Archives For Jesse Johnson

I’m just finishing preaching the first half of 1 Samuel (1-15), and I’ve been struck by this paradoxical truth: often it is God’s greatest gifts that become our greatest trials.

Why does this happen? There are a number of reasons, but perhaps one of the most common is that people are quick to confuse the means with the end.

God is a giver because he is a lover. He gives gifts because he loves the people to whom he gives them. The gifts are the means of expressing his love to his creation, but they are not the end. The appropriate response to a gift is to thank the giver, and when this thanks is rightly directed to God, it becomes worship. In other words, God gives gifts as the means to the end of worship.   Continue Reading…

As I’m sure you’ve heard, yesterday a Newspaper office in Paris was attacked by gunmen who murdered twelve people. The specific targets were the paper’s editorial cartoonists, and the motive for their murder was the fact that they had often drawn cartoons disparaging Mohammad.

While the attack was swiftly condemned by many political leaders—France’s own president called it “an exceptional act of barbarism”—it was also met by many people eager to protect the reputation of Islam. The fact that the murders were done to avenge the reputation of Mohammad and that the politically correct response was to protect Islam’s reputation is ironic indeed.   Continue Reading…

December 31, 2014

Top 10 posts of 2014

by Jesse Johnson

Top TenThe Cripplegate blog is in its fourth year, and our readership is increasing every month. But in looking back over 2014, we noticed something unusual: this year, many of our most read posts were actually from previous years. In fact, seven of our top ten posts were originally posted before 2014. People are finding them through Google searches and Facebook shares, meaning that our most helpful content is not even necessarily recent, but is in some ways timeless.

Here were our top ten most read posts of 2014, as measured by unique IP addresses to view them:   Continue Reading…

The Great Divorce is C.S. Lewis’ most controversial work. It provides a vision of the afterlife where hell is a giant sprawling suburb where everyone gets what they want—except happiness. Heaven in turn is compared to towering mountains, where every blade of grass is filled with the glory of God.

The plot turns on a bus ride taken from hell to heaven—yes, there is a bus that connects the two—and the passengers are “ghosts” making their way from the bus to the threshold of heaven. Once there, glorified bodies meet these ghosts and seek to persuade them to continue up into the high country of heaven.   Continue Reading…

This year for my church’s Christmas concert, we didn’t do what we traditionally have done–in years past we would do music with a gospel presentation from a pastor. This year instead of a pastor presenting the gospel, we chose four people from different backgrounds that are all faithfully involved at Immanuel. We asked them to describe their lives when they were in darkness, how they heard about the light of Jesus, and what their life is like now that they are living in the light.

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There are two reasons churches need to have clear teaching on human sexuality (sexual attraction, sexual identity, gender distinctions, etc). The first is because this is an issue which Scripture speaks about. It is under attack in today’s culture, and thus churches should be quick to clearly explain what the Bible actually says on the issue.

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The second reason is because our culture is particularly litigious. With that in mind, churches have a stewardship over their finances and property to make sure that they are protected against such lawsuits, and currently the best legal protection we have is churches have the freedom to structure themselves around their own teachings. However, this legal protection is moot when churches don’t have any articulated or published views on the topic.

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Yesterday I was interviewed at The Daily Signal for a churchman’s perspective on the Ferguson rioting. I chose to limit my responses to the riots—as I think it is foolish to try and relitigate the guilt or innocence of Wilson or Brown. After all, one man is believed until he is cross examined (Prov 18:17), and there are only a few people in the world who have heard from the witnesses on both sides of this case.

Nevertheless, there are some basic biblical principles concerning the aftermath in Ferguson that need to be said:    Continue Reading…

When I came to Immanuel in March of 2012, the first series I preached was Psalm 119. I chose this Psalm because I wanted to impress on people the foundational nature of the Bible. As Christians, we never get beyond the fact that the word of God is absolutely necessary for everything related to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Psalm 119 makes that point in every single verse.

Yesterday I catalogued the themes of each stanza. Today I want to pass along the most helpful Psalm 119 resources. All four of these interact with every single verse of the stanza (whereas most commentaries have sections on Psalm 119 shorter than the actual psalm!)

These four were the most helpful to me in my preaching, and three of them are free on-line:   Continue Reading…

Psalm 119 is the longest poem in the Bible. It is the longest prayer in the Bible. It is the longest acrostic in the Bible. It is the longest chapter in the Bible. It stands at the center of the Bible, and it is about the Bible. The longest Psalm is a psalm about Psalms. The most intimidating chapter in the Word is also a chapter about the Word.

The scope of Psalm 119 is both huge (22 stanzas) and limited (every verse is about scripture). The chapter covers every aspect of life—successes, failures, victories, defeats, prosperity and adversity—and yet is also almost entirely a prayer (nearly every verse is directed to Yahweh).

Because of its length, the unity of it can often be missed. The stanzas are not interchangeable. Instead, this Psalm is masterfully crafted to guide the reader in a progression through the believer’s life. It covers all you need to know about leading a godly life, from A-Z (or aleph-to-tav, as it were). And it does so in order.   Continue Reading…

Jesse one purpleI grew up in a non-Christian family, almost entirely ignorant of the Bible, Jesus, and the basics of the gospel. I was registered as a Quaker—to keep me out of the draft, were one to present itself again (flower power, and whatnot)—but this was mostly symbolic, and did not bleed over into any kind of religious upbringing.

In fact, when I was an eighth-grader I watched a soccer game on TV and noticed a guy in the stands who was holding a sign that said “John 3:16.” I honestly had no idea that meant, and I asked my dad. When I found out it was a Scripture reference, I tracked down a Bible. First I had to figure out that “3:16” was not a page number, and then sort through the five books in the KJV that bear John’s name. But because I thought it was connected to soccer, I was motivated and finally cracked the Bible code and read the verse. This was anti-climactic though, and left me super-confused—I could not figure out what God giving his son had to do with World Cup soccer.

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