Mere Links 07.01.14
Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 10:00 AM

Why Hobby Lobby Matters
Russell D. Moore, Moore to the Point

The ruling isn’t just a win for evangelicals, like the Southern Baptist Greens. It’s a win for everyone. Here’s why. A government that can pave over the consciences of the Greens can steamroll over any dissent anywhere. Whether you agree or disagree with us about abortion, every American should want to see a government that is not powerful enough to set itself up as a god over the conscience.

The Brave New World of Three-Parent I.V.F.
Kim Tingley, New York Times

Ott, who is Catholic, remembers weighing whether altering the makeup of her descendants in this way was O.K. “Being a person who’s been involved in science my whole life, the way I looked at it is: God gives us doctors to help us, and they help us with things like infertility,” she told me recently.

The Wobbly Exegetical Basis of Penal Substitutionary Satisfaction
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

By way of clearing the field, I should probably speak first of a widely held soteriological theory, called “Penal Substitutionary Satisfaction,” which represents a line of interpretation in the Reformed Tradition of Protestantism.

Skepticism About International Religious Freedom
Mark Movsesian, First Things

the concept of international religious freedom also provokes some skepticism, and did so at the conference. It seems to me this skepticism takes one of two forms, what we might call “Type 1” and “Type 2” skepticism.

Mere Links 06.30.14
Monday, June 30, 2014, 10:00 AM

How Churches Can Bridge the Marriage Divide
Interview with W. Bradford Wilcox , First Things

What accounts for the growing marriage divide in America? Liberals like William Julius Wilson at Harvard tend to finger economic causes, whereas conservatives like Kay Hymowitz at the Manhattan Institute tend to finger cultural changes and poorly conceived public policies. They are both right.

The Intuitive Guide to Religious Liberty Law
Jordan Lorence, Public Discourse

Common sense can tell us whether particular citizens should be exempt from certain government policies for religious reasons. Codifying such instinctive judgments into formal statutes is more difficult.

How Scalia’s prophecy became a moral crises
R. Albert Mohler Jr., CNN

One year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, this much is clear: Justice Antonin Scalia is a prophet.

Exchanging Sex for Survival
Mike Mariani, The Atlantic

So-called “safe harbor” laws may help, but they overlook the vast number of teen runaways who use their bodies as their only form of currency.

Mere Links 06.27.14
Friday, June 27, 2014, 10:00 AM

Supreme Court Holds That Pro-Lifers Have First Amendment Rights Too
Andrew Kloster, The Daily Signal

Ultimately, though, this is a victory for pro-life advocates and for the First Amendment. And it is yet another 9-0 loss for the Obama administration, which weighed in on behalf of the State of Massachusetts.

National Cathedral “Comes Out” With Transgender Preacher
Jeffrey Walton, Juicy Ecumenism

The Episcopal Church’s embrace of transgenderism is part of God’s “project of revelation” according to the first transgender person to preach at the Washington National Cathedral.

U.N. Reports Sharp Increase in Refugees as Civil Wars Cripple Nations
Somini Sengupta, New York Times

According to the United Nations annual report released Friday, most of the forcibly displaced worldwide are homeless in their own countries and are known as internally displaced persons. An additional 16.7 million people are refugees in another land.

Divorce Shocker: Most Marriages Do Make It
Paul Strand, CBN News

Most people believe only half of U.S. marriages make it. But a leading researcher is announcing the true divorce rate is much lower and always has been.

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.

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