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"The Contemporary Calvinist" - 5 new articles

  1. Mission accomplished: Ridding Iraq of Christianity
  2. This Week in Calvinism - July 25, 2014
  3. It's time for the hymnal to make a comeback
  4. This Week in Calvinism - July 18, 2014
  5. No sexual revolution for young evangelicals
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Mission accomplished: Ridding Iraq of Christianity

I was always baffled by the overwhelming support evangelical Christians gave to our government's invasion of Iraq in 2003. Just over a decade later, Christianity appears to be dying out in that country:
The vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq has warned the end for Christians in the country appears "very near" as he appealed for help after a deadline set by Islamic militants to convert or be killed expired.

Canon Andrew White, dubbed "the bishop of Baghdad" for his work at St George's church in the capital, spoke after the ultimatum handed to Christians in the northern city of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq Levant (Isis) to convert, pay a tax or be put to death passed last week.

For those Christians who did not comply with the decree by 19 July, Isis warned that "there is nothing to give them but the sword.” Many have since fled their homes and Rev. Andrew-White told BBC Radio 4 Today desperate Christians were trapped in the desert or on the streets with nowhere to go.

"Things are so desperate, our people are disappearing," he said. "We have had people massacred, their heads chopped off.

"Are we seeing the end of Christianity? We are committed come what may, we will keep going to the end, but it looks as though the end could be very near."

The "war on terror" has been a dismal failure. In the name of "fighting for our freedom," our nation's armed forces have seen to it that the Middle East is a safe haven for radical Islam. Given that history, why do Christians continue to sign up for military service?
    
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This Week in Calvinism - July 25, 2014

    
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It's time for the hymnal to make a comeback

In my opinion, one of the worst things ever to happen in the church was the abandonment of hymnals. Jonathan Aigner gives some good reasons why we should still be using them:
  1. Hymnals actually teach music. We're making less music than ever before. Oh, to be sure, there's lots of music going on around us, but very few people are actually making it. We're just consuming it, or at the very most, singing along with music someone else made first. But even an untrained musician can look at the words and music in the hymnal and learn to follow melodic direction and rhythmic value.

  2. Hymnals set a performance standard. Contemporary worship music is based on recording instead of notation. This is endlessly confusing, and it opens each song up to individual interpretation. Without notation, it is exceedingly hard to sing well as a congregation. Hymnals fix that. Everybody has the same notation, so we all know how the song is supposed to go.

  3. Hymnals integrate the music and text. Words on a screen give no musical information. Hymnals fix that. Singers aren't dependent upon learning the song by rote.
He lists 12 more reasons, and I think he makes some good points.

Isn't it about time for the hymnal to make a comeback?
    
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This Week in Calvinism - July 18, 2014

    
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No sexual revolution for young evangelicals

According to a recent study by a University of Texas sociologist, evangelical Christians between the ages of 18 and 39 are defying the secular culture in favor of Biblical teaching. Russell Moore and Andrew Walker, writing for National Review Online, report:
The research, to be fully released in September, was introduced in Mark Regnerus's presentation "Sex in America: Sociological Trends in American Sexuality," unveiled at a recent gathering of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's leadership summit. According to Regnerus, when compared with the general population and with their non-observant peers, churchgoing Evangelical Christians are retaining orthodox views on Biblical sexuality, despite the shifts in broader American culture.
Given how inundated we are with the media's liberal view of sexuality, that may seem surprising. But is it really?
As American culture secularizes, the most basic Christian tenets seem ever more detached from mainstream American culture. Those who identify with Christianity, and who gather with the people of God, have already decided to walk out of step with the culture. Beliefs aren't assumed but are articulated over and against a culture that finds them implausible. Evangelical views on sexuality seem strange, but young Evangelicals in post-Christianizing America have already embraced strangeness by spending Sunday morning at church rather than at brunch.
As mainstream culture continues to deteriorate, look for these young evangelical rebels to stand out even more.
    
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