Mere Links 12.05.14
Friday, December 5, 2014, 10:00 AM

What It Means to Listen: Free Speech from the Perspective of the Abrahamic Religions
Dominic Burbidge, Public Discourse

The Abrahamic religions provide a radical interpretation of the importance of speech: it is the primary way in which God reveals himself. Because persons of faith believe that God has spoken, they are called to develop and deepen their capacities for listening.

From Hell to Oprah: What Happened to Rob Bell?
Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religion News Service

The former megachurch pastor exchanged his evangelical bona fides for the blessing of Oprah.

Should Christian Historians Appeal to Providence in Their Interpretations?
Justin Taylor , The Gospel Coalition

Although Christian historians may disagree among themselves regarding the precise nature or extent of God’s providence, all affirm its reality and importance as those who trust in the God who has decisively revealed himself through Christ in his authoritative Word and who is at work throughout history. And yet there is a debate about how providence should be used in the writing of history, especially before the academy.

Fury at the Cross(roads): The Gospel in the Violence of History
Will McDavid , Mockingbird

The most religious film many moviegoers will see this year will not be an inspirational story from a faith-based production company; it will be writer-director David Ayer’s WWII tank combat epic Fury. And in some ways Fury is also a more compelling narrative about redemption than many of the sermons preached from Church pulpits on any given Sunday.



Mere Links 12.03.14
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 10:00 AM

What the Holy Spirit Preserves Only in the Church
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church is not only original, unique, and exclusive, it is also permanent. This gift is as irrevocable as the Incarnation itself. Much as the event of the Word’s enfleshment irrevocably links the Second Person of the Holy Trinity to the human race, the event of Pentecost joins the Third Person of the Holy Trinity permanently to the Church. Both conjunctions are irreversible.

More Pastors Embrace Talk of Mental Ills
Jan Hoffman, New York Times

Evangelical leaders are increasingly opening up about family suicides, their own clinical depression and the relief they have received from psychiatric medication.

Church of England could select first woman bishop
BBC

The first woman bishop in the Church of England could be selected this week. Candidates for bishop of Southwell and Nottingham are being interviewed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

1 in 3 Americans want a divorce between clergy and civil marriages
Cathy Lynn Grossman, Religion News Service

Should clergy divorce themselves from civil marriage? Such a church-state split — already endorsed by some Catholic and evangelical leaders — is showing surprising popularity in two new surveys released Tuesday by LifeWay Research.



Mere Links 12.02.14
Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Farce of Feeling Forgiveness
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

It may be the case that we have heard the plainest words of Holy Scripture so often that we no longer really hear them.

Francis rolls out ‘social gospel’ case for Catholic/Orthodox unity
John L. Allen Jr., Crux

Sometimes what a pope doesn’t say can be just as important as what he does, and such was the case in Turkey on Sunday as Pope Francis laid out his vision for unity between Catholics and Orthodox Christianity.

Prayer in the Facebook Age
Mark Bauerlein, First Things

We are in danger of losing these replenishing, corrective moments of solitary faith. Silence and seclusion are harder to find, and fewer people seek them out.

Ecumenism After 50 Years
Timothy George, First Things

In retrospect it is clear that the Second Vatican Council was the most momentous religious event of the twentieth century—and not only for Catholics.



Mere Links 12.01.14
Monday, December 1, 2014, 10:00 AM

Connecting Religious and Economic Liberty
Dylan Pahman, Public Discourse

New data suggest that countries that value and protect religious liberty offer fertile soil for economic liberty to flourish.

The Origins of Aggressive Atheism
Emma Green, The Atlantic

Non-believers are often marginalized in the U.S., which had led to a lot of resentment among their ranks. But don’t be deceived: For most Americans, lack of religion usually comes with a shrug, not a shout.

Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?
Dennis Bonnette, Crisis Magazine

Pure myth! That is today’s typical view of a literal Adam and Eve. Yet, contrary to current skepticism, a real Adam and Eve remain credible—both in terms of Catholic doctrine and sound natural science.

Study: Half of Americans, Majority of White Evangelicals Believe Natural Disasters Are Rising Due to ‘End Times’ Not Climate Change
Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post

Nearly half of Americans now believe that the recent surge in natural disasters is the result of biblical “End Times” than climate change, and more than two-thirds of white evangelical Protestants hold this belief, according to a new study.



Mere Links 11.26.14
Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 10:00 AM

Galloping Toward Gomorrah
Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

What’s significant is not that this deranged behavior happens. It has no doubt always been with us. What’s significant is that this interview appears in a mainstream magazine.

Evangelism is central to being the people of God, says Archbishop Justin
Archbishop of Canterbury

Don’t wait to share Jesus with others, the Archbishop of Canterbury tells Church Army annual meeting.

How the Sensitivity Movement Desensitized Catholics to Evil
William Kilpatrick, Crisis Magazine

Remember bell-bottoms, beads, and tie-dyed shirts? Remember encounter groups, Esalen, and trust falls? Remember “self-esteem,” “risk-taking,” “self-awareness” and the other clichés that were born with the human potential movement?

Supper Is Served: Reflections on the Temple as a Liturgical Paradigm
William Simpson, The Imaginative Conservative

In this divine economy, the role of the temple with its sacrifices was of central significance. Perhaps a rough analogy for moderns might be one that I heard in Jerusalem using the vehicle of a ‘WiFi network’: Without a correctly functioning router (temple) with a strong radio signal (God’s presence in the community) there could be no viable connection (faith and ritual) for the devices (worshipers) to hook up to the internet (God’s life and power) and communicate with each other (religious fellowship).



Mere Links 11.25.14
Tuesday, November 25, 2014, 10:00 AM

Why the Crackdown? Christians Now Outnumber Communists in China
Steven W. Mosher, Aleteia

China’s Communist government has been on an anti-Christian rampage of late, tearing down churches in the coastal city of Wenzhou and elsewhere, arresting underground bishops and home church leaders, and illicitly ordaining pliant priests as Catholic “bishops.“ But underneath this escalating campaign of repression – in fact, the reason for it – is a rapidly growing population of Christians.

Six new Catholic saints at a glance
Associated Press

Pope Francis on Sunday canonized six new saints, two Indians and four Italians, all of whom dedicated their lives to helping the poor.

The State of Theology: Heaven? Yes! Hell, No.
Stephen Nichols, Ligonier Ministries

For all the bluster of atheists, and the rush towards secularization that we see swirling around us, most Americans are reluctant to give up belief in the afterlife and in the eternal destinations of heaven and hell.

Why Gender Matters for Christian Stewardship
Joseph Sunde, Acton Institute

Christians believe that all humans are created in the image of God, a notion that shapes our understanding of human dignity and transforms our view of human destiny.



Mere Links 11.24.14
Monday, November 24, 2014, 10:00 AM

Christian Inmate Suing Indiana To Recognize Religion
Daniel Silliman, Religion Dispatches

An Eastern Orthodox prison inmate won a small but important victory in his legal fight to have the Indiana Department of Corrections recognize his religion.

Churches and Obama’s Executive Amnesty
Mark Tooley, First Things

That U.S. immigration policy should be based on several Scripture passages simply urging kindness to strangers was a dubious claim but one that supposedly would mobilize millions of Evangelicals to compel the Republican House of Representatives to approve the Democratic Senate’s legislation for mass legalization.

Rick Warren at the Vatican: “We’re More Effective and Better Together Than We Are Apart”
Diana Montagna, Aleteia

Saddleback Church founder speaks at conference on man-woman complementarity.

7 Ways Christian Academics Can Be Truly Christian
Kevin DeYoung, The Gospel Coalition

As a pastor and just as an intellectually curious sort of chap, I want Christian academics to flourish. I also want these Christian scholars to be thoroughly Christian.



Mere Links 11.21.14
Friday, November 21, 2014, 10:00 AM

Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Will Tear Us Apart
Russell Moore, Time

On more than one occasion, I asked President Obama not to turn immigration reform into a red state/blue state issue. People across the political spectrum support fixing this system, and it shouldn’t be a partisan wedge issue.

Why has Pentecostalism grown so dramatically in Latin America?
David Masci, Pew Research Center

With nearly 300 million followers worldwide, including many in Africa and Latin America, Pentecostalism is now a global phenomenon. But present day Pentecostalism traces its origins to a religious revival movement that began in the early 20th century.

Rabbi Sacks: Family Is Most Humanizing Institution in History
Zenit

Here is the address given Monday by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks at the colloquim underway in the Vatican on the complementarity of man and woman. The rabbi’s address was titled “The Family is the Single Most Humanising Institution in History.”

The poor want ‘dignity, not charity,’ pope says
Inés San Martín, Crux

Pope Francis called hunger and malnutrition a cause of scandal on Thursday, and declared that the poor of the world “ask for dignity, not charity.”



Mere Links 11.20.14
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 10:00 AM

British Rabbi Tells Vatican Conference We Must Defend the Family of “Man, Woman and Child”
Aleteia

Rabbi Lord Sacks blames the breakdown of the traditional family for society’s ills.

Hello ladies, goodbye Communion?
The Economist

If this week is remembered as an important one by church historians, it may be for a different reason: it was the moment when the archbishop of Canterbury finally acknowledged that the Anglican Communion, the global family of churches numbering about 80m of which he is head, may be impossible to hold together.

The Wilberforce Test: Preaching and the Public Square
Owen Strachan, 9Marks

William Wilberforce was born with life laid out like a Persian carpet before him. He was from fantastic wealth, had access to high society whenever he pleased, and had the social graces to charm most anyone he encountered.

How a French Atheist Becomes a Theologian
Guillaume Bignon, Christianity Today

If French atheists rarely become evangelical Christians, how much rarer it is for one to become an evangelical Christian theologian. So what happened? One might argue that with 66 million French people, I’m just a fluke, an anomaly.



Mere Links 11.19.14
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 10:00 AM

Clerical Freedom and Academic Freedom
Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine

It’s odd to think that all those boys died at Normandy and Iwo Jima so that men of God could have their sermons confiscated by the government, lest they dare to preach against ambiguous bathrooms.

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Evangelicals
Warren Cole Smith, OnFaith

A reporter offers his insights on a religious movement everyone talks about but few understand.

Same-Self Marriage
Timothy George, First Things

It’s only a trickle, not yet a trend, but it is out there, and it has a name: sologamy. Sologamy is the marriage of someone to one’s own self—the his- or herness of it is not relevant, although it seems to be mostly women who are doing it.

Man, Woman, and the Mystery of Christ: An Evangelical Protestant Perspective
Russell Moore, The Gospel Coalition

The sexual revolution cannot keep its promises. People are looking for a cosmic mystery, for a love that is stronger than death. They cannot articulate it, and perhaps would be horrified to know it, but they are looking for God.


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