Snippets from the interweb (21st February 2021)

Why we can’t reason from fine-tuning to a multiverse

‘In a Scientific American article titled “Our Improbable Existence Is No Evidence for a Multiverse,” Philip Goff argues it’s faulty reasoning to conclude from the extraordinarily improbable fine-tuning of our universe that a multiverse exists.’

If I were starting a denomination from scratch

This was a really interesting one. For those of us more interested in association, rather than denomination, these things still hold. I would probably do most of these things too (but am also unlikely to ever be in a position where I need to do them).

7 ways to not really preach a passage

Peter Mead talks us through seven kinds of sermon that all take a passage of scripture but manage to preach something entirely different. Maybe you are guilty of one or two of these?

Key signs of an abusive pastor #1: A long track record of broken relationships

‘Let’s begin with the first sign. And it’s first for a reason. A classic, defining mark of an abusive pastor is a long track record of broken relationships. Chuck DeGroat, in his book When Narcissism Comes to Church, argues that such pastors often leave a “relational debris field” (3) or a “trail of dead bodies” (143) in their wake. He observes, “Often, before the narcissistic pastor is exposed publicly, there are years of painful smaller encounters that are covered up” (91). In other words, spiritually abusive pastors have a track record of hurting those they work with and eventually, usually after many years, it catches up with them. It is a sin pattern that can’t be seen at first glance; it only becomes visible over time.’

How to pastor when sanctification becomes illegal

‘Where I live and pastor some aspects of sanctification are now illegal. A recent decision in my home state of Victoria—in Australia—seeks to overturn this work of God’s grace. The Victorian Parliament has adopted the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020. Amongst other things, the Conversion and Suppression Practices Bill criminalizes any prayers or conversations in which one person aims to persuade another that pursuing certain sexual activity is not the best course of action.’

Irrevocable gifts and calling – the danger of out of context Bible verses

‘I currently find myself in no man’s land because I’m no longer the pastor at Bearwood Chapel… I was called as a pastor to Bearwood Chapel. Therefore, like it or not, that calling has been revoked… You see, the calling isn’t about me and my dreams or ambitions it is about God’s glory and the needs of his church.  All I can be certain about is what I’m called to do now.’

From the archive: Four reasons to defend the utter sovereignty of God

‘Even God’s indirect, permissive causative will stems from a decision that God takes not to intervene. That is, he decides not to stop something from coming to pass even though he could stop it. In this way God is utterly sovereign over all things in the world without being the author of sin. He is in control without directly being its cause. Now some have a problem with this view of God’s utter sovereignty. However, there are several reasons to defend it.’