2. The senior managing editor of Christianity Today believes people find evangelicalism to be "bankrupt" because of "crazy uncles" Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Ironic?
3. Some fascinating statistics on church planting rates for various denominations.
4. Some reflections from John Piper on John Stott. This comment from Piper is very close to the reason I have a rather sporadic interest in The Gospel Coalition blog (exhibit A):
To this day I have zero interest in watching a preacher take his stand on top of the (closed) treasure chest of Bible sentences and eloquently talk about his life or his family or the news or history or culture or movies, or even general theological principles and themes, without opening the chest and showing me the specific jewels in these Bible sentences.5. Speaking of Stott, somewhere in one of his obituaries I learned that he was Queen Elizabeth II's personal chaplain from 1959-1991.
6. Here's what Stott said in 1996 about when it would be time for evangelicals to leave the Church of England:
I've always felt that it's unwise to publish a list of criteria in advance. Nevertheless, I'm quite happy to talk about them. I think one's final decision to leave would be an exceedingly painful one, a situation that I cannot envisage at the moment.7. Speaking of things that were never supposed to come true, remember when everybody told us this wouldn't happen? Next up, polygamous marriage rights.
I would take refuge in the teaching of the New Testament, where the apostles seem to distinguish between major and minor errors. The major doctrinal errors concern the person and work of Christ. It's clear in 1 John that anyone who denies the divine-human person of Jesus is anti-Christ. So, if the church were officially to deny the Incarnation, it would be an apostate church and one would have to leave.
Then, there's the work of Christ. In Galatians, if anybody denies the gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone, that is anathema: Paul calls down the judgment of God upon that person.
On the major ethical issues: the best example is the incestuous offender in 1 Corinthians 5. Paul called on the church to excommunicate him. If you want me to stick my neck out, I think I would say that if the church were officially to approve homosexual partnerships as a legitimate alternative to heterosexual marriage, this so far diverges from biblical sexual ethics that I would find it exceedingly difficult to stay. I might want to stay on and fight for a few more years, but if they persisted, I would have to leave.
8. Strictly speaking, Stott may not have been the annihilationist he's often claimed to have been. Here's how he described his view in that same wide-ranging 1996 interview linked above:
In Evangelical Essentials, I described as "tentative" my suggestion that "eternal punishment" may mean the ultimate annihilation of the wicked rather than their eternal conscious torment. I would prefer to call myself agnostic on this issue, as are a number of New Testament scholars I know. In my view, the biblical teaching is not plain enough to warrant dogmatism. There are awkward texts on both sides of the debate.9. This conversation on whether and how much we should study cultural backgrounds to Scripture barely scratches the surface of a topic that has been largely ignored in far too many places. It needs to be at least an hour longer.
10. And finally, anybody else out there who just can't wait to ask Carl Trueman to autograph your Bible after his breakout session at T4G12?