The Four Elements of Love

Richard Foster, who has studied what we call “spiritual formation” his entire life, breaks down the history of how churches have understood the Christian life into six themes in his book Streams of Living Water. You can “map” churches and folks by these various and important streams. A prayer-filled life A holy and virtuous life A [Read More…]

Is Heaven Vital for Morality or Not?

You may well recall the famous scene in Les Miserables in which Jean Valjean comes clean in public to take the place of another who was in fact on trial instead of himself (Valjean). The scene poses the moral theory called altruism, that is, that one does what is good for others in a disinterested manner. It [Read More…]

On Taming Jesus

When do we tame Jesus? when is the Jesus of the Gospels and the Jesus of our faith tamed? If spirituality is formation into Christlikeness then taming Jesus diminishes spiritual formation. Where has our formation been shortened by taming the Jesus toward whom we are to grow? Most of our taming of Jesus is invisible to [Read More…]

Obedience vs. Freedom

One of the most profound thinkers about ethics in the 20th Century was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, even if he left behind a trail of manuscripts, some finished and some not, in an order that remains elusive and with some thoughts that are relentlessly uncontainable. In other words, many of us long to know what he would [Read More…]

Healy’s Empirical Criticism of Hauerwas

Stanley Hauerwas, one of the most influential Christian intellectuals in the world and a powerful advocate of the pacifist element in Anabaptism, has an ecclesio-centric approach to theology and apologetics. In Nicholas Healy’s book, Hauerwas: A (Very) Critical Introduction, a significant claim is laid against Hauerwas and here is how Healy puts it: For Hauerwas’s argument [Read More…]

Lumen Fidei

On Labor Day I ceased from my labors and read Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei (“The Light of Faith”), the first of Pope Francis’ encyclicals. This encyclical is sent to “the bishops, priests and deacons, men and women religious, and to the lay faithful.” Which means it is sent to most Catholics. It is an essay on [Read More…]

Good without a God?

Can there be good without God? Or, is morality possible without God Or, is morality possible in a naturalistic worldview? Paul Copan, in his essay “Ethics Need God,” in Debating Christian Theism (ed. JP Moreland, C. Meister, K.A. Sweis), argues that Christian theism provides a much firmer foundation for morality than naturalism. Note this: Copan does [Read More…]