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SolaWednesdayFinal

1. The Ninety-Five Theses Against Dispensationalism

Therefore, because we believe that dispensationalism has at least crippled the Church in her duty of proclaiming the gospel and discipling the nations, and out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed in a series of videos written and produced by NiceneCouncil.com under the title The Late Great Planet Church. And as iron sharpens iron we request that every Christian, congregation, and denomination discuss and debate these issues. By the grace of our great Sovereign let us engage in this debate with an open mind and an open Bible. Like the Bereans nearly two thousand years ago, let us “search the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things are so.”

Teaching awkward subjects is just that. Awkward. It’s hard to teach our kids about God’s wrath, about how only people who love and worship Jesus will be in heaven, and an eternity in Hell awaits all who refuse to recognize him for who he is. We want to shave off these hard edges. But if we’re going to be faithful Sunday school teachers, or faithful parents for that matter, we can’t avoid the awkward for our own comfort. Someone stepped out and warned us to flee from the wrath to come. Perhaps our kids need us to do the same.

There is a persistent, parasitic myth buzzing around that academic theological books are wet blankets for your devotional life, or your relationship with Jesus, or something. The source of these myths is typically those who out of principle do not lift books that require cerebral weight training. You won’t hear the same anti-theology myth coming from someone who has popped out on the other side of a dense library.

A “win” for me is not that my attractions shift from same-sex attractions to opposite-sex attractions. For although such a change would be from unnatural desires to natural ones, the struggle with temptation would remain. The theater of battle would have moved, but the fighting would remain as fierce.

No, the “win” for me, and for everyone who struggles with same-sex desires, is a greater love for Christ, and to have a deeper knowledge of the all-sufficiency of his grace. There is a prize greater than heterosexuality — a greater Bread — in the holy One who is what we are not or cannot be, in whom is found our ultimate and eternal satisfaction.

5. The Biggest Contradiction in the Bible

The biggest contradiction is not Romans v James. The biggest contradiction, says James, is a Christian without good works.

6. ‘Yes We Eat Grass and We’re Proud of It,’ Say Congregants Who Were Convinced by ‘Miracle’ Working Preacher

“Yes, we eat grass and we’re proud of it because it demonstrates that, with God’s power, we can do anything,” said 21-year-old law student Rosemary Phetha and member of Pastor Lesego Daniel’s Rabboni Centre Ministries in South Africa in a Times Live report.

Phetha said for more than a year she struggled with a sore throat that only healed after Daniel “turned me into a sheep and instructed me to eat grass.”

Are you. stinkin. kidding. me?

7. Tradition?

You know, if the tradition diverts us from Christ, diverts us from the gospel, diverts us from the words of Scripture, and points us to experiences or points us to some great achievement of some great person, well I think that’s tradition run amuck. But, a tradition that points us to Christ, that points us to the gospel, that very clearly and compellingly says, “You need to listen to the Word of God,” well that’s a tradition that’s worth listening to. That’s a tradition worth holding on to.

8. How Mark Dever Passes Out Authority

Over the years Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., has seen plenty of opportunities to accrue authority, some of which he keeps, many of which he passes out. And the way he passes out authority has shaped the culture of our church in countless ways.

Here are 20 ways he distributes authority, followed by 10 ways this shapes our church culture. Some apply just to lead pastors; many apply to all of us.

SolaWednesdayFinal

1) 7 Ways Social Media Makes Pastors Jobs More Difficult

Facebook can be very helpful to pastors. It helps us to know how to pray. It is a great avenue for communicating your message, making announcements, establishing connections, helping people to laugh, and a host of other things.

2) 9 Lies the Media Likes to Tell About Evangelical Christians

So while there are certainly exceptions, I’ve identified nine common lies perpetuated by people in the media. Granted, there are enough vocal evangelicals to bolster each of these stereotypes, so the media isn’t completely responsible. But nuance is necessary here. Thus this post.

3) The Dark Side of Christian Celebrity

What is amazing is how quickly we can make the switch, how quickly we can turn honor into dishonor and love into hate. From the heights to the depths may be only a matter of weeks or months. Then the book deals are gone, the platforms are removed, the Twitter feed vacant. The higher the climb, the farther the fall. The farther the fall, the longer we have to sit back and watch it all unfold. When it comes to our celebrities, we can be every bit as petty and every bit as cutthroat as the culture around us.

4) One of the Biggest Mistakes Pastors Make

Pastors, I want to talk frankly and, hopefully, with a spirit of love, about one of the biggest mistakes I see many of you make. Most pastors have little emphasis, or sometimes, even knowledge about the content that is taught in groups in their churches.

5) Why Does He Look at Pornography?

Something I have found personally helpful in counseling with both men and women through this issue is helping the counselee identify what motivates him or her to seek out pornography. In some ways we might say the actual viewing of pornography is symptomatic of a deeper worship disorder that is happening in the heart. What motivates and precedes the viewing of pornography? Once that can be identified then more specific biblical counsel can often be offered.

6) The Real Problem With Mark Driscolls ‘Citation Errors’

The real danger here is not plagiarism—it is idolatry.

All idolatry debases the image bearers who become caught up in its train. Idols promise superhuman results, and for a time they can seem to work. But in fact they destroy the true humanity of both those they temporarily elevate and those they anonymously exploit. Nothing good can come from the superhuman figure presented to the world as “Pastor Mark Driscoll”—not for the real human being named Mark Driscoll himself, and not for the image-bearers who may be neglected in his shadow.

7) Do Tummy Aches Disprove God?

My tummy hurts. Ergo, there is no god.

This argument may be absurd, but it’s not intended as a reductio ad absurdum. Although in simplistic form, this enthymeme encapsulates one of the primary atheological arguments—the argument from evil.

8) The Women Who Sold Their Daughters Into Sex Slavery

Everything about this is heartbreaking.

SolaWednesdayFinal

1) How Catholic Was John Kennedy?

Protestant leaders from backwoods evangelists and radio preachers to prominent pastors such as Billy Graham and Norman Vincent Peale warned the country would go to hell with a Catholic in the Oval Office.

“I’m getting tired of these people who think I want to replace the gold at Fort Knox with a supply of holy water,” Kennedy complained.

Against some advisers’ counsel, the candidate decided to directly confront the anti-Catholic bias with a televised speech to a group of Protestant ministers in Houston in 1960. It was like Daniel walking into the lion’s den, a journalist said at the time.

2) Are Your Books Your Shell Collection?

Good theology books are very important, but even the best, when left on the shelf, emphatically cannot replace what it means to know God. If your library doesn’t lead you to a deeper affection for Jesus, then it’s as useless as a collection of shells.

3) Does Your Facebook Rant Honor Everyone?

For the Christian, it’s not about winning a culture war. We win through how we engage our neighbors. Our honor should be on full display… even on Facebook.

4) C.S. Lewis: Scholar to the Common Man

Because of Lewis, I can have interesting theological discussions with people who never went to college. I’ve met troubled college students who found solace in Mere Christianity, four-year-olds who delighted in The Magician’s Nephew, 50-year-olds who love to ruminate over The Abolition of Man. The beauty of Lewis’s legacy is that it transcends class, country, and age. Even 50 years after his passing, he continues to teach us all.

5) A Table of Forgetful Remembrance

What gratitude would flow from this exercise? What thanksgiving? For those who have dined on the sacred, the Thanksgiving table becomes a feast of forgetful remembrance. For forgetful remembrance is grace—the taste of a homecoming remembered, the foretaste of a homecoming yet to come. On Thanksgiving years from now when our grandchildren gather to serve this most familiar of meals, may the table still be laid with the flavors of homecoming—may we still be serving the very grace that was served for us, in which all true thankfulness finds its source.

6) Ten Times its Wise to Hold Your Tongue

Ten reminders for when it is appropriate to hold your tongue.

7) Nothing More to Need: A Profile of Christian Courage

A short time ago my mother visited Elaine and asked how she deals with all that she has suffered. Elaine looked at her quizzically and said, “But I don’t feel like I have suffered.” She acknowledges that she has endured great challenges and great physical pain, but she cannot and will not see herself as essentially a sufferer. She knows Jesus Christ and him crucified and now waits patiently and joyfully for the day when her body, soul and mind—all she is—will be perfected in his presence. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

SolaWednesdayFinal

1) Calvinism and Robots

As we meditate upon these dignities and blessings, the image of the robot becomes less and less appropriate, not because God’s control over us appears less complete, but because one doesn’t treat robots with such love and honor.

2) Ted Turner Wants to Go To Heaven

He revised the Ten Commandments, which he considered outdated, coming up instead with his Eleven Voluntary Initiatives, which he printed on cards small enough to carry in a wallet. He tossed out the commandments that struck him as outdated — a host of the “thou shalt nots,” particularly the one banning adultery. “People have had a lot of fun breaking that one. I know I did.”

3) Why You Can’t Push Your Kids Into the Kingdom

Children are a divine stewardship. They are not for us to own, but for us to love, carefully guide, and then release to God’s provident care. We cannot pressure, bully or force them into faith.

We parent, not with anticipation of some promised outcome, but out of faithfulness to Jesus, leaving the outcome to him.

4) Broken Vows, Broken World

Divorce is a third-rail topic, one about which there are a variety of opinions within evangelical circles. Gospel-centered people who love Jesus and his Word can draw markedly different conclusions on the issue based on the same biblical texts. While everyone would agree marriage is a good gift from God that should be upheld—defended from the inside by a husband and wife and protected from the outside by the local church and the broader Christian community—we’re often unsure how to proceed when the brokenness of this world infects a marriage and it succumbs to the disease. Disparaging the existence of the morgue won’t raise the dead, and it certainly won’t bring comfort to those who mourn.

5) Is New York on the Brink of a Great Awakening?

Since New York City is a center of influence in terms of media and entertainment, Metaxas also asserts that a spiritual change inside of New York would have a ripple effect outside of New York: “If we could see changes in places like New York and Los Angeles, we could see changes across the whole country.”

As someone shaping the next generation of believers, Thornbury is eager to see young Christians continuing the work in New York City: “I see the Church in New York City becoming a prophetic witness that seeks the welfare of the community. I also envision more young believers relocating here, doing a work in the city, and having a heart for metropolis.”

He continued, “Historians will be able to tell us a generation from now whether or not—technically speaking—this era in New York City fits what missiologists and sociologists would call a ‘revival.’ But, it’s clear that God is on the move here.”

6) The Word of the Year

The selfie isn’t bad. It just is. It’s a fact of life in this digital world. But amidst the selfie’s ubiquity, don’t miss what it tells us about ourselves and about the way we present ourselves to the world. The selfie is not a photo of your face as much as it is a snapshot of your heart.