The 8th Planned Parenthood Exposé Video

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Katherine Rea BywaterThe eighth video exposing how Planned Parenthood trafficks in fetal body parts has been posted. The controversial series of undercover videos has drawn both applause and condemnation. Even so, neither advocates nor opponents of Planned Parenthood can deny one thing: they are selling whole and dismembered baby body parts (and some of the babies are born alive).

Some may deny that these are human babies. That they are human is confirmable by testing, if not by sight. But it just stands to reason that they are human, since they are fetuses that have gestated inside their human mothers. That they are babies can be debated, in that some hold that a human fetus becomes a human baby precisely by being born. But that is a semantic matter. That there is a continuity between fetus and baby and toddler and such is well established. Reason tells us that we did not come from fetuses; rather, each of us once was a fetus, we simply were permitted to keep maturing into what we are today. 

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The God Who Is There, D.A. Carson

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godwhoisthereNow and then I wonder what good resources might be available to introduce people to the Christian faith. I’ve recommended various titles throughout the years of my own loyalty to Jesus Christ. But over the last few years I’ve returned with appreciation to D.A. Carson’s book, The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story.

Running at 224 pages and 14 chapters, it is a medium-sized volume. One fun feature of the book is that you can watch the corresponding talks by Carson in a 14-part series online. You also can download mp3s of the lectures. I’ll link the videos and audios with the corresponding chapter titles below.

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FREE audiobook • Rosaria Butterfield’s “Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert”

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The Secret Thoughts of An Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith is the free audiobook this month from ChristianAudio.com. You really should get this while you can. Rosaria’s books are wonderfully insightful and encouraging and challenging.

For the upcoming autumn term at the Summit Oxford Study Centre we have included Rosaria’s newest book, Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with ChristHere is what I recently wrote about the book:

“Given the pressing nature of the issues surrounding sexuality and sexual identity, I feel there is a need to expand our studies a bit beyond the issues swirling around the state and marriage and into issues of orientation, identity, representation, repentance, and hospitality. I don’t believe there is a better resource for this than Rosaria Butterfield’s new book on the subject.”

You can get the updated and expanded edition of her earlier book, Secret Thoughts of An Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faithby following the linked title or the linked book image on the right.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Readings at Summit Oxford for Autumn Term 2015

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It undoubtedly is a truism that one can be wearied by the reading of many books. Perhaps even more so, the reading of many online articles, a bulk of blogs, frenzied Facebook statuses, hasty hashtags, and awful opinions. Even so, some publications actually can be enlightening, perhaps challenging. Some most certainly are fuel for our conversations at Summit Oxford. And sometimes our conversation get to be a bit energetic. I call these CHAT times: Christians Happily Arguing Theology (hopefully with an emphasis upon happily).

Readings for Summit Oxford • Michaelmas Term 2015

Our reading list changes a bit from term to term. New books are published, older ones seem less pressing or helpful, and there is ever a steady stream of articles and chapters on subjects that beg to be included. We do read a lot, mind you, approaching 2500 pages.

For the upcoming coming Autumn Term (September – December), along with a selection of articles, essays, and other items, we are reading and discussing the ten volumes listed below. I have listed them roughly in the order we will read them. Well, actually, several of them will be divvied up over the course of several days, with a chapter or section each day. Often I have our students read the books in their entirety and prepare reports/summaries for select chapters or sections. I’ve provided links to Amazon, if you care to purchase any of them.

Summit Oxford • Scholarship for church and culture.

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Summit Oxford Reflections – Celina Durgin

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imageThe Summit Oxford Study Centre does not simply fulfill items on the bucket list of your own small life. Everything about the experience—from the centuries-old cathedrals and cobblestone streets, to evensong after a hard day’s work, to long hours reading classic primary texts, to Kevin’s repeated reminder during discussions that God has always hated idolatry, immorality, and injustice—invites you out of your own little story and into the Great Conversation. Oxford is still dedicated to the best ideas that have been thought throughout all history, and the Summit Oxford program is dedicated to these ideas’ context within God’s grand story, which is but history rightly conceived.

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Forgiveness Is For Giving

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Grief statue

There is a profound power in forgiveness, a power not easily matched. Forgiveness is not simply for ourselves; it is intended for giving to others.

A few weeks back, while on the train from Oxford to London, I noticed someone across the aisle reading a newspaper. One headline jumped out at me. It read, “Forgiveness is the Best Vengeance.” Simultaneously, that struck me as humorous and as hard-hearted. It was humorous because one might not normally think of forgiveness as a kind of payback. Indeed, if forgiveness is an expression of love, then the idea of it being a species of vengeance doesn’t normally follow. As such, it came off to me as hard-hearted, a peculiar kind of lovelessness we express in disregard for the other’s well-being. I didn’t have a chance to read that article, so I don’t know what sorts of clever or diabolical advice may have trickled and tickled beneath that headline. But it wasn’t the first time the thought of forgiveness has resonated in my heart.

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Mormonism and the Fall of Humanity

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Adam and Eve exiles bilboa“The decision of Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit was not a sin…” – A Mormon Sunday School Manual

“Indeed, we honor and respect Adam and Eve for their wisdom and foresight.” – A Mormon Apostle

These stunning, even counter-intuitive statements beg for an explanation. Both assertions come from publications approved of, and used by, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the Mormon Church.

It is common to hear of Mormonism being “just another denomination.” I would suggest that this is a misperception. Many Christian books have pointed up differences between Mormonism and Christianity. Some of their proposed differences have been, to my mind, less than illuminating; others have been clarifying; still others have been important, even profound. We’ll focus on one the latter in this post. 

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Of Mormonism and Maps

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Of Mormonism and Maps

Part 3 of My Conversation with Mormon Missionaries

by Kevin James Bywater

12 July 2008, Manitou Springs, Colorado — The following recounts a conversations with three Mormons, two of whom were missionaries. It is a continuation of a conversation I began to recount in previous posts. So, lets join the conversation. 

♦ ♦ ♦

Mormonism and Maps

One missionary asked whether I had prayed about the Book of Mormon. I knew we were entering what I term “the time of decision.” This is precisely the point at which the missionaries offer what they deem to be a clincher. They firmly believe that if people openly read the Book of Mormon, sincerely pray about it, and have some good feelings in the meantime, that this is the witness of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God and the founder of the restored church.

I admitted that I had not prayed specifically about the Book of Mormon since our last meeting. I explained, however, that I had prayed and praised God for his faithfulness, for his promises and presence, and had thanked him for his many gracious answers to our family’s previous prayers. Then I noted that I had read the Book of Mormon in the past, and that I had prayed about it. I also noted that when I had done so, I hadn’t received the answer that the missionaries expected.

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Science vs. Knowledge

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“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.”

It is hard to imagine a way to be more provocative when writing in a scientific journal. Regardless, on 11 April 2015, the British medical journal, The Lancet, published a single-page comment by Richard Horton that summarized the senses and feelings of many who were present at a recent, closed-door symposium in London. Among the conclusions was the above bombshell. Much more was said as well. 

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