Friday Night Miscellany

Some late night Friday reading from the interwebs. Knock yourselves out, peeps.

Christianity and Politics

-This week, the story that has dominated discussion in Christian circles has been the recent joint declaration by Evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders on the need for Christians to stand up for moral issues. The document, titled the Manhattan Declaration, included signatories such Wayne Grudem, Tim Keller, Dr. Peter Kreeft, Josh McDowell,Albert Mohler Jr., J. I Packer, and Ravi Zacharias. Drafted by Chuck Colson, it calls for a renewed vision of justice and ethical life in government and society, especially with respect to the sanctity of human life and the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife. While some have applauded the declaration and view its “ecumenism of the trenches” as a necessity, others wonder if the Gospel is being obscured.

Timothy George and Al Mohler defend their decision to sign the document.

- Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, James White, Frank Turk, Tim Challies explain why they disagree with the document. David Doran, Steve Hays and John Stackhouse also offer their thoughts, while Brian McLaren just misses the point completely.

Apologetics

- Brian has a great list of apologetic podcasts.

- Does God really want all people to be saved? Video interview with Dr R. C. Sproul.

- Relativism vs Pluralism: What’s the difference?

- In his post, The Basis for Moral Realism, Tom Gilson puts forward several questions for atheists who want to hold onto moral realism, including:

  • What is a moral value or duty; specifically, to whom or what is it a value, and to whom or what is the duty directed, owed, or pointed?
  • To whom or what was it directed, owed, or pointed when there was no person in the universe toward whom it could have been so pointed?
  • Who or what held any responsibility for these moral values or duties before there was any intelligent life?
  • In what did these values or duties inhere, or in other words, where did they exist?
  • Was there such a thing as evil while the stars and planets were forming? What was it?
  • Was killing immoral for the first 3 billion or so years of evolution, before humans arrived?

- Does “I don’t know” work as a defense for certain moral issues?

Theology

- Kevin DeYoung offers an apologetic for the prominence of words in worship.

- John Piper’s presentation at ETS concerning “A Common Word”.

- Douglas Wilson recounts the thinkers who have rocked his world: “The men I am most indebted to philosophically are: C.S. Lewis, Cornelius Van Til, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Calvin, Richard Weaver, the early Rushdoony, Augustine, John Knox, Gary North, J.I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, G.K. Chesterton, Paul Johnson, John Stott, Christopher Dawson, H.L. Mencken, William Buckley, David Wells, R.L. Dabney, E. Michael Jones, P.G. Wodehouse, Greg Bahnsen, and Peter Leithart. And after a diet of such books for twenty-six years, I have to say that reading an emergent book by Brian McLaren is like watching a six-year-old do card tricks.”

- David Mathis reviews NT Wright’s new book, Justification: Paul’s Vision and God’s Plan.

- Doug Groothius’ audio presentation on ‘Everyday Spiritual Warfare’.

Christianity and Culture

- Exegeting the Cohen Brothers’ latest film, A Serious Man

- Coming to a pulpit near you? Movie producers hope to try and get pastors in on the marketing of the new film adaption of Cormac McCarthy’s bleak apocolyptic novel The Road.

- Dr Who and morality.

- Official photos from the set of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

- Behind the scenes video of the Radio Theatre’s dramatic audio production of The Screwtape Letters.

Other Stuff

- This week marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Time magazine interviews Dennis Sewell on Darwin and his legacy.

- Positive comments from atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel on Stephen C. Meyer’s new book, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperCollins): “Meyer is a Christian, but atheists, and theists who believe God never intervenes in the natural world, will be instructed by his careful presentation of this fiendishly difficult problem.”

- Great photos from the National Geographic’s 2009 International Photography contest.

- And finally, Kevin Staley-Joyce recalls a great quote from the masterful G. K. Chesterton:

“In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to itand says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.”

To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable.”

Share/Bookmark