“It will not do to say that the new covenant has full continuity when it comes to the privileges of the covenant, and no continuity when it comes to the responsibilities” (Against the Church, p. 31).
Category Archives: Engaging the Culture
“Historic evangelicals, at their best, are unaccredited teachers in the schools of the prophets. At their worst, they are sons of Zedekiah, selling little miniature horns of iron on the teevee for $9.95 plus shipping and handling (1 Kings 22:11). Institutional Christians, let us call them, at their best, are like Jehoida (2 Kings 11:17). At their worst, they carry on in such a way as to make even a Bach chorale obnoxious to God (Amos 5:23), processing up the center aisle in such a way as to make every true child of the Father want to throw a Scottish psalter at their pointy hats” (Against the Church, p. 30).
Let us abandon for a moment the idea of culture war, and shift the image over to a game or a sport. Many conservative believers think we are in a straightforward contest of strength, something like sumo wrestling, when we are actually in a chess game with a master who is consistently five moves ahead of us.
I bring this up because of this piece by Michael Hannon over at First Things, warning us off the false ideal of heterosexuality. And if you read that, I would then recommend this response over at Mere Orthodoxy. In this response of mine, I would want to go even farther than Matt Anderson did in registering concern. By “registering concern” I refer of course to the fact that I will be dancing in place, with my hair on fire, and waving my hands over the top of my head.
There are three problems that have each contributed to setting my head ablaze. Let me outline them for you, although concentration might be a problem.
“We must be opposed to every sacrament caught in a freeze frame. In order to be true sacraments, they must be story sacraments” (Against the Church, p. 26).
I believe I understand what Russell Moore and Andrew Walker were seeking to do with this piece, and I wish them well and applaud their efforts. There is much that is valuable about what they are saying, particularly in their recognition of the distinction between sins and crimes. However, comma . . .
The problem, as I see it, is embodied in a sentence near the end of their post. The context that makes it problematic is cultural climate in the West today. I do not say any of this to applaud the Ugandan legislation, about which I know nothing, but rather to point out how the forces of Progress in our nation use such things to maneuver us into a position that is much more to their liking.
“The jailing and execution of people for consensual sexual immorality, in contexts like we see in many places around the world, isn’t Christian, either.”
This sentiment rests on a particular understanding of the old order, the order of Christendom, at the very time that this order is under a full scale assault, by the very people this sentiment is designed to protect.
I have perhaps said it before, but my pastoral philosophy of ministry is summed up by this: “What would I do here if I were the devil?” and then try to counter that. And if I were the devil, I would take this sentence, and then take two steps beyond it.
Consider this my contribution to a broad discussion that is occurring among classical Christian schools. The question concerns how our schools are to be adequately funded. There are, of course, many ways to go about this, but let me limit my discussion to two very common options. The first is the tuition/tithe donation model, and the second would be the full tuition model.
If a school has a cracker jack development office, then they can have upwards of 15% of their budget funded by donations. If they opt for the full tuition model, then 100% of their budget would be covered by the tuition payments. Left out of the equation would be donations for capital improvements and so forth. Logos School currently follows the tuition/tithe donation model, which I greatly prefer, and for the reasons outlined below.
The basic question has to do with what a Christian school is. Is it a business, or is it a ministry, or is it a hybrid? I would argue that when it is functioning properly, it will be necessarily a hybrid, and should therefore receive hybrid funding.
On the one hand, it is a business, and should be funded by those families who are receiving the services rendered. Such a school teaches a number of subjects that are primarily oriented toward things which are the responsibility of the family to provide — calculus, say, or typing and PE. On the other hand, it is also a ministry — Bible classes, integrated worldview thinking, Greek, choral music, etc. These subjects mean that it is appropriate for it to be funded by the tithe.
In the Old Testament, the tithe was paid to the Levites, who in turn paid their tithe to the priests and the Temple service. The Levites were given 48 cities, and their responsibility in those cities was teaching. They were responsible to teach the Law, and to teach music, and so forth.
This small accessible book is a very sane and very good introduction to a much controverted subject.
I write this review as an observer of rap, and admittedly not as a devotee. In fact, I recently told a friend that if I write about it too much, I will undoubtedly commit a howler or two, like calling it hop hip. So what is my perspective on it? Besides being the perspective of a non-expert, I think it would be most accurate to call me an appreciative and supportive non-fan. You can read some of the reasons for that here in a post called Dear XYZ.
This book, Does God Listen to Rap?, by Curtis Allen, can be divided into two basic sections. The first describes the origins of this form of music, giving us the history of it. Where did it come from, and why did it catch on?
“So let’s be honest. Rap isn’t exactly rooted in the rich soil of holiness” (p. 37). Having established in that first section that the origins of rap were pretty tawdry, Allen goes on to show in the second part of the book why — scripturally — that shouldn’t really matter to us, at least not as a stand-alone argument. He gives thoughtful arguments from Scripture on why the genetic fallacy is in fact a fallacy when it comes to music. I have read a lot of cultural analysis, and Allen comes to the subject in fresh ways. For one example, he develops one argument from the fact that all music came from the line of Cain (Gen. 4: 17-21), beginning with a gent named Jubal. We don’t know what his stage name was — perhaps JubalZ.
“The heart of man is fully capable of polluting whatever he might be offering to God. He does this whenever he thinks that believing the promises and keeping God on a short rope are the same thing” (Against the Church, p. 25).