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7 Reasons Secular Values Fail to Address Racism

It was an evening of open discussions on Facebook like any other. But something unfortunate happened that night. A former student of mine, a young black woman, unfriended me. Why? I wrote to her that, as a Christian, her value and identity were found in Christ, not in her racial identity, and that that same truth applied to me as a white male. She wrote back that my words “hurt.” She went on to say that my brand of hate would not be tolerated on her timeline and that she would pray for my “ignorance.” Where racial discrimination exists, it is wrong. Its existence is one reason I have labored to plant two colleges, one in Kenya, the other in Congo (DRC). I love my African brothers and sisters, as well as my students of color in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. Given the sadness I felt over the Facebook incident, I’m concerned that cultural norms are a bad remedy for healing wounds caused by racism. So, I feel compelled to ask a question. Are secular values the real answer for impr…
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Why the Nashville Statement Preamble on Gender is Correct

In its opening Preamble, the Nashville Statement: a Coalition on Human Sexuality, makes an important point on human gender. It reads
Many deny that God created human beings for his glory, and that his good purposes for us include our personal and physical design as male and female. It is common to think that human identity as male and female is not part of God’s beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual’s autonomous preferences. The pathway to full and lasting joy through God’s good design for his creatures is thus replaced by the path of shortsighted alternatives that, sooner or later, ruin human life and dishonor God
The Statement remarks on “male and female” largely due to the assault on what is called Cisgender (Cis), a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. According to advocates for the transgender lifestyle, sex and gender have nothing to do with one another.
But is that true? The answer is no. Here is why.
Gen…

What's Wrong With America

In 1961, the Supreme Court ruled in Torcaso v. Watkins that Roy Torcaso need not undergo a religious test for a position as a notary public. The effect was to eliminate all religious tests for public office within the United States. Even mere profession of belief in God was struck down as a prerequisite for state employment. Torcaso eclipsed the Religious Test Clause of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, which states that no one shall be required to adhere to any religion or religious doctrine to hold office at the federal level.
While both religious and non-religious peoples might agree that the decision in Torcaso was a correct one, now the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme, whereby America is faced with a new and pernicious problem.
The principle problem with America is that we no longer know what we believe as a people.
Because most Americans now reject any absolute standard of truth, our nation is unable to discern right from wrong in the face of critical issues. This h…

Fighting Abortion is Not the Fourth Sign of the Church

Some Christians are what I call, “single-issue.” I recall one family that left a church because everything did not revolve around Evangelism Explosion. But that's just one issue.
The issue I'm thinking about is abortion on demand. Some concerned Christians expect their pastor to thunder away almost each week on this topic, or at least mention it. He must make it is his central motif. He must protest outside the abortion clinic. If he doesn’t, he can say he’s against abortion all he likes, but it’s not enough.
Motivating the single-issue congregant is a deeper judgment. He thinks that the ultimate reason abortion on demand still happens is because pastors let it. Churches let it.
As one who has taken a virulent stand against abortion, both in the pulpit and with pen, I can say without qualification, “I hate it.”  Period. I pray the day that Roe is overturned. Nonetheless, as a former pastor, an as one who may return to the pulpit someday, here’s the bottom line.
We are called to …

Andy Stanley and the “NEW Hermeneutic”

The problem of faith and reason is longstanding in the history of theology. Augustine held that faith aids reason (credo ut intelligam) and that reason aids faith (intelligo un creadam). The church father is, however, inclined to stress the later over the former. It was with Thomas Aquinas, and his Summa Theologica, that the effort to reconcile faith and reason reached its apex. Rejecting the medieval doctrine of double truth, he placed natural reason prior to faith in effectively every area of the Christian life. The restrictions are the mysteries of the faith that reason cannot penetrate.
Thomas’ affirmation of the high role of native reason in Christian belief is linked to his stress on dialectical method in study, seminally set forth by Peter Abelard. The form of study is dependent largely on logic to argue both sides of a theological question. Christian belief is thus the proper result of process or synthesis. Faith then assents to the final proposition arrived at by reason.
Thom…

The Decline of America and the Role of the Church

Between the Dallas shootings, the Hillary mess, and so much more, I've been thinking about the relationship of the Church in America to the moral decay and lawlessness in our society.

Now, if you think about it, most culture-minded Christians assume that our national problems are largely a byproduct of the failure of churches to "transform" their surrounding culture. They are absentee in their cultural mandate. Having written a great deal on the cultural mandate, I see that connectivity as well.

However, I want to suggest that the real problem is not "with" the church and its cultural program. The problem is instead "within" the Church. Let me explain this nuance.

When Paul, for example, says in 2 Tim. 3:1-4 that "in the last days difficult times will come", then gives his long list of difficulties, it is natural to think he is decrying the state of affairs in the culture. But read vs 5. The treacherous people Paul is talking about are in t…

Exploring a New Bible College in DRC

In May of 2014, I was blessed to travel to the DRC. Bukava, Congo is situated on the south end of Lake Kivu and provides a splendid setting for Bible classes. Much more than this, however, the conference with about 70 pastors and area leaders sparked overwhelming interest in core biblical doctrines that many of us take for granted.
The response to that conference was so overwhelming that, as I shared in my last newsletter, the pastors at the conference rather insisted on a Bible College in Bukavu. Since then, I have been praying about the start of a Bible College in the DRC, one very similar to Covenant College of Theological Studies and Leadership in Kenya, which I helped to start. 
After a very serious setback with my low back in 2014 that eventually required surgery, I was finally able to make plans to return to conduct what I call a "test" or pilot class to ascertain the educational abilities of the men who might form the nascent first class of the new school. 
A roa…