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Category: Culture

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    The grind of the 9 to 5 work life has perplexed many a believer who sometimes stops to wonder, “Is this all there is?” No doubt, since the Fall of Humanity (Genesis 3), work has indeed become something altogether different than God intended prior to our expulsion from Eden. Even so, many believers may come to wrongly conclude that work is, well, just “work.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Work matters ...

  • John McKinley — 

    The Acton Institute is a think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan to produce many initiatives connected with freedom of religion, economics, and politics. These three areas of thought and practice are usually segregated, but Acton brings them together. The largest initiative is the annual Acton University, a four-day conference in Grand Rapids to draw the strands together with diverse conversation partners ...

  • Mark Saucy — 

    ... The topic is work. Something important for all of us, and it’s one that has interested me in particular teaching already five years now a theology of work course for Biola’s Crowell School of Business MBA program. Work is also a topic that naturally engages the desire for kingdom impact in the culture, because, as Karl Barth says, “human culture is produced in work. So the Faith and Work movement is right on target for engaging a ready audience in a worthy endeavor. This of course isn’t the only good of theology of work ...

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Digital courses taught by a growing number of Biola’s professors are now available through Logos Mobile Education ...

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Poverty. It is no respecter of persons. It is a global reality that exists in Calcutta and Compton; Tokyo and Timbuktu; San Francisco and São Paulo. Poverty is seen in nations and neighborhoods. It ravages urban, suburban, and rural areas. And despite the enormous wealth of some areas, make no mistake: poor people reside in Beverly Hills, Dubai, and Midtown Manhattan. Destitution is not limited to places like Dhaka and Detroit. Quite simply, there are examples of poverty everywhere. That isn’t to say poverty is equally distributed or equally affecting. In some areas poverty is more relative and sporadic. In other places, it seems absolute ...

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    In Part 1 we examined how a biblical concern for the poor can be syncretistically mixed with socialist economic ideology in a way that undermines a biblical view of people and thereby hurts image-bearers of God. In Part 2 I clarify three specific bad ideas about people that have had very bad effects on people in hopes of breaking the spell that socialist ideologies increasingly hold on younger evangelicals ...

  • Ryan Peterson — 

    At the heart of human identity is the fact that God made us in his image. In other words, at the heart of human identity is a reference to someone else. This is a striking reality! One of the foundations of the biblical account of the world and our purpose in it is an indication that we can’t look to ourselves in order to know what our purpose is. We have to look to God since we are made to be an image of God ...

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    Over the last year, as the Republican and Democratic voters sparred within and between their respective parties over the best candidate to lead our country from the White House, socialism became one of several hot button issues in our national dialogue (or national shouting match). It was the first time in our nation’s history that a candidate identifying as a “democratic socialist” garnered so much popular support, particularly among the college age demographic. Of course, this is not the first time that young Americans have been captivated by socialist ideals. With the 1960s and 70s came the Port Huron Statement according to which “students must consciously build a base for their assault upon the loci of power,” and free market capitalism became a favorite “loci” to assault. Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man, a scathing indictment of all things capitalist, became something like inerrant sacred scripture to many budding ideologues. In the new millennium the socialist ethos has experienced new iterations as the Occupy Wall Street movement, the 99%, and, most recently, the widespread support for Bernie Sanders on university campuses around the country. Although Sanders did not procure the nomination of the Democratic Party, he succeeded in revealing a deep affinity with socialism among the millennial generation that will hold an increasing share of policy-shaping power over the decades to come ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    En los últimos días se ha dicho y escrito mucho sobre Cuba. La muerte de Fidel Castro ha originado un sin fin de perspectivas sobre su legado, sobre la Revolución Cubana y sobre el bello país de Cuba en general. En lo personal, he tenido el privilegio de viajar a Cuba en trece ocasiones, de convivir con muchísimos cubanos en diferentes contextos y de hacer una investigación sobre la educación teológica en Cuba. Me gustaría resaltar que en Cuba ha habido un avivamiento espiritual por muchísimos años en donde el Espíritu Santo ha estado obrando poderosamente a lo largo de la isla. El crecimiento de la iglesia ha sido tal que muchas denominaciones no se dan abasto en la preparación de líderes y en el discipulado de los nuevos creyentes.

  • Mark Saucy — 

    One of the benefits of being part of a Christian university is the opportunity for collaboration with colleagues across the disciplines. For theologians this is gold. Questions for integration of faith in science, history, politics, or psychology? I’ve got specialists across campus, all with the same mission, who have been thinking about such things for a long time. One recent opportunity in this direction was participating a colloquium with the faculty of Biola’s Crowell School of Business. Among many topics opened that day, one in particular has haunted me these days in the interim. It was a question that revolved around a start-up competition the Business School sponsors. Students are encouraged to submit business plans for the hope of some start up seed money to launch. But what should be the criteria for judging “better” proposals? Beyond certain received best practices for the business side, does God prefer some business plans to others? Following is my original Yes and No answer to the question; what comes after is now another rather late Yes for the conversation. God does prefer some businesses to others ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    El evangelio según San Juan empieza con una declaración asombrosa que describe el origen del universo y nos da una descripción de Jesucristo: “En el principio era el Verbo, y el Verbo era con Dios, y el Verbo era Dios. Este era en el principio con Dios. Todas las cosas por él fueron hechas, y sin él nada de lo que ha sido hecho, fue hecho” (Juan 1:1-3) ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The title of this post is the exact title of a new little book written by Andrew David Naselli & J. D. Crowley and published by Crossway. This new book is intended for a general Christian (non-academic) audience, addressing an oft-neglected subject: the conscience. Discussions of this topic have been few in recent years, despite the fact that the Greek word for “conscience” (συνείδησις) appears 30 times in the New Testament (20 times in the writings of Paul). The book is short (142 pages without the appendices and indices). Thankfully, it is also clearly written. One can easily imagine a book dealing with the so-called grey areas being less-than-clear. The authors have done a fine job in making a complicated subject easy-to-understand.

  • David Talley — 

    Do you like the idea of Advent candles, but you are confused about how to approach this family time? One of the biggest difficulties in our home through the years has been to find an advent candle reading plan that fit our family. We bought many books, searched websites, and listened to the ideas of others. Eventually, I made my own. I think that the following is a compilation of many resources, but it is what we have used to celebrate advent through the years. It is good for young and old alike, and I believe that it crystallizes the advent story.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    En los próximos días terminará la campaña electoral para elegir al nuevo presidente de los Estados Unidos. Puede ser que cuando lea estas líneas estemos a pocas horas de las elecciones o quizá las votaciones ya hayan terminado. Independientemente del que resulte ganador, los últimos meses han sido muy pesados y el ambiente social demasiado tenso en todos los sentidos. Expresiones de desaliento, frustración o hartazgo se convirtieron en el común denominador para muchas personas que ven con alivio el fin de la larga carrera presidencial.

  • Clinton E. Arnold — 

    This was a question posed to me by NBC News reporter John Larson a few years ago. The interview was part of a Dateline episode that explored the topic of Satan, evil spirits, and supernatural evil. As often happens in the editorial process, only a small portion of the 45-minute interview was included in the show. I thought I would share a more complete account of the interview.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Each time I have read through The Chronicles of Narnia I have been struck by some apparent linguistic and cultural allusions to the Turkic-world in C.S. Lewis’s beloved series for children. Two of these seem beyond any reasonable doubt to be allusions to things Turkic, others seem very likely to connect somehow, and still others feel to the present author like connections, but may not in fact be. As a non-specialist, I list these for the consideration of those who are more familiar with linguistic/cultural influences on Lewis than I. I am a professor of New Testament who happens also to fluently speak and read modern Turkish. Moreover, I genuinely admire Lewis’s writings. These are my only qualifications. Readers who understand Lewis can research my suggestions further.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I remember sitting in my office with a student who was thinking about moving out of evangelical Protestantism and into a different church tradition. He began thinking this way after he had started reading widely in the writings of Christian authors from earlier eras. After being exposed to various authors who sometimes expressed divergent viewpoints from his own, he became increasingly unsure about whether the Bible on its own was clear in what it taught. He was considering changing to a church tradition that could interpret the Bible for him. Since, in his thinking, we can’t be certain what the Bible actually means when we read it, we need an authoritative guide. Let me assure you, there are people out there who will gladly tell you what the Bible means if that’s what you want! Another conversation with a different student also comes to mind. She wasn’t sure whether she could really give herself to Christ in faith because she didn’t know if the message of the gospel was actually true. But the more we talked together, the more I realized that she wasn’t struggling with which truth claims were correct and which were false; she was struggling with whether anyone could know something was true at all. So whenever I appealed to the Bible I didn’t get any traction in our discussion because she didn’t think we could actually come to know truth through a written text. Both of these students were struggling with whether the Bible was clear.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    “Todos somos Marcos” se convirtió en una popular frase en México y en muchos lugares del mundo. El primero de enero de 1994 el denominado Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional inició una lucha armada en el estado de Chiapas en el sur de México. El subcomandante Marcos era el líder de este movimiento que buscaba justicia, trabajo justo y equitativo entre otras demandas básicas. El subcomandante Marcos se convirtió en un personaje carismático y enigmático porque tenía un pasamontañas que cubría su identidad. Para protegerlo y para identificarse con las demandas de este movimiento muchas personas empezaron a decir “todos somos Marcos” y de esta manera borrar las diferencias entre esta persona y ellos mismos ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Following are seven reasons you might be struggling to love Muslims. The seventh reason is probably the most important ...

  • Steve Porter — 

    By now, most of us know about the Pokémon GO craze. My son downloaded the app on my cell phone the week it came out and while I don’t play much, I understand enough of the game to capture Pokémon and cash in on the rewards dished out at PokéStops (for the uninitiated, Pokémon are monsters of various species that appear on the game display based on where players are physically located and PokéStops are places where players can collect needed items—thus, people play this game on the move). So, the other day while on a prayer walk in a local park, I had my Bible app open to Colossians 3 and my son’s Pokémon GO app open as well. It turns out that parks are fruitful places for capturing Pokémon.

  • Karin Stetina — 

    In Scripture God bids us to “love our neighbor” no fewer than eleven times. Yet centuries later the church still struggles with its calling to do so. From the pulpit to the pew, Christians interpret this command in a variety of ways. In his book Word vs. Deed, Dr. Duane Litfin, president emeritus of Wheaton College, addresses this struggle writing, “The gospel is inherently a verbal thing, and preaching the gospel is inherently a verbal behavior. If the gospel is to be preached at all, it must be put into words” (20). Though this is not a new topic in theology, the Evangelical church in the West is seeing the urgent necessity to find the balance between word and deed in the dynamic culture of the 21st century. The church is more aware than ever of the pressing needs of the world. Technology has given us unprecedented access to seeing the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs that exist worldwide. On our smart phones and computers we can watch natural disasters destroy cities and wars and violence destroy lives. While knowledge of the needs of the world is growing, there is a great necessity to understand how the church is to respond. What is the biblical view of how the church is to care for others, particularly in light of the growing awareness of the pressing needs both near and far? ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    ... Todos los seres humanos somos creados a la imagen y semejanza de Dios (Gen. 1:27). La imagen de Dios es la base fundamental de nuestro valor y dignidad. Por la gracia divina podemos representarlo y todos los hombres y mujeres somos la corona de la creación (Salmo 8). Nuestro color de piel es insignificante para determinar nuestro valor o esencia. Desgraciadamente lo que debería ser una muestra de la belleza de la diversidad de la creación divina para muchos se ha convertido en una forma de señalar y discriminar a otros que son diferentes a ellos ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I was serving as a worship pastor in a church in one of New York City’s suburbs when the attacks of September 11, 2001 were launched. Soon after the attacks, a small contingent of vocal church members began to demand that we start to sing American patriotic songs during our worship services. That suggestion didn’t sit well with me so I began trying to work through some of the relevant theological and practical questions one by one. I wrote these questions and answers on September 29, 2001, only 18 days after the attack on the World Trade Towers in New York City. The following is by no means the final word on the question, but it might provide categories you can use to think through this subject for yourself ...

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    It’s official. Or essentially official. Sure, it’ll be contested and the process and the unfurling of the never-before-used Article 50 (the document governing agreements to leave the European Union) will take a couple of years, but with 100% of the nation reporting, the people of Great Britain have decided “enough is enough.” With 52% favoring the move, Brits have formally voted to exit the European Union—hence the term “Br(itish)exit.” After two years of speculation and bitter fights that spanned the halls of Parliament, all the way to the shores of Washington D.C., the people have spoken: They want out. No, it wasn’t by a landslide, but that’s immaterial. The vote has been won. A simple majority is what is needed and that’s “democracy” folks! ...

  • Charlie Trimm — 

    As we saw in the previous two posts in this series, the long defeat was an important theme for Tolkien that continued even after the defeat of Sauron. As is well-known, Tolkien did not intend his fiction to be an allegory; unlike C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings was not designed to correlate to the Christ event. Given the lack of attention to a central act of atonement in the book, it is not surprising that Tolkien continued the theme of the long defeat even after the defeat of Sauron.