Weekly Once-Over (3.27.2014)

Ways To Restore Zeal When Sharing Your Faith: Hundreds of Christians are martyred every day for their faith. Yet, today, most Christians in the western church will be silent, afraid, or unmoved by the lostness around them. Why aren’t we as zealous about our faith in the western world? We don’t run the risk of death for our faith (at least not yet) but we seem mostly apathetic about sharing Jesus. Here are a few thoughts:

The 'Gospel' That Almost Killed Me: If you meet someone lost in this false gospel, please, please, please love them and tell them the truth. Sit them down, buy them lunch, and open up your Bibles. Speak life. Be brave. Odds are, no one has ever loved them enough to tell them the truth about themselves. The truth is they cannot be saved by a false gospel, and the prosperity gospel is certainly that. Jesus saved me from the prosperity gospel, and he can save more. He will save more. How could he not?

The Power Of A Boring Testimony: If you’re the type of person who has a boring testimony, take heart! You also are a sinner who deserves hell apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Just because your sins weren’t as directly destructive to society doesn’t mean that you’re not rebellious. As Tim Keller has famously said, “We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” Jesus’ death on the cross was every bit as much for you as for anyone else.

What is Marriage, According To The Bible?: We can’t turn the clock back to the days of the Christian social consensus the West has foolishly thrown away.  But we who say we believe the gospel can and must stand up for the biblical definition of marriage.  We must cultivate beautiful marriages ourselves.  We must suffer social rejection bravely.  We must pray for revival.  We must wait for the inevitable collapse of every false view of marriage.  We must lovingly serve all who suffer for their foolish attempts at false “marriages.”  And we must go to church this Sunday and worship the living God with all our hearts, so that we ourselves are sustained for faithfulness over the long haul, because this isn’t going to be easy.

On World Vision and The Gospel: We’re entering an era where we will see who the evangelicals really are, and by that I mean those who believe in the gospel itself, in all of its truth and all of its grace. And many will shrink back. There are no riots if the gospel you’re preaching doesn’t threaten the silversmiths of the Temple of Artemis. And there are no clucking tongues if the gospel you’re preaching isn’t offered to tax collectors and temple prostitutes. 

World Vision And Why We Grieve For the Children: So, yes, we grieve for the children across the world who will be adversely affected by World Vision’s decision and the evangelical response. But we also grieve for children here at home who are growing up in a culture in which sexual idolatry distorts the meaning of marriage and the beauty of God’s original design. Today is a day to grieve for the children.

World Vision Reverses Decision To Hire Christians In Same-Sex Marriages: Only two days after announcing it would hire Christians in same-sex marriages, World Vision U.S. has reversed its ground-breaking decision after weathering intense criticism from evangelical leaders.

Gentrification: Its Impact On The Local Church: All of the above leads us to conclude that gentrification is hurting local churches by multiplying cross-ethnic tensions (thereby hindering the proclamation of the gospel of reconciliation across ethnic lines) and by producing new segregated congregations even in ethnically diverse neighborhoods (thereby hindering the visibility of the gospel of reconciliation at work).

The Distrustful Generation: The decline of social trust is the deepest problem our culture faces. The cancer of distrust will eat away at all our plans to deal with political, economic, and familial problems. Sooner or later, this culture is going to realize that nothing can save it if it doesn't rebuild its moral bonds. Showing the world what φιλοξενία looks like will not only help us stay faithful as our culture becomes more faithless; it will help our culture rediscover why it used to think faith was so important.

Our Consuming and Crushing Snare: We don't typically learn what others really think of us. But do we really want to know? More often we're left to assume the best or nothing at all. Unfortunately, though, many of us don't assume the best or nothing at all. We're preoccupied by the opinions of others.

Believer Baptism and Mental Disabilities: Navigating the question of a believer baptism and mental disabilities and how these two go together.


photo credit: Pavel P. via photopin cc