Monday, June 27, 2011 | 13:45 PM
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
The legal, social, moral, and political maps of America were redefined last Friday night as the New York State Senate voted 33-29 to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The State Assembly had already approved the measure, leaving the Republican-controlled Senate the last battleground on the marriage issue. Shortly after the Senate approved the measure, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. It will take effect in July, thirty days after the Governor’s signature was affixed.
It will be difficult to exaggerate the impact of New York’s move to legalize same-sex marriage. The statistics tell part of the story. New York State becomes the sixth state to recognize same-sex marriage, but its population is greater than that of the other five combined. When same-sex marriage is legal in New York next month, fully one in every nine Americans will live in a state or jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is legal. By any measure, this is a massive development in the nation’s legal and moral life.
Monday, June 27, 2011 | 11:39 AM
Author, Speaker, Founding Director of the Center for Christ & Culture
A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee (1889-1975) is acknowledged as one of the “greatest achievements of modern scholarship.” Toynbee’s book, huge in scale, achieved wide prominence but he was more admired by the history reading public than by his fellow historians, who criticized him for contorting information to fit his alleged patterns of history. I suspect this criticism stems largely from the fact that Toynbee likely viewed the patterns of history through the redemptive theme of Scripture.
In A Study of History, Toynbee details the rise and decline of twenty-three civilizations about which he wrote, “Of these, sixteen are dead and nine of the remaining ten—all, in fact, except our own are shown to have already declined.” He did suggest then that we may have passed our zenith. Were he alive today he would likely move Western civilization into the category of those in decline.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | 12:01 PM
There is no shortage of perplexing realities in our world today, but counted among them must be the fact that many rather well informed people seem to be shocked that Christians believe the doctrines of Christianity.
Over the weekend, Rep. Anthony Weiner announced that he will request a leave of absence from the House of Representatives in order to seek professional treatment in the aftermath of his sexting scandal on Twitter. In the words of his spokeswoman, Risa Heller, the congressman left last Saturday “to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person.”
She continued: “In light of that, he will request a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well.”
That is a course now familiar to us all. As a matter of fact, it is now almost a reflex that people caught in moral trouble (especially related to sex) announce that they are seeking “treatment” for the problem.
On the one hand, this just points to the fact that the “Triumph of the Therapeutic” heralded by sociologist Philip Rieff in 1966 is now so ingrained in our culture that therapy appears to be the answer to every problem, including a moral crisis.
Sadly, many Christians have accepted this worldview as their own, believing that their own deepest problems are therapeutic rather than theological in nature. To our shame, many books written by and for evangelical Christians reflect the therapeutic impulse, rather than the appropriate biblical and spiritual concerns.