Coral and Creation Science – This isn’t as polemic as some of the stuff Sheologians puts out, but I just really enjoyed it as a fairly rambling and compelling exploration of some of the rebuttals creation science makes to the mainstream scientific establishment. I think we tend to have the attitude that scientists have a fundamentally different type of knowledge than the rest of us. The reality, however, is that scientists are every inch as susceptible to the pressures of their own worldview and, frequently, are even more blind to the effect those pressures have on their perception of the facts.
Today, everything short of glowing endorsement can be counted as hate.
Tim puts his finger on a really important shift of which we really need to be conscious – the shifting language around us which reveals the ideological shift in society. “Hate” has expanded in meaning to encompass anything resembling disagreement, not merely malice and ill-will. As the people who are frequently the objects of such language, it is weird to think about the implications. I do not “hate” people with whom I disagree – in fact, I would not go through the trouble of articulating that disagreement if I hated them. It’s similar to the word “homophobic” – I do not “fear” homosexual people, but I do believe that homosexual practice is sinful and homosexual desire is aberrant.
Both of these words – “hate” and “homophobic” – articulate the same trend. By using these words to define, in cultural discourse, the ideological positions we hold, they attribute to us what they perceive to be the only possible motivations we could have for holding our position of disagreement – hate and fear. If we are to counter this type of language, we have to be very clear about the reasons we oppose the sins we oppose. We must be clear that our opposition is rooted in scripture as the revealed will of God, not personal animus. We must also make it clear that, in our conduct toward the people with whom we disagree, our disagreement is motivated by care and our desire is for reconciliation.
Don’t drink their kool-aid. Don’t accept the definitions they thrust upon us. They do not define our worldview – God does.
Some of the defenders of the book and the movie insist that we should all just take a deep breath and remind ourselves that this is fiction not a work of systematic theology. But readers of the book and watchers of the movie are actually getting a sustained theological argument. It may not be packaged as systematic theology, but it is a rather systematic destruction of biblical Christianity in favor of an entirely new theology.
Don’t mistake The Shack as merely another instance of the lousy evangelical fiction Christian bookstores hock on a regular basis. There is real theology at stake, and the disturbing fact is that the reception of the book has proved that the theological corruption of evangelicalism is significantly more widespread than we thought. Indeed, speaking of the quote above, the fictional framework of the exposition makes the heresy of The Shack land with a lighter touch, recommending it to our affections through the mechanisms of sentimentality and character.
If you have any doubt about this, consider this article as well by Tim Challies which goes through, with some detail, a subsequent book which has been released by the same author. It identifies some genuinely disturbing trends. The ideologies espoused by the author may be more or less present in The Shack as well, but note that this is the agenda which motivates the author. He does, professedly, want to rewrite evangelical orthodoxy. We should take him seriously when he claims this.
To speak again of the The Briefing originally linked, it also contains a useful and qualified discussion of Trump’s calling out Planned Parenthood. Mohler is no great fan of Trump, but I believe that he identifies what the crucial issues are in this confrontation.
From the beginning and throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the object of reform was not so much the doctrine debated in universities but the institutional church–its worship, ministry, discipline, and government.
This is a genuinely interesting point, when we consider the current evangelical environment, where the work of Christianity in the culture tends to be pursued more by parachurch ministries, rather than by the church itself. It seems that the rise of the internet and celebrity pastor culture has exacerbated this trend. This is one of those trends that I am disheartened by, in the modern church, but I don’t really see a way out of the increasingly anti-ecclesial entropy. Does this mean that we should attempt to systematically take the work of parachurches into denominational organs? I really don’t know, but considering the fractured nature of conservative evangelicalism, this seems like an impossibility, in many situations.
I believe that this opens up serious questions about the activity of churches and parachurches, but I’m not going to stick my neck out any further at this point. When we are in an era when parachurch organizations wield substantially more power and influence over the conduct of believers than their actual church, I do think that we need to question the status quo.