I recently did a number of videos for the TGC, and one of them was on lessons I’ve learned as a parent. We have three kids, 18, 15, 12, and have certainly learned a lot of lessons. Here’s one of the main ones:
Ever since Gordon Gekko’s character in the movie Wall Street uttered the phrase, “Greed is good,” there has been a wide-spread and oft-repeated myth that capitalism is based on greed. And, so the argument goes, if capitalism is driven by a sinful desire (greed), then it must be rejected as an immoral system.
Such issues have come up again in recent months as a number of new members of congress (and old members) are pushing the country away from capitalism and towards socialism, mostly on moral grounds. Even some well-meaning evangelicals, who have a genuine care for the poor, find themselves drawn to this new movement and its disdain for capitalism.
In light of this current climate, I appreciate Jay W. Richards’ book, Money, Greed, and God:Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem (HarperOne, 2009). Richards sets out to dispel many myths about capitalism, and is particularly intent on showing that it is not at all contrary to the teachings of Jesus and Christianity, as so many suppose.
Chapter five is devoted to the myth that capitalism is driven by greed, and Richards makes a number of useful points: [Read more…]
By now, plenty has been written on the issue of Mike Pence’s wife teaching at a Christian school that supposedly “bans” (the preferred word of the major news outlets, but not really accurate) LGBTQ students.
For those on the cultural left, this is a monumental and stunning discovery. Indeed, we are told (ironically, by the Huffington Post) that the Huffington Post “broke” the story—implying that a remarkable scandal had been uncovered.
Thankfully, many have pointed out that this whole “scandal” is much ado about nothing. There are thousands of Christian schools around the country just like the one that Karen Pence teaches at. And they are all doing something rather unremarkable: they are merely teaching the historical Christian position about sexuality.
But what is remarkable about such public discussions, is that everyone suddenly becomes a Christian theologian. Even people who typically have no association with Christianity are quick to don the theologian’s hat and give a lecture on what Christians really believe.
Enter Lady Gaga, Christian theologian. [Read more…]
Celsus “just can’t stand Christians.”
So, writes James O’Donnell (Pagans, 101) as he describes the vicious opposition to Christians in the earliest centuries, particularly from the second-century critic Celsus.
A few weeks ago, I began a short, three-part blog series about what people in the ancient world thought of Christians. In the prior post, we explored how Celsus viewed Christians as ignorant, uneducated simpletons.
In other words, one of the main problems with Christians was intellectual in nature.
But Celsus is by no means finished. In this post, we will see that he thinks that Christians also have a behavioral problem. Their actions are rude, anti-social, and morally repugnant.
So, what did Christians do that caused such irritation in Celsus? [Read more…]
Let’s just get it out there. Preaching is hard.
In the midst of all the disputes over preaching, this fact remains undisputed. Yes, preaching is wonderful and exhilarating. But, it is also exhausting, frustrating, and difficult. Whether a person has preached one time, or a hundred times, they know this.
Why is that? What makes preaching so hard?
I would suggest that it has to do with the nature of preaching. Preaching is not just delivering a message, passing along facts, or making a point (though it does include these things). At its core, preaching is something that calls for a response in the listener.
Put differently, members of the congregation are not to be just detached observers of a sermon. God always calls his people to respond, in some fashion, to what his Word declares.
But it is precisely this feature that makes preaching so difficult. What are the most effective ways to call for a response? Or, in more common parlance, how do we apply God’s word?
When it comes to application, I would suggest that preachers tend to fall into a bit of a rut. We tend to use the same type of application, over and over again.
In order to remedy this, let me suggest three different categories for how to apply God’s word. These three categories are not mutually exclusive (and often overlap), but they can provide much-needed balance and breadth to our preaching. [Read more…]