Let me start by saying how grateful I am to everybody who continues to read this blog. There is little point in writing a blog that nobody reads, so I am honoured that people choose to spend the precious little time they have reading what is written here. So, first, let me say thank you for reading and, if you tend to do so, for commenting and sharing it more widely.
This year, the Building Jerusalem blog has been viewed c. 240,000 times. That is a c. 40,000 view increase on 2019 (c. 20%) and an average of an extra 120 views every day. Given that alongside writing posts, I started a podcast that comes out each Saturday (you can subscribe and listen to past episodes by clicking the Podcast link at the top of this blog), meaning one less original article per week, we have grown in views despite having 52 fewer posts across the year.
I appreciate that views do not equate to agreement. I should get a T-shirt printed that reads, ‘I like your blog, but I don’t agree with everything in it.’ It is the most common way I am greeted by people I haven’t met before who have stumbled across what is written here. But whether agreeing or not, I am so grateful that anybody takes the time to read this stuff.
It has become de rigueur to do a rundown of the top posts of the year. So, over the next few days I’ll be posting up a few rundowns. Today, it’s the top 10 most viewed posts of 2020. So, here you go.
10. What’s to be done? Potentially, nothing
There is a temptation in the church to constantly look to fix every problem that we find. But sometimes, the answer isn’t to do more. Sometimes, we come to the end of what we can do – or what is helpful to do – and we simply have to leave things with the Lord.
9. Why we shouldn’t ditch the traditional sermon just yet
Of course, we shouldn’t really be looking to ditch the traditional sermon at all. This post looked at some specific reasons why not.
8. Why doesn’t God make his existence more obvious?
It’s a fair question that deserved an answer. This post looked at what the Bible has to say about why God doesn’t make his existence clearer than he has chosen to do.
7. Being off our food is a sign of sickness
This one was written up when my son was sick. Just as the real sign he was sick was that he went right off his food, so the sign folks in our churches are sick when they go off their spiritual food.
6. Family worship is not as essential as some want to insist
Lots of people want to insist on the important – the necessity even – of family worship. This post pushed back on that assumption. It may be something you and your family find helpful, but it just isn’t anything the Bible insists that we do (and, therefore, shouldn’t be anything Bible-believing Christians insist we do as a matter of faithfulness either).
5. Why the cancellation of Franklin Graham should concern us all
This post was prompted by the news that a venue on Franklin Graham’s UK speaking tour had decided to cancel his booking because they don’t like some of his views. This sort of article has become a repeated theme on this blog. Though the individual at the centre may change, and the specific words or views being held might concern me more or less, the principle remains the same: ‘Whatever your particular views on the things Franklin Graham says, we should all fight tooth and nail for his right to say them. That is the only ground on which we can guarantee our right to say anything back, should we so wish.’
4. Five ways to lead your kids to ditch the church
LifeWay reported that the dropout rate for young adults leaving the church in the US stood at c. 70%. The situation in the UK church is probably not all that dissimilar. This article considered the question that most Christians parents desperately want to answer: how can I make sure my children stick with the church? This one looked at five common things that typically lead our children to see the church as irrelevant.
3. The problem of having no defined membership
Some folks insist that membership is not in the Bible. Whilst the phrase ‘church membership’ never occurs, I just don’t think that position stands up to scrutiny. I have made the case a number of times as to why biblical membership is both biblical and important. This one looked at some of the practical problems that arise when we determine membership doesn’t matter for our church.
2. Complementarianism & answering Beth Moore’s valid questions
Beth Moore posed two provocative questions on Twitter specifically for those of us who hold to the complementarian view of male-female relationships within church and in our marriages. The questions were entirely valid and this post offered my answers. The article laid out my position on how male-female relations work in my complementarian marriage. It seems a lot of complementarians work similarly to us.
1. The advance of the new legalism
My most read article of 2020 was this one on legalism in the church. Legalism has always been an issue, ever since God called a people, it continued in Jesus’ day and it was a feature of the early church. It has long been a feature of the UK church too. This article, however, highlighted the new form of legalism on the rise. In the past, legalism was about ‘worldliness’ and various things we were being told not to do; the new legalism seems more concerned with doing more and more with no room whatsoever to say ‘no’ despite there being no specific biblical mandate that applies to all of us. The article attempted to highlight some of the ways it manifests and offered some diagnostic questions to help us discern whether legalism is at play.