Two New eBooks at Amazon Kindle!

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A Christian's hope is not a "vain wish" regarding something about which you can do nothing, as for example, "I hope my team wins next Friday."

People place their hope in many things: themselves, their “inner strength,” people—who always fail and falter, talent—drive—wealth—education—beauty—success, false gods. But none of these things can ultimately provide hope in the face of hopelessness.

However, a Christian's hope is based not upon earthly and temporal and limited things, not upon what might be, but upon what has been, the already accomplished fact of Christ's sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus Christ conquered sin and death and in this demonstrated the victory of HOPE over hopeless then, now, and forever.

So, when you choose hope based upon the omnipotent Sovereign God, you are not irrational, emotional, or even mystical.  You are rational, reasoning and reasonable because you are opting for fact over fiction.

 

Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2017     

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

 

I’m pleased to announce two of my books are now available in ebook format on Amazon Kindle.

My first ebook, Living For God In Changing Times, was previously published in print as Christian Liberty: Living For God In A Changing Culture, (Baker Books, 2003). (The title link will take you to this ebook’s Amazon.com page, where the ebook is available for $.99)

This eBook suggests Christian liberty is the least understood and least practiced doctrine in the Bible. So the book explains how to enjoy living with the "In the World/Not of the World" Tension. It also examines both micro and macro issues relating to the so-called "Culture Wars" and offers Christian perspectives on postmodern culture.

Social change is happening at a faster and faster pace. It's both exciting and unsettling. Some change is "good" and some not, but how do you tell the difference? Jesus said, live "In the World" but "Not of the World." But believers have often responded to this command by developing a list of "Dos" and "Don'ts," resulting in legalism, "Holier than thou" attitudes, and withdrawal from cultural influence.

This book demonstrates that the Christian life is not about "Holy Lists" of "Dos and Don'ts" but about developing a biblical worldview and applying your faith to an understanding of the times and the world in which we live. This book teaches you how to live proactively and productively in a rapidly changing postmodern culture—how to enjoy living for God in changing times.

Social change, culture, and how people live their faith have been interesting to me since college days. This book is a bit of a personal manifesto. If you want to know how I think and what makes me tick, this book tells the story.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

We live in rapidly changing times. More scientists, more technology, more information, more capacity to communicate and travel, more of nearly everything exists today than once existed, and more is being added as I write. Nothing stands still.

Meanwhile, Christians are supposed to live “in the world” while being “not of the world” even as they go “into the world” (John 17). We’re here in 2011 for a purpose. We’re supposed to be God’s ambassadors of reconciliation.

But how do we do this if we don’t understand the principles and values God gave us in his Word, and how do we do this if we don’t understand the times in which we live?

In the Old Testament, we read the story of King David's effort to unite the kingdom of Israel. To help King David win the battles ahead of him, God sends to David a long list of "mighty men of valor." These men were seasoned soldiers who knew battle tactics and weaponry and who were men of great courage.

But right in the middle of this long list of mighty soldiers, God sends the men of Issachar, and the only thing on their resume is that they were men "who understood the times, to know what Israel ought to do." While they could fight, their main contribution was to give King David sound advice.

Their value to David was that they not only understood what was happening but why it was happening and whether or not it was a good thing.

Now, this is what we need today. We need Christian "men and women of Issachar" who understand their times. This means that Christians must understand the Bible, God's Word, as well as learn about the ideas that influence our nation.

If you're a Christian, you should be able to relate God's unchanging biblical principles to these rapidly changing times. You and I should be able to apply the principles and values of a biblical worldview in our lives, in our cultures, and in our times. We should be able to “give the reason for the hope that you have” with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

What does a Christian worldview have to offer the environmental movement? What really does a biblical understanding of life and Christian faith suggest we should do in the Middle East? What is a truly Christian view of stem cell research? Is Christianity relevant to public morality? Are Christian values regarding family, sexuality, and personal morality still valid and meaningful in 2011? When should, if ever, a Christian go to war? Is there really a Christian view on capital punishment? How can Christian values be fairly represented in education, entertainment, law, medicine, politics?

My point is this. The Christian life must be lived-out in the world. That's what James meant when he said, "Faith without works is dead." We should live our faith in a relevant way.

How many Christians do you know who have faith but don't do anything with it? And how many Christians do you know who know a little about the Bible but have never learned how to connect Bible truths to the everyday world?

Let's read, learn, and "study to show ourselves approved." Let's become a man or woman of Issachar who understands the times. Let's change the world.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

“Interracial marriage” has almost reached the status of little-used term in the cultural lexicon. This is not to say that racial distance no longer exists because of course it does. It is to say that fewer people become as agitated as was once common when an interracial couple walks through the public square.

When I was a young adult this term, and the cultural implications behind it, still loomed large, including amongst the Christian community. Interracial dating and marriage was something people with any sense of propriety simply didn’t do, or at least that was the dominant view among whites. But in the past forty years American attitudes toward race have changed.

According to one recent study, black-white marriages are increasing, though they still trail the rate of other mixed-race marriages. In 2008, 10.7% of blacks married whites compared to with 3% in 1980. This may not seem like much, but given the social history of this country this is a huge change.

When I was in high school, our school and community didn’t have many non-whites. But I remember discussions about interracial dating and the overwhelmingly negative response the topic elicited.

Coming of age at Cedarville College, 1970-1974, I remember not simply discussions but for the first time knowing personally both black and white individuals involved in what was then called “mixed dating.” In fact, mixed dating and the potential for interracial marriage became a major issue because two couples, each individual a popular student, became regular ‘items” on campus and, we eventually learned, some college supporters didn’t like it.

This was about the same time that Bob Jones University in South Carolina garnered national publicity for denying admission of blacks based on what the school claimed was a biblical mandate forbidding interracial dating and marriage. Because of this, the IRS revoked the school’s tax exemption in January 19, 1976, retroactive to December 1, 1970. The ensuing legal battled ended in the United States Supreme Court with a judgment against the school in Bob Jones vs the United States (1983). In 2000, Bob Jones University finally stated publicly that it was wrong about interracial dating and marriage and began admitting black students.

So, my alma mater faced a converging stream of race-related issues: a) for apparently the first time in the school’s history, two prominent interracial couples were dating on campus; b) certain off-campus supporters allegedly expressed dismay; and c) Bob Jones University was attracting national attention for taking a stand against interracial dating and marriage, thus arguing its refusal to admit blacks was protected by freedom of religion guaranteed in the First Amendment. Needless to say, as a social and political science student I was thoroughly immersed in this on campus discussion.

Eventually, then-President Dr. James T. Jeremiah spoke publicly to the issue. In brief and from my memory, he said: race is a creation and gift of God; there is nothing in Scripture suggesting, much less mandating, interracial dating or marriage be considered morally suspect or condemned; those who choose to date and especially those who choose to marry interracially should carefully evaluate social attitudes because, wrong or right, they cannot be controlled and the couple must know how it will respond; and Christians should relate to each human being, regardless of race or ethnicity, as people made in the image of God.

All these years later, and having served as a college president myself for nearly 17 years, I still value this memory of a Christian leader who stood for right, good, truth, righteousness, however you want to say it. Dr. Jeremiah spoke truth to culture that day, protected the school and the couples in the spotlight, and used his bully pulpit wisely and well.

Interracial marriage, because of social context, is still in 2011 fraught with challenges, which for some couples may prove insurmountable. But to paraphrase Dr. Jeremiah, there is nothing in the Bible that says interracial marriage is a sin. What matters is who each person in the relationship is spiritually before God and each other.

As I said, American culture’s attitude toward race has change a lot in the past forty years. I’d add that much of that change has been good.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

I've often been reminded that Christian hope is not like any other kind of hope. Christian hope is not a vain wish for what might be. Christian hope is a trust in what will be. Christian hope is based upon Christ's completed work, so our hope may be confident...not anxious, not arrogant, but confident.

This is very important. We're told by some people that the future is a matter of chance, fate, or luck. Some of these people think God doesn't exist, and some believe God can't do much even if He does exist. People who think like this sometimes end up in one of two extremes. Either they go off the deep end of hedonism, trying to escape their meaningless life in short-term pleasure. Or, they end up in the severe despair of nihilism, wishing they'd never been born and sometimes even taking their own life.

Now there is another kind of misplaced hope. Some people believe they can control the future. For them, hope for humanity and their own lives is tied up with technology or other kinds of scientific advances. Their hope is optimistic but ultimately baseless. They place their hope in human potential while rejecting God and ignoring the reality of sin. Just check the history of the Twentieth Century for a record of technological advance run amok in world wars.

So what are we left with?

On the one hand we find no hope and on the other hand groundless hope. One is pessimistic the other is optimistic.

People faced with a pessimistic future seek relief in the drug culture, alcohol, or some other emotional tranquilizer. People who assume an optimistic future tend to worship the idols of materialism, eternal youth, or leisure.

But true Christian hope is balanced. It's never pessimistic, because Christians know the Creator and Savior. We know the beginning and the end of the human story, and we know it's all in God's sovereign care. Christian hope is realistically optimistic. We acknowledge the presence of sin in the world, but we know the Lord will make things right.

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast." For the Christian--hope really is eternal.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

Revised "Making a Difference" program #012 originally recorded February 5, 1993.

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part but must include a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.