Natan Sharansky Makes the Case for Democracy

President George W. Bush is recommending a book these days, and the President’s new literary interest has caught the attention of the world press. President Bush is recommending Natan Sharansky’s book, The Case for Democracy, and he has made frequent references to Sharansky and his book, telling audiences that Sharansky’s argument represents “how I feel” and how he thinks.

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Compromise and Confusion in the Churches

The church today finds itself assaulted without–and even within–by a culture and worldview of untruth, anti-truth, and postmodern irrationality. In fact, researchers increasingly report that a majority of evangelicals themselves reject the notion of absolute or objective truth. The seductive lure of postmodern relativism has pervaded many evangelical pulpits and countless evangelical pews, often couched as humility, sensitivity, or sophistication. The culture has us in its grip, and many feel no discomfort.

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What Should We Think of the Emerging Church? Part Two

The Emerging Church Movement includes an expanding number of leaders and a diversity of representations. For some, the movement appears to be something of a generational phenomenon–a way for younger evangelicals to reshape evangelical identity and relate to their own culture. For others, the connection with the Emerging Church Movement seems to be a matter of mood rather than methodology or theory. Nevertheless, for most Emerging Church leaders, the movement appears to be an avenue for reshaping Christianity in a new mold.

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What Should We Think of the Emerging Church? Part One

The “Emerging Church” has become a focus of intense evangelical interest, as the nascent movement has grown in both size and influence. While its eventual shape is not yet clear, we now know enough to draw some preliminary conclusions about the movement, its leaders, and its influence.

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Two Decisions, Two Worldviews–The Ten Commandments Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its long-expected decisions on the public display of the Ten Commandments on Monday, producing more confusion than clarification in the process. Before the day was out, the nation’s High Court had handed down two decisions, represented by eight separate opinions from nine justices. At the end of the day, the real winners were the lawyers, who can look forward to a tidal wave of litigation in the aftermath of these confusing decisions.

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“The New Virgin Army”–Rolling Stone Meets Sexual Abstinence

In a world increasingly given to unrestrained sexual activity and a cornucopia of sensuality, voluntary sexual abstinence appears radical, suspicious, and downright odd. This certainly seems to be the case as Rolling Stone magazine reported on what it called “The New Virgin Army” in its June 30-July 14, 2005 issue. The article, written by reporter Jeff Sharlet, identifies this new “army” of sexually abstinent Christian young people as, “the young and the sexless.”

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What’s the Battle Over Gay Marriage Really About?

The June 19, 2005 cover story of The New York Times Magazine is entitled, “What’s the Movement to Outlaw Gay Marriage Really About?” The article deserves significant attention. Interest is likely to be sparked by a line printed on the cover just under the article’s title. That line suggests that the battle to outlaw gay marriage is “not just about marriage.” Of course, that statement is profoundly true–and that’s what makes the article interesting.

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Is This Evangelicalism’s Terminal Generation?

The shape of the evangelical challenge in postmodern America comes down to this–we must be continually on the alert to defend the faith, for the Christian faith now faces unprecedented attacks. The rise of a postmodern culture has produced an intellectual context in which the very concept of truth is held under suspicion, and claims to revealed truth are simply ruled out of order.

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The Urgency of Preaching

Has preaching fallen on hard times? An open debate is now being waged over the character and centrality of preaching in the church. At stake is nothing less than the integrity of Christian worship and proclamation. How did this happen? And how do we recover?

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The Southern Baptist Reformation–A First-Hand Account

The American denominational landscape has experienced significant shifts in recent times, but one major story stands out among them all–the massive redirection of the Southern Baptist Convention. America’s largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention was reshaped, reformed, and restructured over the last three decades, and at an incredibly high cost.

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“A Generous Orthodoxy”–Is It Orthodox?

The book’s title looks both promising and inspiring. Brian D. McLaren’s new book, A Generous Orthodoxy, is sure to get attention, and its title grabs both heart and mind. Who wouldn’t want to embrace an orthodoxy of generosity? On the other hand, the title raises an unavoidable question: Just how “generous” can orthodoxy be?

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Needed: An Exit Strategy

As the Southern Baptist Convention convenes in Nashville next week, the issue of public education is once again at the center of potential controversy. For the second year in a row, proposed resolutions have been submitted to the denomination’s Committee on Resolutions, calling for Christians to reconsider support for the nation’s public school system.

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The Brave New World of Cloning, Part Four–Artificial Reproduction and the Destruction of the Family

Modernity, with its focus on autonomous individualism and liberation from traditional structures, represents a threatening environment for the family unit. The sexual revolution has severed the link between sexual fidelity and marital integrity. Modern contraceptives have allowed unlimited sex without procreative consequences, and the family has been dethroned from its exalted status and stripped of its functions.

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The Brave New World of Cloning, Part Three–Genetic Manipulation and the Eugenic Temptation

Since the rise of genetic knowledge, the eugenic temptation has always been with us. As Daniel Kevles notes, the desire to breed better humans goes back as far as Plato, though Plato had no conception that genetic knowledge would one day put that goal within human reach. Francis Galton’s term eugenics (literally, “good in birth”) is now a part of our cultural vocabulary, and the eugenic reality is on the front line of our cultural crisis.

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The Brave New World of Cloning, Part Two–The Cloning of Humans and the Reproductive Revolution

The cloning of a human brings to mind the sterile, dehumanizing images of Huxley’s Brave New World, with its fertilizing rooms, decanting chambers, and embryo stores representing the technological perfection of artificial human reproduction. The reproductive revolution has already thrown a host of difficult ethical issues on the national agenda, but the genetic revolution is perhaps the greatest ethical challenge of the new millennium.

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The Brave New World of Cloning, Part One–The Cloning of Animals and the Ethics of Dominion

News that scientists had cloned an adult sheep from non-reproductive cells shook the scientific community some years ago, but prompted an earthquake of concern in the larger culture. The cloning of the sheep by Dr. Ian Wilmut’s team in Scotland raised a host of ethical, legal, and social issues which will take time to untangle. Yet, even as this reality began to sink into our cultural consciousness, further reports of the cloning of monkeys from embryo cells and attempts at human cloning raised the sense of ethical crisis.

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The Culture of Death — Looking Back at Terri Schiavo

Public controversies tend to dissipate over time, and front-page news stories have a relatively brief shelf life. Given the pace of contemporary life, events come and go with a mind-numbing rapidity, and today’s front-page news may be quickly forgotten. Sadly, this has been the case with regard to Terri Schiavo. We need to go back and look at what really happened — and why.

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The Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage, Part Two

The Christian worldview must direct all consideration of sexuality to the institution of marriage. Marriage is not merely the arena for sexual activity, it is presented in Scripture as the divinely-designed arena for the display of God’s glory on earth as a man and a wife come together in a one-flesh relationship within the marriage covenant. Rightly understood and rightly ordered, marriage is a picture of God’s own covenantal faithfulness.

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The Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage, Part One

The intersection of pornography and marriage is one of the most problematic issues among many couples today–including Christian couples. The pervasive plague of pornography represents one of the greatest moral challenges faced by the Christian church in the postmodern age. With eroticism woven into the very heart of the culture, celebrated in its entertainment, and advertised as a commodity, it is virtually impossible to escape the pervasive influence of pornography in our culture and in our lives.

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Deliberate Childlessness: Moral Rebellion With a New Face

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Joe and Deb Schum of Atlanta aren’t worried about baby proofing their house or buying a car seat. As a matter of fact, the couple doesn’t ever intend to have children and they are proud of their childlessness. According to the newspaper’s report, “the Schums are part of a growing number of couples across the country for whom kids don’t factor in the marriage equation.”

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