Must Read Monday: Superbowl, Playing God and EvangelicalismFebruary 5, 2018
As a Christian you can be sure you’re going to have a First Peter 3:15 moment. When that moment may come is a mystery, but it will come. Will you be ready to give a positive, joyful, winsome witness in the midst of great triumph – or great tragedy? Last night, Nick Foles was ready. Nick Foles is the Super Bowl MVP and when he was interviewed after leading the Philadelphia Eagles to victory he gave all the glory to God. He talked about what kids dream about. He celebrated family. He talked about being calm. Where does that kind of peace come from? For Foles, it comes from knowing who he is and whose he is. The 29-year-old quarterback said last week that he plans to become a pastor after retiring from his football. In preparation for that future he’s currently studying at Liberty University to earn a graduate divinity degree. Here’s his testimony. Other team members have also spoken publicly about their Christian faith.
Three stories this week expose the depth and breadth of confusion in the culture to which we are called to till and plant and cultivate as Christian ambassadors. The first is a story about identity, the second a combination of stories about playing God and the third is a story about demonic influence, our kids and the oldest trick in the Book.
- Identity: A 38-year-old man accused of assaulting three young girls testified in court that he is really a 9-year-old boy trapped in an adult body. The challenge: if the culture affirms the delusion of transgenderism then why not the delusion of “I’m really only as old as I feel?” Age-restricted and age-limited activities and access (driving, drinking alcohol, buying pot, senior living communities, etc) will be challenged to defend their ageist policies. Christians understand that biology (age, gender, race) are actually fixed and fore-ordained by God who knew each of us before the foundations of the world and knit us together in our mother’s womb. Which leads us to the next story.
- Playing God: Britain has given the go ahead for doctors to produce three-person babies and China’s monkey cloning program proceeds without restrictions. Both of these stories provide the opportunity to talk about the reality of God as the source and giver of life. As Christians, how do we respond to couples who want to have their own biological children but for whom those children are not forthcoming by the natural joining together of husband and wife? If you haven’t thought through that, I commend this equipping resource from the ERLC.
- Demonic influence: In 2014, two twelve-year-old girls in Wisconsin attempted to murder a peer because they believed they were being required to do so by Slender Man. One of the two now 15-year-old defendants was sentenced to 25 years and the other to the maximum, 40 years, of supervision in a mental health facility. They both plead guilty to the crime but were found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. I remember when the term was criminally insane. I also know that demonic influence is the more accurate and honest terminology. Demonic deception is literally the oldest trick in the book. If we try to shield our kids from it by denying evil exists we are not preparing them to confront it in all its current forms. Jesus acknowledged the existence of the Father of Lies and Jesus confronted the temptation of the Devil in the wilderness. Jesus’ response teaches us a pattern of reliance upon the Scriptures and upon God to deliver us from the snares of the Evil One. Talk to your kids today about the reality of evil and equip them to confront it lest they be lured into ideas and behaviors that lead to destruction.
Finally, we all need to be equipped to engage in the ongoing conversation in the culture about evangelicals and evangelicalism. It’s a conversation we cannot ignore and increasingly will be unable to avoid. Mark Labberton, President of Fuller Seminary, and I had a conversation about it and Jonathan Merritt sat down for a conversation about it with Jack Stackhouse. What does the term mean, what does it mean to you, how does your neighbor hear and understand the term in today’s cultural and political climate? All essential questions to ask and answer.
P.S. One month from today we’ll be back on the air. I’ll be the host of Connecting Faith, broadcast nationwide on The Faith Radio network. You’ll be able to listen LIVE anywhere on ReconnectwithCarmen.com or via the Faith Radio app. We’ll continue to post blogs, equipping resources, conversations and tools like this Must Read Monday as well as links to the daily shows and ReconnectOnes at ReconenctwithCarmen.com so you won’t miss a thing! Thanks in advance for your prayers as we relaunch the radio portion of the ministry on March 5th.