I have taken on a distinctly negative view of the attack on the Capitol building on January 6, and I have not even been particularly civil about my denouncement of it. Don’t worry, I don’t intend to change that now.

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Which is probably at least a little confusing to those who have known me for a long time. After all, I have never really been quiet about my displeasure at the United States government in general; I have, for some years now, held the view that the Constitution has run its course and we are well overdue to replace it…

I have taken a few different preaching courses, usually because I was training at either a school or a church and they didn’t take credit from the ones I already had. Through these courses, I’ve learned about a few different approaches to writing sermons, but two common things have shown up in all of them:

  1. Each focused on the importance of expository preaching and proper understanding of scripture, and
  2. Every one of them urged us to include some form of practical application.

That second one is really what I want to focus on today, because it’s relevant to the ongoing…

I must confess I was late to the excitement surrounding J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. Somehow, I missed initial conversations about it, and only learned it existed when it was mentioned in a different book I read and reviewed last year. I finally got my hands on it this year, thanks to my local library, and even then I wasn’t ready to properly examine it because my initial reaction was too strongly impacted by the recent loss of my own grandmother, who I remember in very similar ways to how Vance portrays his. In fact, it wasn’t until Netflix announced their…

The church in black and white.
The church in black and white.
“Sanctuary,” edited photograph of the interior of First Baptist Church of Fitchburg, MA. Taken and edited in 2018 by Tim McLaughlin.

Yesterday, The Gospel Coalition published an article by Joe Carter called “Why Evangelicals Are (Still) Divided Over Trump,” the title serving as a reference not only to the enduring fight among Christian conservatives, but also to a similar post Carter wrote before the 2016 election. In yesterday’s post, he attempted to explain the two primary camps he sees among conservative Evangelicals, with a stated understanding that painting in broad strokes must, by nature, mean that he misses some important degrees of nuance. He presents the two primary camps as one prioritizing concern over the impact this election will have on…

This week saw the launch of another bout of drama on the world of Southern Baptist twitter. This time it was centered on a letter written by Paige Patterson in 2012 that called the doctrinal stance of minority pastors into question, with no apparent grounds for the concern except that they were members of minority groups. Now this was almost certainly part of a dialogue and there may be more clarification in sources beyond this letter, but it is hard to see how that clarification could really improve the situation. It is worth noting that this post will not be…

“But to the extent evangelicals despise the small places, we will fail them. We cannot serve what we despise.”
Page 35

This week, A Big Gospel in Small Places: Why Ministry in Forgotten Communities Matters by Stephen Witmer was released. It clocks in at around 200 pages, with the main body of the book ending on page 183 with Acknowledgements and end notes following. I received a copy at the Small Town Summits event in October, which gave me the opportunity to read and prepare a review of it for this week. …

From the blog of John Matteson

During senior year, a witch at school brought in a focusing crystal. It was a solid piece of quartz, about four inches long, and since we had some downtime in choir she was showing it around and answering questions about what she does with it and letting people take a look. I was reading when Rick nudged me and asked if I’d seen it yet. I told him I hadn’t.

“This is the type of thing you’re into, though!” he announced. I mean, yeah, I research magic here and there, but it’s less that…

This post will not be as exhaustive as the others for a few reasons, not least of which being that some of the major points that could be explored here have already been covered elsewhere in the series. If the practice of false teachers is contrary to Christianity specifically because is prideful, rejoicing in sin, and unfocused on Christ, then it stands to reason that the appropriate Christian life will be marked by humility, distancing oneself from sin, and focused on Christ. …

Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
1 John 5:5 (NASB)

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“St. John on Patmos” Gaspar de Crayer (1584–1669), via Wikimedia Commons

I have taken a few discipleship groups or classes where we were asked to find a passage that summarizes salvation, and in every case what was cited were John 3:16 or one of maybe three sections of Paul’s writing. And again, this is fine, Paul did write about this and his writing is super helpful. …

The first thing you must know is that demons cannot, as a general rule, actually purchase human souls in any way that ultimately matters. Whatever happens in the Beyond, no one crosses over led by a demon who has any hold over them. It is enough, however, that humans believe they can purchase souls; as long as one is convinced they are irredeemably damned, the demons seem to get what they want in general.

The second thing you must know is that not all demons have any interest in playing this game, and those that do pride themselves on the…

Tim McLaughlin Jr

Freelance writer and artist, theology blogger, ministry student, church planter, husband and father in New England.

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