The Culture of Offendedness–A Christian Challenge

A new and unprecedented right is now the central focus of legal, procedural, and cultural concern in many corridors–a supposed right not to be offended. The cultural momentum behind this purported “right” is growing fast, and the logic of this movement has taken hold in many universities, legal circles, and interest groups.

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“Being 13”–TIME Takes a Look at the New Adolescents

“What does it mean to be 13, back stage adults, watching on tiptoe, waiting to go onstage?” That question sent TIME Magazine and a team of its reporters into an extended investigation of the lives of America’s youngest teenagers–contemporary 13-year-olds. The magazine’s report will at times shock, inform, and interest America’s parents and all others concerned with the nation’s young.

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Can Believers Be Bible Scholars? A Strange Debate in the Academy

Michael V. Fox doesn’t believe that faith-based scholarship of the Bible is possible–and he wants to see such scholars marginalized in the larger world of scholarship. In an essay posted at the Web site for the Society of Biblical Literature [SBL], Fox argues, “In my view, faith-based study has no place in academic scholarship, whether the object of study is the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or Homer. Faith-based study is a different realm of intellectual activity that can dip into Bible scholarship for its own purposes, but cannot contribute to it.”

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The Whole Earth Is Full of His Glory: The Recovery of Authentic Worship, Part Three

Not only does authentic worship begin with a true vision of the living God, but second, authentic worship leads to a confession of sin, both individual and corporate. We see it directly in this passage: “And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.” What did Isaiah do? He said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah was “undone,” when he had seen the true and living God, when he saw God in his holiness.

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The Whole Earth Is Full of His Glory: The Recovery of Authentic Worship, Part One

Surveying the literature on worship currently being published, and listening to the conversations currently taking place among the churches, one can quickly discern that worship is now one of the most controversial issues in the local congregation. As a matter of fact, many current book titles in the evangelical world suggest that what the church faces today is “worship warfare.” The very combination of the words “worship” and “war” should lead us to very sincere and sober biblical reflection. What is worship? And what does God desire that we should do in worship?

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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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