Should We Pray for ISIS to Be Converted or Defeated?

“We sometimes forget that we are called to be a people of both justice and justification, and that these two are not contradictory.”

Recently Russ Moore wrote an excellent article discussing the proper Christian attitude towards ISIS.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX USA (2642870a) Hayat Boumeddiene, far rig

Like many other American Christians, at times I feel conflicted. ISIS is a malignant, evil organization, yet it is made of men (and some women) for whom Christ died. I pray for their defeat in the battlefield; I also pray for their salvation.

Moore reminds us that, however conflicted we may feel, these two prayers are not, in fact, at odds with each other. The Cross demonstrates that justification and justice are not contradictory. The problem, he explains, is that we often have a very therapeutic notion about forgiveness–one that absolves the wrong “as though it were all a misunderstanding.” Moore continues:

“The gospel does not say, ‘Don’t worry about it; it’s okay.’ The gospel points us to the cross where sin is absorbed in a substitute. God’s righteous condemnation of sin is there. He does not, and cannot, enable wickedness. And God’s mercy is there in that he is the One who sends his Son as the propitiation for sin. He is both “just and the justifier of the One who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). The gospel doesn’t leave sin unpunished. Every sin is punished, either a the Place of the Skull, in Christ, or in the judgment of hell, on one’s own.”

So should we pray for ISIS to be converted or be defeated? The answer is “c”, all of the above.

Cross posted at www.theologyforthechurch.com

Same-Sex Marriage: Five Contras

Southeastern Seminary is blest to have a number of wonderful Gospel-preaching churches in our community. One of these churches is North Wake, where Larry Trotter serves as pastor.

LarryTrotter Last Sunday (08-09-15) Larry began a series on same-sex marriage and gender. His first message presented the “Five Contras” of same-sex marriage. The five contras are as follows:

1. Same-sex marriage is contra Scripture: Larry provides an insightful quote from Sam Storms: “I don’t want to come across as overly simplistic, but the debate in our society over homosexuality, transgenderism, and same-sex marriage is first and fundamentally about moral authority.”

2. Same-sex marriage is contra worship: note how in Romans 1:21-27 the Apostle Paul connects idolatry with disordered loves–including the disordered love of same-sex attraction.

3. Same-sex marriage is contra love: if certain behaviors are harmful or destructive then love requires opposing those behaviors (1 Cor 6:9-11). We cannot allow the world to shape our definition of love.

4. Same-sex marriage is contra mission: God’s intends Christian marriage to portray the mystery of the Gospel (Eph 5:29-32). Same-sex marriage thwarts this message.

5. Same-sex marriage is contra history: Chief Justice John Roberts declared in his dissenting opinion, “[T]he Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?”

Pastor Trotter’s sermon models biblical fidelity, incisive thinking, and pastoral sensitivity. I recommend it highly. The audio is found here.

This post is cross-posted at www.theologyforthechurch.com

Missionaries Made Modernity

“Missionaries profoundly shaped modernity.” This is the provocative conclusion made by Robert Woodberry, as he delivered this year’s Carver-Barnes lecture for the L Rush Bush Center for Faith and Culture. Woodberry, a sociologist at the Univ. of Notre Dame, makes a compelling argument that many of the positive features generally associated with the Enlightenment–worldwide advances in literacy, health care, and human rights–were actually accomplished primarily by evangelical missionaries.

To make his case, Woodberry has amassed a remarkable amount of data. But he presents the material in a manner that is both accessible and engaging. If you care about the Great Commission then you’ll want to watch his lecture. Enjoy.