Snippets from the interweb (14th November 2021)

How church membership gives us freedom

‘Isn’t it ironic that a high commitment like church membership can bring about a sense of freedom? I’m not exactly sure how that works but I do have some clarity on what I think it’s not. It’s not because I feel I can do whatever I want, or that I am free to be uniquely “me,” or even that I can act independently and without any responsibilities. On the contrary, I feel more bound to the Lord, his Word, and to the members of our church than at any other time in my life! So where does this freedom come from? What does it mean?’

How to turn repentance into a non-apology apology

Sam Allberry takes a look at repentance and encourages us to avoid offering non-apology apologies.

Are Baptists ‘reformed’? A brief history of Baptist identity

This one looks at the historical links between Baptists and Reformed theology.

5 myths about deacons

‘Deacons are not the church’s spiritual council of directors, nor the executive board to whom the pastor answers. They are a cavalry of servants, deputized to execute the elders’ vision by coordinating various ministries. Deacons are like a congregation’s Special Ops force, carrying out unseen assignments with fortitude and joy.’

Charles Spurgeon on encouraging men for Christian ministry

Robert Strivens: ‘There used to be a certain mindset among some Reformed ministers, according to which young men who expressed a desire, or asked about, going into full-time pastoral or preaching ministry should first be put off. No encouragement should be offered and, certainly, no invitation should be extended generally to men to consider the possibility of becoming a minister. The reasoning was that those whom God genuinely calls to such ministry would have so overwhelming a sense of that divine call as to be unable to resist it, whatever obstacles were placed in their way. A man’s call to ministry, therefore, was best tested and proven by discouragement at every turn. I used to wonder whether this approach had perhaps contributed to the marked lack of ministers among some of the more traditional Reformed churches.’

The middle years

This is a great reflection on reaching middle age: ‘These days I feel a little as if I’m grieving for a younger me. I look in the mirror, and I contend with the greying hair and the imperfections that come with age, always shocked to remember that my neckline sags in the way of grandmothers and old great aunts. I have come to middle age, and I must say that it’s a difficult stop on this journey of being a woman.’

From the archive: What does the word ‘Christ’ mean?

‘If Richard Rohr is right, then Christianity is utterly pointless. Jesus is not who he said he was and his followers are the pitiable fools that the apostle Paul said they would be if Jesus had not actually risen from the dead. The Bible itself, if Rohr is correct, is fundamentally flawed and essentially untrue. The Bible is wrong, ‘Christ’ is a meaningless term to take to oneself, Jesus was deluded and/or a liar and his followers are idiotic gulls who should be pitied above all. Christians are people who will follow literally anything and convinced that the very word at issue means something it doesn’t and has implications for them that it cannot possibly have. Our founder, faith and just about everything is utterly pointless. That is the answer to his ‘what if’ question.’