Recent Viewpoints

December 29, 2022

Kerby Anderson As this year winds to a close, people are thinking about a year-end gift. Others are posting tweets on Twitter about giving. One that caught many people’s attention was from the Barna Group. At a recent seminar, a speaker made this statement: “Christian philanthropy accounted for 70% of all American philanthropy in 2022 at $300 billion total. Christians also out-gave the US Government in addressing global poverty.” Scott Sauls added to his tweet, “Whatever folks might say or…

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December 28, 2022
Biden speaks to labor union workers

Kerby Anderson Tim Constantine concludes that “actions have consequences,” except in America today. He reminds us that the older generation grew up hearing simple phrases intended to teach personal responsibility: “save up for a rainy day” and “work hard to get ahead.” Hard work and playing by the rules usually led to success. That doesn’t seem to be the lesson we are teaching the younger generation today. Instead, the president announces there will be forgiveness of college debt. That does…

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December 27, 2022
Following Jesus in a Digital Age Book Cover

Kerby Anderson Technology makes our lives easier, but digital technology can also make our lives more complicated. Over the last two decades, we have seen the rise of misinformation, polarization, and conspiracy theories. How can we navigate a world where so much information is coming at us at light speed? Jason Thacker provides some important guidelines in his new book, Following Jesus in a Digital Age. He challenges us to consider how social media is shaping our worldviews and then…

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December 26, 2022
Image of E Musk on smart phone on a bed of twitter logos

Kerby Anderson Rich Lowry proclaims that “Safety is the Worst Word in the English Language.” You might think that statement and commentary are strange unless you have been paying attention to the release of the “Twitter Files.” Safety has been used as a justification for the censoring of Twitter posts and the de-platforming of certain people who post tweets that some of the leadership at Twitter considered harmful or unsafe. He is not the only person to focus on the…

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December 23, 2022
Good News Club - After School Satan Club

Penna Dexter If a school hosts a Christian group for kids, like the Good News Clubs that meet in elementary schools across the country, is the school also required to accept a Satan club? School board members in Chesapeake, Virginia argue they have no choice. The Satanic Temple is requesting the board’s approval to start an ”After School Satan Club” (ASSC) at B.M. Williams Primary School. June Everett, an ordained minister in The Satanic Temple and campaign director of ASSC,…

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December 23, 2022
OHolyNight_Painting

Kerby Anderson This is Christmas week, and so I thought we might reflect on the hymn, “O Holy Night” by John Dwight. “O holy night! The stars are brightly shining. It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” Jesus came into the world to save us and so we feel valuable and our soul feels its worth. Perhaps the most quoted…

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December 22, 2022
the-adoration-of-the-shepherds-gerrit-van-honthorst

Kerby Anderson During this Christmas week, I have taken the time to discuss the theology of some of the Christmas hymns and carols that we sing. Today I would like to talk about The First Noel. It is an English song dating back to the sixteenth century. Some people believe that the First Noel was French because of the French spelling of Noel, but it is actually an English song. The French word Noël does mean “Christmas” and it is…

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December 21, 2022
O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Kerby Anderson The carol “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is an English translation of a Latin hymn that is sung during Advent and Christmas. The text goes back to at least the 18th century (and perhaps much earlier) while the music put to it goes back to the 15th century. “O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel. That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”…

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December 20, 2022
Govert Flinck – Angels announcing Christ’s birth to the shepherds (1639)

Kerby Anderson It is estimated that Charles Wesley wrote over 6500 hymns. Perhaps his best-known hymn is “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” Over the years it has been edited slightly, but the meaning and theology remain as he wrote it more than two centuries ago. It begins with a proclamation of the birth of Jesus: “Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King; Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” The hymn reminds us why…

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December 19, 2022
O Little Town of Bethlehem by Carol Sheli Cantrell2

Kerby Anderson This is Christmas week, and I thought it might be worthwhile to spend a moment to reflect on the words to the hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” It was written in 1867 by Phillips Brooks (an Episcopal pastor from Philadelphia). He had been in Israel two years earlier and had celebrated Christmas in Bethlehem. He wrote this song to reflect on what the night of the birth of Jesus might have been like. O little town of…

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December 16, 2022
Body Image book cover - American Girls

Penna Dexter On a recent Saturday, I traipsed up our attic stairs to retrieve my daughter’s childhood American Girl doll along with the accompanying furniture and doll clothes. It’s time, we thought, to pass the doll along to my 5-year-old granddaughter. Imagine our surprise when, just a day or so later, we began to see critiques of the brand American Girl appearing online concerning the release of its most recent “Smart Girl’s Guide” addressing the topic: “Body Image.” The Christian…

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