What is Truth?

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blog-eccehomo[1]Around the year AD 30 a confrontation took place between Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea, and Jesus of Nazareth, a seemingly innocuous Jewish peasant accused by his own leaders of treason against Caesar.  When Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king, Jesus replied, “For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”  Pilate responded with the question that has occupied men in the ancient world and continues to trouble contemporary philosophers, “What is truth?”  (John 18:37 – 38a) Read more

Maybe Trump is the Man for the Moment

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Happy_Hour_Daily_Specials_Wild_Boar_MN[1]In 1520 as Martin Luther’s protest against the corruptions of the Roman Catholic Church began to gain traction, Pope Leo X published a papal bull entitled Exsurge Domine (“Arise, Lord”) in which he described the intractable German monk as a wild boar loose in God’s vineyard. This image aptly captured the mayhem created by Luther’s teaching as his disciples defied the will of the monolithic Roman Catholic Church leading to a fractious and often violent reordering of the ecclesiastical landscape. Great institutional power structures aren’t easily overthrown, and a certain degree of disorder and uncertainty inevitably follows, but it is possible that a new and in some ways improved order may emerge from the conflagration.  Read more

On Politics and Finitude

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89750_Entitlement-Reform-by-John-Darkow-Columbia-Daily-Tribune-Missouri-515x398[1]Once upon a time political engagement seemed wise and noble to me, and the inverse struck me as irresponsible at best, but as the passing years and consistent reading of the past have conferred on me something called perspective, my interest in politics has waned. A faint glimmer remained until the 2016 Presidential circus, I mean campaign, snuffed it out. This current cast of characters seems to embody all the folly of modern western civilization, and unlike past elections this one has made all the more clear the futility of democratic government perpetuated by universal suffrage. Read more

I’ve Got a Question

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catholic_church_vatican-HD-450x253[1]There is much about the Roman Catholic Church that I admire and find appealing.  The liturgy of the Mass, when properly understood, is potent with scripture and draws all of the senses into worship. The sacred music of the Church like Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere Mei, Deus capture the mystery and beauty of the divine in a way that is mesmerizing while the Catholic intellectual tradition is rich, expansive, and ancient having birthed a number of first tier universities (something evangelicalism has not been able to accomplish).  I respect the Church for holding the line against the cultural tide in sexual and reproductive ethics.  The Catholic Church has maintained an unpopular yet unwavering testimony to the sacredness of life in its opposition to abortion and artificial birth control as well as the death penalty.  Read more

Reading the Bible Backwards

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imagesGR6P4MEHIs it possible for God to look at us with love and empathy while simultaneously manifesting his justice in wrath that demands our destruction (apart from Christ) as an offense to his holiness?  Does our dominant perception of God (Father or Judge) shape the way we relate to him and our fellow human beings?  If we stand in a different place in order to gain a perspective on him, will it alter our understanding of His character? Read more

The Character of God Reconsidered

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61095524Today I sat in a seminar designed to teach effective principles of communication, and as the presenter explained that poor communication originates with our disordered inner selves, I began to think about the nature and character of God. The thought materialized in my mind that here was a flawed human being who recognized and strove to overcome his dysfunction and who looked at a room full of twisted, messed up people with empathy for their plight.  His inclination was not to think them deserving of annihilation or eternal torment because they are in this condition.  Read more

Seeing Things the (W)right Way?

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When I embracedisbelief-2[1]d Protestant Christianity in my late teens, I was immediately fascinated with the Scriptures and drawn to the study of theology.  The Reformed system of theology found in the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) impressed me as robust, fiercely logical, and as far as I could tell, biblical.  Besides, the WCF was the doctrinal standard for the denomination of which I was a member, and so many men and women that I respected affirmed its truthfulness.  Classic Reformed theology is predicated on the idea that the very foundation of God’s relationship with humanity is the covenant of works, a code of law to which God requires humanity to conform.  Read more

Biblical Authority and the Historical Trajectory – Part 2

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hqdefault[3]Though there is a strong argument that the founding principles of the U.S. are more a product of the Enlightenment than the Bible and that the U.S. from its inception stood on a historical trajectory away from biblical authority, there can be no question that the Bible played a significant part in shaping the early culture of the new nation.  Besides the obvious influence of Puritanism in 17th century Massachusetts, British evangelist, George Whitefield, made multiple trips to the colonies in the decades prior to the revolution, and his preaching up and down the Atlantic coast as part of the 1st Great Awakening helped forge in the colonists a uniquely American form of Christianity and a sense of unity.  It helped that the population of the original thirteen colonies was largely drawn from western European nations dominated by Christianity of some sort.  However, the fervor of the 1st Great Awakening seems to have been diluted by revolutionary radicalism during the fight for independence Read more

Biblical Authority and the Historical Trajectory – Part 1

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800px-Eugène_Delacroix_-_La_liberté_guidant_le_peuple[1]The Kim Davis controversy has once again invigorated the conservative Christian movement in its ongoing fight to “win back” America from the radical elements that are rapidly eroding its “biblical foundation.”  This movement gained momentum during the Reagan years (1980 – 1988) under the leadership of Jerry Falwell and James Dobson, among others, and its major components are an Americanized Christianity rooted in Biblical literalism woven together with a patriotism colored by a quixotic view of America’s founding.  At moments like this, they seem unaware that these two commitments are at odds with one another.  I intend to dedicate the next few posts to exposing and analyzing the tension within the conservative Christian worldview.  We need to begin by identifying where the U.S. stands in the flow of history. Read more

Kim Davis’ Imprisonment is a Win for Religious Liberty

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On his blog, Revangelical, Brandon Robertson, makes a compelling point about the Kim Davis controversy from another angle.  Robertson argues:

Religious-liberty-cover[1]

“Religious Liberty is a concept that is based on the First Amendment of the Constitution which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” It is the fundamental principle that ensures that all Americans will be able to practice their religious convictions freely and openly without fear of government regulation or prohibition. It is also the principle that bolsters the idea of the separation of Church and State. While religious institutions are guaranteed protections against any government regulation or involvement in their religious life, the government is also protected from religious institutions attempt to garner political power over the nation. What this means is that anyone who functions as an agent of the state must remain religiously neutral, providing equal service, treatment, and rights to all people of all religious, ethical, social, and cultural backgrounds. Read more