Guarded Through Faith: Assurance and the Doctrine of Perseverance

Traumatic world events and nagging questions of belief sometimes cause Christians to be troubled in spirit and to question their assurance of faith. In every generation, believers have struggled with the question of assurance in salvation. As always, the church confronts this issue as both a pressing theological question and as an urgent pastoral concern. Answering these questions anew, we are reminded once again that all doctrine is practical and that the great biblical truths of the Christian faith are meant not only for our intellectual acceptance, but for our spiritual health.

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“You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears:” Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age, Part 3

The postmodern age is a very strange time to proclaim and defend the Christian faith. In an age when the reality of truth itself is denied, the church finds itself faced with several distinct challenges. In Acts 17:16-34, we find Paul standing at the very center of apologetic ministry in the first century. As we considered yesterday, a Christian apologetic begins in a provoked spirit, is focused on Gospel proclamation, and assumes a context of spiritual confusion.

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“You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears:” Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age, Part 2

The church is faced in the postmodern age by several distinct apologetic challenges. Internally, the church must defend the faith against ignorance, against compromise, against doctrinal apathy, and against denial. The church now suffers from a breathtaking deficit of doctrinal instruction and biblical truth. In some churches, the great truths of the Christian faith are unknown, and in others, these truths are left dormant and untaught. Beyond this, the very real dangers of doctrinal corrosion and heresy threaten.

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“You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears”: Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age

Christians today are called to serve the cause of Christ at one of the crucial turning points in human history. This is a very strange time to proclaim and defend the Christian faith. Evangelism is difficult in an age when most persons think their most basic problems are rooted in a lack of self-esteem, and when personal choice is the all-determining reality of the marketplace. In the same way, the task of apologetics is complicated by the postmodern condition. How does one defend the faith to persons unwilling to make any judgment concerning truth?

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The Culture of Freedom and the Future of Marriage

“It is not controversial to contend that in the United States, constitutional law serves as a decisive battleground in the struggle over freedom’s moral and political meaning,” asserts Peter Berkowitz. “It is another matter to assess the impact of the battleground on the battle, to clarify the current balance of power, and to anticipate the battles to come.”

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Defining and Defending Conservatism–Senator Rick Santorum’s “It Takes a Family”

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) admits that political conservatives have often failed to present a comprehensive vision of the underlying commitments and convictions that frame the conservative vision. Beyond this, he laments the fact that some conservatives fail to link those basic convictions with political decisions and matters of public policy. He’s out to reverse that failure, and his new book It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good is one of the most important books written by a political figure in recent American history.

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America Should Be Ashamed of SHAM

Steve Salerno is a reporter with wide experience. As a freelance feature writer, Salerno has written for magazines including Harper’s, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and many others. He has contributed articles to the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. Many of his articles have focused upon “money stories,” that deal with financial scandals and controversies in the business world. Now, he is ready to report on the biggest scandal he has ever encountered–America’s self-help movement.

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Listening to the Transhumanists

Frustration with the human condition has led many mortals astray. Indeed, the primal temptation that came to Adam and Eve in the garden was, in essence, to escape their own creaturely finitude and grasp after knowledge that had been forbidden them. Thus, by eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve effectively redefined humanity, now “knowing the difference between good and evil.” Efforts to transcend the natural limits of human life and experience are regular features of ancient mythologies and modern literature. Strangely enough, ideas and proposals once limited to the world of science fiction are now taken seriously in some scientific circles. If you demand evidence for that assertion, just consider the “Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights” conference, held May 26-28 at the Stanford Law School.

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Anne Lamott Kills a Man – And Writes About It

Anne Lamott is a writer of incredible honesty and uncommon candor. Beyond this, she is a highly gifted artist, writing with a fluid and passionate style that attracts readers who quickly feel drawn into Lamott's life and experiences. Writing in the June 25, 2006 edition of The Los Angeles Times, Lamott begins with these words: “The man I killed did not want to die, but he no longer felt he had much of a choice.” The language is truly shocking, and Lamott obviously intends to catch the attention of readers when she speaks of “the man I killed.” If it is attention she wants, she is almost sure to get more than she intended.

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The Rise of the Antitheist

Intellectuals have largely reacted to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 with a mixture of moral confusion and ideological denial. The root of this moral ambiguity, even in the face of undiluted terror and unquestionable evil, is a particularly dangerous form of moral relativism – relativism buttressed by intellectual prestige. Rejecting this moral relativism as both dangerous and intellectually bankrupt, Christopher Hitchens took many observers in the literary and political worlds by surprise when he became an ardent supporter of the “War on Terror” and declared himself the sworn enemy of any relativistic ideology that would confuse the evil of terrorism with the good of freedom. Nevertheless, the most interesting dimension of Christopher Hitchens’ thought is not the transformation of his political theory, but the contours of his radical atheism—which turns out to include one truth that is lost even on some Christians.

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America’s Vanishing Protestant Majority–What Does it Mean?

Writing in 1927, French observer Andre Siegfried described Protestantism as America’s “only national religion.” To miss this, Siegfried advised, is “to view the country from a false angle.” Now, less than a century later, a major research report provides proof that Protestantism no longer represents a clear majority of Americans. Researchers Tom W. Smith and Seokho Kim of the National Opinion Research Center [NORC] at the University of Chicago have released “The Vanishing Protestant Majority,” a report documenting the declining membership of Protestant churches in the nation.

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The God Who Names Himself

Calls for theological innovation and the employment of “theological imagination” are now routine among mainline Protestants and others prone to theological revisionism. Dismissive of doctrinal orthodoxy and biblical language as out of date, oppressive, patriarchal, and worse, the proponents of theological reformulation intend to restructure Christianity around an entirely new system of beliefs, playing with language even as they reinvent the faith.

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A Call for Courage on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

The fault lines of controversy in contemporary Christianity range across a vast terrain of issues, but none seems quite so volatile as the question of gender. As Christians have been thinking and rethinking these issues in recent years, a clear pattern of divergence has appeared. At stake in this debate is something more important than the question of gender, for this controversy reaches the deepest questions of Christian identity and biblical authority.

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Courage and Compassion on Homosexuality

The church’s engagement with the culture involves a host of issues, controversies, and decisions–but no issue defines our current cultural crisis as clearly as homosexuality. Some churches and denominations have capitulated to the demands of the homosexual rights movement, and now accept homosexuality as a fully valid lifestyle. Other denominations are tottering on the brink, and without a massive conservative resistance, they are almost certain to abandon biblical truth and bless what the Bible condemns. Within a few short years, a major dividing line has become evident–with those churches endorsing homosexuality on one side, and those stubbornly resisting the cultural tide on the other.

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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?

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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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No-Fault Divorce–The End of Marriage?

By now, any observer with a modicum of moral insight is aware that marriage is an institution in crisis. Nevertheless, one of the most significant factors contributing to this crisis is often overlooked, and that one factor has led to the breakup of more marriages than any other–no-fault divorce. Today, Dr. Albert Mohler considers no-fault divorce laws and their effect on the institution of marriage.

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Gay Marriage: Are Some Conservatives Ready to Surrender?

Is the battle against same-sex marriage already lost? With homosexual marriage now legal in Massachusetts and with momentum toward legalization now spreading across the nation, homosexual advocates are increasingly confident that victory is in sight. Now, some conservatives are beginning to wonder if the gay activists might be right. Christopher Caldwell, writing in The Financial Times, notes the momentum of the gay rights movement as it achieved its great victory in Massachusetts. “In gaining full legal marriage rights in an important state, American gays have effected the quickest transition from pariah status to protected status in the history of civil rights movements.” Caldwell appears certain that same-sex marriage is now an established social reality. Today, Dr. Mohler asks if some conservatives have already admitted defeat.

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