Here is the monthly roundup of resources and articles for February 2020.
Bible and Theology
How Romans 8 Made Me a Calvinist. God hasn’t left the composition of Christ’s family in the hands of fickle human beings. God does more than just influence—he predestines. That’s why all things will work together for the good of the called, and Christ will be the firstborn among many brothers (Rom. 8:29).
Are We Living Out Romans 1? Blessing and Curse in a Post-Obergefell World. Practicing homosexuals — of which I was once one — may not be conscious of the larger, biblical meaning of their sin as outlined in Romans 1, but it would be to their betterment if they were. While the LGBTQ world has become a machine, many individual people who practice homosexuality just want to be left alone to live in peace. But there is no lasting peace in sin, even for the unbeliever.
Four Lies That Keep Us from Prayer. “Rarely do I approach a set-aside time of prayer without thinking of at least one reason, and often more than one, to do something else instead. . . . I’m learning to expect such reasons to intrude themselves when it comes time to pray. I’m also learning to call these reasons by their real names: lies.”
Ethics and Culture
Should I Use My Trans Neighbor’s Preferred Pronoun? What concerns us is not merely what a preferred gender pronoun is, but also what it means. “XY and her, please and thank you,” means rebellion against God. It means that man, not God, is the measure of all things. It means that man is man’s own God, and reality bends to his wishes (or her or zim or sie or em or ver or ter).
How to Know If You’ve Made an Idol of Politics. “Almost no one is willing to admit they have made an idol of politics—including me. That’s why I started creating a list of idol-identifying questions that I thought would vindicate me…”.
Confessions of a Recovering Political Idolater: “The fruit of any kind of idolatry is often irritability, shifting moods and feelings tied not to the eternally fixed reality of Christ and his gospel but the shifting sand of things that are passing away.”
The Desecration of Beauty—and What to Do About It. What’s left when beauty falls from something out there, beyond the self, to something originating within us? What’s left when we lose a transcendent concept of the beautiful? Simply the naked will asserting itself; subjective expression presenting itself as beautiful. What’s left is the Super Bowl halftime show.
The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. Our times are indeed unprecedented in the sense outlined above. But they are not entirely unprecedented, and certainly not in the areas that really matter: the content of the gospel and the nature of the church.
King Jehoshaphat and the Coronavirus: “Jehoshaphat had a disposition of trust, regardless of danger. Even in the face of pestilence or plague, he cried to God. And, given the current threat of pandemic, we must learn to do the same.”
How Should Christians Talk About the COVID-19 ‘Potential Pandemic’?: “As the threat of COVID-19 increases, Christians are finding it increasingly necessary to form an opinion and discuss the topic. But how do we do that in a way that fits the demands of biblical ethics?”
Dwyane Wade’s Selective Essentialism: “Dwyane Wade’s enthusiasm for his child’s gender transition offers a fascinating example of transgender ideology’s selective performativity.”
The Gospel and an Atheist’s Joke: “CHRISTIANITY: Belief that one God created a universe 13.79 billion yrs old, 93 billion light yrs in diameter (1 light yr = approx.. 6 trillion miles), consisting of over 200 billion galaxies, each containing ave. of 200 billion stars, only to have a personal relationship with you.”
Church and Christian Living
How Do I Find a Good Church? When looking for a church to call home, should we only look at things such size, music style, social media presence, etc.? Or are there are other (more biblical) factors to consider? Pastor John Piper gives nine helpful and biblical steps that you might take in searching for a home church.
The Apologetic of Being Mom: “It’s hard to think of a role in life that requires a more constant stream of explanations for why we believe what we believe about God and how he relates to everything: family, snack time, naps, friendships, sleepovers, food, medicine, chores, schooling, and whatever else is else under the sun. Because motherhood is apologetics, mothers must be good theologians. We must know God, his character, his words, and his ways.
Assessing Elders in a Digital Age: “When we read a passage like 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the contexts we often consider are the home, the church, and the workplace. . . . But in this digital age we must also ask: What sort of man is he online? Is he above reproach in his use of technology?”
Mitch Bedzyk serves as a teacher and worship leader at Elmira Christian Center. He received his Master of Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and works in IT for the NY Office of Mental Health. He and his wife, Sarah, have five children. In his spare time he enjoys reading, coffee, guitar, following the Bundesliga and MLS, and playing fantasy soccer. You can follow him @mitchbedzyk