Roger Olson on “Evangelical AND Catholic”

My esteemed colleague, Professor Roger Olson, has written on his blog some interesting and thoughtful comments about Evangelicals and Catholics. He writes: Over the last 50 years many notable evangelical thinkers have converted to the Roman Catholic Church (or to some independent Catholic church of which there are many; here I’m concerned mainly with those who have converted to the RC Church).  Think of Tom Howard, evangelical professor at Wheaton (and I think Gordon), who converted to RCC and wr … [Read more...]

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How Political Correctness Makes Us Dumb

That's the name of my latest essay on The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: The other day I was lecturing in my critical thinking class on the difference between arguments and explanations.  An explanation is an account ofsomething whose truth is not in dispute. So, for example, if you ask me why the Packers won the Super Bowl, I can give you several different answers. But the simplest one is this: they scored more points than the Steelers. We do not disagree as to whether the Packers were … [Read more...]

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Sects, Politics, and Religion: A review of Good and Bad Ways to Think About Religion and Politics

That is the title of a review essay I just published in the April 2011 issue of First Things. The book is authored by Robert Benne of Roanoke College. Here's how the essay begins: For some Americans, as for the Founding Fathers, the separation of church and state means that the government and religious bodies ought not to exert power over the other’s areas of legitimate authority. To others it means that religiously informed policy proposals may not become the laws of the secular government. So, … [Read more...]

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Powerful words: Romans 12:9-21 and the Christian life

Have you ever had this happen? You read a passage of Scripture that you had read many times before, but this time it hits you like a ton of bricks. This is what happened to me tonight when I read this passage from the Book of Romans (12:9-21): Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in … [Read more...]

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Carl Trueman on Rob Bell’s use of Luther

(HT: Justin Taylor)The ever interesting Carl Trueman provides a nice online tutorial on how to read Martin Luther. Trueman, an historical theologian at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, explains how Rob Bell's use of a Luther quote in his recent book does not deliver what Bell thinks it does.  You can read it here. What follows are Trueman's concluding remarks: Popular books written for popular consumption are vital in the church; and Bell is to be commended for seeing that need. Further, … [Read more...]

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Rob Bell may be on to something

A couple of days ago I posted a smart-alecky entry about the controversy surrounding Rob Bell and his alleged belief in universalism, suggesting (by means of humor) that perhaps his celebrity is just another passing, naval-gazing, fad on the saw dust trail that is American Evangelicalism. But after I received a stinging rebuke from an Evangelical friend (who would have undoubtedly gotten my humor if I were a middle aged blonde woman with dreadlocks), I took some time to read up on Pastor Bell … [Read more...]

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Albert Mohler, Catholicism, and Hell

(HT: Joe Carter at First Things)On his blog, Albert Mohler, Jr., President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, addresses the issue of Hell in Christian theology. He writes: Liberal Protestantism and Roman Catholicism have modified their theological systems to remove this offense. No one is in danger of hearing a threatening “fire and brimstone” sermon in those churches. The burden of defending and debating hell now falls to the evangelicals–the last people who think it matters. I can't sp … [Read more...]

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John Piper on Bob Dylan

(HT: Bill Gann). Writes Piper: In 1979 Bob Dylan recorded the song "Gotta Serve Somebody." For those who listen with biblically informed ears the refrain echoes Paul and Jesus:Paul: "You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness" (Romans 6:16).Jesus: "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other" (Matthew 6:24).Dylan's … [Read more...]

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Or We Can Be Philosophers: A Response to Barbara Forrest

That is the title of an article of mine that is forthcoming in the philosophy journal, Synthese. It is, however, now available online prior to its appearance in print. (It may be downloaded by individual purchase or if you or your institution has a subscription).  Here is how my article begins (references omitted): … [Read more...]

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Will Herberg’s 1949 “Commentary” review of Paul Blanshard’s notorious “American Freedom and Catholic Power”

There is much that those of us in 2011 can learn from Will Herberg's important 1949 review of Paul Blanshard's famous (or infamous) tome, American Freedom and Catholic Power (1949). Long before Christian conservatives were called "American Taliban" by secular progressives, and long before the United States had to wrestle with controversies surrounding its Muslim citizenry, American Catholic Christians were confronted by a truly vile form of bigotry and suspicion that was embraced by both elite … [Read more...]

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