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Ethics

Will All the Ducks Fly Away?

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“God, Family, Ducks…in that order.” So reads the Twitter profile of Jase Robertson, one of the stars of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” reality show. It looks like that saying is about to be tested. A&E has suspended Phil Robertson, father of Jase, Willie, and Jep Robertson and founder of Duck Commander, for his recent comments about homosexuality in an interview published in GQ. Read More »

To Live Is Christ and To Die is Gain: The Morality of Suicide

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The Pew Research Center released the results of a recent study on views of end of life medical treatment. Among the more interesting findings is how different faith groups view the morality of ending life. In an analysis of the findings, Christianity Today reports, “About a quarter of evangelicals believe that a person has a moral right to suicide if he or she is ready to die because living is now a burden, or if that person is an extremely heavy burden on his or her family.” Read More »

ObamaCare, Contraception, and the War on Women

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What is the war on women? The phrase has been used by various political groups to characterize attitudes related to the perspective on women’s roles in the home and workplace. In recent days, the idea of a war on women has been used to describe the debate over whether or not the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., ObamaCare) should provide all forms of FDA-approved contraceptives to women at no cost to them. The typical accusations of a war against women have been lobbed against conservatives who seek to limit the government’s role in providing contraceptives. Read More »

ENDA and The Superiority of Men

Congress is currently considering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA). For review of the issues see the helpful ERLC piece here. The bill would require employers to hire without consideration of an employees’ sexual orientation. The truth is that a person’s abilities may not be hindered by their sexual orientation. It is also true that no one should ever be discriminated against—for any reason. However, the reality is that this bill threatens the existence of businesses that desire to govern themselves in consistence with their religious convictions. In this way, it infringes upon the right to operate a company by conservative evangelical convictions. Read More »

Pastoral Pitfalls: 5 Guidelines for Personal & Church Finances

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Every semester when I talk to my students about the many pitfalls that ministers need to avoid, I ask them to name the most dangerous areas where a minister could make a catastrophic mistake. Inevitably the number one answer is some sort of sexual sin. As we continue the conversation, especially if I ask them to give examples of reasons why someone could be fired or asked to resign from a ministry position, the next common answer is mishandling of money. Read More »

When a Man Is Not Really a Man

No MenWomen have been giving birth to children since the beginning of the world. Men, however, have apparently figured out how to accomplish this feat only recently. In fact, it seems quite popular these days for media outlets to plaster across their pages a headline that includes some version of “Man Gives Birth.” Read More »

Juggling the Politics of a Justice: Ginsburg Officiates Same-Sex Wedding

We rarely see Supreme Court justices wade into the waters of political controversy outside the opinions issued from the hallowed halls of the nation’s highest court. The reason for staying away from controversy is that justices who delve into political issues in the public square but away from the bench may find themselves under fire for politicizing the office that is supposed to be free of politics. Read More »

Pastoral Pitfalls: 6 Guidelines for Relationships with Women

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“Except for the grace of God . . .”

These are the words that come to my heart and mind when I hear the story of a minister failing morally. The world seems to rejoice when this happens, while it is certain that the Christian world should grieve. The story is too often repeated; a gifted minister gets wrapped up in an immoral relationship, deals unethically with money, or gets caught in spoken lies and other types of dishonesty. I really believe very few actually begin their ministries with these types of moral flaws, but over the course of time they grow stale in their love for the Savior and begin to make small compromises that lead to life-altering mistakes. I plan to present a series of posts covering some of the more common pitfalls that ministers face. Some are obvious, like today’s post, and others are much less obvious but in many ways just as dangerous. The two most obvious pitfalls that ministers must avoid are inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex and mishandling their money. Read More »

Money or Moniker: The Ryan Braun Scandal

The sports world was in an uproar last week over the Ryan Braun scandal and his 65-game suspension from Major League Baseball. For those less invested in the MLB than myself, Braun plays left field for the Milwaukee Brewers and was the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player. In October 2011, he appealed a positive drug test and won on a technicality. Then he declared that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and gained the vocal support of his teammates and friends. Now Braun has accepted a 65-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy—basically admitting his use of PEDs. Read More »

The Supreme Court and the Future of Marriage

June 26, 2013. Mark this day down in history.

I haven’t lived long enough to remember too many historic moments. I remember where I was when the Challenger space shuttle exploded. I have an image burned in my mind of watching the Berlin Wall collapse. I can even recall the visceral pain of watching the World Trade Center crumble in ruins.

I will also remember June 26, 2013, as the day that marriage changed forever in American society.

What exactly happened today? Let me offer a quick summary. Read More »

Who Is Getting Married Today?

Marriage rates are rising according to an article published in USA Today this week. They report about an expected rise in marriage rates over the next few years after a progressive decline since the recession. The report from Demographic Intelligence of Charlottesville, VA, predicts a 4% rise in the number of weddings over the low point in 2009. From 2007 to 2009, the number of marriages in the United States dropped from 2.197 million to 2.080 million. Demographic Intelligence projects that the number of marriages will rise to 2.208 million by 2015. Read More »

Homosexuality and the Gospel: A Crucial Distinction

The Bible is perfectly clear both that the offer of the Gospel is nondiscriminating and that homosexuality is morally wrong. That is, our Gospel outreach should never be limited in its scope, but there are lifestyles and behaviors that are condemned, and an active homosexual lifestyle is among these. In fact, any sexual activity outside of marriage (clearly understood in the Bible as being exclusively between a man and woman) is condemned, according to the straightforward teaching of Scripture. Now I realize that all of these claims are highly controversial in much of today’s society. However, I won’t in this article be arguing for any of them because I want to say something to those who already hold these as truths. Read More »

Anonymous Parenthood: The Brave New World of Childbearing

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Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the website of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).

This semester I have been watching a series of lectures from Michael Sandel, professor of government at Harvard, on the issue of justice. In one of those lectures, he referenced advertisements that ran in the Harvard Crimson seeking egg and sperm donors for infertile couples. In the course of the lecture Dr. Sandel raised the moral question of whether it is right to pay anonymous donors for their eggs and sperm for the purpose of creating life. Sandel’s concern is that egg and sperm donors are merely being used as a means to an end rather than being treated as ends in themselves. While Sandel’s concern is certainly valid, I believe an underlying theological issue rests beneath the surface. Read More »

Murder or Abortion: What’s the Difference?

CNN reported on a tragic story about a woman whose boyfriend tricked her into taking an abortion-inducing drug after she told him she was pregnant. The boyfriend, John Andrew Welden, is now facing first-degree murder charges for killing the unborn child. Welden told his girlfriend that his father, a doctor, had prescribed her an antibiotic for an infection. In reality, Welden gave her an abortion-inducing drug, and the pregnancy was terminated. Read More »

Gay in the NBA: Jason Collins and Chris Broussard

The biggest news in professional basketball this week has nothing to do with the NBA playoffs. Instead, the basketball world is talking about Jason Collins’ first-person essay for Sports Illustrated in which announces he is gay. Within a sports-saturated culture, this is big news. Collins opens his article with the following declaration: Read More »

A Grandfather Already?

I do not know exactly when I became a grandfather, but I know that for over eight months now I have been one. So far, I have not held my grandson though he lives nearby. I have seen only a black and white fuzzy image of him dating back a few months, but that is okay. I am not bothered by all of that. He moves around, and he is on the move. Read More »

History, the Supreme Court, and Same-Sex Marriage

For the last two days I have been telling my classes that we are living history in this moment. Most of us take little notice of the oral arguments being made before the Supreme Court of the United States. We recognize few of the names of cases, and even fewer names of those who have served as justices. However, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor may become as familiar as Roe v. Wade or Lawrence v. Texas. In fact, the names Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan may become quite familiar through the years. Much of the historical significance of these cases and justices hinges not on what happened during the oral arguments on March 26–27, 2013, but on the written opinions that will likely be released in June. Read More »

Teenagers Who Declare Their Intention to Live in Purity

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Spiritual transformation has many different facets. One of those facets is a life of sexual purity. God created the wonder and beauty of sex for several reasons. He designed the sexual union in part to give husbands and wives a way to express a closeness that cannot be put into words. But He also created the sexual union to express the depth of intimacy the Bridegroom will share with the bride (the church) in heaven. Christ is inviting us into more of that closeness here on earth. Read More »

Use of “Morning-After Pill” on the Rise

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report last week that flew under the radar of most news organizations. They conducted a five-year study (2006–2010) on the use of the “morning-after pill” (labeled “emergency contraception” in the study—more on that later) and found that 11% of “sexually experienced women aged 15–44 . . . had used emergency contraception, up from 4.2% in 2002.” Thus, in less than ten years, use of this form of birth control has almost tripled. Read More »

Answering Matthew Vines: What Did Jesus Teach About Homosexuality?

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In the heated rhetoric of this political season, one issue that continues to be at the forefront of discussion is homosexuality. While much of the discussion has focused on rights and the definition of marriage, one young man has garnered national attention for making a different argument. Matthew Vines, a 22-year-old Harvard University student, has set out to defend homosexuality from a biblical perspective. Unfortunately, Vines has made grave errors in his attempt to defend what Scripture clearly condemns as sin. As part of an interview with The Christian Post, I was asked to respond to several of the arguments Vines has made. In order to provide the full context of the statements made by Vines, this series of posts will offer quotations from Vines and then my responses. Read More »

Answering Matthew Vines: Does the Denial of Same-Sex Marriage Inflict Undue Pain?

HomosexualityandBible1

In the heated rhetoric of this political season, one issue that continues to be at the forefront of discussion is homosexuality. While much of the discussion has focused on rights and the definition of marriage, one young man has garnered national attention for making a different argument. Matthew Vines, a 22-year-old Harvard University student, has set out to defend homosexuality from a biblical perspective. Unfortunately, Vines has made grave errors in his attempt to defend what Scripture clearly condemns as sin. As part of an interview with The Christian Post, I was asked to respond to several of the arguments Vines has made. In order to provide the full context of the statements made by Vines, this series of posts will offer quotations from Vines and then my responses. Read More »

Answering Matthew Vines: Are Homosexual Relationships ‘Unnatural’?

HomosexualityandBible1

In the heated rhetoric of this political season, one issue that continues to be at the forefront of discussion is homosexuality. While much of the discussion has focused on rights and the definition of marriage, one young man has garnered national attention for making a different argument. Matthew Vines, a 22-year-old Harvard University student, has set out to defend homosexuality from a biblical perspective. Unfortunately, Vines has made grave errors in his attempt to defend what Scripture clearly condemns as sin. As part of an interview with The Christian Post, I was asked to respond to several of the arguments Vines has made. In order to provide the full context of the statements made by Vines, this series of posts will offer quotations from Vines and then my responses. Read More »

The Inconsistent Logic of Abortion Rights Advocates

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During last week’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and GOP Vice President nominee Paul Ryan, the moderator asked a very interesting question. Basing her question on the fact that both Biden and Ryan are Catholic, Martha Raddatz asked the candidates to explain how their faith impacts their politics, especially related to the issue of abortion. The answers were perhaps surprisingly similar in their foundation but vastly different in their application. Read More »

Answering Matthew Vines: Is Being Alone a Sin?

HomosexualityandBible1

In the heated rhetoric of this political season, one issue that continues to be at the forefront of discussion is homosexuality. While much of the discussion has focused on rights and the definition of marriage, one young man has garnered national attention for making a different argument. Matthew Vines, a 22-year-old Harvard University student, has set out to defend homosexuality from a biblical perspective. Unfortunately, Vines has made grave errors in his attempt to defend what Scripture clearly condemns as sin. As part of an interview with The Christian Post, I was asked to respond to several of the arguments Vines has made. In order to provide the full context of the statements made by Vines, this series of posts will offer quotations from Vines and then my responses. Read More »

Genetic Screening for Ethical Babies

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In the most recent issue of the British Reader’s Digest, Professor Julian Savulescu argues that parents may have a moral obligation to genetically engineer babies with more ethical traits. With the advances in medical technology and genetic screening, Savulescu believes that couples can use genetic mapping of embryos in combination with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to ensure that their children do not exhibit traits that may be harmful to themselves and others. Read More »

Marriage, Family, and the Chicken Sandwich

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“Eat More Chicken.” That’s what former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee wants you to do today. Gov. Huckabee has declared August 1 to be “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” in response to the negative firestorm surrounding Dan Cathy’s recent declaration of support for the biblical model of marriage. Cathy is the president and chief operating officer of the Atlanta-based restaurant chain.

Should we support Chick-fil-A today? Should we affirm Mr. Cathy’s statements? Does Mr. Cathy have the right to say such things? The answers to these questions are yes, yes, and yes, but let’s take a look at why. Read More »

The Impact of Marriage on Income Inequality

An article ran in The New York Times over the weekend about the impact of marriage on income inequality. The journalist followed the lives of two mothers who work at the same company—one is married and the other is a single mother. What he found, along with conclusions from research, was that marriage plays a significant role in determining on what side of the income inequality divide a family will be.

Read More »