How Should We Then Live? (1-3)

with Francis Schaeffer

Interview with Granddaughter of E. Stanley Jones

Back at the end of October I posted a series of clips from an interview on the topic of E. Stanley Jones and his book, Victorious Living, which had just been updated and re-released. (You can click here to watch the videos.) Perhaps the best parts of the segments were the clips of Jones preaching. They really are worth watching.

This time around the folks at 100 Huntley have shared with us some clips from an interview with the granddaughter of E. Stanley Jones, which I have included below. They also include some interviews with Jones himself. As one who has appreciated reading his autobiographical and devotional writings, watching these clips of the great Methodist missionary is a real treat.

Enjoy,
Dale

Some Thoughts on Mormonism and Politics

I grew up in the United Methodist Church… and one thing I’ve learned about my denomination over the last 45 years is that, Lord knows, we never want to offend anyone at any time. Yet, even within that environment, I still grew up being taught that Mormonism was a cult. I don’t think I ever learned what was meant by the word cult. I just always assumed it meant something along the lines of “not Christian,” and yet not quite a world religion. Instead, it was a “sub-something” at best or something to be feared at worst. Those aren’t very flattering descriptions. Thus, I can see why folks would not welcome being considered members of a cult.

Over the last week a great deal of controversy has come from the pastor (apparently connected with Governor Rick Perry) who dared to call Mormonism a cult… in public. The press has made much of this, as though this was a novel idea. Again, I can see why the word “cult” would be offensive. And yet, on my bookshelves I have several books that address the subjects of world religions and cults. In every single one of them Mormonism is listed in the cults section of the book. All of these books were written before this election cycle.

I understand why an organization or institution would not want to be called a cult. I’m fine with that. I have no problem not calling Mormonism a cult. However, I don’t think they would be any more happy being called a “non-Christian religion,” which is what I think we have to say they are (especially if any of those books on my bookshelves are even close to being accurate). It’s my understanding that even the left-leaning World Council of Churches, at one time, would not permit Mormons to become members because they were not trinitarian. I don’t know if that is still the case.

At any rate, I thought it would be helpful to share four articles that I’ve read in the last couple of days that address the issue of how Christians ought to think of Mormonism… not Mormons. These writers also address the relationship between religion and politics and address the question of whether or not the two should ever meet in voting for a candidate. These four authors are all evangelicals, (though of different traditions), but they do not all agree on how to understand these issues. Certainly worth reading and thinking about.

Enjoy,
Dale

Mormonism, Democracy, and the Urgent Need for Evangelical Thinking by Al Mohler

There are numerous ways to frame these questions wrongly. Our responsibility as evangelical Christians is to think seriously and biblically about these issues. The first temptation is to reduce all of these issues to one question. We must address the question of Mormonism as a worldview and judge it by the Bible and historic Christian doctrine. But this does not automatically determine the second question — asking how Mormon identity should inform our political decisions. Nevertheless, for evangelical Christians, our concern must start with theology. Is Mormonism just a distinctive denomination of Christianity?

Click here to read the whole article.

My Take: This Evangelical Says Mormonism Isn’t A Cult by Richard Mouw

We evangelicals and our Mormon counterparts disagree about some important theological questions. But we have also found that on some matters we are not as far apart as we thought we were.

I know cults. I have studied them and taught about them for a long time. It’s worth noting that people have wondered whether I belong to a cult, with a reporter once asking me: “Evangelicalism, is that like Scientology and Hare Krishna?”

Click here to read the whole article.

Is Mormonism a Cult or a Christian Denomination? by Timothy Tennent

My own view is that whether a candidate is a Christian or not is only one of a myriad of considerations which one must weigh in an overall decision to vote for or against a candidate.  I would never say that someone being a Christian carries no political weight for me at all. However, I would also not say that someone being a Christian or not carries the entire weight in my decision.

Click here to read the whole article.

The Mormon Factor: Why Mitt Romney Makes Some Nervous by Stan Guthrie

Of course, Martin Luther, the great German Protestant Reformer, is believed to have said, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian.” In other words, Luther (assuming he really did say it) would have preferred an intelligent Muslim in charge of the government over an incompetent Christian. This principle speaks to the fact that the government is not the same as the church, and that, at least in some cases, competence trumps ideology.

This reminds me of something Christian author and radio host Hugh Hewitt told me the first time Romney ran. “I’m not looking for a pastor,” Hewitt said. “I’m looking for a president.”

Click here to read the whole article.

My Life for Theirs: A Multi-Generational Vision

Here’s a snippet from a new post at Pursuing Godly Manhood

My life for yours. Training and nurturing our children in the Lord – when we rise, when we go to bed, as we live throughout the day, when it’s convenient, when it’s inconvenient – making sure that our children are not merely “taught at” but saturated in the things of God each day, all day – because they are eternal beings and heirs of the King. “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Are we leaving a godly legacy to and for our children and our children’s children for a thousand generations? Are we dying so they can live – really live? Can we think outside our individual lives to see how our own deaths will extend the Kingdom of God by producing many seeds? Will we believe the promises of God that he has made regarding faithful, covenantal parenting? My life for yours and for a thousand generations after you. Talk about a payoff!

Click here to read the whole post.

Shepherding Sons

(The following comes from a new page that I just started today.)

I’m blessed to be a part of a great group of men at the church I serve. Each and every week we meet together for the purpose of fellowship, studying God’s Word, and prayer. God has been good to us ever since we first met back in 2001.

My hope and prayer when I first started the men’s ministry was that the men of our church would come to know Christ better and to have their minds renewed and their lives transformed… in every sphere of their lives… personally as well as at home with their families, at work, at church, in the community… everywhere. Again, God has been good and I have seen firsthand how this has happened and continues to do so.

One of the best ways we, as Christian men, can extend God’s Kingdom and impact our culture for Christ is by influencing men before they’re men. I believe the time to begin discipling, encouraging, and developing Christian men is when they’re still boys. Wouldn’t it be great if generation after generation of boys grew up in our churches where being discipled by their fathers and other godly men was commonplace? What might God do in and through the lives of such boys when they become men?

This page is devoted to some things I’ve written on the subject of shepherding (i.e., loving, caring for, encouraging, leading, discipling, developing, etc.) our sons to become men of God. As a father of three I can attest that I’m still learning. I still fall flat on my face as a dad. However, it’s my deepest desire that my own sons would become godly boys, then godly young men, and then, one day, godly men who are raising their own sons or daughters to know the Lord Jesus Christ and to live for him in every sphere of life. What could be better?

PS – Click here to go to the page on Godly Manhood. There’s a great deal more material there.

Grace and Truth,
Dale

The End of the West?

God is sovereign, so I’m not real worried (per the title of this post). However, this is still the culture in which we live, work, raise our families, etc. So, in an important sense, what happens in the “West” does matter… it has implications for our lives.

Below are four perspectives on some of the important goings on in our culture and the authors give us much food for thought regarding how we, as Christians, might faithfully respond.

Joy and Truth,
Dale

The New America
by James Emery White

Here’s an excerpt…

It’s now official. The United States is “bigger, older, more Hispanic and Asian and less wedded to marriage and traditional families than it was in 1990.”

Want more?

Okay. It is also “less enamored of kids, more embracing of several generations living under one roof, more inclusive of same-sex couples, more cognizant of multiracial identities, more suburban, less rural and leaning more to the South and West.”

Why are such pronouncements now “official”? It’s because the results of the 2010 Census have been pouring out all year and we are now in a position to begin pulling them all together into a cohesive picture.

Click here to read the whole article.

Evangelicals and the Gay Moral Revolution
by Al Mohler

The Christian church has faced no shortage of challenges in its 2,000-year history. But now it’s facing a challenge that is shaking its foundations: homosexuality.

To many onlookers, this seems strange or even tragic. Why can’t Christians just join the revolution?

And make no mistake, it is a moral revolution. As philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah of Princeton University demonstrated in his recent book, “The Honor Code,” moral revolutions generally happen over a long period of time. But this is hardly the case with the shift we’ve witnessed on the question of homosexuality.

Click here to read the whole article.

The Church’s Moment in the Unraveling of the West
by Michael Craven

I do not think it too strong or sensational to say that we are witnessing the collapse of Western civilization. Across the Western world, the fruits of apostasy and secularism are manifesting themselves in overwhelmingly destructive ways. 

In my lifetime I have seen the rapid demise of the family. For the first time in American history, nonmarried households now outnumber married households (52 percent vs. 48 percent respectively). Today, only one-fifth of American households represent “traditional families—married couples with children” (New York Times, “Married Couples Are No Longer a Majority, Census Finds,” May 28, 2011). Out-of-wedlock birthrates in the US have reached 40 percent following a similar trend throughout Western European countries, some of which are as high as 66 percent. 

While out-of-wedlock births continue to rise, more and more people are simply not having children at all, leading to depopulation of the West on a scale unprecedented. Add to this the radical redefinition of marriage and family to include same-sex couples and the future of the natural family—an institution essential to a healthy society—only promises to worsen. 

Click here to read the whole article.

Let’s Give Them an Answer
by Charles Colson

And one to grow on…

Transforming the Culture
by Regis Nicoll

In light of present circumstances, a worthy question is: “Where is the church today in this transformation work?

The church has the message, the witnesses, and the indwelling Presence of transformation. On top of that, it has a nineteen-hundred-year record of influencing change for the betterment of mankind. Without question, the best that Western civilization has to offer was birthed and nurtured by Christian thought. Yet, the effectiveness of the Church over the past generation has been marginal, at best.

Although a handful of ministries, like Renovaré and The Upper Room, help people develop a rule of life for spiritual formation, few churches have a structured process (or even a stated expectation) for developing their people spiritually and equipping them to be agents of change in the culture.

Click here to read the whole article.