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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A Christian Vision of Beauty, Part One

There is something intrinsic to humanity that is drawn to beauty.
There is something of an aesthetic desire in us–an aesthetic appetite.
And yet beauty is in crisis; it is a contested category. In the
reigning confusion of the popular culture, the artificial is often
confused for the real, the pretty for the beautiful, and the untrue for
the true–all of which, as we shall see, are essentially one root
confusion.

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America’s Second Civil War?

Our nation’s political rhetoric is filled with references to unity and national cohesiveness. Nevertheless, this unity is often more superficial than substantial, and talk of national unity wears thin when the culture appears to be ripping apart at the seams.

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The Sexual Clash of Civilizations

In the aftermath of the fall of the Iron Curtain, prominent writer V. S. Naipaul declared the dawn of a “universal civilization.” According to Naipaul’s vision, the end of the Cold War was a signal that the entire planet was moving toward a single civilizational form that would transcend ethnic differences, ideological cleavages, and the fault lines that have separated cultures in the past.

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Armistice and Insanity—The Horror of War

“Hostilities will cease on the whole front at 11 hours today, French time. Until that hour, the operations previously ordered will be pressed with vigor. At 11 hours our line will halt in place, and no man will move one step forward or backward.” Those were the orders released just before 9:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918 in an address to the U. S. Army’s 79th Division. That order announced the end of “The War to End All Wars,” now known as World War I. Yet in one of the most bitter ironies of this bitter conflict, thousands would die between the time the armistice was signed and hostilities ceased.

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The Grace and Greatness of True Humility

CNN founder Ted Turner once remarked, “If I only had a little humility, I would be perfect.” In a strange and almost perfectly ironic sense, this statement encapsulates the spirit of our age–an attitude that gives lip service to humility while celebrating self-promotion. C. J. Mahaney seeks to set the record straight in his new book, Humility: True Greatness.

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Civilization Under Siege—The Riots in Paris

“Civilization is hideously fragile,” argued C. P. Snow. “There's not much between us and the horrors underneath, just about a coat of varnish.” Snow's statement takes on ominous overtones in light of the raging riots in and around Paris.

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The Moral Education of Physicians—Why It Matters to All of Us

“Modern medicine is one of those extraordinary works of reason: an elaborate system of specialized knowledge, technical procedures, and rules of behavior,” explains Paul Starr. “By no means are these all purely rational: Our conception of disease and responses to it unquestionably show the imprint of our particular culture, especially its individualist and activist therapeutic mentality. Yet, whatever its biases and probably because of them, modern science has succeeded in liberating humanity from much of the burden of disease.”

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Jimmy Carter’s Endangered Values

Former president Jimmy Carter has written yet another book — his twentieth — and he has hit the media circuit in order to promote his latest project. Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis represents the former president’s return to familiar themes, even as it will add new layers of confusion concerning his actual beliefs and values.

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America’s Parents Served Notice–You are not the “Exclusive Providers” of Sex Information to Your Children

Who decides what children will be taught about sex? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals served notice on America’s parents this week, ruling that parents of elementary-aged school children have no right to be the “exclusive providers” of sex information to their children. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is generally considered to be America’s most left-wing court. Nevertheless, the decision handed down on November 2 represents one of the most outrageous infringements upon parental rights ever made by an American court.

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Why Moms and Dads Matter–New Research

“In the last four decades, a feminist revolution has swept the globe,” observes W. Bradford Wilcox. Indeed, a rising tide of feminist concerns has reached almost every part of the world, with ideological feminism exerting its greatest influence in Western Europe and North America. The feminist revolution Wilcox describes has brought, he acknowledges, “many beneficial changes to our world.” Nevertheless, the same movement has “brought less welcome developments to the global scene,” and one of the most unwelcome of these developments is what Wilcox describes as “the androgynous impulse.”

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