It is an observation worthy of attention, that false religions have commonly been more successful than the true one, in persuading men to devote their substance to sacred uses; not surely because error is, in its own nature, more efficacious than truth, but because the former accords better with the vanity and corrupt propensities of mankind. –John Dick, Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles, 306
The startling headline grabbed my attention: “Religion May Become Extinct in Nine Nations“. Reported yesterday by the BBC, a group of researchers, using something called nonlinear dynamics, has found indication that religion is not only declining but heading toward extinction in at least nine nations
The Puritans were fond of calling pastors “physicians of the soul.” JI Packer explains:
A physician’s business is to check, restore, and maintain the health of those who commit themselves to his care.
It’s almost ten in the morning, but google is devastating my day, reminding me that it’s still only negative five degrees outside. On the drive in (which felt like my personal Iditarod), the kind news voice told me the wind chill would be negative twenty today. A few minutes ago I realized I had forgotten my lunch in the truck and ran out to retrieve it (frozen solid as it is)–the cold is more than bracing; it’s crippling and dangerous. One simply can’t stand there and take it.
At a recent conference, while lecturing through God’s teaching on friendship in Proverbs, I made a passing comment about the reality, danger and limits of friendships with the opposite sex. (Reality: yes, men and women are friends. Danger: such friendships, if not purposeful and careful, will often result in confusion if not pain. Limits: aside from marriage, our closest friendships must be with members of the same sex.) As I later realized, I had opened a can of worms without being fully prepared to deal with the slimy things. Later in the weekend, I was able to gather some clearer thoughts on the subject and in hopes that they might be helpful, here they are.
As most are painfully aware, the recent horrific murders in Tucson have given rise not only to grieving but a lively game of finger-pointing as well. The left blames the right, the right blames the left. The politicians blame the talk show hosts, who are only too delighted to return the favor. Following are a few thoughts on our current culture of blame.
Many preachers–myself included–have lamented the loss of men and manliness in the American true. While this loss is true and lamenting it appropriate, it’s helpful to know it isn’t a new problem. In studying Acts 16 and the conversion of Lydia, I came across the following quote from John Dick’s Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles:
I have the password now, so Barry can’t kick me off the blog. Thus it’s a fine time to come clean: I am not gentle. In fact, I’m pretty sure Barry meant to sign up some other, kinder Italian pastor. Surely there’s been a clerical error or oversight of judgment.
Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave
Edward T. Welch
Ed Welch is a long-time counselor and faculty member with CCEF (Christian Counseling & Education Foundation). Like many, I have benefited greatly from his writings and lectures. This book is no exception.
Welch dives skillfully into a topic that has touched all of our lives, if only indirectly. All of us have fought a sin so long that it could be labeled an