Religion & Liberty Article Listing

Editor’s Note

The weighty words Metropolitan Jonah offered during his keynote address at Acton University this year showed great spiritual depth and provided blessings that flowed from a deep love of Christ. His words were inspirational for many attendees. Metropolitan Jonah is perhaps the most visible and quoted bishop in the history of the Orthodox Church in America. We are thankful for that because all Christians and Christian traditions stand to benefit from the Metropolitan's voice. In his Summer 2011 Religion & Liberty interview, he discusses asceticism and the consumer society. The interview reflects a holy individual with a authentic monastic ethic who is not afraid to engage the culture. This year kicks off the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Many readers will have noticed pieces in major newspapers reassessing the conflict. Very little about faith has been...

The Church's Social Teaching is One Consistent Body of Thought

The debate over the application of the core teachings of the Christian faith began when Jesus was presented with a Roman coin containing Caesar's image. In that moment, the Lord drew both a limitation to the legitimate power of the state, and a distinction between it and the supreme authority of Almighty God. What would unfold over the years following was a highly balanced and well thought-out hierarchy of values rooted in a core understanding of the dignity of the human person. Yet it was not so abstract a set of principles as to be incapable of providing guidance for concrete policy recommendations that nonetheless do not collapse dogmatic and unchangeable doctrine into the dynamic stuff of politics and policies.


Richard John Neuhaus

Consumerism is not simply the state of being well off, it is the spiritual disposition of being controlled by what one consumes, of living in order to consume, of living in order to have things. This, of course, is a great spiritual danger for rich and poor alike.

Father Richard John Neuhaus sought to remind people that they are, at their essence, a child of God. Neuhaus, who was born in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada, was the son of a Lutheran minister. Ordained a Lutheran minister himself in 1960, he was active in the American civil rights movement, counting Martin Luther King, Jr. as a friend. His initial parishes as a Lutheran were in the poor black and Hispanic areas of Brooklyn. He never accepted the Great Society...

Why is Acton taking on a project like the translation of Abraham Kuyper's Common Grace into English?

The Acton Institute has a strong desire to build on the significant role we are playing in contributing to the intellectual capital in evangelicalism. That is why we are collaborating with Kuyper College in Grand Rapids to produce the firstever English translation of Abraham Kuyper's seminal three-volume Common Grace. That is why Acton also acquired the Grand Rapids-based book imprint Christian's Library Press in June of 2010 and created the NIV Stewardship Study Bible with the Stewardship Council and Zondervan in 2009. We want to be a trusted and leading voice for evangelicals when it comes to developing the very best intellectual resources. Christian's Library Press will publish the translation, with the first volume scheduled to appear in the fall of 2012.

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was a Dutch theologian and statesman and his work ...

Debt, Finance, and Catholics

Debt and deficits seem to be on everyone's minds these days. Whether it be worries about the American government's fiscal woes, Europe's fragile banking system, or the debt-as-a-way-of-life culture that disfigures so many lives, many people are seeking guidance about how to release ourselves from this mess with our souls intact.

In this regard, Catholics instinctively turn to Catholic social teaching for direction. Unfortunately, modern Catholic social encyclicals have relatively little to say about financial questions. Even the 2004 Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine confines itself to very broad statements about finance and foreign debt, and it never really addresses the moral...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word - Philippians 3:21

Who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

For many, the greatest trial of life comes in the form of broken bodies, the aging process, and disabilities. Sometimes a tragic event or disease can drastically change somebody's quality of life. Through the ages, many saints have used their suffering to bring glory to God and call attention to the value of life. But many others have suffered in silence and been overtaken by despair and loneliness because of their affliction. It is why the old adage "health is more important than wealth" survives. It will not always be like that though.

Thomas Aquinas called the Transfiguration "the greatest miracle" because it showed the perfection of life in heaven. It also gives us insight into...

Saving Liberalism from Itself

Review of: Daniel J. Mahoney, The Conservative Foundations of the Liberal Order (ISI, 2010), ISBN: 978-1935191001. Hardback, 208 pages; $26.95.

When asked why he remained a liberal, albeit a conservative one, the late Richard John Neuhaus typically responded that liberalism, despite its flaws, offered the only decent politics in the modern world. First Things, the journal he founded, was dedicated to the proposition that while liberalism was a good, neither it nor any other politics was really one of the "first things." In The Conservative Foundations of the Liberal Order, Daniel J. Mahoney, a political philosopher at Assumption College, follows in this tradition of qualified...

The Church and Disaster Relief: Shelter from the Stormy Blast

Damage in Bay. St. Louis, Miss., following
Hurricane Katrina.

Christianity proclaims the future regeneration of a disordered world. The Church is an earthly reminder of that day of restoration. The Body of Christ, gathered together on Sunday but committed to the work of regeneration at all times, offers a refuge and comforting place for questions of "Why?" especially during disasters and trial. Through the ages, it has held to the hope of a brighter day. After springtime tornadoes tore through Alabama, the Rev. Kelvin Croom at College Hill Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa put it this way as he surveyed his devastated city:

Even in the days we were living with segregation...

Government and God's People

An Interview with Wayne Grudem

Wayne Grudem is the research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona. He previously taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for 20 years. He has served as the President of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, as President of the Evangelical Theological Society (1999), and as a member of the translation oversight committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible. He also served as the general editor for the ESV Study Bible (Crossway Bibles, 2008). Grudem's latest book is Politics According to the Bible (Zondervan, 2010). He recently spoke with Religion & Liberty's managing editor Ray...

Editor’s Note

The Spring 2011 issue of Religion & Liberty leads off with an interview with Wayne Grudem, author of the new book Politics According to the Bible. The author is a giant in the evangelical world. He helps all of us to think Biblically and while the book offers a political worldview, ultimately it helps us to focus on the Word made Man. That is exactly what Grudem intends. Politics According to the Bible is a superb resource for believers to think about man's relationship to the state and his Creator. It is also a handy resource for a Christian writer to have on his or her bookshelf. Grudem is the author of another book that many of us at Acton have been edified by since it was first published in 2003,...

'Social Justice' is a Complex Concept

A column by Anthony M. Stevens- Arroyo, a Catholic writer for The Washington Post, makes the claim that "Catholic social justice demands a redistribution of wealth." He went on to say that "there can be no disagreement" that unions, the government and private charities should all have a role in fighting a trend that has "concentrated" money into the hands of the few. In this conjecture, Stevens-Arroyo confused the ends with potential means.

What Stevens-Arroyo is promoting is an attenuated and truncated vision of "social justice" that has fostered a great deal of injustice throughout the world. This path, he should know, has been decisively repudiated by the...

Whittaker Chambers

Whittaker Chambers"The crisis of the Western world exists to the degree in which it is indifferent to God."

In the form of a letter to his children, Whittaker Chambers wrote in the forward to his book Witness, "A man is not primarily a witness against something. That is only incidental to the fact that he is a witness for something." Chambers is best known for his dramatic role in outing U.S. State Department official Alger Hiss as a communist spy in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1948. A communist spy himself, Chambers had a Christian conversion and declared that in 1937, he began "like Lazarus, the impossible return."

His return to the principles of freedom made him one of...

The Rich Young Man: The Law Versus Privilege

As Jesus conducted his public ministry, he drew considerable crowds. Within the throngs were, of course, the peasants of the neighborhood, along with longer-term disciples. There were many who wished to see miracles, many who wished to hear his sayings of peace, love, hope and promise. There were those who wanted reinforcement of the Law and those who wished to see some of the Law abandoned. Within all these groups were many who were troubled by personal doubt.

Jesus spoke with these people, engaging them, answering their questions, asking them questions, all the while proclaiming the authority and the efficacy of the Law. He said, "Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish - but to complete them." He then goes on – he's trying to make sure his listeners understand:...

What is Acton doing outside of the United States?

When I am out on the road and have the opportunity to meet supporters and people interested in Acton, I often get a lot of questions about our international projects. There have been a lot of new developments since I addressed this topic in the 2006 winter issue of Religion & Liberty.

Acton recently participated in the 2010 Lausanne Congress for World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa. The Lausanne Movement is an evangelical effort to promote global evangelization, and it has recently launched a formal partnership with the World Evangelical Alliance. Combined, these two organizations represent some 430 million Christians. A special edition of the NIV Stewardship Study Bible was made available to attendees at the Cape Town conference and additional translations of the study Bible will soon be available in popular languages. At Lausanne, we were...

Constantine and the Great Transformation

Review of: Peter J. Leithart, Defending Constantine (IVP Academic, 2010), ISBN: 978-0-8308-2722-0.

The argument that the lifting of the persecutions of early Christians and the subsequent expansion of the Christian faith led to a "fall" of the Christian Church is more widespread than we may believe. Academics have defended it for years. Popular Christianity, especially conservative Protestantism, takes it as a truth second only to the Gospel.

Towering over this argument is Constantine the Great. When Constantine faced the final battle that would determine if he became Rome's new emperor, he saw a cross shining in the sky above the sun and heard the words, "By this sign conquer." He took it to mean that divine providence chose him to be the emperor of a new and undivided Rome. His soldiers went to battle with a...