Author Archive | Denny Burk

McKnight Interviews McLaren

Scot McKnight recently sat down and asked Brian McLaren three questions about what exactly McLaren believes (see above). I have the three questions transcribed below, but I think the last question is the most important.

In the third question, McKnight asks McLaren if he’s a universalist. Don’t hold your breath for a direct answer because McLaren doesn’t give one. McLaren says that he is not an exclusivist but that he can’t say that he’s a universalist either. He won’t commit to either view. McLaren’s says that he’s working within a new “narrative” in which those old questions of heaven and hell don’t make sense anymore. In spite of McLaren’s obfuscation, I think it’s pretty clear that he’s a universalist. Continue Reading →


The Faith of Katy Perry

The most recent issue of Rolling Stone has an interview with pop music sensation Katy Perry. I’ve written about Perry before and have noted her past life as Katy Hudson—a Christian music star and the daughter of two charismatic youth pastors. What I found interesting about this interview in Rolling Stone was her remarks about her current spiritual state and practices. She describes it this way:

“Speaking in tongues is as normal to me as ‘Pass the salt.’ A lot of religions use meditation or chanting as a subliminal prayer language, and speaking in tongues isn’t that different–it’s a secret, direct prayer language to God. If I felt intuitively that I had to pray for some situation, but I didn’t rationally understand it, I just let my spirit pray for me.”

Perry tells Rolling Stone that she still gets offended at blasphemy, even when her own fiancé is the culprit. She doesn’t want anyone taking God’s name in vain. The interviewer is astonished at Perry’s residual Christian scruples:

“It’s surprising to hear Perry talk about God in this way, because one would think her religious past is behind her, but she says she still considers herself a Christian. She shows me the tattoo of the word JESUS that she got on her wrist, just like her dad. ‘God is very much still a part of my life,’ she says. ‘But the way the details are told in the Bible—that’s very fuzzy for me. And I want to throw up when I say that. But that’s the truth.’

“‘I still believe that Jesus is the son of God… But I also believe in extraterrestrials, and that there are people who are sent from God to be messengers, and all sorts of crazy stuff… Every time I look up, I know that I’m nothing and there’s something way beyond me. I don’t think it’s as simple as heaven and hell.'”

The article also reveals why Perry has departed from Christian music and the strict charismatic faith of her parents.

“Perry started to question the path she was on. Her Christian label shut down, and, she says, ‘My gospel career was going nowhere.’ She started to write songs about love—and boys—on her guitar. And those weren’t gospel songs. ‘Letting go was a process,’ she says. ‘Meeting gay people, or Jewish people, and realizing that they were fine was a big part of it. Once I stopped being chaperoned, and realized I had a choice in life, I was like, “Wow, there are a lot of choices.” I began to become a sponge for all that I had missed—the music, the movies. I was as curious as the cat.'”

The article is as sad as it is revealing. I hope and pray that perhaps there is a flicker of gospel still alive in Perry and that she will heed it soon. Pray for her. The Lord’s arm is not too short to save (Isaiah 59:1).


Source: “Sex, God & Katy,” Rolling Stone (August 19, 2010)


Inconsistent Pro-life Evangelicals

Randy Alcorn has been a heroic pro-life advocate for many years. His part in the fight has cost him greatly. Nevertheless, he soldiers on. Mark Driscoll has recorded a series of conversations with Alcorn about the issue, and it would be well worth your time to watch all of them. The most recent installment focuses on inconsistent pro-life evangelicals—that is, those who call themselves pro-life but then don’t vote their stated conviction.

Here are links to all three parts.

Part 1 – Why Does Bestselling Author Randy Alcorn Make Minimum Wage?

Part 2 – How God Uses Evil for Good

Part 3 – Are Young Pro-Life Evangelicals Inconsistent?


Evangelical Bigots?

Carl Trueman notes that for Americans under 35 years of age, homosexual marriage is not even an issue. That figure indicates a great generational divide over attitudes toward homosexuality. The trend lines in our culture are moving decidedly in the direction affirming homosexuality as normal. Trueman predicts, therefore, four challenges that lie ahead for Christians. Here’s the fourth challenge that Trueman mentions:

“Those evangelical leaders, academics and evangelical institutions that prize their place at the table and their invitations to appear on `serious’ television programs, and who enjoy being asked to offer their opinion to the wider culture had better be prepared to make a choice. As I have said before in this column, we are not far from the place where to oppose homosexuality will be regarded as in the same moral bracket as white supremacy. Those types only appear on Jerry Springer; and Jerry generally doesn’t typically ask them their opinion on the ethics of medical research, the solution to the national debt, or the importance of poetry to a rounded education.”

Of course, evangelicals who are faithful to biblical teaching aren’t really bigots, but that won’t matter. We will be maligned as such, and we need to be prepared for difficulties ahead. The encroachment upon religious liberty will be real and acute. But it will also be an occasion to bear faithful witness to Christ. Let’s pray that we do just that.


Kevin DeYoung Gives Me My Purpose in Life

Kevin DeYoung’s message from the NEXT conference is outstanding. He calls us to cease our fixation with ecclesiastical revolution and instead to become “visionary plodders.” That little phrase—visionary plodders—is one that you can hang your hat on. The idea is that we should take the long view on our Christian walk. Revolutions can occur, but they are more likely to occur over a lifetime. What that means is that we are called to be faithful in the small things every day. A life that accumulates that kind of faithfulness over the long haul is a revolutionary life.

Kevin DeYoung hasn’t literally given me my purpose in life, but he has given me a phrase that I plan to hang on to. It sums up in succinct fashion what I believe the Bible calls us to be—visionary plodders.

You need to hear this message. You can download it here or press the play button below. Here’s the outline.


Also, DeYoung has a short article in Tabletalk magazine that sums up some of the same material.


Wendy Long on Prop 8

Wendy Long provided the best legal analysis I’ve heard of yesterday’s ruling in California. She calls the decision the “prime example of judicial tyranny.” Listen below.


The End of Prop 8: A Moral and Legal Revolution

Yesterday, a federal judge overturned California’s ban on gay marriage—a measure that was added to the state’s constitution through a 2008 ballot effort called Proposition 8. Federal district judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that Proposition 8 was a violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment (p. 109). The judge immediately stayed his own decision pending appeals, so gay marriages will not be performed until the issue is resolved in the higher courts. Read the decision here.

The next stop for this case is the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—a court well-known for leaning left on social issues and which will almost certainly rubber-stamp the lower court’s decision. The next stop will then be the Supreme Court. That is where the showdown will be and where there won’t be any rubber-stamps. In fact, I think the Supreme Court could overturn this. But if Justice Anthony Kennedy is the tie-breaking vote (as many expect him to be), who knows how this will end up? Continue Reading →


Federal Judge Strikes Down Prop 8

This is a terrible decision, and I will have more to say about it later. For now, here’s a snippet and a link from the story in The New York Times:

“Saying that it unfairly targets gay men and women, a federal judge in San Francisco struck down California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, handing supporters of such unions a temporary victory in a legal battle that seems all but certain to be settled by the Supreme Court. . .

“‘Proposition 8 cannot survive any level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause,’ wrote Mr. Walker. ‘Excluding same-sex couples from marriage is simply not rationally related to a legitimate state interest.'”


Oil Spill Update

“The government is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm…

“It remains to be seen whether subtle, long-lasting environmental damage from the spill will be found, as has been the case after other large oil spills.”

Justin Gillis, “U.S. Finds Most Oil From Spill Poses Little Additional Risk,” New York Times (August 4, 2010)


Slightly Modified Infanticide

In 1999, Senator Barbara Boxer said in so many words that fully a delivered baby does not have an intrinsic right to life. A baby only has a right to life when its mother decides to take the baby home. Until that time, the fully delivered baby can still be killed so long as the mother decides she wants it killed.

George Will recently called Boxer’s position “slightly modified infanticide.” Boxer took issue with this characterization and fired-back that she had been taken out of context. Newsweek carried the exchange, and you can read the back and forth between Boxer and Will here.

I just want to say that I too have to take issue with Will’s description of Boxer’s view as “Slightly Modified Infanticide.” I don’t think that is fair at all. There is nothing “modified” about it. It’s infanticide.

For those of you who think I have misrepresented Boxer, you can watch and listen to her remarks for yourself. Continue Reading →


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