A Philosophical Historical Novel about Evil: The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell

A Philosophical Historical Novel about Evil: The Kindly Ones by Jonathan LittellI am usually reading one historical novel and listening to another one on my ipod. I like ones that include philosophical and theological themes. But they are somewhat rare. And I like to read/listen to books about World War 2 and the Holocaust (and their aftermath). I suppose that's because those 20th century events especially raise philosophical and theological questions.Recently I stumbled quite by … [Read more...]

How American Evangelical Christianity Has Changed…

How American Evangelical Christianity Has Changed During My LifetimeThe "American Christianity" I will talk about here is specifically evangelical Christianity. But I use that category broadly to include numerous denominations and organizations. They all used to look to Billy Graham for unofficial leadership—leadership by example. I grew up in the "thick" of American evangelicalism. My uncle, with whom I have always been close, was on the national board of the National Association of E … [Read more...]

How Should a Church Decide Whether to “Welcome and Affirm?”

How Should a Church Decide Whether to "Welcome and Affirm?"In my immediately preceding post I asked whether men and women tend to approach the controversy over whether to welcome and affirm practicing gays into churches as full members and leaders differently and, if so, why. Here I will offer some thoughts about how a church (or denomination or Christian organization) that is not already "welcoming and affirming" should go about making that decision.Often these matters are complicated … [Read more...]

Are Women More Inclined toward Inclusiveness than Men?

Are Women More Inclined toward Inclusiveness than Men?Note: If you decide to comment, please stick to the question—which is not whether gays and lesbians should be permitted to marry, be ordained to the ministry, etc. The one question here is whether women are, overall and in general, more likely than men to move in that direction—toward making their churches "welcoming and affirming"—and, if so, why. Not long ago I participated in a conversation with two women around my own age … [Read more...]

Is This the Best of All Possible Worlds? What I Would Think If I Were a Calvinist

Is This the Best of All Possible Worlds? What I Would Think If I Were a CalvinistMost Calvinists I know believe in meticulous providence. Some have claimed here recently that a Calvinist does not have to believe in meticulous providence (that God plans, ordains and governs all that happens without exception). However, as I have shown in Against Calvinism with many quotes from and references to leading Calvinist theologians, traditional, "garden variety" Calvinism does include it. Here I am … [Read more...]

Should a Theologian’s Life Affect How We Regard His/Her Theology?

Should a Theologian's Life Affect How We Regard His/Her Theology?Over the decades of studying and teaching about not only the theologies of Christian theologians past and present but also their biographies I've run into a common question. How should we relate their lives to their theologies? To be specific, if there's something negative in their life story, should that affect how we value their intellectual contributions?An example that stands out is Paul Tillich. After he died his widow … [Read more...]

Am I a Man or What?

Am I a Man or What?Daily we are bombarded by the media with images of what makes a “man.” Sometimes they are neutral characteristics, but often they are characteristics that could be divided into two categories—sinister and stupid. This is June and that means it’s the one month of the year when it’s okay to say nice things about men—especially fathers. But, predictably, many of those “nice things” are said with a sneer and implied qualifications. I could give many examples, but for now I’ll s … [Read more...]


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