Snippets from the interweb (19th July 2020)

We are all exceptional

‘The thing is, we rarely look below the surface to see our common humanity. Human beings exhibit a massive amount of variety, while fundamentally all being the same. Problems start to arise when a particular political or ethnic group starts to think that they are exceptional, that they are special and that in comparison, others are less special than they are. The thing is, we are all special – either that or none of us are special, you can view it either way.’

Are Christians meant to feed themselves?

Some helpful thoughts in this one. I’m not wholly convinced by all of it, but I think some of the questions it raises are worth thinking through.

Marriage needs the gospel

‘I know nothing about the history of this couple other than what they said in this awkward twelve minute conversation… I don’t know how often they have been at a breaking point or how many times they have stood on the edge of the end of their marriage. But I do know that one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen a couple do is look each other in the face and declare that there is no hope for a better future. Bad marriage for life. No trust. No help. No healing. Without Christ, the future is bleak.’

The dangerous consequences of ignoring context

I know you’ve probably heard this before, but it can’t be repeated often enough: ‘Yes, context matters. We won’t tire of repeating this key to interpreting the Bible because ignoring context is not just misguided, it is dangerous.’

Respectable sins of the reformed world

Tim Challies: ‘[Jerry]Bridges offers many examples: anxiety and frustration; discontentment; unthankfulness; impatience and irritability; worldliness; and so on. One tricky aspect of this list of respectable sins is that its contents can change over time. What was respectable in one era can be scandalous in another before once again fading back to respectability. Today I’d like to offer a few suggestions of sins we may consider respectable here in 2020, with a special focus on sins that are fostered and spread online.’

Women: No more – and no less – worthy than men

‘As women, we have immeasurable worth, value, and merit, given to us by God Himself. We have an immense and valuable contribution to make to the church (in fact, every sphere of life!). Pastors and elders, if you don’t recognise this and harness the giftedness God has given you in your female parishioners well and effectively, then you do your congregation a great disservice. God created us—men and women—in His very image. He values us, cherishes us, and He saved us for a purpose.  But, we are no more and no less valued or cherished than men. We’re equal.’

From the archive: Why deprived communities need more than a social gospel

‘The biggest issue facing any of us is the problem of sin. Our biggest need is the gospel. That is not to minimise the very real problems that people in deprived communities face, it is just to say that eternity is much longer and the reality of Hell much more serious. The social gospel does nothing for the eternal soul of those we are reaching. It may help some of their immediate issues, but it does nothing for their deepest and longest term problems.’