have identified a secret means of grace or who have been given zeal as a spiritual gift. Zeal is available to all who will simply take advantage of the means God gives us.”

3) The Worst Religion Story of the Year

“While I’m sure I’m now dumber for having read the Daily News article, “Southern Baptists about to ‘plant’ a church in the fertile soil of Brooklyn,” I won’t say that it’s insanely idiotic or that it contains no rational thought. Instead, I’ll follow the lead of Billy Madison and simply say it’s wrong – wrong on almost every conceivable level. From the captions to the quotes, this article sets a new low in local religion reporting.”

4)Is the New Evangelical Liturgy Really an Improvement?

“The simple question I want to ask is this: Is this New Evangelical Liturgy really an improvement?”

5) A Wedding Under a Bridge

“The homeless were to be the guests of honor.”

6) Reasons Men are Opting Out of Marriage

  1. They’ll lose respect
  2. They’ll lose out on sex
  3. They can lose their children and their money
  4. They can lose their space
  5. They can lose their freedom
  6. The single life is better than ever.

7) On Whales and Worship Lyrics

“If I supplied you with a copy of the lyrics to the 6,500 hymns of Charles Wesley, two things would happen to you as you read it. First, you would be deeply moved by the truths the lyrics contained, whether you knew the melodies associated with them or not. Second, you would know your Bible better. Could the same be said if you read through the lyrics of our modern worship offerings?”

8) Are You a Part-Time Church Goer?

Recent statistics show that an increasing number of evangelicals who are firm in their faith are flabby in their practice of actually gathering with their brothers and sisters in worship. It’s the part-time syndrome, and it can sneak up on any of us.”

SolaWednesdayFinal

When I first set out to start this blog, the idea behind it was that it would become the entirety of my thought space as I progress through learning and growing in my studies. While I think I have succeeded to some degree at writing larger, more thought out posts, I would also like to be better at posting more frequent smaller updates as well.

One thing I am going to start trying is an “article round-up” once a week, similar to Tim Challies or Mark Driscoll. The idea behind this is that I’ll be posting my favorite/most influential blog posts and other articles that I’ve read during the previous week. This will hopefully also increase a network with other blog writers as I read and re-post what they are writing.

I’m calling these posts “Sola Wednesdays” (a graphic for this is coming soon), 1) because I am a reformed nerd so it just makes sense and 2) because I am posting these articles on Wednesday alone.

Sound off in the comments below what you think of the new idea!

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1) Why I’m Not Overjoyed Our Town’s Adult Bookstore Closed

“So my hunch is that the local adult bookstore didn’t close because the community lost its interest in pornography, but because their interest has gotten worse and more demanding.”

A sad reality.

2) Why are millenials leaving church? Try atheism

“It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church.”

3) Latin Words and Phrases Every Man Should Know

“Beginning in the 1960s, college students demanded that the curriculum be more open, inclusive, and less Euro-centric. Among their suggested changes was eliminating Latin as a required course for all students. To quell student protests, universities began to slowly phase out the Latin requirement, and because colleges stopped requiring Latin, many high schools in America stopped offering Latin classes, too.  Around the same time, the Catholic Church revised its liturgy and permitted priests to lead Mass in vernacular languages instead of Latin, thus eliminating one of the public’s last ties to the ancient language.”

I hope the authors would be proud of my title for these new posts!

4) Reza Aslan Misrepresents His Scholarly Credentials

“It may be that Aslan sensed a tougher interview from Lauren Green than he is accustomed to. Hence he immediately went into high-dudgeon mode, and made the ten minutes all about her alleged disrespect of him and his alleged scholarly credentials. But in order to change the subject he told a string of gratuitous falsehoods about himself. Perhaps that master’s in fiction writing came in handy.”

This interview has been blowing up the internet. Here is the side nobody is talking about.

5) Have Archaeologists Found King David’s Palace?

“Where, then, should we stand on this discovery? On the one hand, we need to be careful not to buy into the speculative sensationalism that we see and read in the news and that, unfortunately, is sometimes purveyed by archaeologists.

On the other hand, we need not fall into the trap of an automatic hermeneutic of suspicion that dominates the field of archaeology. Let us patiently wait for all the evidence of the excavation to emerge. Then we will have a better idea if this is really King David’s Palace.”

While still speculative, I find this type of stuff fascinating.

6) ELCA Has Biggest Split in American Church History

“When the ELCA was formed in 1988 they had 5.2 million members, but they are now down to only 4 million members–a staggering loss of over 1.2 million members, or 23% of their membership.  They have also lost 1,500, or 13%, of their congregations, from approximately 11,000 to 9,500.  As they “celebrate” this year the 25th anniversary of the ELCA, the fact is that during that time they have lost more members and congregations than make up many entire denominations!”

It is interesting that their attempt to be relevant to culture to “save the denomination” has actually resulted in their biggest decline.

7) 15 Tips on Blogging from John Newton

“Women should be encouraged to blog for the benefit of the entire church, since they naturally write in a style more enjoyable, and less stilted, than men are normally capable of. ‘I have often wished we had more female pens employed in the service of the sanctuary. . . . In the article of essay writing, I think many are qualified to succeed better than most men, having a peculiar easiness of style, which few of us can imitate’ (2:16).”

Every point on this article is very insightful. That one might be my favorite.

8) What One Year of Blogging Has Taught Me

“Don’t compare myself (& my blog) to others. Blogging is discouraging at times. It’s easy to become focused on the number of views, likes, and comments a post gets. In this respect, blogging is a huge challenge for me (and an opportunity for growth with the Lord). I might spend hours crafting a post, only to get few responses and views in the single digits—when this happens, I’m tempted to wonder why I bother. I could be reading or watching Murder She Wrote. But I always remind myself why I’m writing this blog. It’s not to be popular and have lots of views. In the end, I pray that my aim is always first and foremost to glorify and honor the Lord in some way in every post I write. If I keep my eye on that, the stats don’t matter.”

Words from a friend. Well spoken, and very true.