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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: August 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More teens becoming 'fake' Christians?

Interesting article at CNN on the spiritual lives of teenagers:
"If you're the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning: Your child is following a "mutant" form of Christianity, and you may be responsible. Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls "moralistic therapeutic deism." Translation: It's a watered-down faith that portrays God as a "divine therapist" whose chief goal is to boost people's self-esteem. Dean is a minister, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of "Almost Christian," a new book that argues that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this self-serving strain of Christianity. She says this "imposter'' faith is one reason teenagers abandon churches. "If this is the God they're seeing in church, they are right to leave us in the dust," Dean says. "Churches don't give them enough to be passionate about." (more...)
Christian worldview training is not optional for the church. We must talk about what we believe, why we believe it, and why it matters on a regular basis.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Same-Sex Marriage, Public Opinion, and the "Seinfeld Effect"

"Americans appear to accept same-sex marriage more than they really do, perhaps because they believe it to be more widely accepted than it really is."

These are the opening words of an article in which the authors expound on the "Seinfeld Effect"

"In the 1993 Seinfeld episode “The Outing,” a female reporter mistakes Jerry Seinfeld and his friend George Costanza for homosexual partners. When her misunderstanding dawns on them, they vehemently deny that they are gay, yet constantly punctuate their denials with the rote expression “not that there’s anything wrong with that!” As heterosexual men, Jerry and George are both keen to be taken for what they are, but there’s more to it than that: they can’t entirely inhibit revulsion at the idea that others think they are homosexual, and perhaps revulsion at the very idea of being homosexual.

Their repeated exclamation “not that there’s anything wrong with that!”—invariably uttered with far less passion than their denials—is a socially conditioned response. Somewhere they have learned that it is unacceptable to cast aspersions on homosexuality, and that the politically correct response is to say (as Jerry does at one point, albeit rather too excitedly), “People’s personal sexual preferences are nobody’s business but their own!” Jerry and George struggle to suppress what they really think with what they have been taught to think is “enlightened opinion.” Call it the Seinfeld Effect.

Seventeen years later, the advocates of same-sex marriage are making “people’s personal sexual preferences” everybody’s business, and are counting on the Seinfeld Effect to suppress what most Americans really think about same-sex marriage. They are waging their struggle, after all, not just in courts of law but also in the court of public opinion, and the advocates’ success with certain judges will not be secure unless most Americans are with them. So how are they doing?

A CNN/Gallup poll released on August 11 found that 52% of respondents supported and only 46% opposed same-sex marriage—a result widely trumpeted as the first time a majority expressed this view. But in an important finding, a North Carolina firm called Public Policy Polling discovered that its method of automated polling or “robo-calls,” in which respondents interact on their phone with a computer-controlled interview system rather than a human interviewer, yields significantly higher numbers of Americans who oppose same-sex marriage." (More....)

H/T - First Thoughts Blog

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Genesis of an Idea

"Ideas are born, nurtured, and developed in the universities long before they step out onto the political stage." - Nancy Pearcey

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Friday, August 27, 2010

'Forget pizza parties,' teens tell churches

Interesting USA Today article on youth and why they are staying / leaving the longer entertaining? We can't out entertain the world...but the Truth about all of reality; now that's something we can offer!

"Bye-bye church. We're busy." That's the message teens are giving churches today. Only about one in four teens now participate in church youth groups, considered the hallmark of involvement; numbers have been flat since 1999. Other measures of religiosity — prayer, Bible reading and going to church — lag as well, according to Barna Group, a Ventura, Calif., evangelical research company. This all has churches canceling their summer teen camps and youth pastors looking worriedly toward the fall, when school-year youth groups kick in. "Talking to God may be losing out to Facebook," says Barna president David Kinnaman." (Read More)
We need to help students connect relationally with other Christians (peers) and an older mentor / adult and we need to teach them to be able to articulate and defend what they believe, why they believe it, and why it matters.

Welcome to College: A Christ-Follower's Guide for the Journey would be a great place to start.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Do Americans Change Faiths?

New Barna Group Poll:

"When author Anne Rice recently “quit Christianity” on her Facebook page, she lit up the blogosphere and sparked interest among media. Though the novelist announced that this time she was quitting “in the name of Christ,” her previous journey away from – and back to – the Christian faith had been well chronicled.

Just how common is this type of experience for Americans? How many Americans change faiths? A multi-year study conducted by the Barna Group explores the percentage of Americans who report shifting to a different faith or significantly changing their faith views during their life...." (More)

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Embryonic Stem Cell Research back in the News

Here is a helpful blog post by stand to reason...check it out

The facts of science are clear: From the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. (more on the scientific case)

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Latest think Christianly Podcast - Cultivating a Prayerful Life

Have you ever struggled with prayer? Me too! This is the first of a two part podcast where we are going to explore how to break the unhealthy prayer cycle that governs many of our lives so that we can experience God more deeply through prayer.

Click here to listen

In preparing for this, I read an excellent book that I would highly recommend:

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Is God Just a Human Invention? Jonathan Morrow and Sean McDowell Respond to the New Atheists

The Question of God is up for public debate. Here are just two of many examples: Two weeks ago, the Huffington Post ran an article by atheist Victor Stenger that began, "Even the most pious believer has to admit that there is no scientific evidence for God or anything else supernatural." (more) Is this true?

And then there is the freedom from religion foundation's billboard campaign where they are trying to spread the good news of atheism: "Sleep In On Sundays," "Imagine No Religion," "God & Government: A Dangerous Mix," and "In Reason We Trust." (more) Do atheists rely on reason alone while the faithful cling to religious wishful thinking?

In the past few years there has been a resurgence of interest in the case against God. From books to bus campaigns, the question of God’s existence is back in the forefront of public dialogue. And the New Atheists have been leading the charge. Perhaps you are familiar with some of their titles—God Is Not Great (Hitchens), The God Delusion (Dawkins), or The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (Harris)—books which have appeared consecutively on best-seller lists.

Their bottom line is: Religion is not just false; it’s dangerous and must be eliminated! And by religion, they mostly have Christianity in mind. Richard Dawkins lays all his cards on the table: “I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been invented.” He continues, “Unless otherwise stated, I shall have Christianity mostly in mind.” Clear enough.

So how should Christians respond? As we see it, the difference between an opportunity and a challenge largely depends upon how a person responds. The New Atheists want people to question their faith. So do we. If Christianity is really true, then it has nothing to fear from honest and vigorous investigation. Let the best ideas win! (contrary to what you may have been told, reason is the friend of Christianity). In the end, everyone has to answer the big questions in life: Where did I come from? Do I matter? Is there a God? If so, does this God care about me? Was Jesus really who he claimed to be? What is the good life? Is there life after death? Explore the evidence and see for yourself.

That's why Sean McDowell and I have written a book responding to the 18 most challenging questions raised by the New Atheists. Our goal was to respond to their arguments point by point, but do it in a conversational, engaging, and respectful tone. We'll let you decide if we were successful. You can read about it, including excerpts from the book, and watch a short video at One thing is for sure, there is no more important question than whether God exists and the conversation playing out in the media and in the classroom won't be going away any time soon. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, are you prepared to have that conversation and defend your faith (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3)?

Watch Video:

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Muslims Coming to Christ at Historic Rate Evangelists Say

There is a lot in the news right now about Islam and I thought I would share this recent story to remind us that God is powerfully working to draw Muslims to Himself!

"Christians ministering quietly in the Middle East say Muslims are coming to Christ at an unprecedented pace despite intense persecution of those who leave Islam.
"Probably in the last 10 years, more Muslims have come to faith in Christ than in the last 15 centuries of Islam," said Tom Doyle, Middle East-Central Asia director for e3 Partners, a Texas-based missions agency.

A former pastor, Doyle has been to the Middle East around 80 times and last week returned to the U.S. from a trip to Jerusalem, where he said both Muslims and Jews are turning to Christianity.

Earlier this month, more than 200 former Muslims were baptized during a training conference in Europe led by Iran-born evangelist Lazarus Yeghnazar. Brenda Ajamian, a former missionary to the Middle East who partners with Yeghnazar's 222 Ministries International, said the event was unlike anything she'd seen during her years ministering in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.

"That many Muslims who converted to Christ in one place boggled my mind because missionaries have worked in the Arab world and Muslim world generally for years and without much fruit," Ajamian said. "God is at work among Muslims."

Ajamian said she was told at the conference that drug addiction and depression run rampant in many nations, particularly in Iran, where the cleric-led government has attempted to squash pro-democracy movements. "People are so fed up with the kinds of lives they lead. ... They're turning to Christ even in spite of the very real possibility of persecution and death and imprisonment," she said.

Desperation is also a big factor in bringing many Jews to Christ, Doyle said. "In the last 20 years more Jews [also] have become followers of Jesus than in the last 2,000 years of Christianity," he said.

Radio, television and Internet-based Christian programming have been key in evangelizing Muslim nations. Yeghnazar claims more than 3,000 Iranians are converted each month through his Farsi-language television and Internet broadcasts.

And Doyle said Father Zakaria Botross, a born-again Coptic priest, reaches about 60 million people through his television programs broadcast across the Middle East. "The apostle Paul to the Muslims is no question Father Zakaria," Doyle said.

But many Muslim-background believers have said they came to Christ after having dreams and visions of Jesus.

"I can't tell you how many Muslims I've met who say: ‘I was content. I was a Muslim, and all of a sudden I get this dream about Jesus and He loved me and said come follow Me," Doyle said.

Doyle notes that the supernatural is an important part of the Islamic faith. Through the course of his life, Mohammed claimed to have had visions and encounters, particularly of the angel Gabriel.

"God is going into their context," said Doyle. But instead of finding guidance from Allah, Muslims are finding Jesus...." (Read More)

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Washington Times Book Review of Intelligent Design

Here is a very perceptive review of Signature in the Cell, enjoy:

In "The Blind Watchmaker," atheist Richard Dawkins proclaimed, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." Now, with the paperback release of Stephen C. Meyer's "Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design," theists can rejoin with, "Meyer made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled theist." Indeed, in his book, Mr. Meyer begins the chorus by stating that "as a Christian theist, I find this implication of intelligent design 'intellectually satisfying.' "

But, to suppose that "Signature in the Cell" is a book that argues for intelligent design (ID) from a religious or even metaphysical perspective is to suppose badly. For this book makes a strong case for ID as a rigorous scientific argument for the origin of life - at least as rigorous and scientific as any purely materialistic explanation such as neo-Darwinism.

Whether it be evolutionary/materialistic- or ID-based, the fundamental challenge for any proposition that claims to explicate the causes for life's inception is this: Explain in a scientific way "the origin of the central feature of living things: information." Mr. Meyer claims that orthodox evolutionary thinking, with its reliance upon chance and necessity, has failed to meet that challenge.

"Signature in the Cell" makes the case for ID being the only reasonable scientific explanation for the origin of information by showing first that overall, ID studies operate like other historic scientific endeavors (such as archaeology and crime-scene investigation) and indeed follow a method popularized by Darwin himself in "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection."

The method relies on "inference to the best explanation." (However, in the case of ID investigations, the possibility of an intelligent cause is not ruled out a priori.) Mr. Meyer states that "like other scientific theories concerned with explaining events in the remote past, intelligent design is testable by comparing its explanatory power to that of competing theories."

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why Does Hollywood Hate 'To Save a Life'?

I came across this article and I thought it highlighted some interesting and important points:

"Earlier this year I was blessed with the opportunity to co-star in the film “To Save a Life.” It turned out to be one of the most successful faith-based films of all time. Aimed squarely at teenagers facing seemingly insurmountable problems, the movie’s most poignant message ultimately dealt with suicide and the value of each individual life.

Attending premiers for the film I realized that, as an actor, for the first time I’d played a role in a film that amounted to more than merely a paycheck. Girls and young men would leave the theater crying, declaring a renewed outlook on life. Peace on earth, good will toward men, all that jazz.

The Hollywood elitists hated it. Surprisingly in most of the nasty reviews, the arrogant critics praised the film for its high-production quality and more than capable cast. What they had a problem with…was its Christian message.

For those of you who haven't seen the film, here's a short summary: After the suicide of his former best friend, protagonist Jake Taylor finds himself disgusted with the way he’s treated others, and the way he’s lived his life. Approached by a youth pastor, Jake ends up giving his life over to God, dedicating himself to becoming a better person and ultimately, saving the life of somebody else.

Quick! Hide the children, this kind of smut will rot their brains.

In fact, look at what some of the critics said:

"It does a disservice to the many real, honestly troubled teens out there looking for a lifeline." – NPR

"The film would be a mere nuisance if not for its shameless exploitation of school shootings to advance its agenda.… But forget the lame performances and arch, preachy sentiment; the movie’s sham hip-hop and spurious alternative music alone should keep teenagers away. Thank goodness."– The New York Times

Let’s contrast that to the letters that still flood my Inbox from teenagers every day"

"Saw it last night. It was a great movie! Felt touched and moved to be more than mediocre!"

"Just saw 'To Save a Life' and know that there are some people I can convince that their life is worth living!"

"I just watched it last night & I am a better man because of it."

"I cried so hard when I watched the movie. I am still crying and it's 1:14am! I am going to change my ways like Jake did and I will NEVER ignore another kid at my high school!"

Seems to me that this “preachy nuisance” of a film has not only bettered a lot of people’s lives, but maybe (as the title suggests) even saved a few....." (more)

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Prop. 8 ruling ignores precedent, evidence and common sense

Hugh Hewitt highlighted this article from the Washington Post on prop 8 and it is worth a read:

Even some who support same-sex marriage worry that, in striking down California's voter-approved proposition defining marriage as between one man and one woman, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker went too far. They are right -- and not the only ones who should be concerned. Walker's ruling is indefensible as a matter of law wholly apart from its result.

By refusing to acknowledge binding Supreme Court precedent, substantial evidence produced at trial that was contrary to the holding and plain common sense, the ruling exhibits none of the requirements of a traditional decision. This opinion is arbitrary and capricious, and its alarming legal methodology and overtly policy-driven tenor are too extreme to stand.

Regardless of whether one agrees with the result, structurally sound opinions always confront binding legal precedent. Walker's is a clear exception because the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken on whether a state's refusal to authorize same-sex marriage violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. In 1972, Baker v. Nelson, a case over whether Minnesota violated the Constitution by issuing marriage licenses only to opposite-sex couples, was unanimously thrown out on the merits, for lack of a substantial federal question. The Supreme Court's action establishes a binding precedent in favor of Proposition 8. But Judge Walker's ruling doesn't mention Baker, much less attempt to distinguish it or accept its findings.... (More)

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

2010 EPS Apologetics Conference: Set Forth Your Case - Equipping Christians for Discipleship and Evangelism

I want to tell you about an incredible conference you don't want to miss. I have attended this conference several times over the years and was blown away by the quality of training made available. This year I am honored to participate on a panel discussion on apologetics and youth.

"Come for three days and learn from Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, Greg Koukl, Randy Newman and twenty-five other influencers in Christian apologetics as they equip you about the issues facing contemporary Christian witness. Enjoy individual plenary sessions, breakout sessions, and panel discussions on cutting-edge issues facing contemporary Christian witness."

View Sessions and Tracks, click here

Here are the Top Five Reasons to Attend:
  1. Receive training from nationally-recognized leaders and communicators in prominent areas of apologetics, theology, philosophy, history and science.
  2. Grow in confidence in God and the truthfulness of Christianity as a worldview.
  3. Catch a vision for how apologetics work and training is fruitful for the local church.
  4. Learn how to graciously persuade and compel people to consider reasons and evidences for Christian truth claims.
  5. Network and partner with fellow Christian leaders, organizations, teachers, and authors intent on equipping and edifying people to be an empowered witness for God and His kingdom in our communities.
When & Where?

November 18 - 20, 2010
Johnson Ferry Baptist Church
Marietta, Georgia

To register, click here

More information to come soon, but if you can, sign up today. The challenges facing the church today are staggering. Are you ready to respond? (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3).

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Islam in Two Americas

Drew Douthat has written a helpful op-ed for the New York Times on the social / cultural responses surrounding Islam in America. Questions of rights and freedoms abound. But I want to add one more layer to his discussion. That of worldview. Judeo-Christian principles are the bedrock upon which freedom of religion and basic human rights reside and the framers of the Constitution were well aware of this. These "American Ideals" are most assuredly not the fruit of an Islamic worldview (a quick glance at history and around the world where Islam is the dominant religion make that very clear). So yes there are politics and cultural issues. But the more fundamental discussion that needs to be had is a worldview discussion--Is orthodox Islam (i.e., not the secularized / politically correct / privatized version) compatible with American Democracy?

"There’s an America where it doesn’t matter what language you speak, what god you worship, or how deep your New World roots run. An America where allegiance to the Constitution trumps ethnic differences, language barriers and religious divides. An America where the newest arrival to our shores is no less American than the ever-so-great granddaughter of the Pilgrims.

But there’s another America as well, one that understands itself as a distinctive culture, rather than just a set of political propositions. This America speaks English, not Spanish or Chinese or Arabic. It looks back to a particular religious heritage: Protestantism originally, and then a Judeo-Christian consensus that accommodated Jews and Catholics as well. It draws its social norms from the mores of the Anglo-Saxon diaspora — and it expects new arrivals to assimilate themselves to these norms, and quickly. These two understandings of America, one constitutional and one cultural, have been in tension throughout our history. And they’re in tension again this summer, in the controversy over the Islamic mosque and cultural center scheduled to go up two blocks from ground zero." (more)

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Beyond Worldview Contradictions

Naturalism fails to explain even the most basic elements of our existence. And deep down everyone knows this. Theism is the only view of the world that really explains all that we experience. Here is a very clear exposition of this:

“The physical world provides no room for freedom of will….[yet] that concept is essential to our models of the mental realm. Too much of our psychology is based on it for us to ever give it up. [And so] We’re virtually forced to maintain that belief, even though we know it’s false.” - Marvin Minsky (MIT)

Or...we could give up the worldview of Scientific Naturalism? For it is far more obvious to me that I have free will than all of reality can be explained / reduced to "physics, chemistry, and biology."

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Redeeming Souls and Minds

"The problem is not only to win souls but to save minds. If you win the whole world and lose the mind of the world, you will soon discover you have not won the world." - CHARLES MALIK

It is critical that Christians cultivate a thoughtful faith and not abdicate "thinking" to the secular realm (Matt. 22:37; 2 Cor. 10:3-5). Contrary to popular misconceptions both within and outside of the church, faith and thinking well go together and ours is to be an integrated devotion to Jesus Christ. For we are to have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

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Friday, August 13, 2010

What is the origin of digital information found in DNA? (Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Latest think Christianly Podcast - Spiritual But Not Religious?

CNN recently had an article about the growing number of emerging adults who are self-identifying as a "spiritual but not religious." What does this mean for Christianity and its claim to be Total Truth? Find out on the latest think Christianly podcast.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

But Will It Make You Happy?

Happiness...its what everyone wants, but precious few can define. Happiness includes emotion, but it is far more than that. This is where most current discussion of happiness goes astray.

This interesting New York Times article offers little gems of long forgotten and oft ignored concepts. For example, "BEFORE credit cards and cellphones enabled consumers to have almost anything they wanted at any time, the experience of shopping was richer, says Ms. Liebmann of WSL Strategic Retail. “You saved for it, you anticipated it,” she says. In other words, waiting for something and working hard to get it made it feel more valuable and more stimulating."

For more, click here.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

CNN Video - Extended interview: Hitchens on cancer and atheism

Here is Anderson Cooper's interview with New Atheist Christopher Hitchens. Author of books like "God is not Great" he raises questions worth talking about though I disagree with his answers. For more on the arguments of the New Atheism visit

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Truth with a capital "T"

“Christianity is not a series of truths in the plural, but rather truth spelled with a capital “T.” Truth about total reality, not just about religious things. Biblical Christianity is Truth concerning total reality — and the intellectual holding of that total Truth and then living in the light of that Truth.”

Address at the University of Notre Dame April 1981

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Friday, August 6, 2010

From Atheism to Christianity

Not God's Type? A very cool story...

“Smart people don’t become Christians,” Holly Ordway, a college professor, thought when she was an atheist.

However, a student in Biola’s Christian Apologetics graduate program showed her otherwise. Josh Runyan, and his wife, Heidi, modeled winsome Christian kindness and care along with intellectual attentiveness to Ordway’s questions, obstacles and curiosities about God, Christianity and life.


“It is a hard thing to look at the truth when it runs contrary to what you’ve always believed,” writes Ordway about the atheism of her youth and 20s. “I was not looking for God. Make no mistake. I did not believe that He existed. I was a college professor — logical, intellectual, rational — and an atheist.”

What happened? Fundamentally, a change in her worldview began to occur at age 31 along with a struggle in her own will.

“I was drawn, against my conscious will, and against my own inclination, to be interested in matters of faith,” Ordway writes.

Nonetheless, “My naturalistic worldview was inadequate to explain the nature of reality in a coherent way: it could not explain the origin of the universe, nor could it explain morality,” Ordway says.

On the other hand, she came to acknowledge, “the theistic worldview was both consistent and powerfully explanatory: it offered a convincing, rationally consistent, and logical explanation for everything that the naturalistic worldview explained plus all the things that the naturalistic worldview couldn’t.” (More)
Fore more, see:
Not God's Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Christian responses to Judge overturning Calif. gay marriage ban (Prop 8) as unconstitutional

For the AP story, click here. For Washington Post, click here.

Dr. Bill Maier (PsyD) offers an important reminder: "When we're discussing the same-sex marriage, it's critical that we clearly articulate what this debate is really about and what it's not about:
  • It's not about whether gays and lesbians are nice people or good citizens. Some are, some aren't, just like heterosexuals.
  • It's not about whether gays and lesbians can form loving relationships--of course they can. (We might argue that they are not experiencing love as God intended for it to be experienced, bu they certainly share feelings of affection.)
  • It's not about whether gays and lesbians can be loving parents. There are nurturing, caring gay couples raising children all across this country. (Whether they are providing their children with what they truly need is another matter...)
  • It's not about whether gays and lesbians should be treated with respect and dignity. Every member of the human race should be treated with respect and dignity.
Here's What I believe this debate is about:
  • It's about whether we have the right to redefine marriage so it is elastic enough to include any grouping of adults.
  • It's about whether we acknowledge the wonderful human diversity expressed in two sexes, male and female.
  • It's about whether men and women complement and complete each other in their differences.
  • It's about whether mothers and fathers play unique and irreplaceable roles in the lives of their children, precisely because of their sex.
  • It's about whether there are compelling societal reasons to define marriage as one thing and not as another."
For more, see:
The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality: A Biblical and Compassionate Response to Same-Sex Attraction

Here are a couple of responses: (from Ruth Institute):
Dr Jennifer Roback Morse, Foundress and President of the Ruth Institute, lamented the overturn of Proposition 8 by openly gay Judge Vaughn Walker, who is widely reported to be gay. “Judge Walker’s reasoning today in overturning Prop 8 illustrates that he does not understand the essential public purpose of marriage, which is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another. He replaces this public purpose with private purposes of adults’ feelings and desires.”
Dr. Morse continued: “by the time Judge Walker and his ilk are finished, there will be nothing left of marriage but a government registry of friendships. The essential problem of attaching children to the mothers and fathers will be pushed aside, and will have to be solved some other way.”

The Ruth Institute has been active in the efforts to educate the public about the essential public purpose of marriage, the social benefits of natural marriage, and the harms to society from redefining marriage. Dr Morse, former economics professor at Yale and George Mason Universities, produced a four hour lecture series, called “Same Sex Marriage Affects Everyone.” To quote just a few of the many arguments she made in that series: Redefining marriage as the union of any two persons will undermine the biological basis for parenthood, which amounts to a redefinition of parenthood. Same sex Marriage will marginalize men from the family. Redefining marriage will increase the power of the state over civil society, including religious bodies.
“Surely the voters have the right to be consulted before making such a major change in public policy,” Dr. Morse said today. “Judge Walker has no right to disparage the voters of California the way he does in this opinion. “

His opinion amounts to this sloppy syllogism. ‘First, I don’t understand that there are any arguments in favor of natural marriage. Therefore, there are no arguments in favor of natural marriage. Conclusion: unlawful animus against gays and lesbians is the only possible reason 7 million voters supported natural marriage.’ Dr. Morse stated: “The fact that he doesn’t understand the arguments, doesn’t mean there aren’t any. And it is truly unprecedented for a judge to decide that some ideas cannot even be contested in public debate. The Ruth Institute will continue to educate the public about the significant role of natural marriage in society, and the harms from redefining marriage.”

We need to keep three aspects of this discussion in the right context. Make sure you are answering the right questions with the appropriate answers. 1) What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? 2) How can Christians with compassion and love engage those who struggle with same-sex attraction? 3) Why marriage between one man and one woman for a lifetime should be protected and endorsed for the good of the society as a whole (Christians are for marriage; not against gays).

There will certainly be more to come in the days ahead and there is much at stake in this debate. What is needed now, is clear thinking and winsome engagement. May the church respond well.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Is being "open-minded" a good thing?

Only if the point is to stay open long enough until you find something reasonable to close your mind around. As we live in the era of "new tolerance" we find ourselves being pushed to be open to everything and committed to nothing. As the late University of Chicago Professor Allan Bloom put it so well:

"Openness used to be the virtue that permitted us to seek the good by using reason. It now means accepting everything and denying reason's power."

Christians should be openminded in the sense of not exalting ignorance. But we should avoid the cultural peer pressure to say with a smile that everyone's values, religion, and morality are equally valid. This path only leads to self-contradiction and ultimately despair. Jesus offers a better way and has the authority to make it available to all who would take him at his word. "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6)

Are the students in your life ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities of college life? They can be. I wrote Welcome to College for just this reason. Please consider putting a copy in their hands.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why is Prayer so Hard?

I read a really good book on prayer recently by Paul Miller - A Praying Life.

“American culture is probably the hardest place in the world to learn to pray. We are so busy that when we slow down to pray, we find it uncomfortable. We prize accomplishments, production…It feels useless, as if we are wasting time. Every bone in our bodies screams, “Get to work.”—Paul Miller

It was very helpful and explains key concepts clearly and with great personal illustrations. Check it out!

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

On Anne Rice Quitting Christianity?

Perhaps you have heard about this already...but if not, novelist Anne Rice is still a follower of Jesus...she is just giving up on Christianity. hmmmm, so what does that mean? Here are two helpful posts...

"But the church cannot see rejection of Christ as some kind of personal reproach or, worse yet, an ideological declaration of war. We have to love our prodigal sons and daughters so that if and when the dark night of the soul is over they have a place to come home to. Anne says she still loves Jesus but she doesn’t love Christianity. Yes, I know that it is impossible to love Jesus without loving his church. I’ve preached that for years, and I still believe it. But can’t you see how someone could wrestle against that? I am thankful that I had been a Christian long enough to have gained some kind of maturity before I saw just how vicious “Christianity” can be."- Russell Moore

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