Christian, Are You Celebrating SCOTUS’ Marriage Decision? A Few Careful Appeals For Your Consideration


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Last week I reblogged a post collecting several responses to the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage. If you missed it, I recommend starting there (and even if you already read it, it’s been updated since I first linked to it, so you can still check it out!). Now that a bit more time has passed, the discussion has also moved on a bit to discussing the various reactions to the decision.

Today I came across two articles specifically addressed to Christians who are celebrating the decision. Both posts are somewhat of an insider conversation. If you don’t identify as a Bible-believing Christian who is connected to the universal church in some meaningful way, you aren’t the target audience. By all means, still read if you would like. Just know this going into the read.

I share these articles because I think this is too important a topic to stay silent on and that it is critical to examine not just what we believe but how we arrived at those beliefs.

1. “40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags” Kevin DeYoung provides a lengthy list of questions exploring the implications and underpinnings inherent in supporting the Court’s decisions. These are presented as serious questions to ask and engage with and are thought-provoking.

2. “4 Appeals to Christians Embracing Gay Marriage” Gavin Ortlund presents a smaller list but goes into more detail than DeYoung. An excellent call for careful reflection on the issues.


These articles and my post are meant to generate discussion, not offend or hurt. I hope and pray that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart would be pleasing in God’s sight (Psalm 19:14) and that no unwholesome word proceed from my mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29). 

What Some Conscientiously-Dissenting Christians Think About the SCOTUS Ruling and Why


A great collection of relevant articles on the Court’s landmark decision today from Moore, Piper, and Mohler.

A blog by Adam W. Christman

This morning the Supreme Court handed down their decision ruling on the nationwide legality of same-sex marriage. Quite a few of my friends and acquaintances celebrate this, and quite a few of my friends and acquaintances do not. In my reading today, I have come across a variety of responses within those two streams. There are some Christians who are angry, even vitriolic, over the decision. On the other hand, there are LGBTQ folks and their supporters who do not understand why anyone might be a conscientious dissenter to the legalization of same-sex marriage.

What you will find below is a curated list of articles and a video that demonstrate what I consider good responses from biblical thinkers. I provide short introductions on who each person is and the subject they discuss in their article or video. I will update this list in the days and weeks ahead as more…

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Keller’s Excellent Article on the Bible and Same-Sex Relationships


[Update 06/06 2:15 pm: A friend pointed me to Matthew Vines’ response to Keller’s review that I linked to in this post. It’s important to read this too as it seems that Keller has incorrectly ascribed the presence or absence of several arguments/topics to Vines. Both articles make great points and I commend their gracious tone. We’ll see if Keller has any sort of clarifying response.]

Tim Keller recently reviewed Matthew Vines’s God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships (Convergent Books, 2014) and Ken Wilson’s A Letter to My Congregation (David Crum Media, 2014) on both his website and the gospel coalition website.

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Keller identifies five main arguments that come from both books and from the larger cultural discussion about homosexuality and the church. These arguments are:

  1. Knowing gay people personally.
  2. Consulting historical scholarship.
  3. Re-categorizing same sex relations.
  4. Revising biblical authority.
  5. Being on the wrong side of history.

In his typical erudite, graceful, and piercingly insightful fashion, Keller deconstructs each argument and shows why they just don’t hold water. Especially astute are his arguments that those who would eisegetically seek to use the Bible to defend homosexuality actually have more in common with those who read the Bible as sanctioning slavery than they might like (neither are supportable by the Scripture and both were universally rejected save for a highly controversial historical moment that never had anything close to consensus) and that the Western narratives of individual human worth and complete freedom of self expression that undergird our culture’s rapidly shifting sexual values are “not self-evident to most societies and they carry no more empirical proof than any other religious beliefs”-that is, they are just as much beliefs as any other system of beliefs.

But don’t take my word for it: it’s worth a slow and careful read. It’s the best article I’ve read all week, and I read a lot of articles (maybe too many…just ask my wife!). Head over to his church’s website to check it out.

Do you find his counterarguments compelling? What about his tone: is it respectful? Does this make you respect him more or less? Sound off in the comments!

Christian: Are You Ready For Exile Stage Two?


Exile Stage Two is coming for Christians. Are you and I ready?

Stephen McAlpine

The Western church is about to enter stage two of its exile from the mainstream culture and the public square. And it will not be an easy time.

In case you missed it, Exile Stage One began a few decades or so ago, budding in the sexual revolution of the sixties before building up a head of steam some 20 years ago. Finally some Christians sat down to talk about it 15 or so years ago, and that set the ball, and the publishing companies rolling.

For those of us in ministry who were culture watchers, Exile Stage One was a heady time.  Only we never called it Exile Stage One. We simply called it “Exile”, and poured over biblical texts such as the exilic book of Daniel and its New Testament counterpart 1Peter.  After all no one ever called World War One “World War One” before World War Two came along…

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Andrew Fuller (1754-1815)


Andrew Fuller finished well.

The Wanderer

Two hundred years ago today, on the morning of Sunday 7th May 1815 dawned, the sixty one year old Andrew Fuller was grieved that he had not the strength to go and worship his God with his people. As his end approached, so his faith had increased. When his dear friend John Ryland Jr. heard that Fuller had testified to a brother minister, “My hope is such that I am not afraid to plunge into eternity,” he declared it the most characteristic expression his friend might have uttered.

Fuller spent his last half-hour seemingly engaged in prayer, though the only words which could be distinctly heard were, “Help me!” He died, said his friend Mr Toller, an Independent minister, “as a penitent sinner at the foot of the cross.”

Just a few days before going home, as Fuller considered his approaching death, he was able to write this to…

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The Gospel Speaks to Us All (Ministry Failures/Dropouts Too)


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It has been almost exactly a year since my wife and I were confronted with the harsh reality that we needed to find some other option than our plan at the time of continuing to minister full-time with The Navigators in Northern California. I have intentionally not shared much publicly (here on the blog or otherwise) about the reasons, process, etc etc etc. While we appropriately mourn some losses from the previous seasons in our life we also rejoice in the faithfulness of God as he has led us and provided for us in the new and at times frightening season. We have set him continually before us and because he is at our right hand, we shall not be shaken.

I reference these past events and trials not to dredge up the past but instead to say that when I read Jared Wilson’s (no, not Jarrid Wilson) piece on Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s new website For the Church, well…it spoke to me right where I’m at. If you’ve suffered discouragement, disappointment, fear, confusion, or hurt in a transition (to/from ministry or otherwise) and life hasn’t gone the way you’d hoped, I recommend checking it out. We need to be reminded of the gospel every single day: by ourselves and by others. Here’s a preview to give you a taste:

If you find yourself constantly measuring, constantly frustrated, constantly seeing all you don’t have, Bonhoeffer actually says you should be glad that God has led you into this predicament, because it means you’re realizing you have a wish-dream that needs to be “shattered by God” (his words).

Bound up in Isaac were all of Abraham’s hopes and dreams. Isaac was the child God promised. Isaac was the child Abraham and Sarah had schemed to conceive in ways other than by God’s providence. Isaac was his parents’ wish-dream. And I imagine Abraham had a vision for how God’s promise to multiply his descendants and expand his legacy into eternity would play out, and I imagine this lonely scenario of taking the wish-dream up the mountain to slay it was not it.

Whatever it is, we all have a vision for how life is supposed to go, what life is supposed to be like, what we want and how we want it and the way we want to feel about it, but then actual life happens, and when our heart is tuned to only find joy in the dream, we will never find joy, because we’ve placed it in a mirage.

For the rest of Jared’s story of leaving one ministry for another and his thoughts on Bonhoeffer, Abraham, and what God might be up to in scenarios like this, click here. I hope it encourages you as it did me and that all of us are continually redirected to the truth of the gospel.

Hallelujah for the good news that the only place we could find joy is in the presence of One who graciously, relentlessly, and faithfully invites us just as we are. As Augustine famously said of God, “Thou hast made us for thyself, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

FREEsources: 24 Free eBooks via Desiring God


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desiringGod.org has released a steady stream of free ebooks over the past few years and now they’ve put them all in the same space for our convenience! With volumes dealing with C.S. Lewis, John Bunyan, Luther, Edwards, abortion, disability, missions, and more, you’ll most likely find at least one resource worth your time and of interest to you! So go ahead and check out the list for yourself by clicking here: 24 Free ebooks!

[Reblog] A Response to Newsweek on the Bible


Newsweek recently had a cover story on the Bible that got a lot of attention and made some pretty ridiculous claims. There have been some good responses to it so far, but this is one of the best I’ve read so far. If the original article raised some questions for you or someone you know or if you’re just curious and want to read how Michael Brown responds to the original, then definitely read it! Here’s a taste:

The real question is: How reliable are the Hebrew texts we have today, the ones used in the translation of the Old Testament? And how reliable are the Greek texts we have today, the ones used in the translation of the New Testament?

Actually, they are remarkably well-preserved, to the point that we can say that, with the exception of changes in spelling of words (like colour vs. color in English) and the adding of vowels (which are not part of the original Hebrew text), for the most part, when we read the Old Testament in Hebrew, we are reading the identical Hebrew texts that Jesus would have read in his hometown synagogue as a boy….[and] the truth is that the evidence for the reliability of our New Testament manuscripts massively outweighs the evidence against it…

The Bible is a coherent book with a coherent message, and it has been passed on to us carefully…sometimes [God] does speak in whispers and riddles so that we will seek him more earnestly and study his Word more seriously rather than trying to relate to him as if he could be reduced to a simple mathematical formula. Is it surprising that there is a level of mystery and wonder in our relationship with God? Are we arrogant enough to think that, as human beings, we can fully comprehend the Lord? Can all divine revelation be packaged in a neat little box? And it isn’t it fitting that God reveals himself to those who humble themselves?

Read more here: A Response to Newsweek on the Bible

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Don’t Eat the Chocolate: Why Contemporary Worship Music is Dead, Dying, and Decaying


Tongue firmly in cheek, here’s a repost of a blog on 10 reasons Contemporary music is DEAD! Here’s a sneak peek:
“6. Repetition is never appealing
These new song writers have never studied great compositions like the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ or ‘Psalm 107’ to see how you don’t need to repeat phrases to emphasize something.”

Worthily Magnify

1It’s become clear to me that contemporary worship music is dead, dying, and decaying. Think I’m wrong? I’m not. Here’s my proof (read it and weep. Really. Please weep):

1. The new songs aren’t nearly as old as the older songs
“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” was written in 1779! “Ten Thousand Reasons” was written in 2011. These new songs aren’t even close to being as old as the old songs. The old songs have been around for several hundred years! These new ones? Not nearly that long!

2. Some of the new songs are trying to pretend they’re old hymns
Have you read some of the new songs? They’re trying to act like they’re hymns, with their deep theology and everything. It’s ridiculous.

3. Whatever happened to singing Isaac Watts?
Hasn’t he written anything new lately? Why aren’t we singing his new stuff? Even more ridiculous. We’re missing out…

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Tweets of the Week 08.08.14


Random thought to start off today: I was supposed to be born on August 8th-that is, it was my due date. Would have made it pretty easy to remember: 08-08-’88! But I was a few days late and it didn’t happen. Oh well!

Anyways, here are the tweets I enjoyed/liked the most this week:

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“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13 (ESV)

 

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“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2