What I Read Online – 05/31/2013 (a.m.)

31 May
    • Because identical twins are always genetically identical, homosexuality cannot be genetically dictated. “No-one is born gay,” he notes. “The predominant things that create homosexuality in one identical twin and not in the other have to be post-birth factors.” Dr. Whitehead believes same-sex attraction (SSA) is caused by “non-shared factors,” things happening to one twin but not the other, or a personal response to an event by one of the twins and not the other.
    • “We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ (Acts 4:12). We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is ‘of him’ (1 Cor 1.13). If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects (Heb 2:17) that he might learn to feel our pain (Heb 5:2). If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross (Gal 3:13); if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgement, in the power given to him to judge.In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain and from no other” (Institutes 2.16.19).
    • I don’t think we can put a number on it, but it needs to be enough time for you to understand your text at a much deeper than superficial level, and to apply it at a much deeper than superficial level, too. That can’t normally be done with a notepad and an hour before the service. So I’d encourage a fellow young pastor to let his church know that at least a day of his week (maybe two?) is going to be blocked out for the purpose of studying and sermon preparation.
    • I think the things most likely to change a bit from church to church are illustrations and applications. The point of the text isn’t going to change, and therefore the point of your sermon shouldn’t change either
    • Get honest feedback! If you don’t have some structure in place for receiving feedback on your sermons, then you’re robbing yourself of an immensely valuable source of improvement.
    • I pray that he’ll convict people of sin, give them spiritual life, and draw them to faith in Jesus.
    • I also want Christians to be deepened in their love for Jesus and in their determination to pursue holiness and fight against sin
    • encouraged in their Christian walk as they are reminded of God’s promises to them in Christ, and of his unstoppable determination to keep those promises
    • One piece of advice that’s shaped my whole thinking about how to preach was to be sure to write down a one-sentence main idea for your sermon
    • Pastor David challenges single men in their 20′s and 30′s to quit prolonging their adolescence
    • Know that your worst character flaws are the ones you can see the least
    • Remember that you can’t learn about your biggest flaws just be being toldyou must be shown
    • Be willing to listen to correction and critique from others
    • Long before same-sex marriage, no-fault divorce and birth control drastically shaped attitudes about marriage by eroding social stigmas against unmarried parenting, cohabitation, and sex outside marriage. Gay marriage may be a big step, but it’s only the next step in a staircase that doesn’t end here. And with each new step, we see that you can’t change the definition of marriage for some but not others. No-fault divorce, as we can see from history, didn’t force anyone to get divorced. But it removed permanence from the definition of marriage and pressured everyone, including churches, to rethink their views on biblical teaching. Likewise, gay marriage does not force anyone to become gay. But it cements the already popular belief that marriage has nothing to do with creation or procreation.
    • “In order to decide who should qualify for marriage, we have to think through the purpose of marriage and the virtues it honors,” Sandel writes. “And this carries us onto contested moral terrain, where we can’t remain neutral toward competing conceptions of the good life.”
    • Few children today will grow up and see this love in action. Nearly half have parents who aren’t even married. So we cannot be surprised they have little idea what marriage should be. Yet we respond with hope that when they meet a Christian couple, they see the difference and hear the hope of the gospel. Broken homes are a mission field. They call us first to compassion, not judgment.
    • The church’s engagement with the culture involves a host of issues, controversies, and decisions–but no issue defines our current cultural crisis as clearly as homosexuality
    • Our churches must teach the basics of biblical morality to Christians who will otherwise never know that the Bible prescribes a model for sexual relationships. Young people must be told the truth about homosexuality–and taught to esteem marriage as God’s intention for human sexual relatedness.
    • The times demand Christian courage. These days, courage means that preachers and Christian leaders must set an agenda for biblical confrontation, and not shrink from dealing with the full range of issues related to homosexuality. We must talk about what the Bible teaches about gender–what it means to be a man or a woman. We must talk about God’s gift of sex and the covenant of marriage. And we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight.
    • They argue that to tell a homosexual he is a sinner is uncompassionate and intolerant. This is like arguing that a physician is intolerant because he tells a patient she has cancer. But, in the culture of political correctness, this argument holds a powerful attraction. Biblical Christians know that compassion requires telling the truth, and refusing to call sin something sinless. To hide or deny the sinfulness of sin is to lie, and there is no compassion in such a deadly deception.
    • We sin if we call homosexuality something other than sin. We also sin if we act as if this sin cannot be forgiven. We cannot settle for truth without love nor love without truth. The Gospel settles the issue once and for all. This great moral crisis is a Gospel crisis.
    • I offer this as a warning to brothers in the US: I was impressed, for all the wrong reasons, with this set-up. There was a measure of development and coherence in the online presence and in the initial approach that suggested something legitimate and that chimed sufficiently with the attitude and actions of certain churches to seem genuine, but not far beneath the surface the cracks began to show. Should you find yourself approached in anything like this way, I suggest that (at the very least) you contact credible friends in the UK to help assess it, and that – though you may lose the opportunity to exercise your well-meaning desires to invest something in the work of the kingdom here – you look very carefully before you leap.
    • I’m afraid that too often our children feel that when they sin, they must not only run from God but that they also must run from their family
    • Keep the lines of communication open
    • Be intentional with your tone of voice, physical posture, and facial expressions
    • Model confession and repentance
    • Constantly point your kids to Jesus
    • What this means, in essence, is that virtually all of the major animal groups (called “phyla”)—vertebrates like fish, to arthropods (e.g., trilobites and shrimplike creatures), to various types of worms (e.g., earthworm-like annelid worms), to mollusks (e.g., shellfish), and many other types of animals—appear in a geological “blink of an eye,” without any direct ancestors in the fossil record. Even Richard Dawkins has observed that the Cambrian animals looked as if “they were just planted there without any evolutionary history.”
    • Darwin knew that his theory of evolution by natural selection worked gradually, and required that structures and organs be built by “numerous, successive, slight modifications.”


      But the Cambrian explosion contradicted that pattern, since it showed diverse and complex animal body plans appearing abruptly, without any fossil record of their evolution.


      Darwin confessed that this was not something his theory could explain. He acknowledged that doubt in Origin of Species, and said it was a “valid argument against the views here entertained.”

    • Scientists have combed the Precambrian strata for the alleged precursors to the Cambrian animals, and they haven’t found the direct evolutionary ancestors that Darwinian theory predicts. Instead, they have made new discoveries which confirmed that the Cambrian explosion was real event—and a worldwide one—and that the animal phyla really did appear abruptly.
    • Sure, humans and fish both share backbones and nerve codes. That’s no surprise to anyone. In fact, humans also share genes with bananas and bacteria. That organisms share genes or structural parts does not necessarily reflect common ancestry, because it could indicate that they were built upon a common body plan.
    • Indulgences came to typify the widening gulf between the church’s teaching on justification and Luther’s new and growing understanding. “In Romans, Paul writes of the ‘righteousness of God.’ Luther had always understood that term to mean that God was a righteous judge that demanded human righteousness. Now, Luther understood righteousness as a gift of God’s grace. He had discovered (or recovered) the doctrine of justification by grace alone. This discovery set him afire.” Where Luther now held to justification by faith alone, the church taught justification by faith and works. Tetzel’s indulgences, a means of purchasing God’s grace, infuriated Luther. This was especially true because of the flippant way in which Tetzel hawked them. A rhyme attributed to Tetzel goes “When a penny in the coffer rings, / A soul from Purgatory springs.”
    • he Presence of a Gift
    • Development of the God-Granted Gift
    • Service of Others in Addition to Self-Expression
    • Respect for the Traditions of One’s Discipline
    • The Presence of Truth
    • Is There Moral Goodness?
    • Continuity of Form and Content
    • Technical Excellence
    • Integrity of the Artist
    • Integrity of the Work
    • Simply Entertainment!
    • PS If someone sends me Peter Masters book on ‘Why  Christians shouldn’t drink’ I promise to do a review, we don’t have  enough reviews of science fiction on the Ref21 blog.
    • But simply asserting enough independence for mind as to allow for genuine moral agency still falls short, if we confine mind to the realm of subjectivity in the modern sense; moral agency is meaningless in the end unless we can say that mind comprehends reality, a reality much wider than the narrow scientistic picture allows, and that finally, our minds, and the world they know, are both measured by the Mind of God.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on 31/05/2013 in Current Issues


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