Snippets from the interweb (16th December 2018)

Why did Jesus speak in parables? (video)

Sinclair Ferguson offers a helpful answer to this one. It wasn’t principally to help people understand the gospel. ‘Rather than making His teaching clearer, Jesus’ parables often left people more confused.’

Christian leader: surround yourself with “no men”

‘Too many of God’s people have been burned by toxic leaders whose general aim is to surround themselves with “Yes Men” in order to create a feedback loop that allows them to do what they want to do.’

Shame storm

It would pay to read this one. ‘No one has yet figured out what rules should govern the new frontiers of public shaming that the Internet has opened. New rules are obviously required. Shame is now both global and permanent, to a degree ­unprecedented in human history. No more moving to the next town to escape your bad name. However far you go and however long you wait, your disgrace is only ever a Google search away. Getting a humiliating story into the papers used to require convincing an editor to run it, which meant passing their standards of newsworthiness and corroborating evidence. Those gatekeepers are now gone.’

How to love hard people at Christmas

I think this means ‘hard’ as in folks who do your loaf in rather than ‘big’ Jimmy Nail or Sainsbury’s security. But this is good advice about how we can love even the people we find hard to love (both at Christmas and beyond).

My declaration of faithful disobedience

‘Over 100 members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, were arrested beginning Sunday, December 9. At the time of publication of this translation, arrests are still being made. Among those taken away were Pastor Wang Yi, senior pastor of Early Rain, and his wife, Jiang Rong, who have not been heard from since Sunday. Foreseeing this circumstance, Pastor Wang Yi wrote the declaration below to be published by his church should he be detained for more than 48 hours. In it he explains the meaning and necessity of faithful disobedience, how it is distinct from political activism or civil disobedience, and how Christians should carry it out.’

Bad Biblical Theology leads to bad sermons

‘Much modern evangelical biblical theology is a gift to the church. It has successfully stemmed the tide of moralistic preaching in many churches and has provided useful theological resources to combat the most egregious theological dangers of our day, such as the prosperity gospel. But I’ve also witnessed—and been guilty of—some bad uses of biblical theology. Over time, this bad biblical theology will undercut a congregation’s health—warping the message of Scripture and stunting a church’s growth in the knowledge of God.All of us—not just preachers—should beware bad biblical theology. But what does exactly bad biblical theology look like?’

From the archive: What was God doing before Jesus came?

‘My son (4) asked if he could help me do a blog post. I asked him what he thought we should write about. This is the discussion that ensued. I think it is only fair to attribute this as a guest post by Clement – his final comment nailed the answer to the question.’