For an introduction to the series, read this.
Over the years, I have considered the question of why I believe the Bible is the Word of God from several angles. In recent days I have come to a new way of synthesizing these various angles into a unified, perspectival approach.
But before addressing the various perspectives, let me first address the meaning of the word “why” in the question. You can answer “why” questions in terms of reasons or causes. For example, if you asked the question, “Why did Martin Luther King die?” the answer could be given in at least two different ways: Continue reading
I apologize for missing my regular Monday post yesterday. Occasionally, time gets away from me and leaves my blogging plans behind. I hope to get back on track next Monday.
In the meantime, I thought would share a brief reflection on an event I attended last night. It was the annual convocation ceremony of Augustine School, a classical Christian school for pre-K through 12th grade students in the Jackson area. Relatively speaking, it is a small school, with a total student body of around 125. But it is rare gem. Continue reading
If I could hand out one book at a large gathering of evangelicals, I would strongly consider What is the Mission of the Church? by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert. In this book, the authors argue that the church’s mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and that therefore churches should focus their efforts on Great Commission tasks and avoid the pitfall of spreading their efforts into too many good causes that would distract from what they have been sent in the world to do. It is a book that brings great clarity and focus to a discussion that has too often lacked it. It needs to be read far and wide, and if it is, it will be for the good of the church.
I have been reading back through Augustine’s Confessions recently, and I have noticed an intersection between his thought on sex and my argument regarding contraception from last week. In Book II, Augustine recounts his adolescent years and first stirrings of sexual sin within him, a major theme throughout the rest of the work. But he begins by noting that his sexual deviancy was actually rooted in a good desire: “The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and to be loved” (2.2). However, “no restraint was imposed by the exchange of mind with mind, which marks the brightly lit pathway of friendship. Clouds of muddy carnal concupiscence filled the air.” Augustine’s Neoplatonic tendencies poke out here as he sets the purely immaterial contact of “mind with mind” over against “muddy carnal concupiscence.” In other words, his desire for bodily sexual union represents a baser, lower desire, or perhaps better, the turning of a good desire (for God) toward baser, material things. Continue reading
I suppose I will continue writing, for an audience of a few, responses to articles read by many, if for no other reason than as a way to think out loud about my own convictions on these issues. Sherif Girgis recently wrote a strong defense of the Catholic teaching on contraception, namely, that the use of contraception works against the purpose of sexual union and is, therefore, unethical.
My thinking as a Protestant is somewhat different on this issue. On the one hand, I affirm the Catholic moral teaching in its desire to maintain a close link between marriage, sex, and procreation. I agree that much of our sexual dysfunction as a society is owing to a severing of those things from one another. I believe every marriage should be open to the gift of children, that children are not a burden to dread but a blessing to receive, and that an over-reliance on contraception is likely indicative of a selfish mindset that desires all the pleasures of sex with none of the God-ordained responsibility. Continue reading
Rachel Held Evans recently argued for the propriety of voting, at least in some circumstances, for pro-choice candidates, even if one holds pro-life convictions. Her main argument for doing so is that pro-choice candidates who pursue progressive policies (i.e., Democrats) are often more likely to create conditions in which a culture of life can prevail by helping to reduce poverty and expand access to contraception. These conditions, in turn, help lower the number of unwanted pregnancies, which is primarily what elevates the abortion rate. Although no candidate is perfect, on balance, it is often better to vote for one who is pro-choice for these reasons.
I believe Mrs. Evans is badly mistaken here. I will explain why below, but first I want to sweep away any idea that may be in my readers’ minds about my motives here in relation to Donald Trump. One of Evans’s main purposes in her article is to argue that pro-life voters should vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump. Lest anyone misread me: I am not defending Donald Trump here, nor am I arguing that anyone should vote for him. I do not intend to do so. Continue reading
For an introduction to the series, read this.
Now that we have completed a survey of the Apostles’ Creed, I have decided a change of pace would be nice, so for the next several months I will be writing on my church’s statement of faith. This statement is reliant on and adapted from the New Hampshire Confession of 1833, which has been modified into recent forms of the Baptist Faith and Message (1925, 1963, 1998, and 2000). Since it is a statement of faith and not a Creed, it is not written to be memorized. Therefore, our focus won’t be on memorization but simply exposition of what the statement of faith teaches. Continue reading