Category Archives: Uncategorized

15 reasons why evangelicals attack evolution


Reblogging in entirety from Alan Jacobs‘s tumblr:

In the domain of religion and science, decisions, actions, attitudes, practices, and conflicts of the present moment require careful assessment for what they mean now and how they may affect the future. Conservative Protestants today, for example, offer many reasons for leaning against or actively combating the consensus of modern scientists concerning evolution. Some of those reasons concern narrowly defined issues of physical evidence or the interpretation of specific biblical passages, while others range to broader issues of theology, philosophy, ethnicity, family order, public education, or government. To offer historical explanations for the standoff, which this paper tries to do, is not the same as explaining the individual motives of those who engage such issues today. But it is a good way to see that contemporary stances represent an amalgamation of discrete attitudes, assumptions, and convictions, and that the components of this amalgamation all have a history.

The purpose of this paper is to specify fifteen of these attitudes, assumptions, and convictions, to indicate when they rose to prominence, and to suggest how they relate to affect contested issues of science and religion.

Says Jacobs: Anyone who wants to understand, rather than just pontificate about, the strange attitudes many American evangelicals have towards science should read this concise, clear, and authoritative essay by Mark Noll. (PDF)

Says me: I can’t wait to read this. I know it’s gonna be good. If you read it, I’d like to hear your comments.

15 reasons why evangelicals attack evolution


Reblogging in entirety from Alan Jacobs‘s tumblr:

In the domain of religion and science, decisions, actions, attitudes, practices, and conflicts of the present moment require careful assessment for what they mean now and how they may affect the future. Conservative Protestants today, for example, offer many reasons for leaning against or actively combating the consensus of modern scientists concerning evolution. Some of those reasons concern narrowly defined issues of physical evidence or the interpretation of specific biblical passages, while others range to broader issues of theology, philosophy, ethnicity, family order, public education, or government. Continue reading

Doctrinalist, pietist, culturalist. How does your church lean?


English: Darlington Reformed Presbyterian Chur...

Darlington Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA), Darlington, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An interesting counterpart to Avery Dulles‘s “five models of church” (institution, mystical communion, servant, herald, sacrament) is the triad of church emphases laid out by Tim Keller in his paper “What’s So Great about the PCA?” (For those who don’t know, PCA = Presbyterian Church in America). Lots could be said about this article or this denomination, but I’m most interested in these qualities that Keller borrows from George Marsden and describes as facets of Presbyterianism in America, and indeed facets of the PCA, resulting in significant infradenomenational tensions:

The doctrinalist impulse puts the emphasis on the corporate and the objective. The stress is on ministry done through church courts—Session, Presbytery, and General Assembly‐‐ and on people being brought to Christ through objective ordinances and processes like baptism and catechism. Continue reading

Too catholic to be Catholic – Peter Leithart


As one who has heard, read, and appreciated Peter Leithart over the past few years, and who has recognize that Leithart values tradition and values a strong ecclesiology, I was particularly fascinated to read his account of why, in light of those values, he will  not become Roman Catholic (or Eastern Orthodox). I find this, on the face of it at least, a valid objection to a Protestant joining one of these older, closed communions. It seems a reason to pause, however much a Protestant (especially of the frustratingly amnesiac, hyper-pragmatic “evangelical” variety) may wish to affirm the greatness and integrity of much historic catholic theology and practice.

The executive summary of what Leithart argues here is this: true ecumenism is incompatible with joining either Catholicism or Orthodoxy.

Here’s a sampling of his thought on this score:

“Here’s the question I would ask to any Protestant considering a move: What are you saying about your past Christian experience by moving to Rome or Constantinople?  Are you willing to start going to a Eucharistic table where your Protestant friends are no longer welcome? Continue reading

Time management for professors–wise words from Wheaton’s Alan Jacobs


Wheaton professor and author (e.g. The Narnian) Alan Jacobs’s Tumblr site (ayjay.tumblr.com) is a perennial source of illuminating and useful stuff.

In a recent post about time management for academics (that is, professors), a number of tips about how professors can make best use of their time caught my imagination. In particular, frankly, Jacobs is talking about clearing time for writing–always a pressurized activity in a busy academic activity. But he is doing so in a pedagogically sensitive mode. This is not a man who wishes to sacrifice his students’ experience to his own writerly ambitions. Here are the particular bits that I found most illuminating: Continue reading

New issue of Christian History looks at diversity and social impact of Christianity in America


Issue 102, in cooperation with the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicalism

Well, issue #102 of Christian History magazine has now rolled off the presses, and can also be read here (once you’ve followed the link, click twice to render the text a little larger, though it’s still unfortunately small).

What’s the issue about? Here’s the “Editor’s note” by project editor (and friend) Jennifer Woodruff Tait:

AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY IS, at the very least, odd. How odd is not always apparent to those of us who live inside it, for whom the story of denomina­tional competition, freedom from an established church linked with governmental power, and a marketplace of religious choices is the norm.

Yet for some two centuries now, outside observers have been remarking on its oddity, Continue reading

C S Lewis: The classical and medieval resonances of his moral teachings


A depiction of Boetius teaching his students (...

A medieval teacher to be named later in this post . . .

Just got back from the 2012 International Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo’s Western Michigan University. Hands down my favorite meeting–and it’s not even in my primary area of research.

For the second year I was invited, by Crystal Kirgiss of the Purdue C S Lewis society, to give a paper at the congress on Lewis and a medieval theme. This all started because of the popular book I’m working on for Baker Books, Getting Medieval, with a Little Help from C S Lewis and Friends. Each chapter of that book will open with some Lewisian material related to the chapter’s topic (e.g. medieval theology, ethics, compassionate ministry, monasticism, affective devotion, etc.).

Here’s this year’s paper. Hope y’all enjoy it: Continue reading