From time to time, I have a conversation with someone via email that gets at ideas that I think will be helpful for the broader High Point body. A High Point member recently came to me for advice about how to respond to a very difficult situation involving a family member’s homosexual wedding.
In other posts, I’ve discussed homosexuality and the specific dilemma of deciding whether or not to attend a friend’s or family member’s gay wedding. This post deals more with how to dialogue with love and candor with those who object to our objections.
I’m sharing this discussion with you, with the member’s permission, in the hope that it will help you as you think through a loving, Biblical response to issues like this which will inevitably become more and more a part of our normal experience. Continue reading Questions: On attending a homosexual wedding
A recent, intense elder discussion has led me to seek to clarify what I think it means to be a “nondenominational” evangelical church.
Why were “non-denom” churches created?
Independent nondenominational churches—or as the young people say, “Non-denom”—tend to be those that are not connected to a denominational superstructure and that cannot be easily identified by denominational criteria.
Continue reading What is the Non-Denominational Evangelical Church?
Dear college student,
I want you to know how much our church loves you and wants to support you in following Jesus. We are so glad you are at High Point Church. We want to make sure that you grow as a disciple, a disciple maker, and in learning to obey everything Jesus commanded.
Let me explain how I have tried to lead High Point Church to love you, because it might be somewhat counter-intuitive: We don’t offer ministries for your demographic. We don’t have a college student ministry — and we aren’t going to start one. Probably ever.
Continue reading Dear College Student…From Your Local Church Pastor
It used to be the expectation of good men and women that there were things they would die before doing. A noble man might be expected to die before they would be willing to lie, or a woman before “losing her virtue”. We might expect a soldier to die before being made a spy for the enemy, or before a hostage taker could use him as a human shield. Or maybe before informing on a friend without being tortured, and so on. It was thought that because ethical truths were true, they were even more substantial and important than maintaining your human life — especially when we believed in an everlasting life to come determined by the God of the morals and virtues we would die for.
All virtues can be humiliated by wrong use. Continue reading Why Morally Laying Down Your Life Matters
Because of gendercide, 200 million girls are missing in the world today. To put that in perspective, that is more than all of the deaths of World War I and II combined. Evan Grae Davis explains more about the reality (and the horror) of gendercide in his TEDxGateway talk, The Three Deadliest Words In The World – “It’s A Girl”.
How should we think about such news? I have been following this issue for years. Gendercide both dwarfs and produces the issue of sex trafficking that many, especially younger Christians, are so exercised about. Yet it seems many do not want to touch it because it would require going to moral war over the practice of abortion. It will require more than awareness. It will require a new moral vision rooted in the Judeo-Christian assertion of the image of God and our insistence on the intrinsic human worth that flows from its dogma.
Consider the following reality in the moral fight over gendercide:
If it is morally permissible to kill an “unwanted” human if you chose, then it follows you can kill an “unwanted” girl human if you chose. So long as we think we can chose to deliberately take the life of innocent humans, then we have no formal or practical moral authority to say that certain version of that taking must not be done. If innocence and humanity are not sufficient reasons to protect a life, then gender will not be either. So long as Western peoples are strong advocates for abortion and choice that is morally unfettered, we will never have the moral authority to deride people for how they use their unfettered choice in their use of abortion.
Because I am a Christian, I believe that humans are made in God’s image and cannot be killed apart from certain and life-forfeiting guilt. Therefore, I know abortion of an innocent image-bearing human is morally unconscionable. Therefore, all non-lifesaving abortion is wrong. Therefore, since aborting humans is wrong, aborting a girl is wrong.
We need a consistent moral vision.
The moral force to stand against the power structures of our preferences, pride, and fear requires a moral vision of real solidity. Western secularism cannot produce such a consistent moral vision — only expressed moral outrage. This weakness can be seen in the clip the speaker showed. That kind of rhetoric will not arrest the hearts of people, cut them to the heart, and birth (pun intended) a culture of life that has the capacity to stand against the ingrained preferences and their attending power structures.
This is just one example of how Christian faith is literally the hope of the secular world and utterly unique among human beings. Do not let people bully you into thinking that Christ and his way is something of the past. It is the most scientific and advanced thing on the planet because it is true. If we look to Christ, we will increasingly find the courage to believe him and to follow him in the secular city and the global village.
Who’s to blame?
A lot of people are listening to TED Talks these days. I think it is because they are supposed to be smart and scientific. They are mostly just secular and progressive. I was listening to one about how monogamy does not work anymore and how we should be “Monogam-ish”— that is, mostly monogamous. The first part of the talk was full of all kinds of pseudoscience, but the main idea was that marriage is a worse than fifty-fifty gamble and it definitely needs an adjustment if it will have the potential to make us happy. And the thing we need to adjust is probably the monogamy part.
You may or may not think that’s particularly controversial. For my purpose here, this is just one example of a much broader phenomenon. It is part of the general unhappiness with the things that are supposed to make us happy, including human institutions that have lasted tens of thousands of years. The secular and progressive way of dealing with such a phenomenon is to blame the institution — the thing that was supposed to make us happy. If we are not happy in our marriages, then the problem is marriage.
Continue reading The Real Reason We Are Unhappy