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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: March 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Theology Hits Nightline on ABC - Is Satan Real?

Is Satan Real? That sounds like a discussion for grad school. But it showed up on ABC's Nightline - Face off. Pretty fascinating to watch this unfold. The debate about Satan was secondary to the worldview / philosophical questions that came up as the participants spoke.

Some notable quotes:

Depaak Chopra - "Healthy people have no need for sin" - "belief is a cover up for insecurity"

Bishop Carlton Pearson - "the bible is the inspired word of man about best as man can perceive"

Mark Driscoll - "if you don't allow cannot have love" and " may have heard of him...really big Dude"

Annie Lobert - "Prior to meeting Jesus, my life was flat line"

It is worth a watch (Click here). Ask yourself...with whom do you disagree and why? How would you have responded if you were a panelist?

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jesus - Accepting His Teaching and Lordship in Everyday Life

When it comes to following Jesus (whether followers for quite sometime or anyone considering following him for the first time), we have to ask a very fundamental question. Was Jesus right?

“Jesus is Lord can mean little in practice for anyone who hesitates before saying Jesus is smart…he is not just nice, he is brilliant. He is the smartest man who ever lived”--Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy)

Jesus needs to know about life...not just heaven someday. And He does...He has a PHD in all of life. The disciple of Jesus starts by saying Jesus is right, about everything.

John Ortberg summarizes this well:

“…if I want to fully experience the love of Jesus, I must receive one of his most important gifts he sends me—his teaching. I must invite Jesus to be the personal Teacher of my life. I must trust that he is right—about everything. And that therefore where I disagree with him I must either be wrong or not yet understand what it was he was saying. I must allow Jesus to teach me how to live.”

That is a good posture to start and conclude each day.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Jonathan Morrow will be at LifeWay Christian Stores in Murfreesboro, TN from 11-1 this Saturday

Hello everyone, I will be doing a book signing this Saturday at the LifeWay bookstore in Murfreesboro, TN from 11-1. Come on out if you are in the area!

Also you can still hear my interview on Family Life Today with Dennis Raney and Bob Lepine (Thursday 26th and Friday 27th) for Welcome to College: A Christ-follower's Guide for the Journey.
It will be airing on radio stations nationally. To find where and when it will play in your area, click here. To listen to it online or podcast it, click here.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jonathan Morrow on Family Life Today talking about Welcome to College

Hello everyone, I will be interviewed on Family Life Today with Dennis Raney and Bob Lepine today and tomorrow (Thursday 26th and Friday 27th) for Welcome to College: A Christ-follower's Guide for the Journey.

It will be airing on radio stations nationally.

To find where and when it will play in your area, click here.

To listen to it online or podcast it, click here.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Staring into the Abyss: Why Peter Singer makes the New Atheists nervous.

I came across an interesting article the other day by Dinesh D'Souza

here is an excerpt:

"I write this fresh from debating bioethicist Peter Singer on "Can we be moral without God?" at Singer's home campus, Princeton University. Singer is a mild-mannered fellow who speaks calmly and lucidly. Yet you wouldn't have to read his work too long to find his extreme positions. He cheerfully advocates infanticide and euthanasia and, in almost the same breath, favors animal rights. Even most liberals would have qualms about third-trimester abortions; Singer does not hesitate to advocate what may be termed fourth-trimester abortions, i.e., the killing of infants after they are born."

His conclusion is perceptive as well...

"Some of Singer's critics have called him a Nazi and compared his proposals to Hitler's schemes for eliminating those perceived as unwanted and unfit. A careful reading of his work, however, shows that Singer is no Hitler. He doesn't want state-sponsored killings. Rather, he wants the decision to kill to be made by private individuals like you and me. Instead of government-conducted genocide, Singer favors free-market homicide."

"Why haven't the atheists embraced Peter Singer? I suspect it is because they fear that his unpalatable views will discredit the cause of atheism. What they haven't considered, however, is whether Singer, virtually alone among their numbers, is uncompromisingly working out the implications of living in a truly secular society, one completely purged of Christian and transcendental foundations. In Singer, we may be witnessing someone both horrifying and yet somehow refreshing: an intellectually honest atheist."

(HT - STR)

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Does Christianity lead to a different kind of life?

I was reading this morning and came a cross a passage that I thought was well written and thought provoking in a good way:

"Lots of Christians are stuck knowing something of the history and rules of the history and rules of Christianity, but it does not translate into a different kind of life. There is also a growing group of people with a different challenge: they know little to nothing of the Christian story. Whether no story or the wrong story, each prevents us from pulling our life into alignment with God--and it is really our life that counts. This pursuit of God and his story has nothing to do with earning some advantage from God, avoiding hell or achieving heaven; it is born from simple, focused desire to arrange our life to follow Jesus."--Todd Hunter (Christianity Beyond Belief, 51)

That last part is what Christianity is...following Jesus. Becoming his daily apprentice. Certainly heaven is real, but we do not believe in Christianity someday...eternal life is available today, and then tomorrow, and the day after. That is the good news of the Kingdom of God that Jesus announced. God's power and presence are now available so that whoever asks for it can live a different kind of life. That life starts the day you make Jesus your leader, teacher, and savior (cf. John 17:3).

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bart Ehrman's latest book on Jesus...more of the same?

Ehrman's latest work on what else "all scholars" have known for a long time but not telling you about Jesus and Christianity has been released.

New Testament scholar Darrell Bock has begun an initial review of it. click here to read.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Morally Unserious in the Extreme

I came across this article from our friends at Stand to Reason, and it is worth a read. It is an illuminating analysis of President Obama's embryonic stem cell research policies and moral reasoning (or lack thereof) by someone who is non-religious.

Morally Unserious in the Extreme By Charles Krauthammer

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Friday, March 13, 2009

My talk is now available online on the New Atheism

Hello everyone! I had a great time meeting some new friends up at Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, TN last week when I spoke on the New Atheism. It was a lot of fun and they had great questions. Thanks to Inversion for inviting me up. If you missed the talk, you can listen to it here.

The New Atheism by Jonathan Morrow

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The God Debates

Is God up for debate in our culture? Actually, yes. And it is creating a fascinating, feisty, and needed interchange of ideas. Click here to read an article on the God Debates.

For a wonderful book to read exploring the God question, check out my review here...

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Embryonic Stem Cell Ban Lifted

"After much discussion, debate, and reflection, the proper course has become clear. The majority of Americans from across the political spectrum, and from all backgrounds and beliefs have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research...that the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight; the perils can be avoided..." (President Obama's speech on CNN).

Article on reversing ban

Bioethics is in the news quite a bit lately. From designer babies to stem cells; we need to know how to think about these issues.

Notice the argument (or lack of one). A majority of people? Truth and the status of the embryo is the question; not how many noses we can count in favor of a particular position. A majority of people can be and often are wrong.

Fact: these are human embryos. they don't become human, they are human. They may be really small humans, but they are still human. Why is it that some humans can be killed--in the name of research--so that others might be cured (without their consent).

Here is a short and easy to understand introduction to the topic of Stem Cells.

Have scientists been successful in using embryonic stem cells to treat disease?

"Though embryonic stem cells have been purported as holding great medical promise, reports of actual clinical success have been few. Instead, scientists conducting research on embryonic stem cells have encountered significant obstacles—including tumor formation, unstable gene expression, and an inability to stimulate the cells to form the desired type of tissue. It may indeed be telling that some biotechnology companies have chosen not to invest financially in embryonic stem cell research and some scientists have elected to focus their research exclusively on non-embryonic stem cell research."

For more on this issue, see Biotechnology and the Human Good. Also,
Embryo: A Defense of Human Life by Robert P. George & Christopher Tollefsen

This one is not going to go away.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Going to Soul School with Jesus

We need to go to school. We need to learn from Jesus. Indeed, he invites us to learn from him:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."--Matt. 11:28-30

"A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher."--Luke 6:40

But will power will not get it done. Trying harder in the spiritual life will lead to frustration and disappointment. Dallas Willard observes: “We cannot behave ‘on the spot’ as Jesus did and taught if in the rest of our time we live as everybody else does.” Amen. We need to train for the spiritual life; not just try harder.

Paul tells us to "train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

Recently, I taught an equipping seminar on this topic called Soul School: Learning From Jesus How to Live. Understanding the training vs. trying distinction has been one of the most liberating expereinces of my Christian life. Spiritual disciplines and practices are for us; not God. It isn't about performance, legalism, or guilt--it is about transformation.

(Description) How was Jesus able to do what he did? What did he think about? What practices and priorities did he arrange his life around? What does it look like 'to train' for the 'Jesus way of life'? Being a disciple means becoming like our Teacher. The fundamental question you and I have to answer each day is...does Jesus know what he is talking about? If you have ever wondered about how spiritual disciplines work (without being motivated by guilt), then this seminar is for you.

Click here to listen.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

What is the New Atheism?

I am speaking on this topic this Thursday at Fellowship Bible Church Brentwood, click here for details. If you are in the area, come on out.

Here is a 2 minute video of Tim Keller on the New Atheism. It is important that we engage the issues and arguments (i.e., not demonize critics of Christianity), but do so with gentleness and respect (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15-16):

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