One year ago today, the four of us agreed to partner together and start the Pursuing the Pursuer blog, and we have thoroughly enjoyed the journey! At the outset, we committed to pursuing four things: 1) Pursuing Balance - we are committed to comparing every tradition, reaction, and fad against the truths of Scripture. Only when you are grounded in Scripture will you find the balance that guards against the constant pendulum swing of our culture. 2) Pursuing Accountability - we recognize that we are four young guys with very little experience, so we committed to being accountable to each other with each post we write by reviewing, critiquing, revising, and polishing each other's work. We hope that this process keeps less (not all) youthful mistakes from entering the blogosphere. 3) Pursuing Clarity - We try to stay away from being a "click-bait" blog. We want to rely on Scripture's clarity rather than our own creativity, and so we have committed to basing every article we write on Scriptural truth. 4) Pursuing Hope - Ultimately, we want to proclaim the incredible hope we have in Jesus Christ. Our world is full of pain and sorrow, and people are looking for answers. We are convinced that Scripture has the answer to all of life's questions, and we want this blog to be a channel of hope for those who seek it.
So, without further ado, here are the 10 most-read articles from our first year with PtP (a.k.a. the 10 articles that were read by people other than our moms and best friends). We hope you are challenged, instructed, and encouraged as we continue our pursuit of the Pursuer.
I wish I could have met the apostle Paul. Reading his letters gives the impression that Paul was a very passionate person, the kind of guy who was all in or all out. But if you wanted to see Paul really worked up, mess with doctrine. Christians often think of doctrine as boring or unnecessary. It’s something their pastor harps on because it’s his living, but makes little difference in daily life. Paul couldn’t disagree more. Few things got this passionate apostle more worked up than when people perverted doctrine.
I can almost see Paul dictating furiously, face red with anger as he states “I wish that those who unsettle would emasculate themselves!” (Galatians 5:12) when heretics tried to add circumcision to salvation. Writing to a church he had never visited, Paul told the Romans to watch out for “those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them” (Romans 16:17). Paul regularly lambasts false teachers, as in 1 Timothy 6:3-5: “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”
Why the anger? Why the strong language? Because twisting doctrine is an assault on all that Paul, and we, hold dear. Here are 4 ways heresy attacks what every Christian should cherish:
The Barna research group performed a study in 2014 that found, not surprisingly, that a lot of people were dropping out of church. One particularly shocking statistic in that report was the 59% of millennials who grew up in church have dropped church attendance at one point. The number one reason they found why people dropped? “They found God elsewhere.” Many people think they simply don’t need church to follow God. Some even act as if they are better than attending a church. But what is it that Scripture says about the church? Is church optional? If you’re puzzled by these questions, here are a few reasons (among many) to consider.
Knowing what’s false and what’s true on the internet isn’t easy, even if we’re being careful. There’s a chance you might do your homework and share something that some people will try argue is fake. You might look into something and find several sources that say it’s wrong, but on closer study you conclude it’s not. But there are instances of news stories that are flat out false, with not a shred of evidence or truth behind them. And there are people, some who claim the name of Christ, who are buying in and reposting. So here are four thoughts on fake news stories from a Christian perspective.
Emotional Christians are Gullible Christians.
Satan’s masterstroke of misleading, isolating, and weakening Christians in America is now paying off. He has fooled many gullible Christians into sharing undeniably false news stories and in so doing the testimony of Christ has been tarnished. I see so many links to false sites all over my Facebook feed. Often times they are shared by otherwise intelligent people and yet they share a link to an article with the headlines like “Hillary Clinton LIED to us all” or “Donald Trump gets DESTROYED by the CIA.” (By the way, if a word is an all caps it’s probably not true).
Have you ever shown up in a place you were not expected (and/or maybe not wanted) and had someone look at you inquisitively and ask, “Why are you here?” Writing a blog in 2016 kind of feels like that. Maybe you are unaware, but there are a lot of blogs out there today. We’re adding another one. So perhaps you are groaning and thinking to yourself, “Do we really need another blog?” “Why are you here?” We understand. So as we launch this new blog, let us begin by defending our right to exist. We’re going to give you four reasons why this blog exists and why you should (at least in our opinion) read it.
1. Pursuing Balance
There seems to be no end of blogs that give opinions. Many will grab a few prooftexts and run off with them telling you to do something that, upon closer examination, is actually unbiblical. Trashing the church and traditional Christian thinking is all the rage these days, and a blog post that brings into question “what you’ve always been told” is a sure way to go viral.
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