Should pastors separate the Christian wedding ceremony from the civil rite?

This question is no longer as hypothetical as it used to be for Americans.

Here are three helpful resources:

  1. D. A. Carson, “The SBJT Forum: To handle certain categories of divorce and remarriage cases within the congregation, some churches have established a kind of ‘ecclesiastical court.’ What biblical warrant, if any, exists for this practice?The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 6, no. 1 (2002): 104–7. See point 1 on pp. 105–6.
  2. D. A. Carson, “Counsel to a Young Church Planter on Marriage” (December 5, 2009). See point 5.
  3. Collin Hansen, ed., “TGC Asks: Should pastors separate the Christian wedding ceremony from the civil rite?” (August 6, 2010). Four pastors weigh in: Steve Dewitt, Ryan Kelly, Jay Thomas, and Bob Bixby.

Tithing after the Cross

tithingDave Croteau has written another book on tithing:

David A. Croteau. Tithing after the Cross: A Refutation of the Top Arguments for Tithing and New Paradigm for Giving. Areopagus Critical Christian Issues 7. Gonzalez, FL: Energion, 2013.

Dave explains here why he wrote a third book on tithing and how this differs from the first two. (I blogged about the second one.)

Here’s my endorsement: [Read more…]

How should churches relate to others with same-sex attractions? Read Peter Hubbard.

lightPeter Hubbard is a gifted teacher, and he wisely navigates what are uncharted waters for many Christians: How should churches relate to others with same-sex attractions?

Peter Hubbard. Love into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual, and the Church. Greenville, SC: Ambassador International, 2013. 175 pp.

PeterI’ve been encouraging Peter to publish this book, and I’m grateful he did. [Read more…]

Top 10 Tips for Being Clearer

savingGary Millar and Phil Campbell, Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s Word and Keep People Awake  (Kingsford NSW, Australia: Matthias Media, 2013), 50–61:

  1. The more you say, the less people will remember. . . . “Biscuits and sermons are improved by shortening”. . . .
  2. Make the ‘big idea’ shape everything you say. . . . That’s one of the best reasons to preach from a full script—you get to edit before you speak. . . . [From p. 64: “[I]t’s easier for your listeners to catch a baseball than a handful of sand.”] [Read more…]

The 2 Issues I Most Frequently Address When Copy-Editing

In the last eight years or so, I’ve done a fair bit of copy-editing. For example, I’ve edited some books and copy-edited every issue of Themelios since TGC took over that journal in 2008. For the last three years I’ve been editing a massive forthcoming project that will probably be about 1 million words (more on that later).

Here’s my basic philosophy of writing in six words: Omit needless words, and be clear (HT: Strunk, Zinsser, and Williams). There’s a lot more to good writing than that, of course, but it’s hard to communicate well when your writing is cluttered and convoluted.

So I most frequently address two issues when copy-editing: [Read more…]

Spurgeon: A Living Theology of Suffering

9781781911228v3Tom Nettles, “Sickness, Suffering, Depression,” ch. 17 in Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Fearn, Scotland: Mentor, 2013), 594:

Spurgeon never doubted that his exquisite pain, frequent sicknesses, and even despondency were given to him by God for his sanctification in a wise and holy purpose. [Read more…]