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3GT Episode 35: Incrementalism or Absolutionism?

To start things off, the boys open the mailbag and get excited. They discover there are such creatures as English Presbyterians, and one has even listened to every 3GT episode. Another listener responds to our Lord’s Day episode with an encouraging testimony in the workplace.

Then Aaron rewinds to Episode 22 and brings us back to the issue of abortion and the pro-life movement. Should Christians be content with small steps of progress? Or should our simple aim be to outlaw this awful practice? And does the Bible speak to our approach? With little lives on the line, we must keep this issue ever before the church without losing the gospel in the process.

Thank you to the Westminster Conference for sponsoring this episode! Being held September 8-9, 2017, at RPTS, this year’s theme is “Post Tenebras Lux: Celebrating 500 Years of Martin Luther’s Influence.” Be sure to register early as space is limited! Also, listen for how you can win a digital anthology of all the past Westminster Conferences.

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/3gt-episode-351.mp3

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The Shoddiness of The Shack

With all the attention given to the movie The Shack, it would be good to take a careful look at the book it is based upon. The author, William P. Young, wrote The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity (Newbury Park, Calif.: Windblown Media) in 2007. Below is review of the book by Dr. Michael LeFebvre, pastor of Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian in Brownsburg, Indiana, and author of Singing the Songs of Jesus: Revisiting the Psalms and Exploring Ecclesiastes: Joy That Perseveres.

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The Shack is a modern day allegory of the Christian life. Like John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, William Young’s The Shack is a vivid tale designed to teach the reader about the way of salvation. But Young’s vision, while helpful in points, ultimately presents a different kind of salvation than that of Bunyan’s classic.

Bunyan’s pilgrim labors under the burden called “sin,” and he only finds freedom from its guilt by receiving forgiveness at the cross. Young’s protagonist is cast in a more postmodern image. The Shack’s central character is Mackenzie Phillips, whose struggle is not with sin and guilt; Mack’s burden is “the great sadness”—the accumulated emotional baggage from his abusive childhood and the death of his daughter. Rather than seeking his own forgiveness, Mack’s […]

Browse Worthy: The Immigration Crisis

With so many protests and so much in the news about the president’s immigration ban, here are a few articles hopefully to encourage calm, reasoned thinking on the matter.

Trump’s order is a balm for Christians, not a ban on Muslims | Carol Swain

An opinion piece on CNN that comments on the actual text of President Trump’s order.

Evangelical Experts Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban | Kate Shellnut

This article features the difficulty that agencies like World Relief have following the president’s actions and, despite its title, offers perspectives from leading Christians on both sides of the issue.

Ten Theses on Immigration | Ross Douthat

This New York Time article brings some fascinating insights from social science research to this issue.

Exclusive: The letter Russell Moore will send Trump about the refugee order | Russell Moore

Dr. Moore already sent his letter but it is worth reading, especially as an example of addressing our leaders on this matter.

The Immigration Crises May Be a Providential Call to Make a Move | Jennifer Oshman

Become an immigrant yourself? May sound crazy, but when I read this link at Tim Challies’ site I understood.

J.D. Vance – An Insightful Discussion

On Monday night Mitch Daniels, the president of Purdue University, led a discussion with J.D. Vance, the author of the extremely popular Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. The book is a powerful telling of Vance’s own story of growing up in extremely dysfunctional homes, yet moving upwardly in society to become a Marine, college graduate and Yale-trained lawyer. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it, especially as a way to begin to understand a group of people not usually in contact with anything approaching a healthy church.

Here are a few of the highlights of the conversation.

An Assortment of Audio!

It’s been a good week in the world of podcasting.  Lots of juicy episodes and discussions.

Here are a few that just might interest you:

Policing is Racially Biased – Intelligence Squared Debates.  Listen in as four qualified people debate the question of discrimination in police activity.
Should Christians Embrace or Reject Theistic Evolution? – Unbelievable.  This is a very instructive debate.  Listen carefully to Mr. Alexander’s (the theistic evolutionist) theological rationale for suffering and evil.  It is truly incredible- which is to say incredibly weak.
An Evening with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris (part one and two).  I believe that it is vitally important to hear and understand what the New Atheists are saying.  They continue to shape the minds of many Americans, especially the younger generation.  If we are not familiar with their way of thinking, we will not be prepared to intelligently engage it.

He Sees All

If you haven’t watched the 3 minute video released by Live Action earlier this week, take the time and do so (http://liveaction.org/abortioncorporation/).  It reveals empirically yet another aspect of Planned Parenthood’s deliberate efforts to deceive the public about what it does.  I am not sure that Planned Parenthood actually deceives that many people, but they do try to provide some type of moral cover for those who would support their horrific efforts to blot out life in its most vulnerable stages. 

Lord of Men and Nations

The following article is a guest post by Brad Johnston, pastor of the Topeka Reformed Presbyterian Church. In sharing this news about a national confession of faith by the country of Poland, we at Gentle Reformation want to be clear that we are not advocating Roman Catholic doctrine, as Brad’s article states several times and this recent post shows. Rather, this rather remarkable situation provides a challenge for the Protestant church to pray greatly for the kingdom of God to be further manifest through nations coming to Christ.

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You may have heard the thought-provoking news that a former Soviet-bloc country in Eastern Europe has confessed the Lord Jesus Christ as King and Lord. This type of confession is what Christians pray for when they recite or sing Psalm 67: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth” (Psalm 67:4).

This notable event took place on the 1,050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland when the Polish prince embraced Christ in the year A.D. 966. A millennium later in the past century, Poland found itself pressed by Nazi Germany on the west and Communist Russia on the […]

In Awe of the Aged

Have you ever met a mature Christian?  That question’s not meant to be snarky, no matter how many smirks it may inspire.  It’s meant to call attention to the truly special experience of interacting with people who sincerely (and sometimes unknowingly) exude from the core of their being what Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5).  Their demeanor is calm and calming.  Ordinary conversations with them feel holy, and when you leave, you feel understood, taken seriously, and loved.  These people scare the stuff out of me.     

Browse Worthy: The Trumpian Landscape

With the election over and the inevitable setting in, people are wondering what factors led to Trump’s victory and what will things look like as he takes over. Here are a few intriguing articles that help provide some answers toward that end.

A New Poverty | Rod Liddle

This article at First Things reviews Hillbilly Elegy and sheds further light on the disenfranchised, white lower class that is being credited for Trump’s victory.

I’m an Adorable Deplorable | David Murray

Dr. Murray hung around a few of the deplorables at a Trump rally for a while and came away with an important spiritual lesson.

Understanding TIME Magazine’s choice for Person of the Year, Donald J. Trump | Al Mohler

This short audio section of The Briefing explains this decision.

The Theology of Donald Trump | Michael Horton

Whose theological beliefs does Trump (and many of his followers) most emulate? Read and find out.

Nine Christians in the Trump Cabinet? | David Murray

Trump appears to be putting around him people of faith. Get the line-up and the low down.

A Real Redeemer, or: “Remember the Rose!”

Christians call Jesus the Redeemer, and he is, but we sometimes forget that biblically, to be redeemed means to be ruled.  To be redeemed means more than being brought back from bad circumstances; it means being bought back, transferred from one allegiance to another.  There’s no redemption through Jesus without a renunciation of our deepest craving since humankind’s collapse in the Garden of Eden:  autonomy.  Watch for this pattern in society – and in your own heart!  So much of what popular culture demands in the name of freedom is better understood as autonomy, literally, self-law.  We want autonomy so bad that we even fantasize about extraordinary beings who can provide and protect it.