We Should Expect Non-Christians to Share Our Morals

A common reaction among evangelicals to the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage has been deflection from controversy. This laissez-faire approach has been most commonly expressed by closely connected beliefs about Christianity and morality: We should not expect non-Christians to think and live like Christians. So why all the fuss among Christians over the legalization of same-sex marriage? Since when do we depend on the government to enforce Christian morals? Many who express these sentiments do so with well-meaning attempts to (rightly) keep evangelicals from panicking over misplaced trust in temporal earthly powers. Additionally, they want to remind themselves and fellow believers that to be a Christ follower will always be, as Jesus promised, countercultural. Yet the two statements above reflect a poor understanding of how God ordered creation, morality, and the purpose he has given civil law. Assumptions like those above can lead to disastrous consequences for how we understand moral...

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SBC Resolution on Human Dignity

I was grateful to see the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention pass a strong resolution on human dignity. More than ever, Christians need to reclaim this biblical view and apply it to the way we see ourselves and our neighbors. I've included it below: WHEREAS, In the beginning, the Triune God chose to create humanity in His image and according to His likeness, such that “God created man in His own image; He created Him in the image of God; He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:26–27); and WHEREAS, God judged His creation of humanity to be very good indeed (Genesis 1:31), crowned humanity with honor and glory, making them rulers over the works of His hands (Psalm 8:5–6), and put eternity in all human hearts so we might seek after Him (Ecclesiastes 3:11); and WHEREAS, God’s precious likeness and image was passed down from Adam to his posterity, the human...

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Here is the Church, but Where is the Steeple?

Several years ago, a church I pastored went through a massive remodeling effort, updating a tired, ‘90s-era look with more modern, chic, 21st-century décor. Peeling wallpaper was replaced with fresh paint. Hideous brown siding was covered over with a beautiful new stone treatment. A landscaper transformed some tired and unkempt bushes into a beautiful garden walkway. Our building, which many mistook for an abandoned union hall or a Masonic lodge, now looked, to passersby, like a place that might have signs of life. Interestingly, though, we capped off our remodeling effort by adding a steeple. Yes, you heard that right—as part of our revitalizing, modernizing, moving-our-church-forward renovation, we added an architectural element straight out of the Dark Ages. A fresh logo. A modern auditorium. A welcoming lobby. And a steeple. The history of church steeples is a bit mysterious. Nobody knows for sure when the first steeple was built, but the oldest one...

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Funeral for a Stranger

I sat in my office late on a Thursday afternoon after a week of meetings, study, and a thousand other crises big and small. By that point in the week I was thinking about what I would do on Friday: lock myself in my office, take no phone calls, and crank out the final draft of my Sunday sermon. Alas, the phone rang, and I took the call. “This is the Warren Funeral Home. We have a family requesting an evangelical funeral, and we were told you could do this.” Word had gotten out, apparently. I told the caller that, yes, I would do a funeral for this person I’d never met. This was, after all, my calling as a pastor. Though I could think of a thousand other things to do with my day, though my sermon prep would now stretch into Saturday, this was one unique way I could serve our community. I...

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