As Christians we believe the fact that we exist as embodied creatures is not inconsequential. The Judeo-Christian tradition has always upheld the sacredness of the physical world. Attentive thinkers from Paul to C.S. Lewis have argued that, contra the notion that our bodies are unfortunate barriers and irrelevant to our identities, matter matters to God. The Gnostic philosophy that offered an alternative reality unencumbered by the physical world where we can we find our true selves, was one that Christians took head on in the early church. Could one be both a Gnostic and a faithful Christian? No. Against Gnosticism, the church draws upon its rich resources from the creation narrative itself in which God makes Adam from the dust of the ground to the early creeds which confess that God “was incarnate and was made man,” as we (try to) answer the question, “What does it mean to be human?” Moreover, it is on the grounds that we think our bodies matter that Christian ethics calls for a strict stance on sexual practice, for example. But of course, the necessary presuppositions in place in… Read More »Functional Gnosticism
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Increasingly there are evangelical Christians who are growing irritated with their Christian practices. Women and men who have grown up their whole lives in evangelical culture begin to wonder if they’ve been misled their entire lives. They are tired of shallow, showy Christianity with empty platitudes and pious hypocrisy, and yet continue to dreadfully go to their Sunday services and small group Bible studies. With every Sunday, it’s one more negative experience.
What are frustrated evangelicals supposed to do about church?
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Occasionally, I listen to Dr. Taylor Marshall and Timothy Gordon, two Catholic thinkers who have a show discussing current issues in culture and the Catholic church. They are both obviously very intelligent. I’ve learned from them, and I would like to think that I would get along quite well with both of them in person.
In a recent conversation between these two, as he was discussing his book, Catholic Republic, Tim Gordon said, “Virtue ethics is Catholic.”
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In the past, I’ve shared what I love about Evangelicalism.
And those still remain true about evangelicalism at its best. In this post, I want to explain what I don’t like about Protestant evangelical culture at its worst.
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For some time now, I have found myself comfortable within the Anglican tradition, but I have still thought of myself (rightly or wrongly) as an Anglican with some Eastern Orthodox tendencies. And I have to confess that I have questioned and wrestled over whether or not the Eastern Orthodox church is the way to go. I’ve had wonderful professors who I possess great respect for from that tradition as well as friends and family who have joined the Orthodox church.
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For a long time there has been a trend among North American evangelicals who grow up in conservative evangelical culture, and then at some point leave “traditional” evangelicalism for some flavor of progressive Christianity. On the popular level, I’m thinking here of people like Rachel Held Evans or Rob Bell. Usually, these “post-evangelicals/ex-evangelicals” claim to have cut ties with evangelicalism and they no longer identify as evangelical; they disavow evangelicalism.
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Evangelicals often get a lot of flak…including from fellow evangelicals. And sometimes deservedly so. I don’t care to defend the stupid things evangelical Christians do. It’s safe to say they can be easy target. Yet in spite of their problems, here are three things I love about evangelicals: 1. Evangelicals are all about the Bible. I want the sacred text of the Old and New Testaments to be the primary governing and shaping element in my life. So, I love that evangelical Christians are committed to the authority and truth of the Bible. They have it on their phones, attend home Bible studies, open it up on Sunday mornings, highlight its pages, get multiple translations, read it early in the mornings, put verses on their walls, etc. Evangelicals are uncompromising on their priority of Bible. 2. Evangelicals get that it’s about having a personal relationship with Jesus. In a religious world that can often be about empty rituals, endless doctrinal checklists, or emotional excitement, the mantra of evangelicalism that ultimately “it’s about having a personal relationship with Jesus” holds true. Evangelicals despise legalism and speak… Read More »3 Things I Love about Evangelicals
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