Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Top 10 Posts of 2018

Lots of things happened in 2018. Billy Graham went to be with the Lord. April and May were record high-traffic months for the blog, as you can see from the number of posts they placed in our annual Top 10. Our readers continued to show interest in how the church ought to deal with people who claim to be Christians but live sexually immoral lives, in the limitations of platform ministry and in the ongoing effects of sins that can’t be undone.

To top it off, Canada’s most infamous public intellectual popped up in four of our ten most-read posts, where he was both praised and critiqued, just as he was in much of the secular media in 2018.

The difference is that IC and I were (mostly) discussing how Jordan Peterson handles the scripture, not whether he is a secret member of the Alt-Right or an anti-Semite. (For the record, we don’t believe Peterson is either one.)

It took me longer than I expected to compile this list, but here it is, if a little late. Of all new posts published here in 2018, the following ten were the most read. Were they our best? I rather doubt that, with the possible exception of the last and most popular post on the list, in which IC addressed what may be the most critical issue faced by the church as it seeks to present the word of God to the world throughout the 21st century. I won’t spoil the surprise by naming it up here in the fourth paragraph, but if you have not read #1, you really ought to. In my opinion, it could be the single most important post we’ve ever published.

Without further ado ...

“One of my great regrets is that I have not studied enough. I wish I had studied more and preached less. People have pressured me into speaking to groups when I should have been studying and preparing. Donald Barnhouse said that if he knew the Lord was coming in three years he would spend two of them studying and one preaching. I’m trying to make it up.”
By IC and Tom

9. Achan and Eve (May 14)

Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to sinning: Eve’s and Achan’s. At Jericho, Achan saw treasure forbidden by the word of God, lusted after it, took it and hid it away, buried in the earth inside his tent. But I can assure you it would not have stayed there. Achan had never stopped to work out any sort of strategy by which he might benefit from his sin. That was just plain stupid. At least the Eve Method — wicked, shortsighted and ultimately destructive as it was — had the advantage of being intellectually coherent.
By Tom

8. Baiting and Switching (May 16)

Truth is a pretty resilient concept. It will not endure being conveniently defined-away without standing up and making a fuss. In fact, we cannot speak meaningfully about much without the inherent objectivity of truth coloring our vocabulary. All perspectives are not equal, and the object of Christians gathering is to find real objective truth in the dictionary sense, not to feel good that our opinions have been aired, heard or respected.
By Tom

7. A Bit Too Welcoming (April 16)

Sexual immorality among Christians happens. A sexually immoral person may sit undiscovered in church for years, perhaps conflicted about the disconnect between his or her professed faith and current conduct, perhaps obdurate but unable to leave because of the need to keep up appearances or conceal their guilt from family and friends. What does NOT happen, I assure you, is that they sit comfortably. If they do, something is very wrong with their church.
By Tom

Any benefit we experience from the Christian life in this world is inextricably tied to the next. That being the case, how can an impoverished, caricatured, trivialized view of eternity serve to inspire the joy, drive, purpose and sheer endurance necessary to really participate in the life to which God has called us in Christ, let alone drag our sorry carcasses across its finish line?
By Tom

Our problem is not that Christianity is uninteresting. Our problem is that we have made it boring. Either we substitute training for gift, or we fill the platform with men who are neither trained nor gifted. It’s time to take James seriously: “Not many of you should become teachers.” Those that do teach need to work relentlessly at developing the gifts they have been given and not take for granted the privilege of addressing God’s people uninterrupted.
By Tom

The pulpit is not inevitable. It was not ordained by God and handed down to us by angels. It’s a cultural artefact that has, in most cases, outlived its usefulness. So it is not inevitable that we must sit and listen to teaching being badly done each week. There are many other ways for us to teach and learn.
By Immanuel Can

3. Broken Window Sins (March 7)

Before the sun rises tomorrow, the proud man can stick a pin in his swollen ego; the narcissist can begin to learn empathy; the drunkard can put the bottle down before his liver finally packs it in; the liar can start telling the truth; and the thief can commit himself to making his victims whole. When you just stop doing certain things and start doing the opposite, all kinds of wonderful stuff can happen.

Then there are the “broken window” sins.
By Tom

Modern Christians seem to assume there is only one tone that is ever appropriate to godliness, and that is a sort of passive, indirect, unassuming tone. But in scripture, I see godly men who knew how to fry hypocrisy, wield a heavy metaphor to make a point, call out a false teacher, shrivel pretension with irony, and even throw a verbal thunderbolt or two.
By IC and Tom

1. Magination Run Wild (April 19)

Imagine the Titanic story if no ship went down. Imagine Caesar’s Rubicon if there had actually been no decision for him to make. Imagine Israel slavishly keeping a Sabbath that God had not actually commanded, and living in a promised land for which he never brought them out of Egypt. Imagine an American independence for which nobody rode or fought, or a Maginot Line that did not fail because it never actually existed.
By Immanuel Can

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