Nothing Prepares One Better Than a Love for God’s Word and the Wise Counsel of Our Comforter

purple and teal marble pattern

01/07/2022

Nothing New Under the Sun

Many people think the issues facing 2022 are new.  For those paying attention, they’ve noticed turbulent waters stirring for decades, and even gathering steam since the middle of the last decade.  For example, here’s a news story about a so-called transgender pastor from 2017 that too few noticed at the time, and even fewer remember today.

Of course, there is no excuse for harboring hatred for other people (whether one is trying to use God and His Word as an excuse, or not).  However, does the “pastor” in Texas (the one who is highlighted in the news story) think that others wresting with this challenging cultural phenomenon are haters because they happen to view things differently than he does?  This would be odd, indeed, given that those with whom he disagrees have both the Bible and biology on their side.  For example, there is this Minnesota pastor; is he a hater?

It’s interesting to note that John Piper’s comments came in 2015, which was before the wheels came off of the wagon that was carrying Pastor Piper’s conservative bona fides.

 

An Acorn among the Blind Squirrels

Kevin DeYoung is almost always very, very good to read and to hear speak.  At least this is true to date.  I hope this short article about pleasing our heavenly Father brings you encouragement.

For the record, The Gospel Coalition is a highly suspect source for truly biblical Christian information in recent years, but Kevin DeYoung wrote this piece prior to TGC sliding down the slippery slope to “Wokeville” – and besides, even in 2022, Kevin DeYoung appears to still be one of the good guys.

Jeremiah 17:14 – “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for You are the One I praise.”

 

Love and Hate

A friend posted on social media:

“Facebook family.  Please remember that anyone can read your comments.  You want to be polite and intelligent.  Did you know that future employers can read and judge your character accordingly?  Be wise and keep some things personal.  Use social media to spread love, news and good things.  It hurts my heart to see beautiful young men and women fighting over dumb stuff.  People, learn to let things roll off your back.  Treat others with agape love and respect.  Please stop the fighting.  We were created to love, not hate.”

She’s not wrong.  This is a healthy reminder.  And yet, during this dramatic time in history it is also crucial to consistently expose the enemies of truth, draw attention to the things that are destroying lives, and set forth THE standard (the Bible) as a means of calling wayward sinners to repentance.

 

Married With Children

Another friend posted on social media:

“This is for all who are cynical that marriage is just an oppressive and antiquated idea.  When done properly, when seen as a covenant between two people and God, when filled with love and acts of selflessness, you end up with the story in this article.  I love my wife, and I’m glad she loves me.  I might not be able to write as poignantly as this woman wrote about her husband, but I’d do my best writing about my bride!  Besides my relationship with my Savior, Jesus, my marriage has been the best thing in my life.  That, and being the father to my four wonderful children.”

I echo my friend’s sentiments.  Marriage, done rightly, approximates the relationship Christ has with His church.  And children?  Ah, what a tremendous blessing from the Lord!

 

Millennials Are a Challenge in the New Millennium

A link to this story about attracting millennials to church was emailed to me by a good friend.  Little did she know; I was planning to tackle this exact topic in an upcoming edition of The Faith Debate radio show.  So, it was perfect timing.

There is so much wrong with an article like this, beginning with its premise.  Perhaps what’s shared is interesting as marketing advice, but interesting or not, it is deadly advice.  Giving in to distain for tradition and substituting a desire to change the church’s culture is a major aspect of what’s gone wrong in the Western church in recent times.  Seeking to “cast a vision” other than the one laid out by Christ in the Gospels will inevitably lead to mission drift at best, and apostasy at worst.  Striving for excellence is hugely commendable, but if the effort to be extraordinary leads to pride/ego/self-sufficiency, then the church ends up with something worse than mediocrity.

While there’s no age requirement for church leadership, forgetting the importance of experience, wisdom, and maturity cannot be allowed.  Maybe this could be okay for a Sunday morning social club, but it is most definitely not okay for Christ’s church.  Also, this is a troubling quote, “Millennials won’t attend churches that answer questions nobody is asking.”  Oh yeah?  What if they are questions everyone SHOULD be asking?  The middle portion of the article strikes a “social justice” chord, in a minor key.  I won’t comment further, so as not to spoil your reading experience of the linked article.

On the plus side, the article points to the importance of authenticity, accountability, mentorship, engaging culture, loving our neighbor, and committing to a strong Christian community.  These are all excellent ideals to be embraced by all followers of Jesus.  Unity is also to be embraced by the body of Christ, but of course this unity absolutely must be knitted together by Truth.  Those rejecting Truth are the ones bringing division, and their lies cannot be accommodated.

 

Final Words for this Blog

A long-time friend drew my attention to this link with the following words:

“This is a really important interview between Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Rod Dreher, an Eastern Orthodox Christian.  While I do not embrace Eastern Orthodoxy theology (he formally was a Roman Catholic), there is much to learn here.  Much to learn.  In the end, Dreher is beginning a discussion for Christians to engage.  In this post-Christian America, how are we to act?  While the Benedict Option is a kind of separation, it is not the kind of separation I think of.  But make no mistake; it is a separation of sorts.  For Protestants seeking permission to begin discussing separation as a Christian community, you will see Dr. Mohler embrace the discussion in this interview.  In that regard, for those of us Christians who are exhausted by trying to “restore” a Christian nation, you will be given this permission to begin other conversations – both in Dreher’s book and in Dr. Mohler’s comments.”

These are my thoughts on the link:  The book highlighted in this interview has an unfortunate title.  (The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation).  Any title that requires so much explanation, so as not to be misunderstood, is an unfortunate title.  However, the substance of the material does address an important reality for Christ followers in the 21st Century.

It is true that compared to recent generations there is now an increased pressure on Christians in America and Europe who wish to avoid conforming to the ways of the secular world. (Romans 12:2)  But this sort of pressure is nothing new for Christ’s church. (John 15:19)  Of course, the solution cannot be for Christians to remove themselves from the world. (John 17:15-18)  Christians are called to announce the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Luke 4:43)  Christians must pray for the lost (Mark 16:15-16), serve the needy (Galatians 2:10), love enemies (Matthew 5:44), all while never confusing the destiny of the unrepentant world for the destiny of the church (Luke 10:10-12).

Hope in a restored “Christian nation” and/or a restored “Christian culture” is attractive, but ultimately misguided.  Christianity is transnational and transcultural.  Christ is King over a Kingdom that is not of this world. (John 18:36)  Followers of Christ are aliens in this world. (1 Peter 2:11)  Looking for ultimate satisfaction from one’s government, societal institutions, or cultural influencers will lead ultimately to only dissatisfaction.  Believers in Christ must remember that the “Ark” for Christians is Christ Himself.  It is in Him that security and satisfaction are found.

Also, the fellowship of believers is not a mere social club (as many, sadly, view it), but it is a communion of exhorters, helpers, teachers, learners, leaders, discerners, etc.  The church is an institution, but it is also the collection of individuals.  As individuals, it is well past time for the church to be the church, and for each believer to expend the energy needed to change the culture within the body of Christ itself, wouldn’t you say?

Shalom.

 

POSTSCRIPT

The blog above was first published on the original version of this website.  Since then the site has been completely reformatted and upgraded.  With this change, the blogs needed to be re-uploaded to correct corruptions that occurred with the transition in 2023.  While doing this, some additional information was added at the conclusion of many of the older blogs in a “postscript” section that might not have appeared in the first draft that was published on the first website.  Think of this new content as “bonus material”.

 

Any Donations Help – No Donation is too Small!

Get ready to ruuummmble!

For fun, go back to 2017 and look up “the scientific consensus” on hurricane Irma from two weeks prior to landfall, one week prior to landfall, and just a few days prior to landfall.  The “consensus” was wrong all three times.  YESSSS.  How do these folks continually swing and miss?  Do they have a good excuse?

Based on the accuracy of the Irma predictions, I ventured a guess saying that Hurricane Jose would miss Florida… hitting British Columbia instead.  I wasn’t far off(!) as Jose spun donuts in the Atlantic before meandering north like too many superhero movies of recent vintage.

Turning to be more serious now.  Our media and “experts” are in desperate need of men and women who are truly rare (nearly unique) in the blend of talent and humility.  I have worked with only a very few who possessed much of both, and sadly these role models have generally left us.

One last note for today.  Within these blogs I have drawn attention to The Faith Debate radio show and podcast.  This is a significant ministry of the church, and I encourage you to give it a try.  Another ministry of the church is Decorating Date Night.  So, I likewise encourage you to explore those episodes, as well.

Many blessings to you,

Pastor Troy Skinner