Religion & Liberty Article Listing

What can I expect at Acton University 2016?

The conference will be held at the DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, on June 14–17. The conference fees are $500 for students and $750 for regular attendees. This year includes 15 first-time faculty members, 42 new courses (for a total of 121) and online registration for all hotel reservations. There will be a special screening of the award-winning documentary Poverty, Inc.

Acton University offers another strong lineup of keynote speakers:

Magatte Wade: a passionate adventurer and idealistic entrepreneur. Born in Senegal and educated in Germany and France, she left for the United States to begin a career as soon as she could. She lived and worked in Silicon Valley at the height of the dot-com boom and started a beverage company that obtained national distribution at leading natural food retailers and distributors...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word

Psalm 139:1-3

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

One of the great characteristics of the Lord is that he cares and delights in us personally. Nothing about his character is impersonal or distant. God is always relational. His Trinitarian nature speaks to the very fact that God reveals himself in and through relationships.

For many people, the thought of God knowing everything about them is terrifying. For others, it is unfathomable to ponder the history of creation and realize that there never was a time that they were unknown to the Lord. God knows our thoughts every day, even long after we have completely forgotten them. This is good news, because the deepest desire of the Lord is to be...

Religious liberty is never a given

The past century has been witness to many villainous acts committed against the Christian faith in the name of hostile, and often secular, ideologies. Many of these horrors are portrayed in literature and film and with varying degrees of success. However, each in its own way presents a snapshot of the dystopias created when religious freedoms are abrogated. These books and films provide instructive reminders today as organized spiritual faith is attacked in our country by government sanction and abroad by antagonist militias for whom religious pluralism is an abomination.

There are a great number of stories dealing with the Holocaust— perhaps the greatest inhumanity perpetrated against any religious group in history. There are...

Editor’s Note

Sarah Stanley editor of R&L

The first issue of Religion & Liberty in 2016 will explore several topics from a variety of faith traditions: entrepreneurship, the International Criminal Court, business philosophy, common grace and the 18thcentury British abolition movement.

Late last year I had the privilege of interviewing Rev. Bruce Baker, a Silicon Valley veteran, entrepreneur, pastor and college professor. For this issue’s interview, he discusses the history of Silicon Valley, technocracy, how Christians can be “winsome” witnesses and more.

Charles Koch, while widely admired in many spheres, is completely disparaged in others. In a new review, Stephen Schmalhofer tackles Koch...

Charles Koch’s metaphysics of business

Review of Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World’s Most Successful Companies by Charles Koch (Crown Business, 2015)

Adam Smith, a venerable supporter of free enterprise, held businessmen in low regard, alleging that their every meeting “ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” While deference is due to his lasting insights into the sources of the values of men in The Theory of Moral Sentiments and their success in The Wealth of Nations, I observe that many executives tout their “core values,” but not all of these companies are successful. Businessman and philanthropist Charles Koch is successful by any...

The EU: global judicial despotism and the international criminal court

This essay has been excerpted from Todd Huizinga’s new book, The New Totalitarian Temptation: Global Governance and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe (Encounter Books, 2016).

The European Union’s goal of creating a post-nation-state, supranationally governed world—in which nations give up key aspects of their national sovereignty to a web of international institutions that administer and enforce a body of international law—is diametrically opposed to U.S. identity and ideals. Americans instinctively refuse to recognize as legitimate any international organization, law or treaty that claims any authority over Americans above the U.S. Constitution, particularly if that...

Common grace in ivory towers and tractor companies

Excerpted from “Getting the trophies ready: serving God in the business world,” an essay which first appeared in the Journal of Markets and Morality Spring 2015 issue. In this essay, Mouw discusses three “Kuyperian spheres” of service: academia, business and the church.

Most of the time, most of us make the linguistic transitions in our daily lives quite smoothly. We work alongside our colleagues, stop at the grocery store to make a purchase, go home to a family meal and then relax in front of our TV sets as spectators in the world of athletics. In all of that, we encounter different languages. How we talk at the workplace differs from our meal table conversations, and the...

Land of milk and honey: Innovation, entrepreneurship and Silicon Valley | An interview with Rev. Bruce Baker

What is it about Silicon Valley? Why did this agriculturally gifted valley give birth to so many of the world’s leading technology firms while simultaneously becoming the cultural landmark of the entrepreneurial spirit? Someone who not only has studied the Valley extensively but also was part of several Silicon Valley giants shares some insights with Religion & Liberty’s associate editor, Sarah Stanley.

Rev. Bruce Baker began his career interested in entrepreneurship and technology but was called to the ministry two decades in. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in applied science from the California Institute of Technology in 1978 and a Master of Business Administration from...

Hannah More [1745 – 1833]

Genius without religion is only a lamp on the outer gate of a palace; it may serve to cast a gleam of light on those that are without, while the inhabitant sits in darkness.

Talented poet, playwright, convicted moral writer and philanthropist Hannah More was arguably the most influential woman of her time. Witty and quick, she is best known for her writings on abolition and for encouraging women to get involved with the antislavery movement. She was born on February 2, 1745, near Bristol in southwest England and was the fourth of five daughters of Jacob and Mary Grace More. Jacob was a schoolmaster, and eventually his eldest daughter, Mary, followed in his footsteps, opening a school for girls in 1758. Hannah became a pupil at twelve and eventually taught there as well.

More mastered writing at a young age. When she was 17 she wrote her first play, The Search...

What is the “One and Indivisible” conference series?

In order to discuss and promote an understanding of the relationship between religious liberty and economic freedom among present and future leaders around the world, the Acton Institute has held four sessions out of a five-part international conference series titled, “One and Indivisible? The Relationship Between Religious and Economic Freedom.”

The Roman Catholic conception of religious liberty as specified in the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, is one of the most significant developments in Catholic doctrine in modern times. It has great potential for strengthening the moral and legal case for religious freedom around the world. This document provides the theological underpinnings for the conference series.

Many studies have emerged about the correlation between political and economic freedom. The...

The power of liberty

Now that the last dish and utensil for the Acton Annual Dinner has been cleared, washed and put away, we find ourselves preparing for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. This is a special season often set aside for two cornerstones of our modern civilization: worship and family, which have intersected often in literature.

In James Joyce’s classic novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, readers witness the tensions between the public life of those engaged in religious vocations and their flocks. In this instance, the protagonist’s father, Simon Dedalus, argues with Dante Riordan over Christmas dinner. The subject is whether it is proper for the parish priest to turn “the house of God into a polling booth...

Russell H. Conwell [1843 – 1925]

Greatness consists not in the holding of some future office, but really consists in doing great deeds with little means and the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life. To be great at all, one must be great here, now.

Most famous for founding Temple University (just about single handedly), Russell Herman Conwell was an accomplished minister, orator, philanthropist, soldier, lawyer, entrepreneur, writer and more. When he was 18, he enrolled at Yale University but didn’t stay there for long. After the Civil War began, he returned to his home state of Massachusetts where he became a recruiter. Even at such a young age, he was an accomplished speaker as his stirring and patriotic speeches inspired young men to immediately join the Union army.


After the culture wars

Review of Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore (B&H Books, August 2015).

For much of its existence, America has been defined as an extension of the conservative Protestant values of its first settlers. That worldview is rapidly vanishing in America, and Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the policy arm of the Southern Baptist Church, says now is the time for the church to reclaim its mission.

“We were never given a mission to promote ‘values’ in the first place, but to speak instead of sin and of righteousness and judgement, of Christ and his kingdom,” writes Moore. His new book Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel offers a blueprint for how to speak to a culture that is not only indifferent to but also openly hostile to Christianity....

There is no such thing as ‘the poor’

Angus Deaton

With the news that Angus Deaton had won the economics Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the question of how best to help the poor in developing nations takes on greater urgency. Deaton earned his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1974 and has served on the faculty at Princeton University since 1983. Throughout his career he has studied the microeconomic underpinnings of broader questions regarding consumption and saving and their implications for poverty and efforts to reduce it.

By pioneering household surveys in poor countries, Deaton helped us gain a more accurate perspective on living standards and the particular consumption realities of the global poor. These data provided...

Steward or squander: religion and environmentalism in the United States

A Review of Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism by Mark Stoll (Oxford University Press, May 2015).Steward or squander: religion and environmentalism in the United States

In his new book, Mark L. Stoll challenges the conventional green view that Christianity provides the western world a philosophy justifying anti-ecological behavior on personal, economic and political dimensions. He is a historian and the director of Environmental Studies at Texas Tech University.

Two of the most influential articles defining the culture and logic of contemporary environmentalism were published in Science Magazine in the late 1960s. Lynn White Jr....