Christian Life

Marriage and Family in America (2013)

Jan 12th, 2013 | By
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One of the consistent themes of Issues in Perspective is the centrality of the family, the bedrock institution of civilization. From the Christian perspective, it was the first institution God created. From the perspective of sociology and the broader social science disciplines, the family is central to rearing children, to personal well-being and to a stable economy.



The State of the Family in Western Civilization

Dec 15th, 2012 | By
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That the family is the bedrock institution of civilization is a given. But what constitutes a family is now being debated, and increasingly the state is taking over more of the family’s function. As a Christian, it is difficult for me to see this as a positive development; in fact, I believe it is one of the most worrying developments of the postmodern era. For that reason, I want to focus on the state of the family in this Perspective.



Abortion, Politics and Other Life Issues

Nov 30th, 2012 | By
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Because of the economic crisis facing America, many were surprised at how strident the abortion issue was during the recent campaign and election. President Obama ran an aggressively pro-abortion reelection campaign, and, as columnist Michael Gerson argues, was “seeking culture-war advantage on an issue he seldom mentioned four years ago.” This blatant thrust of abortion into his campaign followed on the heels of an equally aggressive first-term crusade against religious institutions. His Justice Department, in the Hosanna-Tabor case, argued against the existence of any “ministerial exception” to employment rules. Further, Obama sought to mandate that Catholic schools, hospitals and charities offer insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients. Gerson concludes as well that “His revised policy still asserts a federal power to declare some religious institutions secular in purpose, reducing them to second-rate status under the First Amendment.”



Religious Liberty Under Siege?

Nov 10th, 2012 | By
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One of the many precious liberties we enjoy as Americans is freedom of religion. Indeed, the First Amendment to the US Constitution reads, “. . . Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . .” This Amendment guarantees that America will never have a state church and it also guarantees that the state will always protect the freedom of religious expression. It is the “free exercise” clause that is so dear to us, especially to Christians. . . . [R]eligious freedom in our nation is coming under a sustained and rather relentless attack. What is the evidence for this claim? Matthew J. Franck, Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute, offers several poignant examples of this claim:



Evil: Its Challenge for the Christian

Oct 27th, 2012 | By

Of all the challenges Christians face in defending their faith, the existence of evil is one of the most formidable. We claim that God is good, yet there is suffering, pain and monstrous acts of barbarity. Add to that the existence of mass murderers, serial killers and the monotonous regularity of murder in our cities. Evil has a deep, penetrating darkness to it and, when it comes to personal motivation of those who do evil, there is an almost impenetrable wall that defies investigation



The Psalms and Science

Oct 13th, 2012 | By
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Together with Psalm 1, Psalm 2 introduces the major themes of the book of Psalms, the hymnbook of ancient Israel. Psalm 1 teaches that the blessed human being is the one who enjoys the “sumptuous meal” of God’s Word each day—and then meditates on it throughout the day. Psalm 2 helped the ancient Israelites to understand how they fit into God’s big picture. It is about worldview issues. Together, these two Psalms give focus to what is really important to God. . . Finally, Psalm 19 is the perfect introduction to thinking about science, for it argues for the complementarity of God’s two revelations—His world and His Word.



Religious and Political Liberty in 2012

Aug 11th, 2012 | By
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The United States was founded on the principles of both religious and political liberty. These precious principles were enshrined in the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment. As a nation that has championed these rights throughout its history and indeed the world, in terms of protecting these rights, our nation is changing. Rights and personal liberties are now defined as personal autonomy, something never envisioned by our Founders. Permit me to offer several thoughts.



The American Culture and Boys

Jul 21st, 2012 | By
The Feminization of American Culture

Not too long ago, many in the educational community ignored the evidence—but no longer: Boys are falling behind—catastrophically in many categories. That boys (and eventually men) are not keeping up with girls (and women) is not a positive culturally development. A number of years ago, the historian, Ann Douglas, wrote the important book, The Feminization of American Culture, which documented the developments that have “feminized” our culture. Consider two important developments, both reflections of the cultural turmoil resulting from the confusion over sexual roles:



ISRAEL IN 2012: AN UPDATE

Jun 9th, 2012 | By
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Occasionally on Issues in Perspective, I summarize, as an update, the situation in the Middle East, especially as it relates to Israel. With the so-called “Arab Spring,” the continued threat of nuclear weapons in Iran, the growing carnage in Syria and the uncertainty of Egypt, with which Israel has a thirty-year-old treaty, Israel remains an oasis of democracy, stability and prosperity in the Middle East. In addition, God has an unconditional covenant relationship with the Jewish people and He promised to bring His people back to their land. I believe He is doing just that today. Therefore, it is quite important that we as Christians keep our eye on the Middle East, especially Israel. Several observations of recent developments that directly impact the Jewish people and the nation-state of Israel:



Is Biblical Christianity Viable?

Apr 21st, 2012 | By

Religion remains a powerful force in Western civilization, especially the United States. . . As I argued in a recent edition of Issues in Perspective, the God of many Americans, especially teens and emerging adults, is a moralistic therapeutic deistic God, not the God of the Bible. So, where does this leave us as a civilization? Is genuine, biblical Christianity viable in the United States?