Archive | Christianity

Dueling articles on transgender at The Public Discourse

There is an important conversation going on at The Public Discourse—two articles with dueling views on transgender. Jennifer Gruenke makes the case for a biological basis for transgender identity. Greg Brown responds with a strong counterargument exposing some critical weaknesses in Gruenke’s essay.

I am with Brown on this one, and I commend his careful response to you. I would add just a few brief observations of my own about Gruenke’s article: Continue Reading →

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Culpable Ignorance: You have no excuse for not knowing what abortion is.

The third video exposing Planned Parenthood was just released today (see below). It is the worst one yet as it depicts the actual carnage of abortion. It is difficult to watch, but everyone who supports the legality of this barbarism is morally obligated to watch it. It is clearly a human being that has been torn apart and killed in utero. If you did not know that before, you will know after seeing this video. The images don’t lie.

If you support this kind of thing being legal and don’t watch the video, your ignorance of the horror will not absolve your indifference. One of Jesus’ last utterances from the cross helps us to understand our responsibility in light of these videos. Unfortunately, the connection is often missed because his words are widely misunderstood. Continue Reading →

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Designed for Joy: How the Gospel Impacts Men and Women, Identity and Practice

I contributed a chapter to a new book just published by Crossway: Designed for Joy: How the Gospel Impacts Men and Women, Identity and Practice. My chapter deals with transgender, but the rest of the book deals with gender issues more broadly. All of the contributors are complementarian. John Piper waxes nostalgic in the Foreword to the volume. He writes:

My amazement is that decades into this struggle, there is such a widespread and robust embrace of the beautiful biblical vision of complementary manhood and womanhood. This may strike you as an evidence of small faith on my part. Perhaps it is. But if you had tasted the vitriol of our audiences in the 1970s and 1980s, you might understand.

In the late seventies, we were called “obscene” for suggesting that God’s Word taught distinct, complementary roles for men and women based on manhood and womanhood, not just competency. Therefore, the breadth and maturity and creativity and joyfulness of the complementarian crowd today triggers happy amazement in me.

Here’s a list of contributors and their chapters: Continue Reading →

Facing down the heresy of our time

In a short piece at First Things, Ryan Anderson makes a point that every Christian needs to hear. The defining heresy of our day is anthropological in nature. It’s about who God created us to be as male and female in His image. So many of our social and spiritual pathologies are downstream from this key theological point. He writes:

Debates about the nature of God, of salvation, and of the Church never disappear, of course. But today, the most pressing heresies—the newest challenges for the Church’s teaching and mission—center on the nature of man. The tribulations that marked the twentieth century and continue into the twenty-first—totalitarianism, genocide, abortion, and the sexual ideology that has battered the family and redefined marriage—have sprung from a faulty humanism. I don’t mean to equate each of these human tragedies with the others, but they all spring from faulty anthropology, a misunderstanding of the nature of man…

If we are seeing in our own time challenges to the truths that we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other in marriage, it is because we have lost sight of the true nature of man. We must respond to false humanisms with a true humanism committed to the unique and irreplaceable value of each person.

If Ryan is correct (and he is), then that has implications for how we understand our calling as Christians in our time. We must withstand the heresy of our own day—that our essence is self-determined and that our identity can be boiled down to the sum total of fallen sexual desires. That fictional narrative surrounds us and presses us on all sides. It is the air we breathe. Still we are called to assert the faith in the face of it—to say in our own time what the Holy Spirit has said for all time in Scripture.

To fail that calling—even when the headwinds of culture are blowing hard against us—is a failure of courage and love: (1) courage that God has spoken and that standing for His truth is worth it even when the going gets tough, and (2) love that seeks the good of our neighbor, even when our neighbor disagrees with us.

Heresy has always been a challenge to the church, but it has also always been God’s providential occasion for the triumph of the orthodox. That is the opportunity that is before us now if we have the courage and love to seize it.

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Read the rest of Anderson’s piece here. Read Anderson’s new book here.

Wheaton staffer announces support for gay relationships

Julie Rodgers has resigned her position in the Wheaton Chaplain’s office on the same day that she reveals her support for gay sexual relationships. Eric Teetsel has a report here, and I encourage you to read it. In the meantime, some initial observations:

1. Biblical authority is missing. Rodgers’s explanation of her change of heart is long on personal experience and short on Bible. If she has a reasoned biblical rationale for her views, she didn’t share it. It shouldn’t be lost on readers that other considerations seem to be driving her embrace of gay relationships, not God’s word. Continue Reading →

What are our options in post-Obergefell America?

David Gushee has a stimulating column at RNS arguing that “strident” calls for civil disobedience in the wake of Obergefell are empty. Yes, federal policy now disfavors those who adhere to a traditional definition of marriage, but there really isn’t any relevant way for Christians to disobey the government—at least not where things stand now. Instead, he argues that Christians will have to face the crushing consequences of their views and that they have no appropriate way to “disobey” in order to resist: Continue Reading →

Hymn to God the Father

One of my favorite poems of all time is “Hymn to God the Father” by John Donne. If you are not familiar with this poem, you need to be. Donne composed this piece near the end of his life when he was facing death (circa 1631). As he contemplates his demise, he is overcome with a sense of his own sinfulness, and he wonders how he will stand at the judgment. Donne evokes all the anguish of the “wretched man” in Romans 7:24 before he sounds a final note of hope that Jesus will rescue him at the last day.

There is a wonderful play on the word “done” in this poem, and you’ll note that it can either mean “done” or “Donne” (as in John Donne). It really is beautiful, and you can read the full text below. Continue Reading →

The Heav’n rescued land

In the short story “No Refuge Could Save” by Isaac Asimov, the main character exposes a German spy by quizzing him on the third verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” When the suspected spy reveals that he knows the lyrics to the third verse, he blew his own cover. Why? Because no American knows the third verse of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Americans only know the first verse. Only a spy would know any of the lyrics beyond that.

The story is correct. Americans don’t know the second, third, or fourth verses of the National Anthem. By custom and tradition, we only ever sing the first verse. So the other verses have been all but forgotten.

Still, the last verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” would repay a careful reading. It goes like this:

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Happy 4th!

What your average evangelical is concerned about after Obergefell

The video above is from a Roman Catholic group, but I can testify that many evangelical Christians are feeling the same way these folks are.

I am a pastor, and the testimonies in this video sound very similar to what I have been hearing from the folks in my church. Our members by and large don’t have questions about the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality and marriage. They get that. Nor do they have questions about their obligation to love their neighbor, to seek their good, and to be at peace with everyone (Mark 12:29; Luke 6:33; Rom. 12:18). They get all of that. Continue Reading →

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