The Supreme Court announced today that they are taking cases on whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. Effectively, this means that the highest court in the land will decide, this year, whether marriage, as defined for thousands of years, will exist in our country any longer. Here’s what we should keep in mind.
First of all, this is not something we should shrug off. Marriage isn’t merely a matter of personal import or private behavior. States recognize marriage for a reason, and that reason is that sexuality between a man and a woman can, and often does, result in children. The state has an interest in seeing to it that, wherever possible, every child has both a mother and a father. The state doesn’t create this reality. It merely recognizes it, and attempts to hold husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, accountable to their vows and to their responsibilities. In every aspect of the Sexual Revolution, from the divorce culture to cohabitation to casual sex to the abortion revolution, children have borne the burden. Continue reading →
Up to this point, I have made a case for faith based on reason. In this article, I want go back to a section of a previous article that talks about how reason is based on faith. This is the article where I discussed the limitations of the scientific method. The section comprises the first half of the article and is entitled Unprovable Presuppositions.
We all rely on unprovable presuppositions. It’s unavoidable. This is why it is all too easy for one camp to level at the other the charge of circular reasoning. Continue reading
Had it not been for the first editor of CT, I likely would have gone the way of liberal scholar Bart Ehrman.
Gregory Alan Thornbury/ January 14, 2015
I was born at the Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania—a fact that once prompted a friend of mine to say, “You’re evangelical born, evangelical bred, and when you die, you’ll be evangelical dead.” My father, John Forrest Thornbury, was the model of a country parson, serving as the pastor of Winfield Baptist Church, a historic congregation in the American Baptist tradition, for 44 years.
My childhood environs prefigured what has become my life’s passion: the relationship of Christian faith to higher education. Lewisburg is home to Bucknell University, an elite private college whose alumni include two evangelical luminaries: Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and Makoto Fujimura, acclaimed contemporary painter. Several years ago, Tim told me that he had occasionally attended my father’s church while at Bucknell. Continue reading →
“Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” -James 1:19, ESV
Last weeks massacre in Paris in reaction to a satirical cartoon published by the famed Charlie Hebdo has sparked fresh debate about the virtues and vices of free speech. These brutal attacks were apparently precipitated by a cartoon in that publication featuring a disrespectful and lewd depiction of Muhammad, Islam’s founding prophet.
The world, it would seem, is appropriately outraged, as there is absolutely no justification for violence. If one’s ideas or beliefs can’t stand heavy scrutiny–even the disrespectful kind–without resorting to violence, then whatever you believe is demonstrated to be a lie. People from across all ideological and religious spectrum–including vast numbers of Muslims–are rightfully condemning this act. But what most–including Christians–are missing in this conversation is that it involves two very different questions. Continue reading →
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *
Every generation of believers must settle for itself the core questions of ultimate origins. Where did everything come from? Can God’s account of beginnings in Genesis be trusted as actually history? The year 2014 illustrated that this generation is still interested in answers. If nothing else, recent events make it clear that Christians remain divided and passionate about origins.
Billed as a kind of debate of the century, Bill Nye defended evolution and Ken Ham defended creation during a February event that millions viewed online.1 Long afterward, discussions swirled over who may have won the debate. The number of viewers was unexpectedly large, showing that national interest in origins has not waned. It seems that people still want to know if humans really evolved through billions of years of birth, death, and mutation, or if they descended only thousands of years ago from one man and one woman in an originally “very good” creation. Continue reading →
Recent and potential terrorist attacks in France currently dominate the news cycle. Analysts, experts, and commentators discuss and debate the facts, often with skewed and confused perspectives on Islam, and offer a variety of political and emotional responses.
It’s no surprise that every time tragedy occurs—especially at the hands of Islamic terrorists—the world struggles to find answers and understand the spiritual realities involved. Discussions about politics and how governments should respond have their place. But void of spiritual truth, no discussion can fully deal with how to think about and respond to these horrific events. Continue reading →
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column by Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, is part of his ongoing call to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening for our churches, our nation and our world.
NASHVILLE (BP) — Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this year was the year during which we live as “more than conquerors”? The Lord gives us the key to see how this may be accomplished in our lives — it can only be done “through Him who loved us.”
These words from Romans 8:37–39 shine as one of God’s brightest promises to His children. The passage says: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Continue reading →
Over the past month or so, I’ve been writing a series of posts on the need for a Christian to know “what time it is” from a biblical (see here, here, and here) and personal standpoint (here).
Today, I want to begin to apply some of these insights to an organization. I’m going to consult a few business books and see how some of the advice might apply to a local church.
What Time Is It In Your Church?
Understanding the life and times of an organization is essential for wise decisions. Too often, pastors and church leaders step into a church or ministry situation without understanding the particular moment the organization is in. When that happens, bad decisions are likely to follow. Continue reading →
Barely five days after The New York Times ran a major news article on the firing of Atlanta’s fire chief for his views on homosexuality, a major Times opinion writer declared that religious liberty is a fine thing, so long as it is restricted to “pews, homes, and hearts” — far from public consequence.
The firing of Kelvin Cochran as chief of Atlanta’s Fire Rescue Department came after the city’s major, Kasim Reed, determined that the chief could not effectively manage the department after he had written a book in which he cited Scripture in defining homosexuality as a sin. Continue reading →
If you spent any amount of time engaging folks online you likely chuckled (or wept) at the comic above. You’ve likely watched in horror (or engaged to your dismay) a flurry of ridiculous comments on an online thread.
Yes, someone is wrong on the internet today. And they are probably wrong about very significant things. Things like God, the Bible, and all branches of theology. So what is a person to do?
As a fan of John Newton—and since we are doing a year with John Newton—I find it helpful to ask this question of Newton. Continue reading →
This month, the pastor of one of the largest churches in Northern Kentucky (and close to our Creation Museum) is conducting a teaching series going through Genesis 1–11 for the congregation. This is the same church that will be hosting our annual Mega Conference, June 24–27. I was present at the service when Pastor Corey Abney1 (the lead pastor) introduced the Genesis series to the congregation. I thought his introduction was excellent (watch it at the video link below), and it could be used to challenge pastors, Bible teachers, and others to consider teaching through Genesis 1–11. We live in an age when the authority of God’s Word has come under attack, particularly the first book of the Bible. We also need to equip this current generation of young people to defend the Christian faith against the secular attacks of our day.
I encourage you to watch Pastor Abney’s short but powerful introduction to his teaching series on Genesis 1–11. I pray many more Christian leaders will be challenged and inspired to stand on God’s Word beginning in Genesis. Continue reading →
NEW ORLEANS (BP) — In what could be a precedent-setting case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Lakey, Jan. 7, part of the ongoing legal challenges contesting the 2013 Texas abortion regulations law, which observers agree will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Texas, in many cases, will be a case of first impressions,” Denise Burke, vice president of legal affairs for Americans United for Life, said.
But it wasn’t the first time the appellate court heard arguments against House Bill 2, an omnibus piece of legislation establishing strict standards of operation for Texas abortion providers. In 2013 the court overturned a ruling by federal court Judge Lee Yeakel. But in this latest lawsuit — in which two provisions, again, were declared unconstitutional by Yeakel — Stephanie Toti, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, argued HB 2 simply targets abortion clinics for closure with the “imposition of burdensome requirements.” Continue reading →
While newbies in the Southern Baptist Convention might not remember the denominational explosion in 1979 when Adrian Rogers was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the senior generation of Southern Baptists surely does. A cataclysmic shift took place within the infrastructure of power in the convention ultimately leading to the “takeover” of America’s largest evangelical denomination by theologically conservative representatives. The theological notion at stake—according to most grassroots Southern Baptists at the time—was the full inspiration and total truthfulness of Scripture, a notion captured by the single word inerrancy.
The issue of biblical inerrancy was not just a theological issue among Southern Baptists. Indeed two years prior to Southern Baptists’ launch of what came to be called the “Conservative Resurgence,” the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) was founded to “clarify and defend the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.” Consequently, approximately 300 scholars, theologians, and pastor-theologians with a decidedly interdenominational profile made up the original summit in Chicago on October 26-27, 1978 culminating in the first of three historic documents being signed and published–The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Continue reading →
WASHINGTON (BP) — The wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to announce it is ready to provide a verdict on same-sex marriage may be near an end.
Then again, it may not.
The justices are scheduled to meet in a private conference Jan. 9, when they will consider appeals of lower-court decisions in favor of states’ rights to limit marriage to heterosexual couples. The high court could decide to grant review in one or both cases in this term.
If the Supreme Court rules on the issue this term, gay marriage could be legal throughout the country by the time it adjourns this summer. Or states could maintain their authority historically to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Continue reading →
At the end of January I start my fifteenth class towards my M.Div at Southern Seminary. I’ve done everything from Systematic Theology, Introductions to the Old and New Testaments, Church History, Greek, and Hebrew. A few classes were considered “on campus” because, apart from the online portion, I had to travel to Louisville for a week of lectures.
Pay the SBC rate, which is half tuition. I also pay a $250 internet course fee per class. I don’t have to pay the fee for on campus classes, and depending on where I sleep and what I eat, the cost isn’t must different either way. It’s just a matter of deciding whether or not I can afford to take that much time off work for something other than a relaxing vacation. Continue reading →
Last night, The Weekly Standard tweeted “Print Free or Die” with a picture of the prophet Muhammed, whose physical iconography is the purported reason that the terrorist attacks were carried out in the first place.
Always willing to play the part of social media provocateur, I readied myself to re-tweet that image myself, ready to join in the chorus of those wishing to thumb their nose in an act of First Amendment defiance toward the offended party. As a liberty-loving conservative, I believe one hundred percent in the free exchange of offense. The condition of freedom enlists the possibility, and perhaps requires, that all shall be ready to be offended. Continue reading →
This year is the 200th anniversary of the death of the Baptist pastor-theologian Andrew Fuller, so expect a few bits and pieces coming your way.
Here is your starter for ten …
You may be in the sad condition of not really knowing what you are missing by not knowing Fuller Continue reading →
This is an edited transcript of The Briefing podcast from early Thursday morning, January 8, 2015.
The war on terror took on a savage new face yesterday when two gunmen entered the headquarters of a French satirical newspaper known as Charlie Hebdo and opened fire, killing 12 people—10 people connected with the newspaper and two police officers.
The Washington Post reported this morning, “France’s deadliest terrorist attack in modern memory unfolded with chilling precision here Wednesday as gunmen speaking fluent French burst into a satirical newspaper’s weekly staff meeting and raked the room with bullets, leaving behind what one witness described as ‘absolute carnage.’” Continue reading →
by John MacArthur
“The NFL’s doing a better job at it. CBS is doing a better job at it. Kmart is doing a better job at it. Virtually every institution on earth is demonstrating that they are doing a better job at restoring people than the Church.” These are the words of a disgraced pastor whose sexual sins made national headlines. It’s hard to find a clearer example of how worldly views on leadership exist among Christians.
God does not demand perfection from those who shepherd His flock, but He insists on men who are above reproach. The highest office ordained by God requires the highest standards in personal character.
And those standards are not obscure or mysterious. God’s Word is abundantly clear about the character qualifications for church leaders.
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. (1 Timothy 3:2–3; cf. Titus 1:5–9)
The events in the book of Judges occur between the death of Joshua and the birth of Samuel and kingship of Saul. In the book, God’s children long for good leadership. “Since the conquest of the land is not complete, the book begins with the question of who will lead in battle (Judg. 1: 1) and ends with the statement, ‘In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes (21: 25).’ The need for a king who will lead God’s people into their full inheritance is an important theme.”1
However, God’s children in Judges are not longing for good leaders from a heart of steadfast devotion to God. A cycle emerges – they abandon the one true God for pagan idols, are oppressed by other nations, and then cry out to God for help. God brings them help, only for them to return to their idolatry each time. Continue reading →