Wednesday, February 12, 2014

All Around the Web - February 12, 2014

Trevin Wax - Following the Steps of the Crucified One | A great treatment on Ablard's moral influence theory of the atonement.
1. Does the theory of the moral influence of atonement necessarily lead to legalism? 
No, and we must be careful not to react legalistically to anything that holds Christ up as an example. As John Stott reminds us, the way to holiness is not by imitation of Christ, but through union with Christ.

How do we express union with Christ? We would all acknowledge that to some degree, worshipping the Lord through a holy lifestyle is a part of that equation, especially if we take seriously Paul’s words in Romans 12:1-2.

2. Isn’t the moral influence theory of the atonement the bastion of mainline liberal theology?  

Well, it is, unless the moral influence of the cross is rooted in the purpose of the atonement. Leon Morris has rightly argued that by itself the moral example of the cross is inadequate, but this does not render it untrue. In every instance where Christ’s death is presented as an example to be followed, one can also find his substitutionary sacrifice as the foundation and motivation for that example close by. We cannot disconnect the two.

The Bible teaches that the sacrifice of Jesus not only provides salvation, but also impels us towards sanctification, inspiring us to reflect God’s love to others (2 Cor. 5:14, Rom. 8:35-39).

Did Jesus not tell His disciples that the greatest display of love is found in laying down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13)? The motivating power of His sacrifice is seen on the cross. Jesus’ obedience to God and His petition that God would forgive those who crucified Him moved one of the criminals on the cross beside him to believe (Luke 23:39-43; Mark 15:39).

Likewise, Paul argues that the death of Christ not only provides the way of salvation, but also provides the supreme demonstration of love (Rom. 5:8). For this reason, he called the church to imitate Jesus’ love and compassion and adopt an attitude of unselfish concern for others (Eph. 5:1-2; Phil. 2:3-8).

Peter also exhorted the church: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21).” Christ serves as the example of love and perseverance for the church when they suffer unjustly.

Radical - Seeking the City that is to Come

The Resurgence - 5 Ways to Make Your Sermons Stick When Preaching to Students
1. Be interactive.
2. Be simple.
3. Be repetitive.
4. Be one step ahead.
5. Be sincere.

Religion and Ethics - Reaping the whirlwind: The 'new silence' about broken families and child sexual abuse
When the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, she said that the decision to call the unprecedented national inquiry had been prompted by "too many revelations of adults who have averted their eyes from this evil."

The conviction expressed by Gillard and commonly presented in media coverage is that the commission marks a new epoch in Australian life that will finally "break the silence" surrounding child sexual abuse. By justly condemning the mishandling of sexual abuse of children by faith-based and other organisations, honest and open modern Australia is purported to have learned from the mistakes of deceitful and repressed old Australia, which for too long had turned a blind eye to the abuse of children inside churches and other organisations.

The belief the royal commission will end the silence about child sexual abuse overlooks key dimensions of the multifaceted scourge of child sexual abuse.

The commission's restrictive terms of reference (which only authorise an inquiry into how institutions respond to child sexual abuse) ignores the circumstances in which the vast majority of child sexual abuse occurs. In an estimated 70% to 80% of child sexual abuse cases, there is "a familial relationship between the child victim and the offender."

Canon and Culture - A Call to Evangelical Engagement in the Arts
America is in need of cultural transformation. In practically every area of life, our country is in freefall culturally. Abortion is rampant. Same-sex marriage is increasingly becoming the norm. Pornography is everywhere on the Internet and in millions of homes. Families, and especially children, are paying the price, and society is reeling.

For some time now, evangelicals have turned to political solutions to attempt to stop this cultural decline. There is a definite place for evangelical engagement in politics. Government is a divinely ordained institution. In Romans 13:4, the Apostle Paul called the governing authority a “minister of God.” It serves an irreplaceable role in human relations. Evangelicals, then, should help government fulfill its purpose. To some degree this engagement also helps shape the culture. Government certainly restrains through law and policy, but there is also a didactic element in these. They help teach people what is acceptable activity and what is not and inform the conscience in the process.

What the fox actually says.

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