RSS feed for this section

Archive | Current Events

Things May Get Messy

Next week on March 29 and 30 Rosaria Butterfield is coming to speak to the Christian community in Bloomington, IN (more information here).  Rosaria is a gracious and engaging believer who has written two very helpful books on the power of the gospel to transform our lives.  In Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, she tells the story of her own, dramatic conversion to Christ.  In Openness Unhindered, she explores the need for every person to find his or her true identity in Christ.  In the process of telling some of her own story, she makes it clear that the gospel has the power to seriously disrupt our lives in ways that are not always neat and tidy.  Calling her own conversion story a “train wreck” she has a lot to teach the church about what it means to work with people whose lives are being made new by Christ.  When she walked away from her former life as a tenured English professor at Syracuse University, all she had left was her dog and what she could fit in her car.  God quite literally blew up her previous relationships and support systems in the process of making her His own.

In […]

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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: Wisdom Wednesdays

Yes, I know it’s Thursday. And, yes, I know this is not the seminary I am “supposed” to be promoting!

But “Wisdom Wednesdays,” weekly videos produced by the Reformed Theological Seminary that are typically three-to-five minutes long, provide helpful, short meditations on an array of topics. For a few moments of sharpening, I appreciate receiving them each Wednesday.

For a good example, below you can listen to Dr. Scott Redd remind us of two vital Biblical principles in dealing with the immigration issue that, held in proper tension, provide the balance our nation so desperately needs. As you listen to most of the rhetoric out there, people typically uphold one to the exclusion of the other.

If you would like to subscribe to Wisdom Wednesdays, simply click this link to go to their YouTube channel.

Catastrophizing the Trivial

Someone made a wrong announcement, or at least handed a wrong envelope to a man making an announcement. Nobody died, nobody was injured, but cue more drama than the dramas themselves. When Warren Beatty realised there was something wrong with the name on the card for Best Motion Picture at the Oscars, and showed it to Faye Dunaway his co-presenter, he probably didn’t expect her to blurt it out, much less have a whole troop of the wrong people on stage, and the thing rehashed endlessly through the media the next day.

Mistakes happen—but did ever you see such a kerfuffle about such a non-event? Not by the actors/producers etc—they displayed great grace, but every time I turned on the radio on Monday someone was talking about it.

Now I read on the front page of the Irish Times website the headline: “Oscar blunder worse for PwC than any audit scandal.” Accountancy firm PwC (Price Waterhouse Coopers) has been handling the winning Academy Award envelopes for the past 83 years—and this was their first slip up. So what! Apparently it will prompt “high-profile companies and organisations to reconsider longstanding audit mandates” i.e. to move away from PwC. Really?

I couldn’t care one whit […]

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.

Pro-Life For All Life

I have not done much in a public way to speak or write about abortion. That is not because I find abortion acceptable or even slightly defensible. Far from it! It is the holocaust of our generation, and even that is probably not strong enough language to describe it. Too many have turned what should be the safest place in all of creation, the womb of a mother, into a tomb. Rather, I have found it to be true that my engagement changed when I had to begin dealing with abortion face-to-face. It changes things when someone says, “Pastor, I’ve had an abortion. What should I do?” Suddenly, the faceless person has a face and the nameless person has a name. You’re no longer dealing with a vitriolic opponent but a tender soul that needs to work through the shame and guilt by the forgiveness, hope, and freedom of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That changes things. But I’m breaking from my relative public silence to offer a few thoughts.

Yesterday marked forty-four years since the Supreme Court invented a Constitutional right to kill babies in the womb. Since that date there have been nearly sixty-million little boys and girls murdered […]

The Greatest Inauguration Day Ever

It’s unlikely that anyone reading this post today needs to be reminded that it is Inauguration Day in the United States of America, when the 45th President will be sworn in and assume office. The eyes of the world’s media will be fixed on Washington D.C. as this most controversial of figures begins work. As of today he will, in a sense, hold the lives of countless millions of human beings in his hands.

But I’d like us to think, at least for a few minutes today, about a far more significant ‘Inauguration Day’ – the most momentous one in the history not of the USA but of the whole world. It wasn’t witnessed by millions but just a few handfuls of people, and its significance was largely lost on those who did see it. It didn’t take place in the centre of a national capital but in some of the most inhospitable wilderness territory in the world. It was the baptism of Jesus of Nazareth in the Jordan River. This day for Jesus was like his Inauguration as Messiah. He was the Messiah already, but on this day Jesus was beginning his public ministry, he was officially, formally assuming his […]

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 […]

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.