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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Boycotting gay weddings? A distorted take on an important book

Albert Mohler appeared on the front page of The Louisville Courier Journal yesterday next to the headline “Mohler: Christians should boycott gay weddings.” The story was later picked up by USA Today which ran a similar headline Baptist leader: Christians should boycott gay weddings. Since then, it has been featured in news outlets across the country.

It turns out that the report is about Mohler’s new book We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong. This book tells the story of our particular moment in American life in the aftermath of the sexual revolution. And yet if all you had were the headlines, you might conclude that he just wrote a book-length treatise on how to boycott gay weddings. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Transforming Homosexuality: What the Bible Says about Sexual Orientation and Change

I am happy to announce that my new book that I co-wrote with Heath Lambert has just been released. The book deals with issues that readers of this blog have seen me discussing for a long time—sexual orientation and change. In fact, the title of the book says as much: Transforming Homosexuality: What the Bible Says about Sexual Orientation and Change (P&R, 2015).

This book is different from other Christian books about homosexuality. First, the book isn’t focused on the ethics of homosexual behavior but on the ethics of homosexual desire. Some people believe that homosexual behavior is sinful but that homosexual desire is not. For that reason, they believe and teach that homosexual orientation and same-sex attraction are morally neutral concepts. We argue from scripture against that perspective.

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Planned Parenthood’s problems have to do with facts that are not in dispute

I watched a good bit of the testimony that Cecile Richards offered to Congress yesterday, but I suspect that most Americans did not. Most Americans will view news reports about the hearings if they hear anything at all. That means that most Americans are going to be woefully under-informed about what happened yesterday. So let me give you the bottom line about what came out in the hearings.

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John Piper delivers a little Hermeneutics 101

Many readers give very little thought to what they are aiming to do when they read a text. Most want to understand the meaning of the text, but very few could tell you what they mean by meaning. And that is a problem for a couple of reasons.

1. Some people define meaning as a reader’s response to what he is reading. Because there can be as many responses as there are readers, this theory implies that there can be as many different meanings of text as there are readers.

2. Some people define meaning as a property of the text without respect to the author who wrote it. This view believes that we can only learn the meaning of a text after we have learned the rules of the game–the norms of the language.

Neither one of these approaches is very helpful at the end of the day. To define meaning, we need to recognize that meaning is not a property of the text independently conceived. Nor is reading a property of the reader’s interaction with the text. Rather, meaning is defined as the message that the author intended to communicate at the time that he wrote.

That basic hermeneutical lesson is the one that John Piper explains so well in the video above. It’s Hermeneutics 101, and I commend it to you.

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I am a Christian, but I don’t follow Christ

By now many of you have no doubt seen the viral video “I’m a Christian, but…” (click the image above to view it). Not only has the video been making the rounds, but the hashtag #IAmAChristianBut is ubiquitous on social media right now.

After you watch the video, it’s obvious that this is a propaganda piece for a version of Christianity that is Christian in name only–a progressivist vision of the faith that has more to do with maintaining street-cred with Christianity’s cultured despisers than with the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). It is what the apostle Paul called a “form of godliness” while “denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). It is gutless–literally, a hollowing out of everything essential to the faith.

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