August 25, 2019

One Simple Way to Distinguish between Fundamentalism and Liberalism in Christian Theology I have often been asked if there is a litmus test for determining whether a church or person or organization is liberal theologically. I have also often been asked if there is a litmus test for determining wither a church or person or organization is fundamentalist. I begin by answering that not every church, person or organization is either one. Most people who ask me for these litmus… Read more

August 22, 2019

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Spoke in Hitler’s Wheel? Recently here, on this blog, there has been some discussion about the quote often attributed to Bonhoeffer about the Christian’s duty to be or put a “spoke in the wheel” of an unjust government or social order. The quote takes several forms as it gets repeated. But the “gist” of it is that the job of a Christian in relation to an unjust government is to be or put a spoke in the… Read more

August 20, 2019

Could I Attend a Calvinist Church? The simple answer is—“it depends.” Here’s a hypothetical case useful for answering the question. Hypothetical case: I move to a small town where the only evangelical church is Calvinistic. (I don’t say “Reformed” because many “Reformed churches” are not Calvinistic. That is to say, they do not embrace full-bodied, classical Calvinism.) Back to the case: In this small town the only evangelical Protestant church is classically Calvinistic. Their statement of faith includes affirmation of… Read more

August 15, 2019

Cruelty to Children: Clear Evidence of Evil Recently I watched an interview with the head of the U.S. Government’s ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agency. The previous day the ICE and local law enforcement had raided a business in a Southern U.S. state and hauled off hundreds of undocumented immigrants said to be in the U.S. illegally. The program showed a little girl sitting on the front steps of her school. She had just learned that her father had been… Read more

August 11, 2019

Who Is Helping Christians Cope with Non-Christian Messages? Some years ago I felt called to use my four degrees in religious studies and (now) many years of teaching Christian theology to help Christians discern between cultural messages that are compatible with Christianity and those that are not. I have used this blog for that. In fact, that call is one of the main reasons I began this blog—about eight years ago now. I have composed and posted well over a… Read more

August 8, 2019

The Watershed Difference between Calvinism and Arminianism John Piper and other aggressive Calvinists continue to hammer away at their readers and listeners about “the watershed difference” between Calvinism and Arminianism. According to them it is salvation by grace alone. Allegedly, only Calvinism really protects the truth of salvation by grace alone because all alternatives, including Arminianism, give some credit to the sinner for choosing saving grace. In other words, allegedly, if saving grace is freely chosen and not imposed by… Read more

August 5, 2019

What’s Behind the Frequent Mass Shootings in the United States? My fear is that mass shootings are becoming so frequent that many people, perhaps most people, will begin to take them for granted as “just the way things are.” My hope is that a special group of sociologists and psychologists will form a task force and study the shooters to figure out what they have in common and what is prompting them to commit these mass murders. The only thing… Read more

August 2, 2019

Why True Christianity Can Never Be an Ideology This is my promised follow up to the immediately preceding post about ideologies. It is best that you go back and read that before reading (and certainly before responding to) this one. One of the characteristics of an ideology is its “totalizing” character. Typically, ideologies claim, implicitly if not explicitly, to explain everything important to the exclusion of all correction or criticism. Further, ideologies tend to treat critics as enemies. This is,… Read more

July 31, 2019

What Is an Ideology and How to Detect One For many years I’ve been fascinated by the phenomenon of ideology. When did that fascination begin? I can’t remember the absolute beginning but I remember some books that piqued my interest along the way. When I was in the seventh grade, back then the first year of junior high school, I read The Diary of Anne Frank. I remember that the particular paperback edition I was reading was actually titled The… Read more

July 27, 2019

The Key Difference between Conservative and Postconservative Evangelicals Some years ago I thought I coined a new label for a certain group among evangelical theologians, pastors, students and reflective lay evangelicals: “Postconservative.” I even wrote an article about the label and category that was published in The Christian Century. Then I wrote a book about it titled Reformed and Always Reforming: The Postconservative Approach to Evangelical Theology (Baker). Then I discovered that others had used “postconservative” before me. I have… Read more

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