Just wanted my regular readers to know that my blog is up and running again. Thank you for your patience.
And, I have a lot more pictures to post. I’ve been working hard lately on my photography, and I hope you can enjoy some of the results. Some of the shots I’ve taken lately have been truly surprising in how good they have come out. This is the first time in a long time that I have slowed down and spent time taking the shots.
Theology that Matters has reached another milestone this week, and you know how it is with milestones: the more you reach, the fewer you have left to reach. So what is this recent milestone? The blog surpassed 78,000 views for the year, which eclipses last year’s total views of 77,952! I’m hoping to reach the 80,000 mark, but who knows. Blogs are really quite fickle. On posts that I think will generate a lot of traffic, go unnoticed, while those that I write without much thought, garner thousands of hits.
For instance, the year’s current post with the most views is C.S. Lewis on “The Lessor of Two Evils.” Never thought it would garner more than 7,000 hits for the year. But it has, and is currently the number one post. I will gladly take it, because when people read one post, they are likely to read another. This is why I count views more importantly than visits. Views means that someone came and stayed for a while, where as a visitor can come and leave without looking at a thing.
As for Theology that Matters, we will press on trying to bring quality work for my viewers. You may not agree, but I hope you will at least consider.
I wanted to share two comments made over the past week that I really enjoyed, even when they were opposed to my position. The first is from Stan, over at BirdsoftheAir. He was commenting on one of my posts on baptism, and stated his opposition to my position:
Raised a Baptist, I was introduced later in life to the concept of paedobaptism by someone I greatly admire — R.C. Sproul. So I spent a great deal of time examining the Scriptures on the subject, not wishing for emotion or precedent to determine what is true. I became so adept at it that I once spent time defending it on a Christian discussion forum. I can see where paedobaptists such as yourself come to your conclusions, and I respect them as not merely traditional, but biblical. That is, you derive your view from Scripture.
I also agree that baptism is the new circumcision (so to speak). Having said that, however, I find that this is where I end my convergence with paedobaptism. I believe that “repent and be baptized” is the correct formula (see also Matt 28:19-20). So if baptism is the sign of the new covenant, at what point did the children of Israel become part of the old covenant? At birth, of course. And at what point do we become part of the new? At spiritual birth. Thus, after comparing Scripture with Scripture, listening to godly men debating godly men (I was treated to a debate on the subject between R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur once), and recognizing many Reformed folks who are biblical, Reformed, and credobaptists (such as John Piper), I’ve concluded that I am convinced by Scripture and evident reason that the credobaptist position best reflects the biblical view.
But, as I said, I respect those who, by virtue of Scripture, conclude that I’m wrong on this. Not so much those who, by virtue of righteous indignation and wrath, decide credobaptists are rank heretics perhaps not even part of the faith.
I appreciate his comment because he fully recognizes my position as a paedobaptist, shows why he disagrees with the position without being insulting or demeaning, and still admits that my position is supported by scripture. Yet, even with that support, he is not convinced and remains a credobaptist. Excellent response.
Finally, the top 5 posts for the 2015 calendar year. Here they are:
5. Cremation or Burial: A Biblical Perspective. While not the best defense for burial, I still lean that way because as believers we look forward to the resurrection of the dead.
4. The Second Commandment, Sarah Young and Ann Voskamp. Probably my most controversial post in a while. This one takes on both Sarah Young and her heretical book Jesus Calling, along with Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. Both books should be condemned outright, but because Voskamp and Young are cute, most pastors don’t want to touch the issue.
The year is quickly coming to an end and I am looking over the posts that made my Top 25 during 2015. As we close out the year, here are posts 15-11.
15. The Church Does Not Need Christian Radio. This was another one of those controversial ones because you either realize that Christian radio is superfluous to the ministry of the church, or you are caught up in the emotions that you have for a particular radio station. People do not realize that the church was just fine without Christian radio for 1900 years.
14. Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve. Another post looking at the death of my brother, Stokely Hammons. It addresses the feelings many have in losing someone they love. We want to go back in time and change something so that our loved ones would still be with us. But we cannot, and must trust in God’s sovereign hand.
13. Top 10 Most Noble Jobs in the World. Ten jobs that no one wants to do, but are necessary for society to function.
12. The Offense of the Cross. The message of the gospel is offensive to those who have yet to believe, because they trust in their own perception of their goodness. The cross confronts people on their goodness and shows that no matter what they do, they are not good enough to merit God’s favor.
11. 7 Celebrities Who Don’t Believe in God. The surprising aspect of this post is that the list of celebrities was not surprising. They are boring atheists at best, not even worth quoting.
Top posts 10-6 will be posted tomorrow.
We are continuing our march to the end of the year by looking back at the Top 25 posts of the year on TimothyJHammons.com. We started yesterday with posts 25-21, and today we are looking at posts 20-16. Here they are:
20. IF:Gathering — Another Gospel…Again This is about another of the many ministries that sound really good on the surface but fail in their understanding of the gospel. You might say they are more Humanism 101 than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
19. The Meaning of Shibboleth. Written back in 2010, this post deals with the political nature of our society and the Shibboleths that are used to silence debate. For example, back then, if you mentioned you watched Fox News, that brought about a level of condemnation from the more liberal minions.
18. We Are to Stand Against Evil. This post was born out of the realization that far too many pastors never address the evil in our culture. They will refer to men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer all day long, but never stand against the tide of evil as he did.
17. In Memory of Stokely Hammons, October 25, 1969 – December 27, 2014. One of the most difficult posts I have written since I began blogging.
16. The Church is Called to Worship, Not Change the World. Far too many in Christian circles think the role of the church is to change the world. It is not. The role of the church is to worship God. Our Creator may use the church to change the world. That is His job. Not ours.
I will post 15-11 tomorrow.
It is that time again, when we look back over the past year to see our accomplishments. For me personally, this is truly a wonderful exercise given how the LORD has worked in my life in the past year. A year ago, I was single, barely employed, and living with family. Now, I’m married to a wonderful woman, teaching urchins in the public schools, and currently looking for a house to buy. God’s hand has really been evident.
I have also seen some major accomplishments with my blog. Two major milestones were reached, the first was that this year has been the most popular since moving to WordPress back in 2010. The site crested more that 70,000 hits for the year and is currently approaching 77,000 hits.
I knew that it was coming upon me, but was surprised to see that my visitor count crested the 300,000 mark today. Just another small milestone in the life of a blogger.
Heidi and I were checking the stats for the year tonight and it was sitting and 69,980 hits. She said, “Do you want me to contact 20 of my closest friends?” and the blog counter jumped to more than 70,000. We both laughed.
What this means is that I have my best year since I started blogging back in 2005 and 2006 on this blog. My best year until this one was 2012, when I had 62,288 hits. I’m not sure I will be able to follow up with another year like this one, but will give it a go! It seems like I have written fewer posts, but with more impact. That seems to work well for me.
So… here is to 70,000 hits!
Updating my blogroll use to happen far more frequently than it does now. I think that was because I was able to spend more time on blogging, reading as well as writing. I can no longer do that. I have barely enough time to write any posts at all, much less keep up with all the blogs I’ve subscribed to. The only reason I’m doing it now is because I cannot sleep.