The Intolerance of Tolerance

Is the Bible intolerant?  That was the question Nathan Hansen asked me to answer for hundreds of students and adults recently.  Three years ago, Nathan, Snohomish Community Church’s innovative youth pastor, created Jesus University, a five-day youth conference in the Seattle area.  During the day, students serve their community.  At night, the community is invited to come hear top Christian bands.  

But before the bands play, Nathan has a Christian apologist address a tough question for an hour, followed by 30 minutes of Q & A.  The big-name bands draw thousands of people throughout the week, but Nathan ensures they’re given more than music.  They get an intelligent yet gracious defense of Christianity.  And our culture desperately needs some clear thinking when it comes to the topic of tolerance.

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What is World Evangelization?

Travel is one of my favorite activities and experiencing other cultures is one my greatest passions. But with kids and a wife I actually enjoy, long haul flights to Africa and beyond have become something of a burden. After taking six such trips in 2009, I decided it was time to slow down, well actually just quit.

When the opportunity to participate in the third congress of Lausanne, what Christianity Today called the most diverse gathering ever in Cape Town, South Africa, I wasn’t sure if I should go. Normally, I would be ecstatic to go a place I’ve long heard about and experience a multitude of cultures at one time, but the sixty hours on airplanes and 12 days away from home, gave me some pause.

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Sex From the Pulpit

It’s a topic that used to be taboo in church—a topic that made church ladies blush and teenagers giggle. If it wasn’t totally off-limits in a church, it was handled with great care and (usually clunky) attempts at subtlety. But not so these days. Over the last few years, sex has not only become accepted as a sermon topic; it’s become almost requisite. If you’re a pastor and you haven’t done a sex series or at least a mildly scandalous sermon on Song of Solomon, you’re behind the times.

It’s a topic that Christian authors are writing popular books about. Rob Bell’s Sex God, for example, or Lauren Winner’s Real Sex, which I highly recommend. There’s also last year’s much-praised Sex and the Soul, by Donna Freitas, which I have not read yet. Interestingly, there was a chapel series at Biola University recently entitled “Sex and the Soul.” Doubtless there are dozens others like it happening at other evangelical universities. Oh, and for a “frank discussion of pornography & masturbation,” you can check out Porn-Again Christian by Mark “Sex” Driscoll (more on him in part two of this blog series).

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