If Over 1/2 of Evangelical Christians Believe That Many Religions Can Lead To Eternal Life...

then what does it mean to be evangelical?

Although a majority of Americans say religion is very important to them, nearly three-quarters of them say they believe that many faiths besides their own can lead to salvation...

“It’s not that Americans don’t believe in anything,” said Michael Lindsay, assistant director of the Center on Race, Religion and Urban Life at Rice University. “It’s that we believe in everything. We aren’t religious purists or dogmatists.”
Even the atheists are confused:
Like the overwhelming majority of Americans, 70 percent of the unaffiliated said they believed in God, including one of every five people who identified themselves as atheist and more than half of those who identified as agnostic.
From my alma mater:
“It could be that people are not very well educated and they are not expressing mature theological points of view,” said Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. “It could also be a form of bland secularism. The real challenge to religious leaders is not to become more entrenched in their views, but to navigate the idea of what their religion is all about and how it relates to others.”


All Religion and Marriage is Not the Same

An example from David Kotter:

Saudi marriage officiant Dr. Ahmad al-Mu'bi recently informed Lebanese television viewers that under law "there is no minimal age for entering marriage."  He added, "You can have a marriage contract even with a one-year-old girl, not to mention a girl of nine, seven, or eight."

Consummating the marriage would vary according to environment and traditions, according to Dr. Al-Mu'Bi.  He said, "The Prophet Mohammed is the model we follow.  He took ‘Aisha to be his wife when she was six, but he had sex with her only when she was nine." 

For My Own Keeping at Least

30 Ways for Pastors to Love Their Wives and Families
5. Use every hour of your vacation time. And take a vacation that does not involve extended family; restrict it to just your wife and kids.

The Original Sin of Blaming our Sins on the Sins of Others

Ben Reaoch from Genesis 3.11-12:

We are so desperate to justify ourselves that we become irrational. Here are 12 examples. 

1) Anger

I wouldn’t lose my temper if my co-workers were easier to get along with, or if my kids behaved better, or if my spouse were more considerate. 

2) Impatience

I would be a very patient person if it weren’t for traffic jams and long lines in the grocery store. If I didn’t have so many things to do, and if the people around me weren’t so slow, I would never become impatient! 

3) Lust

I would have a pure mind if there weren’t so many sensual images in our culture. 

4) Anxiety

I wouldn’t worry about the future if my life were just a little more secure—if I had more money, and no health problems.

5) Spiritual Apathy 

My spiritual life would be so much more vibrant and I would struggle with sin less if my small group were more encouraging, or if Sunday school were more engaging, or if the music in the worship service were more lively, or if the sermons were better.

6) Insubordination

If my parents/bosses/elders were godly leaders, then I would joyfully follow them.

7) A Critical Spirit

It’s not my fault that the people around me are ignorant and inexperienced. 

8) Bitterness

If you knew what that person did to me, you would understand my bitterness. How could I forgive something like that?

9) Gluttony

My wife/husband/roommate/friend is a wonderful cook! The things they make are impossible to resist.

10) Gossip

It’s the people around me who start the conversations. There’s no way to avoid hearing what others happen to say. And when others ask me questions, I can’t avoid sharing what I know. 

11) Self-Pity

I’ll never be happy, because my marriage/family/job/ministry is so difficult.

12) Selfishness

I would be more generous if we had more money.

Making excuses like this is arrogant and foolish.  It’s a proud way of trying to justify our actions and pacify our guilty consciences.  And it keeps us from humbling ourselves before God to repent of our sins and seek his forgiveness.


Wordle-ing the NT and Psalms

This from Justin Taylor:

Wordle is a program "for generating 'word clouds' from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text."

As the ESV Blog points out, Andrew (at The Crazy Australian blog), took the ESV New Testament and created a Wordle of the most prominent words:

And David Reimer sends along his Worldle of the (ESV) Psalms:

Notice: "Lord Jesus Christ" and "Lord God."  Jesus is Lord!

On the Relationship Between Truth and Piety

My postulation:
Every sin is the application of bad doctrine.


The Kind of Preacher I'd Like to Be

Iain Campbell quotes from Kennedy's The Days of Our Fathers in Ross-shire:

As preachers, they were all remarkable. There are some who preach before their people, like actors on the stage, to display themselves and to please their audience. Not such were the self-denied preachers of Ross-shire.

There are others who preach over their people. Study­ing for the highest, instead of doing so for the lowest, in intelligence, they elaborated learned treatises, which float like mist, when delivered, over the heads of their hearers. Not such were the earnest preachers of Ross­shire.

There are some who preach past their people. Directing their praise or their censure to intangible abstractions, they never take aim at the views and the conduct of the individuals before them. They step carefully aside, lest their hearers should be struck by their shafts, and aim them at phantoms beyond them. Not such were the faithful preachers of Ross-shire. 

There are others who preach at their people, serving out in a sermon the gossip of the week, and seemingly possessed with the idea that the transgressor can be scolded out of the ways of iniquity. Not such were the wise preachers of Ross-shire. 

There are some who preach towards their people. They aim well, but they are weak. Their eye is along the arrow towards the hearts of their hearers, but their arm is too feeble for sending it on to the mark. Superficial in their experi­ence and in their knowledge, they reach not the cases of God's people by their doctrine, and they strike with no vigour at the consciences of the ungodly. Not such were the powerful preachers of Ross-shire. 

There are others still, who preach along their congregation. Instead of standing with their bow in front of the ranks, these archers take them in line, and, reducing their mark to an individual, never change the direction of their aim. Not such were the discriminating preachers of Ross-shire. 

But there are a few who preach to the people directly and seasonably the mind of God in His Word, with authority, unction, wisdom, fervour, and love. Such as these last were the eminent preachers of Ross-shire.

(Days of the Fathers in Ross-shire, 1927, pp23-4)


Stupid Commercial Claims, #5

The roomba may be great as a vacuum, but the message is insidious: "husbands and fathers are sub-human jackasses."

Hearing From Fatherless and Feminist

Joe Carter shares about his fatherlessness and the family resemblance for which he is aiming.
I don't know how to answer 50% of my medical history forms; I don't know if I have more brothers and sisters; I don't know what my last name should be (Carter is the surname of my brother's father.); I don't know if I'm half-Jewish, half-German, or half-Ukrainian...

My hope is that someday I'll grow up to be like My Father. People will know what kind of person I am from seeing the family resemblance. Perhaps then instead of seeing me and thinking "Urkranian" they'll say, "You look like you're Christian."
Rebecca Walter, the daughter of a feminist leader (Alice Walter), remembers and rejects her mother's message.
How sad to be taught by your own mother that you enslave her and keep her from the good life...
You see, my mum taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale. ... As a little girl, I wasn't even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery.

Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating. But far from taking responsibility for any of this, the leaders of the women's movement close ranks against anyone who dares to question them -- as I have learned to my cost. 
"Honor your father and mother" must also mean that we honor the role of father and mother.


Emotional Blackmail

John Piper giving caution:
Emotional blackmail happens when a person equates his or her emotional pain with another person’s failure to love. They aren’t the same. A person may love well and the beloved still feel hurt, and use the hurt to blackmail the lover into admitting guilt he or she does not have. Emotional blackmail says, “If I feel hurt by you, you are guilty.” There is no defense. The hurt person has become God. His emotion has become judge and jury. Truth does not matter. All that matters is the sovereign suffering of the aggrieved. It is above question. This emotional device is a great evil. I have seen it often in my three decades of ministry and I am eager to defend people who are being wrongly indicted by it.
Let's not give it or receive it.


The Survivor

This kid went from 'disposable fetus' to heroic survivor expected to "live a normal life."

The irony:

"I was on the (birth control pill) when I became pregnant," Percival, 25, said. "Deciding to terminate at eight weeks was just utterly horrible but I couldn't cope with the anguish of losing another baby."

A short time after the abortion, Percival felt a fluttering in her stomach. She went to the doctor for a scan and discovered she was 19 weeks pregnant.

"I couldn't believe it,' Percival said. "This was the baby I thought I'd terminated. At first I was angry that this was happening to us, that the procedure had failed. I wrote to the hospital, I couldn't believe that they had let me down like this.

"They wrote back and apologized and said it was very rare," she added.

Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing health editor for FOXNews.com, said Percival's situation is actually quite common.

"Women that have early terminations in weeks six, seven and eight, many times the pregnancy is so small that doctors miss removing the baby," Alvarez said. "The danger is that the failed attempt can damage the baby. That is why these patients who get early terminations need follow-ups."

Another scan a week later confirmed the baby also had kidney problems, but doctors told the couple the baby was likely to survive, so they decided he deserved another chance at life.

In November, Finley was born three weeks premature. He had minor kidney damage but is expected to lead a normal life.

Just to repeat: "The danger is that the failed attempt [to kill the child] can damage the baby."


I'm Not This Good With My Hands


Straight Talk on "Struggle"

Abraham Piper says,

We’re not porn-addicts; we “struggle with lust.”

We’re not arrogant; we “struggle with pride.”

With a simple cliché our sins become palatable.

Struggle ought to mean, "putting up a serious fight."


Another Glorious Responsibility: Leading Your Family on Vacation

I believe that a man is responsible to be a benevolent cultivator, protector, and sage in ways appropriate to his varying relationships for the glory of God.

C. J. Mahaney offers some help for doing that on your vacation:

He says,

Here’s what I’ve learned. The difference between forgettable vacations and unforgettable vacations is not the location or attractions. Nope. The difference between forgettable and unforgettable vacations is the father’s attitude and leadership. This makes all the difference.