God Can Use Cultural Upheaval to Increase Our Love

tower-of-babel
Cultural upheaval is nothing new for God.

I don’t think it is any accident that the church grows under persecution.  Trevin Wax reminds us that despite the cultural shift we find taking place God is in control and can use this time for His purposes.

If in a mere decade, a society can overturn a pillar that has undergirded civilization for thousands of years, what kind of changes will come in the next decade or two? The unthinkable is now the possible.

The cultural pressure upon us will increase. We better be okay with standing out from the rest of the world, no matter how unpopular it makes us.

We also better get used to people saying we are filled with hate and vitriol toward neighbors we disagree with. And we should do our best to show the world so much love that those labels don’t stick.

Maybe the way God is teaching us to reach out to the maligned and marginalized is by letting us taste the same kind of social ostracism.

Maybe the less we seek the love of society, the more we’ll be free to love others in God’s image.

Maybe the cultural car is careening toward the cliff, and we’re supposed to be the people who are standing with our arms outstretched saying, “Stop! You know not what you do.”

HT: Amy Hall

“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not,” (Isaiah 53:3, ESV).

Ten Items of Interest (v. 5)

This week’s random selection of ten items that interest me (and hopefully you!) from the interwebs.

1. The sudden liberal interest in using reductios.

It’s great that progressives are suddenly interested in using reductios to find limiting principles to particular legislative decisions. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that we were told deploying hypotheticals was merely fear-mongering. Back when we were still talking about whether gay people could marry, conservatives argued that if the courts expanded marriage they would have no fundamental basis for limiting the institution to couples. Even if polygamy never comes about, there would be no principled basis for preventing it. That concern was resoundingly dismissed; only now we’re supposed to take such hypotheticals Very Seriously.

2. Anglican Archbishop warns Anglican conflicts are coming to a denomination near you.

The emeritus Archbishop of Sydney, Australia spoke March 18 at Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania for the school’s eighth annual Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. Lecture on Theology, Culture, and Mission. Jensen’s lecture was entitled “Beginning in Jerusalem: The Theological Significance of the 2008 Global Anglican Future Conference.” (GAFCON)

Speaking to an audience of mostly non-Anglicans, Jensen outlined the crisis within the third largest family of Christian churches, explaining why other Christians should take note, and what lessons they could bring back to their own Christian communities.

“This may all seem very remote to you,” Jensen noted. “Your church home may be comfortably orthodox – but so fast is change coming and so massive are the forces at play that no one is safe. You need perhaps to enter into our experience so that you can prepare yourself for what may come. You too may need to form a new confessional fellowship.”

3. Homosexuality and the Bible.

Kevin DeYoung wrote a book entitled What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality.  He gives a message on the subject matter in the video here (or below).

4. The Modern University is Failing Students in Every Respect

Modern American universities used to assume four goals. First, their general education core taught students how to reason inductively and imparted an aesthetic sense through acquiring knowledge of Michelangelo, the Battle of Gettysburg, “Medea” and “King Lear,” Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” and astronomy and Euclidean geometry.

Second, campuses encouraged edgy speech and raucous expression — and exposure to all sorts of weird ideas and mostly unpopular thoughts. College talk was never envisioned as boring, politically correct megaphones echoing orthodox pieties.

Third, four years of college trained students for productive careers. Implicit was the university’s assurance that its degree was a wise career investment.

Finally, universities were not monopolistic price gougers. They sought affordability to allow access to a broad middle class that had neither federal subsidies nor lots of money.

The American undergraduate university is now failing on all four counts.

5. How does one encourage their pastor?  Brian Croft offers five ways.

6. Encourage your pastor, but you *must* judge your pastor’s theology based on the jeans he or she wears.  Make sure you bring this criteria to your church’s pastoral search committee if you have a vacancy in the pulpit.  It will no doubt guide them through the decision-making process.  I encourage churches to make this the second question on an application only after you ask your pastor if he or she is saved.  Ok, not really, but it is a fun article.

7. Cohabitation may be hazardous to your health.

The American College of Pediatricians recently published a paper, Cohabitation, which cautions adolescents and young adults about the negative consequences of cohabitation for both themselves and their children, and urges parents to teach their children about the advantages of waiting until marriage.

And that’s not a Christian organization folks.

8. Iran’s nuclear threat… a poignant illustration.

iran-nuclear-reach

See “Whistling to Armageddon: Obama’s Pact with Iran

9. I’m proud of my humility… er, wait… from Tim Challies:

Sometimes pride looks an awful lot like humility. There are times that our pride convinces us to put on a great show of what looks to all the world like humility so that we will be seen and acknowledged by others. We swell with pride when we hear, “He is humble.” It is a tricky thing, the human heart—prone to deceive both ourselves and others.

10. How should the Church approach those who are mentally ill?  Ed Stetzer says we have to stop ignoring it and graciously offer hope.

Of course, it is a result of the Fall and the sin that is a part of all of our lives. But it also has a physical component that sometimes has to be dealt with physically, which is my primary focus here. To ignore the reality of mental illness hampers our ability as the Church to have robust, intelligent, helpful conversations to find ways to come alongside those who are suffering and offer hope.

Churches and leaders, we must offer hope.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s edition.  If you missed last week’s be sure to check it out!

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.  And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him,” (John 15:21, ESV).