Snippets from the interweb (19th April 2020)

What makes a church a church?

Jonathan Leeman offers a helpful answer.

Did God die on Good Friday?

This is a question we get asked a lot by Muslims in our context. It sometimes takes the form, ‘how could God die?’ and at other times they ask, ‘if Jesus died (which we don’t believe), did God (who cannot die) die on the cross?’ This article basically answers it.

There is a reason your ‘worship at home’ doesn’t feel the same

‘If there wasn’t a horizontal aspect to worship then we could have easily moved it to our living room without missing a beat. But we haven’t and we cannot. There is a horizontal dimension to our worship, and we would do well to remember this when we’re no longer providentially hindered from gathering.’

Don’t try to put out every brush fire

This one has application well beyond the immediate way it is applied here. Some fires simply go out on their own. We don’t always need to rush to fix things.

The beauty and abuse of empathy

‘As with all of God’s gifts that we wield in this sinful world, we can distort God-given empathy. Would you consider with me if it’s possible for empathy to become a tyrant? How can something so obviously needed to nurture children and care for the vulnerable go wrong? We can distort or abuse empathy in at least three ways.’

Is everything sad going to come untrue? Why we need eschatology now more than ever

‘Eschatology is not so much about millennial positions or the structure of Revelation, but is primarily about the problem of evil and how that problem will be solved.  Eschatology is about how one deals with the sad things in the world. In this sense, then, everyone has an eschatology.’

From the archive: Free speech should stretch to ‘grossly offensive’ jokes

‘It bears saying, tolerance is only tolerance when we actually have to tolerate something. If we aren’t bothered by the comment, it’s not tolerance; it’s either agreement or it’s indifference. The strength of our belief in free speech is how far we are prepared to tolerate the vilest of views and most grossly offensive of jokes. The strength of our belief in free speech can be measured in our willingness to let a dog do a Nazi salute in response to grossly offensive comments about the Jews. We don’t have to find it funny (it isn’t), we don’t have to like it and we don’t have to remain silent on what we think about it. A belief in free speech gives us every right to answer back and make clear just how unpleasant we may find it. But what it doesn’t permit us to do is shut it down and employ the law as a tool for silence. That, dear reader, is fascism.’