Snippets from the interweb (23rd December 2018)

What happens when an Evangelical pundit, armed only with 58k twitter followers and a reference to the Bebbington quadrilateral, takes on a historian?

This one does pretty much what it says on the tin. It is an interesting reflection on the death of the expert.

How I appeared to plagiarize CS Lewis and what Pascal never said

This is a helpful one from Randy Alcorn on the importance of proper attribution and how mistakes can easily be perpetuated. The linked article by Thomas Kidd is also worth a read.

Did the Gospels borrow from pagan myth?

Anybody with any knowledge of these things will tell you ‘no’. But internet memes, claiming to be clever, abound. So, it’s worth hearing this.

Evangelicalism, Christian identity and church membership

I endorse every part this article: ‘Evangelicalism generally and this older generation specifically do an excellent job of emphasizing the gospel and the unity of Christians in the gospel. Neither church membership nor the ordinances save. Yet an unspoken corollary too often follows: If topics like baptism, the Lord’s Supper, church government, church membership and discipline are not essential for salvation, they must be unimportant. Plus, they only make Christians argue. So why bother with them? Yet just because something is not essential for salvation does not mean it’s unimportant for the Christian life and obedience. There is a middle lane between “essential” and “unimportant,” namely, “important,” or even, “not essential for salvation but essential for obedience, for witness, and for preserving the gospel over time.”’

Revitalisation and the aroma of death

It is a uniquely Anglican idea to head into a church of unbelievers (indeed, not a church at all!) and seek to turn it around. Most revitalisations in dissenting circles attempt to turnaround churches that have declined in number leaving a tiny faithful core rather than attempting to convert a church full of people who don’t believe the gospel at all. Stephen Watkinson points out some of the real difficulties with trying to do just that.

What if they’re happy without God?

Not everyone is miserable and not everybody feels the way you think they should. If we are to reach the relatively content with the gospel we are going to have to come up with something more than just the apologetics of misery.

From the archive: A Christmas detail I’ve long overlooked

‘I knew about Herod’s command to kill all the children in Bethlehem under 2. I knew about Mary & Joseph fleeing to Egypt so they wouldn’t be caught up in the melee. What I (rather unthinkingly) failed to clock was the reason for Herod’s decision to aim for everyone under 2.’