How God and Science Mix

Over at First Things, Stephen Barr writes an interesting reply to a particle physicist who thinks that science entails atheism. Key paragraph: For Jews and Christians, however, pitting God and the laws of nature against each other in this way is an absurd mistake; for it is the very lawfulness of nature that points to a divine Lawgiver. In the Bible, God gives laws not only to the people of Israel, but to the cosmos itself, as in Jeremiah 33:25, where he declares his fidelity to Israel in these terms: “When I have no covenant with day and night, and … Continue reading How God and Science Mix

“The Horrible Decree” by Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley was a prolific hymnist, with approximately 9000 hymns and sacred poems to his name. Among my favorites are “And Can It Be?” and “O, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing!” Welsey–along with his brother John–were also a theological polemicist, however, who wrote his polemics into his songs. One of his most blunt anti-Calvinist hymns is “The Horrible Decree,” which refers to the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement. Here’s the text of the hymn, not exactly in honor of Calvin’s birthday, but apropos of it nonetheless. [1] Ah! Gentle, gracious Dove, And art thou griev’d in me, That sinners … Continue reading “The Horrible Decree” by Charles Wesley

The New Shape of World Christianity

Mark A. Noll, The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009). $25.00, 212 pages. The Christian church is not American, demographically speaking. More broadly, it is not western. It may have been predominantly western at the beginning of the twentieth century, but at the beginning of the twenty-first, it no longer is. As Dana Robert wrote in April 2000: “The typical late twentieth-century Christian was no longer a European man but a Latin American or African woman.” This southward demographic shift requires a new historiography of Christianity, one less focused … Continue reading The New Shape of World Christianity

Buddhism: A Christian Exploration and Appraisal

Keith Yandell and Harold Netland, Buddhism: A Christian Exploration and Appraisal (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009). $22.00, 230 pages. The diversity of the world’s religions raises several important questions: Do religions make truth claims? Can these truth claims be assessed? Can the assessment be negative without also being violent? For one group of people—especially in the religious studies guild—the answer to all three questions is negative. Properly interpreted, they argue, religions do not make truth claims. That is why such people believe in the epistemic and moral parity of religions. However, they go on to argue, religious fundamentalists—who do … Continue reading Buddhism: A Christian Exploration and Appraisal

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776 The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that … Continue reading The Declaration of Independence