Christ brings division, even among Christians (1 Cor 11)... the peace we seek, is found only in him. False worldly peace doesn't excuse the gun-toting, gun-enforced pseudo-peace of either the Right wing militarist or the Libertarian, nor does a lack of peace in a world of violence grant permission for Christians to take up the sword. Thousands of pages have been written attempting to defend the Christian war ethic, just war, 'self-defense' and a host of other lies and scriptural distortions.
12 August 2017
23 July 2017
Non-violent activism is not pacifist but political, a form of manipulation rather than overt coercion. But it is coercive nonetheless. Once again while a number of figures associated with this kind of activity are on a certain level admirable, they are not actually following the ethic of the New Testament.
22 July 2017
Pacifism and Nonviolence are controversial and sometimes confusing topics. This is compounded by the fact that they mean different things to different people. Not everyone is in agreement as to what they mean as far as concepts, let alone what are their limits and goals.
29 June 2017
25 June 2017
If you've never been to Princeton, New Jersey I highly recommend it. It's a fascinating place filled with history and character. There's much to see and yet the real thrill is to just walk around, enjoy the streets and wander the magnificent old buildings of one of the most renowned of the Ivy League schools.
19 June 2017
I've touched on this issue before but I recently encountered it again and have been meaning for several years to write a small piece about it.
BK Kuiper's The Church in History remains popular among homeschoolers and is particularly regarded in Reformed circles. They would say he writes from a distinctly Reformed perspective and provides a matching metanarrative. His critics would argue he writes with a distinct and at times misleading bias.
12 June 2017
It is one thing to evangelise the lost in other cultures, but this is quickly followed by another question. After becoming Christians, how do the converts live and interact with their society? This is an issue missionaries have long wrestled with. Undoubtedly, every society presents cultural elements and norms that are religious in nature and present a problem for the Christian, especially the new proselyte.
17 May 2017
From time to time the issue of Church boycotts comes to the fore. Usually what is meant by this is that certain denominations and para-church organisations will decide to collectively boycott a particular retailer or organisation due to moral objections regarding a product or sponsorship.
I do think we need to reject certain corporations and institutions. As Christians we understand that we live in a lost and sinful world full of idolatry and like the Early Church there are aspects of society that are all but closed to us. This is not the viewpoint of most who advocate this view. Frankly they're confused and their proclivity to call for a boycott is not rooted in antithesis but is instead a political tactic meant to 'break' an opponent. Their hope is that their numbers are sufficient that the company or institution will take such a financial hit, that they'll reconsider the policy.
07 May 2017
Tim Keller is but one among many who argues that Christians ought to live in and focus on the city. It's the centre of culture and the focal point of ideas and activities. If we're to live out the Dominionist ethic (he seems to argue) then the city is the effective place to carry this out.
06 May 2017
On the one hand many Protestants champion Classical Liberalism as an outgrowth and even the natural offspring of the Magisterial Reformation. Reason over tradition, progress, the rights of the individual, civil society and democracy are all viewed as legitimate fruits of Reformation thought applied to the sociological realm.
And yet it all went wrong and in the background there has always lingered a rather potent Roman Catholic critique. It perhaps reached its zenith in the 19th and early 20th centuries and yet the cultural crisis of that era may in fact be eclipsed by the realities of our own day. We are still living in the wake of the World Wars, still living out their implications.
05 May 2017
Increasingly there are many US corporations that are prima facie immoral. Their business practices are openly dishonest and in working for them you cannot maintain your integrity. You are necessarily part of the planned obfuscation and manipulation of consumers.
These businesses operate boldly under the banner of caveat emptor. They are not looking out for you in any way shape or form. You are a 'thing' to be exploited and squeezed. If you don't scrutinise the fine print, ask the right questions and in every way watch your back... that's your problem.
Their goal is clearly to entrap you, to snare you into signing a contract that they will resist freeing you from.
Such has been my experience with the mobile phone industry and yet it is but one of many such examples. I am committed to using a burner flip-phone. I will not sign a contract with a cellular carrier. I will go without a phone before I do that. They are without a doubt one of the most dishonest lots I have ever encountered.
29 April 2017
When philosophers, apologists and other thinkers labour to destroy certainty, attempts at coherence and confidence in logic, the scepticism they produce sends many into crisis and the response can range from the robust to the frantic, the diligent to the foolish.
One of the most common arguments I hear (and often at that) from within Christian circles is that scepticism is wrong because if the world adopted this view then we could have no inventions and no technology. They will usually buttress this reductio ad absurdum by arguing that it's a good thing their auto or aeroplane mechanic wasn't a sceptic.
This argument rests on several fallacies.
The question over the woman's desire in Genesis 3 has been a battleground for several decades now. The linked Rachel Miller article on the Aquila Report refers to a Westminster Theological Journal article from the 1970s by Susan Foh. I remember being pointed to the article in the late 1990s. I think by then the controversy had been resolved in the minds of most people. After all this was the era of Hillary Clinton as first lady. The culture wars were on and in earnest. How could you even question this reading of Genesis? Are you pro-feminist?
16 April 2017
The counter to Systematic Theology is to focus primarily on Biblical Studies and largely within a framework that is often called a Redemptive-Historical hermeneutic.
02 April 2017
Increasingly Evangelicals are trying to 'claim' feminism and wed it to the anti-abortion movement. This is such a strange shift and yet is part of a larger drift within the Evangelical movement.
19 March 2017
It is not uncommon to hear it suggested that Tolkien's idealised depiction of The Shire reflects the type of society envisioned by Libertarians. They would point to the fact that despite having a mayor and a few officials The Shire is largely self-governing and self-regulated.
Tolkien mentions an unofficial system of patronage in which some of the wealthier hobbits provide for those in need so that no one is truly destitute.
18 March 2017
Recently I reported in a comment of an experience I had at a local Evangelical Church that related to the newer edition of the New International Version (NIV).
Starting in 2011, the NIV switched over to gender-neutral pronouns. As to the reason why, I'm sure some justifications have been given but at the end of the day it must be admitted it's a capitulation to the gender-climate and political correctness.
04 March 2017
The Hellenistic-Judaizing Spectrum
After watching this brief lecture from Ryan Reeves a professor at Gordon-Conwell I've decided to use it as something of an object lesson, a framework with which to interact. The information is fairly basic but is viewed and interpreted within a framework that I would argue is something less than Scriptural.
01 March 2017
This is a re-working of a post from 2010 on Nominalism and Thomism. I have updated, clarified and expanded the original article.
I apologise in advance as there is a degree of redundancy and overlap with the 'Riddles of Fundamentalism' piece. That said, this essay ventures into other realms not covered in that series.
Part 1: History and Inference
Nominalism is often blamed for the philosophical scepticism that arose in the 14th century leading to a climate that allowed The Great Schism to happen, a breakdown in the authority and prestige of the Papacy and ultimately the basis for the social consensus. It had sowed the seeds which led to the breakdown of the Scholastic justification of the Papal System and even Christendom itself.