• Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Wisdom from God FOR us or TO us?

    The 72nd annual “meeting” of the Evangelical Theological Society begins on Monday. I put “meeting” in scare-quotes because our in-person gathering in Providence, Rhode Island has become another COVID casualty. Nevertheless, the event organizers have put on a fantastic virtual version of our meeting that in some ways may facilitate more scholarly interaction. I’ve already listened to 8 papers including both sections of the “Evangelicals and Gender” group. I never would have gotten to hear so many papers in the usual format. So this is good. Presenters have already uploaded videos of ourselves to the event website, and anyone who is registered for the meeting can watch the presentations. I…

  • Christianity,  Politics

    What do we owe a President?

    At the end of a bitterly fought election season, it is good for us Christians to consider what we owe a president. At the very least, we owe our president a commitment to pray for him. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Paul writes: 1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity,  Culture,  Social Justice

    Taking on the Revolutionary Program of Ibram X. Kendi

    Anyone reading this site over the last several years has probably noticed my growing alarm about leftist “social justice” ideologies. I had already become somewhat acquainted with queer theory while doing research for my book on sexual ethics in 2012-2013. A 2016 lecture on intersectionality by David French, however, helped me to see that queer theory was but one strand of a multi-faceted leftist identitarian movement. I had heard of identity politics, but now I was beginning to understand some of its ideological underpinnings. More and more, it appeared to be a kind of religion. I began writing informally about intersectionality in this space in 2017 and began to see…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity,  Culture,  Social Justice,  Transgenderism

    Could you be convinced that 2 + 2 = 5?

    In high school, I remember starting George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World but never finishing either one of them. I thought they were boring and—what’s worse—morose. So I gave up on them. That was then, and this is now. In the last few months, I restarted and completed each of them. First, Brave New World and then 1984. This time, I was very much engaged. Both books read like totalitarian prophecies that have or at least are on the verge of coming true. Both of them forecast dystopian futures dominated by totalitarian regimes. One totalitarianism maintains power by appealing to human desire for pleasure (Brave New World)…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Why White Fragility Fails

    Earlier this week, I finished Robin Diangelo’s New York Times #1 Bestselling book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People To Talk about Racism (Beacon, 2018). A lot of ink has already been spilled over this book, and I suppose that I have little more to add. I won’t write a full review here. If you want that, I recommend Tim Challies’ three–part series. Nevertheless, I do have some observations that I would like to add to the conversation. The basic gist of the book is this. White people participate in a complex system of privilege and white supremacy. Whether they mean to or not, they are therefore…

  • Christianity,  Culture,  Theology/Bible

    Is “Systemic Racism” a Useful Category for Christians to Use?

    I’ve been watching the misadventures of Matthew Franck’s insightful article criticizing the concept of systemic racism. It originally appeared for two hours yesterday morning at Newsweek online. Apparently the opinion editor fought to have it posted, but the editor-in-chief swooped in to remove it without explanation. Franck explains the behind-the-scenes chicanery at The Public Discourse where the full article is now posted. It’s not encouraging. Is the concept of systemic racism so brittle that it can’t be scrutinized? Or are Newsweek editors too afraid to allow a thoughtful piece questioning the new orthodoxy? Who knows? In any case, it’s a shame that Newsweek would not stand by Franck’s column because…

  • Christianity,  Social Justice

    The Dead-end of Research Justice

    I’ve been reading through Helen Pluckrose’s and James Lindsay’s new book Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity–and Why This Harms Everybody. I’m sure I will have more to say about this book in coming days, but I thought I would highlight one particular item that the authors address in the early chapters—research justice. In Cynical Theories, the authors demonstrate that modern Critical Theory is essentially applied post-modernism. Applied post-modernism involves a number of ideological commitments including: Skepticism about whether objective knowledge or truth is obtainable. A belief in cultural constructivism. A belief that society is formed of systems of power and hierarchies, which decide…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    If you think God is wrong, you can never be right.

    I was just reading an article by a biblical scholar who argues that God’s command for Israel to destroy the Canaanites cannot be excused or justified. In other words, God was wrong in Deut. 20:16, and the Israelites were wrong to obey Him. It is not my aim to explain the ethics of the conquest of the Holy Land in this short blog post. Rest assured, however, that Christianity does account for it. Even though our convictions on this account are often very difficult for modern readers, they are coherent. Michael Kruger, for example, has a really fine short treatment of this question in “Is God Guilty of Genocide?” Likewise,…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Reflections on a Review

    Well, I think my review of Aimee Byrd’s book may have touched a nerve. At least it seems that way from the wide array of responses I have seen on social media this week. There are a whole lot of folks that really appreciated it, and there are a number of folks for whom—let’s just say—it was less than edifying. Years ago, I used to be more of a Twitter warrior and would have been online answering all the criticism. Not so much anymore. I don’t have the bandwidth for that kind of interaction, and I’ve come to see it as mainly futile because Twitter is often dominated by foolish…

  • Christianity,  Culture,  Politics

    A Revolution Is Underway

    Racial hatred really exists, and it really is evil. Marxist revolutionaries really exist too, and they really do mean to overturn the social order. It is happening before our very eyes. There seem to be so few who can or will see both challenges as the seeds of revolution spill out into the streets of major cities across the country. The difficult thing for Christians in our current moment is that we are told that we have to pick a side. But we can’t choose either side when biblical Christianity obliges us to oppose both racism and Marxist ideologies that contradict scripture. As Christians, we are not aiming for some…