Joel Belz and The World and Everything In It, Rosaria Butterfield and The Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age, True Compassion and LGBTQ Weddings, The Death of Church and Pub, and Johnny Cash Sings Psalm 23

The Five 2/9/24

Five of Mike’s favorite or most interesting things on the Internet this week

Joel Belz and The World and Everything In It, Rosaria Butterfield and The Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age, True Compassion and LGBTQ Weddings, The Death of Church and Pub, and Johnny Cash Sings Psalm 23

It’s been awhile, but we are back! 

Here is this week’s FIVE.

1. Article (5 min)

Well done, good and faithful servant: The life and legacy of WORLD founder Joel Belz

By:  Lauren Dunn, Kim Henderson, Lynde Langdon

“Joel Belz, founder of WORLD News Group, died Sunday at his home in Asheville, N.C., from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 82.

Those who knew Belz esteemed him as an exemplary son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, elder, teacher, journalist, and publisher. He saw himself as nothing more than a great sinner who had received great mercy.

“Just as it is for every sinner, mine is a story of what God has done for me—not what I have done for Him,” Belz wrote in 2021 in his WORLD Magazine column.

Belz was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, in 1941, the second of eight children of Max and Jean Belz. His parents prioritized Christian education for their children.

“Daily reading and Bible classes were assumed,” Belz wrote of his childhood. “We took notes on the sermons we heard. And we memorized Scripture—so that all these years later, 20 or more entire Psalms are still stashed away in my increasingly Parkinson’s-wobbly memory…””

Click above to read more…

I am a recent listener to the daily news podcast produced by WORLD called, “The WORLD, and Everything In It.” This podcast, suggested to me by our elder, Joel Allardyce, has been a huge blessing to me over the last few months as a bastion of truth and reason in a world where people all around us seem to be losing their minds. I listen to it now almost every weekday morning, before I tune into any other news media outlet. 

I was very touched by the tribute that they gave for their founder, Joel Belz, on Monday morning following his death this last Lord’s Day. I was inspired by his faithfulness to our God and to the Church. The founding premise for WORLD news corp is from Psalm 24:1 which emphatically states that, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,” 

I encourage you to not only read this article about the founder but also to tune into their daily news podcast and avail yourself of their various journalistic endeavors. 

2.  PODCAST EPISODE  (62 min)

The Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age: An Interview with Rosaria Butterfield

Podcast: The Theology Pugcast

“Today the Pugs are a little short-handed–Tom isn’t feeling well. But we do have Rosaria Butterfield with us to discuss her new book, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age. It was a wonderful and free-ranging discussion that touched on many things, among them the subject of what time it is. And while it was a sober assessment on the sorry state of Big Eva and the heretical trends in that world, it was hopeful because of the invincible Christ of the Gospel. Tune in and enjoy the show!”

Click above to watch or listen to the interview…

I was greatly encouraged by this discussion with Rosaria Butterfield. She is someone that I have enjoyed hearing from for quite some time. This discussion is no exception and there are some very important ideas brought up around the current trends of the modern evangelical church. You can tune in above, on youtube, or any other podcast catcher. 

Rosaria is a former, openly gay, professor of English and women’s studies at Syracuse University. She was heavily involved in the beginnings of the LGBT movement. She converted to Christ in 1999 in what she describes as a train wreck. Her memoir The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert chronicles that difficult journey. Rosaria is now married to a man, Kent Butterfield, a Reformed Presbyterian pastor in North Carolina, and is, herself, now a homeschool mother, author, and speaker.

3. Article (18 min)

True Compassion and LGBTQ Weddings

By: Ligonier Editorial

Mercy and justice, relationship and righteousness exist together without compromise in God’s dealings with sinners.”

“Christ did not let His perfect righteousness keep Him from entering into relationships with sinners, but He also did not allow His desire to maintain those relationships pressure Him into doing something that could be construed as approving of sin. This should not surprise us because He is the perfect image of the invisible God and thus the incarnate expression of God’s character (Col. 1:15). God is compassionate toward lost sinners, sending His only begotten Son to save sinners (John 3:16). But the sinners whom God saves are repentant sinners, not those who by their words or actions call good evil and evil good (Isa. 5:20). Jesus is the Lamb who was slain to save repentant sinners, but He is also the conquering Lamb who will bring an end to all wickedness (Rev. 5:6–10; 17:14) and who will not allow into His glory anything unclean, false, or detestable (Rev. 21:27).”

Click above to read more…

Sadly, this article comes in the wake of the scandal involving Pastor Alistair Begg of Truth For Life Ministries. I want to say here that I love Alistair Begg and have been incredibly encouraged by his ministry personally, especially over the last decade. He has been a faithful expositor of the scriptures and a blessing to his own church and the church at large through his radio and podcast ministry. However, in the last couple of weeks it came to light that sometime last year he encouraged a grandmother to attend the “wedding” of her grandson to a transgender person.

When I first heard this news I was hoping for some kind of clarification or retraction from Pastor Begg. Instead, it seems, through his response via sermon at his church last week speaking about compassion, that he has doubled down on his counsel to this poor woman and to others by virtue of its broadcast.

For the record, I think his advice and counsel was not only wrong but dangerous and the characterization of it being about compassion rather than truth is damaging to the church. I pray that he repents of this and continues as he has in the past to encourage the church in the “truth for life” that belongs to the scriptures.

This is a multi-tiered issue, but this article from Ligonier, I thought, addressed the kind of true biblical compassion that we are called to as believers. This is a sobering but important article. It is long but I encourage you to take the time to read it. 

4. Article (5 min)

The Death of Church and Pub

By: Carl Trueman

“The nature of community is changing. The old village has gone. One can lament the passing of parish churches and village pubs, but the type of community that birthed them has gone forever. But the human need for community—rich, real, personal community—will exist as long as our individual identities are tied up with looking into the faces of those who are “bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.” In other words, that need will exist as long as we are human beings made in God’s image. And the answer is hospitality. Churches and Christians need to think about what this looks like in our modern world as much as they think about other aspects of the faith…”

Click above to read more…

Carl Trueman writes here of the loss of two very important vestiges of our culture in the west, the church, and the pub. He draws a connection how that in the death of both places we lose the sense of hospitality and closeness that makes a community a community and not just a collection of individuals, which is what we are becoming, and the result is the modern scourge of loneliness and isolation. This evil can only be cured by true relational, flesh and blood community. While they may have their place and uses, no online community, virtual chat room, or even a livestream church service, will every be able to give what one human being in real life is able to give to another. Are the church and pub a lost cause? Perhaps there is still time to revive them in our culture, but what we must never lose, especially in the church, is the giving out of the same hospitality and welcome that we each received in coming to Jesus. 

Carl Trueman is an English Christian theologian and ecclesiastical historian. He was Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he held the Paul Woolley Chair of Church History. In 2018 Trueman left Westminster and became a professor at Grove City College in their Department of Biblical and Religious Studies. Trueman is an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and was the pastor of Cornerstone OPC in Ambler, Pennsylvania. Recently, Trueman released two very important books on sex and gender and culture, one in 2020 called, “The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self,” and another in 2022 called, “Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution.”

5. Facebook Video and Song (5 min)

AI Generated Video of Johnny Cash singing Brian Sauve’s arrangement of Psalm 23

By: Ron Tweedy

ANAHEIM, CA – MARCH 11: Country singer/songwriter Johnny Cash plays acoustic guitar as he performs onstage at the Anaheim Convention Center on March 11, 1978 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Ron Tweedy: “Been messing around with AI-generated vocals this weekend. Here’s Johnny Cash (American Recordings-era) singing Brian Sauvé’s Psalm 23. I had to pitch the music half an octave so it would fit his natural vocal range.”

I am not a huge fan of AI, but this is the world we live in now, and let’s just be honest, this week’s FIVE have been a little on the heavy side… So, if I must enjoy AI what better mash up than Johnny Cash and Psalm 23, it’s kind of eerie, and pretty cool! Click the link above to listen in.


That’s my five! 🤚🏼

Are you enjoying, “The Five?” If so, please forward this to a friend and invite them to follow along at

Did you see something inspiring, challenging, convicting, or just plain funny on the internet this week? Let me know your requests and suggestions on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and just maybe they will make, “The Five,” next week. Which of the Five was your favorite this week? Let me know! Just comment on FB or send a tweet or instagram msg to @mikehooperjr be sure to tag #TheFive 

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you in church on the Lord’s Day!

~ Pastor Mike Hooper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *