In times of significant cultural upheaval, it’s common and eminently understandable to seek whatever stability and calm we can find within our lives and to do some good soul searching about the way we’ve chosen to structure them. Are we contributing or perhaps even capitulating to the nervous, noisy way of life we see all around us? In a cultural moment tyrannized by all things digital and overloaded with a constant bombardment of information, so much of it shallow-minded if not salacious, have we neglected a simpler, more richly satisfying and God-honoring way of life? Have we unknowingly – or perhaps knowingly! – imbibed the fuss and fury of a fallen world put on fast forward? These are important questions to consider, and I’m afraid certain trends among Christians are offering overly simplistic answers in their worthy quest for a simple life filled with spiritual substance.
This past Friday I had the privilege of conversing with Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary. In that short exchange, Dr. Duncan expressed similar sentiments to ones he later posted the next day on Facebook, which read in part: “Just as a little historical tip for those interested, no Presbyterian and/or Reformed denomination in America has a better record for taking a biblical stand on slavery and racism than the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. The Covenanters were right on this long before the rest of us caught on.” You can see the rest of his comments here.
His remarks sparked me to share the following article by Michael LeFebvre, Pastor of Christ Church in Brownsburg, Indiana, and Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary Board President. As you can see, Dr. LeFebvre recounts this history, not for the sake of any prideful boasting, but to encourage greater modern applications of the history where racial divides still exist. This article originally appeared in Reformed Presbyterian Theological Journal, Spring 2017 (Vol. 3, Issue 2). Used by permission.
Several months ago, I was at a large Christian university. I was there for a conference, and a campus tour was offered during an afternoon break. On […]
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.
You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!
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.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]