Twenty Items of Interest (v.25)



1.  Chris at Homeward Bound makes a great case for how faithful followers of Jesus can be in favor of capital punishment.  Something that “progressive” evangelicals and other liberals say isn’t possible.

If we want to be faithful followers of Jesus, we have to let our faith inform every aspect of our lives – not just what we do on Sunday. Nowhere is this more important than how we, as citizens of a republic, let our faith shape how we vote and otherwise influence our government.

Few political issues cause as heated arguments between Christians as capital punishment. Both sides argue from the Bible. Both sides approach the issue with a great deal of passion. I have no illusions about changing anyone’s position, but there is one side in this debate that commonly calls the other’s compassion and devotion to Christ into question. My goal is to convince that group – those opposed to the death penalty – that the other side is making a reasonable and biblically acceptable stand. (Read the rest)

2.  This has got to be discouraging.  (HT: Ben Witherington)

 

3.  Francis Beckwith’s book Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic will be published this winter.  Beckwith stepped down as the President of the Evangelical Theological Society upon returning to the Catholic Church.

From Brazos Press’ website:

What does it mean to be evangelical? What does it mean to be Catholic? Can one consider oneself both simultaneously? Francis Beckwith has wrestled with these questions personally and professionally. He was baptized a Catholic, but his faith journey led him to Protestant evangelicalism. He became a philosophy professor at Baylor University and president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). And then, in 2007, after much prayer, counsel, and consideration, Beckwith decided to return to the Catholic church and step down as ETS president.

This provocative book details Beckwith’s journey, focusing on his internal dialogue between the Protestant theology he embraced for most of his adult life and Catholicism. He seeks to explain what prompted his decision and offers theological reflection on whether one can be evangelical and Catholic, affirming his belief that one can be both.

HT: Justin Taylor

4.  Colin Hansen shares that the best time to alter a denomination’s statement of faith is when it isn’t broken.  That is what my denomination, the Evangelical Free Church of America did, and in doing so further clarified certain points.  You can read the original 1950 statement of faith here, and the new one here.

Money quote from Hansen’s article in Christianity Today:

EFCA leaders often cite as their unofficial motto, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, charity. In all things, Jesus Christ.” If that’s the case, they must see substitutionary Atonement and justification by faith alone as gospel essentials.

It is awesome to be a part of a denomination that don’t major on minor issues, but we do take a stand on what is important and have not slid into theological liberalism.

HT: Matt Proctor (I wholeheartedly agree with Matt’s amen to the above quote.)

5.  British Mothers banning Miley Cyrus toys!

Disney better tame that Miley Cyrus. The diva of “Hannah Montana” is making British mothers furious with the endless saucy snaps, like the purported one of her showering in a white T-shirt that reportedly was hacked from her cell phone.

Angry parents at the Disney store in London told me that while the kids still want to buy the dolls and toys, the grown-ups are in fact banning them as “they feel she is now of an unsuitable nature for a 15-year-old megastar.“ Will she be Britney 2?

I wonder when U.S. mothers will ban her also?  I’ve been truly disappointed with her conduct of late.

6.  A flower pot that spontaneously combusted and burnt down a house.  Thankfully no one was hurt, but very strange.

7.  This is why British police need to carry weapons.

8.  Is there a sane person left in San Francisco?  If so please comment here.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – San Francisco voters, never thrilled with George W. Bush, may give the president a parting shot in November by naming a sewage plant after him.

A ballot measure aimed at deriding the Republican president by renaming the city’s newest sewage plant qualified on Thursday after organizers submitted 7,168 signatures to the local Department of Elections, officials said.  Read the rest.

9.  A professor is fired after a student complained about how she answered a question on how hereditary affects homosexual behavior.  Do you want to guess where?  If you are thinking the San Francisco Bay area… bingo.

SAN FRANCISCO – A former college biology professor is suing a Bay Area school district, claiming she was fired for answering a student’s question about genetics and homosexual behavior.

June Sheldon with attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom and Pacific Justice Institute filed a suit on Wednesday against San Jose/Evergreen Community College district for wrong dismissal and violating her First Amendment rights.

In court papers, Sheldon said she was fired by the district after a student complained about her answer on how hereditary affects homosexual behavior in males and females. Attorneys representing the former San Jose City College professor argue that the district and school should have defended her, not terminated her.

“Teachers shouldn’t be punished for doing their job as educators. They know that students can’t be expected to make good, well-informed decisions if they’re only hearing part of the story,” said ADF attorney David Hacker in a statement.

“College officials have stripped a professor of the right to discuss competing theories and ideas in the classroom, something which represents the foundation of higher education.”  (Source: Christian Post – read the rest)

10.  Potential good news for homeschoolers in California.

11.  Another reason to boycott the AP.  Not only do they have a Neanderthal strategy when it comes to blogs linking to their stories, but they also like politicizing obituaries. Read their insulting obit for Tony Snow here.  So I have a new policy as well.  I will not have AP articles linked to from this blog until they change their policy regarding blogs and issues an apology to the Snow family.

12.  Top ten college mascots that you would want to have your back in a fight.  Made me laugh out loud.  I think Herky should have made the list, but no.

13.  Adam McLane blogs on 3 lies of church growth experts.

  • You have to have a great ______ ministry.
  • If you build it, they will come.  (I have worked for a church that had that mentality.)
  • You have to be more focused on reaching people than keeping people.

I sometimes wonder how many people Willow Creek & Saddleback lose each year… or how many revolve through.  It would be fascinating to know.

HT: Tim Schmoyer

14.  These are fighting words!

HT: Anne Jackson

15.  J.I. Packer on homosexuality.

He said a lot, and I encourage you to read Mark Driscoll’s blog post on his sit down with him.  One quote that should give those Christians who accept it as a lifestyle.

“Souls are put at risk every time homosexuality is tolerated.”

16.  Chad Hall of Out of Ur did a review of New Christians and  Vintage Jesus… he didn’t give either book high marks.  He did allow both Tony Jones, the author of New Christians, and Mark Driscoll, the author of Vintage Jesus to respond to the review, and he posted them as well.  You can read Jones’ response here, and Driscoll’s here.  Hall charged Jones with being arrogant, and said that Driscoll had what emergents need – humility.  Judging by the authors’ responses, I think Jones seemed to make Hall’s point, and Driscoll’s reply was steeped in charity and humility.  One could argue they responded as appropriate to the critique they received.

17.  Thabiti Anyabwile “fires” Jesse Jackson on behalf of African America.

Two years ago, I drafted a post firing many of the major Black Civil Rights leaders on behalf of all of African America. My wife, discerning and gracious, suggested I not publish it. I keep it in my draft file, and every once in a while I read the “pink slip” hoping to send someone packing on a Friday afternoon, never to return to the office.

Today I learned that Rev. Jesse Jackson said more than the already crude statements regarding Sen. Obama’s private parts aired on news channels over the past week. He apparently used the N-word. Now everyone from the ladies on The View to the usual TV pundits are trying to figure out what’s going on with Jackson. And I’m dusting off my pink slip marked Jackson. (Read the rest)

18.  This is literally a church on the move.

HT: Rethinking Youth Ministry

19.  Seth Barnes gets in believers’ faces when he says that we suck when we don’t care about poverty.

20.  Apparently Tony Campolo, professor of sociology at Eastern University and popular author/speaker is on the National Democratic Platform Committe.  Now he is trying to represent pro-lifers to the Democratic Party Leadership.  He says that abortion is a human rights issue, and that is getting some attention.  You can listen to his interview with Steve Brown here.

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Comments

  1. says

    Great links Shane. Hope everyone is alright with all the storms – “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and water, and they obey him?” Lk 8.25

    Todds last blog post..Bits of Brainerd

  2. says

    Great links Shane. Hope everyone is alright with all the storms – “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and water, and they obey him?” Lk 8.25

    Todds last blog post..Bits of Brainerd

  3. says

    Great links Shane. Hope everyone is alright with all the storms – “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and water, and they obey him?” Lk 8.25

    Todds last blog post..Bits of Brainerd

  4. says

    Hey man. I just want you to know… my post had nothing to do with Willow or Saddleback. Actually, when I mentioned people asking churches that peaked 10-20 years ago that would be an entirely different category.

    To my knowledge, from people I know that work at those places, they are just hitting their second wind. Awesome stories out of their middle school ministry!

  5. says

    Hey man. I just want you to know… my post had nothing to do with Willow or Saddleback. Actually, when I mentioned people asking churches that peaked 10-20 years ago that would be an entirely different category.

    To my knowledge, from people I know that work at those places, they are just hitting their second wind. Awesome stories out of their middle school ministry!

  6. says

    Hey man. I just want you to know… my post had nothing to do with Willow or Saddleback. Actually, when I mentioned people asking churches that peaked 10-20 years ago that would be an entirely different category.

    To my knowledge, from people I know that work at those places, they are just hitting their second wind. Awesome stories out of their middle school ministry!

  7. says

    Adam,

    That was my commentary. I know you weren’t discussing those two churches (I did read the post and I should have made that clear). I was also considering their entire church, not just the student ministries.

    It was a question borne out of my curiousity not necessarily a criticism. I think every large church could have that potentially happen because of the anonimity of people who attend.

    Thanks for pointing that out!

  8. says

    Adam,

    That was my commentary. I know you weren’t discussing those two churches (I did read the post and I should have made that clear). I was also considering their entire church, not just the student ministries.

    It was a question borne out of my curiousity not necessarily a criticism. I think every large church could have that potentially happen because of the anonimity of people who attend.

    Thanks for pointing that out!

  9. says

    Adam,

    That was my commentary. I know you weren’t discussing those two churches (I did read the post and I should have made that clear). I was also considering their entire church, not just the student ministries.

    It was a question borne out of my curiousity not necessarily a criticism. I think every large church could have that potentially happen because of the anonimity of people who attend.

    Thanks for pointing that out!

  10. says

    Thanks Shane. Sorry for coming across as defensive! I just wanted to clarify so that my friends at both places don’t give me a hard time. :)

    At least at Willow, I know there is a very serious concentration on trying to fix some design flaws. Likewise, as Saddleback seemingly decentralizes a little there is bound to be a lot learned.

    The big point of my post is that healthy churches grow naturally. I wish more churches would focus on getting healthy and less on “growth.” Thanks for letting me clarify!

  11. says

    Thanks Shane. Sorry for coming across as defensive! I just wanted to clarify so that my friends at both places don’t give me a hard time. :)

    At least at Willow, I know there is a very serious concentration on trying to fix some design flaws. Likewise, as Saddleback seemingly decentralizes a little there is bound to be a lot learned.

    The big point of my post is that healthy churches grow naturally. I wish more churches would focus on getting healthy and less on “growth.” Thanks for letting me clarify!

  12. says

    Thanks Shane. Sorry for coming across as defensive! I just wanted to clarify so that my friends at both places don’t give me a hard time. :)

    At least at Willow, I know there is a very serious concentration on trying to fix some design flaws. Likewise, as Saddleback seemingly decentralizes a little there is bound to be a lot learned.

    The big point of my post is that healthy churches grow naturally. I wish more churches would focus on getting healthy and less on “growth.” Thanks for letting me clarify!

  13. says

    “The big point of my post is that healthy churches grow naturally. I wish more churches would focus on getting healthy and less on ‘growth.'”

    Amen to that Adam. I’ve been following Willow’s Reveal project and am thankful they are trying to address some of those issues.

  14. says

    “The big point of my post is that healthy churches grow naturally. I wish more churches would focus on getting healthy and less on ‘growth.'”

    Amen to that Adam. I’ve been following Willow’s Reveal project and am thankful they are trying to address some of those issues.

  15. says

    “The big point of my post is that healthy churches grow naturally. I wish more churches would focus on getting healthy and less on ‘growth.'”

    Amen to that Adam. I’ve been following Willow’s Reveal project and am thankful they are trying to address some of those issues.