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Hold Them Back

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade decision–a decision that has presided over the legal killing of over 57 million human beings since 1973. Abortion-on-demand is without question the greatest human rights crisis of our time.

Proverbs 24:10-12 tells us that we cannot be indifferent to this horror. It calls us not to turn away but to “hold them back.” Below is a message I delivered at my church on this text. My hope and prayer is that the Lord would use it to awaken consciences. Download here to listen.

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Seven reasons why you shouldn’t read 1 Timothy 6:1-2 as an endorsement of slavery

Have you ever faced a skeptic—maybe a family member or a friend at work—who threw slavery at you as evidence that the Bible can’t be trusted? They argue that if you are using the Bible as your authority on what is right and wrong, then you are basing your deeply held beliefs on a morally deficient revelation. If the Bible is wrong about something as elementary as slavery, how can it be trusted in its central claims about Jesus?

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A religious test for conservative Christians in academia

In terms of cultural influence, there is hardly any group more consequential than the faculty members of elite universities. They have an incalculable impact on emerging generations of leaders in business and politics and other fields that define our national life.

How do they come to this position of influence? The first and most important qualification is the Ph.D. degree. Who determines who gets Ph.D.’s in our country? Little groups of faculty members meeting in little rooms determine who gets into the programs and thus who will comprise the future faculties of our nation’s colleges and universities. How do these committees do their work?

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Ryan Anderson at The Atlantic’s inaugural LGBT forum

Last week, I watched Ryan Anderson’s interview at The Atlantic’s inaugural LGBT summit. It is fair to say that Ryan was in hostile territory in this appearance. He was the lone speaker to oppose gay marriage at a conference filled with gay marriage supporters.

I think it was remarkable that they even included him on the program. Going forward, I expect conferences like this not to tolerate any arguments that contradict the new orthodoxy. Indeed, for the most part, that’s how things already are. This conference seems to be an outlier on this point.

The interview was respectful, and I think Ryan was compelling. I doubt anyone in that audience changed their mind, but Ryan shows exactly how to disagree without being disagreeable. Really well done.

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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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