Author: Sarah Flashing

Satan in the Public Square: Keeping Things in Perspective

If you haven’t already heard… Members of the Satanic Temple have unveiled their design for a 7-foot-tall statue of the devil they want to locate at the Capitol building in Oklahoma, right next to a monument of the Ten Commandments that has stood since 2012. “The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond,” said Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the group…“The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.” How concerned should Christians be about this display? The fact is, we should have seen this coming. Arguing for Christian symbols in the public square on the basis of historical tradition merely opens us up to the furtherance of new traditions—many traditions we won’t like. This is an example of an opening to views of a subculture of American society that despises Christianity and wishes for it to have zero influence in the wider culture. The appeal to fairness, equal access, and freedom to practice religion is protection for all worldviews in a pluralistic society like ours. We need to come to grips with that. But in my opinion, here’s the real story. Christians are eager to respond to these types of material depictions of Satan, often more eager to do that than respond...

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How the Ploy of Tolerance Does Violence to Virtue

As theologians, apologists, cultural analysts or what have you, we quickly identify the frailty of charges of intolerance when they occur. The outcry to abstain from any semblance of judgmentalism has turned into a collective whine. Discrediting their arguments has become routine and even kind of irritating as sometimes we are left to wonder how many times it needs to be said, your cry for tolerance rests in your intolerance. Until you remember real lives are involved, until you recognize that there is nothing new under the sun and good ideas and bad ones will repeat themselves til the end if time. So we persist. If you have teenage kids—and if you actually talk to them—you’ll discover that these lackluster,  intellectual heresies are alive and well, not only in the classroom, but in the hallways and lunch rooms in schools everywhere. While refuting some of these arguments has become old hat to many of us, engaging charges of intolerance is an every day battle for the Millenials who choose to take a stand for truth among their peers. We know that our teens need to be trained to recognize the ideas that oppose their faith, but with this knowledge needs to be developed the courage, confidence, and love to confront the hopelessness of the philosophy that declares all things are good. I haven’t decided yet who my favorite apologist is….it’s somewhere...

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Worldviews in Conflict: Secular Spirituality’s Hearthold on Women

The Bible never promised that sharing the gospel and making disciples would be easy. What we are told is that in all ways we should represent Christ with a love for others that doesn’t call into question our integrity or compromise the message. Even further, 1 Peter 3:15 urges each of us to be prepared to give an answer for our faith, but “with gentleness and meekness.” Unfortunately, it’s not always received in the manner it is presented, but despite unintended consequences, telling the truth is, nonetheless, the call of every believer. Showing the contrast between the historic Christian faith and the secular-friendly spiritualities of today’s world may not go over well with friends and neighbors. In fact, there are many women within the walls of the church who are attracted to the latest wave of talk-show religiosity. These age-old heresies in celebrity attire have a heart-hold on women everywhere, revealing an urgent need for apologetics–a defense of the faith–in women’s ministry. In the Oprah-endorsed book “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle, truth is redefined as you. Forget that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, or that there are facts about God, life and reality that we can be certain about. All of this is tossed out for the sake of you. Tolle writes: There is only one absolute Truth, and all other truths emanate from...

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The Apologetic Value of a Theology of Work

Continuing my studies in the thought of Dorothy Sayers, she never ceases to amaze me at her very common-sense approach to defending the faith. Though described as a reluctant prophet by her biographer, she was fearless in what she had to say about the state of the Church during her life. Her thinking on what it takes to have a Christian society involves not only an outspoken conviction on doctrinal truths, but a view of work that more closely aligns with the teachings of Scripture. She wrote, Nothing has so deeply discredited the Christian Church as her squalid submission to the economic theory of society…I believe, however, that there is a Christian doctrine of work, very closely related to the doctrines of creative energy of God and the divine image in man. The modern tendency seems to be to identify work with gainful employment; and this is, I maintain, the essential heresy at the back of the great economic fallacy which allows wheat and coffee to be burnt and fish to be used for manure while whole populations stand in need of food. The fallacy being that work is not an expression of man’s creative energy in the service of Society, but only something he does in order to obtain money and leisure… If man’s fulfillment of his nature is to be found in the full expression of his...

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Avoiding Spiritual Treason

In an address at a conference on social reconstruction, Dorothy Sayers had these strong words (among others) to say about the state of the church and its relationship to the culture: If the Church is to find her common soul, she must contrive to root it in a common integrity. I do not mean that she must be uninterested in the social, political and moral sphere of the Law, but that she must be disinterested…But I find in the Church as a whole very little reverence for intellectual integrity…For the general tendency today, among the rank and file of Christendom, is to a religion divorced from theology–a religion that is in denial of the divinity of the Word. (Dorothy Sayers: Her Life & Soul, Barbara Reynolds) Uninterested…disinterested….is this a distinction without a difference? I think Sayers point is that Christians will always have an interested in the governance of the society in which they live, but that there should be a greater emphasis on the work that the church has been called to–teach Christianity–and to work hard very hard at it. I think she believed that a great deal of what goes on the secular realm has an opportunity to work itself out if the people who are members of God’s Kingdom are equipped to work out the implications of their own worldview each day. What good is it,...

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