Snippets from the interweb (4th September 2022)

How can I be sure I’m saved (video)

Derek Thomas offers a simple answer to a common question.

The problem with gaslighting

There is some bad language at the end of this one, so if you’re inclined to be offended, this probably isn’t one for you. It is about the creeping application of the term gaslighting, which points us to the ever-widening application of a whole bunch of other terms too.

How to guard against over-reliant discernment

‘Over-reliant discernment happens when we rely on someone else to tell us what to believe. While it’s good to learn from the wise and educated, we also can’t turn off our discerning brains and simply trust the voice of one person. This is what I did when I relied on Christian bloggers to build my faith.’

How the police became footsoldiers of woke

I really wish we’d stop using the term ‘woke’ in a derogatory way. Much of what gets tied up with it hits out at perfectly legitimate and good things. But the broader point in this one is right: ‘isn’t it peculiar how this justification applies only to what the police consider to be the most fashionable causes? As a friend of mine – a committed Catholic – observes: “I would like to see them coming to our Eucharistic processions and kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament. ‘Community engagement’, like.” It would never happen, of course. The desire to ‘reach out’ to marginalised communities and participate in their activities doesn’t extend to orthodox Christians or other groups with views and practices antithetical to the spirit of the age.’

How dangerous hermeneutics can inform false teachers

‘One sign of a false prophet is when a religious leader invents novel and fanciful interpretations of Scripture, interpretations completely divorced from the original context. Religious charlatans usually engage in such hermeneutical gymnastics in order to bolster their own power. An example of such scripture-twisting is seen in LDS Church’s slanted take on Isaiah 29:11 – 12, a passage they improperly handle in an attempt to bolster the authenticity of both Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.’

The Church: Universal and Local

‘The universal church is a heavenly and eschatological assembly of everyone—past, present, and future—who belongs to Christ’s new covenant and kingdom. A local church is a mutually-affirming group of new covenant members and kingdom citizens, identified by regularly gathering together in Jesus’ name through preaching the gospel and celebrating the ordinances.’

From the archive: Three Ways We Impeded Gospel Ministry in Deprived Communities

‘I am delighted more people are talking about church in deprived communities. This is long overdue. But there are still several ways we continue view and treat deprived communities that are not serving the cause of gospel ministry. Here are three of the key ones.’