From the Dean

News items, published articles, and reading recommendations from Dean Timothy George

Page 3 of 176

The Dean Recommends: France and Nigeria Mourn Clergy Killed by Terrorists

From the World Watch Monitor
August 8, 2016

Last week, France buried Jacques Hamel, the 85-year-old Catholic priest murdered by Islamist extremists while celebrating mass on July 26. Thousands of people, including journalists from around the world, attended the funeral.

Three days earlier, another pastor was buried, also a victim of a terrorist attack. She was the second of two pastors murdered in Nigeria this summer. Their funerals were local; their deaths largely unnoticed by the media.

What pushed Hamel’s story onto Europe’s front pages was its location. Since the January 2015 mass shooting at the Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris, France has suffered nearly 240 deaths in more than 10 attacks by people claiming allegiance to ISIS. Though Christians were among the victims of those attacks, Hamel’s killing was the first to target Christians specifically, in a church.

“This tragic attack, so close to home and following other recent horrors, is another example of the persecution we see all too often in countries around the world,” stated Open Doors UK, the British arm of Open Doors, a global ministry that supports Christians who live under pressure because of their faith. Read the rest at Christianity Today.

Posted by Hunter Upton at Thursday, August 11, 2016
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The Dean Recommends: Protecting the future of religious higher education

By ERLC Staff
August 9, 2016

The California Assembly has proposed legislation that is harmful to the free exercise of religion in higher education. In particular, the legislation disadvantages low-income minority students who want an education at private religious colleges. Though it purports to eliminate discrimination, Senate Bill 1146 results in its own form of discrimination by stigmatizing and coercively punishing religious beliefs that disagree on contested matters related to human sexuality. If SB 1146 were to pass, it would deny students’ ability to participate in state grant programs—programs that exist to help low-income students, and which are overwhelmingly used by racial minorities—at schools that are found in violation of the bill. Moreover, it would severely restrict the ability of religious education institutions to set expectations of belief and conduct that align with the institution’s religious tenets. While we do not all agree on religious matters, we all agree that the government has no place in discriminating against poor religious minorities or in pitting a religious education institution’s faith-based identity against its American identity. This legislation puts into principle that majoritarian beliefs are more deserving of legal protection, and that minority viewpoints are deserving of government harassment. Legislation of this nature threatens the integrity not only of religious institutions, but of any viewpoint wishing to exercise basic American freedoms, not least of which is the freedom of conscience.

We, the undersigned, do not necessarily agree with one another’s religious views, but we agree on the necessity of the liberty to exercise these views. At the root of the American experiment is the idea that conscience and religious conviction come before the demands of the state. Some of us disagree with the sexual ethics of orthodox Jews, Christians, and Muslims giving rise to this legislation, but we are unified in our resistance to the government setting up its own system of orthodoxy. As the American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” No less is this true than on matters of religious liberty. Where the state can encroach on one religion’s free exercise, it can just as easily trample on any other religion’s free exercise. We therefore join in solidarity across religious lines to speak against Senate Bill 1146. Read the rest and sign your name at ERLC.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Tuesday, August 9, 2016
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The Dean Recommends: Is There Proof of Heaven?

By Matt Smethurst
April 6, 2016

Do unseen things exist? The answer is obvious once you consider oxygen, gravity, or the WiFi signal you’re using to read this article. But what about invisible realities that can’t be scientifically measured? Well, think of love, or dignity, or justice, or hope.

Now might there be a spiritual world that, though unseen, is entirely real as well? This is precisely what the Bible teaches (2 Cor. 4:18). And one of these realities is heaven.

While it’s impossible to prove the existence of heaven in the same way you’d prove the existence of Chicago, that doesn’t mean the place is fictional. To be sure, belief in heaven finally boils down to faith—not blind or irrational faith, but faith nonetheless. As the author of Hebrews puts it, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).

Christians believe in heaven fundamentally because they believe the Bible that so clearly speaks of heaven. You can bank your life on God’s Word. Admittedly, we often crave something more certain, more verifiable, more impressive than words in a book. Yet Peter tells us Scripture is a revelation “more sure” than even Jesus himself in transfigured glory (2 Pet. 1:19 NASB). That’s a stunning claim. He is saying the Bible itself is one of the most convincing “proofs” God’s ever given.

So, while the Scriptures may not tell us everything we want to know about heaven, they do tell us everything we need to know. Their witness is complete, sufficient, enough. Read the rest at The Gospel Coalition.

Posted by Hunter Upton at Monday, August 8, 2016
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