Culture & Wordview

Altering Human Heredity: Gene Editing and the Power of Genetic Technology

Jan 9th, 2016 | By

On 1 December 2015, at the opening of a three-day meeting in Washington to discuss the ethics and use of gene editing, David Baltimore of the California Institute of Technology perceptively declared, “Over the years the unthinkable has become conceivable and today we are close to being able to alter human heredity.” This meeting, called the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, was convened by the national academies of three nations—the United States, Great Britain and China. The primary focus of this meeting was to discuss whether gene editing should be used to make heritable changes to the human gene line.

Mary’s Little Lamb at Christmas

Dec 26th, 2015 | By

Much of American culture still accepts the manger at Christmas. We still see manger scenes in church, on front lawns and on Christmas cards. But in our increasingly secular, commercial, and sexually liberated society, we keep the horizontal message of the manger but often eliminate the vertical message entirely. We like the shepherds and their lambs, but are uncomfortable with God, miracles and the incarnation. In short, the biblical worldview about Christmas is rapidly losing market share to a more secular, materialistic one that is horizontally comfortable but vertically challenged.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity: 100 Years Later

Dec 12th, 2015 | By

The Scientific Revolution of the 16th-century changed humanity’s perspective and understanding of the physical universe. At the end of the Scientific Revolution (the 17th century), Sir Isaac Newton synthesized the work of others (e.g., Galileo, Kepler, Brahe, etc.) with his own original thinking, and produced a compressive understanding of the laws of the physical world (e.g., inertia, gravity, etc.). . . But on 25 November 1915, Albert Einstein published a theory that challenged this understanding of the physical world.

Is Capital Punishment Biblical?

Dec 5th, 2015 | By

In the United States, capital punishment remains legal in 31 states and in the federal civilian and military legal systems (for specific crimes). The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution has been understood as the key section of the Constitution governing capital punishment, and it has been interpreted to apply to murders committed by mentally competent adults.

Men Adrift: The Unfolding Cultural Crisis

Nov 28th, 2015 | By

More than 90% of presidents and prime ministers are men, as are nearly all corporate executives. In some areas of culture, men arguably dominate (e.g., finance, technology, film, sports). But that reality is changing—and rather rapidly. In fact, although men cluster at the top of worldwide culture, they also cluster at the bottom. Men are far more likely to be in jail, be estranged from their children or to commit suicide.

The Unanswered Questions of Science

Oct 31st, 2015 | By

We live in a technological age in which science dominates our thinking and offers solutions to many of our fundamental problems. We depend on science and hold this discipline of human knowledge higher than we hold others (e.g., history, literature). At the end of the Scientific Revolution (the 17th century), Sir Isaac Newton synthesized the work of others with his own original thinking, and produced a compressive understanding of the laws of the physical world. We owe him much [. . .]

Tests of God’s Grace: Suicide and the Death of a Child

Oct 17th, 2015 | By

In the early days of December in 1983, I received a call in my office from my father in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He shared with me the tragedy of my 23-year-old brother’s suicide. My brother knew Jesus as His Savior, but struggled much of his life with severe depression. At the low point in one of those cycles of depression, he took his life. As a family, we asked the typical questions: “Why? What could we have done to prevent this? Why did we not see the signs? Why did we miss them?” Guilt, questioning, doubt in God’s goodness and grace naturally followed. These were some of the most difficult days of my life. But those days drove me to a deeper exploration of God’s goodness and His grace.

What Is Evangelical Christianity’s Place in Postmodern America?

Oct 10th, 2015 | By

The role of evangelical Protestant Christianity in the development of America has been profound. The linkage between the First Great Awakening and the decision for independence from Great Britain is incontrovertible. Consequently, the desire for both political liberty and religious liberty energized the independence movement (see Thomas S. Kidd, God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution). Evangelical Christianity therefore maintained its location at American culture’s center until the waves of immigration began in the late 19th and into the early 20th centuries, when Protestant evangelicalism competed with Roman Catholicism and Judaism for the cultural center. Into the 20th century, especially after the immigration laws were changed in the 1960s, new religious faiths entered American culture, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, among others.

The Devaluing of Life in America

Sep 19th, 2015 | By

Modern medicine affirms a proposition that is quite consistent with God’s Word—that life is a continuum. (For the Christian, the Bible teaches that life extends from conception on into eternity, for all human beings will live forever.) The DNA strands present at conception are species-specific and the beginning of a new and unique individual human. . . Furthermore, the Bible also affirms consistently that humans are of infinite worth and value because they bear the image of God. Humans both resemble God and represent Him as stewards over His world. The life-as-continuum concept means that at all stages of development the human life is of value to God.

America in Crisis: The 21st Century and the Future of Genuine, Biblical Christianity

Sep 5th, 2015 | By

Recently, I completed reading one of the most important books I have read in some time: George Marsden’s The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief. Marsden is arguably one of the most significant evangelical Christian historians writing today. I have read all of his books, which have profoundly shaped my understanding of both American history and of American evangelicalism. This most recent of Marsden’s books helps us immensely in understanding the crisis currently unfolding in American civilization. I would like to summarize the major arguments of Marsden’s book and then offer some implications about where we as the church of Jesus Christ go from here.