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

3 Ecclesiology Questions Protestant Evangelicals Must Answer

After publishing nearly 13,000 words on ecclesiology this month (plus some spirited debate in the comments on Dr. Leeman’s response), I wanted to draw together what seem to me to be the three main strands of the debate between Minich and Dr. Leeman.

Other posts in the series:

Continue reading

The Trinity Debate and “Big Eva”

I had hoped that the big Trinitarian brouhaha was starting to calm down to more of a restrained, tightly defined level. Then Dr. Al Mohler waded into the debate yesterday, calling attacks on his friends Drs. Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem “nonsense” without ever bothering to actually engage with the substance of Carl Trueman, Liam Goligher, Mark Jones, Alastair Roberts, Michel Barnes, Matthew Crawford, Lewis Ayres, Fred Sanders, or Matthew Emerson’s actual arguments. Apparently it only takes one dismissive wave of the hand by someone as prominent as Mohler to dismiss the careful argumentation of a half dozen leading authorities in patristics or dogmatics. Continue reading

The Predictable Rhetoric of Evangelicalism

It’s now been 12 days since the horrific shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that saw 50 people killed and over 50 more injured. We did not publish anything on this event last week out of respect for the victims and because in the aftermath of such horror, silence is often the wisest response initially. That said, we’re now beginning to talk about it. We began with a post by Bernard Howard on gun control. Today we’re continuing with a reflection on the evangelical response to the shooting. Continue reading

Reviewing Jonathan Leeman’s “Political Church” Pt. 2

Other posts in the series:

Here is part two of Joseph Minich’s review of Political Church by Jonathan Leeman. I will not say any more lest multiple friends mock me again for writing over-long introductions to already-long blog posts. (ahem)

You can download a full PDF of the review by clicking this link: Full Review PDF

The Failures of Leeman’s Map

Most basically, while Leeman’s map might provide guidance in the context of certain discussions, it nevertheless frequently fails to accurately chart reality at its most stubborn edges  – and will therefore mislead in some very important areas. That this is the most basic objection reflects a particular theological orientation. If one’s interpretation of the Bible appears to distort the way in which reality is carved up right in front of one’s face, then there is some question about whether the word of God (which illuminates our work and our world) has been properly understood. Reasoning in such a manner is both as natural as human nature (Leeman does it too) – and indeed it is reflected in Scripture itself. When the Psalmist writes, for instance, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:13), it is assumed that the normal experience of fatherhood illuminates divine fatherhood. The prophetic and Pauline critique of idolatry similarly assume the “obviousness” of their contentions. And in this tradition, it is to reality that we must go to judge Leeman’s map – for icebergs exist in reality whether or not they are accounted for in our imagination. Continue reading