CNN’s Belief Blog reports that the marketing campaign for the new Superman movie includes a direct appeal to Christian movie-goers. A marketing firm is highlighting the Messianic themes of the film in order to attract the Christian market to “Man of Steel.” The firm has created an entire website filled with “Man of Steel” ministry resources including sermon outlines, video downloads, and digital images from the movie. They even hired a theologian to write sermon notes for pastors who want to make “Man of Steel” the subject matter of their Sunday morning sermon. The sermon intro calls for a viewing of the movie trailer during the sermon! Continue Reading →
John Piper is spending the year in Knoxville, Tennessee writing and serving Desiring God. Trillia Newbell conducted an interview with him on his front porch where he waxes philosophical about fatherhood. The interview appears on the website of the Knoxville News Sentinel. Watch it above. (HT: The Gospel Coalition)
The redefinition of legal marriage in our culture will not end with same sex “marriage.” The polygamists are waiting in the wings for the opportunity to make their case—a case that will be all the more compelling as arguments for gay “marriage” take hold across the country. If marriage becomes defined as legal recognition of whoever it is that you love, on what basis will the polygamists be excluded?
But redefinition won’t end with polygamous marriage either. The polyamorists are beginning to make their case as well. In an article for Slate magazine, Jillian Keenan argues that polyamorous unions should be on an equal footing with all other marriages. The polyamorous “family” featured in the article includes two men and two women, all of whom share one another sexually. Their relationship is defined as “consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.” Continue Reading →
A cake shop owner in Colorado finds himself in legal trouble after refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding. Although participating in a gay wedding goes against his Christian beliefs, he says that he has no problem serving gay people otherwise. The Colorado attorney general filed the complaint against him on behalf of the gay couple that ordered the cake. According to an Associated Press report:
The complaint seeks to force Masterpiece Cakeshop to “cease and desist” the practice of refusing wedding cakes for gay couples, and to tell the public that their business is open to everyone.
If Phillips loses the case and refuses to comply with the order, he would face fines of $500 per case and up to a year in jail, his attorney said.
“It would force him to choose between his conscience and a paycheck. I just think that’s an intolerable choice,” Martin said.
Here we have another instance that puts on full display how religious liberty is being threatened by the legal redefinition of marriage and by treating homosexuals as a protected class. If this complaint stands, this cake-shop owner will have to choose between being faithful to his conscience and going out of business.
I have already noted several other stories like this one, and I expect we will see many more in the future. Christians are going to have to navigate some tough ethical questions in the coming days. I believe that many Christian business owners will be able serve homosexuals and do so with a good conscience. For many owners, relationships with such customers may very well be the context for their ongoing Christian witness to them. For a Christian selling hamburgers, providing goods and services is a no-brainer. But for the Christian wedding planner, there will likely be a different moral calculus. And there’s the rub.
The key issue that will weigh on the Christian conscience is whether providing a good or a service might be construed as approving homosexuality or the sinful fiction known as gay “marriage.” That’s why the cake shop owner in this case is happy to serve gay people but not to participate in their wedding celebration. His conscience dictates a course of action that may very well run him afoul of the legal authorities. These are exactly the kinds of cases that are going to test the limits of religious liberty in coming days. Get ready.
As the Southern Baptist Convention meets in Houston, Texas, Albert Mohler has published a statement about the SBC’s Calvinism Advisory Committee. The committee was formed to address controversies about Calvinism within the denomination. Mohler’s statement is conciliatory and statesmanlike. Here’s an excerpt: Continue Reading →
Bryant Wright is the pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention. In the video above, he explains why he is leading his church to sever ties with the Boy Scouts. I expect we’ll be seeing a lot of this kind of thing in the coming months.
If you’ve ever been in a debate with someone about gay marriage, one of the conversation stoppers that proponents often throw out is this: “How does gay marriage hurt traditional marriage?” Or more personally, “How does my gay marriage corrupt your straight marriage?” The thinking goes like this. What two people do in the privacy of their own home ought not concern you, even if they choose to reinvent society’s most basic institution. After all, who are you to judge someone else’s pairing? If some people want to call gay unions a “marriage,” what’s that to you?
The assumption in this line of argument is that marriage is a private good with no public consequences. But is this assumption valid? Is it not the case that a redefinition of marriage affects all marriages? Certainly a redefinition of marriage to allow gay nuptials will continue to sever the link between marriage and procreation. But this is not the only public consequence. Continue Reading →
Last week, I wrote a blog post critiquing Andy Stanley’s brief remarks about the historicity of Adam and Eve. In short, I concluded that his remarks were a “poison pill” for the doctrine of scripture. Even after Stanley responded in the comments underneath that post (here, here, here), I believe that my concerns still stand.
Since then, both Scot McKnight and Michael Bird have suggested that I have erred in my critique of Stanley. Bird says he was “deeply frustrated” by what I wrote while McKnight said my reflections were a “failure to think theologically.”
This has been an interesting exchange, to say the very least. And I hope that carrying it forward will be clarifying and helpful to readers. So I want to respond to each of these in turn and invite further discussion and response. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to read my original post as well as those by McKnight and Bird. Continue Reading →
John Piper anticipates what will happen when God begins to save people who have entered into legal gay “marriages.” He offers thirteen helpful guideposts for ministering the gospel to such people in days to come. I recommend that you read all of them, but I would highlight number ten:
Assist them in the legal processes and expenses of undoing what the state called “marriage.” That the state will call this process “divorce” is not decisive in what it really is: the removal of a sinful fiction.
That’s right. We cannot ever treat gay “marriage” as anything else but “a sinful fiction,” even if it becomes legal in all fifty states. That stance will have pastoral consequences, which is why you should read the rest here.
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