When we experience a dire situation, we are tempted to wallow in shame and to despair and turn against others. We must remember and believe God’s promises and his Good News, but not just for ourselves. We must turn in faith and love and speak with hopeful confidence to those around us. This is precisely what we see in Adam’s naming of Eve.
Did you ever notice that Adam named Eve after the Fall? This small detail from the first few chapters of Genesis, given in a single verse, leads us to an inspiring truth in one of our closest relationships.
Initially, Adam called his wife simply “Woman” (Gen 2:23). But after their disobedience, he named her Eve, which means “life-giver” (Gen 3:20). She would be “the mother of all the living.” After she disobeyed God, Eve had every reason to believe she was anything but a life-giver. But this is the name Adam chose for her immediately after hearing the full impact of their sin and failure from their holy God.
This is an unexpected turn. Earlier, Adam had sidestepped his responsibility for disobeying God and resentfully blamed Eve, and ultimately God, for his failure. God then pronounced a sentence on each of them—to her, pain in childbearing—to him, relentless toil in his work. Their lives together would be marked by struggle. It was a somber and devastating moment.
But instead of nursing resentment and continuing to blame his wife, Adam’s immediate response and first act of loving leadership was to rename her “life-giver.” For though God had announced curses upon them, he also gave them a magnificent promise of redemption (Gen 3:15).
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By BBC — 2 days ago
The Covenant Fellowship Scotland, a think tank of evangelicals within the Church of Scotland, issued a statement:…”The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, in converting an overture permitting ministers and deacons to officiate at same-sex marriages into an Act of the Church, has acted in a way which is both unbiblical and sinful…But we must nevertheless point to the complete absence of any compelling or persuasive biblical evidence that might permit ministers and deacons of the Church of Scotland to officiate at same sex marriages.”
Members of the General Assembly in Edinburgh voted to change church law following years of campaigning.
It means same-sex couples will be able to marry in church in services conducted by ministers.
Ministers and deacons will be able to apply to become celebrants of same sex marriage, but they will not be forced to take part.
The results of the vote were: 274 for and 136 against.
Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, moderator of the General Assembly, said: “The Church of Scotland is a broad church and there are diverse views on the subject of same-sex marriage among its members.
“There has been a lengthy, prayerful and in-depth discussion and debate about this topic for many years at all levels of the Church to find a solution that respects diversity and values the beliefs of all.
“The Church is committed to ensuring that debates on this subject are held in a spirit of humility and grace, the tone and tenor of discussions are civil and people are respectful of those who hold opposing views.”
‘Support the deliverance’
Before Monday’s vote, members of the assembly expressed a range of opinions on the change.
Among them was Rev Scott Rennie, who in 2009 became the first openly gay clergyman in the Church of Scotland to have his appointment approved – despite protests by some sections of the Kirk.
He was not able to marry his husband in a religious ceremony, as he would have wanted.
He told the General Assembly: “I sincerely hope the assembly will find it in itself to support the deliverance, even those who have their doubt.”
He acknowledged those within the Church who did not support the issue.
He said: “I want to say that marriage is a wonderful thing. My marriage to my husband Dave nurtures my life and my ministry.
“Frankly, I couldn’t be a minister without his love and support. It is much the same as opposite sex marriage in its joys and its glories.”
Last year, the Methodist Church became the largest religious denomination in the UK to permit same-sex marriages.
It is not allowed in the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church, but is welcomed in the Scottish Episcopal Church, the United Reformed Church and the Quakers.
By Trevin Wax — 7 months ago
It’s no surprise the lingo of “boot camp” spread into evangelicalism through Acts 29’s church planter gatherings. The atmosphere of “telling it like it is,” being “confronted by the truth” and “doing whatever it takes for the kingdom” had massive appeal to a generation of young men who came from homes where fathers were hooked on porn before the sons discovered it themselves, where the meaning of manhood and the pathway toward character development was left undefined.
In a radio interview a couple years ago, long after the implosion of Mars Hill Church and his departure from Seattle, Mark Driscoll attributed the resurgence of Reformed theology among evangelicals to “father wounds.”
That whole Young, Restless Reformed—God is father but he’s distant, he’s mean, he’s cruel, he’s non-relational, he’s far away. That’s their view of their earthly father. So, then they pick dead mentors: Spurgeon, Calvin, Luther. These are little boys with father wounds who are looking for spiritual fathers, so they pick dead guys who are not actually going to get to know them or correct them. And then they join networks run by other young men so that they can all be brothers. There’s no fathers. And they love, love, love Jesus because they love the story where the son is the hero because they’re the sons with father wounds.
I was surprised by this interview, primarily because Mark went on to repudiate Calvinism after painting Reformed theology with a broad brush. But also because, while making a valid point about how father wounds can influence one’s theology, Mark didn’t address the ways his ministry benefited from the phenomenon of absentee and passive fathers. It would be much easier to connect fatherlessness to Driscoll-fanhood than to make the case that all Reformed theology is really about a distant, angry, “non-relational” God.
Mark’s persona—the dude who, unlike your wimpy father, will get in your face and tell you the truth—was compelling to younger men confused about the meaning and purpose of manhood. That’s why the infamous “How dare you!” sermon took off. More on that in a moment.
Fatherhood and Reformed Theology
First, let’s acknowledge the kernel of truth in Mark’s assessment (if you can look past his caricature of Reformed theology): one reason for the recent rise of Reformed theology can be attributed to a hunger for healthy, assertive, promise-keeping, full-of-character fathers who reflect the fatherhood of God.
Collin Hansen touched on this desire in his 2008 book Young, Restless, and Reformed, when he described younger Calvinists referring to John Piper as a father figure. One young lady talked about Piper as being like “a dad” to her, although they’d never met.
At the time, I wrote about the strangeness of that phenomenon and the implications for a new generation’s vision of God’s fatherhood. What does it say about God as Father if young people think “father” is the appropriate term for a prominent preacher with whom they have no relationship? This is how I put it then:
Fathers image God. To reach for descriptions of spiritual fatherhood in relation to a powerful preacher, disconnected from a young person relationally, demonstrates a skewed vision of who God is: far off, transcendent, distant, thundering. If fatherhood can take place without ever meeting, then something has gone sideways regarding a more balanced view of fatherhood, one that includes transcendent authority combined with relational immanence, expressed most clearly in God’s gracious condescension to us in Christ.
By Gerald McDermott — 7 months ago
Why are evangelical universities adopting secular strategies to address a spiritual problem? As one professor put it, administrators are “risk-averse” and hope this will save them from being called racists. But what if their anti-racist solution to racism is itself racist? And what if, in their attempts to avoid criticism, evangelical colleges embrace a secular gospel that has nothing to do with true kingdom diversity?
Parents from Biden-voting areas such as Westchester County (NY), Maricopa County (AZ), and northern Virginia have been protesting the teaching of critical race theory in their public schools. They object that it divides students by race and intimates that skin color denotes either guilt or innocence.
Christian parents often assume that evangelical institutions are free from such secular ideologies. But recent developments at three leading evangelical schools suggest they need to look more carefully.
Wheaton College, Billy Graham’s alma mater in Illinois, is famous as a premier center for evangelical learning. But Wheaton has recently adopted harmful strategies in its approach to race. According to one professor who wrote me anonymously, only a few Wheaton professors are woke, but many critics of their agenda are “hesitant” to speak up. The beliefs of Wheaton’s Office of Multicultural Development, led by a cabinet-level chief intercultural engagement officer, were on display last April at Wheaton’s first annual “Racialized Minorities Recognition Ceremony.” Sheila Caldwell, Wheaton’s chief diversity officer until just a few weeks before the event, was the main speaker. Caldwell complained that she had been “imprisoned by a racialized caste system . . . and was expected to be deferential to the patriarchy” around her. She implied that Wheaton was also part of this racialized system. She added that Larycia Hawkins (the political science professor Wheaton fired for refusing to uphold the college’s statement of faith on the uniqueness of Christ’s salvation) had been “pressured to stay in her place in the American caste system.”
At an evangelical college, the approach to all issues—including race—should be grounded in the gospel. Yet Caldwell’s message was not the beauty of salvation by the Trinitarian God, but the need for people of color to exercise power in a racist society. In a letter to students, faculty, and staff, the president of Baylor University recommended a resource on race that encourages readers to assess their thoughts and feelings using Tema Okun’s “characteristics of white supremacy culture”—characteristics that include individualism, objectivity, linear thinking, and logic.
One professor at Baylor told me he is “infuriated” that the university has not used this country’s race debate to show how Christian faith can transform the conversation.