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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: October 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Some Help For Raising Digital Kids To Use Media Discernment

CPYU (The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding) is a helpful ministry that is doing important work in the area of raising the digital generation. Here is something you need to know:
"One of the most sweeping and influential changes is the rapid expansion and growth of media technologies and outlets. The most recent research indicates that the average 8 to 18-year-old in America is engaging with media for 7 hours and 38 minutes a day. Much of their media engagement includes time spent engaging with others via social media technologies that didn’t even exist six years ago (Facebook, etc.). Today’s children and teens are a “wired” generation. They are constantly connected to their media and their media is constantly connected to them. Because they are at an impressionable and vulnerable age, children and teens are eager and willing to follow a media world that is attractive, pervasive, convincing, and compelling. Media is increasing in influence. In some cases, media is the main socializing and nurturing influence in a child’s life, shaping their worldviews in powerful ways."
Here is a helpful "family digital covenant of conduct" to help you make clear what everyone's expectations are in this critical area. More from CPYU.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Prof. John Lennox Talks About His New Book Seven Days That Divide the World

Lennox discusses ways of interpreting scripture that don't compromise its authority. "I don't want to say anything less than what scripture says, but I don't want to say anything more," says Lennox. Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and Fellow of Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Lennox has lectured on science and religion and related themes around the world.

Listen to his interview at ID the Future

John Lennox's Website

Check out his new book. He presents some very important distinctions and observations about the Biblical text, authority, and science.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Was Jesus a Socialist?

Recent headlines include words / phrases like: Occupy wall street. Redistribution of wealth. Capitalism. Socialism. And now...Jesus. But what does Jesus have to do with economics? Well, everyone loves to get Jesus on their side of the argument. Here is one of the passages often cited to argue that Jesus would have been in favor of socialism (Acts 4:32-35):
"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need."
Two pieces of advice. First, always read the biblical context. In his helpful Washington Post article, Jay Richards responds to the claim that Jesus was a socialist / marxist:

"No serious biblical scholar, or economist, would mistake the practice of the early Jerusalem church for Marxism. First of all, Marx viewed private property as oppressive, and had a theory of class warfare, in which the workers would revolt against the capitalists-the owners of the means of production-and forcibly take control of private property. After that, Marx thought, private property would be abolished, and the state would own the means of production on behalf of the people. There’s none of this business in the books of Acts. These Christians are selling their possessions and sharing freely.

Second, the state is nowhere in sight. No Roman centurions are breaking down doors and sending Christians to the lions (that was later). No government is confiscating property and collectivizing industry. No one is being coerced. The church in Jerusalem was just that-the church, not the state. The church doesn’t act like the modern communist state." (read the rest of the article)

Second read works / authors who understand the biblical worldview and take the Bible seriously (i.e., in its historical-gramatical-literary context) and who also understand economics. Here are two great options: (1) Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem by Jay Richards and (2) The Virtues of Capitalism: A Moral Case for Free Markets by Scott Rae and Austin Hill. Listen to an insightful interview with Jay Richards here.

Economics is a moral issue. It is critical for Christians to understand that when it comes to economics, good intentions don't necessarily translate into good outcomes. This means that it is actually possible to do harm to people while intending good if we adopt bad economic policy. I interviewed Jay Richards about this and how economics relates to the Christian worldview here.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I am the 10%

90% of babies who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted (or the more clinical phrase is "terminated pregnancy"). This is barbaric and unthinkable and needs to stop.

This little guy is one of the brave ones who is telling a different story. He is one of the 10%.

Here is another story by Gabe Lyons.

This is an excellent booklet - Understanding a Down Syndrome Diagnosis

Train to make the case for the pro life position.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made"-Ps. 139:14

These are ALL the kinds of things we do as we engage culture as everyday ambassadors. For more ideas, see my new book Think Christianly.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My interview with Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason on my new book Think Christianly

I just returned from speaking at a parent / teen apologetics conference in Anchorage, Alaska with my friend Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason. While in the frozen northwest, he interviewed me about faith, culture, worldview, apologetics, the local church and the next generation on his Bulletproof podcast. Here is the audio from that interview. Here is Brett's podcast.

More about Think Christianly: Looking at the Intersection of Faith and Culture here.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Do you really know Tim Tebow?

Today he makes his much anticipated start as quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Some want him to do well...others are waiting for him to fail. Here is an insightful article into who Tim Tebow really is and what makes him tick as a person. What keeps him grounded and the vision he has for life.
"I was recently doing an interview with a nationally known sports reporter," Tebow said. "She said, 'Now that you've graduated from college, are going to the NFL, will make a lot of money, everybody will know your name and want your autograph ... because of all that, do you count your life as a success?'

"I told her, yes, I count my life as successful," Tebow said. "But not because I'm famous or won two national championships or the Heisman or going to the NFL, it's because I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ."
Read the rest. (H/T @plsconvinceme)

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Have you downloaded the new Think Christianly iPhone app yet? It's free!

Now you can Think Christianly on your iPhone and iPod touch with our new app. What do Christians believe? Why do they believe it? Why does it matter? How do the latest headlines intersect with the Christian worldview? Check out the latest podcast and more!

Click here for more information and view in the app store. Please spread the word and if you like it, please give us a good review on iTunes!

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Truth for the day....

“All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” – Psalm 119:160

God and his everlasting Word are the constant in an ever-changing culture governed be feelings.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Textbook Example of False Tolerance: Are Mormons Christians?

Mormonism could be true. Now as a Christian, I don't think there is good evidence that it is true but religions make truth claims and those claims are either true or false. Our culture is having a spirited conversation right now about the nature of Christianity, Mormonism, and religious discourse in general. Is religion merely a private thing that no one can critique, criticize, or investigate? Or is religion both personal and public?

I have blogged on the issue of tolerance before, but this is a textbook example of "false tolerance" where we can make no judgments at all about the truth of others’ beliefs. People are throwing around words like "bigot" and "hate speech." But as Stephen Prothero, professor of religion at Boston University argues, “the ideal of religious tolerance has morphed into the straitjacket of religious agreement.” That is an astute observation. He goes on to say in his provocative book God is Not One:
“No one argues that different economic systems or political regimes are one and the same. Capitalism and socialism are so obviously at odds that their differences hardly bear mentioning. The same goes for democracy and monarchy. Yet scholars continue to claim that religious rivals such as Hinduism and Islam, Judaism and Christianity are, by some miracle of the imagination, essentially the same, and this view resounds in the echo chamber of popular culture.”
Mormonism is not the same thing as Christianity. This shouldn't be a controversial claim. Biblical Christianity teaches that Jesus is the eternal creator of the universe (e.g. Col. 1:16) and is part of the Godhead (i.e., the Trinity cf. Matt. 28:19). Mormonism teaches that Jesus was a created being and deny the Trinity. These are mutually exclusive claims (click here and here for more on the teachings of Mormonism). A civilized society needs to have the ability to talk about these difference without demonizing each other. We need to recover true tolerance, where we allow others the freedom to hold beliefs which we judge to be false. As everyday ambassadors, Christians need be able to intelligently engage the questions our culture is asking and discussing. But we must learn how to do this well and then have the confidence to enter the cultural conversation.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Should Christians Vote For A Mormon For President?

The media is all abuzz about the recent comments by pastor Robert Jeffress on Mormonism, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney. The fallout has been widspread and the labels are flying. Thankfully, theologian Al Mohler offers some sane commentary from an evangelical perspective. The first thing we must do is not try to cram a complex, nuanced discussion into the space of a soundbite or tweet, "There are numerous ways to frame these questions wrongly. Our responsibility as evangelical Christians is to think seriously and biblically about these issues. The first temptation is to reduce all of these issues to one question...." Well said. The rest of the article is worth your time. It can be found here.

More about Mormonism?

Also, here is a helpful website explaining the differences between historic Christianity and Mormonism.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Steve Jobs, Technology, and the Image of God

John Dyer (@johndyer) has written an insightful article on Steve Jobs, technology and the image of God which is well worth the read. Here is an excerpt:

"Steve Jobs, the most visionary technology maker of the digital era, died Wednesday at the age of 56.

His death represents the end of the first era of computing when, under his guidance, the computer went from a thing nerds built in their garage to a friend everyone carries in their pocket. Sometimes called the Leonardo Da Vinci of our times, he made the computer personal, the phone smart, and the mouse magical.

He was also famously guarded about his personal life. He kept his family, his illness, and his religious beliefs out of the spotlight in order to focus on the things he made. But as he neared the end of his life, he allowed Walter Isaacson to write a biography, which will be released later this month. But until it comes out is there anything that we might learn from this man's life and work?

Life and Work

A natural starting point can be found in the details we do know about Jobs's life and business decisions. Born to parents who didn't want him and adopted by parents who never attended college, Jobs went on to drop out of the same college where Donald Miller made his famous confessions. He and his friend Steve Wozniak ("the Woz") started Apple in a garage, but years later his own board pushed him out of the company he founded. Undeterred, he started a new computer company (NeXT), and a few years later was invited back to Apple as a kind of savior. Then over the past 14 years, he hit home run after home run---iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad---each of which shaped computing, the music industry, and even the consumer. Are there not lessons here about second chances, redemption, and what can come from a little, unwanted baby?

When he came back as CEO in 1997, Apple was making all kinds of superfluous products like digital cameras, printers, and PDAs. One of Steve's first decisions was to drop the axe on most of those extraneous products and focus the entire company on a single idea: making better computers. Should pastors do the same with the programs at their churches, trimming the fat, and focusing on essentials like the gospel, worship, and community? We could also learn from his treatment of archrival Microsoft. After striking a deal with Bill Gates, Jobs warned Apple loyalists, "We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose." Could we not all learn from that in our congregations, ministries, and blogs?

But I think the significance of Steve Jobs's life goes beyond these sorts of sermonettes. It is rather in his approach to technology and creativity that I think we can find a profound warning and hidden testimony of God's grace.

Forbidden Fruit

Though Wozniak was clearly the brains of the operation, much of what made Apple successful was Jobs's ability to market products in such a way that they didn't feel like products, but rather a way of life, something you're either in to or out of.

The company's very name---Apple---is...." (read the rest of the article)

Also see his helpful book From the Garden to the City.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My new book comes out this month!

I am both humbled and deeply encouraged by the endorsements I have received for my new book Think Christianly: Looking at the Intersection of Faith and Culture (releasing later this month). Our culture is asking significant questions and Christians need to engage well with solid, thoughtful, and distinctively Christian answers. That is what I hope this book encourages pastors, Christian leaders, and churches to do (more on that later).

"As someone who has devoted many years of ministry to teaching Christian worldview. I am thrilled to see dynamic and faithful worldview leaders like Jonathan Morrow stepping to the fore. Think Christianly, in a compelling and accessible way, equips Christians young and old to engage the culture winsomely, intelligently, and with confidence.”
- Chuck Colson,
Founder, Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview

"Think Christianly is a remarkable and important achievement. Written in an interactive and accessible style, it covers an exhaustive range of topics. Indeed, I know of no other book like it in this regard, and it it now the first book to which to turn for learning the specifics of how to think Christianly."

- J. P. Moreland,
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy,
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and author of The God Question

"We Christians love to lob rhetorical grenades at the surrounding culture from the safety of our holy huddle. What’s far more difficult—and effective—is to engage the issues of our day with intelligence, moral clarity, and biblical wisdom. That’s exactly what Jonathan Morrow does in Think Christianly. Morrow has a knack for elucidating complex ideas and applying timeless truth to contemporary topics. He’s also done a fine job of gathering top Christian thinkers and presenting their ideas on issues ranging from the role of the Bible to bioethics. Think Christianly is a significant addition to the faith and culture conversation and a readable primer for church leaders. It belongs in the library of every thoughtful Christian."
- Drew Dyck
Managing editor of Leadership Journal and author of Generation Ex-Christian:
Why Young Adults are Leaving the Faith…and How to Bring Them Back (Moody, 2010)

"In a time when truth is distorted and biblical teachings are misunderstood, our commitment to engaging culture must not be compromised. If we are to effectively stand for Christ in a world that is not, we must be equipped. Think Christianly is a much needed resource as we seek to honor God in both what we believe and how we live."
- Jason Hayes,
Author, Speaker, National Young Adult Ministry Specialist,
LifeWay Christian Resources
"In Future Shock, Alvin Toffler wrote, “Change is avalanching upon our heads and most people are grotesquely unprepared to cope with it.” Toffler wrote in 1970, before personal computers, before the Internet, before 100 cable TV channels! The pace and depth of change has only increased several times over since 1970, and still the evangelical church is unprepared to deal with it. The ideas in Morrow’s book offer hope that we can learn how to bring meaning to today’s dangerous intersection of gospel and culture and view the intersection more as an opportunity than a threat."

- Andy Seidel,
Executive director of the Howard Hendricks Center for Christian
Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary

"For several years, Jonathan Morrow has helped me see where my faith and what I read on blogs intersect. He has been an enormous help to me personally, and I’m glad to see that a broader audience can have access to his insights. If there is one thing I have learned as a pastor who works with twentysomethings, it’s this: If we don’t work hard to show how our message intersects with the issues our culture is facing, then they will assume it to be irrelevant. On a large part, that assumption has already been made. Read this book and help reverse that trend."

- Jonathan Phipps,
Equipping pastor at Fellowship Bible Church, Brentwood, Tennessee

"As a pastor, I know my congregation is both beguiled and beleaguered by Western cultural realities. Neither unthinking assimilation nor unsociable rejection is a biblical option for us. The church must engage culture faithfully, but we must also be shown thoughtful ways how. I welcome any book that helps the church do this, and I am confident my friend Jonathan Morrow’s will."

- Cole Huffman,
Senior pastor of First Evangelical Church, Memphis, Tennessee

For more about the book and some of the interviews with Christian leaders that are included, click here. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why Christians favor small government

In a recent article in the Washington Post, Professor of Philosophy John Mark Reynolds offers some balanced and thoughtful reasons why Christians favor small government.
"....We reject the utopian delusions of no state and of an omni-competent state. American Christians reject any king, but King Jesus. We reject any theocracy before King Jesus returns, because humans would have to run it. We long for justice tempered with mercy and we will vote for the man or woman who will give us a government small enough to allow liberty, but big enough to preserve it."
Read the rest here.

Other resources on Christians engaging the public square in the arena of politics, click here.

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