Author: Ben Bishop

Ben Bishop is unapologetically a huge nerd. Ever since he was young, he loved reading and board games. These flights of fancy opened his mind to imagine new adventures from pretending to be on an arduous journey like one in Pilgrims’ Progress by John Bunyan, standing up against an oppressive ancient evil in the TV show Babylon 5, navigating an ever-changing maze in the game The aMAZEing Labyrinth, galloping on the back Aslan in the Narnia series by C.S Lewis to being a Priest Sleuth alongside of G.K Chesterton’s Father Brown. Now he gets to ignite that torch of imagination with his wife to his new daughter Lydia and his son Dylan. Ben is also a graduate of the Masters of Christian Apologetics Program with High Honors at Biola University and he received his B.A. in Communication at Boise State University. He blogs at his personal blog (www.windmillfighter.wordpress.com), curates and writes at (www.breathedthroughsilver.wordpress.com), and other places.

Repost – Faith vs Deeds

I personally think that the church (culturally, not the church universal) has neglected the wisdom books. These include

Proverbs,

Ecclesiastes,

Job,

and James.

Why does the cultural church avoid these? I think it is because they focus on how we should live. James writes that in essence words and feelings are cheap, but actions are the evidence for our Faith. Sometimes as a culture we rush so fast to our pat answers we do not see that how we act is critical. We do not think and that hurts our witness, and credibility. It also shows who is a believer and who is just faking it for culture points.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. – James 2: 14-26

Here is a video of this church “virtue signaling” but with no action. James would say in his day there was the same thing:

 

Repost – Our Entertainment Addiction

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They say that information is the new commodity but I think it is entertainment. Who ever controls the narrative controls those who believe it. That is normal and has been that way since time began. The change and deadly ramifications come when that we worship our narratives. This ultimately means that we plug ourselves into the ‘matrix’ to our cultures demise. What do I mean?  (more…)

Dare to be Dull

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People protesting the most recent democratic election

The time has come for a modest proposal. Everyone everywhere is told to have a ’cause’ or something they must rail against or for. At the same time we are also told to keep out religious views private. While this is contrary viewpoints, it is not to the world – who does not see that everyone has worldviews, some of which are based in reality. What is this modest proposal that can change the world: Enjoy the gift of appearing dull and enjoy the pleasure of being ‘bored’. (more…)

End of the Month Links: March

Still politics! The election ended months ago

Here are 6 of one or half-dozen of another posts I have found around the web (or are sent to me) that I have found interesting, funny, insightful, or thoughtful:

What Tolkien Did So Well, What We Do So Poorly

When we neglect the past we do the opposite of the nobility Tolkien showed us.

Excerpt: “The characters in The Lord of the Rings know they are set within a wider drama that began ages prior and will continue ages hence. They are determined to act in ways that honor their forebears and leave a worthy example for their descendants. Their valor is motivated by their understanding that history has called them to this time, this place, and this set of circumstances. Their nobility is inseparable from their history. They speak and live as if every word of the mouth and every tap of the hammer will honor or dishonor those who have gone before and shame or bless those who will follow.

Is America’s Cult of Death and Free Sex on the Verge of Dying?

A good analysis of how science and truth are slowly wiping away any arguments left in the pocket of those who advocate cheap sex with no consequences.

Excerpt: “This is why the clerics of the cult are panicked, outraged, afraid. They dread seeing their god exposed to the harsh light of reality, its draperies of soothing rhetoric flung back to reveal a glaring, decaying creature of death. If the Supreme Court corrects, even partially, Roe v. Wade, access to abortion will become much less easy. That will require, at least among many younger men and women, greater sexual restraint. As they consider the consequences of their one-night mutual objectifications — babies — they will become not just more careful but more judicious in their conduct.

Christian Storytelling Should Be Both True and Beautiful

The Movie ‘The Shack’ came out recently. This older article is good because it reminds us that Christian storytelling ought to be true and not just emotional ear tickles. When we make true stories they also need to be beautiful.

Excerpt: “Art is indeed a powerful vehicle for expressing truth, but as Brian explains in the interview, when we use story merely as a tool to communicate a message, neglecting the beauty of the craft, we tend to end up with preachy propaganda.”

Sex, Lies, and Secularism

Just saying no does not work unless we teach a Christian worldview that gives reason for saying no.

Excerpt: “When even Christian young people are buying into the hookup culture, it’s clear that traditional ways of teaching biblical morality are no longer effective. “Just say no” is not enough. Young people don’t need simple rules; they need reasons to make sense of the rules. Which is to say, they need to be taught the worldview rationale for biblical morality. Otherwise it is possible for Christian young people to be sincere in their faith, yet thoroughly secular in their thoughts—and, consequently, in their behavior.”

Farewell, Jesus Junk? Christian Retail Finds a Deeper Purpose

I have mixed emotions about the closing of Family Christian Stores, but will not miss the inability to get the books I like while clambering over mints, toys, and Joel Osteen books.

Excerpt: “When America’s biggest Christian chain, Family Christian Stores, announced last month that it would be shutting its doors, a small number of Christian bookstore cynics brought up similar critiques over the shallower content its stores promoted alongside Bibles and Christian classics. The speculated silver lining: Did Family Christian’s closure mean consumers were turning away from the celebrity books, inspirational titles, and “Jesus junk”?

Lego Tape!

Apologetics and Green Eggs and Ham

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I constantly argue that the main opponent against Christianity is not militant atheists (even though they are the loudest) but those who do not care. How do we get those people to care – we put a stone it their shoe as Stand to Reason would put it. In order to do that we need to be alert for a thoughtful conversation/question, to keep asking, and using different approaches – much like the hero in Dr. Seuss’s classic Green Eggs and Ham. To remind us of that strategy below is a parody of that story: (more…)

Repost – Hidden Role Board Games and False Teachers

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One of the kinds of board games I like to play are social deduction games. The basic thrust of this genre of games is that all the players have to work together to win, but some of them may be working against the group. Those who work against the group are smaller in number but will try to blend in and mislead the other players so that the game is lost. If that happens those traitors will win instead.

There are many games of this type and these games are also a perfect way to illustrate the danger of false teachers and why apologetics and polemics are important to the life of a church.

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Repost – Beware Those Who Do Not Care for They Care Too Much.

When it comes to those in Apologetics we wrongfully assume who are our greatest opponents are. We think often that where there is smoke there is fire, but the greatest need is not against those who thunder but against those who are quiet. There are more of them and it is the quiet ones who really change the world. The loud ones just take the credit.

So it all comes down to this choice as written by Pascal: Either we worship God, hate him, or live in indifference. We often focus our energy on those who yell form the mountain tops that God does not exist and that they hate him. Those people we can have dialog with. We admire their bravery to live that way and even through they cannot live consistently in their view they at least have a basis for that belief.

It is the people who do not care that are the ones that form the majority of society. They are the ones who shape the culture. They are the ones who live in indifference but are the ones who live in a true contradiction. (more…)