Archive | Christianity

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 →


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 →

Alan Chambers says “sin is irrelevant.” Is he right?

Alan Chambers has given another very troubling interview in which he declares that “sin is irrelevant” for Christians. Chambers is the former head of the now defunct Exodus International—an umbrella organization for a number of different ex-gay ministries that support reparative therapy. In recent years, Chambers has repudiated his former support of reparative therapy and has apologized to the gay community for his former work.

Chambers’s remarks in this most recent interview are riddled with biblical and theological error, and I am not going to attempt a comprehensive response. But I do want to comment on two items: Continue Reading →

Matt Bevin’s family tragedy and strong Christian faith

Earlier this evening, the news broke that Matt Bevin was elected as the next governor of Kentucky. As that news rippled across the country, what may not have been as well known is Bevin’s fervent Christian faith and connection to Southern Seminary where I teach. Several years ago, Bevin endowed our school’s center for global missions. This came about as a result of a devastating family tragedy. You can hear Bevin share the story above in his own words, or you can read Aaron Hanbury’s 2012 report below. Don’t miss this one. Continue Reading →

Ross Douthat takes the Roman Catholic academy to the woodshed

Last Monday, a cadre of Roman Catholic theologians wrote a letter to the powers-that-be at The New York Times complaining about Ross Douthat’s unwashed views about Catholic theology. In particular, they were perturbed at Douthat’s remarks about marriage in the wake of the recent Synod on the Family. These theologians argued that a layman like Douthat had no business opining on things he is not credentialed to opine on. It was a snarky, elitist argument aimed at shaming the Times into silencing Douthat. Continue Reading →

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