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News

Saturday Selections – August 31, 2019

Real men are courageous Driving your car fast might get you an adrenaline rush, but it doesn't make you brave. Real courage involves doing the thing you fear because you know it is important, and right, and someone has got to do it so it might as well be you. David Murray lays out God's call for men to be courageous. Environmentalists have gotten it wrong again and again This article shares some of the predictions made over the last 50 years, compared to how things turned out. I will note the article title speaks of "Greenies" getting it wrong every time and it would be nice if the rhetoric was tamped down just a bit. They'd have to be truly remarkable to be wrong a perfect 100% of the time. Why human rights and chimpanzee rights can't co-exist There is a push for animal rights that will turn human rights on their head. It comes down to this: the world, both Christian and gentile alike, view the topic of rights and equality through a largely Christian perspective. We believe all men are created equal and that only makes sense if there is some sense in which we are all the same. Christians know that we are all made in God's image. And the world has no alternative explanation to offer so they make due by avoiding the topic altogether: "We are all equal and let's just not talk about why, okay!" It is from God too, that our rights come - for example, we have the right to life, because He forbids murder. But those pushing for chimpanzee rights want to grant rights on a gradient: they aren't arguing for chimpanzees to have all the same rights as humans, but, because they are an awful lot like us, they think they should get some of our rights. Some? Based on them sharing some of our abilities? If we fail to recognize the difference between Image-bearers and animals, and start handing out rights based on abilities, where will that take us? We actually don't have to look very far to see. While individuals already born are treated in a generally equitable fashion  – no matter how able they are or are not – the same is not true for the unborn. Their murders are justified on the very basis of them not having abilities that you and I have. They don't have a heartbeat yet? They can be killed. They can't breathe on their own yet? Let's kill them. But what of the boy dependent 0n dialysis? If we're granting rights based on abilities, how is this disabled boy going to fare? Thus the push for animal rights is, on the one hand, incompatible with human rights, and, on the other, simply a continuation of the same lie behind abortion and euthanasia too - that the value of our lives lies in how able we are. The counter to that? Only God's own Truth: that we are precious because we are Image-bearers of the One True God. IVF and its millions of frozen embryos IVF is an issue the Church should be talking about, but isn't. The result? Christians, unaware of the implications, and at the encouragement of their doctors, may well create children they then freeze... How to stop praying the same old things "It doesn’t take long before rote prayers fragment your attention span and freeze your heart." Jordan Peterson: the deepfake artists must be stopped It is now possible to copy someone's image and voice so flawlessly that when it comes to digital video, we really can't trust our eyes and ears. The video below is of Obama making a speech he never made, and the article linked just above is Jordan Peterson detailing his experience with his own digital copies. He warns this technology has the potential to be enormously disruptive. ...

News

Saturday Selections – August 11, 2018

5 simple things you can do to raise kind kids This psychologist may or not may be Christian, but the suggestions he offers for modeling kindness are bang on. Is Genesis history or psychology? A response to Jordan Peterson A couple of creationists look at the theological thinking of the most popular Canadian on the planet. Ted Tripp on manhood "Dads work out their leadership by toil and hardship in order to serve, not by demanding that they be served." The soulmate fantasy "A soulmate isn’t someone you discover; it’s someone you intentionally and prayerfully become." George Orwell knew: we willingly buy the screens that are used against us In 1984 screens are everywhere, monitoring everything people do. How did they get such coverage? In Orwell's world, like our own, people willingly bought these tools of self-enslavement. Does the US use 500 million straws a day? And is that a problem? Why does the secular world want to solve fake environmental crises? Maybe it's because their flawed worldview won't allow them to solve real problems. ...

News

Saturday selections - Sept 9, 2017

A baker's half dozen worth of articles from Reformed and other sources that were just too good not to share... A new translation of Schilder's Christ and Culture Dr. Bredenhof reviews and details the improvements made in a new translation of Klaas Schilder's influential book Christ and Culture. Christian statement on sexuality The Nashville Statement – endorsed by Reformed Christians such as R.C. Sproul, Kevin DeYoung, Albert Mohler, John Piper, Rosaria Butterfield, D.A. Carson, and dozens of others – takes a strong stand on what godly sexuality entails. Predictably, it has been attacked by mainstream Christians for what it gets right. But a couple of Reformed Christians have also criticized it for who put it out and for conceding the battle. People we should know: Rachel Carson Rachel Carson is sometimes called the "Mother of the Environmental Movement." In that role she spoke of the perceived dangers of DDT, and had a role in getting it banned. Her hyperbole – based out of concern for our planet – lead to the death of millions. Why are top environmental organizations pushing abortion? When key environmental groups support Planned Parenthood it shows that they see Man not as the pinnacle of God's Creation, but as a curse on it. Preparations for a good death Ray Pennings outlines five categories for what makes for a good death. While the article is not explicitly Christian, it is one, that if taken from a Christian perspective, makes good sense. One very good reason to do personal devotions Tim Challies makes an case for personal devotions you've likely never heard before: "If you can’t or won’t do devotions for your own sake, won’t you do it for the sake of others? Won’t you do it for their good, even if not for your own? Some things are getting better From most mainstream media accounts you would never know that materially speaking – as regards life expectancy and fighting poverty – vast improvements have been made in the last century or two. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=282&v=Z8t4k0Q8e8Y    ...

Assorted, Economics, Science - Environmental Stewardship

Manure into mattresses

Man can "create" resources! Economist Julian Simon's key insight is that man's creativity – his brainpower – is a resource that creates other resources. So while some view a rising population as a threat to limited resources ("We're going to run out of oil!") Simon viewed a growing population as a growing resource base. Our brains, when properly applied, could in a reflection of God's own creativity, turn nothing (or next to it) into quite something. For example, when copper – a key element in our phone lines – started getting very expensive, this motivated some smart chaps to develop a much cheaper alternative: sand! That's what our telephone lines are today: Sand (silicon) + Human Creativity = Fiber optic cables Making sand into something is amazing enough, but a much more impressive example of "resource creation" is the way some farmers have turned poop into bedding (or if you prefer alliteration, manure into mattresses). It is quite a story! Rising prices prompts creative thinking Down where I live, in the Northern Washington/Southern BC area, some dairy farmers used to use sawdust as a cheap bedding material for their cows. The cows could sleep in it, poop on it, and the farmer could then come along, clean it out, and put a new layer down. Sawdust clumped together, making it easy to scoop away, but perhaps its most attractive quality was its cheapness. Sawdust used to be viewed as a waste product from the lumber industry – they couldn't give it away and would even bury it. But then creative farmers created a market for this castoff. Or to put it in more mathematical terms: Sawdust + Human Creativity = Cow bedding Some time later, other creative folks started to see more ways that sawdust could be used, including as fuel. Because it originated as a lumber waste product it was cheaper than many other fuel options. So some greenhouses owners figured out a way to use it to heat their buildings, and started to outbid the farmers. This result was this waste product – nothing more than garbage before human brainpower got involved – had so increased in value that farmers could no longer afford it. They needed to find a cheaper option for their bedding! And then it happened. Some ingenious dairy farmer, probably sitting out on his tractor staring out across his manure lagoon, started thinking about the possibilities in all this poop. The result was a separation system that used the undigested fibers found in cow manure. This is fed into a rotating drying drum, where high heat kills the germs, and the output is fibrous bedding material for the farmer's cows. Poop + Human Creativity = Cow bedding Manure has been turned into mattresses! Conclusion Julian Simon was an atheist, so he didn't understand why we have this capacity – why we have a mysterious, awesome ability to use our brains to create something out of nothing. But Simon did recognize Man was more than his mouth; he understood that Man wasn't best understood as a consumer of scarce resources, but that instead Man has an ability (and Christians would add, a calling) to be a producer of plenty. So, in this limited way, Simon has a more accurate understanding of Man than any of his critics. So where does our creative capacity come from? It is a reflection of God's creative Genius. We can't create ex nihilo – out of nothing – like God does, but when we take what was once useless, and put it to productive use, we show ourselves to be His image-bearers....

Science - Environmental Stewardship

The making of the Cornwall Alliance

How did we get our biblical stewardship group going? Editor’s Note: Dr. E Calvin Beisner will be featured in Reformed Perspective’s Spring Speaking Tour “The Grass is Greener” so we wanted to share a little bit about him, and the organization, the Cornwall Alliance, that he heads. **** Where did the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation come from? It is the ongoing result of decades of study by scores of scholars – theologians, scientists, economists, and others – and myself. My own personal background played a major role in shaping it, so let me share that with you. When I was an infant, my father, working for the U.S. State Department, was posted to Calcutta, India. We returned to the States around my second birthday, so I don’t have many direct, personal memories of life there. But two picture memories stand out starkly. The first is of the beautiful tropical garden in the courtyard of the apartment complex where we lived. The second is of the scores of bodies of those who had died of starvation and related diseases, over and around which, early each morning for several months, before trucks came around and picked them up, I walked, hand in hand with my “Aia,” the Indian lady who led me by the hand from my parents’ home several blocks to the home of an Indian family where I spent the day because my mother was paralyzed by a tropical virus that attacked her spine (from which, thank God, she eventually recovered). Over the years, those two memories came to bespeak for me two things: the glories of God’s creation, and the horrors of abject poverty. The Bible speaks about the poor too When I became a Christian, and when in high school I began dedicating my life to the service of Christ, I at first failed to recognize the connection between the Christian faith and either of those two matters. I thought the Christian faith was about nothing but the salvation of sinners – which is indeed the heart of the Christian faith and the most glorious part of it! I witnessed the gospel constantly to fellow students, then to teachers, and to many others, all through high school and college. I studied apologetics so I could answer arguments against the Christian faith. I rejoiced to see the Lord bring many people to saving faith in Christ. Evangelism and apologetics were my almost sole interests. Three years after I finished college with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Religion and Philosophy with double minors in Classical History and Classical Languages (in 1978), a pastor friend urged me to read a book about Christian responsibility to care for the poor. I did, and I realized for the first time how much the Bible has to say about the poor. However, I suspected that much of what the author said was mistaken – that he misinterpreted Bible passages, used faulty theological reasoning, and often argued invalidly (as a philosophy student I had studied logic). I didn’t know much about economics, but I suspected that he misunderstood that, too. Yet his book was tremendously influential, so I decided to learn economics to better evaluate the book. I read a lot of textbooks and other studies of economics. Then I earned my M.A. in Society with Specialization in Economic Ethics (International College, 1983) with a thesis focusing on economic ethics. The beginnings of a group Meanwhile, a theologian friend who knew of my prior work in evangelism and apologetics had started the “Coalition on Revival” to help what eventually became several hundred Christian theologians, philosophers, historians, lawyers, educators, psychologists, economists, and other scholars to work together producing “white papers” setting forth the Christian worldview as it applied to each of the major spheres of life. Knowing of my studies in economics, he asked me to chair the economics committee, and I consented. Dr. Marvin Olasky and Dr. Herb Schlossberg, along with about 20 others, were on that committee, and after the third year of our meetings, they asked me to write a book on economics for a series they were editing, and Prosperity and Poverty: The Compassionate Use of Resources in a World of Scarcity (1988) was the result. One chapter was supposed to discuss how population, resources, and the economy interrelate, but as I worked on it, I found that it was far too much to treat in a single chapter. Marvin told me, “Okay, then do a whole book on that.” After two more years, I finished Prospects for Growth: A Biblical View of Population, Resources, and the Future (1990). Becoming a professor When people in the administration and board of trustees of Covenant College read those books (and others I’d written), they invited me to teach. I did, from 1992–2000, as Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on the application of Biblical worldview, theology, and ethics to economics, government, and public policy, with special attention to economic development for the poor and environmental stewardship. In late 1999 the trustees and administration of Knox Theological Seminary invited me to teach. As Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Social Ethics (the latter including the ethics of economic development and environmental stewardship) I taught there from 2000–2008. (While teaching at Covenant and Knox, I also earned a Ph.D. in Scottish History (University of St. Andrews, Scotland, 2005–2003), focusing on the history of political philosophy.) Starting in the early 1990s, a variety of religious scholars – Jewish, Catholic, mainline Protestant, and evangelical Protestant – were studying how Biblical ethics should inform environmental stewardship. I was one among many who participated in small colloquia hosted by various groups – the Evangelical Environmental Network, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and colleges and churches – to deliver papers and discuss ideas. From West Cornwall… One such meeting, involving about 30 scholars, took place in the autumn of 1999 in West Cornwall, Connecticut. Following it, several of us thought it would be helpful to create a statement of fundamental principles, and I agreed to draft it. That became, after editing by several scholars, The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship, which was released publicly in March of 2000, after it had been endorsed by several hundred prominent religious leaders, and which eventually was endorsed by over 1,500 religious leaders and thousands of lay people. In the summer of 2005, a handful of those who had been instrumental in organizing the gathering that led to issuing the Cornwall Declaration asked me if I would write some articles, speak in various places, and coordinate the building of a network of scholars to promote the basic ideas of the Declaration. I agreed to do it on the side. …to the ISA From that grew the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA), a loose-knit network of theologians, pastors, other ministry leaders, scientists, economists, other scholars, and policy experts, all donating their time, dedicated to applying Biblical worldview, theology, and ethics together with excellent science and economics to the interrelated challenges of economic development for the very poor and environmental stewardship. Our first major product was An Examination of the Scientific, Ethical, and Theological Implications of Climate Change Policy (November 2005). Over the next two years, ISA functioned as a loose-knit network of people with mutual interests. It had no budget, almost no funding (just small amounts donated by a few individuals), no office, and no staff except myself on a small part-time stipend. But the quality of that first paper, and then of our second, A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming (July 2006), resulted in our scholars’ being asked to speak for a variety of organizations and in my being asked to give testimony as an expert witness before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (October 2006). New name In 2007 we changed our name to The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation to make our connection to the Cornwall Declaration clear. To respond to rising demand for our teaching and writing, we incorporated The James Partnership, a 501(c)3 non-profit religious, educational, and charitable organization. (Two other organizations also operate under The James Partnership. We were able to hire a part-time assistant, and then in 2008 I left Knox Theological Seminary to divide my time between the Cornwall Alliance and serving on the pastoral staff of a church I had helped plant. We are supported by donations from private individuals and non-profit foundations, not by corporate gifts, and by donations of time and expertise by over 60 scholars in our network, such as the authors of hundreds of articles we’ve published in scores of venues; the speakers for our Resisting the Green Dragon video lecture series and documentary; the author of our book Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death; the scholars interviewed for our Where the Grass Is Greener: Biblical Stewardship vs. Climate Alarmism and other video documentaries; and the authors and reviewers of our major papers, including: An Examination of the Scientific, Ethical, and Theological Implications of Climate Change Policy (2005) A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming(2006) The Cornwall Stewardship Agenda(2008) A Renewed Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Examination of the Theology, Science, and Economics of Global Warming(2010) The Cost of Good Intentions: The Ethics and Economics of the War on Conventional Energy(2011) What Is the Most Important Environmental Task Facing American Christians Today?(rev. ed., 2014) A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor 2014: The Case against Harmful Climate Policies Gets Stronger(2014), and An Open Letter to Pope Francis on Climate Change(2015). As of this writing (early 2017), with two full-time staff (our Director of Communications and me), one paid part-time staff member (our Director of Donor Relations), and two part-time volunteer staff members, the Cornwall Alliance remains largely a loose-knit network of theologians, pastors, other ministry leaders, scientists, economists, other scholars, and policy experts dedicated to applying Biblical worldview, theology, and ethics together with excellent science and economics to the twin tasks of environmental stewardship and economic development for the poor through writing, speaking, social media, and our websites www.CornwallAlliance.org and www.EarthRisingBlog.com. ***** E. Calvin Beisner will be touring Canada, as part of RP's "The Grass is Greener: biblical stewardship and an age of climate alarmism" speaking tour. Dates and location are below. Can you help us spread the word? Please like and share this post! May 1 – Hamilton Cornerstone CanRC May 2 – Smithville CanRC May 3 – Fergus Maranatha CanRC May 4 – Burgessville Heritage NRC May 5 – Strathroy Providence URC May 8 – Winnipeg Redeemer CanRC May 9 – Lethbridge Trinity URC May 10 – Edmonton Parkland Immanuel Christian School  May 11 – Ponoka Parkland URC May 12 – Barrhead CanRC ...

Science - Environmental Stewardship

FREE MOVIE: Blue

Documentary 2014 / 58 minutes Rating: 7/10 Blue is about an alternative – a Christian alternative – to the Green movement. Whereas the secular environmental movement too often sees man as a problem for the Earth, the Blue movement would start with the biblical understanding that Man is the pinnacle of God’s creation, and has been entrusted with the stewardship of the Earth. While the Green movement wants us to just leave things alone, the Blue movement knows that God has told us to take an active role in protecting and developing the Earth. The strength of the film is King’s unabashedly one-sided, presentation: 100% of the film is spent talking to like-minded Christians, politicians and scientists, including some pretty big names like E. Calvin Beisner, Lord Christopher Monckton and Vishal Mangal Wadi. And because this is the side we hear so little about from the mainstream media, this film can serve as a good counter-balance. But the weakness of the film is this same one-sided presentation. I doubt that someone watching this who was already sympathetic to the Green movement would watch this any change their mind. I think it would be more likely that they would think King’s uninterrupted bashing of the Green movement must be unfair, and couldn’t possibly be a fair representation of them. The environmental movement is actually as bad as King portrays but because he never lets the Greens speak for themselves, it is understandable that a skeptical listener wouldn’t just take King’s word for it. The presentation is good, and as documentaries go, it is quite entertaining. That’s another way of saying, if you like documentaries, you’ll like this one, but if you don’t like documentaries, this one isn’t likely to make you change your mind. Overall I’d say it is a great one for Christians, to help us better understand the difference between biblical stewardship and the environmentalist approach, but it probably isn’t a good one to give to your environmentalist friends. You can watch the whole movie for free online. Check it out below. ...