November 19, 2018

On the one hand, the further revelations of cases of sexual abuse and episcopal cover-up has led the editors at National Catholic Reporter to size up the crisis this way: The culture of the Catholic clergy and the state of the episcopacy have come under intense scrutiny as a result of the crisis, especially as it has dragged on for more than three decades and spread through the global community. And neither the culture nor the leadership level of the… Read more

November 16, 2018

Lots of Christians talk about social justice but what are they doing besides giving speeches, writing blogposts, or talking on podcasts? A while back, Tim Keller warned about making social justice a partisan political issue. Now comes a reminder that Christians should not take sides politically even as they advocate and pursue social justice: A call to unity can be easily misunderstood as advocating willful blindness to injustice and complacency in the face of sin. Some would argue, rightly, that… Read more

November 14, 2018

Once upon a time, Protestant congregations had pulpits. This was a form of church furniture, a glorified lectern as it where, behind which pastors read the text for their sermon and preached it to boot. Today, contemporary design of church buildings makes little of fixed places for anyone participating in worship, except for the drummer who may be quarantined in a drum shield. The following comes from the 2003 summer issue of the Nicotine Theological Journal, a time when technology… Read more

November 12, 2018

John Allen, one of the best Roman Catholic journalists covering the Vatican, called it “Weird Catholic Twitter.” It may also be “Weird Constitutional Law” at Harvard Law School since one of the members of Weird Catholic Twitter is Adrian Vermeule who teaches Con Law at Harvard. What makes this “weird” is the growing appeal of integralism, a piece of Roman Catholic political theology that is fundamentally at odds with the liberalism of the U.S. Constitution and its separation of church… Read more

November 8, 2018

At the beginning of this week, John Fea posted several key races in state and federal contests where evangelicals were either running for office or where evangelical voters would be decisive in the outcome. Here are the races he pinpointed with the outcome: In Texas, there is some anecdotal evidence that some white evangelical women might vote for Beto O’Rourke in the state’s U.S. Senate race. But this is just anecdotal evidence. Most white evangelical women will vote for Ted… Read more

November 7, 2018

Learned discussions of whether to grant citizenship to children born on U.S. soil to parents who are not citizens are available elsewhere and some are very good. For all of the e-ink that Christians have spilled on the issue I am surprised that no one has actually likened the situation to questions about infant baptism or even the Puritans and the Halfway Covenant. In that latter matter, New England Protestants, who baptized babies, had to decide whether to baptize the… Read more

November 2, 2018

The antidote to the controversy over NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem may actually be to abandon it altogether. Bill Kauffman explains that the reasons for adopting the song of Francis Scott Key, over a century after its creation, were full of equivocation: In the slough of the Depression, Herbert Hoover, the humanitarian engineer from Iowa, said that “what this country needs is a great poem. Something to lift people out of fear and selfishness.” But all the good… Read more

October 12, 2018

Call me grumpy, call me a naysayer, or call me a Reformed Protestant (read Calvinist). But I need to offer a bit of dissent from the recent expressions of praise for the Conference on Faith and History which convened last weekend at Calvin (soon to be University) College. John Turner has not been the only one to weigh in. So too have Chris Gehrz and John Fea. Almost all of the estimates have been positive and Turner’s is particularly worth… Read more

October 11, 2018

John Fea thinks Greg Laurie, the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship who spoke at the White House recently, was a bit off when according to a report he reassured President Trump and guests with this historical insight: Laurie reminded those in attendance for the dinner that the U.S. was “founded in a time of spiritual revival.” “One of our founding fathers named George — not Washington but Whitefield, an evangelist from England — preached the Gospel and thousands of… Read more

October 4, 2018

A golden oldie from Recovering Mother Kirk: The strategy of many churches that want to grow and make an impact (or “transform the culture,” in Reformed lingo) is to sponsor a variety of programs designed to meet the felt needs of residents in the vicinity. This way of growing the local church has had a profound effect upon worship and says volumes about the way evangelicals regard the task of the church. If the real work of the church is… Read more

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