Francis Schaeffer and Christian Intellectualism

In his recent essay on Christian intellectualism, Alan Jacobs dates the high point of the public Christian intellectual in America as being in the late 1940s. Citing the influence of thinkers like CS Lewis, WH Auden, and Reinhold Niebuhr, Jacobs argues that the movement began to fade in the 1950s and, by the 1960s, was largely a spent force. By that time Lewis, Auden, and Niebuhr were no longer as relevant in contemporary debates and the next generation had not yet emerged. By the time that generation of leaders did, Jacobs argues, the culture had moved past them and they had become more conversant in the intramural discussions happening in conservative religious circles rather than the broader cultural conversation. Continue reading

Global Economies, Immigration, and Precarious Places

I’m pleased to publish this essay by Matthew Peterson.

In response to somewhat shrill claims by some Christian intellectuals that Christians ought to support mass migration, and oppose Brexit, Stephen Wolfe recently published an article at Mere Orthodoxy arguing that Christians can (and perhaps should) oppose immigration. Stephen draws from an impressive array of natural law sources to argue that the differentiation between foreigner and citizen is good, and a natural part of human life. This differentiation is integral in protecting the particularities in and through which communities are formed and given their deep particular character.

This position regarding the deep particularity of places is also argued, persuasively, in a piece by Alastair Roberts published by Mere Orthodoxy on Brexit, and the necessity of making peace between the cosmopolitans who tended to oppose Brexit and the locals who favored it. Alastair lays out the competing anthropologies on which hopes for mass immigration, and opposition to it, are based. According to a liberal anthropology, we are all interchangeable individuals, whose connection to our land, our parents, and our people, is merely accidental; on the other hand, according to a more Biblical anthropology, our person is always deeply embedded in the particularities of a people and a land. Continue reading

An Addendum on Evangelicals Endorsing Trump

We really do have plans to turn our attention toward other issues beyond electoral politics next week. (I’ve got submitted pitches I’m currently reviewing on immigration, a general consideration of the cultural norms that create something like the Trump phenomenon, a book review of a new work on the white working class, and an excellent long essay on podcasting. Plus I’m hoping to do some more personal/reflective work in the next month and to review Katelyn Beaty’s important new work A Woman’s Place.) But as I’ve thought about this issue more, I wanted to draw together a few final notes on the question of evangelicals endorsing Donald Trump. Continue reading

The Evangelical Case for Voting for David Duke

Some of my good Christian friends in the state of Louisiana have told me they cannot vote in good conscience for David Duke in this fall’s senate election. As they consider the Senate field in Louisiana, they look around and dislike all their options so much that they tell me they simply cannot bring themselves to support the lesser evil in this contest and so they will be forced to write in a different third-party candidate or abstain entirely. Continue reading

Soma and the Silencing of Evangelicalism After Trump

In his novel Silence Japanese writer Shusaku Endo tells the story of two Portuguese missionaries in 17th century Japan. After initial pioneering work by Francis Xavier in the 16th century, a small native Japanese church had begun to flourish in the mid-to-late 16th century, possibly growing as large as 100,000 people. Then the government took a hard anti-Christian turn, closed the island to foreigners, and began a harsh regime of persecution against the Japanese Christians.

At the center of this persecution were small icons called fumi-e, pictured above. During the torture, the government officials told the Christians that all they needed to do to end it is agree to trample on the fumi-e, which was understood to be a way of renouncing the faith. To make sure it took, it was common practice in much of Japan to require former Christians to step on a fumi-e once a year. (Silence spoilers below the jump.) Continue reading

Gender, Home Economies, and the Church, Ctd.

There are three separate strands I want to pick up from yesterday’s post.

Being Fair to the Complementarians

First, I asked in the post that people would correct me if I was misrepresenting CBMW. Shane Anderson on Twitter obliged by pointing me toward this post from 2015 that is addressing the “what about wives who make more than their husbands?” question. (So, thank you Shane. :) )

Here are a few other posts at CBMW addressing some of the questions I was raising yesterday: Continue reading

The Evangelical Gender Crack-Up

Though it (rightly) hasn’t been discussed as much as the actual trinitarian issues themselves, the current trinitarian debate does suggest some interesting things about how evangelicals are beginning to approach questions of gender. The consensus that has existed amongst most conservative evangelicals for some time is beginning to fracture—and in more than one direction. Continue reading