Articles

Bible, Gender & Sexuality

Article by   July 2015
James V. Brownson, Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church's Debate on Same-Sex Relationships. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013. 312pp. $24.99/£15.99Revolutions don't happen overnight. They build. What we witnessed in Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26 of this year - the... continue

SCOTUS: Too Much and Too Little

Article by   July 2015
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued the majority opinion in Obergefell et. al. v. Hodges, which consolidated four cases addressing the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage. Led by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the majority found state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Piggybacking off of the 14th amendment, the Supreme Court made sexual orientation a protected category, analogous to race, using cosmological language about the greater good that comes to all when homosexual sexual relationships are allowed to flourish under the invention of a new kind of marriage. Gay marriage is now the law of the land. This public policy change to the definition of marriage commands a redefinition of personhood continue

Presbyterians and the Political Theology of Race: Part 3 - Gospel Politics

Article by   July 2015
In his "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" Martin Luther King, Jr., charged the "moderate white clergy" with failing to grasp the clear implications of the Gospel for the South's social institutions. "I have heard numerous religious leaders of the South call upon their worshippers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers say, 'Follow this decree because integration is morally right and the Negro is your brother.' ... In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard so many ministers say, 'Those are social issues with which the gospel has no real concern,' and I have watched so many churches commit themselves to a completely otherworldly religion which made a strange distinction between body and soul, the sacred and the secular." continue

Traces of the Trinity

Article by   July 2015
Peter J. Leithart, Traces of the Trinity: Signs of God in Creation and Human Experience. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2015. ix + 165 pp. $15.99/£10.99In this extraordinary book, Peter Leithart's starting point comes from New Testament revelation about God: namely,... continue

Planned Parenthood's Politics and the English Language

Article by   July 2015
In 1946, George Orwell wrote "Politics and the English Language," an essay in which he complains that people had begun to speak and write without clarity. Laziness is sometimes the culprit, but too often people use pretentious diction and meaningless words to intentionally hide the truth. Orwell wrote, "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible." The same seems true in our time as well. continue

The Fruit of the Spirit 3: Joy

Article by   July 2015
Christian joy is an element in the renewal of human life and affections which is purposed by God the Father, accomplished by God the Son and brought to completion by God the Holy Spirit. Followers of Christ are appointed and summoned to participate in this renewal, and to do so intelligently and actively, that is, with the knowledge of faith which derives from divine instruction and which issues in conversion of life. This participation requires understanding something of our created nature: its original form; its devastation by sin; its renovation and reestablishment; the afflictions and consolations which accompany its progress to completion; its future satisfaction in God. continue

Mississippi Praying

Article by   July 2015
Carolyn Renée Dupont, Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975. New York: New York University Press, 2013. 303 pages. $55.00 ($26.99 on Kindle).Carolyn Renée Dupont's Mississippi Praying, is a thoroughly stimulating analysis of the ways in which... continue

Race and the American Church - Part V

Article by   July 2015
One way to think about race as a social construct is how the Belgian government socially constructed race in Rwanda during European colonialism in the early nineteenth century. The Belgian's believed that taller, lighter skinned Rwandans (called Tutsis) with more European features, occupied a privileged position under Belgian Colonialism. Therefore, colonial power brokers made racial distinctions between Tutsis and Hutus a cultural and economic reality. The Hutus tended to be shorter than Tutsis and had darker skin. Thus the Belgian government created a social construct along racial lines that fomented racial division, hatred and eventually genocide among the people of Rwanda. Hutus and Tutsis were given identification cards and Tutsis in Rwanda enjoyed the best positions in society and the best jobs as a more privileged minority. continue

"Peace, Peace..." Beyond Personal Peace to Kingdom Peace

Article by   July 2015
I worry about many of us evangelicals, including many of us in the Reformed tradition. I fear we have tended to reduce the Gospel to a promise of personal peace and we are often tempted to limit sanctification to psychological wellbeing. I believe this is one reason we are often ill equipped to think well about issues of social justice and relational disputes. We think they matter, but they are not actually essential to the Christian life. It is not necessarily that we hate the poor, don't care about racism or sexism, or are ignorant of other social pains. But we struggle to make the strong connection between those issues and living out the Christian faith. continue

Playing God

Article by   July 2015
Andy Crouch. Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power. IVP Books, 2013. 288pp. $19.99/£15.99Underneath the spiritual artifice and social media antics and tribal rhetoric, nearly every major conflict that preoccupies Christianity in America today concerns the relationship between power and... continue

Presbyterians and the Political Theology of Race: Part 2 [Old Testament Politics]

Article by   July 2015
In Part 1 of this series I observed that southern Presbyterian defenders of segregation emphasized the Old Testament as the authority for biblical norms regarding race over against the more New Testament oriented arguments of their opponents in the civil rights movement. The most prominent version of the southern Presbyterian argument was not the caricatured appeal to the mark of Cain, let alone to the curse of Ham, as we might like to imagine. It was much more sophisticated than that. It usually ran something like this: continue

A Hamster Wheel Floating

Article by   June 2015
We have been dealing with a well-worn objection to Covenantal apologetics. As we have seen, the objection goes back, at least, to the time of the Reformation. It is an objection that Roman Catholics used against those who would hold to the Reformed view of Sola Scriptura. In modern discussions, it has become an objection of Arminian theology against a Reformed view of God's (special and general) revelation. Thus, it is an objection that presupposes a neutral notion of reason, such that reason is thought to supply the universal foundation for any and every rational theory of knowledge. Such a presupposition, we have attempted to show, is at home only within an Arminian or Romanist theology; Reformed theology cannot affirm it. continue

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory

Article by   June 2015
Jerry Walls, Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: Rethinking the Things that Matter Most. Michigan: Brazos, 2015. 240 pp. $19.99Although two and a half centuries of Enlightenment naturalism have eaten away at the western world's faith in the afterlife, the question of our... continue

Presbyterians and the Political Theology of Race: [Part 1] - Cultural Captivity?

Article by   June 2015
At the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5 President Obama called Christians to exercise humility in their responses to Muslim acts of terror, referencing some of the great sins of the Christian tradition. His comments provoked a sharp backlash, much of it focused on whether or not the Crusades were a cause of Islamic terrorism. But Christians were more muted in their response to the president's allusion to slavery and the oppression of Jim Crow segregation. As Anthony Bradley recently warned in a Facebook post, "Don't let your evangelical friends only talk about the Crusades... [W]ill someone clarify the Trail of Tears, slavery, and Jim Crow, and so on for us?" continue

John Calvin as Sixteenth-Century Prophet

Article by   June 2015
Jon Balserak, John Calvin as Sixteenth-Century Prophet, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. xiv + 208pp.Jon Balserak's new monograph on Calvin as a prophet, a sequel to his Establishing the Remnant Church, Calvin's Lectures on the Minor Prophets, 1556-1559, (Brill, 2011)... continue

Race and the American Church - Part IV

Article by   June 2015
I began graduate study in history in the summer of 2006. I was ecstatic to be home and I was also excited because I obtained a graduate assistantship working at the Avery Center for African American History and Culture. Not only would I learn more about my own research, but I would learn, or re-learn, the history of Charleston, SC through the lens of the African American experience. As part of my assistantship I helped process archival collections and I gave tours to visitors who came to Charleston from all across the United States. You must understand, many of these groups were reunion groups, church tours and families (most of whom were African American). The director of the center placed me at the front desk so the first thing these folks saw when they walked in "THE" Center for African American History and Culture in Charleston was a bow-tie clad white man named Otis. It usually took people the better part of an hour to process this. continue

A Lament for Charleston

Article by   June 2015
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Please know that as I write this it is with an incredibly heavy heart and a heart still deep in mourning. Yesterday I spent the entire day in lament, with my brothers and sisters in Christ in prayer at a historic African American congregation in Jackson, MS (Mt. Helm Baptist Church) and then had a healing time processing these events with my brothers Carl Ellis, Mike Higgins and Jemar Tisby on the Reformed African American Network's podcast called Pass the Mic. You can check that out here. continue

Reformed Orthodoxy in Scotland

Article by   June 2015
Aaron Clay Denlinger (ed.), Reformed Orthodoxy in Scotland: Essays on Scottish Theology 1560-1775. Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015. $130.00/£70.00The last three decades have witnessed a radical reappraisal of post-Reformation Reformed theology. The work of Richard A. Muller and those who have... continue

Race and the American Church - Part III

Article by   June 2015
In the Fall of 2003, I enrolled at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. At the time, I was thinking seriously about pastoral ministry, but would learn that God had other plans. I had traveled outside of South Carolina to Europe several times and around the U.S.A. to pretty much every major city and section of the country. However, I had never lived permanently anywhere outside of South Carolina and had always lived in majority-white, middle class suburbs. Covenant Seminary saw fit to place us in a seminary-owned apartment in a working class African American neighborhood just six miles south of Ferguson, MO. Someone much smarter than me (perhaps my friend Bobby Griffith) needs to write a history or sociological study of those seminary-owned apartments, the impact of the students in that community over time and the impact of that community and the wonderful people who live there on the lives of Covenant students over time. continue

The Spirit and Scripture: More than Divine Advice

Article by   June 2015
Our own day has seen a revival of short, pithy proverbs -- with advice about "five steps to be happy" or "six ways to financial security" going viral through social media. Often, the way that Christians approach the Bible fits the same mold: we approach the Bible as a divine self-help manual, with a collection of Bible verses to give us advice to help us live healthier, happier lives. Indeed, good advice is a gift. Advice can be part of the wisdom that comes from God. Practical wisdom to address loss, poverty, and misdirected hearts can be a cup of cold water to those in need. Scripture itself offers proverbial wisdom in many places. continue

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