Snippets from the interweb (9th August 2020)

Excuses I’ve used #1: I’m sorry but I’m an introvert

My wife and I are both different sorts of introverts. But no less introverts. It isn’t a get-out-of-commands-you-don’t-naturally-incline-toward-free card: ‘Being an introvert isn’t an excuse for not practising hospitality. I wished for a long time it was. But now, I have learned that I shouldn’t live without it.’

Why J.I. Packer signed “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (1994) (and why he was inconsistent)

Leonardo De Chirico: ‘The Packer who helped Evangelicals to see and appreciate “the logic of penal substitution” did not help them to see “the logic of Christian unity” in the same helpful way. On the latter he was inconsistent to say the least. The Packer who so helpfully unpacked the riches of an Evangelical “systematic spirituality” did not help to appreciate its implications in the area of ecumenism. He was rather eclectic on the latter. While we celebrate the bountiful Evangelical legacy of Jim Packer in the desire to follow his steps, we should also be aware of his weaknesses, especially when he tried to work out what the Lord Jesus meant when he prayed “that they may be one” (John 17:21).’

You keep using that word

Keith Mathison encourages us to be careful about the words we use. After having a look at how the word ‘fascist’ is frequently employed, he goes on to say this: ‘In recent months, for example, I’ve seen a number of Christians suggest that another person is an advocate of “critical theory.” While this may very well be true, sometimes I can’t help but wonder if the person making that suggestion knows what those words mean.’

Why we need people for church plants in hard places

It is much harder to get people to move to churches in hard areas than it is to move them to churches in affluent areas. Stephen Watkinson looks at a couple of reasons why.

Let your dream church die

‘For every ten disillusioned church members, perhaps only one should consider leaving. Meanwhile, the other nine of us need to remember that even the healthiest bodies have strange ticks and unseemly features: an unusual tapping of the foot, a frustrating tone of the voice. In fact, if our church body does not regularly try our patience and oppose our preferences, then we may not be close enough to our church body.’

Do white need corporate repentance for historic racial sins?

Regardless of your view on Neil Shenvi and Pat Sawyer’s attempt to answer two questions – Are modern-day Whites guilty before God because of the sins of their ancestors? And do they need to corporately repent for these sins? – you will almost certainly benefit from their reasoning as to how they get to this answer: ‘Our thesis in this article is that the answer to both of these questions is no. Whites are not corporately guilty for their ancestors’ racial sins (much less the sins of historical strangers) and do not need to corporately repent for them.’

From the archive: Congregational participation opens the door to nonsense. Here’s why we should do it anyway.

‘It seems the nutso stories giving thanks for how the Lord raised the family cat from the dead or the prayers that sound troublingly close to asking the Lord to prosper the likes of ISIS are saved up for such a time as a new family arrive, hoping to find a church in which to settle. I know, not least because various church leaders have told me, some remove any congregational participation because they cannot bear these cringe-worthy moments. For what it’s worth, I have some sympathy with them. There is a tendency for people to assume everything said within the four walls of a church building, no matter the source from which it emanates nor the credibility of the position itself, is a perfect reflection of the theology of the church and treated as though it were a directive delivered by elders themselves. But I want to suggest that such congregational participation is valuable, even if it means the occasional deviation toward what can only be described as nonsense.’