Recently, Dr. Mohler gave some very enlightening lectures on "the new atheism" mainly focusing on the work of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris, whose books have sold like mad in the last few years. Here they are:
Lecture One: The New Atheism and the Endgame of Secularism
Lecture Two: The New Atheism and the Assault on Theism
Lecture Three: The New Atheism and the Defense of Theism
Lecture Four: The New Atheism and the Future of Christianity
They can be accessed here. One (of many) notes of interest is the fact that both Hitchens and Dawkins turned from their Christian upbringing early on. I think this is often the case. Kids grow up watching their "Christian" parents deny the gospel by their lives on a daily basis, and walk away from the faith as soon as they leave home. Moral of the story: Parents (and all believers) must model genuine Christian lives.
Here is the outline:
II. Current Debate
A. New Perspective on Paul
A. OT Background
B. Righteousness of God
1. Transformative or Forensic
C. Justification in Paul
D. The Ground of Justification
1. Death and Resurrection of Christ
1. Union with Christ
2. Justification & Sanctification
F. The Instrument of Justification
1. Faith in Christ
2. Faith and its relation to Obedience
G. Final Judgment
1. Justification According to Works
2. Justification Already but Not Yet (Eschatology)
Sadly, but conveniently, no very informed and balanced leaders were observed or interviewed. One wonders how the documentary would have looked if she would have stopped by the churches of John MacArthur, Matt Chandler, John Piper, Tim Keller, or Albert Mohler. Along the way, she is sure to poke fun at the evangelical subculture by taking note of many, many, cliches on billboards, and groups like Car clubs for Christ, biblical putt-putt golf, king of kings skateboarding groups, Christian wrestling foundation, the drive-through church in VA, cowboy churches, patriot pastors, evangelical rappers, the Holy Land experience in Orlando, and of course the evangelical Elvis impersonator. Topics such as homosexuality, abortion, marriage, and evolution are focused on.
Just as with the documentary "Jesus Camp" there is way too much talk by evangelicals of "reclaiming America for Christ," and "bringing America back to one nation under God."
Many of the Christians interviewed sounded more concerned with the U.S.A than with the kingdom of Christ, but the gospel could have been edited out of the film as well. The documentary made me wish that someone would do the same sort of documentary with extreme left-wing secular progressives to see what kind of caricature is produced. It also made me think the Lord could purify his church by ordaining Hillary for president. This would make it clearer than ever, as D Webb sings, that we'll "never have a savior on Capitol Hill."
For a very helpful resource on how Christians are to engage in politics, see the latest Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. So far, I have found the articles by Russell Moore, K.T. Magnuson, and Jim Hamilton particularly helpful. Hamilton writes,
-Suffering: If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world?
-Absolutism: Don't we all have to find truth for ourselves?
-Injustice: Hasn't Christianity been an instrument for oppression?
-Hell: Isn't the God of Christianity an angry Judge?
-Doubt: What should I do with my doubts? (by David Bisgrove)
-Literalism: Isn't the Bible historically unreliable and regressive?
Here are a list of questions he asks in his second post:
- Do you get bored when someone reads a longish passage of Scripture in your church? Do you start wishing they’d get on with the music?
- Do you need music playing in the background for the reading of Scripture to affect your emotions?
- Does a prayer seem too “plain” or “stark” to you if it doesn’t have music playing behind it?
- Do you feel depressed a few weeks after a worship conference because you haven’t felt close to God in a long time?
- Do you desperately look forward to the next conference you’re going to attend because you know that, finally, you’ll be able to feel close to God again?
- If you’re in a big church with great music, are you able to worship when you visit your parents’ small rural church?
- Do you ever feel worshipful in the middle of the week, at work, at school, etc. just because of thinking about God and his grace? Or does that only happen when the music’s playing?
- Do you tend to feel closer to God when you’re alone with your iPOD than you do when you’re gathered with God’s people in your church?
- Do you feel like you just can’t connect with other believers who haven’t had the same “worship experiences” that you have? Can you only connect with other believers who “know what it feels like to really worship?”
- Is your sense of spiritual well-being based more on feeling close to God, or knowing that you are close to God because of Jesus Christ?
You can also buy a wedding ring coffin, or have a divorce cake made to celebrate the event. The Time article has a picture of a wedding cake where the bride has kicked the groom off of the top. The man is falling down the cake surrounded by cash, golf clubs, television, briefcase, PDA, and sports apparel. This paints a sad, but too often true picture, even within the church. God has ordained men to be the heads of their homes and many men abdicate this responsibility. Many men are idolaters, consumed with their own money, sport, promotion, and hobbies. Men who seek to love their wives like Christ loved the church are few and far between. Ultimately, men are the ones responsible for these broken marriages. The need of the day is serious-minded, selfless, Godly men who will lead, love, provide, and protect their wives.
Even so, divorce is not the solution, and is certainly not something to be laughed about. Schmidt asks, "Why take life so seriously?" The answer is because you will be held accountable and judged for how 'seriously' you take life. Divorce is an offense to God. This is particularly so within Christian marriages. The divorce preaches a false gospel to the surrounding world because marriage was instituted to be a picture of Christ and the church, and divorce preaches to the world that Christ is not faithful and committed to his people. This is a false gospel. Men, lead your homes toward Christ-likeness. Christians, take divorce very, very seriously. It should produce tears, not jokes. Having said that it is also important to keep in mind that divorce is not the unpardonable sin. In Christ we find forgiveness and righteousness. In Christ there is no condemnation.