Snippets from the interweb (8th April 2018)

Why did Arnaud Beltrame give his life to save others? Christianity

Peter Hitchens, in characteristic style, offers four pieces in his Mail on Sunday column. Equally typically, the first two bits were spot on while the latter two were… less so. But his first comment was the reason for my sharing it. Hitchens asks why a French police officer would give his life for another and concludes that Christianity is the only credible answer.

Study: Atheists find meaning in life by inventing fairy tales

‘The survey admitted the meaning that atheists and non-religious people found in their lives is entirely self-invented. According to the survey, they embraced the position: “Life is only meaningful if you provide the meaning yourself.” Thus, when religious people say non-religious people have no basis for finding meaning in life, and when non-religious people object, saying they do indeed find meaning in life, they are not talking about the same thing. If one can find meaning in life by creating one’s own meaning, then one is only “finding” the product of one’s own imagination.’

Two truths for when you don’t feel like preaching

I found this very helpful. It put me in mind of RC Sproul’s comment along the lines that what I feel about my sermon really doesn’t have much relevance to whether God will use it nor how well it will be received.

What we miss when we say we’re ‘for the city’

How much of this applies to UK churches in the city and urban areas? ‘City churches and church planters: Are we perpetuating the commodification of diversity? Do our ministries slide into a form of “black branding” or “diversity branding” or “living the wire”?’

Where did the Pope come from?

Leonardo Di Chirico does a great job of summarises the history of the papacy and how the office developed.

Council Estate Christianity

My friend, Duncan Forbes, writes this article on the importance of contextualisation in working-class communities. ‘Each culture has its own blind spots and its own strengths. Some people say the Reformed community tends to be academic, emphasizing doctrine over practice. Estate culture tends to be very practical. We therefore enjoy the doctrine of the Reformed community, but at the same time ask, “Can we make it more practical?”‘

From the archive: Tax, Total Depravity and why I disagree with RC Sproul Jr

‘My response to R.C. Sproul Jr’s view of economic systems being beneficent if they let you keep your money was this: why not emphasise total depravity and selfishness and assess an economic system by its redistributive effects? His answer was illuminating: because no system can undo total depravity or selfishness entirely we shouldn’t even bother trying to mitigate them.’