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Religion & Liberty Article Listing

Common Grace in Business: A Roundtable Discussion

An Interview with Sidney Jansma, Jr., Milton H. Kuyers, and Michelle Van Dyke

In Reformed theology, common grace refers to the special favor of God common to all humankind. But how do you translate this conceptual knowledge into actual understanding and practice in the workplace?

Abraham Kuyper

Abraham Kuyper

The Acton Institute and the Calvin Center for Innovation in Business at Calvin College explored this question on October 31, 2014, during a cosponsored Symposium on Common Grace. The event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, brought members of the faith, academic, and business communities together to explore and discuss Dutch theologian, journalist, and statesman Abraham Kuyper’s work on common...

Editor's Note

In the fall of 2014, business people, scholars, and theologians converged on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the Symposium on Common Grace in Business. The event was conceived and cosponsored by the Calvin business department and the Acton Institute as a way of highlighting Abraham Kuyper’s theological work on common grace—the grace that God extends to everyone that enables him or her to do good—in the business world. The gathering was also a celebration of Acton’s translation and publication in English of volume one of Kuyper’s seminal three-volume work on common grace (De Gemeene Gratie).

We’re leading this Winter 2015 issue of Religion & Liberty with a roundtable discussion by three prominent business people who discuss how common grace has a direct, and transformative, application in...

Joy in the New Year

On the cusp of a new year, it is human nature to spend time looking to the past and anticipating what is to come. January, of course, is named for Janus, the Roman god of two faces, one looking back and one looking to the future.

We wish the best for the coming year. We hope and pray for goodness and peace, but we know that humans often choose otherwise. I suspect it is part of the melancholy that settles in for some people this time of year.

God willing, Pope Francis will visit the City of Brotherly Love in the U.S. in 2015. Philadelphia is a fit setting for a pope who so embodies an openness to all people. In my mind's eye, I see Pope Francis embracing the handicapped, the disfigured, the young, and the old: all who gather in St. Peter's Square, hoping just to catch a glimpse of him.

For Catholics, Pope Francis has declared 2015 the Year of...

Leonard Liggio

Leonard Liggio

Mankind has survived by moral customs and by law, and has been undermined by momentary decisions and by legislation. Based on change over time and by the test of standards by trial and error, traditions and law provide guidance for success in contrast to momentary decision and legislation.

On October 14, 2014, the free market movement lost a great friend with the passing of Leonard Liggio (1933-2014), affectionately known as the "Johnny Appleseed of Classical Liberalism." Liggio was a thinker, a doer, and a giver. He was known not just for his profound thought and powerful influence, but his great service to other people. He played a central role in the revival of classical liberalism, famously saying...

What's left to accomplish in the Acton@25 Capital Campaign?

Very soon, Acton will arrive at its 25th Anniversary and the conclusion of the Acton@25 Capital Campaign. In response to a burgeoning demand for our work, we launched a capital campaign in 2012 to support Acton's physical expansion and programmatic growth. Since moving to our new workspace, we have been able to plan larger-than-ever conferences, produce a DVD curriculum and documentary, and situate our unique collection of 13,000 books. Perhaps most encouraging, nearly 2,000 people have attended our in-house lectures to learn more about free enterprise, individual liberty, and personal responsibility!

We are just under $1 million away from reaching our $12.5 million campaign goal, which we are determined to accomplish by our twenty-fifth anniversary next year.

Some of the projects that we hope to complete:

  • Finishing our television studio...

In Praise of the Bourgeois, Liberty-Loving Race of Hobbits

The Hobbit Party

Review of The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom that Tolkien Got and the West Forgot by Jonathan Witt and Jay Richards, (Ignatius Press, 2014). 232 pages. $21.95.

"First they ignore it, then they ridicule it, then they willfully misunderstand it, then it becomes a classic." Mohandas Gandhi never said that about great works of...

Our Competitive Entitlement Economy

Money

Rights obsessiveness has made us the world's second-largest social spender.

It's not unusual for non-Americans, and many Americans of a center-left disposition, to portray the United States as a dog-eat-dog society: one in which the poor are left to fend for themselves and where a night-watchman state doesn't intervene, save in extreme circumstances and often not until it's too late. It's a mantra that's endlessly repeated, from the academy to the pulpit, from Congress to your local council.

Judging, however, from the latest update on global social expenditure released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)—hardly a den of infamous "neoliberal...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word - John 6:40

For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

The sixth chapter of John is one of the most familiar passages in the New Testament. It starts with Christ feeding the five thousand and includes one of the seven "I am" statements. Christ declares, "I am the bread of life," who comes to feed the multitude (John 6:35). The chapter concludes with many disciples deserting him. The declarations of Christ and his teaching proved too difficult for many, just as it does today.

John 6:40 is one of the most important passages in the New Testament. The verse has proven to be an essential evangelistic message preached throughout the world. It's a simple statement about the will of the Father, our salvation, and our eternal purpose in Christ....

We Are Not the Center of the Universe

We Are Not The Center of the Universe

Review of Russ Roberts' How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life – An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness (Portfolio, October 2014) Hardcover, 272 pages, $27.95

Adam Smith is conventionally thought of in a very specific manner: He is the "father of economics," the man who gave birth to the very idea that self-interest is a good thing and that seeking profits was among the most socially productive endeavors a man could undertake. But what many people are unaware of is that Adam Smith was also a moral philosopher and social psychologist (and one of the greats). In fact, it was his Theory of Moral Sentiments that first brought Adam Smith to fame, not his...

Inside the Conservative Mind

Birzer

An Interview with Bradley Birzer

Bradley J. Birzer says that being a conservative "has little to do with politics, but instead has much to do with identifying and preserving excellence in art, culture, literature and scholarship. It means to identify and conserve the particular talents, dignity and freedom of each individual and, where possible, to connect all persons across time from the beginning of things to the end." If that sounds more than a little Kirkean, it is no accident. Birzer, who holds a Ph.D. in history from Indiana University, is the co-founder of The Imaginative Conservative and holds the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History at Hillsdale College in Michigan. He is at work on a new book titled ...

Editor's Note

To kick off this special Summer/ Fall double issue of Religion & Liberty, we talk with scholar Bradley J. Birzer whose new biography of Russell Kirk examines the intellectual development of one of the most important men of letters in the twentieth century. We discuss the roots of Kirk's thought and how it developed over time, in a characteristically singular fashion. Kirk, the author of The Conservative Mind, was not easily pigeonholed into ideological categories – fitting for a man once described as "the most individual anti-individualist of his day."

We review two new books. Economist David Hebert tells us that Russ Robert's How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life – An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness is a helpful reminder about the "limits of pure economics." Even though the books and film...

Why is 'For The Life of the World' such a valuable and popular film for expanding our audience at Acton?

"For the Life of the World: Letter to the Exiles," a film series produced by the Acton Institute, is receiving a lot of attention for its crisp and entertaining visuals as well as rich content. Andy Crouch, the executive editor of Christianity Today said, "'For the Life of the World' is the best treatment of faith & culture ever put on a screen. Just outstanding." I'm delighted that we succeeded in creating something so strong theologically as well as so thoroughly entertaining.

Our most important mission at Acton is to introduce a free and virtuous society to new audiences worldwide. We have done that with a number of recent projects including PovertyCure and Poverty Inc. As an organization, we have never been better equipped to reach people.

"For the Life of the World," a seven-part series,...

Our Prodigal Generation

As a pastor, parents often share with me the grief they have when a child of theirs leaves the faith. I won't bore you with statistics, but suffice it to say that many young adults today seem to leave their faith behind, shedding it as if it were one more remnant of childhood to be boxed up and stored in Mom and Dad's attic.

I know a woman who understands this heartache. While she was a woman of great faith, her husband was not. He was violent and abusive. The woman tried to raise her three children well, but in such an atmosphere, it was difficult. And yet, two of her three children became exemplary Christians. Her other child, a son, was a brilliant young man who thought faith had no place in a reasonably lived life. All the woman could do was pray.

And pray she did, for years. She watched her son make terrible decisions: alcohol, sexual licentiousness,...

Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams

How difficult the task to quench the fire and the pride of private ambition, and to sacrifice ourselves and all our hopes and expectations to the public weal! How few have souls capable of so noble an undertaking.

In the precarious time of the American Revolution, members of the Continental Congress left their wives and children in order to establish a new American country. During this time John and Abigail Adams begin writing letters to each other that by the end of their lives totaled more than 1,100. Abigail served as a confidante and advisor to the first vice president and second president of the United States.

Abigail was born in colonial Massachusetts in 1744 to a Congregationalist...

An Epic of Ideas

The Life of an Idea by Edmund Fawcett

Review of Liberalism: The Life of an Idea by Edmund Fawcett (Princeton University Press, 2014) 468 pages; $35.00.

Russell Kirk published The Conservative Mind in 1953, which provided the history of modern conservative thought from Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke to George Santayana. Later updated to include T. S. Eliot, Kirk's study was a long overdue examination of conservatism's history; first principles; prominent and less-so great thinkers; theoretical, theosophical and philosophical underpinnings; and practice. When it was published, The...