Snippets from the interweb (10th November 2019)

I used to love elections. But now I say a plague on all their houses!

Some people sympathised when I voiced similar concerns to these. Others thought it was the worst view someone could hold. But I find Peter Hitchens compelling on this point. ‘The only foundation of political power in this country is the ballot box. We vote for them, so that they can ignore us. Think what we might achieve if we simply declined to grant this power to the current political elite. What if they held an Election and nobody came? Nothing would make me laugh more than if we woke up on the morning of December 13 and nobody had any votes at all.’

Should we use humour in our preaching?

‘Is there a place for lighthearted laughter in sermons? I think Spurgeon himself had the healthiest view of laughter in the pulpit: use it if it fits your personality, but take care never to let it distract from or undermine sublime gospel truths. Susie Spurgeon perhaps said it best of her husband’s view of humour in the pulpit: “Charles never went out of his way to make a joke—or to avoid one.”’

Why I’m a better pastor for you than Keller or Piper

We may not be better preachers, but there are somethings that only we can offer our churches. And there are some things that our churches can do that they can’t do for  speakers piped in on podcasts and videos.

Iron sharpening Iron: Continuing the conversation with Sam Storms

Denny Burk and Sam Storms have been discussing whether ‘pastor’ is an office of the church or not and whether women might legitimately hold it. Whilst I don’t agree with everything Burk writes here, I do agree with the essence of his arguments.

9 suggestions for better members’ meetings

This was helpful. Here are some pointers on how to make your members’ meetings are as good as they might be.

4 members who tear down the church

‘All have a common thread: self-centeredness. They’ve missed the very essence of salvation; they’ve failed to love God and love people with every ounce of their being. Furthermore, they forget that the church of God doesn’t exist for their comfort and happiness but for the glory of God. And in God’s design, that means loving people with diverse preferences and opinions—and yet still loving like Christ loved us.’

From the archive: Are theological colleges the servant of the church?

‘The concern we have is not that we want anything less than competent Bible teachers in the most deprived communities. The issue is that we have so often filtered our understanding of competence through our particular middle class, academic filters. A powerful orator can only be commissioned if he can express himself equally powerfully in written word; a faithful pastor will only be acknowledged if he has the self-awareness to dissect and critique his ‘approach’ to counselling; a great evangelist will only be deemed ‘qualified’ if he can defend his apologetics against the kind of people he is never likely to encounter in his context. It is this that seems wrong.’