Issue #60

The Life We're Looking For, The Birth of Charity, Kingdom Matters, and more...

Issue #60
Photo by Ivan Diaz / Unsplash

Listen and Learn 🎧

The Life We’re Looking For | Andy Crouch, Matthew Anderson, Alistair Roberts, Derek Rishmawy 🎧 →

This was a great conversation on how Christians should relate to technology. It goes pretty deep and wide-ranging but centers around how we relate to our screens. How are our screens changing us and how do we relate to each other? Screens have integrated into our lives so fully that it’s hard to remember that they didn’t exist 100 years ago. As church institutions and Christians have integrated them into our lives and worship, how are they forming us?

For More:

Living This Christian Life 🤴👸

Why Compassion Is Divisive | David French 📃 →

There’s a damaging misconception that’s hidden within a common critique of Christianity. The critique is one that’s consistently articulated against Christian culture. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “I believe in the teachings of Christ, but you on the other side of the world do not, I read the Bible faithfully and see little in Christendom that those who profess faith pretend to see.”

The distinction between Christendom and Christ—the differences between the culture and institutions of the faith and the teachings of the savior himself—have been eloquently argued for generations. I’ve been influenced by Søren Kierkegaard’s searing Attack on Christendom, which dates back to the mid-19th century, and even that is a recent critique by the standards of an ancient faith.

The gap between Christendom and Christ is sometimes vast, always grievous, and will persist to some degree throughout the entire life of the church. Fallen people will never be truly “like Christ” so long as we inhabit this earth. But hidden within that truth is a misconception—one that’s often extrapolated from a different Gandhi quote, “I like your Christ, but not your Christianity.”

I’ve heard a version of this comment my entire life. We like Jesus, but we don’t like you. Why? Because you’re not like him. Setting aside the obvious fact that I’ll never be all that much like Christ, is it really true that Christianity would be more popular if its followers were more like Christ?

French argues that Jesus was condemned for the “very virtues we now most say we admire, for virtues Christians ourselves often lack.” One of those virtues is compassion, which both Christians and the world say they admire in Jesus, but when it comes to putting it to work in our own lives, we shy away. French gives us two reasons why, and why we should lean into compassion and empathy even when it’s hard.

Are you enjoying this letter? You can subscribe via e-mail, RSS, and Twitter to be notified when new issues release.

Christianity Is True ✝️

Strong Evidence the Author of Acts Traveled with Paul | Erik Manning 📽 →

Erik Manning is back with another great 10-minute video addressing the criticisms that skeptical scholars like Bart Ehrman has raised against scriptural authority. This time, he addresses the claim that the author of Acts didn’t really travel with Paul and merely, “inserted themselves into the narrative to give the story an appearance that it was written by a witness.”

Strong Evidence the Author of Acts Traveled with Paul

Read and Reflect 📖

Our Christian Terminology Is Built on the Old Testament | Greg Lanier 📃 →

Imagine approaching a non-Christian at a bus stop with this gospel presentation:

Did you know that you are a sinner in the eyes of our creator God, who is morally righteous but separated from you due to your unrighteousness? If you persist in transgressing his law, you face an eternity in hell on the last day of judgment. But the gospel is that you can have eternal life if you repent and put faith in Jesus, who atones for your sins and imputes his righteousness to you.

There is nothing inaccurate about these statements. But put yourself in the shoes of someone who has never read the Bible. Nearly half the words would make little to no sense: sinner, creator, righteous, unrighteousness, transgressing, law, eternity, hell, day of judgment, repent, faith, atone, and impute. A three-sentence gospel presentation—even the word gospel itself—presupposes a lot of information. This is one reason why evangelism in a post-Christian world may feel like explaining nuclear submarines to someone who has never seen the sea.

Lanier shows how New Testament language is built upon Old Testament language. The gospels and Paul’s letters assume a working knowledge of the Old Testament and its terminology. Sometimes these are called “churchy” words. We need to recognize that even if these are terms in our own common vocabulary, they’re not in most people’s vocabulary.

Lanier then walks us through the Old Testament basis for some of our New Testament terms.

If you've enjoyed reading this letter, please share it with others and help us grow. We exist to help Christians grow in their faith and to make the name of Jesus Messiah glorified in all the earth. We grow thanks to readers like you sharing what we do with others. Thank you!

Church History Corner ⛪️

The Birth of Charity | John Dickson 🎧 →

This short 15-minute episode is about the birth of charity work and its connection to Christianity. I really recommend you take a listen because many of the things we take for granted in the modern world were revolutionary when Christians first started doing them two thousand years ago.

Consider Another Perspective 🤔

The Rhetorical Utility of the Word ‘Biblical’ | Mark Sparks 📃 →

How do we use the word ‘Biblical’? Have you ever heard someone say something like, “baptizing infants is the biblical view of baptism,” or “we only baptize adults because that’s what the Bible says.”? I’ve seen it happen, especially during in-house Christian vs. Christian debates on theological topics.

Sparks gives us an article about how we use the word ‘biblical’ like a sledgehammer against other Christians, and why we should reconsider our approach.

  1. It sows division.
  2. It is intellectually dishonest.
  3. It is devastating during doubt.
If this ministry helps you, please know that while we offer it for free, it is not free to run. If you are financially able and you would like to support us, you can purchase products through our store, join our membership program, or give a one-time donation. Visit the Supporting Us page to find out more about these options.

This is completely optional, and everything that is currently free will continue to be free. Thank you for reading The Garden Weekly.

Best with a Cup of Tea ☕️

Kingdom Matters | Paige Brown 📽 →

Many believers, she posited, focus their belief mainly on how we are saved (justification), while lessening the theological and practical importance of what we are saved to do. The kingdom, she proclaimed, is not only good for the future but is meant for today and should permeate every part of our world. And it is the role of the church—of every believer—to proclaim the goodness of the kingdom.
Kingdom Matters

This is something you need to watch.

Keep Your Mind on Things Above

I will be praying for you this week.

How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
— Matthew 7:14 (CSB)

Joel Fischer