“Gay Christian” explains why she now accepts same-sex marriage

I just read another public account of someone who is walking away from what the Bible teaches about marriage. Former Wheaton employee and self-identified “gay Christian” Julie Rodgers explains why she has embraced gay marriage. She has written about this previously, and I have responded previously. Nevertheless, this latest account is also worth some reflection. She writes:

Your beliefs don’t shift in an instant. We research and agonize, bouncing between hope and despair, until one day we hear ourselves say something a former version of ourselves never would have said. That’s how I came to support same-sex marriage in the church. When I came out as a teenager in Baptist circles in the Bible Belt, I never would’ve imagined God would still like me if I married a woman one day. And I want to try to explain, in theological(ish) terms, how I ended up here.

She goes on to tell the story, which I won’t rehash in full here. I will simply encourage you to read it for yourself. I offer here a short list of reflections on what she has written: Continue Reading →

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Pro-life Rally this Saturday Morning in Louisville

Pro-lifers are gathering at new Planned Parenthood for a rally Saturday morning at 10 am. Several local pro-life leaders have been scheduled to speak.

The rally will be held to protest Planned Parenthood’s toxic presence near the West end of our fair city. This move is consistent with Planned Parenthood’s M.O. in other cities, where seventy-nine percent of other Planned Parenthood clinics serve low-income African-American communities.

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Another NFL great (and Bama star) diagnosed with C.T.E.

Here is an excerpt from the sad report in The New York Times:

The day after Stabler died on July 8, a victim of colon cancer at age 69, his brain was removed during an autopsy and ferried to scientists in Massachusetts. It weighed 1,318 grams, or just under three pounds. Over several months, it was dissected for clues, as Stabler had wished, to help those left behind understand why his mind seemed to slip so precipitously in his final years.

On a scale of 1 to 4, Stabler had high Stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., the degenerative brain disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head, according to researchers at Boston University. The relationship between concussions and brain degeneration is still poorly understood, and some experts caution that other factors, like unrelated mood problems or dementia, might contribute to symptoms experienced by those later found to have had C.T.E.

Readers of this blog know that I love football. But these stories are getting more and more common, and they are heart-breaking. I know the NFL is making changes to the game, but I think there will have to be more. I would support any reforms to make the game safer for players.

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Are you ready for your teenage daughter to be drafted into a combat role?

I said that this could happen, and now it has. The Army and Marine Corps chiefs are calling for women to register for the draft. The Washington Post reports:

The top officers in the Army and Marine Corps testified on Tuesday that they believe it is time for women to register for future military drafts, following the Pentagon’s recent decision to open all jobs in combat units to female service members.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chief of staff of the Army, and Gen. Robert B. Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, both said they were in favor of the change during an occasionally contentious Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the forthcoming full integration of women in the military. They offered their opinions in response to a question from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who said that she also is in favor of the change.

“Senator, it’s my personal view that, based on this lifting of restrictions… every American who’s physically qualified should register for the draft,” Neller said.

The main reason that we ought to oppose this is because men and women are different. I know it’s not popular to say so, but that doesn’t make it any less true. This used to be obvious to everyone, but now it’s not. We would do well to remind ourselves what our grandparents and generations before them have always known.

Not only are men and women different dispositionally, but they also have fairly profound physical differences. On average, women are weaker than men. And you don’t have to be a bible-believing conservative to acknowledge this (e.g., 1 Pet. 3:7). It’s an empirical fact observeable by anyone with eyes to see. This puts women at a distinct disadvantage in combat.

One recent item that illustrates the point. MMA fighter Tamika Brents describes what it was like to face a man in the ring:

I’ve never felt so overpowered in my life. I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night… I can only say I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female.

What happened to Tamika during her fight with this man?

What Brents reportedly experienced at Fox’s hands was a concussion and a broken orbital bone that required staples. In other words, this woman was savaged by an opponent that was genetically advantaged with a thicker bone structure, longer reach, and denser musculature—or, put more simply, was a man. Fox was able to do this despite hormone treatments that made him more feminine in certain aspects.

Can you imagine this experience played out countless times on distant battlefields in places where women are treated as little more than chattel?  You need to imagine it because it may be your daughter or mother or niece called up. Can you imagine sending your daughter or mother into the maw of deadly conflict with men who will do much worse to them than what happened to Tamika Brents in the MMA ring?

In a widely circulated letter, a female Marine named “Sentry” puts a fine point on it:

This country and our military are NOT prepared to see what the enemy will do to female POWs… How is our 24/7 news cycle going to cover a captured, raped, mutilated woman? After the first one, how are the men in the military going to treat their female comrades?… Men in the military will move heaven and earth to protect women, never mind what it does to the mission. I present you with Exhibit A: Jessica Lynch. Male lives will be lost trying to protect their female comrades. And the people of the US are NOT, based on the Jessica Lynch episode, prepared to treat a female POW the same way they do a man.

I know that many women have served admirably in our military. And there are certainly some who are physically exceptional and who may show some aptitude and interest in combat. But that’s just it. They tend to be exceptional. They are not the norm. And opening the draft to all women and potentially exposing all women to combat service is treating the exception as if it’s the norm. This is absurd and dangerous.

In addition to these issues, there is the very real possibility that physical requirements will have to be lowered in order to achieve the egalitarian ideal of women in combat units. If this happens (and many believe that it certainly will), our force will be weakened as a result. This too is absurd and dangerous.

At the end of the day, this issue is irreducibly moral. It goes to the heart of what kind of people we want to be. Are we really so beholden to feminist propaganda that we are willing to send our daughters and mothers to be ground up by the rigors of a combat unit? I hope not.

Men ought to bear the burdens of combat. We are all diminished by foisting this burden on our mothers and daughters and nieces. We can do better. We must do better.

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Who is going to win the Iowa caucuses and the GOP nomination?

A lot of folks have asked me who I think will win the Iowa caucuses and the Republican nomination. My short answer about Iowa is that I don’t know. My long answer is that if the polling trends are correct, Trump will win. If there is a low overall turnout and high evangelical turnout, Cruz will squeak past Trump and win—especially if Rubio’s surge has indeed plateaued.

My short answer about the GOP nomination is that it depends. I expect Santorum and Huckabee to drop out of the race after Iowa. Other candidates will drop out after New Hampshire and South Carolina. The sooner the field winnows, the sooner we’ll know how much support will consolidate behind one of the current leaders. My hunch is that either Rubio or Cruz (or both) will emerge as the alternative to Trump, even if Trump wins the early contests. This contest could go all the way to the convention. But what do I know? I’m just a theologian.

Which is why we should turn to a professional at this point. Ross Douthat put out one final tweet-storm this afternoon with his predictions in advance of the Iowa caucuses tonight. Douthat is doubling-down on his prediction that Trump will not be the nominee, even if he wins tonight. I include his brief analysis below. I’ll be crossing my fingers that he’s right about Trump. Continue Reading →

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My thoughts on the last debate before Iowa caucuses

Just a quick note on the final GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses. I think Gov. Jeb Bush had his best night, and I know I’m not the only one who is thinking about what might have been had Donald Trump not been in this race. But Trump is in the race, and he has sucked all the proverbial air out of the room. Some would see this as a show of strength. But I don’t see it that way. It’s a show of insult and bravado. Michael Gerson is right:

Days away from the first votes of the presidential nomination process, the prohibitive Republican front-runner is successfully applying the lessons of his pro wrestling career to dominate media coverage and prevent opponents from gaining attention and traction. God help us…

As for who won the debate, I agree with David French who makes a good case that Bush won. But he also observes that his solid performance is too late to help his candidacy in Iowa:

This debate was a fascinating glimpse into what might have been absent the disrupting force of Donald Trump. Bush was far more at ease without one of the candidates hurling middle school insults at him, and the debate itself was substantive — showcasing the GOP’s most effective communicators. This is why people said the GOP had a “deep bench” in 2016. Absent Trump, the three-man contest likely would have been between Bush, Rubio, and Cruz. But might-have-beens are irrelevant, and in this evening’s audition for the best alternative to Donald Trump, Marco Rubio won the night.

Trump’s “low energy” attack on Bush was devastating, below the belt, and effective. It was a personal attack that had no relevance to any of the substantive issues at hand. But Trump has proven that he specializes in sophomoric insults. He may have elevated himself by doing so, but he has diminished the process. I was glad he wasn’t on the stage tonight. It is a shame that qualified candidates are about to have to cede the race to the one man in the race who is singularly unqualified. On that note, one final word from Gerson:

It is a tribute to the seriousness of the Trump candidacy that we should be considering the real-world consequences of his temperament. But his feud-seeking, his personal insults, his shock-jock transgressiveness, his sexism, his mocking of those with disabilities, his clumsy deceptions, his toxic leadership style, his cultivation of chaos should be issues in this campaign. And they should be disqualifying in a prospective president.

Read the rest of Gerson’s column here.

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The infamy comes to Louisville

The Courier-Journal is reporting that Louisville’s Planned Parenthood moved to a new office in December. Planned Parenthood has been in Louisville for a long time, but its Louisville office did not offer abortions. That all changed this week. According to the report:

Planned Parenthood has begun offering abortions for the first time in Kentucky at a new health center it opened last month on South Seventh Street in downtown Louisville.

Operating as Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, or PPINK, the group on Jan. 21 began offering surgical and non-surgical abortion services at the health center, which replaced its former Louisville clinic on South Second Street…

The move to provide abortions is sure to be controversial in Kentucky’s political climate as several bills aimed at curbing abortion are pending in the current session of the General Assembly. Gov. Matt Bevin also has included in his proposed budget language that would bar any organization that provides abortions from receiving state funds.

And anti-abortion protests are a regular event at Louisville’s only other abortion provider, a private clinic downtown.

Downtown Louisville already has one abortion clinic. Unless that old clinic closes, we will now have two clinics performing abortions within about a mile of one another.

Planned Parenthood has fenced-in their new facility, likely making it impossible for “Speak for the Unborn” volunteers to interact with the women entering the clinic. I’m told that Planned Parenthood will be offering their services at a lower cost than the current abortion clinic. In other words, they are being shrewd and are making sure that mothers face no opposition to the decision to take the life of their unborn children. It is grotesque.

Fellow pro-lifers in Louisville, this is a call to action. We are going to need for pro-lifers to step up their support for “A Woman’s Choice/Necole’s Place” crisis pregnancy center.

Planned Parenthood is the leading provider of abortions in America. They kill over 300,000 unborn children in America every year. Now they have decided to double the infamy of abortion in Louisville. We have to respond.

UPDATE #1: In December, Planned Parenthood claimed that they had no plans to offer abortions at the new facility. Here’s how Insider Louisville reported it:

Just as the case was with their previous location, the clinic does not provide abortion services besides referrals, and Manier said they have no immediate plans to begin doing so.

Planned Parenthood had no plans a month ago to offer surgical abortions? That seems very unlikely. Why were they denying just last month that they would begin offering abortions?

UPDATE #2: This may explain why Planned Parenthood was trying to add abortion services on the quiet. The Courier-Journal reports that Governor Matt Bevin says this new service is unlicensed and illegal.

The news drew immediate fire from Gov. Matt Bevin, an anti-abortion Republican.

“They are openly and knowingly operating an unlicensed abortion facility in clear violation of the law,” Bevin said in a statement. “We will use the full force of the commonwealth to put a stop to this. There is no room in Kentucky for this kind of blatant disregard for proper legal procedure.”

A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman responded that the organization “applied for an abortion facility license and commenced services under the guidance of the Office of the Inspector General, the state office that is responsible for licensing health facilities.”

That office is housed within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, part of state government. Planned Parenthood didn’t say whether it had yet received the license, only that it followed the guidance of the licensing agency in beginning abortion services.

Governor Matt Bevin is a strong adovocate of the pro-life cause. I can’t overstate how thankful I am that he is on the job.

Update #3: Yesterday, the Bevin adminisration ordered Planned Parenthood to “cease and desist” performing abortions at their new facility. Planned Parenthood says  it has stopped offering abortions until they clear up their conflict with the State of Kentucky. Read about it here.

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The “Rubio or Bust” Theory

Readers of this blog know what I regard to be the transcendent moral issues of our time–the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage, and religious liberty. I have views on national security, the economy, etc., but those first three items are the biggies as far as I’m concerned. And there is more than one presidential candidate in the field who would do reasonably well on each of those issues. 

So please do not construe what follows as an endorsement, because it’s not. I am not going to endorse a candidate–mainly because I’m a pastor and I don’t want to give the impression that you have to vote for candidate “X” in order to be a good Christian. So what follows is not an endorsement. Nor is it meant to imply that someone is falling short if they disagree.

It is, however, a sober analysis of likely outcomes given a certain set of electoral circumstances (HT to Justin Taylor). David Wasserman predicts that it’s “Rubio or bust” for the Republicans at this point. Wasserman explains:

There are a lot of complex analyses of the 2016 election floating around. My own theory is quite straightforward: If Hillary Clinton is the nominee — and she remains a heavy favorite over Bernie Sanders — her fate largely rests with Republican voters’ decisions over the next few months.

If Republicans nominate Rubio, they would have an excellent chance to beat Clinton by broadening their party’s appeal with moderates, millennials and Latinos. The GOP would also have an excellent chance to keep the Senate, hold onto a wide margin in the House and enjoy more control of federal government than they have in over a decade.

If they nominate Ted Cruz, Clinton would probably win, the GOP Senate majority would also be in peril and GOP House losses could climb well into the double digits. A Donald Trump nomination would not only make Clinton’s election very likely and raise the odds of a Democratic Senate; it could force down-ballot Republicans to repudiate Trump to survive, increase pressure on a center-right candidate to mount an independent bid and split the GOP asunder.

In other words, if you’re a member of the Republican Party who wants to win in November, it’s basically Rubio or bust. The “Rubio or bust” theory relies on a process of elimination rather than an assessment of his biography, skills or ground game.

Feel free to disagree with this analysis below, but I think this sounds about right. Read the rest of Wasserman’s essay here.

A younger generation will rightly sit in judgment on ours

Your must-read piece on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade is from Frederica Mathewes-Greene. It is stunning, tragic, and wonderful. I give you just the conclusion here, but you must read the whole thing. She writes:

The pro-life cause is perennially unpopular, and pro-lifers get used to being misrepresented and wrongly accused. There are only a limited number of people who are going to be brave enough to stand up on the side of an unpopular cause. But sometimes a cause is so urgent, is so dramatically clear, that it’s worth it. What cause could be more outrageous than violence — fatal violence — against the most helpless members of our human community? If that doesn’t move us, how hard are our hearts? If that doesn’t move us, what will ever move us? 

In time, it’s going to be impossible to deny that abortion is violence against children. Future generations, as they look back, are not necessarily going to go easy on ours. Our bland acceptance of abortion is not going to look like an understandable goof. In fact, the kind of hatred that people now level at Nazis and slave-owners may well fall upon our era. Future generations can accurately say, “It’s not like they didn’t know.” They can say, “After all, they had sonograms.” They may consider this bloodshed to be a form of genocide. They might judge our generation to be monsters. 

One day, the tide is going to turn. With that Supreme Court decision 43 years ago, one of the sides in the abortion debate won the day. But sooner or later, that day will end. No generation can rule from the grave. The time is coming when a younger generation will sit in judgment of ours. And they are not obligated to be kind.

Hold Them Back

imageToday is the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade decision–a decision that has presided over the legal killing of over 57 million human beings since 1973. Abortion-on-demand is without question the greatest human rights crisis of our time.

Proverbs 24:10-12 tells us that we cannot be indifferent to this horror. It calls us not to turn away but to “hold them back.” Below is a message I delivered at my church on this text. My hope and prayer is that the Lord would use it to awaken consciences. Download here or listen below.

The message has three verses and three points:

  1. Protecting Life Requires Resolve (24:10).
  2. Protecting Life Requires Action (24:11).
  3. Protecting Life Requires Responsibility (24:12).

I close with five exhortations based on this text:

  1. Pray for an awakening in our churches that will spill over into our culture. The conscience of our culture has been seared.
  2. Submit yourself to God and resist the self-centeredness of this age that drives the abortion mindset.
  3. Support alternatives to abortion with your money and time and prayers.
  4. Use your democratic privileges to press for the protection of the unborn.
  5. Offer the Gospel to anyone who has been broken by abortion.

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