Results tagged “Culture” from Reformation21

How Should We Then Defend?

Article by   January 2016
I suspect that 2015, from a Christian perspective, will go down in history as one of the darkest and gloomiest centuries of human history. The cavalier destruction of human life, in the name of religion, is on the rise worldwide. No matter how much we protest that terrorists will not change our way of life, gun sales are rising sharply, as more and more people wonder whether shopping at a mall, or going to a movie, or having a Christmas party, will be the occasion for another random act of violence. continue

Stolen Capital: The Weight of Words in Hozier's "Take Me to Church"

Article by   September 2014
I'm not a musicologist or a respected lyrical critic. In fact, I don't know much at all about music. I'm a novice theologian who can't help but be pricked when he hears what is played on the radio during his morning commute. This week, it happened to be the song, "Take Me to Church," by Hozier. The opening melody, which is truly haunting, is what kept me from turning the radio dial. Then came what someone described as "the deep, soulful voice" of Andrew Hozier Byrne, the Irish singer-songwriter. After a few seconds, I was hooked and decided to listen to the writer's story--whatever it might be. continue

What the Hijabi Witnessed (and What She Didn't)

Article by   August 2013
I have had the pleasure on a couple of occasions of sitting next to a girl wearing a hijab. Typically, this has occurred in departure lounges of airports or on the platforms of railway stations. Never has it happened in a place of worship at the time of a service. Never, that is, until recently. continue

iPod, YouTube, Wii Play

Article by   July 2013
D. Brent Layham, iPod, YouTube, Wii Play: Theological Engagements with Entertainment (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2012), x + 220 pp., $24.00 D. Brent Laytham, a professor of theology at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, has written a very... continue

Is Idolatry the New Sin?

Article by   November 2009
"Just talk about idolatry and you'll be fine." A mentor recently offered these words in my presence to a seminary student who was facing an assignment to preach on the topic of sin. The student's sermon may, indeed, have been "fine" if he followed that suggestion, but the advice struck me as signaling something deeper than a single Sunday pointer. continue

The Nameless One

Article by   September 2009
Over the last few months, I have been asked in numerous contexts what I think about the young, restless and reformed (YRR) movement(s) described in Collin Hansen's book of the same name. I did do a quasi -review of this book some time ago, in which I argued that the existence of the movement seemed to indicate that all the hype surrounding the emergent business was probably overwrought and that there was no need for complete panic in Reformed circles. continue

Packing Unforgiveness

Article by   August 2009
I've been thinking recently about something television star Kelsey Grammer said. It's not because I saw a rerun of Cheers. Unfortunately, the context is tragic. Grammer has me thinking about well intentioned people who end up "packing unforgiveness." continue

Shakespeare and the Geneva Bible

Article by   July 2009
The story of Shakespeare and the Bible is partly the story of Protestant English Bible translation in the sixteenth century. Shakespeare was the beneficiary of a movement in which English Reformers poured their energies into translating the Bible. In fact, English Bible translation in the sixteenth century galvanized a society in a manner that invites comparison with the building of cathedrals in the Catholic Middle Ages. The Protestant Reformation also created an edifice--an edifice of the Word. continue

Why Are There Never Enough Parking Spaces at the Prostate Clinic?

Article by   January 2009
One of the modern shibboleths of the evangelical church, particularly the evangelical church in the West, is that of culture.  One must be interested in culture, or one is simply irrelevant.  Books and organizations abound on Christian approaches to various... continue

Some Reflections by a Christian College Professor

Article by   June 2008
Having already read some of Dr. Enns' shorter writings, and having attended a colloquium on Enns' book at the 2006 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, I recently finished reading Inspiration and Incarnation, and thought that I would share some thoughts about the volume. continue

Old Opium Meets the New

Article by   June 2008
  Well, who would have thought that it would be Pope Benedict XVI who provided one of the strangest `only in America, folks' moments of recent years.  Yet it is undoubtedly true that he has done so.  Benedict is, of... continue

The Freudom of the Christian

Article by   January 2007
Christians often strike me as the most Freudian of people. Say what you like, I have a sneaking suspicion that Freud, rather than Augustine, Luther, or Calvin, probably offers the best insights into the way that Christians really think and... continue


Article by   October 2006
As a historian who is paid to look at the past, I find myself frequently indulging in rants about how we live in an anti-historical age, where history is not taken seriously. Typically, of course, I am referring to those... continue

Religion at 35,000 Feet

Article by   October 2006
There is something aleatoric about the content of these columns. Frankly, it depends on what has been buzzing around my head in the last seven days. And what is it this week? Well, a conversation with a Jewish lady who... continue

Death, the Final Boundary

Article by   September 2006
It is arguable that the last hundred years have witnessed an interesting reversal in Western society, where the great taboo of the Victorian era and the great obsession of the same period have dramatically switched places. The great taboo for... continue

Rallying the Really Human Things

Article by   September 2006
A friend of mine, some five years ago now, introduced me to Vigen Guroian when he suggested I read Inheriting Paradise (Eerdmans, 1999), a short but immensely satisfying meditation on the relationship of theology to gardening. Earlier this year, I... continue

Ferret Breeding on Watership Down

Article by   June 2006
Teaching history is probably one of the more depressing activities in which one can engage in the current climate. At an academic level, the discipline has been in self-destruct mode for some time, losing itself in a morass of hyperspecialised... continue

Flip-Flops in the House of God

Article by   June 2006
In an article in the Chicago Tribune this week, Jodi Cohen and Maegan Carberry discussed the case of Kate Darmody, a winning member of the National Championship Women's Lacrosse team from Northwestern University. She, along with her fellow players had... continue

Aesthetics, Alcatraz and Jerry Lee Lewis

Article by   May 2006
Recently, I had occasion to fly to Korea via San Francisco. Flying across the US on a clear day is one of those rare pleasures which really allows you to get the geographical measure of the place: how flat... continue

Baseball Blues and Recreation

Article by   May 2006
The Braves are playing poorly. Not that I'd notice too much. You see, it's my wife's love--baseball that is, not mine. And she has lost something of her joie de vivre. I try to console, but when those guys... continue

Grace Psalm

Article by   May 2006
Nearly a decade ago now, Lisa and I went to visit an art exhibit at a private gallery on Manhattan. I had recently become acquainted with the Japanese-American artist Makoto Fujimura, and I wanted to see his work for myself.... continue

Art For God's Sake

Article by   May 2006
I have quite a collection of books on the arts from a Christian perspective, but I was so eager for Dr. Ryken's new book, that I have had it on backorder since last December. The subtitle of the book... continue

Total Truth

Article by   April 2006
I do not have the space in this brief review to give a summary of the content of the whole of this remarkable book; rather I will mention just a couple of highlights. Last year I had the students in... continue

Total Truth

Article by   February 2006
This is a very difficult review to write. The difficulty first became apparent to me several months ago when I realized that I was enormously behind my intended deadline of October, 2005. Due to a variety of circumstances, I have... continue

Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith

Article by   January 2006
By all accounts, Rob Bell, the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, is a very "hip" guy. As Andy Crouch, a writer for Christianity Today remarked, "You could say he puts the 'hip' in discipleship."[1] Bell's... continue

Musical War and Peace: revisiting a recent blog exchange

Article by   September 2005
At the risk of being labeled a musical snob, I venture a comment or two on one of the twentieth century's greatest composers, the centenary of whose birth we celebrate this year--Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975). He is to music... continue

Freedom and Protest

Article by   July 2005
The last few weeks of international news have carried multiple reports of the rioting that has broken out across great swathes of the world as a response to the publication of apparently offensive cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. I say... continue

Results tagged “Culture” from Reformation21 Blog

Mercy for Migrants

Article by   November 2019
I was once struck by a brief radio address given by a Jewish Rabbi on the morning of Yom Kippur. She spent the whole time allotted to her talking about Isaiah 58 and how it links to the deliverance... continue

When to Speak Out? A Pastor's Engagement with Current Issues

Article by   August 2019
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. . . .a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7) A pastoral colleague recently bemoaned, "It feels like I get hammered if... continue

"In" with the World

Article by   August 2019
Over the last few weeks, former pastor and Christian author Josh Harris has made a public resurgence through his shocking Instagram announcement. This is sad news, and we should mourn over it. When any supposed brother or sister in the... continue

Low Visibility

Article by   July 2018
Quite a number of contemporary theologians have made the observation that J. Gesham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was first released in 1923. Machen explained that he had written this... continue

Truth in Minor Keys

Article by   May 2018
At the risk of being labeled a musical snob, I venture a comment or two on one of the twentieth century's greatest composers, the centenary of whose birth we celebrate this year--Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975). He is to... continue

Cultural Myths About Truth and Love

Article by   January 2018
A witness for Christ in any age--and certainly in this present age--requires a prayer-saturated, Christ-centered, Gospel-motivated, Bible-shaped, Spirit-filled and God-glorifying commitment to "speak the truth in love." But this essential command for effective Gospel ministry to both those not... continue

The Old Testament's Message to Our Culture

Article by   May 2016
What can the Old Testament possibly say to our culture? It seems a million miles and sometimes a million years away from our time, our generation, and our problems. How can something so old address all the new challenges of... continue

The MA & PA Case for De-Christianizing Culture: Marx, White, and all the Rest

Article by   April 2016
Karl Marx didn't write all that much about religion, but what little he did was radical, programmatic, and rather clever. Here is almost his entire commentary on the meaning of religion as a cultural phenomenon: "religion is the sigh of... continue

Socialism Is Evil

Article by   February 2016
In a recent blog post I urged the biblical basis for the spirituality of the church.  One of the points I made is that while the church does not meddle in civil government, it most certainly may speak against social... continue

Does Liturgy or Music Keep Minorities Away from Our Church? (Part 4)

Article by   December 2014
Crown and Joy Presbyterian Church, in Richmond, VA, celebrated its ninth Sunday on December 21, 2014. Time seems to be moving quite quickly. Before you know it, if the Lord wills, we will have finished our series through the book... continue

#FergusonDecision: 3 Don'ts of Ethnic/Cultural Dialogue

Article by   November 2014
Various social media websites and the news outlets are still ablaze after the #FergusonDecision. While I am concerned about how the world is reacting, both positively and negatively, I am also concerned about how the Church is responding. As I... continue

#FergusonDecision and the Lord's Supper: A Plea to African-Americans

Article by   November 2014
According to some sources, Officer Darren Wilson could have been indicted with one of several crimes (e.g., first degree murder, second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, or others) for killing an unarmed African-American young man. Many around the world were quite... continue

Less Gushing, More Blushing

Article by   September 2014
Biographical description many pastors write for the web site of their church: "Married to the most beautiful woman in the world.""We have the best youth pastor in the country.""He's the smartest guy in every room..."I often joke that the most... continue

Mike Brown: We're Still Divided

Article by   August 2014
Are you watching the news? Are you reading blogs and news reports about the recent death of 18-year old Michael Brown? Have you watched the protests that have and will continue to occur? Are you, in any sense, moved to... continue

"If We Build It They Will Come" No Longer Works

Article by   July 2014
Church planting requires many administrative tasks. From setting up email accounts and registering the church's 501-C3 status to fundraising and sending update letters, one can easily spend over one-hundred hours on the front end tackling these necessary duties. In addition... continue

Does Liturgy or Music Keep Minorities Away from Our Church? (Part 1)

Article by   July 2014
"Let's face it. It's music that keeps minorities out of our church," said a PCA layman during the question and answer section of my Sunday school class. I have heard many comments like this. Perhaps you have also. Is it... continue

The Greatest Threat to the Gospel by Pierce Hibbs

Article by   June 2014
The greatest threat to the Gospel in our age is not unbelief. It is not relativism or open hostility to the "narrow" Christian tradition. It is not even the hypocrisy of the church, which holds up the white banner of... continue

Five Offensive Statements/Actions: What White People Say and Do

Article by   March 2014
Reformation 21 exists for the purposes of, "Encouraging biblical thinking, living, worship, ministry, and constructive cultural engagement." I desire to engage the latter in this post. To be clear, I am not playing the race card nor am I claiming... continue


Article by   February 2014
It was an article about a European film director, usually hymned to the skies as a master craftsman and genuine visionary. It led me to an extended synopsis of one of his more recent films. I will not go into... continue

Ministering to the middle classes

Article by   January 2014
A little while ago, a friend wrote an article entitled "My Ministry is Harder Than Yours (and Other Lies We Tell)." The author, Mez McConnell, is a pastor in Edinburgh and one of the architects of 20schemes, a ministry seeking... continue

Yellow on the Outside, White on the Inside

Article by   December 2013
What is yellow on the outside but white on the inside? If you guessed a "banana," though the inside appears more cream than white, you would be close. The answer is, a twinkie. Have you eaten one? They are fairly... continue

Listen Up White America

Article by   December 2013
TMZ online (I did not post the link because some images may be inappropriate) recently published an article titled, "Chuck D: Listen Up White America...We Ain't Ni**as.'" Chuck D, if you are unfamiliar, is a rap artist who had his... continue

Review: "What is the Mission of the Church?"

Article by   February 2013
What is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great CommissionGreg Gilbert & Kevin DeYoungCrossway, 2011, 288pp., paperback, $15.99ISBN 978-1-4335-2690-9Contributing to the ongoing debate in the "young, restless and reformed" movement about the nature... continue

The fourth wall

Article by   November 2012
Angus T. Jones, one of the stars of American sitcom Two and a Half Men, has gone online to explain that he no longer wants to participate in the show, describing its contents as "filth," as reported by the BBC.I... continue

Falling Skies: Chicken Little and American Evangelicalism

Article by   March 2009
I thought I would add yet another postscript to the "sky is falling over American evangelicalism" conversation.  I think what Phil ends his post with is worth saying again.  So I will, just adding a bit.  Fundamentally, American evangelicals can... continue

Dreams Deferred, Or, Why I'm Jealous of Sean

Article by   August 2008
I noticed that over on his blog Sean Lucas refers to fulfilling his lifelong dream of seeing the Boss in concert.  The week before Springsteen made his way through St. Louis' arches, he was in Hershey, PA, a mere hour's... continue

The Renewal We Need

Article by   June 2008
Writing in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, David Wells explains what our church and our culture need: "The renewal of which we stand in need, I believe, is of both the understanding of truth and of our knowledge... continue

Steve Nichols meets the King of Blues in Jackson, Mississippi

Article by   June 2008
  It was surreal moment: Steve, country boy from Lancaster, PA meeting his blues-idol, B. B. King, from Indianola, Mississippi. The blues singer happened to be in Jackson this week and Steve "dragged" me to "get some culture." The... continue

Here Am I

Article by   April 2008
With apologies to Isaiah and Dick Cheney, I have emerged from my undisclosed location to offer my first post. Unlike my companions on this website, I am an utter novice at this. I read Wendell Berry, live next to... continue

Malaga, Spain

Article by   April 2008
I've been spending some time with missionaries who have gathered in Malaga, Spain. They are all (more or less) affiliated with the PCA and some are Americans and the rest European nationals. Its been refreshing, not least to discover that... continue
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