Author Archive | Denny Burk

Prayer for Christopher Hitchens?

Should we pray for Christopher Hitchens? Yes. Should we talk about it. No. At least that’s the advice that’s Ross Douthat offers in a short blog post today. Douthat argues that Hitchens’s cancer is not an occasion for victory laps thinly disguised as prayers. He reminds us of Jesus’ words:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6).

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Iraq War and Just War

Karl Rove says his biggest mistake during the Bush years was the failure to refute the “Bush lied, people died” anti-war argument. He’s right. Even though the claim was spurious on its face, it picked up steam in the popular consciousness. After a few years, this catchy slogan became the majority view of the Iraq War. Rove argues that the failure to rebut this claim was the single biggest blunder of the Bush presidency.

“We in the Bush White House discussed responding but decided not to relitigate the past. That was wrong and my mistake: I should have insisted to the president that this was a dagger aimed at his administration’s heart.” Continue Reading →

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Bauer Reviews “In the Land of Believers”

Susan Wise Bauer has a critical review of Gina Welch’s In the Land of Believers, and Ms. Bauer is not a happy camper. As I noted in my review, Gina Welch loathes evangelical beliefs, but she comes to love evangelical believers (at least the ones she gets to know at Thomas Road Baptist Church). Bauer finds Welch’s stance to be a patronizing one. She writes:

‘That’s a staggeringly stupid thing for anyone who claims to understand evangelicalism to write, but Welch is unable to believe that people she likes could really hold well-thought-out, strongly held beliefs that she finds repellent. (“If somehow Evangelicals were forced to co-exist with gay people,” she suggests brightly, “Evangelicals would eventually learn that their ideas about gayness were wrong.”) Ultimately, Welch is able to love evangelicals because she finds their identity in their culture, which spares her from having to cope with stubborn things like belief.’

Ouch! Read the rest of the review here.

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Culture War at the Movies

Christopher Benson notes at the First Things blog that the culture wars have entered the American cinema. Below are four trailers of new movies covering the topics of same-sex “marriage,” Darwinism, and evangelical scandal. Besides being expressions of the current culture war, there is something else that these movies have in common. It appears that all of them come down on the side of the secular left on each of these issues. This is not surprising for Hollywood, but it is nevertheless a sign of the times (1 Chronicles 12:32). Continue Reading →

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How Old Is Earth?

Dr. Albert Mohler delivered what would have to be considered a barn-burner of a theological address at the 2010 Ligonier Conference. You can watch the video of the address here or read a transcript here. The title was “Why Does the Universe Look So Old?” and at the heart of his argument is this contention. The most straightforward reading of the creation narratives in Genesis presents a young earth view of creation. It is the view with the fewest complications. In his own words:

“An understanding of creation in terms of 24-hour calendar days and a young earth entails far fewer complications, far fewer theological problems and actually is the most straightforward and uncomplicated reading of the text as we come to understand God telling us how the universe came to be and what it means and why it matters.” Continue Reading →

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Lakers Championship Parade

I don’t know what it is about this guy, but he slays me. This guy interviews people who have gathered to watch the Laker’s championship parade. He’s done it for the last two championships, and it’s like a cross between Marv Albert and Napoleon Dynamite. The video from this year’s parade is above. Last year’s is below. They’re both funny, but I still think the one below is the most entertaining.

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Does it matter if the Bible contradicts itself?

The short answer is yes. A case in point appears in a recent article by retired Anglican minister Albert Radcliffe. Radcliffe argues that the Bible is a “library of conflicting viewpoints,” and cannot be the last word on the Church of England’s debates on the moral status of homosexuality and women pastors. He argues that even within the pages of the Bible we read about “rigorists” who prefer the letter of the law and about the “humanitarians” who don’t allow the Bible to be the last word. According to Radcliffe, someone like Ezra was in the former category, and Jesus was in the latter.

As you might imagine, the upshot of this hermeneutic is devastating to the functional authority of the Bible to whoever adopts it. Radcliffe writes: Continue Reading →

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LeBrondigestion

Did you see the LeBron James spectacle? Never has it felt so stupid to be a sports fan. At least that’s what Will Leitch argues for New York Magazine. After watching the big announcement on Wednesday, Leitch was overcome with what I like to call LeBrondigestion—that sickening feeling you get after consuming unhealthy amounts genuflecting sports journalism, the kind that coddles the egos of self-involved sports stars. You felt it a little bit at Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech. You felt it a lot bit if you watched the LeBron show the other night. Leitch writes: Continue Reading →

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