Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sexual Hysteria: Douglas Wilson Gets Shouted Down at Indiana University

Justin Taylor blogged this yesterday; Denny Burk, my colleague at Boyce College, then posted it on his own blog.  It is nothing less than shocking.  Watch the full lectures for free here, and witness how Douglas Wilson, pastor from Moscow, Idaho, is treated.  Here you see where the cultural elite are going in terms of morality and homosexuality.

Those of us who have grown up in a relatively tolerant country should buckle up.  Things are not going to get easier for Christians in the West who love the gospel and exercise their conscience in public.  Pray hard.  Put on the armor of Christ.  Trust a great God.  Weep for people who are offering themselves as sacrifices to Satan.

And by the way–when you engage sinners lost in their sin, remember Wilson’s example: bold, clear, winsome, witty, and able to take a punch.

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Justin Buzzard’s New “Date Your Wife”

I haven’t read this one yet (I hope to soon), but I wanted to let my readers know that Justin Buzzard’s Date Your Wife has hit the market.  It looks to be helpful, and it’s written by a guy for whom I have great respect and affection, a church planter who is by God’s lavish grace reaching people of all types–from corporate types to the homeless–in San Jose, California.

Here’s the publisher’s description of the text:

“Most men don’t know how to date their wives. They did it before, but they’ve forgotten how, or they’re trying but it just doesn’t seem to be working. Justin Buzzard helps men re-learn this all-important skill from a position of security in the gospel of grace. As a father of three boys and husband to a very happy wife, Justin offers guys a helping hand, good news, and wise counsel, along with:

  • 100 practical ideas for how to date your wife
  • Action steps at the end of each chapter”

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Every Man Needs a Man Cave

Okay, so that’s not really true.  Let’s amend it, then.  Lots of men “want” a man cave.

The Art of Manliness has featured two posts (here and here) on the unique structures and rooms created by men for their work.  Some of them are opulent; many are not.  Most of them have allowed men a place to think deep thoughts, read great books, and perhaps pen timeless words.

Many of us may not have a “man cave.”  The future may allow us such a privilege.  We don’t need much, though.  Take Thoreau’s cabin to the left.  Nothing fancy, but there’s something which calls to a man’s soul in a room like that.  $28.12 was all it took, and he got a fireplace in the bargain.  Not bad.

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Is Barack Obama a Christian?

Christianity Today just published a point-counterpoint between Judd Birdsall and me.  We were asked to answer, essentially, the question of whether Obama is a Christian or not.  Judd made a good case in arguing that he is; I, sadly, concluded that he does not seem to be.  I’ll leave you to read both and form your own judgment.

Here’s a snatch from Judd’s piece:

Conversionism: Barack Obama has a conversion story, if not an entirely traditional one. In his bestseller, The Audacity of Hope, Obama recounts how he warmed to Christianity, and the black church tradition in particular, while attending Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. One Sunday, Obama writes, “I felt God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.” Obama’s eventual decision to be baptized “came about as a choice and not an epiphany; the questions I had did not magically disappear.”

And here’s a bit from mine:

The culture, not Scripture, is the primary driver of President Obama’s views. With abortion, his own values matter, not Psalm 139; with homosexuality and marriage, his daughters’ opinions matter, not Genesis 2 and Romans 1. But it is not merely President Obama’s isolated policies, troubling as they may be, that give many Christians like me pause. It is the whole worldview. As seen above, there are deeply unbiblical ideas running beneath the surface of the President’s orthodox declarations. The President’s oratory sometimes smacks of Billy Graham, but those who listen carefully will also hear the dulcet tones of Harry Emerson Fosdick. His is a no-injury Protestantism, liberal Christianity enrobed in a revivalist shell.

(Image: Bossip.com)

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Who Is Marco Rubio? A Brand-new Interview

Sarah Pulliam Bailey of Christianity Today just interviewed Florida Senator Marco Rubio about his faith and political views.  It’s a great introduction to Rubio, who is one of the GOP’s most popular–and promising–young politicians.

Q: Would you describe yourself as an evangelical?

A: I’m a Roman Catholic. I’m theologically in line with the Roman Catholic Church. I believe in the authority of the church, but I also have tremendous respect for my brothers and sisters in other Christian faiths. I recognize, as the Catholic Church does, that there are excellent teachings of the Word throughout other denominations. The elements of salvation are found in these churches as well. Some unifying principles bind all Christians: that God became a man and died for our sins, and that without that sacrifice, all of us would be doomed.

Read the whole thing.  If you want to find out how Rubio defines himself spiritually and politically, this is a good place to go.

(Image: ABC News)

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Christianity Today Covers the SBC Calvinism Debate

Just yesterday, Christianity Today published coverage of the recent debate over a statement on Calvinism:

A statement by a non-Calvinist faction of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has launched infighting within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, and tensions are expected to escalate Tuesday as church leaders descend on New Orleans.

While the election of the denomination’s first African American president in its 167-year history will dominate the meeting’s headlines, water-cooler talk is sure to be fixated on a theological dirty word that, for the past two weeks, has spiked the blood pressure of theologians as much as it has Baptist visits to Wikipedia.

The May 30 document, “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,” aims “to more carefully express what is generally believed by Southern Baptists about salvation.” But both Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler and George W. Truett Theological Seminary professor Roger Olson, in separate blog posts, said that parts of the document sound like semi-Pelagianism, a traditionally heretical understanding of Christian salvation.

Read the whole thing.  This is careful reporting on an important issue.  And please pray for the SBC, meeting this very week, that the convention will be biblically grounded to the core and will not sacrifice unity in the gospel.  Satan roams like a lion, and does not need any help in his work of devastation and disunity.

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Wait–Happy Marriages Exist? On Webb and Dowd Simpson

You may have seen that Webb Simpson, a devout Christian, just won the U. S. Open.  If you’re like me, you may not know much about him.  From the video above, he seems to be a godly husband and father (HT: Girltalk).  He and Dowd, his wife, seem to have a very happy marriage.

Let me say this: it is a beautiful thing to see a woman who wants to support, strengthen, and even better a man.  There really is something otherworldly about that–a rightly functioning, gospel-driven marriage is showing you a picture of Christ and his church.  There is elegance, aesthetic elegance, in seeing the elements of a godly union serve and encourage one another.

Happy marriages do exist.  The gospel powers them.

(Update: See CT’s coverage of Webb’s victory here)

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Life in a Romanian Orphanage: “A Mixture of Excrement and Open Wounds”

Global financier Arpad Busson is not one you might initially think would be an advocate for adoption.  He’s dated famous actresses and lives a lavish life.  I somehow came across a piece on him, though, and found this heartrending description of a Romanian orphanage:

For Busson, whose personal wealth is around £200 million, his Damascene moment came a decade ago, when he was setting up ARK. That first visit to a Romanian orphanage remains a vivid and deeply disturbing memory. “The most heart-wrenching thing is the smell. The awful gagging,” he recalls. “The institution was in a remote, poor region. But nothing prepares you for the moment you open the doors. That first woosh of fetid air. It is a mixture of excrement and infected wounds. Because they couldn’t afford heating, the windows were never opened. The children were emaciated because they were never given solids, only soup. They were strapped in cots. In one room there must have been 40, all banging their heads on the walls. They were naked and filthy. My son, Arpad Flynn, was just three then [he's 13 now, while Aurelius Cy, Busson's second son with Ms Macpherson, is eight] and the sight of those tiny children in such filth… with no hope. Like zombies. It made me utterly furious.

Russ Moore has talked about this kind of setting in his important book Adopted for Life (he also references orphanages in a powerful Christianity Today piece).  I would encourage you to think about whether there are things that you can personally do to give gospel-driven hope to those in such awful situations.  Also visit Together for Adoption for help and information about how to get involved.

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Christ Plus: Gospel Coalition Interview on Christ-centered Preaching

From the Gospel Coalition:

When you are preaching Christ from the Old Testament, do you actually preach the Old Testament? Owen Strachan, a regular TGC contributor and professor of theology and church history at Boyce College, wants preachers to not simply preach Christ from the Old Testament, but to preach the Old Testament in a way that apexes in Christ.

Strachan warns that if a preacher is so jazzed about Christ-centered preaching that he leaps the context in order to get to the cross, or if he mines the the historical and linguistic context but never gets to Christ, the sermon won’t be a rich, Christ-centered sermon. He explains these points and more—including a word for preachers whose churches aren’t growing—in a short but packed interview with Mark Mellinger.  Download

It was very fun to do this interview.  Mark Mellinger asked great questions, and we had a fun conversation on the themes mentioned above.

If I sound a little, uh, shredded, that’s because my Louisvillian allergies had timed their emergence to coincide with Together for the Gospel, where this interview took place.  No, I was not out partying at the 9Marks Church Bash the previous evening.  The previous sentence is a joke.

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Britt Merrick’s New “Godspeed” Releases Today

Britt Merrick, a pastor I respect and admire, has just released a new book: Godspeed.  I haven’t read it but wanted to pass along word.  Here’s a teaser:

In his new book Godspeed, innovative young pastor Britt Merrick challenges readers to leave behind the mundane and the meaningless to join God’s grand purpose—His plan to restore, redeem, and renew the world.

God’s mission to save the world started with Jesus, but it doesn’t end there. Jesus, in turn, sends us. He said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” God wants to continue His redemption story through each of us— as we live more like Jesus, right where we are.

Also, while you’re out and about on the web, check out prayfordaisy.com.  This is the website for Britt’s little girl.  Daisy is suffering from cancer.  Her outlook is not good, but God is stronger than cancer or anything else.

I have a sweet little girl, and I can’t imagine what Britt and parents like him are going through.  May the Lord give them strength.

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Filed under book culture, suffering