Good Reads

 

Some pretty good reading around the interwebs this week – though my selection for the good reads today only comes from a few sites.

 

The Dead Snake Handler and the Dead Poet’s Society – Jamie Coots [snake handling Pastor of Full Gospel Tabernacle who recently died of a snake bite in church] and John Keating [the teacher played by Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society] are sober reminders to us of what’s at stake in our teaching. People are going to actually believe what we teach them. What we teach will shape the way they live. Most will assume we have done the hard work of understanding the text. If we get it wrong, the results could be disastrous. And we will be held accountable (James 3:1).

 

Nine practical pointers for plodders – Purpose to be a plodder. A plodder keeps moving. A plodder perseveres. A plodder presses on. A plodder knows the disappointment of unrealized ideals, feels the fear of failure and exposed deficiencies, and the ambiguity of too many demands, options, and tasks. But a plodder isn’t immobilized by them. He or she presses on in the faith that God will supply the needed strength (1 Peter 4:11), wisdom (James 1:5), and direction (Proverbs 3:6).

 

Tim Challies’ ‘False Teachers’ series continues with Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of the Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ (Mormons) and Ellen White, founder of 7th Day Adventism. Another older post to consider in relation to this are the marks of a cult. A cult does four basic things: adds, subtracts, divides and multiplies. They add to the Word of God, subtract from the person and work of Jesus, divide the loyalty of believers and multiply the requirements of salvation. And any cult leader is also a false teacher.

 

Speaking of Challies, he’s been doing up some helpful infographics of late and this timeline of the rise of New Calvinism is a very helpful primer for getting your head around the rise of reformed theology lately. Zoom in for full detail.

 

Legalist! Four types of legalists in church. The first believe they can do something to earn God’s favour and even obtain salvation. The second type require believers to submit to man-made laws as if they were God’s commandments. The third obey God and do good in order to retain God’s favour, thinking that God’s favour depends on their daily performance. But Dan Doriani suggests there’s a more sinister and subtle fourth type: This person avoids the worst forms of legalism. Yet he so accentuates obedience to God’s law that other ideas shrivel up. He thinks of Christian living as little more than obedience to God’s law. He reasons, “God says we should tithe, so I tithe. The Bible says we must pray, so I pray. It says submit to leaders, witness, read Scripture, so I submit, witness, and read.” We could call this person a Nike Christian. He hears a command and thinksI’ll just do it. He reasons, “God has redeemed us at the cost of his Son’s life. Now he demands my service in return. This is my duty.”

 

The Truth Will Set you Free: Moral Relativism and The Armstrong Lie – You get the sense that the moment [Lance] Armstrong took the fateful step to use drugs his path was set. After the first lie, every other lie became not only easier but also necessary. From the first autograph, or fawning article, it was too late to pull back. The elaborate myth built on a web of half-truths, and outright lies essentially formed a prison wall within which Armstrong lived, admittedly in great luxury and comfort, for many years. But the party was always going to end badly. The film concludes with Armstrong as a lonely figure; his reputation trashed, but defiantly holding on to justifications only he now accepts. Ancient wisdom tells us “The truth will set you free”. When Jesus taught that he was mostly referring to himself as the truth and what is to be gained by following him. But his thoughts are broadly applicable and pertinent to this drama.

 

Why all the fuss? or ‘Principles of Protest’ – With all the fuss around a popular post of mine a few weeks ago I found this post timely. The situation is different but David Ould gives some clarity on why Christians, and minsters/bible teachers/pastors generally need to keep pointing out false teachers to the flock (particularly principles 2 and 4), particularly in face of the accusation of disunity.

 

Stupid things people say to adopted kids and their parents. May Christians never be so stupid and thoughtless, but rejoice in adoption as a wonderful echo of our adoption in Christ.

 

And a bit of fun to end this list off: 10 pairs of unrelated movies that are the same when reduced to one sentence | what if when people yawned they were actually yelling | and the cute baby eating breakfast while talking on the phone viral internet meme, some favourites.

 

 

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