Mere Links 11.04.14
Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 10:00 AM

Cracks in the atheist edifice
The Economist

The rapid spread of Christianity in China is forcing an official rethink on religion

The Government Should Stop Waging War on Those Against Same-Sex Marriage
Ryan T. Anderson, The Daily Signal

It’s hard to imagine a more bedrock American right than being free to live according to your religious convictions. The very idea of being forced to violate your beliefs seems unthinkable.

Rogue pastors endorse candidates, but IRS looks away
Rachel Bade, Politico

A record number of rogue Christian pastors are endorsing candidates from the pulpit this election cycle, using Sunday sermons to defiantly flout tax rules. Their message to the IRS: Sue me.

In Malaysia, ‘Allah’ Is Reserved for Muslims Only
Thomas Fuller, New York Times

As the students knelt in a circle at a Christian kindergarten near the shores of the South China Sea, a 6-year-old girl in pigtails read out a chapter from a children’s Bible: “Sepuluh hukum dari Allah” – God’s Ten Commandments. Technically, she broke the law.

Mere Links 10.01.14
Monday, November 3, 2014, 10:00 AM

Why Nigerian Health Officials Turned to a Megachurch Pastor When Ebola Struck
Sunday Oguntola and Ruth Moon, Christianity Today

Outbreak highlights African views about God’s healing power.

Segregated Surveys: How Politics Keeps Evangelicals White
Ruth Moon, Christianity Today

You can disbelieve in God, never go to church, and still identify as “evangelical” in most polls. But if you’re black and evangelical, you literally don’t count.

Learning about Love: How Sex Ed Programs Undermine Happy Marriages
Cassandra Hough, Public Discourse

Contemporary sex education prepares young men and women not for the fullness of friendship, intimacy and love, but for casual relationships and recreational sex.

Does purgatory have a prayer with Protestants?
David Gibson, Religion News Service

Most Protestant traditions forcefully rejected the “Romish doctrine” of purgatory after the Reformation nearly 500 years ago. The Protestant discomfort with purgatory hasn’t eased much since: You still can’t find the word in the Bible, critics say, and the idea that you can pray anyone who has died into paradise smacks of salvation by good works.

Mere Links 10.31.14
Friday, October 31, 2014, 10:00 AM

On The Failures of “General” Christology
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

When the Church in times past- in 451 at Chalcedon, for instance, and at Constantinople in 670-was obliged to deal with a “duality” in Christ, the questions in dispute were resolved by applying the distinction between his divine and human natures.

Pope Francis praises exorcists for combating ‘the Devil’s works’
Nick Squires, The Telegraph

Catholic Church warns of a rise in Satanism and the occult as Pope Francis sends message to Rome convention of international exorcists.

On God’s Responsibility for Atheism
Joseph G. Trabbic, Crisis Magazine

In spite of themselves, atheists can help to remind us of an important truth about God, that is, that he radically transcends the universe. It is God’s very transcendence that makes atheism possible, or at least more likely.

What Is Reformation Day All About?
Robert Rothwell, Ligonier Ministries

On Friday, much of the culture will be focused on candy and things that go bump in the night. Protestants, however, have something far more significant to celebrate on October 31.

Mere Links 10.30.14
Thursday, October 30, 2014, 10:00 AM

Why I Am A Catholic
Ross Douthat, New York Times

I am a Catholic for various contingent reasons (this is as true of converts as of anyone else), but on a conscious level it’s because I am a mostly-faithful Christian who is mostly convinced that Roman Catholicism is the expression of Christianity that has kept faith most fully with the early church and the words of Jesus of Nazareth himself.

The Church Vanishes, Part Deux
Philip Jenkins, The Anxious Bench

If we extrapolate that rate into the not-too-distant future, then the number of people attending Episcopal churches on a typical Sunday will be negligible by mid-century, typical of a tiny sect rather than a great church or denomination.

Marriage Sounds Great—But How On Earth Do I Get There?
Edward Amsden, The Federalist

When everyone’s having sex before marriage, people who choose to remain celibate have an awful hard time finding people with similar beliefs and virtues to marry. Conservatives should help.

In new video, Francis urges Catholics and Protestants to work together
Austen Ivereigh, Crux

Catholics and Evangelicals should not wait for theologians to reach agreement before praying and working together, Pope Francis recently told a group of Pentecostal Anglican bishops in Rome.

Mere Links 10.29.14
Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Death of the Parish
David T. Koyzis, First Things

Beginning just over a century ago, all this changed. Catholics and Protestants alike have now embraced a new ecclesiology based on the consumer model. Adam Graber tells us that this huge shift was sparked by the invention of the automobile: “How Cars Created the Megachurch and put churchgoers in the driver’s seat.”

Secularism grows as more U.S. Christians turn ‘churchless’
Cathy Lynn Grossman, Religion News Service

If you’re dismayed that one in five Americans (20 percent) are “nones” — people who claim no particular religious identity — brace yourself. How does 38 percent sound?

The Hidden Costs of Legalized Suicide: What We Can Learn from Brittany Maynard
Adam J. MacLeod, Public Discourse

We ought to demonstrate compassion for Brittany Maynard, but we must not allow our compassion to obscure the nature of her choice—or the consequences that legal acceptance of a legal right to kill has for those left behind.

The Defense of Marriage Isn’t Over
Ryan T. Anderson, Crisis Magazine

The Supreme Court’s recent refusal to hear lower court cases over marriage is, as I noted elsewhere, a setback for sound constitutional self-government and a setback for a healthy marriage culture.

Mere Links 10.28.14
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Softer Face of Calvinism
Interview with Kevin P. Emmert, Christianity Today

Reformed theology is more irenic and diverse than you think, says theologian Oliver Crisp.

Top Anglican calls for lifting seal of confessional in child abuse cases
Trevor Grundy, Religion News Service

Anglican priests should no longer be bound by the centuries-old principle of confidentiality in confessions when they are told of sexual crimes committed against children, the Church of England’s No. 2 official said.

I Lost My Daughter to Suicide: A Nurse’s Response to Brittany Maynard’s Campaign for Assisted Suicide
Nancy Valko, Public Discourse

Do assisted suicide supporters really expect doctors and nurses to be able to assist the suicide of one patient, then go on to care for a similar patient who wants to live, without this having an effect on their ethics or their empathy? Do they realize that this reduces the second patient’s will to live to a mere personal whim—one that society may ultimately see as selfish and too costly?

Contraception Won’t Fix Fatherlessness
Willis L. Krumholz, The Federalist

No program has reversed the disincentive for marriage among the poor caused by America’s current welfare programs. Contraception won’t, either.

Mere Links 10.27.14
Monday, October 27, 2014, 10:00 AM

Pope Francis calls for abolishing death penalty and life imprisonment
Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News Service

Pope Francis called for abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, and denounced what he called a “penal populism” that promises to solve society’s problems by punishing crime instead of pursuing social justice.

How to Survive a Cultural Crisis
Mark Dever, 9Marks Blog

In all this, Christians are tempted to become panicked or to speak as alarmists. But to the extent we do, to that same extent we show we’ve embraced an unbiblical and nominal Christianity.

UK: One in 50 clergy don’t believe in God
Ruth Gledhill, Christian Today

One in 50 Anglican clergy in the UK believes God is merely a human construct, according to a new survey today.

Three Views: Do the Common Core Education Standards Endanger Religious Freedom?
Kevin Theriot, Karen Swallow Prior, Kristen Blair, Christianity Today

Why a nationwide standard for classrooms may cause concern.

Mere Links 10.24.14
Friday, October 24, 2014, 10:00 AM

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Reformed Theology
Corrie Mitchell, On Faith

Is Calvinism the cold, rigid approach to Christianity it’s made out to be?

You’re Alive Today Because of this 19th Century Doctor
Brantly Millegan, Aleteia

Dr. Horatio Robinson Storer led the movement to enact pro-life legislation in the 19th century and in so doing saved millions, including your ancestors, explains Frederick Dyer in his interview with Aleteia.

Culture War, Spiritual War
Peter Leithart, First Things

So now we’re debating whether or not two men or two women can get married. How, over the course of less than two decades, did we become blind to something as obvious as the difference between friendship and marriage?

How Cars Created the Megachurch
Adam Graber, Leadership Journal

Of the 150 or so acres making up Willow Creek Community Church’s main campus, a full 8 acres are devoted to buildings. Parking lots cover more than 28. That ratio demonstrates just how important cars are to most churches today.

Mere Links 10.23.14
Thursday, October 23, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Bishops’ Fateful Decision Respecting the Unborn
Mark Gallagher, Crisis Magazine

This required the election of presidents who would nominate Supreme Court justices not interested in creating constitutional rights to legal abortion, and the election of pro-life members of Congress to confirm the justices, and to propose a constitutional amendment. Elections were the key. How were the bishops to proceed?

Archbishop of York ‘wholehearted’ apology to abuse victims
Caroline Wyatt, BBC

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu has apologised to victims of sexual abuse by a former cathedral dean.

70 Years Ago Today: The Conversion of J. I. Packer
Justin Taylor, The Gospel Coalition

He entered the doors of the church a dead man walking and was to leave later that night as a resurrected man, knowing himself to belong to Christ.

Unicef: Violence kills child every five minutes

A child is killed by violence every five minutes in the world, a leading charity says, calling for new targets to end all forms of abuse by 2030.

Mere Links 10.22.14
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 10:00 AM

Francis Must Correct Synod Distortions
Dr. William Oddie, Crisis Magazine

The presentation of the so-called “mid-term report” of the extraordinary synod of bishops on the family (the Latin headline of which, relatio post disceptationem, may seem to the unenlightened to give it an authority it doesn’t in fact possess) aroused a predictable level of interest in both the Catholic and the non-Catholic media.

China’s One-Child Policy: Massive Crimes against Women, Supported by the Obama Administration
Chris Smith, Public Discourse

Under the Obama Administration, the United States is breaking its own law by giving taxpayer money to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports the One-Child Policy. It is also failing to implement immigration and visa bans for those who have been complicit in forced abortions and sterilizations.

Razed by Terror Attacks, a Church Will Rise Anew
Alex Vadukul, New York Times

Thirteen years ago, a small Greek Orthodox church with a ringing rooftop bell offered a reprieve from the city’s furious financial nerve center, until it was crushed when the World Trade Center’s south tower collapsed on Sept. 11. On Saturday, church officials blessed the ground where the new St. Nicholas church would rise.

Pope Francis Beatifies an Earlier Reformer, Paul VI
Elisabetta Povoledo, New York Times

Pope Francis on Sunday beatified Pope Paul VI, who died in 1978 after shepherding the church through a period of internal reform amid an era of social and political change and growing challenges to the church’s traditional teachings.

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