Our Pulpits Are Full of Empty Preachers

As a retired pastor, I cannot help but reflect on the financially transactional nature of the pastoral “calling.” The question I ask of any active pastor today, whether struggling in frustration or soaring in satisfaction, is “If you won the lottery tomorrow, would you still be an institutional pastor in 12 months’ time?” The answer tells me everything I need to know about the nature of the situation.

Brad Gustafson
Charleston, SC

When Doubters Declare the Glory of God

Worship tunes—“corporate” in community and commerce—often feature lyrics of such positivity that they are simplistic and narrow, even to the point of banality. The best Christian art, music included, emanates from and speaks to the soul with nuance, even ambiguity.

Tom Hynes (Facebook)

I question the use of doubters. Secular doesn’t mean nonbeliever. There are many Christians and people of other religions who aren’t in Christian music. In some ways, the mainstream artists who are Christian can reach others who may not listen to Christian or gospel music. Even some of the artists that didn’t always promote a Christian lifestyle will still [mention] God, heaven, and Christian themes. Bob Dylan went through an evangelical Christian period. He returned to his Jewish roots. I wouldn’t label him a “doubter” either.

James Hucke (Facebook)

The Scottish Complementarians Who Teach Women to Preach

For a few weeks, my May/June CT had been sitting out waiting for me. I was intrigued by the [text] on the cover: “Scotland’s Brave Women.” I was amazed to find an eight-page spread about Niddrie Community Church (NCC). My sister’s husband is an elder of this church. They joined NCC about three years before Mez McConnell was hired. For a hundred years, Niddrie had been a dependent mission station of Charlotte Chapel Baptist Church, the big, rich, historic church in the center of Edinburgh—a paternalistic relationship. Mez was just the right person to lead Niddrie as it became an independent church, and he has gone far beyond that in providing leadership with 20schemes. I love visiting NCC whenever I’m over visiting my family. In the 1930s my grandmother moved to Niddrie, about 200 yards from NCC, as new social housing was built. But my mother lived with her grandmother a few miles away. I was born in Edinburgh but lived there only sporadically, as my parents were missionaries. Whenever I would be there with my relatives, I was in a matriarchal world with a distrust of men who were considered unreliable, just as the article described. A big thank you to Kara Bettis for writing such a fine article, and to CT for publishing it.

Bernard Bell
Cupertino, CA

They Might Be Giants. (Or Angels. Or Superhuman Devils.)

Another explanation of the Nephilim is that this text represents a long-held folk memory of Neanderthals. It is well established that Neanderthals and humans interbred, and there is fossil evidence in Israel. The text continues, “They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” The scientific probability that Neanderthals were physically stronger than humans would fit well. But what about Numbers 13 reporting that the 12 spies stated, “We saw the Nephilim there” (v. 33)? This reports the spies’ own interpretation of what they saw. Scripture itself is not claiming that the Nephilim were still living at this time.

David Misselbrook
London, UK

As for Me and My Household, We’ll Resist Mammon

The Biblical life I experience fits neither the utopia Andy Crouch describes nor the “Mammon” he imagines to be its antithesis, so I have to wonder what the Scriptural support is. Other than the one verse setting an unexplained Mammon against God, Crouch gives us nothing. This appears to be a book excerpt, but nothing here leads me to believe that paying for and taking the time to read the rest of the book would answer my questions. That’s disappointing in a piece that purports to offer us something better than the status quo.

Tom Pittman
Grants Pass, OR

I agree that Mammon and technology have put us in the service of things and that we need to do something about it. What it left me wondering is if the household is enough of an answer. Unless we can take back our communities and relearn to depend on our neighbors, there is little hope for change.

Rick Voss
Stafford, VA

Secularism Doesn’t Have to Be Bad

Our ecclesiology is taken from contemporary American culture, and it’s resulted in few disciples being made. We’re also trying to be a “Christian nation,” which isn’t the interest of Jesus.

Marcus McClain (Facebook)

Is There a Tiny Puritan Living in Your Head? Tell Him to Get Lost.

I loved this article. Good reminder that God has joy in seeing us joyful. Thank you, CT.

Angelin Higgins (Facebook)

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