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Culture Articles

  • Michael Thigpen — 

    I just finished watching an excellent DVD series entitled, PovertyCure. In this six-part study, Michael Matheson Miller leads the viewer through an exploration of the causes of poverty, the role of aid in poverty alleviation, and the significant obstacles aid-only approaches create for people seeking to move from poverty to flourishing ...

  • Andy Draycott — 

    Then Charlottesville, now Sutherland Springs. In contemporary America. Islamabad. Cairo. Worshippers gathered together are met with unprovoked lethal violence. And we mourn. We mourn as fellow humans, we grieve as fellow believers, we mourn as a world-wide church. We grieve as those who hope in the resurrection of the dead assured by our anointed King and Savior Jesus who will come again to establish righteousness and equity through judgment ...

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    The 16th century church was in dire need of a Reformation. What about today, a half millennium later? Is the 21st century church due for another Reformation, a Re-Reformation? Professor Williams shares his thoughts ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    La frase o “hashtag” #metoo (yo también) se ha hecho viral en las redes sociales en los últimos días. No es una frase nueva porque desde hace 10 años la activista afroamericana Tarana Burke intentó hacerla pública, pero no ha sido sino hasta estos días que su uso se ha convertido en una tendencia social. La frase indica un reconocimiento público que una mujer, principalmente y en su gran mayoría aunque también incluye hombres, ha sido víctima de cualquier tipo de acoso sexual o incluso violación. Ha sido desgarrador leer los innumerables testimonios de personas que han tenido la valentía de contar sus historias y hablar de frente, en muchas ocasiones por primera vez, sobre el abuso que sufrieron ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    The phrase or hashtag #MeToo became viral in social media in recent days. “Me Too” is not a new phrase; the African-American social activist Tarana Burke started using it ten years ago, but it became a media trending topic recently. This phrase represents a public acknowledgement that a person (although women are sadly the vast majority) has been sexually harassed or assaulted. It has been heartbreaking to read the countless testimonies of people who had the courage to share their abuse stories—many of them for the first time—with openness and frankness ...

  • Markus Zehnder — 

    I present these thoughts from the perspective of someone who grew up in and is familiar with the academic and spiritual situation on the European continent. My observation is that many of the trends that have eroded a robust Christian influence on European culture are very much active in the Evangelical world of the US in the current situation as well ...

  • Betsy Barber — 

    When my father died, I grieved. My father died on a Sunday morning, early. His hospital roommate told us that Dad had spent his last night—the whole night—praying softly for his family, person by person, before dying peacefully in the early morning. Even though we’d known that he would die soon from bone cancer, and knew that he was eager to be home with the Lord, it was still a shock. It was still too soon. Death is like that: it always surprises us and it interrupts our lives. We stop, and we grieve.

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    Fifteen years ago in Paris, I had a conversation with a young existentialist who said something as unflattering as it was memorable: “Whatever the world does the church does ten years later and worse.” My new friend was talking about Christian music, describing a decade lag factor, a slowness to recognize and adapt to cultural changes that, in his estimation, rendered the church musically irrelevant ...

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    My students in Exegesis In The Gospels (a second-year Greek course) were delighted to discover that (in the words of one news agency) “Christian conspiracy theorists have gathered clues that suggest the end of the world is nigh" ...

  • David Talley — 

    There is no end of opportunities to be blessed with the teaching and preaching of God’s word. Great preachers can be heard on the radio. Podcasts can be automatically downloaded to our phones or iPads. The teaching of God’s word is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on cable television networks. Christian bookstores are full of books by the greatest authors of our day. Electronic books can be carried with us everywhere with ease. Churches have program after program geared toward teaching God’s word, not to mention a worship service every week, which includes a Bible-based sermon. From the cradle to the grave, opportunities abound ...

  • Michael Thigpen — 

    This summer I had the privilege of attending Acton University. This week-long meeting is hosted by the Acton Institute, a think-tank “whose mission is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.” Common themes at Acton are religious liberty, economic liberty, and natural law. Much like C.S. Lewis’ “mere christianity,” Acton seeks to promote a civil society advanced on natural law reasoning. At Acton one encounters philosophers, economists, entrepreneurs, theologians, biblical scholars, ethicists, and aid workers from around the world ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    La compasión debe ser sentimiento esencial de aquellos que se dicen seguidores de Jesucristo. La palabra compasión significa “sufrir juntos” y es un sentimiento que se manifiesta al percibir y comprender el sufrimiento de los demás y, por lo tanto, produce el deseo de aliviar, reducir o eliminar este sufrimiento. Al ver las noticias, caminar por las calles o simplemente al conversar con personas a nuestro alrededor es fácil darse cuenta que muchas personas están sufriendo por diferentes circunstancias. La tendencia natural y tristemente común incluso en muchos de aquellos que se dicen cristianos es juzgar a los demás y asumir que sus circunstancias negativas son consecuencia de sus malas decisiones. Es fácil amar a los que nos aman y preocuparnos por aquellos que son cercanos a nosotros, pero una marca central de Jesús y sus seguidores debe ser amar y tener compasión por todos sin importar quienes son o qué han hecho ...

  • Daniel Kim — 

    I had the occasion to watch a six-part DVD series called PovertyCure, produced by the Acton Institute. It is indeed an eye-opening series that I’d encourage you to watch. Each part is less than 30 minutes long and is available in the Biola Library (BV4647 .P6 P68 2012 DVD). It challenges the effectiveness of the traditional model of helping the poor through foreign aid in regions where there is wide-spread poverty and the economy is largely depressed. This aid can come in the form of government sponsored foreign aid, through global agencies such as the IMF or World Bank, and even from NGO’s (both secular and Christian). By the end of the series, I think most would at least pause to consider if “aid” (as a “handout”) helps to alleviate poverty, or whether it actually exacerbates the problem ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    En este año se celebra alrededor del mundo los 500 años del inicio de lo que se conoce como La Reforma protestante. El 31 de octubre de 1517 el monje agustino Martín Lutero clavó en la puerta de la Iglesia del Castillo en Wittenberg en Alemania 95 tesis en las que criticaba abiertamente las ventas de indulgencias de la iglesia católica romana. Lutero escogió ese día deliberadamente ya que era la víspera del Día de Todos los Santos y tanto la facultad de la universidad como muchos fieles asistían a la iglesia. Lutero inicialmente no tenía la intención de romper con la iglesia romana sino enfatizar la supremacía del evangelio de Cristo basada en su simplicidad y a la vez en su gran profundidad ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I just finished reading Owen Strachan’s book, Awakening the Evangelical Mind: An Intellectual History of the Neo-Evangelical Movement. He has some good words for how to keep evangelical universities, well … evangelical. These three paragraphs are worth the three minutes it will take you to read them ...

  • Steve Porter — 

    Recently I was in discussion with a friend who was concerned about the tendency of some Christians to spiritualize death and dying by appeal to the afterlife. To “spiritualize” death and dying is to utilize spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with unwanted feelings over the loss of a loved one. “I just try to think of how happy she is with Jesus.” “When we see him again in heaven it will seem like no time has passed.” “I am just glad she’s finally at rest in Jesus’ arms.” To spiritualize death and dying in these and other ways is a defense mechanism. It is a way to defend against experiencing some painful part of reality as it actually is ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Cada vez estoy más convencido que ser un “trabajador obsesivo” es la adicción más común entre las personas que están en el ministerio cristiano. Evidentemente esta condición se presenta entre todas las personas sin importar su ocupación o religiosidad. De hecho en inglés el término “workaholic” ya forma parte del vocabulario común ya que representa una realidad cada vez más presente en nuestras sociedades. Pero es fácil convertirse en un trabajador obsesivo y disfrazar esta situación con piedad y buenas intenciones. De la misma manera es muy atractivo sumergirse en el trabajo y echarle la culpa a Dios o a la obra de Dios como excusa por esta situación ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Job interviews are a nerve-wracking ordeal. The feeling of being out of control regarding one’s future leads to subservient postures in relationships. This was the situation the Moabite, Ruth, found herself in after returning with her mother in-law to Bethlehem (Ruth 1). However, in this amazing Biblical narrative is a posture of grace-seeking that is reminiscent of our seeking God; it is the God-action of finding favor in others that we should model in our working relationships ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Where does inspiration come from? Where does the motivation to use one’s gifts and passions to make a difference begin? Jane Goodall said, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Are we the source of action or does that spark come from something else? I would like to propose God is the beginning of movements that bring change; history is the record of mankind’s response to the divine prompting ...

  • Greg Ganssle — 

    One summer, I drove from my parent’s home in New Jersey to where I was working in Minnesota. Somewhere in Indiana, I saw the all too familiar flashing lights of a state trooper. I was speeding, and I knew it. I was going sixty-eight in a fifty-five zone. I had a pit in my stomach. I hated the fact that I was caught. Not only does the speeding ticket cost money, but my ego took a hit as well. I was resentful. I don’t like being in the wrong. More than that, I hate being held accountable when I am wrong ...

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Kenneth Berding (Professor of New Testament at Talbot School of Theology) recently wrote and published The Apostolic Fathers: A Narrative Introduction. We wanted to learn more about this book, so we had Ken respond to some questions ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    “Tú nunca me dices que me amas,” una esposa triste se quejaba con su esposo; a lo que éste respondió: “yo te dije que te amaba el día en que nos casamos y no he cambiado de opinión, así que, no veo la razón de estarlo repitiendo." Nos podemos sonreír con la historia anterior. Sin embargo, estoy convencido de que muchos esposos no comprenden lo importante que es amar a sus esposas y cómo demostrarles ese amor. El romanticismo no es solamente un asunto de mujeres sino que debería ser la prioridad de los maridos ...

  • Michael Thigpen — 

    The account of humanity’s creation in the image of God in Genesis 1:26-28, is specifically crafted to lead the reader to conclude that God’s intended outcome, his purpose, for creating humanity in his image, was to create flourishing communities, not just flourishing individuals. The cultural or creation mandate as it has been called—God’s command to be fruitful, multiply, fill and subdue the earth, and to rule over the living things on the earth—is rightly seen as a command to fulfill God’s intention. Humanity is to fill the earth and bring about flourishing ...

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Is the church here to help me to grow in Christ as an individual? Or has God put me here to help the church grow both qualitatively and quantitatively? The easy answer is “Both!” And that’s not completely wrong. But the early Christians clearly prioritized the health and growth of God’s community over the goals and desires of individual believers. This group-first mentality is not only characterized the early church, it characterized family life throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. This is why families arranged marriages. The goal of marriage in the ancient world was the not relational satisfaction of the individuals involved. It was the honor and ongoing viability of the two families who brokered the marriage. The group — in this case the family — came first ...

  • Mark Saucy — 

    The recent welcome of Evangelical radio apologist, “The Bible Answer Man” —Hank Hanegraaff, into the Greek Orthodox Church has understandably raised more than eyebrows. Questions about the differences between Protestants and Orthodox have been coming my way in the aftermath, so I want to offer to Good Book Blog readers an essay I wrote for Talbot’s Sundoulos magazine back in 2008. In it you’ll find some general characteristics of the Orthodox denomination as well as key points of difference with Protestants—some of which converts such as Hank Hanegraaff would typically need to renounce as they formally enter Orthodoxy ...