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Colson Center for Christian Worldview

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Terrorism, Planned Parenthood, and the Cultural Tide

May 26, 2017 - 00:00:00

On Monday night, an Islamic terrorist carried out a suicide bombing at a Manchester concert, killing 22 people and injuring many more. John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer talk about the need for a robust moral vocabulary to name this kind of evil, and what the right response for world leaders will look like. Our hosts also cover another shocking undercover Planned Parenthood video, and a new book John co-authored with Stand to Reason’s Brett Kunkle on helping your kids navigate a culture without going adrift.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Full-Time Christianity

May 26, 2017 - 00:00:00

We just held the Colson Center’s biggest event ever. Let me give you a little taste of what you missed. “Live and let live” has got to be the motto of our age. Any Christian who has expressed his or her beliefs in public will have heard this countless times. Here’s the problem with it: Sooner or later, conflicting beliefs collide. And as Alliance Defending Freedom Founder Alan Sears can tell you, it’s usually Christian beliefs that are expected to give way. A dauntless champion of religious liberty, Alan was this year’s William Wilberforce Award recipient. Contrary to a little jab I made at the conference, he was, in fact, our first choice. And it was an unbelievable privilege last week to join him, along with Os Guinness, Ravi Zacharias, Emily Colson, Rod Dreher and many others to explore what it means to engage our “live and let live” culture with courage, clarity, and compassion. As Alan told over 700 attendees, the Christian life does not consist merely in believing a set of propositions within the walls of our churches. It means living out that truth in a visible, public way. As John Stonestreet likes to say, Christianity is personal, but it’s not private! We are called to be full-time Christians, at work, at school, in the home, and at play. Our Republic was chartered on the idea that everyone has the inalienable right to do just that: to practice their faith publicly without threat of punishment. Speaking at the conference, Os Guinness described the Constitution as a “covenant” that enshrined in the First Amendment a freedom the founders considered second-to-none. Today, despite an electoral reprieve, that freedom is under attack. BreakPoint listeners will recognize names like Elaine Huguenin, Barronelle Stutzman, Blaine Adamson, Kelvin Cochran, and others who have been told they must choose between their Christian convictions and their livelihoods. This photographer, florist, t-shirt-designer and fire chief are just a few examples of Americans who have gotten the short end of the “live and let live” stick. They’ve been sued, threatened with unemployment, and in some cases, face the prospect of losing everything—simply because they refused to betray their deepest beliefs. Their Christianity is profoundly personal, but it’s not private. They know that what happens outside the walls of our churches is the testing ground for what we profess inside those walls. What Alan Sears gave our packed house last weekend wasn’t just a charge to protect our first freedom. He also challenged each of us to ask ahead of time what we will do if that freedom vanishes. So ask yourself: What is my line—the boundary in my soul that I, like those florists, photographers, and bakers, will not cross? If our allegiance is to “laws that are higher than any laws adopted by man,” then “nothing on earth—no threat, no punishment—should be more compelling to us” than those mandates. Living a faith that shapes more than our private beliefs and spills over into our every relationship and action—this is what the Wilberforce Weekend is all about, and why I’m so thrilled by the work of the Colson Center. Let me just say, everyone on the team is exhausted right now, but we’re also pumped after our largest gathering ever. If you missed it, don’t worry. We’ve got videos for you on the BreakPoint Facebook page, and if you visit WilberforceWeekend.org, we’ll tell you how to join the over 100 people who’ve already signed up for next year! Folks, I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this, not just because I get to make wise cracks on stage, but because what happens at these events is truly unique. The Colson Center is uniting Christians and equipping them to follow the example of luminaries like William Wilberforce, Chuck Colson, and Alan Sears, whose faith refuses to stay confined to Sunday.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Don’t Argue the Exceptions

May 25, 2017 - 00:00:00

“But what about the . . . ?” Has a rare exception every stumped you when making the case for life or anything else? Here’s how to respond with grace and truth. “Humans have ten fingers and ten toes.” Now that shouldn’t strike anyone as a controversial statement, since almost every person ever born has had twenty digits. But what if someone argued in response that, because there are exceptions to this—people who because of injury or genetic defect lack a digit or two—we ought not describe ten fingers and ten toes as normal or descriptive of being human? We’d rightly think that a silly argument, of course. So why do we tolerate this same kind of reasoning in modern social debates? Take abortion. Perhaps you’ve heard someone challenge the prolife view with this exception: “Well what about rape and incest, or the life of the mother?” Or take gender. Folks ask me all the time, “But what about those born with ambiguous genitalia?” These objections stop a lot of Christians in their tracks. But they shouldn’t. When pro-choice activists insist that we can’t outlaw abortion because some pregnancies result from rape and incest, or endanger the life of the mother, they’re ignoring the fact that in nearly all abortions none of these considerations are factors at all. Rather, healthy babies are killed simply because they’re inconvenient. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t support the intentional taking of unborn life under any circumstance. As Live Action President Lila Rose often points out, the unborn are human beings no matter what the circumstances of their conception. Rape and other sexual crimes are monstrous, but abortion doesn’t undo those wrongs, it only creates another victim. Arguing about exceptions like these only muddies the waters. And sometimes, that’s exactly what the pro-choice side wants. The same thing happens when someone brings up ambiguous genitalia in the transgender debate. This condition is tragic, and the subject requires great care. But it’s also extremely rare—by most estimates, in fact, occurring in just one in twenty-two-thousand births. In other words, when we allow this tiny fraction of a percent to control the entire debate, we obscure the overwhelming reality. And so, for the sake of discussion, instead of arguing about the exceptions, why not just grant them? When someone challenges you about extreme cases for abortion, try replying this way: “Okay, let’s say we keep abortion legal in these rare cases. What about the other ninety-six percent of abortions that are elective? Can we end those?” Nine times out of ten, you’ll hear crickets. Likewise, when it comes to gender, grant that in cases of ambiguous genitalia, there really is a biological basis for doubt and that we must rethink medical practices that too quickly label someone male or female if the physical evidence isn’t clear. By granting the exceptions, we force the other person to face the real questions, or admit they’re using rare cases as wedges for their real agenda. But more importantly, these exceptions actually prove the principles we believe in. Here’s what I mean: If someone says, “if a baby was conceived in a crime, we have the right to kill her,” that person is appealing to the circumstances under which the baby was conceived. To then argue that abortion should be legal in all cases is to admit that circumstances don’t in fact matter. That my friend, is called a contradiction. Same thing is true with transgenderism. To argue that biology matters in the case of ambiguous genitalia and then argue that biology doesn’t matter with clearly defined genitalia is nonsense. Our response should be: Biology matters or it doesn’t. Pick one. Look, rare cases are tough and complicated. But that doesn’t mean that all or even most of the other cases are. So the next time someone argues for abortion or gender fluidity from an exception, grant it and then confront them with the vast majority of cases. And if they refuse, just ask them how many fingers and toes they have.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
George Barna: Who's Got a Biblical Worldview?

May 24, 2017 - 00:00:00

What percentage of Americans have a biblical worldview? Better yet, what percentage of born-again Christians do? Today on the BreakPoint Podcast, Warren Cole Smith interviews Christian pollster and researcher George Barna about his latest survey.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
The Dog Boomers

May 24, 2017 - 00:00:00

For proof that our culture has gone to the dogs, look no further than the bizarrely parental ways many Americans talk about our furry friends. If you haven’t seen a series of new commercials from the wireless company, Sprint, consider yourself fortunate. The ads feature Instagram star Topher Brophy, who—besides bearing an uncanny likeness to Warner Sallman’s painting of Jesus—has established an odd relationship with his wire-haired pooch. “Who’s that?” asks the cameraman. “He’s my son,” replies Brophy. He and his dog, Rosenberg, get easily confused, Brophy informs us, “because there’s a resemblance.” Welcome to 2017, when nary an ear perks up at the suggestion that animals are equivalent to children. “Fur-baby” and “pet parent” are replacing terms like “owner.” Viral social media posts like the Dog Mom Rap grace our newsfeeds, and the $11 billion pet care industry has given us such essential products as pooch strollers and canine costumes. Americans—particularly young Americans—seem doggedly determined to turn their pets into progeny. BreakPoint senior writer Shane Morris suggests in The Federalist that this “replacement baby” phenomenon has become a kind of society-wide delusion of misdirected instincts. He draws attention to historically low birth rates in his own millennial generation, combined with statistics showing an unprecedented boom in the number of pets. The Washington Post reported in September that three-quarters of Americans in their thirties—prime childbearing years—own dogs, and half own cats. Compare that with the population in general, only half of whom own dogs and a third of whom own cats, and the recent cascade of critters becomes obvious. To put it simply, children are in the doghouse and young Americans are replacing them with animals. When Shane wrote his article, he knew the reaction wouldn’t be a walk in the park. But I don’t think he knew just how badly he was stepping in it. Many commenters on Facebook and Twitter called the article the most ridiculous and insulting thing they’d ever read. “Typical judgmental Christian!” they wrote. “You need psychiatric help.” “Stop trying to force your views on me,” protested others. Many brought up the debunked idea that our planet is overpopulated and that not having children is therefore a noble cause. Some fellow millennials insisted that Shane must be jealous that he can’t live the party life with his three kids. But amidst the howls of protest unleashed by his article, one message appeared over and over: “I don’t like kids. I like dogs better.” A few even admitted to hating children, and used obscene and degrading terms to describe babies. No wonder Chuck Colson had a bone to pick with “pet-parents.” Back in 2009, he observed that blurring the distinction between humans and animals is more than ridiculous. It goes hand-in-paw with a culture that views babies as burdens, not blessings—burdens, I might add, which society sees fit to dispose of at will. In other words, Shane is barking up the right tree, here. Now let me repeat what Chuck often said: I like animals, and pets can be incredibly special. I myself have a dog. But as Christians, we believe humans are uniquely called to steward the natural world and show kindness to all of God’s creatures. But the ways we talk about our pets—not to mention the emotional roles we let them fill—matter. If a generation of young people replaces families with fur-babies, we could be facing the same demographic crunch currently hitting Japan and parts of Europe, not to mention a culture and economy that punish parenthood, instead of rewarding it. Pets, in other words, are great. They are! But in the midst of a culture actively turning them into little people, we’ve got to remind ourselves that the image of God has two legs, not four.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
“Fake” News, “Real” News, and Good News

May 23, 2017 - 00:00:00

There’s a battle raging in the media about so-called “fake news” vs. “real news,” but let’s not forget the good news. Let me read you something by a gentleman named Eden Chen: “I met a missionary couple from Germany and a missionary from Florida who helped reignite my search for God. These missionaries had lived in the inner-city projects for extended periods, and materially speaking they had next to nothing, but they were the most joyful people I had ever met. I had always assumed that more riches and possessions led to greater joy. …” He continues: “After returning home, I embarked on an all-encompassing search for God. I studied the major world religions—Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. I figured that if God was real, then he would probably make himself known. I read C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, the most logical expression of faith that I had encountered. All of a sudden, it struck me that running away from Christianity would require more faith than running toward it.” You’ll find “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say, in Christianity Today. Whatever you think about the “fake news vs. real news” debate, I trust you realize that you won’t find such good news like Eden Chen’s in The New York Times or The Economist. C.S. Lewis once said, “If one only had time to read a little more: We either get shallow and broad or narrow and deep.” So with summer around the corner, to borrow another phrase, let’s go both deep and wide and read just a little bit more. And because there’s so much bad news in the world—whether “fake” or “real”—let’s try to focus on the good. And just where do Christians find this good news? Of course, it’s found supremely in God’s Word, the Bible, which speaks to all times and seasons. And Christian books are another source of good news. But today I want to focus on the sometimes-neglected world of Christian publications, especially magazines, websites, and blogs. The story about Eden Chen I read from a moment ago is just one bit of good news you can read about from talented and godly journalists, editors, and writers who daily—sometimes, hourly—give us a Christian perspective on events and trends. They introduce us to kingdom people doing things the “fake news” and “real news” crowd has no interest in. They help us see the world with a Christian worldview. Some of my BreakPoint colleagues have written great articles for just such outlets, including Shane Morris at the Patheos blog, Warren Cole Smith at WORLD magazine, and Gina Dalfonzo and Stan Guthrie at Christianity Today. I have time to mention only a few of these purveyors of good news—that is, stories and articles that provide hope and a Christian perspective on the events of the day. First, of course, is our own BreakPoint.org website, which provides the text and audio of every commentary like this one. Our site also offers columns, The Point commentaries by John Stonestreet, and everything you need on the topics of Christian worldview, life and human dignity, the Church, arts and the media, science and technology, and religious liberty. I also commend for your reading edification and pleasure First Things magazine, which is published by The Institute of Religion and Public Life “to advance a religiously informed public philosophy”; Christ and Pop Culture, which seeks “to acknowledge, appreciate, and think rightly about the common knowledge of our age”; Aleteia, which offers a Christian and Catholic “vison of the world”; and the website for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, just to name a few. So come to our BreakPoint website for a longer list, along with the links. Should you get all your news from Christian publications? Heavens no. But for finding good news and views that will inspire you to think and act Christianly, you can’t do better than the Christian publications and sites I’ve just mentioned. Again, check out our list at BreakPoint.org.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Alan Sears, Serving God and Protecting His People

May 22, 2017 - 00:00:00

Courage and perseverance in the face of injustice. These are the marks of those who receive the Colson Center’s William Wilberforce Award, and this year’s award winner, too. In 1987, Chuck Colson established the William Wilberforce Award to recognize individuals who vividly exemplify the passions and principles of the British 18th-century abolitionist and statesman, William Wilberforce; men and women who show perseverance and selflessness in combatting injustice and making positive change in the values and character of society. Past winners include Canon Andrew White, who ministered for years to Christians in Iraq, Congressman Frank Wolf, the indefatigable defender of human rights, and Joni Eareckson Tada for her work on behalf of people with disabilities. And on Saturday, at our annual William Wilberforce Weekend, the Board of Directors of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview bestowed the 2017 Wilberforce Award on Alan Sears, the Founder of the Alliance Defending Freedom. I for one am thrilled. Chuck Colson so admired Alan Sears and the work of ADF. And why not? Over the past 23 years, Sears and ADF have built a comprehensive legal strategy of training, funding, and advocacy to defend religious freedom, especially for those who are most at risk of losing it—from medical professionals to artists and bakers and scientists, from hospitals and pro-life pregnancy centers to Christian schools and colleges. And the results speak for themselves: ADF has contributed to 49 victories at the U. S. Supreme Court and the training of more than 1,900 lawyers in 45 countries. These attorneys have provided more than $200 million in pro-bono/dedicated time to pro-life, religious liberty and related causes. With his educational and legal pedigree (from Stanford to Harvard to the Justice Department), Sears certainly had many and more lucrative options than starting a non-profit organization to defend religious freedom. But Sears had a higher calling than legal stardom: “To serve God and protect his people.” Alan Sears’s tenacity mirrors that of William Wilberforce. For more than two decades, Wilberforce faced bitter and powerful opposition to his work to end the slave trade. But he never gave up. On this program years ago, Chuck Colson remembered the story of a tired Wilberforce, sitting in his chair studying the Bible. An old letter that he had saved “fluttered from between its pages,” from none other than John Wesley. Wilberforce re-read the letter: “Unless God has raised you up for this very thing,” Wesley wrote, “you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing.” Certainly in defending human life, religious liberty and traditional marriage, Alan Sears has faced the opposition of men and devils—and their radical agendas. Oregon florist Baronelle Stutzman, who refused to participate in a same-sex “wedding,” and the Mennonite business Conestoga Wood Specialties, which refused to obey the HHS contraceptive mandate, are among ADF’s clients. Sears is clear-eyed about what he has been up against: “This agenda,” Sears has said, “is one that believes in taking no prisoners. It’s the opposite of tolerance—it’s about punishing those who disagree. And the target is above all else the faithful to the Scripture and to the word of God.” Well thank you, Alan Sears, for standing in the gap. We’re so grateful for all you’ve done to serve God and protect His people. It was a privilege to see you receive the award in person. If you’d like the privilege of seeing next year’s Wilberforce Award winner and participating in our annual Wilberforce Weekend conference with great speakers and teaching, plan now! Special early registration pricing is available at wilberforceweekend.org.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Joni Eareckson Tada: Reflections

May 21, 2017 - 00:00:00

Warren Cole Smith interviews Joni Eareckson Tada about her 35 years of radio ministry and her passionate commitment to helping those with disabilities to “find the grace and healing power and hope of Jesus.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: May 20, 2017

May 20, 2017 - 00:00:00

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Terrorism, Planned Parenthood, and the Cultural Tide

May 26, 2017 - 00:00:00

On Monday night, an Islamic terrorist carried out a suicide bombing at a Manchester concert, killing 22 people and injuring many more. John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer talk about the need for a robust moral vocabulary to name this kind of evil, and what the right response for world leaders will look like. Our hosts also cover another shocking undercover Planned Parenthood video, and a new book John co-authored with Stand to Reason’s Brett Kunkle on helping your kids navigate a culture without going adrift.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
George Barna: Who's Got a Biblical Worldview?

May 24, 2017 - 00:00:00

What percentage of Americans have a biblical worldview? Better yet, what percentage of born-again Christians do? Today on the BreakPoint Podcast, Warren Cole Smith interviews Christian pollster and researcher George Barna about his latest survey.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Joni Eareckson Tada: Reflections

May 21, 2017 - 00:00:00

Warren Cole Smith interviews Joni Eareckson Tada about her 35 years of radio ministry and her passionate commitment to helping those with disabilities to “find the grace and healing power and hope of Jesus.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: May 20, 2017

May 20, 2017 - 00:00:00

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Chuck Colson: What Is Truth? (Part II)

May 17, 2017 - 00:00:00

Part II of Chuck Colson's address “What Is Truth?”, delivered in 2003 at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary in San Francisco. Chuck talks about the power of worldview, and about truth and how we can know it.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Chuck Colson: What Is Truth? (Part I)

May 15, 2017 - 00:00:00

“What Is Truth?”, delivered by Chuck Colson in 2003 at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary in San Francisco. Chuck talks about the power of worldview, and about truth and how we can know it.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Comey, the Courts, and '13 Reasons Why'

May 13, 2017 - 00:00:00

This week, President Donald Trump set off quite a media frenzy by firing FBI director, James Comey, allegedly over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. The move also inspired fresh speculation about whether he colluded with Russia to undermine the November election, and drew comparisons between Trump and president Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. In light of the president’s encouraging judicial nominations to lower courts, our hosts suggest Christians cautiously recognize when our leaders accomplish good, but refrain from unconditionally defending them–even if they share our party affiliation. Our hosts also discuss the rise of teen suicide and the push for assisted suicide in the light of the controversial new Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why.”

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Chuck Colson: Jesus the Logos

May 9, 2017 - 00:00:00

Chuck Colson talks about the fantastically enormous implications of Jesus as the Word of God—the Logos, the meaning of everything. Addressing members of Congress at his capitol Hill lecture series, Chuck presses home the point that in Jesus, all things hold together: the cosmos, our culture, our politics, even the strands of our DNA.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: The Executive Order, The Declining Mainline, and the Image of God

May 6, 2017 - 00:00:00

John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer discuss the disappointing executive order on religious freedom and how the battle for religious freedom must first be won in the culture. They also discuss Ed’s Washington Post article about the decline of Mainline Protestantism (and how math is math and doesn’t care about our feelings), and, in the wake of another tragic police shooting, what makes each human life precious.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Mindy Belz: They Say We Are Infidels, part II

May 2, 2017 - 00:00:00

Today we present part II of Warren Cole Smith's interview with WORLD Magazine Senior Editor Mindy Belz about her book, "They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Peresecuted Christians in the Middle East."

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: The Abortion Party, HHS Mandate, and the Marriage Gap

Apr 29, 2017 - 00:00:00

The Democratic Party sent signals this week that pro-lifers are not welcome in its ranks, making abortion arguably its most important issue. John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer argue that doubling down on death is a bad move for Democrats, and one that will leave America more sharply divided than ever. President Trump has also just appointed pro-life champion, Charmaine Yoest, as assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, signaling a likely reversal of President Obama’s policy of forcing contraceptive coverage. Finally, our hosts discuss the growing marriage gap between middle-class and poor Americans, and ask along with an insightful Washington Post editorial: “Why can’t girls be tomboys, anymore?”

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Mindy Belz: "They Say We Are Infidels"

Apr 25, 2017 - 00:00:00

Warren Cole Smith interviews WORLD Magazine Senior Editor Mindy Belz about her book, "They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Peresecuted Christians in the Middle East."

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Chuck Colson, Christian Worldview, and Religious Freedom

Apr 21, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed remember the impact of Chuck Colson, who died five years ago this weekend. They also discuss Christian worldview and the "post-truth" era and the Trinity Lutheran religious freedom case before the Supreme Court.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
John Stonestreet: Faith . . . Personal, not Private (Part II)

Apr 18, 2017 - 00:00:00

Part II of John Stonestreet's talk about the very public events of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Putin, Gorsuch, and Holy Week

Apr 14, 2017 - 00:00:00

Ed and John discuss the changing relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, Justice Gorsuch and "the nuclear option," the success of "The Case for Christ" movie, and the implications of Holy Week.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
John Stonestreet: Faith . . . Personal, not Private

Apr 11, 2017 - 00:00:00

John reflects on the very public nature of Christian revelation and faith, especially as seen in the life of Jesus and the events of Holy Week.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: The Pences, Title VII, and Holy Week

Apr 7, 2017 - 00:00:00

Ed and John discuss the media reaction to Mike and Karen Pence's observation of the so-called "Billy Graham rule in their marriage; a federal court decides that the 1964 Civil Rights Act covers sexual orientation; and observing Holy Week.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Lee and Leslie Strobel: The Case for Christ

Apr 4, 2017 - 00:00:00

Warren Cole Smith interviews Lee and Leslie Strobel about the soon-to-be released movie version of Lee’s renowned book, The Case for Christ.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Truth, Mums and Dads, and David Daleiden

Mar 31, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed discuss TIME Magazine's recent cover, "Is Truth Dead," a New York judge's ruling that a child has three parents, and the misguided prosecution of David Daleiden.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Dr. Bill Brown: The Colson Fellows and the Importance of Worldview

Mar 28, 2017 - 00:00:00

Dr. Bill Brown, former President of Cedarville University, is the National Director of one of the truly outstanding Christian worldview programs, the Colson Fellows. Bill tells us how the Colson Fellows program carries out Chuck Colson’s vision for forming Christians intellectually and spiritually to become change agents in the culture.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Rod Dreher and "The Benedict Option," part II

Mar 21, 2017 - 00:00:00

Part II of Warren Cole Smith's interview with Rod Dreher about Dreher's much-anticipated book, "The Benedict Option."

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Free Speech on Campus, CNN, and Jesus

Mar 17, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed discuss the kiddie interruption on the BBC, free speech on campus, and CNN's fixation with questioning the historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Rod Dreher and "The Benedict Option"

Mar 14, 2017 - 00:00:00

Today is the release of Rod Dreher's much-anticipated book, "The Benedict Option." The Colson Center's Warren Cole Smith interviews Dreher about the book and the challenge of living out the faith in the new Dark Ages.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Beauty and the Beast and the Benedict Option

Mar 10, 2017 - 00:00:00

The producer of Disney's live-action film "Beauty and the Beast" has announced that the much-anticipated film contains a "gay moment." How should Christian parents respond? And speaking of much anticipated, Ed and John discuss the release of Rod Dreher's new book, The Benedict Option.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Trail Life USA for Boys

Mar 7, 2017 - 00:00:00

Warren Cole Smith interviews with Mark Hancock, Chief Executive Officer of Trail Life USA. Founded just three years ago as a distinctly Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts, Trail Life now has nearly 30,000 participants in 49 states across the country. Listen in as Warren and Mark discuss Trail Life’s founding and the reason behind Trail Life’s astounding growth.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Trump's Address, Liberty, Gender, and Death

Mar 3, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed break down President Trump's address to Congress, the "gay moment" in an upcoming Disney movie, and Canadian doctors backing away from assisted suicide.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
The Academy Awards: Will There Be a 'We'?

Feb 28, 2017 - 00:00:00

Warren Cole Smith and Bryan Coley of Reel Experiences discuss what might be a common theme among the Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning films: Can we come together as a people? Find out how the various films answer that question. As always, the Colson Center urges Christian discernment when choosing which films to view.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Potties and Pets

Feb 24, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed discuss what we can learn from the Trump Administration's reversal of the Obama directive on transgender students and school bathrooms. John also picks up the potentially controversial topic of "fur babies": treating pets like people.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Ravi Zacharias on the Family

Feb 21, 2017 - 00:00:00

Ravi Zacharias will be joining Os Guinness and Rod Dreher as a featured speaker at the Colson Center's Wilberforce Weekend this May. Today we present a talk by Ravi on the cultural importance of the family. We hope you will join us at the Wilberforce Weekend. To register, visit www.WilberforceWeekend.org

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: The Ruling Against Religious Freedom

Feb 17, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed discuss the Washington State Supreme Court's ruling against florist Barronelle Stutzman, who refused to participate in a same-sex wedding. As John and Ed relate, this was a ruling that punishes not only Barronelle, but all who seek to live out their faith in the public square.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Beyond Truth: Is the Christian Vision of Sex Good?

Feb 14, 2017 - 00:00:00

Colson Center President John Stonestreet addresses the NextGen Conference at Liberty University. According to the world, "No!" is the Christian vision for sex. But John paints a much different picture, and that is God's emphatic "Yes!" to His gift of human sexuality.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Sports, the Image of God, and Education

Feb 11, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed talk about the amazing year in sports--and how human achievement and talent reflect the glory of God. Also: the confirmation of Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education and the importance of Christian involvement in educational innovation.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Life and Love at the March for Life: Metaxas and Stonestreet

Jan 31, 2017 - 00:00:00

Rejoicing in recent pro-life victories and the success of the March for Life, today we present Eric Metaxas's speech at the March for Life and John Stonestreet's address to Evangelicals for Life.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Two Very Different Marches on Washington

Jan 27, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed discuss two very different marches on Washington: The "Women's March" and the March for Life. Ed also gives his view on President Trump's executive order concerning refugees.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Interview with Students for Life: Motivating Pro-Life Millennials

Jan 24, 2017 - 00:00:00

In anticipation of this week’s March for Life, we present Warren Cole Smith’s interviews with two leaders of Students for Life: President Kristan Hawkins and Executive Vice-President Tina Whittington. Kristan and Tina discuss Students for Life and its mission to “abolish abortion in our lifetime.” Learn how Students for Life's high-touch, relationship building approach motivates Millennials to organize and advocate for the lives of the unborn.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: The Inauguration and Political Panic

Jan 20, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed discuss the panic in the media over the upcoming Trump Administration. They also talk about clemency for Bradley Manning and Compassion International's struggles with the government of India

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Interview with Donald Sweeting: The Challenges Facing Christian Universities

Jan 18, 2017 - 00:00:00

The Colson Center’s Warren Cole Smith interviews Donald Sweeting, the President of Colorado Christian University. Higher education, especially Christian higher education, is facing daunting challenges in this hyper-secular culture of ours. Warren and Donald discuss how Christian colleges are adapting, and what it is, exactly, that makes a university distinctly Christian.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Celebrities, Politics, and Persecution

Jan 13, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed discuss the politicization of award ceremonies, President Obama's farewell, and the latest report on the persecution of Christians worldwide.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Interview with Michael Matheson Miller: Poverty, Inc., part II

Jan 10, 2017 - 00:00:00

Today on the BreakPoint Podcast, we present the second part of Warren Cole Smith’s interview of Michael Matheson Miller, the producer of the award winning documentary Poverty, Inc. Matheson Miller and Poverty inc will change the way you think about third-world poverty—and force you to answer the question, “am I a part of the problem?”

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Prosperity or Heresy?

Jan 6, 2017 - 00:00:00

A popular preacher of the prosperity gospel will be praying at the presidential inauguration. John and Ed discuss the implications of that and of the prosperity gospel itself. They also tackle a new study showing that conservative churches are growing, and the findings of a House panel investigating Planned Parenthood and the selling of baby body parts.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Interview with Michael Matheson Miller: Poverty, Inc.

Jan 3, 2017 - 00:00:00

Today on the BreakPoint Podcast, we present Warren Cole Smith’s interview of Michael Matheson Miller, the producer of the award winning documentary Poverty, Inc. Matheson Miller and Poverty inc will change the way you think about third-world poverty—and force you to answer the question, “am I a part of the problem?”

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: The Year in Review

Dec 30, 2016 - 00:00:00

WORLD Magazine journalist Mindy Belz joins John and Ed to discuss the top stories of 2016: The persecution of Christians, the presidential election, and religious freedom

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Interview with Larry Alex Taunton: 'The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, Part II

Dec 27, 2016 - 00:00:00

Warren Cole Smith concludes his interview of author Larry Alex Taunton about his award-winning book, "The Faith of Christopher Hitchens."

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Christmas Favorites

Dec 23, 2016 - 00:00:00

John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer take a walk on the light side and talk about their favorite Christmas movies and Christmas Carols.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Interview with Larry Alex Taunton: The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, part I

Dec 20, 2016 - 00:00:00

Part 1 of Warren Cole Smith's interview with author Larry Alex Taunton about his award-winning book, "The Faith of Christopher Hitchens."

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Gender Identity v. Christian Identity

Dec 16, 2016 - 00:00:00

So called SOGI laws (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity laws) are a clear threat to religious freedom. John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer discuss a new statement signed by more than 75 religious leaders standing for religious freedom and against government coercion

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Interview with Keith Getty: The Power of Christmas Carols

Dec 13, 2016 - 00:00:00

In this special interview with the Colson Center's Warren Cole Smith, composer and musician Keith Getty talks about the power of Christmas carols--songs of rebellion! Keith also shares his vision for a revival in church music.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: The Revolution

Dec 9, 2016 - 00:00:00

Ed Stetzer interviews theologian N. T. Wright about his new book, "The Day the Revolution Began." John and Ed also discuss the new Ohio "heartbeat" law that prohibits abortion after the baby's heartbeat is detected.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Warren Cole Smith: Problems Facing the Family

Dec 6, 2016 - 00:00:00

Last year Colson Center Vice-President for Advancment Warren Cole Smith addressed 3,000 people gathered for the World Congress of Families. Asked to address the question, “What are the biggest problems facing the family,” Warren identified the problems and then laid out an audacious vision and strategy for Christians to move us toward a new “golden age of the family.” His keys for success? To do what Christians have always done: run toward the world’s crises, show self-sacrificing service to those around us, and, to capture the culture’s imagination, re-master the art of storytelling.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
He Has Come

Nov 29, 2016 - 00:00:00

Last Sunday was the first day of Advent—the season in which Christians around the world prepare not only to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, but also look forward to His return. So today we want to share with you John Stonestreet’s special Advent teaching series “He Has Come.” This 16 minute podcast is broken down into four 4-minute segments, each beginning with a refrain from a well-known Christmas carol.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Advent and Those Who've Gone Before Us

Nov 25, 2016 - 00:00:00

John and Ed discuss the extraordinary life and witness of Cliff Barrows; the rise of the "alt-right," and the season of Advent: How do we prepare to celebrate Christmas and anticipate the Lord's return?

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Engaging the Culture for Life, Part II

Nov 22, 2016 - 00:00:00

Today we present part II of John Stonestreet’s keynote address at the national conference of CareNet, one of the largest networks of pregnancy centers in America. In part I, John discussed the first of the four-part gospel story: Creation and especially the dignity of each and every human being made in the image of God. Today John talks about the painful reality of the Fall, the redemption we have in Christ, and, finally, how we participate in God’s plan for the restoration of all things.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: A Post-Truth Era?

Nov 18, 2016 - 00:00:00

John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer discuss the reactions to Donald Trump's election victory and Merrriam-Webster's word of the year: "Post-truth"

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Engaging the Culture for Life, part I

Nov 15, 2016 - 00:00:00

John Stonestreet addressed the annual conference of CareNet, one of the largest networks of pregnancy centers in America. John’s topic was one of Christianity’s greatest gifts to the world: The idea that every human being has universal and eternal dignity because we are made in the image of God. To defend human dignity, John argues, Christians must stay engaged in the culture, and not run from it. And there’s no better example of that than the pro-life movement.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: An Election Stunner

Nov 11, 2016 - 00:00:00

John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer break down the stunning election results: Just how out of touch are the media elite? Do Christians now have a little 'elbow room' to re-establish faith in the public square?

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Christianity and Culture: For What Are We Responsible? (Part 2)

Nov 8, 2016 - 00:00:00

Today we present part II of John Stonestreet’s talk: Christianity and Culture: For What Are We Responsible?” John focuses on the prayer of Jesus in the Gospel of John, chapter 17. Even though Jesus acknowledged His disciples were not of this world, Jesus told the father, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” As John Stonestreet tells us, we were created to know God primarily in this world. In this place and at this time. This has enormous implications for how we are to engage the culture.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: The Election ... and the Cubs

Nov 4, 2016 - 00:00:00

John and Ed talk about the most important issue of the week: The Chicago Cubs. Oh, and the election, the Christian duty to vote, and evangelical beliefs regarding marriage.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
“The Handmaid’s Tale” Come True?

May 19, 2017 - 00:00:00

We’re being told that the new adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is “prophetic” and “timely.” And I agree, but just not in the way that feminists and leftists mean. One of the most talked-about shows on television is “The Handmaid’s Tale.” This Hulu series, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name, has been called “timely” and “essential viewing for our fractured culture.” Perhaps, but definitely not in the way that critics suppose. The context of Atwood’s dystopian novel is the theocratic successor to the United States called the “Republic of Gilead.” Gilead is a kind of evangelical Saudi Arabia, where women are forbidden to read, and select women, the “handmaids” of the title, are given as concubines to high-ranking officials for purposes of breeding. Now, when Atwood’s novel was published three decades ago, its conjuring of a theocratic United States was, to put it charitably, overwrought. And today, that idea is, to put it charitably once more, absurd. The countries closest to this sort of treatment to women are clearly Islamic countries. American women today are in absolutely no danger of losing their freedoms, especially so-called “reproductive freedom.” Abortion may be, in some places, a bit inconvenient, but it’s still legal and widely available. Contraceptives have never been easier to obtain, and you can even get the so-called “morning after pill” without a prescription. So to call “The Handmaid’s Tale” “essential viewing for our fractured culture,” only illustrates just how out of touch with reality a certain class of Americans has become. Not to mention blind. In addition to the barbaric treatment of women in many Islamic countries, there’s another way that this series and the novel it’s based on are “timely,” but it’s the result of increased “reproductive freedom,” not its curtailment. In fact, that timeliness was explained in an article in Britain’s left-wing magazine written by a feminist who goes by the pen name of “Glosswitch.” The author, after taking note of all the invocations of Atwood’s novel following last November’s elections, writes, “There’s something about the current wallowing in Atwood’s vision that strikes me as, if not self-indulgent, then at the very least naive.” She then cites a book published the same year as “The Handmaid’s Tale” which predicted that “Once embryo transfer technology is developed, the surrogate industry could look for breeders—not only in poverty-stricken parts of the United States, but in the Third World as well. There, perhaps, one tenth of the current fee could be paid to women.” Unlike Atwood’s so-called “prophecy,” Glosswitch’s prophecy was the one that came to pass. “Today there are parts of the world in which renting the womb of a poor woman is indeed ten times cheaper than in the US. The choice of wealthy white couples to implant embryos in the bodies of brown women is seen . . . as a neutral consumer choice.” Another name for this “consumer choice” is “surrogacy tourism.” In India, the number of women renting their wombs for affluent white foreigners was so high that the government enacted a law limiting the practice to Indian couples. All that did was open the “market” to other desperate Third World women. “Glosswitch” wonders “why, if the fate of the fictional [handmaid] is so horrifying to western feminists today, the fate of real-life women in surrogacy hostels is causing so little outrage?” The most likely reason, apart from self-centeredness, is that, in the West, freedom and “reproductive freedom,” which means complete control over one’s sexual choices and its consequences, are synonymous. To question any practice or technology, such as surrogacy or the in-vitro fertilization that facilitates this control, is to call our ideas about freedom and autonomy into question. And protecting those ideas requires a willful blindness to the fact that, as the New Statesmen put it, parts of Atwood’s tale “have already come true—just not for white Western women.”

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Building the Next Master Race?

May 18, 2017 - 00:00:00

The attempts to create a master Aryan race is not the stuff of science fiction or history books anymore. I’m going to tell you a story about an attempt to build a strong nation by breeding better babies. These babies “would be superior in quality, intelligence, looks, and other aspects.” They would be taller and fairer in complexion that their peers. These babies hold the key, we are told, to national greatness. Now you’re probably thinking the story comes from the Third Reich or maybe a science fiction novel. But you’d be wrong. This story is not from 1930s Germany nor is it the stuff of dystopian novels. It’s from contemporary India. A group in India, Arogya Bharati, which means “Indian Wholeness” in Sanskrit, is working with couples to produce, in its words, “customized” babies. It hopes to “have [produced] thousands of such babies by 2020.” Its long-term goal is to build a strong India through these children. What’s required to produce such a child? “Three months of [purification] for parents, intercourse at a time decided by planetary configurations, complete abstinence after the baby is conceived, and procedural and dietary regulations.” The pay-off? According to the head of Arogya Bharati, “extremely bright,” “fair-complexioned,” and “tall” babies born to less-bright, dark, and short parents. As this suggests, the groups methods aren’t rooted in modern genetics. Instead, they’re indebted to a combination of Indian folk medicine, astrology, and Hindu beliefs. Yet it would be unwise to discount the seriousness of what’s taking place here. When one commenter said that the group’s project was “straight out of the Nazi playbook,” it wasn’t hyperbole. While the two groups’ methods may have differed, their goals were the same: strengthening the nation by promoting racial purity. In fact, the groups share more than just a common goal; they share a central idea–the Aryan. While the Nazi myth of the Aryan is well-known, what’s not as well-known is that “Hindutva,” the Hindu nationalist ideology of groups like Arogya Bharati and its parent movement, the RSS, also has the idea of the Aryan at the center of its national myth. Unlike the Nazis, who believed that the Aryans were from what’s now the border between Kashmir and Afghanistan in the Himalayas, Hindu nationalists insist that the Aryans were from northern Indian. Despite this disagreement, the RSS expressed admiration for Nazi efforts to promote racial purity. In 1938, its Supreme Leader said that Germany “has shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole.” He called it “a good lesson for us in [India] to learn and profit by.” It’s a lesson his ideological successors are now trying to put into practice, not in birthing clinics but in the curtailment of religious freedom across India, which, in recent years, has become an increasingly hostile place for Christians, as well as Muslims. And I’d be remiss if I left you with the impression that this quest for “customized” babies was only limited to religious fanatics and Nazis. The (un)holy grail of modern genetics is to, as some have put it, “shape our own evolution.” While proponents of this quest would howl in protest if they heard me say it, this, too, is a quest for a kind of racial purity. While their definition of “race” is infinitely more generous than the people in India, never mind the Nazis, it’s still an endeavor that has no place for the weak, no matter how the planets align. Now before I leave you today, I want to remind you that the Colson Center’s annual Wilberforce Weekend starts this Friday. The event is sold out, but you can listen live online all weekend to our great speakers, like Os Guinness, Ravi Zacharias and others. Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I’ll link you to the livestream.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Chuck Colson: What Is Truth? (Part I)

May 15, 2017 - 00:00:00

“What Is Truth?”, delivered by Chuck Colson in 2003 at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary in San Francisco. Chuck talks about the power of worldview, and about truth and how we can know it.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
France and Down Syndrome

May 15, 2017 - 00:00:00

One of the great men of French history had a daughter with a disability. His faith saw him—and her—through. Late last year on BreakPoint, I told you about an extraordinary bit of censorship by the French government. What was censored was an ad featuring a smiling, happy child with Down syndrome. The ad, entitled “Dear Future Mom,” told potential mothers about the joy and love that these children can and will bring into their lives. So, why was it banned? Because the French government believes that the ad is “likely to disturb the conscience of women” who had aborted their babies after learning that the child had Down syndrome. Now I’m going to tell you a story about a Frenchman who saw things very differently: Charles de Gaulle. You probably weren’t expecting to hear that. To most Americans, de Gaulle was, as one writer put it, “an obnoxious, overly ambitious man who, in the grand French manner, strutted sitting down.” He may have been some or all of these things, but there was a side of Charles de Gaulle that few people know about, and that side revolved around his love for his daughter, Anne. Anne was born on New Year’s Day, 1928, the third of Charles and Yvonne de Gaulle’s three children. In De Gaulle’s words, Anne was “un enfant pas comme les autres,” a child not like the other children. As you’ve probably guessed, Anne had Down syndrome. Only it wasn’t called “Down syndrome” back then. The children were called “mongoloids,” and, as a recent story by Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute in the Catholic World Report told readers, “it was common [back then] for French families to place disabled children permanently in hospitals that were woefully ill-equipped to care for them.” That’s not something that de Gaulle and his family did. As de Gaulle put it, “God has given her to us. We must take responsibility for her, wherever she is and whatever she will be.” And so the family worked hard to make a place for Anne. While Yvonne worked on the logistics, Charles worked on the affection. You heard that right: the affection. Anne was the apple of his eye. As the article tells us, “The tall army officer infamous for his air of haughty disdain as leader of Free France during World War II and later as French President didn’t hesitate to unbend to play on the floor with Anne.” He sang to her, read her stories, and taught her how to pray. Every night, Anne would “painstakingly . . . repeat each word after her father.” In turn, de Gaulle would proudly tell his relatives that “she knows her prayers!” As Gregg tells readers, de Gaulle was well aware of how the Nazis treated children like Anne, and this, in turn, inspired his refusal to surrender to the Nazis. His “act of resistance” was a way of “safeguarding his defenseless daughter from those who viewed her as sub-human.” As he later said, “Without Anne, I could never perhaps have done what I did. She gave me the heart and the inspiration.” The contrast between de Gaulle and his successors in the Elysée Palace is almost too painful to contemplate. He refused to surrender to the Nazis to protect children with Down syndrome. After Anne’s death, he and his wife established a foundation, staffed by nuns, to care for people “who are not like the others.” De Gaulle was a complicated man—most great men are—but one of his complications was his Catholic faith that enabled him to love Anne. It was a love that, as Gregg put it, helped restore France’s honor, the same honor that was tarnished when, out of fear for hurting people’s feelings, it denied the humanity of the people de Gaulle worked tirelessly to save. To read Samuel Gregg’s outstanding article, “A Father’s Love: The Story of Charles and Anne,” please come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we’ll link you to it. Further Reading and Information France and Down Syndrome: The French Government Should Learn from Charles DeGaulle Read the touching account of Charles de Gaulle and his great affection for his daughter Anne, born with Down syndrome. The article, written by Dr. Samuel Gregg, is linked below.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
‘Adult’ is Not a Verb

May 16, 2017 - 00:00:00

There’s a new word touted by Webster that exposes a crisis in our culture of generational proportions. It’s been called a lot of things: “Peter Pan Syndrome” or my favorite, “failure to launch,” but whatever the term, the phenomenon is undeniable. A record number of young people today are getting stuck in the transition between childhood and adulthood. Despite attending college in record numbers, millennials seem to struggle to move on to the next phase of life. Just a decade ago, a healthy majority of young adults were able to successfully fledge. Now, those who’ve managed to leave the nest are a minority. Of course, the recession and a sluggish job market are factors. Millennials do have tougher career prospects than their parents did. But the economy isn’t the only explanation, and the language young people use to talk about adulthood makes that obvious. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse announced that Twitter had turned the noun “adult” into a verb. “#Adulting” is what kids post on social media to congratulate themselves for the rather ordinary feats of paying the bills, finishing the laundry, or just getting to work on time. “I adulted!” goes the saying, as if fulfilling daily responsibilities is somehow above and beyond the call of duty. “Adulting” has become so universally recognized that the American Dialect Society nominated it for the most creative word of 2015. “To a growing number of Americans,” writes Sasse, “acting like a grown-up seems like a kind of role-playing, a mode of behavior requiring humorous detachment.” This isn’t just the complaint of a crotchety old man about young whipper-snappers. What we’re witnessing today, insists the senator, is a trend toward “perpetual adolescence,”—a “coming-of-age crisis,” that shows up as a real and measurable reduction in the difference between 10-year-olds and 30-year-olds. But if our kids don’t know what it means to be adults, parents, we should be asking ourselves, are we teaching them? Isolation in peer groups of the same age, widespread complacency toward history and ethics, unbridled consumerism, and even those infamous participation trophies have all contributed to this crisis. We’ d do well to remember what C. S. Lewis wrote in “The Abolition of Man” of those who “remove the organ and demand the function,” who “make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise,” who “castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” Senator Sasse offers steps to reverse the trend of perpetual adolescence and to help kids from an early age understand the meaning of adulthood. Teach them the difference, he says, between a “need” and a “want,” embrace hard work together, travel meaningfully, and read widely. These are all important steps to forming mature citizens. And in our new book “A Practical Guide to Culture”, my co-author Brett Kunkle and I have a chapter entitled “Perpetual Adolescence and Castrated Geldings.” In it, we offer even more suggestions for helping teens grow up. Come to BreakPoint.org to find out how to get your copy. But the Senator’s most important suggestion? Older generations must start investing in the lives of young adults. Summarizing relevant research in 2013, The Boston Globe reported a staggering statistic: Only a quarter of Americans 60 and older had discussed anything important with anyone under 36 in the previous six months! Exclude relatives and that figure dropped to a mortifying 6 percent. How alien this would have sounded to the Apostle Paul, who in Titus 2 urges older men and older women to teach the younger. Only by connecting and investing in their lives can we reasonably expect our kids, our grandkids, and their peers to understand that “adult” is not something you do. It’s someone you are.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
The Hopeless World of “13 Reasons”

May 17, 2017 - 00:00:00

If you haven’t heard of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” I guarantee your teens have. Here’s what you need to know about it. Ten years ago, Jay Asher, a novelist specializing in Young Adult fiction, saw his novel about a high school student who commits suicide become what the New York Times called “a stealthy hit with surprising staying power.” The book eventually reached the top of the Times’ paperback best-seller list. And ten years later, that novel, “Thirteen Reasons Why,” was turned into a Netflix series and is a cultural phenomenon. If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve heard about the series. If you’re a parent in a place like Colorado Springs, where literally dozens of teenagers have committed suicide in recent years, you’re probably asking yourself whether the show will only make a bad situation worse. I’m not certain about the answer to that question. What I am certain about is that it most certainly won’t help. As my colleague Gina Dalfonzo wrote in her superb article at BreakPoint.org, while the creators thought that they were striking a blow against teen suicide, “the limited and flawed worldview they brought to it meant that they were deeply, dangerously wrong.” “13 Reasons Why” is set two weeks after a high school student named Hannah commits suicide. As Gina writes, “While her fellow students are still creating memorials and taking selfies in front of her locker, a bombshell drops on her friend Clay Jensen . . . A shoebox full of cassette recordings that Hannah created before her death is left with him—recordings addressed to 13 different people whom she says gave her reasons to kill herself.” Told in a combination of “flashbacks and present-day stories,” Hannah’s tale is set in a depiction of the high school experience that, in Gina’s words, “makes ‘Lord of the Flies’ look like ‘Gilligan’s Island.’ Drugs and alcohol flow freely, bullying and sexual assault are facts of life, an innocent photograph or a few whispers can wreck a reputation, and the person who’s your best friend today could turn on you tomorrow.” It’s an experience that leaves the viewer wondering “how anyone could survive.” The answer seems to be “you can’t, unless you’re a sociopath.” Where does this leave non-sociopaths? Certainly not with hope. As Gina points out, nothing presented onscreen gives any reason to believe that the “poisonous atmosphere” can, much less will, get better. Against this backdrop, Hannah’s carefully-orchestrated suicide-plus-audio-revenge seems like a viable option. In fact, and this is the key flaw of the series, she seems to wield a power in death that she never did in life. Except, of course, she doesn’t. In real life, the kind of sociopaths and jerks who tormented her in life aren’t going to be too put out by an audio-cassette from the beyond. It’s cutting off your nose to spite your face times infinity. The only person tormented is the one Hannah admired, Clay. And he’s left “haunted by the thought that Hannah died because he was ‘afraid to love her,’” an idea that owes more to the movies than to real-life. In any case, as Gina points out, neither Clay nor his classmates have any “concept of the kind of love that actually does save.” As Gina correctly concludes, “Troubled kids need and deserve better.” The National Association of School Psychologists agrees, having issued the following statement: “We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series. Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies.” Parents, we need to understand the impact that shows like this can have on our teens. And ultimately, we need to show our children what love really means—and where our hope in life truly lies.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Chuck Colson: What Is Truth? (Part II)

May 17, 2017 - 00:00:00

Part II of Chuck Colson's address “What Is Truth?”, delivered in 2003 at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary in San Francisco. Chuck talks about the power of worldview, and about truth and how we can know it.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Delaying Marriage and Parenthood

May 11, 2017 - 00:00:00

More and more Americans are delaying marriage and parenthood. Let’s talk about the consequences of “emerging adulthood.” Arguably the most consequential cultural shift of the past 50 years that too many people are unaware of is the rise of what demographers call “median age at first marriage.” Two simple numbers, one for men and the other for women, tell a great deal about where marriage and family rank among our culture’s priorities. In 1950, the median ages for first marriages were 22.8 years old for men and 20.3 years old for women. As late as 1970, the median ages were 23.2 for men and 20.8 for women. And then those ages started rising, and they’re still going up. The figures as of 2013: 29 and 27, respectively. What’s going on here? What does it mean? Those questions are raised in an important new study by the Census Bureau. The study, entitled “The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975–2016,” opens with a sobering conclusion: “What was once ubiquitous [for younger Americans’] during their 20s is now not commonplace until their 30s. Some demographers believe the delays represent a new period of the life course between childhood and adulthood, a period of ‘emerging adulthood.’” The “delays” referred to by the study are not only those involving marriage and child-rearing, but also other hallmarks associated with what we used to call “growing up.” As the report says, “In prior generations, young adults were expected to have finished school, found a job, and set up their own household during their 20s—most often with their spouse and with a child soon to follow.” Now we’ve previously talked here on BreakPoint about declining labor force participation, so let’s take a closer look at the “setting up their own household” part. Forty years ago, more than half—57 percent—of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 lived with their spouse; only 26 percent lived with their parents. Not anymore. Today, only 27 percent of that group live with their spouse; 31 percent live with their parents. Even if you add in the percentages of those living with unmarried partners or living alone, the number of 18-to-34-year-olds living independently is ten percentage points lower than the percentage of those living with their spouses just 40 years ago. What’s more, they don’t seem to be in any sort of hurry to establish their households, much less have children. While more than 95 percent of those surveyed rated completing your education and getting a job as “extremely” or “somewhat” important, less than half said the same thing about getting married and having a child, and three quarters of these only rated marriage and child-rearing as “somewhat important.” I repeat, this is consequential. One obvious consequence is demographic. Delaying marriage means fewer children, which in turn means fewer workers to support an aging American population. It’s not working out well for Japan and China, and it’s not going to work out well for us, either. Another consequence: fewer and smaller extended families. Fewer children will have cousins, and if trends continue, their children will have fewer aunts and uncles. The support and social capital generated by extended family networks will become a thing of the past. It’s fair to say that more and more of our elderly will become, by necessity, wards of the state. Now are all called to marriage? Scripture and Christian history tell us clearly not. In fact, my colleague Gina Dalfonzo is releasing a book in June called “One by One,” which reminds us how vital singles are to the life of the Church. We have info about that at BreakPoint.org. But for those not called to singleness, the command “be fruitful and multiply” is still in effect. It’s a command we ignore not only at our peril, but our future’s, as well.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Russia’s Crackdown on Religious Minorities

May 12, 2017 - 00:00:00

Hooray! We are finally focusing on religious liberty again—but let’s keep in mind it doesn’t stop at the water’s edge. After eight years of seeming neglect, it appears that protecting religious liberty is back on the nation’s agenda. Now folks can debate the strengths and weaknesses of President Trump’s new executive order, but at long last America’s first freedom is getting some long overdue recognition from the White House. During a May 5th ceremony in the Rose Garden, where I was actually privileged to be to witness it, Mr. Trump signed an executive order “promoting free speech and religious liberty” that instructs the Internal Revenue Service to “not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization” that endorses candidates. “We are giving churches their voices back,” Trump said. “This financial threat against the faith community is over.” It also instructs various departments to consider amending regulations in the Affordable Care Act requiring religious employers such as Wheaton College and the Little Sisters of the Poor to cover contraception in employee insurance plans. While we’ll have to see the effects of the President’s executive order, it is a beginning, and I appreciate his good words. The Founding Fathers knew how important religious freedom was to the success of the new Republic, and it is no less vital today. As John Witherspoon said, “There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage.” We cannot expect our society to continue to prosper if religious liberty is undermined. But if this is true about religious freedom at home, it’s true elsewhere, too. America has an interest in religious freedom around the globe, and we need to make it a bigger part of our foreign policy, for all God’s children. And we might as well start with Russia. Why Russia? According to the latest annual report of the State Department’s U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Russia’s ongoing persecution of religious minorities—including evangelicals—and of missionaries and evangelists over the last year has earned it a place for the first time among the world’s worst countries for religious liberty. That puts it alongside regimes like China, Iran, and North Korea. According to Christianity Today, Vladimir Putin’s government is persecuting religious minorities in the occupied areas of Crimea and Donbas and cracking down on “non-Orthodox Christians in its heartland,” too. As well, Russia’s Supreme Court has banned Jehovah’s Witnesses nationwide. CT also says, “Russian evangelicals, who make up less than 1 percent of the population, continue to push back against the restrictions, which have resulted in arrests, fines, and confiscated materials for Protestants found guilty. They have risked punishment to continue to spread the gospel.” That’s for sure! Sergey Rakhuba, president of Mission Eurasia and a former Moscow church planter, has told the magazine, “They say, ‘If it will come to it, it’s not going to stop us from worshiping and sharing our faith.’ “The Great Commission isn’t just for a time of freedom.” Amen! May we here in the West have the same kind of determination, whatever the government does. And let’s stand up for our brothers and sisters undergoing persecution in Russia and around the world. Let’s encourage the Trump administration to follow through on religious liberty not only here, but there, knowing that protecting freedom of conscience is not only good for the soul; it’s good national and foreign policy as well! Please come to BreakPoint.org and we’ll link you to organizations that support persecuted Christians and that promote religious liberty.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Comey, the Courts, and '13 Reasons Why'

May 13, 2017 - 00:00:00

This week, President Donald Trump set off quite a media frenzy by firing FBI director, James Comey, allegedly over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. The move also inspired fresh speculation about whether he colluded with Russia to undermine the November election, and drew comparisons between Trump and president Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. In light of the president’s encouraging judicial nominations to lower courts, our hosts suggest Christians cautiously recognize when our leaders accomplish good, but refrain from unconditionally defending them–even if they share our party affiliation. Our hosts also discuss the rise of teen suicide and the push for assisted suicide in the light of the controversial new Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why.”

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Canada, the “Right to Die,” and the Mentally Ill

May 10, 2017 - 00:00:00

We could have predicted this: Canada may extend the “right to die” to the mentally ill. It’s an evil idea. In 2015, Canada legalized physician-assisted suicide. We have talked about the Canadian decision several times on BreakPoint. In March, in fact, we talked about how many Canadian doctors who had originally indicated a willingness to be the “physician” in “physician-assisted suicide” were having second thoughts. Now, there’s a campaign to extend what Canada calls “physician assistance in dying” beyond the terminally ill to include the mentally ill. This comes as no surprise to those who have followed the trajectory of Belgian and Dutch laws, which have served as a model for the rest of the world. Not only is this a terrible idea, it’s also what’s to be expected if, as Wesley J. Smith told Fox News, “society broadly accepts the agenda of killing as an acceptable end to human suffering . . . We eliminate suffering by eliminating the sufferers.” But even if you don’t believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life, and even if you could rationalize physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill, extending this “right” to the mentally-ill is an idea that should be resisted at all costs. The reason why lies in how “mentally ill” is defined. The expression “mental illness” is a broad category that includes different psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and clinical depression, to name but a few. While these disorders are different in their symptoms and how they are treated, they share one vital characteristic: a disconnect between what the person’s mind says is true about, well, almost everything, and what is actually true. As a friend of mine has put it, “our minds can be terrible liars.” There’s a reason that arguably the greatest book ever written about living with mood disorders was entitled “An Unquiet Mind.” People who live with mental illness, especially bi-polar disorder, depression—as I do—and anxiety disorder, spend a lifetime reminding themselves that just because they think something—a “something” that nearly always portends evil, suffering, and despair—does not make it true. And that’s just the medical side. As 1 Peter tell us, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The “devouring” takes various forms, one of which is to make us miserable. How? By lying to us about, well, everything. The Adversary’s goal is to induce despair, which Thomas Aquinas defined as “ceasing to hope for a share of God’s goodness,” and make us call God a liar when He tells us in Psalm 34, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.” The distortions caused by mental illness, coupled with what Christians know about our Adversary, render the notion of consent in the Canadian proposal absurd. When you hear, “please let me die,” you can never be certain whose words you’re hearing: the person’s, the illness’s, or the Adversary’s. None of this is to deny that mental illness can be painful, even excruciating. Even for the devout Christian, it can seem like a dark wood from which there is no escape. But in virtually every instance, that, too, is a lie. The late James Cavanaugh, a Jesuit priest, once wrote that “If we could count the fears, both small or large, that once hounded us, and then thank God for each dreaded outcome never met, we would reach no end to gratitude.” The Canadian proposal, if adopted, ensures that vulnerable people will never know how wrong they could be and, thus, experience the gratitude Cavanaugh wrote about. All of which makes assisted suicide for the mentally ill a terrible idea based on a terrible lie.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Chuck Colson: Jesus the Logos

May 9, 2017 - 00:00:00

Chuck Colson talks about the fantastically enormous implications of Jesus as the Word of God—the Logos, the meaning of everything. Addressing members of Congress at his capitol Hill lecture series, Chuck presses home the point that in Jesus, all things hold together: the cosmos, our culture, our politics, even the strands of our DNA.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
The Seven Last Sayings of Jesus

Apr 10, 2017 - 00:00:00

Welcome to Holy Week. Today we offer reflections—and music—on the seven last sayings of Jesus. In 2012, the English poet Ruth Padel accepted a commission from Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra to write poems that would be read between the movements of Joseph Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross.” Writing about her experience two years later in The Guardian, Padel called her acceptance of the commission “rash.” Her father was a psychoanalyst, her mother was a great-grand-daughter of Darwin—what could she have to say on this subject? Well, that’s a good question. By her own admission, Padel had “no idea if what [she] did works theologically, but musicians find it OK to work with.” Thankfully, we don’t have to settle for “OK to work with.” In 1783, the Cathedral of Cadiz, Spain commissioned the great composer Joseph Haydn to write a musical setting for what are known as the “Seven Last Words (or Sayings)” of Jesus on the cross. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the “Seven Last Words,” they are “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do;” “Today you will be with me in Paradise;” “Behold your son/Behold your mother;” “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” “I thirst;” “It is finished;” and finally, “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.” Haydn’s opus consists of nine parts: an introduction, followed by a musical meditation on each of the seven sayings, and then completed by a section entitled “Il Terremoto,” which is “earthquake” in both Italian and Spanish. Il Terremoto, of course, refers to the earth quaking in Matthew 27 when Christ “yielded his spirit” and died. At the original performance at Cadiz Cathedral, the Bishop spoke one of the sayings of Jesus, “delivered a discourse thereon,” and this was followed by Haydn’s musical meditation on the words. Since Haydn never specified what, if anything, should be said between movements, subsequent performers have felt free to add, or not add, whatever was “OK to work with.” But, as the Vermeer Quartet learned, paying heed to what works theologically is the way to go. In 1988, they won a Grammy nomination for their performance, which featured excerpts of sermons by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Billy Graham between movements. The recording came about because music-only performances left them with the “polite applause of a worn-out audience.” So, they decided to “restore Haydn’s work to its original sacred setting.” The experience was “transforming.” As the quartet’s violinist told the New York Times, “Though we knew the music so very well . . . we had never before been obliged to relate it in its intended context.” Haydn, who typically began his manuscripts with the phrase “in nomine Domini,” “in the name of the Lord,” and ended them with “Laus Deo,” “praise be to God,” would, no doubt, approve. I think you will, too. Here is a brief excerpt from “Terremoto,” Haydn’s musical setting of the earthquake that left no mistake that something earth-shattering happened that first Good Friday. Now, before I leave you today, I want to urge you to download a special booklet that the Colson Center has prepared in anticipation of Good Friday and Easter—a series of meditations on the seven last sayings of Christ. It’s free, and it’s at BreakPoint.org.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Planet Earth II

Apr 11, 2017 - 00:00:00

Imagine gazing at Michelangelo’s David, and someone beside you praises the statue for having carved itself. That’s how I felt watching the BBC’s “Planet Earth II.” Just over ten years ago, BBC stunned viewers with one of the most spectacular presentations of the natural world ever captured on camera. The term “nature documentary” does not do justice to the original “Planet Earth” series. It’s better described as a reintroduction to the world that we call home in all of its awe-inspiring diversity and beauty. Well, believe it or not, the BBC has outdone itself with the sequel series, which premiered earlier this year and has just finished its first season. Shot over more than 2,000 days in 40 different locations, “Planet Earth II” revisits what made the original so memorable while infusing what Jordan Passman at Forbes calls a sense of “childlike wonder.” As before, audiences are taken on another sweeping tour of our planet’s ecosystems, only more intimate, closer-up, and somehow even more real. Thanks to new, remote camera technology shooting at ultra-high definitions and frame-rates, viewers enjoy eye-popping detail, often shown in slow-motion like an instant replay in football. That’s to say nothing of the stars of the show: bears dancing against trees, iguanas chased by snakes, dolphins swimming through submerged forests, eagles skydiving down mountains, lions battling giraffes, and dozens of tinier, less conspicuous dramas that have seldom ever been filmed. Add in a phenomenal score composed by Hans Zimmer and some of the best sound design in documentary history, and every hair on your body will be giving a standing ovation. But there is something about “Planet Earth II” that bothered me. All throughout, the writers use language that ascribes agency and forethought to animals and plants. This frog “discovered a way to avoid wasps by becoming transparent,” these hummingbirds have “traded convenience for longer beaks,” this jaguar, sloth, penguin, or bat has “found” a unique solution to the challenges of its environment. More oddly still, host David Attenborough frequently credits nature itself with a godlike intelligence and intentionality, as if features of animals and plants that make them uniquely suited to their habitats were solutions that nature thought up in her armchair. There’s almost religious reverence and wonder spilling from every scene, as if the producers themselves know that a greater purpose lies behind the beauty of the things they see—as if they know that all of this living magnificence is more than the result of time, chance, and natural selection, but have no One else to credit. The first doctrine of Christianity is that God exists and is the Creator of everything else. “In the beginning,” opens Genesis, “God created the heavens and earth.” Throughout Scripture, whether in Psalms, Job, the Sermon on the Mount, or the first chapter of Romans, the inspired writers point to the wonder of creation as much more than a goosebump-inducing experience. It is revelation—a message from the Creator. Paul teaches that God’s invisible attributes are so clearly evident in creation that all of humanity is “without excuse” before Him. Theologians from Augustine to Aquinas to Calvin have taught that God’s general revelation, distinct from His special revelation in Scripture and in Christ, exists in nature in such abundance and clarity that it is sufficient to render us accountable before Him. In other words, we know there’s a Creator. Anyone who has seen His creation knows it! As a feast for the senses, I can’t recommend “Planet Earth II” highly enough. But as an articulation of a worldview, it’s strikingly dissonant. In the face of so much majesty and order that cries out in testament to a Designer, modern man offers only empty personification, as if creation created itself. Despite of all that’s possible because of the BBC’s advanced camera equipment, they’ve still missed the revelation that’s right in front of their eyes.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
John Stonestreet: Faith . . . Personal, not Private

Apr 11, 2017 - 00:00:00

John reflects on the very public nature of Christian revelation and faith, especially as seen in the life of Jesus and the events of Holy Week.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
The Assisted Suicide Freight Train Hits the Brakes

Apr 12, 2017 - 00:00:00

A funny thing happened on the way to our supposed brave new world of assisted suicide. Proponents of assisted suicide would have us believe that legalized killing is an unstoppable freight train and that those who oppose it are going to get run over. And no wonder. Last year Colorado and the District of Columbia legalized it, while California enacted a bill that had been passed in 2015. They joined Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Montana where this great evil is now legal. That’s why I’m very pleased to tell you that reports of the demise of a culture of life have been, to borrow a phrase, greatly exaggerated. We’re starting to win again. No, this doesn’t mean we can relax, but it’s really good news—and frankly, we could use some. Bills to legalize euthanasia “have done very poorly” in 2017, Rita Marker, executive director of the Patients Rights Council, told Baptist Press. “That has been a shock to those who are in favor of it because they thought that all of [a] sudden the dam had burst and everything would happen for them.” So far, that has not happened. Bills to advance the idea that some lives aren’t worth living have gone down to defeat in Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Tennessee. Also in New Mexico, the state senate voted 22-20 against a bill to legalize assisted suicide for people expected to die within six months. It was a bipartisan vote, with 7 Democrats joining 15 Republicans. Similar bills stalled in Hawaii, Maryland, Utah, and Wyoming, Marker said, although it’s always possible they could be brought back. In Hawaii, a House of Representatives committee unanimously decided not to advance a proposal allowing physicians to prescribe lethal drugs on the same day a patient is diagnosed as terminally ill. Eva Andrade of the Hawaii Family Forum said that Hawaiians should “say a prayer of thanksgiving” while remaining vigilant—because when it comes to assisted suicide bills, death is never final. “Although this may seem like the battle is over, please be advised that the battle is not over until the last day of session,” Andrade said. “And even then, the bill is still alive for next session. Even now, proponents are most likely regrouping.” Dauneen Dolce, executive director of the Right to Life Committee of New Mexico, told the American Family Association that assisted suicide legislation likely will be introduced next year. Therefore, she said, those opposing the culture of death must remain “actively involved in some way,” by “educating yourself, or giving support to the organizations that are educating others, or [being] involved in the political arena. If you don’t do that,” she added, “you are handing over our state [and] our laws, and the culture of death will come to us—and that’ll be from apathy.” The job is immense. According to a 2016 survey by LifeWay Research, 67 percent of Americans say it is morally acceptable for terminally ill patients to ask their physicians to help them end their lives. We must not only work to change—or block—laws in the political and legislative realms. We must also work—and pray—to change hearts and minds in our neighborhoods, in our social and work circles, and across society. Apparently most Americans see pain and suffering as the ultimate evil and personal autonomy as the highest good. What I can only call this “sub-Christian worldview” completely misses the truth that God can and often does use the things we’d rather avoid in our lives—even at the end of life—to draw us closer to Himself. Remember, when it comes to assisted suicide, apathy is deadly. So let’s educate our fellow Americans about the beauty and dignity of life, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Remember as well: “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Come to BreakPoint.org for resources on the evil of assisted suicide.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Jesus, the Last Adam

Apr 13, 2017 - 00:00:00

What do the first man and Jesus Christ have in common? Well, the writers of the New Testament tell an exciting story for you, and for the whole world. Sally Lloyd-Jones’s “Jesus Storybook Bible” is a favorite in my house for a lot of reasons. But the best part may be the prologue. In it, Jones explains that although the Bible contains laws for moral living, it’s not mainly a book of rules. And although it tells of great men and women of God, it’s not a book of heroes, either. Rather, it’s a story about one Hero in particular. As Jones puts it, every story in the Bible whispers this Hero’s name. And there’s no time of year when that is more clear, though many of us miss it, than at Holy Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday, running through today (Maundy Thursday), Good Friday, and finally, Easter Sunday, we have the benefit of seeing not only Jesus’ story unfold, but of seeing the culmination of the whole story of Scripture itself. This was a benefit the Disciples didn’t have. For Christ’s first followers, His words at the Last Supper, His arrest, His trial, and crucifixion were a bewildering defeat. It was only in retrospect, when Jesus opened the Scripture to them, first on the road to Emmaus and later in the upper room, that they understood, and even then, not fully! Only after Christ’s ascension could a restored Peter stand before Jerusalem and proclaim the punch line of Holy Week: “Let all of the house of Israel therefore know assuredly,” he said, “that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.” The rest of the New Testament shows how the Holy Spirit continued to reveal Christ’s presence throughout all of Scripture. Paul, for example, sees Jesus in the Bible’s very first chapters, calling Him “the Last Adam,” and contrasts the two men as heads of the human race. One failed and brought death on all His descendants. The other was faithful, bringing life through His death and resurrection. And if we take the time to read Scripture more carefully, we see how deeply the parallels run. The ways in which Jesus is similar to, and yet better than Adam, are astonishing: The first Adam yielded to temptation in a garden. The Last Adam beat temptation in a garden. The first man, Adam, sought to become like God. The Last Adam was God who became a man. The first Adam was naked and received clothes. The Last Adam had clothes but was stripped. The first Adam tasted death from a tree. The Last Adam tasted death on a tree. The first Adam hid from the face of God, while the Last Adam begged God not to hide His face. The first Adam blamed his bride, while the Last Adam took the blame for His bride. The first Adam earned thorns. The Last Adam wore thorns. The first Adam gained a wife when God opened man’s side, but the Last Adam gained a wife when man opened God’s side. The first Adam brought a curse. The Last Adam became a curse. While the first Adam fell by listening when the Serpent said “take and eat,” the Last Adam told His followers, “take and eat, this is my body.” We celebrate this last event today—Jesus’ final meal with His Disciples, and His new command that we “love one another.” In giving Christians this meal, He sealed His role as Adam’s replacement. Do you remember how, when Mary Magdalene saw the risen Christ, she mistook Him for a gardener? Through His body and blood, the Last Adam restored what the Forbidden Fruit destroyed, inviting us back to a restored Garden-City in the New Heavens and Earth, where the tree of life grows around the throne of God, free for the taking. That’s what His story, our story, the story—and this week—are all about. Good Friday is tomorrow, and it’s easy to rush through this dark reminder of our sin, and look forward to Easter. But please, stay here a while. The only way to Sunday is through this week, and the events and the words Jesus spoke before His death are worthy of our reflection. To help you, your family, and your small group drink deeply of these precious words, my colleagues and I at the Colson Center have put together a PDF booklet of reflections on the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross. Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we’ll tell you how you can get a free copy of it.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
"I Thirst"

Apr 14, 2017 - 00:00:00

Today, on Good Friday, we remember, honor, and reflect on the God who entered the world of human suffering on our behalf. “I thirst.” Only John’s Gospel records these words. They were uttered by Jesus, we’re told, not as a guttural physical response, but with intention: “Knowing that all was now finished,” Jesus said, “I thirst” in order to fulfill the Scriptures (John 19:28). And yet, we ought not think these words are manufactured or insincere either. Earlier in his ministry, Jesus had, on the last great day of the Feast of Tabernacles, “stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’.” (John 7:37). “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). And now, on the cross, He who said these words was Himself thirsty. Why are we told this? Why is the fact that Jesus thirsted important? The world changed on All Saints Day in 1755. In Lisbon, Portugal, a ten-minute earthquake, followed by a tsunami and fires, killed an estimated 60,000 people, many crushed by collapsing churches where they had gathered to celebrate that Christian holy day. According to moral philosopher Susan Neiman, for many Western intellectuals this incident of natural evil proved that God could no longer be trusted. The French philosopher Voltaire offered scathing words in a poem: “Are you then sure,” he wrote, “the power which would create The universe and fix the laws of fate, Could not have found for man a proper place, But earthquakes must destroy the human race?” And so in the modern era, trust moved from God to man. And it seemed to work: the next few centuries were marked by technological advances, scientific progress, and scholarly criticism of the Bible. However, the peak of modernism was the 20th century, which revealed that trust in man was badly misplaced: the mechanized slaughter of millions in two world wars, Communism, Auschwitz, and the threat of nuclear annihilation. So where do we turn now if we can’t trust God or man? The cross directly addresses this world of moral and natural evil: As the prophet Isaiah foretold, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Is 53:5). The cross proves that God is not aloof from human suffering as Voltaire had imagined, nor will human evil have the final say. Our God once thirsted, like we do. He bled, as we do, in this existence of fallen people and a fallen world. In Christ, God entered the world of human suffering, suffered Himself, defeated suffering and now has the scars to prove it. Nearly two centuries after Voltaire, theologian Edward Shillito, offered a poem with a very different take on the suffering we experience. Here are two stanzas of that poem: “If we have never sought, we seek Thee now; Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars; We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow; We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars. . . “The other gods were strong, but Thou wast weak; They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne; But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak, And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.” Today on Good Friday, we remember, we worship and proclaim this God, Jesus of the scars. To Him be all glory and praise forever and ever. Amen. And before I leave you today, I want to invite you to come to BreakPoint.org for a free pdf that the Colson Center team has prepared on the seven last sayings of Christ from the cross. It’s a beautiful booklet, with reflections from our team and sacred art to help you reflect this Easter season on what Jesus suffered and said for our benefit. Again, it’s at BreakPoint.org.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Putin, Gorsuch, and Holy Week

Apr 14, 2017 - 00:00:00

Ed and John discuss the changing relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, Justice Gorsuch and "the nuclear option," the success of "The Case for Christ" movie, and the implications of Holy Week.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Putin, Gorsuch, and Holy Week

Apr 15, 2017 - 00:00:00

With rising tensions between Russia and the United States over the events in Syria and the contentious confirmation of a new Supreme Court justice here at home, it’s easy to get distracted from the commemoration of what Jesus accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection. Our hosts on BreakPoint This Week review the major news of the last few days from a Christian perspective, but remind listeners that the greatest news is over two-thousand years old: Jesus took the suffering and sin of this world onto His shoulders and triumphed over Satan, Hell, and the grave. Be sure to take advantage of the resources linked below, especially the Colson Center’s free worldview reflection on the last seven sayings of Jesus from the cross.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
The Power of Names

Apr 17, 2017 - 00:00:00

The British government asked the public for help in naming a new ship. The name the people chose really rocked the boat. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Voters offered up a few dignified suggestions: The David Attenborough, named for the famous naturalist; The Shackleton, for a polar explorer. Others thought “The Endeavour” was a nice choice. A few voters offered up names that—how shall I put this—did not quite reflect the grandeur of a ship devoted to important research. Suggestions included “What Iceberg?” “It’s Bloody Cold Here,” and “Big Metal Floaty Thingy-Thing.” But BBC employee, James Hand came up with a name that really blew the contest out of the water: “Boaty McBoatface.” The name quickly caught on. More than 30,000 people voted for “Boaty McBoatface.” Their enthusiasm caused the Research Council’s website to crash. Although the Council said it was “delighted by the enthusiasm and creativity” of the British public, it decided to name the ship “The Royal Research Ship David Attenborough” instead. The “Boaty McBoatface” kerfuffle is a reminder to Christians that names matter—not only for ships, but also for children. Long ago in the journal First Things, the late Richard John Neuhaus noted a trend in baby names: Boys were given serious names like David, Matthew, or Christopher. But girls were often given “cute, toy-like names,” or the names of popular film stars. What these names are telling people, Neuhaus writes, is that “girls are cute, boys are for real.” This is not a message Christian parents ought to send about their daughters. In choosing a name, Neuhaus said, “We say something about what we hope the child will grow up to be.” Many Christians look to the Bible for ideas; they choose names like Esther, after the brave young woman who saved her people, or Ruth, who demonstrated such love for her mother-in-law. Other parents choose names like Faith, Charity, or Joy, in the hope that their daughters will embody these characteristics. Yet other parents honor relatives who have lived honorable lives. A first name is the first gift we give our children, and one of the most important. Scripture makes clear that names, and their meanings, have great significance. God Himself chose names for Jesus, Jacob, and Abraham. The names of other biblical characters have a special meaning. For instance, the name Job means “persecuted.” Adam named his wife Eve, which means, “the mother of all living,” because God had told them she would bear children. As Amy and Leon Kass write in First Things, our names are more than “arbitrary and conventional handles that serve simply to . . . pick us out of a crowd.” They suggest that our names, “like those given by God, have power to shape our lives.” Indeed, some researchers suggest that the right name for a child can mean greater success in life. In other words, names mean something. It’s why the U.S. Navy chooses names for ships that honor heroic people, like “The Sullivans,” five brothers who died for their country during World War II. The importance of names is why the British government refused to give a silly moniker like “Boaty McBoatface” to an important ship. Now, the Environmental Research Council did throw those disappointed “Boaty McBoatface” fans a bone: It recently gave the name to a robot submarine. It’s painted yellow, which ought to please Beatles fans, as well. What’s in a name? It may be true that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet—but the right name can make all the difference as we plough the seas of life.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Second Chance Month

Apr 18, 2017 - 00:00:00

You’re listening to BreakPoint thanks to a few Christians who once gave an ex-prisoner a second chance. Some 2.3 million Americans are behind bars. That’s more than any other nation in the world, in absolute terms and as a percentage of the population. The U.S., which has five percent of the world’s population, contains nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. By some estimates, the number of Americans “under penal supervision . . . even rivals the number of Russians in the gulag under Stalin.” What’s more, the explosion in prison populations continued even after crime rates took a nose-dive starting twenty years ago. Making matters worse, the punishment doesn’t end when people leave prison. For many, their so-called “debt to society” can never be paid in full. By some estimates, there are 48,000 laws adversely affecting people with a criminal record. Many of them are applied automatically without consideration of “public safety, the seriousness of the offense, the time passed since the offense, or the individual’s efforts to make amends or earn back the public’s trust.” This scarlet “O” for “offender” includes “an inability to regain voting rights, volunteer in the community, and secure housing, admission to institutions of higher education, and employment.” That’s why Prison Fellowship and a coalition of more than 60 Christian and secular organizations have declared April 2017 to be “Second Chance Month.” The goal is “to remove unnecessary legal and societal barriers that prevent individuals with a criminal record from becoming productive members of society.” Lawmakers are also taking up the cause. U.S. Senator Portman of Ohio has and co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle have introduced a resolution declaring April as Second Chance Month. If there ever was an effort that deserved the support of Christians everywhere, it is “Second Chance Month.” If you’re hearing my voice, it’s because Christians, many of whom had been his political enemies, gave Chuck Colson a second chance. They believed in God’s power to transform the human heart. And that, for Christians, forgiveness and mercy are not optional. Chuck, in turn, freely gave what he had freely been given. The most visible sign of this was, of course, Prison Fellowship. But he also devoted much of his life to trying to make life better for men and women once they got out of prison. Chuck believed in the government’s God-ordained role of preserving order and promoting public safety. But he never confused that with the punitive impulse that has dominated our criminal justice system. He knew the difference between being tough on crime in a smart way and piling on excessive penalties to score political points. Better than anyone, Chuck knew the odds against prisoners once they were released. He knew that the key to beating the odds was the combination of spiritual transformation and a supportive community, including familial reconciliation. He would have regarded the kind of measures that made it harder for people with criminal records to pursue higher education and find gainful employment, and negatively affected the well-being of their children and families,” as well, frankly, stupid. While we’re already half-way through Second Chance Month, it’s never too late to educate yourself, your church, and friends on the obstacles former prisoners face when returning to society. Come to BreakPoint.org, and we’ll link you to resources to promote Second Chance Month, including a toolkit for churches interested in hosting a Second Chance Sunday and graphics and hashtags you can use on your own social media platforms. We will also have information on how your church can support successful re-entry, and of course, get involved in the amazing in-prison ministry of Prison Fellowship. Again, that’s at BreakPoint.org.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
John Stonestreet: Faith . . . Personal, not Private (Part II)

Apr 18, 2017 - 00:00:00

Part II of John Stonestreet's talk about the very public events of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Peter Singer Defends Abuse

Apr 19, 2017 - 00:00:00

We say it often: ideas have consequences; bad ideas have victims. And a certain, consistent Princeton bioethicist continues to show just how true that is. How do we know what’s right? Great minds have wrestled with that question for much of history. Is it doing our duty regardless of the consequences? Is it doing whatever a virtuous person would do? Is it doing what brings the most happiness to the most people? That last option—the greatest good for the greatest number—is the basic premise behind an ethical theory called “utilitarianism,” whose main champion today is Princeton Professor Peter Singer. In his book, “Practical Ethics,” he presses this logic to chilling, yet consistent, conclusions, arguing, for example, that killing babies who are born disabled is not only acceptable, but may be morally necessary. Why? Singer believes the happiness of able-bodied persons trumps the rights of those with disabilities. Such beliefs are horrifying enough in the classroom, but they rarely stay there. Enter Rutgers ethicist Anna Stubblefield, who, in 2015, was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to twelve years in prison. Her victim, a thirty-year-old man with cerebral palsy, identified as “D.J.,” has never spoken a word in his life, and is dependent on caregivers for his basic needs. Using a controversial technique known as “facilitated communication,” Stubblefield claims she helped D.J. break his lifelong silence by supporting his hands as he typed on a keyboard. Eventually, D.J.’s family came to believe he had the mental capacity of an adult, and even enrolled him in college courses. Then Stubblefield made an announcement to D.J.’s family that changed everything: “We’re in love.” Believing she had received D.J.’s consent via facilitated communication, the married Stubblefield consummated a romantic relationship with this disabled man. A New Jersey jury decided that the act constituted sexual assault. In response, in a recent op-ed at the New York Times, Peter Singer and Jeff McMahan argue that Stubblefield’s 12-year sentence is too harsh and that D.J. was capable of more communication than the judge or jury give him credit for. But their next argument is truly horrifying. “If we assume,” they write, “that he is profoundly cognitively impaired, we should concede that he cannot understand the normal significance of sexual relations between persons or the meaning and significance of sexual violation. In that case, he is incapable of giving or withholding informed consent…” They go on to claim that D.J. probably enjoyed the experience, so it wasn’t that monstrous of a crime. In other words, because those with profound disabilities can’t fully comprehend what’s happening, assaulting them isn’t the same as assaulting a person in possession of full mental faculties. Now, let me be clear: this reasoning is fully consistent with Singer’s utilitarian ethics, which teaches that net happiness—not objective concepts like human rights, dignity, or duty—is the standard of right and wrong. And this story shows why ideas like this are so much more than academic debates. Utilitarian reasoning justifies all numbers of atrocities, from experimenting on prisoners in order to advance medicine, to harvesting vulnerable people’s organs to help others. In fact, this logic has been used to justify eugenics and forced sterilization, and is used today to defend abortion and euthanasia. In contrast, Christianity teaches the intrinsic and equal value of every human person, regardless of physical or mental abilities. This idea, rooted in the image of God, means that a man with disabilities who’s never spoken a word is no less valuable than a university professor like Singer. And crimes against him are no less reprehensible. Again, ideas matter. They have consequences. And bad ideas have victims. That’s why I care about this whole worldview thing, and that’s why we’ve got to speak out against the moral reasoning of thinkers like Singer. Because the ones who will pay the highest price often can’t speak for themselves.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
No Sin, No Forgiveness, Either

Apr 20, 2017 - 00:00:00

So, traditional morality is out, and freedom of everything is in. Then why does everybody feel so guilty? In 1966, Time Magazine infamously posed the question “Is God Dead?” on its cover. Recently, it ran the same cover, only with the word “Truth” instead of God. The literal answer to both questions is, of course, “no.” But both questions point to an issue that has haunted the West for more than a century: How do you justify morality in a society that increasingly lives as if there was no one to hold them accountable and define the difference between good and evil, truth and falsehood? Ironically, while we’ve reached the point where we’ve effectively cut the legs out from beneath the idea of sin, we are still very much in the thrall of guilt. That was the subject of a recent column by David Brooks in the New York Times entitled “The Strange Persistence of Guilt,” which, in turn, was inspired by an article of the same name by Wilfred McClay in the Hedgehog Review. And here’s what makes the persistence of guilt “strange”: The dominant worldviews of our age, as Alasdair MacIntyre wrote in “After Virtue,” have turned beliefs about right and wrong, good and evil, into little more than expressions of feelings. They should have freed us from feelings of guilt. And yet we still feel guilty. Instead of the easy-going relativism that should logically follow from believing that right and wrong, guilt and innocence, are a matter of feelings, we live in what Brooks calls “an age of great moral pressure.” We may “lack the words to articulate it,” and “religion may be in retreat, but guilt seems as powerfully present as ever.” Thus, as McClay writes, “Whatever donation I make to a charitable organization, it can never be as much as I could have given. I can never diminish my carbon footprint enough, or give to the poor enough . . . Colonialism, slavery, structural poverty, water pollution, deforestation—there’s an endless list of items for which you and I can take the rap.” If we are tough on ourselves, we are merciless toward others. In Brooks’ words, “society has become a free-form demolition derby of moral confrontation,” such as “the cold-eyed fanaticism of students at Middlebury College and other campuses nationwide.” This “strange persistence” of guilt leaves contemporary Westerners living in the worst of all possible worlds. Secularism and relativism have not liberated them from the need to “feel morally justified,” nor has it freed them from feelings of guilt. What it has done is to deprive people of the means to do anything meaningful about their sense of guilt. As Brook says “we have no clear framework or set of rituals to guide us in our quest for goodness. Worse, people have a sense of guilt and sin, but no longer a sense that they live in a loving universe marked by divine mercy, grace and forgiveness. There is sin but no formula for redemption.” That’s because if there were true forgiveness and redemption, there would have to be an acknowledgement that there was something that needed to be forgiven and something about us that needs to be redeemed. At this point, I’m left thinking about the passage from Matthew, where we’re told that when Jesus “saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Brooks ends by saying that what people need is more “than the cheap grace of instant forgiveness.” They need a way to prevent the “private guilt everybody feels” from being “transmuted into a public state of perpetual moral war.” And they need a personal introduction—or re-introduction—to the Good Shepherd who has already shown how far He will go to love and forgive them.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Remembering Chuck Colson's New Life in Christ

Apr 21, 2017 - 00:00:00

Eric Metaxas: It is impossible for me to overstate the influence Chuck Colson had on my life and on the lives of millions: from the prisoners he visited to the listeners of this radio program. And I miss him so badly. So today, on the fifth anniversary of his death, I’d like you to hear the story of Chuck’s birth: That is, his re-birth in Jesus Christ. And I’d like you to hear it from him. Here’s Chuck, talking about the thirtieth anniversary of his conversion. Thirty years ago today, I visited Tom Phillips, president of the Raytheon Company, at his home outside of Boston. I had represented Raytheon before going to the White House, and I was about to start again. But I visited him for another reason as well. I knew Tom had become a Christian, and he seemed so different. I wanted to ask him what had happened. That night he read to me from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, particularly a chapter about the great sin that is pride. A proud man is always walking through life looking down on other people and other things, said Lewis. As a result, he cannot see something above himself immeasurably superior — God. Tom, that night, told me about encountering Christ in his own life. He didn’t realize it, but I was in the depths of deep despair over Watergate, watching the president I had helped for four years flounder in office. I had also heard that I might become a target of the investigation as well. In short, my world was collapsing. That night, as Tom was telling me about Jesus, I listened attentively, but didn’t let on about my need. When he offered to pray, I thanked him but said, no, I would see him sometime after I had read C. S. Lewis’s book. But when I got in the car that night, I couldn’t drive it out of the driveway. Ex-Marine captain, White House tough guy, I was crying too hard, calling out to God. I didn’t know what to say; I just knew I needed Jesus, and He came into my life. That was thirty years ago. I’ve been reflecting of late on the things God has done over that time. As I think about my life, the beginning of the prison ministry, our work in the justice area, our international ministry that reaches one hundred countries, and the work of the Wilberforce Forum and BreakPoint, I have come to appreciate the doctrine of providence. It’s not the world’s idea of fate or luck, but the reality of God’s divine intervention. He orchestrates the lives of His children to accomplish His good purposes. God has certainly ordered my steps. I couldn’t have imagined when I was in prison that I would someday go back to the White House with ex-offenders as I did on June 18 — or that we would be running prisons that have an 8 percent recidivism rate — or that BreakPoint would be heard daily on one thousand radio outlets across the United States and on the Internet. The truth that is uppermost in my mind today is that God isn’t finished. As long as we’re alive, He’s at work in our lives. We can live lives of obedience in any field because God providentially arranges the circumstances of our lives to achieve His objectives. And that leads to the greatest joy I’ve found in life. As I look back on my life, it’s not having been to Buckingham Palace to receive the Templeton Prize, or getting honorary degrees, or writing books. The greatest joy is to see how God has used my life to touch the lives of others, people hurting and in need. It has been a long time since the dark days of Watergate. I’m still astounded that God would take someone who was infamous in the Watergate scandal, and soon to be a convicted felon, and take him into His family and then order his steps in the way He has with me. God touched me at that moment in Tom Phillip’s driveway, and thirty years later, His love and kindness touch and astound me still.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Chuck Colson, Christian Worldview, and Religious Freedom

Apr 21, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed remember the impact of Chuck Colson, who died five years ago this weekend. They also discuss Christian worldview and the "post-truth" era and the Trinity Lutheran religious freedom case before the Supreme Court.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Know the Truth, Know the Culture

Apr 24, 2017 - 00:00:00

You’re a Christian. You sense God has more for you. You want to go deeper. You want to make a difference. I meet folks all the time who sense that things have changed. What Francis Schaeffer and Chuck Colson once called “a post-Christian” culture has become a “post-Christian-and-darn-proud-of-it” culture. Living out your faith is, well, difficult these days. And it’s frustrating. Yet here we are. We, like every other generation of Christ followers, are still called to share our faith in this cultural moment. We’re still called to live our faith out in our communities, places of work, neighborhoods, etc. But how do we do this? The most important thing, Chuck Colson believed, was to be equipped in Christian worldview, with the ability to communicate it in what he sometimes called “prudential language.” Here’s Chuck describing what that means. While we have to be immersed in scripture and understand it fully, we also have to know when and how to use it in public discourse. Let me give you an example. G. K. Chesterton, the famous British writer, was once invited to a meeting of the leading intellectuals in England. They were asked if they were shipwrecked on an island, what would be the one book they would want to have with them. Everybody expected Chesterton, a prominent Christian, to say “the Bible.” When it came his turn to speak, however, Chesterton said that if he were shipwrecked on a desert island, he’d like to have “Thomas’s Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.” The point is that oftentimes we need to understand things that aren’t covered in the Bible. And we need to understand things that help us apply biblical teaching to all of life. This is why I teach biblical worldview. A man once told Oswald Chambers that he read only the Bible. Listen to what Chambers said: “My strong advice to you is to soak, soak, soak in philosophy and psychology, until you know more of these subjects than ever you need consciously to think. It is ignorance of these subjects on the part of ministers and workers that has brought our evangelical theology to such a sorry plight…The man who reads only the Bible does not, as a rule, know it or human life.” And when it comes to making a biblical case on any hot topic—taxes, the deficit, homosexuality, whatever—we need to understand the issue and how to make that case in a way that is accessible to believers and non-believers alike. The sad fact is that today, starting a conversation with “the Bible says” will often cause the listener to stop listening. So what you do is make arguments based on what the Reformers called common grace, or what historically has been known as natural law. This is what Paul did when he gave his famous sermon at Mars Hill, his first foray into the Greek culture. He quoted Greek poets; he referred to Greek artifacts. He thoroughly engaged their culture. And then he used their beliefs to lead directly into the gospel. This is why we’ve got to study biblical worldview, to compare how the Bible works out in life versus how other systems of thought do. I assure you: You will see that the biblical way is the only way to make sense of the world, to live rationally in the world, and eventually, your friends will see this as well. That vision led Chuck to start an exclusive nine-month training program for Christians that is now known as the Colson Fellows. The program is intense: reading the best worldview books, participating in teleconferences with top Christian leaders, and attending three in-person residencies with the best worldview teachers in the country. Now it’s not for everyone, but if your heart is being tugged to go deeper in the way that Chuck described, it may be for you. The next class of Colson Fellows will begin their study near the end of the summer, and the deadline to apply is May 15. Visit ColsonFellows.org to learn more.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Liberalism in a Lab Coat

Apr 25, 2017 - 00:00:00

It seems every weekend brings a march for one cause or another in D.C. Last weekend, folks marched for science. Or did they? In his preface to “Mere Christianity,” C. S. Lewis explains what happens when words lose their original meaning. Take the word “gentleman.” Once upon a time, Lewis writes, a gentleman was “one who had a coat of arms and some landed property. When you called someone ‘a gentleman,’ you were not paying him a compliment, but merely stating a fact.” Gradually, however, “gentleman” evolved into just that—a compliment. A true gentleman was no longer someone who met the objective qualifications, but a person whom the speaker liked. Thus, concludes Lewis, “gentleman” became a useless word. I think another important word is undergoing this same redefinition. That word, alas, is science. There was a time when “science” meant the systematic pursuit of knowledge through experimentation and observation. But it’s rapidly becoming a synonym for progressive politics and materialist philosophy. To be labeled a “science-denier” in 2017 often just means you’ve upset someone who insists on teaching strict, Darwinian orthodoxy in schools, or who advocates particular climate legislation, or who supports ethically fraught research on embryos. In contrast, being “pro-science” has become a shibboleth for supporting progressive ideology. Think of a recent ad by National Geographic with the caption, “Stand behind the facts. Stand with science. Stand for the planet.” But just weeks prior, National Geographic had run a cover depicting a nine-year-old boy dressed as a girl. Because, as we know, they stand with science. But if there were ever going to be a ceremony inaugurating this new and useless definition of science, it’s got to be last weekend’s “March for Science” in the nation’s capital, co-chaired by Bill Nye, “the science guy.” Nye, a children’s TV host from the nineties with no formal training as a scientist, has recaptured the spotlight with his videos on climate change, abortion, women’s rights, and other topics. To say his arguments in some of these videos are embarrassing is being kind. For instance, in one odd and rambling speech promoting abortion, Nye claimed that because many lives end through natural causes before they leave the womb that it’s okay for us to kill the unborn ourselves. That’s like saying it’s okay to kill adults, because millions die of natural causes. That does not stop Nye’s supporters from honoring him as a champion of science. But not all of the marchers are fans. After issuing several revisions to his massive “Statement on Diversity and Inclusion,” the organizers of the March for Science are fending off critics who complain that Nye is a white male whose fame is the result of privilege. One wonders who, exactly, was in charge of this debacle. An official tweet, which has since been deleted, declared that “Colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ[omic] justice are scientific issues.” Heather Wilhelm at National Review got it right when she wrote that the whole event was collapsing into a civil war of competing left-wing agendas. I hope someone—anyone—who still believes science has a definition independent of politics will speak up. Because whether it’s the denial that life begins at conception, the denial of sex and gender as biological facts, the denial of decades of research proving that children do best with their father and mother, or the denial of dissenting voices on Darwinism, the left has proven quite capable of ignoring science. Language is powerful. Words matter. And “science”—real science—is too important a word for us to let go the way of “gentleman.”

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Mindy Belz: "They Say We Are Infidels"

Apr 25, 2017 - 00:00:00

Warren Cole Smith interviews WORLD Magazine Senior Editor Mindy Belz about her book, "They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Peresecuted Christians in the Middle East."

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Christian Abortion Supporters

Apr 26, 2017 - 00:00:00

Can you claim to be “born-again” when you won’t allow others to be born in the first place? Here’s how abortion strikes at the heart of the Christian faith. Catholics and evangelicals are often told how obsessed we are with so-called “culture war” issues like marriage, religious freedom, and abortion. If we’d only stop being so political and focus on proclaiming Christ, say some, we’d win a lot more converts. But this isn’t how a Christian worldview works. The Scriptural premise, that God made human beings in His image, naturally leads us, as it has Christians throughout history, to protect and cherish those who bear that image. Ignoring evils perpetrated against bearers of the divine image denies what we know to be true about God. In other words, a distorted view of human beings always goes hand-in-hand with a distorted view of God. Take, for example, a new book by self-proclaimed “born-again” Christian, Willie Parker titled, “Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice.” As Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission describes, the book is a would-be manifesto on the morality and even godliness of abortion. Parker, an OBGYN, has performed countless abortions. He describes working a circuit of Planned Parenthood clinics in the South, performing abortions “over and over, like the athlete who goes to the gym after practice to shoot three-pointers.” And as the recipient of Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger award, it’s clear Parker has made the fight to keep abortion legal a major life goal. But unlike most pro-choice activists, this OBGYN tries to root his case for killing the unborn in his Christian faith. Citing writers like C. S. Lewis (who would definitely take exception), Parker argues that abortion is consistent with Christian love. He even claims that Jesus Himself would have been an abortion supporter. In a 2015 New York Times piece, Parker recasts Christ’s beloved parable of the Good Samaritan as an endorsement of the so-called “right to choose”: “It is the deepest level of love,” he writes, “that you can have for another person, that you can have compassion for their suffering and you can act to relieve it. That, simply put, is why I provide abortion care.” Not surprisingly, Parker radically dehumanizes the unborn to reach his conclusion that killing them is an act of love. To call a fetus a “baby,” he argues, is to “anthropomorphize” the entity in the womb. Even liberal women do this, he complains, when they come in for ultrasounds and hear their babies’ heartbeats. He can’t understand what he calls the “fetishization of motherhood and children.” Little wonder for someone who compares killing the unborn to practicing basketball. But he also finds it necessary to depersonalize God along with His unborn image-bearers. Parker chides believers for viewing the Almighty as a personal Being Who judges the living and the dead, calling this a “tendency to anthropomorphize God.” And the idea of conception or birth as “a miracle,” he writes, “does an injustice to God.” He prefers, instead, to view life as a “process.” As Russell Moore points out, Parker’s willingness to strip the unborn of their identity has led him to strip God of His identity. Let me be clear: there’s nothing biblical—and therefore nothing Christian—about Parker’s views about either God or man. And so, there’s nothing Christian about his views of or participation in the killing of innocent unborn life. And Parker’s Judas routine just makes matters worse. Only his thirty pieces of silver takes the form of fawning endorsements from Cecile Richards and Gloria Steinem, both of whom are more than happy to gloat, “See, you can be a Christian and support abortion.” But moral issues like abortion are inseparable from the core beliefs of Christian worldview, like the imago Dei. To embrace abortion requires rejecting what God has revealed about both Himself and about humanity. Parker and other self-proclaimed Christian abortion supporters may claim they’re doing “life’s work.” But what they preach is no good news at all. It’s a gospel of death.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Trinity Lutheran before the Supreme Court

Apr 27, 2017 - 00:00:00

Okay, so government cannot “establish religion.” We get that. But can it discriminate against religion? We’ll find out. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in what David French, over at the National Review called “the most important case about recycled tires in American legal history.” Now French was, of course, being facetious. As he made clear, while the case did involve recycled tires, the critical thing is its potential impact on religious freedom. The basic facts of the case, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, are as follows: Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, operates a licensed pre-school and day-care facility. Its facilities include the type of playground that you and I played on as kids. In other words, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and, perhaps, a lawsuit waiting to happen. Fortunately, or so it seemed for Trinity Lutheran, the state of Missouri has a program which provides “funds for qualifying organizations to purchase recycled tires to resurface playgrounds.” Trinity Lutheran applied for such a grant and seemed to have easily met the qualifications. I say “seemed,” because it was then informed that such a grant would, in Trinity’s case, violate a provision in Missouri’s state constitution that “no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, section or denomination of religion.” The provision is one of 36 so-called “Blaine Amendments” in state constitutions. These amendments were originally aimed at Catholic schools and were born of the now-incredible belief that the public schools were a principal instrument in safeguarding America’s Protestant Christian character. I know, ironic. The church sued the state government, claiming that this kind of singling out of churches violated the free exercise of religion. After all, whatever else the free exercise of religion means, it should, at a minimum, mean that you can’t be denied a government benefit available to similar organizations solely on account of your religion. Case closed, right? Well, unfortunately, no. The First Amendment reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Thus while Trinity Lutheran argued the “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” part, the state emphasized the “no law respecting an establishment of religion” part. If you’re wondering how protecting kids from scrapes and broken bones constitutes “an establishment of religion,” well welcome to the tortured world of establishment clause jurisprudence. The late justice Scalia wrote that the cases involving Christmas displays required “scrutiny more commonly associated with interior decorators than with the judiciary.” While I can only speculate what Scalia would have made of this case, it was clear from oral arguments that the majority of the court was skeptical of Missouri’s claim that protecting kids on a playground constitutes an establishment of religion. If there was a theme to most of the questions, it was just how “extreme,” to use David French’s word, Blaine amendments like Missouri’s are. Justice Breyer asked the lawyer defending the law if, under the constitution, a city could deny fire and police to places of worship while providing it for everyone else. The reply was a hedged semi-“yes.” While it’s always risky to predict the outcome based on oral arguments, French is right when he predicts that Trinity Lutheran will win. Actually, it already has. Missouri’s new governor has announced a change in the policy that will permit Trinity Lutheran to apply for the grant. But Missouri’s Blaine Amendment, and three dozen similar provisions across the country, still stand. So while the Court could declare the case moot, let’s pray that it decides the case in a way that deals a major blow to laws like Missouri’s across the country. Because the damage done by them to religious freedom is a lot worse than just skinned knees.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story

Apr 28, 2017 - 00:00:00

Major league baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day on the day before Easter. It’s a fitting coincidence. April 15th marked the seventieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color line in major league baseball. Very few, if any, sporting events have ramifications that transcend the playing field, but this one did. As George Will wrote on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of Robinson’s debut, “[Babe] Ruth reshaped baseball; Jackie Robinson’s life still reverberates through all of American life.” Martin Luther King Jr. said of him, “Robinson was ‘a sit-inner before sit-ins, a freedom rider before freedom rides.’” It’s a history-altering story—and one that has Christianity at its center. I’ve told Robinson’s story before, most notably in my book “Seven Men.” But a new book “42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story,” by Ed Henry of Fox News, and more importantly, of Astoria, New York (which is where I’m from!), fills in the details in a way that reinforces the central role of Christian faith in this story. As Henry told me on the “Eric Metaxas Show,” the book had an unlikely origin involving an embassy dinner with terrible food and overly long after-dinner remarks. Having had enough, Henry excused himself to the woman seated next to him and told her that he was going home to watch the World Series, to which she replied “my late father-in-law played a role in Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color line.” Curious, Henry sat back down and listened as she told him that her father-in-law, a pastor in Brooklyn, heard a knock on the door late one night in 1945. A man walked in and paced back and forth not saying much. Finally, he announced “I’m going to sign Jackie Robinson.” The man, as Henry guessed, was Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. People familiar with the Robinson story know that Rickey, like Robinson, was a Christian. What Henry didn’t know before he heard the woman’s story was the extent of Rickey’s doubts about signing Robinson. This was the starting point of Ed Henry’s journey to discover 1) if Robinson knew of these doubts, and 2) what role the Christian faith played in the Robinson story. The result is a portrait of two Christians who changed history precisely because they were Christians. Through countless interviews, Henry learned, as the subtitle put it, “the rest of the story.” One part of that story is the role that Robinson’s mother, Mallie, played by instilling the faith that made it possible for her son, Jack Roosevelt Robinson, to become Jackie Robinson, American icon. As Henry tells readers, she “taught her kids to get down on their knees and pray each night before bed, a habit Jackie would continue right through his days as a famous baseball player.” She would tell them that “prayer is belief.” Then there was the Reverend Karl Downs, the pastor at the church Robinson’s family attended. One day, while Robinson and his friends were hanging out on a Pasadena street corner, Downs pulled up in his car and asked “Is Jack here?” When no one, including Robinson, answered, Downs said “Tell him I want to see him at junior church.” Thus began a relationship that, in Henry’s words, led to “a spiritual awakening for Robinson.” In the short term, the relationship gave him purpose and direction, and in the long term, it helped him to “figure out how to persevere over Jim Crow.” The rest, as they say, is history. More importantly, as Henry makes clear, it’s history made possible by two very different men’s shared Christian faith. Come to BreakPoint.org to learn how you can get a copy of Ed Henry’s “42 Faith,” as well as my book “Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness.”

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: The Abortion Party, HHS Mandate, and the Marriage Gap

Apr 29, 2017 - 00:00:00

The Democratic Party sent signals this week that pro-lifers are not welcome in its ranks, making abortion arguably its most important issue. John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer argue that doubling down on death is a bad move for Democrats, and one that will leave America more sharply divided than ever. President Trump has also just appointed pro-life champion, Charmaine Yoest, as assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, signaling a likely reversal of President Obama’s policy of forcing contraceptive coverage. Finally, our hosts discuss the growing marriage gap between middle-class and poor Americans, and ask along with an insightful Washington Post editorial: “Why can’t girls be tomboys, anymore?”

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
A Muslim Baby Boom

May 1, 2017 - 00:00:00

A baby boom on the horizon could radically change our world. Here’s another connection between family and faith explained. It’s been said that demography is destiny. If true, and if current trends continue, then the future will look very Muslim indeed. According to the respected Pew Research Center, as reported by Christianity Today, between the years 2030 and 2035, for the first time in history, the total number of babies born to Christian mothers will be fewer than those born to Muslim mothers. While the difference may seem relatively small—225 million births for Muslims to 224 million for Christians, it reflects a demographic pivot that, in just 20 years, could change the world. Globally, Muslims and Christians, in that order, have more babies on average than any other group. “By 2060,” CT notes, “such growth will result in the global population of Christians and Muslims approaching parity—totaling 3.1 billion and 3 billion, respectively—with each tradition accounting for nearly 1 in 3 people on earth. Over the 45-year period, the Christian population is predicted to hold steady at 31 percent [of the world population], while the Muslim population is predicted to rise from 24 percent today to the same level.” In other words, contrary to what you might have heard, the world is getting more religious, not less. The future belongs to the religious, and the coming Muslim baby boom suggests that the dominant religion—at least by the numbers—will be the one founded by Muhammad. Of course, prognostications like this are only as good as the assumptions that underlie them. If these predictions of a Muslim future are to come true, current trends will have to continue without interruption. But the fact is, God specializes in divine interruptions. When Moses was alone in the desert tending sheep, God interrupted him and changed the course of history. When Zechariah entered the Temple to light incense, God interrupted him and set in motion a series of events that led to the coming of the Savior. And He can do the same kind of thing today when it comes to the Muslim world. In fact, as we’ve often discussed here on BreakPoint, we’re already seeing a disruption in the record number of Muslims becoming Christians around the world—a disruption well-documented by missiologist David Garrison in his book A Wind in the House of Islam. Statistically speaking, however, the numbers of Muslim to Christian converts isn’t enough to counteract the Muslim baby boom. Any further disruption will have to involve ordinary Christian believers, like you and me. Here’s how. First, Christian couples need to, if possible, have babies. God gives children as a natural expression of the self-giving love between husband and wife. The command to be fruitful and multiply has not been rescinded. The fact that most Western countries are shrinking demographically at the same time that marriage rates are plummeting is a clear reminder that a Christian worldview of sex, marriage, and babies has been lost amidst a culture-wide addiction to convenience, efficiency, and choice. And there’s more that Christians can do to respond to the Muslim baby boom. We can join with the Lord, who is actively working even now to bring Muslims to Himself. As Garrison has well-documented, unprecedented movements of Muslims into the Christian faith have occurred over the last 20 years. On factor behind that is prayer—which is why I love to tell people about how they can join the global prayer movement for Muslims to come to Christ, while learning more about Islam and how to talk with the Muslims around you about Jesus Christ. The 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World happens each year during Ramadan which this year starts near the end of May. Over 100,000 Christians in North America alone pray each year using the 30 Days prayer guide. Come to BreakPoint.org, and we’ll tell you how to get one. Demography is destiny, but we can see that change if we stick to the basics—making babies and sharing the good news.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
A New Rain (Reign?) of Faith in Europe

May 2, 2017 - 00:00:00

Has the demise of Christianity in Europe been greatly exaggerated? There are some encouraging signs of life. It’s become customary to refer to Europe as “post-Christian.” But this is an overstatement—and it obscures large differences in religious practices across the continent: For instance, Poles are far more likely to attend church on a weekly basis than Scandinavians—and even more likely than Americans. Still, it’s difficult to dispute the idea that Christianity’s influence in Europe, on both a personal and societal level, is in decline. But a pair of recent stories suggests that this may be changing. The first story was a column in the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper. The headline read “Our politicians are more devout than ever—so it’s time we started taking their faith seriously.” In it, Nick Spencer, whose just-released book is entitled “The Mighty and the Almighty: How political leaders do God,” notes that rather than European politics becoming a “God-free zone,” one of the “most striking trends of the last generation or so is how many Christian politicians have risen to the top of the political tree.” Whereas in the thirty-five years following the end of World War II, only one Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, could be described as “devout,” since then, at least three of his successors—Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, and now Theresa May—could be described that way. And it’s not only Britain. As Christianity Today recently told readers, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christianity is “deep,” “genuine,” and “important” to her life. Even in France, the country that invented and institutionalized modern secularism, what the French call “laïcité,” Catholicism has become a kind of “X Factor” in the upcoming presidential elections. And that brings me to the second story. In the most recent issue of the Jesuit magazine, America, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry told readers that a few years back, he noticed that “Whenever I was less than five minutes early for Mass, I had to go to the overflow room.” His church “was filled to the gills every Sunday, with young families and children most of the time.” He decided to see how widespread this phenomenon was, so he visited parishes all over Paris and found the same thing: Sunday high Mass is packed in most parishes in Paris. The same is true in France’s second largest city, Lyon. It’s even true, albeit to a somewhat lesser extent, in his family’s home village. What was once a revival that “you could fleetingly smell in the air,” has become more tangible, nowhere more so than in the movement called La Manif Pour Tous, “protest for all.” La Manif got 200,000 people in Paris alone to march in protest against legalizing same-sex marriage. This in turn spawned other Christian movements in a country that supposedly had moved beyond that sort of thing. What these movements share is an opposition to liberalism, which in the French context means “a drive for ever-greater individual liberty.” As Gobry writes, “Liberalism, in this view, is responsible for sexual depravity and the culture of death,” and “leads both to abortions and to quasi-slaves in third world factories making disposable consumer items of questionable worth.” While French Christianity still has a ways to go, what Gobry describes brings to mind the “cloud as small as a man’s hand . . . rising from the sea” Elijah’s servant saw in 1 Kings 18. Secularism has left Europeans “in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Let us pray that God sends much-needed rain to both sides of the Atlantic. Now, if you’d like to be a part of a growing movement to promote the faith in all areas of life here in the U. S. you’ve got to check out the Colson Fellows Program. Great teaching, great fellowship, and great preparation for a lifetime of Kingdom work. And you can apply online! Visit colsonfellows.org. That’s colsonfellows.org.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Mindy Belz: They Say We Are Infidels, part II

May 2, 2017 - 00:00:00

Today we present part II of Warren Cole Smith's interview with WORLD Magazine Senior Editor Mindy Belz about her book, "They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Peresecuted Christians in the Middle East."

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Opening Closed Minds The Chick-fil-A Way

May 3, 2017 - 00:00:00

A new fast-food restaurant on campus should have been a no-brainer. Sadly, closed minds don’t work that way. Some college students at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University are claiming, like Chicken Little, that the sky is falling. Sadly, given these crazy times, that’s no longer really news. We’ve seen a steady stream of reports about scholars being driven off campus by mobs of triggered students, of speakers being disinvited or losing announced awards because of their Judeo-Christian beliefs—all in the name of tolerance, diversity, and “safe spaces”! Truly, though, the kerfuffle at Duquesne shows what we’re up against. In March the university announced that the popular fast food chain Chick-fil-A would be opening in the Catholic school’s main food court. Instead of cheers for a company that donates generously to charity and makes a great chicken sandwich, the decision brought jeers from some students, who claimed this would put their “safe place … at risk.” One leader of a gay student group said Chick-fil-A has “a questionable history on civil rights and human rights.” A petition that says bullying is a problem on campus demands that Chick-fil-A be banned, while Niko Martini, the president of the Lambda Gay-Straight Alliance, says that the school should, at the very least, “acknowledge there is still some tension.” So, what has Chick-fil-A done? Well, Dan Cathy, son of Chick-fil-A’s founder, Truett Cathy, has publicly stated his support for the biblical definition of marriage. And the company’s foundation in the past has supported Christian organizations such as Exodus International and Focus on the Family that have taken faith-based stances on human sexuality. By that standard, lots of people of faith are “questionable” in the eyes of some campus groups. But of course they’re wrong, and we’re not. Dan Cathy is a case in point. A few years ago, you may recall, Chick-fil-A’s president and COO reached out to Shane Windmeyer, who was organizing a national boycott of Chick-fil-A as the executive director of Campus Pride, an organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender college students. Before they met, Windmeyer thought Dan Cathy was a fiend. What he discovered after months of discussion was that Dan had become his friend. His mind began to open. “Dan expressed a sincere interest in my life, wanting to get to know me on a personal level,” Windmeyer wrote in an eye-opening article in The Huffington Post. “He wanted to know about where I grew up, my faith, my family, even my husband, Tommy. In return, I learned about his wife and kids and gained an appreciation for his devout belief in Jesus Christ and his commitment to being ‘a follower of Christ’ more than a ‘Christian.’” There was no marginalizing here, no destruction of safe spaces, even as Dan Cathy made no apologies for his beliefs, while conveying respect and a peaceable witness to Windmeyer. I wonder whether those Duquesne students might gain a new perspective about Chick-fil-A—and about Christians—upon reading that article. Even better, what might happen if Christians like Dan humbly came alongside them and became, not a debating partner, but a friend? Let’s face it, folks, convincing people who’ve fallen for the new sexual propaganda that we’re not out to scare or marginalize them won’t be easy. Through long years of indoctrination in academia and popular culture, their minds have been closed to a Christian worldview. Sadly, they really do think we have horns and tails. But we don’t, and we’ll need to more consistently emulate the patient, loving approach of Dan Cathy if we’re ever going to change their minds. To get started, come to BreakPoint.org for some helpful resources, including the Huffington Post article by Windmeyer and a link to Chick-fil-A’s charitable giving. Because although the sky isn’t falling when it comes to Chick-fil-A, it would be nice to have some facts at hand to prove it.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Exploding Heads, Fragile Worldviews

May 4, 2017 - 00:00:00

If we can’t even entertain challenges to our basic beliefs without our heads exploding, we might have what I’ll call a fragile worldview. April 28th marked the debut of the New York Times newest columnist, Bret Stephens. Stephens, who won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at the Wall Street Journal, was already a controversial hire for many Times readers, who apparently felt that Ross Douthat and, depending on the topic, David Brooks, are more than conservative enough for their fragile bubble. The phrase “fragile bubble” may sound harsh, but consider the reaction to Stephens’s first column. The subject of the column was the relationship between data and certainty. Citing examples of the 2016 Clinton campaign and how their data-driven models led them to disregard signs they were underestimating Trump, Stephens wrote, “There’s a lesson here.” That lesson is, quote, “We live in a world in which data convey authority. But authority has a way of descending to certitude, and certitude begets hubris.” As Stephens said, “We ought to know this by now, but we don’t. Instead, we respond to the inherent uncertainties of data by adding more data without revisiting our assumptions, creating an impression of certainty that can be lulling, misleading and often dangerous.” Now by itself, this statement shouldn’t be controversial at all. But when he applied it to climate change, things got crazy. Stephens quoted a former Times environmental reporter who recently wrote that he “saw a widening gap between what scientists had been learning about global warming and what advocates were claiming as they pushed ever harder to pass climate legislation.” In Stephens’ words, “The science was generally scrupulous. The boosters who claimed its authority, weren’t.” He added that “while the modest [1.5 degree Fahrenheit] warming of the Northern Hemisphere since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming, much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities.” Again, this shouldn’t be controversial. It is literally true: climate change projections are mathematical models whose possible outcomes are expressed as probabilities. But as Stephens himself predicted, people’s heads “exploded.” Twitter blew up, followed by a campaign to cancel subscriptions to the New York Times just because of the column. While it’s unclear how many people will actually cancel their subscriptions because of the column, as opposed to usual reasons such as moving or cost, what is clear is that many people want to live in a world where their opinions go unchallenged. That’s what I mean by a “fragile bubble.” There’s a famous military maxim that says “no plan survives contact with the enemy.” Today’s cultural equivalent seems to be “no worldview survives contact with a dissenting opinion.” And this is exactly what’s behind the increasingly illiberal environment on so many college campuses where students, instead of debating with those whose views they disagree with, seek to silence them instead. And it’s what’s behind the attempt to silence people who disagree with the current sexual orthodoxy. It’s not enough to disagree with people who hold those views these days. It’s not even enough to prevail in the courts. The mere existence of opinions outside of the new orthodoxy is now considered wholly unacceptable. Thus the heretics must be silenced, and even, when possible, punished for their dissent. It doesn’t matter if, like Stephens and climate change, you’re in basic agreement with part of the orthodoxy and your goal is to avoid discrediting the idea by making unsustainable claims. For the people going nuts over Stephen’s column, their beliefs about climate change are like the game of Jenga in which removing a single block can bring the whole edifice down. Now just as no one would want to live in a house made of Jenga blocks, nor should we build our lives on worldviews so unstable and so fragile. And that includes Christians. We shouldn’t be fragile either.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
President Trump’s Religious Freedom Order

May 5, 2017 - 00:00:00

President Trump’s long-anticipated order on religious freedom reminds us that salvation won’t come on Air Force One. Yesterday, on the National Day of Prayer, President Trump signed an executive order on religious liberty. Unfortunately, though it was a “first step,” it was a small one, an order Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation called “woefully inadequate.” Now, let me be clear: there are things in the order worth praising. The president said that “No American should be forced to choose between the dictates of the federal government and the tenets of their faith.” I couldn’t agree more. And I’m thankful that at least so far this administration, unlike the last one, isn’t forcing that choice on Americans. Still, protecting religious freedom requires more than just noble sentiments. And here is where the executive order disappoints. After directing the federal government to “vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom,” the measures set forth in the order are, well, less than vigorous. The order instructs the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS to “consider amending existing regulations” to address “conscience-based objections” to the HHS mandate. Words like “consider” aren’t exactly a guarantee that anything will change. As Ryan Anderson told The Atlantic, the “regulatory relief” promised to groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor may very well amount to, “Well, you have to do it, because [the Supreme Court] told you to do it,” but, it “doesn’t move the ball” on religious liberty. Nor does the emphasis on the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches and other charitable organizations from endorsing political candidates. First, the Johnson Amendment is bad law, but it’s rarely, if ever, enforced. So the order effectively tells the IRS to continue doing what it is already doing. Second, the inability to endorse candidates from the pulpit on Sunday isn’t the problem with religious freedom in this country. The problem is the increasing inability of Christians and other people of religious conviction to practice their faith Monday through Saturday. Yesterday’s events suggest that, as I said after the election, the incoming administration has offered us a reprieve on religious freedom, but not a champion. Or as Chuck Colson often put it, salvation doesn’t arrive on Air Force One. So, with or without the executive order we really wanted, we have to know this: The case for religious freedom must be made both in our churches and over our backyard fences. Even had we gotten the executive order many of us had hoped for, it would have been, at best a temporary help. Why? Because our cultural understanding of religious freedom is currently not strong enough to offer or to sustain a long-term political solution. Like the understanding of marriage was lost in the cultural imagination way before Obergefell, so the understanding of religious freedom has been lost in the culture. Many are just frankly ignorant about what the free exercise of religion means and why our founders thought it so important. For most Americans, religious freedom means the ability to “attend the church of your choice.” The logical corollary of this would be, “what happens in church stays in church.” Of course, if Christians took that idea seriously, there would be a lot fewer religious hospitals, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc. Government can’t even begin to fill the vacuum left should these institutions be forced out of business. Americans must be reminded that believers ought not be made to choose between obeying their conscience and serving their neighbor. And it would help if Christians understood this better. In too many churches, being a Christian is about how God can make your life better, not how you can work with God to make the invisible kingdom visible. This is where the battle for religious freedom will be fought, and either won or lost, no matter who sits in the Oval Office.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: The Executive Order, The Declining Mainline, and the Image of God

May 6, 2017 - 00:00:00

John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer discuss the disappointing executive order on religious freedom and how the battle for religious freedom must first be won in the culture. They also discuss Ed’s Washington Post article about the decline of Mainline Protestantism (and how math is math and doesn’t care about our feelings), and, in the wake of another tragic police shooting, what makes each human life precious.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Title VII and Government by Judiciary

Apr 6, 2017 - 00:00:00

Who needs Congress to make laws when the judiciary just does whatever it wants? Well, at least that’s what the Seventh Circuit seems to think. On Tuesday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination in employment on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,” now covers alleged discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The unprecedented ruling came in response to a complaint filed by Kimberly Hively, a former community college teacher who alleges that she was denied promotions and eventually fired because she’s a lesbian. Now if you notice that Title VII does not mention “sexual orientation,” you’re not alone. If you go by the literal text, as well as the legislative history of Title VII, the court’s reading of the law brings to mind what Humpty Dumpty told Alice in “Through the Looking Glass”: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” When Alice replied “The question is . . . whether you can make words mean so many different things,” Humpty Dumpty replied, “The question is . . . which is to be master—that’s all.” And the answer on Tuesday was “LGBT activists and their allies in the courts.” Writing for the majority, Chief Judge Diane Wood said that “Hively represents the ultimate case of failure to conform to the female stereotype . . . she is not heterosexual.” Wood added that “Hively’s claim is no different from the claims brought by women who were rejected for jobs in traditionally male workplaces . . .” The key to Wood’s argument lies in the word “stereotype.” In 1989, the Supreme Court, in a case involving a female employee allegedly denied a promotion because she wasn’t “feminine enough,” ruled that this kind of stereotyping violated Title VII. That decision remains controversial, but at least it involved someone alleging discrimination on the basis of sex, i.e., a man with the same personality wouldn’t have been treated this way. But it also opened the door to LGBT activists who used the idea of “sex stereotyping” to try to amend Title VII via the courts. Their argument, as reflected in Judge Wood’s opinion, was that discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation was the ultimate form of “sex stereotyping.” That still left them with a considerable problem: the text of Title VII. If Congress had intended to define sexual orientation as a protected class under the law, it could have amended Title VII at any time. But it hasn’t. And here’s where the Court really channeled Humpty Dumpty. In his concurring opinion, Judge Richard Posner wrote that “We should not leave the impression that we are merely the obedient servants of the [Congress that enacted Title VII], carrying out their wishes. We are not. We are taking advantage of what the last half century has taught.” Holy cow. That, friends, is called judicial tyranny. Judge Diane Sykes, however, strongly disagreed with Wood and Posner. She wrote that “Title VII does not define discrimination ‘because of sex’ . . .In common, ordinary usage in 1964 — and now, for that matter — the word ‘sex’ means biologically male or female; it does not refer to sexual orientation.” She added: “The Constitution assigns the power to make and amend statutory law to the elected representatives of the people . . . However welcome today’s decision might be as a policy matter, it comes at a great cost to representative self-government.” And by the way, three weeks ago the Eleventh Circuit came to the opposite conclusion of the Seventh Circuit. So the issue is headed to the Supreme Court. So what can we do? We can urge our representatives to clarify Title VII, and while they’re at it Title IX, and make it clear that judge Sykes is correct in her interpretation. We can also urge the White House to reverse the EEOC’s 2011 ruling that opened the door to cases like this one. Otherwise, we may as well just join Humpty Dumpty on that wall.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Deadly Utilitarianism

Apr 7, 2017 - 00:00:00

What’s the most dangerous thing you can say to someone in our society? “You’re useless!” Amy Julia Becker is a successful author and columnist. She also is the mom of a beautiful daughter, a fifth-grader who wears glasses, who loves reading and spelling, but who isn’t so sure about fractions and dogs. “She is responsible, smart, talented, and loving,” Amy wrote recently in Christianity Today. “She also has Down syndrome.” When discussing her daughter or others with Down syndrome, Amy says she is tempted to list their accomplishments and abilities as a way to justify their existence. Not any more. “In so doing,” Amy admits, “I play into the idea that I, too, am only worthy of life because I contribute something productive in the world. I devalue myself and everyone else around me when I start to see human beings as products to be measured.” As our friend Chuck Colson warned, measuring people by what they can do or contribute to society is dangerous. If someone can be called “useless,” such as a child with Down syndrome, what’s to keep “society” from deciding to eliminate anyone deemed not to have a life worth living? This isn’t alarmism, folks. Amy says that the abortion rate in the United States for babies with Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is about 50 percent and is likely to increase as prenatal testing becomes more available. As bad as that is, in Iceland, not one child with Down syndrome was born between 2008 and 2012. In Denmark, an estimated 98 percent of those diagnosed with Down syndrome are being aborted—deemed useless. But as anyone who’s actually been around people with Down syndrome knows, they’re definitely not useless. They have individual personalities, likes and dislikes, and often possess a level of joie de vivre that puts the rest of us to shame. But that’s not the point! The point is this: Every human being is created in God’s image and is precious to Him! As Chuck said it so well, “Being created in the imago Dei endows every person with dignity—a dignity that is not derived from the majority’s opinion (or a government definition) about the quality of their life or their contribution to society.” Amy Julia Becker notes that not everything worth keeping can be measured in utilitarian terms and pass a strict cost-benefit analysis. She quotes the Irish poet Michael Longley, who said on National Public Radio, “Poetry is useless,” before adding, “Poetry is without use, but it is valuable.” Imagine a world without poetry! Although maybe only one in a million poets can make a living from it, we’d all be immeasurably poorer without it. There’d be no Shakespeare, Milton, or the book of Psalms! You cannot put a utilitarian price tag on poetry—nor on people, whatever challenges they face. However, when we value each person as made in the image of God and make room in our hearts for those with disabilities, we often experience a beautiful poetry unfolding in our own lives we never could have expected. Amy writes, “People with disabilities are indeed like the words of a poem. Although they might not provide or produce clothing or shelter or food, they nonetheless convey beauty and meaning, truth and transcendence. They teach us what it means to be human.” And let’s face it—caring for those who need us is more than a nice thing for the Church to do. It’s a requirement. As our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 25, those who tend to the hungry, the naked, the stranger, the sick and imprisoned do it unto Him—in whose eyes and love no one, no one, is useless. Now as you know, Easter is almost upon us. And to help you prepare, my colleagues at the Colson Center have created a beautiful, free downloadable booklet of meditations on the seven last sayings of Jesus from the cross. Please, come to BreakPoint.org and click on “Resources” to download your free copy.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: The Pences, Title VII, and Holy Week

Apr 7, 2017 - 00:00:00

Ed and John discuss the media reaction to Mike and Karen Pence's observation of the so-called "Billy Graham rule in their marriage; a federal court decides that the 1964 Civil Rights Act covers sexual orientation; and observing Holy Week.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Religion and Inequality

Apr 5, 2017 - 00:00:00

Religion is good for you: emotionally, physically, and economically. Who knew? Not the secularists. In 2000, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam published his groundbreaking book, “Bowling Alone.” Putnam argued that Americans’ reduced interest in civic engagement—by which he meant not only things of a political nature but also things like the PTA, Boy Scouts, groups like the Elks, and, yes, bowling leagues—had reduced the store of what is called “social capital.” “Social capital” is what sociologist call “the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.” This is more than theory. It gets to the heart of one of the pressing issues of our time: social and economic inequality. And while Americans, as a whole, prefer to bowl alone, this solitude isn’t equally distributed. As Putnam documents in his most recent book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” one thing that separates children from families in the top 25 percent of households measured by income and education from their counterparts in the bottom twenty-five percent is social capital. The well-off parents featured in “Our Kids” were, if anything, exhaustingly engaged and enmeshed in far-reaching networks that made life better for their kids. While we shouldn’t be surprised that good connections offer better-off kids a significant advantage over their poorer counterparts, there’s something else that provides another significant advantage: religious participation. Churchgoing kids “are less prone to substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, and smoking), risky behavior (like not wearing seat belts), and delinquency (shoplifting, misbehaving in school, and being suspended or expelled).” But the benefits of regular church attendance do not stop there. As Putnam tells us, “Compared to their unchurched peers, youth who are involved in a religious organization take tougher courses, get higher grades and test scores, and are less likely to drop out of high school.” They also “have better relations with their parents and other adults, have more friendships with high-performing peers, are more involved in sports and other extracurricular activities.” In fact, churchgoing is so beneficial to academic performance that “a child whose parents attend church regularly is 40 to 50 percent more likely to go on to college than a matched child of nonattenders.” Now, this is true regardless of socioeconomic status. The problem is that regular church attendance is increasingly tied to socioeconomic status. According to Putnam, while “weekly church attendance” among college-educated families since the late 1970s has remained more or less the same, it has dropped by almost a third among those with a high school diploma or less. The result is “a substantial class gap that did not exist” fifty years ago. It’s yet another way that poorer kids are falling behind their more affluent counterparts. Given the benefits of regular church attendance, the insistence on minimizing the role of religion in American public life is, to put it mildly, perverse. Society hasn’t figured out how to reliably give poor kids access to the kinds of advantages, both material and intangible, that better-off kids take for granted. But we, the Church, do know how to reach out to them and their families in Jesus’ name. We have millennia of experience in ministering to the least, the last, and the lost. And now we have evidence that this kind of ministry has benefits that few people, Christians or non-Christians, ever suspected. Will today’s “cultured despisers” of religion pay heed? Probably not. But we owe it to the kids—all kids—to ignore those naysayers and to freely give them what we have freely received.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Lee and Leslie Strobel: The Case for Christ

Apr 4, 2017 - 00:00:00

Warren Cole Smith interviews Lee and Leslie Strobel about the soon-to-be released movie version of Lee’s renowned book, The Case for Christ.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Hope for the Homeless

Mar 28, 2017 - 00:00:00

Here’s yet another reason why it’s insane to push Christians out of the public square. In his new book, “The Benedict Option,” my friend Rod Dreher makes a sobering and sadly accurate claim: “Christians who hold to the biblical teaching about sex and marriage, have the same status in culture, and increasingly in law, as racists.” Rod says that it is inevitable that believers in Jesus Christ will lose their jobs—some already have—and face other forms of bullying if they don’t go along. Many in our increasingly secular culture want to chase Christians out of the public square altogether. Among other things, that would be a disaster for half a million homeless people. According to a new study out of Baylor University, faith-based organizations provide 58 percent of emergency shelter beds for the homeless in eleven cities across the nation. In Omaha, faith-based organizations (or FBOs) provide a whopping 90 percent of the available emergency shelter beds. In Houston, it’s 79 percent; in Indianapolis, 78 percent; in Baltimore, 74 percent. So where would all these homeless people go if Christians who do acts of compassion out of a faith perspective are no longer around? But it’s not just the quantity of work that Christians do for the homeless day in and day out. It’s also the quality of the work. Baylor researchers Byron Johnson and William Wubbenhorst found that FBOs are “at the forefront of innovation” in helping to transform homeless people and their families through a variety of education, healthcare, job training, and addiction recovery services. Many government programs see the primary cause of homelessness as a simple lack of affordable housing. Most FBOs, however, know the problem usually runs a lot deeper, and they do a better job of getting to know their clients and what they really need, leading to better outcomes for their clients and their cities. Many of the homeless, for example, have no meaningful relationships. FBOs can begin giving them the relational capital they need. Jim Reese, who is the president and CEO of Atlanta Mission, which serves 1,000 homeless people every day, told Christianity Today that “Instead of being a kitchen cook, you’d be out at the tables with the people. How do you change lives? It comes from creating a relationship with them and building trust.” As Byron Johnson notes, “In most cases, people become homeless due to a range of complex personal and societal factors, not just because they cannot afford a home. Our conclusions demonstrate that faith-based organizations are in a unique position to treat the systemic issues that create homelessness to develop sustainable solutions for both individuals and municipalities.” Indeed. I’ve seen the same dynamic at work at the pregnancy care ministry run by my lovely wife right here in New York. Yes, relationships matter—and so does faith. And this isn’t just touchy-feely talk. The Baylor study estimates that FBOs create $9.42 in taxpayer savings for every dollar spent by the government. It also shows that the 11 cities in the study achieved around $119 million in tax savings during the first three years after the faith-based Residential Recovery and Job Readiness programs were implemented. So faith is not only good for the soul, it’s good for taxpayers and the bottom line. But according to Christianity Today, churches and other FBOs can face hurdles from local governments and communities as they try to provide hope for the homeless—everything from ordinances restricting the distribution of food to attempts to regulate shelters out of existence. Given all that faith-based organizations do for the homeless—and all the money they save taxpayers—that’s just crazy. So the next time someone tells you that society would be better off without Christian influence, do not believe it. Then go volunteer to help at, or at least write a check to, your local faith-based organization that helps the homeless.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Free Speech on College Campuses—and Seminaries

Mar 29, 2017 - 00:00:00

Intellectual intolerance is such a plague on American universities that both conservative and liberal academics are speaking out. Even together. Few if any places in America pack more history per square mile than Princeton, New Jersey. Located halfway between New York and Philadelphia, Princeton has counted among its residents the likes of Jonathan Edwards, James Madison, Woodrow Wilson, and Albert Einstein, to name just a few. It’s also been the site for some of the most important battles in American history. The Battles of Princeton and nearby Trenton in the winter of 1776-‘77 convinced the American colonies that they could win the War of Independence. Now, another important battle is being fought in Princeton: the battle for free speech. This past decade has seen a rise of intellectually-suffocating intolerance on college campuses. Students have learned, mostly from some of their professors, to silence those with opposing views rather than debate them. In extreme cases, this has taken the form of intimidation and even violence, as was the case with Charles Murray’s experience at Middlebury College. A group of about 100 students not only disrupted the proceedings, some physically attacked Murray and his host, and even followed them to a restaurant. A more subtle, yet still insidious example was what happened to Tim Keller, the founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Earlier this year, Princeton Theological Seminary named Keller the winner of the 2017 Kuyper Award for Excellence in Reformed Theology. And then, all heck broke loose. People complained that, as a pastor in the more conservative Presbyterian Church in America, Keller didn’t hew to mainstream Presbyterian orthodoxy on subjects such as women’s ordination and, especially, LGBT issues. In a textbook example of Orwellian double-speak, the school’s dean issued a statement that withdrew Keller’s award, while insisting that, “We are a community that does not silence voices in the church.” Now technically that’s true: Keller will still speak, but as the statement makes clear, he won’t be speaking about anything that might distress his audience. But I’m pleased to report that not all of the news coming out of Princeton is this bad. In response to this wave of intolerance, very conservative professor Robby George and very liberal professor Cornel West, whom Inside Higher Ed called “an ideological odd couple,” issued a joint statement last week entitled “Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression.” In it, they point out that “It is all too common these days for people to try to immunize from criticism opinions that happen to be dominant in their particular communities.” While acknowledging the right to peaceful protest, they ask readers to consider whether it might “not be better to listen respectfully and try to learn from a speaker with whom I disagree? Might it better serve the cause of truth seeking to engage the speaker in frank civil discussion?” George and West insist that everyone “should be willing—even eager—to engage with anyone who is prepared to do business in the currency of truth-seeking discourse by offering reasons, marshaling evidence and making arguments.” George and West aren’t the only “odd couple” who’ve enlisted in the Battle of Princeton. Among the oddly paired signatories are the controversial, to put it mildly, ethicist Peter Singer, and pro-life legal scholar Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School. And I signed it too because, like its authors, I’m troubled by our age of ideological bubbles, “trigger warnings,” and “safe spaces,” especially on college campus. Not only should we respectfully hear out those who disagree with us, we might also learn from them. And vice-versa. Perhaps this latest Battle of Princeton will be as momentous as the first one. Come to BreakPoint.org and I’ll link you to the statement “Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression.”

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
How to Reach Your Secular Neighbor

Mar 30, 2017 - 00:00:00

Ever wondered why secular people aren’t interested in God? Maybe we’ve never given them a reason to be. When it comes to sharing Jesus Christ with the growing numbers of religious “nones” in America—that is, those who answer “none” when asked to describe their religious beliefs or affiliations—there’s no silver bullet. That’s the bad news. The good news is, the Golden Rule still works pretty well. That’s the gist of a thought-provoking and ultimately encouraging article by Khaldoun Sweis, who is Tutor of Philosophy at Oxford University and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Olive-Harvey College in Chicago. Khaldoun starts off his argument—which you’ll find in our friend Ed Stetzer’s blog, “The Exchange”—by making a shocking claim. Khaldoun says of the “nones,” “They not only think that they don’t need God, but many have never been given a single reason as to why He is relevant to their lives.” The respected Pew Research Center reports that half of these secular neighbors say they left their childhood faith because they no longer believe it or are no longer interested in it. Khaldoun tells of a secular female who dismissed a courageous boy passing out tracts, saying, “I don’t want or need your god, thank you very much.” Ouch! Khaldoun, who has been sharing the good news of Jesus with such people for the last 15 years, says that when they say they don’t believe in God, he will ask them to describe the god they don’t believe in. “Nine times out of ten,” he writes, “it is usually a god I do not believe in either! The caricatures and misrepresentations of the Christian God are abundant.” But rather than getting all defensive about it and lecturing them about their mistaken worldview, Khaldoun will engage them. In fact, he commends such engagement to all of us—in the four major arenas of secular thought in the world: government, education, media, and culture. “Use the pluralism diversity thesis to gain a seat at their table,” he says. “After all, according to them, Christianity is just another paradigm, and since they don’t want to be intolerant of any viewpoint, you should be allowed to speak too.” Then Khaldoun says we are to enquire—that is, listen to them and ask thoughtful questions. Often the problem with their worldview will become readily apparent, even to them. A student walked into his office and stated brashly, “I do not believe in anything that is not physical. I only believe what science tells me is true.” Khaldoun asked him if his idea was physical. A great conversation then ensued. Finally, Khaldoun says, we can edify. “George,” he says, “whose father died over ten years ago, never forgot that I was one of his only friends who came to that funeral. If you know people long enough, they will inevitably go through difficult times. This is the opportunity to show them the love of Christ. …. It is demanding, if not impossible, for people to forget that! When the heart is tender, it is more open than any other time!” That, my friends, is evangelism according to the Golden Rule. We can make Christ relevant—and real—in the lives of others not by arguing them into the kingdom but by showing them what a Christ-follower looks like—someone who engages with the community, who thoughtfully inquires about sensitive, ultimate issues, and who edifies—one might even say encourages—by our loving presence. Throughout this process—and most times evangelism is nothing if not a process—we’ll need to be ready to give an answer for the hope we have in Jesus. Part of that readiness involves having resources at our fingertips that clearly and nonthreateningly describe the Christian faith and worldview to our secular neighbors. We’ve already recommended Greg Koukl’s great little volume, “The Story of Reality.” There are many others, too, so come to BreakPoint.org. And get ready to make God relevant to your neighbors, secular and otherwise.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
The Silent Suffering of Gay Men

Mar 31, 2017 - 00:00:00

Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims. False promises of love and personal fulfillment are no exception. Over a year and-a-half after the Obergefell decision, the debate over gay “marriage” and homosexuality has largely fizzled out: partly because of the election, partly because the “T” in the LGBT acronym has been stealing all the headlines, and partly because Obergefell is now viewed by many as settled law. And that’s a shame, because so-called “progress” isn’t bringing about the rosy picture we were promised. In what may be the most candid piece in Huffington Post history, Michael Hobbes, who identifies as gay, writes about what he calls an “epidemic of loneliness.” “For years,” he begins, “I’ve noticed the divergence between my straight friends and my gay friends. While one half of my social circle has disappeared into relationships, kids and suburbs, the other has struggled through isolation and anxiety, hard drugs and risky (behavior).” Through story after story and mountains of statistics, Hobbes then documents a consistent and chilling trend among those who share his lifestyle. “Gay men everywhere, at every age,” he writes, are two-to-ten-times more likely than heterosexual men to commit suicide. And that’s just the beginning. Homosexual males also suffer from higher rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, allergies, asthma, and a whole host of behavior-related infections and dysfunctions. They’re twice as likely to experience major depressive episodes, report having fewer close friends, and abuse drugs at an alarming rate. In fact, living in so-called “gay neighborhoods” is a predictor of more frequent, risky behaviors and methamphetamine use. And, Hobbes adds, the community itself is brutal and degrading to its members. Smart-phone hookup apps drive a culture of exploitation and casual encounters that one young man he interviewed said made him feel like “a piece of meat.” We often hear these disastrous statistics and stories attributed to homophobia, bullying, and shame. Having been treated horribly since childhood, men like this author—the oft-repeated myth goes—are forced to live a lie. They’re depressed because they’ve been oppressed and repressed. But here’s the problem with the bullying hypothesis. In countries like the Netherlands and Sweden where same-sex “marriage” has been the law of the land for years, gay men remain three times more susceptible to mood disorders and three- to ten-times more likely to engage in “suicidal self-harm.” The situation is so bad that one respondent in a survey of HIV clinics told researchers, “It’s not a question of not knowing how to save their lives. It’s a question of them not knowing if their lives are worth saving.” Incredibly, after this long and brutal and well-documented description of life in his community, Hobbes then concludes the cause as having minority status, which has taught them to live in fear. At no point does he consider the possibility that it’s the lifestyle itself that may be what’s destroying these men’s lives. Still, one expert quoted in the piece hints that he knows what’s going on. Christopher Stults, a researcher at New York University, admits that for many people, the marriage decision was a letdown. “We have this legal status, and yet there’s still something unfulfilled.” Could it be that this lifestyle cuts off this community from the natural family, from children, and—according to years of statistics—from monogamous partnerships? Could it be the disparity Hobbes sees between what he wants and what he got is a result of a broken lifestyle? Could it be that this behavior naturally isolates people? Could it be that God didn’t design His image-bearers to live like this, and when we do, it actually destroys us? Unfortunately, those questions are no longer even considered by Hobbes or by social scientists. But we as a society, and especially the Church, must consider these questions. As long as there are real people trying to fill their hearts with lies, caring about them will mean having a more open mind than the Huffington Post.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Truth, Mums and Dads, and David Daleiden

Mar 31, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed discuss TIME Magazine's recent cover, "Is Truth Dead," a New York judge's ruling that a child has three parents, and the misguided prosecution of David Daleiden.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
The Great Flood of Washington State

Apr 3, 2017 - 00:00:00

Scientists are supposed to follow the evidence. But what happens when they prefer established dogma? Let me tell you about a fascinating article in National Geographic. Imagine one of the world’s most dramatic landscapes—sixteen thousand square miles of canyons, channels, waterfalls (one of them ten times the size of Niagara)—now all completely dry. What you’re imagining is the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington State, a breathtaking memorial to one of the largest floods in Earth’s history. But writing in National Geographic, Michael Hodges recounts how, when a high school teacher came to that obvious conclusion in 1909, he was laughed out of the room by the scientific community. Looking across the aptly-named Scablands today, it’s easy to see why 27-year-old Harley Bretz, who had no formal training in geology at the time, saw the work of a flood. But a century ago, earth science was locked in the dogma of Charles Lyell’s 1830 text, “Principles of Geology.” Lyell taught that changes in the Earth’s rocks and soil are the product of “processes now in operation,” steadily eating at the landscape over millions of years. This theory was a crucial underpinning to Charles Darwin’s work, published just a few years later. Lyell’s uniformitarian ideas had gained such acceptance that when Bretz presented his findings about the great flood of Washington State to geologists in the nation’s capital, he received the closest thing they could give to a flogging. These scientists, none of whom had ever visited the Scablands, called Bretz’s hypothesis “wholly inadequate,” “preposterous,” and “incompetent.” Despite taking the time to earn his Ph.D. before publishing his theory, this high-school teacher-turned-rock-hound became a laughing stock among his peers for propounding what amounted to “geological heresy.” “It didn’t matter how meticulous Bretz’s research was, or how sound his reasoning might be,” Hodges explains. “He seemed to be advocating a return to geology’s dark ages” when benighted buffoons explained landscapes like the Scablands as the result of the biblical Flood. Of course, scientists now agree that Bretz was right. During peak glaciation, a wall of ice thousands of feet high dammed up the Clark Fork River, creating Glacial Lake Missoula, a body of water twice the size of Rhode Island. When the glacier retreated and the dam broke, it unleashed one of the biggest torrents in history—a flood raging across the Columbia Plateau to the Pacific Ocean, carrying more water than all of the world’s rivers combined. This flood or series of floods carved the now-dry canyons, cliffs, and waterfalls that awed Bretz and puzzled his sadly misinformed critics. “With the flood story in mind, it all seems so obvious,” writes Hodges. “It’s almost impossible to see the terrain and not see the floodwaters that shaped it. Why, then, were the experts in Bretz’s day so blind…?” Well because, as National Geographic concludes without a hint of irony, “scientists are first and foremost human beings [who’re] loathe to change their theories or their minds because of mere data.” In fact, many critics of the great Washington flood carried their doubts to their graves, and it took decades for this plain fact to gain widespread acceptance in the scientific community. Now why does this sound so familiar? Is there perhaps another theory that comes to mind which modern scientists are unwilling to question—a theory whose most lucid critics are laughed out of the room and called names? There is. It’s called Darwinism. And scientists who dare to question it point to astonishing evidence from biology, astronomy, and geology that suggests an intelligence behind life in all of its complexity. But like Bretz, they’re usually dismissed. And because scientists are human, first and foremost, heretics who question Darwin, like those who questioned Lyell, may have to await vindication by future generations. Ironically, evidence—even a deluge of it—can take a long time to erode dogma.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
TIME and Truth

Apr 4, 2017 - 00:00:00

TIME magazine is running out of things to declare dead. But their latest obituary is a worldview lesson on a silver platter. You may have seen the bumper sticker that says “Know God, know peace,” (both with a “K”) and then, “No God, no peace,” (with just an “N”). This kind of pun usually draws a groan from the kids these days, but it really is accurate. And it remains accurate if we replace “peace” with “truth.” In 2017, our world is a living demonstration of the fact that no accurate understanding of reality can prevail when God is thought of as irrelevant. In 1966, the cover of TIME magazine asked in giant red letters: “Is God Dead?” Evoking the famous quote by German atheist Friedrich Nietzsche, the accompanying article discussed the way science, technology, modern philosophy, and even some theologians had rendered God more or less obsolete. Well, fifty-one years later to the week, TIME mirrored that cover except for one word, and many Christians are struggling to not say, “We told you so.” The latest issue, using the same bold, red letters, asks, “Is Truth Dead?”. The article, written by Michael Scherer, is far more narrow, aimed specifically at President Trump and what one of his GOP primary opponents called his “tenuous relationship with reality.” Scherer hits the president for his “alternative facts” about the inauguration crowd size, his accusation that President Obama wiretapped him during the campaign, and his claim that three million illegal immigrants voted. “Trump,” he writes, “has discovered something about epistemology in the 21st century. The truth may be real, but falsehood often works better.” Now of course, there is a direct connection between God’s existence and truth. And perhaps I should be grateful that TIME is seeing the connection between God and truth at all. But the irony of reading an elegy for truth in a Magazine that last month featured a second transgender individual on its cover is almost too much. “Beyond he or she,” read the teaser, “How a new generation is redefining the meaning of gender.” It should be blindingly obvious to anyone with two eyes that TIME, itself, has a tenuous relationship with reality. The idea that a man can dye his hair, put on lipstick, and somehow become a woman by sheer will is a much more obvious falsehood than anything the president has claimed thus far. Of course, no falsehood is okay. But for TIME to bemoan the demise of truth mere days after claiming male and female are concepts up for redefinition is unbelievable. But they’re not alone. As I explained recently on my other daily commentary, The Point, National Geographic has launched a social media campaign calling potential subscribers to—and I quote—“Stand behind the facts. Stand with science. Stand for the planet.” Once again, the irony was somehow lost on this magazine, which just a few weeks prior ran a cover story featuring a nine-year-old boy with dyed pink hair and leopard print tights declaring, “The best thing about being a girl is that I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.” Look, we often say it here on BreakPoint that ideas have consequences. And bad ideas have victims. Without God, we have no grounding for truth. And without God, we lose sight of what it really means to be human. For more details, see Psalm 135: 15-18. But let’s be clear about this: When TIME asked half a century ago whether God was dead, the answer then was a resounding “no.” And the answer to the question they asked last week about the truth is the same. Though decades ago certain quarters of our culture gave up on God and then truth and then a coherent sense of the human person, the attempt to replace reality with sheer will and feelings is futile. Like God’s existence, the truth about the world and humanity is not subject to our feelings or our opinions; nor is it changed by academic or political fashions. God is. Reality is. Truth is. Amen.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Dr. Bill Brown: The Colson Fellows and the Importance of Worldview

Mar 28, 2017 - 00:00:00

Dr. Bill Brown, former President of Cedarville University, is the National Director of one of the truly outstanding Christian worldview programs, the Colson Fellows. Bill tells us how the Colson Fellows program carries out Chuck Colson’s vision for forming Christians intellectually and spiritually to become change agents in the culture.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
“Facing Darkness”

Mar 27, 2017 - 00:00:00

This Thursday there’s a one-night showing of a powerful documentary about faith in the face of a deadly epidemic. If you saw people dying all around you from a plague you didn’t understand and couldn’t control, what would you do? For Samaritan’s Purse staff members faced with the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, this wasn’t a hypothetical question. Their answer, because of God’s love and the courage that love gave them, was to join Christians throughout history who ran toward the plague, not away from it. But to fully understand the power of that decision, we need to take a step back. Ebola is a terrifying disease. It causes extreme pain, fever, terrible bouts of diarrhea and vomiting and, until effective treatments were developed, was almost always fatal. And because it’s transferred by body fluids, even wiping the brow or holding the hand of someone infected with Ebola means you’re susceptible to getting it, too. When this horrifying disease broke out in Liberia in 2014, Samaritan’s Purse and the mission agency SIM stayed to fight it. More than 28,000 people came down with the disease in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. The death toll reached more than 11,000. Cemeteries in Liberia are filled with gravestones of whole families who died within days of each other. At first, and despite the disease’s near-genocidal wrath, the world largely ignored this killer plague. But then missionaries Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol contracted the disease. It was a terrible blow to the ministry and its work in Liberia, but it also became a turning point in the fight against Ebola. Now, I’m sad to the world didn’t seem to care until the Americans got sick. But once the world started paying attention, it turned the tide in the fight against Ebola. Writebol and Brantly, after close brushes with death, responded to an experimental drug that may not have been rushed into use had they not gotten sick as Americans. Money, drugs, and other resources soon poured into West Africa. And just a year later, by late 2015, Liberia was officially declared Ebola free. Donations flooding in to Samaritan’s Purse in response to the group’s work there helped fund a new hospital in Liberia, the most modern one in the country, and research dollars poured into the race for an Ebola vaccine, which progressed to clinical trials last year. This gripping, tragic, but ultimately redemptive story is coming to a theater near you. “Facing Darkness” is a powerful movie produced by Samaritan’s Purse itself. But don’t think this is a fluffy PR film. It’s not. It’s an emotionally raw, artfully constructed story of life and death that recently won a top prize at the Heartland Film Festival and has received standing ovations at advance screenings, including the recent gathering of the National Religious Broadcasters. For one-night-only, March 30, it will be in more than 900 theaters. That’s this Thursday night. In Rodney Stark’s ground-breaking work “The Rise of Christianity,” a book we quote often here on BreakPoint, Stark tells the story of the Plague of Cyprian, a 3rd century plague that wiped out whole cities, but one in which Christians ministered sacrificially. In the 3rd century Christians ran TOWARD the plague. The result, which Stark describes in detail, was a witness to the pagan world that contributed to the spectacular growth of the church in the century that followed. And today, in the 21st century, brave Christians are STILL running TOWARD the plague, not away from it. The witness of amazing servants of Jesus like Dr. Kent Brantly, Nancy Writebol, and their colleagues on the Samaritan’s Purse team in Liberia, is being seen and marveled at all around the world. And ultimately it’s pointing people to Christ. Come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary–we’ll link you to more information on the upcoming showing of “Facing Darkness.”

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Gorsuch, Keller, and Facing Darkness

Mar 27, 2017 - 00:00:00

On this week’s broadcast, John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer discuss a new movie that tells the story of the brave aid workers, motivated by Christian faith, who ran toward the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. An Islamic terror attack in London renewed the heated debate over immigration and refugee policies, and Princeton reversed its decision to award Tim Keller the Kuyper Prize. Our hosts examine these headlines and more from a Christian perspective.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Beauty and the Beast and Our Obsession with Remakes

Mar 22, 2017 - 00:00:00

“Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme.” And we just keep retelling and re-singing it. I’m talking about the year’s biggest movie. In a segment on NPR last Wednesday, Bob Mondello documented the bizarre entertainment phenomenon known as “movie twins.” Hollywood has long puzzled the public by releasing films with nearly identical premises and plots within months or even weeks of one another. “Mission to Mars” and “Red Planet,” “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact,” “Antz” and “A Bug’s Life,” and “Happy Feet” and “Surf’s Up” are just a few of the uncannily similar flicks to hit theaters at or around the same time. “Hollywood is a small town,” says Mondello, and directors, producers, and screen-writers often swap ideas. But the trend has recently intensified and commingled with a growing preference for remakes. “Interstellar” and “Arrival” tell strikingly similar stories, as do “Life,” and “Alien: Covenant,” both slated for release this spring. Spiderman has starred in no less than half a dozen movies in the last fifteen years, as have Batman and Superman. And next year Warner Brothers’ take on “The Jungle Book” will follow last year’s live-action remake from Disney, and “not two, but seven Robin Hood movies are currently in development,” because, as Mondello quips, “the over 100 previous ones listed in IMDB just weren’t enough.” As I said last year on BreakPoint, the new “Star Wars” sequels also retread familiar ground, with what some called a “beat-by-beat” recycling of George Lucas’ original. Trailers and posters for a “Power Rangers” movie will greet theatergoers this month, as will previews for the um-teenth installment of “Transformers,” a series that’s gone on so long, most of the original cast has quit. Of course, Disney just achieved its biggest opening ever with a “re-skin” of its award-winning 1991 “Beauty and the Beast.” It’s the latest in a series of live-action remakes of classics from the Disney vault, like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. And Allison Wilmore at Buzzfeed wasn’t wrong when she described it as “the mouse-house’s strange, sad ode to itself.” Fans of the original and deservedly beloved “Beauty and the Beast” will likely enjoy this new version because, other than the live actors, a longer run time, and some not-so-subtle politicking, it’s the same movie! As my BreakPoint colleague, Shane Morris, put it, “this was a special edition of the original with eight times the budget.” But if the quarter-century-old cartoon was so perfect, why did we need a scene-by-scene remake? Putting aside the obvious answer, which is money, the observation I made last year about “Star Wars” still rings true. Hollywood has run out of ideas. And even movies that shine—and make no mistake, this new and high-budget “Beauty and the Beast” shines—are borrowing their glory from decades past. If asked to name recent films with truly original plots and characters other than dusted off, fifty-year-old comic book heroes, many of us would have a tough time. And that’s not cool! By the way, the much-ballyhooed “exclusively gay moment” which “Beauty and the Beast” director Bill Condon referred to turned out to be two or three suggestive moments, plus an “in-your-face” transgender moment involving a man dressed in drag and loving it. As a Christian dad, that bugged me. But as a fan of good stories, I found it far sadder that LGBT propaganda was the most original thing about the new “Beauty and the Beast.” Folks, we need fresh stories! And judging by the recent fare from Disney, Mickey Mouse is fresh out. The familiar can feel good—especially with so much uncertainty when we turn on the news. But it doesn’t uplift us, challenge us, or inspire anew as truly original work can. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: I think Christians are the ones to write, produce, and direct these exciting, new stories and break the spell of non-stop nostalgia.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Preparing Young People for a Lifetime of Faith

Mar 23, 2017 - 00:00:00

If you care about the next generation, and especially have one of the next generation in your life, have I got a worthwhile, long-term investment for you. If you’ve listened to BreakPoint even just a few times, you know I can get pretty passionate about important issues facing the Church. And there are few things, if any at all, more critical to the Church right now than discipling the next generation to handle this crazy culture. And there are few organizations I’m more passionate about and more confident in than Summit Ministries, which trains teens and college-age students in Christian worldview, and provides them a solid biblical foundation for the world they will encounter. You’ve heard the stats before, and they’re staggering: Too many young people leave the church and their faith behind after they enter college. The “nones,” those who dismiss any need for religious affiliation, is on the rise, especially among young people. And, many struggle to hold on to biblical values on some of our culture’s most critical questions. This should not be. But here’s the larger point—it doesn’t have to be. As my friend Aaron Atwood puts it, “Summit helps students own their faith. As high school and college students enter environments increasingly contentious to the cause of Christ, they’ve got to be prepared. We’d never send our kids to school without the academic tools they need to succeed. Why would we send them to school without the spiritual tools they need?” Now think about that. Why indeed? Consider the thousands of dollars most parents spend on tutors, coaches, leagues, activities—all so they can be “ready for life.” Why wouldn’t we invest in the future of their faith? For 55 years, Summit has been, as Chuck Colson said, “the gold standard in worldview education.” At Summit, students are allowed to ask the toughest questions from thoughtful faculty like myself, pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf, Jeff Meyers, evangelist Sean McDowell, Moody professor Christopher Yuan, and many others. These faculty are not only experts in their field, they love to engage with students around difficult issues of faith and culture. But at Summit students not only deepen their understanding of the faith, they come to encounter the source of faith: the love of Jesus Christ. Bek’s story could be repeated many many times. As a young teen, she was in love with God, and then, as personal problems and feelings of isolation set in, she began to fall out of love with God. In fact, as she struggled with anxiety, she grew angry with Him, and she says she looked to “many different things to give hope, purpose, and peace.” Things that she never found. Then something remarkable happened. “One day,” she relates, “my parents pulled me aside and told me that someone” decided to cover the cost of attending a Summit conference. “This was the first taste of love that I experienced from someone who was part of Summit.” But it wouldn’t be the last. When she arrived at Summit, she says, “My whole life changed. I used to be extremely bitter towards God, but through the love of the girls that I got to know, and ultimately the love from two of the staffers, my heart was softened to the idea of God . . . through the lectures, I became confident that He is real . . . I became satisfied with the proof that validated the Bible. I came to realize that Jesus is real, and that there is a creator who loves us so much he died for us, for those who have hurt him.” Now what Bek describes is what Summit does best—truth in the context of relationships. We’ve got more information on these 12-day worldview-immersion conferences at BreakPoint.org. Or check out Summit’s website, Summit.org. And know this: Summit has special discount pricing if you reserve your space by March 31. With three locations around the country, every family can find a date and location that will work. And you can save additional money by selecting a program in California or Tennessee. Prepare your teen or college student. Send them to Summit.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Fujimura’s “Culture Care”

Mar 24, 2017 - 00:00:00

When it comes to culture, do you consider yourself a foot soldier or a gardener? Okay, that’s a bit cryptic. But let me explain. When was the last time you participated in a boycott? Or shared a Facebook post alerting your friends to a dangerous cultural trend? Good stuff. Now, let me ask you this: When was the last time you went to an art museum? Or bought tickets to the theater? Or listened to a great piece of music? Or wrote a poem and shared it with friends? I ask, because, I believe even more important for Christians than being on the front lines of the culture war is participating in the culture—and better yet, helping to create and nurture it. If the main contribution that Christians make to culture is complaining about it, we’re doing something wrong. That’s what my friend Makoto Fujimura says in his new book, “Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life.” You may have heard me interview Fujimura before. He’s a brilliant artist and writer who has thought long and hard about the relationship between faith and the arts. “Culture,” he argues, “is not a territory to be won or lost but a resource we are called to steward with care. Culture is a garden to be cultivated.” In other words, Fujimura wants us to shift our thinking away from the “culture wars” model, in which we think of culture as a battleground. Of course we need to have convictions about culture, and to stand by them. But Fujimura wants to offer a better way for us to influence culture for good. His image of a garden is just one of many he draws from nature, to show how we can carefully and patiently help to cultivate that cultural environment and make good things grow in it. So, how do we do this? Fujimura suggests that both Christians and the arts community start by learning to look at each other as potential allies, even friends, instead of as sworn enemies. He asks us to consider investing in cultural works, as we’re able to afford it. (As an example, he mentions customers who have purchased his own paintings by giving him a little money every month until they were fully paid for.) He suggests that leaders in the church, the arts community, and the business community form partnerships to help support each other and nurture the culture around them. He cites the example of singer Mahalia Jackson, who encouraged Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to “tell ’em about the dream,” spurring him to make his most famous speech. Such encouragement can flow in both directions. This isn’t always easy work, but it’s extremely valuable and worthwhile. It requires thoughtful engagement instead of blanket condemnation, and it may call for us to broaden our understanding and deal with ideas that seem unfamiliar and uncomfortable. But from such efforts come moments that he calls “generative,” or “life-giving.” Christians who enjoy and support art and culture, who make it a priority in their lives, and who reach out to those in the arts instead of reflexively pushing them away, can help bring the culture toward a renewed appreciation of goodness, truth, and beauty. And that is good for everyone. Fujimura acknowledges that Christians in the arts, or even just Christians who love the arts, can feel caught between two worlds. But he argues that this is not a bad thing. The person in this position may in fact be playing “a role of cultural leadership in a new mode, serving functions including empathy, memory, warning, guidance, mediation, and reconciliation.” One of the best things about “Culture Care” is Fujimura’s optimism about our future—especially if you’re feeling a bit weary and battle-scarred from the culture wars. He firmly believes that, as tough as this cultural moment is, we can turn it into a “genesis moment” by learning to nurture and care for our culture and those who create it. If you want to be part of that effort, I can’t think of a better way to start than by picking up this excellent book.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Rod Dreher and "The Benedict Option," part II

Mar 21, 2017 - 00:00:00

Part II of Warren Cole Smith's interview with Rod Dreher about Dreher's much-anticipated book, "The Benedict Option."

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
The Infamous ‘Fake News’ List

Mar 21, 2017 - 00:00:00

Strangely enough, BreakPoint made a list published by Harvard University library. Even stranger is the list itself. Back in November, Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communications and media at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, published a list called, “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical ‘News’ Sources.” Last week, the list went viral when Harvard University Library linked to it as a helpful guide to “Fake News, Misinformation, and Propaganda.” Now, there’s no question that there’s a problem with fake news online, especially when it comes to political news. In fact, we’ve talked about this before on BreakPoint and The Point, warning about passing on that news story before fact checking it, simply because it agrees with your bias. And Christians, who are called to be people of truth, have been just as guilty of this as anyone else. That said, Zimdars’ list is strange, and in a very important way, self-contradictory. While many of the sites she identifies as “conspiracy,” “biased,” “fake,” “clickbait,” or “unreliable” certainly deserve those titles, there is a vastly greater number of conservative and right-leaning sites listed than liberal and left-leaning sites. For example, all pro-life websites are listed as “biased,” but pro-abortion sites aren’t listed at all. Also missing are sites like Vox, Slate, and BuzzFeed – though the list flags similar sites on the other end of the political spectrum such as Drudge and National Review. And BreakPoint.org, our website, made the list as “unreliable.” Now to be fair, Professor Zimdars acknowledges that her analysis is limited, and that the problem of fake news and the “if it bleeds, it leads” approach that dominates journalism today is a problem too big to be solved by her attempt to keep a running tally of media offenders. But she, like so many other media experts and academics today, seems unaware of her own bias. And she is biased. And well, so are we. It’s what a worldview does, and none of us are exempt. Not you. Not me. Of course that doesn’t mean that all sites are equal. Some worldviews better reflect reality than others, and no matter our worldview, we do live in the same world of facts. That said, let me take this time to clarify how we at the Colson Center see our responsibility to truth and facts each and every day on BreakPoint. First, our primary allegiance is to the One who is the Truth– Jesus Christ. So we strive to tell stories truthfully without changing, embellishing, or conveniently omitting facts that matter. In fact, each day on our website, we’ll link to additional sources, including those we may disagree with. Now do we make mistakes on occasion? You bet. And we’re grateful for our listeners who are quick to tell us when we do. Second, because the One who is the Truth is also the Way and the Life, we will take the world and other worldviews very seriously. Third, we will strive to be as wise as serpents. We will not allow our commentaries to be dominated by outrage or despair. Christians are to be people of hope, and getting angry is no strategy in and of itself. We also need to think: How might I respond? What is my Christian responsibility? And of course, our worldview commits us to the inherent dignity of each and every person. Therefore, we must be, as Fr. Robert Sirico said, “brutal with ideas and gentle with people.” People, even those who call our commentaries “unreliable,” are never our enemy. They are among those made in God’s image and for whom Christ died. Now I’ll conclude by saying that I fully agree with what Professor Zimdars wrote on how to consume the news these days. “The best thing to do,” she writes, “in our contemporary media environment is to read/watch/listen widely and often, and to be critical of the sources we share and engage with on social media.” Or as St. John said, “Test everything.” But to evaluate other sources we must be grounded in truth. And so make sure that among your sources is the ultimate source more reliable than any of the others: the revealed Word of God.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
BreakPoint This Week: Free Speech on Campus, CNN, and Jesus

Mar 17, 2017 - 00:00:00

John and Ed discuss the kiddie interruption on the BBC, free speech on campus, and CNN's fixation with questioning the historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Christians Don’t Retire from Kingdom Work

Mar 20, 2017 - 00:00:00

Narrowly escaping the jaws of a large reptile might get you thinking about your life. But you don’t have to wait ‘til then to make important changes. C. S. Lewis wrote that pain is God’s megaphone—something He uses when He can’t get our attention any other way. I know at least one Christian who has an idea of what that’s like: God got his attention after—and I’m not making this up—he was nearly eaten by a crocodile. Bill Beattie was a businessman whose life was going quite well. He’d been happily married for 35 years, and his three children were leading productive lives. He expected to spend the years ahead peacefully serving as an elder in his church in Danbury, Connecticut. But God was prompting Bill toward other things. Problem was, Bill wasn’t listening. That changed after a canoeing adventure on the Zambezi River, home to hippos and crocodiles, during an anniversary trip to Africa with his wife Kathie. Bill recalls, “I was a novice canoeist and had foolishly rejected Kathie’s suggestion of canoeing lessons prior to the trip.” The guide gave them a five-minute training session, and sent the couple paddling away, headed downstream. They were “eyeball-to eyeball with hippos at every turn,” Bill recalls. The expression on Kathie’s face told him that his wife was terrified. And she was right to be. They suddenly struck a submerged tree trunk and capsized the canoe. The rescue team quickly picked up Kathie, but their canoe could not hold another person. Bill tried to right his own canoe and climb on top of it as the crocodiles watched. Struggling with his canoe, Bill didn’t notice, but his companions did, that a 13-foot crocodile came within 10 feet of him before turning and pursuing some of the flotsam from the canoe that had gone floating down the river. Around the campfire that evening, Bill reflected on what had happened that day. It was extraordinary, he says, “that the croc did not attack and drag me to the bottom. I sensed that God had intervened on my behalf to save me for His purposes.” Back home, Bill began to consider his areas of strength, and consulted with friends. Believing God was leading him to start a ministry for at risk, inner-city boys, he founded the Pathways Danbury, a mentoring ministry which now reaches girls as well. Christian adults provide them with one-on-one mentoring, Bible study, and tutoring. They can attend Bible camp in the summer, and if they graduate from high school meeting standards of excellence, they’re given a $10,000 grant for education, business, or housing. Some 70 boys and girls are now involved in the Pathways Danbury mentoring program, which was expanded in 2008 to include Pathways Academy Middle School and the “Say Yes” after-school program. The key to their ministry, Bill notes, “continues to be sharing Jesus on a long-term basis to kids who are at risk for drugs and alcohol . . . delinquency and family instability.” Now frequently on BreakPoint, we like to share stories of Christians like Bill who are making a difference in the world by tackling the brokenness in their own backyard. We do this to remind us that all is not lost… that God has his people everywhere, enlisting them in his Kingdom work to make all things new, like Bill in Danbury, Connecticut. And if God is at work there, He’s at work around you too. Bill’s story also reminds me how much Chuck Colson hated the idea that retirement is about spending the rest of your life on the golf course. He would have none of that. Christians don’t retire from Kingdom work, he’d often say. Bill’s story was told in a manual for the Halftime Institute, which offers resources to help believers intentionally aim the second half of their lives at serving Jesus. We’ll link you to it at BreakPoint.org. But there’s no need to wait until you’re nearing retirement: God has placed you where He has for a purpose right now. And if you’d like to lock in on a life plan for Kingdom work, the Colson Fellows program will prepare you for that. Study with great worldview teachers, and join motivated fellow believers for an intense and intensely rewarding nine months of worldview teaching and preparation to engage the culture around you. Just visit ColsonFellows.org for more information.

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Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Exploring the Benedict Option

Mar 17, 2017 - 00:00:00

Perhaps you’ve been hearing about this new book, “The Benedict Option” by Rod Dreher, and wondered, “What’s that?” Let’s talk about it. A new book by blogger Rod Dreher, “The Benedict Option,” has already been debated, discussed, and by some, dismissed and denounced before it was even released—or read. Well, now it’s out, and it’s worthy of a thoughtful discussion, particularly about what Rod calls “a decisive leap into a truly countercultural way of living Christianity.” The Benedict Option name comes from the last page of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre’s 1981 book “After Virtue.” As Dreher recently explained, “MacIntyre said the time is coming when men and women of virtue will understand that continued full participation in mainstream society was not possible for those who want to live a life of traditional virtue. These people would find new ways to live in community, he said, just as St. Benedict, the sixth-century father of Western monasticism, responded to the collapse of Roman civilization by founding a monastic order.” Now as the quote suggests, Dreher’s book makes two key points: first, we’ve arrived at a moment where “full participation in mainstream society” is no longer compatible with living lives of traditional Christian virtue; and therefore, second, the time has come to find new ways of living as Christians. Now, Dreher’s description of the cultural moment we’re living in will sound familiar to any BreakPoint listener. For instance, anyone who doubts that American Christians are less free to practice their faith in the public square simply hasn’t been paying attention. I wouldn’t call it persecution, but I wouldn’t call it freedom, either. And he’s spot-on when he says that “moralistic therapeutic deism,” a term from Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith, is the real faith of too many young Christians these days. He’s equally correct to note that this shallow worldview will not withstand the cultural pressures that Christians face. And that’s perhaps the most important contribution “The Benedict Option” makes: taking seriously the powerful ability of culture to shape our hearts and minds. Culture is a catechizing force, but too many of us are like the fish who don’t know they are wet. And so, Rod says, Christianity needs to be characterized by “thick ties,” to fellow Christians and institutions, and especially to our churches. This “thickening” may take the form of physical communities, but most of the time it won’t. And yet still, “the church can’t just be the place you go on Sundays—it must become the center of your life.” This may sound obvious, but it is, in my opinion, the second important contribution “The Benedict Option” makes. For too many Christians, churches are “a consumer experience,” instead of institutions that shape both who and whose we are. Christian discipleship must become more than merely instructive. It must become formative. Of course, the controversial aspect of the Benedict Option is Dreher’s call for “a strategic withdrawal.” To many, understandably, this sounds way too much like post-Scopes fundamentalism that abandoned the public square to non-Christians. Dreher insists that it doesn’t mean the same thing, and I hope not. Because escape is never an option for Christians. We should never retreat into our institutions because we’re seeking safety. We should, however, strengthen them out of loyalty to each other and to the true, the good and beautiful, preserving the best of Christian culture so that we can—at some point—gift it back to the world in acts of grace. Now whether you agree or disagree with the Benedict option, I am thankful that Dreher’s book is igniting a long-overdue conversation about what it means to live in a post-Christian context. In fact, we’ve started a conversation on Rod’s book with a dozen or so leading Christian thinkers via an online symposium at BreakPoint.org. Please come to BreakPoint.org to see what they have to say about “The Benedict Option.”

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THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE
#606 - Randall Carlson

Feb 4, 2015 - 3:09:16

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