Modern Reformation

The Mod | “We’re Still Here” by Jennifer Silva – Christian Article

Michael Fisher is a muscular twenty-four year old man. As he sits down for the interview, he confesses that “this is probably the first time I’ve left the house without carrying a gun.” He’s been booked on assault charges, even though “I got jumped by two guys from New York…I had to make sure my son was safe, I protect my family” and predicts that “it’s going to be World War III real soon. This country is going downhill. We’ll…

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The Mod | The Baptism of Our Lord – Christian Article

The Westminster Larger Catechism asks (Q. 167), “How is our Baptism to be improved by us?”—or, to put it in more modern language, how do we make good use of our baptism?  The Catechism answers, in part, “The needful and much neglected duty of improving our Baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long […] by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized.” I’d like to suggest that we can…

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The Mod | “Christ and the Kingdoms of Men: Foundations of Political Life” by David C. Innes – Christian Article

It seems that politics are becoming more and more disorientating, especially for Christians. Our outlook on goodness and justice is dismissed as outdated at best and regressive at worst, and we feel increasingly confused about relating our spiritual principles to our civic life.  Some have proposed that we abandon society altogether to form our own enclaves until the insanity of progressivism destroys itself.  Others are equally keen to reinstate a thorough-going Christendom wherein the church dictates society’s laws (the most…

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The Mod | “Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose” by Rebekah Lyons – Christian Article

Have Christians forgotten how to live well?  Do we approach life with a different mindset than that of an unbeliever, or do we get caught in the chaos and stress of life?  It is crucial to examine our lives in the light of Scripture and understand who God made us to be and how he made us to function.  If you are looking for a resource that gives helpful ways to reduce stress and live thoughtfully, Rebekah Lyons’, Rhythms of…

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The Mod | “Primal Screams: How The Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics” by Mary Eberstadt – Christian Article

Noteworthy social commentator and Senior Research Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute, Mary Eberstadt, follows her 2013 landmark book How the West Really Lost God: A New Theology of Secularization with her latest imprint, Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics. Both provocative and insightful, Primal Screams stands as a clarion call to Christianity and all who assume the appellation “Christian” to relinquish allegiances to ideological consumerism and embrace the value of the family, of “familism”—intact, larger,…

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The Mod | How Modern Was The Reformation? – Christian Article

To hear some people talk, you would think that the birth of freedom, democracy, and the modern world started with the Protestant Reformation.  In fact, the coincidence of faith and modernity has less to do with Martin Luther than with John Calvin, the reformer who had the audacity to question the rule of bishops and substitute the authority of presbyters (elders).  According to Abraham Kuyper, in his oft-quoted Lectures on Calvinism (1898), “Luther never worked out his fundamental thought.”  Only…

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The Mod | “Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church: Christ’s Two Kingdoms” by Matthew Tuininga – Christian Article

In recent years, the “two kingdoms” teaching of the Reformed tradition has been a point of some contention. Speaking broadly, advocates of two kingdoms use it to place a greater emphasis on the spiritual authority of the church and discourage the church from engaging in the culture wars and politics of the civil realm.  Practically speaking, the result is less cultural critique and politics from the pulpit. The other side of this debate doesn’t deny the existence of two kingdoms…

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The Mod | The Blessing of Failure – Christian Article

The day I realized I was failing my first class in seminary with no chance to achieve a passing grade, I skipped class and wandered through a Monet exhibit at a museum downtown. I was not particularly moved by the artwork, but over the course of the day I came to realize that failing my first class in the program (a degree leading to pastoral ministry) did not mean the end of my life’s ambition.  Instead, it was an important…

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The Mod | On Divine Impassibility: Carl Trueman Talks with Father Thomas Weinandy – Christian Article

The last two hundred years have seen a revolution (and not a happy one) in how God is understood.  The God of the classical creeds and confessions—impassible and immutable—has been replaced by a God who changes in relation to his creation, dynamic and reciprocal in how he relates to his creatures.   There are numerous reasons for this change—the abandonment of the metaphysics upon which classical theism drew, the centrality of the notion of suffering in a post-Auschwitz world, and the…

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The Mod | “Science and The Good: The Tragic Quest for the Foundations of Morality” by James Davison Hunter and Paul Nedelisky – Christian Article

Best-selling author James Davison Hunter, along with his colleague, Paul Nedelisky (the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture) issue a serviceable, if not overreaching, exposé on what contemporary neuro and evolutionary scientific research has yielded about human morality.  In their book, Science and the Good: The Tragic Quest for the Foundations of Morality, the authors correctly conclude that scientific research (such as it is) has made some worthy observations, but has not begun to broach a coherent or substantiated physicalist or…

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The Mod | “(A)Typical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called In Christ” by Abigail Dodds – Christian Article

I’ll never forget the first time a man asked me why I was in seminary. “Why don’t you just get married and let your husband teach you?” he quipped.  I glared at him and responded, “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that studying the Bible formally for three years of my life would be detrimental to my health!” Unfortunately, it wasn’t the last time someone questioned why conservative women attend seminary, but that moment was the first time I really began…

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The Mod | Faithful Preaching In A Fashionable World – Christian Article

When I was preaching week by week to the same congregation, one of my fundamental convictions was that I needed to keep politics out of the pulpit.    Perhaps I should express that more precisely: I needed to keep party politics out of the pulpit.   I was—and still am—convinced that how an individual votes at the ballot box should be shaped and informed by their Christian character as nurtured through Word, sacrament, and worship in the community of the church.   But…

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The Mod | What Is A Human And Who Is A Person? – Christian Article

Every day, the twenty-four hour news cycle chronicles the advance of a secular moral revolution in areas such as sexuality, abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism.  It’s easy to get caught up in the latest controversy, but current events are merely surface effects, like waves on the ocean.  The real action happens below the surface, at the level of worldviews.  To be strategically effective, then, we must address what people believe about the nature and significance of life itself.  Issues of life…

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The Mod | Why Our Bodies Matter – Christian Article

What is the biblical response to the secular moral revolution?  Let’s start by addressing the two-level body/person dualism itself. We must start by expressing compassion for people trapped in a dehumanizing and destructive view of the body.  The two-domain worldview is ‘above all an attack on the body,’ writes Catholic theologian Michael Waldstein.  We must therefore respond with a biblical defense of the body to heal the alienation between body and person.  The starting point is a biblical philosophy of…

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The Mod | Don’t Be Deceived By Experiences – Christian Article

The culture of the 21st-century west is one that not only encourages, but compels you to follow your heart and live your truth. We’re told that nothing can define what is true for you except what you believe in your heart based on your experience. Ours is a culture—like all that have come before and all that will come after—full of idols, and there is no idol more persuasive than the idol of me. This isn’t new; it’s been that…

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The Mod | “The Final Race” by Eric Eichinger with Eva Marie Everson – Christian Article

Eric Liddell of Olympic fame, immortalized by the 1981 Hugh Hudson film, Chariots of Fire, was more far than a principled and uncompromising gold medalist—he was an inspiring husband, father, and missionary who lost his life in a World War II Japanese interment camp within China. Lutheran pastor, Eric Eichinger, with Eva Marie Everson, recount these and thousands of other lesser known facts about one of Scotland’s greatest athletes in The Final Race. Eichinger and Everson’s biography of Liddell is…

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The Mod | “Nostalgia: Going Home In A Homeless World” by Anthony Esolen – Christian Article

If there’s a topic that doesn’t get a lot of air time in confessional circles, it’s the significance of space and place.  Spaces do mean, that is, ‘places’ in their relationship to people, and times carry and convey meaning.  In his book Nostalgia, Anthony Esolen wants to emphasize that places necessarily bear theological meaning, particularly correlating our earthly home with our heaven-on-Earth home to come. In other words, there is something about this world—our home and the homes therein—that lead…

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The Mod | “Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them: Schizophrenia Through A Mother’s Eyes” by Simonetta Carr – Christian Article

Christians who have experienced great trauma and loss are all too familiar with the tropes of well-meant consolation from friends and family—passages of Scripture recited, cliché Christian phrases inside a Dayspring card along with a copy of C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed. Rational explanations for death are juxtaposed to the actual pain of death’s sting.  God’s people may reproach death, goading, “Where, O death, is your victory?”, but the curse of sin still tarnishes the living. Before the grave takes…

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The Mod | Unhappily Married or Happily Divorced? The False Dilemma – Christian Article

Whatever we believe the Scriptures say about legitimate grounds for divorce, the assumption that marital dissolution should not be common among those who claim to follow Christ and Biblical teaching is reasonable. The pertinent passages recognized in the New Testament at most allow for divorce and remarriage only for egregious violations of the marital covenant (Luke 16:18; Mark 10:2-12; Matt. 5:31-32, 19:3-9; Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:10-16). The Westminster Confession’s Chapter 24, Section 6 clearly supports this position. The very…

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The Mod | “Christians In The Age of Outrage: How To Bring Our Best When The World Is At Its Worst” by Ed Stetzer – Christian Article

Timing is everything and, if it weren’t for the massive scandals unfolding from within the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, Christians in the Age of Outrage might have had its moment. The present status of online dialogue is such that any and all rebukes toward greater civility, charity, and thoughtfulness are appropriate, and the author does a commendable work in aiming to improve the witness of ill-mannered Christians engaged in unsavory online partisanship. Ed Stetzer’s latest book emerges from a…

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The Mod | Data and Discernment – Christian Article

It began with one of those time-lapse videos, the ones that record a process from start to finish, like a chick emerging from an egg or a flower opening.  This particular video showed how to decorate pies by cutting and shaping the top crust.  Under a perfectly positioned camera, a pair of perfectly manicured hands manipulated a perfectly round ball of dough on a perfectly flourless butcher block countertop.  A pinch here, a twist there, a few cuts, and you…

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The Mod | “The Dangers of Christian Practice: On Wayward Gifts, Characteristic Damage, and Sin” by Lauren F. Winner – Christian Article

Those who came of age reading the youthful Lauren Winner of Girl Meets God and Real Sex might be surprised to find Winner—now an Episcopal priest and professor of Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School—writing for a decidedly academic audience in her newest work, The Dangers of Christian Practice: On Wayward Gifts, Characteristic Damage, and Sin. Perhaps her interest in the (de)formative potential of communal practices can be traced to her earlier, more popular-level writing—for example, in Real Sex, Winner…

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The Mod | Demolition Man: Nietzsche For The Christian – Christian Article

The Enlightenment, if not quite dead on arrival, began to fall apart very shortly thereafter.  The French Revolution offered a bloody testimony to the limits of reason as a foundation for building a new society.   The Romantics pointed to the ineradicable importance of the deeper longings of the human heart. Hegel identified a key flaw in Kant when he highlighted the importance of historical consciousness.  And then came the Demolition Man, Friedrich Nietzsche.  No-one before him (with the possible exception…

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The Mod | Appearances of Christ Before The Incarnation – Christian Article

A cursory reading of Scripture might leave a new reader wondering what exactly the Old and New Testaments have to do with each other—the Old Testament talks a lot about Yahweh; the New Testament seems primarily concerned with Jesus.   Where do the two (not forgetting the third!) persons of the Godhead meet?  Was there some kind of rotating duty among the persons of the Trinity during redemptive history?  Christmas is the time in which we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the…

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The Mod | Is Faith Opposed to Evidence? – Christian Article

For the past fifteen or twenty years, ‘faith-based’ culture has enjoyed something of a resurgence—faith-based films do well at the box-office, faith-based books regularly dominate the bestseller lists, and meditation / mindfulness / wellness seminars abound.  What exactly is ‘faith’?  Is faith the warm assurance of a higher order that helps us make sense of the world?   Is religious faith substantively different from rational belief?  Editor-in-chief Michael Horton sat down with a few friends to discuss it. Michael Horton:  Today,…

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