Snippets from the interweb (3rd October 2021)

What does it mean that we are “justified by faith, not because of faith”? (video)

Derek Thomas addresses this subtle but significant difference.

Why the NLT is good, actually

I liked this. Partly because the NLT has also become my ‘just reading’ go-to version. But I like it for all the reasons here and think the criticism it gets from some quarters is largely unjustified.

A case for women deacons

‘Deacons are vital servants in the life of any biblical, gospel-centered, missional church. They aren’t grunt workers; they are mobilizers and servants in the advancement of gospel ministry like we see in the prototypes of Acts 6. I hope every church plant will prioritize installing deacons more than they value branding, vision casting, and installing fog machines. As pastors and planters look to install deacons, there’s a valid interpretation for the diaconate ministry to include women who meet the qualifications given by Paul in 1 Timothy 3:8–13.’

Love the real not the ideal

‘The Bible shows us the reality of the church. We need to reckon with that reality. Too many pastors and planters are idealistic not realistic and that is why so many burn themselves out trying to create this ideal, I wonder if unhelpful models and expectations fuel this even more. I also wonder if it, in part, leads towards the dangerous rocks of heavy shepherding and anger in ministry that can fuel unhealthy cultures.’

I wasn’t half dead

‘Dead bodies don’t resuscitate themselves, and dead hearts don’t live until God makes them alive in Christ.’

What is the one thing you want the congregation to remember from your sermon?

John Stevens: ‘As we proclaim the word of God, we need to be asking ourselves ‘what is the one thing that will stick in our congregations’ minds from this sermon?’ We delude ourselves as preachers if we think that people will remember all the intricate points and verbally dextrous language we use. Most will remember one or two big things that we communicate.’

From the archive: Why I disagreed with John Piper on premarital pregnancy and his application of ‘unequally yoked’

‘John Piper has sent Twitter a-tweeting with one of his latest Ask Pastor John segments. In this particular case, a young couple with a child – the woman a believer and the guy not – are planning to marry because of the child they have together. The man asking the question wants to know whether he is right to caution against marriage unless the man becomes a Christian.’