1.  Epistemic Hubris

Have you heard this from someone recently? That “WE CANNOT KNOW, with certainty, what God has revealed so anyone who thinks he does is proud? We must, rather, (they say) embrace God as mystery?”

In light of this shouldn’t we be asking the following: Is not this assertion itself a dogma with affirmations and denials? Is not this itself a statement of knowledge? Is “we cannot know with certainty” not itself an assertion of KNOWLEDGE (a dogmatic assertion) as THE WAY to look at Scripture? Whether conscious of it or not, this is what is called “double-talk” and those who believe this are doing the very thing they claim to despise, even in the very speaking of it.

Good point!

HT: Reformation Theology via Christian Striver

2.  Crisis in Swaziland

One in three Swazi women have suffered some form of sexual abuse as a child; one in four experienced physical violence, a new United Nations survey revealed.

The study by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the first of its kind conducted in a country where anecdotal evidence suggests an alarming number of female children are victims of abuse. More disconcertingly still, the mushrooming population of orphans and vulnerable children in Swaziland provide yet more opportunities for sexual exploitation to occur.

In two years, 200,000 Swazi children will have been orphaned by AIDS – more than one-fifth of the current population, according to UNICEF. With HIV prevalence at 33.4 percent among people aged between 15 and 49, the country has the world’s highest infection rate. As a result, life expectancy has halved from nearly 60 years in the 1990s to just over 30 years today.

Source: IRIN

HT: Seth Barnes – he lists ways you can help, so check his blog post out.

3.  And just because… Love for the Ewoks – awesome tribute of these furry creatures from the Return of the Jedi.

HT: Joshua Griffin

4.  Pray for Myanmar

Source: NASA

I would encourage you to donate too – Food for the Hungry is a great organization who plans to respond to the needs there.

John Piper also lists six ways we can respond.

5.  The Federal budget crisis is explained over at SmartChristian.com.

6.  Al Mohler wrote earlier this week about the birth of Trig Paxson Van Palin on April 18.  He is the son of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.  Palin’s son, Trig, was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome.  It didn’t matter to the Palin’s, they chose life.

The Palins would not even consider aborting their baby. “We’ve both been very vocal about being pro-life,” Governor Palin said. “We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential.”

She loves her baby boy and is proud of him. “I’m looking at him right now, and I see perfection,” Palin told the Associated Press. “Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?”

Some ethicists now go so far as to argue for a “duty” to abort a baby with a Down diagnosis. This is an assault upon the dignity of every human being. The fact that so few Down syndrome babies now make it to birth is a sign that America is making its own pact with the Culture of Death.

HT: Justin Taylor

7.  John Piper asks “Do People Bore You?”  He wants to encourage us to move toward people as the lack of doing just that is a barrier to personal evangelism.

8.  You can read about the history of unbelief as M.Z. Hemingway writes “Skepticism, Agnosticism and Atheism: A Brief History of Unbelief” over at Modern Reformation.

The last two years have been good for atheism. A rash of books making the case for unbelief, including Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion (2006) and Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007), have sold millions of copies. Strident atheist Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, one of his atheistic tomes designed to rescue children from belief in God, was made into a movie. Even pop star Elton John got into the act, calling for a ban on religion. Leaders of the so-called New Atheism are aggressive and proselytizing. They don’t just condemn belief in God; they also condemn respect for belief in God.

But how new is the New Atheism? It is said best in Ecclesiastes 1:9: “There is nothing new under the sun.” To be sure, explicit and public atheism is a somewhat new phenomenon. But atheism, agnosticism, and good old-fashioned doubt have strong and lengthy histories worth learning. Because atheism is parasitic on theism and even more on Christianity, to learn the history of atheism is to learn the history of the church.

Take the New Atheist creed of “no heaven, no hell, just science,” which articulates the widely held division in modern thought between faith and reason. To fully understand the story of that division, it is wise to consider the creation of the world as told in Genesis. We learn from Moses that the Creator is distinct and different from the created world. Where ancient mythologies saw gods as personifications of natural phenomena such as rain and fire, ancient Israel viewed nature as separate from God and man. God created nature and man was its steward. Nature is not to be worshiped, God alone is. Nature and the natural process in and of themselves are not divine. God, apart from a few notable exceptions, doesn’t speak to his people through nature but through historic events such as deliverance from Egypt. It is wise to remember as we proceed that this separation between nature and God is a biblical precept.  (Be sure to read the rest)

HT: The Wittenberg Door

9.  Stand to Reason’s publication – Solid Ground, offers a crash course on critical thinking.

HT: Barry Carey

10.  Matthew Lee Anderson asks, “can men and women be friends?”  He doesn’t think so.

My provisional answer, which is driven largely by my experience, is that any young people seeking to find a spouse would do better (oddly) to cultivate friendships with their same sex while viewing the opposite sex through a strictly romantic lense.  Keeping the roles and relationships separate allows us to have more clarity on our own feelings and behaviors in each relationship.  I have seen many a person (guy and girl!) unwittingly become emotionally tied to someone who was “just a friend,” only to be heartbroken when they pursued someone else.

Men and women seeking to marry should not deny the role that sexuality plays in their interaction with the opposite sex.   To do so is ultimately to fall prey to a gnosticism–that is, a denial of the body–which ironically leads to a weakened ability to control the impulses of the body.  Is there any wonder why affairs often start between people who claim to be “just friends?”

I don’t agree with his position entirely, while I do recognize his concerns.  I do think platonic relationships are possible between the sexes.  Since I am a married man I exercise caution – like never meeting privately when alone… pursue relationships as a couple, not an individuals, etc.  Even in my role with Serve Our Youth Network (when I sometimes have to meet with females for recruitment/networking purposes) I do not meet with individual females even in public at night – it seems too date-like.

What do you think?

11.  Michael Patton is asked if he allows women to teach men.  I don’t agree entirely with his position, but I liked his reasoning.

12.  C.J. Mahaney did a blog series on Modesty – check it out.

13.  Tim Challies’ review of Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution.  Pretty insightful, and pretty much brings to light some of the concerns that I have with Shane Claiborne while at the same time recognizing that he does rightly criticize the North American church and that is needed.

14.  Great quote from Puritan theologian John Owen which serves as a warning for pastors.

“It is not to learn the form of the doctrine of godliness, but to get the power of it implanted in our souls. And this is an eminent means of our making a progress in the knowledge of the truth. To seek after mere notions of truth, without an endeavor after an experience of its power in our hearts, is not the way to increase our understanding in spiritual things….Men may have in their study of the scripture other ends also, as the profit and edification of others; but if this conforming of their own souls unto the power of the word be not fixed in the first place in their minds, they do not strive lawfully nor will be crowned.”

HT: Irish Calvinist

15.  Joe Carter’s thoughts on the Evangelical Manifesto.

16.  Here are 12 spiritual lessons from Narnia: Prince Caspian.

17.  Christ Against the Multiculturalists by Stephen H. Web

A snippet below… read the whole thing.

Here is how the game is played: They will first try to convince you that you are a racist, a sexist, and an enemy of social justice. Then they will argue that the victims of racism, sexism, and cultural elitism have a privileged view of these issues. It is as if the victim of the crime were to be given the first, last, and only word in a trial, with no cross-examination and no other witnesses called. Your job as a student in the multicultural classroom is to grant unquestioned authority to those who come from underprivileged or marginalized backgrounds. You have to do this because, you will learn, because Western culture has exploited every other culture, and your experiences are so shaped by Western culture that you cannot question those who criticize you. And thus you will become a good cultural leftist (which is the shape liberalism takes in the academy), or, if you are not convinced by these arguments, you will learn how to fake it for the sake of getting a good grade.

All of this is profoundly anti-Christian, which is why Christian students are typically the most radical questioners of higher education. Because Christians believe in a universal human nature, they also believe they can make universal truth claims about human nature. That does not mean that every statement about human nature is true. Of course not! A central part of education is learning how to argue by testing your own ideas about human nature against the ideas found in great books and the ideas espoused by your teachers and fellow students. Christians believe, for example, that because we are created in the image of God, every single person is of infinite worth, but Christians also believe that humans are fallen creatures, in need of grace and forgiveness. Christians are thus able to appreciate both the majesty and the misery of human actions. That is a powerful framework for questioning what you read and hear. What Christians do not believe is that every culture has its own truths and that the only way to learn about another culture is to refrain from seeking the universal truth.

18.  Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason shares that relativism is alive and well in the church.

19.  How not to be involved in your kids’ lives.  HT: Dennis Babish

20.  Here is not just a crummy, but downright heretical church sign.

HT: Suzannah Paul via Crummy Church Signs

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