Matt Emerson recently posted on his blog discussing the question “Who is my Neighbor?” Matt writes:
Yesterday a comment on the Internet sparked some reflection about the nature of neighbor-hood and the people who inhabit the Middle East. The comment in question seemed to conflate America, and particularly its Christian inhabitants, with an idealized version of Israel on the one hand, and Middle Eastern peoples, particularly devout Muslims, with Israel’s OT enemies on the other. In doing so, the commenter was saying both that we should take care of our neighbors – fellow Americans – and keep at bay those who hold to Islam because the Arab peoples can only ultimately be consigned to idolatry and violent hatred for Isaac and Jacob’s descendants.
There are a number of issues here, but I will focus on two. I think they can be summarized in two questions – who is my neighbor? And, who is Israel?
Jonathan Akin posted at Baptist21 discussing Gospel Influence: The Great Divide in the SBC. Jonathan writes:
People who care about the Southern Baptist Convention’s mission in the world often attempt to analyze the things that might divide us. While we agree on far more than we disagree, we do differ on some things. But I do not think the great divide in the SBC is between younger and older leaders or between Calvinists and non-Calvinists; I think the great divide is on the issue of how the gospel influences our everyday life and our engagement in the culture.
Sam Storms recently posted an article discussing the Christian’s duty in relation to human government.
I can’t imagine what it would be like or how I would react if I were arrested and thrown in jail for hosting a Bible study in my home. Try to imagine being sentenced to five years in prison simply for sharing your Christian faith with a friend at Starbucks. Let’s be honest and admit that it’s hard to envision such things happening. After all, with few exceptions, it’s easy being a Christian in America (so far). We feel relatively safe and secure and free living for Jesus.
Of course, we should never lose sight of the fact that, tragically, we do live in a country where it is more acceptable for a woman to have a wife than it is to pray in Jesus’ name in a public ceremony. We live in a country, tragically, where spanking children is called into question but it’s legal to abort them!
Nevertheless, the idea of having to choose between loyalty to our God and loyalty to our government probably isn’t one that keeps us awake much at night. The idea of being forced to choose between obedience to our heavenly Lord or obedience to an earthly law is foreign to most of us. But there are Christian men and women who have to make that choice every day of their lives.
Zach Locklear posted at his blog discussing if atheists can be moral. Zach writes:
The increasing publicity of atheism over the past decade has created a springboard for Christian apologetics, bringing the discussion of competing worldviews out of the den of academia, and into the home of anyone who is remotely interested in the conversation. Specifically within the North American context, the counterbalance brought on by anti-religious worldviews has been beneficial, as it forces those who are religious to no longer take their presuppositions for granted. This is not to say that taking presuppositions for granted is a bad thing (we all do it), but the benefit to being a member within a society that is gradually shifting away from publicly favoring one worldview over another, means that if you’re going to hold to a belief, you probably need to know why. As an adult, blindly embracing the faith of your family or society isn’t something that is looked on with favor—and perhaps this is a good thing in many respects.
Matt Capps recently posted a video where he discusses the unique contribution that the book of Hebrews makes to the New Testament, and explores how the book weaves a beautiful tapestry of biblical theology centered on Jesus Christ.