Tag Archives: Nancy Pearcey

Terrell Clemmons interviews Nancy Pearcey about the impact of secularism

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Salvo magazine is my favorite magazine for the discussion of issues related to the Christian worldview. They focus on the most interesting topics; sex and feminism, intelligent design and evolution, marriage and family, abortion and euthanasia, etc. One of their writers, Terrell Clemmons, has just about the best Christian worldview I’ve ever encountered. She interviewed well-known Christian writer Nancy Pearcey in Salvo magazine.

The first part of the interview has Nancy explaining what happened to her when – as a teen – she asked her family and church and Christian leaders for reasons why she should take Christiantiy seriously. She ended up having to construct her entire worldview herself. She spent an entire year and a half reading nothing but Christian apologetics books. And from that, she moved on to connect Christianity to every other subject that you can possibly imagine.

The part of the interview I liked best was when Terrell asked Nancy what the consequences would be in real life to the popular secular ideas that the universe is an accident, that human beings are just robots made out of meat, that there is no free will, and no way that humans ought to be objectively.

Excerpt:

What do you see as the greatest threat to the next generation?

The greatest threats are the issues covered in Love Thy Body because they involve the family—and children who grow up without a secure, loving family do not do as well in any area of life, including their spiritual and intellectual lives. Practices like contraception, abortion, and artificial reproduction are already creating an attitude that having a child is merely a lifestyle choice, an accessory to enrich adult lives and meet adult needs. The hookup culture is destroying people’s ability to form the secure, exclusive relationships they need to create stable, happy families. Porn is decimating a generation of young people who are literally being trained to objectify others for their own sexual gratification. When they marry, they are shocked—shocked—to discover that they are unable to experience a sexual response with a real live person. They are only able to respond to pornography. Homosexuality and transgenderism are both creating a gender-free society by denying the value and purpose of biological sex as the foundation for gender identity and marriage.

We are often told that these issues won’t affect anyone else, but that is not true. As the law changes, we are all affected. In a free society, certain rights are honored as pre-political rights. That means the state does not create them but only recognizes them as a pre-existing fact. For example, the right to life used to be a pre-political right—something you had just because you were human. But the only way the state could legalize abortion was by first deciding that some humans are not persons with a right to legal protection. The state now decides who qualifies for human rights, apart from biology. That is a huge power grab by the state, and it means we are all at risk. No one has a right to life now by the sheer fact of being human, but only at the dispensation of the state.

In the same way, marriage used to be a pre-political right based on the fact that humans are a sexually reproducing species. But the only way the state could legalize same-sex marriage was by denying the biological basis of marriage and redefining it as a purely emotional commitment, which is what the Supreme Court did in its Obergefell decision. The state no longer merely recognizes marriage as a pre-political right but has claimed the right to decide what marriage is, apart from biology.

Gender used to follow from your biological sex. But the only way the state can treat a trans woman (born male) the same as a biological woman is by dismissing biology as irrelevant. That’s why public schools are enforcing policies telling teachers whom they must call “he” and “she,” regardless of the student’s biological sex.

Same-sex activists say the next step is parenthood. In a same-sex couple, at least one parent is not biologically related to any children they have. So the only way the state can treat same-sex parents the same as opposite-sex parents is by dismissing biology as irrelevant and then substituting a new definition of “parent” (perhaps based on emotional bonds). You will be your child’s parent only at the permission of the state.

And what the state gives, the state can take away. Human rights are no longer “unalienable.” These issues are sold to the public as a way of expanding choice. But in reality, they hand over power to the state.

You can see examples of the state stepping in to “fix” the problems caused by the decline of lasting, stable marriages. Divorce courts control a man’s salary, and his rights to communicate with and visit his children. Civil rights commissions bully anyone who doesn’t celebrate they LGBT agenda. Universities punish men for real or imagined bad treatment of women without any criminal investigation or criminal trial. And we are all on the hook for the costs of the breakdown of the family, which results in more crime (for fatherless boys), and more unwanted pregnancies (for fatherless girls). In 2008, it was $112 billion per year, no telling what it is up to now, when the out-of-wedlock birth rate is now up to 42%.

Although the secular left’s new view of the body and sexuality seemed to be all goodness and happiness – at least to them –  it’s actually caused a lot of problems, and increased the intervention of the state into our affairs.

What’s the best way to get men back into the church?

Here’s a conversation I had with a pastor and his wife on Tuesday night. I anonymized the names. The rest is verbatim.

I’d like one of our atheist commenters like Sandwiches for Sale or Jerry to comment on this pastor and his wife.

I was mean, but I hope not TOO mean. This sort of thing really pushes my buttons, as you might expect. I tried really hard to stay calm and focused, but I could have done a lot better. I apologize to my readers for being a bit abrasive and over the top at times. I hope my language is not to harsh or disrespectful.

I think we really need to work about encouraging Christians to see a relationship with God through Christ as being… a relationship. And in a relationship, both sides are aware of the different character of the other person, and they make adjustments. It’s not a good idea to project our emotions and intuitions onto the other person and to think that our goals are their goals. It may be that we have to perform actions to hold up our end of the relationship, and that we may need to study in advance in order to know what to do and to achieve those goals effectively.

—-

Pastor:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/04/opinion/bennett-men-in-trouble/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

Why men are in trouble – CNN.com

For the first time in history women today are better educated, more ambitious, and arguably more successful than men, says William Bennett.

Pastor: Wow, even the secular media is figuring this out! Come on men! Man UP!

WK: Pastor, consider that the problem is not with men, but with an increasingly feminized society that has undermined the traditional male roles and marginalized men in the education system, the church, etc.. Not to mention misandry in the media. The denigration of men is everywhere, which undermines their ability to lead on moral and spiritual issues. Even high taxes and social programs rob men of their ability to have authority from their roles as providers.

WK: Consider just one example: no-fault divorce and single mother welfare has caused many, many young men to be raised in fatherless homes, and then they go on to attend public schools where 80%+ of the teachers are female, and the curriculum is set by females. The church is very much focused on singing and avoids apologetics. Where exactly are these men supposed to get male role models? As a society, we have become uncomfortable with men exercising authority on moral and theological issues. Denigrating men in the media, dumbing them down in femininized schools, taxing their income and replacing fathers with welfareare not going to help us to produce manly men. The opposition to apologetics in the church doesn’t help either – if we can’t talk about truth and evidence, then men stop caring about God.

Look:
http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=14-01-026-f

This is a complicated issue, and you need to read a lot more about it before engaging in man blaming. If men aren’t doing well in school, ask yourself WHAT CHANGED.

Touchstone Archives: Missing Fathers of the Church
http://www.touchstonemag.com
You may have noticed that, in general, men are not as interested in religion a…
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Pastor: Winter…Men have to Man up.

Pastor’s Wife: Women have to step up because the MEN are not

Pastor’s Wife: I thank God I have a husband who prays for me and respects me as a wife, a woman, and a daughter of THE KING. I thank God my husband knows “headship”

WK: Wow, Pastor. Your avalanche of facts and evidence is astounding. Your voluminous, erudite catch-phrase really refutes all of the concerns I raised. I stand corrected. </sarc>

Pastor: Why are Men not attending church?

Pastor: or do you actually go there?

WK: Because the church is totally feminized. There is no emphasis on anything that men like, like apologetics or practical application to areas of knowledge like economics or politics. It’s dominated by frilly God-talk, prayers, emotions and pop authors like Joyce Meyer and Max Lucado. People are not being challenged to grow.

Pastor: So you dont go? Maybe if men went there and made changes and protest the situation instead of ARMCHAIRING it might make a difference?

Pastor: ??

WK: Please don’t engage in ad hominem. Stick to the public evidence.

Pastor: Well?

Pastor: Sorry your honor

Pastor: Have you thought that the feminizing the you alledge (with public record) could be alleviated if men took back the church?

Pastor: Winter you say Ad Hominem? //// Wow, Pastor. Your avalanche of facts and evidence is astounding. Your voluminous, erudite catch-phrase really refutes all of the concerns I raised. I stand corrected. </sarc>///What the heck?

WK: Pastor… you don’t know anything about this issue. It’s pointless to discuss it with you since you are not in command of any facts.

Pastor: So why are you?

Pastor: wow

Pastor’s Wife: Gee, wonder how many times a Christian man is going to infer my husband is stupid?

Pastor’s Wife: I pray for you…

WK: I listed about a half-dozen factors, and made one argument supported by evidence from the Touchstone Magazine article. I.e – I argued that the fatherlessness was a cause of declining religiosity, I cited the Touchstone article, then I argued that public policies like no-fault divorce and single mother welfare increase fatherlessness.

Pastor’s Wife: What about Jesus?

Pastor: I have actually EXPERIENCED my position.

WK: So far, I’ve heard nothing in response. And that’s because only one side has facts. The other side has God-talk and “I’ll pray for you”. That’s not an argument. That’s not evidence.

Pastor: Neither have I

Pastor’s Wife: ?”I AM the way the truth and the life…”….those are TRUTH from Jesus a true man and our Savior

Pastor: What are you doing about this Winter?

Pastor’s Wife: Facts and figures I care to have none, when I have a Savior that over the world has won!

WK: Again, we want to have a discussion about the public policy question, we don’t want to make the issue about my character. The issue in question is… how do we get men to lead in the Christian life.

Pastor: You know I didn’t say YOU were armchairing this but I was not supplied with any evidence that you really are wanting to change the “feminization”

Pastor’s Wife: Usually the very thing we complain about is the very thing that God has called us to go and change

Pastor: Well I see the charaacter issue going both ways here

Pastor: want to start over?

Pastor: ?//// how do we get men to lead in the Christian life.//// Well we as men need to have a deep relationship with our Father. How does that sound?

WK: There are several ideologies now present in the church that discourage men from taking an active role. I know you know these. Postmodernism and moral relativism would be two of them. Those need to be refuted. But to really get men to engage, we have to think about what men are like, and what men like that is present in Christianity. For example, apologetics. Men like competition, problem solving and conflict. We need to get them exposed to different points of view, and allow them to ask questions and to debate. That means lots of learning and discussion about science, history, logic and morality. Men also like using facts and evidence when they argue. You can see it in the sermons of Mark Driscoll, and the Sunday School classes of Wayne Grudem (Essentials) and William Lane Craig (Defenders). Men like to argue about moral obligations and moral standards, and they like to use evidence. Lastly, men like politics and current events.

Church needs to be made safer for men to show their knowledge, and to debate the issues of the day in the open, without worrying about being shushed for making people feel bad. That means allowing men to discuss things like what laws strengthen and weaken marriage and the role of the father in the home, what education policies strengthen and reinforce parental authority, what fiscal policies encourage personal responsibility and liberty, what foreign policy is best for creating peace and protecting the weak from evil. Practical Christianity. Men should be good at pro-life debating and pro-marriage debating, and using public facts and arguments – not by quoting the Bible. (Although they get their view from the Bible, that’s not how you talk to non-Christians – with Christianese)

WK: Here’s a good article that features one of my favorite theologians/apologists, Mrs. Nancy Pearcey:
http://www.biola.edu/news/biolamag/articles/06spring/feminization.cfm

I really recommend her book “Total Truth”.

Pastor’s Wife: How about men who love Christ and have a close relationship with Him , for out of that relationship comes all ministry etc. We need to LOVE Christ and honor Him as well as allow Him to speak into our lives and let him lead HIS BRIDE

Pastor: Look Winter, I agree to a point. However I think that Politics / knowledge can and is taught in the church. You sound like a lawyer. Why not go to a church and do as you profess. My apologies if you are already. The church is a house of prayer, not a courtroom!

WK: Pastor’s wife, you talk about Christ. Do you think that it would be loving to Christ to study history and to be able to make a defense of his resurrection to non-Christians? A defense that doesn’t assume that the Bible is inerrant? As Peter did in Acts 2, and as Peter urged us to be ready to do in 1 Peter 3:15?

If you agree that defending the resurrection when it is called into question by non-Christians, who do not accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God, would be an effective way to love Jesus in a practical way, please explain to me how you would encourage others to go about doing that? Do you think that men would like to see a debate on that topic, or on the topic of God’s existence, in the church, and would God be honored by having church people know how to defend his existence, and the resurrection of his son, using public, testable evidence and sound logical arguments? Would that be a way to love God?

Pastor: Apologetics (which I like doing) has it’s place. You are sounding like a Pharisee!

WK: Again with the insults. Why should I be surprised?

Pastor: Well you are sounding like a Pharisee!

Pastor: Tell me how you are not sounding like one.

WK: Do you think that name-calling is an appropriate response to my specific concerns?

Pastor: in this case

Pastor: i call you on something and you call it name calling

Pastor: I offer a solution…Men go to church… do you?

Pastor’s Wife: Debate and displays of knowledge of historical events can be done in any local gym or community center.(or perhaps a Sunday school session with those topics of interest) Our Father’s house is a place of prayer and worship, to give ministry to our God in worship and in community with the saints.

WK: Do you think that William Lane Craig is a Pharisee because he goes and does 2 M.As and 2 Ph.Ds, studies the issues in depth and writes a lot of books on the existence of God and the resurrection, and then debates Christopher Hitchens in front of 5000 people at Biola University? Is that being a Pharisee? Defending God’s existence and the resurrection of Jesus in front of thousands of people because you first accepted the message of 1 Pet 3:15? Is it being a Pharisee to do what the Bible says (be ready to give a defense)? Is it being a Pharisee to meet non-Christians were they are and to use effective means to refute them?

Pastor: You can “idolize” apologetics. I worry sometimes about that

Pastor’s Wife: Jesus Himself through His Holy Spirit defends the resurrection. It is God who saves not man…God through His Holy Spirit

WK: Ok, again with the name calling.

(later in another thread)

Pastor: Wintery you are a wimp

Pastor: Wintery? I see your interest is Chivalry? LOL

Is Christianity a science-stopper or a science-starter?

Take a look at this GREAT GREAT article by Nancy Pearcey, which explains why the Christian worldview helped science to progress. (H/T The Poached Egg)

Excerpt:

After all, modern science arose in one place and one time only: It arose out of medieval Europe, during a period when its intellectual life was thoroughly permeated with a Christian worldview.  Other great cultures, such as the Chinese and the Indian, often developed a higher level of technology and engineering.  But their expertise tended to consist of practical know-how and rules of thumb.  They did not develop what we know as experimental science–testable theories organized into coherent systems.  Science in this sense has appeared only once in history.  As historian Edward Grant writes, “It is indisputable that modern science emerged in the seventeenth century in Western Europe and nowhere else.”

This fact is certainly suggestive, and it has prompted scholars to ask why it is that modern science emerged only out of medieval Europe.  Sociologist of religion Rodney Stark identified the 52 figures who made the most significant contributions to the scientific revolution, then researched biographical sources to discover their religious views.  He found that among the top contributors to science, surprisingly only two were skeptics (Paracelsus and Edmund Halley).

Stark then subdivided his subjects once again into those who were “conventional” in their religious views (that is, their writings exhibit the conventional religious views of the time), and those who were “devout” (their writings express a strong personal investment).  The resulting numbers show that more than 60 percent of those who jumpstarted the scientific revolution were religiously “devout.” Clearly, holding a Christian worldview posed no barrier to doing excellent scientific work, and even seems to have provided a positive inspiration.

What were the key elements in that inspiration?  Let’s highlight several basic principles by drawing a series of contrasts to other religions and philosophies.  If we make the claim that Christianity played a causative role in the rise of modern science, to be scientific about the matter, we must also rule out other possible causes.  Since as a matter of historical fact, no other religion or philosophy did play the same causative role, the best way to phrase the question is, Why didn’t they?

This is is a must-read article. Please read it, tweet it, and share it on Facebook.

She talks about the fact/value split, which flows out of the view that religion and morality are non-scientific. People today are so committed to naturalism, that anything spiritual or moral is viewed as non-factual. You can only believe in moral prescriptions like “don’t kill unborn children” and “marriage is between one man and one woman” on faith – not on facts. This fact/value split means that Christian theists are marginalized in the public square.

In the rest of the article, Pearcey contrasts monotheism, with polytheism, pantheism and Greek philosophy to see which view grounds the scientific enterprise. She concludes by talking abotu the Enlightenment and the mythical war between science and Christianity.

You may also be interested in this post about whether science and Christianity are compatible. If we were stuck with atheism, then the universe would be eternal, the fine-tuning would be explained by billions of unobservable, untestable universes, the origin of life would be caused by unonbservable, untestable aliens, the fossil record would be explained by billions of unobservable, untestable fossils that haven’t yet been found, and so forth. It’s atheism that is constantly speculating about unobservable entities in order to explain the things that good science tells us. Atheism is just “science fiction”.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

Why men stay away from the feminized church

On the Biola University site, I found a book review of a new book by David Murrow called “Why Men Hate Going to Church”.

Here’s the problem:

There are generally more women than men in every type of church, in every part of the world, according to church growth experts like Patrick Johnstone, author of Operation World. A traditional explanation is that women are more spiritual than men. But the leaders of this new movement suggest that the church’s music, messages and ministries cater to women.

…In America, among evangelical churches, 57 percent of members are women and, among mainline Protestant churches, 66 percent are women, according to a 1998 book American Evangelicalism (University of Chicago Press).

The problem is that the church has become feminized, and men don’t like that, and so, they leave.

Here’s more:

To describe many women, Murrow lists traits like “relational,” “nurturing” and “peace-making.” He describes many men as “goal-driven,” “competitive” and “adventurous.” These differences show up in the types of movies many women and many men like: romantic vs. adventure films, Murrow said. In sum, women thrive when secure, and men thrive when challenged, he said.

As Christianity became more feminized, it began to focus more on producing emotional satisfaction. But men want something different.

The article goes on to quote one of my favorite Christian writers, Nancy Pearcey, an expert in apologetics and theology.

…many people think of church only as a nurturing place that addresses personal needs, Pearcey said. Think: sitting in circles, sharing feelings, holding hands, singing softly, comforting members. An example of the feminization of the church is its music. Typical praise songs refer to Jesus as a Christian’s lover and praise his beauty and tenderness. Rarely do they praise his justice or strength, or refer to him as the head of an army leading his church into spiritual battle, like “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

All of the outward facing disciplines within Christianity, such as apologetics, theology, ethics, etc. are de-emphasized, censored or resisted in feminized churches. There is no place for rationality, moral judgments and boundaries, debates and disagreement, confrontations and persuasion, or other manly Christian practices.

Christianity is evangelical, and evangelism takes study and preparation, which culminates in confrontations and discussions. The object of these discussions is not to win the argument. It is to win the person over to your side. So facts and arguments play a huge role in  evangelism, but there has to be gentleness too, if you actually want to win. And this is what Christian men are supposed to do. But does the church support it?

Another turn-off for men is touchy-feely sermons. Pearcey said the modern church stresses emotions and inner spiritual experiences while neglecting the intellectual side of the faith.

“The more traditionally masculine side of Christianity enjoys crossing swords with hostile secular worldviews. So, as long as Christianity appeals to the emotional, therapeutic, interpersonal, relational areas, it’s not going to appeal to men as much as to women,” Pearcey said.

Churches should engage men’s intellects to help them see the relevance of Christianity to the “real” world of politics, industry and business, Pearcey said.

“We have to recover the notion that Christianity is true on all levels, not just for your emotional life or repairing relationships, as important as those things are,” she said.

Christian men love apologetics and they also love theology, philosophy, ethics, science and history. We love competition. Anything testable that can be debated! Anything where there is a clear winner and loser.

Many churches emphasize Jesus’ softer teachings, like his love and his desire to save, and they ignore the doctrines of sin and hell, according to Podles. But men dislike liberal Christianity — “a mild religion of progress and enlightenment” as opposed to a battle between good and evil, Podles said.

Men want to expend their lives for a great cause, even if it involves risk, according to Murrow. He said that’s why the U.S. military’s “Army of One” campaign was effective. But American churches rarely teach about Christian suffering and martyrdom, Murrow said. Instead, today’s Christianity is presented as an antidote to these things, he said.

And men thrive on risk, adventure and achievement:

“Men are more attracted to religion if it presented as a quest, an adventure, a heroic exploit,” Pearcey said. “They want something challenging, bracing, demanding.”

To reach men, churches should stress the cost and dangers of following Christ — including Christians’ conflict with the world, the flesh and the devil, according to Podles.

Yet, men should be reminded that the sacrifice won’t always be a “huge, glorious display like William Wallace stepping out on a battlefield,” Erre said. Many times it will be staying in a troubled marriage, raising a handicapped child, or working a hated job to provide for a family, he said.

Many women believe that the purpose of Christianity is to be happy and to make others happy by not discussing controversial things like religion. They do not attach the same importance as men do to the duty to be an informed ambassador for Christ, trained in apologetics, and able to persuade others about God’s existence and character. They do not believe that the Lord’s reputation needs to be defended in public in the same way that men do.

Many women also don’t want to be confronted about their beliefs by informed men, because their beliefs are based more on intuition and emotion. They would rather be accepted and affirmed – and so they favor men who don’t know much about the details of Christianity. So manly Christian skills; theology, apologetics, ethics, philosophy, history, science, etc. are not valued in the feminized church.

Touchy-feely sermons come from touchy-feely pastors. A feminized church tends to attract more “gentle, sensitive, nurturing” leadership,” according to Pearcey.

“If religion is defined primarily in terms of emotional experience and is therapeutic, then who is it going to attract as ministers?” she said.

Pearcey said to consider a typical youth pastor.

“He’s really into relationships, very motivating, but is he teaching good apologetics? Is he teaching youth to use their minds and to understand deeper theological truths? At least the ones I’ve known haven’t,” she said. “Today, the common trajectory is for youth pastors to become senior pastors,” she added.

Maybe women should be more sensitive to male needs and character, and more concerned about what the Bible teaches about the the role of apologetics in the Kingdom of God.

If you want to know what Christian men look like, check out this profile of Christian philosopher and apologist Paul Copan on Truthbomb Apologetics. If you want to see one tough and effective Christian lady, visit Denyse O’Leary’s blogs: Post-Darwinist, Mindful Hack and Colliding Universes.

UPDATE 1: Here is an essay I saw on Truthbomb about the need for apologetics, by Norman Geisler.

UPDATE 2: Welcome visitors from the Anchoress! Thanks for the link. Forgive me if this post was a bit mean, but consider it a cry for reconciliation between men and women in the church. I recommend that everyone make the Anchoress a daily read, as she integrates her faith very well with the issues of the day!

UPDATE 3: I noticed this post linked over on the Anchoress. It talks about what men like and don’t like in the church. But keep in mind that this is a poll of men ALREADY in the church, so these ones are more accepting of the feminization of church already. The men outside the church would be less likely to put up with the feminization of church.

Just one quote:

Sixty per cent said they did not like flowers and embroidered banners in church, while 52 per cent did not like dancing in church…Nearly three quarters, or 72 per cent, said their favourite part of a service was the talk or sermon.

There’s a list of hymns that men do like, as well.