Rick Warren, Jon Meacham and Tim Russert: History, Christianity, and the United States Wednesday, Apr 18 2007 

Here is a great interview with Rick Warren and Jon Meacham done by Tim Russert on Meet the Press. It addresses Christianity in America, in history and in the world today.

MTP Transcript for Dec. 24
Rick Warren, Jon Meacham
Updated: 1:17 p.m. CT Dec 24, 2006
MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Christmas Eve morning: faith in America. Can religion unite the country for the greater good? And what role will God and values play in the 2008 presidential election? With us, the pastor of one of America’s largest churches and author of the best-selling hard-cover book in U.S. history, “The Purpose Driven Life,” Dr. Rick Warren; and the editor of Newsweek magazine and author of “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation,” Jon Meacham. Then, two MEET THE PRESS holiday traditions, our MEET THE PRESS MINUTE from Christmas Day 51 years ago with poet Robert Frost and a special performance by the U.S. Navy Band Brass Quartet.
But first, we are joined by Pastor Rick Warren and Jon Meacham. Welcome both, Merry Christmas.
DR. RICK WARREN: Thank you, Tim. Merry Christmas to you.
MR. RUSSERT: Jon Meacham, let me start with you. Ninety-five percent of Americans say they believe in God. (more…)

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Christianity and Atheism; Rick Warren and Sam Harris in Newsweek Tuesday, Apr 10 2007 

I was sitting in class today when I noticed a Newsweek sitting on the empty chair beside me. I quickly flipped through it seeing if there was anything that caught my eye when I saw Rick Warren’s name. it seems like every time I open Newsweek they have some article on Rick Warren, his books The Purpose Driven Life / Church, or his church. This article was an interview between Rick Warren and Sam Harris, the well known atheist who has written many books on the subject. I started reading and couldn’t stop. This was a great interview that I encourage you to read, especially if you have questions about Rick Warren and his Christian faith or atheism and its worldview.

God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren
At the Summit: On a cloudy California day, the atheist Sam Harris sat down with the Christian pastor Rick Warren to hash out Life’s Biggest Question—Is God real? A NEWSWEEK exclusive.
Newsweek
April 9, 2007 issue – Rick Warren is as big as a bear, with a booming voice and easygoing charm. Sam Harris is compact, reserved and, despite the polemical tone of his books, friendly and mild. Warren, one of the best-known pastors in the world, started Saddleback in 1980; now 25,000 people attend the church each Sunday. Harris is softer-spoken; paragraphs pour out of him, complex and fact-filled—as befits a Ph.D. student in neuroscience. At NEWSWEEK’s invitation, they met in Warren’s office recently and chatted, mostly amiably, for four hours. Jon Meacham moderated. Excerpts follow.
JON MEACHAM: Rick, since you’re the home team, we’ll start with Sam. Sam, is there a God in the sense that most Americans think of him? 
SAM HARRIS: There’s no evidence for such a God (more…)

Easter, the suffering of Jesus, and Victory Sunday, Apr 8 2007 

This past Wednesday my friend Michael Ingram shared on the Stations of the Curse during Chapel at Gordon College. His words were deep and effectual, glorifying the name of Jesus while calling all to marvel at his selfless and humble life. Michael graphically portrayed the suffering of Jesus blended with Christ’s ultimate victory at the cross in a way that could do nothing but leave one knowing the greatness of our Lord. I was deeply moved by his speech and know that you will be too. This Easter I encourage you to read and receive the words of Michael Ingram.

John Donne: Holy Sonnet XI
“Spit in my face you Jews, and pierce my side,
Buffet, and scoff, scourge, and crucify me,
For I have sinned, and sinned, and only he
Who could do no iniquity hath died:
But by my death can not be satisfied
My sins, which pass the Jews’ impiety:
They killed once an inglorious man, but I
Crucify him daily, being now glorified.
Oh let me, then, his strange love still admire:
Kings pardon, but he bore our punishment.
And Jacob came clothed in vile harsh attire
But to supplant, and with gainful intent:
God clothed himself in vile man’s flesh, that so
He might be weak enough to suffer woe.”

Few poets whet our appetite for Christ quite like John Donne… (more…)

A Church Service Like None Other Wednesday, Apr 4 2007 

Well maybe not “like none other” but on Sunday I attended a church service that was unlike anything I had ever been to. Pastor Bryan Wilkerson, of Grace Chapel, came out onto the stage, clothed in old Roman dress as the character of Pontius Pilate. He proceded to share the personal testimony of Pontius Pilate, telling of his life from his military leadership to his appointment to governor of Judea from a first person perspective. Then from the text of Matthew 27:17-26, Pastor Bryan continued to share a monologue from Pilate of how that one day had changed his life forever, the day he met Jesus. Pilate knew that Jesus did not break any law and he did not deserve death, but the people wanted him dead so badly. He knew it was wrong and tried to offer up another option, even putting Jesus through intense and completely undeserved torture, but the crowd only got more rowdy. They wanted Jesus, and they wanted him crucified. Rather than let the riot grow, Pilate decided to give Jesus over to the crowd and let him be crucified. When said this, Pilate washed his hands and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.” Pilate knew Jesus was not a normal man, he wasn’t even a great man, Jesus was more. Although the history is not known, it is widely believed that Pilate spent much of the rest of his life in the desert, alone. This is the perspective that Pastor Bryan shared from and it was very powerful. After sharing the testimony of Pilate and the day that changed his life forever Pastor Bryan walked off stage. The worship leader, Peter Dupre, came on and shared that just as Pilate met Jesus and had to make a decision as to who he was, we, too, have to make that same decision. The same Jesus who stood literally in front of Pilate stands in front of us today waiting for our decision to be made. Will we honor him as God or will we reject him and miss the opportunity to receive our Savior?

Australia stands up against radical Muslims Monday, Apr 2 2007 

A recently received the following in an email and found it confirmed at Snopes.com :

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his Ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown. Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by parliament. “If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia& lt; /st1:country-region> is not for you”, he said on National Television.

“I’d be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia: one the Australian law and another Islamic law that is false. If you can’t agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that’s a better option”, Costello said.

Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country. Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should “clear off. Basically people who don’t want to be Australians, and who don’t want, to live by Australian values and understand them, well then, they can basically clear off”, he said.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation’s mosques.

Quote: “IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.”

“However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the ‘politically correct’ crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia.” “However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.” “This idea of Australia being a multi-cultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. And as Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own life style.”

“This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom”

“We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society .. Learn the language!”

“Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.”

“We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.”

“If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don’t like “A Fair Go”, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don’t care how you did things where you came from. By all means, keep your culture, but do not force it on others.

“This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom,

‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE’.”

“If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE. We didn’t force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.”

Time Magazine’s cover story on the Bible Thursday, Mar 29 2007 

20070402_107.jpgThis weeks Time Magazine features a cover story on teaching the Bible in schools. After all of the controversy and court cases over the past fifty years is the United States going to change it’s mind and put Bibles back into the schools? That is the question Time asked saying, “Should the Holy Book be taught in public schools? Yes. It’s the bedrock of Western culture. And when taught right, it’s even constitutional.” In a well written and fair article David Van Biema makes the case that the Bible should be taught in American schools. He writes:

SIMPLY PUT, THE BIBLE IS THE MOST influential book ever written. Not only is the Bible the best-selling book of all time, it is the best-selling book of the year every year. (more…)

Warrior Jesus Wednesday, Mar 21 2007 

And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” – 1 Samuel 17:37
What I cannot comprehend about this decision is how Saul willingly put the fate of Israel in a boy. This confrontation, this fight, this one on one battle to the death would result in the outcome of the war. If David, this boy, lost the battle to the giant, all of Israel would suffer the consequences of being taken over by the Philistines. If David lost all of Israel would be slaves to the Philistines (verse 9). There are a number of children who possess childlike faith (hence the name childlike) who trust and love their God, but what kind of king puts the future of his nation in the hands of a boy?
Reading this I see a picture of God the Father in heaven doing the unimaginable in sending his son, Jesus. Sending Jesus to earth to fight the greatest battle that has ever been fought in the history of the world was the decision that was made. God was willing to put it all on Jesus, the son. Is not that the greatest faith there ever could be? If God the Father had such faith in Jesus, shouldn’t we too?
The vision of Warrior Jesus: “And in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Revelation 1:13-18

vacation in the bahamas and theology Wednesday, Mar 14 2007 

bahamas.jpgThis week I am enjoying a wonderful vacation with my family in the Bahamas on the island of Grand Bahama. I plan to do a lot of reading, scuba diving, sailing, and swimming in the ocean, all while enjoying some much needed time away with my dad, mom, brother, and sisters. For books, I brought along Chosen for Life by Sam Storms, The Cross of Christ by John Stott and, of course, my Bible (ESV). So far Chosen for Life has been very good. As someone who just a couple of years ago would have called himself an Armenian Christian (more…)

religious ignorance beyond belief Thursday, Mar 8 2007 

Katie Granju just wrote an article titled “Americans get an ‘F’ in religion.” Here are just a couple of the statistics she states in the article:

Sixty percent of Americans can’t name five of the Ten Commandments, and 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

The article is based off of the new book Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know –And Doesn’t by Stephen Prothero, chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University.

Mark Driscoll Interview Tuesday, Mar 6 2007 

It is amazing to me how many people attack men of God because they take a stance on issues and contend for the Gospel. One of these men who I greatly respect is Mark Driscoll, pastor and founder of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I first came across Pastor Mark about two years ago as a student at Maryland Bible College and Seminary. I downloaded a few of his sermons and have been hooked since. He teaches the Bible in a practical, honest, relevant way that holds to the truth of the scripture while reaching out to the lost culture we all live in. Through his ministry thousands of people have come to know the Lord as his church has grown from just a few people to over six thousand just ten years later. In addition to this he has founded the Acts 29 Church Planting Network and has been crucial in helping to plant churches across America and the world. Below is an interview (done April 2, 2006) I came across between Adrian Warnock and Mark Driscoll. I hope it will work to clear up some of the questions people have about Pastor Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. (more…)