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Headlines (December 14)

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Peterson Gets Death – Scott Peterson, having already been found guilty of the murder of his wife and unborn child, has now been sentenced to die. “…To hear the jurors tell it, Peterson’s apparent lack of emotion, from the day his wife disappeared through the last day of testimony two years later, was the final piece that doomed him.” The man tried to force some fake tears every now and then, but clearly this was not a grieving husband and father, but a man who had taken the lives of his own wife and child. While the defense tried to cast doubt on the evidence, in the end it was only too clear that Peterson was guilty as charged. Like many, I rejoice to see justice being done, though because of appeals it will probably be 15 or 20 years before he is finally given that lethal injection. May God have mercy on him between now and then, that he may know his sin and come to know the Savior.

The Vanishing Word – I know nothing about the author of the book by that title, but the description sounds most interesting. “Is image everything? For many people in our culture, image and images are everything. Americans spend hours watching television but rarely finish a good book. Words are quickly losing their appeal. Arthur Hunt sees this trend as a direct assault on Christianity. He warns that by exalting visual imagery we risk becoming mindless pagans. Our thirst for images has dulled our minds so that we lack the biblical and mental defenses we need to resist pagan influences. What about paganism? Hunt contends that it never died in modern western culture; image-based media just brought it to the surface again. Sex, violence, and celebrity worship abound in our culture, driving a mass-media frenzy reminiscent of pagan idolatry. This book is a clear warning that the church is being cut off from its word-based heritage. And that we are open to abuse by those who exploit the image but neglect the Word. Thoughtful readers will find this a challenging call to be critical about the images bombarding our senses and to affirm that “the Word is everything.”

About Growth – In The Purpose Driven Church Rick Warren claims that growth is synonymous with life, for if something stops growing, it dies. In 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever, a book that stands in direct opposition to Warren’s, the author makes the same claim. Warren makes the claim in relation to numerical growth and Dever to spiritual growth. I wonder, though, if what they say is true. I haven’t grown vertically since I was about 21. I was six feet tall then and am six feet tall now. I have grown horizontally an inch or two since then, but I would hardly call this positive, healthy growth. I ask then, is this metaphor broken? Are trees and plants and animals and humans to continue growing forever, lest they die? It seems to me growth necessarily plateaus and this is a good and natural thing. I do not wish to indicate that spiritual growth should plateau – I’m just not sure that the metaphor works.

If You Had The Opportunity… – …to ask one of Christianity’s foremost apologists a question, would you? James White has open phones today as part of his Dividing Line online broadcast which runs from 11 – 12 AM CST (12 – 1 EST). I listen every Tuesday and have even been known to call in and pick his brain a little bit. If you have burning questions about theology or apologetics, why not give him a call or at least listen to his show? You might just learn something.

Related Stories – You may have noticed the new Related Stories box that appears on each individual posting page. I installed this feature yesterday and am assuming it will be helpful. Movabletype will now search the database that holds all the articles I have written, their titles, keywords and content, and suggest four stories that bear some similarity. The daily headlines will, unfortunately, mostly link to other headlines, but it seems to do quite a good job with other articles. For instance, yesterday’s article entitled “As Many As Wanted Salvation Were Saved” suggested my series on Calvinism vs Arminianism as a related story. Let me know if you find this feature helpful or if it just takes up space.

  • Like an iPhone

    Like an iPhone, Only Much More So

    Can I confess something to you? There’s one thing Aileen does that really bugs me. We will be talking together and enjoying one another’s company. But then, as we chat, I’ll hear the telltale buzz of her phone. And I can tell that I’ve lost her. I can see it in the look on her…

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    A La Carte (February 21)

    A La Carte: When cultural tailwinds become cultural headwinds / Talking with kids about gender issues / Try to be more awkward / Life is more than mountaintop experiences / Tinder / Unpacking “separation of church and state” / and more.

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    A La Carte (February 20)

    A La Carte: How hell motivates holiness / The bond of love / How to love our friends in truth, even when it stings / The distorting power of the prosperity gospel / Thinking about plagues / and more.

  • A Difference Making Ministry for Any Christian

    A Difference-Making Ministry for Any Christian

    The experience of preaching is very different from the front than from the back, when facing the congregation than when facing the preacher. The congregation faces one man who is doing his utmost to be engaging, to hold their attention, and to apply truths that will impact their hearts and transform their lives.

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    A La Carte (February 19)

    A La Carte: Courageous pastors or overbearing leaders? / Jesus didn’t diss the poor / 8 qualities of true revival / Why don’t you talk about the sermon? / The idol of competence / The danger of inhospitality / and more.

  • Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    It is something we have all observed at one time or another and something we have all wondered about. Why is it that those who seem most likely to come to Christ so often reject him? Why is it that those hear the boldest invitations and who have the greatest opportunities so commonly turn away?…