Resources for Understanding Scripture BY: Denis Haack Christian discernment is not the process of applying minds and imaginations to issues of life and culture. It is, rather, applying minds and imaginations shaped by Scripture to issues of life and culture. Those three words make all the difference.
Engaging New Atheists: Agreeing with Christopher Hitchens BY: Denis Haack Films like Fight Club (1999), Garden State (2004), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), and The Golden Compass (2007) explicitly raise searching questions on perennial issues: the meaning of being human, the problem of evil, the need for significance, and the possibility of transcendence. At the same time and seemingly in sharp contrast, an impressive number of assertive—some would say aggressive or militant—voices are arguing that unbelief is the only possible option for thinking people today.
Does Sprituality Mean Inner Peace?: Discernment Exercise BY: Denis Haack If you have visited a Christian book store recently or browsed through a catalog from a religious publisher you will know that self-help and self-improvement books abound. Some seem to be little more than thinly disguised religious versions of books available on the secular market, but most claim to offer distinctly biblical advice.
Pottering About Potter: Discernment Exercise BY: Denis Haack The fourth novel in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, which hit bookstores in July, represents the largest first printing (3.8 million copies) of any book in U.S. history... It is not only the popularity of the Harry Potter books, however, which has generated attention. Numerous Christians have issued warnings about the series, such as this email I received recently...
Should We Pray? Or Protest?: Discernment Exercise BY: Denis Haack The fact that we live in a religiously pluralistic culture means that we can expect to be exposed to beliefs, values, and practices that are contrary to our Christian faith. This might arise in a conversation over lunch at work, in a lecture at a university, in a film, or during any number of other instances when we naturally rub shoulders with non-Christians. In most of these instances, however, our exposure is somewhat at arm’s length. It involves a theme in a movie, or a comment by a colleague—which might become a topic for conversation, but the thing with which we disagree remains out there, at a distance.
The Value of Ritual: Discernment Exercise BY: Preston Jones ...One reaction to this among Christians has been to abandon ritual for the sake of faith from “the heart.” Thus some Catholics and Episcopalians trade high, formal liturgies for guitars and praise songs; written prayers are abandoned in favor of prayers prompted only by the spirit within the heart of the individual; and rote memorization of creeds is frowned on. I wonder if one reason for the explosion in the number of Bible translations available to Americans is the belief (at least among marketers) that every person should have the Bible presented to him just as he or she likes it.
Questions for Dr. Laura: Discernment Exercise BY: Denis Haack Though biblical illiteracy tends to be rather widespread—even among believers—many unbelievers know enough about the Bible to raise questions about how believers understand and interpret the Scriptures. These questions deserve a thoughtful answer, which means it would be wise for Christians to reflect together on how to explain their hermeneutic (how they go about interpreting the Scriptures) to non-Christians in a pluralistic culture.
Answering Questions About Doubt: Discernment Exercise BY: Denis Haack Just about everything about doubt is unsettling. It’s unsettling to doubt, especially if the stakes are high and if we find ourselves doubting when everyone else seems content. It’s unsettling to discover that sometimes our very best reasoning isn’t sufficient to resolve our doubts, or that the search for answers simply increases our uncertainty.
Responding to Questions About Old Testament Law BY: Denis Haack Here’s the situation: A non-Christian friend asks how I can possibly take Old Testament laws against homosexuality seriously when other laws make provisions I obviously reject—such as buying slaves or stoning someone who works on the Sabbath.
Should We Attend This Party?: Discernment Exercise BY: Denis Haack Your small group includes a woman—let’s call her Mary—in her early 60s who came to Christ a couple of years ago. Her enthusiasm for Bible study, sharing Christ, and faithfulness in all of life is both refreshing and infectious. Unlike the Christians in the group, however, most of her closest friends are non-Christians, many of whom she has known for decades.
I love my neighbor as myself but only because I don’t much care for myself.
- Garrison Keillor
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