Wednesday, June 11, 2014

All Around the Web - June 11, 2014

Paige Patterson - Why Southern Baptists Declined and What to Do, Part 1
The lugubrious prognostications about Baptist futures are known and experienced by all. LifeWay annually tells the sad story of reversals in numbers, and statisticians weigh in on the analysis. The latest major assessment comes from Molly Worthen, appearing recently on The Daily Beast. As I view all of this, I do not find myself, as do some, in a hand-wringing posture. I am concerned but hardly in panic. The following observations will spell out why I am actually finding some reasons for rejoicing.

First, for 50 or more years, our churches have been in competition, each wanting to baptize more than the other churches in the association. A pastor with 300 or more baptisms comes to the notice of the denomination and often gets his ticket stamped for denominational preferment. In the process of this race for numerical achievement, our church rolls have become gorged with people who “walked the aisle” and were baptized but remained as lost to genuine conversion as Judas. The evidence? Consider the “non-resident” Baptists, who number in the millions. How about raucous business meetings with mean-spirited church members terminating pastors and disenfranchising weaker saints who are poorer or less influential. How about vindictive blog postings and Twitter responses with little regard for veracity, absolutely no accountability, and the complete absence of Christian virtues? Consider missions stewardship or rather the lack thereof. And what of burgeoning congregations led by preachers of motivation and prosperity rather than prophets of God? I could go on, but the point is that unregenerate people seldom behave like saved folks.

Canon and Culture - The Tidal Wave of Transgenderism
A new civil rights movement is beginning to ripple into a public tidal wave according to TIME magazine’s latest cover story, “The Transgender Tipping Point.” The article highlights actor, transgender, and burgeoning advocate for the transgender movement, Laverne Cox. Cox stars in Netflix’s comedic drama, Orange Is the New Black. Cox is only one of a growing group of transgenders who are sharing publicly about their transgenderism and advocating cultural acceptance. In January, Fallon Fox shared with GQ about his current struggle to become an established fighter in MMA Fighting as a woman. Fox underwent physical, re-constructive surgery in 2006 to “become” a woman and takes estrogen supplements daily.

No longer are transgenders only portrayed on the silver screen in films like Boys Don’t Cry and the recent Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club. They are a growing segment of America’s population. They are faculty members at Christian universities. They are involved in shaping public policy. They are in kindergarten. And they are in the pews of evangelical churches. To the point, transgendered people have been empowered to come out and live in the open what, in the years past, they have hidden in their hearts.

In September 2013, at a Christian university in California, theology and philosophy chair Heather Clements informed Azusa Pacific University officials of her decision to become a transgendered man. As a result, the school dismissed her. In the same state, the state assembly passed a measure “to let transgender students participate in school programs and use school facilities, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, based on their gender identity instead of their biological sex,” according to the LA Times. In healthcare, transgender issues are being taken into consideration. The Affordable Care Act mandates insurance companies can no longer classify transgenderism as a pre-existing condition. Colleges are wrestling with whether or not their health plans should cover treatments connected to transgendered people. Treatments include hormone medication, breast augmentation or reduction, and genital surgeries.

Joe Carter - 9 Things You Should Know About Surrogacy
1. A surrogate mother is a woman who carries and gives birth to the child of another woman, who is usually infertile, by way of a pre-arranged legal contract. There are two main types of surrogacy, gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy.

2. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine estimates there were 400 to 600 surrogate births annually from 2003 to 2007, the last year for which data is available. Support groups and agencies say the total number since 1976 may exceed 30,000.

3. In gestational surrogacy, the pregnancy results from the transfer of an embryo created by in-vitro fertilization (IVF), in a manner so the resulting child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate. Gestational surrogate mothers are also referred to as gestational carriers.

Radical - Why David Platt Uses The Word “Radical”
From Pastor David’s sermon, The Gospel and the Rich, on February 9, 2014 …

I want to be clear: using this word is not intended to distinguish radical Christianity from some other brand of Christianity. It’s intended to show that biblical Christianity–true, authentic Christianity–is inevitably radical Christianity.  For you and for anyone in this room to come to Jesus means to lay down your life and your possessions and your pursuits and your family and your future–your everything–to surrender to him. Jesus never calls a person to partial, casual discipleship … cultural discipleship. There’s one option: radical discipleship. It’s the surrender of everything you have and everything you are to Jesus.

Kevin DeYoung - Bio, Books, and Such: Carl Trueman
Today’s interview is with Carl Trueman, the Paul Woolley Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary and Pastor at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church.

1. Where were you born? Dudley, United Kingdom

2. When did you become a Christian? Aged 17

3. Who is one well known pastor/author/leader who has shaped you as a Christian and teacher? J.I. Packer

4. Who is one lesser known pastor/friend/mentor who has shaped you? Iver Martin, now Minister of the Free Church of Scotland in Stornoway, with whom I served on session when he was minister of Bon Accord Free Church of Scotland, Aberdeen.

5. What’s one hymn you want sung at your funeral? A Debtor to Mercy Alone

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