Archives For Culture

From Lutheran Satire:

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Around-the-Horn[1]Are All Christians Hypocrites? Yes, Maybe and No
The revelations about Josh Duggar have brought to the forefront a much broader discussion about Christians and hypocrisy.

In Search of An Honest Atheist
From Sam Storms, who will be the New Wine speaker at St. Andrew’s in 2016:  But again, do honest atheists exist? Many profess to be atheists, but my question is whether or not these people, in the depth and quiet of their own hearts, honestly believe there is no God.

Is America Post-Chrsitian?
The language of a post-Christian America is used in two divergent circles, both of which are built on faulty assumptions.

A Requiem for the Boy Scouts
The Boy Scouts were doomed the moment the national leadership decided to preserve the organization at the cost of the values and ideals that gave it birth.

How Do I Respond When People Leave My Church?
All of this is a process of wading through emotions to get down to that foundational truth, but it helps to have it ever handy: People and the church don’t belong to me. 

First-Century Copy of Mark’s Gospel Discovered?
From Denny Burk: To have a first-century witness to the text of the New Testament is unprecedented.  That a fragment of Mark was found in Egypt is even more astonishing. That would seem to require that the original was probably penned decades before.

Decline and Schism in Religion
From Ross Douthat: Given the current divisions within the [Roman Catholic] church, it should worry them particularly because — or so I suspect — a declining church may be more likely to suddenly come apart at the seams.

A Short, Candid Sermon About Faith and Life – from Denzel Washington
As often happens on a campus with strong religious ties, the commencement speaker began with a personal story about life and faith – with a hint of the miraculous.

How Christianity Made Children Human 
From Eric Metaxas:  So many of the ideas and values we take for granted today are historical innovations, brought about by the rise of Christianity.

Hopefully coming to Mt. Pleasant.  Click here to learn more.

Around-the-Horn[1]David Letterman’s Long Shadow
From The AtlanticThe departing host might be the last true innovator in late-night comedy.

Village Sermons
From George Burder: 52 plain and short discourses on the principal doctrines of the Gospel.

New Wine at St. Andrew’s in 2016
Sam Storms speaks at the next New Wine.

Wolf Hall and the Protestant Reformation
If you watched the PBS series Wolf Hall, you may be interested in this article on the main characters and what became of them.

The Best Idioms from Around the World

Louis CK’s Saturday Night Live Opening Monologue Was Awesomely Offensive
From Mollie Hemingway: Louis CK told jokes about racism, the Israel-Palestine conflict and child molestation. They were offensive — but also funny. Deal with it.

Pew and the Three American Worldviews
From Ross DouthatI’ve played with the idea that we have three major worldviews sharing space in American culture, which you might label biblical, spiritual and secular respectively.

Millennials, Screwtape, and the Homo-Tsunami
As the sexual controversies of our day continue to unfold, the need of the hour is for believers to understand what is actually going on, and how we got to this place.

Learning from Mistakes
From David Brooks: If you could go back to 1889 and strangle Adolf Hitler in his crib, would you do it?

When Hope and History Rhyme
From Tim Keller: Christianity, however, understands history to be under the control of God, who is moving it purposefully toward a great and irreversible climax.

The Compassionate Truth About Judgement
One of the greatest stumbling blocks to Christianity, especially among those who are drawn to the idea of a loving, compassionate God, is the Bible’s teaching on judgment.

Christian Zionism: On the Rise in Unlikely Places?
An interesting read from Gerald McDermott


problem-53e4bb8213dae92913df99ad8a28b5ea01974ac2-s700-c85From NPR:

To my ear, though, “no problem” is absolutely the wrong way to reply to an expression of thanks — for the simple reason that saying “thank you” isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a veiled way of making an apology.

Saying “no problem” in place of “you’re welcome” always strikes me as self-defeating. I thank you for your service, or your gesture, or your generosity, or you kindness. So why are you even mentioning problems?

Granted, it may not have been fun for you to pick me up when my car broke down in the middle of the night. Or maybe you were in a hurry so the courtesy of holding the door for me grated somewhat. Still, your courtesy or your assistance are gifts given freely, not problems I’ve foisted on you — and I don’t express my gratitude to say I’m sorry for imposing. It’s my way of expressing how much I value your effort and concern, or simply your courtesy.

By saying “no problem,” it always seems to me as if what you are really saying is: “It is a problem and I forgive you for it.”

If every act of kindness is expected to solicit the embarrassed spirit of apology on the part of the beneficiary, then it’s not much of a kindness, is it?

I have the feeling that this is a fairly recent change in our verbal culture — and that it’s been accelerating. And it doesn’t really feel to me like a merely verbal shift at all, as if “no problem” has simply come to mean “you’re welcome.” To me, it feels like a culturally significant obliteration of the difference between giving and demanding, expressing gratitude and saying sorry.

Read it all.

Around-the-Horn[1]Is Christianity Dying?
From Russell Moore:  Bible Belt near-Christianity is teetering. I say let it fall.

Carl Trueman on Andy Stanley and People with Hard Lives
Forget for a moment your view (or his view) of Andy Stanley as a person – the chances are that many of us have been well served by some, or a great deal, of Stanley’s ministry – and consider the issue Trueman addresses here, picking up on Luther’s distinction between the theologian of the cross and the theologian of glory. I think he’s right.

The Perils of Pulpit Pandering
Pulpit-pandering boots God off the throne of the universe and seats itself in his place.  But, because it typically does so with a friendly smile, a pleasant demeanor, and filled-pews, pulpit-panderers get affirmation and applause. Yet blood could be on our hands . . .

5 Best Years in Christian Rock History
From Stephen Altrogge:  I’m increasingly convinced that those were the glory days of Christian rock music. In fact, I think 1995 – 2000 may have been the greatest five years in Christian rock history.  What do you think?

How Do I Know I’m a Christian
Kevin DeYoung offers up his thoughts on a question I’m often asked.

Masculinity in Crisis
From The Independent: Boys’ brains are becoming digitally rewired.

No, No, Textual Orientation
From Doug Wilson: In the recent edition of Table Talk, Scott Sauls wrote an article on the seventh commandment that contained many true and valuable observations, and which at the same time revealed the profound faint-heartness of contemporary Reformed evangelicalism. Here’s a sample.

Amtrak Derailment Highlights Left’s Theodicy of Federal Government
From Mollie Hemingway: Perhaps we politicize everything in part because we have lost any understanding of the world as fallen and out of our control.

Sex, God, And A Generation That Can’t Tell The Difference
The only thing Millennials are black-and-white on when it comes to matters of sexual morality is that you aren’t allowed to be black-and-white on sexual morality.


Excellent article over at First Things by Carl Trueman:

As the revolution in the understanding of human identity and its concomitant reordering of the hierarchy of moral goods proceeds apace, the challenge to the Christians in the wider world is obvious: That which has been historically normative in the West (Christianity’s cultural dominance) is being shown to have been theologically exceptional. We are being once more made conscious of what was obvious to first-century Christians: the fundamental difference that exists between the city of man and the city of God.

To borrow a phrase from Dean Acheson, we have lost an empire and have yet to find a role. The loss of status is sudden and deep, a shock no doubt to the naive who did not realize that, hey, the world does not like being told that man/woman/trans (delete where applicable) is not the measure of all things. The churchmen, the academics, the Presidents of Christian liberal arts colleges who thought their status would always give them a place at the cultural table are discovering to their horror that those who perhaps simply rolled their eyes at belief in the Resurrection are somewhat less indulgent when it comes to dissent over identity politics. In a public square dominated by emotive polarization of opinion, policed by the pitchfork wielding mobs of pop culture, and increasingly refereed by the law courts rather than the ballot box, places at the table are by invitation only. And guess what? Christians are no longer on the guest list.

So what is to be done? I would suggest simply this: That the Church is to continue to confess her faith and to do so faithfully. This is not a call for cultural capitulation, for the Church’s act of confession has always had a twofold aspect . . .

Read it all

Around-the-Horn[1]I’m Glad Jesus Doesn’t Take Joel Osteen’s Advice
From Stephen Altrogge: “Don’t waste time with people who don’t value your gifts or what you have to offer. You are approved, accepted, and anointed” – I’m so grateful Jesus doesn’t follow this advice.

Being Christian Without Believing In God
From Gene Veith: In Judaism, it’s fairly common to hear, “I’m an atheist, but I’m culturally Jewish.”  So why can’t a person be an atheist but culturally Christian?

The Heresy of Indifference
From Ligonier Ministries: When people tell me they are into Jesus but not into doctrine, I tell them that if they are not into doctrine, they are, in fact, not into Jesus.

How Pride Poisons the Soul
From Sam Storms: Is it an exaggeration to say that pride is the underlying cause of all sin? I don’t think so. If you would take the time to excavate your sin, beneath it all you would discover the rotting bones of pride and arrogance. Numerous sins are the direct fallout of pride . . .

What the Avengers Movie Tells Us About Marriage and Family
From Russell Moore: What surprised me the most was the jarring centrality of the family in this film. And by family, I don’t mean the elastic, redefined concept of “families” but an undercurrent of pining for the stability of the natural, nuclear family.

When You Can’t Say “He” or “She”
Bill Mounce on language and translation

Parenting In The Valley of Dry Bones
How can we enjoy our children in those moments when we can’t even think of them without fear of what might come?

Did Jesus Talk About Homosexuality?
From Scot McKnight: Arguing from silence to what should be done today is a careless game to play. But let’s dig back to the question: Did Jesus talk about homosexuality?

The Failure of Winsomeness
From Rod Dreher: The United States has avoided Europe’s fate for a long time, but the churches here have finally lost the ability to coast on cultural momentum. The churches that don’t retrench around building their internal strength and coherence around orthodoxy — and that requires far more than catechesis, but it requires at least that: teaching our story to our children —  and evangelizing from that position of strength, aren’t going to survive. The overculture is just too strong. The forces of atomization and desacralization are very hard to resist.

Perfect? Not In This Life
From Phil Johnson: For those who imagine that they have attained perfect holiness in this life, I think more in-depth self-examination might disabuse you of that idea. Here are some questions to consider:

So, About That Blasphemy
From Doug Wilson: In the aftermath of the Islamic attack on the free speech/draw a cartoon of Mohammad contest, I think it is time for us to review what we think about blasphemy laws.

Jane Austen’s Names
From Peter Leithart: The historical significance of the real place names that appear in Austen’s novels.

Explaining the Gospel In An Age of Biblical Illiteracy
From Adrian Warnock: The final session in the series Evangelism in a Post-Christian World.



Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God –
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,

Around-the-Horn[1]David Letterman Reflects on 33 Years in Late-Night Television
For the first time since Harry’s (Letterman’s son) been alive, our summer schedule will not be dictated by me. It will be entirely dictated by what my son wants to do. And I think that’s pretty good.

Hanging Out With Your Friends is Not Church
What is church?  That is a worthwhile question and we can affirm various styles of doing church. A different methodology does not automatically mean heretical ecclesiology.

Finding Peace When the Whole World is Going to Pieces
The world is officially falling apart. A catastrophic earthquake in Nepal has left over 5,000 dead and untold more without food, water, or a proper bed. The city of Baltimore is being shattered by race riots. The Supreme Court is in the process of deciding whether gay marriage is legal. ISIS is beheading Christians.

Delighting in Death
From First Things: Last week I delivered a guest lecture at a Christian liberal arts college entitled “Each Day Dies With Sleep: Literary and Theological Reflections upon Mortality.” As I thought through the topic over the previous weeks, two superficially disparate questions puzzled me.

It’s Going to Be An Issue
Al Mohler comments on Tuesday’s Supreme Court proceedings.

The Problem with Target Audience Churches
The problem of the target audience church surfaces at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 . . . . Why did the Apostles want to keep Jew and Gentile together? Because the Gospel demands it.

Westminster Abbey Acknowledges Mohammed in Succession of Prophets
When he (Mohammed) is declared in Westminster Abbey to be ‘The Chosen One’, it is not simply a benign multi-faith expression of ecumenical respect in a commemorative service of reconciliation: it is a dogmatic affirmation of a perfected prophethood to which Jesus is subordinate, and His divinity thereby denied.

Are Millennials Really Leaving the Church?
Almost everyday, it seems, there’s a new story about how “Millennials are leaving the church.” But there’s a problem with these trend pieces: They aren’t true.