Wednesday, August 29, 2012

All Around the Web: Links For Your Wednesday - August 29, 2012

Trevin Wax - A Word to My Calvinist Friends | I concur. We must watch for both pride and tribalism in the New Calvinist movement.

I wish, for the sake of all of us, that you would abandon this divisive rhetoric, not because it’s divisive but because it’s simply untrue. The gospel cannot be reduced to a particular view of soteriology.

Now, to be fair, you consider the doctrines of grace as “the foundation on which the gospel itself is built,” not the message itself. And when you quote Charles Spurgeon’s words equating Calvinism and the gospel (a place where I believe the great Spurgeon got it wrong), you are not saying that those of us who do not subscribe to all the points of Calvinism fail to believe the gospel. Instead, you consider this shorthand for biblical Christianity.

I get what you’re saying. But please consider what it sounds like to those of us who disagree. It sounds like you are making a systematic presentation of theology the gospel. As if the gospel were a set of doctrines, not the announcement of King Jesus. Plus, it smacks of elitism and sends young Calvinists back to their churches, thinking that if their pastors haven’t parsed the petals of TULIP, they aren’t really gospel preachers.

Let’s be very clear. The gospel is the royal announcement that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a perfect life in our place, died a substitutionary death on the cross for the sins of the world, rose triumphantly from the grave to launch God’s new creation, and is now exalted as King of the world. This announcement calls for a response: repentance (mourning over and turning from our sin, trading our agendas for the kingdom agenda of Jesus Christ) and faith (trusting in Christ alone for salvation).

The gospel is not the ordo salutis. It is not Grudem’s systematic theology. Nor is it the five solas.

Tim Challies - Five Verses on Abortion |

1) God adopts those whom he loves and has predestined to be is& children
2) It is through Jesus Christ that God’s children are adopted
3) God adopts his children so that he might display the glory of his grace
4) God has secured this adoption by his Spirit
5) God will complete this adoption when he renews our bodies, thus making us eager for Christ’s return

Doug Wilson - Homo Republicanus |  This is a good article from Dr. Wilson. His basic argument is worth exploring and it seems so obvious it should embarrass us.

Nothing demonstrates the emptiness of secularism, as hollow a three-gallon jug, lying on its side with the cap off, more than statements like this. My views against theft, murder, and rape are also my religious views. What does that have to do with whether there should be laws concerning such activities? . . . 

Would someone please define "private lives"? What do we mean by it? If marriage is part of my private life, then why did I make my vows in public? Why is my marriage registered at the county courthouse? What do you mean, private? Why would the government be involved in the disposition of a married couple's assets if "all that" was part of their private life? What are you people talking about? If a man married to a man is private, and that is the grounds for accepting it, then why isn't a man married to three women just as private? I say this while granting that Solomon's marital activity could probably be recognized as public under any set of definitions.

R. Clarke Cooper, head of the Log Cabin Republicans, said the "true definition of conservatism" is centered on "individual liberty and not having the government involved in your personal life."
So there it is again. What do you mean by your "personal life"? A house burglar, operating entirely alone, under the cover of darkness, makes off with your family silver. Is this part of his personal life? If you catch him, what would you think if a helpful neighbor told you that he didn't think you should prosecute, and that while he personally was a deeply committed Catholic, his views on theft were his religious views, straight out of the catechism, and that our country was founded on separation of church and state? Would your schizo neighbor even slow you down? Would you even stop to argue with him?

Here is a question for all our friends out there who are muddying up public discourse with their vain appeals to the "separation of church and state." Can a particular activity fall under both religious and civic boundaries? If not, why not? If so, could you please explain how it would be possible then to categorize a view as "religious" and thereby exclude it from any possible consideration as a legal matter? Wouldn't we need more reasons than that it was a religious view?

Owen Strachan - Ravi Zacharias: It’s Not Okay to Practice Homosexuality As a Christian | This is a helpful answer to a difficult, and common, question.

Owen Strachan - Hitchens’ Widow: “He Insisted Ferociously on Living” | Some really good points made here.

Second, an atheist can live with hope if they like.  But it seems a bit odd to do so.  At the very least, if there is no God, no meta-reality and meta-narrative–if the universe is a closed system–then there is surely no rational expectation that one should hope.  You can hope in whatever you like if you are so inclined.  But an atheist fundamentally believes that the universe is a closed system.  There is no ought, as the Marquis De Sade famously noted, in such a world.  There is only is.  Correspondingly, there is no real hope, or even a strong reason to keep existing.  Again, you can live if you like, or not.  It’s yours to decide.

But in our natural state, we have a very difficult time denying the basic realities of the image of God.  We are created.  We are inclined to hope.  God “has put eternity into man’s heart,” and so we quest after it regardless of whether our worldview directs us to do so (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  Though we are fallen according to Genesis 3 and Romans 1, we naturally want to believe that life matters, and we act as if it does.  Many of the most hardened of atheists, including Hitchens, want practically to find hope in the world, want desperately not to die.  That is a profound testimony to the beauty of life–and only God could create such a life.

Hitchens wrote hundreds of thousands of words in defense of his atheism–and here’s the thing: his completely understandable will to live denies them all.  This is not a triumphal realization, but a deeply sorrowful one, and it must move us to pray and engage those who are held together by Jesus Christ yet hate him, even as we once did.

CNN - Bill Nye slams creationism | This is disappointing, but not surprising. Just sad that I watched Bill Nye the Science Guy growing up.

(CNN)–Famed TV scientist Bill Nye is slamming creationism in a new online video for Big Think titled "Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children."

"Denial of evolution is unique to the United States," Nye begins in a YouTube video posted on Thursday.  The video quickly picked up steam over the weekend and as of Monday morning had been viewed more than 1,100,000 times.

Nye a mechanical engineer and television personality best known for his program, "Bill Nye the Science Guy" said the United States has great capital in scientific knowledge and "when you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in it, it holds everyone back."

"Your world becomes fantastically complicated if you don't believe in evolution," Nye said in the Web video.

RC Sproul - How Should Protestants Relate to Roman Catholics? |

I believe that as individuals, we should reach out to Roman Catholics. We should love our neighbors who are in the Church of Rome. We should befriend them and spend time with them. By doing so, we earn the right to lovingly critique their views.

As churches, we must stand for the biblical gospel—and nothing more. It is our calling to hold high the truth and expose falsehood. To this end, it is essential that we know and understand what Rome is teaching, so distinctions can be made. It is important that the people in the pews be educated about what Protestants believe over against what Roman Catholics teach.

Pastors should preach the gospel and point out ways in which it is twisted by men, including the Roman Catholic Church. I am not saying that every sermon must attack Rome, but given the attraction that Roman Catholicism is exerting on some Protestants, it is essential that its errors be exposed. By faithfully preaching the gospel, pastors will defend the Reformation.

NPR - What Does Mormon Food Culture Say About Mitt Romney? | Really? Really? Mormon food? Really?

As the Republican convention gets under way in Tampa tomorrow, we can expect to hear more about the personal life of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Romney aides, in fact, say that now is the time for him to "publicly embrace" his Mormon faith, a religion that plays a large role in the candidate's life but is misunderstood by many Americans.

If Romney does open up, we might get some insight into an area of particular interest to us here at The Salt — how that faith may shape his eating habits. Whether you like his politics or not, let's face it, the guy is fit. At the very least, it gives us a reason to explore the relationship between food and the Mormon religion.

WORLD Magazine - Filling a Void | Here is WORLD's take on Dinesh D'Souza's movie, 2016 which I have seen and would recommend any voter to go see even if you disagree with the argument and conclusion.

Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary, 2016: Obama’s America, lived up to Entertainment Weekly’s prediction that it would break into the national zeitgeist by coming in at number seven at the box office this past weekend, grossing $6.2 million. While that figure may not sound exactly industry-shattering, when you consider it alongside the number of theaters the film played on, it becomes much more impressive. 

According to film website Box Office Mojo, 2016 earned an average of $5,700 on just over 1,000 screens, trouncing the $4,000-per-screen average of the weekend’s big-budget, star-studded number one film, The Expendables. Its overall earnings of $9.2 million make it one of the most successful documentaries of all-time and the highest-earning conservative documentary in history. The question is, does it deserve all the attention it’s getting? 

To be honest, not really. What we are seeing with 2016, I believe, is a phenomenon that is more attributable to the failure of the mainstream media than the success of D’Souza and fellow producer John Sullivan. Since 2008 the bulk of the nation’s journalists have refused to offer up accurate information about Barack Obama’s background, leaving a significant portion of the American public eager for theories to explain the man, his policies, and from whence they spring.

The Blaze - Report: Biden Preparing to Run in 2016 | This isn't really news. Dick Cheney is among the few vice presidents that didn't at least consider the idea of running. In the past several cycles we've had vice presidents Al Gore, George HW Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and Hariot Truman. But I promise you this. VP Biden doesn't stand a chance.

Given that there have been repeated talks about Biden being dropped from President Obama’s ticket for being a liability, this kind of ambition from the vice president will no doubt strike some as more than a little silly, given the Vice President’s fondness for gaffes.

However, those gaffes are arguably no excuse to underestimate the vice president. Biden is a veteran campaigner, having run for president several times, and with his Vice Presidential chops, it’s understandable that he might view 2016 as his last, best shot for the presidency. Moreover, with the exception of his widely panned remark that a President Romney would “put y’all back in chains”  and his apparently utterly serious statement that a vote against infrastructure spending is a vote for rape, Biden’s gaffes have generally tended toward the silly rather than the offensive. Such statements would be political thin gruel after voters have had four years to forget them.

The Blaze - What Would Happen If Everyone Jumped at Once  | Everyone knows that the Earth would tilt on its axis. Right?

You may know what happens if everyone on a trampoline jumps at once — and then comes down. You may have even tried having everyone in an elevator jump at the same time. But what would happen if everyone on the entire planet was organized to leap into the air at the exact same moment?

Michael Stevens, who maintains the YouTube Channel VSauce, ponders this very idea in his video, “What If Everyone JUMPED At Once?” It’s a popular question that many want answers to, given that the clip has gotten more than 5.7 million views since being posted less than 10 days ago.
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