Mere Links 06.26.14
Thursday, June 26, 2014, 10:00 AM

Asian Nations, Once Again, Among the Worst Human Trafficking Offenders
Olivia Enos, The Daily Signal

An estimated 30 million people are trapped in the mire of human trafficking, with over half of trafficking victims living in Asia. Profits from this global scourge amount to around $150 billion.

The Aesthetics of Prophecy
Toby J. Sumpter, Desiring God

Beauty is all the rage. You can’t get three sentences in modern theology without tripping over words like “aesthetics” and “beauty” and “Christianity and the arts.” And in many ways this is a welcome shift.

Dostoyevsky the Prophet: The Trial of Dmitri Karamazov and the Redefinition of Family
Randall Smith, Public Discourse

Dostoyevsky prophetically depicts the notion of family as determined not by nature but by consent—an idea that has come to dominate our modern society.

Why Religious Freedom in Sudan Matters to All of Us
Travis Weber, On Faith

With Meriam Ibrahim and her children facing torture and impending death, a surprising collection of activists have fought to save them.



Mere Links 06.25.14
Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Coming Methodist Split?
Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism

The United Methodist Church, with 7.4 million members in the United States, is America’s third largest church, despite having lost over 3.5 million members over the last 50 years. But now its debates over same sex marriage are threatening to fracture the denomination.

Teaching creationism as scientifically valid now banned in all UK public schools
JC Sevcik, UPI

UK government: “The requirement on every academy and free school to provide a broad and balanced curriculum … prevents the teaching of creationism as evidence based theory in any academy or free school.”

Ukraine’s Ancient Hatred
Nikolas K. Gvosdev, The National Interest

Three hundred years of history explain why Putin can never see his neighbor as a fully legitimate sovereign nation.

Pope: More Christian Martyrs Today Than in Church’s First Centuries
Mark Movsesian, First Things

Pope Francis opened an academic conference in Rome last week with a statement on religious liberty and the persecution of Christians. He reflected on the place of religious liberty in Catholic thought and decried religious discrimination across the world, particularly against Christians.



Mere Links 06.24.14
Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 10:00 AM

No, Pope Francis did not officially excommunicate the mafia
Brandon Ambrosino, Vox

By now, the news is everywhere: the Pope has declared the mafia excommunicated from the Catholic Church: “Those who in their life have gone along the evil ways, as in the case of the mafia, they are not with God, they are excommunicated,” he said on Saturday in the Italian city of Calabria. But did Francis really excommunicate the entire mafia from the Catholic Church?

Freezing Tiny Human Beings
Arland K. Nichols, Crisis Magazine

The most obvious offense to their human rights is that the process of freezing and thawing the embryos leads to the death of many.

Anyone Can Speak in Tongues
Emma Green, The Atlantic

The rise of water baptisms and encounters with the Holy Spirit in the Assemblies of God.

A Christian Convert, on the Run in Afghanistan
Azaim Ahmed, New York Times

In official eyes here, there are no Afghan Christians. The few Afghans who practice the faith do so in private for fear of persecution, attending one of a handful of underground churches that are believed to be operating in the country. Expatriates use chapels on embassy grounds, but those are effectively inaccessible to Afghans.



Mere Links 06.23.14
Monday, June 23, 2014, 10:00 AM

Could the Persecuted Church Rescue American Christianity?
Russell D. Moore, OnFaith

Christianity in this country is big, powerful, and familiar. We need it to become strange again.

Presbyterians Vote to Allow Same-Sex Marriages
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted at its General Assembly on Thursday to change its constitution’s definition of marriage from “a man and a woman” to “two people,” and to allow its ministers to perform same-sex marriages where it is legal.

Kerry Asks Sudan to ‘Respect’ Condemned Mom’s Religious Freedom
Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal

A day after Christian groups rallied outside the White House seeking presidential action on behalf of a mother condemned to hang in Sudan because of her Christian faith, Secretary of State John Kerry posted a statement of “concern” about her persecution.

Pope Condemns Legalization of Recreational Drugs
Associated Press

Pope Francis condemned the legalization of recreational drugs as a flawed and failed experiment as he lent his voice Friday to a debate that is raging from the United States to Uruguay.



Mere Links 06.20.14
Friday, June 20, 2014, 10:00 AM

Resurrection in the Old Testament?
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

When we search for Old Testament evidence that ‘Christ must rise,’ we should be prepared to look at the Hebrew Scriptures through the lens used by the New Testament writers.

Polygamy and Human Dignity
Carson Holloway, Public Discourse

The normalization of polygamy would undermine our commitment to human dignity—our sense that each human being is to be valued as an end in him- or herself, and not merely as a means to others’ ends.

Prayer as a Political Problem: A Classic Reconsidered
Regis Martin, Crisis Magazine

What will make the existence of a Christian people possible in the civilization of tomorrow? The religious problem is a mass problem. It is not at all the problem of an elite.

When the Pursuit of Justice Isn’t
Jared C. Wilson, The Gospel Coalition

We keep hearing from confessing Christians the appeal to biblical justice in the question of marriage equality and the like. I think beneath the fundamental redefinition of marriage to something both foreign to and against the Scriptures is the fundamental redefinition of justice, as well.



Mere Links 06.19.14
Thursday, June 19, 2014, 10:00 AM

Know Your Enemy
Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine

If human beings were utility machines, acting by a calculus of moral duty regardless of passion, memory, the body, and all that they see that cannot be reduced to a calculus, then debates might be simple affairs.

The War on Christians
Paul Marshall, The Weekly Standard

From Africa, to Asia, to the Middle East, they’re the world’s most persecuted religious group.

On the Southern Baptist agenda: Get the evangelizers evangelizing
Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post

From Billy Graham’s roadside tent revivals to Jerry Falwell’s TV ministries to Rick Warren’s 20,000-member megachurch, Southern Baptists dominate the evangelical brand in America.

Jesus Came Preaching
Timothy George, First Things

t the heart of the Christian faith is a Savior who was a preacher. “And Jesus came preaching” (Mark 1:14). This stands in contrast to the gods of Olympus or the deities of the Roman pantheon whose interaction with mortals, when it happened at all, was transient, ephemeral, detached, like a circle touching a tangent. Zeus thundered, but he did not preach



Mere Links 06.18.14
Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 10:00 AM

Anti-Catholicism: The Defining Religious Principle of Early America?
Thomas Kidd , The Anxious Bench

There’s nothing like war to fuel prejudice of all kinds, and the imperial conflicts of the first six decades of the eighteenth century fostered a particularly intense anti-Catholicism among many Americans.

Is Gay Marriage Destroying the United Methodist Church?
Timothy C. Morgan, Christianity Today

Progressives violate ban on same-sex unions, sparking fresh talk of schism.

Science and the Embryo
Christopher O. Tollefsen, Public Discourse

Senator Rubio was on solid ground in saying science has settled the question of when a human being’s life begins. Science does not need to wait on philosophy’s pronouncements to investigate what the human embryo is and when its life begins.

Undercover Investigation Exposes Planned Parenthood’s Controversial Sex Ed Advice
Monica Sanchez, The Daily Signal

Planned Parenthood, which is receiving taxpayer funding under Obamacare for teen sex education, is the subject of a new undercover investigation that exposes its counselors providing graphic sexual advice to minors.



Mere Links 06.17.14
Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 10:00 AM

Family-First Conservatism: A Tentative Manifesto
Joe Carter, Canon & Culture

My political philosophy could be called “family-first conservatism” for I believe in our current period within Western history, the institution of the family should be given pride of place in decisions about public policy and the creation of social norms.

Colleges and Evangelicals Collide on Bias Policy
Michael Paulson, New York Times

In a collision between religious freedom and antidiscrimination policies, the student group, and its advisers, have refused to agree to the college’s demand that any student, regardless of his or her religious beliefs, should be able to run for election as a leader of any group, including the Christian association.

Four Defining Characteristics of Biblical Flourishing
Hugh Whelchel, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

How do you live the good life? How do you really, truly flourish? What’s more, how do we as Christians navigate the clash of cultural visions concerning “the good life” and what it means to flourish?

What Jesus Said About Divorce
Daniel Thimons, Crisis Magazine

The Church is called during this time in preparation for the Synod, to reflect ever more deeply on the teaching of Jesus Christ with regard to marriage, a teaching that is full of mercy: hoping, forgiving, and loving to the end.



Mere Links 06.16.14
Monday, June 16, 2014, 10:00 AM

Was The Resurrection Necessary?
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

Is it possible to determine the source of this active idiom? In other words, can we identify what kind of setting prompted Christians to proclaim, ‘Jesus rose’ or ‘ Christ is risen,’ instead of ‘Jesus was raised’

The Future of Christianity in America
Joe Carter, Aleteia

The case for what might seem like an unusual spiritual indicator.

Baptizing the Dora Generation: Why Preschooler Faith Is So Controversial
Kevin P. Emmert, Christianity Today

Southern Baptist leaders would rather ‘the only consistently growing group in baptisms’ be shrinking.

Experimenting on the Lambs
Tony Woodlief , Image

News from Alabama is that researchers obscured risks of blindness, brain damage, and death in order to convince parents of 1,300 premature infants to participate in a medical study.



Mere Links 06.13.14
Friday, June 13, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Dying and Rising of Jesus
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

Whereas early Apostolic testimony, the letters of St. Paul, and the Synoptic sources normally speak of Christ’s Resurrection as the act of the Father, the event itself—the noun—is invariably the Resurrection of Christ.

9 Things You Should Know About Surrogacy
Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition

Last week, the issue of surrogacy returned to the news when Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal vetoed legislation allowing for legal surrogacy births. Here are nine things you should know about surrogacy.

An honest assessment of the Southern Baptist Convention
Jacob Lupfer, Religion News Service

SBC leaders are pleased that the convention is having a robust debate about the doctrines of salvation and not, like many other Protestant bodies, about same-sex marriage and LGBT issues.

A Lethal Legacy: Hurricane Katrina and the Indignity of Euthanasia
Christopher White, Public Discourse

A new book tells the harrowing story of Memorial Medical Center, where some physicians took the lives of their patients during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Marriage Takes a Beating
Kenneth D. Whitehead, Crisis Magazine

Traditional marriage has been taking quite a beating ever since the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Windsor case handed down in June 2013, ruled that same-sex unions must be considered true marriages wherever they have been legally enacted as such, whether by legislative action, court action, or referendum.


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