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Possible: The Decline of Evangelicalism March 11, 2009

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Internet Monk Michael Spencer has an intriquing article at the Christian Science Monitor, which is due to also be published in this week’s hardcopy edition.  Spencer presents an insightful, if disturbing, view of how the future landscape of evangelicalism may appear within a few generations.  His commentary is further supported by articles such as this.   Modern evangelicalism, as Spencer also points out, is quite top-heavy with materialism, and the natural pressures that bear upon such competing worldviews are now a common part of the evangelical culture, i.e., in music, publications. 

As more and more Americans say “none” when noting their religious preference, will the simple gospel message be given as an answer?  Modern evangelicalism has certainly moved way beyond that depth of response.  The gospel simply hasn’t been enough to satisfy.

Obama’s Favorite Philosopher: Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture February 27, 2009

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I was recently listening to NPR’s Speaking of Faith program one Sunday morning, and the topic was President Obama’s favorite theologian.  It was an interesting discussion (you can listen to it here).  The program spurred a memory of another NPR report I had heard referencing Obama’s favorite philosopher.  Both pertained to liberal theologian Richard Niebuhr, Yale professor and Christian ethicist, who is widely regarded as one of the most important Christian thinkers of the 20th century.  carson1

Browsing through the local Lifeway store this week, I happened upon D.A. Carson’s Christ and Culture Revisted.  I’d heard of the book but hadn’t yet had time to pick it up.  Carson is a favorite author of mine and speaks to many of the church’s and society’s challenges today, obviously both theological and cultural, as overtured by the title of his latest work.  As soon as I picked up the book and opened the jacket, Niebuhr’s name caught my attention.  I read through several chapters standing there and came away appreciative of Carson all the more and also of the discerning eye all Christians should bring to a consideration of Niebuhr’s insights.  Interestingly, Carson’s book was published in March of 2008, a providential timing to coincide with the year of Barack Obama’s election to the presidency.

One point did raise an eyebrow as Carson, in a footnote referencing Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth, mentioned how he thought it strange to label any truth as “total”.  On one level that is understandable, given that any particular proposition is either true or not.  However, I think Pearcey, in titling her work, shrewdly addresses the broad spectrum of truths discoverable but, moreover, contextualizes these truths within the confines of one profound, singular overarching Truth — there is a God, the triune God of the Bible, with whom we have to do.  This is similar to Christian theists speaking of the “heart of hearts” when discussing that men, deep inside the seat of their wills and passions, are aware of, in some sense, and thus culpable concerning God’s law (see Romans 1). 

In any event, I highly recommend any of Carson’s works and this, his latest work in particular, not only to rightly grasp Niebuhr’s insights, but to also grasp where we must leave Niebuhr behind. 

For futher thinking: read a review of Carson’s book at Christianity Today.

On Darwin and why he is now a Creationist February 12, 2009

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darwin_charles_2With what many are naming a celebration of Darwin’s birthday upon us, I’m linking below some sites refuting the theory of common descent.  Fox News has a few reports on Darwinism today.  In one, this is noted:

Among weekly churchgoers, only 24 percent said they believe in evolution, while 41 percent do not and 35 percent have no opinion.

Inversely, 55 percent of those who seldom or never attend church expressed belief in evolution, while 11 percent do not, and 34 percent have no opinion.. 

As a Christian, and seeing from the evidence that Biblical Christianity is the most reasonable answer to the meaning of life and the truth of eternity, I posit that as Darwin is now dead, he is now a creationist by default and joins the majority of regular churchgoers’ opinion. 

Discovery Institute has good material for further consideration:

The Problem of Evidence (discussing the philosophical nature of Darwin’s theory)

Darwin’s Birth Day (addressing the theory’s validity in light of irreducible complexity)

Darwin, Intelligent Design, and Freedom of Discovery (deals with the unsettling disposition of darwinians to stifle critical thought and study)

The Art of Political Labeling February 9, 2009

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Economist David Friedman discusses the impact of political labeling.  Hat tip: Volokh.

The anti-intellectual intolerance of University of Vermont Supporters February 4, 2009

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Fox reports on the anti-intellectual, intolerant backlash supporters of the University of Vermont let loose when UVM President Daniel Fogel invited Ben Stein to speak at its commencement ceremony this year.  The ruckus was over Stein’s opinion that the theory of evolution does not fit the best science.  Stein told the Burlington Free Press, “I am far more pro-science than the Darwinists. I want all scientific inquiry to happen not just what the ruling clique calls science.”

To read about the more robustly supported science of intelligent design, click here.

Now, to the important news: Football January 30, 2009

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American Thinker has an insightful article on the apparent mismatch Sun. night between the Steelers and the Cardinals (now, really, who east of the Mississippi even recalled that Arizona had a pro football team?).

Update:

The Cardinals nearly pulled it off at the Super Bowl in Tampa with only 2:30 left in the game and won a new measure of respect from this blogger.  The Steelers OL was firing tonight, though, and won the game, giving Big Ben enough time to do what he does.

Snubbing the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball January 28, 2009

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I am confused.  Why would the President choose to pass on the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball, as reported by The Cleveland Leader? Vice President Biden attended this traditional event, first held in 1953.  Why would the President not attend?  I thought I understood modern liberalism with a fair measure of sophistication, but this fact has only raised the word enigma in my mind.

Books for Every Library (or a few for the bookshelf) January 26, 2009

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I’m often asked what books I would recommend, and instead of listing them all here, I found a list very close to my own from Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, KY.  Read it here.  To this list, I would add the following important works:

The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, by John Owen, intro. by J.I. Packer

The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, by John Frame

Always Ready, by Greg Bahnsen

Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey

Above All Earthly Powers, by David Wells

The Assurance of our Salvation, by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Showing the Spirit, by D.A. Carson

The Letter to the Ephesians, by Peter O’Brien

Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation, by Dennis Johnson

Understanding Four Views on Baptism