C. S. Lewis on contraceptives and new sexual morality

“The modern situation permits and demands a new sexual morality: the old taboos served some real purpose in helping to preserve the species, but contraceptives have modified this and we can now abandon many of the taboos. For of course sexual desire, being instinctive, is to be gratified whenever it does not conflict with the preservation of the species. It looks, in fact, as if an ethics based on instinct will give the Innovator all he wants and nothing that he does not want.”

-C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

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Book Notes: Piper, Quarles, and Stevens

The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity, by Barnabas Piper

Barnabas Piper has penned a very personal look at what it’s like to grow up as a Pastor’s kid. I don’t know any better way to describe what’s in this book than to quote from the foreward, which was penned by the author’s father John Piper. He writes,

You will ask, “Was it painful for me to read this book?” The answer is yes. For at least three reasons. First, it exposes sins and weaknesses and imperfections in me. Second, it is not always clear which of its criticisms attach to me and the church I love. Third, this is my son, and he is writing out of his own sorrows (p. 11).

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Why God Created the World: A Jonathan Edwards Adaptation, by Ben Stevens

Reading Jonathan Edwards is tough-sledding. No doubt about it. But there is no substitute for doing the hard work of reading the works of the man who is probably the most important theologian in American history. Having said that, Ben Stevens’ new little book might be the next best thing. It is an interpretive paraphrase of Edwards’ classic work The End for Which God Created the World. It is the author’s effort to make Edwards’s thought more accessible to the average reader. For example, Edwards’s “subordinate ends” and “ultimate ends” become “preliminary goals” and “pure goals” (p. 4). As I said, there’s no substitute for reading Edwards himself, but this is an interesting adaptation that many readers may find useful.

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Illustrated Life of Paul, by Charles L. Quarles

Chuck Quarles has produced an introduction to the apostle Paul that is unlike any other that I have seen. This book is not merely a primer on the apostle to the gentiles. It has page after page of photos of historical sites and artwork that relate to the life and times of Paul. Doug Moo commends the volume saying, “Illustrated Life of Paul is a well-written, beautifully illustrated, and accurate basic introduction to the apostle Paul.” Likewise, Tom Schreiner writes, “Quarles’s book on Paul is the perfect textbook for today’s readers. It is historically accurate and biblically faithful, and at the same time we are introduced to Paul’s theology.” The book is aimed at students and interested lay persons.

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Women will be saved through childbearing?

I have been preaching through Paul’s letter to 1 Timothy in my church over the last several months. Yesterday, we looked at one of the more enigmatic verses in all of scripture:

“But women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”
-1 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

The exegetical issues here are too complex to unpack in a single blog post, but I thought I’d share briefly what I understand this text to be saying. Continue Reading →

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50 Shades of Strange

I have not read 50 Shades of Grey, nor do I plan to. The book is a bona fide publishing phenom, but every description I have read is that the story amounts to literary pornography. For that reason, I can’t imagine anything helpful coming from the film version set to be released later this year. I’ll be sitting that one out too. So I have great sympathy for the concerns Aimee Byrd expresses about the reception of the forthcoming movie. She writes: Continue Reading →

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Ryan Anderson on Marriage at Stanford University

Last April, Ryan Anderson made the case for traditional marriage at a conference at Stanford University. As far as the non-religious case for marriage goes, this is as good as it gets. The video above has highlights from the speech and subsequent debate with questioners. Below is Anderson’s full presentation followed by the entire Q&A with the audience. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Q&A. Continue Reading →

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The difference between birth control and contraception

Karen Swallow Prior has written a crash-course in the difference between birth control and contraception at Christianity Today. If you didn’t know that there was a difference, this article is definitely for you. A couple of items here are noteworthy:

1. Prior takes on Rachel Held Evans and others who confuse “birth control” with other medicinal uses of the pill. She writes: Continue Reading →

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Why a lustful man doesn’t want a woman

I spoke at a conference this past weekend dealing with the issue of pornography. During one session, a friend highlighted apropos words from C. S. Lewis’ classic The Four Loves. In the following lines, Lewis explains why a lustful man ironically has no use for a real woman. He writes:

We use a most unfortunate idiom when we say, of a lustful man prowling the streets, that he “wants a woman.” Strictly speaking, a woman is just what he does not want. He wants a pleasure for which a woman happens to be the necessary piece of apparatus. How much he cares about the woman as such may be gauged by his attitude to her five minutes after fruition (one does not keep the carton after one has smoked the cigarettes).

Read the rest here.

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The executive order has an exemption after all… but it’s not enough

Last week, I wrote about two different groups petitioning the President about a forthcoming Executive Order (EO). News reports said that the EO would prohibit government contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. A group of prominent religious leaders wrote the President asking him to include religious exemptions, but a group of legal scholars wrote asking him to do the opposite. Continue Reading →

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