Mere Links 12.18.14
Thursday, December 18, 2014, 10:00 AM

Is Inerrancy a Recent Theological Invention?
Derek J. Brown,

It is sometimes argued by evangelical non-inerrantists that the doctrine of inerrancy is a recent theological innovation that finds little to no precedent in the church.

Gay Weddings and the Shopkeeper’s Dilemma
Russell Nieli, Public Discourse

One option for pro-marriage business owners: obey the law and serve gay weddings, but make it known publicly that you believe that the law forcing you to do this is unjust, needs to be changed, and is obeyed only out of your respect for law and the democratic process.

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Christian View of Sexuality
Glenn T. Stanton, On Faith

Why traditional Christians believe as they do regarding gender, sexuality, marriage, and the family.

Across America, Churches Continue To Struggle For Their Religious Freedom
Alan Sears, Alliance Defending Freedom

People are probably inclined to think more warmly of churches amid the cold winds of Christmas than at any other time of the year, but, sad to say, even the spirit of the season isn’t enough to dissuade some from all out legal assaults on houses of worship.

Mere Links 12.17.14
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 10:00 AM

How to Ruin a Moses Movie
Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition

Exodus: Gods and Kings had the potential to be one of the greatest films of all time; instead it’s one of the worst movies of the year. Director Ridley Scott aspired to produce the next Ten Commandments (1956) and instead gave us a revisionist version of the story that is almost as lame as the justifiably forgotten Wholly Moses! (1980).

Let the Church Be a House of Wonder
Athony Esolen , Crisis Magazine

Only academics can think themselves into pretending to like verse without music, music without harmony, painting without skies or flowers or animals or people. Intellectuals are the original smashers of images.

Christian Colleges vs. Hookup Culture
Kimberly Thornbury, Christianity Today

The good intentions behind conservative campus rules.

Vatican probe ends with an olive branch for American nuns
John L. Allen Jr., Crux

An unprecedented and highly controversial Vatican investigation of every community of Catholic sisters in the United States that began with criticism of nuns as having a “secular mentality” ended Tuesday with a report full of praise, and without any disciplinary measures or new controls.

Jane Austen in the pages of Touchstone
Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 12:15 PM

Today is Jane Austen’s birthday. You will not be surprised to learn that there have been a number of articles about her in Touchstone over the years. A few of those articles even made the cover! Here they are, for your edification and reading pleasure.

touchstone jane austen covers 300x192 Jane Austen in the pages of Touchstone

The Christian Novelty

What Homer Could Not See, & Jane Austen Could 
by Peter J. Leithart

No Ado About Something

The Loss of a Christian Understanding of Virginity Is Pure Tragedy by Eleanor Bourg Donlon

Austen’s Powers

Jennifer Farrara on the Truths That Mr. Darcy Taught Me About Marital Love

No Plain Jane

Eleanor Bourg Donlon on Hollywood’s Disgrace & Jane Austen’s Wisdom

It’s also Beethoven’s birthday. Here is an interesting piece on the man from The Weekly Standard. Hello, Beethoven: A look at the life behind the music. The article is a review of the book Beethoven: The Man Revealed by John Suchet.

The Real War On Women And Children
Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 10:42 AM

We awoke this morning to learn about the horrific and tragic attack by Taliban terrorists against a high school in Pakistan which caused the death and injury to hundreds of children.  This comes on the heels of the sixteen-hour siege in Sydney, Australia, which resulted in the deaths of two hostages and injuries to others by a radical Islamist.  Tori Johnson, the Lindt Café manager, and Katrina Dawson, a mother-of-three, were killed in that terrorist attack.  Mr. Johnson, 34, was killed as he tried to wrestle the gun from the Islamic terrorist and ISIS supporter, Man Haron Monis, inside the café.  May God give peace to the memory of the victims of these cowardly acts, and comfort to the families of those killed and injured.

Although reported by only a few international news outlets, and mostly unnoticed in the United States, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (“ISIS”) distributed in its territory a pamphlet titled, “Questions and Answers on Taking Captives and Slaves.”  The pamphlet was published by the “Research and Fatwa Department of Islamic State.”  (No, I am not making that up.)  It describes in a clear question-and-answer format for the ignorant ISIS followers how to deal with issues arising from the slavery of non-Moslem women.  The English language translation was completed by the Middle East Media Research Institute (“MEMRI”).  One question asks whether all “unbelieving” (i.e., non-Moslem woman) women can be taken into captivity.  The answer, “There is no dispute among the scholars that it is permissible to capture unbelieving women.”

If you are an Islamic terrorist, you might be thinking, if I have a slave, may I have intercourse with her?  The answer: “It is permissible to have sexual intercourse with the female captive.  Allah the almighty said: ‘[Successful are the believers] who guard their chastity, except from their wives or [the captives and slaves] that their right hands possess, for then they are free from blame [Koran 23:5-6].’” And then in a follow-up question, what kind of sex is permitted with one’s female slave(s)?  “If she is a virgin, he [her master] can have intercourse with her immediately.  However, if she isn’t, then her uterus must be purified first.”  However, the procedure to “purify a uterus” is not explained in the pamphlet.  Perhaps there is more information to come from the Research and Fatwa Department.

Now you might be wondering what about child sex slavery?  Islamic State has the answer to that simple question, and instructs its followers:

Question: “Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty?”  Answer: “It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse; however if she is not fit for intercourse, then it is enough to enjoy her without intercourse.

Emphasis added.  After all, according to traditional Islamic hadith sources, among his many wives, Mohammed married his favorite wife, Aisha bint Abī Bakr, when she was six or seven years old.  According to Mohammed’s quasi-official biographer, Ibn Hisham, their “marriage” was consummated, not at the time of marriage, but rather when she was nine or ten years old and Mohammed was 53.

In other useful gems of wisdom, beating the women is allowed, but only for disciplinary reasons.  Further, the buying, selling, and gifting of slaves are also permitted “for they are merely property.”  The 27 questions and answers in the pamphlet delves into many other important questions applying Islamic “wisdom,” such as the question of whether one can engage in sexual intercourse with two sisters, and  how to cover up properly a slave during prayer.

It is well documented that ISIS fighters have taken thousands of women and children as captives, particularly both Christian and the minority Yazidi sect in Iraq.  Last month, a United Nations report said that some of these women were taken to Syria where they were sold to ISIS fighters, or were given as “gifts” to ISIS leaders.  Most undoubtedly are being used for sex.  Haras Rafiq, an expert at the British counter-terrorism think-tank, the Quilliam Foundation, said of the new ISIS pamphlet: ‘It is a sick and disgusting document, and it takes the world back to the Dark Ages.”  Indeed.  Please pray for the Christian and Yazidi women and children held by ISIS during this Christmas season, and the families of the Taliban victims in Pakistan.  May the one true God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ be close to all of them during these horrific days.

Mere Links 12.16.14
Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 10:00 AM

Pope says Salvation Army and Catholics meet at peripheries of society
Vatican Radio

In a first private audience in the Vatican with a Salvation Army general on Friday, Pope Francis said theological differences do not impede the witness of a shared love of God and neighbour.

Churches key to combating slavery across the world
Caroline Wyatt, BBC News

The Catholic Church’s role and that of other churches in the UK and abroad is often a practical one, with some helping uncover victims, and then giving them practical support via charities offering safe houses and legal advice.

The Decline of War and the Rise of ‘Proximate Peace’
Joe Carter, Acton Institute

Human nature hasn’t changed since the time of Cain and Abel. So what should be make of the decline of war?

Justices Let Stand a Ruling Blocking an Arizona Abortion Law
Adam Liptak, New York Times

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a decision temporarily blocking an Arizona law that limits the availability of medicinal, nonsurgical abortions. As is its custom when it denies review, the court gave no reasons for its action.

Mere Links 12.15.14
Monday, December 15, 2014, 10:00 AM

The New College Counterculture
Ryan Shinkel, First Things

When I first heard of Anscombe Societies, I recalled another generation of students: the ’60s counterculture student radicals. What formed their habits was a warlike refusal of silence. The dominant university culture of their time consisted of a form of technocratic liberalism.

A New Movement Against Religious Persecution
Jonathan Sacks, Wall Street Journal

My prayer on Hanukkah: For people of all faiths to work together for the freedom of all faiths.

What Do Evangelical Professors Do, Anyway?
Owen Strachan, Patheos

I have a suggestion for a fun question you could throw out at your annual Christmas party. “Professors,” you could say vaguely. “What is it they do, anyway?”

Father Christmas Is Now Better Known Than Jesus In China
The Economist

In the first decades of Communist rule in China Christianity was banned, along with other religions. Now there are tens of millions of Christians in China and faiths of all kinds are blossoming.

God is with Us
Sunday, December 14, 2014, 7:00 AM

Chantus Maximus at St. Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas, TX – December 12, 2010

Mere Links 12.12.14
Friday, December 12, 2014, 10:00 AM

How Ultrasound-on-a-Chip Will Transform Abortion
Joe Carter, ERLC

Technological innovations often have broad effects that could have never been forseen. Take, for example, the invention of the printing press by German printer Johannes Gutenberg. A forward-thinking futurist living in 1450 might have predicted the way that the printed word would change culture. But could they have predicted that it would lead to eyeglasses?

Should Children Make Up Their Own Minds About Religion?
Jason Stubblefield, First Things

Teaching our children a particular form of religious expression may seem something like teaching them to eat only one kind of cheese on a smorgasbord of limitless options. With so many religious alternatives, how can we help our children choose?

Why Pastors Should Pay Attention to the Torture Report
Steven Dilla, OnFaith

Three ways forward for leaders of Christian communities.

Conflict may force church to split, Welby says
Oliver Moody and Michael Binyon, The Times

Parts of the Anglican Communion could break away over their entrenched conflicts with other churches, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Not “Who We Are” Mr. President?
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 3:34 PM

I keep thinking about President Obama’s high rhetoric against torture, how it’s not “who we are.” And not because I’ve been thinking about torture lately or am a fan of it. But because of the natural follow up question, “Who are we, then?”

Well, who are we, Mr. President? If it is abhorrent, to use the adjective of CIA Director John Brennan, to water-board terrorists committed to killing innocent civilians, is it abhorrent to deliberately drown a child in utero in lethal saline solution to kill her, because her mother wants her dead? Who are you, indeed, Mr. President, who could not even stomach to vote to forbid partial-birth abortions (unlike Hillary Clinton)?  Indeed, who are we? And who are you?

PowerLinks 12.11.14
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Case for Religious Freedom

“Where any of these fights on religious freedom are going to go, will in great part depend upon whether people of faith will stand up and speak now, or will they sit in silence. The outcome is up to you”

Time to Challenge No-Fault Divorce
Thomas F. Farr and Hilary Towers, First Things

State laws on divorce began to be implemented in the late 1960s, but today have been absorbed into the legal and cultural mainstream nationwide.

Unholy row as nativity scene ban divides France
Anne Penketh, The Guardian

Court orders council in La Roche-sur-Yon to dismantle crib, after complaint from secular campaigners.

Seven Things Atheists Get Wrong
David Marcus, The Federalist

Atheists need to understand and embrace the role religion has played in creating the world we live in.

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