Posts

Grappling with Contemporary Issues

There are certain Christian leaders and authors in every generation who by grace leave a profoundly good influence upon the Christian community and even unbelieving people. John Stott is one of those leaders. Among his many excellent books I want to highlight one in particular. That one is Issues Facing Christians Today (4th edition). I think that this book is essential reading for anyone who identifies him or herself as a disciple of Jesus the Christ because Stott has outlined and modeled how we can face the task of grappling with contemporary issues.
As is characteristic of Stott’s writing, he introduces the contemporary issue (topically), lays before the reader the relevant biblical doctrines and/or passages, the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary approaches to understanding and addressing the issue and then presents what he is convinced is the biblically rooted and reasonable way to think about it (intellectual) and means to address it (practical response). The strength of t…

The Abolistionists Legacy (Part 2)

Like all reform movements, the abolitionists legacy is not without fault. We look back upon the prior generations greatest achievements and we can critique them and perceive how those social or legal reforms could have been enacted more effectively (and perhaps justly). To not ask critical questions of the views and actions of our forebearers is folly and leads us into a blind repetition of the ways of the ancestors for sake of imitation and preservation of culture. The biblical revelation leads us to critique cultural norms and customs because it presents God as present in the world as Savior—creatively intervening to redeem and restore human beings. And with human redemption and restoration comes the reformation of cultural norms.God has placed us together as God’s people in our time in order to work for the good of the other and ultimately for all people—to partner with God as the Holy Spirit builds the Kingdom of God on earth. This is spiritual work precisely because it is express…

The Abolistionists Legacy (Part 1)

This essay (and the next) was written for the blog for Resonance Theological Journal in August 2018. I am publishing it here due to the timeliness of the subjects addressed. We modern Americans (and those with a general knowledge of American history) tend to assume that the abolitionists legacy is right not only in the sense of their cause being just but also in their arguments and methods. In other words, we tend to assume that God was on their side and that the means of social and legal reforms they sought was completely right. I would strongly agree that their cause was entirely just and that God was on their side because slavery is evil and an affront to his good will and purpose for human beings. I addressed this already in other blog posts, The Heresy of Racism (Part 1) and The Heresy of Racism (Part 2).However, we need to be careful about passing judgment even as we make judgments about the merits of laws and social customs (culture). The task of discerning the truth regarding …

The Heresy of Racism (Part 2)

I am well aware that the phrase “the heresy of racism” may strike readers as odd or even incorrect. The phrase was chosen purposely because how we think of ourselves as human beings is inherently theological (or ideological if one does not acknowledge Deity). We draw conclusions about what it means to be human based on the core convictions we hold regarding the nature of things and our place in this world. Some markers of cultural boundaries are common practices and customs which are expressions of shared convictions about reality.In the modern Western world, this is one of the reasons we are now witnessing such virulent hostility between people today over abortion and human sexuality in particular (to give to prominent examples). Americans no longer hold to the once commonly held consensus which was shaped by the Christian theological heritage and thus they sharply disagree about the purpose and identity of human existence. I would assert that this is why it is accurate to describe o…