The Kuyperian Commentary

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

Archive for the category “Brief Commentary”

Aaron’s Rod Swallowed Their Rods

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by Marc Hays

Christian, do you feel as though the enemy has won a victory?  Is your pessimillenialism lingering just under the surface ready to burst through with eschatological doom and cliches about polishing the brass on a sinking ship?

If so, C. H. Spurgeon offers sage advice in his devotional, Mornings and EveningsRead more…

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Roots of a British Awakening?

A guest post by Thomas S Kidd

My family and I just returned from two weeks in the U.K., and while we were there, several major British religion news events transpired. First, on a day we happened to be in Edinburgh, Church of Scotland delegates voted to allow gay ministers. Then, when we returned to London, came the appalling murder of a British solider by two Muslims, one of whom was arrested in Kenya in 2010 for seeking al-Qaeda training. Finally, a new study of U.K. census data indicated that within a decade, perhaps less than half of all people in Britain will identify even nominally as Christians.Michael-Adebolajo-1912414

These disparate developments suggest several religious patterns: first, prominent churches in the U.K. seem generally inclined to follow the lead of mainline denominations in the U.S. and Canada on issues related to gender and homosexuality. The Church of England has recently decided to ordain celibate homosexuals as bishops, and has issued a new plan to ordain women bishops within two years. These developments make inevitable more difficulties between the shrinking mainline churches in the west, and the burgeoning ones in the global south, which are generally more traditional on issues of sexuality.

Second, the U.K. (like much of Eurjeffertsschori_2_300(1)ope) has a pressing problem of how to handle its growing Muslim population, some fraction of which are jihadist sympathizers. (Anecdotally, I was struck by how ubiquitous the signs of Islam are in the U.K., from mosques to burqa-clad women.) While America’s Muslim population remains proportionately low, especially outside of large cities, in the U.K. a tenth of the under-25 population is now Muslim, and the self-identifying Christian population is stagnant and aging. If it were not for Christian immigrants to the U.K. from sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, Christianity would be in utter free-fall as a percentage of the British population.

Abandoned_ChapelThird, the legal establishment of the Church of England looks increasingly strange and antiquated, when you consider how Christianity (Anglican or otherwise) is losing even a nominal hold over much of the population. It is hard to imagine how the church will survive calls for its disestablishment (meaning withdrawal of state financial support and other trends toward stronger separation of church and state) unless a very different pattern emerges in the next generation. In a democratic country, it seems impossible to justify an established Christian church when so few actively practice Christianity, and when even nominal Christianity seems destined to command no more than a plurality of the population’s  adherence. Yet the British government – particularly the monarchy – is still closely identified with Christianity. They still pray “God save the queen” in Anglican liturgies.

Given all this, is there hope for Christian revival in Britain? Christians, of course, always believe there is hope for redemption and renewal, because of God’s power. The observable facts are not promising, but there are certainly pockets of flourishing Christianity in Britain. The Kingsway International Christian Centre, an African Pentecostal congregation which is London’s largest church, attracts as many as 12,000 attendees every Sunday, and there are many other growing immigrant-dominated congregations across the U.K. Evangelical renewal efforts within the Anglican Church include the Alpha Course, pioneered by Nicky Gumbel (see more on the Alpha Course in this Anxious Bench post by Philip Jenkins).

While my family was blessed to attend Evensong services at both St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, the most vital church we visited was an evangelical Baptist congregation in Stirling, Scotland, which sits prominently in the city center. While nowhere near the scale of Kingsway, it is filled with young Scottish families. The worship is heartfelt, the preaching biblical and accessible, and community life and prayer support are vibrant. Those factors, enlivened by the Holy Spirit, would seem to be essential ingredients for revival in the U.K. and beyond.

@ThomasSKidd on Twitter

Thomas Kidd is a contributing scholar to The Kuyperian Commentary. His newest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in 2011 with Basic Books.

[This article first appeared at The Anxious Bench. Read more from Dr. Kidd there.]

Why I am Proud to be an American

By Uri Brito

In the best sense of the term, this has been a very patriotic weekend for me. It began on Thursday evening at the Banquet for Life hosted by Safe Harbor. Safe Harbor is a ministry the saints of Providence have invested in for quite a few years. It is more than just another pro-life ministry, it is a labor that saw 162 women this past year choose life rather than live with the blood of the innocent in their hands for the rest of their lives. They provide counseling, medical help, and the environment to best guide confused young women out of their present chaos.

At their annual fundraising banquet they invited Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum was still living off the energy of last year’s election. The Senator from Pennsylvania shocked the nation by losing to Mitt Romney by only eight votes in Iowa and going on to win several other primaries. Though Santorum was no match for the prosperous GOP establishment candidate, the Senator was still able to leave a lasting impression in the GOP Primary.

Santorum observed in his speech that though he had opined continuously on the state of the economy and on other pertinent matters, the media chose not to pursue the Senator’s opinion on these issues, but rather focus on some of his more “extreme” ideas. Ideas like opposition to abortion, which according to the general American public are far from extreme. Yet, we are at such a stage in the civil discourse that when anyone speaks passionately about any moral issue, he is already termed a radical. To hell with logic! Read more…

Questions Science Will Never Solve?

by Adam McIntosh

Blogger George Dvorsky for Altering Perspectives has written a piece titled, 8 Great Philosophical Questions That We’ll Never Solve. Dvorsky’s premise is that philosophy goes where “hard science” cannot, therefore some of the most fundamental questions of our existence cannot be answered with absolute certainty. The eight questions listed in the article are: Why is there something rather than nothing? Is our universe real? Do we have free will? Does God exist? Is there life after death? Can you really experience anything objectively? What is the best moral system? And What are numbers?

The Christian faith, of course, has answers to all of these questions to some degree. We may not have exhaustive knowledge of every topic but we do possess a view of reality that is consistent within itself and that serves as a guide for philosophical musings. As for Dvorsky, not so much. On the existence of the universe:

Why is there all this stuff in the universe, and why is it governed by such exquisitely precise laws? And why should anything exist at all? We inhabit a universe with such things as spiral galaxies, the aurora borealis, and SpongeBob Squarepants.”

Read more…

The New Kingdom Almanac: Alfred the Great, White Horse King

Alfred the Great, son of Æthelwulf of Wessex (West Saxons), vanquisher of the Danish warlord Guthrum, victor of the field of Ethandun, warrior king and royal servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was on this day, May 6 anno Domini 878, after having spent years studying the methods of the Viking raiders and engineering many advances in field and naval combat[1], that the Anglo-Saxon King Alfreda defeated the cruel Northmen of Scandinavia and preserved Christendom in Britannia, thus making the unification of that land possible for the first time since the occupation of the Roman Legions four centuries earlier [2].
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Read more…

Evangelicals, Damning Statistics, and Bible Reading, Part I

By Uri Brito

The results are in and they don’t look good. Christianity Today reports on the Sex Lives of Unmarried Evangelicals. The two surveys offer differing numbers, but the conclusion is summarized in this manner:

Bible Reading? Evangelicals who infrequently read the Bible were 70 percent more likely to have been recently sexually active than frequent Bible readers.

Church Attendance? Evangelicals who attend church less than weekly were more than twice as likely to have been recently sexually active than weekly attenders.

Conversion? Of the sexually active singles, 92 percent had sex after becoming“born again.” That’s largely because the average age when evangelicals under 40 became “born again” was 8.

Evangelical statistics have a way of increasing our national Christian guilt, which is something that usually is already mighty high. Furthermore, the numbers usually paint a more pessimistic picture than what is actually taking place. My general principle when dealing with these statistics is to cut the percentage by a third. When the oft-cited “50% of Christian married couples end in divorce” statistic is referenced, this usually means about 35% of Christian married couples divorce. Those original statistics also included Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. A Non-Trinitarian marriage is anything but a Christian marriage.

But however you do the math, the numbers are still frightening. No one can deny that they reflect a weak evangelicalism. It is not that evangelical churches are fully entertainment driven without any substance, but that the substance they offer is not sustaining, and therefore leading our young generations to find pleasure is worldly entertainment. Part of this worldly entertainment is the casualness of the sex culture.

Since this is the case, we have responded in the way we evangelicals do best: we have over-reacted. Read more…

How Christians Can Utilize Twitter

The latest issue of The Weekly Standard includes a rant against Twitter by Matt Labash, who does not have a Twitter account. I am on Twitter, and I like it a lot. Of course, it has its vapid and vicious aspects, but all in all, I find that Twitter is the most useful means of staying apprised of a ideologically and geographically wide range of opinion and news, and simultaneously the easiest means of connecting with like-minded folks. It is also striking another damaging blow against the tunnel vision of the mainstream media.

I sympathize with Labash to a certain extent – anything truly novel is likely to be bad, and a reflexive opposition to newfangled ideas is probably going to be vindicated much of the time. Newfangled technology, however, may just improve upon older, useful products, and the best of today’s information technology often represents methods of communicating that are very similar to what scrolls, books, newspapers and magazines have been doing for a long time. Twitter’s limit of 140 characters is not nearly as significant as people like Labash suggest – 95% of what I share on Twitter includes links to longer-form material, such as articles in The Weekly Standard.

Twitter_Town_Hall

Read the rest with more helpful links at The Anxious Bench

Thomas Kidd is a contributing scholar to The Kuyperian Commentary. His newest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in 2011 with Basic Books.

Further Topical Reading:
“Why Most Christians Should Use Facebook!” ~ Uri Brito, KuypComm Founder

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George of Lydda: Patron Saint of Civil Disobedience

Posted by Aaron W EleyGreater Coat_of_Arms_of_Georgia
On this day, the 23rd of April, Christians throughout many countries in the world will be observing Georgemas, more commonly referred to as the Feast of St. George of Lydda. George is remembered as the Patron Saint of England, Libya, Lebanon, and many others including being the object of devotion of the country of Georgia (whose flag bears the Jerusalem Cross)[1], Catalonia, Aragon and others. Indeed, St. George’s Day will be celebrated nationally in England and the City of London over which the familiar ‘red cross on a white field’ of the Flag of St. George, the standard emblem of the Crusades, will be flown.

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George was born in AD 270, in what is now Eastern Turkey, to Grecian parents of the Christian faith [2]. His father was from Cappadocia in Asia Minor and his mother from Lydda [3], which was briefly renamed Georgiopolis before the Muslim Conquest of the Levant ended that city’s Roman Period in the 7th century.

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Tomb of St. George, Lydda

Georgios (Gr. ‘worker of the land’) was a Greek of noble birth. At the age of 14, George’s father died while serving as an officer in the Roman Army. A few years later, George also lost his mother [4]. Read more…

Can North Carolina Make Christianity Its Official Religion?

Rowan CountyThomas Kidd is a contributing scholar to The Kuyperian Commentary. His newest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in 2011 with Basic Books.

North Carolina legislators recently made an ill-fated attempt to introduce Christianity as the state’s official religion. The move was precipitated by an ACLU lawsuit against the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, a board notorious for allowing people to utter Jesus’s name in prayers at their meetings. The establishment proposal generated a predictably breathless response from the left. WaPo’s Alexandra Petri sarcastically wrote, “The North Carolina state legislature can totally establish a state religion. The Founders specifically said so in Article III, in the part where the letters “EXCEPT NORTH CAROLINA CAN DO WHAT IT WANTS” appear in bold flashing letters.” Read more…

Understanding the Puritans

The scholarly study of the Puritans has been marked in recent years by attempts to understand them in a fully transatlantic context. This follows a broader trend in early American history to focus on “Atlantic world” perspectives, rather than proto-national American ones. While others could view this de-emphasizing of the future United States as ideologically dubious, I think it is a sanguine development for understanding the Puritans in their own places and time. ~ Thomas S Kidd, PhD Read more…

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