Archive - March, 2013

Amazing Video of a Baby Formed in a Womb

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” (Psalm 139:13-15)

HT: Marvin Olasky

Did Jesus Spend Saturday Night in Hell?

The Apostles Creed begins:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead.

Many of us were raised with the notion that Jesus went to hell on Friday after dying on the cross. For a day and a half, he preached in hell before his resurrection on Sunday. The Scriptural support given for this view primarily comes from a few passages in I Peter. Here’s one:

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Evangelical Colleges Responding to Students with Same-Sex Attraction

Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports on how evangelical colleges are responding to the perception that their institution is not a safe place for those who possess same-sex attraction.  For example, Wheaton College created “an official group in February for students to explore questions of gender identity and sexual orientation. The group is intended as a ‘safe place for students who have questions about their sexual orientation or gender identity,’ where students may self-identify as LGBTQ.”  But all Wheaton College students sign an agreement promising to refrain from “the use of pornography … premarital sex, adultery, homosexual behavior and all other sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage.”  Other evangelical colleges have similar pledges. 

An excerpt:

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Edith Schaeffer (1914-2013)

Edith Schaeffer, widow of renown apologist Francis Schaeffer, went home to be with the Lord today. Alongside her husband, she was instrumental in running the day-to-day operations of the L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland since its founding in 1955. The name “L’Abri” came from the French word for “shelter.” L’Abri was a large home that people could come and stay to discuss God and the meaning of life, along with other spiritual questions. 

One of the Schaeffers’ many legacies was helping others see that the Christian worldview was intelligible–it wasn’t just a leap in the dark. On the contrary, Christianity made good sense, and it could satisfyingly and reliably explain the world and everything in it, including suffering and evil.  Another legacy was hospitality, something Edith was particularly known for.

Edith ultimately wrote or co-wrote eighteen books (see below), including Affliction, a book on suffering, and the autobiographical The Tapestry: the Life and Times of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, each of which received the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (in 1979 and 1982 respectively). Those looking for a good biography on Francis Schaeffer should consider Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life by Colin Duriez.  To my knowledge, there is no book-length biography of Edith Schaeffer.  The best way to benefit from Schaeffer’s work is to pick up The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview (5 Volume Set), which, at over 2000 pages, is well worth the price.

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What Does It Mean for Jesus to Despise Shame?

Hebrews 12:1-2 was the first passage I ever memorized:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The phrase “despising the shame” has always intrigued me. Today, John Piper unpacks what he thinks it means for Jesus to have “despised the shame.” An excerpt:

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We Need New Methods in the Fight for Marriage

A great set of posts by Greg Forster (PhD, Yale University) on what he sees as key disadvantages in employing either natural law arguments or explicitely Christian/biblical defenses of marriage in today’s cultural landscape. In short, he sees both as unconvincing to those predisposed to endorse same-sex “marriage.”  Instead, he offers a new path forward. Excerpt:

We must speak the truth about sexuality and romance in the language of sexuality and romance. This can’t be a special, private sexual language for Christians that others will need to learn. It must be a language that speaks to people in terms of their everyday experiences and doesn’t presuppose that you need to be Christian before you can have a humane understanding of sexuality.

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Doug Wilson, Race and Slavery

Thabiti Anyabwile has written an excellent summary of Doug Wilson’s controversial book Black & Tan: A Collection of Essays and Excursions on Slavery, Culture War, and Scripture in America.  In the days to come Anyabwile will interact with Wilson’s view, but for now here’s a summary of the summary:

Wilson rejects racism, but on slavery argues that:

1. The Bible speaks authoritatively about slavery and Christians are duty-bound to obey its teaching (p. 14, 37).

2. The slave trade was an abomination and is clearly rejected in the Bible (1 Tim. 1:10; Exod. 21:16). 

3. The slavery regulated in the Mosaic law differs from slavery in pagan empires like Rome.

4. Christians must denounce as a matter of biblical principle any racism, racial animosity, or racial vainglory involved in American slavery or any other race-based system of slavery.

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Pastoring Christians for the Workplace

The most recent edition of the 9 Marks journal is on Pastoring Christians for the Workplace.

Here’s the table of contents:

What Makes Work “Christian”?
By J.D. Greear

7 Things Pastors Should Teach Those in the Marketplace
By Lukas Naugle

Pastoring the Wrongly Ambitious
By Jamie Dunlop

Preaching to Women Who Work in the Home
By Bari Nichols

Pastor, Teach Your Businesspeople to Tend the Vine
By Sebastian Traeger

Businessperson, Help your Pastor Build Trellises
By Sebastian Traeger

There are also book reviews and a few other columns. Check it out.

Begin with Creation, Not Sin

Nancy Pearcey:

Beginning with sin instead of creation is like trying to read a book by opening it in the middle: You don’t know the characters and can’t make sense of the plot.

Total Truth, p. 88

President Clinton Flips on DOMA

Want an indication of how quickly the cultural landscape has shifted on the issue of same-sex “marriage”? In a Washington Post op-ed today, President Clinton flipped on DOMA, arguing that the law he signed 17 years ago, opposed by only 81 of the 535 members of Congress, is in fact unconstitutional.  The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is one of two major marriage-related cases to be heard by the Supreme Court in the near future. The other has to do with the Proposition 8 law passed in the state of CA in 2008, and is scheduled for oral arguments later this month.  Emily Belz explains the significance of both cases. Excerpt:

The lead-up to the high court taking these two cases parallels the lead-up to the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion. At the state level in the decades before Roe, voters blocked referendum after referendum to legalize abortion by sizable majorities. But then the Supreme Court stepped in and overturned many state-level restrictions on abortion with one decision. Similarly, in the last decade, 38 states have passed traditional marriage laws, either by referendum or in legislatures. The Supreme Court could upend those laws with these cases.

One difference is that public opinion against same-sex “marriage” is weaker than it was against abortion at the time of Roe. In the last 15 years, opposition to gay marriage has dropped by 20 points according to the Pew Research Center, down to 43 percent this year. In 1972, a Gallup poll showed that 66 percent of Americans opposed elective abortions. The court, of course, enjoys ignoring public opinion in all of its cases.

The court will likely hear both cases in late March, according to court expert Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog.

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