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Join John Stonestreet for a daily dose of sanity—applying a Christian worldview to culture, politics, movies, and more. And be a part of God's work restoring all things.

Episode Date
BP This Week: Images of Chaos
56:41

John Stonestreet and Shane Morris discuss the chaotic events of the last week, from the killing of George Floyd, to riots and looting in our cities, to questions of systemic racism. How are we to make sense of all this as Christians? And what image from the last week--that of the policeman with his knee on Floyd's neck, that of the riots, the President and the Bible--will define this era for future generations?

John and Shane also discuss the demonstrations in Hong Kong on the anniversary of Tiananmen  Square.

We wrap up today's show with a snippet of Andy Crouch's presentation at our "Truth Love Together" event, and John  Stonestreet answering a couple of tough questions about President Trump holding up the Bible, and how we can know what's true when Christians disagree on so much.

Resources:

Jun 05, 2020
COVID-19, Depression, and Suicide
04:25

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts warned of its impact on people with mental illnesses.  For those with mood disorders, the pandemic packed a “one-two” punch: the depression and anxiety caused by the fear of contracting the coronavirus itself, and the depression and anxiety accelerated by measures taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Even the wide use of the term “social distancing” instead of the more accurate “physical distancing” communicated isolation and the loneliness.

Add to all that canceled appointments with psychiatrists and therapists, and we should expect a steep decline in mental health. Which is exactly what happened.

A recent Census Bureau survey of 42,000 adults found that “24% of [the respondents] showed clinical signs of severe depression, and 30% showed signs of anxiety.” According to the study, “The rate of anxiety and depression were highest among young adults, women, and the poor.” To put these numbers in better context, half of American adults said that they had felt depressed during the pandemic, while only a quarter reported similar feelings in a survey done six years ago.

Things could even be worse than this survey, which was conducted between May 7th and May 12th, suggests. After all, three more weeks of social isolation and disruption could not have made things better. As the Washington Post said, “the results reflect a deepening of existing trends,” such as “rising depression, stress, and suicide," especially among young adults. Writers in the Journal of the American Medical Association call the combination of COVID-19 factors with already existing suicide mortality trends, “a perfect storm.”

Perhaps. It will be a while before we can say with any certainty if and how COVID-19 affected suicide rates. What we do know is that COVID-19 is attacking a nation already emotionally and mentally fragile.

This fragility is, as we often say of other things, downstream from the rest of culture. Some of what makes people depressed and anxious is biology, but much of it has to do with how we are made to live. As one doctor put it, riffing on John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, we “should ask not what’s inside our heads, but, instead, we should ask what our heads are inside of.”

The most obvious example is loneliness, something we’ve repeatedly discussed in previous BreakPoint commentaries.  Societies like ours are, by most accounts, loneliness-producing machines. Our deeply-rooted sense of individualism is only made worse by our growing preference for virtual relationships instead of face-to-face ones. Add that to the fact that, for many, upward economic mobility requires severing ties to those people and communities that gave us a sense of belonging, purpose, and security.

On average, the number of close friends Americans have, “confidants with whom (to) discuss important matters,” went from about three in 1985 to about one in 2006. It’s difficult to guess what that number might be at the beginning of 2020.

With social isolation and, as the Journal put it, “decreased access to community and religious support," the phrase “perfect storm” is less a cliché, and more a reality.

This is part of the plague that Christians, of all people, should be running into. Reaching out to the hurting among us doesn’t require state permission, and we do have the means to keep physical distancing from becoming social isolation. Part of this includes educating ourselves about signs of depression, and steps to take to help those struggling. There’s no shortage of educational resources online. And, not only can we pray for those people that are hurting, we can tell them we are praying for them.

To be sure, this pandemic will pass. When it does and we begin to again move about the country, it will be easy to forget the hurting and the lonely. We must not.

God help us to be people who won’t forget.

Jun 05, 2020
SpaceX, Christianity, and a Worldview Big Enough for the Stars
04:53

On Saturday, the successful launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon vehicle marked the first manned mission to space from U.S. soil in nearly a decade. NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who ascended from the same launchpad as the Apollo missions and the space shuttle, are now aboard the International Space Station. Only this time, in an amazing “giant leap” of technology, the rocket that carried them into orbit returned and landed itself aboard a ship to be reused.  All of this was, for the first time in manned space flight history, carried out by SpaceX, the private company founded by billionaire Elon Musk.

SpaceX’s stated goal is to make off-world travel more affordable, but Musk has deeper, more science-fiction-like ambitions, including seeding the human species on other planets. Back in 2008, he wrote in Esquire:

“An asteroid or a supervolcano could certainly destroy [humanity], but we also face risks the dinosaurs never saw: An engineered virus, nuclear war, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us. Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond our little blue mud ball--or go extinct.”

Musk’s movie-like ambitions don’t end there. In addition to SpaceX and (of course) Tesla, he founded a company called Neuraslink to “develop ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.” At the press conference announcing the launch of Neuraslink, Musk restated that in English. He wants to help humans “achieve a symbiosis with artificial intelligence,” creating technologies that would enable humans to “merge with AI.”

In other words, the worldview at work behind most of Musk’s projects is an atheistic transhumanism that seeks to control the evolutionary process toward the end of preserving and expanding human consciousness and capability. Recognizing these worldview motivations does not, however, minimize the achievements of Musk or SpaceX. Sending Americans back to the stars in a private spacecraft propelled by a retrievable rocket is just downright cool, to say nothing of just how useful the technology could be.

At the same time, Christians should realize that the awe that overwhelms humans when watching man set foot on the moon or a robot land on Mars or astronauts boarding the space station is more than a mere feeling. Rather, it’s a testament to our unique status and role in creation, as well as our drive and capacity to imagine beyond the constraints of what is to what might be, and it’s a reminder that the universe is a place to be known, explored, and even subdued. Adherents to any worldview must recognize these observable realities about this universe, but Christianity can uniquely explain them.

No elephants or apes look to the stars and long to visit them, nor are they capable of trying. Humans do and are, because we’re created in the image of the One who set the stars in place to declare His glory and gave us wonder and the ability to know Him. An atheistic worldview, even with ambitions to transcend our bodies and settle other planets, simply cannot account for these desires.

That doesn’t stop those who hold this worldview from trying. Elon Musk, for example, sounds eerily similar to atheist space-farer Dr. Weston from C. S. Lewis’ “Space Trilogy.” In civilized man, says Weston, life has reached its “highest form,” and now “presses forward to that interplanetary leap” which will place us “forever beyond the reach of death.”

Though anyone who knows Dr. Weston’s eventual fate will shudder, similar ideas often drive this new era of space travel. The opportunity for Christians is to, as my friend Greg Koukl often says, “put a pebble in their shoe” by asking why. Why is human civilization worth preserving and spreading? Why do we long to visit other planets? Why do we treat death like an enemy to be overcome?

Not only do these questions lack answers if we are no different from the elephant or ape, there’s really no explanation for why we would be asking them in the first place. If we are different from the animals, however, if we were made to know the universe and the God behind it, then our sense of awe and our drive to return to space makes a world of sense.

Jun 04, 2020
Why the Bible is Not a Prop
05:07

Presidents and politicians using the Bible or Christian symbolism for political ends is nothing new. Some, as President Trump did Monday afternoon, pose with Bible in hand. Far more common is the selective quoting, misquoting, or downright twisting of Bible verses to advance political talking points.

After nights of rioting and violence across America and even right outside the White House, the president punctuated his speech by walking from the Rose Garden to an historically important church that was nearly burned down the night before. He then posed with a Bible in hand beside the church sign.

The Bible should never be used as a prop.

Trump was condemned widely, and not just by those who take the Bible seriously. In fact, among the loudest voices were religious leaders who themselves use the Bible as a prop (and their religious mantles as cover) to advance a theological progressivism, especially revisionist teachings about sexuality and abortion. For example, on the TODAY show, Mariann Budde, Episcopal Bishop of Washington D.C., accused the President of abusing “the spiritual tools and symbols of our traditions and of our sacred space."

To reduce the Bible to a prop, a mere “spiritual tool” or a mere “symbol,” however, is to miss the Bible’s real power, a power the world so desperately needs right now. After all, it is the explanatory capacity of Holy Scripture, its ability to describe the contours of reality and the human condition so accurately, that makes it so valuable, not just to Christians and especially in confusing times like these. Rather than using it to advance an agenda or score points with a religious base, it would’ve been far more valuable and helpful if the president had opened it and read to the nation its words of comfort and conviction, and especially its call to repentance.

In his book For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch Hunts, and the End of Slavery, sociologist Rodney Stark argues that Christians were the very first people in history to even imagine that slavery was not a normal condition of human society, as was universally assumed throughout history. While there were those, like the Jewish Essenes who didn’t like slavery, “…only in Christianity,” Stark argues, “did the idea develop that slavery was sinful and must be abolished.” Why did this idea develop in Christianity and not anywhere else? The Bible.

Though Jesus’ first followers did not forbid slavery, they did in their New Testament writings, especially Paul, unlock implications of our identity as image bearers of God and new creations in Christ, including the notion of universal human dignity. Thus, long-standing social barriers between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female were challenged and eventually torn down.

Centuries later, British Christians such at William Wilberforce would launch years-long campaigns to end the scourge of slavery. Other Christians, informed by what was written in the Bible, would lead the movement for Civil Rights in this country with arguments constructed from the Christian framework of reality found only in Holy Scripture. None of this is to say that Christians always got issues of race or slavery right. They certainly did not. And the Bible was often misused to enslave and dehumanize. But, as even atheist historians and philosophers like Luc Ferry and Tom Holland have acknowledged, the world owes a debt to the Bible for the very notions of human value, human rights, and human dignity.

Writing yesterday at Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer suggested that not only does the Bible “teach us in James (and other places) that favoritism and racism are wrong, and that a system that treats people of color with different outcomes is, well, sinful,” but also that “stealing, looting, and violence are (also) clearly addressed and condemned in the Bible.” And, I’d add, it points us to forgiveness and grace, required resources if we hope to be reconciled to God and to each other.

In other words, on the pages of the Bible the president held aloft for the camera on Monday is exactly what we need right now, including the keys to recapturing civic virtue, pursuing reconciliation, and restoring civil society. The better choice, especially in a society guilty of either ignoring the Bible or twisting it to wrong ends, would be to heed the exhortation contained in this prayer written by Anglican theologian Thomas Cranmer:

“Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

In this moment of national crisis, rather than fighting over the optics around the Bible, we’d be far better off reading, hearing, and applying what it has to say.

Jun 03, 2020
Andy Crouch: Becoming the People the World Needs
22:01

Truth, Love, Together. That’s the theme of the Colson Center’s 4-week long virtual event featuring 20 of the leading Christian worldview thinkers.

We’re now into module 3, “Becoming People of Truth and Love.” And today on the BreakPoint Podcast we have a great—and eerily timely--presentation by Andy Crouch:  “Becoming the People the World Needs.”

Also: Thursday night at 8 Eastern, please join John Stonestreet, Pastor Chris Brooks and Andy Crouch for a special live webinar on how Christians should respond to the death of George Floyd and the chaos erupting in our nation's cities. It's absolutely free. Click here to register.

Jun 03, 2020
Our World Split Apart and the Hope of Pentecost
05:50

On Saturday, SpaceX and NASA, in a remarkable achievement, sent astronauts to the International Space Station. We cheered their success, but the timing, juxtaposed beside the horrific murder of George Floyd, protests by so many disillusioned and hurting Americans, and repeated nights of lawlessness that left cities across America looted and burned, was more than a little strange.

Think about it. We can go to space. We can instantly communicate with anyone anywhere in the world. We might even develop a treatment for COVID-19. It’s amazing what humans can do.  And yet, and yet, we are, by any objective measure, a nation barely holding itself together. Our best scientific achievements and our brightest technological innovations offer no solutions for our deepest divisions or our most serious problems.

Though no one who witnessed the scope and scale of the chaos this weekend could conclude “all is ok,” there are indicators everywhere that our nation’s health is worse than we’re willing to admit. We are what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called, in his famous 1978 Harvard University commencement speech, “a world split apart.” Like his audience that day, we too risk underestimating just how deep the fissures are.

For example, the initial condemnation of George Floyd’s killing was bipartisan and unequivocal by both right and left, but is since increasingly seen through, and being greatly distorted by, our political lenses. Solzhenitsyn warned against thinking “the danger (of the Cold War) could be abolished through successful diplomatic negotiations” alone.  Well, neither can politics alone, much less increased state force alone, calm this perfect storm of a long history of racial grievance, a slow-moving and often malfunctioning justice system, misguided social justice warriors, and extremist agitators and opportunists, all swirling together within a nation on edge from seven weeks of social isolation.

Christians must not run for political or ideological corners. To the best of our ability, we must affirm all truths, even those hard to swallow, and we must deny all lies, even the ones that are politically expedient.

For example, even if the story is wrongly told, America still faces whirlwind-intense consequences from her “original sin.”  Though current economic, political, and social conditions for the African-American community is light years ahead of, say, 1863 or even 1963, American slavery was especially evil in ways that still poison today. In directly assaulting the image of God in African-Americans, the heinous sin of racism took deep root in American hearts, American institutions, and American history. And, slavery uniquely targeted and, in many ways, broke the black family. These are generational-sized evils that one does not just “get over.”

At the same time, indoctrinating our young in identity politics and critical theory, has made things worse. These bad ideas have consequences too, which in this case, take the form of rioters hijacking both protests and grievances that don’t belong to them. As Dr. Anthony Bradley of The Kings College has repeatedly noted throughout this episode on Twitter, privileged, "woke" white kids are wreaking havoc that will only blow back on the very communities they are purporting to “stand with.” Or, as Claire Lehmann, founding editor of Quillette tweeted, “Maybe saddling an entire generation of kids with debt & no hope of joining the property class while sending them to institutions that marinate them in neo- Marxist orthodoxy wasn’t such a good idea.”

Another hard truth to face is that no political solution can overcome our collective loss of virtue. It’s either the conscience or the constable, and the cracks in our social fabric cannot ultimately be held together by more creative (or condescending) public policies, or strong-man type leadership, and certainly not by unwise tweets. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, we’ve abandoned character and are surprised to see Antifa in our midst. The increasingly militarized governmental response that will most-likely be required in the coming days should not be confused, neither by us nor our president, as a solution. No, it’s a sign of just how bad things are.

None of this is to say that we don’t need leadership. Of course we do: political, spiritual, familial, and otherwise. Even more, we need a population able to govern itself. Our current lack of both means we instead, more and more, resemble Solzhenitsyn’s description of a dying society.

This past Sunday, Christians around the world remembered Pentecost, the day that God’s gift of the Holy Spirit enabled apostles to proclaim Christ and His resurrection across tongues and tribes. The day foreshadowed the day John describes in Revelation 7, when Babel is reversed and people from every tongue, tribe, nation, and language are united, once again, before the throne of God.

Could the Holy Spirit also empower us, today, to bridge the deep divide of tribe that inflicts our hearts and our nation?

This Thursday, innovative thinker and cultural analyst Andy Crouch will join me for our Thursday Q&A session, based on his Truth. Love. Together. session that released this week. It’s entitled “How We Can Be the Sort of People the World Needs, right now.” Live attendance is limited, but if you register and we run out of space, we will send you a link to the recording. Come to breakpoint.org to register.

Jun 02, 2020
Podcast: Christian Missionaries in Time of Pandemic
31:17

How do Christian missionaries abroad keep working in a time of pandemic lockdown? Today on the BreakPoint Podcast, Jonathan Grooms of Global  Partners of Peace and Development shares his insights from the Middle Eastern kingdom of Jordan.

Resources:

Jun 01, 2020
BP This Week: "Silence in the Face of Evil Is Evil Itself"--The Killing of George Floyd
54:43

John Stonestreet and Shane Morris discuss the tragic killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the hard questions we as Christians must ask--and answer.

Also on this week's episode: The bizarre story of the Central Park "Karen" who called the police on an African American birdwatcher--and the destruction of her personal life by the twittersphere; the most recent "Instagram apostasy," this time a Christian rock star announcing his loss of faith.

And today's bonus content: an extended clip from Max Mclean in his masterful role as C. S. Lewis, plus John and Shane take Q & A on men and divorce and on the problem of pain and suffering.

Resources:

May 30, 2020
On the Killing of George Floyd
04:46

Outrage erupted across the country this week after video surfaced of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nearly 10 minutes. In the horrifying video, Floyd begs for air before bystanders plead for his life. In the end, Floyd, an African American suspected of no violent crime but of “grocery store forgery,” died.

The four police officers involved were fired almost immediately. The FBI opened an investigation, and the Justice Department pledged to make the case a top priority. While, in the past, police have often defended fellow officers in similar incidents, this time, as the Washington Post reported, police chiefs across the country “denounced the prolonged suffocation of Floyd.”

Earlier this week, Detroit-area pastor Chris Brooks, a former Colson Center board member and close friend, posted a picture of Floyd on Facebook along with a quote attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." I admit, for the last few days, I’ve struggled to know what should be said and what could be done.

We must say, first, that George Floyd was an image bearer of His Creator. His death is awful.  It's tragic. And it should not have happened.

Floyd’s murder has opened up, yet again, so many larger, painful cultural issues we face–especially those having to do with race. Also revealed, again and painfully so, is how essential justice is, especially for victims and family members but also entire communities. Civilizations can sustain many things, but not when perpetual injustices go unaddressed.

Still, we must not forget, in the midst of the important discussions we must have, that George Floyd was a real person. Too often when videos like this one go viral--and God help us and forgive us, there are too many--we automatically run to ideological or political corners, turning victims like George Floyd into a prop for our own positions.

The most obvious example is those using this killing to justify looting stores and destroying property.  Other examples include resorting to “what-about-isms,” as if some other unrelated wrong somehow diminishes the evil of this act or implying that one can only support either the police and law and order, or African Americans and justice… as if these are mutually exclusive options.

Dichotomies like that are dangerous and disingenuous. We must be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. We can support the institution of law enforcement and acknowledge that the terrible injustice that happened here happens too often. We can denounce lawlessness and still listen carefully to our African American neighbors describe their deep pain and disillusionment. We can support a right to protest and still denounce using protests as occasions for evil.

Above all, I, a follower of Jesus who happens to be white, can listen. I can, indeed if I am to love my neighbor as Christ commanded I must, care about the suffering of my fellow citizens, especially my brothers and sisters in Christ. The Church can lead the culture in addressing this suffering and its root causes, advancing justice, and caring for victims. Who else can?

This Monday is the launch of the third module of our Truth Love Together virtual event, entitled “Becoming People of Truth and Love.” It could not be more timely. The Enemy uses situations like the police killing of George Floyd to drive us away from both truth and love, to their counterfeits. We must not deny the truth of what happened to George Floyd, and we won’t reach justice, much less reconciliation, without hard, sacrificial, and biblical love. Please come to Conference.ColsonCenter.org to watch module 3, “Becoming People of Truth and Love.”

May God grant comfort to the family of George Floyd, peace to the city of Minneapolis, justice for the officers involved, safety to those affected by the related violence, and power to Christ’s Church, so that we would be the agents of peace and reconciliation, the people of Truth and Love, our world needs so desperately right now.

Resources:

May 29, 2020
Why We Should Thank God that Our Sun is So ‘Boring’
04:44

Recently. a New York Times article drew attention to a corona that’s not a virus and that makes life possible instead of threatening it. The corona or outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere puzzles astronomers because it is, as compared with similar stars, so calm.

We take the sun for granted, unless it disappears for a few cloudy days or burns us at the beach or, less often, disrupts satellite communications. Once every century or so, it might burp enough energy to fry technology and maybe even ignite the Northern Lights over the Caribbean, as happened in 1859.  Aside from instances such as these, it’s easy to forget that the local star that warms our faces and wakes our flowers, this “blazing ball of fusion-powered plasma,” is actually capable, at least in theory, of scorching our planet and all of us to a lifeless cinder.

However, a new paper published in the journal “Science” suggests that’s exactly the sort of thing we should expect from the sun, if it behaved like other stars of its kind. But it doesn’t. The good news is, as the Times put it, the star around which we orbit is downright “boring” compared with its solar siblings.

Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, after compiling data from NASA’s retired Kepler space telescope, which spent years monitoring 150,000 distant stars, concluded that our sun’s relative calm is among the reasons we are here at all.

After identifying 369 comparable stars in our galaxy, these scientists learned something astounding: The magnetic activity that creates the sunspots, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections on other stars is, on average, five times more intense than on our sun. On many stars that were studied, disruptions were even twelve times more intense. That level of chaos makes life in their orbits virtually impossible.

So why would our sun behave so differently than all the others? One unsettling theory, especially given the “what else could possibly go wrong” start to 2020, is that our sun is currently asleep, but might, at some point, wake up and blast us with deadly levels of radiation.  Another idea is that our sun is aging, and because it is now over-the-hill, has fewer bursts of energy to give off.

That sounds reasonable to those of us reaching middle age.

Currently, according to researchers, one theory is not to be favored over another, but what is clear, as the Times observes, is that our sun’s relative tranquility has unquestionably “benefitted our species.” As the study’s lead author put it, “It may be no coincidence that we live around a very inactive star.”

Of course, coincidence is the only reason that anyone already committed to naturalism can feasibly offer. If, however, the blinders of that particular worldview are removed, there’s a third possible explanation: Our host star is uniquely friendly to life because it was finely-tuned by God to support life.

In the marvelous book, “The Privileged Planet,” Jay Richards and Guillermo Gonzalez list the many features that make our earth, sun, and our corner of the universe uniquely suited for life.  Not only do we have the right kind of star, we are just the right distance from that star. We are at the right location in the galaxy. We are in a solar system with gas giants that shield us from wandering asteroids and comets. We have a moon just the right size to stabilize our axis and create tides and seasons. We are on a planet with land, liquid water, oxygen, plate tectonics, and a molten iron core to generate a magnetosphere.

Tally up all these factors, as Richards and Gonzalez do, and it’s a dizzying improbability that we would be here at all: something like 1 out of 1 followed by 15 zeroes.

And yet, here we are, bathed in the warmth of a star scientists increasingly recognize as rare and hospitable. Our brightest minds could hardly imagine, much less imagine attempting to design, a better solar system. All of which is why we ought to thank the brightest of all minds, the One that also made our own minds bright enough to discover all of these remarkable things about our privileged planet, our privileged place in the universe, and our blessedly boring sun.

May 29, 2020
What Is God Saying in This Pandemic?
04:53

A recent poll conducted by the University of Chicago and the Associated Press concluded that “the coronavirus has prompted almost two-thirds of American believers of all faiths to feel that God is telling humanity to change how it lives.” For Christians, who know from Scripture that God has revealed Himself as the ultimate and consistent communicator, the question isn’t if He’s speaking in the events of the last few months. He is. But what is He saying?

Over these past two months, I’ve concluded that none of the most important issues we face today as a culture were created by this virus. Rather, the virus exposed and accelerated issues that already mattered. For example, the utopian aspirations of western culture, like the embarrassing video of celebrities singing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” have been tested, found wanting, and should be abandoned. Both our self-centered delusions of “living for today” and our technocratic fantasies of controlling nature have proved inadequate for the challenges of coronavirus.

We’ve also seen that ours is a culture lost on the dignity of human life. With the threat of hospitals being overrun, how do we even approach the question of rationing treatment and care? When hospitals weren’t overrun in much of the country, one-size-fits-all visitation policies became dehumanizing barriers to healing, which harmed patients and family members unnecessarily. Part of the Church’s task, in bearing witness to the sanctity of each and every life, is to ensure that people are never sacrificed on the various altars of ‘efficiency.’

The confusing relationship between science and American culture was complicated long before COVID-19. For years now, the phrase “the science is settled,” has been used as a sort of secular equivalent for “Thus saith the Lord.” Yet, the ever-changing “findings” and “warnings” of the virus experts revealed, again, that a lot of science isn’t as “settled” as many would have us believed. Even dismissing cranks and conspiracy theorists, the overwhelming amount of contradictory information continues to fuel growing distrust in our national “experts.”

More troubling is what we continue to learn about the impact of social-distancing and lockdowns on the already-devastating loneliness epidemic. The overall health impact of loneliness, which is comparable to chain-smoking, not to mention the catalytic role it plays in suicide and addictions, seems to have only worsened in recent weeks. One Bay Area doctor claimed to have seen more deaths by suicide during lockdowns than from covid-19, and as many suicides in the last four weeks as they typically see in an entire year.

Then there’s the crisis of work and meaning. A 2015 poll of British workers found that 37 percent believed their jobs make “no meaningful contribution to the world.” Now we’ve added the label “non-essential” to millions more, a horrible adjective that fails to recognize the inherent good of work as an essential part of our human dignity.

“Non-essential” is an even worse adjective for religion, but the pandemic has revealed just how many Americans, including Christians, think of church this way. While liquor stores and marijuana shops and tattoo parlors were “essential,” churches were not, including clergy members and chaplains in hospitals. So much about this time revealed just how secular and, to borrow a term from philosopher Charles Taylor, “disenchanted,” American culture has become. What remains to be seen is how many Christians will conclude that video church is an adequate weekly fix from here on out.

To be sure, eventually, the pandemic and its accompanying hysteria will pass. The questions it has raised won’t. At root, all of the issues I’ve mentioned revolve around the fundamental worldview questions: Where did everything come from? Is there a God? Why are we here? What makes us human? Who decides right and wrong? and Where is history headed?

Today, at BreakPoint.org, we offer an online symposium. Over 20 Christian thinkers and ministry leaders and authors, from Jim Daly to Kristan Hawkins, Andrew Walker, Karen Swallow Prior, Trevin Wax, Cathi Herrod, Jeff Myers, and more – all share their thoughts on what God may be saying during this coronavirus crisis.

You can find their varied and thought-provoking responses at here.

May 28, 2020
The United Nations’ Quest to Create a Genderless World
04:30

Created seventy-five years ago this October, the United Nations was hailed as “the last, best hope for peace,” a moniker that proved neither true nor possible (though, as I once heard a former Israeli special forces guy put it, “no one ‘monitors’ better”).  A recent tweet reveals how the organization’s goal has been expanded to include the ever-elusive “equality.”

“Help create a more equal world,” said the Tweet, “by using gender-neutral language, if you're unsure about someone's gender or are referring to a group.” As part of the “System-Wide Strategy on Gender Parity,” UN employees are being encouraged to speak and write in ways “that [do] not discriminate against a particular sex, social gender or gender identity.”

Of course, some of the strategy suggestions, such as using “humanity” instead of “Mankind” or “police officer” instead of “policeman,” are fine. Others are bit more difficult to understand, such as substituting “representative” for “businessman,” as if those words mean the same thing. And then, there are those suggestions that can only be called linguistic nonsense, attempts at retrofitting established languages to an imaginary, genderless world.

Many European languages, such as Spanish and French, are very “gendered.” Every noun is either male, such as “book” or “hat,” or female, such as “table” or “coronavirus.” All previous attempts, especially in France, to de-gender these languages have gone nowhere, not with everyday speakers nor official language-guardians. As one wag put it, attempts to de-gender the language of love “make it look like algebra.”

In the midst of a global pandemic that has killed a few hundred thousand people, unleashed a global recession, and will likely exacerbate food shortages and political instability around the world, one might wonder how this became a United Nations priority. Well, the secular impulse to recreate the world, and the power of language to do just that, is strong. Those pushing for “gender-neutral” language aren’t as concerned with linguistic sense or what now-dead folks like Victor Hugo thought about life and the world, as they are with ridding the world of gender differentiation.

While, as the guidelines suggest, replacing the words “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” with the word “partner” may seem odd but harmless, using a term associated with business instead of gendered relationship words reveal a significant worldview shift: one in which love, marriage, and family are understood as contractual obligations rather than moral or spiritual ones, and in which people love and marry and mate and have children because “it feels good,” not because these things are good in and of themselves.

Individual languages are the products of a group’s particular history and culture--the Inuit of Greenland will describe weather differently than an Amazonian tribe--but every language reflects certain universal realities. There isn’t a known language without words for “foot” or “hand” or “head.” Though some languages are not as gendered as others, in the sense that not every object is assigned a gender or a gendered article, no language in the world is without words to describe sexual differences. Every language has words for male and female. Though gender roles differ from culture to culture, the underlying biological realities that make male and female remain the same.

The Scripture describe God’s words as creating the universe ex nihilo, out of nothing. As His image bearers, our words also have incredible power, to describe reality and even, in a sense, create. But we don’t create ex nihilo. Our words are confined within the world God created.

Any worldview that denies that the world is a creation of God also sees reality as more pliable than it actually is, and the world as a place we not only inhabit and steward but control. In such a world, there are no words higher than ours, and so we hear folks at the U.N. talk and write as if they can re-create the human person. They cannot. But, then again, the U.N. was never the last, best hope for peace either.

May 27, 2020
Podcast: Joni Eareckson Tada on How We Know What Love Is
26:15

Truth, Love, Together. That’s the theme of the Colson Center’s 4-week long virtual event featuring 20 of the leading Christian worldview thinkers.

We’re now into module 2: And today on the BreakPoint Podcast  we have  an astounding, moving presentation by Joni Eareckson Tada: “The Love of God, or How We Know What Love Is.”

To see and hear all of our "Truth Love Together" presentations, come to Conference.ColsonCenter.org. And when you register, you'll be able to join in live sessions and be notified each time we post a new presentation.

And the entire event is free.

 

Resources:

May 27, 2020
Beijing Sets Its Sights on Hong Kong
04:36

Just about a year ago, voters in Hong Kong sent a loud and clear message to Beijing: They would not lose the freedoms they enjoyed. In fact, pro-democracy forces there won 389 of 452 parliamentary seats in that election--more than 3x their previous total. Even more, the results were seen as overwhelming support for the pro-democracy protesters that had been filling the streets of Hong Kong for weeks.

At the time, I wondered out loud how Xi Jinping and his Communist cadres would respond. I feared then, and even predicted, that Beijing would not sit idly by. Though distracted for a few months by the global pandemic they largely caused, it’s become clear that Eye of Sauron has turned its attention back to Hong Kong.

On Thursday, China’s National People’s Congress announced it will “deliberate” a new law for, and I quote, “establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms" for Hong Kong in order to, and of course they would claim this, "safeguard national security." What this means in plain English is that Communist dictator Xi Jinping has had enough of Hong Kong’s trouble and has decided to put an end to their independence.

Unfortunately, there is little the rest of the world can do about it. At least, Beijing thinks so, and it’s hard to blame them. After all, it already dictates terms of surrender to global corporations like Apple and the NBA. It can apparently cow the European Union into changing its findings on COVID-19 so not to criticize China. It’s able to silence any protest from Muslim nations about its cultural and physical genocide of millions of Chinese Uighurs. No wonder they expect to get away with this, too.

To review how we go to this point, when the British handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997, a unique “one country, two systems” regime was established that would make Hong Kong part of China, but also maintain its own local government, economic and social systems, etc. At the time, China and the UK agreed the arrangement would last for 50 years. I’m no mathematician, but we’re not even halfway there yet. It’s hard to imagine that anything short of an unprecedented global outcry will cause China to back off.

The natives of Hong Kong have no doubt about the seriousness of this threat. As Hong Kong lawmaker Tanya Chan told NBC news, "I recall the time when I was young, and I believed in 'one country, two systems,' and we were going to showcase to the world that Hong Kong people can rule Hong Kong. But now, I'm not yet 50 years old and suddenly all is gone."

Despite this show of force and so much that we hear, China is a lot weaker than it appears. Economic growth there is at “its slowest pace in nearly three decades of modern record-keeping.” Throw in a sinking labor force and the added economic impact of COVID-19, and China’s Communist Party has a big problem on its hands. Their only source of legitimacy has been economic growth. For the past forty years, the Chinese people have been asked, over and over, to trade certain freedoms away for increasing prosperity. The fragile balance is sure to collapse if that prosperity goes away.

It’s no coincidence that Xi Jinping doubled down on his own cult of personality and cracked down on religious freedom just as China’s economy began to slow.  The renewed call to Chinese nationalism from Beijing effectively distracted the population from growing economic worries and offered an effective pretext for cracking down on Hong Kong protestors, many of whom see their protesting as an outworking of their Christian faith and as something for which they are willing to die. Because so much of the Christian activity in China flows through Hong Kong, an assault on Hong Kong is rightly seen as part of the larger war on Chinese Christianity.

We must pray for Hong Kong, including the hundreds of thousands of Christians there. We must pray against the power of Beijing and Xi Jinping. We must pray that world leaders will show the backbone that has been sorely lacking when it comes to China relations over the past decade. There must not be “business as usual” with such a brutal regime.

May 26, 2020
Memorial Day and the Truth about Love
03:55

Before the coronavirus, Memorial Day meant a day off, maybe staying at home, relaxing, grilling out with neighbors, family, and friends.

Since the coronavirus, “being home” is more like “being stuck at home.” So perhaps we can redeem this day by recapturing the essence of Memorial Day: honoring those who, out of love of country, sacrificed their lives on our behalf.

Years ago, Chuck Colson honored Memorial Day by telling this story of sacrificial love:

It was February of 1945—three months before the end of World War II in Europe. Eighteen-year-old Sergeant Joseph George of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, was stationed in Lorient, France. It was evening, and George was preparing to go on patrol.

Sergeant George had been on patrol duty the night before. As he told his friend, Private James Caudill, he was tired—tired and scared. Private Caudill offered to take the patrol on his behalf. He pointed out that, at age 36, he was nearly two decades older than George. He told George—who had already been blown off a torpedoed ship in the English Channel—“You’re young. Go home. Get married. Live a rich, full life.” And then Private Caudill went out on patrol. A few hours later, he was killed by a German sniper.

The actions of Private Caudill echo the values and valor of generations of military men and women we remember today.

So what of Sgt. Joseph George? He returned safely home. He married, fathered five sons. One of them—Princeton Professor Robert George—is a good friend of mine. He’s devoted much of his life to fighting the moral evils of our time: abortion, embryo-destructive research, and efforts to redefine marriage in a way that would destroy it.

In John 15:13, Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that [he] lay down his life for his friends.” The story of Private Caudill and Sergeant George makes one realize more deeply what a tremendous gift this is.

Chuck reminds us that Memorial Day is really about love. Love of country, love of others. Sacrificial love. This week, Module 2 of the Truth.Love.Together virtual event answers the question, “What is Love?” Here’s a brief clip from the amazing Joni Eareckson Tada, talking about the only love that defines all other loves: the love of God…

The love of God cost something.

I recall decades ago when I was in the hospital lying in bed paralyzed. I was so depressed. My mother would stand by the guard rail of that hospital bed for hours on end holding books up so that I could read them. . . Those sacrificial hours my mother spent by my bedside. It displayed a far deeper love than I ever imagined.

I think that is such a sweet picture of the love of God and its greatness, all because of what it costs. What it cost Him, His precious Son... So you have to think: What could God the Father possibly prize so much that it would be worth assigning His own dear Son to brutal torture?

What could possibly be worth the excruciating death of the apple of His eye?

How about your salvation and mine?

… The measure of God's love is clearly stated in Ephesians 5:2. Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us. There you have it.

Because today, Memorial Day is about sacrifice, it is, ultimately, about love. The rest of Joni’s presentation on “The Love of God, or, How We Know What Love Is” is available, today, in Module 2 of the Truth.Love.Together event at Conference.ColsonCenter.org. It’s free along with the rest of the event, which includes 20 other wonderful Christian thinkers and speakers.

May 25, 2020
Podcast: Ravi Zacharias as I Knew Him
30:35

RZIM's Abdu Murray joins John Stonestreet and Shane Morris to share his warm personal memories of Ravi Zacharias.

Resources:

May 25, 2020
BP This Week: DOJ vs. California--A Lockdown Showdown Over Churches
53:14

The Constitution is pretty clear: Freedom of Religion is not negotiable. Yes, governments can restrict religious freedom, but only under very special circumstances and only for a limited time. That's why, as  Shane Morris and John Stonestreet discuss, the Department of Justice is telling California it cannot single out churches restrictions it does not apply to other entities.

Also on today's episode: Thoughts on Ravi  Zacharias; when hospital restrictions go too far; evolutionary psychology's fairy tales.

And this week, on the podcast only, Shane and John begin a new segment: Answers to listeners questions. This week: surrogacy. We also include a segment of Pastor Chris Brooks's outstanding "Truth, Love, Together" presentation.

 

Resources:

May 22, 2020
The Post-Pandemic Church and Pre-existing Conditions
05:20

Restaurants, theatres, sports teams, and theme parks are scrambling to figure out if and how they can get people back to business. At the same time, and far more important for many of us, churches are trying to figure out how to reopen, too. Not only are such plans complicated by official regulations and recommendations that differ from state to state and even county to county, but different theologies and worship styles matter as well. More sacramental churches that emphasize participatory worship and weekly communion face certain challenges, and massive congregations with huge crowds face others. Some congregations consist of a high number of “at-risk” members due to age or other factors. Some don’t.

After navigating all of these challenges, it’s still not clear just how many people will be willing to show up. And, all of this is being navigated in the context of differing opinions. Just about every church is made up of some members who are fearful, others who are convinced that the threat of Covid-19 was overblown, and others somewhere in-between. Everyone has their opinions, and some think theirs are matters of orthodoxy.

All of this means, according to Baylor historian Philip Jenkins, people in the future will think about church in terms of “BC…Before Coronavirus,” and after.

The key factor in Jenkin’s fascinating analysis is what we might call “pre-existing conditions.” In other words, in many ways, the coronavirus hasn’t so much created problems for the Church as it has revealed and accelerated them. One particular “pre-existing condition” that Jenkins believes will be accelerated by this crisis is secularization, especially in the United States.

To be clear, “secularization” is not the same as atheism or even “a decline or destruction of faith.” Rather, as Jenkins writes, it’s “a decline of religious institutions, and a decisive shift in religious practice to individual and privatized forms.” In other words, secularization takes personal faith and makes it private, often by making us more and more religiously unaffiliated.

So, Jenkins thinks it is quite possible that “the U.S. in the 2020s [will] witness a rapid secular trend comparable to Western Europe in the 1960s,” in which church attendance declines and religious conviction is seen as less appropriate for the public square.

“Historically,” writes Jenkins, “pandemics and diseases have often played a major role in shaping religion, in undermining older religious establishments,” and we live in a time where institutions are already weak. Even if the coronavirus sparks a revival in personal piety or privatized faith, Jenkins suggests that institutions will be weakened, not strengthened.

Part of the challenge is, of course, financial. That alone, Jenkins predicts, will lead to “a new age of church closures and mergers.” A recent Washington Post article described the severe financial effects of this pandemic already felt by churches.

Churches that are able to weather the economic storm face the very real possibility that people will prefer watching services online instead of being physically present. It’s a poor substitute for the real thing, but our culture’s veneration of personal choice plus performance-driven church services that were already largely experienced on screens could prove a deadly combination to Sunday morning church attendance.

Another way to say this is, for many Christians, church was already considered “non-essential.” That official label, though given for purposes of efficiency and categorization, should concern anyone who thinks of the Christian faith as the truth.

Jenkins predictions, he admits, are controversial. As historian Kyle Harper reminded Rod Dreher, the third century “Plague of Cyprian” weakened Roman institutions and helped paved the way for the triumph of Christianity. Another plague in the sixth century indirectly lead to the Christianizing of Britain. This virus is changing all kinds of different aspects of culture, besides the Church. So, it remains to be seen just what might come of all this.

More importantly, there are other “preexisting conditions” that pre-date late-modern Western culture. For example, Paul warned Timothy of persecution and tribulation, and that some would “fall away” from the faith during those times. Yet, the most important pre-existing condition is the resurrected Christ who promised the gates of Hell could not prevail against His Church.

From that solid foundation we can best think about this cultural moment and what the future will hold, but we mustn’t assume that life After Coronavirus will be the same as life before it, especially for the Church.

May 22, 2020
Evolutionary Psychology, Natural Selection, and Human Misbehavior
04:57

Why are people so attracted to beautiful “natural scenes like green fields, trees, and rivers?” Nostalgia, maybe? A sense of wonder? Some inherent draw to what is aesthetically pleasing?

Nah. According to some thinkers, “science” has figured out that we are drawn to natural beauty because for our ancestors, such scenes “represented survival." By “science,” I mean what’s known as evolutionary psychology or, as my colleague Shane Morris calls it, “Sabretooth Psychology.”

Evolutionary psychology is a field specializing in hypothesis in which natural selection explains all human behaviors. According to this way of thinking, all of our modern behaviors are best understood as carryovers from those ancient behaviors that offered our ancestors evolutionary advantage over others. So, those who didn’t appreciate beautiful natural landscapes had less access to food and water and, therefore, produced less offspring. Eventually, their line died out while those who liked lush natural scenes survived.

However, not everyone is persuaded by this sort of hypothesizing, including psychologist Dr. Steve Taylor. Writing at Psychology Today, Taylor says that “evolutionary psychology is largely based on assumptions rather than evidence, and as such it is debatable whether it should be referred to as a 'science' (since its hypotheses are generally unfalsifiable).” Or, as philosopher Subrena Smith recently told Gizmodo, “we don’t have the relevant evidence about how our ancestors behaved to make any substantive claims.”

Even so, evolutionary psychology continues to enjoy a popularity in many academic circles, the media, and other segments of culture that far outweighs its scientific credibility.

According to evolutionary psychologists, “mate selection, parental care, predator avoidance” and other behaviors result from natural selection working on our brains.  They further assume that our brains haven’t changed in the tens of thousands of years since.

But there is no evidence for these assumptions. On the contrary, as Smith told Gizmodo, brain science (not to mention history) shows that, “Our brains are dynamic, our behaviors are dynamic, we’re imaginative, we generate novel behaviors in contexts that never exhibited themselves.” This helps explain why only humans have spread to every continent.

Evolutionary psychology is built on what we might call “just-so stories,” conclusions that “must be so” because they are required by the assumptions that must not be questioned. While the constant hypothesizing might cause the people at Gizmodo to “roll their eyes,” the ideas of evolutionary psychology have real consequences and victims.

For example, according to evolutionary psychology, rape is a behavior of natural selection, “one potential strategy for males for achieving reproductive success.” It is, according to this framework, not a moral abomination, but an “aberration,” “an alternative gene-promotion strategy that is most likely to be adopted by the ‘losers’ in the competitive, harem-building struggle.”

While no evolutionary psychologist would conclude that rape is somehow justified, it’s not at all clear on what moral grounds they refuse to do so, since rape must be considered both “natural” and “hardwired.” They also must ignore much of human history, in which rape was used as a weapon to subjugate entire populations during wartime, such as in the 1937 “Rape of Nanjing” or, more recently, ISIS’s wave of terror. Survival of the fittest anyone?

On a related issue, evolutionary psychology struggles to conclude whether humans are evolutionarily adapted to mate for life, like birds, or to be promiscuous, like our other “ancestors.” Either can be “concluded” by appealing to “evolutionary adaptation,” otherwise known as the dynamic imaginations of evolutionary psychologists.

As atheist philosopher David Stove wrote in his book Darwinian Fairytales, however well these imaginative explanations describe “sponges, snakes, flies, or whatever,” they are a “ridiculous slander on human beings.” That’s because, as Chuck Colson said years ago, “they cannot account for what is most essentially human . . . things like altruism and music,” the love of beauty and that most un-survival- of-the-fittest human behavior: self-sacrifice.

So, remember, the next time you see an article or TV special ready to explain the natural origins of human behaviors, you might want to pull up a chair and get out some popcorn. You’re about to hear a fairy tale.

May 21, 2020
Remembering Ravi Zacharias
04:34

One of the last interviews I did with Chuck Colson, back when we started “BreakPoint this Week” as a weekly interview program on radio, was with Ravi Zacharias. I began that interview apologizing for all the times I had plagiarized him throughout the years, probably many times without even knowing it.

Though I've since become much more sensitive about identifying sources, Ravi's teaching was profound for me. He was someone I cut my teeth on, a lifeline really, when my faith was undergoing an intellectual awakening.  Somewhere in college I came to realize that Christianity wasn’t just something you did, and it wasn’t even just something you felt. Even more (though certainly not less) than a personal relationship with Christ, I was realizing that the Christian faith was, in fact, true.  From Ravi, I began to understand the extent to which you could not only think about faith, but actually think with faith.

Of course, that was the stated mission of Ravi’s life and ministry: to help thinkers believe and believers think. I was among the believers he helped to think.

Ravi and Chuck Colson had a very special relationship. Chuck deeply respected Ravi’s unbelievable ability to communicate. I spent hours listening to recorded talks from Ravi, over and over again, enraptured by just how vastly applicable Christian truth is to real life.

Ravi is a real-life example of what Paul told the men of Athens, that God places us in particular times in history. Ravi emerged at a time when many needed to see that faith could be deep, connected to the existential challenges of life while not only answering the skeptics and cynics, but challenging their assumptions and conclusions.

Ravi also seemed to have a great respect for Chuck Colson. When Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center lost our giant of a founder, Ravi’s wonderful tributes for Chuck were so kind, and a few years later, Ravi spoke for the 2017 Wilberforce Conference along with several members of the RZIM team. Ravi’s support is among the many ways God provided for the Colson Center in the years since Chuck passed.

When I heard the news yesterday that Ravi had died, I reached out to a friend, one of the many that Ravi really poured into, mentoring and building, who is part of the growing and dynamic team of apologists, speakers, and authors at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.  He told me that he was struggling to imagine a Ravi-less world.

I know that struggle. In 2012, when Chuck Colson passed away, many of us struggled to imagine a world without Chuck’s strong and stable voice of moral authority. God graciously gives us leaders like Chuck and Ravi, and we are better because of them. Yet, there will be a world without them.

Chuck and Ravi were giants, not only for me but for many others, who needed to know if Christianity could really stand up to the world of ideas and the challenging assaults of culture. In different ways, with different points of emphasis, different abilities, different back stories, they were able should show us it can. Christian faith can take the shots of skeptics, cynics, and cultural forces and still emerge as true and beautiful and good. It's worth mentioning they both had amazing personal stories of God’s grace. Chuck, of course, came to faith in the midst of political scandal, and Ravi in the midst of personal despair.

Losses like this remind us that Christianity is not ultimately a set of abstract truths, but the true Story of the world that precedes us and survives us. Certain characters in the story are elevated by God's grace and His choosing. They run the race, and then the baton gets passed to the next generation.

That so many wonderful people are already in place at RZIM and ready to run is a tribute to Ravi’s life and ministry. At the same time, I know the feeling they must have, since there’s no such thing as filling shoes like his. Instead, to paraphrase Isaac Newton, we stand on his shoulders, seeing further because of his stature.

As for Ravi, his thoughtful and so-well-articulated faith is now sight. Still, as immense as his life and influence were, it’s only getting better for him. Or as C.S. Lewis put it, it was only  “the cover and the title page: now at last (he is) beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

May 20, 2020
Podcast: What Is Truth? The Roots of the Present Crisis
25:32

Truth, Love, Together. That’s the theme of the Colson Center’s 4-week long virtual event featuring 20 of the leading Christian worldview thinkers.

The first of five modules for the event is called “What Is Truth?” And today on the BreakPoint Podcast, to give you a taste of Module 1, we’re sharing with you the presentation by Os Guinness called “The Roots of the Present Crisis.”

Os traces our nation’s current political and cultural crises back to two competing views of government and humanity. One is rooted in the American Revolution and its biblical foundation, the other is rooted in the French Revolution and subsequent Marxist revolutions in Russia and China.

Which view will prevail, one that acknowledges man’s fallen nature and so insists upon the biblical idea of separation of powers, checks and balances, and yet preserves ordered liberty and “unalieanable rights”?  Or one that believes that man is perfectible, and that utopia can be reached by liberating the oppressed from the oppressor?

Resources:

May 20, 2020
Pandemic or No, We Must Live Out Our Faith
04:28

Last week, 40-year-old Joyce Lin, an American missionary with Mission Aviation Fellowship, lost her life when her plane crashed. Lin was taking COVID-19 medical supplies to a remote Indonesian village. The region where she was flying is notoriously difficult to navigate, but Lin went anyway. As her colleagues attested, her great joy was serving the Lord by serving others.

Lin joins generations of missionaries who committed their lives to taking their faith to people in other cultures. Yet, that is the task of every Christian, not just missionaries. We too are called to live out our faith in the middle of this culture, in our communities, where we work, seeing every area of life and every culture as the mission field to which we are called.

Part of being equipped in this calling is understanding and articulating a distinctly Christian worldview. This involves not only knowing what the Bible says, but thinking biblically.

Years ago, Chuck Colson described what this means:

While we have to be immersed in scripture and understand it fully, we also have to know when and how to use it in public discourse.

Let me give you an example. G. K. Chesterton, the famous British writer, was once invited to a meeting of the leading intellectuals in England. They were asked if they were shipwrecked on an island, what would be the one book they would want to have with them. Everybody expected Chesterton, a prominent Christian, to say “the Bible.”

When it came his turn to speak, however, Chesterton said that if he were shipwrecked on a desert island, he’d like to have “Thomas’s Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.”

The point is that oftentimes we need to understand things that aren’t covered in the Bible. And we need to understand things that help us apply biblical teaching to all of life. This is why I teach biblical worldview.

A man once told Oswald Chambers that he read only the Bible. Listen to what Chambers said:

“My strong advice to you is to soak, soak, soak in philosophy and psychology, until you know more of these subjects than ever you need consciously to think. It is ignorance of these subjects on the part of ministers and workers that has brought our evangelical theology to such a sorry plight…The man who reads only the Bible does not, as a rule, know it or human life.”

And when it comes to making a biblical case on any hot topic—taxes, the deficit, homosexuality, whatever—we need to understand the issue and how to make that case in a way that is accessible to believers and non-believers alike.

The sad fact is that today, starting a conversation with “the Bible says” will often cause the listener to stop listening.  So what you do is make arguments based on what the Reformers called common grace, or what historically has been known as natural law.

This is what Paul did when he gave his famous sermon at Mars Hill, his first foray into the Greek culture. He quoted Greek poets; he referred to Greek artifacts. He thoroughly engaged their culture.  And then he used their beliefs to lead directly into the gospel.

This is why we’ve got to study biblical worldview, to compare how the Bible works out in life versus how other systems of thought do. I assure you: You will see that the biblical way is the only way to make sense of the world, to live rationally in the world, and eventually, your friends will see this as well.

This vision of applied faith led Chuck Colson to launch an exclusive ten-month training program for Christians that is now known as the Colson Fellows. Today, that program has grown into communities of Christians in 40+ local cohorts or online, studying Christian worldview, apologetics, cultural renewal and leadership together. Colson Fellows read through a carefully curated list of books, articles, and commentaries, learn from top Christian leaders, and ultimately craft a three-year plan to live out what they’ve learned.

The call of Christ in our lives, to join Him in His work in the world, is the same across cultures and eras. What that call looks like differs for people and communities. If your heart is being tugged to prepare for the life Chuck described, we are taking applications for our next class of Colson Fellows right now.

Learn more at ColsonFellows.org.

May 19, 2020
Rediscovering Truth
05:36

In February, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit on behalf of three female high school track athletes who are being forced to compete against biological males. During the oral arguments, the presiding judge demanded that ADF attorneys refer to the biologically male athletes as females, and to do otherwise would not be “consistent with science” or “human decency.”

Of course, as ADF attorneys noted, the entire case is based on whether it’s a fact that biological males are males, and whether a chosen gender identity is consistent with science or reality. ADF has called for the judge’s recusal, and rightly so since, at least in this case, he’s not capable of adjudication. Only activism.

Francis Shaeffer and Chuck Colson were among the loudest prophetic voices of decades past, warning of the loss of what Schaeffer often called “true truth,” the idea that truth is objective and, to a large degree, knowable. When a federal judge announces that affirming observable biological reality is “indecent,” it demonstrates that more than our views about gender have changed. The basic definition of truth has changed. In other words, the most basic conflict in our culture is not just what is considered to be truth and what is not, but what we mean by truth in the first place.

The classic definition is that truth refers to that which corresponds to reality. For decades now, beginning among intellectual elites and then shaping the academy and now various segments of culture, the correspondence theory of truth has been challenged by another definition, that truth is nothing more than a social construct, views imposed on us by previous generations and those in power.

As the comments of this judge make clear, this new definition of truth is now largely taken for granted, not just in universities but across different segments of our culture. How this happened is important to understand.

At a very simple, but hopefully not simplistic level, humans can look to three resources in seeking knowledge: revelation, reason, and experience. By revelation, I mean we can know something because “God said it.” By reason, I mean that through our intellects and logic, we can arrive at truth. By experience, I mean we can know because of what we’ve been through, or what we feel or know to be true. Throughout history, different religions and philosophies would emphasize one or more of these over the others. For example, religions that believed in God, would prioritize revelation. Classic Greek thought often prioritized reason, as did the ideas of the secular enlightenment.

The Christian worldview teaches that God has revealed Himself through His creation, in His Word, and ultimately in Jesus Christ. By revelation, we know that as Image Bearers of God living in His orderly universe, our reason and intellect can grasp certain truths about the universe. In this view, knowledge is nothing less than what astronomer Johannes Kepler described as “…thinking God's thoughts after him.”

In the decades since the Enlightenment and especially into the 20th century, as scientific discovery and technological innovation exploded, reason became elevated as the central and definitive means of knowing truth. Skepticism about the supernatural led to a cynical distrust of revelation.

There’s so much more to this story than I have space for here, but the violence and bloodshed of the twentieth century, especially among those nations and cultures considered most scientifically advanced, damaged trust in reason. If revelation was a myth and pure reason a catastrophe, what’s left? Experience.

This is largely where we are today, where both revelation and reason are secondary, and even expected to serve our own internal sense of reality. Experiences may not be questioned. And so, here we are, with judges who insist that males are females, governors who call abortion “life sustaining,” with politicians claiming their own facts.

It's easy in such a situation for Christians to miss the deeper aspects of the real challenges we face, but it’s not simply this issue over here or this battle of ideas over there. The struggle of our time is, at its most basic level, a struggle to define reality. That’s why, as a friend of mine says, we so often find ourselves using the same vocabulary but not the same dictionary.

The battle for hearts and minds is quite often the battle over the definition of words. Defining truth is as essential as defending it.

The opening module of our Truth, Love, Together virtual event is all about recapturing a Christian vision of Truth, one that is, ultimately grounded in the person of Jesus Christ. This first module is entitled “What Is Truth.” Os Guinness opens the module in a session called, “The Roots of the Present Crisis.” Dr. Sean McDowell follows with “What Happened to Truth?” and Abdu Murray’s session is about “Loving Truth in a Post-Truth World.” After all, if truth is grounded in the person of Christ, our proper response must be to not only know truth, but love truth. And, in a special bonus session, Natasha Crain speaks on “Teaching Your Kids Truth in a Noisy World.”

Over 8,500 people have already registered for this free, weekly on-demand, online event.

Come to Conference.ColsonCenter.org to register today.

May 18, 2020
Podcast: Rethinking Christian Cliches to Rediscover Biblical Truth
42:06

According to Summit Ministries President Jeff Meyers, unquestioned answers are Christians cliches that keep our faith at a shallow level--and not only are they excuses for Christians to avoid wrestling with the tough questions about our faith, but they are also bad apologetics in a time when many outside the faith are looking for real answers.

Shane Morris welcomes Jeff Meyers to the BreakPoint Podcast to discuss his new book Unquestioned Answers: Rethinking Ten Christian Cliches to Rediscover Biblical Truths.

Resources:

May 18, 2020
BP This Week: Samaritan's Purse Vindicated, No Thanks from NYC
28:52

John Stonestreet and Shane Morris discuss the departure of the Samaritan's Purse field hospital from New York City, having provided health care to hundreds of Gothamites during the pandemic.  Amazing how the city found no instance of discrimination by the Christian group, yet the New York Times all but buried the story. Meanwhile LGBTQ advocates continued their campaign of smearing the charity.

Shane and John also discuss the plight of surrogate babies stranded in Ukraine and the ethics of surrogacy; the death of a beloved pastor and the increasing pressure on those with depression and mental illness during the pandemic; and they wrap up with a tribute to Christian apologist extraordinaire Ravi Zacharias, whose family has announced that his  doctors have done all they can to free him of cancer.

Resources:

May 15, 2020
Adoption is Beautiful, Surrogacy Isn’t
04:49

Recently, prompted by the news that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and his homosexual partner paid a woman to carry a child for them, my colleague Maria Baer and I released a BreakPoint commentary on the serious ethical problems of surrogacy. Surrogacy intentionally breaks the mother/father/child connection, commodifies both babies and women’s bodies, and puts both women and children at risk of exploitation. That this immoral practice is now normal is, as we said, another chapter in the bad ideas of the sexual revolution, and its victims.

A few readers and listeners wrote in to ask whether our concern that surrogacy intentionally severs the bond between mothers, fathers, and children also extends to adoption.

In short, the answer is no. Adoption repairs a fracture. Surrogacy creates one.

God’s design for the family is that a man and wife become one flesh and raise children together. The Fall frustrates this design in different ways. Families can break. Couples may find that their sexual union is infertile. Biological parents find themselves unable to care for their children for various reasons. A sexual act, disordered toward illegitimate pleasure or even selfish violence, produces a life unintended and unexpected.

Whatever the brokenness, adoption offers a means of restoration. Implicitly, the act of adoption recognizes that something is not as it should be, whether or not someone is morally culpable. A family break of some kind, typically at the beginning of the procreative act, is addressed and, many times, even restored by a new family. As open adoptions become more common, there is even, to some degree, a merging of families or of biological parents into the new family.

In all of these ways, adoption portrays God’s relationship with us. Adoption is among the many marriage and family metaphors used in Scripture to describe how God relates to His people. Paul, in Ephesians, calls Christians “adopted” sons and daughters of God, though Jesus Christ. The fracture created in the Garden and extended by our own brokenness is repaired by Jesus. As a result, we are adopted children of God, with all of the rights and benefits and status involved. 

In the comments we received about the previous commentary on surrogacy, some questioned whether a woman’s relationship to the children she bears is really all that important. This was asked by adoptive moms who are just as emotionally and spiritually connected to their children as any biological mother could be. In our view, that’s obviously and beautifully true, and not something we questioned in our commentary.

What we did say is that women who bear children do have an inherent connection to the children they bear. This is true whether or not she enters into a surrogacy situation or an adoption contract. When a mom relinquishes her right to raise a child, which in some adoptions cases is wise and selfless thing do, she is still a mom. Adoption recognizes that reality and attempts to, at some level, redeem the brokenness. Surrogacy intentionally creates the brokenness. A mother-child relationship is created only to be knowingly and intentionally severed.

Adoption is proof that physically bearing children is not the only way a woman becomes a mother. Among the darkest evils of surrogacy is that it treats a mother as less than a whole person, wanted for her procreational parts that are increasingly treated as consumer products, especially as commercial surrogacy becomes more common (driven as it is today as part of the LGBTQ remaking of marriage and sexuality). Surrogacy also treats children as consumer products, instead of as gifts.

We received other feedback on the surrogacy commentary, too. Unfortunately, it confirmed the concern that led us to take on this issue in the first place. Surrogacy has been so normalized, even in the Christian world, that speaking against it is quite controversial.

It shouldn’t be. In our fallen world families break, but we should never break them on purpose.

May 15, 2020
Secular Missionaries Spread Their Gospel Abroad
04:27

The 2020 Academy Award for best short subject documentary went to “Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone.” The film tells the story of “Afghan girls who learn to skate through a program run by a Berlin-based NGO.”  The NGO’s stated mission is to train young people to “become leaders for a better world,” through a combination of skateboarding lessons as well as “creative, arts-based education.” Though I’m a bit fuzzy how skateboarding lessons will produce “leaders for a better world,” Academy voters seemed to like the idea.

However, one person not enthralled by the film was Sahar Ghumkhor, a social scientist from the University of Melbourne. Writing for Al Jazeera, Ghumkhor called the film an example of “white savior” syndrome. Though that’s jarring term that too often gets thrown around indiscriminately, it does capture an underlying cultural attitude of those who see people in the developing world as victims of an “inherent backwardness.”

These are people who need saving, not just from sickness, or drought, or poverty, but from a way of life, specifically their traditional ways of thinking--typically about things like the role of sexual morality, gender and marriage roles, and the emphasis on “community norms” over “individual desire.”

In this case, teaching Afghan girls how to skateboard and providing “creative, arts-based education,” is, in the end, shorthand for making them more “Western” in their views about women, and thus, less “backward.” The hoped-for end products “are artists, hipsters, [and] rebels with a cause, who are often introduced as trailblazers.”

Reading Ghumkhor’s piece, it becomes clear that many of these NGO’s are nothing less than “secular missionaries.”

Of course, Christian missionaries are the ones so often depicted as judgmental and dismissive of native cultures. The history of Christian missions certainly does include bad ideas about native peoples and bad behavior by those tasked with bringing the Good News to them. Still, today, it’s Western liberal secularists leading the way in being judgmental and dismissive of native cultures.

In 2017, French president Emmanuel Macron lamented Africa’s high birth rates as a “civilizational problem,” snidely saying, “present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children.”

Macron’s belief that large families are a sign of “backwardness” and patriarchy is, perhaps, the foundational doctrine being spread by secular missionaries, which explains why abortion is their sacrament. So, for instance, Canada’s “health care” response to COVID-19, both nationally and internationally, included increased funding for abortion.

Of course, progressive rhetoric about “women’s health” is, in reality, just a smokescreen for the larger goal of replacing native values about sex, marriage, and family with more “enlightened,” neo-Western values. And increasingly, the rhetoric we hear about “inclusiveness” and “justice” is merely cover for saving these developing nations from all antiquated views on homosexuality and gender.

Obianuju Ekeocha, the founder of Culture of Life Africa, rightly calls the secular Western assault on native values, “ideological colonialism.”

“Culturally, most of the African communities actually believe, by tradition, by their cultural standards, that abortion is a direct attack on human life,” she writes, “so for anybody to be able to convince any woman in Africa that abortion . . . can be a good thing, you first of all have to tell her that what her parents and her grandparents and her ancestors taught her is actually wrong.”

Ekeocha is one of 20 leading Christian worldview thinkers who will present for our “Truth. Love. Together” virtual event. Specifically, she will be talking about why speaking the truth is an act of love, even the hard truths she is so often speaking on international media outlets.

Teaching girls in Kabul to skateboard is fine, I suppose, but for secular missionaries to claim to “create a better world” when what they really mean is “recreate the world in their ideological image”?  Well, that’s just backwards.

And as for our “Truth. Love. Together” virtual event: Please join me and people like Obianuju Ekeocha, Os Guinness, Sean McDowell, Joni Eareckson Tada, Lee Strobel, John Lennox, Katy Faust, it’s an incredible line up. And it’s free. Please join us via live stream or on demand. All you have to do is go to ColsonCenterWorldview.org to register.

May 14, 2020
No Lord of the Flies Scenario with These Christian Boys
05:27

In 1965, a group of “bored witless” Catholic boarding school boys on the South Pacific island of Tonga, ages 13 to 16, decided to “borrow” a boat and escape to Fiji, which was 500 miles away, and maybe even to New Zealand.

As any parent of any teenage boy will tell you, their plans aren’t always fully thought-through. Such was the case with these boys. They set sail without a map or a compass. Caught in a storm, they drifted at sea for eight days before landing on an uninhabited island where they stayed, lost and thought dead, for fifteen months, before they were found.

If this story reminds you of William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, in which a group of stranded boys quickly descend into debauchery and violence, in this case, life did not imitate art. As Dutch historian Rutger Bregman recounted in an article in the Guardian last week, the Tongan boys turned the uninhabitable island into a functioning and decent community, complete with food production, workout facilities, a permanent fire, and religious services–all of which was constructed using, as he put it, “an old knife blade and much determination.”

Even more impressive than the physical infrastructure was the social stability. As Bregman put it, “The kids agreed to work in teams of two, drawing up a strict roster for garden, kitchen and guard duty.” Whenever there were disagreements and quarrels, instead of dropping a rock on “Piggy” (as they did in the novel), these boys imposed “a time-out” policy to let tempers cool.

How did these boys so thoroughly confound expectations? In the article, Bregman seems to suggest that fruitful cooperation comes naturally to most people. Instead of Golding’s dark assumptions about human nature in Lord of the Flies, we should instead “always look for what is good and positive in people,” and then expect to find it.

Unfortunately, Bregman’s interpretation of these events has two big problems. First, he assumes these boys from Tonga are the rule and not the exception which, given the sheer number of counterexamples from the daily news, is a stretch. Second, though Bregman did note that the boys “began and ended (each day) with song and prayer” and attended a “strict Catholic school,” he seems to miss the obvious connection between their formation and their behavior. Instead, he adopts a form of the “noble savage” thesis, as if how these boys behaved resulted from their inherent nature, not their schooling.

Of course, private religious education is certainly no guarantee against a Lord of the Flies descent to debauchery. As product of such an institution myself, I doubt the ending would have been nearly as happy if I were among their lot. And, to quote the greatest boys movie ever (“The Sandlot”), these boys got themselves in this “pickle” by stealing a boat. Still, not only did they survive, they nobly found ways to live together.

Did all that come from inside? Or was it put there?

I’m convinced that the best opening line in history is by C. S. Lewis’s in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader: “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” In selfish, snotty-nosed Eustace, Lewis personified how malforming and narcissistic, in both habit and pedagogy, education can be, especially when it encourages students to “look inside,” “express themselves,” and “be whoever they want to be.” He fully articulated his complaints about modern education in the essay, "The Abolition of Man," which might have the best closing line in history: “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

Does anyone actually think that a bunch of Eustaces, lost on an island without any laws or food or authority figures, could yield such impressive results?

Underneath the story of these real-life boys from Tonga is the fact that they were formed, at their boarding school and likely elsewhere too, by a Christian faith and worldview. As scholar and author Anthony Esolen wrote on Facebook in response to this story, “religious faith is the strongest bond for any human society, especially when times are tough. Both of these truths are eminently borne out by all that we know about human cultures . . .”

What’s more, religious faith socializes young men. As Ravi Zacharias has often noted, if you found yourself in a dark alley late at night, with a group of rough-looking, burly young men walking swiftly toward you, would you feel better knowing they were coming from a Bible study?

The Catholic schoolboys from Tonga weren’t angels, but their religious background had shaped them in profound ways. They found ways to cooperate when times were tough because they were given resources to recognize and govern their own fallen natures. Without these resources, humans quickly devolve into our own devices. It’s either Eustace or Lord of the Flies. To miss this connection between faith and virtue, is an oversight almost as big as setting off in a stolen boat without a map or compass.

May 13, 2020
Podcast: What If You Were "Chosen" to Play Jesus on TV?
32:10

What is it like to portray the lead character in the story of the entire universe? Today on the BreakPoint Podcast, Shane Morris welcomes Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus on the extremely well-done and enormously successful video series, "The Chosen." Roumie discusses the series's approach to the Gospels, to plausible "back stories" of the disciples, and how they wanted to focus on Christ's humanity--without underplaying the fact that He is the Son of God.

Resources:

May 13, 2020
Marriages Hit a New Low
05:51

According to a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics, marriage in the United States of America has never been less popular. Today, in the U.S. there are only 6.5 weddings for every 1,000 people, the lowest rate since we started keeping records just after the Civil War, and despite the fact that millennials, who are the biggest generation in American history, are in their peak marriage years right now. And, these numbers are pre-COVID-19. As the report’s lead author suggests, the economic fallout of the virus will likely “further discourage marriage in the near term….”

Economic factors do, of course, affect marriage rates. Even before COVID closed everything down, single breadwinners could find it quite difficult to support a growing family. In recent decades, the “marriage gap,” the different marriage rates between upper and lower income Americans, has become more pronounced, with marriage becoming more and more a luxury of the wealthy.

At the same time, it’s a worldview mistake to think that economics alone can explain what's happening to marriage. As Bradford Wilcox with the Institute for Family Studies reminds us, “there was no marked increase in divorce, family instability, or single parenthood at the height of the Great Depression.” By contrast, Cornell sociologist Daniel Lichter points out that some of the biggest drops in marriage rates, at least in recent years, have occurred during economically prosperous times.

The bigger factor here is not money but culture. Exhibit A: As marriage has receded, cohabitation has both increased in both numbers and social acceptability. Pew reports that a quarter of unmarried young adults are living with a partner. That’s the highest percentage since our record-keeping began.

The rise of cohabitation has followed not only a shift of attitudes about out-of-wedlock sex, but about the institution of marriage itself. Several years ago, another Pew study found that more than half of young people in America thought marriage was “obsolete.” As one pastor remarked on Facebook, young people who pursue the skills necessary for marriage are often treated as if they’re wasting their “real” potential, and those who get married in their early or even mid-twenties can inspire a level of shock and shame that was once reserved only for couples “living in sin.”

Even worse, our culture’s current portrayal of the “good life” involves career-minded singles living in chic urban apartments, sowing their wild oats on casual dating and hookup apps, and leading lives incompatible with a spouse, much less children.

The road to rebuilding a culture that values marriage will be long and arduous, but we do have some clues about what works when it comes to creating and preserving that kind of culture. The Institute for Family Studies reports that, contrary to a popular but mistaken talking point, the institution that remains the single best refuge for marriage is the Church. It is still true, even today, that among the surest predictors that a couple will get and stay married is how regularly they attend religious services. That’s why bringing people to God and bringing people together are so often a package deal.

Even so, the Church simply must first embrace her God-given task of re-catechizing His people about what marriage is. Too often, the Church is trying to put a band-aid of sexual morality on the gaping wound of bad Christian thinking about marriage that is often no different than the larger culture: That marriage is either a lifestyle accessory, a waste of youth, or an institution of personal happiness. We won’t know what marriage is, or how to do it, unless we know what God created marriage for.

Hint: Though companionship is certainly a wonderful side-benefit of a healthy marriage, God didn’t create marriage to solve Adam’s loneliness problem. Check the text again: He created marriage to solve Adam’s aloneness problem. It’s an important distinction that not only explains what marriage is for, but sets the groundwork for all of the moral expectations God gives us about sex and marriage.

Even after the wedding, the Church is still the best place to strengthen marriages, a necessary task if we are to see the kind of culture where people think of lifelong marriage as part of the good life. Recently, J. P. DeGance joined me on the BreakPoint Podcast to talk about a unique, data-driven approach to helps pastors identify struggling marriages and then works to help save them in their communities. Working with pastors and churches in Jacksonville, Florida, DeGance’s organization, Communio, saw the divorce rate drop 24 percent in just three years. That's many times faster than the national average.

Saving existing marriages is essential to encouraging new ones. How many young people are out there that have never seen a single marriage work? How can we expect them to trust an institution that, in their view, not only consistently fails but also causes so much pain and heartbreak when it does?

J.P. DeGance will join Katy Faust, Pastor Bob Fu, and Student for Life president Kristan Hawkins for Module 5 of our upcoming  “Truth. Love. Together” virtual event. He’ll be talking about how the Church can help restore a marriage culture. The Truth.Love.Together event is absolutely free. Come to WilberforceWeekend.org to sign up and learn more.

May 12, 2020
Podcast: Seven More Men and the Secret of Their Greatness
31:21

Biographer, apologist, former BreakPoint co-host, and host of the popular radio show bearing his name, Eric Metaxas joins Shane Morris on the BreakPoint podcast to talk about his new book, Seven More Men and the Secret of Their Greatness.

Eric talks about his desire to re-introduce true heroes of the faith to modern believers, men like preacher George Whitfield, whom Eric asserts played just as much a role in the founding of the United States as George Washington; Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, ardent anti-Communist and also a severe critic of the increasingly secular West; and Sgt. Alvin York, arguably America's greatest war hero of the 20th century, a humble Christian man whose exploits in WWI seem to have long been forgotten.

 

May 11, 2020
Why So Many Governors and Other Local Officials are Violating Religious Liberty
05:48

Whoever said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” was certainly correct. Especially in times of crisis. For instance, it took a lawsuit to convince Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker to allow religious people to leave their homes to exercise their freedom of religion. Under his original executive order, the governor would permit “Essential Businesses and Operations” to have gatherings of 10 or more people, but not religious gatherings. Even stay-in-your-car drive-in services, as Pastor Steve Cassell of the Beloved Church found out when he was issued a cease and desist order, were forbidden with threats of arrest and prosecution.

Cassell and the Thomas More Society responded by filing a lawsuit. As Thomas Moore senior council Peter Breen said, “Keeping liquor stores open but indefinitely shutting down churches and religious ministries violates our constitution and our most basic liberties. If liquor stores are ‘essential,’ so are churches.” The governor quickly issued a replacement executive order explicitly allowing the free exercise of religion, as well as permitting gatherings that comply with social distancing.

Governor Pritzker is particularly easy to pick on here, but he’s certainly not alone. The Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued an order that exempted “26 types of secular activities from its gathering ban” but specifically prohibited “churches and other religious services or activities” with 10 or more people, even if they obeyed social distancing requirements. That order only lasted until the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit. The governor has since issued a new order that didn’t single out churches.

Still, as ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said, “It’s a shame that it took a federal lawsuit… in order to finally prompt the governor to issue an order that she could easily have issued in the first place: one that doesn’t… unconstitutionally target churches.”

It is more than a shame, actually. It’s revealing. Because from governors’ mansions to city halls across the country, from major metropolises like Bill de Blasio’s New York City to small cities and even smaller townships in the Bible Belt—like Chattanooga, Tennessee and Greenville, Mississippi—state and local officials are demonstrating just how badly they understand America's First Freedom. It’s bad enough that, as another ADF official admitted, ADF and the Thomas More Society and other religious freedom groups “can’t possibly monitor every situation across the nation."

Last week on Twitter Southern Seminary professor Andrew Walker wondered aloud on Twitter, why there has been such a "general mismanagement of religious liberty at the gubernatorial and municipal levels”?

I think, like so many other things I could point to during this time, this is a problem COVID-19 certainly didn’t create. So many cultural fault lines and foundational weaknesses of our theology and society are being revealed and exploited during this pandemic.

Specifically, I think Princeton Professor Robert George best articulated why we are seeing so many local officials fail so miserably on religious liberty right now, during an episode on the BreakPoint Podcast. Too many Americans, he told me, including lawmakers and even Christians—“essentially see (religion) as a hobby… like football, or going to the ballet, or collecting stamps.” These things are, of course, non-essential.

“But in our constitutional tradition,” George continued, religion “is singled out for special care... Our founding fathers, who bequeathed to us this great constitutional government … understood that religion has to do with the conscience.”

Of course, the government is fully entitled to curtail religious freedoms in a national emergency. That’s something recognized by both constitutional scholars and theologians, both contemporary and in the past. And in our podcast conversation, Dr. George clearly articulated the specific conditions under which religious freedoms might be limited by the state. First, the government must show a compelling interest when limiting full freedom of expression, such as public safety. For example, slowing the spread of COVID-19 could be deemed a compelling interest.

Second, the state cannot single out religious activities for restrictions that do not apply to other areas of life. This is a point Governors Pritzker and others are clearly struggling to grasp.

Third, if a compelling interest exists, the government must only curtail religious liberty in the least restrictive way possible. Any restrictions imposed cannot be more burdensome than necessary. For example, as Mayor de Blasio of New York clearly missed in his irrational threats against churches, restrictions must be temporary.

Look, we’ve clearly reached a point where we must re-educate ourselves, and our lawmakers, about the privileged place of religious freedom in our form of constitutional government. Religious freedom is not a second-class right and religion is not another lifestyle choice or a “hobby.”

But when Governor Pritzker announces, like he did last week (even after having his first idea smacked down) that bans on gatherings with 50 or more people—including churches—will stay in place for more than a year until a vaccine is developed? Good heavens, we’ve got our work cut out for us.

I mean, Governor Pritzker has a law degree, from a law school that bears his family name, no less. To paraphrase Professor Digory Kirke in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe": Bless me, what do they teach them at law schools these days?

And why we're asking that question, let's also ask: What are we teaching in our churches these days about religious freedom?

May 11, 2020
BP This Week: Ahmaud Arbery, Race, and Justice
30:56

John Stonestreet and Shane Morris discuss the horrible shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery by two men who decided to take what they thought to be justice into their own hands. Why did it take so long for charges to be filed? How do Christians use discernment when weighing the factors of race, of individual or systemic sin and injustice? Will justice be done in this case?

They also discuss the fawning media coverage of CNN's Anderson Cooper announcing he now has a baby. What the media and Cooper didn't bother to tell you is that he paid a woman (who will ever remain nameless to her child and the world) to use her womb to manufacture a child. John and Shane detail the serious ethical problems of commercial surrogacy--and urge Christians to pay attention.

Resources:

May 08, 2020
Anderson Cooper and the New Normal
06:17

couple of weeks ago, a woman had a baby. Childbirth, of course, happens tens of thousands of times a day in the United States, but this baby was a product. A couple paid a doctor and an agency to secure the child. The mom’s relationship with the child is governed not by biology, but by contract, one with clauses and exceptions and conditions. A man who made no genetic contribution is being called the child’s other “father,” along with Anderson Cooper, a major media celebrity, which is why this baby’s birth made national headlines.

Cooper is a homosexual man. He and his partner hired a woman to be a surrogate; a practice increasingly common in the U.S. The headlines announcing the couple’s acquisition were universally fawning, as if this story carried none of the extraordinary details listed above at all: “Anderson Cooper talks first weekend as new Dad;” “Anderson Cooper announces birth of his son; urges people to hold on to ‘moments of joy.’”

None of these articles, in fact not a single one that I could find in any major publication anywhere, even hinted that there might be any ethical concerns with Cooper’s purchase. In fact, when author Joyce Carol Oates mentioned on Twitter - after explicitly congratulating Cooper, by the way - that she found it curious the news coverage never mentioned Cooper’s hired surrogate at all, she was excoriated.

The speed at which our culture is able to normalize a behavior thought just yesterday to be somewhere between questionable to unthinkable is stunning. To not mention any shred of ethical hesitancy around the decision to purchase procreation, particularly by a couple who chose an intentionally sterile union in the first place is one thing. To gush over the doting dads as if the way this whole thing happened is quite unremarkable? Well, that’s something else entirely. After all, culture is often most powerful in our lives where it makes the least amount of commotion. When something is no longer considered debatable, and is instead assumed, it’s been normalized.

This story demonstrates that commercial surrogacy, including cases in which the child is intentionally deprived of its mother, is now fully normal.

We’ve repeatedly pointed out the many ethical problems with surrogacy on BreakPoint: it assumes “children” are a right that God never promised; it assumes a gnostic view of human bodies and relationships; children are denied the opportunity to be raised by their biological mom and a dad; it treats children as products instead of image-bearers; it poses a significant risk for women to be exploited financially.

We’ve also talked about the disastrous consequences of the sexual revolution, especially how it has divorced sex, marriage and procreation and devalues other human beings for how they can serve our own sexual desires. Here, in this story, we have a new chapter of this: two men who choose a sexual relationship that doesn’t include a uterus still consider entitled to the products of a uterus. And so, they hire a uterus, not really the whole woman. After all their decision make the woman a mom, but they don’t want that part of her. They only want the part that will allow them what they want.

We see the world through the stories we tell ourselves, and each reporter who told this story tacitly agreed that Cooper and his partner were the good guys. As Joyce Carol Oates quickly discovered when she asked why the baby’s mom should be left unnamed, the protagonist role was already taken, and it would be awkward to cast the hired help as the antagonist. So, they just didn’t mention her at all. That was probably what was specified in the contract anyway.

But what about her? Was she, as most women who agree to surrogacy tend to be, lower-income? Was the financial pressure simply too great to not be attracted by the payday?

Perhaps the strangest part of the growing cultural acceptance is how surrogacy is so often championed by the Progressive Left, especially as it’s increasingly served the cause of same-sex marriage. Yet, it violates almost every central tenet of the worldview they claim.

After all, if anything is capitalism run amok, it’s commercial surrogacy. Is there a more disgusting display of greed than the rich paying the poor for their babies? And, surrogacy exploits the vulnerable. It robs women of their bodily autonomy, especially when contract clauses commit them to reproductive decisions, including abortion. Increasingly, surrogacy is about two wealthy men using a woman for her body, while appropriating a role that only she can fulfill.

Surrogacy is also the final chapter of a culture that prioritizes adult happiness over children’s rights, in this case by offering a service only the very wealthy can afford. Surrogacy denies that children have rights to their mother and father, and that mothers have rights to her own child. Like transgenderism, surrogacy denies biological realities, in this case the miraculous bonds, both physical and emotional, that connects mothers with their children. Surrogacy serves money, and makes winners and losers. The losers are always women and children. The winners are always those with big bank accounts.

If there were a segment of culture that should rebuke surrogacy but often doesn’t, it would be the Progressive Left, which fancies itself the champion of the vulnerable, the poor, and of women. Some do, in particular feminists who see the potential for exploitation.

If there were another segment of culture that should rebuke surrogacy but often doesn’t, even more so in fact, it would be Christians. Some do, but too many don’t, mostly because their worldview analysis stops at what’s normal, rather than what’s right.

Behind Anderson Cooper’s money and these headlines, is this baby’s mom. No matter what we tell ourselves, about how willing she was or how better off she is now, she’s harmed and so is her son - who somehow knew from the moment he was born to look for her. Unfortunately, he won’t find her. Shame on us.

May 08, 2020
“The Chosen” is Worth Your Time
04:46
May 07, 2020
Abstaining from Everything During the Pandemic, Except from . . .
04:50
May 06, 2020
Podcast: Under the Constitution, Religion Is not Just Another Lifestyle Choice
31:07
May 06, 2020
Praying for Muslims During Ramadan
04:11
May 05, 2020
What Comes Next for Work?
32:16
May 04, 2020
Truth, Love, and Stones of Remembrance
06:24
May 04, 2020
BP This Week: Back to Work . . . Or Not?
29:21
May 01, 2020
The Seamless Life
04:47
May 01, 2020
Is Critical Theory Compatible with Christianity?
04:24
Apr 30, 2020
Christians in India Face More than COVID-19
05:10
Apr 29, 2020
Podcast: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World
46:43
Apr 29, 2020
The Post-Pandemic Pickup
05:06
Apr 28, 2020
The Parents of Special-Needs Children Have Needs, Too
05:03
Apr 27, 2020
The Seamless Life
58:36
Apr 27, 2020
Homeschooling, Worldview, and Parental Rights
42:51
Apr 24, 2020
God Is Always at Work Behind the Scenes
05:09
Apr 24, 2020
The Master Designer—the Song
04:47
Apr 23, 2020
Harvard Law Prof Wants to Ban Homeschooling
05:36
Apr 22, 2020
A Christian View of Suffering
05:18
Apr 21, 2020
Podcast: It's Time to Join the Colson Fellows
30:42
Apr 21, 2020
The Non-Essential Church?
05:06
Apr 20, 2020
China's Pandemic of Persecution
43:01
Apr 20, 2020
BP This Week: When Churches Are 'Non-Essential' . . .
40:04
Apr 17, 2020
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The Movie to Watch this Weekend
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New York Legalizes Commercial Surrogacy
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Apr 15, 2020
An Interview with Dr. John Lennox
25:01
Apr 14, 2020
Hearing the Creator’s Voice
12:31
Apr 14, 2020
Religious Freedom and the Coronavirus
04:51
Apr 14, 2020
The Colson Fellows
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Apr 13, 2020
BP Podcast: Religious Freedom During the Coronavirus--and Beyond
29:02
Apr 13, 2020
BP This Week: God's Answer to Suffering
28:42
Apr 10, 2020
Passover and the Discipline of Remembering
04:24
Apr 10, 2020
Where Is God in a Coronavirus World?
05:02
Apr 09, 2020
How to (and How Not to) Homeschool During COVID-19
05:11
Apr 08, 2020
Special BP Podcast: Chuck Colson Reflects on Good Friday and Easter
27:51
Apr 08, 2020
Why We Shouldn’t Get Used to Online Church
04:53
Apr 07, 2020
How Christians Can Show Christ During the Coronavirus Crisis
06:17
Apr 06, 2020
The Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus
40:52
Apr 06, 2020
BP This Week: Heroes or Scapegoats?
35:57
Apr 03, 2020
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04:56
Apr 03, 2020
Social Distancing and Loneliness
04:33
Apr 02, 2020
Gender Transition Surgeries in a Global Crisis
04:15
Apr 01, 2020
Podcast: Worldview Essentials: Grounding our Faith in the Bible
44:10
Apr 01, 2020
Jobs or Lives?
04:57
Mar 31, 2020
Loving Our Neighbors During the Coronavirus
03:55
Mar 30, 2020
Podcast: Promise Keepers Is Back!
33:16
Mar 30, 2020
BP This Week: Coronavirus, Hard Decisions, and the Church
25:55
Mar 27, 2020
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04:38
Mar 27, 2020
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05:12
Mar 26, 2020
Deciding Who Gets Treated and Who Doesn’t
04:50
Mar 25, 2020
Podcast: During the Pandemic, Give What You Got
29:26
Mar 25, 2020
Running into The Plague while Social Distancing
04:43
Mar 24, 2020
We Can Only “Imagine” a Utopia
04:31
Mar 23, 2020
BP Podcast: Christians in Time of Plague
31:44
Mar 23, 2020
BP This Week: The Coronavirus . . . from a Christian Worldview Perspective
30:11
Mar 20, 2020
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04:50
Mar 20, 2020
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03:55
Mar 19, 2020
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05:05
Mar 18, 2020
Podcast: Christopher West Webinar on "Our Bodies Tell God's Story"
56:05
Mar 18, 2020
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04:24
Mar 17, 2020
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03:56
Mar 16, 2020
BP Podcast: What St. Patrick the Celtic Revival Mean for Us Today
29:58
Mar 15, 2020
BP This Week: Christians and the Coronavirus
36:18
Mar 13, 2020
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05:05
Mar 13, 2020
C. S. Lewis and the Coronavirus
05:13
Mar 13, 2020
Asia Bibi, the Nigerian Elders, and the Radical Nature of Christian Forgiveness
04:28
Mar 12, 2020
The Isolation of the Elderly
04:40
Mar 11, 2020
Podcast: Just What Is Socialism? Preparing for the 2020 Election
55:25
Mar 11, 2020
The Supreme Court to Rule on Abortion Regulations in Louisiana
04:34
Mar 10, 2020
Our Bodies Tell God’s Story
05:00
Mar 09, 2020
Podcast: Why Science Cannot Explain the Origin of Life
35:54
Mar 09, 2020
BP This Week: A Super Tuesday Surprise?
32:35
Mar 06, 2020
Religious Freedom and Employment Division v. Smith
04:16
Mar 06, 2020
What to Do about Our Kids and “Eco-Anxiety”
04:22
Mar 05, 2020
How Dare the Vice-President Pray?
04:24
Mar 04, 2020
Meet Hannah Strege, America's First "Snowflake Baby"
27:00
Mar 04, 2020
The Coronavirus, God, and a World out of Our Control
05:31
Mar 03, 2020
The Dangerous “Science” Behind Gender Transitioning
04:34
Mar 02, 2020
Podcast: "The Decadent Society: How We Became Victims of Our Own Success"
33:58
Mar 02, 2020
BreakPoint This Week: The Coronavirus and Us
42:52
Feb 28, 2020
Women Are More Than Wombs
05:06
Feb 28, 2020
The Born Alive Protection Act Voted Down, Again
04:34
Feb 27, 2020
You are But Dust, and to Dust you Shall Return
04:45
Feb 26, 2020
The Power of Lent and the Liturgical Year
31:31
Feb 26, 2020
Why Young People Leave the Church—and Why They Stay
04:28
Feb 25, 2020
Was the Nuclear Family a Mistake?
04:54
Feb 24, 2020
Podcast: God's Artistry in Nature--"The Riot and the Dance"
37:53
Feb 24, 2020
BP This Week: Bernie and the Young Socialists
25:55
Feb 21, 2020
The Plague of Locusts, and What Christians Can (and Must) Do
04:15
Feb 21, 2020
From Equality Indexes to SOGI Laws, the LGBTQ Movement Marches on
04:30
Feb 20, 2020
Why David McCullough Can’t Sleep
04:22
Feb 19, 2020
Angels, Satan, and Demons
32:17
Feb 19, 2020
‘Christian’ Atheists?
04:21
Feb 18, 2020
Don’t Leave Kids to Their Own Devices . . .
04:24
Feb 17, 2020
Podcast: What's with "Christian Atheists"?
36:51
Feb 17, 2020
BP This Week: Chinese Christians Run Toward the (Coronavirus) Plague
29:26
Feb 14, 2020
Valentine’s Day and True (Sacrificial) Love
04:39
Feb 14, 2020
Pro-Life, Pro-Paid Family Leave
03:56
Feb 13, 2020
Tactics for Discussing Your Christian Convictions
04:23
Feb 12, 2020
Podcast: What Is Critical Theory, and What's Behind It?
38:09
Feb 12, 2020
Millennials and the False Gospel of Politics
04:09
Feb 11, 2020
What Is A Woman?
04:21
Feb 10, 2020
Pro-Life Women Know What a Woman Is
30:46
Feb 10, 2020
The President at the Prayer Breakfast
28:48
Feb 07, 2020
The Philosophy Fad
04:35
Feb 07, 2020
Is There Still a Place for Boys?
04:21
Feb 06, 2020
Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions
21:40
Feb 05, 2020
Mommas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up (and certainly don’t force them) to Be Pop Stars
04:32
Feb 05, 2020
J.LO and Shakira’s Super Bowl “Performance” and Our Culture’s Mixed Messages
04:33
Feb 04, 2020
Another Peace Plan for Israel and Palestine
04:43
Feb 03, 2020
Podcast: The Future of Roe and the Pro-Life Movement
35:48
Feb 03, 2020
Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Pop Stars
03:56
Jan 31, 2020
BP This Week: Boys Need to Be . . . Boys
25:55
Jan 31, 2020
Bob Fu, Winner of the 2020 William Wilberforce Award
04:24
Jan 31, 2020
LGBT Character Quotas
04:40
Jan 30, 2020
Supernatural Rescue
03:56
Jan 29, 2020
Why I’m Optimistic About Christian Education
04:49
Jan 29, 2020
Podcast: The Death (and Life) of Superstar Kobe Bryant
30:30
Jan 29, 2020
Does the Law Already Ban P*rn?
04:56
Jan 28, 2020
The Problem with (Mis)remembering the Holocaust
04:37
Jan 27, 2020
Podcast: Professor George to Atty Gen Barr: Time to Fight Porn
28:55
Jan 27, 2020
BP This Week: Another Record Year for Persecution
25:56
Jan 24, 2020
DIY Abortions
04:59
Jan 24, 2020
Biblical History in Broken Jars
04:20
Jan 23, 2020
Podcast: Our Young Men in Crisis--What, Why, and What to Do?
39:12
Jan 22, 2020
Women at Work
04:44
Jan 21, 2020
Preparing for the 2020 Election
04:41
Jan 21, 2020
Dr. Martin Luther King and the Nature of Law
03:56
Jan 20, 2020
Podcast: Adorning the Dark, an Exploration of Christian Creativity
26:45
Jan 20, 2020
The Transcendence of Beauty
27:51
Jan 17, 2020
Hit Pause on Gene Editing
03:56
Jan 17, 2020
Good Times for Planned Parenthood, So It Says
04:16
Jan 16, 2020
Roger Scruton on Beauty
04:54
Jan 15, 2020
Podcast: I Still Believe
27:31
Jan 15, 2020
“A Hidden Life” Preaches a Profound Gospel in Few Words
04:59
Jan 14, 2020
What’s Wrong with the Weed Biz?
04:15
Jan 13, 2020
Podcast: The Looming Split of the United Methodist Church
19:11
Jan 13, 2020
BP This Week: Remembering Jim Elliot and His Companions
25:56
Jan 10, 2020
It’s Time for Smartphone Sanity
04:11
Jan 10, 2020
Co-Opting China’s Churches
04:49
Jan 09, 2020
The News in 2020, from a Christian Worldview
04:23
Jan 08, 2020
Podcast: The Christian Just War Tradition
43:31
Jan 08, 2020
Why Young People Leave the Church
04:23
Jan 07, 2020
Podcast: The Situation in Iran: An Interview with Mindy Belz
23:56
Jan 06, 2020
Soleimani, the U. S., and Just War
04:54
Jan 06, 2020
The U. S. Strikes
25:56
Jan 03, 2020
Consent in a Culture of Confusion
05:05
Jan 03, 2020
Consent in a Culture of Confusion
05:05
Jan 03, 2020
What Christians are For, What Christians Are Against
05:32
Jan 02, 2020
Archaeology, the Philistines, and the Old Testament
03:55
Jan 01, 2020
Podcast: The Backlash Against Purity Culture
48:10
Jan 01, 2020
Marijuana and Psychosis
03:55
Dec 31, 2019
Dragging Our Kids into It
03:55
Dec 30, 2019
Podcast: The Most-Viewed BreakPoint Commentaries of 2019
20:20
Dec 30, 2019
A Look Back at 2019
35:52
Dec 27, 2019
“Mayor Pete” Buttigieg Preaches
03:55
Dec 27, 2019
Greta Thunberg and the Cult of Adolescence
03:55
Dec 26, 2019
It’s Not About the Manger
03:55
Dec 25, 2019
Christmas Eve Again
03:55
Dec 24, 2019
Podcast: "The Promise" with Michael Card
25:36
Dec 23, 2019
The New Atheism Is Old News
04:29
Dec 23, 2019
Handel’s—and Jennens’s—“Messiah”
03:55
Dec 20, 2019
BreakPoint This Week: Divided We Fall?
27:02
Dec 20, 2019
The Faith of Ethiopia—and Its Prime Minister
04:17
Dec 19, 2019
Take Away Your Phone and What Is Left?
03:55
Dec 18, 2019
Podcast: The Characters of Christmas
23:15
Dec 18, 2019
Give a Worldview Book This Christmas
04:10
Dec 17, 2019
Playing God with Our Genes
04:20
Dec 16, 2019
Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions
22:20
Dec 16, 2019
BreakPoint This Week: Atheism’s Dead-End Worldview
29:40
Dec 13, 2019
The Enduring Power of 'A Christmas Carol'
03:55
Dec 13, 2019
No Lies Necessary
04:14
Dec 12, 2019
Self-Giving in the Nativity
04:31
Dec 11, 2019
Podcast: The Sweet Sting of Satire
33:00
Dec 11, 2019
What Would You Say About Abortion and Rape?
05:04
Dec 10, 2019
Podcast: The Nativity in Light of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus
35:28
Dec 09, 2019
The Fairness for All Act
04:33
Dec 09, 2019
BPTW: How Fair Is the Fairness for All Act?
25:56
Dec 06, 2019
Americans Are Dying Younger
04:15
Dec 06, 2019
The Pursuit of Family
03:55
Dec 05, 2019
Women You Should Know About
04:29
Dec 04, 2019
Podcast: How a Violent Klansman Became a Champion of Racial Reconciliation
26:30
Dec 04, 2019
Why Are We Still Funding This?
04:42
Dec 03, 2019
The Church Really Can Strengthen Marriage
04:14
Dec 02, 2019
Podcast: Strengthening Marriages through the Church
29:54
Dec 02, 2019
BP This Week: Thanksgiving and the City Set upon a Hill
29:57
Nov 29, 2019
From Black Friday to Advent
04:16
Nov 29, 2019
What It Means to be “A City Upon a Hill”
03:55
Nov 28, 2019
Talking Worldview at Thanksgiving
03:55
Nov 27, 2019
Podcast: Thanksgiving at the Heart of the American Experience
28:36
Nov 27, 2019
Hong Kong Chooses Democracy
04:59
Nov 26, 2019
Are there Limits to Denying Reality?
04:30
Nov 25, 2019
Podcast: Did America Have a Christian Founding?
25:56
Nov 25, 2019
BP This Week: Et Tu, Chick-Fil-A?
29:24
Nov 22, 2019
Why Mars?
04:13
Nov 22, 2019
Westboro and the Power of a Bad Idea
04:36
Nov 21, 2019
The Madness of Crowds
04:14
Nov 20, 2019
Podcast: The Long-Term Effects of Abuse
25:50
Nov 19, 2019
Chick-Fil-A Announces New Giving Priorities
05:09
Nov 19, 2019
Adam and Eve Are Possible
04:11
Nov 18, 2019
Podcast: Restoring a Christian Culture
26:16
Nov 18, 2019
BP This Week: Impeachment and DACA
28:19
Nov 15, 2019
Countdown to Christmas
03:55
Nov 15, 2019
The Gift of Children
03:55
Nov 14, 2019
DACA and the Supreme Court
04:17
Nov 13, 2019
Podcast: The State of American Spirituality . . . A Nation of Heretics?
30:58
Nov 13, 2019
When There Are No More Volunteers
03:55
Nov 12, 2019
Exposing China’s Cultural Genocide
03:56
Nov 11, 2019
Podcast: The Benedict-Kuyper Option
45:27
Nov 11, 2019
BP This Week: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 30 Years Later
29:52
Nov 08, 2019
Hollywood’s “Harriet”
04:29
Nov 08, 2019
Abortion Rates Down, but the Mission Remains
04:20
Nov 07, 2019
Remembering Phillip Johnson
04:08
Nov 06, 2019
Podcast: The Legacy of Phillip Johnson, Godfather of Intelligent Design
22:01
Nov 06, 2019
“No Safe Spaces”
04:06
Nov 05, 2019
Podcast: Kanye West and Celebrity Conversions
22:32
Nov 04, 2019
From Masterpiece Cakeshop to Hands On Originals
04:09
Nov 04, 2019
Podcast: Kanye West and Celebrity Conversions
20:43
Nov 04, 2019
BP This Week: The WaPo and "Austere Religious Scholars"
25:56
Nov 01, 2019
Kanye West Proclaims Christ is King
04:48
Nov 01, 2019
Honoring the Witnesses
03:55
Oct 31, 2019
‘Jesus Stood Here’
04:20
Oct 30, 2019
Podcast: Religious Freedom and Christian Businesses
29:54
Oct 30, 2019
The Crime of “Ecocide”
03:55
Oct 29, 2019
Is an Embryo a Person?
04:19
Oct 28, 2019
Podcast: Faith on Trial
46:36
Oct 28, 2019
BP This Week: When Ideology Becomes Child Abuse
25:55
Oct 25, 2019
Affirming Rather than Treating Gender Dysphoria
04:18
Oct 25, 2019
Should We Abolish All Prisons?
04:10
Oct 24, 2019
Getting Back to Which Jesus?
04:30
Oct 23, 2019
Podcast: Breaking the Silence on Abuse
20:54
Oct 23, 2019
When “Choice” and “Disability” Collide
04:15
Oct 22, 2019
The Genesis of Human Dignity
04:25
Oct 21, 2019
Podcast: The Battle over Religious Freedom in America
31:31
Oct 18, 2019
BP This Week: The New Face of Evil?
25:55
Oct 18, 2019
“Free to Believe”
03:55
Oct 18, 2019
Klopfer’s ‘Garage of Horrors’
03:55
Oct 17, 2019
William Barr and His Detractors
04:28
Oct 16, 2019
Podcast: Reforming Journalism
50:10
Oct 16, 2019
Why the NBA (and So Many Other Companies) Cave to China
04:17
Oct 15, 2019
China’s War on the Bible
04:10
Oct 14, 2019
Podcast: American Restoration
40:01
Oct 14, 2019
BP This Week: Christians in the Culture--Fight or Flight?
25:55
Oct 11, 2019
A Meme of Mass Violence
04:19
Oct 11, 2019
The Supreme Court to Decide on the Meaning of Words
04:21
Oct 10, 2019
Stand by the Kurds—and Our Christian Brothers and Sisters
04:26
Oct 09, 2019
Podcast: The U. S. Withdrawal from Syria
19:11
Oct 09, 2019
Toy Box Propaganda
04:18
Oct 08, 2019
InterVarsity and Religious Freedom Prevail
04:21
Oct 07, 2019
Podcast: The Sexual Revolution, Identity Politics, and Religious Liberty
29:09
Oct 07, 2019
BP This Week: "Astonishing," "Divine" ... Forgiveness Dominates the News
25:55
Oct 04, 2019
The Biblical Edom Unearthed
04:14
Oct 04, 2019
Greta Thunberg and the Cult of Adolescence
04:35
Oct 03, 2019
“Free to Believe”
04:19
Oct 02, 2019
Pocast: A Supreme Court Preview
24:18
Oct 02, 2019
Robots in the Pulpit?
04:38
Oct 01, 2019
When Bad Ideas Get Loose
03:55
Sep 30, 2019
Podcast: Love Life New York
32:09
Sep 30, 2019
BP This Week: Impeachment . . . Here We Go?
25:55
Sep 27, 2019
How to Think About Impeachment
03:55
Sep 27, 2019
Time Magazine Denies Climate Change Deniers
04:36
Sep 26, 2019
Practical Atheists
04:14
Sep 25, 2019
Podcast: Doing the Right Thing--An Exploration of Ethics
30:20
Sep 25, 2019
The Sexual Revolution and Its Victims
03:55
Sep 24, 2019
When Suicide is Legal and the Money Runs Out
04:14
Sep 23, 2019
Podcast: Becoming Re-Enchanted With The World
36:53
Sep 23, 2019
BP This Week: Mayor Pete and His Bible
25:55
Sep 20, 2019
Brush & Nib v. City of Phoenix
04:12
Sep 19, 2019
Saving Pastors’ Lives
04:21
Sep 18, 2019
Podcast: Doing the Right Thing--an Exploration of Ethics
29:19
Sep 18, 2019
‘Carpe Diem Redeemed’
04:27
Sep 17, 2019
The Problem with Millennials...
04:40
Sep 16, 2019
Podcast: What It Means to Be Human, with John Stonestreet
57:12
Sep 16, 2019
BP This Week: When Pastors Take Their Lives
25:55
Sep 13, 2019
Hong Kong’s Lesson for Beijing . . . and the West
03:55
Sep 13, 2019
Make Me a Match
04:44
Sep 12, 2019
What Would You Say About Adoption and Surrogacy?
04:19
Sep 11, 2019
Podcast: Doing the Right Thing--An Exploration of Ethics
30:13
Sep 11, 2019
If You Were Drew Brees, What Would You Say?
04:42
Sep 09, 2019
A Marvel of (Intelligent) Design
04:27
Sep 09, 2019
Podcast: What Would You Say?
25:46
Sep 09, 2019
BP This Week: Rushing Toward Dorian
25:55
Sep 06, 2019
Gay Marriage = Interracial Marriage?
04:38
Sep 06, 2019
‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’
03:55
Sep 05, 2019
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04:19
Sep 04, 2019
Podcast: Doing the Right Thing--An Exploration of Ethics
33:58
Sep 03, 2019
What Would You Say?
03:55
Sep 03, 2019
The Search for the “Gay Gene”
04:29
Sep 02, 2019
Podcast: The Art of Civil Disagreement, with Christopher Love
54:21
Sep 02, 2019
BP This Week: Big Win for Free Speech, Religious Freedom
25:55
Aug 30, 2019
From Forcing Nuns to Freeing Nurses
04:21
Aug 30, 2019
Parental Rights and the “Pelvic Issues”
04:11
Aug 29, 2019
How Unthinkable Became Unquestionable
04:18
Aug 28, 2019
Podcast: Doing The Right Thing--An Exploration of Ethics
30:56
Aug 28, 2019
A Win for Free Speech and Conscience Rights...
04:09
Aug 27, 2019
Fighting Assisted Suicide, Jersey Style
04:20
Aug 26, 2019
Podcast: The Impact of the "Nones" on Sex and Marriage
33:05
Aug 26, 2019
BP This Week: Slavery, America, and the New York Times
30:24
Aug 23, 2019
People without Purpose
04:26
Aug 23, 2019
The Declining Respect for Clergy
04:27
Aug 22, 2019
Podcast: Doing The Right Thing--An Exploration of Ethics
31:27
Aug 21, 2019
Millions of Frozen Embryos
05:00
Aug 21, 2019
CNN and 586 BC
04:21
Aug 20, 2019
A Failure of Faith Formation
04:22
Aug 19, 2019
Podcast: The Surprising Power of Classical Hymns
29:04
Aug 19, 2019
A Crisis of Purpose and Meaning
29:39
Aug 16, 2019
Millennials and the Bible
03:55
Aug 16, 2019
Talents and Tigers
03:55
Aug 15, 2019
Breaking Up with Purity Culture?
04:44
Aug 14, 2019
Podcast: Does Christianity Bring Hope to Those Trapped in Poverty?
32:43
Aug 14, 2019
The Problem with “Do Something!”
03:55
Aug 13, 2019
Twitter Isn’t Real
04:18
Aug 12, 2019
Podcast: "What You Intended for Evil, God Used for Good," with Randy Alcorn
45:09
Aug 12, 2019
BP This Week: Hope in a Time of Fear
25:55
Aug 09, 2019
Christian Missions Changes Direction
04:32
Aug 09, 2019
Millennials and the Bible
03:55
Aug 08, 2019
What We’re Missing About Mass-Shootings
04:18
Aug 07, 2019
Podcast: Young Men in Crisis: How Does the Church Respond?
32:26
Aug 07, 2019
El Paso, Dayton, and Gilroy
04:59
Aug 06, 2019
Answering the Tough Questions
04:24
Aug 05, 2019
Podcast: What Is Doubt, and Where Does It Come from? With Brett Kunkle
30:46
Aug 05, 2019
BP This Week: Twitter Users Putting the "Fake" in Fake News
25:55
Aug 02, 2019
Asteroid 2019OK’s Near Miss Rocks Scientism
03:55
Aug 02, 2019
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04:09
Aug 01, 2019
Cities Without Children
03:55
Jul 31, 2019
Podcast: The Backlash Against Purity Culture--Or Against Purity?
48:00
Jul 31, 2019
Archaeology, the Philistines, and the Old Testament
03:55
Jul 29, 2019
Podcast: The Invisible Girls of India
36:24
Jul 29, 2019
BP This Week: The Mueller Muddle
25:55
Jul 26, 2019
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04:29
Jul 26, 2019
Transhumanism
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Jul 25, 2019
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04:29
Jul 24, 2019
Podcast: Is Christianity Anti-Woman? with Jo Vitale
23:19
Jul 24, 2019
The Manhattan Declaration 10 Years On
04:46
Jul 23, 2019
Planned Parenthood Terminates Dr. Wen
03:55
Jul 22, 2019
Podcast: A Confident--and Contagious--Faith, with Mark Mittelberg
34:49
Jul 22, 2019
BP This Week: ‘Send Them Back’?
25:55
Jul 19, 2019
The Strange Thing about ‘Stranger Things 3’
04:33
Jul 19, 2019
No Abortion Funds for Title X
04:13
Jul 18, 2019
How Kids Change Dad
03:55
Jul 17, 2019
Podcast: Is Christian Morality Harmful to Sexual Minorities? With Jackie Hill-Perry
18:23
Jul 17, 2019
Chinese Christians Need Refuge
04:14
Jul 16, 2019
Cow Cuddling, Goat Yoga, and Comfort Ducks
04:20
Jul 15, 2019
Podcast: Urban Apologetics, with Chris Brooks
33:12
Jul 15, 2019
BP This Week: A Death in France
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Jul 12, 2019
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04:15
Jul 12, 2019
Virtual-Reality Reality
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Jul 11, 2019
So the Next Generation Will Know
03:55
Jul 10, 2019
Podcast: The Heroes of the Faith, with Mama Maggie Gobran
17:08
Jul 10, 2019
Abortion and the Worldview of Irresponsibility
03:55
Jul 09, 2019
BreakPoint: GLAAD Not Happy About Declining Acceptance of LGBT
03:55
Jul 08, 2019
Podcast: Faith Formation, with Ken Boa
34:24
Jul 06, 2019
BP This Week: Remembering Norman Geisler
25:55
Jul 05, 2019
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04:13
Jul 05, 2019
The (True) Pursuit of Happiness
04:28
Jul 04, 2019
Science Uprising
03:55
Jul 03, 2019
Podcast: Did Christianity Make the World Better or Worse? with Jeremiah Johnson
32:29
Jul 03, 2019
John Irving’s Abortion Arguments
03:55
Jul 02, 2019
Podcast: Praying for--and with--Our Young People, with Tony Souder
26:32
Jul 01, 2019
Christianity Is the Bad Guy?
03:55
Jul 01, 2019
BP This Week: The Dems' Race to the Left
25:55
Jun 28, 2019
China and Forced Organ Harvesting
03:55
Jun 28, 2019
The U. S. Women’s Soccer Team and Jaelene Hinkle
03:55
Jun 27, 2019
Eugenics Is Still with Us
04:42
Jun 26, 2019
Podcast: Is Christianity Good for Science? With John Lennox
29:38
Jun 26, 2019
Incels, Transgenderism, & Distinctions without a Difference
04:22
Jun 25, 2019
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03:55
Jun 24, 2019
Podcast: What Are You Retiring to? With Bruce Bruinsma
19:03
Jun 24, 2019
A Worldview that Has Stood the Test of Time
25:54
Jun 21, 2019
A Dinosaur Named Sue
04:52
Jun 21, 2019
The Vatican Responds to Gender Theory
04:20
Jun 20, 2019
A Second Chance for Sweet Cakes
04:05
Jun 19, 2019
Podcast: Are Christians Generous? With Todd Harper
23:47
Jun 19, 2019
Abortion Extremists on the Left
04:15
Jun 18, 2019
Tragedy or Tissue?
04:15
Jun 17, 2019
Podcast: Bold and Broken, with David and Jason Benham
14:34
Jun 17, 2019
BP This Week: Addressing Abuse
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Jun 14, 2019
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Jun 14, 2019
The Hong Kong Protests
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Jun 13, 2019
“Emanuel”
03:55
Jun 12, 2019
“Emanuel”
03:55
Jun 12, 2019
Podcast: Can Christianity Answer Tragedy? With Brian Ivie
22:47
Jun 12, 2019
The Victims of Words
04:19
Jun 11, 2019
Podcast: Reaching Our Teens, with Mark Gregston
26:23
Jun 10, 2019
Illinois’ Grotesque “Reproductive Health Act”
04:20
Jun 10, 2019
BP This Week: Remembering the Horrors of Communism
25:55
Jun 07, 2019
A Climate of Death
04:46
Jun 07, 2019
BreakPoint: The Spiritual Battle on D-Day
03:55
Jun 06, 2019
Podcast: Finding the Goodness of God in Times of Trial, with Kelvin Cochran
41:29
Jun 05, 2019
“Religious Freedom” in Scare Quotes
03:55
Jun 05, 2019
Remembering Tiananmen Square
04:51
Jun 04, 2019
Where Have All the Women Gone?
03:55
Jun 03, 2019
BP This Week: When a Mother Is not a Mother
25:55
May 31, 2019
Some Women Are More Equal Than Others
03:55
May 31, 2019
The Gods of Our Age
04:15
May 30, 2019
Podcast: The Greatest Force for Good in the World, with Rick Warren
53:42
May 29, 2019
The Bedroom and the Pew
03:55
May 29, 2019
What Do We Do About Demographic Decline?
04:08
May 28, 2019
Podcast: The Myth of the Dying Church, with Glenn Stanton
31:32
May 27, 2019
Memorial Day 2019
03:55
May 27, 2019
BP This Week: HHS Rules on Sex and Gender
25:55
May 24, 2019
The Worst Argument for Abortion
04:21
May 24, 2019
When GMO Children Have Children
04:09
May 23, 2019
Podcast: Reviving Christian Manhood, with Ken Harrison
38:33
May 22, 2019
The Martyrs of Burkina Faso
03:55
May 22, 2019
Love Your AI?
04:21
May 21, 2019
Podcast: What Trees Tell Us About the Nature of God, with Matthew Sleeth
26:37
May 20, 2019
Seeing the Bible Through the Trees
04:12
May 20, 2019
BP This Week: Overturning Roe a Heartbeat Away?
31:42
May 17, 2019
Defining and Defending Religious Freedom
03:55
May 16, 2019
‘Born This Way’
04:22
May 15, 2019
Asteroids and the Improbability of Our Existence
03:55
May 14, 2019
Podcast: “No” to the Equality Act, with Greg Baylor
33:41
May 13, 2019
CNN’s “Redemption Project”
03:55
May 13, 2019
BP This Week: The Danger of the Equality Act
25:55
May 10, 2019
Stop the Ill-Named “Equality Act”
03:55
May 10, 2019
‘The Noblest and Most Precious Work’
03:55
May 09, 2019
Podcast: Breaking Through in Hollywood, with Devon Franklin
22:23
May 08, 2019
Trans Children and Parental Rights
04:19
May 08, 2019
Disabilities, Identity, and Healing
03:55
May 07, 2019
Podcast: Why Harvard Can't Teach Ethics, with Chuck Colson
41:55
May 06, 2019
BP This Week: The Victims of Bad Ideas
25:55
May 06, 2019
BreakPoint: The Manhattan Declaration 10 Years On
03:55
May 03, 2019
Eros Isn’t Enough
04:36
May 03, 2019
Small Seal, Big Deal
03:55
May 02, 2019
Joaquin Phoenix and ‘The Gospel of Mary’
03:55
May 01, 2019
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Planet?
03:55
Apr 30, 2019
Podcast: Transhumanism and the Image of God, with Jacob Shatzer
30:58
Apr 29, 2019
Podcast: Transhumanism and the Image of God, with Jacob Shatzer
28:53
Apr 29, 2019
Healing, not Enhancing
04:18
Apr 29, 2019
Easter Worshippers and “non-Muslims”?
03:55
Apr 26, 2019
Sacred Spaces Matter
04:39
Apr 25, 2019
Hard-Headed Historians and Soft-Headed Theologians
04:17
Apr 24, 2019
Academic and Corporate Wokeness
03:55
Apr 23, 2019
Podcast: The Surge in Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria, with Jamie Dean
22:20
Apr 22, 2019
The False God of Feelings
03:55
Apr 22, 2019
BP This Week: Notre Dame and Easter
25:55
Apr 19, 2019
The Truth about Everything
03:55
Apr 19, 2019
Tomorrow Is Good Friday
03:55
Apr 18, 2019
Podcast: Embracing the Counter-Cultural Message of the Cross, with John Stonestreet
23:51
Apr 17, 2019
As Notre Dame Burned
04:42
Apr 17, 2019
Second Chance Month 2019
03:55
Apr 16, 2019
Podcast: Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus, with J. Warner Wallace
32:23
Apr 15, 2019
Arvo Pärt’s Passio
04:11
Apr 15, 2019
BP This Week: A New Kind of Coach?
25:55
Apr 12, 2019
Christian Refugees Need a New Home
04:20
Apr 12, 2019
Religious Freedom is for All
03:55
Apr 11, 2019
Podcast: A Big First Step for Justice Reform, with Heather Rice-Minus
17:46
Apr 10, 2019
The University of Virginia’s NCAA Championship
03:55
Apr 10, 2019
Scientism Isn’t Scientific
03:55
Apr 09, 2019
Podcast: Cultural Apologetics, with Paul Gould
27:37
Apr 08, 2019
Christopher Yuan on Holy Sexuality
04:09
Apr 08, 2019
BP This Week: Unplanned – A Pro-Life Box-Office Success
25:55
Apr 05, 2019
Animal “Culture”?
03:55
Apr 05, 2019
Life-Consuming Labels
04:33
Apr 04, 2019
“Unplanned”
04:22
Apr 03, 2019
Podcast: Unplanned, with Abby Johnson
25:05
Apr 03, 2019
Story Hour Sours
01:01
Apr 02, 2019
Can You Answer these Four Big Objections?
04:04
Apr 02, 2019
Podcast: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, with Dr. Amy Sherman
35:34
Apr 01, 2019
Making Abortion Unthinkable and Illegal
04:13
Apr 01, 2019
BP This Week: “Fairness for All”—a Dangerous Compromise
25:55
Mar 29, 2019
Honeymoon for One?
03:55
Mar 29, 2019
Flying Through San Antonio? No Waffle Fries for You!
01:01
Mar 28, 2019
The Equality Act vs. Religious Freedom
04:53
Mar 28, 2019
Podcast: What Makes a Leader? With Michael Lindsay
50:06
Mar 27, 2019
Marijuana and Psychosis
04:32
Mar 27, 2019
Social Science and Cultural Narratives
04:16
Mar 26, 2019
Podcast: Mastering the Rules of Evidence, with J. Warner Wallace
32:08
Mar 25, 2019
Allergic to Disagreement
04:38
Mar 25, 2019
BP This Week: An Attack on Our Shared Humanity
25:55
Mar 22, 2019
BreakPoint: A Lack of Judgment?
04:19
Mar 22, 2019