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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: February 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Imprisoned Christian Said Musa Released From Afghan Prison!

Said Musa, "I can't deny my Savior's name." What boldness and courage (cf. Acts 4)! Awesome news, praise God! (read more)

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tim Keller on Fox News

Tim Keller offers some good insights on how to understand the claims of Jesus and the nature of the Gospels in this short clip--enjoy!

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Monday, February 21, 2011

America Quiet on the Execution of Afghan Christian Said Musa

"I also agree . . . to sacrifice my life in public [where] I will tell [about my] faith in Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, [so] other believers will take courage and be strong in their faith.” Those are the words of an imprisoned Said Musa in Afghanistan who will soon be executed for the ‘crime’ of choosing to become a Christian. Let that sink in. I encourage you to:
  • Pray for courage for Said Musa.
  • Read Acts 4:1-37
  • Spread the word about Said through your social network and contact our state department to advocate for justice on his behalf.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Are Christians intolerant? Should they be?

It is common to hear many in our culture say that Christians are intolerant, ignorant, bigoted and close-minded—the chief of those sins being intolerance. But should Christians be tolerant? Well, that depends on what one means by tolerance. There’s a lot of confusion out there because ‘tolerance’ is being defined in two very different ways.

The traditional understanding of tolerance means that you (1) extend to others the right to disagree with your opinions or beliefs (2) treat others with respect, fairness, and dignity even though you disagree with them and (3) recognize that all ideas and beliefs are not created equal (i.e., some ideas are better than others). Philosopher Paul Copan sums it up well, “if disagreement didn’t exist, then tolerance would be unnecessary….It is because real differences exist between people that tolerance becomes necessary and virtuous.”

The new definition of tolerance isn’t found in a textbook. It is more of a mood; a cultural background belief. But it is the default view for most people on the street and in the classroom. Disagreement itself is now what is intolerant. Today, someone can be treating another person with respect but arguing against what they believe and be labeled intolerant. This is especially true when it comes to ethics and religion; everyone’s deeply held beliefs must be validated regardless of how irrational they might seem.

So what happened to the traditional view of tolerance? Quite simply, truth was removed. If there is no truth, no fact of the matter then you can believe whatever you want. All views can be equally right because they are not describing anything real. They are not actually talking about the way things actually are. And one of the reasons truth is so unpopular is that it’s frustratingly and painfully exclusive. Reality is what we bump into when our beliefs are false.

Let’s illustrate how this plays out with an example: Jesus is the only way to God (cf. John 14:6). Now Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all disagree on this. As Christians, we should tolerate our Jewish and Muslim friends by doing our best to represent their views fairly and treat them with respect. But there is a fact of the matter. Either Jesus was not the Messiah (Judaism), was the Messiah (Christianity), or was a great prophet (Islam)—but not all three. They could all be false, but they can’t all be true!

Suggesting this kind of conversation is extremely unpopular and seen as the height of intolerance today. How dare you or anyone else say that someone else’s private beliefs are false? Unfortunately, this response may be unavoidable if we are faithful to what the Bible clearly teaches. But we are also called to love our neighbor, and loving others—willing their highest good—means telling them things they may not want to hear at the time (Luke 10:27).

A word of caution is needed here. If you or I come off as arrogant, condemning, or mean, then shame on us. That is not being a good ambassador for Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). We need to give an answer for the hope we have, yet always with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15 cf. Col. 4:6).

For more on dealing with common issues and challenges like these, check out Welcome to College:

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Monday, February 14, 2011

What is Love?

A lot is being written and said today about love (since it is Valentine's Day in case you forgot!), but one can do no better than this:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." - 1 Cor. 13:4-8

I have been married for 10 years and am so thankful for this kind of love from my beautiful bride. Outside of the grace of God, she is God's greatest gift to me.

This is a wonderful song about love and the security of God's love in Christ:

Dancing in the Minefields by Andrew Peterson

Andrew Peterson - Dancing in the Minefields from Centricity Music on Vimeo.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

What the Bible Doesn't Say About Sex

Earlier this week, a Newsweek article entitled, "What the Bible Really Says About Sex," brought attention to the work of Jennifer Wright Knust, author of Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire.

Knust, a religion professor at Boston University, argues that there are cases in the Bible where premarital sex,homosexuality and prostitution is permissible, according to her book and the Newsweek piece.

Evangelical scholars say she fails to demonstrate authentic scholarship and correct biblical interpretation despite teaching religion and being an ordained American Baptist pastor.

"Jennifer Knuts offers a revisionist interpretation of the biblical texts. Her interpretation departs, not only from the traditional ways those texts are interpreted, but also from the true meaning of what the texts actually say," Dr. Claude Mariottini, professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Seminary, told The Christian Post.

In his blog post responding to the Newsweek piece, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the Bible already presents a "clear and consistent sexual ethic" and that the issue at hand is not lack of clarity.... (more)

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Resources for the Christian Life

"The Christian life was not designed to be one lived alone within our own limited human resources, but one lived in cooperation with God the Holy Spirit, in the larger context of the community of believers."--Klaus Issler

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

The paradox of America’s unborn

"This is the paradox of America’s unborn. No life is so desperately sought after, so hungrily desired, so carefully nurtured. And yet no life is so legally unprotected, and so frequently destroyed."

Ross Douthat of the New York Times has written a perceptive article about the tension that exists in our culture surrounding the unborn. If numbers mean anything, then protecting the unborn is still the number one human rights issue we face as a nation. May we have the courage and compassion to do stand in the gap as we have opportunity.

For as Scott Klusendorf reminds us, "the abortion controversy is not a debate between those who are pro-choice and those who are anti-choice. It's not about privacy or trusting women. To the contrary, the debate turns on one key question. What is the Unborn?"

"Pro-life advocates contend that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being. This simplifies the abortion controversy by focusing on just one question: Is the unborn a member of the human family? If so, killing him or her to benefit others is a serious moral wrong. It treats the distinct human being, with his or her own intrinsic worth, as nothing more than a disposable instrument. Conversely, if the unborn are not human, elective abortion requires no more justification than having a tooth pulled. As Gregory Koukl points out, "If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion in necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate...." (more)

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How Facebook Changes Teen Dating

Flirting, dating, breaking up, getting back together, and how quickly people find out about all of the above happens much faster than it used to thanks to social media and facebook. Here are some interesting observations from a recent study:

Seventeen Magazine recently conducted a study amongst their readers. The results, I think are very interesting to our parent readers. The study polled 10,000 guys and girls ages 16 to 21.

Here is how the romance process on Facebook goes:

1. Adding a new crush as a friend = 1 week after meeting (79% of teens)

2. Stalking their new crush’s profile = Once per day after adding them as a friend (60% of people, but 40% check in on their crush several times a day).

3. Deciding to date = 43% of girls would decide not to date someone based on their Facebook profile, compared to 33% of guys.

4. Deciding to announce their new gf/bf = 17% of guys don’t share their status, compared to 12% of girls. (50% of girls get a kick out of the status change — one-third of guys agree; 24% of guys find it unnecessary, compared to 17% of girls.)

Want to know a great verse on dating?

"He who walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm."--Proverbs 13:20

If this is true in the friends we choose, how much more so in those that people choose to date? Choose wisely.

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