May 7, 2019

Some journalists who want to report on the connections between the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the shooting at the synagogue in Poway, California last weekend may be surprised to learn about this recommendation of J. Gresham Machen’s diatribe against theological liberalism by a Jewish American: We’ve spent quite a bit of time in recent years debating who’s a Jew, but we’ve neglected to ask the thornier question: namely, what is Judaism? It’s a question that belongs with theologians, a scholastic… Read more

May 6, 2019

If journalists want to dig deeper into the roots of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, they may come across an essay by J. Gresham Machen entitled, “The Relations between Jews and Christians” (originally delivered in 1924 to The Fellowship of Reconciliation): Against such tyranny, I do cherish some hope that Jews and Christians, Roman Catholics and Protestants, if they are lovers of liberty, may present a united front. I am for my part an inveterate propagandist; but the same right of… Read more

May 3, 2019

Terry Mattingly asks journalists to keep digging deeper into the “Calvinist” theology that may have informed the alleged shooter at the Poway, California synagogue last Saturday. One place for journalists to go is to the pastor at Escondido, OPC, who co-authored a book on covenant theology, a subject that bears directly on the relationship between Israel and the church in Christian teaching. Here is that part of that book on the difference between the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants: Contrary to… Read more

May 1, 2019

I have a friend who is of Polish and Italian descent but his father is Italian-American so my friend has an Italian surname. But his mother, the Polish-American, was the cook in the home and she bought into Italian cuisine and made it her own. I suspect some people in South Philadelphia (the city’s Big Italy) might find Italian dishes made by a Polish-American suspect and even deficient. But in the world of mixing and combining and choosing identities that… Read more

April 24, 2019

There’s hope for fundamentalists to gain acceptance in the wider society. It turns out fundamentalism is a physical condition. Maybe not genetic but still something that cannot be helped: According to Dr. Grafman and his team, since religious fundamentalism involves a strict adherence to a rigid set of beliefs, cognitive flexibility and open-mindedness present a challenge for fundamentalists. As such, they predicted that participants with lesions to either the vmPFC or the dlPFC would score low on measures of cognitive… Read more

April 22, 2019

H. L. Mencken defined Puritanism as the “haunting fear that someone, somewhere, might be happy.” The new Puritanism seems to have it that “someone, somewhere, might be innocent.” Take the cases of Tiger Woods, Kate Smith, and Mike Pence. Woods won the Masters a week ago and his less than virtuous past (anyone remember #believeher?) did not prevent Bishop Robert Barron from both rooting for the golfer and then using Woods’ comeback to illustrate the power of redemption: “When Tiger… Read more

April 16, 2019

The fire in Paris and damage to Notre Dame is, it goes without saying, awful. The cathedral’s grandeur and intricate beauty will always be part of my first memories of Europe — I first visited in 1976 and Notre Dame means, for me, Paris. So I can well understand the feelings of loss that many are expressing around and on social media. But I am curious that so few of the remarks about the cathedral make any reference to Mary… Read more

April 11, 2019

Benedict XVI, the pope who resigned in 2014, has written an essay on the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. It has a curious section about what the church should now do: What must be done? Perhaps we should create another Church for things to work out? Well, that experiment has already been undertaken and has already failed. Only obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ can point the way. So let us first try to understand… Read more

April 9, 2019

The most recent effort to overcome white supremacy and look for harmony between races is to tell whites to find their ethnic heritages. Whiteness is a construction, but ethnic identity is apparently real. An early effort at this came from Ekemini Uwan who spoke at the Sparrow Conference for women and saw listeners leave when she berated whiteness (according to the Religious News Service story): “Because we have to understand something — whiteness is wicked,” Uwan said. “It is wicked…. Read more

April 5, 2019

The gospel allies ran a successful conference, according to some observers: 1. The Gospel Coalition has to be one of the most striking examples of the Lord’s care for his church in our generation. When leaders are asked about the state of the church today, the immediate reaction is often hand-wringing and lament. But TGC represents a wave of blessing and health and vitality and spiritual hunger and theological fidelity and evangelism fostering that is a big reason for celebration…. Read more

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