Snippets from the interweb (1st December 2019)

Are Christian conferences damaging the local church?

Seems a valid question to ask. Al Gooderham spends a lot of time talking about something else but his comments at the end answering this particular question bear serious consideration.

Answering Alan Alda

John Stevens answers some comments made by former M*A*S*H star, Alan Alda. He tackles two comments: ‘I haven’t come across any evidence for God’ and ‘We’re gonna die and it’s so amazing that most of us live as if that’s not gonna happen’.

4 common critics and constructive ways to respond to them

Pastors and elders will inevitably get criticism. Tim Challies highlights some common types and how we might respond helpfully. 

Why are pro-choicers bothered by images of aborted clumps of cells?

‘Why is a pro-life display “hurtful, sometimes deeply so,” if the unborn are not human persons? If the unborn are merely tissue mass, as the pro-choice side claims, then why would it deeply hurt anyone to see that our society is complicit in the removal of mere clumps of cells? It’s only hurtful if pro-life displays remind people of their guilt—the kind of guilt that one presumably wouldn’t feel since abortion doesn’t terminate the life of a baby.’

Title IX trouble for Fuller Seminary

Whilst this one is firmly rooted in the American system, it almost certainly has application for UK theological institutions too. ‘Civic piety and Christian piety in the realm of sexual mores and identity are increasingly antithetical to each other. Not since perhaps the middle of the third century have those things that constitute good citizenship of the earthly and the heavenly cities been so difficult to reconcile. It is ironic, perhaps, that Fuller could be the seminary test case for this.’

Jesus came to proclaim good news to the poor. But now they’re leaving the church.

Whilst this one is focused on America, this is an issue we need to get to grips with in the UK context too. Church going still remains a very middle class pursuit.

From the archive: Must we wear shirt and tie in the pulpit?

‘In this post, I want to show how this is neither Biblically nor culturally demanded. 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.’