Showing posts from September, 2016

The Slow Work of Grace

Fr. Stephen Freeman1 Comment In the minds of many, grace is a legal concept – an expression of the kindness of God in the forgiveness of sins. As such, grace is instant and complete. This fits well within the legal conceptions of salvation. In the classical understanding of the Orthodox faith, salvation can indeed have a quality of “suddenness” – the thief on the Cross found paradise “in a single moment” according to the hymns of the Orthodox Church. But for most people – salvation is a life-long process in which we “work out our salvation from day to day in fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). That experience, like most of life, has a slow quality to it.
From Prayer by the Elder Sophrony:
At times prayer seems over-slow in bringing results, and life is so short. Instinctively we cry, “Make haste unto me.” But He does not always respond at once. Like fruit on a tree , our soul is left to scorch in the sun, to endure the cold wind, the scorching wind, to die of thirst or be drowned in the …

The Political Magic of C.S. Lewis

By PETER WEHNERSEPT. 24, 2016 Credit John Chillingworth/Picture Post/Hulton Archive, via Getty Images WHEN I was on Christmas break from college in 1980, I wrote a letter to the editor of my hometown newspaper, The Tri-City Herald. It was published soon after I began to embrace Christianity, a gradual rather than a dramatic process that didn’t come all that easily.
The letter was a response to a man who had written that Christians were obligated to support a long list of conservative policies. (This was in the immediate aftermath of Ronald Reagan’s election and the rise of the religious right.) “Mr. Mays appears to believe that Christianity and his personal views are synonymous,” I wrote. “Conceivably, they are not. Christianity does not identify with a political ideology or party.”
I was politically conservative at the time, and believed that my religious faith, carefully understood, should inform my politics. Yet I was also troubled by what I believed was the subor…

The Scandal of the Liberal Mind Anti-intellectualism: it ain't just for the Evangelicals

Posted September 22nd, 2016 by Alex Wilgus& filed under Religion.
American Christians, especially Evangelicals have long been taken to task for rejecting the life of the mind. Mark Noll’s 1995 book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind and most recently Alan Jacobs’s much discussed piece for Harper’s “The Watchmen: What Became of the Christian Intellectuals?” tell a story of withdrawal from academia and intellectual pursuits. The long and short of it seems to be that yesterday’s fundamentalists and today’s evangelicals make up the religious wing of Richard Hofstadter’s famous assertion of American “anti-intellectualism” and the national preference for sloganeering over sophistication. The evangelicals, like their fundamentalist forbears, shrunk from the intellectual calling because of some animus toward smartypants types.
But there is a different way to tell the story. By the first quarter of the twentieth century, the world was in a scientific mood. New industry and technology had d…

Which of These is “the Gospel”?

“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” – Campus Crusade’s Four Spiritual Laws
“I’m a bastard, you’re a bastard but God loves us anyway” – Will Campbell, rouge Baptist preacher
“Here’s the Gospel: You’re more sinful than you ever dared believe; you’re more loved than you ever dared hope” – Tim Keller, PCA pastor
“You are accepted – Paul Tillich, liberal theologian
These four statements reflect in their own ways and parlance the default American version of “the Gospel” across the theological spectrum.
“The Gospel is not a religious message to inform mankind of their divinity or to tell them how they may become divine. The Gospel proclaims a God utterly distinct from men” – Karl Barth
Barth contests this default version of “the Gospel.” Rather, it is something about God in distinction from us.
“The time is fulfilled and the reign of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” -Jesus (Mk. 1:14-15)
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the …

Five (reinforced) fundamentals for an evangelical future

Thu, 22/09/2016 - 15:39 | Andrew Perriman
In an article on the Christianity Today website Ed Stetzer dismisses the doom-sayers and gloom-mongers who say that the church is in terminal decline and puts forward five fundamentals for an evangelical future. I am of a naturally cheerful disposition, but I think his analysis and proposals are superficial and naïve. Jeremiah warned Israel against the complacency of the false prophets who said that the people would never go into exile, or if they did, that it wouldn’t be for long, a couple of years at the most (Jer. 7:1-15; 28:10-16). Sometimes the pessimists are right.

Stetzer is confident that the sky is not falling for evangelicals: we just need to “face some truths and change some behaviors to reach the world with the message of the gospel”. He is looking five to ten years down the road, but I think that is short-sighted. That sort of outlook just keeps us trying to do the same things only slightly better.

Historically speaking, Christia…
A peacemaking God? 9.6. 2016 Posted By: Drew Hart 2 Times read Drew G.I. Hart is Professor of Theology at Messiah College, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Drew is the author of  Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views RacismHe blogs for The Mennonite. 
While humanity frequently experiences God’s goodness, including good creation, we also experience waves of devastating violence and brutal oppression. And when we consider the complicated ways that our own lives are directly and indirectly intertwined and implicated in systemic violence, it is hard for me to understand what it means to call oneself a pacifist.
Of course, people have defined pacifism in a range of ways, many which are much more complicated than my own definition. In doing so, there are ways of considering pacifism without it being purist and doctrinaire. Yet still, the term has never been helpful for me, especially given its common usage.
Even more challenging than considering my own participation in a violent wo…

The Doctrine of Re-creation or Resurrection in Christ as the Foundation for Everything in the Theologies of Barth and Torrance

Leave a commentPosted by Bobby Grow on September 5, 2016 I thought I would quickly share this from Dawson as well; on Barth’s doctrine of resurrection. For some reason I love this concept, it’s probably because it is so distinct from the usual ways I have thought of resurrection. As an evangelical resurrection has always been a touchstone related to apologetics and/or historiography in the field of higher critical Jesus Studies. It is more than refreshing to come across a theologian like Barth who simply approaches resurrection as a non-analogous novum; something for which all else in the created order hinges. It is refreshing to come across resurrection as a doctrine of re-creation, as if we must, as Christians, start all of our thinking about God and created reality (including ourselves) from there. This has to be one of the most ground breaking earth shattering things Barth has bequeathed to Christian theology; i.e. his doctrine of re-creation, or resurrection.
Read more at https://g…