1. “What does the Church’s ‘Teaching Authority’ mean for Protestants?” by Derek Rishmawy
Derek summarizes Scott Swain on the subject here, who summarizes William Whitaker, by giving us four roles the church has in relation to the Word. Since Evangelicals are “skittish” about the church’s teaching authority, and rightly so, we need these important reminders that there is still such a thing.
2. “5 Ways Wendell Berry is Making Me a Better Pastor” by Andrew Shanks
Shanks sees some real parallels between the town in which he pastors and the fictional world of Port Williams. As such he sees some particular ways in which Wendell Berry is helping him to better serve that town. There are some really good lessons listed in this piece, and thought they won’t all apply to all of us in the same way, I dare say that they do all apply to us in a general way. Check it out, and then check out Berry’s fiction.
3. “Russell Moore wants to Keep Christianity Weird” by Sarah Pulliam Bailey
Whether you’re a Southern Baptist or not, this piece deserves your attention. Russ Moore is a great leader, a fantastic ethicist and theologian, and a careful and patient thinker. I have great respect and appreciation for the man. The picture on this pieces captures the idea well, but Bailey’s profile on Moore contains this little gem: The bobbleheads on his bookshelves include theologian C. H. Spurgeon, former president Thomas Jefferson, evangelist Billy Graham, and musician Hank Williams. Together they symbolize Moore’s vision of mixing theology, religious liberty, evangelism, and culture to guide SBC public policy.
4. “Organic Food, Essential Oils, and the Gospel of Grace” by Stacy Reaoch
The concerns addressed in this article from the Desiring God website echo my own concerns for our church family. I am thrilled to see people taking responsibility for their consumerism, for their health, for the eating habits. I am concerned for the ways in which this has become its own gospel for far too many people in Evangelicalism. I am concerned for the ways in which it becomes a stumbling block to real community in churches. As Reaoch writes:
But my growing concern in our Christian communities is that we be careful not to become more passionate about convincing others to feed their families the same way we do, rather than pointing them to Christ.
This is a helpful pushback.
5. “Would You Rather Deal with an Angry Bear or a Drug-Seeker?” by Mark Shaw
Shaw has a way of communicating points that is unique and compelling. Here, he picks up on the meaning of Proverbs 17:12 and discussing the danger of confronting a drug addict who is stuck in his idolatrous ways. He pairs that well with the gospel call of grace, compassion, and risky care, but he warns us use discernment. A good read for all involved in either recovery ministries or simply trying to care for their own drug addicted friends and family.
This is a fascinating piece. I’d like to see it corroborated elsewhere, and readers should follow the links in the article to see more of the evidence he shares, but it actually meshes very well with my own theological point-of-view. I have often said I am an Amillennialist with Post-millennial leanings. I am maybe slightly more reserved than this author on the “world is getting better” front, but I definitely don’t believe it’s getting worse. Most often societies just trade problems around. Mr. King gives us some different perspectives than the media and that is worth the time it takes to read through this material.
7. “Why is Friendship so Hard?” by Jonathan Holmes
I love Jonathan’s writing on friendship, I commend to all readers his little book on the subject. In this piece he explains exactly what the question in the title asks. His answer: self-sacrifice. Modern people make friendship about themselves, about what they get and what they want. True friendship is about self-sacrificial love. It starts with getting out of my own way and letting go of some of my demands and wants. This is another good piece from Holmes and worth your time.