Do you know what I mean? Conservative Christians in general, and evangelicals in particular have an obsession with creating parallel versions of everything: Christian art (whatever that is), Christian movies (spare me, please), Christian music (even worse) etc., etc. If pressed hard, they might be able to create ‘Christian mathematics’ or ‘Christian physics’; and we already have Christian ‘scientific’ creationism (an oxymoron, of course, but who cares – it is all for a good cause, supposedly).
What is the root of all this? I suggest this comes, essentially, from a defective doctrine of creation, and its subsequent defective doctrine of sin. Biblically, unless one buys into the hyper-Calvinist doctrine of ‘total depravity, the world as we have now is a combination of sublime dimensions – speaking about the beauty of the initial creation, and of abject realities – which are the result of the Fall. Fundamentalists tend to forget the first, while liberals deny the latter. The truth, as always, is much more complex that any ideology claims it to be.
And, what is the consequence of this obsession for creating parallel universes? Obviously, it makes Christian witness distant and dis-incarnated, if not virtually impossible. Which, in fact, defeats the whole purpose of the presence of Christians in the world and of God bringing about here his kingdom.
A recent excellent article in Sojourners, the journal of Evangelicals for Social Action, deals with this controversial tendency, wich has also made many victims in my own country, Romania. That is why I have decided to share it with you here. Continue reading “Scott Christian on the Evangelical Obsession with Creating Parallel Worlds”
Chris Seiple, Ph.D., is the president of the Institute for Global Engagement, a research, education, and diplomatic institution that builds sustainable religious freedom worldwide through local partnerships. With a recognized expertise in U.S. foreign policy, national security, Muslim-Christian relations, and religious freedom, Seiple has appeared on BBC, MSNBC, Fox News, Saudi TV, Pakistan News One, Vietnam National TV, CN8, and CNN. He speaks frequently on the imperative interdependence of religion and realpolitik in places such as, Tashkent, Doha, Peshawar, Bannu, Moscow, Vladikavkaz, Hanoi, Issakul, Urumchi, Oslo, Hama, and Beijing. He also speaks regularly at U.S. military schools and within the intelligence community regarding national security and social-cultural-religious engagement. (Source, HERE)
Dr. Seiple has published recently, in Foreign Affairs, a text in response to an article by Robert Putnam and David Campbell, “God & Caesar in America“, published by the same journal (March/April 2011). In this article he tries to argue that identifying automatically conservative Christians with the Republican party and neoconservative politics is simplistic and inadequate.
Although he approaches this topic mostly from an American angle, there are in it many ideas that are relevant for a larger evangelical audience. Here are a few quotes. Continue reading “Chris Seiple – The Politics of Evangelicalism”
Article | First Things.
This is really a thought provoking article. Worth reading for more than one reason.
Here is the beginning of the article, as a teaser:
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From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of American Conservatism, by D. G. Hart, Eerdmans, 252 pages, $25
The title of historian D. G. Hart’s new book, From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of American Conservatism, is somewhat misleading. Hart doesn’t actually think that evangelicals have betrayed conservatism but rather that they were never very conservative in the first place. The marriage was an uneasy match from the start, and the recent distancing of the younger generation from the religious right is precisely what history should lead us to expect.
As Hart explains, evangelicals began in the nineteenth century as zealous reformers and social gospellers, and today they are only reverting to type. They believe in conversion, unexpected revival, and the timeless truth of the Bible. And so, more often than not, they tend to sit crossways to traditions and established institutions, to get impatient with gradualism and compromise, and to trouble the status quo with sweeping, radical reforms drawn directly from the pages of Scripture. Continue reading “Unconservative Evangelicals | First Things”
Philosophical Fragments » Moving Right is Sometimes Wrong: Why Ken Ham and Shelby Spong Are Equally Destructive.
Timothy Dalrymple is a conservative who seem to agree, at least in principle, with Scot McKnight that moving to the right, is not only never harmless, but in fact may be sometimes very dangerous.
I am a (post)conservative, (with the emphasis on post), and I am glad to see some realist to the right of me. I am not used with that.
Rev. Stott served as a contributing editor for Sojourners magazine, when it was known as The Post American, and wrote this article for the November/December, 1973 issue of the magazine.
It seems to be a characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon mind to enjoy inhabiting the “polar regions” of truth. If we could straddle both poles simultaneously, we would exhibit a healthy balance. Instead, we tend to “polarize.” We push some of our brothers to one pole, while keeping the other as our own preserve.
What I am thinking of now is not so much questions of theology as questions of temperament, and in particular the tension between the “conservative” and the “radical.”
By “conservative” we are referring to people who want to conserve or preserve the past, and who therefore are resistant to change.
By “radical” we are referring to people who are in rebellion against what is inherited from the past and who are therefore agitating for change. Continue reading “John Stott – The Conservative Radical”
7.2 ‘God is neither a Democrat nor a Republican’
While visiting the States I was shocked to observe that the majority of Evangelical Christians traditionally voted for the Republicans and accused those who voted for the Democrats of being liberals and crypto-socialists. Now it may be true that the Republican Party in the US is closer to the conservative values that are so dear to Evangelicals; yet at the same time I was astonished to observe that: Continue reading “40 Years in the Desert – 7. A Christian Critique of Capitalism 2”
The Holy Scriptures are the central to all legitimate Christian traditions. However, the way Christians interpret the Bible varies largely. That is why some of us may be interested to evaluate and reflect on their approach to Biblical interpretation as a basis for Christian living.
Scot McKnight teaches theology at North Park University in Chicago (my friend Dr. Bradey Nassif, an Orthodox theologian and the foremost expert of the Orthodox-Evangelical dialogue also teaches there). He also holds the Jesus Creed Blog on the Christianity Today site.
He has published about two years ago (but I have found only today) a very thorough Hermeneutics Quiz that I recommend to you all. Continue reading “Scot McKnight’s Hermeneutics Quiz”