Thanks to Paul McCain, who posted a transcript of Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks that he gave at the Augustinian cloister in Erfurt, which was where Luther served as a monk.  You should read the whole speech, but here is a sample: As the Bishop of Rome, it is deeply moving for me to be meeting representatives of Council of the Lutheran Church of Germany here in the ancient Augustinian convent in Erfurt. This is where Luther studied theology. This is… Read more

The winner of the Republican straw poll in Florida was not Perry and not Romney, but Herman Cain.  The African-American businessman took 37% of the vote, better than the two ostensible front-runners combined. One could say that the vote is meaningless.  It is cast by Republican activists, not the general public, who have to pay for the privilege.  And yet the Florida straw poll, which has consistently forecast the eventual Republican nominee, does tell us this:  Republican activists do not… Read more

A Christian in Iran is being given that choice:  recant your faith in Christ or be executed.  He has refused to deny Christ three times.  This is from Wesley Smith at First Things.  Go there for several relevant links. An Iranian pastor may soon be executed for apostasy because he refuses to recant his Christian faith. Here’s the story from the Get Religion blog, by the eminently responsible Terry Mattingly. Here’s the press release from Christian Solidarity, which states in… Read more

Continuing our series on the Law, in which we discussed the civil use (as curb; that is, external righteousness that makes possible the social order) and the theological use (as mirror; that is, to help us to see our sins so that we repent and turn to the Gospel), we  now come to the so-called Third Use (as guide; that is, to help Christians know the kind of life that pleases God).  This third use has been the topic of… Read more

We all have heard that the divorce rate is higher in the so-called Bible Belt states than elsewhere.  Also that the divorce rate in conservative “red” states is higher than in liberal “blue” states.  But now Australian Mark Richardson has taken a closer look at those statistics: In August of this year, the US Census Bureau released a report on divorce rates in the different states of America. It was widely reported in the media that people were more likely… Read more

It looks like the Supremes will rule on whether or not Obamacare is constitutional: The Obama administration chose not to ask the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to re-hear a pivotal health reform case Monday, signaling that it’s going to ask the Supreme Court to decide whether President Barack Obama’s health reform law is constitutional. The move puts the Supreme Court in the difficult position of having to decide whether to take the highly politically charged case in the middle… Read more

Let’s do a series on God’s Law. . . .Last time we discussed the first use of the Law, the civil use.  The second is the theological use, the confrontation with God’s demands that makes us realize our sinfulness and our desperate need for the Gospel. When we read a book, we might consider how we situate ourselves as readers.  That is, in the case of a novel, whom do we identify with?  What side of the conflict do we… Read more

Robert Kaplan sees President Obama’s refusal to sell the latest F-16s to Taiwan as a sign of America’s decline and China’s rise: By 2020, the United States will not be able to defend Taiwan from a Chinese air attack, a 2009 Rand study found, even with America’s F-22s, two carrier strike groups in the region and continued access to the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. Moreover, China is at the point of deploying anti-ship ballistic missiles that threaten U.S. surface… Read more

Scientists have found neutrinos that seem to be traveling faster than the speed of light, which, according to the laws of physics since Einstein, is supposed to be impossible: Puzzling results from Cern, home of the LHC, have confounded physicists – because it appears subatomic particles have exceeded the speed of light. Neutrinos sent through the ground from Cern toward the Gran Sasso laboratory 732km away seemed to show up a tiny fraction of a second early. The result -… Read more

We’ve talked about the second use of the Law (which convicts us of our sin and drives us to the Gospel) and the third use of the Law (its role in the Christian life).   But we have perhaps neglected the first use of the Law, the civil use, which restrains external evil so as to make life in society possible.   The civil use doesn’t save anyone, and it isn’t even religious as such, applying to all people whether they are… Read more

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