30 August 2023
Good morning from Cumbria (photo R taken yesterday on the way down). After 3 years living near Edinburgh, Scotland, we sold the house and are now residing in England. Please bear with us if we’re a little slow to respond to your emails in this time of transition. It’s been a busy but rewardingly productive time.
- The next World Religions class at Rocky Mountain School of Ministry & Theology is off to a great start. On Saturday we had a Zoom icebreaker, with some truly motivated students from Mexico, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Nepal, the US, Ireland, and Singapore.
- Vicki and I have recorded another “conversation” (on unhealthy practices and teachings related to sexuality). It’s linked below.
- Sunday “Zoomunions” continue to attract brothers and sisters far and wide. (The last session had attendees from England, Scotland, Canada, Spain, Trinidad, and the US. If you’re interested, access through the link at the homepage.
- Vicki continues to do the groundwork for a new ministry, Fair Havens, launching next month. (More to come…)
Today, in addition to Conversation 9, you’ll find an excellent video by apologist Greg Koukl on relativism, and a great new book on non-toxic masculinity. This volume speaks deeply to church culture and should be of keen interest to Christian men and women alike.
Koukl on Relativism
In this 14–minute excerpt from his latest Stand to Reason University course, “Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air,” Greg Koukl considers the logical consequences of relativism and shares 5 fatal flaws of moral relativism. Greg is one of the foremost apologists of our day, a clear communicator, and one who always makes me think.
Conversation 9: Skewed Perspectives on Sexuality
Our next conversation is a critique of “Purity Culture,” a Christian reaction—and, we believe, over-reaction—to the 1960s sexual and all that followed in its train (the homosexual revolution, disintegration of the nuclear family, easy abortion, and more).
In this mindset, women and girls are dangerous; boys and men will stray; drastic measures are called for, like the abolition of dating (so once Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye) and hypervigilance against sexual sin (e.g. Arterburn & Stoeker, Everyman’s Battle). Many ministries influenced by Purity Culture encouraged couples to reserve their first kiss for their wedding day.
Yet following Christ is far more than avoiding sexual sin—and when that becomes the focus, other sins are inevitably minimized, and male and female are dehumanized. The result: a culture of shame.
To hear our conversation, CLICK HERE and scroll down. Also linked are 8 invaluable resources for further exploration. Coming soon: Conversation 10, a Q&A based on Conversation 9, touching on such topics as vows of celibacy, purity rings, the grounds for divorce, and much more.
Recovering Healthy Male Sexuality
When I saw Zachary Wagner’s new book endorsed by a writer and historian I respect, I decided to order it. I was not disappointed. Vicki and I refer to it several times in our most recent “conversation” on common but skewed church perspectives on sexuality.
Zachary Wagner, Non-Toxic Masculinity: Recovering Healthy Male Sexuality. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2023.
From the Amazon write-up: Reflecting on his own coming of age in the purity culture movement and ongoing recovery from sexual shame, Wagner confronts harmful teaching from the American church that has distorted desire, sex, relationships, and responsibility. For those―both men and women―who feel disillusioned and adrift, this book offers a renewed vision for Christian male sexuality founded in empathy and selflessness.
What is AIM? The acronym stands for the Athens Institute of Ministry. Is this Bible teaching program for staff members or leaders only? No! Globally the majority of our students do not work for churches. Is this mainly for men? Not at all. About 50% of graduates are women. Is the program highly academic? No—although that doesn’t mean you don’t have to invest in AIM. Yet the effort is worth it, as 100s of graduates attest.
That’s all for this week—apart from the daily posts at the website, under What’s New? Well, usually daily. Typically there are 5-10 new articles, audios, or videos a week.
Next week you can expect a piece on Alcohol During Pregnancy, another on the Hidden Origins of the Campbell Movement (Churches of Christ), and (maybe) more. And thanks for your prayers in this time of transition in our lives.
Douglas & Vicki