Run Sheet for Friday, October 18


Respond and Engage!
TALK TO PAUL ON-AIR: 313.272.5600

Michigan Reformation Conference

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Paul will be speaking at the 16th Annual Michigan Reformation Conference in Flint, Michigan on Saturday, October 26th (10am – 4pm). More information and free registration.

GUEST: Dr. Thomas Kidd

Dr. Thomas Kidd

Thomas S. Kidd is the Vardaman Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University and the author of many books, including Who Is an Evangelical? A History of a Movement in Crisis (Yale, 2019); Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father (Yale, 2017); Baptists in America: A History with Barry Hankins (Oxford, 2015); George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father (Yale, 2014); and Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots (Basic, 2011). 

Who is An Evangelical: The History of a Movement in Crisis

If you follow politics, you’ve seen plenty of headlines or social media posts in recent months along the lines of “Evangelicals believe [a certain stance on an issue]” or “Evangelicals support [this or that candidate]”.

And if you follow Dr. Thomas Kidd on Twitter, you’ve seen him repeatedly call out such posts — in particular, questioning how such stories determine who counts as an evangelical before reaching their conclusions.

Now, Kidd — a Baylor history professor since 2002 — has published his thinking in a new book: Who Is an Evangelical?: The History of a Movement in Crisis. In it, Kidd pulls from his expertise in American religious history to look back at the birth and growth of the evangelical movement, in the process illustrating how distorted the word “evangelical” has become when it comes to politics.

THOMAS KIDD: Will Donald Trump Ever Lose His Evangelical Firewall?

NYT: Why Evangelicals Support Donald Trump

JULIE ROYS: Leading Evangelicals Endorse Prosperity Preacher Paula White’s New Book

JAMES K. A. SMITH: Trump’s evangelical advisers are promoting Paula White, but here’s the book they should really read

RNS: National Association of Evangelicals names new president, diverse leadership

GUEST: R. R. Reno, Editor of First Things

R. R. Reno

R. R. Reno is the editor of First Things magazine, and author of the just released Return of the Strong Gods: Nationalism, Populism, and the Future of the West. He was formerly a professor of theology and ethics at Creighton University. He is the author of several books including Fighting the Noonday Devil, a theological commentary on the Book of Genesis in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series. His work ranges widely in systematic and moral theology, as well as in controverted questions of biblical interpretation.

Return of the Strong Gods: Nationalism, Populism, and the Future of the West

After the staggering slaughter of back-to-back world wars, the West embraced the ideal of the “open society.” The promise: By liberating ourselves from the old attachments to nation, clan, and religion that had fueled centuries of violence, we could build a prosperous world without borders, freed from dogmas and managed by experts.

But the populism and nationalism that are upending politics in America and Europe are a sign that after three generations, the postwar consensus is breaking down. With compelling insight, R. R. Reno argues that we are witnessing the return of the “strong gods”—the powerful loyalties that bind men to their homeland and to one another.

Reacting to the calamitous first half of the twentieth century, our political, cultural, and financial elites promoted open borders, open markets, and open minds. But this never-ending project of openness has hardened into a set of anti-dogmatic dogmas which destroy the social solidarity rooted in family, faith, and nation. While they worry about the return of fascism, our societies are dissolving.

But man will not tolerate social dissolution indefinitely. He longs to be part of a “we”—the fruit of shared loves—which gives his life meaning. The strong gods will return, Reno warns, in one form or another. Our task is to attend to those that, appealing to our reason as well as our hearts, inspire the best of our traditions. Otherwise, we shall invite the darker gods whose return our open society was intended to forestall.

THE CATHOLIC THING: Review of Return of the Strong Gods

Twelve Puritan Books Every Christian Must Read

Listed from most practical to most theological

  1. Communion with God, John Owen
  2. The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan
  3. A Treatise on Earthly-Mindedness, Jeremiah Burroughs
  4. Attending Upon God without Distraction, Nathanael Vincent
  5. A True and Speedy Use of Christ, Alexander Grosse
  6. The Case and Cure of the Deserted Soul, Joseph Symonds
  7. The Trial and Triumph of Faith, Samuel Rutherford
  8. Christ Set Forth, Thomas Goodwin
  9. Keeping the Heart: How to Maintain Your Love for God, John Flavel
  10. The Mortification of Sin, John Owen
  11. Looking Unto Jesus, Isaac Ambrose
  12. The Existence and Attributes of God, Stephen Charnock

Run Sheet for Thursday, October 17


Respond and Engage!
TALK TO PAUL ON-AIR: 313.272.5600

Michigan Reformation Conference

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Paul will be speaking at the 16th Annual Michigan Reformation Conference in Flint, Michigan on Saturday, October 26th (10am – 4pm). More information and free registration.

WP: Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democratic leader and regular Trump target, dies at 68

FREEP: Brain death vs. coma: Why parents don’t get a say about end of life when a child is brain dead

GUEST: Kathryn Butler (MD, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons) is a trauma surgeon who is board certified in surgical critical care and served on the faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Butler is the author of Between Life and Death: A Gospel-Centered Guide to End-of-Life Medical Care.

After a decade of experience in surgery, she left clinical practice in 2016 to homeschool her children. She now writes for, Christianity Today, and the Gospel Coalition blog on topics intersecting faith and medicine.

The Breath of Life: Should Christians Agree to Ventilator Support?

4 Principles for Making Critical End-of-Life Decisions

NBC NEWS: Vatican announces wearable ‘eRosary’ smart device and app for guided prayer

The device is activated by making the sign of the cross and will keep track of a user’s rosary progress. “When activated, the user has the possibility to choose either to pray the standard rosary, a contemplative Rosary and different kinds of thematic rosaries that will be updated every year,” the Vatican News said.

“The project brings together the best of the Church’s spiritual tradition and the latest advances of the technological world,” the Vatican News said.

CT: The Early Church Thrived Amid Secularism and Shows How We Can, Too

As long as Christians assume we are still living in Christendom, the church will continue to decline in the West, no matter how ferociously Christians fight to maintain power and privilege. If anything, the harder Christians fight, the more precipitous the decline will be, for cultural power and privilege will come at an increasingly high price. Christians will either accommodate until the faith becomes almost unrecognizable, or they will isolate until their faith becomes virtually invisible.

Nothing short of a change of church culture will suffice—from a culture of entertainment, politics, personality, and program to a culture of discipleship. Such a radical change will require patience, steadiness, and purposefulness.

John Piper on the Eternal Value of Holiness v. Hipness

“I’d love to see an upsurge in passion for holiness. I think it is there in a lot of younger pastors, but I think another branch are much more eager to look hip, look cool, look like they’ve watched the latest thing, they can use the latest lingo. And frankly, while that makes audiences laugh, and think you’re kind of cool, it doesn’t do much eternal good. It won’t make any difference in five years, twenty years, thirty years. What will make a difference in people’s lives when they are dying? That you were cool? Give me a break! That will not make any difference! They will want you at their bedside if they know you have been walking with God, if you’ve been spending time in the presence of the living God and can say something to them in their need when their kid is dying, when their wife is dying. When you can say something, because they’ve seen you authentic in the pulpit dealing with the Bible faithfully. And I just think the Puritans…they tasted like that, they just tasted like that. They weren’t glib. They weren’t trying to be fitting in to their culture.”

Taken from Puritan: All of Life to the Glory of God, Media Gratiae, 2019

Run Sheet for Monday, October 14


Respond and Engage!
TALK TO PAUL ON-AIR: 313.272.5600

Michigan Reformation Conference

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Ref-Conf-2019-1024x576.jpg

Paul will be speaking at the 16th Annual Michigan Reformation Conference in Flint, Michigan on Saturday, October 26th (10am – 4pm). More information and free registration.

CP: Christian leaders respond to shooting of Atatiana Jefferson: ‘This injustice is outrageous’

DAILY TRIBUNE: Oakland County school districts defend cultural training despite accusation of pro-Muslim bias

Thomas More Law Center Uncovers Taxpayer-funded Islamic Propaganda Forced on Teachers – A SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT

CP: Andrew Brunson considered suicide in Turkish prison as he felt betrayed by God

CT: Ethiopia’s Evangelical Prime Minister Wins Nobel Peace Prize

The son of a Muslim father and Orthodox mother, Ahmed is a Protestant Pentecostal, or “Pentay,” like many Ethiopian politicians.

His faith is seen as a driving factor in his push for peace. “There is something of the revivalist preacher in the way he evangelizes for his vision,” BBC News noted. “He has the energy, the passion, and the certainty.”

CT: Make a Joyful Silence Unto the Lord

“Today’s noise pollution, which includes both sonic noise and visual noise, is a hazard to our entire health, according to the World Health Organization. As such, we find ourselves in desperate need of quiet spaces both in our personal lives and also in our corporate life together as the church. The inclusion of silence in worship, then, is not just a matter of our physical well-being, it is also a matter of well-being before God.”

Albert Mohler: Why Is Legal Deference Given to Religious Beliefs? Defending Our God-Given First Liberty in an Increasingly Hostile Age


But next, also abundantly clear is the continuing challenge to religious liberty. Just consider an opinion piece that ran just in recent days in The Washington Post. The headline in the article asked the question, “What’s so special about religious belief?” Kate Cohen is the author of the article, and she asked why, she openly questions why religious beliefs have more protection under American law and constitutional order than other forms of belief. She clearly thinks that’s nuts. It’s wrong. It should stop.

She writes about the fact that New York state has removed the religious exemption for its mandatory vaccination laws concerning children, but then she goes on to ask, “Why would there be such a provision in the first place on this issue or any other?” She writes, “45 states and the District of Columbia have religious exemption laws. Fifteen allow moral or philosophical exemptions. Facing falling vaccination rates, Vermont did away with its philosophical exemption in 2015 but it preserved the religious exemption, at which point many more parents started to have religious qualms.”

She continues, “Our longstanding legal deference to religion is why Jews can wear yarmulkes in court, Sikh soldiers can wear beards and employers with dress codes excluding hats, can’t tell Muslim employees to remove their hijabs. It’s why prohibition,” she says, “didn’t prohibit Catholics from drinking ceremonial wine.”

But then she says, “That’s just the beginning. Religious belief,” she argues, “can exempt churches and schools from providing contraceptive healthcare services to their employees. In some states, it lets pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions, elected officials refuse to do their jobs, and businesses refuse certain customers. It soon will that businesses with federal contracts discriminate in their hiring and in 9 out of 10 states, it lets parents put other people’s children at risk.” That’s a reference, again, to vaccines.

But notice what she puts in her odious list of things that have gone wrong. That is the allowance of a religious belief exemption on matters such as churches and schools, that would be Christian schools, providing contraceptive health services. This takes us back to the Obama administration’s infamous contraceptive mandate that required even religious organizations and ministries to offer and to pay for contraception coverage, including some forms of contraception that are believed by some to be a abortifacient in nature against religious conviction. And now you’re looking at the fact that this writer, Kate Cohen, in The Washington Post, is arguing, “This shouldn’t even be an issue. There’s no reason why religious beliefs should be given that kind of legal deference.”

Later she goes on to ask outright, “Why should religion exempt people from civil rights legislation and public health law?” She then makes the argument that religious beliefs are not mandatory or immutable, therefore they’re not really different from secular beliefs. But here’s where we need to step back and say there are many religious believers, and Christians would be at the top of that list, who believe that certain beliefs are indeed mandatory and are indeed immutable. But again, the whole point of Kate Cohen’s article is that there should be no particular legal deference to religious beliefs as opposed to, say, secular beliefs.

But what isn’t mentioned by Kate Cohen in this article is that document known as the Constitution of the United States of America. And that Constitution and the Bill of Rights Article One is extremely clear requiring the federal government to respect the free exercise of religion. That makes religion a particularly respected, recognized, and protected category. This is not some kind of modern legal invention. That’s article one of the original ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, which were required for the ratification of the United States Constitution in the first place.

You ask, “Where did this legal deference for religious beliefs begin?” It began in the beginning of the American constitutional order, and the framers of the Constitution understood they were not granting religious liberty, they were not inventing religious liberty, they understood that religious liberty, the first liberty was prior to the Constitution and prior to government. Government’s responsibility was merely to respect and to protect the liberties given to citizens by God.

From a Christian worldview analysis, we need to think about something. It’s not really very likely that even people in Washington D.C. reading The Washington Post are going to read this column by Kate Cohen and go, “You know, she’s making a really good point. We just need to either exclude or we need to remove or we need to amend or we need to just ignore the first amendment to the United States constitution.” That’s not likely, but here’s what we need to watch. Public opinion is changed centimeter by centimeter, perhaps even millimeter by millimeter, not yard by yard or mile by mile. It’s the accumulated force of argument, and what makes this article of singular importance is the fact that it appeared just as it appeared in The Washington Post, the most influential newspaper in the capital city of the United States.

The appearance of any article like this, and then other articles that will follow in the major media, start to push the direction of America’s public conversation. That’s what we really need to watch. A basic and insidious suspicion is being driven within the American public argument and therefore into the American mind, asking the question, why in the first place, would there be any particular respect or deference for religious beliefs? Why does that even make sense in our secular age? And in this secularizing age under all the pressures of our current moment, you can count on that question now being asked in public out loud over and over again.