My Top 10 Theology Stories of 2017
Collin Hansen with his annual review of the most important stories affecting the Church:
The emphasis of theological debate has shifted again. And it threatens once more to divide churches, families, and even networks and coalitions forged in previous generations. The topics that generate the most controversy now concern public theology—how we apply the Bible to contemporary ethics. How does our faith testify that it is genuine? How does it lead us to regard and love our neighbor? How does it shape our view of systems and patterns of behavior, deeply ingrained and often denied by people in power?
Ten Critical Trends for Churches in 2018
This would be a great conversation starter for pastors, elders, and deacons.
In the waves of these seas of negativity, are mercy drops of hope and possibilities. Look at these ten major trends carefully. See how God would have your church respond.
Anxiety and Depression, My Strange Friends
A pastor shares his story of how God has blessed seasons of anxiety and depression in his life.
Though I would not wish anxiety or depression on anyone, I am strangely thankful for the unique way that this affliction has led me, time and again, back into the rest of God.
A Master’s Degree in Counseling or Biblical Counseling?
Yes, I agree, lots of Christian women are asking this question and facing this dilemma:
I’ve noticed that female students who are considering a degree in biblical counseling, especially at the graduate level, are facing a dilemma. For some women, a degree in biblical counseling is not necessary for their job, but they want to gain more education for personal reasons or to complement their ministry skills. For most women, however, the prospect of finding a job is an important part of the equation in deciding on a degree.
Keys to a Fruitful—Not Busy—New Year
“As we head into 2018, could it be that doing less is actually doing more? Instead of trying to prove that you are not lazy, abide in the Lord, work from a place of rest and trust. We have nothing to prove, orly a God to serve, who loves us as His children and desires to see us live fruitful not busy lives.”
Evangelicals and Domestic Violence: Are Christian Men More Abusive?
Some myth-busting here. I suspect the same is true of porn stats and “Christians.”
“Although the empirical story of religion and domestic violence looks good for practicing believers, it’s much less rosy for others. My research suggests that the most violent husbands in America are nominal evangelical Protestants who attend church infrequently or not at all.”
I Shall Not Die But Live and Tell
I really enjoyed this moving testimony from Gordon Keddie:
As I thought later on these things, I could not but wonder at the fact that, days before my illness, I had finished a book on the prayers of the Bible, with a meditation on a prayer for every day of the year, and yet could not remember one of them! It was my faithful Savior who chose the Scripture prayer I needed in a moment when my life-time of memory of that very Scripture had apparently vanished from the scene. And this proved that his love never fails, and his promise ever stands, for he who keeps Israel “will neither slumber nor sleep.” When all you who are in Christ are at your most vulnerable, “he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore” (Ps. 121:4, 7-8).
Is the Pope right about the Lord’s Prayer?
“Nevertheless, it is bad translation and bad discipleship to deny the meaning of biblical words simply because they don’t line up with human estimations of the way God ought to behave. In this case, it is hermeneutical malpractice to change the translation in an attempt to force God’s revelation onto a procrustean bed.”
Trillia Newbell interviewed me about How to handle depression.
Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp $3.99.
A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble by Paul David Tripp $3.99.
Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson $2.99.
God Is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology by Gerald Bray $2.99.
O Death Where is Thy Sting: Collected Sermons of John Murray. Discounted hardback at Westminster Books. My endorsement as follows:
I still remember the first time I heard a recording of a John Murray sermon and its impact upon me. I was a young Christian with a growing sense of God’s call to preach. This sermon was the clincher. Never before had I encountered such a unique combination of careful exegesis, profound theology, fresh insight, clear expression, and spiritual application. It inspired me with a vision of how glorious Reformed, experiential preaching could be. May this beautiful collection of Murray’s sermons touch and motivate a new generation of preachers and revive those who have lost sight of their high calling.