10 October 2014

Some here, some there — October 10, 2014

by Dan Phillips

We're still on granddaughter watch. Yesterday was the due date, so this post could be updated.

But already a very full plate today! Let's launch. Tell me which ones are particularly chuckalicious, informative, thought-provoking, helpful, nuanced...oh wait, forget that. Sorry, got carried away.
  • To start on a somber note: You may know that discernment blogger and pastor Ken Silva passed away. Chris Rosebrough held a sort of online memorial for him, which you can listen to here. Reader Christine Pack of Sola Sisters, and Phil Johnson, were among those who spoke of Ken's impact.
  • Now, to the lighter side.
  • If you're in Twitter, here's a fun little game. Then plug in your favorite RPB and chuckle. BTW, the Spurgeon account gets 100% on "upbeat"! 
  • Have you heard "Christianity is not a religion, it's a relationship" enough yet? I've had a few pointed words with its echoers (including Jefferson Bethke). Here's a good, full-orbed response from William Boekestein.
  • In the insightful essay Had Sex, Dumped JesusJoel J. Miller develops the correct causality chain in much apostasy (h-t Aquila Report). People have immoral sex; that creates painful cognitive dissonance; God or the immorality has to go for peace to reign; God goes.
  • I wish I'd gotten down verbatim what I heard Josh McDowell say many years ago. He said he'd gotten to the point that, when some teen would come to him saying "I'm beginning to have serious doubts about my faith," his first response would be along the lines of, "Oh? who are you sleeping with?"
  • This is a step aside from the usual, but it's genius. It's one of those things that, if Frank Turk actually read the posts here, he'd really like.
  • Another step aside: ah yes, World War I. That's where the good guys fought the Germans... and the tripods?!
  • Tone-change in 3... 2... 1...
  • M'man David Murray offers a video he calls the most powerful illustration of the Gospel he's ever seen. It's worth watching. I teared up. I think I get what David's saying. Yet if it weren't for David, it just isn't what I would have thought. Instead, I can't help that a bunch of questions team in my mind, at the same time that I admire this man and am moved by what he did. That probably makes me a (or IDs me as a) bad person. You?
  • Over at the indispensable DBTS blog, professor Bill Combs asks whether a person really has to be either Calvinist or Arminian, with no middle-ground. He answers, correctly, Yes.
  • Here's one way I'd put it: either God's choice of me is the result of my choice of Him, or my choice of Him is the result of His choice of me. There's no middle-ground that isn't exclusively populated by weasels.
  • We've noted a number of times how many issues The Gospel Coalition can't seem to be bothered with pro-actively. But there is one issue they're right on top of: Kevin Bauder shared some excellent thoughts on the subject, and yesterday TGC moved to prove him right yet again.
  • Because I love you, I caution you not to hold your breath waiting for the appropriately nuanced, helpful, thoughtful presentation of the other view on this question.
  • I had a comment up. Then it disappeared. Then it returned, and has been joined by some (far better) comments of dissent. At present, this is the reverse of the usual TGC situation: the comments are far better than the article.
  • I'm tempted to write (on my blog) a response-piece titled "Is the Bible A Deceptive Book of Secret Code?" I mean, what can the TGC do to me? Hate me? Ignore everything I write about topics they claim to love? Blacklist me?
  • For my part, I've thought a certain amount of the animus against such things is fueled by jealousy. I mean, think of it: what would an amill end times movie look like? Nothing happens, nothing happens, nothing happens, and then the movie ends because the filmmakers wouldn't want to show the face of Jesus.
  • So, in a way... every movie is an amill end-times movie, isn't it?
  • Before you ask: no, this isn't how they fight Ebola in Texas, so stop asking.
  • My brother from another mother Phil Johnson and I had an offstage disagreement about whether a certain literary-type thingie was witty and worthwhile, or whether it was obnoxious and offensive. Often, when I think I know what Phil will and won't find funny... I'm dead-wrong. Still. For instance, here's something to ponder: Phil sees something like this as high comedy. So, there y'go.
  • Now: how's your heart? In need of a good stopping? Perfect. I think I have just the thing:
  • If that didn't finish you: David Murray — who, I think, does not sleep — found this absolutely gorgeous and heart-stopping video of this gent biking on the Isle of Skye. If you watch as I did, you'll alternately gasp, hold your breath, yelp What?!, and murmur "oh my gosh." I had no idea a bike could do all that. Still not sure a bike should do all that. But now I know it can, if propelled by the right cast-iron legs.
  • You probably know that Jonathan Merritt did a piece on Tony Campolo's son's apostasy, if that's the right word for it. The real news story that the article broke is that someone still thinks that Tony Campolo is "an influential evangelical leader." The rest of the post is a target-rich environment for sad and unsurprised reflection.
  • That said, I say this: Francis Schaeffer was a fine and sound Christian leader, and Franky's defection is famous. Apostasy happens, and it's always the fault of the apostate, no matter how fine or how wretched a father he had.
  • Lovecraft, Cabin in the Woods, Joss Whedon, and Calvinism? What? Oh, must be Patheos.
  • Lyndon Unger doesn't think much of the movie Left Behind, only in his case it isn't because he's on the Dispie-Dissing bandwagon.
  • So Joan, who's been attending for some months, comes to you wanting to trust and follow Christ. In conversation, you learn that Joan is really John, minus this and plus than thanks to surgical disfigurement. After you've swallowed your gum, what do you say? Russell Moore gives some refreshingly nuance-free and straightforward counsel.
  • Amazing sculptures out of pencil lead make us think of God's more amazing living scultures out of microscopic material.
  • This helped and challenged me: Leon Brown on the fact that sharing the gospel can be incovenient (so deal with it, re-set your priorities Kingdomward, and get on with it).
  • Aquila Report found a very provocative perspective on dying from cancer, and on dying in general. Lacking Gospel, yet worth pondering.
  • Here is a different perspective, this time with the Gospel (and a little LCMS sauce).
  • M'man Denny Burk asks whether we have confidence in Christ that could handle Ebola.
What essential service will you contribute to your church this Sunday? Well, if you're late, here's an app that can help:



Dan Phillips's signature

24 comments:

Kerry James Allen said...

•If you're in Twitter, here's a fun little game. Then plug in your favorite RPB and chuckle. BTW, the Spurgeon account gets 100% on "upbeat"!

Phil 35
Frank 44
David 49
Dan 50

Charles 100

My work here is done.

DJP said...

That's funny.

Frank Turk said...

My upbeat score would be higher if I read the posts here.

Frank Turk said...

Re: Bill Combs

The third choice is Pelagian.

Frank Turk said...

To Hate StrongBad is to Hate all that is good about the Internet.

ESPECIALLY when he puts hate on Rap Videos/music.

Robert said...

Read the Unger post yesterday and loved it...his comedy suggestions are great.

And regarding the dispy-dissing...is it just me or do covenantal/amills seems to be increasingly hostile and condescending towards those of us who hold to historic premillinialism? Every time I get into a discussion about it they act like we get all of our theology from watching the original Left Behind movies. It is sad that so many people make such poor arguments and don't actually examine the facts.

Frank Turk said...

And when Russell Moore is Good, he is Very Good.

Robert said...

Wow...got 71 on upbeat, 84 on angry, 54 on depressed (really?)...at least I got an 84 for analytic.

Frank Turk said...

Kerry: I think the best use of that analytics tool is the "arrogance" measure.

Robert said...

Loved the post by Boekestein. Nice to see somebody referencing Zwingli to combat people trashing religion. Also good to see the distinction between man-made religion and true religion (which is spoken of in James).

Kerry James Allen said...

"Worried" measure on Twitter:

52 David
58 Phil
58 Dan
60 Charles

91 Frank

Robert said...

Article by Dave Harvey was good. Just listened to a sermon by MacArthur where he said he can never say that he always preaches with pure motives and that he is accountable to plenty of people. You can tell that is he is on guard against the flesh, as we all should be.

Pagey said...

A veritable smorgasbord as usual.

Thought I'd already seen enough of Danny MacAskill to have a thoroughly nuanced opinion of him. But, Oh My!

(Must get that bike out from under the stairs.)

Bike Bubba said...

Really appreciated the commentary on celebrity pastors, and how it not only will help the true celebrity (with lots of followers), but also the self-willed pastor who hasn't managed to get many followers.

Pagey said...

Prolly should've included some quotation marks with "veritable smorgasbord". I don't actually speak that way normally. :s

(Not sure what came over me.) (c:

Kirby said...

For my part, I've thought a certain amount of the animus against such things is fueled by jealousy. I mean, think of it: what would an amill end times movie look like? Nothing happens, nothing happens, nothing happens, and then the movie ends because the filmmakers wouldn't want to show the face of Jesus.

Dan wins the internet today!

Marla said...

Kirby got to it before me -- brilliant Dan!
According to the twitter game, I'm schizophrenic. Whatever!

Thanks for the 404 error. :)

Michael said...

Hello Dan-
Regarding the post about Celebrity Pastors: Do you believe that one should feel that not having been invited into one's Pastor's home is a red-flag? Even if a pattern of counseling (or other one on one meeting) taking place in his church office could be taken as a sign of possible home issues,should it? I suppose many other factors come into play. But all things being equal should this point made by Mr. Harvey be a point?

Michael said...

Hello Dan-
Regarding the post about Celebrity Pastors: Do you believe that one should feel that not having been invited into one's Pastor's home is a red-flag? Even if a pattern of counseling (or other one on one meeting) taking place in his church office could be taken as a sign of possible home issues,should it? I suppose many other factors come into play. But all things being equal should this point made by Mr. Harvey be a point?

Lowell Van Ness said...

Can I say that the responses to Dr. Moore's article were kind of horrifying in their sheer inability to actually comprehend what he was saying?
By this, what I mean is that the majority of the comments were: You're a hating hater who hates, Hatey McHaterson.
Which, if one actually reads the article, makes no sense whatsoever.

Frank Turk said...

Michael --

Pastor Dan will certain have a few thoughts about this, but Layman Frank has a few thoughts about this from the other side of the pulpit.

(1) I don't think any pastor's home ought to be a continuous open house. I'm a huge fan of Timmis' /Total Church/, but I think that human beings need some boundaries. If your pastor, for example, just spent the night at the death bed of an unsaved family member of another church member, you camping out in his living room for any reason might not be the most loving thing you can do for him or his family.

(2) Your pastor also is in full-time ministry, which means (among other things) he probably has about 20-40 hours worth of study and writing he has to do every week. If he says he's in sermon prep, you have to honor that for reasons which ought to be obvious.

(3) Every family and every marriage goes through some rough waters. It's entirely possible that your pastor's marriage needs some quality time from him, and you personally should be an advocate for him to be a husband and a father before he is your pastor -- with the qualification that if he does not have time for all of them, it's the pastorate that ought to come out of his schedule. By that I mean: he ought to go on hiatus or step down rather than pretend he can be a pastor in absentia.

My point(s) boiling down to this: I think your pastor is probably a human being, and generally has human needs which require some human expense of time. But: the pastorate, like any demanding job, also requires time -- and among those time-consuming parts is being hospitable to others. If he has some time for that, then he's on the right track. If he has no time for that, as was said in the article DJP linked to, it's problematic.

Michael said...

Thanks, Frank.
I think that if the Pastor has time for you when you need it (reasonably), there is no or little significance to meeting in his home. Meeting at the church is an appropriate place. That a seed of suspicion could be planted that the man is not walking the walk at home, to me, is sad.

Frank Turk said...

Michael --

I think a rudimentary issue here is whether or not the pastorate is a job like my job shipping huge components all over the world for the sake of turning the lights on at your house. If it is, then the pastor's home has nothing to do with his job, and whether anyone ever gets to see it is irrelevant.

On the other hand, if the pastor's job (NB: and by "pastor" I mean all of the elders at your church) is actually based on his qualifications as demonstrated in his home and household, there's something else to be considered here which, it seems to me, DJP and that fellow Dave Harvey have opened up for a little scrutiny.

I agree that usually it's fine to meet with your spiritual shepherds anyplace which is convenient. I think it's a little weird if they see their jobs as office jobs and they don't want to get to know anybody in particular in a way which is more than merely professional.

Michael said...

Frank: "I think it's a little weird if they see their jobs as office jobs and they don't want to get to know anybody in particular in a way which is more than merely professional."

True that. But it doesn't necessarily mean going to Pastor's house so he can prove to me. One can tell from other things. That's my opinion is all. But great food for thought.