October 16, 2021

Answer to a Question: Philosophy and Theology In my considered opinion, there can be no more important question for Christian theologians, than this one: What should be the relationship between philosophy and Christian theology? When I invited questions, this one popped up and that didn’t surprise me. Even “ordinary Christians” who think about Christian beliefs must touch on something like this issue—even if not in a technical or scholarly way. The Christian debate about the relationship between philosophy and theology… Read more

October 15, 2021

Let’s Talk Theology: Questions Invited Recently unusual life events have slowed down my work on this blog, especially composing new blog essays about new topics. I have long wanted to be an Advice Columnist—but about something I know about. “Lonely hearts?” Not really. What I consider myself an expert in is religion, especially Christian theology, but also cults and unusual forms of Christianity—ones that are not well known by the masses, the people in the pews and even in the… Read more

October 9, 2021

Let’s Talk about Spiritual Technologies—Theologically What is a “spiritual technology?” “Spiritual technology” is a term used in scholarly circles of religious studies for any practice that is believed to enhance a person’s spirituality. Usually, it is alleged to have some power to increase a person’s relationship with something sacred—a sacred force or power or person. Usually, if a practice is labeled a “spiritual technology it is non-mainstream although that is not necessary. For example, typically, a religion scholar will not… Read more

October 5, 2021

What Is the Essence of Christianity? Part 2 In Part 1 of this series I said that Christian theologians have identified three aspects of Christianity’s essence: orthodoxy (right belief), orthopathy (right experience), and orthopraxy (right living). Different theologians have focused on one or two or all three—as most crucial to identifying Christianity’s essence. Why is it necessary to identify Christianity’s essence? Well, simply because there have been and are so many very different individuals and groups calling themselves Christians who… Read more

October 2, 2021

What Is the Essence of Christianity? Part 1 Obviously, this question would take a whole volume to answer and even one volume might not be adequate to answer it. There have been several such volumes. Atheist Ludwig Feuerbach famously wrote a volume entitled Das Wesen des Christentums (pub., 1841). Liberal Protestant church historian and theologian Adolf Harnack gave a series of lectures in Berlin in 1900 with that same title, but it was published in English as What Is Christianity?… Read more

September 28, 2021

Let’s Talk about Evil-Theologically A recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) opinion piece by Lance Morrow asserted that “Not That Long Ago Evil Really Meant Something.” A popular Netflix comedy series “The Good Place” deals with issues of good and evil, sometimes seriously. The issue of the meaning of “evil” is rising again. I have raised it here many times before. Is anything really, objectively, absolutely, universally evil without God or something like God? That is the question I want to… Read more

September 23, 2021

Let’s Talk about Complementarianism—Theologically So far as I know, the word “complementarianism”—with its current meaning in evangelical Christian circles—first appeared with the formation and rise of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in the 1980s. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (and their friends and followers) use the term to say that, while men and women complement each other with their differences, and are of equal value as human beings created in God’s image and likeness, they are not equal… Read more

September 20, 2021

Let’s Talk about the Occult—Theologically Recently a student at a major Christian university wrote an article in the student newspaper defending the use of tarot cards—as not demonic and as compatible with Christianity. Tarot card “reading” belongs in the larger category of “the occult” and specifically divination (foretelling the future by paranormal means). Three biblical passages stand out as opposing all forms of divination: Deuteronomy 18, Isaiah 8, and Acts 16. As anyone who is biblically literate known, the latter… Read more

September 17, 2021

Let’s Talk Some More about Cults—Theologically (Follow Up/Part 2) This is a follow up to the immediately preceding blog post with the same title. There I talked about meanings of the word “cult” and marks of cults. Again, let me remind everyone that neither I nor you can name specific organizations as cults because of legal problems and court cases. The word “cult” has taken on such pejorative connotations that labeling any existing (not now defunct) organization a cult can… Read more

September 13, 2021

Let’s Talk about Cults—Theologically The word “cult” has been stretched to the breaking point. Today, many people label any group a “cult” if they think it is strange. It may be religious or no-religious; either way it is a “cult” if it appears to them “weird.” This is the pedestrian notion of “cult.” On the other hand, religious scholars who study “new and alternative religions” are very reluctant to label any group a cult because of the extremely pejorative connotations… Read more

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