Today’s video tackles the thorny dilemma of human free will, divine sovereignty, and how they fit together. The Answers for Ambassadors episode is a rerun from a couple years ago, looking at evangelism in a culture which isn’t worried about its own sin. And the links of the week cover prayer and marriage, Christian persecution and Christians who act like Mormons, and lessons learned from lice…
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“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination with the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, and to devote the will to the purpose of God.”
~ William Temple
The Bible seems to teach that human beings make real, meaningful choices, but also that God is sovereign over everything that happens, including the choices we make. Can we believe both these truths, or are they contradictory?
Answers for Ambassadors Podcast
I’m afraid my “pays the bills” job interfered a bit with the Answers for Ambassadors podcast this week! January is the month when I list the classes I’ll be teaching in the coming academic year, which involves a lot of registration system configuring, academic calendar updating, and overall busyness. I ended up not having my usual time to record the podcast on Tuesday afternoon, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until next week to hear the final episode about The God Delusion’s chapter on “the moral Zeitgeist.”
Instead of a new podcast, here is one of my favorite and most listened-to episodes from my first season, back in 2015. In it, I consider how a culture which doesn’t recognize its own sin impacts evangelism, and how we can respond.
Best Reads of the Week
An important reminder to pray for your church leaders, and suggestions for how to do so. More broadly, this piece on prayer, from the Gospel Coalition’s series on eight habits for spiritual formation, has a helpful combination of theology and practical application.
A thought-provoking piece from Jordan Standridge: “When Christians Act Like Mormons.”
I love this article from Melissa Kruger which starts with a story about lice, ends with a story about fleas, and offers an important spiritual reminder along the way.
As my wife and I anticipate the birth of our first child in the summer, these suggestions for ways to grow your marriage while having young kids were encouraging, challenging, and helpful.
An intriguing review of Destroyer of the gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World. I love the line that Christianity grows by “being accessible and odd at the same time.”
The abortion rate has fallen to its lowest level since Roe v. Wade. Russell Moore suggests we respond with both gratitude for lives saved and sadness for lives lost.
Open Doors has released its 2017 report on worldwide persecution of Christians. In addition to Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East, ethnic nationalism in Asia is becoming a major driver of persecution. Relatedly, Compassion International reports it is being forced to terminate sponsorships of about 145,000 Indian children after the Indian government blocked its access to outside funding. India ranks 15th on the Open Doors list, its highest rank ever. Remember to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world!
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Photo of the Week
I photographed this lovely purple cluster of flowers at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina last summer.
(Check out other photos at my Etsy shop.)