May I recommend this and his next article to you so you will be informed how I approach preaching. FH
As preachers we recognize how strange the times have become. Almost anyone seeking to carry out a faithful pulpit ministry recognizes that preachers must now ask questions we have not had to consider in the past. We recognize that preaching has been displaced from its once prominent position in the culture. Many of us are wondering, why is preaching more challenging in our cultural moment than it has been in other times? The answer to this question ultimately rests in this fact: we now live, move, and have our being in a secular age. As preachers, and even as Christians, we must understand the trends of secularization and advance that the only authentic Christian response to the challenge of secularization is faithful, clear, and informed expository preaching.
Source: Secularism, Preaching, and the Challenges of Modernity – AlbertMohler.com
As he explains in his important book, The Secular Age, the way people hold to theological convictions and religious principles in the modern era is fundamentally different than how people believed in the past. Modernity has made religious belief provisional, optional, and far less urgent than it was in the pre-modern world.
Halfway through the lecture, Oberman, through no fault of our own, became exasperated with the class. “Young men,” he said, “you will never understand Luther because you go to bed every night confident you will wake up healthy in the morning. In Luther’s day, people thought that every day could be their last. They had no antibiotics. They didn’t have modern medicine. Sickness and death came swiftly.” Oberman’s point was that when Luther closed his eyes at night terrified he was afraid he might wake up in hell. Luther recognized that every day might be his last and he could very quickly find himself either face to face with God or the devil.
The intellectual conditions in Europe and on American university campuses have now secularized such that it is impossible for those under such conditions to believe in God. In other words, we have arrived at the third intellectual epoch of Western society: impossible to believe.
Source: Impossible to Believe – Preaching in a Secular Culture – AlbertMohler.com
I’m going. Anyone else? FH
This year we will explore the latest findings in regard to the rise of the “nones,” Generation Z, and the nature of our new post-Christian reality. It will delve into how to “do” apologetics in a post-truth world. It will examine the trends just now taking shape that we will be talking about in months and years to come (It’s time the church got a bit ahead of the curve, don’t you think?).
Source: Church & Culture Blog | Church and Culture
Don’t normally include political stuff. But, this comment is telling. Man, he appears to be on his own.
Normally a new president has someone backing him up, someone publicly behind him. Mr. Obama had the mainstream media—the big broadcast networks, big newspapers, activists and intellectuals, pundits and columnists of the left—the whole shebang. He had a unified, passionate party. Mr. Trump in comparison has almost nothing. The mainstream legacy media oppose him, even hate him, and will not let up. The columnists, thinkers and magazines of the right were mostly NeverTrump; some came reluctantly to support him. His party is split or splitting. The new president has gradations of sympathy, respect or support from exactly one cable news channel, and some websites.He really has no one but those who voted for him.Do they understand what a lift daily governance is going to be, and how long the odds are, with so much arrayed against him, and them?
Source: President Trump Declares Independence – WSJ
A report by a leading watchdog group found that 2016 was the “worst year yet” for Christian persecution, since monitoring began 25 years ago.
Source: Report: 2016 Was ‘Worst Year Yet’ for Christian Persecution
The end result is scientific activity devoid of responsible ethical judgments and decisions.The moral relativism of our society points to the above mentioned disaster. Many today have opinions (supposedly all valid as any other), precious few have convictions and principles to which they are willing to commit themselves, even die for. That sorry ethical outcome ought to have been apparent the moment Descartes took away from human knowledge the ground of ultimate beliefs, thus discounting the fundamental relationship between thought and being, understanding and reality; notions that any science, in as much as it is made by Man’s mind, should always presuppose.
Source: Is Scientific Knowledge Grounded in Faith?
More evidence that liberal-minded churches are dying. FH
For example, we found 93 percent of clergy members and 83 percent of worshipers from growing churches agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb.” This compared with 67 percent of worshipers and 56 percent of clergy members from declining churches. Furthermore, all growing church clergy members and 90 percent of their worshipers agreed that “God performs miracles in answer to prayers,” compared with 80 percent of worshipers and a mere 44
Source: Liberal churches are dying. But conservative churches are thriving. – The Washington Post
One in four Americans (25%) now call themselves liberal, reflecting steady gains since the 1990s. Conservatives remain the largest ideological group, at 36%.
Source: U.S. Conservatives Outnumber Liberals by Narrowing Margin
A provacative article! FH
Tolerance is not a moral absolute; it is a peace treaty. Tolerance is a social norm because it allows different people to live side-by-side without being at each other’s throats. It means that we accept that people may be different from us, in their customs, in their behavior, in their dress, in their sex lives, and that if this doesn’t directly affect our lives, it is none of our business. But the model of a peace treaty differs from the model of a moral precept in one simple way: the protection of a peace.
What this teaches us is that tolerance, viewed as a moral absolute, amounts to renouncing the right to self-protection; but viewed as a peace treaty, it can be the basis of a stable society. Its protections extend only to those who would uphold it in turn. To withdraw those protections from those who would destroy it does not violate its moral principles; it is fundamental to them, because without this enforcement, the treaty would collapse. It is appropriate, even ethical, to answer force with proportional force, when that force is required to restore a just peace. We seek peace because on the whole it is far better than war; but as history has taught us, not every peace is better than the war it prevents.
Source: Tolerance is not a moral precept