A faithful few on global warming, Calvinism, romance, sexuality, and xenobaptism


Some interesting faith-related items from the blogroll:

Swamphopper wonders about the latest release from some prominent evangelical leaders (including Purpose-peddler Rick Warren) calling for an end to global warming:

These are the questions going through my mind today: What will the evangelical church look like ten or twenty years from now? What happens when the gospel becomes an occasional sermon slipped in among series of social topics, "conservative" or "liberal" ones? What happens when the gospel, the good news of Christ crucified and resurrected, becomes a side note rather than the main theme of worship?

Dan Paden has a review of By His Grace and for His Glory: A Historical, Theological, and Practical Study of the Doctrines of Grace in Baptist Life. Tom Nettles begins with the origins of the Baptist movement in 17th century England and traces the influence of what is commonly called Calvinism through the Baptist history in America. Dan mentions that the book traces the decline of the doctrines of grace in the Southern Baptist Convention from the 1920s. I wonder if it deals with the influence of E. Y. Mullins, identified by Harold Bloom in The American Religion as steering the Southern Baptist Convention in a Gnostic direction, a direction that prevailed until the conservative resurgence of the 1908s and 1990s.

The Internet Monk says that "Romeo Is Better Off Dead":

As best I can tell, romance is our poor imitative version of the love of God that is ours in the Gospel; a kind of minor league salvation story for people who need to be “saved” from being alone and unloved. What the love of God in the Final Word, Jesus the messiah and mediator, is for us infinitely and perfect, romance imitates and celebrates imperfectly, and often, tragically.

His thoughts on romance haven't been formed in a vacuum:

It is hard for me to explain what the accumulated experiences of thirty years of listening to teenagers will do for one’s view of romance. Perhaps it is best expressed in what I might say about my own children. I would pray for them the deepest experiences of sacrificial, passionately humanizing love for another person, but I would never, ever wish upon them the kind of intoxication of mind and emotions that could make life, friends, family and all other experiences worthless in comparison to the attentions of the beloved.

Is rekindling romance the way to heal a wounded marriage? iMonk thinks not and explains why. Read the whole thing.

There's been a lot of discussion about the remarks of a guru of the Emerging Church Movement. Brian McLaren wrote, in an article on pastoral response to homosexuality, "Frankly, many of us don't know what we should think about homosexuality. We've heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say 'it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.'" David Wayne has links to the initial article and the responses it generated, along with his own thoughts:

I am certainly not laughing at anything Brian McLaren has said and appreciate his pastoral passion. But in telling pastors they need to respond pastorally to the homosexual question he isn't telling them anything they haven't always been doing. Pastors have been responding pastorally as long or longer than french fries have been being made out of potatoes. What he seems to be suggesting is that we go beyond tolerating, loving, accepting and caring for the person, to being more tolerant of the sin itself.

Doug Wilson thinks that McLaren's handwringing over the issue is about "lusting after respect from the world, which they will not give to you unless you are busy making plenty of room for their lusts."

On a related note, Al Mohler responds to a New York Times column by Dan Savage, who says that Christians are foolish to want homosexuals to "convert" and enter into straight marriages, predicting that "if every gay man became ex-gay tomorrow... millions of straight women would wake up one morning to discover that they had married a Jack or an Ennis." Mohler says we should thank Savage for what he wrote, because it's a reminder of "the deceitfulness of sin, and its ability to imprison us. We need to be reminded that this is true for all humanity, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike."

We need to be reminded that sexual desires (call them an orientation, profile, or whatever) are deeply rooted in our own sexual selves, with some parts consciously known to us and other parts unknown. We need to be reminded that the sin of homosexuality seems especially (though not uniquely) prone to hold its victims in bondage.

But, beyond all this, we really need to be reminded that we really do believe that the Gospel can and will completely transform sinners, and that the Holy Spirit does perform His work of sanctification within the life of the believer. And this means that we really do believe that homosexuals can come out of the sin of homosexuality by God's power.

Finally, Bowden McElroy has a thorough roundup on the controversy at the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board. I haven't followed the matter closely, but it seems to be about the validity of baptisms performed in non-Baptist churches, something I remember from my Baptist upbringing as a matter of dispute. (If you're wondering, that's the "xenobaptism" mentioned in the title. It means "foreign baptism" and has nothing whatsoever to do with Xenu or body thetans.)

(If you wish to comment, please join the ongoing discussions at the blog entries linked above.)

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 11, 2006 11:04 PM.

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