Snippets from the interweb (9th June 2019)

Virtue signalling and historical presentism

‘We are no better at thinking outside of our cultural, moral “box” than anyone in the past. We can’t see the culturally permissible sins we surely commit today. But, if the Lord tarries, you can bet that people 200 years from now will gawk at us and wonder, “How could they have thought that [x] was ok?”’

5 loopholes we use to excuse sin

‘When it comes to owning sin, humans can be fiercely stubborn. We come up with all sorts of excuses to downplay sin and avoid true repentance. It’s easy to mouth the words of an apology, to others or God, while feeling out possible loopholes that leave room for future indulgence. We’re spiritual Houdinis, contorting and twisting our way out of true repentance. We’re actors who specialize in scenes of contrition, whose apologetic masquerades are little more than roles we play to get off the hook.’

White or wrong?

‘Should people self-identify as “white”? In normal conversation? In the church, or other specifically Christian contexts? On a census form or diversity survey? It might seem that the answer is yes to all of the above, and that even asking the question is the height of politically correct silliness. But I think there are at least seven reasons for taking seriously the possibility that the answer is no.’

Against open doors

When I first read the title of this one, I wondered what they had against that charity seeking to support persecuted believers around the world. Turns out, principles for decision-making is in view. ‘The balance of Scripture, it seems to me, doesn’t encourage us in efforts to discern God’s decretive will for our lives by providential events (i.e., open or closed doors). Sometimes a closed door simply needs to be pushed on harder. Sometimes an open door needs to be passed by. The wisdom and biblical principles that govern decision making should always take precedence over providential “signs” that Scripture never bids us decipher. The posture of Paul and Silas relative to one literally (and by literally, I mean unfiguratively) “open door” might prove instructive on this point.’

Why Christianity is not pragmatic

‘The substance of this article is meant to address something related to this conversation: namely, the problems with Christian pragmatism or seeing Christianity as a vehicle for some instrumental good, such as enacting a desired moral ecology within a political order. While one detects in Ahmari the nostalgia for a Christendom united around a common good, the Baptist in me sees not only dead churches in its aftermath, but a mass of unregenerate people as its byproduct.’

Why are Calvinists so mean?

I think its important to look within our own tribe and ask hard questions of ourselves. This is an important one to ask. We all know those who hold to Reformed doctrine but who, for whatever reason, just seem so aggressive and angry in their defence of it and persecution of those who demur. Jared Wilson offers (after a few caveats) some possible reasons. 

From the archive: How can I know I’ve been called to pastoral ministry

‘How do you know you have been called to pastoral ministry? In short, a church has actually called you. Within that, I would expect that call to be based on the affirmation that the eldership criteria is seen in your life. I would imagine that affirmation would also be affirmed by your local church. I would imagine the acceptance of an offer of a pastorate is attended with an actual desire to do the job. But you cannot consider yourself “called” until such time as someone has actually called you.’