Mere Links 10.21.14
Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Vatican Backpedals on Support for Gays and Divorcees
Allen McDuffee, The Atlantic

A much-discussed report from the Catholic Church’s synod on the family turned out to be very different in its final form.

When a Pastor Resigns Abruptly
John Ortberg, Leadership Journal

Yesterday a well-known pastor resigned from a high-profile church. I don’t know enough about that situation to comment on it one way or another. But I find myself—as many of us will today—reflecting on my own life, and on the state of our little evangelical world.

Transgenders and Theology
Judy Valente, PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly

We report from Chicago on how churches are responding to transgender people, especially as they become more and more visible in popular culture. At the Urban Village Church in Hyde Park, Rev. Emily McGinley’s ministry reaches out to transgender individuals.

Houston Narrows Subpoenas, But Pastors Say Not Enough
Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

The city of Houston, Texas announced yesterday that it has filed narrowed subpoenas against five pastors in a lawsuit against it challenging rejection of referendum petition signatures. At issue is an attempt by opponents of the city’s Equal Rights Ordinance to obtain its repeal.

Mere Links 10.20.14
Monday, October 20, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Army Hidden in the World
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

If the true identity of Christ our Lord, his inner Person begotten of the Father, remains a mystery concealed from the world (John 14:22Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), something similar is also said rightly of those who put their hope in Christ, because they too are defined by their communion with the Father in Christ.

In Alabama, the religiously ‘unaffiliated’ now surpasses this major religious group
Carol McPhail,

The percentage of Alabamians not affiliated with a specific religion surpasses the percentage of white mainline Protestants, ranking it third among “religious” groups, according to new research.

Of Michael Landon and Brittany Maynard
Wesley J. Smith, First Things

The changing meaning of courage in the face of pending death.

What Christians Should Know About the Ebola Crisis
Dr. Miguel Núñez, The Gospel Coalition

Last Wednesday, the world awoke to the news that Erick Thomas Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, had died of the disease.

Mere Links 10.17.14
Friday, October 17, 2014, 10:00 AM

Cardinal is “Appalled,” Denies Africa Comments Caught on Tape
Matthew Schmitz, First Things

In an interview published yesterday, Cardinal Walter Kasper—the leading voice calling for liberalizing Catholic practice at the Church’s current synod—described African attitudes toward homosexuality as a “taboo” and said that Africans “should not tell us too much what we have to do.”

Why Are Young Blacks Leaving the Church?
Anthony Carter, 9Marks Blog

Are “black millennials” leaving the church? Is this something about which we should be alarmed? In recent times much has been written on this subject seeking to interpret and analyze what some are saying is a disturbing trend.

Damnatio Memoria? The Council of Trent and Catholic Teaching on Divorce
E. Christian Brugger, Public Discourse

Some theologians claim that the Council of Trent lends support to the idea that the Catholic Church could accept divorce and remarriage. Careful scholarship reveals that this is not true.

How Boko Haram’s Murders and Kidnappings Are Changing Nigeria’s Churches
Interview by Timothy C. Morgan, Christianity Today

Leading Nigerian evangelical says Christians won’t abandon the North.

Mere Links 10.16.14
Thursday, October 16, 2014, 10:00 AM

Has the Catholic Church Changed Its Teaching on Sex and Marriage?
Robert P. George, Public Discourse

Amid reports of “earthquakes” and “seismic” shifts, we ought to remember the Catholic Church’s moral teachings in their wholeness, which have not shifted at all.

What Should Evangelicals Make of the Rome Synod on the Family?
Russell Moore, Moore to the Point

Should all of this even matter to those of us who are Protestants? We do not, as Martin Luther put it, accept the authority of popes and councils “since these have often contradicted one another.” And yet, there are some important questions posed here, that we should consider.

Christian group to turn former abortion clinic into memorial garden
David Yonke, Religion News Service

A Christian ministry plans to turn an abandoned abortion clinic into a memorial garden for the unborn.

The Vindication of Christian Sexual Ethics
David French, National Review Online

This is exactly the time when Christians should step forward with a different ideal, the holistic, healthy, and proven model of sobriety always, chastity before marriage, and fidelity afterwards — all because marriage is sacred, our bodies are a temple to God, and we love our spouses more than we love our own lives.

Mere Links 10.15.14
Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 10:00 AM

Can Christians Still Go to Harvard?
Kirsten Powers, The Daily Beast

America’s colleges are increasingly hostile to religion, but Veritas, a Christian organization, has found a way to thrive.

The Solemnization of Marriage
Kevin DeYoung, The Gospel Coalition

If gay marriage is right, then there is almost nothing in the old Book of Common Prayer that is right.

Surrogacy: The Twenty-First Century’s New Baby-Making
Christopher White, The Federalist

Pro-surrogacy groups argue it’s time the law recognizes some women as breeders.

A Pastoral Failure
Matthew Schmitz, First Things

Instead of addressing sin, the document calls for “dialogue and cooperation . . . with the social structures.” The clunkiness of the phrasing makes me very much doubt the prospects of the dialogue (clarity being a prerequisite of conversation), though it is indeed important to address the economic conditions that make married life difficult.

Mere Links 10.14.14
Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 10:00 AM

Christianity in elite academia? It’s risky business
Margery Eagan, Crux

“I was a newly appointed associate dean at a dinner party with the sophisticated administrative elite at Berkeley,” Reimer said, “and over cocktails someone made a comment that ‘there were no Christians here at Berkeley.’ Sheepishly, I told the group that this is not so, and that I was a Christian. One of the deans retorted, ‘Well, at least there are no Republicans here.’ ”

Adam, Ralph, Moses and Man
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

With respect to biology, perhaps some attention should be given to a recent theory that interprets the biblical Adam as a literary metaphor for the human race or for some early portion thereof.

Nigeria’s ‘megachurches’: a hidden pillar of Africa’s top economy
Tim Cocks, Reuters

When a guesthouse belonging to one of Nigeria’s leading Christian pastors collapsed last month, killing 115 mostly South African pilgrims, attention focused on the multimillion-dollar “megachurches” that form a huge, untaxed sector of Africa’s top economy.

General Theological Seminary and Progressive Christianity
Frederick Schmidt , Patheos

Reluctantly, I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason the faculty has been treated so callously is because our commitment to progressive Christianity is a fragile thing, rooted more in a commitment to progressive political views than it is to views grounded in an understanding of God’s will.

Mere Links 10.13.14
Monday, October 13, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Church of England and Moral Hazard
Betsy Childs, First Things

Certainly, ministers should be allowed to hold political views and to speak about them. But the Church of England needs to give careful thought to the kind of moral hazards that can arise from behavior like Sizer’s.

The Incomprehensibility of Sin: A Problem for Apologetics
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

Following the lead of Holy Scripture, the Church has consistently proclaimed that Christ is victorious over three enemies: Sin, Death, and Satan. All three, alas, pose special difficulties for those outside the Christian faith we are proposing to them.

Africans to Westerners at synod: We’ve got our own problems
Inés San Martín, Crux

During the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family, many of the biggest surprises are coming from the African continent, where the challenges vary greatly from those of Europe and the US.

China’s One-Child Policy: Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Must Work Together to End Forced Abortion and Gendercide
Reggie Littlejohn, Public Discourse

Forced abortion and gendercide are not pro-life or pro-choice issues. They are human rights issues.

Mere Links 10.10.14
Friday, October 10, 2014, 10:00 AM

Mercy and Marriage at the Synod
Ross Douthat, New York Times

Since I haven’t written anything new lately on the debate over communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, the highest-profile (or at least most divisive) issue likely to be discussed at the synod of bishops that began meeting this week in Rome, I thought that I should link back to a few of my posts on the subject.

Why do so many liberals despise Christianity?
Damon Linker, The Week

Liberals increasingly want to enforce a comprehensive, uniformly secular vision of the human good. And they see alternative visions of the good as increasingly intolerable.

The Defense of Marriage Isn’t Over
Ryan T. Anderson, Public Discourse

Monday’s action from the Supreme Court is a setback for sound constitutional self-government and for a healthy marriage culture. So where do we go from here?

Is It Fair To Criticize Missionary Doctors?
Aaron Earls, The Federalist

An atheist provides yet another unintentional compliment to doctors who serve in Christ’s name.

Mere Links 10.09.14
Thursday, October 9, 2014, 10:00 AM

Christians cannot strategize and argue their way into renewed prominence
Michael Brendan Dougherty , The Week

The decline of Christianity will be reversed by attraction. The heart moves first, and then the head follows it.

The preacher refusing to give up the keys to a Yangon church

A recent Magazine article reported on the dwindling number of Armenians in Myanmar, also known as Burma. As Jonah Fisher reports from Yangon, the head of the Armenian Church has been to meet the local congregation and has made some changes.

Once Saul, Always Saul
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

The Bible does not explain why the name of Saul, the early persecutor of Christians, was changed to Paul, but also the Bible does not discourage speculation on the point. Undiscouraged, then, let us speculate.

Anthony Kennedy Halts the Latest Gay-Marriage Advance
Russell Berman, The Atlantic

The Supreme Court justice temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling striking down same-sex-marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada.

Mere Links 10.08.14
Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 10:00 AM

Divine Acquisition
Meara Sharma interviews Anthony Pinn, Guernica

The scholar of African-American religion on black megachurches and the marketability of the American Dream.

How the Russian Orthodox Church answers Putin’s prayers in Ukraine
Gabriela Baczynska and Tom Heneghan, Reuters

Under Putin, the ROC gets support from the state and powerful oligarchs allied to the Kremlin, while Moscow benefits from its public blessing. A recent poll showed 75 percent of Russians approve of the ROC and more than half value its close ties with the state.

Pope Francis: Vatican begins landmark synod to discuss family life
James Reynolds, BBC

Pope Francis has opened a gathering of more than 200 senior Roman Catholic bishops by urging them not to impose what he called “intolerable moral burdens” on believers.

Why you should care about a Muslim inmate’s beard
Emily Hardman, CNN

I’m not a Muslim. I’ve never been imprisoned. And I don’t want to grow a beard. But I’m defending the rights of someone who is and does.

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