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All of the Sin, None of the Guilt

Posted on April 30, 2012

It’s utterly erroneous to assume that the gospel is failing in modern culture.  The gospel is more pervasive than ever.  The problem is that it’s a false gospel. The Atlantic’s recent article “Lady Gaga’s Guilt-Free Gospel” raises the specter of Lady Gaga, apparently reared a “repressed” Catholic but whose musical lyrics now exalt sadomasochism and rape fantasies.   Today this world icon pop artist preaches a gospel of self-expression and –exaltation.  Above all, hers is a guiltless gospel: Gaga … luxuriates in the absence of guilt. Again and again on Born This Way, she encourages her “Little Monsters” — these are her fans — to reject, defy, outwit, and ignore external judges of behavior: parents, boyfriends, kids at school. But internal shame — vestigial…

On Cowering Before Scarecrows

Posted on April 30, 2012

“[I]f the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult … some odd group that is not really interacting with the world. And rightly so, because we are not using our gifts and trusting God’s Providence that brought us to this point of our awareness.” Bruce Waltke Waltke, one of the premier and gifted evangelical Old Testament scholars of our time, worries that if the empirical data supports evolution yet evangelicals oppose it, we will (rightly) end up being viewed as a cult by the wider, enlightened culture. Waltke is only the latest example in an esteemed pedigree of Christians going back at least to Clement of Alexandria and in more recent centuries to the towering…

Those Long-Lived Last Days

Posted on April 21, 2012

In recent times, we have heard a lot about “The Last Days.” A large number of non-mainline conservative Christians in this country (“evangelicals”) believe that we are living in the last few years (or even months, or days, or hours) before the “rapture” of the church, which will precede a seven-year tribulation period dominated by a single, sinister figure known as “The Antichrist,” followed by the Second Coming of Christ at which He will establish an earthly, visible, thousand-year reign in Jerusalem. This is classic or “scholastic” dispensational eschatology. Today we witness the queer coincidence of, on the one hand, the refusal of almost any leading conservative seminary in the country to defend classical dispensationalism with, on the other hand, the dramatic revival of…

Baptism, Covenant, Renunciation and Allegiance

Posted on April 21, 2012

Baptism in much of the modern church has degenerated into an effete and perfunctory ordinance, practiced more for traditional than for substantial reasons. Where it is not treated as divine white magic in sacerdotal churches, it is frequently in more evangelical churches treated in a mindless and mechanical way. The error is not merely the reductionistic denial of baptism as a sacrament among the evangelicals, but also the neglect of its essentially covenantal and moral character that penetrates the very heart of the meaning of Christianity. In sharp contrast to this reductionistic view, the church historic perceived the great significance of baptism, including its oath-bound character. Of the practice of baptism in the early medieval church, Schaff observes: In the act of baptism itself,…

Salvation and Works

Posted on April 21, 2012

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). INTRODUCTION One should expect that in a matter as crucial as personal salvation, Satan will work diligently and subtly to introduce confusion and error into the thinking not only of the unconverted but also of professed Christians. An almost infallible litmus test of the validity of a religion is its teaching with respect to individual salvation. If that teaching reflects and takes into account the entire range of Scriptural data it may…