This week’s DHD features six articles written by Joe Carter who serves as communications specialist for the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. I enjoy Joe’s writing style. He has an objective approach to whatever his topic may be, and many of his topics are controversial.
Objectivity is a key element for me when it comes to writing style. It’s important to be able to answer respectfully those who may oppose you, but also present different aspects reasonably. There’s no “If you don’t agree, you’re a jerk” manner in how Joe writes, and he is very thorough in presenting his arguments.
Not all six of these Carter articles present debates. Some are “How to,” and one is even a humble admittance by Joe, which is the first one I mention.
1. “Confessions of a (Recovering) Social Media Fool”
I thought I’d start off making Joe likeable. You should read “Confessions of a (Recovering) Social Media Fool” because it is so relatable, and you can appreciate Joe’s willingness to admit he started 2019 committing to “make an effort to tame my tongue (James 3:7-8)—especially on social media.”
His commentary on Matt. 7:1 “Judge not that you be not judged” is great, especially since he quotes one of my favorite bloggers, Kevin DeYoung.
2. “How Should a Christian Negotiate a Deal?”
This article is a response to an inquiry. It’s good sound advice for a Christian businessperson. I really appreciate his comments under “3. We have obligations to unseen neighbors,” especially the following quote:
“If vendors fail to deliver because of incompetence or lack of ethics, they should be allowed a good-faith effort to rectify the situation. If they fail to do so, though, we have a moral obligation to prevent them from cheating others.”
3. “How to Work With People Who Are Smarter Than You”
I enjoy reading unique biblical topics, and this one qualifies. I’ve never thought about ranking the Apostles’ intelligence, but Joe’s take is interesting. I like how he compares Peter to Paul.
But along with IQ analogies, Joe gives advice to people like me who find themselves in a work setting being inferior in the smarts department. It’s a great practical read.
4. “David Platt Models How to Pray for a President”
Joe’s commentary on David Platt praying over President Trump is one of his best. It is written in Joe’s classic fashion—easy to read with subheads, sharing about a recent major topic among Evangelicals.
Platt reminded us that we pray for authorities not to protect them from criticism but so that we as Christians “may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim. 2:2). In doing so, he provided us with a model for how we should all pray for our president.
5. “In Defense of Pro-Life Incrementalism”
Now we are really into the controversial stuff. Joe doesn’t hold back, but he also explains a rather confusing topic in a way that is easy to understand, regarding a division among Evangelicals when it comes to the Sanctity of Life.
Please read Joe’s article on Pro-Life Incrementalism, especially if you are confused or on the fence regarding the abortion abolitionist view. Joe separates the two views as “Incrementalism” and “Immediatism.”
This was a hot topic in Oklahoma a few months ago.
6. The FAQs: What Christians Should Know About Vaccines
I’m not sure which topic is hotter—abolitionism or anti-vaccines. Both issues involve some passionate viewpoints.
Once again, Joe lays it all out in great fashion in his article about how Christians should view vaccinations.
Joe also quotes a DHD favorite, Al Mohler:
“I am very pro-vaccine,” Mohler said. “But I’m also pro-parental rights, and I want to be an ardent defender of religious liberty. In this kind of situation, it is so complicated that Christians of goodwill, and we need to note this, can come to different conclusions about vaccines, specific vaccines, and in specific cases even regarding specific children.”
Mohler is sympathetic to different sides in his viewpoint. Joe follows up with four factors that Christians need to consider regarding vaccination.