In, But Not Of (Revelation 18:4-8)

  In his High Priestly Prayer, Jesus—on the eve of his crucifixion—enunciated a paradox that succinctly captures the tension of living as a Christian in the present age. Speaking of believers, he prayed, “they are in the world,” and yet, “they are not of the world” (John 17.11, 14). In, but not of: This is the tension all Christians face in every age as they seek to believe in and remain faithful to God.   In: All Christians live in the world. We do not inhabit some sanctified space that sets us apart from the unbelieving world. There is no … Continue reading In, But Not Of (Revelation 18:4-8)

Is George W. Bush a Heretic?

Recently, during an interview with ten conservative journalists, the president made the following remark: The other debate is whether or not it is a hopeless venture to encourage the spread of liberty. Most of you all around this table are much better historians than I am. And people have said, you know, this is Wilsonian, it’s hopelessly idealistic. One, it is idealistic, to this extent: It’s idealistic to believe people long to be free. And nothing will change my belief. I come at it many different ways. Really not primarily from a political science perspective, frankly; it’s more of a … Continue reading Is George W. Bush a Heretic?

Which Theologian Are You?

I thought I’d be John Wesley, but whatever… You scored as Anselm, Anselm is the outstanding theologian of the medieval period.He sees man’s primary problem as having failed to render unto God what we owe him, so God becomes man in Christ and gives God what he is due. You should read ‘Cur Deus Homo?’ Anselm   93% John Calvin   87% Karl Barth   67% Charles Finney   53% Martin Luther   47% Friedrich Schleiermacher   40% Augustine   40% Jonathan Edwards   33% Paul Tillich   27% Jürgen Moltmann   20% Which theologian are you? created with … Continue reading Which Theologian Are You?

What Has Canterbury to Do with Mecca?

In 2006 Anne Holmes Redding converted to Islam, which wouldn’t be such a problem if it weren’t for the fact that she’s also an Episcopal priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedra in Seattle, Washington. Of her conversion, Redding said, “I am both Muslim and Christian. I’m 100 percent both.” According to her diocesan newsletter, her bishop, Vincent Warner, "accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the interfaith possibilities exciting." The diocese of Rhode Island, which ordained Redding, begged to differ and suspended her for one year’s period of time, during which she was supposed to … Continue reading What Has Canterbury to Do with Mecca?

Schadenfreude? (Revelation 18.1–3)

  Revelation 18 commemorates the destruction of Babylon with angelic choruses and earthly laments. In the course of doing so, it raises—at least in my mind—an interesting question: Is it proper for Christians to celebrate the final judgment of their enemies? The Germans have a term for the perverse happiness people sometimes feel when their adversaries experience misfortune: Schadenfreude (pronounced SHAW-den-froy-duh). Is that what Revelation 18 is—an instance of Christian Schadenfreude?   Hear the angel’s chorus:   Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has becoming a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every … Continue reading Schadenfreude? (Revelation 18.1–3)

The Literal Reference of “Babylon,” Part 2 (Revelation 17.7–18)

  Let us return to the literal meaning of John’s symbolic portraits. So far, we have discussed the beast and its seven heads, seeing in them a reference to the Antichrist and (perhaps) Roman emperors, in whose company the Antichrist should be counted.   The angel now draws John’s attention to the beast’s ten horns (Rev. 17:12–14), which are “ten kings who have not yet received royal power.” If the seven heads refer to Roman emperors, the ten horns refer to their “client kings,” who ruled as proxy powers and at Rome’s behest in each of its ten imperial provinces. … Continue reading The Literal Reference of “Babylon,” Part 2 (Revelation 17.7–18)

“Myths and Realities of the George Bush Presidency”

Over at TCS Daily, Arnold Kling debunks 5 myths surrounding George W. Bush’s presidency: Bush lost in 2000 Bush economic poliices were disastrous Bush was too right-wing Bush was too partisan Iraq reflects Bush’s personality Then he concludes: I think that many people are tired of the bitterness and partisanship of the Bush era. My main point, however, is that people over-estimate the extent to which this bitterness and partisanship is due to George Bush himself. My prediction is that we will see further bitterness in the years ahead, as the sore losers of 2000 and 2004 become the sore … Continue reading “Myths and Realities of the George Bush Presidency”

The Literal Reference of “Babylon,” Part 1 (Revelation 17.7–18)

  Having elicited our negative emotional response to Babylon by means of symbolic portraiture (Rev. 17:1-6), John now explains the meaning of the symbols (17:7-18). Or rather, an angel explains their meaning to John and he to us. By doing so, the angel, through John, reveals the “mystery” of Babylon.   Let us begin where John does, with the grotesque beast (verse 8). It is clearly the sea beast of Revelation 13.1–10, that is, the Antichrist. Two items are noteworthy. First, the Antichrist has divine pretensions. In Revelation 1.4, God is described as “him who is and who was and … Continue reading The Literal Reference of “Babylon,” Part 1 (Revelation 17.7–18)