HT: Truth Matters
The exchange between vice-presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan over the juxtaposition of their faith and their views on abortion has sparked a lot of controversy.
Ryan argued that faith informs everything we do. While it’s clear that Biden allows his Roman Catholic faith to inform some of what he does politically, he and others would take great exception to Ryan’s position.
So how is a Christian to think about faith and the rest of his or her life. Should faith influence everything we do? Albert Mohler says “yes” as he interacts with one journalist who argues “no.” Want to know more? Read “Of Babies and Beans?”
Albert Mohler writes:
American presidential elections are the world’s most public display of the democratic process. The global media follow the American elections with a fervor that is easily understood — what happens in an American presidential election matters all over the world. Our presidential campaigns are political pageants and electoral dynamos. But, as any honest thoughtful observer will understand, our elections are also great worldview exercises. We reveal our worldview by our vote.
This is particularly true of the 2012 election. The presidential nominees of the two major parties represent two very different worldviews and visions. President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney have adopted policy positions that place them in direct conflict, and the platforms of their respective parties reveal two radically different renderings of reality.
Please read the rest here.
The August edition of Tabletalk is out. This issue addresses Eastern spirituality and its increasing global influence. While containing truths accrued through general revelation, Eastern spirituality nonetheless denies the fundamental tenets of the gospel, and Christians must recognize the danger it presents despite its non-abrasive presentation and ideals.
Here are some articles you can view on-line:
More about TableTalk here.
“The Evangelical Rejection of Reason”, an article by Karl Giberson and Randall Stephens appeared on the op-ed page of the New York Times earlier this week. It is a broadside against evangelical Christians who still cling to the idea of a young earth or six-day creationism and expresses disgust at the anti-intellectualism of men such as Ken Ham, David Barton, and James Dobson.
Although the authors lament the rejection of reason among conservative evangelicals, it really depicts a rejection of evangelicalism by these men who have sought the applause of the scientific community. This is the heart of the article:
The rejection of science seems to be part of a politically monolithic red-state fundamentalism, textbook evidence of an unyielding ignorance on the part of the religious. As one fundamentalist slogan puts it, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” But evangelical Christianity need not be defined by the simplistic theology, cultural isolationism and stubborn anti-intellectualism that most of the Republican candidates have embraced.
Like other evangelicals, we accept the centrality of faith in Jesus Christ and look to the Bible as our sacred book, though we find it hard to recognize our religious tradition in the mainstream evangelical conversation. Evangelicalism at its best seeks a biblically grounded expression of Christianity that is intellectually engaged, humble and forward-looking. In contrast, fundamentalism is literalistic, overconfident and reactionary.
Fundamentalism appeals to evangelicals who have become convinced that their country has been overrun by a vast secular conspiracy; denial is the simplest and most attractive response to change. They have been scarred by the elimination of prayer in schools; the removal of nativity scenes from public places; the increasing legitimacy of abortion and homosexuality; the persistence of pornography and drug abuse; and acceptance of other religions and of atheism.
In response, many evangelicals created what amounts to a “parallel culture,” nurtured by church, Sunday school, summer camps and colleges, as well as publishing houses, broadcasting networks, music festivals and counseling groups. Among evangelical leaders, Ken Ham, David Barton and James C. Dobson have been particularly effective orchestrators — and beneficiaries — of this subculture.
It will only take a few minutes to read but I would urge you to read this so you are aware of what is going on in the great clash of worldviews today.
Rick Holland does an excellent job of evaluating the cry for “cultural engagement” in the church of our day:
I just read Phil Johnson’s post on Pyromanics about “cultural engagement” and it got me thinking. I agree in total with what Phil has written and want to take the argument a step farther (you should read his post before continuing).
First, there is no such thing as culture in a monolithic sense. Every culture—now and throughout history—is made up of a countless number of subcultures. Just talk to any student in high school. There are cultural norms for athletes, thespians, brainiacs, druggies, gamers, even Trekkies (yes, Star Trek is still alive and well). But the most sweeping categories are simply the cool and the not-so-cool.
It seems to me that those who are loudest about engaging the culture for the advancement of the gospel are selective about which part of the culture they are trying to engage. If you interpret what they are saying by what they are doing, these hip pastors and their cool churches are targeting cool people who wear cool cloths and have cool haircuts and speak cool language while worshipping to cool music. When have you ever heard a church who is trying to reach the not-so-cool culture? I’m afraid that the proponents of cultural engagement try to reach the segment of the culture with which they most want to personally identify.
Yes, there are some exemplary ministries reaching the not-so-cool culture. I have been deeply impacted by those who minister to the impoverished, those who make great sacrifices to go overseas in missions, even those who minister to our children in Sunday School. But you rarely hear them telling everyone to join them in “cultural engagement.”
As Phil points out, all ministries engage the culture at some level. But engaging the culture is very different than imitating it.
The church of the 19th century wanted to engage the academic culture. Evolutionary propaganda was poking its finger into the chest of Bible believers who had the audacity to believe the supernatural events of Scripture, especially of the Creation account. So the church tried to become intellectually credible (e.g., theistic evolution). I think the truth is that many simply wanted to avoid the tag that Christians were not intellectual. The end result was a fast slide toward liberalism through accommodation. Today we see something very similar. Whereas the church of the mid-1800s did all it could to avoid being labeled un-intellectual, the church today seems to be doing all it can to avoid being labeled un-cool. That generation wanted intellectually credibility, ours is after the credibility of coolness. I suspect that the undertow toward liberalism is not far behind.
I’m looking for the day when one of these hip churches plants a church that targets the nerd culture with a nerdy pastor who wears nerdy clothes with nerdy music. Until then, I remain suspicious.