Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
– Romans 12:2, ESV
The fetal heartbeat abortion ban bill has been assigned to the Iowa House Human Resources Committee and has yet to be assigned a subcommittee. Similarly, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is still waiting for a floor vote in the Iowa Senate and needs to pass a House committee before March 16th.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa): “I am urging the President to reconsider this proposal, not just for its impacts on Iowa, but for the negative consequences this proposal could have on rural communities throughout the nation, America’s farmers, and our national security.”
Education Week published an article this week about how Google has taken over the classroom over the last five years. This raises student data privacy concerns.
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) has been a fierce critic of President Donald Trump’s trade policies and sharply criticized his tariff proposals. He is a chief protagonist for free trade in the U.S. Senate representing Nebraska that he says is one of the most pro-trade states in the nation.
Replacing Kennedy with a solid, originalist jurist like the newest member of the Court, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, would dramatically shift the court towards originalism and, hopefully, lead to positive outcomes in some important cases before the Court. Replacing him with the wrong jurist would be a disaster.
Here are five things that I think will interest you as much as they did me.
1. Will there be another Billy Graham?
Thomas S. Kidd writes at First Things:
So maybe there will be another Billy Graham, but he or she will undoubtedly speak in a different cultural mode, and use different media than Graham did. As Graham would remind us, however, God also has a long track record of using people who rely on Him, who work hard and use entrepreneurial ministry methods, and who stay faithful to the traditional teachings of the church. We need not worry about who will fill his shoes, then. If the Kingdom requires one, God will raise up another Billy Graham.
2. A Biblical Theology of Church Discipline
Bobby Jameson writes at 9Marks:
Throughout God’s long and twisting history with his often-wayward people, he has often deployed discipline in an effort to stun us out of sinful stupor. The goal every time was repentance and spiritual renovation. Similarly, when we exclude someone from church membership we are not pronouncing their final fate, but warning them of what it could be. To exclude someone from membership is not to pronounce their final condemnation but to seek to avert it. When we exclude someone, we must continue to work and pray and hope for their repentance, renewal, and restoration.
3. Pastors Deliberately Avoiding Teaching Doctrine?
Jim Eliff writes at For The Church:
For us to even attempt to build churches by minimizing doctrine is a philosophy so far removed from the original purpose of Christ and His apostles that one would wonder if we were in the same movement. How close is this to the prediction of Paul when he said that “they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). It is too close for me.
4. The Gospel Is News, Not Advice
The gospel is news, not advice. Advice is counsel that helps you get something accomplished. News is a report that something has been accomplished for you. It’s already happened in history, and you must respond to it. – Tim Keller
Listen to his sermon from The Gospel Coalition Orange County Regional Conference here.
5. Sex Reassignment Doesn’t Work.
Ryan T. Anderson at The Daily Signal writes:
Sex “reassignment” doesn’t work. It’s impossible to “reassign” someone’s sex physically, and attempting to do so doesn’t produce good outcomes psychosocially.
As I demonstrate in my book, “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” the medical evidence suggests that sex reassignment does not adequately address the psychosocial difficulties faced by people who identify as transgender. Even when the procedures are successful technically and cosmetically, and even in cultures that are relatively “trans-friendly,” transitioners still face poor outcomes.
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive,'” (Acts 20:35, ESV).
No one truth is rightly held till it is clearly conceived and stated, and no single truth is adequately comprehended till it is viewed in harmonious relations to all the other truths of the system of which Christ is the centre.
– A.A. Hodge
I wrote three pieces for Caffeinated Thoughts today that I want to share.
The first was about Iowa’s gubernatorial race. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds officially threw her hat in the ring.
The second was about a segment Tucker Carlson had on Fox News last night.
The third article was about the lack of response from the mainstream national media over a recent attempted school bombing in Utah.
I hope you enjoy them, please share them with friend!
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
– Psalm 27:4, ESV
Here’s the second edition of “Five Things” of things I read online since the last “five things.” I hope you enjoy!
1. What is truth?
Steven Lawson at Ligonier writes:
We are surrounded on every side in this culture by the question “What is truth?” This is really the mother of all sins. It is a deliberate setting aside and an intentional rejection of the truth of God.
This is the way it was in the very beginning. In Genesis 3, Satan the serpent slithered on to the pages of human history, and he came to launch an attack on the truth. He said, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Satan knew very well what God had said, but he came to call God’s words into question—to dismiss the truth of God. The original sin was a rejection of the truth—a rejection of God’s way. Man chose to go his own way, to decide for himself what is true, to make his own choices in defiance of the truth.
Romans 1:18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Every generation—and every person—suppresses the truth about God, apart from being born of the truth. This tendency is inherent within man, part of the radical corruption and total depravity in human nature. A few verses later, in Romans 1:25, we read how people exchange the truth of God for a lie. That is the hour in which we live. We live in a culture that has exchanged the truth of God for a lie and has suppressed the truth. This is the demise of any life, it is the departure of any denomination, it is the destruction of any nation, and the disintegration of any society—it begins with the rejection of truth.
2. What God says to your tears.
Scott Hubbard at Desiring God writes:
Yes, Christ has come. Yes, he is risen. And yes, he will come again. But still we mourn and ache and weep — and walk alongside those who mourn and ache and weep. We plod through the valley with hearts heavy laden, grieving for any one of a thousand reasons: our depressed children, our distant spouses, our dashed hopes, our deceased loved ones, our ruinous sin.
Sometimes, we cry because life’s sorrows have become chronic, filling our life like unwelcome houseguests who just won’t leave. Other times, we cry because some unexpected misery lands like a meteor and carves a crater in our soul. And still other times, we cry and don’t know quite why; the grief evades description and analysis.
To such mourners, the Bible’s message is not to dry up your tears. No, the Bible says weeping is typical of life in the valley, and its message to mourners is much more sympathetic — and much more steadying.
3. American Christianity and the Approaching Cultural Storm
Chelsen Vicari at Juicy Ecumenism writes:
The approaching culture storm then has more to do with an increasing secular worldview among nominal Evangelical Christians rather than dying American Christianity, according to Stetzer who will publish a book on the subject in September.
“The shift that is taking also includes about one percent…of people per year change from being a nominal Christian [to secular people],” said (Ed) Stetzer. This means “the buffer between us and the rest of culture” is shrinking away.
4. Gun control advocates should learn gun basics.
David Harsanyi writes at The Federalist:
Like with any contemporary disputes over public policy, there will always be those who attempt to dismiss opponents who possess less expertise. It’s certainly not unique to this debate. And no, simply because a person refers to a “bullet” rather than a “cartridge” or “clip” rather than a “magazine” should not mean exclusion from conversation.
Then again, much of gun-control policy isdriven by the mechanics of a firearm. So while not knowing what a “barrel shroud” is should not prevent anyone from pondering gun policy (well, unless you’re a politician who goes on TV to advocate the banning of barrel shrouds without knowing what they are) but failing to understand the distinction between a semi-automatic and automatic weapon tells us you’re either dishonest, unserious or unprepared for the debate.
5. Federal government and school discipline
To identify troubled students and avoid a Columbine-type crime, the Florida legislature adopted a strict “zero-tolerance” law in 2002. The law required schools to report felonies and violent misdemeanors committed by students to law enforcement. During the Obama Administration, the law was amended to reflect new discipline programs and policies encouraged by the U.S. Department of Education (USED). Reporting requirements for student misdemeanors were loosened. Unfortunately, had these changes not been made, the Florida shooter would have been arrested long before the tragedy on Valentine’s Day.
Instead of accomplishing what the bill was originally intended to accomplish — keep schools safe by removing criminal students — it appears these amendments did the opposite. They shielded the Florida shooter from law enforcement’s radar screen.
As discussed below, the changes made to Florida’s “zero-tolerance” were most likely prompted by federal policies intended to encourage and incentivize the reduction of suspensions, expulsions, and arrests of troublesome students (especially minority and disabled students). An early signal of the new federal policies appeared in the infamous Race to the Top program, which “included a program requirement that districts with students of color or students with disabilities overly represented in the district’s discipline rates must conduct a root cause analysis and develop a plan to address these root causes.”
Read the whole article, it’s a long article, but a good one.