Monthly Archives: August 2006

The Bible Translation Wars

Christian Book Distributors (CBD) sent me a 2006 Bibles catalog two weeks ago. (Some of you undoubtedly got the same catalog.) There are sixty pages of Bibles listed in this very attractive catalog. And the cover informs me that there are 250 new Bibles in this catalog. 250 new Bibles!!! I find that number staggering to be truthful.

I have had always had a favorable response to the publication of new English Bible translations. I am also inclined to believe that almost all of these modern versions are well done and thus they serve a positive purpose in the church. I have never been impressed with the various campaigns against Bible versions that are often launched by very conservative evangelicals. One would think that the truth police would be happy to have folks read any version of the Bible when most Christians do not read the Bible at all based on what surveys tell us. (Some think there is a conspiracy at work here since people read their Bible more faithfully when all we had was the KJV!)

Though the approach

By |August 30th, 2006|Categories: American Evangelicalism|

Praying for True Revival

“Will you not revive us again so that your people may rejoice in you?” asks the Psalmist (85:6). I have pondered his question and prayed these words as a prayer since 1969. In 1970 I saw a campus revival that changed my life. I have seen evidences of such revival in India as well as in a few churches, at least now and then, in the West. I long to see a great downpour of grace, thus biblical “showers of mercy,” fall upon the church in North America. I still believe this may well be our only hope for restoring the fortunes of Zion in the sleepy and weary American church.

Tomorrow I begin a two-day conversation, and a time of rich personal fellowship, with thirty-two Christians from all over the country who will convene together in a small group meeting in Colorado Springs. This meeting will be led by a group of which I am a part, the National Revival Network. We meet at the beautiful Navigator headquarters at Glen Eyrie. If you have a moment, over the course of these few

By |August 29th, 2006|Categories: Renewal|

Can an Archbishop Change His Mind?

It was reported in yesterday’s London Sunday Telegraph that Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has changed his view regarding accepting homosexual practice in the the Anglican church. He now says homosexuals should change their behavior if they want to be welcomed into the Anglican Church. Williams has increasingly distanced himself from his one-time support of homosexual relationships and stressed that the tradition and teaching of the church has in no way been altered by the Anglican Communion’s consecration of its first openly homosexual bishop within the very liberal Episcopal Church USA..
   
Homosexual advocates are correct to conclude that Archbishop Williams has become increasingly conservative on this issue. This new direction has sparked accusations that Williams has performed an "astonishing" U-turn on the issue. These revelations surfaced in a newspaper interview last week in which the archbishop denied that it was time for the church to accept homosexual relationships, suggesting rather that it should be welcoming but not inclusive. Williams told a Dutch journalist: "I don’t believe inclusion is a value in itself. Welcome is. We don’t say ‘Come in, and

By |August 28th, 2006|Categories: Homosexuality|

Am I Really Jinx? You Can't Beat Fun at the Old Ballgame

Webster defines a jinx as “a person or thing that is said to bring bad luck.” I bring this up because my grandchildren, and a few others who know my reputation too well, are convinced that I am a living, breathing baseball jinx. Why you ask?

Well I got into Chicago White Sox fever last season and like many here in the windy city by the lake I watched the Sox win the World Series with much joy. There was only one problem with all this Sox euphoria in my home. I got tickets to one game in the postseason and this happened to be the only game they lost out of twelve postseason games. I kid you not. The Sox were 11-1, a great postseason if there ever was one. But I saw game one of the ALCS, a game they lost to the Angels last October. But this is just the beginning of my "jinx" reputation.

This year I bought a 13 game plan with a buddy from some upper-deck seats and, along with a few free tickets to

By |August 27th, 2006|Categories: Baseball|

Changing Culture, Not Politics, Changes Human Behavior

In 1936 Congress passed the Aid to Dependent Children Act to help widows stay home and raise their children. From 147,000 families on welfare in 1936 the number rose to five million by the 1994, the peak year. Ten years ago today, August 26, President Clinton signed into law the Welfare Reform Act. Last year the number of families receiving welfare had declined to 1.9 million. Contrary to the cries against the bill in 1996, which were numerous, the reform in welfare promoted in a bipartisan manner by President Clinton and the congress, has generally proven successful.

Various measures of success can be applied to the question of welfare reform. Here are a few. 69% of single mothers are employed today, up from 62% in 1995. In 2000 the number employed actually reached 73%. Another measure of the success of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act is the poverty rate among children. In 1994 the poverty rate among children was 22%, today it is 18%, still much too high I am sure. At the same time there are some numbers that show that

By |August 26th, 2006|Categories: Culture|

What Kind of Foreign Policy Will We Embrace?

It seems more and more evident that the war in Iraq has given rise to a growing anti-war movement that might eventually parallel the kind of social upheaval we witnessed in the 1960s. The major difference, it seems to me, is that the anti-war movement in the 1960s was fueled by the very real presence of a draft system. All of this begs the question of what kind of foreign poliicy we really want for the future of America.

Personally, I believe our democracy is strengthened by honest debate about important issues like foreign policy and war. I think there have been enough mistakes made in this present military action to trouble almost everyone who thinks about the subject. (Consider the number-one bestseller this week, Fiasco, written by war-correspondent Thomas Ricks. Ricks paints a very bleak picture of how much we have messed up this entire effort.) Having said this I am still amazed at the seeming lack of serious foreign policy coming from many of those who oppose the war. It is one thing to oppose the war in Iraq. It is

By |August 25th, 2006|Categories: Politics|

The Vatican Offers Helpful Insights on Culture

The secularized West is experiencing a growing disaffection with both militant atheism and traditional Christian faith. The Vatican recently addressed this issue in a study published by the Pontifical Council for Culture. It is more than interesting to me to see how this document begins to address this problem. It suggests that any effective pastoral strategy must begin with seeing “the importance of witnessing the beauty of being a person loved by God.”

This document, titled “The Christian Faith at the Dawn of the New Millennium and the Challenge of Unbelief and Religious Indifference” draws several key conclusions, besides the one stated above, that are worth thinking about by all Christians in the West. These conclusions are:

1. The church needs “To renew Christian apology to give an account with gentleness and respect of the hope that animates us (1 Peter 3:15).”
2. We must “Reach ‘homo urbanus’ (urban man) through public presence in the debates of society and put the gospel in contact with the forces that shape culture.”
3. There is an “urgency of learning to think, from school

By |August 24th, 2006|Categories: Missional Church|

What Should Be Done with Saddam Hussein?

I dislike the use of labels when they are intended for pejorative reasons. They are used to degrade and destroy. I am liberal in some areas of my thought but a conservative in others. If forced to identify myself politically I would have to use the label conservative, though with real reservations about much that flies under that label today.

For the sake of serious conversation I must use these labels when I refer to the development and direction of America’s foreign policy. Liberals in this country are continually telling us that we should not have invaded Iraq. Some of these liberals are serious Christian pacifists who question the moral grounds of such pre-emptive action. I can respect this view and thus hold thinkers like Stanley Hauerwas in very high esteem. I deeply respect his point of view but humbly take a different stance. Most liberals, however, think the way that they do about human nature and the world for very different reasons. And they seem to think that conservatives like me are stupid war-mongering morons. Listening to progressive (the new/old name

By |August 23rd, 2006|Categories: Current Affairs|

World Trade Center: Can We Survive More Graphic Reflection?

The recently released movie “World Trade Center” centers on the lives of two New York policemen trapped in the rubble of the Trade Center on 9/11, thus it is a true story. The acting is generally good, especially that of Mario Bello, who demonstrates both anger and fear in a powerfully done real life portrayal. And Oliver Stone avoids both sensationalism and crass ideological nonsense, so often present in his “big” movies like JFK and Nixon.

Though the movie feels like it unfolds in a bit of a vacuum, focusing almost entirely on the trials of two families whose loved ones survived, it delivers a powerful image of a fateful day in world history. (Only 20 people were rescued from the Trade Center rubble!) The fact, however, is that this approach works precisely because no movie could carry the whole story of 9/11 in a powerful way.

The question many ask is “Why a movie on 9/11 so soon after the event?” The same question was asked when “Flight 93” came out a few months ago. Having seen both of

By |August 22nd, 2006|Categories: Film|

Can Rick Warren Save the World?

Fox News broadcast a one hour special last evening titled: “The Purpose Driven Life: Can Rick Warren Save the World?” Accidentally, while channel surfing from the Red Sox vs. Yankees baseball game on ESPN to various news channels, I got in on the opening segment of the Warren special and was hooked for the whole.

Much of the Rick Warren story is widely known but some things came together in this brisk, but largely focused, video presentation. My admiration for Warren soared as a result of this broadcast. If “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God” is “to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27) then Rick Warren is practicing the faith of true religion. There can be no doubt that Warren’s faith produces Christ-centered works (James 2:14-26). And, to his great credit, he listens to his wife Kay’s counsel, who is plainly a major reason for his clarity in this and other areas. It is a wise man who listens to such a thoughtful and insightful wife!

Frankly,

By |August 21st, 2006|Categories: American Evangelicalism|
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