Snippets from the interweb (24 March 2019)

This is NOT what you get for mixing Islam and the West

Stephen McAlpine makes some important comments in the wake of the Christchurch shooting. ‘This is not what you get when you mingle Islam with the West. This is what you get when human sin is given free rein. This is the time to grieve at human sinfulness, and a time for Christians to determine that the rights they call out for in their homelands are the rights that many Muslims never have in their own countries, and are darned grateful to have in our lands. There has not been a church shooting in either New Zealand or Australia on a Sunday worship gathering taking out nearly fifty people. When there is get back to me.’

Is Christian faith about ‘personal relationship with Jesus’?

‘There is little doubt that ‘reconciliation’ is a term of personal relationship, and some English versions translate terms related to ‘reconciliation’ with the phrase ‘changing us from God’s enemies to his friends’, perhaps echoing Jesus’ language in John 15.15: ‘I no longer call you servants but friends’. Alongside this, it is worth noting Paul’s consistent description of himself as the slave (doulos) of Christ, so Paul clearly does not allow the language of friendship and relationship to lapse into the idea of God (or Jesus) as ‘celestial chum’. But one of the paradigmatic images of the gospel is offered to us in Jesus’ teaching in Luke 15 of the ‘prodigal’ son and the patient father; the climax of the story is the father’s emotional embrace of the son as they are restored and reconciled once more.’

Look! Look to your Baptism!

I liked this call by Tim Challies to guard the ordinance of Baptism so that it might be a valuable reminder to those that receive it.

We all live in Marx’s world now

This is an absolute belter from Carl Trueman. ‘While Karl Marx and his progeny may have lost the economic battle, a good case can be made for saying they’re winning the cultural struggle. In this sense, we all live in Marx’s world now.’ Read all the way to the bottom because the final two paragraphs are killer.

Home Office refuses asylum to Iranian convert quoting violence in Bible as evidence of a bogus claim

I would love to say I’m surprised by this. But I really am not. We have been involved in dozens of asylum cases and as ridiculous as this is, we are used to seeing this sort of nonsense peddled by the Home Office. It is standard rather than an aberration.

7 Ways to preach an ineffective sermon

‘What makes preaching ineffective? Pastors are called to proclaim Christ and present everyone fully mature in him (Col. 1:28). Yet the parable of the soils (Mark 4) shows us that there’s a significant spiritual battle everywhere the Word is sown. Satan is all too eager to take away the Word implanted in a heart; persecution and the troubles of life can have a similarly devastating effect. In other words, often there are spiritual reasons why a sermon doesn’t produce change. But there may also be practical reasons why a given sermon is ineffective. Implicit in the calling to be an approved worker who correctly handles the Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) is a need to reflect honestly on our own weaknesses.’

From the archive: should we welcome into membership those who don’t speak our language?

‘I am naturally sceptical of anything that would want to divide the church by race, ethnicity, language or learning capacity. My inclination is typically to accommodate rather than separate. I think this is more in line with the gospel imperative to be one in Christ Jesus and that there is no Jew nor Greek etc etc.’