Happy Monday and Welcome to the Weekly Nerd!
Monday’s Top Pick:
Thinking Theologically About Racial Tensions: Sin and Guilt
“Within the church this topic is an urgent matter, not only because overt racism still exists among professing Christians, but because there is confusion about (1) what constitutes racism, (2) whether most (or all) white people are guilty of racism, and (3) how confident we can be that individuals can ever be free from racism. While almost every Christian in this country would affirm that racism is a sin, that conviction alone has not clarified other important aspects of our faith and practice.”
Churches Gathering Again, But With Precautions
“While more and more churches have resumed in-person worship services, it has not always been a straight path back,” said Scott McConnell, executive director LifeWay Research. “Some have had difficulty resuming or had to stop meeting again as things got worse in their area.”
We Preach In The Presence of God
“To see the weight and wonder of this calling to herald God’s word, consider the most amazing command in the Bible to preach the word. I say “most amazing” because there is nothing quite like it anywhere else in Scripture. I am referring to 2 Timothy 4:1, which forms the introduction to the command “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2).”
The Unstoppable Early Church
“Small groups prayed all night. Martyrs cheerfully sacrificed their lives. Peter’s hankies healed people and impostors got struck dead during the offering.
Drowsy people who dozed during sermons fell out of windows and died, only to be resurrected by the long-winded preachers who put them to sleep. The church was an unstoppable movement.
The only problem, historian Rodney Stark notes, is that if you had been alive during this period, most of the time it wouldn’t have felt like you were part of an unstoppable movement.”
The following two articles are meant to be read in the order they are posted. First is a post from John MacArthur and the elders at Grace Community Church. Then is a response from Jonathan Leeman from 9Marks:
Christ, Not Caesar, Is Head of the Church
“Christ is Lord of all. He is the one true head of the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). He is also King of kings—sovereign over every earthly authority (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Grace Community Church has always stood immovably on those biblical principles. As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture. Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands.”
A Time for Civil Disobedience? A Response to Grace Community Church’s Elders
“I also respect the decision of the Grace Community elders to “respectfully inform [their] civic leaders that they have exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction” and that “faithfulness to Christ prohibits [them] from observing the restrictions they want to impose on [their] corporate worship services.” That might be the right decision. I believe it’s a judgment call, but if they feel bound of conscience to gather their church, then they should gather (see Rom. 14:14, 23).”
Both articles are powerful and gracious, but one must remember that not everything is the same. Where Jonathan Leeman writes from is not where John MacArthur and Grace Community Church worship. MacArthur is in California, Leeman near Washington DC. Before anyone criticizes either one, or both, makes sure you take time to seek Scripture and try to see things from their points of view (especially living in California as a pastor).
How to Pray When You’re Feeling Anxious or Depressed
“Prayer is hard at the best of times, but it’s hardest during anxious or depressed times. During such seasons, most of us find it hard to concentrate, we feel God is far away, and we despair of God hearing or helping us. All of this makes prayer so difficult and discouraging.”