Friday’s Influence Magazine Articles


Today, over at InfluenceMagazine.com:

  • Chris Railey reminds ministry leaders that “Neighboring is essential in fulfilling the Great Commission.”
  • We share the awards our magazine won at the 2017 Evangelical Press Associationconvention in Chicago.

Please make sure to follow and like InfluenceInfluence magazine on Facebook, Twitter, and iTunes!

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The Blogosphere and the Problem of Authority


My wife Tiffany drew my attention to this article over at ChristianityToday.com. Tish Harrison Warren argues that the blogosphere has created a crisis of authority for Christians, especially for Christian women. Here’s her conclusion:

In his essay Sinsick, Stanley Hauerwas famously explores the notion of authority using a medical analogy. If a medical student told his advisor, “I’m not into anatomy this year, I’m into relating” and asked to skip anatomy class to focus on people, the medical school would reply, “Who in the hell do you think you are, kid? … You’re going to take anatomy. If you don’t like it, that’s tough.” Hauerwas delivers his crucial point by saying: “Now what that shows is that people believe incompetent physicians can hurt them. Therefore people expect medical schools to hold their students responsible for the kind of training that is necessary to be competent physicians. On the other hand, few people believe an incompetent minister can damage their salvation.”

The church has said for millennia that bad teaching is more deadly than bad surgery. Now we have an influx of teachers who become so by the stroke of a key. The need for formal structures of training, hierarchy, and accountability in medical schools and medical boards is obvious because we don’t want our doctors to simply be popular or relatable; we want them to practice medicine correctly and truthfully, participate in a medical tradition broader than themselves, and serve under the authority and oversight of others. We need to be as discerning in whom we trust with care of souls as we are with care of our bodies.

Christian writing and teaching is not minor surgery; it is heart surgery. In this new Internet age, we as a church have to recover the idea that, like doctors, Christian writers, teachers, and leaders can help cure or help kill. And therefore, like doctors, we have to ensure that all Christian leaders—male and female alike—have oversight and accountability that matches the weight of their authority and influence.

Read the whole thing.

Today’s Influence Magazine Articles


Today, over at InfluenceMagazine.com:

Please make sure to follow and like InfluenceInfluence magazine on Facebook, Twitter, and iTunes!

Today’s Influence Magazine Articles


Today, over at InfluenceMagazine.com:

Please make sure to follow and like Influence Influence magazine on Facebook, Twitter, and iTunes!

Review of ‘A Murder of Quality’ by John Le Carré


A Murder of Quality is John Le Carré’s second novel as well as the second (of seven) in which ex-spook George Smiley plays a role. When the wife of a tutor at a prestigious public school is murdered, a friend of Smiley’s asks him to look into the case. Smiley’s attention—and everyone else’s, including the reader’s—is focused on a suspect until the very end when the truth comes out. Le Carré describes A Murder of Quality as “a flawed thriller redeemed by ferocious and quite funny social comment” in the Introduction to this edition, and the book is that, although I wouldn’t say it is fully redeemed.


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Book Reviewed:
P.S. John Le Carré, A Murder of Quality: A George Smiley Novel (New York: Penguin, 2012; orig. 1962).

P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

Review of ‘The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’ by John Le Carré


The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a masterpiece. Set in the early Cold War period, it tells the story of the lengths a spy will go to for revenge. It is a testament to John Le Carré’s skill as a writer that even though we know the truth from the beginning—that protagonist Alec Leamas is putting one over on East German intelligence—we are carried along by his storytelling to the very moment when we discover that our “truth” isn’t even true.

 

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Book Reviewed:
John Carré, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: A George Smiley Novel (New York: Penguin, 2012; orig. 1963).

P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

Today’s Influence Magazine Articles


Today, over at InfluenceMagazine.com

  • Rollie Dimos reviews Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again, a new book about generosity by David Green and Bill High.
  • Christina Quick summarizes the results of a new Gallup survey that shows churchgoers want Scripture-based, applicable sermons.
  • Doug Clay answers FAQs about properly receipting charitable donations to a church or ministry.

Please make sure to follow and like Influence on Facebook, Twitter, and iTunes!

Review of ‘Sex Scandal’ by Ashley McGuire


Men and women are different. The extent and significance of their differences has long been a matter of considerable dispute. If Ashley McGuire is to be believed, some now deny that any meaningful differences even exist.

A 2014 article in the online magazine Slate, for example, was titled, “Don’t Let the Doctor Do This to Your Newborn.” The author, Christin Scarlett Milloy wrote, “Obstetricians, doctors, and midwives commit this procedure on infant every single day, in every single country. It reality, this treatment is performed almost universally without even asking for the parents’ consent, making this practice all the more insidious.”

What insidious procedure was Milloy talking about? “It’s called infant gender assignment: When the doctor holds your child up to the harsh light of the delivery room, looks between its legs, and declares his opinion: It’s a boy or a girl, based on nothing more than a cursory assessment of your offspring’s genitals.”

Look, I get that a person’s sex should not trap them in rigid gender roles. I’m the son and brother of strong women, I married a strong woman, and I’m raising my two daughters to be strong women. I’m even an ordained minister in a Pentecostal denomination that ordains women. I get that society places constraints on women that are rooted in cultural traditions and prejudices rather than in realities about their sex.

By the same token, however, a doctor looking at a baby’s genitalia is looking at a biological fact, not just a social construction or a parental fantasy. It’s foolish to deny this. Unfortunately, as McGuire points out, “we live in a world of sexual denial. We are increasingly trying to treat men and women as if they were exactly the same. And then we’re surprised by the growing sexual confusion.”

Milloy’s article is just the opening example in an example-rich book. As the examples pile up—from infant gender assignment to gender-normed firefighting tests to transgender youth athletics—you begin to see McGuire’s point. And as a parent, I’ve got to admit that it’s not an encouraging one.

Men and women are different. Rather than denying this elementary biological fact, let’s celebrate it. After all, without those differences, none of us would be here today.

 

Book Reviewed:
Ashley McGuire, Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2017).

P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

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