There are some movies that are far more than entertainment. They are actually important in other ways. The relevance of this film in an age where truth is in danger, and actual facts are called ‘fake news’ should be obvious, regardless of one’s political viewpoint. Democracies are fragile and they depend on freedom of inquiry, freedom of speech, freedom of the press. Compromise those things, and one is on the slippery slope to an autocracy, if not a straight up… Read more

This post includes famous literary figures from earlier American history. First of all the author of Leaves of Grass, the populist, Walter Whitman, who, had he lived today, would have considered the use of the term ‘populism’ in recent political contexts as a bad misuse of the term. It does not refer to xenophobia, or make America white male again. Next we have a famous literary circle, with a veritable who’s who of American writers from the 19th century. Last… Read more

This, and the next few posts will be showing shots from the National Portrait gallery. What these portraits from the whole history of the USA reveal is many things, including how religion and politics were intertwined from the first. Consider first the portrait and description of the right Rev. John Witherspoon. Next consider, ole Danel Boone, who lived just down the road from me in Kaintuck. Boone came from a Quaker family in Pennsylvania who moved to N.C. and then… Read more

Here’s a very interesting post by my friend and colleague Philip Jenkins. See what you think. BW3 — The Christmas readings in our church featured the magnificent Prologue to John’s Gospel, about the Light, and how “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (1.5 RSV, also NIV) or alternatively, “the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (KJV). Overcome and comprehended – aren’t those radically different words? Is one wrong? Why… Read more

One of the things about this book is that it sticks to analyzing the official documents, the catechisms, the creeds, the council decisions, the papal pronouncements of the Catholic Church. This I think was a very wise decision, but only late in the book is there an attempt to really come to grips with the differences between de facto how the church actually is in its faith and praxis, and de jure, what it’s official positions are on issues ranging… Read more

In this and the following post, I will give some of my own reflections prompted by this book. I think it is a very important book, indeed the one most serious criticism of the book is that I could have wished for more on two fronts: 1) more dealing with the relevant Biblical texts which Roman Catholics uses to justify their ecclesiology and sacramental praxis, and 2) a chapter on the saints. Ken Collins has remarked to me that they… Read more

Q. What do you hope the impact will be of this book? Was it mainly written to prevent wavering Protestants from moving in the direction of the Catholic church? I mention this especially in light of the statistics you do mention in a note that far more Catholics are heading in the Protestant direction than vice versa worldwide it would see, A. I intended this book for both Protestants and Roman Catholics. In terms of Protestants they must come to… Read more

This post and the next has Q+A with the authors, Collins and Walls. The questions are mine, the answers theirs. BW3 —- Four Introductory Questions Kenneth J. Collins Q. Why did you two write this book, and why now? Who is the audience you are aiming for? A. I came to this project reluctantly as I have indicated in the Introduction to the book. Jerry Walls finally convinced me to become involved in this project after numerous attempts. The reason… Read more

(The following are the summaries of Jerry Walls chapters by Jerry himself). CHAPTER SUMMARIES Chapter One: What We Have in Common This chapter simply aims to highlight our love and respect for our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. Indeed, it is important to keep in mind the large areas of agreement between us in both doctrinal and moral teaching. What we share is far more important than our differences. We fully embrace our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters as full… Read more

N.B. Ken Collins wrote some of the chapters in this book, Jerry Walls others. More specifically, Collins is responsible for chapters 2,3,6,7,9-12,15-19, and Walls is responsible for chapters 1,4,5,8,13,14, and 20. This post has Collins’ summaries, the next one, Walls’ summaries (BW3). Roman But Not Catholic: Chapter Summaries Kenneth J. Collins Introduction Drawing upon their own personal experience with the Roman Catholic Tradition, Collins and Walls reveal why this book is needed today in an ecumenical context that has become… Read more

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