A Morning Peacock of Links (4/3)

Jonathan Edwards and American Racism: Can the Theology of a Slave Owner Be Trusted by Descendants of Slaves?

Dr. Thabiti Anyabwile, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, speaking on Jonathan Edwards, his theology, and how to reconcile, if at all, his theology with certain aspects of his lifestyle. You can also read the PDF transcript here.

Blind to Our Blindness

Paul David Tripp on Hebrews 3:12-3 and spiritual blindness:

…Everyone still living with sin is a skilled self-swindler.

So the pastor who has just gotten angry during an elder’s meeting will tell himself he was just speaking like one of God’s prophets, “Thus says the Lord!” The husband and wife gossiping about someone in their small group tell themselves it was just a detailed prayer request. The tight-fisted businessman who struggles with giving will tell himself that he is just being a good steward of the resources God has entrusted to him. We all have perverse ability to make ourselves feel good about what is no good.

Can Homosexuals Change Their Orientation?

From Stand To Reason – If sexual orientation is an immutable, innate trait, Alan Shlemon wonders how this “fact” is to be reconciled with the reality that there are a slew of examples showing that fundamental change in this arena is possible (deeper than such superficial changes as wearing colored contact lenses, dying your hair, etc):

You may have seen the sign, “Some people are gay. Get over it!” But I’d like to change it: “Some people used to be gay. Get over that.”

Many people don’t believe it, though. They believe the discussion is over. The “experts” have spoken. Sexual orientation is an inborn and immutable trait like eye color. Change is not possible. Case closed.

But this is an incredible assertion. If it can be demonstrated that just one person has changed, it would falsify the claim. It turns out that not only is change possible, but there are multiple and independent lines of evidence to warrant such a belief.

In fact, between Apostle Paul’s historical letter to the church of Corinth, scientific research/therapy through the years, and countless testimonies of those whose lives have been transformed, it would be hard to deny the reality that transformation in this area is possible, right…?:

How can anyone deny that change is possible given all the evidence from psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, peer-reviewed studies, and personal testimonies? I’ll tell you how. One would have to believe that every clinician who treated homosexuality during the 19th and 20th centuries has lied about their professional work and deceived the readers of their published studies. Therapists around the world who treat homosexuality today would also have to be dishonest about their patient outcomes. Every religious and secular organization that provides counseling to homosexuals would be fraudulent about their results. Every homosexual – thousands of them around the world – who is now living as a heterosexual is just faking it. And every friend and person I’ve met over the years who has claimed to have changed has been misleading me. This would entail a massive and well-orchestrated scheme to deceive vast numbers of people around the world. One would have to believe all that deception is occurring in order to believe that homosexuals can’t change.

Secularism with the Gloves Off: Vanderbilt University’s Assault on Religious Organizations

Albert Mohler on Vanderbilt University being at odds with its on-campus religious organizations. Personally for me, coming across this article was quite interesting in that Vanderbilt Law happens to be one of schools I’m choosing between to attend this coming fall:

Well, if that was Vanderbilt’s goal, the university has been stunningly successful. It is unlikely that many of Vanderbilt’s students and faculty know anything of the university’s Christian history. If they do, it would be cause for further embarrassment, mixed with relief that the university is now safely in liberal and secular hands.

In more recent months, Vanderbilt’s administration decided to push secularism to the extreme –  launching a virtual vendetta against religious organizations on campus. Officials of the university informed religious groups that had been recognized student organizations that they would have to comply with an absolute non-discrimination policy. This means that religious organizations (primarily Christian) must now allow any Vanderbilt student to be a candidate for a leadership office, regardless of religious beliefs or sexual orientation. In other words, a Christian student group would be forced to allow the candidacy of an atheist. A group of Christians who believe in the Bible’s standard of sexual morality would be required to allow the candidacy of a homosexual member. There can be absolutely no discrimination, the university insists, even if that means that Christian organizations are no longer actually Christian.

Hold the Truth Tightly And Your Passionate Opinions Lightly

From The Blazing Center – Stephen Altrogge on the importance of distinguishing between personal opinions and external facts. Though Altrogge doesn’t explicitly touch on this, I feel that this dichotomy is at work in evangelism. When it comes to Christians sharing their faith, though we may have goodwill, our passionate opinions and feelings often bark louder than the truth we are communicating, which ends up chasing away many from the church. Altrogge says the following about making a necessary distinction:

As Christians, all of us (myself definitely included) regularly face the temptation to moralize our opinions. In other words, we can take something that we feel strongly about and attach a spiritual value to it. Then, when we see others who don’t live according to our standards, we can tend to look down on them or make them feel as if they are less godly than us.

[…]

Why does this even matter? Because when we start elevating certain things as more godly than others, we turn into Pharisees. The Pharisees were experts at creating additional rules to lay on top of the Bible. In fact, they loved their rules more than they loved God and more than they loved people. They looked down on and excluded those who didn’t follow their rules. They crushed people with their rules. Their rules prevented them from seeing and delighting in Christ.

I would never want anyone in my church to feel excluded or less godly because they didn’t adopt a particular extra-Biblical lifestyle. I don’t want to be known as the home school church, the organic church, the courting church, or anything else. I simply want to be a biblical, gospel-centered church. There have been many times when I’ve held my opinions way too tightly and ended up unnecessarily excluding someone as a result. That really bothers me, and if you see me doing it, please correct me.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s