Snippets from the interweb (17th February 2019)

How can we know the New Testament teaches Jesus is God?

Plenty of people want to deny this but the evidence is overwhelming. Justin Taylor points us to some of the key planks of the case for the divinity of Christ.

Where are the ends of the earth?

‘The thing with “the ends of the earth” is that it all depends where you are starting from. The rainforests of Papua New Guinea may seem like the ends of the earth if you are starting off from Barnsley, but less so if you live in West Papua. For people living in the Pacific, South Yorkshire may well seem like the “ends of the earth”. The thing is, when there are believers all around the world, the “ends of the earth” is also all around the globe. Mission is from everywhere to everywhere because there are believers (just about) everywhere and there is certainly a need absolutely everywhere.’

How do I love?

‘No-one minds if you support a foodbank or an education project, but almost everyone gets jumpy if you support an evangelistic project! In doing this, these churches and Christians are either hiding their true convictions or they are changing their convictions – lining up with the convictions of the world rather than the convictions of their God. In fact, what seems to happen is that the god of those churches and Christians is shaped by how how the society says we should love our neighbour. So their god becomes one who doesn’t tell us we’re sinners and doesn’t tell us we’re wrong, but rather affirms us in what we want to be and what we want to do. In other words, we’re making our own god up, which the Bible calls idolatry.’

Don’t be individualistic in evangelism

‘If it really is through our life together that God makes himself known, then we can’t settle for lone-ranger evangelism. Again, I’m well aware of the need for individuals to share the gospel in their everyday spheres of life. I’m emphatically not arguing against that need. But if we’re passionate about our unbelieving friends coming to know God, then our evangelism must be overwhelmingly corporate, not overwhelmingly individualistic.’

Pastor, preach like hurt women are listening

This article bears hearing. But in deprived communities like mine, a lot of what it says applies to many men too. We need to preach like a lot of people are hurting, and no mistake. The world is broken and we are not immune.

What do we need to do to progress in our preaching?

‘I suspect that many preachers spend far too long crafting their sentences and language rather than communicating simply and straightforwardly. The main point is not pressed and repeated, as is essential in effective oration. We would be far better giving more of our preparation time to praying that the Lord would apply his word to his people through our speaking than in crafting language in a way that will pass people by… We need to remember that in preaching we are speaking to people, not writing for them. It is essential that we ask them whether we, and more importantly God, has been heard.’

From the archive: Shirt and tie in the pulpit?

‘It seems worth noting from the outset, I have never once heard people defend a shirt-and-tie-on-principle stance with any reference to scripture. I can only surmise this is because (a) there is no scripture that supports the position, (b) there is a significant amount of Biblical data that stands against it, and (c) there are good theological arguments against the stance.’