But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Churches Without Chests - Apologetic Report
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 18:54

On Baby Grands and Expensive Hymnals

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“Why this waste?”, said the greediest member of the Twelve. Judas’ supposed concern with helping the poor and for efficient use of ministry finances was really a facade for his unvarnished envy. Judas wanted money, and like every jealous soul, disliked money being spent lavishly...

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Sunday, 05 November 2017 13:39

On the Value of (Most?) Internet Discussions

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One day, the owner of a disreputable inn, The Dog-Fighter, approached a preacher. “Come and preach at my inn. I think your message is important and should be heard by more people.”

The preacher hesitated. “I am not sure. From what I have seen, the patrons of your establishment...

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Tuesday, 31 October 2017 20:50

Relevance and Notoriety

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One of the powerful spells cast over the modern world is the charm of celebrity. One quipped that a celebrity is someone who is famous for being famous, but few stop to notice that. Celebrity culture is the true opiate of the masses, and if it were not so, the word paparazzi would never have become...

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Monday, 23 October 2017 19:44

Relevance and Intelligibility

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Modern Christian champions of relevance mean many things by the term. One use is the concept of intelligibility. When calling for the church to be relevant to this generation, they mean that its message must be understandable, clear, and intelligible.

Thus far, no objection. No command exists to...

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Monday, 16 October 2017 19:22

Relevance and Importance

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When some people speak of “making Christianity relevant”, they are referring to demonstrating Christianity’s importance and applicability. They fret over the fact that unbelievers and the wider culture dismiss Christianity and religion so easily. Secularism provides people with...

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Monday, 02 October 2017 20:02

Relevant or Current?

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When some people speak of the importance of relevance, they don’t mean relevance at all. After all, relevant, strictly speaking, merely means ‘pertinent to the matter at hand’. Relevance needs an object: relevant to whom or what matter?, we may ask.

The fact that some people use...

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Monday, 11 September 2017 22:56

Ten Mangled Words – “Relevant”

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Perhaps one of the great put-downs today is to be told that your church is not relevant, or that your preaching is not relevant to “the issues people are facing”. Being called irrelevant cuts a little deeper than being called intolerant; for if you’re cited for being intolerant,...

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Wednesday, 06 September 2017 17:43

Without Wax

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To recover the word sincerity from its current mangled form, we might remember some etymology. The etymology of sincerity is a favourite among preachers, and for good reason – it’s an interesting tale. It seems in the Graeco-Roman world, unscrupulous merchants had found a nifty way to...

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017 23:22

As Real As I Feel

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An assumption of a generation intoxicated with authenticity is the notion that feelings don’t lie. Given their spontaneous and often uncontrollable nature, emotions are seen as the inevitable and unstoppable eruptions of the heart. Breaking through the surface layer of ‘masks’,...

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Monday, 21 August 2017 17:33

Sincerity and Profanity

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Many pastors and Christian leaders believe they are purifying Christianity and worship when they remove any kind of formality from corporate worship. Formal dress, an exalted tone in prayer, or reverent music are eschewed for a more casual and informal approach. They appear to believe that...

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Monday, 14 August 2017 17:00

The Colloquial, the Casual, and the Crafted

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Those who call for ‘authenticity’, ‘realness’, and ‘sincerity’, are not always sure what they mean, if you press them for a definition. Some mean honesty, some others mean integrity, both of which are virtues the Bible commends and commands. But some of those...

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Saturday, 05 August 2017 16:26

What Titus Found in the Most Holy

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When Titus attacked Jerusalem in 66-70 A.D., before ordering the Temple’s destruction, he entered the Most Holy Place to see for himself what was really hidden behind that veil. He found, to his dismay, nothing, besides the Mercy Seat. There was “nothing there”.

Titus is like many...

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Monday, 31 July 2017 16:00

Sincerely Amused

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It’s a supreme irony, or perhaps a sad blindness, that the present generation is supposedly in love with ‘authenticity’, ‘sincerity’, and ‘keeping it real’. After all, we’ve been doing everything but that for nearly a century. As Neil Postman pointed...

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Wednesday, 26 July 2017 03:36

Ten Mangled Words – “Authentic”

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Few words roll off the modern tongue as readily or as frequently as the family of words associated with authenticAuthenticityreal, sincere and intentional are like newly-minted gold for the Millennial tongue. Most previous generations of humans would have looked at you...

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Monday, 17 July 2017 16:21

Christians and Critical Judgements

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Most Christians are happy to accept the authority of expert opinion. What is instructive to note is which domains of knowledge they are comfortable to refer to experts, as opposed to those in which they actively oppose expert opinion. To paraphrase what I wrote to one commenter, Christians are...

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Monday, 10 July 2017 08:00

Authority, Soul Competence and Vocation

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Soul competence and the priesthood of the believer are two sides of one doctrine that Baptists cherish. Indeed, they make up part of the matrix known as the Baptist distinctives. Soul competence teaches that individual Spirit-indwelt believers can read and understand Scripture for themselves, using...

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Thursday, 06 July 2017 07:01

You Elitist, You

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Since this series has dealt with “mangled” words such as tolerance, freedom, and authority, I was tempted to include elitism among them. Elitism, though, is really a misused word inseparable from the word authority. When the meaning of authority is mangled, be sure that a sorely maimed...

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Monday, 26 June 2017 19:25

Identifying Authorities

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Within the avalanche of information coming at us, how do we identify true authorities in any domain of knowledge? How do we judge the anonymous Youtube channel, the self-proclaimed discernment ministry, the mega-church pastor, or the well-known author? We need something more than merely an...

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Sunday, 18 June 2017 20:39

Who Made You the Authority?

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The explosion of information on the web has made the idea of authoritative information almost a thing of the past. A CGI-Enhanced Youtube video about the non-existence of the South Pole is as accessible as the online Encyclopedia Brittanica’s information on Antarctica. The crowd-edited...

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