Category Archives: Radio Show

Learning is good even though we forget

Listen to a radio commentary by Dr. James Dobson.

Justice Declaration Calling the Church to Action

( Here is the Breakpoint radio commentary from yesterday. )

A declaration is being released today that would have been near and dear to Chuck Colson’s heart. Stay tuned to BreakPoint.

 

Reflecting on his seven-month stint at the Maxwell Federal Prison in Alabama, Chuck Colson wrote in “Born Again,” “I found myself increasingly drawn to the idea that God had put me in prison for a purpose, and that I should do something for those I had left behind.”

And so, for the next four decades, that “something” turned into something(s), under the auspices of Prison Fellowship, the organization he founded to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to men and women behind bars.

But Chuck, in his thorough study of Christian theology and worldview believed there was more to living out the faith than evangelizing the lost, as important as that is, of course. And so he also committed time, energy and thought leadership to criminal justice reform. Chuck knew from experience that prison often amounted to little more than warehousing offenders, which left them completely unprepared for the day they were released, which is why three-quarters of those released from state prisons are re-arrested within five years.

Twenty-years ago, when America went on a prison-building/lock-them-up-and-throw-away-the-key frenzy, Chuck forcefully criticized this approach and began developing and advocating the biblical idea of Restorative Justice.

Whereas our criminal justice system views crime as an offense against the state, restorative justice insists that there are three parties to the crime: the offender, the victim, and the community, which includes the offender’s family.

While protecting the community is the first goal of restorative justice, it isn’t the only goal. The ultimate goal is the restoration of all relationships broken by crime.

And so Chuck advocated for alternatives to incarceration for less-dangerous offenders. In addition to being less expensive than incarceration, these alternatives help maintain ties to the community, including Christians in the community.

And of course, Chuck insisted that victims must be treated with respect and dignity. Where possible, they should receive restitution and be kept abreast of the developments in their case. Chuck also advocated for what are known as “Victim-Offender Reconciliation Programs,” where offenders learn how their actions affected their victims. While not for everyone or in every case of crime, this process can bring a measure of healing and even forgiveness where before there was only brokenness.

While Chuck’s commitment to criminal justice reform may have been occasioned by his stay in prison, his ideas and beliefs about the need for reform grew out of his Christian worldview, especially his beliefs about the imago dei and the responsibility of the church to engage the brokenness in the world.

The church, Chuck knew, possessed resources the state did not, And thus there’s a unique role for the church, particularly in the task of moral formation. The lack of moral formation in communities, especially connected to broken families, was another chief factor, Chuck believed, contributing to the explosion in the prison population during his lifetime.

And so the Colson Center has joined with Prison Fellowship, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the National Association of Evangelicals to sponsor “The Justice Declaration,” which is being released today at a press conference in Washington, D. C. The Declaration calls on Christians and churches to create a “justice system that is fair and redemptive for all.”

While Christians can and will differ on how best to accomplish this and other goals, what we can’t differ on is the need to emulate Chuck Colson in his desire to “do something” about the situation in our prisons and in our communities. Which is why nearly 100 Christian leaders have signed the Justice Declaration.

Please come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary to read the Justice Declaration. And please, consider adding your name.

At times praising God is not enough, or the answer

Listen to a commentary by Rev. Charles Stanley, right here.

Sharing Christ with a Mormon

Listen to the commentary
or read it here.

 

It is about time we call evil evil

( Billy’s thoughts below is the Breakpoint radio commentary for today. )

 

I love Dr. Seuss, but in the real world, joining hands and singing a musical number is not an effective strategy against evil.

 

Just over a year ago, Omar Mateen, claiming allegiance to the Islamic State, gunned down 49 people at an Orlando night club. It was the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. And in Europe, there have been terror attacks in Paris, Brussels, Nice, Berlin, and London.

Only one word describes the sort of carnage being perpetrated by radical Islamists: “Evil.” These attacks, which deliberately targeted innocents, all in the name of God, are among the vilest crimes imaginable.

And it only makes it more troubling that these attacks continue to take place in a time when the West is least equipped with the moral framework necessary to describe them, much less respond to them.

I’m thinking of cringe-worthy responses by celebrities like singer Katy Perry, who said on a talk show after the Manchester bombing that “the greatest thing we could do is just unite and love on each other, and like, no barriers, no borders…we all need to just co-exist.”

Jodi Picoult one-upped Perry when she took to Twitter and compared the attack to Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” “When terror attacks happen,” she wrote, “I think of the Whos…singing after Xmas is ruined. It isn’t fear/hate that changes [the Grinch], it’s love.” No, I’m not kidding, she really said that.

It should be unnecessary to say this, but as one commentator noted, Islamic terrorists don’t carry out attacks because someone was mean to them. They do it because they’ve embraced a deadly ideology that teaches mass-murder is the will of God.

Another distressing response was a television spot produced by a Kuwaiti mobile phone company. The commercial, which aired during Ramadan, depicted a suicide bomber in an explosive vest being confronted by his many victims, who urge him to “bomb violence with mercy.”

Charred and caked with blood, the procession of men, women, and children, led by an Emirati pop star, pursue the bomber, chanting in Arabic, “We will counter their attacks of hatred with songs of love, from now until happiness.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful that entertainers in the Middle East are trying to undermine terrorism. But we should also admit that this mawkish ad is right in line with the West’s least effective responses. The creators of both seem to imagine that all the world needs now is love, sweet love. But what they’re selling isn’t really love at all. It’s just sentimentality.

Anyone who understands the supernatural and apocalyptic claims of radical Islam should see that calling terrorists to “bomb violence with mercy” is futile. Not to mention, Islam—particularly in its radical expressions—has no grounding for mercy in the first place. It’s a very different worldview than Christianity, where mercy is grounded in God’s character, and the life of Jesus Chris, God the son.

I remember at the Colson Center’s 2014 Wilberforce Award dinner, Canon Andrew White, the “Vicar of Baghdad,” told us that he once invited ISIS leaders to dinner. While this Christian minister knows what true love in the face of evil looks like, he’s not naïve. Which is why he withdrew the invitation after ISIS informed him they would come to dinner…in order to cut off his head.

In the end, love does more than call terrorists to “just like, coexist.” True love steps between murderers and victims, names evil for what it is, fights for justice for those whose blood “cries out to God from the ground,” and prays that killers would learn to call their own acts what they really are.

Evil is evil, but the secular West, with its atrophied moral vocabulary, refuses to recognize or name evil when it shows up. I can think of few better illustrations than this that ideas have consequences and bad ideas have victims.

The greatest gift you can give another soul

 

I met this intriguing guy. He’s a recently retired Marine who had the great privilege of working security for George W. Bush when he was President of the United States. He’s even worked as President Bush’s spotter when he was in the weight room working out! On a couple of occasions, my friend had the opportunity to tell the President something that was very much on his heart. He said, “Mr. President, the folks from my church wanted me to tell you that we’re praying for you all the time.” At that point, the President turned to my friend, looked him straight in the eye, and said, “Then, would you please give them a message for me? Tell them the President is deeply grateful. There’s nothing greater they could do for me.”

I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “The Greatest Gift You Can Give.”

The most powerful man in the world realized the most powerful thing you can do for a person-even for him-especially for him…pray for him. At the National Prayer Breakfast, President Bush talked about working the rope lines at events and being stopped often by people who told him they were praying for him. He said, “I tell them this is the greatest gift you can give a person.” He’s right. It’s a gift I hope you’re giving to people every day, with all your heart.

Our word for today from the Word of God, here’s a revealing picture of what really happens when you pray for someone. It’s found in Exodus 17, beginning with verse 10. The Jewish General, Joshua, has led his troops into battle against the brutal Amalekites. And old Moses goes to fight the real battle. The Bible says, “Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning… Aaron and Hur held his hands up-one on one side, one on the other-so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So, Joshua overcame the Amalekite army.”

Just in case someone wondered what this “holding up his hands” business was all about, Moses explained it. He said, “Hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord.” Moses made it very clear he was praying up on that hill. And notice how the battle was decided. Not by what the warriors on the battlefield were doing, but by what the prayer warrior on the hill was doing! That’s always where the battles are decided-in the Throne Room of the Most High God as someone intercedes there for someone or something they care about.

God must get tired of us saying, “Well, I guess all we can do is pray.” What? All I can do is go to the One who rules a hundred billion galaxies and focus on His love and power and aim it at some person or situation or need? There’s nothing else you can do that is even remotely as powerful as that! So who are the people that you pray for on a regular basis?

Commit yourself to be the Moses for some folks you know, and for some servants of God who are fighting on the front lines. There’s no greater gift people can ever give to me, to the people on our ministry team than to say, “I pray for you every day.” I just praise God for those people. And I hope there’s some lost people for whom maybe no one else may have ever prayed that you’re praying for.

Let me tell you, as one person who’s trying to serve the Most High God, there is nothing more decisive you can do than to be a regular prayer warrior as we fight for some of those lost people.

Let people know you’re fighting for them in the Throne Room of God. Find out what they need you to be praying for. You’ll be their Moses, praying down victory for their battle. You’ll be their Aaron or Hur, holding up their arms when they can’t go another step. When you pray fervently for someone, you are playing a vital part in guarding their life, in meeting their need, in changing their heart, in winning their battle. You are praying for them, you are going to the Throne Room of God for them. You are indeed, giving them the greatest gift anyone can give!

How to witness to Muslims

Listen to a radio commentary
or read it here.

And this man could have been president! But remember, more than 13 million Americans wanted him in the White House.

And this man could have been president! For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

Senator Bernie Sanders apparently thinks Christians don’t belong in public office. As he was grilling Russel Vought during his confirmation hearing for a budget office position, he excoriated an article Vought wrote defending Wheaton College’s statement of faith.

Muslims, Vought wrote, “do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.”

Now to Sanders, this was unacceptable and Islamophobic. “Mr. Chairman,” said Sanders, “this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”

So Sanders believes that he should exclude Vought because it is unacceptable to exclude someone for their beliefs? Logic, anyone?

But the real issue here is that Christians have always believed that “no one comes to the Father except through [Jesus].” The idea that Christians with mainstream Christian beliefs have no place in government might be the most extreme thing that this extreme politician has ever said. But remember, more than 13 million Americans wanted him in the White House.

Saved by an Atheist

( Here is the Breakpoint radio commentary for today. Read it below. )

Find out how a famous atheist started a secular humanist on the road to faith in Jesus Christ.

Sarah Irving-Stonebraker was on the fast track to academic stardom. A native of Australia, Sarah had won the University Medal and a Commonwealth Scholarship to undertake her Ph.D. in History at King’s College, Cambridge.

Sarah’s secular humanist perspective fit right in at King’s, and her views of Christians—that they were anti-intellectual and self-righteous—seemingly were confirmed.

Yet, as she details in an eye-opening testimony from the Veritas Forum, a strange thing happened to Sarah inside her secular bubble. Somehow, the truth got in. After Cambridge, Sarah said she attended some lectures at Oxford by the atheist public intellectual and Princeton ethics professor Peter Singer.

Singer, as you probably know, has stirred worldwide controversy by advancing the notion that some forms of animal life have more worth than some human life. Singer doesn’t believe in God, and therefore he sees no basis for any intrinsic human dignity.

During the Oxford lectures, Singer asserted that nature provides no grounds for human equality, pointing to children who have lost their ability to reason through disability or illness. Sarah Irving-Stonebraker’s comfortable secularism was suddenly rocked.

“I remember leaving Singer’s lectures with a strange intellectual vertigo,” Sarah writes. “I began to realise that the implications of my atheism were incompatible with almost every value I held dear.”

A few months later, at a dinner for the International Society for the Study of Science and Religion, Andrew Briggs, a Professor of Nanomaterials and a Christian, asked Sarah a perfectly reasonable question: Do you believe in God? Again, Sarah was flummoxed, fumbling something about agnosticism. Briggs replied, “Do you really want to sit on the fence forever?”

“That question,” she now says, “made me realise that if issues about human value and ethics mattered to me, the response that perhaps there was a God, or perhaps there wasn’t, was unsatisfactory.”

Fast forward to Florida, where Sarah was conducting research. She began attending church as a seeker: And she was overwhelmed by Christians living out their faith: “feeding the homeless every week, running community centres, and housing and advocating for migrant farm laborers.”

And when she started reading the likes of Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr, she saw the intellectual depth and profundity of their Christian faith. Then this: “A friend gave me C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, and one night,” she wrote, “I knelt in my closet in my apartment and asked Jesus to save me, and to become the Lord of my life.”

Sarah’s journey from doubt to faith—which you can read in full by coming to our website and clicking on this commentary—reminds me a little of another formerly atheist denizen of Cambridge and Oxford—C.S. Lewis. Lewis saw the bleak implications of his worldview, stating, “Nearly all I loved I believed to be imaginary; nearly all that I believed to be real, I thought grim and meaningless.” And just like Sarah, Lewis had good, well-informed Christian friends and colleagues such as J.R.R. Tolkien to point a disillusioned atheist gently to Christ.

As Chuck Colson would say, while there are many good ways to share the good news with people, even scholars, one is to help them follow their worldview assumptions to their logical conclusion. The fact is, the grim, atheistic worldview simply can’t carry the weight of human significance on its bony shoulders.

Created in the awesome image of God, men and women know that life has a meaning beyond “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” People everywhere see the True, the Beautiful, and the Good and long to know their source. And, thank God, He has revealed Himself!

I am tired the way the west is fighting the war with Islam, and so is Cal Thomas

Listen to the Cal Thomas commentary for today.