Puzzlement Over Reactions to the Hobby Lobby Case

I find the general reaction to the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case – on both sides – baffling.  (The absence of truth-telling by the media probably accounts for much of the misunderstanding involved.)

The ACA mandates that employers must provide free access to 20 different types of contraception for their female employees.  Four of these twenty are actually abortion-inducing drugs (abortifacients) – that is, they don’t prevent conception, rather they kill after conception has occurred.  Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit did not object to paying for the 16 forms of contraception; it only asked for relief from having to pay for the four that would actually kill a baby rather than keep a baby from being conceived.  Yes, Hobby Lobby won but…

– female employees at Hobby Lobby still get 16 forms of contraception for free.

– female employees Hobby Lobby can still have access to the four abortifacients if they or someone else pays for them.  The court didn’t rule that they couldn’t have them – only that Hobby Lobby didn’t have to pay for them.  (If you have access to 16 forms of contraception, how regularly are you going to need to supplement your choice with an abortifacient?)  Moreover, it’s highly likely that the government will decide to pay for them anyway.  [July 1, 2014 update:  I just read that “a month’s worth of these pills costs nine bucks from Wal-Mart.”  Why isn’t the news media doing more to clarify these issues?]

Why are opponents of Hobby Lobby so upset?  And why are Hobby Lobby supporters so gleeful?

Yes, this was a victory for freedom of conscience in America – but a minor one.  And, the vote was 5-4 indicating just how narrow the victory was.

The victors ought to be thankful, but sober.  The losers ought to acknowledge that, overall, they are still pretty much getting their way.

 

A 61-year-old theology professor describes how American Evangelical Christianity has changed over his lifetime

Roger Olson has been an Evangelical Christian practically his entire life.  I am calling attention to his retrospective because it offers a particular view of the state of our Christian spirituality in America as compared to that of a generation ago.  I did not grow up in the subset of Christianity he did, but his particular subset – nor mine, for that matter – is not the point.  Rather, the point is that a baby has been lost in the loss of all that bath water.  We don’t need the bath water back, but we are in desperate need of that baby.

(8 min read; 1,856 words)

How American Evangelical Christianity Has Changed….

Are we ignoring the persecuted church? by Renee Bates of the ERLC

Excerpt:

“I was traumatized. A nearby pastor paid for me to get out of town when he discovered that Boko Haram said they made a mistake by not also killing me. Boko Haram decided later that they should have killed me because I am the daughter of an apostate Muslim mother who converted to Christianity. So the pastor paid for me to get out of that region. I fled and Jubilee Campaign helped me come to a 9/11 child survivors of terrorism camp in America. On May 15, 2013, that pastor, Rev. Faye Pama, was killed by Boko Haram in front of his kids.”

(3 min read; 701 words)

Are we ignoring the persecuted church? (from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission ERLC – of the Southern Baptist Convention)

People Who Understand That the Kingdom of God Transcends Organized Church

These are people who understand that “the kingdom of God” (also called “the kingdom of heaven”) was the central theme of Jesus’ teaching.  If it was the central theme of Jesus’ teaching, should it not be the central theme of our learning?

Indeed, the kingdom of God and His righteousness ought to be what we seek most!  (Matthew 6:34)  Why then is it possible to go to churches all over our country this morning and not hear about it?

The only extended description of a church service we have in the New Testament is 1 Corinthians 12-14.  (A succinct description can be found in Ephesians 5:18-21, and an even more succinct one in Colossians 3:16.)  The description you’ll find there matches what you’ll see on this video far more closely than what you’ll find in a typical church service this weekend.

The folks on this video are speaking truth (Ephesians 4:25), which is just what the prophet Zechariah said that the Lord’s people should do (Zechariah 8:16).  The kingdom of God is in our midst (Luke 17:20-21; Jeremiah 17:4-8).  Blessed are those who find it, and unblessed are those who don’t.

J Warner Wallace: I want to live in a way that reflects the truth

I’m not a Christian because it “works” for me. I had a life prior to Christianity that seemed to be working just fine, and my life as a Christian hasn’t always been easy. I’m a Christian because it is true. I’m a Christian because I want to live in a way that reflects the truth. I’m a Christian because my high regard for the truth leaves me no alternative. – J Warner Wallace (from his essay, I’m Not A Christian Because It Works for Me)

Amen.

J Warner Wallace: I want to live in a way that reflects the truth.

Wintery Knight on the Matthew Vines and Michael Brown debate about homosexuality and the Bible

Matthew Vines self-identifies as an evangelical Christian while calling for acceptance of “gay marriage.”  (I discussed his misguided point of view in this “Week in Review” podcast.)  The link below is to Wintery Knight’s review of a debate Matthew Vines had yesterday with Michael Brown.  As usual, Wintery Knight gives a thorough and helpful review.  The “debate” was more like a 40-minute moderated dialogue.

Matthew Vines and Michael Brown debate homosexuality and the Bible on Moody radio | Wintery Knight.

WR012 – Week in Review – for the week ending June 27, 2014

(This podcast is available through a browser, or through the “Mike Gantt” app which is a free download in the iOS and Android app stores, or as a podcast downloadable through iTunes or Stitcher.)

Hi, I’m Mike Gantt and this is my week in review for the week ending Friday, June 27, 2014.  The purpose of this podcast is to review all that I have published in the previous week through my blogs, my podcasts, other social media such as Twitter, and, sometimes, even my comments on the blogs of other people.

To paraphrase Paul from Philippians 3:1, “To say the same things again is no trouble for me, and it is a safeguard for you.”  Moreover, Hebrews 2:1 says that “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” That is, there’s a tendency to forget what we’ve learned unless we review it. And in several places in the Gospels, including Matthew 13:12, Jesus said, “Whoever has, to him shall more be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” Thus, reviewing what we’ve learned not only helps us to retain it, it’s also the way we learn new things from God. “Out of the old comes something new, and out of both come all things true – at least when it comes to the things of God.”  Let’s therefore now go over the things we’ve heard in the last week and see how much we have retained, how much we can retain, and how much more we’re able to gain.

Introduction:  (begins at 00:00)

Segment 1: Introduction and Review of A Scriptural Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom and the Scriptural Christianity podcast (begins at 01:48)

Segment 2: Review of A Bible Reader’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom and the Scriptural Literacy podcast (begins at 26:20)

Segment 3: Review of Current Events in Light of the Kingdom of GodReference Shelf for the Kingdom of God, my NewsletterTwitter and other social media (begins at 49:03)

Total time elapsed is 1:04:13

 Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are to the New American Standard Bible (NASB)

When You Pray, Are You Comfortable with the Silence That Is a Necessary Part of It?

http://twitter.com/WiseManPhil/status/482366482979254272

We pray in order to hear God, but hearing Him requires that we spend some time abiding silently in His presence.  We will find this silent part difficult if we harbor unconfessed sin or if we doubt His goodness.  Jesus said that we are His friends if we do what He commands us.  Let us therefore do those things which make for peaceful silence between us and our Lord.