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Religion & Liberty Article Listing

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.

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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...