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October 31, 2012Culture

Morning Roundup 10/31/12: Integrity in Reporting; What's an Evangelical?; The War on Women

I am a regular reader of Salon.com, but sometimes I am disappointed by the lack of professionalism shown in their agenda-driven stories. Mary Elizabeth Williams provides an example here, finding one obscure pastor with crazy views to make pastors look bad. Has anyone ever heard of John McTernan? I have not. If Pat Robertson says something foolish, I get that it's newsworthy, but trolling the internet for obscure nutcases and then reporting it as real news is just not helpful, Salon. You would not do it for Muslim Imams, so don't do it for pastors.

Pastor: Blame Gays for Hurricane Sandy -- Slate

In an "urgent call to prayer," founder of Defend and Proclaim the Faith Ministries and amateur "end times" Bible analyst John McTernan has proclaimed that "God is systematically destroying America" for our misdeeds. He'd like you to look at the record. "Just last August, Hurricane Isaac hit New Orleans seven years later, on the exact day of Hurricane Katrina," he writes ungrammatically. "Both hit during the week of the homosexual event called Southern Decadence in New Orleans!" Strangely, both also hit at the height of hurricane season. COINCIDENCE?

McTernan goes on to explain that "Obama is 100 percent behind the Muslim Brotherhood which has vowed to destroy Israel and take Jerusalem." But -- and here's the shocking twist -- "Both candidates are pro-homosexual and are behind the homosexual agenda." Clearly a vote for either Obama or Romney is a vote for a FRANKENGAYSTORM.

Adrian Warnock is helping people think through what is an evangelical. I am working on an article about why people who have left evangelicalism want to continue to identify with it. I believe it has to do with keeping their influence and readership after they have changed their views. More on that later, but Adrian's article is worth reading.

What Is an Evangelical? -- Adrian Warnock

Some people argue that Evangelicalism is merely a social movement. This cannot be the case, as all such social movements have roots that go beyond "we like being together." Perhaps partly because in recent years we have been a movement that has not been very good at defining ourselves, there are many today who have left behind "traditional" Evangelical views but would still want to socially identify with our "group." I will be particularly interested to hear from some of my Patheos Blog neighbors in the "Progressive" stream to know if they resent a narrow view below that could be seen to exclude them.

Others see Evangelicalism as a political movement. Whilst there is a "Religious Right" in America especially, and most of those would also be Evangelicals, it is not a requirement that an Evangelical be a member of the Republican Party. Most Evangelicals will argue that their convictions come first, and they only vote for candidates or parties that most match their positions. So, for example, although it seems clear who the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association would like you to vote for in the USA elections, they have stopped short of actually stating that, instead arguing Christians should vote for the candidates that most matches Christian values in the voters opinion. Certainly in the UK such there is not such a strong connection between Evangelicals and our Conservative Party (despite Gordon Brown's best efforts), and the Trade Union movement historically had a strong connection with so-called "low churches" many of which would be Evangelical. So we should not think of Evangelicalism as a predominantly political movement.

Three people might uphold precisely the same denominational statement of faith and be happy to affirm all it's clauses. One might freely admit to being an Evangelical, and all kinds of attitudes and behaviours he displayed would confirm it for all to see. Another might freely admit he was not an Evangelical, and perhaps own the label "Neo-Liberal" or "Progressive." A third might want to stay within the social movement that is Evangelicalism, but have attitudes on all kinds of issues that really sets him at variance with most evangelicals. There is inevitably almost a democratic nature about this, with Evangelicals being people who believe and practice the same way other Evangelicals do. Since Evangelicalism is not a denomination, but rather a set of ideals, it could almost be said that you will know one when you meet one.

Frank Viola points out that Jesus had a very different approach to women than found in the culture of his day. It's worth a read.

Jesus & the War on Women -- Frank Viola

There's a lot of buzz going around from one USA political campaign arguing that the other side is launching a "war on women."

Whether you agree with this analysis or you feel it's a case of political hand-waving, the truth is that historically, women have often gotten the short end of the stick.

This was very much the case during the time of Jesus.

Interestingly, Jesus treated women differently than any other Jewish teacher of His day. Women played a prominent role in His ministry.

The following bulleted list unpacks that statement. It will give you a peak into how Christ viewed women during His earthy life, and how He views them today . . . for He is "the same yesterday, today and forever."

It must first be said that women in Jesus' day were treated pretty poorly both by the Jewish and Roman world.

They could not receive an education. They had no voice in their marriage, and they were limited to a special court in the Temple that was inferior to that of the men.

A Jewish man was not supposed to talk to a woman in public. If he did, it was considered a shame. Jewish women were to be seen in public as little as possible.

The prevailing view of women in the Jewish mind was that they were regarded as private property.

But Jesus of Nazareth turned all of this on its head.

An update from The Exchange.

Attractional vs. Missional

From a recent episode of The Exchange, Clay NeSmith explains the difference in missional and attractional. You can see the full episode here.

Be sure to watch The Exchange every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. CDT, right here at EdStetzer.com.

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