Category Archives: News and Views

Let’s Talk Bluntly About Race

This is convicting and encouraging and exhorting and more. It is a must-listen by Matt Chandler about Racial Reconciliation.

And Darrin Patrick brings together a diverse group of people to discuss racial issues:How should we respond to Ferguson?

 

A Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond? by Ed Stetzer

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/november/decision-in-ferguson-how-should-evangelicals-respond.html

“I think it is of utmost importance that all Christians, but specifically white evangelicals, talk a little less and listen a little more.”

We need to put our guard down, open up, and lean into this discussion so that we may learn, change, and most importantly display the light of the Gospel to the watching world.

Update 11/26/2014
Good thoughts from Thabiti Anyabwile – “Justice–that perfect justice ushered in by the Perfect Judge and Lord–will be final. When He comes it will be good news for those who love His appearing, and it will be eternally devastating news for those who love unrighteousness. His justice will not be blind; it will be perfectly informed, comprehending all the facts and all the intents of the heart. His blazing righteousness will be the undoing of everything corrupt and in His kingdom there will be no evil. I wait with panting for that Day. Until then, I labor with the faith and resolve that comes from knowing such a Day is coming and we’re called to live in light of it.”

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2014/11/26/why-i-believe-the-grand-jury-got-it-wrong-and-injustice-triumphed/

“both sides are living under their own separate stories but the way forward requires us to live into the same story.”

http://gracemosaic.org/2014/11/ferguson-a-way-forward

Thoughts on Ferguson by Voddie Baucham – “In the end, the best lesson my children can learn from Ferguson is not that they need to be on the lookout for white cops. It is far more important that I use this teachable moment to remind them that “God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Moments before his death, Michael Brown had violently robbed a man in a store. A man doing the best he could to make a living. Minutes later, Brown reaped what he sowed, and was gunned down in the street. That is the sad truth.

My sons have far more to fear from making bad choices than they have to fear from the police. The overwhelming majority of police officers are decent people just trying to make a living. They are much more likely to help you than to harm you. A life of thuggery, however, is NEVER your friend. In the end, it will cost you . . . sometimes, it costs you everything.”

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/thoughts-on-ferguson

Update 12/1/2014

A response to Voddie Baucham by Alan Noble.

http://christandpopculture.com/sins-part-system-vice-versa-thoughts-voddie-bauchams-thoughts-ferguson/

 

But let’s remember: As Christians in this life, we walk in two worlds. Sometimes justice isn’t obvious. Justice is not always swift but it is sure. Jesus, the Son of David will administer justice and equity to all his people. The Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness. O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever.

Legal Schizophrenia

If we found on mars what we find in the womb, there would be no doubt life was discovered. – Garrett Kell

The inconvenient truth to Atheism is David Attenborough’s conclusion: Humans are [a] plague on Earth.

Let that sink in

The law of (un)intended consequences of this kind of thinking says old people should hurry up and die (Taro Aso, Japan’s deputy prime minister), not to mention Roe v. Wade.

Humans are viewed as enhanced animals

Humans are not viewed as made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 9:6). Man as enhanced animals precludes human rights simply because the survival of the fittest rules, and if the survival of weak people relies on large numbers, then the largest group will overcome the weak who are alone and outcast. No one wants to admit this, of course, but the reality is, no one has a right to life if others deem them inferior and unwanted.

We are plagued with Societal Schizophrenia

Google defines Schizophrenia “(in general use) as a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.”

Abortion is Legal Schizophrenia

John Piper explains,

It is illegal to take the life of the unborn if the mother wants the baby, but it is legal to take the life of the unborn if she doesn’t. In the first case the law treats the fetus as a human with rights; in the second case the law treats the fetus as non-human with no rights. Humanness is defined by the desire of the strong. Might makes right. We reject this right to define personhood in the case of Nazi anti-Semitism, Confederate race-based slavery, and Soviet Gulags. When we define the humanness of the unborn by the will of the powerful we know what we are doing.

The website Case for Life nails the whole point of this discussion: What is the unborn? They write, “If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.”

Science

Keith Mathison makes an important point: “Every embryology textbook states that a new genetically distinct human being begins its life at conception.”

C. Ward Kischer, Ph.D., expresses this point in more detail in his article When does human life begin? The final answer (HT),

Every human embryologist and every major textbook of Human Embryology states that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being. The reason why this is true is the following:

From the moment when the sperm makes contact with the oocyte, under conditions we have come to understand and describe as normal, all subsequent development to birth of a living newborn is a fait accompli. That is to say, after that initial contact of spermatozoon and oocyte there is no subsequent moment or stage which is held in arbitration or abeyance by the mother, or the embryo or fetus. Nor is a second contribution, a signal or trigger, needed from the male in order to continue and complete development to birth. Human development is a continuum in which so-called stages overlap and blend one into another. Indeed, all of life is contained within a time continuum. Thus, the beginning of a new life is exacted by the beginning of fertilization, the reproductive event which is the essence of life.

Herein lies the importance of distinguishing between the science of developmental biology and the science of Human Embryology. Within the science of Human Embryology, the continuum of life is more fully appreciated. The fact that development and developmental principles do not cease with birth becomes more fully realized. So, the continuum of human development does not cease until death, whenever that may occur, in utero or at 100 years of age.

In other words, We know what an apple really is.

 

Updated 6/17/2016

Surprise! Life Does Begin at Conception:

It seems that sometimes, when it serves the story, the fact that life begins at conception is perfectly clear to both scientists and the media. Sarah Knapton, Science Editor at the UK Telegraph, writes in an article titled “Bright Flash of Light Marks Incredible Moment Life Begins When Sperm Meets Egg”:

Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.

An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.

Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.

Update: 1/23/2017

The Gospel Coalition:

Here we have the core of the pro-choice argument: You are not a human person if I don’t want you to be. And I have the power to make it so.

The pro-choice regime has nothing deeper, nothing more rational, nothing more humane. That’s the whole argument. I don’t want you to be a person.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-abortion-makes-sense

 

The Gospel Coalition:

How did Psalm 102 change Rosaria Butterfield‘s mind about abortion?

“Here was the line of my undoing: ‘And peoples yet uncreated shall praise and magnify the LORD’ (Ps. 102:18). I got it: abortion is not a right or an entitlement. Abortion steals praise from God by denying image-bearers the opportunity to live through and for him. Abortion despises and attacks and destroys the image of God.”

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/i-thought-planned-parenthood-protected-family-values

 

Crossway:

https://www.crossway.org/blog/2016/05/10-things-you-should-know-about-abortion/

 

National Review:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430152/abortion-roe-v-wade-unborn-children-women-feminism-march-life

 

 

Discussing Harry Potter

Regarding edification, things can only edify if we think rightly about them. To ask, “does it edify?” is simplistic at best. It is what we DO with the subject matter. Are we “thinking” in terms of what is right?

For instance, pastors must deal with people who struggle with a particular sin. That sin is definitely not good by any stretch, but what is edifying is that the Pastor helps the counseled person to think rightly about the issue, hence, he is edifying him.

It just seems to me that the issue of edification comes up as if the topic must do the edifying and we just sit back and be edified without much effort on our part. It is what we DO with the subject that it becomes edifying.

Paul commands us to “THINK on these things” – it is an effort, something we DO to establish edification.

I cannot shield my kids from every evil, however, I can address an issue to help them think rightly about it. When we watch a TV program they like and bad attitudes arise, I like to ask them, “Is this a right attitude? Why not? What kind of attitude must we have in a situation like that? How can we change our attitude from a bad attitude to a good attitude in a situation like that? What makes Jesus happy in this situation?”

THAT is edification. It’s engaging the worldly situations and rightly thinking and acting within those types of situations.

Sometimes it’s good and right to denounce something outright (NC+17 movies?), but to outright denounce something like Harry Potter yet you watch the Wizard of Oz every year, creates questions in your kids’ minds and shows inconsistencies.

With this in mind, let’s begin an edified conversation.

Years ago I struggled through this very issue– edification and Harry Potter. I decided to read proponents and opponents of Harry Potter, and there were some key points the proponents made, at least in my mind, that the opponents could not overcome.

  1. Scripture never condemns using innate ability. In the world of Harry Potter (Lord Of The Rings / Chronicles of Narnia, etc…) the wizards have an innate ability to do magic because their world is innately made of magic.
  2. Scripture condemns obtaining a “power” that is not innate nor from God – like real Wicca, which tries to obtain power outside themselves and God. The worlds of Harry Potter, et al, possess innate power.
  3. Quote: “While this may be considered a positive, one definite negative is that there is no higher power to answer to at all.” I don’t see this as a real point, unless there’s something I’m missing. I am thinking in terms of the book of Esther in Scripture.
  4. The magic in Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings, Chronicles of Narnia are purely fictional. Can you make a patronus charm? Can you take a specific kind of stick and do wondrous things with it because IT has innate “power”? I believe there is a difference in make-believe and what Scripture condemns.

My points overlap with each other, but I wanted to show (at least try to show) different aspects of the same point.

What do you think?

Media and the Massacre

Andy Crouch wrote an article for Christianity Today in which he says, “True compassion requires turning off the news.”

All that any of us who do not live in Newtown, Connecticut, truly needed to know—possibly more than we needed to know—appeared in a 12-word news alert on my phone Friday afternoon. Almost everything else, I believe, was a distraction from the only thing that we who are not first responders, pastors, or parents in that community needed to do at that moment: to pray, which is to say, to put ourselves at the mercy of God and hold those who harmed and those who were harmed before the mercy of God.

Read: Media and the Massacre.

Slave Trade

What we have learned from talking to women is that Maine is a fertile ground for trafficking,

Sadly, the slave trade is alive and well. Bangor Daily News explains,

AUBURN, Maine — The going price for a Maine girl on the countrywide sex slavery market is between $2,500 and $3,500, said Sgt. Tim Ferris of the Portland Police Department on Thursday.

Details like that helped hammer home the point that modern-day slavery is here in Maine during the second annual Not Here Conference that began Thursday in Auburn.

Gerron Jordan reports,

After researching and learning about this “slavery” in the U.S., Havens learned that the term had taken on a slightly different meaning. He said it had a different look than the chains and shackles that people recall learning about in school. This slavery was in the form of human trafficking.

This horrible travesty is happening all over America, as well as, around the world.

Many Americans think the slave trade (aka Human Trafficking) is happening “out there” or only in third world countries.

The sad reality is, It is happening in our own backyard.

100,000 to 300,000 children are exploited, many through prostitution, pornography and sexual entertainment

Tulsa World explains,

It’s a dirty – actually tragic – little secret. The U.S. State Department lists the United States as the No. 1 destination for human trafficking, especially of children and young teens. California, New York, Texas and Oklahoma are at the top of the list of states most active.

Human Trafficking is difficult to quantify much less combat:

Human trafficking … has become a “pervasive part of daily life.” … the tools to deal with the problem are relatively limited, because the only option is to press criminal charges.

Note This series is to raise awareness of the human trafficking epidemic not only around the world but in our backyard in America.

News, Views and Whatnot for 5/19/2012

If you missed what I’ve posted elsewhere, here’s the complete list for this week:

1. Preaching the Truth of the Gospel without Preaching the Gospel

“It is possible to preach much valuable truth essentially belonging to the Gospel, and yet not to preach the Gospel . . .” ~Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry, p. 254

In Preaching Christ by Mark Lauterbach.

2. By Making Him a God, He Can’t Be An Example To Me

In his review of the M. Night Shyamlan movie Lady in the Water, Anthony Sacramone writes:

“Although nominally Hindu, Shyamalan attended Catholic and Episcopal schools before entering NYU’s film school. In The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career on a Fairy Tale, a chronicle of Shyamalan’s struggle to bring Lady to the screen, author Michael Bamberger revisits a Shyamalan quote: ‘I find it much more poignant to think of Jesus as a man, doing what he did purely on faith. … By making him a god, he can’t be an example to me. If you have every piece of magic available to you, and then you walk on water, what’s the big deal? I can’t emulate that. … If Jesus made a blind man see on faith alone, that’s awesome. If he went to the cross as an ordinary man with just unbelievable faith, how inspiring is that? I’d be in awe of that man.'”

3. How does play put God’s glory on display?

“You don’t want to hear God speak these final words: ‘Fool, how did all that pointless play put my glory in display?’ (John Piper, with some words he envisions God speaking) (h/t Bird over at Thinklings)

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4)

Read the rest by Weekend Fisher.

4. A thought-provoking (short-ish) piece on The Prohibition of the Slave Trade v the Abolition of Slavery

The Prohibition of the Slave Trade v the Abolition of Slavery by Weekend Fisher.

News, Views, and Whatnot for 4/7/2012

NPR interviews Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina. She talks about “Ann Romney Is Mitt’s ‘Golden Ticket'” and her conversion to Christianity.

“My husband and I have decided Christianity is the way we want to raise our kids, but everyone has to find their own path to God.”

Matt Rawlings is Reading through the Constitution-Article I, Section 6.

“The reason members of Congress were originally paid per diem instead of a salary was that it was envisioned as a part-time gig! The Founding Fathers wanted a citizen legislature with members who still worked the fields, drafted their neighbors wills and maintained businesses in their own communities. They were only expected to be in Washington for a few months a year at the most. In fact, as I wrote two weeks ago, Founders Gouverner Morris and Rufus King wondered aloud at the Convention if it was even necessary for Congress to meet every year. They didn’t expect Congress to have enough to do to justify meeting annually!”

News, Views and Whatnot for 3/31/2012

Pastor Matt discusses freedom of religion, conscience and enterprise in YOU THINK YOU’RE FREE? (03/27/12).

Pastor Matt is also reading through the Constitution: READING THROUGH THE CONSTITUTION–ARTICLE I, SECTION 4. I’m enjoying this series.

David Murray – So how do you know if you are a workaholic? Workaholics Anonymous – yes, there is such an organization – provides 20 questions. They include: Workaholism.

Robert Spencer is blogging again! He has always been one of my favorite reads. Check him out at Gospel Chronicles. I’m excited about this!

So Good: Everything (Jesus) Is Amazing And Nobody’s Happy over at Holiday at the Sea.

“I worry that we’re simply emphasizing our culture’s consumeristic tendencies rather than challenging them. I find it instructive that the church actually thrives in cultures of persecution and lulls itself in to complacency in most of the free world.”

Pastor Dave muses on when followers of Christ have liberty and when we are just engaging in license (HT: Matt Rawlings).

Please Stop Apologizing – We have become a nation of pansies. “I don’t want to be, ahem, ‘offended’.” Who cares if someone says something you don’t like? Grow a backbone and shrug it off. It’s called freedom of speech.

The Most Aggressively Inarticulate Generation