Snippets from the interweb (20th December 2020)

Is Christmas a pagan rip-off?

Kevin DeYoung outlines why the date of Christmas – which may or may not actually have been the date of Jesus’ birth in reality – specifically doesn’t have its roots in paganism.

Yes, Mary knew: Re-examining 6 popular Christmas stories

‘I love the Christmas season and all its sentiments, stories, and traditions.Some of these stories and traditions are so familiar to us, though, that we don’t realize what is actually biblical and what we might be adding to the story. Here are six Christmas myths that need correcting.’

More mission?

Eddie Arthur: ‘Recently, and not for the first time, I surprised – shocked, even – some colleagues with an opinion. Someone had suggested that we could all agree that we wanted to see more people from the UK involved in mission, but I was not convinced. Cue incomprehension.’

Why an anti-conversion therapy bill in Australia is a huge threat to churches

I have followed this story for a while. David Robertson highlights some of the key, particularly troubling, issues surround a bill that is due to be passed in Victoria. Similar bills have already been mooted here in the UK.

Reading the Bible requires rules we already know

Alan Shlemon offers three everyday interpretive tools to help us understand what the Bible is saying. Some people want to claim that these things make the Bible more complicated, but this article rightly notes that all we’re doing is applying the same principles we use every day whenever we read anything.

What is God saying through 2020?

It is always hard to try and discern exactly what God is doing in and through current events. But Andrew Wilson has a look at the book of James which speaks to our current situation and some lessons the Lord may be giving us.

From the archive: Historically, Labour were anti-EU. What changed? Liberals

‘Essentially, for all the fear of Militant infiltrating and taking over the Labour Party in the 1980s, instead, the Party became overrun with liberals. The reason why it is often so difficult to put a cigarette paper between the Lib Dems and Labour is that they are full of the same kinds of people. At the same time, politics became less framework-based and has become more issue-based. People take ‘stances’ rather than work out policies within a fleshed out political framework. It has become expedient to stand on issues – to signal one’s virtues – rather than to work out what is right within a wider political or moral framework.’