Time for a Little Q & A

So in response to Kevin DeYoung's very pertinent questions to rainbow-affirming Christians, Matthew Vines has responded with 40 questions of his own, these directed at Christians who are, as he puts it, "non-affirming." Being as I am found in that latter category, let me have a shot at it. What I want to do is either answer Matthew's questions, or explain why I will not take the bait of answering a particular question. Put another way, I will answer the questions, but not the loaded questions. 1. Do you accept that sexual orientation is not a choice? First, I do not believe there is one answer that fits for everyone living a homosexual lifestyle. For some it is very much a choice, while for others the inclinations that lead to same sex attraction run very close to the bone. I do not believe there is one Platonic form of "homosexuality." Having said this, I would then point out that sin is defined by Scripture, and not by our guesswork on the strength of our abilities in … [Read more...]

An Obergefail Word Salad

I'd rather not, thanks.

Having read the majority opinion for the Supreme's Obergefail decision, I am now in a position to describe what Justice Kennedy's dog gets for breakfast. In that opinion, he did try to be nice to those who differ, but being nice and being coherent are not the same thing. He tried to head off the pc-martinets by saying that "the First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection." Very nice, very thoughtful. And then this, one week later -- the Kleins of Oregon (who had politely declined to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian phantasmagorithon) had their fine of 135K finalized by an administrative judge. Moreover, Brad Avakian, this Oregon Labor Kommissar who finalized the fine, also ordered the Kleins to "cease and desist" from talking about it. Pay the money, and put on this gag. I have been somewhat heartened by the blowback the Supreme Court decision has been getting from Christians. It is true that we do have to figure out how to … [Read more...]

Simply Plain

"The preacher should toil after this property of style, as he would toil after virtue itself. He should constantly strive, first of all, to exhibit his thoughts plainly. Whether he shall add force to plainness, and beauty to force, are matters to be considered afterwards. Let him in the first place begin at the beginning, and do the first thing" (Shedd, Homiletics and Pastoral Theology, p. 67). … [Read more...]

Or Lose the One We Have

I was reminded yet again this morning about how worldviews work. For those who want to read a bit more on this, you can check this out. One of the reasons conservatives have been outmaneuvered on the same sex mirage deal, even while knowing it to be a mirage, is that they have not engaged in every place where the battle was being fought. A worldview wheel has four spokes -- and all worldviews (in order to be genuine worldviews) must necessarily have all four. We have only been using one spoke, which means we have had to treat it like a jerry-built pogo stick. And that, in turn, means we cannot roll. We have not yet progressed to the development of the wheel. This means we must either regain the other three, or lose the one we have. The four spokes are catechesis, lifestyle, narrative, and symbol/liturgy. We have generally wanted to fight a catechetical battle about lifestyle (which is not the same thing as living a lifestyle). Generally we have neglected narrative (or have … [Read more...]

A Plain as a Punch

"There is prodigious power in this plainness of presentation. It is the power of actual contact. A plain writer, or speaker, makes the truth and the mind impinge upon each other. When the style is plain, the mind of the hearer experiences the sensation of being touched; and this sensation is always impressive, for a man starts when he is touched" (Shedd, Homiletics and Pastoral Theology, p. 64). … [Read more...]

Children of the Rainbow

Looks cute enough now . . .

As some of you may have noticed, this last weekend I put up a post that went kind of nuts. I am talking about Tolle, Leg It, in which I encouraged Christian parents to take this particular rainbow moment as an appropriate time to remove their kids from the government schools, select a tall object on the horizon, and head for it in all due haste. My point garnered a lot of attention and sparked quite a bit of debate. There are 488 comments there now, and the post gathered up 5.4K Facebook likes. John Piper did his bit by tweeting a quote from the post, and I can tell you via the wonder of Google Analytics that 17,639 people showed up the day after it was posted to gawk at it -- and on a weekend too. So maybe we should talk about this topic a bit more. Before going any further, let me extend my thanks to everyone who showed up to discuss it, particularly to those who differed with me. I will not be able to manage a detailed response to everyone, obviously, but I would like to … [Read more...]

Book of the Month/July 2015

Riots Revolutions

This is an important book for a number of reasons. The first is the timing -- and it is almost as though a higher power were at work. In this book, Charles Jackson gives a fresh historical overview of the work of Alexander Henderson, one of the stalwarts among the Scottish Covenanters. There was a time when Christians with a backbone used to give the ruling elite the fits, and it is long past time for us to be reading up on them. Civil resistance from Christians is not a phenomenon that arises from nowhere -- it requires a theology. Not only so, but it requires a theology that is faithful to Scripture. Left to themselves, without godly leadership, too many Christians simply assume that "Romans 13" -- the catchphrase, not the actual text -- requires craven acquiescence. With theological rigor and subtlety, Henderson (and others with him) showed quite the contrary. And those who wanted to maintain unquestioned and unquestioning rule were frequently not happy about it. "One can only … [Read more...]

Review: Going Postal

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett My rating: 4 of 5 stars I haven't read a lot of Pratchett -- I think this is only my second one -- but I do enjoy reading him for the color and the metaphor. The way he turns a figure of speech on the lathe will frequently leave you just sitting there in your chair with a table leg in your hand, and your wife says, "Hey, what's with the table leg." And I say, "I'm reading." View all my reviews … [Read more...]

Sunday Collection

"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11) The Basket Case Chronicles #195 “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (1 Cor. 16:1–2). This passage contains one of the hints in the New Testament that reveals the practice of Sunday worship in the first century. Paul brings up the matter of a collection for poverty relief among the saints, telling the Corinthians that he had given the same requirement to the churches of Galatia, and he looks for them to do the same. Paul doesn’t want to start from scratch in taking up a collection, so he tells them to start collecting beforehand, week to week. He specifically says that this is to be done on the first day of the week, which is Sunday. If the money was to be “laid by” in the individual homes, then … [Read more...]