Journal Topics

The Christian Citizen

Although the Bible says little about how Christians should be involved with politics, it seems to me that there are principles found in Scripture that can help us to think more clearly about the question. For example, we are told to love our neighbors as ourselves. Does that refer only to their eternal souls? Apparently not, since even a casual reading of the Gospels shows our Savior tying Christian virtue to practical action on behalf of one’s neighbor. The parable of the Good Samaritan is perhaps the most forceful illustration offered by Christ. But today, of course, the issues that drive many Christians to political action are contentious moral issues such as on abortion and the nature of marriage. What does it mean to love our neighbor when it comes to those issues? Does it mean that we do not employ the resources of law to make sure our neighbor is not harmed? For instance, in abortion, a tiny neighbor, the unborn child, is killed. Ought we to protect him? He is, after all, our neighbor too. And in the case of marriage, if the government were to allow same-sex marriage everywhere, and if opposing it is equivalent to visceral bigotry (as the opponents of prop 8 claim), would this not put Christians and their churches in the crosshairs of marginalization and persecution, simply because they believe that the basic good of conjugal love may only be actualized in the marriage of a man and a woman? But isn’t it essential to a liberal society such as ours to allow citizens to disagree on matters of sexual morality without condemning one faction as mere bigots? Thus, does that mean that liberals who condemn opponents of same-sex marriage as bigots are, ironically, illiberal?

Francis J. Beckwith Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, and Resident Scholar in the Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University. He is the author of many books including Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and Politics for Christians: Statecraft as Soulcraft (InterVarsity Press, 2010). His feature article, “The Christian Citizen” on which this post is based appears in the Volume 34, No. 3 issue of the Christian Research Journal (a 6-issue subscription is $39.50). To read the full article, please subscribe or renew your subscription or give a gift subscription

Francis Beckwith will be joining Hank Hanegraaff on the Bible Answer Man broadcast on May 31, 2011! Tune in at 6PM ET at our website,!

Journal Topics

Gay Teens, Bullying, and Suicide

One of the most emotionally draining aspects of modern Christian living has to do with truth. Because the more our culture drifts away from being guided by Biblical truths, the harder it becomes to speak those truths without being viewed as judgmental, mean spirited, or just plain dumb. Talk about Jesus being the only way to God, and you’ll hear howls of “intolerant and “narrow minded.” Talk about the reality of hell, and you’ll be made out to be a sadistic fanatic. And if you dare talk about God’s created intention for sex and family life, then buckle up, because you’re in for one very bumpy ride.

Nowhere does this ride become more bumpy than when the talk turns to homosexuality. To a point, that’s probably a good thing, because it at least means people are far more caring of homosexual people then they were forty years ago, when it seemed perfectly kosher to call them names and insult their very humanity. But the growing respect for homosexual people has been accompanied by less and less tolerance for anyone who simply holds to the traditional view that marriage is for one man and one woman; sex for complimentary, not similar, genders.

Recently, that intolerance was given a boost when a number of young homosexuals committed suicide after they’d been repeatedly bullied for schoolmates and peers. The grief we all felt somehow morphed into finger pointed, with many cultural elites indicting traditional Christians as the villains. Their reasoning? If you preach homosexuality is a sin, you encourage violence against gays and lesbians.

So those of us still believing the traditional view have a choice: Cower in submission, or love enough (and boldly enough) to give the full counsel of God. Of course, it’s a counsel that’s often unwanted, and the price can be high. But in the eternal sense, can it be higher than the price of unfaithfulness to truth, and poor stewardship of the Word? Think not; I hope you agree. God grant us the love to stand firm when our stance is un popular, and the gentleness to always consider the needs and sensitivities of our hearers.

  1. If gay teenagers are being bullied, what can Christian students and friends do to help?
  2. If we say we love homosexuals, is that love evident in the way we speak about them when they’re not present?
  3. Where can we find common ground with those who genuinely want to protect homosexuals from mistreatment, yet feel that our position as Christians is harmful to homosexuals?

Joe Dallas is the program director of Genesis Counseling in Tustin, California, a Christian counseling service to men dealing with sexual addiction, homosexuality, and other sexual/relational problems. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is the author of three books on human sexuality, including Desires in Conflict (Harvest House, 1991) and A Strong Delusion (Harvest House, 1996). Joe Dallas will appear on the Bible Answer Man Broadcast on May 24, 2011 (to listen to the show live at 6PM ET please go to to discuss his cover article on the topic above in the new issue of the Christian Research Journal. To read the full article by Dallas, please subscribe to the Journal (6 issues for $39.50).

Apologetics, Journal Topics

Parenting and Apologetics

The recent brouhaha over Yale professor Amy Chua’s memoir regarding her “Tiger Mother” parenting approach has stirred the pot about the most effective parenting techniques like in this New York Time debate: Is Extreme Parenting Effective? The Christian community has also had its share of parenting debates: Scheduling infants? Or demand feeding?

Sometimes these differences come to our attention because there are theological concerns with parenting methods. Back in 1998 the Christian Research Journal published an article about a Christian parenting ministry called The Cultic Characteristics of Growing Families International. We also published a follow-up article response to that article. In 2003 we published another article concerned with extreme parenting methods called “Christian Families on the Edge: Authoritarianism and Isolationism Among Us.”

But CRI is also concerned with equipping parents to train their children to know what they believe. In 2009 author Chris Sherrod offered parents tips on why they needed to equip the next generation. Sherrod was correct when he stated: “First, we need a clear definition of what we’re looking for—do we want nice kids who don’t get in trouble, or passionate followers of Christ?”

–Melanie Cogdill, Managing Editor, Christian Research Journal

Journal Topics

Christians and Politics

As the 2012 election cycle starts to ramp up, the Christian Research Journal is a vital tool that will equip you to practice your faith in the public square. Back in 2007 Christians wondered if it was permissible for them to vote for a Mormon candidate. CRI does not address political issues but we do provide reasons for Christian faith and ethics. This includes encouraging Christians to take their faith to the public square. In a Viewpoint Op-Ed published in the Christian Research Journal, Francis J. Beckwith gave his opinion on If It Is Permissible for a Christian to Vote for a Mormon Candidate. In 2008 we published an article that gave Christians tips on: How to Engage in Politics without Losing Your Soul. And that same year we also challenged believers how to consider Christian ethics at the ballot box and published an op-ed by Doug Groothuis on why the pro-life issue still maters. You won’t want to miss out on the upcoming feature article (Volume 34 #3) by Francis J. Beckwith about what it means to be a “Christian Citizen” in our May/June issue of our journal. Please subscribe to the Christian Research Journal to read Beckwith’s in-depth reasons why: “Although the Bible does not say much about the role of a Christian citizen and his relationship to the state, Scripture does communicate to us certain principles that provide us with insight on the scope of a Christian’s responsibility in a liberal democracy.”

Melanie M. Cogdill, Managing Editor, Christian Research Journal

For Further Study:

Booklet for a Donation The Mormon Mirage: Seeing Through the Illusion of Mainstream Mormonism

Book Mormonism 101

DVD Bible vs. the Book of Mormon

Mormonism Tool Kit

Book Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons