Kindle deals for Christian readers
Three volumes in Christian Focus’ History Makers series are on sale for $2.99 each:
- Mary Slessor: A Life on the Altar for God by Bruce McLennan
- John Calvin: Revolutionary, Theologian, Pastor by Williston Walker
- Adoniram Judson by Vance Christie
Why doesn’t God show himself like that anymore? Why does he seem invisible after revealing himself so visibly and tangibly in the Old Testament? Does this mean following him then was concrete (“leave your land”) but following him now is spiritual and psychological (“read your Bible and pray”)? Indeed, many suppose that if God revealed himself today as he did in the Old Testament, it would be more assuring to Christians and might convince the outside world.
…declaring an end to the culture wars seems premature. Time magazine’s cover story last week described transgender rights and bathroom access as the latest flare-up of the culture wars. Different states are debating the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. And churches are mired in debate as well. The United Methodist Church just postponed its never-ending debate over homosexuality, and also took a pro-life turn by withdrawing from a religious coalition of abortion-rights advocates.
Why do the culture wars rage on?
At this point, abortion advocates likely would point to two differences they believe to be relevant. I’ve encountered both of these arguments in discussions about abortion, so I want to address each.
As Paul made ready to depart from the Ephesian elders in Acts 20, he spoke words of great encouragement to them. He instructed them to protect, to teach and to be watchful over the flock which God has purchased with His own blood. He wanted them to be good stewards, both over the Church and over their own lives. But the last and perhaps most important words recorded in this Ephesian elders meeting were the words of Jesus Himself. Paul recalled, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Huck’s view of God reflected that of author Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain. I wonder if anyone told Clemens that the God he saw as so stern and humorless was, yes, a holy God, but he was also a happy God who invented playfulness, fun, laughter, and whitewash—and was the source of Twain’s wit and humor.
Sadly, the same perceptions exist today. Many non-Christian young adults view Christ’s followers as “hypocritical,” “insensitive,” and “judgmental.” These words all describe unhappy people. (If the world judges us, so be it, but it shouldn’t be because we’re chronically unhappy.)
We’ve all heard the phrase “as goes the leader, so goes the organization.” In more biblical terms, Peter calls ministers to be “among” our people as “examples to the flock” (1 Pt 5:2), and Paul’s leadership involved calling others to “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). As leaders, we’re called to model for our people, the life we’re calling them to. So here’s the reality for those of us in leadership in Christian groups: as a ministry leader, you must also serve as its lead missionary. If you’re a leader in a church, then you need to lead your people into mission unless you’re content with your church’s growth being primarily by transfer.
At first glance, this idea of transgender accommodation may appear as warm, inviting, and inclusive. No doubt we may initially see positive effects in some cases, where otherwise sinful abuse of transgendered people is prevented. But as time unfolds and society allows this concept to be worked out in its full consistency to more and more situations, American culture—including the LGBT community—might be forced to look back and say, “What have we done?”