Signs and Wonders
Steve Chalke
AFP/Getty Images/Photo by Dieter Nagl
Steve Chalke

Signs and Wonders: Evangelicals, assisted-suicide, outsourcing, barbed wire


Evangelical? You may have heard the news that Steve Chalke, who the mainstream press says is a leading British evangelical, has endorsed same-sex “marriage.” I know very little about the guy, but I do find it difficult to understand how the word “evangelical”—which means “messenger” of the “Good News”—can apply to someone who condones what the Bible plainly rejects. As it turns out, Chalke has been embroiled in theological conflicts for years over such important doctrines as the atonement. What’s almost as troubling is that Christian publishing giant Zondervan publishes his books.

So it begins. A doctor put to death two deaf twin brothers in Belgium, though the hospital that performed the euthanasia waited a month to announce the action. The 45-year-old men were killed by lethal injection at the Brussels University Hospital in Jette on Dec. 14. The hospital did not release their names. Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 and the number of cases has risen every year since. In 2011, more than 1,100 people engaged in assisted suicide. Most of them suffered from cancer. The men in this case were going blind, and they said they did not want to face the world without being able to see each other. This incident is thought to be the first assisted killing involving people who are neither terminally ill nor in physical pain, but who simply want to die.

Outsourcing slowing. I never understood why so many people—many of them Christians—object when corporations outsource jobs to places like India and China. Why is it better to send food and money to India, both of which too often creates dependency, than it is to create jobs there that can create independence and dignity? What people also fail to realize is that job creation is not a zero-sum game. America does not “send” jobs to China or India or elsewhere. We create jobs there that raise the standard of living there—and here, as a growing middle class in developing countries often have a voracious appetite for all things American, as this article from The Economist suggests. The net effect: foreign wages are rising, so the wage differential between the U.S. and developing countries is narrowing to the point that many jobs are returning home.

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Taming the West. Today is the 200th birthday of Joseph Glidden. Few people know who he was, but Glidden holds the original patent on barbed wire, a patent he received in 1874. Most historians say barbed wire changed American history by allowing cost-effective fencing, especially in the massive tracts of the West. It helped turn the American West from a vast open range where property rights were vague and sometimes settled with guns, to a place where private property rights could take root. Glidden created the Barb Fence Company in DeKalb, Ill., and that company helped make him one of the richest men in America, with a net worth of more than $1 million at the time of his death in 1906, or at least $1 billion in today’s dollars. I also note that Glidden was a newspaperman. At the time of his death, his estate included the DeKalb Chronicle. That newspaper still publishes today.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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