Religion & Liberty Article Listing

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...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word - Hebrews 1:3

The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Augustine said the expression "at the right hand" places Christ in a state of "perfect blessedness." Additionally, Christ is a ruler. In what manner does he rule and reign? The author of Hebrews references His suffering and sacrificing for humanity as the perfect lamb. His love and compassion was evident throughout His earthly ministry. His suffering for us knew no limit, just like His love.

But some Christians focus only on Christ up to His resurrection and miss the full power, reign, and authority He holds over all creation. There are benefits to Christ's ascension that have direct implications for us. We know...

Social Leveling: Socialism and Secularism

Social leveling is something that we typically associate with the destruction of material differences between human beings. It is the socialist dream of a classless society in which distinctions, usually the result of economic variation, are made irrelevant. The state, empowered by the political action of the masses (or at least a group claiming to speak for the masses), works to gain control of the wealth and property of a society and then to redistribute it in such a way as to make people equal. It should be obvious that this type of action vastly increases the power of the state because it becomes the effective owner of all property.

Aristotle (384 - 322 BC)

Although socialism aims to wipe out...

Bringing Forward Tradition - An Interview with Thomas C. Oden

Thomas OdenThomas C. Oden is a retired theology professor at The Theological School of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He is author of numerous theological works, including the threevolume systematic theology The Word of Life, Life in the Spirit, and The Living God. Currently he is director of the Center for Early African Christianity at Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He is the general editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and the Ancient Christian Doctrine series. He recently spoke with Religion & Liberty's managing editor Ray Nothstine.

R&L: You have said your path to orthodox theology really began through patristics. Why...

Editor’s Note

We should always look to drink deeply from the rich wells of Christian tradition and Thomas C. Oden helps us to do exactly that. Oden has committed much of his work to lifting up the voice of the Church Fathers. John Wesley, who is the founder of Oden's own Methodist tradition, proclaimed, "The Fathers are the most authentic commentators on Scripture, for they were nearest the fountain and were eminently endued with that Spirit by whom all Scripture was given." Wesley took with him the wisdom of patristics to the great evangelical revival in 18th century England.

By treading back along the ancient path, Oden has made that path fresh and new for many followers of the Good News. As you will see in the interview, patristic sources offer wisdom and guidance to the kind of issues and problems we face today. Their voice is never a...

Reading Centesimus Annus

Grasping the authentic significance of Centesimus Annus requires two approaches. First, one must read the encyclical on its own merits, independently of previous papal teaching. As objectively as possible, one can exegete its various passages to discern its thrust and priorities. Then one must read the document in the context of previous social pronouncements by the magisterium over the past 100 years and see what new themes, developments, and directions the present encyclical initiates.

When read for its own sake, Centesimus Annus emerges as an uncompromising rejection of collectivism in its Marxist, communist, socialist, and even welfare-statist manifestations. While the encyclical allows for a certain amount of intervention by the state in such areas as wage levels, social security, unemployment insurance, and the like (always according to...