Only human

"Good pitching will beat good hitting any time, and vice versa." -- Bob Veale Some interesting discussion recently in comments about human nature, specifically around the perennial question: Are people basically good? That's a perennial question, but perhaps not a very helpful one. The answer we Christians give is "Yes." And also "No." The Yes part has to do, in part, with the "imago Dei" -- the image of God. Each and every person, we believe, is … [Read more...]

Opposites attract, Part II

Early 20th-century idealism was based on an overly optimistic assessment of human nature. As such it received support from some of the "modern" and "liberal" theologians and church leaders of the time. This view of human nature wasn't compatible with the Christian view, and was resoundingly demolished after the fact by the Neo-orthodox theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. But this idealism was also rooted in the eschatology of early 20th-century America. You can't get much … [Read more...]

Opposites attract, Part I

I've been trying to reconcile two things that I don't think can be reconciled, which means, really, I guess I've been trying to figure out what it means that these two things can't be reconciled. You've probably heard of PNAC -- the Project for the New American Century. The think tank desribes itself as "A neoconservative organization supporting greater American militarization, challenging hostile governments, advancing democratic and economic freedom, and promoting American hegemony in the … [Read more...]

Evangelism as Hospitality

"Practice hospitality." Romans 12:13 Fuller seminary's J. Dudley Woodberry makes a distinction between "proselytizing" and what he calls "gracious evangelism." This distinction seems etymologically valid. To "proselytize" is to create converts. To evangelize is to share the evangel -- the "good news." Proselytizing has acquired new legal baggage in recent years, which is one reason for Woodberry to distance himself from the term. Now that … [Read more...]