If you embrace nature, embrace natural law

The Pope’s encyclical “Laudato Si” is winning fulsome praise from the left for its embrace of environmentalism.  But, as the editors of The Stream point out, those folks aren’t saying anything about 11 other teachings in that document that don’t accord so well with the spirit of the times.  These include the condemnation of abortion, a rejection of sexual immorality, and a tempering of feminism.  (See the 11 after the jump.)

The Pope is indeed advocating environmentalism, but he is doing so in the context of a larger theological perspective on matter, the physical universe, and objective reality.  Let me sum it up this way:  Embrace nature, but that means also embracing the natural purpose of sex (conceiving children), the natural body (so no transgenderism), the natural difference between men and women (so feminism will have its limits), and natural law in general (the connection of moral truth to objective reality).

We can still quarrel with the Pope’s environmentalism and his theology, but he is working from a worldview that flies in the face of most postmodernists who, in believing that there is no objective reality they are subject to, reject the very concept of nature.  That number includes, ironically, many environmentalists. [Read more…]

Vipers in Diapers?

An online discussion has been going on about whether Christian parents should view their children as unbelievers.  Principles are emerging such as the way you know your child has faith is to see “fruit they have never produced before.”  After the jump, a Lutheran pastor, Rev. Jordan Cooper, responds.

Read the whole thing, including the comments, which includes someone recalling the term “vipers in diapers.”  Rev. Cooper also includes this anecdote:

I’m reminded of a time in which I saw a woman with her five year old daughter who was in a conversation about her Christian faith. This little girl said to her mom: “I love Jesus,” and the mother replied: “No you don’t. You’re not old enough.”

[Read more…]

The pope’s “seismic shift” in theology

Jay Michaelson says that the most important aspect of the Pope’s encyclical on the environment is that it represents a “seismic shift” in Christian theology and Western thought:

  • It says that human beings have a relationship with the earth, on a par with their relationship with God and with their neighbors;
  • It says that the Genesis account is “symbolic and narrative,” not literal;
  • It rejects the notion that human beings have “dominion” over nature;
  • It advocates a “mystical nature panentheism.” [Read more…]

The Pope goes all in on environmental issues

Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato Si  (“praise to you,” from the first words of the document), fully embracing the environmentalist cause.  It warns of global warming, says man is responsible, and calls for sweeping changes to save the earth.  It also, as we will blog tomorrow, makes some sweeping theological changes that constitute a major change in Western Christianity.

You can read the entire document in English here.  After the jump is a news account.  Then I want to pose some questions for our discussion. [Read more…]

Reviews of “Where Christ Is Present”

More shameless promotion of the new book I edited with John Warwick Montgomery, Where Christ Is Present.  (I am uncomfortable with promoting myself and my work, and you have to admit I don’t do it very often.  But I really like the essays in our collection and want people to read them.  Tell you what. . . .Buy the book, but don’t read my essay.  Just read the others.  OK, I feel better now and will now promote the book without inhibition.)

After the jump, what people are saying about the book on Amazon.  The reviews give you a good idea of what the different essays are about. [Read more…]

What’s in our new book?

The book I put together with John Warwick Montgomery, Where Christ Is Present, consists of some brilliant essays on different aspects of Lutheran teaching and practice.  As the Amazon reviews are saying of particular essays, each one is worth the price of the book.  And they aren’t just rehashing of old arguments and stale polemics.  They bring something new to the discussions and present the concept in fresh ways.

Some of them actually break new ground, or present things that I, at least, had never known before.  For example, Adam Francisco’s chapter on the Scriptures shows how the Early Church affirmed the Bible as its sole authority; later, it developed the concept of “tradition,” while insisting that the tradition is consistent with and normed by the Bible; later, though, some theologians started to teach that tradition is, in effect, above the Bible; not till fairly late in the Middle Ages was the Papacy elevated as a superior authority to both the Bible and tradition.  I never knew that.

I also learned a great deal from Angus Menuge about the influence of Lutheranism on science; Craig Parton on Christian liberty and how that is manifested in the work of the great Lutheran artist Johann Sebastian Bach; Steve Hein on the nature of the Christian life; and. . . well, all of them really.  After the jump is the Table of Contents, giving the list of chapters and their authors.

[Read more…]