The problem with federal regulations goes beyond their effect on businesses and whether they are overreaching in one case or another.  The bigger issue is what they do to Constitutional government. Federal agencies, as part of the Executive Branch, have the power to formulate regulations that have the force of law.  So much for the Legislative Branch.  They also have the power to punish you for violating them.  So much for the Judiciary Branch. This is a serious violation of… Read more

One of the most prominent heresies of contemporary Christianity is the prosperity gospel, which teaches that God will give you financial rewards if you follow him correctly, including giving money to preachers of the prosperity gospel. This teaching grew out of Kenneth Hagin’s Word of Faith movement, with its belief that you can “name it and claim it”; that is, tell God what you want, and if you have enough faith that you’ll get it, you will.  This belief was… Read more

Willow Creek is imploding, due primarily to a #MeToo sex scandal involving its influential celebrity pastor Bill Hybel.  Willow Creek was one of the pioneering megachurches, whose church growth tactics were emulated by countless congregations.  Including some in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. My fellow Patheos blogger Jonathan Aigner at Ponder Anew hails the demise of Willow Creek and takes the occasion to post some theses on the church growth movement. Caution:  Mr. Aigner pulls no punches.  Kind of like another… Read more

We have blogged about the curious embrace of Muslims by the hard left, despite their hostility to feminism, abortion, and LGBT rights.  Now an article from Religious News Service looks at Muslim’s commitment to the Democratic party, whose progressive wing in particular is courting them. After describing some cases when Muslim groups removed political material favoring feminism and the LGBT cause that was being distributed, the author raises the question and suggests some answers. From Jacob Lupfer, What binds Muslims to… Read more

Barna Research has conducted a major study of Protestant pastors and how they are doing in their ministry.  A sample of the findings has been published online as The Ups and Downs of Ministry, which shows the result of a survey asking pastors what they most like about their ministry, what they think they are best at, and what frustrates them. (The full report, which includes information about other facets of pastors’ work is entitled The State of Pastors and is on sale… Read more

It’s one thing for a government to ban religion and to persecute religion.  That’s what the Soviet Union did.  China, though, is pursuing another approach to subjugate religion:  Have the government control the religion, forcing it to conform its teachings and practices according to what the government dictates. China may have found a form of socialism that “works,” incorporating certain free market principles, but the country is still communist in its authoritarian ideology and its commitment to atheism. China is… Read more

My post about the One Hour Bible, an edition of highlights designed to be read in 60 minutes, got me thinking:  How long does it take to read the whole Bible? I stumbled upon these calculations posted on the website of the The Village of Euxton in Lancaster, England, which perhaps gave it a try: It takes just 70 hours and 40 minutes to read the Bible through “at pulpit rate,” and aloud! It takes only 52 hours and 20… Read more

Pope Francis has changed the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on capital punishment.  The church has always before upheld the right of the state to execute criminals.  In fact, the church of Rome often practiced capital punishment, with the co-operation of the “secular arm” (for example, John Hus, the victims of the Inquisition’s auto-da-fe, and the Lutheran martyrs). More lately, especially with the pro-life movement and the “consistent life ethic,” Catholics have argued that all life is sacred, so that… Read more

Last year a group of European conservative intellectuals (including Roger Scruton) met in Paris in an effort to define European culture and to identify the threats against it.  They drew up a document they called The Paris Statement. Essentially, they said that European culture consists of distinct nations (as opposed to a bureaucratic European Union), which have their cultural foundations in Christianity and in the Classical heritage of Greece and Rome.  This “true Europe” is currently being undermined by a… Read more

Have you noticed in a bookstore how so many book covers today depict a character’s body but cut off the face?  Have you noticed the difference between how people relate to each other online–without seeing each other–as opposed to face-to-face?  And how much easier it is to harm someone when you can’t see his or her face? In surveying the works of Sir Roger Scruton for a recent post, I came across  The Face of God (2014).  Scruton explores the connection… Read more

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