Thursday Roundup (1/5/17)

One last chance to register for “Understanding the Old Testament Law Today,” a free webinar the evening of January 9! We’ll be clearing away misconceptions about the Old Testament and how God’s law from several thousand years ago applies, or doesn’t apply, to New Testament Christians. I hope to see you there!

This week’s new video looks at the New Testament picture of the church and asks what it can tell us about regular church attendance. The weekly podcast considers Richard Dawkins’ argument that the Old Testament is immoral, and the links survey repentance and sanctification, church attendance, Donald Trump and the prosperity gospel, and more.

(If you receive these posts by email and aren’t seeing the video and podcast, just click the “Thursday Roundup” title to view the original post on my site.)

“Moralism says to unbelievers, ‘Be what you are not.’ Christianity says to believers, ‘Be what you are.'”
~ Alistair Begg

Latest Video

What is the Christian church? Some argue the church is an invisible, spiritual reality, not a particular building or group of people, and therefore regular church attendance is unnecessary. This video looks at what the New Testament says about the church and what that means for how we relate to our local churches today.

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Answers for Ambassadors Podcast

Is the Old Testament immoral? In Chapter 7 of The God Delusion, Dawkins argues that it is, citing examples like Noah’s flood and the destruction of Jericho. This episode looks at the two big problems with Dawkins’ understanding of the Old Testament.

Answers for Ambassadors is available via SoundCloud or by searching in iTunes and most other podcast players. You can also direct your podcast player to the podcast RSS feed.

Best Reads of the Week

J.A. Medders reminds us to do more than just confess our sins. “While Christianity doesn’t pretend we are sinless people, it also doesn’t pretend we have to keep sinning.”

Along those lines, Timothy Massaro offers five ways to kill sin.

Thought-provoking and challenging: “Reasons We Miss Church (But May Not Need To).” It is possible to adopt a legalistic attitude toward church attendance, turning it into an idol which trumps every other consideration. But the far more common failing in our society is a relaxed, lackadaisical attitude which fails to value what God values—the regular gathering of a local body of believers for worship, preaching, sacraments, and fellowship.

The College of American Pediatricians has criticized National Geographic for promoting transgenderism with this month’s “Gender Revolution” issue featuring a heartbreaking cover photo of a nine-year-old boy who identifies as a girl. “When academic, medical and other public institutions propagate the lifetime use of toxic hormones and the surgical removal of healthy body parts as healthcare for children they are engaged in institutionalized child abuse.” But the gods of the sexual revolution demand nothing less.

“Prosperity gospel” teachings range from mistaken to outright heretical, so it is troubling that most of Donald Trump’s professedly Christian advisers come from that camp. Theology professor Michael Horton suggests that Trump is “mainstreaming heresy.”

Megan McArdle worries that both political parties have adopted a win-at-any-cost attitude that will end up dynamiting democratic institutions. “We have become less and less interested in either policy or politics, and more interested in finding some loophole in the rules that will allow one party or the other to impose its will on the country without the messy business of gathering votes and building public support.” The only thing which keeps politics from being a continual war of all against all is the idea that there are higher values than mere political power—and we’ve spent decades destroying the idea of higher values.

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Photo of the Week

Beach grasses

My wife and I were vacationing with family on the Outer Banks shortly after we got married when we decided to go for a lengthy walk on the beach as a hurricane rolled by out in the Atlantic. The gusts of sand were surprisingly biting, but the beautiful whipping grass and turbulent waves made it worthwhile.

(Check out other photos at my Etsy shop.)

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