Thursday Roundup (1/12/17)

Today’s video asks why Jesus needed to be baptized by John the Baptist, while the Answers for Ambassadors podcast looks at Richard Dawkins’ arguments against the morality of the New Testament. The links of the week include a few good articles on parenting and family, the context of Philippians 4:13, #NotMyPresident, and churches, healthy and otherwise.

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“For the Christian church… to ignore, euphemize, or otherwise mute the lethal reality of sin is to cut the nerve of the gospel. For the sober truth is that without full disclosure on sin, the gospel of grace becomes impertinent, unnecessary, and finally uninteresting.”
~ Cornelius Plantinga

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Baptism symbolizes being washed from our sins, but Matthew 3 tells us that Jesus, the perfect Son of God, was baptized by John the Baptist. It doesn’t make sense at first glance, but understanding why Jesus needed to be baptized also helps us to understand why he needed to come as a human being in the first place.

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Answers for Ambassadors Podcast

What about the New Testament? After criticizing the morality of the Old Testament in Chapter 7 of The God Delusion, Dawkins turns his attention to the New, arguing that Christ’s atonement is “sadomasochism” and that “love thy neighbor” doesn’t mean what we think it does. This episode responds to those arguments.

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

Scott Slayton exhorts parents to persevere and suggests three particular areas where perseverance can bear much good fruit. “The hardest part of parenting is not knowing what to do… The hardest aspect of parenting is often not our lack of understanding, but our failure to persevere. As parents, what we need the most is go (sic) continue doing the little things every single day.”

On the topic of parenting and family, Tim Challies gives five good reasons to eat together and Devon Corneal offers some interesting reasons why reading the same book to your child again – and again – and again – is good for them.

A helpful article from George H. Guthrie on one of the most misapplied verses in the Bible, Philippians 4:13. Context matters…

Excellent piece from Kevin Carson on #NotMyPresident. “The level of your disagreement, although significant, does not change your responsibility toward anyone.”

In light of last week’s article about Donald Trump’s connections with prosperity gospel preachers, this sobering review of characteristics of prosperity gospel churches is timely.

A study finds that conservative, Bible-teaching churches are growing while liberal churches are dying. “If it’s any consolation, when it comes to growth in mainline churches, Spong and other liberals are right to claim that Christianity must change or die. They just get the direction of the change wrong.” The study’s author suggests some sociological explanations for his unexpected finding, but perhaps there is a better explanation: “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (II Cor 10:3-4).

Two very different articles that I found thought-provoking this week: “5 Things The Seeker Movement Got Right” and “The Real Reason Porno Shops Don’t Have Windows.”

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Photo of the Week


I came across these poppies growing wild in Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve when my wife and I were in California visiting family.

(Check out other photos at my Etsy shop.)

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