52,000 Immigrant Children and the Call to Love Outsiders

erlcOver at the ERLC, our new president, Barry Creamer, joins Brandon Smith in discussing the U.S. immigration problem and the way in which Scripture addresses our attitudes toward it. Here’s a snippet:

As Christians, we simply need to be more like Christ in how we respond. The children are here and need care.  Let’s not shout from the rooftops, “Send these criminals back!” Such a calloused response is irresponsible and inconsiderate; it simply won’t do.

We don’t punish the children because their parents may have acted negligently or naïvely; we love children that God brought into the world, no matter how they got here. If a woman gives birth and then gives her child away, we don’t say, “That mother is irresponsible! Let the kid suffer!” No, we adopt the child. This situation is no different.

A Christian immigration policy does not have to be an open border policy. Don’t misunderstand. But the Lord will not punish anyone for taking care of children, even ones we erroneously think don’t deserve care. Kudos to anyone seeking to take care of them–even an administration that we regularly disagree with on a variety of subjects.

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Christianity and the Importance of Philosophy

by Joe Wooddell

aquinas jpgThe Bible says not to be taken captive through philosophy (Col. 2:8). The warning, however, is not against philosophy (or the love of wisdom) in general, but rather to empty, worldly philosophy instead of a philosophy “according to Christ.” In fact, Paul used not only Scripture on Mars Hill in Acts 17, but philosophy also. He knew about worldly philosophy, as evinced by his familiarity with their poets and culture, but he wasn’t taken captive by it. Yes, it is true that he went to Corinth in chapter 18, and in 1 Corinthians 1 he says he didn’t come with great wisdom and superiority, but simply preaching Christ crucified. Some have claimed he used this approach in Corinth precisely because his philosophical approach failed at Athens; but it didn’t fail! Read the end of Acts 17. He had at least four converts and an invitation to return; not a bad day’s work for the cause of Christ. So what explains his approach in Corinth? Paul knew his audience. He knew he should use one approach in Athens, and another in Corinth. In fact, in 1 Cor. 9:22 he implies that he uses whatever approach works in various circumstances (all things to all men so that by all means I might save some). Continue reading

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Pitfalls of Spiritual Maturity

by Joshua Crutchfield

pitfallOne of the great thrills of newborns is watching them grow. But I do not just mean in size, chubby cheeks, or diapers. I mean, it is exciting to see your child grow cognitively, learning that things can exist though they are hidden (e.g. peek-a-boo), making sounds with their mouth just so they can hear themselves coo and ah. But what is especially entertaining is when the child begins to become self-aware. They notice their hands and their feet and are shoving them whole in their mouth; they are captivated by their reflection in mirrors. This self-awareness is a common, practical growth within the early life-stages of all children. Yet, within the early or even late life-stage of believers, an over heightened awareness of one’s spiritual state is something that can be detrimental, not just to the believer, but to others around him/her. I would like to highlight five potential pitfalls for Christians who are self-aware of their spiritual maturity: Continue reading

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The SBC Decline: Days of Future Past

by Aaron Meraz

sbcIn “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” the X-Men find themselves in a world where mutants are being systematically exterminated. Through the superpower of a mutant who could send one’s consciousness back in time, the X-Men are able to pinpoint the time and events that resulted in their dismal future. Although I do not claim any “mutant” power, this blog will pinpoint the time that Southern Baptists began to decline. Future posts will address the events (or trends) that surrounded the time.

In a brief study entitled, “Reflections on Southern Baptist Membership,” the late J. Clifford Tharp noted that from 1951 to 2004 the annual rate of growth in the membership of the SBC steadily declined from 4% to less than 1%. It is not new that many Southern Baptists think of the 1950s as a decade of growth and prominence. Nevertheless, as can be seen from Tharp’s charts, the one year 4% membership growth rate from 1950 to 1951 was actually an anomaly. When looking further back into our history, Southern Baptists actually had many one year membership growth rates above 4% [1884 (5.2%), 1885 (4.2%), 1887 (4.7%), 1894 (5%), 1896 (4.1%), 1908 (6.2%), 1910 (5.1%), 1920 (6.3%), and 1922 (4.5%)]. Continue reading

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The Desolation of Cultural Smog

by Kirk Spencer

00 TheDesolationOfCulturalSmog 856I recently heard a preaching talking about how Christians must “breathe” the cultural smog. It is true that the mass media has created a smutty atmosphere as of late, however, for some reason, the metaphor made me think of the fire-breathing dragon in the movie “The Desolation of Smaug.” His heart (or belly) glows with fire before it spews forth from his mouth. And this imagery made me think of Jesus’ words about how the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. Our mouths are smokestacks and our tongues are like flames of fire. The cultural smog, in which we must live, flows from the burning brimstone in our own hearts (and bellies). Continue reading

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The Dangerous Task of Expository Preaching

by Michael Cooper

preachingSince the inception of the Church on the day of Pentecost, the “sermon” has been a central part to the worship experience. The history of the sermon is quite intriguing. The communication of ancient wisdom and tradition passed down and delivered into the hearts and minds of the congregation is the task of the preacher. The preacher’s responsibility is to proclaim “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” However, in our culture, preaching a sermon is often a lost art and practice. Many churches prefer “conversations” as opposed to an outright monologue. Continue reading

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Seasons (Part 1): Primavera

by Kirk Spencer

Primavera00 Primavera
(στοργή)

Within the warm heart of earth

Bulbs revive and ferns unfurl

Where roots grow deep

And leaf to reach

Promises warm in their wooden beds

Which wake as little leaf-fingers unfolding hope Continue reading

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