All Around the Web – October 20, 2021

Joe Carter – 9 Things You Should Know About Catechisms

For the Church – Navigating the Preaching Rut

John Stonestreet – BreakPoint: How C.S. Lewis Helps Us Understand this Cultural Moment

F&T – 2 in 3 U.S. Churchgoers Say They’re Back to In-Person Attendance

Jason Lowe – 5 Suggested Ways to Pray for Your Local Baptist Association

Entrusted to Dirt – Planting Forests

Crossway – 4 Ways to Prepare for Ministry

Feeding on Christ – A Cultural Moment for Revival?

Tim Challies – What We’ll Discover about God in Heaven

Narnia Web – Prince Caspian 70th Anniversary (15 Quotes)

Runner’s World – He Was Told He’d Never Walk Again. Then, He Ran the 2021 Boston Marathon

Babylon Bee – Pete Buttigieg Says He Cannot Come Into Work As He Is On Breastfeeding Duty

Babylon Bee – Gay Superman Will Use Super-Hearing To Listen For Fabulous Antiquing Deals

Babylon Bee – Here Are 10 Babylon Bee Jokes Explained (Just In Case You Don’t Get Them)

Babylon Bee – Worship Leader Ascends Into Glory After Learning Fifth Chord

On Leaves and Subcreation: Exploring a Forgotten Tolkien Classic – The Story

Image result for leaf by niggle

Perhaps the most influential novelist of the 20th century is the late J. R. R. Tolkien. His middle-earth fantasies, most notably The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, continue to mesmerize and entertain millions of new readers. In recent months I have made a concerted effort to read and re-read much of Tolkien’s middle-earth stories while simultaneously exploring the story behind the stories. Tolkien the man is almost as fascinating as Bilbo, Samwise, and Aragorn.

A few years ago I read for the first time one of Tolkien’s most overlook short-stories, Leaf by Niggle that has little to do with middle-earth. I say “little” but in reality, it provides the philosophical and biographical foundation for all we find in Tolkien’s fantasy. More recently, with fresh eyes, I’ve re-read the story and then re-read it to my entire family and want to offer a few thoughts as to why it is one of Tolkien’s best works and why all true Tolkien fans should read it regularly.

The Story

The short story is broken down into three parts. In part one, we meet Niggle who will soon be on a journey – a journey he cannot delay or avoid. The identity of this journey is key to the interpretation of the allegory. Prior to the journey, Niggle is obsessed with his painting. He imagines a tree with beautiful mountain range in the background and dedicates the rest of his time producing this tree. The problem is that Niggle is not much of a painter. He is fine at leaves, but not as gifted with trees. He focuses primarily on a single leaf and works tirelessly to get it just right. As he works, the painting gets larger and larger requiring more paint and canvass.

Then come the distractions. Weather tears up his house and his neighbor’s, Mr. Parrish. His neighbor has a weak leg and limited in his mobility requiring Niggle to help Parrish repair his home. Then he discovers Parrish’s wife is sick requiring Niggle to ride in town, fetch a doctor and a builder on behalf of his neighbor. The trip results in catching a severe cold himself which keeps him from his painting. And on and on the distractions come until he finally returns to his painting.

Then Inspector arises. Inspector is critical of Niggle for not helping Parrish more. What his neighbor needs is paint and canvas to help repair his home and clearly Niggle has both in abundance. Doesn’t he know, people are more important to paintings?

At this point the driver arrives. His journey was about to begin thus beginning part 2. Here Niggle finds himself far away from his painting and paint. Instead, he performs the work of a gardener and carpenter. At first, the work is tedious and painful but overtime, Niggle finds enjoyment in the work. During this stage we find a real transition of Niggle. Before he was very private, now he is communal. Before he cared only about his painting, now he cares more about work.

Before long, (and I am skipping much here) Niggle finds himself off the train again into the third and final stage of his journey. Most striking to him in this new, fantastic land, is a tree – the Tree. And with great detail, Tolkien describes how Niggle is now living in his the painting he once imagined, yet it is more real. Together with his old neighbor Mr. Parrish they cultivate a garden and work the area and somehow make it better. Niggle has truly grown and is complete as is his neighbor.

In the end, we are taken back to a group of men discussing the strange, incomplete painting of Niggle now that he is gone. They largely write Niggle off as a quack (though one finds enjoyment in “The Leaf” by Niggle) and before long, the painting is destroyed along with the museum that housed it. Niggle is all but forgotten to history.

image credit

All Around the Web – October 19, 2021

Timothy George – A Thicker Kind of Mere

Thom Rainer – Five Things Church Leaders Wish They Had Done Differently During the Pandemic

F&T – 13 Things a Churchgoer Should Never Say to a Pastor

Crossway – God’s Purpose for the Psalms

Crossway – Nehemiah’s Deeper Concern for Building Up God’s People

For the Church – Yes, Preaching Really Does Change People

Ligonier – Marx on Law and Religion

Tim Challies – Extending the Borders and Enlarging the Territory

WORLD – Deadly children’s games

Quillette – The Implosion of Boston’s Pride Parade Is a Sign of Things to Come

LifeSite – Canadian police arrest pastor, lock church doors after Thanksgiving service

Babylon Bee – IRS Agents Bust 7-Year-Old For Getting More Than $600 Worth Of Birthday Presents

Babylon Bee – Bernie Retires As His Vision Of Making The U.S. Just Like Venezuela Has Finally Been Realized

Babylon Bee – Due To Supply Shortages, Husbands May Need To Begin Shopping For Christmas Presents Prior To December 24 This Year

Babylon Bee – For Sake Of Diversity, DC Introduces Straight Christian Robin

“The King James Only Controversy” by James White: A Review

The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations?: White,  James R.: 9780764206054: Amazon.com: Books

The King James Bible alone = the Word of God alone

I have lived in the Bible belt my entire life. Raised a Southern Baptists, I have encountered King James Only believers all along the way. From my first experience with it, I have always thought it was bizarre. I learned to memorize Scripture in the KJV and can still recite much of what I memorized as a child. Although I read from other translations as a teenager (particularly the NIV), I continue to appreciate the history behind and the artistic language of the Authorized Translation.*

Yet the insistence of some to hold fast to this belief puzzles me. Why would one plant their faith on a translation of the Bible that did not come into existence until 16 centuries after the last apostle died? How is it any better than the English translations before it or even after it?

In his book The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations? James White takes on KJV-onlyism and demonstrates how foolish it really is historically, biblically, and linguistically.

Beyond his argument, which is tight and true, White succeeds best with his tone. From the beginning, White informs the reader that he is not engaged in an anti-KJV argument. Rather, his concern is turning a single translation into a doctrine of faith.

I once had a member of a church I was serving at confront me with my use of the NASB (I now preach from the ESV). He claimed that such translations were “anti-Christ” and “demonic.” I exhorted him to think differently. White’s tone is less confrontational and more pastoral. He, like most life-long believers, adores the KJV. I will never forget reading Psalm 23 from the HCSB at a funeral and was disappointed. The KJV is far better in that psalm. I have not made the same mistake since.

Given his goal to explain the controvery and why KJV-onlyism is inadequate, White is simply devastating. He shows that the arguments made by KJV-only leaders are wrong. Even more than wrong, misleading and, at times, dangerous. He demonstrates how some of the leading voices of KJV-only are guilty of intentionally misquoting authors and translations as a means of strengthening their own argument. This turns this theological debate into a moral one.

Not only does he demonstrate the weaknesses of their own arguments, he dedicates an entire chapter to the weaknesses and inconsistencies of the KJV. The political climate that spawned it, the inaccuracy of the some of the English, the inconsistent translation of some of the words, etc. show that the KJV, for all of its beauty, is a flawed translations like all translations.

Overall, I consider White’s argument to be well put together with an advisable tone.

*Although the KJV is called “Authorized” it technically is not. James I of England never officially authorized it nor has the Church of England done the same. Regardless, it is known (particularly in England) as the Authorized Bible.

All Around the Web – October 17, 2021

Carl Trueman – The Failure of Evangelical Elites

LifeWay Research – Emerging Religious Groups in U.S. Offer Concerns, Opportunities for Evangelicals

F&T – A Simple Framework for Using Social Media for Your Church

TGC – Dear Skeptic, Open the Bible

Tim Challies – Why I Am Still All-in With E-Books

Chuck Lawless – 8 Things to Do when Your Vision is Bigger than Your Reality

Evangelical History – Carl Trueman and the Evangelical Mind

Biblemesh – 10 Temptations Facing an Elder’s Wife

TGC – Netflix’s ‘Midnight Mass’ Offers Hopeless Salvation

WORLD – The collapse of Caracas

Kentucky Today – Ronnie Floyd submits resignation as President/CEO of SBC Executive Committee

Not the Bee – Shockingly insane NYC judge bans unvaxxed dad from seeing 3-year-old daughter, deems him a “danger”

Not the Bee – The Chinese government told Apple to remove a Bible app and a Quran app from its store and Apple went ahead and obeyed

Not the Bee – Animal control in San Francisco found nearly 100 rattlesnakes living under a house

Babylon Bee – Boy Who Pointed Out The Emperor Has No Clothes Banned For Misinformation

Babylon Bee – Cat Rests Up In Preparation For Long Night Running Up And Down Stairs

Babylon Bee – Backed-Up Cargo Ships Positioned To Spell Out ‘Let’s Go Brandon’

Babylon Bee – NFL Removes All Coaches, Players, Fans Who Have Ever Said A Bad Word, Only Tim Tebow Remains

All Around the Web – Babylon Bee Edition

Babylon Bee – Santa Announces That Due To Supply Chain Issues, You Can Now Choose Between A Roasted Chestnut Or A Ball-In-A-Cup

Babylon Bee – FBI Assures Nation They Will Get Back To Figuring Out Why That Guy Shot 400 People In Vegas After They’re Done Investigating Parent-Teacher Meetings

Babylon Bee – Breaking: Evil Mirror Universe William Shatner Returns From Space

Babylon Bee – 8 Other Uses For Your Bible Since We Know You’re Not Reading It, You Sinner

All Around the Web – October 16, 2021

Trevin Wax – Can We Blame Christian Division on Algorithms?

Trevin Wax – On the Death of My Grandpa Wax: A Tribute

John Stonestreet – BreakPoint: Gratitude Is Good for You…

F&T – Online Services Expanded Reach of Churches During Pandemic

TGC – Should I Still Read Jonathan Edwards?

Chuck Lawless – Thursdays with Todd Linn: 5 Reminders about Making Good Pastoral Care Visits

Not the Bee – Everyone thought these were just old garden statutes but they turned out to be ancient Egyptian relics that are thousands of years old!

Babylon Bee – California Orders Police To Arrest Children Who Pick Out Toys Traditionally Associated With Their Biological Gender

Babylon Bee – Doctor Botches Abortion, Child Tragically Born

Babylon Bee – Disaster As Joe Biden Crashes Kamala Commercial To Sniff The Kids

Babylon Bee – Car Manufacturers Target Women With New Warning Lights Reading ‘Check Engine, Or Don’t, Whatever, It’s Probably No Big Deal’

Nostalgic Music: Classic Crime

Next to my home church and some of its leaders, perhaps nothing sanctified me more than Christian music during my teenage years. I listened to very little CCM, but instead invested in rock, punk, hard rock, rapcore, ska, emo, hip hop, and other styles. With the advent of digital media, a lot of my favorite bands from “back in the day” continue to put out quality music. I thought I would highlight some of these bands on Saturdays.

I was not a huge fan of Classic Crime at first but the older I get, the more I appreciate their entire discography. Next to Juliana Theory (who will be featured next week), they are my favorite active band right now.

All Around the Web – October 15, 2021

Joe Carter – Study: Hostility Against Religion Declined, Gov. Restrictions Peaked

Russell Moore – Jesse Jackson turns 80

Chuck Lawless – 12 Reasons Gossip is Destructive to a Church

Dash House – When Pastors Declare Victory Too Soon

Bruce Ashford – Expressive Individualism: Our Twenty-First Century American Ba’al

Reformation21 – What Is “the Name?”

Ligonier – Why Is it Important for Christians To Affirm “Sola Scriptura”?

Beehive – The Horocruxes of Sexual Sin

TGC – Reporting Abuse Shouldn’t Be Controversial. It’s Biblical.

Babylon Bee – Biden Reassures Taiwan ‘Invasion Is Just Part Of The Process’

Babylon Bee – Kids, Here Are 10 Signs Your Parents Might Be Domestic Terrorists

Babylon Bee – Poll: 38% Percent Still Approve Of Biden Job Performance As They Don’t Realize He’s The President

Babylon Bee – Gavin Newsom Takes Dip In Pacific Ocean Causing Massive Oil Slick