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Porn

Pornography: "porn"--literally meaning prostitute, implying distorted or exploitive; "graphy"--writing, pictures. For a long time, pornography seemed more of a tawdry embarrassment, an ugly rash on the underbelly of society. With the rise of the internet, two lethal ingredients were added: easy access and privacy. Pornography has exploded. Pornography is a symptom of a larger illness. Not just a general coarsening of morality or a desensitization of sexuality, where we are bombarded by sexual images and innuendo everywhere, all the time,…
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Overshadowed

NOVEMBER 2008: INSIDE OUT by Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Luke 1:35 In The Gospel According to Steve, the angel Gabriel comes to Mary to ask her permission, to give her a choice. Luke's gospel doesn't tell it that way. Gabriel only makes announcements. He asks no questions. He tells Mary she is favored by God. He tells Mary not to be afraid. He tells Mary…
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Response

My thanks to John Bolt and Jeffrey Sajdak for responding to my friendly nudge in "Reformed Intramurals: What Neo-Calvinists Get Wrong." In addition, my gratitude to Nicholas Wolterstorff for his gracious reply in the February issue of Perspectives. Perhaps I should not be surprised, but I am a little disappointed, that the response to my nudge, at least Bolt's reply, was more political than theological. Bolt heard me to say that my "real and deep disaffection is not so much with North American…
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The Joy of Caucusing

Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell It is sometimes fun to live in Iowa. Normally, I can come up with many positive adjectives to describe life in a small midwestern town. Fun might not always be one of them. But every four years, we in Iowa become the center of the political universe, and for a political junkie like me, this is fun. More than just fun, the Iowa caucuses have restored my faith in American politics. They have transformed me into an interested,…
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Reformed Intramurals: What Neo-Calvinists Get Wrong

To a teenage boy growing up in post-Christian-before-the-term Seattle, the old Reformed Journal was a gift, like rain on dry ground. My predilection for that magazine shows either that theological persuasion is genetic, or that one can absorb far more theology than one might expect in a home far from the bastions of the Reformed world. Thinkers like Richard Mouw, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and others seemed so fresh and exciting, relevant and culturally engaged. At the time names like John Calvin,…
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Interview with I. John Hesselink

OCTOBER 2007: INTERVIEW (Editors' Note: Few people have left as many fingerprints on the Reformed Church in America in recent decades as I. John Hesselink--seminary president and professor, foreign missionary and General Synod president. In addition, Hesselink has been a leading figure in Calvin and Barth studies worldwide. Perhaps most fascinating are Hesselink's "famous friends"--Karl Barth and Emil Brunner, the prominent Swiss neo-orthodox theologians, and more recently writer Marilynne Robinson (Gilead, The Death of Adam). The following interview was conducted…
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Looking for Judas

Holding a morsel of the bread that Jesus had given him, Judas exited into the darkness. Is it the same bread Jesus used that evening to initiate the Lord's Supper? The Gospel of John's account of Maundy Thursday does not include Jesus transforming the Passover feast into the Christian sacrament. But could we use the other gospel accounts to infer that it was the same, bread? If so, what would it mean for our view of Judas? Judas is the…
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Stem Cells and the Fabric of Life: How I Changed My Mind

The current presidential campaign, especially Ron Reagan Jr.'s speech at the Democratic National Convention, has brought embryonic stem cell research back to the public consciousness. Not surprisingly, but nonetheless disappointingly, the partisan rhetoric of a presidential campaign has done little to clarify this complex matter. Instead, the debate has fallen into clichéd categories and simplistic separations. Embryonic stem cells are the amazing, unique cells found in the inner cell mass of early embryos. Removing the stem cells destroys the embryo.…