Author Archive | Dennis Burk

Undermining God’s saving purposes through Christ

Yesterday, the Vatican released a statement saying that the Roman Catholic Church should not engage in an “institutional mission work directed towards Jews.” Why? The statement is long—too lengthy to summarize here. But the gist of the argument goes like this. God has spoken to the Jews in the Old Testament. The Old Testament bears prophetic witness to Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. We know from Paul that “the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” Therefore, whether they realize it or not, the Jews are saved by Christ.

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“Giving away the store” on same-sex attraction?

On Thursday, The Gospel Coalition posted an excerpt from Ed Shaw’s new book Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life. Yesterday, Doug Wilson took issue with the excerpt, saying that it “gives away the store” on the issue of same-sex attraction. Wilson writes,

The upshot of the article is that Christian parents should care about whether or not their children grow up to be godly, and that they really ought not to care — provided the godliness is there — whether or not their children grow up to have same sex attraction.

This is presented so smoothly, in an evangelical cliche sort of way, that it almost seems sweet, and yet it is so wrong-headed as to be stupefying. In other words, there is a way to take this that is not only defensible, but absolutely necessary to defend. That way of taking it is why the article might have some sway among unreflective Christians. The right way to take it, however, is not the path the article encourages.

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God Is Fixing This

“God is not fixing this” is the headline at The New York Daily News in the wake of the horrific shootings in San Bernardino yesterday. The message reflects an unfolding social media dispute about gun control laws. Several Republican candidates for president had tweeted that their “thoughts and prayers” were with victims and families of the shooting.

A backlash against such prayer followed. The backlash basically consisted of the idea that prayer is not enough. One must do something if one really cares about gun violence. And that something is to publicly support gun control legislation. Since “God is not fixing this” in response to our prayers, we have to fix it through government regulation.

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Observations on a Pivotal Theological Meeting

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:

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A Theological Earthquake

Jonathan Merritt 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?

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Is sin “irrelevant”?

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:

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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 →

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Interview with Apologia Radio about “Transforming Homosexuality”

I had the privilege of talking to the Lady, the Bear, and the Ninja about my new book that I wrote with Heath Lambert, Transforming Homosexuality: What the Bible Teaches about Sexual Orientation and Change. These three are the main personalities at Apologia Radio, and it was a stimulating conversation. Also, these guys are real characters and run a great show. You can watch the video here.

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