Snippets from the interweb (9th July 2023)

If you don’t believe in Hell

I’m not persuaded by the free will argument advanced in this one (though it is only a small part of the post). But I think it is absolutely right about the ripple effect it describes, which it the buulk of the post.

Pastoral counselling is a waste of time

I don’t quite agree with the title of this one, but I do recognise some of what it says in it. There is a lot of bad counselling out there. There are a lot of people who genuinely have no interest in heeding any pastoral counsel. There is a right time to offer counsel, but that time is not forever and a day when a person has no genuine interest in striving for holiness. The whole thing is not a waste of time, but Jesus still talks about pearls before swine and shaking dust off feet.

Where pastors find their worth

Here is a good question: ‘Do we know — really know — that we’re loved apart from our pastoral ministry? The moment that we try to earn our identify from pastoring is the moment we lose the plot.’

Goodbye Local Church?

John Benton: ‘If the central question of the market is ‘where can I get the best deal for myself and my family?’ then the core question of the kingdom is very different. It is ‘Lord, what would you have me to do?’ (cf. Acts 22:10).Seeing the vast needs of a post-Christian society, does anyone ask that question any more?’

Satan does not hold the keys of death

RC Sproul: ‘When Jesus appeared in a vision to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos, He identified Himself with these words: “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forever-more. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Rev. 1:17–18). Jesus holds the keys to death, and Satan cannot snatch those keys out of His hand. Christ’s grip is firm. He holds the keys because He owns the keys. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. That includes all authority over life and death. The angel of death is at His beck and call.’

Don’t let potential negative outcomes keep you from sharing truth with compassion

‘There are times when we are prepared, respectful, and gentle with our apologetic approach, yet it still doesn’t convince or convert. Although the goal of every conversation is to put a stone in someone’s shoe—to leave that person with something to think about—it would be nice if our well-executed arguments were received and believed. When we face this common problem, it’s comforting to know that Jesus himself encountered the same thing.’

From the archive: How do we handle concerns of non-attendance?

‘Why wasn’t he there? If you don’t know, why don’t you know? Does anybody else know? If nobody else knows, why does nobody know? All valid questions that deserve an answer and, potentially, a bit of change if the answer is known but somewhat uncomfortable. But the biggest of the implicit questions that undergirds all these others is this: did anyone do anything about it? This is the big one. If somebody has been missing a few weeks, what are you supposed to do?’