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By In Culture

To the Families of the Charleston Victims

The writers at Kuyperian give our most sincere condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives in Charleston on June 17. One might wonder if the nation even remembers Charleston. In the span of two weeks we’ve already changed topics at least three times: to the Confederate flag, then Obamacare subsidies, and now the nationalization of gay marriage. Sometimes our attention span is too short for its own good. But we know that you have not moved on. We mourn with you and are praying that the peace of Christ would continue to fill your hearts and minds during this time.

In response to this tragic loss you were a witness of God’s mercy. When confronting the killer, you urged him to repent and offered him forgiveness. You followed the examples of Jesus and Stephen (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). Dylann Roof was an agent of death and yet you gave him the words of eternal life. That seems so foolish; it is antithetical to man’s every inclination. But your actions displayed the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18). You proclaimed the gospel to our nation and to the world. We are grateful for your testimony, as it encourages us to be so bold.

The nine people who died that night are playing a significant role in the growth of Christ’s kingdom. Though the killer was motivated by racial hatred we ought not forget that this tragedy took place in a church, directed towards Christians. Intended or not, this attack on race became an attack on the church simultaneously. (more…)

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By In Pro-Life, Theology

The virgin birth proves personhood at conception

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, when Christians all over the world will gather to celebrate the nativity of Jesus Christ our Lord. The eternal Word becoming flesh is fundamental to the Christian faith; we would not be able to receive salvation apart from it (Gal. 4:4-5). One important aspect of Christ’s incarnation is his birth from Mary, a virgin. We re-tell this historic event each year, though many of us neglect its significance. Why did Jesus have to be born of a virgin? There is more than one answer to this question, but today we’ll look at one that has profound implications in the debate on abortion and the personhood of the unborn.

Jesus had to be born of a virgin because he is not a human person. Kallistos Ware summarizes the traditional doctrine:

“…Christ’s birth from a virgin underlines that the incarnation did not involve the coming into being of a new person. When a child is born from two human parents in the usual fashion, a new person begins to exist. But the person of the incarnate Christ is none other than the second person of the Holy Trinity. At Christ’s birth, therefore, no new person came into existence, but the pre-existent person of the Son of God now began to live according to a human as well as a divine mode of being. So the virgin birth reflects Christ’s eternal pre-existence.” – The Orthodox Way, pg. 76-77

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By In Culture, Wisdom

Decorating The Body

As we approach the Christmas season, people all over the world are decking halls with holly branches and donning gay apparel. Trees, lights, nativity sets, snowmen, St. Nicks, and reindeer are symbols that tell the story of Christ’s birth. It is truly good, right, and beneficial to decorate our property in this way. The very nature of humanity is symbolic, as we are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Everything we think, say, or do is symbolic in some sense. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we are decorative people. Christians have a rich tradition of symbolism tracing back to our Israelite fathers, the flood, the garden of Eden, and even to the six days of creation. Symbols beget symbols. We create images and make associations with them. This is what God does, and we mimic him.

When it comes to body art, however, controversy arises. Tattoos and piercings are common in the broader culture and have become quite acceptable within the church, too. But you still hear claims that they are sinful, childish, and narcissistic. Most of the arguments are genetic fallacies, guilt-by-associations, hasty generalizations, and appeals to fear or consequence. These arguments may express valid concerns but they fail to prove anything objective. Neither do they address the biblical data. Similarly, arguments in defense of body art often lack biblical scholarship. How then should we approach this topic? (more…)

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By In Culture, Politics

Unfortunate Boss: Springsteen’s Real Problem

Bruce Springsteen is one of my favorite songwriters. He and the E Street Band have been a musical inspiration to me for a number of years now. This doesn’t mean I like all of his material – in fact, there’s quite a bit I don’t like – but approximately 70 songs of his are top notch in my estimation. As spectacular as Springsteen’s live performances are, perhaps his greatest skill is his lyrical storytelling. He is able to communicate depths of human emotion in profound ways and he frequently centers on themes of faith, hope, and redemption. Fans will acknowledge a spiritual element in Springsteen’s music, even describing his concerts in terms of a religious experience. Springsteen’s lyrics may also be meaningful in the lives of many Christians, regardless of his own religious affiliation or lack thereof.

Over the years Springsteen has become known for political activism. With the hit song, “Born in the USA,” Springsteen entered into the arena of public policy, proving that he isn’t afraid to criticize our elected leaders. This week, he sparked controversy for covering Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” at a patriotic event in Washington, D.C. The song has anti-war undertones and takes jabs at the political elite. But this is by no means a bad thing! Politicians are not above reproach and we do well to expose immorality. In fact, libertarians and constitutionalists may argue that there is nothing more patriotic than decrying the abuses of power we witness day in and day out. (more…)

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By In Theology, Worship

The Sacrament of Music: Why Your Church Worship Should Be Pagan

Todd Pruitt writes that worship music is often viewed as “a means to facilitate an encounter with God,” or as a means of drawing close to God. He believes this to be a great theological error and that it resembles “ecstatic pagan practices,” though he provides no evidence for this assertion. Quite profoundly, Pruitt critiques non-sacramental Christians for attributing a sacramental status to music. He then presents several problems with emotionally-driven worship.

There ought to be no disagreement with Pruitt on the dangers of emotionally-driven worship. When edible bread and wine are replaced by audible beats and melodies, God’s people will become malnourished. Yet, at the same time, the error is an imbalance of sensory stimulation, not the idea that music facilitates an encounter with God. (more…)

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By In Politics

Palestine ≠ Terrorism

On July 8th, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, a military response to rockets fired from the Gaza Strip by Hamas. The operation is currently in its 50th day. If you watch the news, you’ve heard about the strikes back and forth between Israel and Hamas. You’ve heard about the deaths of civilians and the destruction of property on both sides. You’ve heard many condemn Israel as being disproportionate in its use of force; you’ve heard many defend Israel for its use of force. Whatever the case, emotions are high and battle lines have been drawn. 

In America, especially in Christian circles, it seems that the lines are drawn rather simplistically. Dennis Prager summarizes the conflict between Israel and Palestine as “one side wants the other side dead.” The glaring problem with such a statement is that there are more than two sides involved. When we think of the conflict as “Israel vs. Palestine” without distinguishing the Palestinian Authority from Hamas, or the West Bank from Gaza, we’ve accepted a false narrative. Prager uses general terms such as “Palestinians,” “Palestinian people,” or “Palestinian leadership” when describing the side that wants to kill the other. This causes his audience to see no distinction; they are left to assume that all Palestinians are thirsty for Israeli blood. Some clarifications are in order.  (more…)

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By In Culture, Family and Children, Pro-Life

Abortion Isn’t Scary? Please, Cut to Camera Two

An amateur video titled “Emily’s Abortion Video” has gone viral on the internet this week, chronicling the experience of a young mother undergoing an abortion procedure. In the video Emily Letts explains her intentions:

“I wanted to show it wasn’t scary — and that there is such a thing as a positive abortion story.”

It should be noted that we never see any part of the actual procedure. The camera is focused solely on Letts’ face, showing her talking, laughing, and humming. It’s as if nothing horrific is happening at all. When the abortion is over, she says, “Cool,” and exits the room. Yes, it is true, abortion is no scarier than a yearly pap test – at least for the mother. (more…)

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