Thanksgiving Is for the Dogs

I saw a tweet last week asking whether Jesus would ever call someone a dog. The comment was related to a recent news item, and almost immediately, a text from Matthew’s gospel came to mind in which Jesus did in fact call someone a dog. He was talking to a Gentile woman asking him for help. Rather than answering her request immediately, he compares her to a canine.

22 And behold, a Canaanite woman came out from that region, and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” 23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, “Send her away, for she is shouting out after us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once. –Matthew 15:22-28
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The Evangelical Theological Society after Obergefell

Last week the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) met in Atlanta, Georgia for its 67th annual meeting. It is the first meeting of the ETS since the Supreme Court declared gay marriage to be a Constitutional right in its landmark decision Obergefell v. Hodges. How does ETS look now that we are inhabiting a post-Obergefell culture? Here are three snapshots that I observed and now pass on to you: Continue Reading →


Some provisional reflections on the refugee situation

In the aftermath of the horror last weekend, a lively discussion has broken-out over the United States’s role in sheltering Syrian refugees. The issue came into focus shortly after the attacks when it was discovered that one of the Paris attackers was carrying a Syrian passport that was used to enter Europe through Greece as a refugee from Syria.

The United States has already taken in 1,800 refugees from Syria over the last few years. And President Obama intends to resettle about 10,000 more in the United States in the coming months. Just yesterday morning, President Obama reaffirmed that commitment and upbraided Senator Ted Cruz (though not by name) for suggesting a religious test for future refugees. The President insisted that our security procedures are sufficient and that the U.S. would go ahead as planned. Continue Reading →

Arise, Lord! Break the arm of the wicked man!

The news from Paris tonight is a horror. If you are struggling for the words to pray in the face of such evil, consider lifting up the words of Psalm 10:

12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
    Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
    Why does he say to himself,
    “He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
    you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
    you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
    call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
    that would not otherwise be found out.

16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
    the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals
    will never again strike terror.

A theological earthquake with evangelicals caught flat-footed

Jonathan Merritt111215_1739_Atheologica1.png has published an interview that evangelicals would do well to take note of. In this piece for Religion News Service, Merritt talks to Mark Yarhouse and Megan DeFranza about their new books dealing with transgender and intersex respectively. Why is this interview important?

The interview highlights two books that represent a massive revision of biblical anthropology. I finished reading Yarhouse’s book about a month ago, and I am reading DeFranza’s book now. And their revisions are not benign. They represent a theological earthquake that for some reason has yet to register on the evangelical Richter Scale. The ideas aren’t new, but I think their mainstreaming within the evangelical movement is. What is the earthquake? Continue Reading →

Is Reparative Therapy a Valid Approach?

Reparative therapy has become quite the hot potato in our national conversation about homosexuality. It is a therapy that focuses on orientation change for homosexuals, and many people view it as the Christian approach to homosexuality. But is that true? Right now there are at least two perspectives on this question among conservative evangelicals. Some believe it is a valid aid in discipleship and sanctification. Others do not. Who is right? Continue Reading →

Want to alienate pro-life voters? Attack a candidate for being “too extreme” in his views on abortion.

The New York Times reports that the Super PAC supporting Governor Jeb Bush is thinking about running ads criticizing Senator Marco Rubio for his views on abortion:

In an attempt to blunt Mr. Rubio’s appeal and showcase a potential vulnerability against the Democratic nominee in the general election, Mr. Murphy recently showed some Republicans a video portraying Mr. Rubio as too extreme on abortion. A longtime opponent of abortion rights, Mr. Rubio said in a debate in August that he had “never advocated” laws that would allow abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.

In other words, the Bush Super PAC is considering running ads criticizing Rubio for not supporting legal abortions in cases of rape and incest. Continue Reading →

Unjustified apoplexy over Ben Carson on “Morning Joe”

Let me begin what I am about to say with a couple caveats. First, I am not a supporter of Ben Carson’s bid for the GOP nomination. Not by a longshot. In fact, I think if he were the nominee, he would set the cause of conservatism back. Second, “Morning Joe” is one of my all-time favorite political programs. I listen to the commentary from Joe, Mika, and the others on a daily basis. It is a part of my daily routine that I really enjoy. Continue Reading →

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