Why Do We Preach? A Foundation for Christian Preaching, Part Two

“In the past,” wrote the author of Hebrews, “God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways. But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe” [Heb. 1:1-2]. The God who reveals Himself (Deus Revelatus) has spoken supremely and definitively through His Son.

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Why Do We Preach? A Foundation for Christian Preaching, Part One

Preach the Word! That simple imperative frames the act of preaching as an act of obedience. That is where any theology of preaching must begin. Preaching did not emerge from the church’s experimentation with communication techniques. The church does not preach because preaching is thought to be a good idea or an effective technique. Rather, we preach because we have been commanded to preach.

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Sexual Confusion and the End of Friendship

Nominations for the 63rd annual Golden Globe Awards were announced Tuesday, and Brokeback Mountain, the movie identified as a “cowboy romance,” has taken the lead with seven nominations. While Hollywood celebrates yet another “achievement” for tolerance and diversity, Anthony Esolen, Professor of English at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, warns that the breakdown of the natural sexual order that this movie represents has led to the death of friendship–particularly to the death of male friendships.

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The Rule of Law and the Role of Judges—Why the Nomination of Samuel Alito Matters

“One of the indispensable matters of Western Civilization is the rule of law. That rule is central to democratic government, a vigorous economy, and individual liberty.” With those words, Judge Robert H. Bork affirms the rule of law–and points to the important role played by judges. The rule of law, he argues, “requires that the law be understood to have force and moral weight of its own, independent of the political and cultural struggles of the moment.” That is another way of saying that the rule of law, when it is observed, guarantees the supremacy of process in political affairs; self-government, stability, and safety depend on that supremacy.

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Rampage and Relativism—A New Corruption of Masculinity

In the film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's violent novel, Fight Club, character Tyler Durden points to his generation of young men as the “middle children of history.” Played by actor Brad Pitt, Durden represents the absolute collapse of masculinity into raw violence. This character joins his friends in seeking personal release and ecstasy through violent fights that send the participants regularly to the emergency room. In a haunting comment, Durden remarks: “We are a generation of men raised by women.” Is this our future?

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Aslan Is On the Move–The Chronicles of Narnia on Film

The long awaited release of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, comes today, and the movie is likely to become a blockbuster. Opening on three thousand screens nationwide, the Narnia film is the product of a collaboration between Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media. Fans of C. S. Lewis and his most famous literary work, the seven-volume series known as The Chronicles of Narnia, have waited for the film version of this work for a very long time.

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Darkness At Noon: The Commission of a Post-Compliant Church

As the late Allan Bloom noted, a mind resolutely determined to be absolutely open is often, in actuality, quite closed. The closing of the postmodern mind will present a challenge for the church in this post-Christian age. Swirling worldviews and a reflexive relativism come together to form a mentality often closed to all substantive truth claims. Gathering clouds of darkness and the eclipse of truth present the believing church with a great challenge – will we surrender in a spirit of cultural compliance?

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Darkness At Noon: The Closing of the Postmodern Mind

The prophet Joel spoke of a day when the sun would be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood. This picture–besides giving us a glimpse of that terrible, coming Day of the Lord in judgment–is also a graphic picture of our own times. Even today, in the gathering clouds of our culture, we see darkness at noon. One of the central realities of this darkness is the dawning of a post-Christian culture. Even beyond that, we will see in this emerging culture the closing of the postmodern mind.

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Darkness At Noon: A Post-Christian Age

We are an affluent and comfortable people. We live in the midst of freedom as championed by those who established this nation and defined by successive generations, not only in terms of the originating vision of freedom, but now an ever-expanding understanding of liberty. We live in a time of prosperity; we live in a time of trouble. It all depends upon how you look at the world around us.

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Theological Education That Transforms, Part Two

Theological education stands at a crossroads. There are inescapable choices to be made, and these choices will determine whether evangelical institutions will remain recognizably Christian or fall into the same pattern of intellectual, theological, and moral collapse seen in so many colleges, universities, and divinity schools.

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Theological Education That Transforms, Part One

In the first half of the twentieth century, liberal Protestantism lost confidence in the Bible, in the Gospel, and in the unique mission of the church. Progressively, its theological schools grew less and less theological; its missionaries grew less and less evangelistic; its bureaucracies grew larger and more powerful, and theological education became the engine for doctrinal dissipation, moral relativism, cultural revolution, and the death of once-great denominations. Evangelicals had better pay close attention to this pattern.

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Courting Danger Online–Teenagers and the Internet

As Janet Kornblum of USA Today remarks, America’s teenagers are growing up “with a mouse in one hand and a remote control in the other.” The generation Microsoft founder Bill Gates calls “Generation E” has never known a time when information was not instantly accessible on the internet, or when communication was not available at warp speed through instant-messaging, e-mail, and Internet websites. All this leads to new opportunities, and to new dangers.

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The Perverse Logic of Abortion

Abortion is back as front-page news and is once again in the forefront of the nation’s concern. A poignant and chilling perspective on the issue of abortion has been provided by an article published in the November 29, 2005 edition of the Los Angeles Times. In “Offering Abortion, Rebirth,” reporter Stephanie Simon takes readers into the life and logic of one of the nation’s most notorious abortion providers.

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The Church of Oprah Winfrey–A New American Religion?

By any measure, Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful women in America. Her net worth is now thought to exceed one billion dollars, and her expanding media empire is one of the great success stories of the modern entertainment industry. She recently celebrated the twentieth anniversary of “The Oprah Show,” and is committed to a contract that will take the show through its twenty-fifth season. She regularly appears at the top of the “Most Admired Women” listings and has become a cultural icon, complete with her own magazine and product lines. But is there more to the meaning of Oprah Winfrey?

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A Postmodernist Before His Time — Thomas Jefferson on Jesus

The effort to separate the “Jesus of History” from the “Christ of Faith” is one of the hallmarks of theological liberalism — and a point of contact between liberal theology and postmodern secularism. Made famous by successive “quests” for a merely historical Jesus, this effort represents an attempt to recover Jesus as a figure in history, stripped of all claims to deity. Most Americans would be surprised to know that Thomas Jefferson was involved in his own quest for a merely human Jesus — and this project didn’t stop with Jefferson.

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Why Thanksgiving Matters

The holiday police are at it again–looking for violations of the nation’s new policy of separating faith and civic celebrations. The same folks who will soon be trolling courthouse squares looking for manger scenes are now calling on Americans to have a happy Thanksgiving . . . but leave God out of it.

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“He’s Just Not That Into You”–Postmodern Secular Romance

Sex and romance remain big issues in popular culture–and for good reason. In a fallen world, issues of sexuality and romantic love are prime candidates for corruption and confusion. HBO’s Emmy-winning Sex and the City may serve as the most potent symbol of the secular distortion of romance and the postmodern confusion of sexuality that is now taken for granted in many sectors of American society.

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The Teen Code–A Wake Up Call for Parents

Bookstore shelves abound with titles offering advice for parents. Various psychologists, self-appointed “experts,” and medical doctors offer advice on a range of topics, reflecting an ever broader array of worldviews. Books on parenting adolescents have been a special growth industry for some time, with puzzled and harried parents often trying to figure out what is going on in the minds of their teenagers. A new offering in this field, The Teen Code, now offers advice on parenting teens with a unique twist–the book was written by a 17-year-old boy.

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A Christian Vision of Beauty, Part Three

The Christian vision of beauty not only tells us why the world is beautiful–but not quite. Secondly, the Christian worldview explains why the face of a child with Down’s syndrome is more beautiful than the cover girl in the fashion magazine. The unity of the good, the beautiful, the true, and the real calls us to look below the surface and to understand that the ontological reality of every single human being is that we are made in the image of God. The imago Dei is the beauty in each of us, and the rest is but of cosmetic irrelevance.

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A Christian Vision of Beauty, Part Two

The Christian vision of beauty explains why the world is beautiful, but not quite. We are often struck by the beauty of the created order, and this feeling is validated for us in Genesis chapter 1, where the Creator’s own verdict is that the creation is good. The goodness of creation is therefore nonnegotiable, and again the unity of the transcendentals reminds us that if it is good, then it is also necessarily true, and real, and beautiful. Thus our metaphysic and our aesthetic, our understanding of truth and our evaluation of ethics, all come together in creation. The creation as God made it was good and beautiful and true and real.

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