Evangelicals who believe in Purgatory

It has long struck me how many evangelicals–including some of the most anti-Catholic–actually hold to a Roman Catholic soteriology, though without the sacraments, putting a big emphasis on the role of the will, good works, and moral perfection in salvation.  Now some evangelicals are advocating belief in Purgatory.  Scott McKnight reviews a book that makes the case for an evangelical doctrine of Purgatory. [Read more...]

Authoritarian envy?

The dictator of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, died recently, to nearly universal praise in the West for the way he built his country into an economic powerhouse.  Columnist Richard Cohen thinks that we have “authoritarian envy” because “too much democracy” keeps government from being able to do what it needs to do.

Mr. Cohen, a liberal, decries Lee’s harsh rule and his running roughshod over any kind of human rights, but he seems to share that envy, expressing frustration over our government’s inability to get things done, due to all of these political conflicts and checks and balances.

Conservatives, I would think, would be glad of the limits on government and would especially dislike an authoritarian like Lee, even though he did promote free markets and economic growth.  But as the presidential election season gets under way, I worry that all sides may be investing too much hope that what we need is a powerful leader and are expressing frustration with our constitutional system that, by design, checks and balances an activist government.  Might America be getting more and more open to authoritarianism?  [Read more...]

Language as “Darwin’s problem”

Noam Chomsky is not a conservative Christian but is rather a leftwing radical.  But in his day job, he is a pioneering linguist, having shown how all languages depend on “deep structures”–complex grammatical processes that are built into the human mind–that all languages have in common and that children can master almost without effort.

He has teamed with a famous anthropologist, Ian Tattersall, and other scholars (Johan J. Bolhuis and Robert C. Berwick) to pose the question How Could Language Have Evolved? They certainly believe in evolution and they try to find a minimalistic feature that might have evolved, but the article shows that language, with its irreducible complexity (the intelligence design term, not theirs), is very difficult  to explain in terms of random selection over time, to the point that the authors describe language as “Darwin’s problem.” [Read more...]

Why Marco Rubio goes to two churches

A piece on the religious beliefs of presidential candidate Marco Rubio says that he attends both a Baptist church with his family and also attends mass at the  Roman Catholic church of his childhood.  This is because he appreciates gospel preaching and also “craves” Holy Communion.  He says, “I wondered why there couldn’t be a church that offered both a powerful, contemporary gospel message and the actual body and blood of Jesus.”

There is such a thing, Marco Rubio!  It’s called the Lutheran church!  You don’t have to go to two different churches to get both the Gospel and the true Body and Blood of Christ.  Those go together, which is the whole point of Lutheranism.  Why don’t people know this?  [Read more...]

Readiness for 1st grade then and now

In a column on the cops busting the parents for letting their 10 and 6 year olds walk home from the park by themselves, columnist Petula Dvorak has a felicitous sentence:  “Our rapid march toward police-state parenting has got to end.”  But then she compares the checklists to see if your child is ready for 1st grade from today as compared to 1979. [Read more...]

Death of a funny guy

Humorist Stan Freberg died last week at the age of 88.   He pioneered the satire of pop culture, as well as the use of music, radio, television, and recordings to do so.  He is also considered the father of funny advertising.  He was the son and grandson of Baptist ministers.  After the jump, excerpts from his obituary, including accounts of some of his funny bits. [Read more...]


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