Daily Archives: June 7, 2015

(CSLI Knowing and Doing) Bill Kynes–How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

The doctrine of hell””what are we to make of it? Even among Christians the subject of hell is a thorny one””and rightly so. It’s not something we should take lightly, or talk about too easily; this is serious stuff. Frankly, I wish I didn’t have to address this topic, a topic that can so quickly offend our moral sensibilities. So why do Christians insist on talking about hell? Why has the doctrine of the eternal punishment of those who stand before God apart from Christ been a part of the understanding of almost all Bible-believing Christians throughout church history? The simple answer is that Christians are bound by the teaching of Jesus.

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Posted in Eschatology, Theology

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Diminishing Job Prospects for Protestant Pastors

SEVERSON: The reality is there are not nearly as many available jobs as pastors as there were even a few years ago. Seminaries and divinity schools have seen a drop in enrollment, and especially in the number of graduates who become pastors. There are several reasons, but the main one is that not as many people are attending mainline churches anymore. So there is less need and less money to afford a pastor. This is Greg Sterling, dean of the Yale Divinity School.

DEAN GREG STERLING (Yale Divinity School): There are about 300,000 congregations and churches in the United States. I don’t know what percentage of those are financially viable in the sense of having the capacity of supporting someone on a full-time basis, but my guess is that the majority are not.

SEVERSON: Yale Divinity School students come from several different denominations. Last year only one-in-five graduates went on to become church pastors. Sixteen percent became chaplains at hospitals and schools. About that many will teach in parochial and independent schools. A majority of the rest go to work for nonprofits, like Steven Masbach. Even as he completes his three-year master’s degree, he’s working for a church organization that builds affordable housing. He has a master’s in real estate development and was arranging financing for rich home buyers, but something was missing.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Eurosports) Stan Wawrinka stuns Novak Djokovic to win the French Open

Stanislas Wawrinka shocked world number one Novak Djokovic 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 to win the French Open and claim his second Grand Slam title.

There were no jeers this time as Swiss Stan Wawrinka defied the odds to win the French Open with a courageous 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 victory over world number one Novak Djokovic in an enthralling final on Sunday.

The eighth seed, booed by the crowd when he played French opponents this year, handed Serbian Djokovic his third defeat in three Roland Garros finals to add a second major to his 2014 Australian Open title.

“I played the match of my life, it’s hard to believe. Playing against Novak was one of the biggest challenges. I know how much he wanted this Roland Garros,” Wawrinka said courtside.

“It was a crazy atmosphere these two weeks. I’d like to thank you.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, France, Men, Serbia, Sports, Switzerland

The Local Paper's Story on how police-involved shootings are investigated in South Carolina

There are 5 separate stories and then the data–you find the link there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, State Government, Theology, Violence

(AI) Peter Berger–Are Evangelicals Winning the World?

In its story of May 16, 2015, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel carried a story tiled (on its cover at least) “Are Evangelicals Winning the World?” [That is my translation. The German wording is “Are Evangelicals conquering”¦” I substituted the less martial-sounding English “winning”. To the best of my knowledge, there is a remarkable scarcity of Evangelical suicide bombers.] The story states that Evangelical congregations are generally growing in Germany. But it concentrates on two congregations: one in Stuttgart, in western Germany, the other in a suburb of Dresden, in the former DDR (the defunct Communist German Democratic Republic.) The second location is particularly startling.
The Stuttgart congregation is described as the first American-style mega-church. It is also clearly Pentecostal or charismatic. On Sunday morning some 2,000 people attend services, close their eyes and raise their hands in ecstatic prayer, “speak in tongues” (meaningless babble to outsiders), and watch their preacher perform miracles of healing. The Dresden congregation is located in a suburban area that has been called the Saxon “Bible belt”, in yet another echo of America. Both regions have a long history of Pietism, the German phenomenon closest to American Evangelicalism (but without the miracles). Whether this Pietist heritage (going back some three-hundred years) provides some links with what is happening now is an open question. But the Dresden case raises a more proximate question: how relevant is its more recent history under Communism? The Austrian sociologist Paul Zulehner has called the former DDR one of three European countries in which atheism has become a sort of state religion (the other two are the Czech Republic and Estonia). Is this wild eruption of supernaturalism a delayed reaction to the period when the Communist regime made propaganda for “scientific atheism”? Immediately after the fall of that regime there was a popular revival of the much more sedate form of Protestantism of the Landeskirchen, the old post-Reformation state churches; that revival did not last very long after these churches lost their appeal as one of the few institutions at least relatively free from the control of the party.

According to some data, there are now about 1.3 million members of congregations united in something called the German Evangelical Alliance (the German word is “evangelisch”). T

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Evangelicals, Germany, History, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Eric Milner-White

Make our hearts to burn within us, O Christ, as we walk with thee in the way and listen to thy words; that we may go in the strength of thy presence and thy truth all our journey through, and at its end behold thee, in the glory of the eternal Trinity, God for ever and ever.

–Eric Milner-White (1884-1963)

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The earth is the LORD’s and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein; for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.

–Psalm 24:1

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Wow! American Pharoah wins Triple Crown to end 37-year drought

American Pharoah became the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 and 12th overall to win horse-racing’s Triple Crown Saturday in the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.

American Pharoah finished 5 1/2 lengths ahead of second-place Frosted while Keen Ice was third.

The 3-year-old bay colt by Pioneerof the Nile completed one of the most difficult feats in sports, leading wire to wire to win the third jewel of the Triple Crown. He earlier won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, all in a span of five weeks.

American Pharoah ended a streak of 13 horses that came to Belmont with a chance but could not successfully navigate the 1 1/2-mile race called the Test of the Champions on a track called Big Sandy.

Emotional trainer Bob Baffert said he wished his parents were there to see history being made. “I just feel like I have a very special horse,” he said. “It wasn’t me; it was the horse.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Sports

Great 60 minutes piece on the Bentprop Project: into Palau and a forgotten Corner of Hell

More than 400,000 Americans died fighting the Second World War. Adding to the heartache of that staggering loss, nearly one in five of those killed was declared Missing In Action. To this day, the families of some 73,000 unaccounted for servicemen have lived with the mystery of how they died and have been deprived of the comfort that comes from a burial.

At the end of the war, the technology didn’t exist to find and identify many of the missing, but today it does. As Anderson Cooper reported in November, this is the remarkable story of a group of volunteers who spend their own time and money quietly searching for these long lost servicemen — remarkable because of what they’ve discovered in recent years. They are doing it, they say, for the fallen and focus on Palau, a Pacific island nation that saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war 70 years ago; a place that some pilots called “a forgotten corner of hell.”

Read it all (scroll down to the bottom and the whole video report is highly recommended). For more about the amazing Bentprop Project go to this link.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Parish Ministry