Culture Matters
Culture Matters
Jun 8, 2020
Black Lives Matter
Play • 16 min

We have a short special episode to reflect on the life of George Floyd and to communicate loudly and clearly that black lives matter. We discuss the challenges, realities and opportunities of our cultural moment. 

Read the Bible
Read the Bible
The Gospel Coalition, D. A. Carson
January 22 – Vol. 2
Reading Paul’s impromptu defense to the crowd (Acts 22), one is struck by the sparse simplicity of the narrative. But two details urge reflection here: _First_, we must ask why the crowd turns nasty when it does. When Paul starts to address the people in their mother tongue, Aramaic, initially “they became very quiet” (Acts 22:2). They listen to the entire account of his conversion and call to ministry without breaking out in anger. But when Paul says that the Lord himself told Paul, “Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles” (Acts 22:21), the unleashed malice of the mob will be satisfied with nothing less than his death. Why? Inevitably, the answers are complex. Some of the pressures Jews felt to remain distinctive from the Gentiles were doubtless sociological: their self-identity was bound up with kosher food laws, Sabbath observance, circumcision, and the like, and a man like Paul, who was perceived to be reducing those barriers, was threatening their self-identity. But the heat of their passion cannot be explained by merely horizontal analysis. At least two other factors must be acknowledged. (1) For devout, conservative, Jerusalemite Jews, what was at issue was the Law of God, the exclusive primacy of the temple, their understanding of Scripture. From their perspective, Paul was destroying what God himself had set up. He was entangling the people of God in compromises with pagans. Not only was he jeopardizing their identity, he was blaspheming the Almighty, whose people they were and whose revelation they were appointed to obey and preserve. (2) At the same time, it is hard to miss the element of ownership: these people were acting as though God was so exclusively the property of ancestral Jews that Gentiles could not get a look in. From Paul’s perspective, this entailed a profoundly mistaken and even perverse reading of the Old Testament, and a sadly tribal vision of a domesticated God. Of course, their error is often repeated today, with less justification, by those who so tie their culture to their understanding of Christian religion that the Bible itself becomes domesticated and the missionary impulse frozen. _Second_, we must ask why Paul stands on his Roman citizenship here, avoiding a flogging, while on occasion he simply takes the beating. At least one of the reasons is that he tends to appeal to his legal status when doing so is likely to establish a precedent that will help to protect Christians. One of Luke’s arguments in these chapters is that Christianity is not politically dangerous; rather, it is repeatedly legally vindicated. Paul, thinking of his brothers and sisters, acts, as usual, for their benefit. _This podcast is designed to be used alongside TGC's Read The Bible initiative (TGC.org/readthebible). The podcast features devotional commentaries from D.A. Carson’s book For the Love of God (vol. 2) that follow the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan._
3 min
As In Heaven
As In Heaven
The Gospel Coalition
What’s at Stake?: Gospel Opportunities and Implications
In this episode of As In Heaven, hosts Jim Davis and Mike Aitcheson welcome Soong Chan-Rah to discuss reclaiming the church from cultural captivity and the specific ways that Western attitudes of individualism have crept into our modern ministry philosophies. Rah shares insights regarding the ethics of the kingdom and paints a picture of hopes and dreams for the future. Rah focuses on the positive gospel opportunities in addressing race and justice with kingdom ethics. * An introduction to Soong Chan-Rah (:58) * Cultural shifts in objections to the gospel (2:54) * The significance of minority leadership in this shift (9:43) * The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church From Western Cultural Captivity (13:27) * “Captivity” in the conversation (17:11) * Advice for church leadership in these conversations (21:14) * “Aren’t we pas this now?” (28:10) * How important it is for the church to get this cultural moment right (33:55) * What happens when churches dismiss these cultural conversations (37:59) * The church’s two minute drill (42:44) * Hopeful realism (49:21) Explore more from TGC on the topic of race.DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: * What are some biblical truths that the church stands by that you see the church as failing to live into? * What does it mean that we should embrace “the full biblical narrative”? In the arc of that narrative, which parts of the narrative do you see yourself latching on to more easily? * What are ways that the church has gone into “captivity” to western values? What are ways you have seen this in our bible reading? In our community life? In Christian engagements with social issues? * What are ways that we can remember the sins of our past corporately in regard to how the church has engaged with minority racial groups? What gospel hope does Jesus offer in our remembering? * What are your hopes for the future of the Western Church? How do you hope to see the church embrace values that are biblical, rather than cultural? What would that look like for your local church?
53 min
Life and Books and Everything
Life and Books and Everything
Kevin DeYoung, Collin Hansen, Justin Taylor
Division, Whataboutism, & Christian Nationalism
Why is it so hard to acknowledge when our opponents get something right? Or to admit when we are wrong? Why do so few people see that BOTH this issue AND that issue can be right or wrong? Collin, Justin, and Kevin discuss these divisions that we experience on this episode. They also ask, “What is Christian Nationalism?” Listen to the end for the book recommendations and scroll down for the links.  Life and Books and Everything is sponsored by Crossway, publisher of the Short Studies in Biblical Theology Series, edited by Dane C. Ortlund and Miles V. Van Pelt.   The Short Studies in Biblical Theology Series is designed to help readers see the whole Bible as a unified story culminating in Jesus Christ. In each volume, a trusted scholar traces an important topic through God’s word and explores its significance for the Christian life.  For 30% off this series and all other books and Bibles at Crossway, sign up for a free Crossway+ account at crossway.org/LBE.  Timestamps:  The Best Person to Disagree With [0:00 – 1:46]  Collin’s Jolly Holiday [1:46 – 4:17]  A Brief Digression on Morally Problematic Television [4:17 – 7:34]  Justin’s COVID Christmas [7:34 – 10:53]  VidAngel & Cobra Kai [10:53 – 12:15]  Kevin’s December Viewing [12:15 – 17:45]  Both/And: Why is it so hard to see both sides of an issue? [17:45 – 25:54]  Both/And: Should we even want this approach? [25:54 – 35:23]  Whataboutism & Selective Policing [35:23 – 40:57]  Christian Nationalism [40:57 – 56:16]  Book Recommendations Featuring Pro-Life and MLK, Jr. Topics [56:16 – 1:08:25]  Books and More Books:  The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture, by Scott Klusendorf  Defending Life, by Francis J. Beckwith  Beyond Racial Gridlock: Embracing Mutual Responsibility, by George Yancey  Letter from a Birmingham Jail, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times, by David S. Reynolds  The Attributes of God: An Introduction, by Gerald Bray  Forty Questions About the End Times, by Eckhard Schnabel  The Bible and the Future, by Anthony A. Hoekema  Not Tragically Colored: Freedom, Personhood, and the Renewal of Black America, by Ismael Hernandez  America in the King Years, by Taylor Branch  Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade, by Clarke D. Forsythe  Concise Guide to Conservatism, by Russell Kirk  The Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won, by Edward H. Bonekemper, III  Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theologian, Confessional Presbyterian, by Danny E. Olinger  Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day, by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky  Heralds of the King: Christ-Centered Sermons in the Tradition of Edmund P. Clowney, edited by Dennis E. Johnson  For Christ and the University: The Story of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the USA - 1940-1990, by Keith Hunt, Gladys Hunt  C. Stacey Woods and the Evangelical Rediscovery of the University, by A. Donald MacLeod  Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture, by Christian Smith  Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice, by Thaddeus J. Williams  Minds Wide Shut: How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us, by Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro  R. C. Sproul: A Life, by Stephen J. Nichols
1 hr 8 min
Gospelbound
Gospelbound
The Gospel Coalition, Collin Hansen
Russell Moore: How to Stand When the World Is Falling
If I want to read anyone’s reflections on recent years, it’s Russell Moore. The president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC hasn’t been as visible or vocal as he was before 2017, at least until the last week following the attack on the U.S. Capitol. But his newest book, _The Courage to Stand: Facing Your Fear Without Losing Your Soul_, published by B&H, is even better than a tell-all memoir. It’s a grace-infused reflection on where and how to stand tall when it feels like the world is going to crush you. Moore says, “The courage to stand is the courage to be crucified.” Indeed, Jesus sets the tone for this book. And if you’re going to worship and follow a Savior who submitted to the cross, you’re not going to follow the world’s typical mode of courage. I see this book as seeking to reclaim Jesus, or at least his reputation and authority, among evangelicals. Moore observes, “An entire generation is watching what goes on under the name of American religion, wondering if there is something real to it, or if it is just another useful tool to herd people, to elect allies, to make money.” Elsewhere he writes, “I’m not surprised now when I see Jesus used as a mascot to prop up some identity politics or power agenda, or even to cover up private immorality or public injustice.” We’ve seen that recently with the Jericho March, and then the protests-turned-attack at the Capitol. Moore joins me on Gospelbound to tell us what scares him, how to lead when no one seems to be following, ambition masquerading as conviction, and much more. This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of _Meals with Jesus _by Ed Drew. These simple 10-minute family devotions in Luke’s Gospel explore Jesus’ character through nine meals that he shared with people. More information at thegoodbook.com.
50 min
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