Russell Moore on the Social Gospel

Russell Moore has a great piece on the social gospel in the latest 9Marks journal. Among other things, he asks and answers the question whether the emerging church represents a revival of the social gospel. He writes:

“The doctrinal left wing of the ’emerging’ movement isn’t clarifying the doctrinal content of Christianity, but using, it seems, cunning words to downplay this doctrinal content in order to substitute a social program there instead. This can—and has—happened on the political right as well as on the political left, and with the same kind of wreckage left in its wake. . .

“Let’s remember that the gospel is social but the social gospel isn’t good news. And a church that embraces it, ’emerging’ or otherwise, will not long be a church.”

This is a really helpful article, and you can read the rest of it here.

(HT: Trevin Wax)

Air-Conditioning Hell

Albert Mohler says “embarrassment is the gateway drug for theological accommodation and denial.” The line appears in his article in the latest issue of the 9Marks journal, “Air Conditioning Hell: How Liberalism Happens.” Mohler argues that many evangelicals slip into liberalism simply because they are ashamed of certain doctrines. He enumerates four phases of backsliding that evangelicals go through on their way to liberalism.

First, a doctrine simply falls from mention.
Second, a doctrine is revised and retained in reduced form.
Third, a doctrine is subjected to a form of ridicule.
Fourth, a doctrine is reformulated in order to remove its intellectual and moral offensiveness.

This is a really helpful article, and you can read the rest of it here.

The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind

Carl Trueman has another gem of an article in the latest 9Marks journal. It’s cleverly titled “The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.” So what’s the “scandal”? He explains:

“Years ago, Mark Noll wrote a book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, in which he argued that the scandal was that there was no such thing. When it comes to evangelical scholars and scholarship, I disagree: the scandal is not that there is no mind; it is that these days there is precious little evangel.”

Trueman is on point with this article. Read the rest here

Which god?

A court in Malaysia recently overturned a government ban on the use of the word “Allah” to denote the Christian God. As a result, several Christian churches have been firebombed. Pray for Christian brothers and sisters in Malaysia. They need it now.

Perhaps you are aware that western theologians and missiologists have long debated whether or not the Christian God and the Muslim “Allah” are the same God. It is a contentious debate with profound missiological implications. Have you considered, however, how that question has been answered on the Muslim side? According to the New York Times , the strife in Malaysia owes to the deeply held conviction among Muslims that the two are not the same.

“Though that usage is common in many countries, where Arabic- and Malay-language Bibles describe Jesus as the ‘son of Allah,’ many Muslims here insist that the word belongs exclusively to them and say that its use by other faiths could confuse Muslim worshipers.”

In other words, these Muslims want to make sure that the God of the Bible and the god of Islam are distinguished. Read about it here, and pray for the believers in Malaysia.

California’s Same-Sex-Marriage Trial

This case could end up being the Roe v. Wade of the same-sex “marriage” debate in our culture, the Baptist Press reports. Two homosexual couples are challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay “marriage” and which Californians passed with a majority vote in 2008. The plaintiffs argue that their 14th amendment right to “equal protection under the law” is being violated by Proposition 8.

The New York Times reports about the first day of the trial, and a Baptist Press report implies that the California judge is likely to rule in favor of the plaintiffs. The case is likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court, which could declare unconstitutional all state laws banning gay “marriage.” Sound familiar? That’s why the case is billed as the Roe v. Wade of gay “marriage.” This will be one to watch.

Ross Douthat on Brit Hume

Ross Douthat of the New York Times weighed-in yesterday on the Brit Hume controversy. He writes:

“What Hume said wasn’t bigoted: Indeed, his claim about the difference between Buddhism and Christianity was perfectly defensible. Christians believe in a personal God who forgives sins. Buddhists, as a rule, do not. And it’s at least plausible that Tiger Woods might welcome the possibility that there’s Someone out there capable of forgiving him, even if Elin Nordegren and his corporate sponsors never do.”

His conclusion is right on point: Continue Reading →

Piper’s Message at Angola Prison

In November, John Piper wrote about his experience at Angola Prison in Louisiana. This prison has only murderers, rapists, armed robbers and habitual felons. The average sentence is 88 years, and 90 percent of the inmates will die there. Nevertheless, there is a wonderful move of God going on among the prisoners. Piper’s message to and Q&A with the inmates is now available. You can watch both of them below. Continue Reading →

Gerson and Mohler on Hume

Two more items on Brit Hume appeared since yesterday and are worthy of note. First, Albert Mohler has devoted an entire episode of his radio program to this topic. Perhaps the most helpful part of the conversation is Mohler’s careful explanation of what Buddhism is. It’s not a theistic religion, but a philosophy. Thus, Brit Hume was correct to say that Buddhism does not offer redemption and forgiveness as Christianity does. You can listen to the program here or press the play button below.

[audio:http://www.sbts.edu/media/audio/totl/2010/AMP_01_07_2010.mp3] Continue Reading →

The White Messiah Fable

I know, I know. Reviews of Avatar are a bit played out at this point. But David Brooks’ review in today’s New York Times caught my eye. First of all, he is no conservative, so his critique comes from an entirely different angle. Second, his critique deconstructs the story-formula itself. Brooks argues that “Avatar” fits the genre of “The White Messiah fable,” and he suggests that such stories are offensive. He writes:

“[The white messiah fable] rests on the stereotype that white people are rationalist and technocratic while colonial victims are spiritual and athletic. It rests on the assumption that nonwhites need the White Messiah to lead their crusades. It rests on the assumption that illiteracy is the path to grace. It also creates a sort of two-edged cultural imperialism. Natives can either have their history shaped by cruel imperialists or benevolent ones, but either way, they are going to be supporting actors in our journey to self-admiration.”

Read the rest here.

Gay “Marriage” Fails in NJ Senate

This is good breaking news from New Jersey. Governor Corzine had promised to sign a bill legalizing gay “marriage,” but the bill failed in the Senate before it reached his desk.

“The state Senate rejected a same-sex marriage bill today, a major victory for opponents who contend that the measure would damage religious freedom and is not needed because the state already permits civil unions.”

New Jersey’s Star-Ledger has the rest of the story here.

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