British evangelist J. John has re-formulated the Ten Commandments in an effort to make them more relevant for today.  His effort is getting some good press, and some 600 churches in England have bought into the program.  This article tells all about it.  You do have to, literally, buy into the program, because the commandments are presented, discussed, and taught in a DVD program called Just 10 for Churches (not available, at least yet, in the USA, as far as… Read more

The Supreme Court  just rocked our criminal justice system: A divided Supreme Court ruled for the first time Wednesday that the guarantee of effective legal representation applies to plea bargain agreements, significantly expanding the constitutional rights of defendants as they move through the criminal justice system. In a pair of cases decided by 5 to 4 votes, the court opened a new avenue for defendants to challenge their sentences on grounds that their attorneys gave them faulty advice, lawyers on… Read more

Bible scholars, including those of the conservative variety, often talk about an oral tradition and its role in the composition of the Gospels.  But we now know that in the ancient world disciples recorded their teacher’s words in notebooks.  So says Michael F. Bird.  (You can check his footnotes.): It was quite common among literary elites of the Greco-Roman world to take notes (hypomemata, commentarii) as an aid to learning.[3] Greek gnomai (sayings) and chreiai (short story) collections provided short… Read more

A Danish scholar looks at the influence of Protestantism–specifically, Lutheranism–on modern Scandinavian culture.  Some of her conclusions: Lutheran Protestants are free from religiosity For centuries, Lutheran Protestant Christianity in Northern Europe and the US taught our ancestors that there was nothing they could do to make God think better of them. Neither good deeds nor giving money to the church was seen as having importance in the eyes of God. “For Protestants, life can be good just as it is…. Read more

We have blogged about universities banning Christian groups unless they are willing to accept non-Christian members and leaders.  The Supreme Court has just refused to hear a case questioning this practice.  See Supreme Court declines religious liberty case. Meanwhile, Michael Stokes Paulsen, while blasting Vanderbilt University for doing this, goes on to argue that Vanderbilt has the right to do so, the same right that protects Christian colleges: Groups, as well as individuals, possess the “freedom of speech.” Just as… Read more

You probably missed the comment on the Islamic-friendly Bibles post last week by David Harriman, who worked for the missionary agency that put out the translation in question.  (I continue to be amazed at who all reads this blog.)  He offered an insider’s perspective that I wanted all of you to see: Dear Gene, For 18 years I served as director of development/director of advancement for Frontiers, the ministry which produced this  Turkish translation of Matthew.  While I believe the… Read more

I had assumed this was just a wild rumor, but Pepsi really is using the bodies of aborted children to make its products–not for cannibalism but in product testing.   And the Obama administration has given its approval.   From Lifesite: PepsiCo has come under fire from pro-life advocates because it has been contracting with a research firm that uses fetal cells from babies victimized by abortions to test and produce artificial flavor enhancers. Now, the Obama administration is set to face… Read more

The Supreme Court heard a case (Astrue v. Capato) on Monday that hinged on determining the inheritance rights of children conceived by artificial insemination after their father’s death. Robert and Karen Capato’s twins were born in 2003 — 18 months after Robert Capato’s death. And in its first review of “posthumous conception,” the ­Supreme Court on Monday struggled to align modern reproductive techniques to a federal law written in 1939. In the end, the justices generally sounded disinclined to award… Read more

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is often assumed by the media, the general public, his supporters, his opponents, and evangelicals to be an evangelical.  He isn’t.  He is a Roman Catholic.  In fact, he is really, really Catholic, a fellow-traveller with Opus Dei, an organization that some say is more Catholic than the Pope.  This article gives the details of his pilgrimage to an ever-stricter Catholicism:  Rick Santorum’s journey to devout Catholicism, view of religion in governance – The Washington… Read more

Rick Santorum has just lost the porn-lovers’ vote, probably dooming his candidacy: Rick Santorum has a message for America’s smut merchants: Prepare for battle. If elected, the GOP presidential candidate writes in a position paper widely circulated this week, he would order his attorney general to “vigorously enforce” existing laws that “prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier.” “The Obama administration… Read more

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