Here are the ten most read articles IFWE published in 2016. Thanks for your faithful readership. Enjoy rediscovering these thought-provoking posts or catching up on them if you missed them the first time around. We look forward to providing you with more inspiring, in-depth content in 2017.
Dr. Daniel Dreisbach
Christians, at times, find the demands of biblical citizenship challenging. It is difficult to pray for political leaders who have a dissolute character, mock righteousness and the fear of God, lack the skills and temperament essential for public service, have a casual relationship with the truth, are tainted by public corruption, and advocate principles and policies incompatible with biblical standards.
Does one have to “go to church” to be a Christian?… We should also consider the importance and benefit of attending church for the encouragement and growth in knowledge through the proclamation of truth, the participation in corporate worship, the Lord’s Supper, and many other aspects of Christian life.
Hip-Hop Engaging the Totality of Life: How Francis Schaeffer Makes Sense of the Controversy Surrounding Lecrae and Reach Records
Critics are uncomfortable with Lecrae’s recent music because it is no longer a monologue preaching an agenda. It engages with culture and dialogues with the modern secular world. To use Schaeffer’s words, Lecrae has shifted away from making art that is self-conscious evangelism to making art that engages with the totality of life.
The demand for cheap labor in order to accrue high profits keeps this economic machine running. Paired with little risk of criminal prosecution, this makes human trafficking a lucrative business to enter…. If there are few to no consequences for the perpetrators of human trafficking, how can we expect the demand for trafficked individuals to decrease, especially given the enormous amounts of profits that are generated out of forced labor?
Love Is a Risky Thing. These Words from C.S. Lewis Can Help You Let Love Cast Out Fear of Getting Hurt.
To give yourself in a fallen world may mean pain and suffering. Loving anyone is a risky thing. When you make yourself vulnerable, you could get hurt. Love is never seized apart from courage. Lewis knew about the pain of loving. He lost his mother around the age of nine. He lost Paddy Moore, a close friend he fought with in World War I. He lost his father. And, by no means least, he lost his beloved wife Joy to cancer. Despite these tragic losses, Lewis says this about love in The Four Loves: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be broken. If you want to be sure to keep it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all entanglement, lock it up safe in the casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change.”
At first blush, it may seem as if watching television (or movies) does not have a moral value in and of itself. We usually appeal to a show’s content in the assigning of moral value, qualifying our choices by judging content on a “sliding scale” of sorts: “Well, it’s not as bad as that show… At least I’m not watching XYZ”. However, consuming media inherently entails a moral status. The very act of choosing one activity over another has direct moral implications.
Religious freedom bears implications for our lives, just like the biblical view of freedom and economic freedom. In fact, religious freedom is entwined with these other freedoms. The amount of religious freedom we possess impacts our ability to flourish. As the following list will show, religious freedom impacts a range of things necessary for building a strong, vibrant society…. If you believe in the Christian view of work, religious freedom is essential to living out that belief in a way that brings all of life, including your work, under the Lordship of Christ.
I’ve walked alongside families over the past ten years, helping them on their journey to managing their wealth. Some of the first questions I ask when I engage with families are, “What is your goal? What are you trying to accomplish?” Many times the answer is, “I want to be financially independent.” At first, this sounds like a good idea. Who doesn’t want to be independent? It has the ring of responsibility to it. But as I’ve learned to integrate biblical thinking about wealth into my work and think about how to best walk with my clients on their journey to God-honoring personal finance and wealth management, I’ve come to ask, “Is financial independence what we really want? Is it biblical? Does it bring joy?”
As Christians, how should we handle the demands and consequences of stress? More important than practicing breathing exercises or yoga, we need to honestly examine the causes of stress in our lives to begin to mediate the symptoms. The list of legitimate causes is long: health, relationships, major life changes, family, finances, work, not to mention trauma and tragedy that often result in acute stress…. Stress takes an undeniable toll on our whole self. Most of all, stress derails our relationship with God, distracting us from his provision, providence, and goodness. These biblical methods are not novel or groundbreaking. Instead, they are steadfast tools that help us re-center our hearts on the Lord.
Countries where regimes are unstable, the poor lack rule of law (land rights, justice in the court, freedom to start a business), and corruption is widespread create major limitations for the poor across the world. In order for globalization to work, countries need to introduce domestic reforms and actually implement them. Reforms in areas such as rule of law would benefit countries seeking to gain from globalization and would help reduce poverty…. When a country opens itself up to the world market, globalization can become a positive mechanism for increasing economic opportunity and unleashing flourishing for the least of these.