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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A New Exodus? Americans are Exiting Liberal Churches

“We have figured out your problem. You’re the only one here who believes in God.” That statement, addressed to a young seminarian, introduces Dave Shiflett’s new book, Exodus: Why Americans are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity. The book is an important contribution, and Shiflett offers compelling evidence that liberal Christianity is fast imploding upon itself.

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Same-Sex Marriage and the Integrity of Language

The cultural momentum towards the legalization of same-sex marriage is being driven by more than may at first appear. Advocates of same-sex marriage insist that their purpose is to see homosexual couples receive the same rights and privileges as married couples, and to experience the same set of satisfactions and responsibilities. Without debating their argument, at least for now, we can already see that their stated purpose does not represent the real energy behind their demand for same-sex marriage.

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In Defense of History–Donald Kagan Has His Say

Some teachers appear to be larger than life, influencing successive generations of students with displays of erudition, inspiration, and a dash of drama. Professor Donald Kagan of Yale University is one of those teachers, and he delivered a lecture to the entire nation on May 12 as he presented the 2005 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities.

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Politics Without God–Europe’s Secular Crisis

The continent of Europe is now experiencing a civilizational crisis. Once the cradle of Western civilization, Europe is transforming itself into a hyper-modern culture of nearly undiluted secularism. Once constituted by a sense of Christian identity, Europe is now attempting a vast experiment in secularism, and this experiment shows no signs of ending anytime soon.

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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. Was it worth it? That is one of the crucial questions addressed by Paige Patterson in his new essay, Anatomy of a Reformation: The Southern Baptist Convention 1978-2004.

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The Cults as Theological Judgment

In the end, the church must bear considerable responsibility for the theological confusion of our age–and for the proliferation of cults and new religious movements. We are now reaping the results of theological irresponsibility.

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