Image

Religion & Liberty Article Listing

Rethinking Mission to the Poor: An Interview with Dolphus Weary

Dolphus Weary grew up in segregated Mississippi and then moved to California to attend school in 1967. He is one of the first black graduates of Los Angeles Baptist College. He returned to Mississippi to lead Mendenhall Ministries, a Christ-centered community outreach organization that takes a holistic approach to solving problems of poverty. Currently, Dolphus Weary is president of R.E.A.L. Christian Foundation in Richland, Miss., which strives to empower and develop rural ministries to improve the lives of Mississippians. Among his academic degrees, Dolphus Weary has received a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss. He is a nationally sought speaker and writer and serves on numerous boards...

Editor's Note

More than anything else, Dolphus Weary brings credibility to the issues of poverty and economic and spiritual development. His life itself is a testimony. Weary grew up under difficult social and economic circumstances in Mississippi. He has harnessed his own life experience to lead others out of the cycle of poverty and hopelessness. His model for holistic outreach to the poor with Mendenhall Ministries has been widely adopted in other parts of the country. The Mendenhall Ministries received national recognition by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, when it was recognized as one of the Daily Points of Light.

Weary's book I Ain't Comin' Back is the perfect reminder that the heartbreaking issue of poverty is not a hopeless one but rather, at its fundamental level, it is an opportunity to serve. Today he continues to serve his community and many that...

The Church as the Bride of Caesar

It is telling that the Washington Post report on the religious Left's Circle of Protection campaign for big government describes the effort as one that would "send chills through any politician who looks to churches and religious groups as a source of large voting blocs," because, in fact, this is not an honest faith-inspired campaign to protect the "least of these" from Draconian government cuts, as claimed. It is a hyper-political movement that offers up the moral authority of churches and aid organizations to advance the ends of the Obama administration and its allies in Congress.

The Circle of Protection, led by Jim Wallis and his George Soros-funded Sojourners group, is advancing a false narrative based on vague threats to the "most vulnerable" if we finally take the first tentative steps to fix our grave budget and debt...

Oliver Ellsworth

Liberty is a word which, according as it is used, comprehends the most good and the most evil of any in the world.

Oliver Ellsworth played an instrumental role in the shaping of the early Republic. Not only did he ratify the constitution but he also served as Chief Justice of the United States from 1796 to 1800. Ellsworth, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Connecticut, is credited with dropping the term "national" for the arm of the central government and replacing it with "federal."

At the convention, Ellsworth played a major role in passing the Great Compromise, which allowed U.S. Senators to be elected by state...

Why does the Acton Institute publish the Journal of Markets & Morality?

The Acton Institute has long recognized the critical importance that first-rate scholarship plays in the development of "a free and virtuous society." The Journal of Markets & Morality is a peer-reviewed academic journal. The journal is the flagship publication with which the institute shapes the larger academic and intellectual conversation about the free economy.

The journal is truly interdisciplinary in an era where it can be very difficult to cover academic subjects from a variety of perspectives, and even more difficult to find those that actually are able to execute that intention effectively. So, the journal engages economic, political, historical, theological, and philosophical topics from scholars working out of their own disciplines. But it is not enough to leave these issues isolated from the critical perspectives of other methodologies...

The Separation of Church and Art

There is a trend among evangelicals to engage in social reform without first developing a coherent social philosophy to guide the agenda. To bridge this gap, Acton Institute and Kuyper College are partnering together to translate Abraham Kuyper's seminal three-volume work on common grace (De gemeene gratie). The below excerpt is from Wisdom & Wonder: Common Grace in Science & Art, the first published selection from the broader project forthcoming later this year from Christian's Library Press. Common grace, as Kuyper conceived it, was a theology of public responsibility and cultural engagement, rooted in Christians'...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word - Ruth 1:16,17

But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me."

These words from Ruth are perhaps among the most well-known passages in the Old Testament. The book of Ruth is a story about the redemption of God's people. It wonderfully contrasts the wisdom and ways of God with the wisdom of man. The book of Ruth takes place at the same time as the book of Judges. In Judges, "everybody did what is right in their own eyes." Ruth and the other central characters in that book do what is right in the eyes of God.

Ruth's mother-in-law, Naomi, is in despair, broken-hearted, and she...

Claiming California for God: The Great Southern Migration

Review of Darren Dochuk's From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the rise of Evangelical Conservatism (ISI, Dec 2010) ISBN: 978-0-393-06682-1. Hardback, 520 pages; $28.99.

Southern evangelicals that, beginning in the 1930s, left their towns and farms for the fresh optimism and opportunities of Southern California transformed a region, molding it into their own. Darren Dochuk's account From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the rise of Evangelical Conservatism tells the story of the vast Depression era migration of those who not only sought better economic opportunity but showed up ready to win souls and influence the culture. In 1969, "At...

The Great Harvest: Revival in the Confederate Army during the Civil War

"Oh for a revival throughout the Confederacy!" exclaimed the editor of the Macon (GA) Daily Telegraph in 1862. The paper was commenting on an outpouring of the Gospel throughout the town, while reporting on food shortages, ordinances, and the latest news from the front lines of the American Civil War. The war's second season was a reality check for many Southerners as the Federal blockade, inefficiencies of the Confederate government, and devastating casualties of Shiloh and Antietam dimmed the glow of many sunshine secessionists. Austerity fell upon Dixie, and fell hard, and in such times as in other places and in other conflicts, people turned to faith. Indeed revival would soon spread throughout the region; not in...

Asceticism and the Consumer Society: An Interview with Metropolitan Jonah

The Orthodox Church is mostly known in the United States for its rich liturgical life, its adherence to ancient calendars for major Christian feast-days and, perhaps most of all, the many food and ethnic festivals offered by its multiethnic parishes. Social activism and moral witness in the public square, not so much. That has begun to change with the rise of Metropolitan Jonah, the primate of the Orthodox Church in America. This youthful bishop, born James Paffhausen in Chicago and raised in Southern California before entering monastic life in Russia, was elected to lead the OCA in November 2008. Since then, he has perhaps been the most widely quoted and covered Orthodox bishop in the United States, speaking out on social issues and...

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...