Thursday, February 13, 2014

All Around the Web - February 13, 2014

Eric Metaxas - Christmas Eve Again
Roman society could be just as oppressive and undependable as the gods it worshiped. For most people, life in the empire’s cities could be fairly described, to borrow a phrase from philosopher Thomas Hobbes, as “nasty, poor, solitary, brutish, and short.”

It was into this world that Christianity was born. It triumphed because it offered an alternative to the oppression of Roman society and the dead-end of paganism, an alternative that was so compelling it outweighed the disadvantages of being identified as a Christian.

As Stark writes, “in the midst of the squalor, misery, illness, and anonymity of ancient cities, Christianity offered an island of mercy and security.”

Here’s the thing: when you read Stark’s words, you realize that we also have something compelling to offer our contemporaries.

It starts with understanding that many of our contemporaries also worship deities that are undependable and scarcely distinguishable from their worshipers: that’s because they worship themselves.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “worship” as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” This worship then transforms the worshiper. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “the Gods we worship write their names on our faces; be sure of that . . . thus, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming.”

Liberate - Better Know a Theologian: Thomas Crammer 
Who comes to mind if I ask you to list major theologians of the Protestant Reformation? You probably thought of Martin Luther, John Calvin, or Ulrich Zwingli. What about Thomas Cranmer? Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) was an important leader of the English Reformation. He served as the archbishop of Canterbury and wrote a Reformed confession of faith, a Reformed prayer book, and a Reformed book of discipleship for the Church of England.

No Power to Help Ourselves

In his recorded prayers, Cranmer articulated a robust, biblical view of God’s gracious salvation and the tragedy of the human condition (The Collects of Thomas Cranmer). He believed that the commands of God are the perfect and true expression of the will of God. However, they do not have the power to generate what they command because the will of humans is bound because of sin: “Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves.” Because of this, Cranmer preached and taught salvation by grace through faith in Christ. He defined faith as “nothing else but assured hope and confidence in Christ’s mercy.” Without grace and left on our own, we are hopeless. We are completely dependent on the redemption accomplished for us by Christ as our substitute, and the redemption applied to us by the Holy Spirit (Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love).

Phil Johnson - "New Life in Christ" | Vintage MacArthur

Russell Moore - Questions & Ethics: How can youth ministers be effective in today’s culture?
Russell Moore shares from his own experiences in youth ministry. He urges youth pastors to trust the entire gospel and not fear irrelevancy by doing so.

David Murray - 10 Reasons Why Abortion Rate is Down
1. Republican state legislation
2. Improved birth control
3. Contraception technology
4. Shift in public attitudes
5. Ultrasound
6. Information
7. Kermit Gosnell
8. The “Juno Effect”
9. Planned Parenthood’s Agenda
10. The Morning After Pill

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