Friday, June 6, 2014

All Around the Web - June 6, 2014

Albert Mohler - There Is No ‘Third Way’ — Southern Baptists Face a Moment of Decision (and so will you)
Southern Baptists will be heading for Baltimore in just a few days, and the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention is to be held in a city that has not hosted the convention since 1940. This time, Baptists attending the meeting will face an issue that would not have been imaginable just a few years ago, much less in 1940 — a congregation that affirms same-sex relationships.

Just days before the convention, news broke that a congregation in suburban Los Angeles has decided to affirm same-sex sexuality and relationships. In an hour-long video posted on the Internet, Pastor Danny Cortez explains his personal change of mind and position on the issue of homosexuality and same-sex relationships. He also addressed the same issues in a letter posted at Patheos.com.

In the letter, Cortez describes a sunny day at the beach in August of 2013 when “I realized I no longer believed in the traditional teachings regarding homosexuality.”

Gerald McDermit - Why I am not disturbed by the new book on Bonhoeffer
Bonhoeffer was gay. Well, maybe.

Having same-sex desire is very different from what the gay-obsessed culture today calls “gay.”

If Bonhoeffer really had this desire, which reviewer Christian Wiman says is clear from the new bio, he certainly was chaste, as the bio makes clear.

That would make him all the more heroic, and all the more relevant to today’s debates over sexuality.
But Wiman himself is not sure if Bonhoeffer really was gay. After all, there was his engagement to Maria. And all the evidence for this supposed same-sex desire comes from his first biographer and friend Eberhard Bethge—second-hand—and comes from Bethge’s reporting they had deep love for each other, and that Bethge told Bonhoeffer that Bethge could not give Dietrich all the love Dietrich wanted from him.

Thom Rainer - The Most Common Factor in Declining Churches
Conversely, though, I also can see a simple but profound pattern among the declining churches.
Stated simply, the most common factor in declining churches is an inward focus.
The ministries are only for the members. The budgetary funds are used almost exclusively to meet the needs of the members. The times of worship and worship styles are geared primarily for the members. Conflict takes place when members don’t get things their way. You get the picture.

Your doing twitter wrong.

Kevin DeYoung - Why the Ascension Matters
So how does Christ’s ascension benefit us? The Heidelberg Catechism (Question and Answer 49) mentions three ways.

First, Christ’s ascension benefits because we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). Our Lord Jesus in heaven pleading our case, so that whenever Satan accuses us in our conscience or dates to lay a charge against us before the Father, Jesus, Christ, God’s own Son and our flawless advocate, stands ready to defend us and plead His own blood for our sakes. Think about that. Christ is our prayer partner in heaven. He intercedes for us before the throne (Rom. 8:34).

Second, Christ’s ascension benefits us because we now have our own flesh in heaven; our lives are hidden with Christ who dwells in glory above (Col. 3:3-4). Christ’s flesh in heaven is a guarantee that ours will be there too someday. Our hope is not an eternity as disembodied souls but real, resurrected, material human bodies in God’s presence forever. Christ’s body is the first one there, but not the last.

Third, Christ’s ascension benefits us because we get the Holy Spirit as a result. As Jesus Himself explained to His disciples, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). This was no knock on His own earthly ministry, but Jesus understood that as a man He was limited to one place at a time. But once He ascended to heaven, He could send another Helper (John 14:16) to give us power from on high and to be with us forever.

Mental Floss - Why Do So Many Churches Have "First Church of" in their Names?
Reader Nick from New York wrote in to ask, “Why do so many churches have 'First' in their names? Why do we rarely see 'Second' or 'Third' churches?"

The blog at Open Bible did a neat little experiment a few years ago, using a random sample of 300,000 church names to look at some of the naming patterns of churches in the U.S.

Looking at their data, you can see the different branches of Christianity favor their own naming conventions. The Catholics tend to use the names of saints, while some of the Protestant denominations are a little more straightforward and descriptive, and often use their location and the order they were founded in their names. That is, the “First Baptist Church of [Town]” got that name because it was the first Baptist church founded in that area.

Open Bible found that "'First' appears in 12 percent of Baptist church names, 10 percent of Methodist church names … and fully 21 percent of Presbyterian church names.” Overall, “First Baptist” was the most common name in their dataset, with 5115 churches using that term.


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