Well, I suppose I would be better off letting Mark Jones’ essay attacking close communion go by without comment. I am reminded of the Proverb, “Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own” (Proverbs 26:17). Jones’s post wasn’t addressed to me specifically. Still, I do feel like this is as much my quarrel as anyone’s. I am a Baptist pastor who holds to close communion. That is the position of my denomination, and it is the position of my church. I happen to believe that it is the position of scripture as well. Continue Reading →
The New York Times reports that the Supreme Court has denied cert in all five pending same-sex marriage cases. There are two immediate implications of this—an upside and a downside:
(1) Downside: Same-sex marriage will now go forward in five states—Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. This should increase the number of states allowing same-sex marriage from 19 to 24. By deciding not to review these cases, the Supreme Court has let stand bad rulings from lower courts that usurp authority from the people by striking down good laws. This is not good and will likely have far-reaching effects over time.
(2) Upside: Gay marriage will not become a constitutional right this term. Many of us were predicting that the Supreme Court would take up one of these cases. Given the court’s decision in Windsor, it is very clear how they would have ruled if the issue would have come before the court again. Observers expected gay marriage to become a constitutional right across the country this June. But that is not going to happen—at least not right now. The issue will continue to be fought in the lower courts and in the states.
This is big news, and the upside is definitely significant. Still, SCOTUS at best has only delayed the inevitable. Legal same-sex marriage in all 50 states—including a constitutional right to SSM—is a fait accompli at this point. It’s like watching water roll down the windshield. You can debate what track the water will take to get there, but it’s going to get there one way or the other.
Ross Douthat has an insightful blog today about “Pagans and Christians” that you should read. Among other things, he argues that America isn’t really a “pagan” nation yet. So much of its middle-class spirituality is still deeply informed by the judeo-christian tradition. He is certainly right about that.
He also argues that secularists don’t know what to do when Christians outshine them in acts of mercy and charity. Case in point: the overwhelmingly Christian identity of western doctors on the ground in Liberia right now. They are missionaries, they are there to heal, and they are there to proselytize. Everyone likes the healing part. But secularists get really uncomfortable about the preaching part. Douthat says that Christians ought to relish the tension that this creates in our secularist friends and neighbors:
Jim Hamilton has given us an iconoclastic rendering of the theology of Daniel in his latest book With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology (InterVarsity, 2014). This latest addition to the New Studies in Biblical Theology series takes some hard shots at the critical orthodoxies concerning a late date for Daniel. In addition, it presents Daniel’s message in line with the overall story of the Bible. It’s the kind of canonical approach that tends to irritate the myopic vision of some Old Testament scholarship. That is why D. A. Carson says,
“Dr Hamilton’s work is also an implicit call to engage in similar work on other biblical books, in self-conscious determination to reverse two centuries or more of atomistic approaches to Scripture” (p. 14).
I couldn’t agree more.
Hamilton was kind enough to answer some questions from me about this work. My questions and his responses are below. Continue Reading →
Dr. Rob Plummer has put together an outstanding resource to help beginning Greek students read the Greek New Testament. It’s a website called “Daily Dose of Greek,” and it provides a schedule for reading and daily explanations of Greek syntax and grammar on the day’s reading. If you want help from a Southern Seminary master-teacher on the elements of Greek, you really should check out this site: Daily Dose of Greek.
The story in the video above is not a new one. Still, you need to see this. Here’s the story in a nutshell.
Cynthia and Robert Gifford are Christians who own a family farm near Albany, New York. They regularly rent their property for special events, parties, weddings, etc. In 2012, a lesbian couple attempted to rent the facilities for their lesbian wedding, and the owners declined. Why? Because the Giffords are Christians and believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. They simply did not wish to use their property to host an event that contradicts their deeply held religious beliefs. Continue Reading →
Leo and Cynthia were in love, moved in together, and eventually got married. After only twelve months, they divorced. God got a hold of Cynthia and then Leo. He then restored the years that the locusts had eaten (Joel 2:25). Great story.
(HT: Igniter Media)
The main reason that I am a Baptist Christian is because that is what my parents raised me to be. The faith that they passed on to me involved (among other things) a conviction that baptism is for believers alone and that the church’s polity is congregational. The Bible honors this kind of inheritance, and I am happy to own it (2 Tim. 3:14).
It was only after I entered seminary that I really began to press into other ecclesiological perspectives and to wrestle with their interpretations of scripture. Elder-rule polity and paedobaptist paradigms were particularly challenging to my congregational and credobaptist upbringing. More than anything, I wanted to be faithful to scripture. But I had to face the possibility that maybe I had understood the Bible’s teaching incorrectly on these issues.
In case you missed it (I’m not sure you could have!), Lecrae was on Jimmy Fallon last night. Lecrae has the number one record on Billboard right now, so there you have it. A gospel hip-hop dude shows up on late night. It’s a real anomaly. The video above is a web exclusive with Lecrae explaining “How I Wrote That Song.” Below is a link to the full episode. Lecrae sits in with The Roots and performs during intro and outros.
David Kotter makes a biblical case for the wisdom of free markets over at The Center for Gospel and Culture. He writes,
The Bible does not endorse American-style Capitalism, nor did the early church practice Communist central planning in the early chapters of Acts. You will not find Adam Smith prophetically foretold in the Scriptures, nor any allusion to Karl Marx. Republican Party economics is not a required part of Christianity.
Yet, the Bible contains clear economic principles and the early church grew in an environment of buying, selling, borrowing, and hiring. In essence, an economy of free markets and entrepreneurship follows from the commands given by God, though sin has marred the business practices that we experience today. Free markets only require recognition of property rights and the freedom to trade with other people.
Read the rest here