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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What is the origin of digital information found in DNA? (video)

"Information is what runs the show in biology. The question is what is the source of the digital information found in DNA?" Stephen Meyer argues that only intelligence can produce information.

Check out his argument here:

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Of Course God Doesn't Exist...Now What? Introducing Atheism 2.0

A friend of mine recommended this TED video on Atheism 2.0 and I found it to be fascinating (wrongheaded...but fascinating nonetheless). Atheism 1.0 is about the angry atheists - he singles out Richard Dawkins - who think religion is dangerous and the intellectual equivalent of believing in the tooth fairy. I have written a book responding to this brand of atheism and am convinced that Christianity is not only true, but there are good reasons to believe its true. But I will let the reader decide if that was successful. I mention that because in Atheism 2.0, Botton starts by asserting (not arguing) "of course God doesn't exist. But let's not throw out religion, let's learn from it." There are things we can pick and choose and assemble. We can have mystery and spiritual experiences without the existence of anything spiritual. Romanticism meets atheism. There is no purpose so we must create our own. Culture must replace Scripture. Why? Because no one is teaching us how to live. Secularism simply gives us information and data. But what people long for is human flourishing and community (BTW - the Christian worldview really sparkles here). So Botton suggests there is much to learn from religion even if we don't believe any of it.

 There is much that can be said, but I want to suggest the main reason the project of Atheism 2.0 will fail: It's not aiming at truth. Transcendence without truth will lead to despair in the end. Truth is not an "open source" kind of thing. It's not a wiki project.

In response to this video, I want to recommend two resources. First the book I wrote with Sean McDowell Is God Just a Human Invention? which largely deals with Atheism 1.0. If you would like a thoughtful response to the themes of Atheism 2.0, I would recommend Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey.

The teachable moment from a video like this is that people are hungry for meaning, purpose, and a vision for human flourishing. But that must be grounded in an objective answer to the question - what is a human being for? And Christianity of course has much to offer here. Humans are created by God for an everlasting relationship with Him and each other.

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

(Part 6) Answering the Toughest Questions About Homosexuality with Alan Shlemon

How do you respond to the claim that "Homosexuals Are Born That Way?"

Lady Gaga’s mega-hit song “Born this Way” sold millions of copies affirming what many people believe: homosexuality is hardwired. In fact, people think that’s as axiomatic as saying the earth revolves around the sun. No rational person rejects the idea. The only hold-outs, it is said, are either ignorant of science, homophobic, or bigots (read: Christians). But before I explain why this view is beset with problems, let me make a tactical suggestion.

Many Christians get defensive when someone says homosexuality is inborn. I understand the temptation to argue against this claim. But it’s a mistake to try to show it’s false, at least initially. That’s because the claim is not an argument. It’s just an opinion and, therefore, not necessarily true. In order for their claim to become a bona fide argument, it must be supported with evidence or reasons.

So, instead of defending your convictions, make them defend their claim. Simply ask, “What evidence do you have that homosexuals are born that way?” Then wait and listen. This is totally appropriate and not just a rhetorical trick. It’s how the burden of proof works. Whoever makes the claim bears the burden to show it’s true. Since they’ve made the claim, it’s their job to back it up, not your job to prove them wrong.

If they don’t have evidence for their claim, then it’s fair to graciously explain that their view is unreasonable – that they don’t hold their view for good reason. If they do offer evidence for their view, only then is it appropriate to respond with a counter-argument.

With that tactic in mind, let’s look at three problems with the born-that-way theory. The first is the most egregious. A simple scientific fact-check demonstrates that no study has proven that homosexuality is biologically determined.

Decades of research to discover a “gay gene” have been unsuccessful. It’s now uncommon for scientists to think that homosexuality is solely genetic. Perhaps the most powerful line of evidence is found in twin studies. Since identical twins have identical genetics, it would follow that if one twin was homosexual, the other would also have to be homosexual 100% of the time. But both twins are homosexual in less than 15% of the cases.[i]

It was also speculated that homosexuality had a biological basis. But research that correlates brain anatomy/physiology with homosexual behavior doesn’t prove causation. In other words, even if the brains of homosexuals have structural differences from those of heterosexuals, that might suggest their behavior changes their brain, not necessarily the other way around. This is possible due to neuroplasticity– the lifelong ability of the brain to change in response to the environment, behavior, brain injury, or even acquiring knowledge. For example, blind people’s brains have a different neurologic structure because reading braille using fingers is a different behavior than using eyes to read.

What’s surprising is that pro-gay researchers and organizations acknowledge the dearth of evidence for a biological cause to homosexuality. The American Psychological Association (APA), for example, once held the position in 1998 that, there is “evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person’s sexuality.” However, a decade of scientific research debunked this idea and caused the APA to revise their view in 2009. Their new position reads: “Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors”[ii] [emphasis mine]. A pro-gay group like the APA wouldn’t revise their statement unless there was overwhelming evidence that necessitated a position change.

A second problem with the born-that-way theory is that even if true, it wouldn’t prove that homosexual behavior is moral. Consider that scientific research has discovered genes they believe contribute to alcoholism, unfaithfulness, violence, and even many diseases. Are we to believe that because there is a genetic contribution to these behaviors (or even if they were genetically determined) that they should be regarded as morally appropriate? Of course not. So, proving homosexual behavior is appropriate by appealing to a genetic determinant is equally spurious.

This mistake in thinking is known as the naturalistic fallacy. You can’t get an “ought” from an “is.” Even if homosexuality is natural, it doesn’t prove it ought to be. And scientists who are attempting to prove homosexuality is inborn agree. Harvard geneticist Dean Hamer, himself a homosexual, says, “Biology is amoral; it offers no help in distinguishing between right and wrong. Only people guided by their values and beliefs can decide what is moral and what is not.” Simon LeVay, a Harvard trained neuroscientist and also openly gay, concurs: “First, science itself cannot render judgments about human worth or about what constitutes normality or disease. These are value judgments that individuals must make for themselves, while taking scientific findings into account.”

A third problem stems from the mere existence of the “ex-gay” community. If homosexuality is, as many pro-gay advocates state, as inescapable as eye color, then how do they explain former homosexuals? Eye color is genetic, something that one is born with and can’t change. But sexual orientation is fluid, as evidenced by the changed lives of thousands of men and women.

There are women who have had long-term, lesbian relationships with other women and then changed and became attracted to men. There are also men who have had same-sex attractions since puberty, spent a decade in gay relationships, and then developed attractions to the opposite sex. Many of these people have gone through some form of counseling or therapy, but many have not.

The fact that even one person has changed is evidence that homosexuality is not hard-wired. But that there are thousands of individuals who share this experience is significant counter-evidence against the born-that-way theory. I know many of these people. They can’t all be lying about their life.

Instead, what they offer is hope. Since many people are dissatisfied with their same-sex attractions, these changed lives represent an opposing voice to the cultural chorus that claims homosexuals are born that way.

[i] Bailey JM, Dunne MP, Martin NG. 2000. Genetic and Environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78:524-36.

For other posts by Alan in this important series, click here. You can also find out more about him at Please use the share buttons below to help others understand this emotionally charged topic.

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Giving reasons for your faith is not optional...according to the Bible anyway

Love one another and giving reasons for the hope within you are commands from the same Bible (John 13:34 & 1 Peter 3:15). One isn't more "spiritual" than the other. In fact, I would suggest you can't really love someone unless you are willing to tell them the truth at some point in that relationship or dialogue. Below is an excerpt from Lee Strobel's recent interview. But let me say that I agree and resonate with the points he makes and as a graduate of Biola University / Talbot School of Theology, I am proud to be a part of this movement for the next generation. God is at work!
According to Strobel: "Christianity in general and the Bible in particular are under widespread and vociferous attack by militant atheists, radical scholars, critical authors, skeptical professors, misguided documentaries, and a proliferation of online spiritual confusion. Books by the so-called New Atheists have received a lot of media attention, which has emboldened cynics to become even more outspoken. The Internet has helped atheists and agnostics coalesce as never before.
Skeptics are becoming more determined to proselytize. In public high schools and colleges, the Secular Student Alliance, an umbrella for atheist organizations, has doubled in size in two years, with 250 chapters in the U.S. Not long ago, the American Humanist Association launched the largest national multi-media campaign ever by an atheist organization, preaching that the Bible advocates "fear, intolerance, hate, and ignorance."
And we're seeing the country drift toward skepticism. Among 18-to-29-year-olds, nearly one in four now claims no religion, which has doubled since 1990. Recent books have said that young people are dropping out of church at five or six times the historic rate, many because of intellectual doubts.
All of these trends have awakened a sleeping giant – Christian apologetics, or the defense of the faith. We're seeing apologetics books on the New York Times bestsellers list. Schools like Biola University and its Talbot School of Theology, which are leaders in apologetics, are filled to capacity." (more) 

If you are looking for a place to start, you might enjoy the book I co-wrote with Sean McDowell answering the 18 toughest questions the "new atheists" raise against God.

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Internet is on fire about SOPA, free speech, and intellectual property rights

Gina Dalfonzo has written a helpful post that is worth reading. Here is an excerpt:

"I don't know if you've noticed it, but the Internet is on fire. It started with the now-infamous SOPA and PIPA bills. The bills would grant the government unprecedented power to go after any websites accused of copyright infringement. Here's a pretty comprehensive explanation of SOPA, the House version. A huge storm of protest this week, including a 24-hour Wikipedia blackout, split various factions and parties right down the middle (the President came out against it, probably so that the public would still love him, only to find that Hollywood no longer loved him), and led to the bill's being shelved. At least for now.

But things have hardly quieted down. When the government shut down the popular content-sharing site Megaupload yesterday and charged several members of the company with online piracy, the action was widely interpreted as the beginning of government crackdowns on the Web. Angry hackers retaliated accordingly, with attacks on the Department of Justice site, the Motion Picture Association of America site, and the sites of other groups that supported SOPA.

All this raises a lot of questions, some of them fairly murky. As freedom of speech is a fundamental right, how far is it permissible to go to defend it? Since intellectual property belongs to someone, how far should the government go in enforcing that person or corporation's ownership rights? Is it okay to use...." (read the rest of her post here)

Al Mohler offers some helpful analysis from a Christian perspective on ethics and the legal issues here.

How should Christians engage our culture? Click here for further analysis and suggestions.

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

(Part 5) Answering the Toughest Questions About Homosexuality with Alan Shlemon

This week's question: “Christians should not try to impose their moral standards on the rest of society.” (if you want to catch up on this excellent series, you can read the previous 4 questions by Alan here)

There are two separate, but related, implications to this challenge. The first is that it’s wrong to impose any moral rules on society. The second is that it’s wrong for Christians to impose their morality.
The first implication is a common myth that needs to be debunked. It’s perfectly acceptable to legislate morality. When you think about it, morals are the only thing you can legislate. For example, we have laws against stealing for one reason: it’s immoral to take someone’s property. So, we take that moral rule and establish it in law.

The same is true for laws against murder. The reason they exist is because we think it’s immoral to kill an innocent human being. So, we take that moral rule and make it against the law to break it. By legislating that rule, we are legislating morality.

In fact, it’s the moral rule that legitimizes the law’s power to limit freedom. Without a moral grounding, laws would be unjust. They would be the raw use of power to get what someone wants, not to do what’s right. That’s called tyranny.

Therefore, all laws reflect a moral viewpoint. The only question is whose morals will be legislated and which viewpoint will be advanced.

The second implication of this challenge is that it’s wrong for Christians (or religious people for that matter) to impose their morality (i.e. views on homosexuality) on society. Because their policies are motivated by religion, they shouldn’t be allowed to inform the political process.

But why are only Christians limited from imposing their moral views? Why can’t we restrict other people? Homosexuals want to impose their moral standards on society. Let’s make them keep their private beliefs out of the public square. Does that sound fair? It doesn’t because our country endows all citizens with the privilege to participate in the political process. No one is excluded, not even Christians or homosexuals.

Some will respond by saying that Christian morals should be excluded because they are religious and that violates the separation of church and state. But the words, “separation of church and state” are neither in the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution. Even the First Amendment protects religious expression, it doesn’t silence it: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech...” Notice who and what is restricted: the government is restricted from establishing a state religion. The people are free to exercise their religious beliefs.

People who are motivated by religion are free to advocate for public policy. Yet the establishment clause is often read as restricting religious people, when in reality its purpose is the exact opposite. Every citizen enjoys the freedom to legislate their morality. You can’t be disqualified because of your motivations.

Finally, thinking our laws restrict religiously motivated people leads to absurd conclusions. Most of the framers of the Constitution, for example, were practicing Christians. It doesn’t make sense that they would willfully write into the Constitution and Bill of Rights a system of law that they knew would disqualify them from political involvement.

Not only that, but it would also mean that if an ordinary American was against theft because the New Testament (Ephesians 4:28) forbade it, then they wouldn’t be permitted to legislate against larceny. Every person with a religious view would have to remain silent on public policy. This would disenfranchise massive portions of United States population.

Christians have the right, as well as any citizen, to impose their morals on society. To try to limit their role in public policy is an illegitimate attempt to silence dissent. It’s a group’s way of saying, “Just go away,” while at the same time imposing their own moral vision on society. It’s not only unlawful, it’s un-American.

*Find out more about Alan Shlemon's excellent work here.

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's Okay to Expect a Miracle

The Bible is full of them and they are still happening today. Here is a fascinating Christianity Today interview with New Testament Scholar Craig Keener. Enjoy!

"Craig Keener has the brain of a scholar and the hands of an activist. The New Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary has authored 15 books, 70 journal articles, and more than 100 articles for religious and general interest publications. He and his wife, Médine Moussounga Keener, are deeply involved in ethnic reconciliation ministry.
In his New Testament commentaries, Keener has investigated biblical miracles. But his newest volume—Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (Baker Academic)—focuses on contemporary miracle accounts, citing hundreds of recent occurrences.
Keener is ordained in a historic African American church and served as an associate minister before moving to Asbury's campus in Wilmore, Kentucky. Christianity Today senior writer Tim Stafford interviewed Keener this fall.
Miracles are an unusual subject for a New Testament scholar. What led you to it?
I was going to write a footnote in my commentary on Acts, and was dealing with questions of historical reliability. Many scholars dismiss miracle stories as not historically plausible, arguing that they arose as legendary accretions.
I was familiar with [contemporary] reports of miracles taking place. There must be thousands of such reports. It was inconceivable to me that people would say eyewitnesses can't claim to have seen such things.
What do you want to accomplish with this book?
Primarily, to challenge scholars who dismiss miracles in the Gospels as legends and not historically plausible. Eyewitnesses say these kinds of things all the time. I also want to challenge the bias that says these things can't be supernatural. I believe God does miracles, and I don't see why we scholars are not allowed to talk about it.
You're trying to break open the naturalistic tradition of writing history that scholars have followed for centuries.
I understand the historical paradigms within which we work, and I'm able to work within those by bracketing out certain questions. But I wonder who made up the rule that we have to bracket out those questions, and why we are obligated to follow such rules. The way the discipline of historiography has been defined, such questions get punted to philosophy or theology.
How is the world today different from philosopher David Hume's world, or theologian Rudolf Bultmann's, who said that a modern man who turns on an electric light can't possibly believe in a miracle?
In Hume's day, nobody he knew had experienced a miracle. But there were miracle accounts...." Read the rest (click here)
Check out the book:

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

An Inspiring Video Story of Two Brothers Made In the Image of God

This is pretty amazing...

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

What are FACEBOOK and GOOGLE hiding from the world?

Perhaps more than you think...The internet opens up the whole world of ideas to you right? Maybe not. This video underscores why you need to be aware of what doesn't show up in your Facebook feed and Google searches.

 "The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him."--Prov.18:17


(H/T Kevin Perry)

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

(Part 4) Answering the Toughest Questions About Homosexuality with Alan Shlemon

Our Blog series with Alan continues. This week's challenge:  “You can’t have gay friends if you think homosexual behavior is a sin.”

A youth leader wrote me: “I would say that the issue of homosexuality is THE #1 BARRIER for teenagers…that keeps them from believing the gospel.” I can see why he said that. It’s a simple cost-benefit analysis. You can keep your faith or you can keep your friends and family. You pick. Well, the answer for many people is obvious: relationships are more important than a theological idiosyncrasy. So, they either compromise on the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality or they ditch their faith altogether. Part of the problem stems from the belief that if you keep your convictions about homosexuality, then you can’t stay in relationship with your friends and family who say they’re gay. But this isn’t the biblical view.

The New Testament doesn’t prohibit Christians from friending (I know, I know…that’s so Facebook-ish) homosexuals. Paul, writing about a sexually immoral man in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, tells Christians that they are “not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.” Notice how Paul clarifies that we don’t have to avoid relationships with non-believers (who he calls “people of this world”). After all, we can’t influence them if we’re not involved at all.

There is a group of people that Paul warns Christians to avoid. Continuing his discussion on sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 5:11, Paul explains, “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of a brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.” The people Paul warns us to avoid are Christians who engage in sexual immorality. Why? Because sin left unchecked within a body of believers is like cancer. It spreads and harms those around them (1 Corinthians 5:6-7).

That doesn’t mean we are to end all relationships with Christians who have committed sexual sin. Paul is talking about unrepentant Christians. People who know the biblical standard but thumb their nose at it and continue in the illicit behavior. That’s the context of 1 Corinthians 5.

It does mean that people who claim to be Christian and engage in willful, unrepentant homosexual behavior fall under the jurisdiction of this command. Friends like that can influence us and other believers in negative ways. But this rule applies to any sexual sin, not just homosexuality.

In all other circumstances, there’s no reason to choose between your faith and your friends. Keep them both so you have a chance to be a positive influence in your relationships. That’s the point of being an ambassador for Christ.

Alan Shlemon is a speaker, trainer, and author for Stand to Reason. You’ll find more articles on clear-thinking Christianity at and

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Epigenetics and the Image of God

I recently came across an article in the Huffington post that caught my eye. It dealt with genetics and the image of God. To be honest, I was expecting the typical reductionism that seeks to reduce humanity to our genetic information. But I was pleasantly surprised to find something else going on. Here is an excerpt:
"The reality is that recent genetics research has continued to move steadily away from any notion of genetic fatalism, highlighting the sheer complexity of the genome, and providing some fascinating examples of the ways in which our choices impact upon our own genomes. There is no gene "for" any complex human trait because in fact genes encode proteins or other types of information-containing molecules, and thousands of genes collaborate together during human development in interaction with the environment to generate the unique human individual that each person represents....Epigenetics adds further layers of variation and complexity. This refers to the chemical modifications of the DNA that cause genes to be switched on or off. It is such epigenetic modifications that generate the 220 specialized tissues of our bodies." 
Now there are many things to comment on in this article, but let me just make two brief but crucial observations.

First, DNA is not destiny. Dr. Francis Collins (former head of the human genome project) has said as much. Genes don't tell our whole story--environment and our choices matter. Genetic Fatalism is false.

Second, the mention of Epigenetics is important. There must be something beyond (epi = over) DNA that is doing the work that is programmed with the design-plan or body-plan of organisms. DNA is the paintbrush. But the epigenes (which don't seem to be a physical substance) serve as the painter. It will be very interesting to watch this field develop. Some sort of organizing principle is necessary to arrange the DNA and turn the genes on and off at the "right" times. In my view, this is yet another example of design at work. Teleology was banished from biology thanks to Charles Darwin. But could these epigenes indicate that there is a design plan after all? Stay tuned...

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Monday, January 9, 2012

The gospel is never heard in isolation

"The gospel is never heard in isolation. It is always heard against the backdrop of the cultural milieu in which one lives. A person reared in a cultural milieu in which Christianity is still seen as an intellectually viable option will display an openness to the gospel that a person who is secularized will not . . . It is for this reason that Christians who depreciate the value of apologetics because “no one comes to Christ through arguments” are so short sighted. For the value of apologetics extends far beyond one’s immediate evangelistic contact. It is a broader task of Christian apologetics to help create and sustain a cultural milieu in which the gospel can be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women. It is not implausible that robust apologetics is a necessary ingredient in fostering a milieu in which evangelization can be most effectively pursued in contemporary Western society and those societies increasingly influenced by it." - William Lane Craig

"...contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints"-Jude 3

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

(Part 3) Answering the Toughest Questions About Homosexuality with Alan Shlemon

This week's Challenge: "If God made people gay and they don’t have a choice in the matter because they were born with that orientation, then isn’t it unfair that he punishes them for just being who they are?"

I have to agree with pro-gay advocates on this one. Homosexuals are born with an orientation. And it is genetic. This leads to desires that not only feel natural, but are considered sinful by God when acted upon.

But it’s not a sexual orientation. It’s a sinful orientation. The Bible calls it a sin nature. And everyone is born with it – not just homosexuals.

I was born with that orientation too. As early as I can remember, I always felt that way. It felt natural for me to lie to get myself out of trouble. It seemed normal for me to fantasize about having promiscuous sex with girls. It was easy to think of myself first and others later.

So homosexuals aren’t unique. They’re not the only ones who get to complain they have a proclivity towards behaviors that God deems immoral. It will never be right for me to lie, sleep around, or act selfish. And alcoholics, some of whom are born with a genetic predisposition towards heavy drinking, don’t get off the hook either. Every person on the planet is faced with the choice to act morally despite being born with an orientation to do wrong.

Although we’re born that way, it’s not because of God. It’s a genetic problem that we inherited from our ancestors. So God is the wrong person to blame.

But even though we’re all born that way, God doesn’t punish us for being who we are. We’re punished for our behavior – for acting on our natural orientation. The Bible doesn’t condemn people for experiencing same-sex attractions. It prohibits homosexual behavior. It’s irrelevant whether you feel you’re born that way, you experiment with homosexual sex, or you’re stuck in a prison with no heterosexual outlet. It’s your conduct that matters.

So homosexuals aren’t faced with a unique situation that’s unfair. Everyone is born with an orientation to sin. And it’s a deep, ingrained tendency that’s impossible to resist. It doesn’t go away with therapy or medication. You can’t pray away the orientation.

But God doesn’t leave us helpless. Although He punishes sinful acts – even ones we’re born with a proclivity to commit – He also helps us in two ways. He grants us a pardon and gives us power.

The first is a pardon for our bad behavior. He offers someone else to pay the penalty for our moral crimes. We can accept the pardon and go free or pay the penalty ourselves. It’s our choice. That means a man can live a lifetime of homosexual behavior and still be acquitted. That’s a great offer given God isn’t even responsible for our sinful desires.

The second is power to overcome our proclivity to sin. He does this by replacing our old orientation with a new one. It doesn’t guarantee we’ll have perfect desires (we’ll still experience external temptations and have internal patterns of thought that we’ve habituated), but it does give us the strength to resist them. Many people who have experienced same-sex attractions have also experienced this new power.

These two offers are great, but we have to agree with the stipulations. Since God’s laws have been violated, He decides the terms of the contract. Although the pardon and power are free, they require action on our part. In exchange for our acquittal and a new orientation, God asks for a lifetime of allegiance.

Like living under a monarchy, we become subjects of the King. Except unlike previous kings, Jesus of Nazareth doesn’t just sit on a throne and rule. He also takes our place when the guilty verdict is rendered and the penalty is served. That’s why He deserves our allegiance.

Granted, it’s no small commitment. But given the alternative, it’s understandable why billions of people throughout history have taken God up on His offer of grace. That offer is good for anyone with any orientation.

Be sure to read Alan’s previous posts in this series at here or at Stand to Reason’s student site here. If you find these post helpful, please share on Facebook and twitter (see below)

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christians Have Two Commissions

Chuck Colson offers some important comments about an oft neglected theological truth: "A few years ago, I spoke to a gathering of pastors about engaging the cultural battles of the day. Afterward, the pastors had a lot of questions — but they were also a little confused. One confessed, “I’d never heard of the Cultural Commission, and will it interfere with fulfilling the Great Commission? Isn't that our job — to win people to Christ?" That people still think this way left me momentarily speechless. "Of course we're called to fulfill the Great Commission," I replied. "We're also called to fulfill the Cultural Commission." Christians are agents of God's saving grace — bringing others to Christ. But we are also agents of His common grace: We're to sustain and renew His creation, defend the created institutions of family and society, and critique false worldviews.

 I saw this was an “Aha!” moment for some of the pastors. But the Scriptures are so clear. In Genesis, we're told that for five days, God created the universe. On the sixth day, He created human beings — and ordered them to pick up where He left off. They were to reflect His image and have dominion, but from then on, the development of the creation would be primarily social and cultural: It would be the work humans performed as they obeyed God's command to fill and subdue the earth. The same command binds Christians today. We bear children, plant crops, build cities, form governments, and create works of art. While sin corrupted God's created order, it did not obliterate it. And when we are redeemed, we are both freed from sin and restored to do what God designed us to do: create culture.

Remember, every part of creation came from God's hand, every part was drawn into the mutiny of humanity against God, and every part will someday be redeemed. This means we must care about all of life. In Colossians 1, Paul notes that "everything" was made by and for Christ, and that everything will be reconciled by Christ; it's clear that Christians are saved not only from something (sin) but also to something (Christ's lordship over all of life). This is why Christians must never limit themselves to evangelism alone or to the "feel good" church. We must not stand by while our culture is hijacked by alien philosophies hostile to the created order...." (read the rest)

In my latest book, I seek to apply this idea to our own cultural intersection as we seek to engage well.

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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