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Meanwhile, Elsewhere (14/3/2012)

20 Tips on How to Use Bible Commentaries - David Murray
Biblical Commentaries are rather useful books, but how should you use them. David Murray gives some very good advice.
Preparing for Easter - Tim Challies
'Easter is fast approaching. As Christians begin to turn their gaze towards the death and resurrection of the Savior, it seems appropriate that we should look for resources that will help us meditate on the cross and that will help prepare our hearts. To that end I’d like to suggest five books (plus a few more resources at the end) that you may wish to read as Easter approaches.' [And the books he recommends are excellent.]
Three Misnomers to Avoid - Chris Castaldo
A former Roman Catholic, who wants to reach out to Catholics with the Gospel, points out some mistaken ideas that Protestants have about the Catholic Mass. 'If effectiveness in gospel renewal is related to upholding truth and avoiding straw men, these lessons should be noted... Fruitful gospel conversations require us to get the facts straight.'
The Bible Made Impossible or the Church Made Implausible? A Review of Journeys of Faith - Carl Trueman
Carl Trueman (who is always worth reading) reviews a book (to which Christ Castaldo, above, is one of the contributors) looking at the reasons for converting to and from evangelicalism (to Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Anglicanism). 'In conclusion, this is an excellent volume. I trust my pushback against Ellsworth, Beckwith and Gregory will be read in the spirit in which it is intended, not as a spiteful attack but as a respectful, if spirited, response to their sincere and spirited criticisms of evangelicalism. I know they love their ecclesiastical homes as I love mine. Indeed, this book has helped me to love mine more while understanding in a deeper way why others think the way they do.'

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These are the Bones of Elisha (Declaring the Word of the Lord)

One of the most curious events in all of Scripture is found in a single verse in 2 Kings 13. That chapter records the death of the prophet Elisha, and yet, there’s still one more story of Elisha here some time after his death. 2 Kings 13:21 tells us:
So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet. Elisha was dead. And yet when a corpse was thrown into his tomb hastily in an attempt to hide from marauding bands of Moabites, the man came back to life simply by his corpse touching Elisha’s bones. Even as miracles go, that one’s quite impressive.

On the Church and On Sin: With a (former) Tory MP and a Catholic Priest

What with the Extraordinary Synod going on in Rome this week, the Roman Catholic Church has been in the news a bit of late. And as a result of all this pre-synod hype in the media, two Roman Catholics wrote two of the best articles I read last week. One was an article in the Catholic Herald by a priest. The other was an article in the Spectator by a former MP. You should read both of them. (But if you're not going to read both, then please at least read the second one!)

Now, maybe that seems a bit odd. I am, after all, both a Pentecostal pastor and an Ulster Protestant. And as such, I'm convinced that very significant aspects of Roman Catholic theology are seriously wrong. I still believe that justification by faith alone is the article on which the church stands or falls. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't read, and even learn from, Roman Catholics. Although we are justified by faith alone, it is by faith in Christ alone, not faith in the right formulation of the doc…

Money, Money, Money (Must Be Funny, in a Rich Man’s World!)

‘Not the Pentecostals! Watch out – they’ll be trying to get all your money.’
     – The reaction when a new Christian told her Muslim uncle that she’d got saved and           started attending a Pentecostal church. ‘Hello, I’m calling from [“Christian” TV channel]. We have some great deals on advertising during our broadcasts and wondered if the church would be interested.’
     – A phone call yesterday. ‘$11,150’
     – the amount one American church is appealing to raise to produce a worship album $750 plus expenses
     – an American amount recommended as a gift for visiting preachers ‘US pastors paid up to $300,000 - are Church of England vicars getting a raw deal?’
     – recent Headline in Christian Today

£5.75 million
     – the amount of money an evangelical church down south is trying to raise for               building improvements.$25,000
     – the amount two American pastors are raising to produce a six minute teaching video Money has been on my mind a bit of late. Not my …