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News

Saturday Selections - June 9

I believe in "theistic evolutionist" Dr. Bredenhof on the disingenuous way some in the creation/evolution debate describe their positions. Airport security: where do we draw the line? When airport security selected his 13-year-old daughter for a pat down, John Stonestreet wasn't going to have it. Should churches incorporate? "Incorporating the church also undermines Reformed church governance because it puts power in the hands of the membership to overturn “board” (i.e. elders’) decisions. Incorporation puts final decision making power in the membership rather than consistory." The myth of deforestation: the difference between environmentalism and biblical stewardship On the surface biblical stewardship and secular environmentalism seem to have a lot in common - both are concerned with pollution and loss of animal species. But where they often differ is in the Christian belief that people are more important than plants and animals. Now, saying people are more important than the plants and animals isn't to say that plants and animals are unimportant – it is only about getting our priorities straight. And when it comes to deforestation, secular groups have gotten their priorities mixed up. While the planet is, overall, still experiencing a slightly decline in the extent of its forests, that is happening in the poorest countries. Meanwhile in the rich West, our forests are increasing - in the UK they are three times what they once were! Trees are a luxury – the person who doesn't know what they are going to eat today doesn't have the time or energy to care about trees...and we shouldn't expect them to. But the wealthier a country becomes, the more likely they will see an increase in the size of their forests, as trees become a luxury we can now afford. So when environmentalists complain about deforestation, what is it they are asking for? That the poorest countries start making trees a bigger priority, even as people are still starving? They aren't saying that out loud, but that is what they are asking. And those are mixed up priorities. Starlings are stupendous! Grab the spouse, grab the kiddies, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy the jaw dropping spectacle of starling "clouds." God is fun! (4 minutes). On reading and how to do it We all know how to read, sure. But we don't always know how to assess what we're reading. Bekah Merkle gives us some of the tools (40 minutes). ...

News

Saturday Selections – June 2

Why do churches need good organs and good organists? An interesting perspective on organs from someone outside Dutch Reformed circles. Antony van Leewenhoek: a Dutchman who opened up the microscopic world Though a layman, with no formal scientific education, Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) devised microscopes more powerful than any others of his time, allowing him to be the first to see bacteria. He also helped show that life only comes from life – his work rebutted the idea of "spontaneous generation." New Christian news aggregate site Adam Ford, best known as the founder of the Babylon Bee, has sold his Christian satirical news site so he can focus on his daily news aggregate site. Who needs God when you have government? A government big enough to provide everything we need is a government trying to replace God. Untangling assisted reproductive technology As Breakpoint.org's John Stonestreet explains, with more and more couples turning to IVF, Christians need to know where we stand on this issue: "silence on assisted reproductive technologies is no longer an option." Does God love everyone? R.C. Sproul gives a careful and clear answer below, which is a mix of "sort of" and "definitely not." ...

News

Saturday Selections – May 26, 2018

I want to buy your cheapest phone Tim Challies has bought a "dumb" phone to help him regain balance and control over his "digital assistant." No, the eye is not badly designed The claim that the eye is badly designed - and that this bad design is evidence of it chaotic unplanned evolutionary origin – is a myth that keeps popping up: by Richard Dawkins 30 years ago, to Dr. Nathan Lents this year. But, all we need is a closer look at the eye to see the critics have been blinded by their worldview – what they see as a design problem is actually a design feature! The biblical way to fly a plane? Is there really a Christian way to fly an airplane? You bet! As Kuyper once said, there is not one square inch of creation that Jesus doesn't declare as His own. So whether flying planes, or doing math, there is a Christian way to do it. Math? Yes, that too: "As the apologist Cornelius Van Til once said, paraphrasing, it is not that the unbeliever cannot count, but that his worldview cannot account for counting." Alfie Evans not alone: Hundreds of patients starved to death in the UK every year Those of us with Dutch relatives have heard the reports of elderly folk in the Netherlands who are scared to go to their hospitals – they don't trust that the staff will look at their lives as worth extending and fighting for. The same fear exists in some places in Australia, and as this article illustrates, it would seem the British elderly also have a reason to fear their public healthcare system. When all life isn't regarded as precious, then it might just be your life they don't find precious. More on the importance of questions Joseph Backholm asks "How can we have civil discourse when the other side isn't willing to have ANY discourse?" God says the law is written on our heart, and one bit of that - Proverbs 18:17 - says that one side seems right until the other comes and tests it. So when people are unwilling to share the reasons for why they believe what they believe, we can use questions to point out to them that their ideas are untested – that they believe what they believe, not because they have weighed both sides, but only because someone told them what to believe. (Warning: there is some bleeped out language) School shootings: the cause and cure Ray Comfort's new 20-minute movie is worth watching for the first few minutes alone. Comfort interviews young people and asks them if they can call a school shooter evil...and they can't! Our culture doesn't want to condemn evil because then they would have to own up to their own. But God's law is written on their hearts... ...

News

Saturday Selections - May 12, 2018

5 questions to ask a book before you read it Tim Challies lists 5 questions to "help you filter the few books you will read from the thousands you could read." Marvel's latest supervillain sounds like some respected scientists and doctors Thanos thinks death is preferable to a life of suffering. This is the same kind of thinking that motivated Alfie Evans' doctors. An "animal salad" of bones points to catastrophic demise A massive collection of fossils bones gives evidence of a massive flood. Some of the facts on transgenderism A new picture book by a transgender television star is reviewed by an endocrinologist who highlights the misinformation being pitched at kids. Greg Koukl on a powerful tactic for defense of our faith This spring Reformed Perspective brought Tim Barnett to congregations across Canada to teach "Tactics in Defense of our faith." His talk was based on a book, Tactics, by Stand to Reason president Greg Koukl and in this half hour video Koukl gives his own presentation of the very useful "Columbo Tactic." This is the first session, available for free, of a six-session set you can buy here. The Log Driver's Waltz A bit of nostalgic canadiana for Canucks 30 and over. ...

News

Saturday Selections - April 28, 2018

Rosaria Butterfield on hospitality On how hospitality is both easier and more radical than we know. And far more important too! Why I am a creationist Kenneth Gentry weighs in with a thorough response to the Framework Hypothesis, while, near the bottom of this page nine PhDs explain why they believe in a 6-day creation too. What Christians should know about embryo adoption Hundreds of thousands of children are waiting to be born. Here's what God's people can do to help these helpless children. Advice to guys who want to date my daughters "Do not tell her you 'like' her and put the ball in her court. Take some responsibility....Make a formal, in-person invitation. Since this is a 'date,' ask the girl to go out with you. Call her if you have to, but take the highest form of communication. Don’t be a coward and text it. Don’t post it on Facebook. Ask cheerfully. Ask privately. Ask clearly. And by the way, don’t just ask her to 'hang out.' What’s that?" What are the biblical warnings about government? "The debate about the size and role of government has huge implications for the lives of individuals all over the world. Important as the issue is, Christians are divided about what scripture has to say about government. What are some considerations that can help us frame this debate and work towards a conclusion? The Bible sets out four principles that can provide a foundation for the discussion." The deadly gospel of nice "...nice isn’t the same thing as love. True love is concerned with the good of the beloved, and can never be divorced from the truth of how God created us and intends us to live. When we ignore that truth, we can “nice” people to death."...

News

Saturday Selections – March 31, 2018

Materially blessed like no other generation "...if the media truly reported the important changes in the world, “they could have run the headline NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN EXTREME POVERTY FELL BY 137,000 SINCE YESTERDAY every day for the last twenty-five years.” Who spends less time outdoors than inmates? A three-minute film about how many of today's children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates. Three tips for responding to criticism Tim Challies offers tips that we could all use. The difference between Calvinists and Arminians John Piper argues that the difference comes down to the Calvinist capacity for mystery. Do we accept what the Bible puts forward as truth — even when we can’t fully comprehend it — or do we try to fit everything into our own philosophical boxes in order to avoid mystery? On our culture's never ending guilt What if our culture had just enough light to know it is guilty, but it also rejected God with such ferocity that it had no glimmerings that forgiveness is even possible? Christian satire site plays it straight Sometimes satire is as simple as stating our opponent's position out loud....

News

Saturday Selections - Feb 10, 2018

What does a kind husband look like? Some thoughts on the lies that husbands can tell about God in the way they treat their wives, and five characteristics of a kind husband. On costly grace... Rachel Denhollander made news around the world for the words of condemnation and grace she offered at the trial of Larry Nassar, her abuser. In both instances she pointed Nassar to God: how he stands utterly condemned before a wrathful and just God who will mete out what Nassar deserves, but that should Nassar ever truly face and be crushed by the evil he has done, he can experience the grace and forgiveness of Jesus. ...and an inwardly blind Church David Murray reflects on an aspect of the Rachel Denhollander account that didn't receive much coverage - how she noted that her advocacy for sexually abused victims had the result that she "lost her church." She argued that, due to poor theology, much of the conservative Christian church is not able to see the evil happening within its own doors. Euthanasia decision raises question of the purpose behind health regulations The government doesn't allow just anyone to call themselves a doctor, and the reason for that regulative restriction was supposed to be safety – we don't want just anyone performing surgery. But if medical regulations used to be about keeping out the dangerous, they are now being used to keep out the disagreeing. Disagree with the government on euthanasia and they'll use their regulations to exclude you from practicing medicine. No matter than you aren't even a bit dangerous. Understanding Gov't with a biblical understanding of human nature On why government has to be limited.... More on  Chip and Joanna Gaines and whether they're wrecking the earth Overpopulation proponents are worried about having too many people on the planet. That's why Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines encountered criticism when they announced they were pregnant with child #5. But as E. Calvin Beisner explains, this criticism is baseless for biblical and empirical reasons....

News

Saturday Selections - Jan 20, 2018

Parents, your teens are being pressured to ‘sext.’ Even at Christian high schools. Jonathon Van Maren asks parents to stop being naive – this is happening, even at Christian schools. God's creation big and small In this three-minute video we get a look at God’s creation on an unimaginably vast scale, and on an infinitesimally tiny scale too. Though the presentation is secular, it reveals His genius through and through. The damsel and villain The whole of history, in one 7-minute spoken word piece. Hope for the frozen unchosen What happens to the millions of babies who are created via IVF? As WORLD magazine reports, many (British numbers put it at more than half) never make it past conception – they are discarded as being abnormal. Some of the others will be implanted, but since the normal IVF practice involves conceiving many more embryos than will be implanted, "excess" children are discarded, or donated to science for medical experimentation, or, in most cases, left in a frozen state awaiting a yet undetermined fate. In the US there are somewhere between 600,000 and a million of these children frozen right now, and some Christians are working to provide these survivors a chance to be born. Free e-book: Scott Klusendorf's The Case for Life If you're willing to fill in a 10-minute survey on your Bible reading habits, Crossway books will give you a free e-book copy of Scott Klusendorf's fantastic pro-life "how-to" manual for defending the unborn. There's no such thing as a free education With the increasing push for free university education, the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics thinks it's important we understand how a free education's costs are considerable....

News

Saturday Selections - Dec 16, 2017

Ten books every teenager should read It isn't important that your son or daughter has read all the books on this list, or even any. What is important is that, as parents, we're encouraging our teens to make it their business to grow in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord. And that's where a list like this can help, offering an assortment of awesome books, so that hopefully something here will spark their interest. John Piper's tribute to RC Sproul (1939-2017) There have been any number of tributes this past week, after RC Sproul passed on to be with his Father, and John Piper's may be the best because he gives a number of examples of Sproul's "jolting exposition." Evolution vs. the Bible A ten-minute read on how "Francis Collins and BioLogos seek a different story of our origins than the one told in Genesis" Who's distracted by a girl wearing skintight leggings? Maybe the girl?  This isn't a Christian perspective - it's from Psychology Today - but it is an interesting one on how tight clothing may be a distraction in the classroom...for the girls wearing it. On how the Reformation freed and elevated women This is a fascinating 40-minute presentation from the author of Popes and Feminists. On courtship vs. dating - a conversation between Joshua Harris and Thomas Umstattd Jr. This 17-minute conversation features Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and Thomas Umstattd Jr., author of Courtship in Crisis: The Case for Traditional Dating. It is a congenial and helpful discussion by two men who used to represent very different sides of this debate....

News

Saturday Selections - Nov 11, 2017

It's not about the cake When a gay couple tries to force a Christian baker to make their wedding cake, it isn't about the cake – they could get that done just down the street. What it's about is forcing the Christian baker to affirm their sin. Sexual difference run deep, new study finds We know it because God says it: men and women are different.  And a recent study shows how those difference are evidenced in every part of our bodies. How can we prove that objective morality exists? Point to it. The folks at Stand to Reason show how to make a relativist uneasy. My marriage is not an equal partnership and I don't want it to be Last week we had a post about egalitarianism vs. complementarianism. Soon after, Matt Walsh weighed in on how his own marriage is not 50/50, or 100/100, or anything remotely equal. And that is a very good thing. We can rejoice that marriage will end...really No marriage in heaven? What? But how can heaven be....less than earth? Tim Challies chimes in... Classics every middle schooler and every high schooler should read These two lists strike me as incredibly ambitious. But if our homeschooled children are able to read these, why would we expect less from our children in Christian schools? Parents, maybe you'll see one or two, or a few, you might want to introduce to your son or daughter - the middle school list is here, and the high school list here....

News

Saturday Selections - Nov 4, 2017

Sing a little louder As we approach Remembrance Day, this powerful nine-minute film serves as a reminder that there are battles to be fought today too. It's about a German church during WWII that liked to sing praises to God. What could be wrong with that? Singing God's praises is good, right? While we all know that evil is a temptation, we need to understand our hearts are so deceitful we can use even good deeds to distract ourselves from doing what God is really calling us to (Luke 10:38-42). Big parts of accepted "Science" aren't scientific From the article: "Evolutionists have frequently criticized creationism as unscientific because of its basic commitment to the doctrine of creation ex nihilo—that is, 'creation out of nothing.' The idea that God simply called the universe into existence by His own power, without using any preexisting materials, is rejected out of hand by evolutionists since this would involve supernatural action, which is unscientific by definition – that is, by their definition. Yet, evolutionary cosmogonists maintain that the universe evolved itself out of nothing!" Martin Luther and Jay Adams Jay Adams has often been called "the Martin Luther of biblical counseling," and in this article the author makes clear why that is such an appropriate comparison. Suicidal trend in Young Adult/Teen fiction In the typical public library, the Teen/Young Adult section will feature novels and nonfiction that promote sexual experimentation, make light of suicide, attacks Christianity, and pushes gender confusion. As this Breakpoint piece also emphasizes, parents need to be aware that Young Adult/Teen books are a spiritual battleground! Wonderful news - extreme poverty has been halved! Overwhelmed by a constant diet of bad news? Then consider this: God is blessing the world in an enormous way that most aren't even aware of. Over the last 20 years, something unprecedented has happened – extreme poverty has been halved. Even as the population continues to grow, the number of people in extreme poverty decreased from 1.7 billion in 1999 to 0.8 billion in  2013. The fatal flaw with Assisted Suicide This video clip highlights the fatal flaw in assisted suicide. Today in Canada, we no longer view death as an enemy to be fought, but a treatment to be offered. And when we start viewing death as mercy, then our "angels of mercy" are going to start pushing death. As Christians, we understand that while we don't need to fear death - Christ has conquered it! - death is still an enemy. It is gross perversion to portray killing as mercy. Every one of us is made in His Image, and precious, and every life is a gift from God....

News

Saturday Selections - Oct 21, 2017

Welcoming vs. affirming In the LGBTQ debate there is a demand that for a church to be welcoming, it must also affirm people's lifestyle. Trevin Wax highlights the problem with that - it's not the church's business to be affirming anyone. "What is the crux of the problem here? It's the expectation that the church would be in the business of affirming anyone at all. The Bible teaches that God's righteousness cuts us all down to size. If a church were to close its doors to sinners, it would be empty. And if a church were to empty itself of only some kinds of sinners, it would soon be full only of self-righteousness. Better then for the church to close its doors entirely." Paul Tripp video offers encouragement for every parent Paul Tripp offers some insightful and encouraging biblical principles for parenting in his new videos series and the first session can be watched for free. This is a great hour-long session to watch with your better half (skip ahead to the 18:30 mark to get right to the talk). Should teens own smartphones? Some giants in the tech industry are questioning whether it's wise. Related, here is a Jewish a cappella group encouraging a shabbat (the Jewish sabbath) rest from more than just work Does Liberal Christianity leads to atheism? Bart Campolo says that his atheistic turn started when he gave up on believing that God is sovereign. After that, it was just a matter of working out things to their "logical" ends. Godly dominion vs. Environmentalism Dr. Calvin Beisner headlined Reformed Perspective's 2017 speaking tour, sharing a message similar to this one. What I want from the news Tim Challies gives a good summary of what we'd all like from the news (which is what RP tries to deliver).  ...

News

Saturday Selections - Sept 30, 2017

This edition has been brought to you by the number 6: six items, six actions, and six surprises.... God painted ants on fruit fly wings Some things are just too cool not to share: God has crafted detailed pictures of ants on the tiny wings of a particular fly. Why? Because it is brilliant! Lots of astonishing pictures here. 6 actions to take when grieving the death of a loved one Thought this is a very short post, it has helpful suggestions summarized from the twice-widowed missionary-wife Elisabeth Elliot. 6 surprises every premarital counselor should cover Even the apostle Paul speaks of marriage as a mystery. To minimize some of the surprises, this is a good article for engage or newly married couples to read together. And it's a good reminder for all couples. More on why euthanasia safeguards can't work From the article: "Safeguards are ineffective to prevent slippery slopes. As British moral philosopher Dame Mary Warnock has put it in another context, 'you cannot successfully block a slippery slope except by a fixed and invariable obstacle.' In governing dying and death that obstacle is the rule that we must not intentionally kill another human being." The only flaw in this article is that the Christian ethic, serving as the foundation to Margaret Somerville's argument, is never acknowledged. So we need to take her point as to the weakness of "safeguards" but then be explicit as to the eternal standards we are appealing to. Or, in other words, don't just tear down the lie, as Somerville does here, but also present the full Truth, as founded on God's Word and his Law. How to avoid poverty Everyone wants to reduce poverty, and in the West, the way to do so is clear. But the in the West, our culture doesn't want to hear it if it involves doing what God wants. Now this article doesn't present it quite that way, but the prescription – finish high school, then get a job, then get married, then have kids – lines up nicely with God's will for marriage, and his commandment Don't commit adultery. Around the world, capitalism has helped raise millions out of poverty, but why? Perhaps because at its ideal (ie., not the crony capitalism type) it also lines up with God's commands not to steal or covet. On social justice I've only had a chance to dip my toe in this free resource, but this video series looks fascinating, and solidly Christian. It addresses questions like: "What is social justice today?" and, "What sort of social justice should Christians pursue?" (This does require you share your email address with them.)...

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    ...

News

Saturday selections - Aug 25, 2017

A baker's half dozen of the best articles this week from Reformed and others sources.... Thou shalt not bail How many people are coming to your event? Who can know when a "yes" means "maybe" or "probably not"?  “Bailing is one of the defining acts of the current moment,” David Brooks wrote recently in his column for The New York Times. We are a culture of “ephemeral enthusiasm,” readily and indiscriminately saying yes to invitations because we know we can “back out later.” When cultists come knocking Justin Taylor provides "cheat sheets" - wonderful short summaries - of questions and points to raise with Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. How to turn the table on pro-choice arguments The prophet Nathan turned the tables on King David, telling him to, effectively, judge himself by the standard with which he was judging another. Here's how to do this in the abortion debate. On the school performance/grace divide Jay Younts notes that even in Christian schools there is a focus on performance which stands in opposition to grace. How can we address this divide? A pre-nup agreement for "until death do us part" couples? This is from a Catholic writer, but it works for Reformed folk too - a very unusual nuptial agreement specifically for couples who are seeking indissoluable marriages. God gives us William Wilberforces for a reason With the Western world rejecting God, we sometimes forget that doesn't make Him any less powerful. We need to hear about men, like William Wilberforce, who was willing to strive, no matter how insurmountable the odds seemed. And who ended slavery in Britain because God blessed his efforts. But it wasn't only the result that honored God, but the submission - William Wilberforce tried where so many others refused to because they were more concerned with winning than fighting on God's side, on the issues that matter most to Him. Why Ezra Levant's Rebel Media fell Jonathon Van Maren shares how The Rebel Media's flirtation with the alt-right led to their quick downfall, but veteran newsman Ted Byfield (of Alberta Report fame) doesn't agree that the media outlet is down for good....

News

Saturday selections - Aug 12, 2017

The best articles this week, from Reformed and others sources.... What is the Shia Sunni divide? Did you know some observant Muslims pray only three times a day? This short summary shares the origins of the split between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Have smartphones destroyed a generation? This is a longer piece with an over the top title, but worth the read. With new technology these types of scary articles will pop up - you can go back and find articles about how the phone - the good old landline - was going to harm society. So there is an irrational "anti-technology" impulse to watch out for. But new technology does come with its challenges – it's a new tool for us to master. What's a bit different in this case is that this tool is being handed off to kids even as adults are still trying to figure out how to manage it. The result is that many kids aren't being taught about the dangers and trained on how to deal with them. So, instead of mastering the tool, the tool is mastering them. The real story of the “Miracle of Dunkirk” Dunkirk is playing in theaters now, but the film misses out on the real miracle that went on. How to prevent Global Warming? Prevent births! God said children are a blessing, but more and more often global warming alarmists are saying children are the problem. Why does this evolutionary biologist want to euthanize handicapped babies? This article is not written from a specifically Christian perspective - this isn't an example of the best way to argue against euthanasia. But what it does do is document that the slippery slope is real, and in doing so it offers supportive evidence to the Christian thesis that if we ignore God's law, we are left with chaos. 12 questions to ask before you watch Game of Thrones A new season has brought with it lots more hype. John Piper has 12 questions for Christians to ask before the watch Game of Thrones...

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