Why Do We Idealize the Persecuted Church?

Worldwide, Christians are the single most persecuted religious group worldwide.  This fact was confirmed by a Pew Center report issued just last week that focused on government restrictions and social hostility against religious groups. What I have noticed about US Christians is that we tend to idealize, or paint an unrealistic picture of the persecuted church in places like China.  Why do we persist in idealizing them?  Why do painful torture, social ostracism, long imprisonments, and, sometimes, often-cruel death lead to rhetorical exaggerations like those behind this story on the number of Christians executed each year for their faith?  

Our Dual Citizenships

I suggest church leaders should teach Christians that they are citizens of two kingdoms, with dual loyalties.  Thus, we must carefully balance music that exalts the Savior and His goodness to our nation.  This is an especially important issue for most of my students who come from nations where the long-term influence of Christianity has been absent or muted at best (e.g., India and China).  How do they faithfully cherish their citizenship in God’s Kingdom while citizens of nations without a Christian heritage? 

Jesus Christ: He Can Control Corruption Inside Us and Within Our Societies (Part Two)

In Part One, we discovered the central fact about corruption, namely, that it lies within each human being by virtue of the reality of original sin. Thus, efforts to control and bridle this global “beast” will not succeed if we merely rely upon policy, economic, or legal solutions; rather, we must find a way to control the problem within each of us. Part Two aims to not only demonstrate the full impact of personal corruption, but also the ultimate hope for controlling and bridling it.

Jesus Christ: He Can Control Corruption Inside Us and Within Our Societies (Part One)

I wrote the book Taming the Beast: Can We Bridle the Culture of Corruption? because of my work as a campus minister amongst international students at the University of Minnesota for the past 30 years.  Early on, as we sat together with our Cokes, or cups of tea in the case of most Asians, I found that the single most aggravating fact of life back home in their countries was corruption.

Senseless Mass Killings: Is This What Happens When We Give Up on God and Reason?

It’s just a matter of time before another mass killer once again bloodies our streets, our homes, our schools, and our concert venues with a rain of bullets.  Since the 1999 Columbine massacre, we Americans have learned to expect the worst.  The scary reality, though, is that we know very little about what is behind America’s mass killings, and so we have come to call them “senseless.”  

Who Are We Sending Back Home? The Difference Wilberforce Academy Makes

It’s time for me to tell you how Wilberforce Academy is helping prepare them as Christian nation-builders, to use a term that my friend Vishal Mangalwadi has often used. To explain how we do it, I must first highlight the 21stacademic backdrop: Our academic institutions are graduating cynical secular postmodernists, on the one hand, and, inadvertently and indirectly, fueling radical Islamism, on the other (as I suggest when I address the case of Sayd Qutb below).  At the Wilberforce Academy, by contrast, we believe God wants us to help shape men and women filled with hope, skills, and commitment for redemptive change because they follow Jesus Christ.

Will Venezuela's Crisis Influence Zimbabwe's Future?

Citizens of Zimbabwe (southern Africa) and Venezuela (northern South America), once known as successful, thriving countries, are starving. And now, in early 2019, the populations of both have reached the boiling point, frustrated by authoritarian dictatorships that recklessly assault those protesting incompetent corrupt, and brutal leadership. In the past several weeks, as dozens have died at the hands of the militaries in both countries, Venezuela’s crisis has reached a tipping point that may have great significance for the future of Zimbabwe as well.

The Dangerous Embrace: Evangelicals and Social Justice Ideology

My friend Scott Allen, President of Disciple Nations Alliance, recently blew the fog hornfor evangelical ships tempted to sail into the inviting waters of social justiceideology: “Stay clear, lest you undermine your faith by crashing upon unseen obstacles!”  His article is a must-read, and will shock you at the extent to which social justice ideology, which defines justice strictly in terms of desirable outcomes for the poor and minorities, has penetrated the evangelical orbit.

The Presidency to the Rescue: How America Begins the Downward Spiral into Tyranny


Our friends at Minneapolis-based Intellectual Takeout have just published Bob Osburn's latest blog, which explores a scenario rarely if ever discussed these days: The beginning of America's slide into tyranny (which is no foregone conclusion, by any means) will begin with the Social Security trust fund crisis that will explode into prominence no later than 2028, ten years from now.  Dr. Osburn suggests that Congressional inaction and polarization will make the US president (whomever that is at the time) a hero.  And why? For acting as an autocrat who, by executive or emergency decree, will solve the problem and thus rescue America from a mortal policy crisis while creating a tyrannical presidency.  What do you think about this scenario? Will the five-step program (that Dr. Osburn designed and recommends) help avert this outcome?

Good News from Better Angels: A Strategy for Depolarizing America

As I suggested in my last blog “The Rejection of a Christian Moral Consensus and America’s Political Polarization,” the best hope for our divided nation would be the re-embrace of Christian culture. But, absent that ideal outcome and notwithstanding the Economist magazine’s doubts, I settle for a better hope that goes by the wonderfully prosaic name “Better Angels.

The Rejection of a Christian Moral Consensus and America's Political Polarization

Politically centrifugal forces--- those that drive Americans from the moderate (not mushy) center to radical political extremes on the Left and Right ---are winning the day in America because the Christian cultural consensus that once united them is long gone. And the elite-motivated effort to substitute a progressive culture is not only failing, but actually drives Americans farther apart. 

A Lament for Our Degradation

Why did I feel such revulsion when our American president uttered a profane description of nations in Africa (and the nation of Haiti)?  First, I work with international students from around the world, and I do not want to unnecessarily offend them.  Secondly, I am deeply concerned that our president is degrading the American people, and especially members of his political party as well as his core support base (evangelicals) in ways previously unimaginable and tragic.

Beauty as an Argument for Christianity

I never took a music appreciation course, but, with carols playing in our family room this Christmas Eve, something is very clear: Christmas music is beautiful.  Where else in the pantheon of the world’s great religions and philosophies is there anything that rivals this aural beauty?  Could it be that not only has the Gospel produced unparalleled masterpieces that are feasts for the eyes and ears, but that Christianity is the only plausible explanation for beauty itself? 

Finding Good People on the Other Side of the Ideological Fence

Ever since the 1960s when confident, brassy Baby Boomers rejected what I often call the Christian cultural consensus, we have been struggling to find what unites Americans.  Sports?  Ephemeral and fleeting. Freedom?  A treasured ideal twisted into a license to speed past all the traditional sexual stop signs. Flag?  A valuable symbol that, apart from our armed forces, inspires far less sacrifice than it ought. It seems as if we are so brittle that we break into cultural and political ice floes, our separate groups adrift on rolling, turbulent seas.

Why Care for Our Pale Blue Dot?

Rather than meaningless slugs whose only satisfactions are power, prestige, sex, and drugs, every one of us are invested with a two-fold purpose: 1) Wisely steward the natural resources God has given us in the first place; and 2) Apply God-given rationality and creativity in order to create, out of those natural resources, new products and services that can further enhance God’s glory and ensure human flourishing.