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Emerging Irony

The cover story of the most recent issue of Touchstone magazine is about Johnny Cash, and it’s written by Russell Moore. This is an excellent piece, and I highly recommend your reading it.

Scot McKnight, however, does not share my enthusiasm about Moore’s article and has criticized it here. Moore has responded to McKnight’s response here. Now McKnight has responded to Moore’s response to McKnight’s response here.

If that all sounds confusing, then let me sum it up for you. McKnight thinks that people like Moore should have been more supportive of Cash’s Christian conversion about twenty or thirty years ago. For McKnight, supporting Cash now is too little too late.

In other words, the Emergent folks don’t seem to be very tolerant of Moore’s admiration for the sinner Johnny Cash.

How ironic is that?

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Questions about the Safety of the Abortion Pill

In today’s New York Times:

Federal drug regulators have discovered that all four women in this country who died after taking an abortion pill [RU-486] suffered from a rare and highly lethal bacterial infection, a finding that is leading to new scrutiny of the drug’s safety. . .

Ms. Patterson died seven days after taking Mifeprex. She lived in Livermore, Calif.
On Dec. 29, 2003, Vivian Tran, 22, of Costa Mesa, Calif., died six days after taking Mifeprex.On Jan. 14, 2004, Chanelle Bryant, 22, of Pasadena, Calif., died six days after taking Mifeprex. And on May 24, 2005, Oriane Shevin, 34, of Los Angeles died five days after taking Mifeprex.

In each case, Clostridium sordellii infected the women’s uteruses, flourished and then entered their bloodstreams. The bacterium can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and weakness but may not induce fever, so victims often fail to realize how sick they are until it is too late and succumb to toxic shock. Antibiotics are often ineffective once an infection has flourished because even in death, the bacteria release toxins.

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Russell Moore’s Review of New Johnny Cash Movie

One of the things that I love most about Russell Moore is his taste in country music. He is not nearly as much a Dixie-Chick-Keith-Urban country music fan as he is a George-Jones-Loretta-Lynn kind of a fan. He likes the old timey stuff.

That’s why I enjoyed reading his review of the new movie about Johnny Cash. Moore discusses the movie Walk the Line and generally gives it a good review. He also talks about Cash’s conversion which is not featured explicitly in the movie. The last paragraph of the review sums up Moore’s admiration for the late Johnny Cash.

My sons know Johnny Cash quite well because they hear his music around them all the time. My infant son’s lullaby each night is a Carter Family song. When they are older, we’ll watch Walk the Line. But we’ll follow it up with a reminder from Scripture that sums up Johnny and June more than celebrity can ever explain: They loved much for they were forgiven much. There was a Man in Black, not because of a marketing gimmick, but because he understood with lifelong pain what it means to descend into a “Ring of Fire” and to find a Deliverer on the other side.

Read “Walking the Line” by Russell Moore

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Another Abortion Outrage

Today’s Washington Post reports that there is a new prenatal testing procedure that will allow doctors to determine in the first trimester whether a baby has down syndrome. The outrage consists in how this knowledge is routinely used.

Screening women before the second trimester allows those who might opt to terminate a pregnancy to make that decision when doctors say an abortion is safer and less traumatic (source).

Aborting babies who have defects has become a routine occurrence in our society. Yet it is a practice that almost no one wants to talk about.

Ironically, the Washington Post ran one of the most compelling essays against this practice just a couple of weeks ago. In “The Abortion Debate No One Wants To Have,” former Washington Post reporter Patricia E. Bauer writes a stirring account of how her daughter Margaret has enriched her family’s life. Margaret has down syndrome. Bauer writes:

Margaret is a person and a member of our family. She has my husband’s eyes, my hair and my mother-in-law’s sense of humor. We love and admire her because of who she is — feisty and zesty and full of life — not in spite of it. She enriches our lives. If we might not have chosen to welcome her into our family, given the choice, then that is a statement more about our ignorance than about her inherent worth.

What I don’t understand is how we as a society can tacitly write off a whole group of people as having no value. I’d like to think that it’s time to put that particular piece of baggage on the table and talk about it, but I’m not optimistic. People want what they want: a perfect baby, a perfect life. To which I say: Good luck. Or maybe, dream on.

And here’s one more piece of un-discussable baggage: This question is a small but nonetheless significant part of what’s driving the abortion discussion in this country. I have to think that there are many pro-choicers who, while paying obeisance to the rights of people with disabilities, want at the same time to preserve their right to ensure that no one with disabilities will be born into their own families. The abortion debate is not just about a woman’s right to choose whether to have a baby; it’s also about a woman’s right to choose which baby she wants to have (source).

I don’t think I have anything to add to Bauer’s remarks. She has said it all.

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Texas Passes Ban on Gay “Marriage”

The Associated Press reports that early election returns in Texas indicate that the amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman has passed. The good news is that the amendment also outlaws civil unions and any other arrangement that resembles marriage. Here’s how the new amendment reads:

(a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.

(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage (source).

This amendment not only constitutionally prohibits Texas from “marrying” and conferring civil unions on homosexual couples, it also prohibits recognizing such “unions” even if they are granted in other states. That means that there won’t be any grounds for a challenge in court if a “married” homosexual couple moves in from out of state.

I am really happy about this result. It’s better for this issue to be decided by the people of Texas than by judges.

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Interview for ABC News Dallas

The interview aired last night on the 10 o’clock news (see previous post). I had been wondering how my comments would come across once they were edited to fit into the report. Having seen it, I have to say that it could have been worse. They have me reading the scripture (1 Corinthians 6:9) to the effect that the “unrighteous” will not inherit the kingdom of God. But they didn’t include the part about the Gospel being for all kinds of sinners. Nevertheless, it’s always a good thing to be able to read scripture, so I can’t complain.

If you want to watch the video, click here: Watch Video.

If you want to read the story, click here: Read Report.

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Interview for the Gospel

The reporter who conducted the interview was Gary Reaves (pictured right).

I got called on today to represent Criswell College in an interview with a local news program (Channel 8, ABC-Dallas) about the upcoming vote on whether to amend the Texas constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. I only had about an hour or so to prepare for the interview. So I began reading stories from several different newspapers and news sources and tried to brush up on the state of the political debate.

I read websites sponsored by interest groups for the amendment and others that are against the amendment. I was well-prepared to discuss reasons why an amendment to the constitution is needed and why existing state laws defining marriage are not likely to stand. I was also prepared to talk about one interest group’s recent attempt to distort what the amendment is really about, a group that has caused quite a stir here in Dallas (read about it here). Thus, my expectation was that the reporter would want me to talk about the amendment and the upcoming vote.

So I was very surprised when the reporter told me that what he really wanted to know was what the New Testament says about homosexual marriage. He had heard from others that while the Old Testament condemns homosexual marriage, the New Testament does not speak to it specifically. He just wanted me to explain what the Bible really says. So much for politics! That was fine with me. Politics is not my area of expertise anyway.

Obviously for a short interview, I needed to be selective. So I opened my bible to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” –NASB

I explained that Paul very explicitly addresses both halves of the homosexual relationship. The word translated “effeminate” refers to the passive actor in a homosexual encounter, while the word “homosexual” refers to the active partner. I don’t think Paul could have been any clearer that both comprise behavior that is antithetical to the Kingdom. Needless to say, this text was clear evidence that the New Testament in no way sanctions homosexuality, much less any kind of a homosexual “marriage.”

I also noted how Paul told the Corinthians, “and such were some of you”—meaning that some of the Corinthian Christians themselves had been homosexuals and that God had saved them and delivered them from their sin. Thus, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. There is no special class of sinners (including homosexuals) that are outside of the saving reach of the Gospel. Jesus came for such as these.

We did talk a little bit about the amendment, and I’m not sure what little snippet they’ll use in the interview. My preference is that if they have to choose, they would choose the gospel part, not the political part. After all, while I do support the amendment and think that it would be good for Texas, I don’t pretend that any amendment, legislation, or political remedy will make anyone fit for the Kingdom of God. The only one who does that is the crucified and risen King Jesus. That indeed is news worth broadcasting.

(Update: The report did not air on November 3. Someone in the Channel 8 news room just told me that it will air at 5pm on Sunday, November 6.)

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CNN Is ‘Dead Wrong’

I am watching in disbelief as “CNN Presents” narrates a misleading account of how the U.S. entered into the Iraq War. Basically, they are alleging that the President built a case for war based “substantially” on faulty intelligence.

President Bush’s case for pre-emptive war against Iraq was based substantially on evidence that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. But a presidential commission described the pre-war intelligence as “dead wrong.” CNN Presents pieces together the chain of events that led to the faulty intelligence (source). Continue Reading →

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Waco pastor killed, electrocuted in baptism accident


By Greg Warner

University Baptist Church pastors, (left to right), Kyle Lake, senior pastor; Ben Dudley, community pastor, and David Crowder, music and arts pastor; lead worship. (Photo by Duane A. Laverty/Waco Tribune-Herald)

WACO, Texas (ABP) — Kyle Lake, pastor of the innovative University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, was killed by electrocution Oct. 30 while performing a baptism during a worship service.

Lake, whose age was not immediately known, had been pastor of the church for more than four years. The congregation, made up mostly of Baylor University students, is best known as the home church of worship leader and songwriter David Crowder.

Lake and a baptismal candidate reportedly were in the baptistry when the accident occurred, reportedly caused by a microphone. Lake was taken to a nearby hospital by paramedics. He was pronounced dead at 11:30 a.m., according to the church’s website. The baptismal candidate reportedly was not seriously injured.

Lake and his wife, Jen, have a daughter and twin sons. Lake is the author of two books, Understanding God’s Will and [Re]Understanding Prayer.

University Baptist was founded in 1995 by Crowder and Chris Seay, an author and now pastor in Houston. The Waco congregation, which attracts about 600 worshipers each week, is known not only for Crowder’s music but for its emphasis on the arts and multimedia worship.

A special service for prayer and counseling of UBC members was held at nearby First Baptist Church in Waco Sunday night, Oct. 30. Funeral details were not available.

Source: Associated Baptist Press

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