Honouring your father when he’s evil
Jennifer Greenberg: ‘In our family, I was taught to honor my father and mother, forgive others, and not gossip, but homes warped by abuse have their own language. “Forgive” meant pretend you’re happy, even when you’re covered in bruises. “Honour your father” meant obey him, even when you’re terrified he might kill you. And we were repeatedly warned not to ‘gossip,’ which meant telling anyone the truth.’
Was the trinity torn apart at the cross?
I think you probably know the right answer to this one. But it is one thing knowing the answer, quite another explaining it. Here is some help with that.
Why biblical literacy isn’t our biggest problem
I agree with Jeremy Marshall in this one: ‘A poll was recently held with the question “what is the number one issue for the church today?”. The overwhelming winner was (lack of) biblical literacy. Now in one sense, that’s a truism of course. If only we would all follow the Bible more closely then we would all be better Christians. But the keyword I suggest here is “literacy”. In other words, the assumption is that we can’t or we don’t know the Bible. It’s as if we can’t read it, we don’t know what’s in it, we are ignorant of its contents. I suggest that in evangelical churches this issue is not the first issue.’
Don’t give sin too much credit
‘Sometimes I find myself thinking that certain sins are set to dog me for my whole life, they loom large, they seem too big too strong, I am defeated by them before I start. Now, we will sin – I don’t believe the Bible teaches sinless perfectionism, but it does teach progressive sanctification. The Bible does teach that in Christ through the word and by the Spirit it is possible for us to fight sin.’
Can I be an effective pastor if I don’t like management?
‘Pastors are not managers, at least in a corporate-business-world-publicly-traded-company-sort-of-way. But pastors are shepherds. And shepherds manage sheep. Leading a church involves management. A church hierarchy assumes management. And most churches—even smaller congregations—are not completely flat in structure. Even at the most basic level, churches require management. Who pays the bills? When does the meeting start? Who is responsible for snow removal? Who fills the baptistery? What is our policy? Those are basic managerial questions.’
Together we sing
‘Let us hope and pray that the government will join the dots in its thinking and recognise that singing in Christian worship is not just a warm-up act for the preacher or an opportunity for performance, but is an essential part of the process of being a believer, growing in faith and becoming the bride of Christ.’
From the archive: Why I loathe the false dichotomy of win the person or win the argument
‘I’m sure you’ve found yourself in a discussion and, at some point, somebody throws out the line, ‘you’re more concerned about winning the argument.’ It takes several forms. Sometimes it is said that way, other times it is something closer to, ‘you care more about the debate than people’ or ‘you need to win the person more than you need to win the argument.’ I have come to loathe this comment in all its variant forms.’