In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week at The Gospel Coalition, Trevin Wax wrote about Intervarsity and the revisionist hope for a place at the table. Trevin writes:

InterVarsity made headlines this week for requiring their staff to affirm the historic Christian position that all sexual expression is reserved for male-female marriage.


Critics claimed that same-sex marriage should not be a litmus test for staff members. IVCF should, instead, model a more inclusive approach that recognizes a diversity of views within the organization. By requiring employees to agree with IVCF’s doctrinal stance on marriage, the organization had lifted marriage to a non-negotiable. Since IVCF does not treat other issues this way (baptism, speaking in tongues, women in ministry), it is problematic for the organization to lift marriage to this level, alienate longtime supporters, and marginalize LGBT-affirming voices.


I’ve written before why marriage is not an “agree to disagree” issue but an architectural doctrine of the Christian faith.


At the Intersect Project website, James Ford wrote a piece on calibrating Christian eyes.

A battle is raging. You may not know about this battle — if so, you may be more likely to become a casualty. What is this battle? It’s the battle of depiction.


The church’s mission is to call people to faith and worship; however, the stories our culture tells depict faith and worship less than favorably. When was the last time you saw a person of faith depicted on screen with whom you would like to be associated? Devout, as depicted on screen, is not something you want to be. In addition, and more generally, good is depicted as evil and evil is depicted as good.


Courtlandt Perkins shared on race and the Great Commission at the Center for Great Commission Studies blog. Courtlandt writes:

“I’m a Christian and I think white Christians don’t care about my black life.”
This was a raw but honest thought that weighed heavily on my mind this Summer of 2016. National news and social media were flooded with pictures, videos, hate filled tweets, and Scriptures addressing racial tensions in America, that were highlighted by the deaths of black people by cops and the retaliatory murders of cops by rogue black men. The loss of human life grieves me whether it is someone who looks like me or not, but after moving to a predominantly white neighborhood and attending a predominately white seminary for almost a year now, I was beginning to wonder whether or not my burden for black lives being lost was shared with others that I had the Gospel in common.


Bruce Ashford shared nine books on religious liberty (and its enemies) at this personal blog earlier this week. Dr. Ashford writes:

Here are nine books I recommend to pastors, professors, and students who wish to gain a better understanding of religious liberty and the threats against it. I will describe each book and then rank its level of difficulty on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most difficult. A Level 1 book is one you could give to any friend or family member. A Level 5 book is one that would be required in a PhD seminar. The list is also organized with the more accessible books at the beginning of the list and the more challenging books at the end.


Mark Dance recently shared his top six mistakes as a young pastor.

I made several mistakes in my first decade of ministry. I want to leverage the pain of the top six of those mistakes to help younger pastors succeed instead of suffer.


And finally, a reminder from Dr. Danny Akin, that we can maintain our commitments and convictions on one hand, and at the same time exhibit those commitments and convictions with grace and humility on the other.

In Case You Missed It

Recently at The Gospel Coalition, Dr. Bruce Ashford shared how Abraham Kuyper, a Dutch Prime Minister changed his life. Dr. Ashford writes:

Rarely will a reader be trampled by a herd of evangelicals stampeding toward the Abraham Kuyper section of the bookstore. Though there are a number of reasons (like the impediment caused by display stands full of Test-a-mints and Precious Moments figurines), perhaps no reason is more important than this: We Americans rarely read old books, and Kuyper’s books are old.


Kuyper lived in 19th-century Holland, served as a pastor, founded a Christian university, started a newspaper, served in Parliament and as the prime minister, and wrote influential books on theology, culture, and politics. His deepest convictions might be summed up in one sentence:Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and because of that fact, our allegiance to him should shape not only the private but also the public aspects of our lives. If Christ is Lord, he’s not just Lord over private spirituality and church attendance, but also Lord over public affairs like art, science, business, politics, economics, and education. Reading Kuyper got me started on the path toward viewing Christ’s lordship as directly relevant to public life.


Dayton Hartman recently posted an article at Acts29 titled: “Pastors and Culture.”

I had a brief stint as the manager of a Christian bookstore. One day, as I spoke with a customer about our music selection (while comparing Christian artists to their secular counterparts), it dawned on me that much of what we were selling wasn’t good. The issue was the derivative quality of the content. Many artists weren’t focused on creating good music; instead they sought to emulate the style of a certain secular artist.


The rest of the day, I noticed myself and associates making statements like, “If you like Youtube, you will love Godtube,” or, “If you like Stephen King, then you will feel right at home reading Frank Peretti’s latest novel.” It was jarring. I was suddenly confronted with the harsh reality that Christians spend far too much time consuming secular culture or cheap Christian subcultures instead of producing good culture. We parrot the culture around us. We look like they do and sound like they do, but we claim there’s something about us that makes everything different: Jesus. But where’s the difference?


At the Intersect Project website, Laura Thigpen shares five reasons why Christians should be more engaged about the environment.

As conversations increase about Christians’ engagement with culture, our scope of understanding what “culture” includes continues to broaden. Yet one cultural topic that we often neglect is the environment.


My conversations with my friend Carly Abney have helped me see this deficiency. Carly is an NC State student finishing her degree in Sustainable Materials and Technology. She is passionate about Christ and His Church, and she’s passionate about the environment and what it means for Christians to be good stewards of God’s creation.


In her degree path, Carly has seen environmentalists express apathy and skepticism toward Christ and the gospel because their experiences with Christians on the topic have been less than winsome. Even so, Carly sees the value and importance of the Christian voice in these conversations, particularly when Christians are willing to enter them with a high view of the gospel and a fundamental understanding of how God views creation.


In her own words, here’s some practical advice from Carly to help us think better about the environment.


Keelan Cook posted at The People’s Next door explaining why Christians need to get out more. Keelan writes:

Adult Americans have a real hard time making friends, at least that is what most recent research claims. There are reasons. Interpersonally speaking, our lifestyle choices have hemmed us in. The shift in America toward single-family housing, the total dependence on automobiles, and the seemingly endless amount of land we have to develop spreads us out and walls us in. While it all makes sense, it certainly has its downsides.


This walling off of people from each other has significant social consequences. It is most likely one reason our cultural and political views are increasingly atomized. Many people only participate in interpersonal relationships with people who are like them. If we choose not to, we no longer have to interact with people different than us. It also leaves people with a sense of loneliness, despite the fact that we are more connected than ever through a web of social media.


For Christians, we have an even more important reason to push against this state of existence. We have a gospel reason. Christian, if you are like me, you need to get out more.


Aaron Earls published an article earlier this week asking: “Who can cast a stone at Hillary Clinton’s selfie takers?

2016 has been a divisive year, but one photo brought virtually everyone together over the weekend. No, it was the adorable photos of Michelle Obama and President George W. Bush embracing. That image made at least one writer lose his mind.  It was this photo of young people with their backs all turned, taking a selfie with Hillary Clinton.


Upon seeing the photo the collective internet exploded in annoyance and rage at the self-absorbed millennials who could not be bothered to turn face the influential person in their midst.


Ligonier Ministries recently put up a brilliant website using data from a recent Lifeway Research project discussing the state of theology.

What do Americans believe about God, salvation, ethics, and the Bible? Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research partnered to find out. These are the fundamental convictions that shape our society.