‘What I fear happens in attractional churches across the globe every Sunday, is that people sit in these services and respond precisely the ways these churches are praying for them respond. What I fear is that people cry—or laugh, or manage their money better, or stop drinking, or stop yelling at their wives—for insufficient reasons and with insufficient motivations because they have an insufficient understanding of who Jesus is and what the Christian life is.’
This was pretty discouraging. It is, sadly, reminiscent of how a lot of people react when you tell them about all manner of other mental health issues. Anybody working with asylum seekers better get to grips with how to handle people with PTSD and, frankly, anybody working in deprived communities will encounter people with it (and other mental health issues) more frequently than they might think. We need to learn to respond better than this.
Ian Paul – who has not long since written a commentary on this very book – offers some helpful pointers.
‘When we—wittingly or unwittingly—misunderstand an opposing view, it’s easy to erect a straw man. A straw man argument is when you misrepresent a view in order to refute it. A straw man is a lot easier to knock over than a real man. In the same way, a straw man argument is a lot easier to refute than the real argument. This brings me to a book I’m currently reading’
‘One of the notable features of the debate raging in the Church of England over issues of human sexuality is the poor theological arguments used by those in favour of revising the historic position of the church, which reflects the clear Biblical teaching that sex is only appropriate for heterosexual marriage and that sex is determined by biology at birth. I heard a recent example of woefully inadequate argumentation on the Sunday programme [by] Paul Bayes, the supposedly evangelical Bishop of Liverpool.’
I liked this interview from Solas CPC with Peter Byrom. He was an ardent Atheist who became disillusioned with the answers offered by his New Atheist heroes, which subsequently led him to Christ.
‘All too often we struggle because we sense that unless we really love the hardest forms of evangelism, or enjoy nothing more than giving our money away, or take great delight in serving people who are essentially ungrateful, that we don’t really love the Lord. But I do think we can rightly distinguish between loving the thing per se and loving the Lord and thus being pleased to do the thing for him.’