The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Author Archive

Top Ten Books Pastors Should Read

This post was originally published at the Becoming Human blog. You can read the entirety of the post here.

Every time I see a list of the “Top Ten Books for Pastors” I can almost always guess what they’ll be. I may be wrong on which specific books will be suggested, but I’m always right on what kind of books will be suggested: non-fiction. Allow me to diverge from the regular fare of book suggestions.books1

Read more…

A Critique of American Christianism

by Matt Bianco

I’ve been reading a lot of works by and about the great Southern author, Flannery O’Connor, as you can tell by another recent post of mine. I recently had a chance to read and contemplate one of her short stories, “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”

That this story is a critique of the conflation of being American and being Christian should be recognizable, but O’Connor’s subtlety may be just enough for some readers to miss it. Many Americans tend to identify as people who believe in God, maybe even in Christ, just by virtue of the cultural milieu of their day. Americans believe in God, I am an American, therefore I believe God. You can even hear an Aristotelian syllogism in that.

This kind of American Christianism, however, is not incarnated in the life of these Americans. This Christianism is something you assent to, mentally, but it doesn’t affect the way you think or act. Jesus is a word that is used only in the church building–unless you’re angry–and your faith is something you do on Sundays or maybe even just with your heart.

Read more…

Book Review: The Incarnational Art of Flannery O’Connor

The Incarnational Art of Flannery O'ConnorThe Incarnational Art of Flannery O’Connor by Christina Bieber Lake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is just phenomenal. Christina Bieber Lake is amazing in this book. She is interesting and keeps you moving through the book. She brings in philosophers and authors to shed light onto O’Connor’s writings. She frequently references books that O’Connor read or underlined and often does so in the context of O’Connor having read that book while writing a particular novella or short story.

Read more…

A Sabbath Question

The Westminster Confession of Faith says this about the Sabbath:

VIII. This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

In defense of the Sabbath for Christians, some have argued that the reason we don’t appreciate the Sabbath is because we don’t appreciate the other half of the commandment: to work six days.

In other words, if we honored the commandment to work six days, we’d be much more inclined to rest on the seventh. This post is brief, in that the combination of these two points, 1. working six days and 2. resting the seventh, raises one question for me.

When do we play?

Is play a subcategory of work, so we play on the six days of the week that we work? Or, is play a subcategory of rest, so we play on the seventh day of rest?

The Westminster Confession of Faith defines rest and Sabbath-keeping so that it explicitly excludes play: “are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.”

So when do we play? What are your thoughts on this question?

Matt Bianco is a PCA elder, the homeschooling father of three children, a result of his marriage to his altogether lovely high school sweetheart, Patty.

The Trinity: Weird Math, Obscure Doctrine, or Heart of the Christian Life?

Since belief in the Trinity lies at the very heart of the Christian faith, a tiny difference in Trinitarian theology may well have repercussions upon every aspect of Christian life and thought.[1]13th Century Trinity Shield

Trinitarian theology is just that, the very heart of the Christian faith, yet Christianity has largely pushed Trinitarian theology to the sidelines. As some have pointed out, it has become nothing more than an awkward mathematical formula that we must accept as part of the faith, but has little to no bearing on our lives beyond that. By way of illustration, the very word processor I’m typing this post into keeps trying to change my use of the word Trinitarian into the word Unitarian!

Read more…

What I Learned About Education from James K.A. Smith

I recently interviewed Calvin College professor of Philosophy and author, James K.A. Smith. Dr. Smith has written books such as Desiring the Kingdom, Imagining the Kingdom, the forthcoming Embodying the Kingdom, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?, and more.

We primarily discussed his book, Desiring the Kingdom, and he made some points that I thought were worth revisiting.

First, when it comes to education, we are going to educate primarily based on our answer to the question, “What is man?” If we imagine humans to be consumers, our education will look similar to public education. If we imagine humans to be primarily thinkers, we will educate another way. But, if we imagine humans to be primarily worshipers, then our education will look another way.

Read more…

When Will Christ Return? Why Your Eschatology Matters

Paul wrote two letters to the Church in Thessalonica, both of which address the question of the second coming. What is more interesting than trying to untangle what exactly he was teaching in regards to eschatology is the other issues he address in relation to the second coming.

  1. Paul encourages the believers in Thessalonica to be strong in the face of persecution (1 Thess. 2:14, 3:1-4).
  2. Paul addresses sexual immorality in the church at Thessalonica (1 Thess. 4:1-8).
  3. Paul wants them to continue loving one another (1 Thess. 4:9-10).
  4. Paul wants them to work hard (1 Thess. 4:11-12).

It seems Paul had to write a couple of letters to the Thessalonians because their misunderstandings regarding the second coming were affecting their behavior. They were grumbling about persecution, they were engaging in sexual immorality, they were questioning the need to continue loving one another, and they were growing lazy. He doesn’t tell them when Christ will return, but he does give indication that their understanding of Christ’s return matters. Read more…

Marx, Emanuel, and Obama, Oh My!

* Matt Bianco is an elder in the PCA. He is a married, homeschooling father of three. 

Karl Marx had a certain theory of ideas, one that we see in play even today. Well, Marx had a lot of ideas and theories that we see being enacted and lived out today, but one specifically I want to consider in this post.

Karl Marx believed that ideas resulted from our experiences, specifically the situations we faced in life. What is he saying? Well, first, what is he not saying? Marx is not just saying that there are ideas, norms, that make up life–that allow us to make sense out of life–whose interpretation and application are simply colored by our experiences. For example, as a postmillennialist, I believe that history is heading in a certain direction, to wit, a positive direction in which the rule of Jesus Christ will be experienced and known in history. I believe this; it is a norm in my life, but my interpretation and application of it can be colored by my experiences. If my life goes fairly well, I have a successful career and a Godly, happy family, I see these as the fruits of history heading in that direction. If my life is a bit rougher, and I experience the pain and suffering of sickness and death in my family, then I see these as the crosses by which the Kingdom will be made manifest. In both cases, I continue believing in the norm of a postmillennial future. In the former case, I see that happening without too many hiccups, while in the latter case, I emphasize the cross as the means to that future. This, however, is not what Karl Marx is describing.

Read more…

Is the Bible a Panacea for Poor Government?

What is the role of the government? To be sure, this question is answered in different ways by different people.

Libertarian: to get out of the way.

Conservative: to protect and defend us, our property, and our rights.

Liberal: to protect us from ourselves.

Bible: to punish evildoers and reward the righteous.

At first glance, these seem to be mutually exclusive, especially when we consider what each group means by those statements. Read more…

What if Church and State Aren’t Separated? A Comparison

I spent eight days in Ireland recently, and while I was there I was struck by the way the Irish people approach their government–along with similarities I’ve seen in my travels in other European countries. What follows is an overly simplistic description of that approach. I want to compare it to the approach we take in the States. The result will be not so much a judgment of which is better or worse, but rather what the ramifications of each are.At the Crossroads

The United States is a nation of people whose identity is defined by two things: Read more…

Post Navigation