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I suppose being counter-cultural is fading out of style in today’s Christian world.  But there’s some things to which we should just say, “over my dead body.”

Of First Importance

Bryce and Emily’s contribution to this blog has certainly been a lot more frequent than my own over the past few months.  And the sad thing is I don’t have nearly the amount of excuses that they have.  They have a pretty full plate for sure.  So while we bid goodbye to the Hambletons, I’d certainly like to commit to posting more regularly.

Now, I know that the election is over, but I simply cannot close this can of worms yet.  The principle is just to serious.  And it’s quite sad how it does not seem to carry the weightiness that it ought with many Christians nowadays.  This post is not just going to be another rant, however (it is going to be that, but not that only).  I’m calling for some serious introspection from those who voted for Obama and from those who have serious problems with single-issue voting, especially when it comes to abortion.  Will you try to honestly ask yourself this question?

Here’s the question(s):  If Obama had been an outspoken racist, if his agenda was the exact same as it is in reality, except that he did not think that white people deserved the status and rights of personhood, and one of his goals was to fight to strip them of that status in order to justify racist legislations…would you have voted for him?

You see, we all become single issue voters once a certain line is crossed, and all of our lines are different.  Those whose lines are not crossed find it easy to look down upon those whose lines are crossed as “one issue voters,” as people who don’t see the big picture.

I would hope that all of you would answer a resounding “no” to that question, and thankfully, Obama is probably the farthest thing from a racist (at least when it comes to skin color) there is.

Here’s another question that I would appreciate just as much honesty in answering:  Why is the racism line drawn so much farther away from the abortion line?  In other words, whats the difference?  Both principles involve the de-personalizing of a people group that interferes with our tightly held ideologies.  They both stem from the same root.  It’s sad to say, but we’ve gotten used to abortion, the principle of it.  Slavery has been illegal for a long time, segregation is a thing of the past, and so it’s easy to be so horrified at something so obviously horrifying.  But where’s the horror when it comes to abortion?  Shouldn’t these lines be drawn in the same place?

Mass Murder Alert

50 Million dead since 1973. All in the name of “choice.”

First Event: Roe v. Wade Memorial Rally

Date: Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Location: Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, OR

Schedule: 2:00 to 3:00 P.M.

Second Event: “Come What May” showing:
Date: Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 – 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Location:
Rolling Hills Community Church
3550 SW Borland Road • Tualatin, OR 97062

Schedule:
5:30 pm – The lobby is open for visiting display booths run by numerous
outstanding pro-life organizations, including Abort73.com

6:30 pm – The auditorium is open for a special panel discussion with the
makers of “Come What May”. (Director George Escobar of Virginia and local
actors Austin Kearney and Victoria Emmons)

7:00 pm – Begin showing Come What May, winner of the 2008 Redemptive
Storyteller Award.

8:40 pm – Distribute handouts written by award-winning author Randy Alcorn.
These include: 50 Ways to Help Unborn Babies and their Mothers,
Communicating the Prolife Message, and Biblical Perspectives on Unborn
Children.

This is an age-integrated family event. All our children have enjoyed the
movie and give it thumbs up. If you would normally hire a babysitter,
call them up and invite them to come as your guest.

Come What May PDX is a free event. Get your free ticket today at http://comewhatmaypdx.com.

Theologian a la Carte

I know, especially among undergrad Christians, its really popular to be anti-denominational.  That’s good in a sense because it reflects a sincere desire to be united and affective in shining forth Christ to our world.  But sometimes it seems like it’s just a fad, a pet cause, a way of rebelling against the system.  Church historian Carl Truemen captures the tension well:

The problem comes, of course, from the fact that denominations often exist for very good reasons; because people have strong opinions about things that matter. They may be wrong, but they have strong opinions about things one should have strong opinions about. J. Gresham Machen…talking about the dispute between Luther and Zwingli on the Lord’s Supper in the 16th Century said, ‘it was a tragedy that Protestantism split over a disagreement on the Lord’s Supper, but it would have been a much greater tragedy if Protestantism had been united because neither Luther or Zwingli thought the Lord’s Supper was really that important.’

Trueman has always been one of my favorite authors/lecturers.  His sharp, witty style is always fun to read as well as keenly insightful, and he has an ability to analyze history and make it relevant to today.

Like in these lectures.

He blogs here.

Good reads: 

Trapped in Neverland

From the Versace Vacuum to the Brand of Brothers

Goodbye Larry King, Hello Jerry Springer!

Newsweek on Gay Marriage

A Good Creed Seldom Goes Unpunished

On Meeting Joe Frazier: The Missing Element of Modern Theology

A Little Bit of Comfort for Machen’s Worrier Children

The neo-evangelical movement began with the founding of the National Association of Evangelicals in 1942. The neo-evangelical movement was a lead by Harold Ockenga, Carl Henry, and Billy Graham. The movement started by these men, was one of building institutions, publications, and ministries. This movement was post-fundamentalist in that it rejected the separatism and elitism characteristic of some of the fundamentalists. The partnership still built itself o two core theological beliefs, the full authority of the inspired Scripture and the insistence on the doctrine of substitutionary atonement.

Harold John Ockenga, one of the prime movers of the new coalition, was convinced that what was needed was “a progressive fundamentalism with an ethical message.”‘ This became the passionate concern of the rising breed of conservative leadership. There soon followed respectable journals, such as Christianity Today, top-notch seminaries, such as Fuller and Trinity, and with an arena for theological discourse, the Evangelical Theological Society, Evangelicals began to be accepted in the academy. The one man who really led Evangelicals to the intellectual spectrum was Carl F. H. Henry.

Henry’s influence shaped American Evangelicalism (AE) as we know it. The infrastructure of our sub-culture was laid and shaped by these men and their legacies. AE has become a vast sub-culture. Randall Balmer, in Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, spent a few chapters devoted to exposing the amount of money that is spent within our own sub-culture, Christian bookstores, Bible colleges, even Christian theme parks and vacation destinations. Where would we be without all the corny Christian t-shirts? I wonder if Henry and the others knew of the animal that would surface from their creation. Despite our critiques, our infrastructure is a big part of who we are.

Another problem is that the founders of the neo-evangelical movement thought that if the two core doctrines remained strong, the full authority of the inspired Scripture and the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement, Evangelicals would be given liberty in other areas of doctrine. Other areas of liberty were issues of church polity (women in ministry), the continuation or cessation of spiritual gifts, the mode of baptism, and views on the millennium. But what began as an allowance for liberty turned into an abrogation of doctrine. These other areas of doctrine began to be seen as secondary issues, or ultimately, unimportant.

Evangelicalism today is plagued with doctrinally thin churches. What Henry and the others intended to be a way to unite around the gospel, ultimately produced dumb Christians. Evangelicals hold two things dear to their hearts today, their Bibles and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This is directly a result of the neo-evangelical coalition.

What is interesting is that the same kind of coalition is being made in AE today. There is currently a movement called, “Together for the Gospel,” (T4G)…the neo-neos. T4G began as a friendship between four pastors, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney, and Albert Mohler. These friends differed on a number of theological issues, like baptism and the charismatic gifts. But they were committed to standing together for the main thing, the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful that these men are standing for the gospel. These men are my heroes. I trust these men. But I can’t help but be concerned. I am concerned these men may be setting evangelical churches up to reducing Christianity again. Please don’t hear that I am saying that focusing on the gospel is reductionism, rather I am questioning if this is how the problems were started with the post-World War II evangelical giants.