R. Albert Mohler - The Post-Christian Condition — Anders Breivik and the Limitations of Justice | If you want to know what secular "justice" looks like, don't look any farther than Norway as they try to deal with the Anders Brevick case. Simply amazing.
At one point, Theil declares the obvious: Norway “considers the idea of punishment barbaric.”
The loss of the Christian worldview often comes with a diminishment of both personal responsibility and the sense of punitive justice. Add to this the redefinition of human life and its value. The result is a nation that takes pride in a notoriously lax system of criminal justice — a nation that considers punishment itself to be barbaric.
Standing in that Oslo courtroom, Anders Breivik stated that he would prefer the death penalty to a “pathetic” sentence of 21 years. He, at least, seems to understand the scale of his crimes. “There are only two just and fair outcomes in this case,” he insisted in court, “Acquittal or capital punishment.”
The biblical roots of the death penalty for murder are found in texts like Genesis 9:5-6. Rooted in God’s covenant with Noah, the text reads: “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.’”
As Claus Westermann, one of the most famous Old testament scholars of the twentieth century explained, this text indicates that God expects murderers to be punished with death. “The execution of the death penalty by humans is the carrying out of the command of God.”
Every human life is sacred precisely because every single human being is made in God’’s image. Murder is, Westermann explained, “a direct attack on God’s right of dominion.”
He commented further: “Here in Genesis 9 murder is something utterly on its own; nothing can be compared with it. Throughout the whole sweep of human history, the murderer by his action despoils God.”
And yet, in another statement from his commentary on this text, Westermann points straight to the reason that a post-Christian culture loses its moral confidence in the punishment of murderers. He states: “A community is only justified in executing the death penalty insofar as it respects the unique right of God over life and death and insofar as it respects the inviolability of human life that follows therefrom.”
Once those convictions and moral intuitions are lost, the death penalty no longer makes sense. Eventually, even the idea of punishment itself loses all cultural credibility.
The world is watching closely as the trial of Anders Behring Breivik takes place in Oslo. The trial is now an international spectacle. But, much more than Norway’s justice system is on display. That Oslo courtroom is also revealing what remains of an understanding of criminal justice and criminal responsibility when the Christian worldview fades away. The post-Christian condition is fully on display in that courtroom. The man who committed the worst mass murder in Europe since World War II is on trial — and the maximum term to which he can be sentenced amounts to less than 3.3 months for each of the 77 people he murdered.
Kevin DeYoung - Why Idolatry Was (and Is) Attractive | This is helpful and practical.
1. Idolatry was guaranteed.
2. Idolatry was selfish.
3. Idolatry was easy.
4. Idolatry was convenient.
5. Idolatry was normal.
6. Idolatry was logical.
7. Idolatry was pleasing to the senses.
8. Idolatry is indulgent.
9. Idolatry was sensual.
The Point (John Stonestreet) - The So-Called War on Women | Stonestreet makes some great points here but is limited by space. I would love to read a more broader commentary on this subject by him.
As Kathryn Lopez wrote last week, “This is miserable, insulting, desperate stuff.” And none of these accusations are true. First, women have access to contraception. No one is trying to restrict access. What’s at stake is who has to pay for it. Second, it isn’t expensive. Many groups subsidize these services for women, and they are not that expensive to begin with. Again, what is at stake is who has to pay for it. Third, this is not a question of women’s health, it’s a question of behavior. And to be clear, many women oppose this mandate too.
Kevin DeYoung - What's Wrong With Theistic Evolution? | This is a helpful post on an important topic. The question of evolution is a difficult one.
(1) Adam and Eve were not the first human beings, but they were just two Neolithic farmers among about ten million other human beings on earth at that time, and God just chose to reveal himself to them in a personal way.
(2) Those other human beings had already been seeking to worship and serve God or gods in their own ways.
(3) Adam was not specially formed by God of ‘dust from the ground’ (Gen. 2:7) but had two human parents.
(4) Eve was not directly made by God of a ‘rib that the Lord God had taken from the man’ (Gen. 2:22), but she also had two human parents.
(5) Many human beings both then and now are not descended from Adam and Eve.
(6) Adam and Eve’s sin was not the first sin.
(7) Human physical death had occurred for thousands of years before Adam and Eve’s sin–it was part of the way living things had always existed.
(8) God did not impose any alteration in the natural world when he cursed the ground because of Adam’s sin.
Dr. Rob Plummer - May is "Read a Historical Theology Text Month" | I think I'll join Dr. Plummer. What should I read?
As a New Testament professor, I find myself enriched by reading in fields outside my expertise. I’ve decided to call this May, “Read a Historical Theology text month.” (Historical Theology is the academic discipline that looks at the development and articulation of Christian doctrine throughout church history.) I’m going to be reading about 30 pages per day of Gregg Allison’s new Historical Theology (Zondervan, 2011). Not only is Dr. Allison a gifted scholar, he is a man of godly character and a fellow elder at Sojourn Community Church. Let me encourage you to embrace the challenge. Read a Historical Theology text this May.
Jonathan Leeman (9 Marks) - Is There an Office for Pastors' Wives? | Are are two sections I found helpful personally as a husband and a pastor.
UNHELPFUL EXPECTATIONS FROM THE CHURCH
Now, churches will often place expectations on pastor/elder wives. They expect them to have a public ministry. But here is where elders/pastors should be willing to show courage and seek to protect their wives from unhelpful expectations.
When Mark Dever was asked by the pastoral search committee of CHBC what his wife would do if he came as pastor, he replied that she would be a member who sought to grow in grace and love for the church, but that they should not place any other expectations on her. They would be hiring him, not her.
HELPFUL EXPECTATIONS FROM HER HUSBAND
In general, a pastor should nurture his wife's affection for the church just like any other Christian husband should. He should
1. minister the Word to her;
2. encourage her love for the church by speaking carefully about the church and praying for the church with her;
3. seek to cultivate in her a heart for discipleship, hospitality, and evangelism;
4. pay special attention to her particular needs and gifts, giving ample allowance for both;
5. not exasperate or overburden her;
6. affirm her acts of service and love in the home and church often;
7. help her to not compare herself to other women, but to seek to be faithful with the gifts and opportunities that God has given her;
8. and demonstrate his unique and special love for her such that she doesn't feel the competition of his affections for the church.
Kevin Larson - How You Can Raise Up Preachers in Your Church | Something to consider.
6. Expect More of Leaders
5. Recruit Preachers from among You
4. Provide Preaching Opportunities
3. Teach Men to Preach
2. Give Helpful Evaluations
1. Let People Preach
Politico - Sarah Silverman: I was not funny | I still think this is a waste of my and your time, but I will post it anyways. Silverman has always been one of those "comedians" whose "humor" is based on controversy and offending people. Her actions here are no different. Her apology only means that it has affected her career.
On Tuesday night, comedian Sarah Silverman apologized for her jokes about abortion late last week.
She had posted a picture of herself with an inflated stomach, saying, “It’s a burrito!” only to later post another picture with a flat stomach with the caption, “Got a quickie aborsh in case R v W gets overturned.”
In her apology, Silverman tweeted:”It wasn’t funny for me to talk so casually about abortion. But when they take our right to choose away it will be HILARIOUS!” And: “The government should STAY OUT of our PRIVATE LIVES except when it comes to who we marry & what we do w our uteruses!!”
CNN Belief Blog - New Bible translation aims at 'own it but haven't read it' demo |
Rick Bozick - A Lesson in SEC Geography | This is just hilarious. Do you catch the mistake in this Texas A&M t-shirt marking their entrance into the SEC? Look closely and study the teams that are actually in the SEC.
Fox News - 15 technologies today's infants will never use | I'm already becoming one of those, "in the snow up hill both ways" kind of guy and my oldest child is 3. The list include Ethernet, mouse, CPU, Yellow Book, Fax Machine, CDs, and others.