The Way Home – Episode 24 featuring Os Guinness

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Today I have the honor of talking with Os Guinness, one of the foremost intellectuals in the evangelical world. Os is a longtime social critic, commentator, and author. Os has quite a story. From the bio on his website:

Great-great grandson of Arthur Guinness, the Dublin brewer, he was born in China in World War II where both his parents and grandparents were medical missionaries – his grandfather having had the privilege of treating the Empress Dowager, the Last Emperor and the Imperial family. A survivor of the terrible Henan famine of 1943, in which five million died in three months, including his two brothers, Os was a witness to the climax of the Chinese revolution in 1949 and the beginning of the reign of terror under Mao Tse Tung. He was expelled with many other foreigners in 1951 and returned to Europe where he was educated in England. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of London and his D.Phil in the social sciences from Oriel College, Oxford.

Os, has written many books and is an outspoken advocate for religious liberty in America and abroad. We talk about his latest project, Fool’s Talk where he encourages Christians to recover the lost art of persuasion. I will also press him on the important topic of what he labels the “civil public square.”


Listen to this week’s episode of The Way Home

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Show Notes

How to preach on race

Today, at the Lifeway Pastors blog, I have an article encouraging white pastors to preach on racial reconciliation. It’s not a subject we’ve often addressed from the pulpit, for a variety of reasons. I also give three ways to do this. The first is the most obvious: preach on race when the biblical text in front of you addresses it:

The best way, in my view, to embed the priority of racial reconciliation into the everyday lives of our people is through the faithful application of the text. By this I mean through expository preaching. I’m a firm believer in the systematic, Jesus-centered preaching of whole counsel of God. The task of a pastor is to declare what God has already said in His Word.

Racial reconciliation is not something that has to be forced onto the text. In fact, if you are preaching systematically through Scripture and you do not preach on it, you might be skipping it. The thrust of God’s promise to Abraham and the promises to Israel are His desire to be made known among all nations. And almost every New Testament book embeds its presentation of the gospel with its unifying, reconciling power.

 

  • You can’t faithfully preach the Great Commission passages without stopping to acknowledge them as the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to build His church from every nation, tribe, and tongue.
  • You can’t preach Galatians without preaching on the racial divisions that flared within the early church.
  • You can’t exposit Ephesians without spending time on the gospel’s bringing together of diverse people into “one new humanity” (Ephesians 2:15).
  • You can’t preach through Acts 1:8 without seeing the ingathering of the peoples of God as a sign of God’s promise to call a people to himself from every nation, tribe, and tongue.
  • You can’t do a series on the book of Revelation and not behold the majestic beauty of the diversity around God’s throne in Revelation 7 and 9.

Sadly, I’ve heard many messages from many “New Testament churches” that never touched on the priority of racial reconciliation found in Scripture. Why is this? It could be that we, as white evangelicals, don’t see it as a priority because we don’t see the problem of racial tension in our midst. It’s time pastors start seeing and preaching what is already there in the text. The heart of God’s people must be stirred to make this as much a gospel priority as Christ has in His inspired Word.

Read the rest of the article here:

Here We Stand: An Evangelical Statement on Marriage

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Today the Supreme Court issued its ruling, making same-sex marriage legal in all fifty states. I am honored join a broad coalition of evangelicals to sign my name to this statement in dissent:

As evangelical Christians, we dissent from the court’s ruling that redefines marriage. The state did not create the family, and should not try to recreate the family in its own image. We will not capitulate on marriage because biblical authority requires that we cannot. The outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage represents what seems like the result of a half-century of witnessing marriage’s decline through divorce, cohabitation, and a worldview of almost limitless sexual freedom. The Supreme Court’s actions pose incalculable risks to an already volatile social fabric by alienating those whose beliefs about marriage are motivated by deep biblical convictions and concern for the common good.

The Bible clearly teaches the enduring truth that marriage consists of one man and one woman. From Genesis to Revelation, the authority of Scripture witnesses to the nature of biblical marriage as uniquely bound to the complementarity of man and woman. This truth is not negotiable. The Lord Jesus himself said that marriage is from the beginning (Matt. 19:4-6), so no human institution has the authority to redefine marriage any more than a human institution has the authority to redefine the gospel, which marriage mysteriously reflects (Eph. 5:32). The Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage demonstrates mistaken judgment by disregarding what history and countless civilizations have passed on to us, but it also represents an aftermath that evangelicals themselves, sadly, are not guiltless in contributing to. Too often, professing evangelicals have failed to model the ideals we so dearly cherish and believe are central to gospel proclamation.

Evangelical churches must be faithful to the biblical witness on marriage regardless of the cultural shift. Evangelical churches in America now find themselves in a new moral landscape that calls us to minister in a context growing more hostile to a biblical sexual ethic. This is not new in the history of the church. From its earliest beginnings, whether on the margins of society or in a place of influence, the church is defined by the gospel. We insist that the gospel brings good news to all people, regardless of whether the culture considers the news good or not.

The gospel must inform our approach to public witness. As evangelicals animated by the good news that God offers reconciliation through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, we commit to:

Respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage (Rom. 13:1-7);

teach the truth about biblical marriage in a way that brings healing to a sexually broken culture;

affirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect;

love our neighbors regardless of whatever disagreements arise as a result of conflicting beliefs about marriage;

live respectfully and civilly alongside those who may disagree with us for the sake of the common good;

cultivate a common culture of religious liberty that allows the freedom to live and believe differently to prosper.

The redefinition of marriage should not entail the erosion of religious liberty. In the coming years, evangelical institutions could be pressed to sacrifice their sacred beliefs about marriage and sexuality in order to accommodate whatever demands the culture and law require. We do not have the option to meet those demands without violating our consciences and surrendering the gospel. We will not allow the government to coerce or infringe upon the rights of institutions to live by the sacred belief that only men and women can enter into marriage.

The gospel of Jesus Christ determines the shape and tone of our ministry. Christian theology considers its teachings about marriage both timeless and unchanging, and therefore we must stand firm in this belief. Outrage and panic are not the responses of those confident in the promises of a reigning Christ Jesus. While we believe the Supreme Court has erred in its ruling, we pledge to stand steadfastly, faithfully witnessing to the biblical teaching that marriage is the chief cornerstone of society, designed to unite men, women, and children. We promise to proclaim and live this truth at all costs, with convictions that are communicated with kindness and love.

A Primer on Southern Baptists

Just who are the Southern Baptists? When I did ministry in the Chicago area (not an SBC stronghold), I often heard evangelicals talk about Southern Baptists in ways that I knew were either caricatures or just plain wrong. This is why I was so glad my boss, Dr. Russell Moore, penned this great piece for OnFaith on 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew about Southern Baptists. 

One of the things he wishes people knew (and I wish people knew) is about the growing diversity in the SBC. He says this:

We’re more ethnically diverse than you might think. Among the fastest growing demographics in the Southern Baptist life are African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American congregations. The most vibrant of our churches often include many languages and ethnic groups.Though positive steps have happened, it’s not good enough for many of us, since we believe the church is designed to be a preview of the coming kingdom of God, a kingdom that is made up of those from every tribe, tongue, nation, and language. Most of the Body of Christ, on earth as well is in heaven, isn’t white and has never spoken English.We celebrate our growing diversity, including seminary programs intentionally training the next generation of ethnic minority leadership, even as we note that we have far yet to go. With every year that passes, we have more and more salsa at our church potlucks, and we like it that way.

Do yourself a favor and read this whole piece: 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Southern Baptists – OnFaith

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