The Kuyperian Commentary

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

Archive for the tag “Peter Leithart”

Double Vision Check

by Sean Johnson
eye test lenses double-vision anagogical vision
Recently, some comments from Peter Leithart got me thinking about the ways different folks interpret Revelation, which in turn got me thinking about the ways they interpret current events. It seemed, in my armchair musings, that our interpretations of the news have a lot to do with our eschatology, and I’m not just talking about the 666-handbasket-of-the-whore-of-Babylon-Five folks, either. Read more…

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.

St-George-Cross-England-Flag_4

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.

La_Tomba_di_San_Giorgio

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…

What Saint Peter Really Said

"That's just the funny thing about it, Sir," said Peter. "Up till now, I'd have said Lucy every time."

“That’s just the funny thing about it, sir,” said Peter. “Up till now, I’d have said Lucy every time.” (Lewis: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

In the last decade, a tragic conversation has taken place between people in the evangelical world over the meaning of the word “justification.” Part of the reason that the conversation has been tragic is because of the quick assumption by so many that grown pastors lie through their teeth when carefully and consistently reiterating their own theology.  But it has also been tragic because the accusation has never been about the meaning of the word “justification” in the BIBLE. Rather, it has basically assumed that the biblical definition is the same as the definition in the Westminster Standards, and that if you talk about distinctions in the Bible, you must be denying the content of the Standards.

Now before I say too much more, I want to state on the record that I believe we enter into salvation by faith alone (not works) in Christ alone. It is all of grace.

I also want to point out that what has happened in the great debates on justification is in large part due to confusing the definition of two real things, a trap that means an attempt at fixing either definition sounds like the denial of the other.  How does this work?

Imagine that there are people living in India. They are called Indians. And imagine you are traveling westward from Europe, instead of south and around Africa to get to the land of the Indians. You believe that the earth is round and small, and that you will get there quickly. When you do get to these Indies, lands of the Indians, lo and behold: you find Indians!

Read more…

The Moral Imagination’s Role in the Abortion and Gay Marriage Debates

Last week, I wrote a blog post on Abortion, Gay Marriage, and the Good Life. In it, I mentioned this idea that Christians need to operate on a different plane from the rest of the world as we engage them in debates like abortion and gay marriage. Our tactics should not allow us to be confused with them because they are utterly indistinguishable from theirs. We should approach the world with the truth in a way that inspires the moral imagination and demonstrates “the good life.”

What do I mean by moral imagination, however?  The best definition may be Russell Kirk’s, “The moral imagination is an enduring source of inspiration that elevates us to first principles as it guides us upwards towards [sic] virtue and wisdom and redemption.” It, however, may need some explaining. The way I was using it was probably a bit more simple, reduced even. The moral imagination, as I was using it, is the story we carry around in our minds that helps to make sense of the world we live in. It is what gives us meaning and purpose, helps us to know what is right and what is wrong, and moves us toward living a better life, whatever it is we view as the “the good life.” Read more…

Why Christians – and Not “Gay Marriage”- Are Destroying America

debate-photo-andrew-sullivan-doug-wilson
Recently, Douglas Wilson held a debate with Andrew Sullivan on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Blogs have been unraveling the debate, including one written by Wilson’s colleague Peter Leithart. While I am usually appreciative of Leithart’s insights, his thoughts this time left me wanting. I understand that academics typically ask more questions than give answers, but in this case Leithart seems to be steering the conversation in the wrong direction.

Wilson v Sullivan

“I came away from a debate on gay marriage between Douglas Wilson and Andrew Sullivan deeply impressed with the difficulties that Christians have, and will continue to have, defending a biblical view of marriage to the American public. It will take nothing short of a cultural revolution for biblical arguments to be heard, much less to become persuasive.” Read more…

Impeaching Politics: Saturday Reading Habits

reading the morning newspaper

If you are reading this, you may be in danger. You may be in danger of reading too much politics. Much of the content published here at the Kuyperian Commentary is political in nature and the odds are good that political content drew you here. That is well and good (in fact, tell your friends), and I have no desire to impugn anyone’s sense of civic duty, but I have noticed that often consumption of political news and political commentary is not something done in moderation. As a case in point, consider the people in your social media networks. We can all think of the friends who “just aren’t that into politics” and those who are posting and tweeting political graphics, statistics, rants, etc. a dozen or more times a day (unless you are that friend, in which case, like a Mr. Collins, you may not realize it). It could be argued that one has to read a great deal from a variety of sources to get a balanced picture, but one could also balance bourbon with vodka and not end up sober. Now, I don’t want to take the bottle away, just put some food in those stomachs. Read more…

Gay Marriage and Christian Values

Last night, Douglas Wilson debated Andrew Sullivan on gay marriage. Peter Leithart summarized the debate and the difficulties Christians will face in that debate. He noted:

It will take nothing short of a cultural revolution for biblical arguments to be heard, much less to become persuasive.

Wilson’s [argument] was [came across as] a fundamentalist, theocratic argument.

The claim that legalizing gay marriage will make the legalization of polygamy easier, as Wilson repeatedly argued, is coherent, but doesn’t have much purchase. Nobody seems to be much worried about a polygamous future for America, and making polygamy the centerpiece of opposition to gay marriage looks too much like fear-mongering.

In the end, these dilemmas may not matter. Perhaps Christians are called to do no more than speak the truth without worrying about persuasiveness.

Whatever the political needs of the moment, the longer-term response to gay marriage requires a renaissance of Christian imagination. Because the only arguments we have are theological ones, and only people whose imaginations are formed by Scripture will find them cogent.

Leithart is right. We live in a world, always have, that doesn’t want to hear what God has to say about anything, especially the love between two people who want nothing more than equality with the rest of us.

It is at this point that one might wonder if the best way for Christians to handle the debate is to let it go. When Constantine reformed Rome’s laws, it happened in an empire that had a Christian leader. Whatever one might believe about the founding of America, to call it a Christian nation today would be laughable, even to Constantine. Constantine, however, saw the value in Christian law because he saw a Christian culture living by it and knew that was what Rome needed.

Maybe the best response for Christians would be to simply live out Christian laws and values, offer a competing polis and culture, that the rest of the nation will someday see the value in. Rather than imposing our values on a nation that doesn’t want them, maybe it would be best to live out our values and show the nation they are worth wanting. Maybe, just maybe, the world will see the righteousness of the Law and start wondering who it is that gave us these laws. Then, the nation will have an imagination formed (or, at least desirous to be formed) by Scripture and will begin to understand our arguments.

Audio Series: How to Read the Bible for the First Time…Again

Just this past weekend (04/22/2013), Steve Jeffery, minister of Emmanuel Evangelical Church in Southgate, North London, England, hosted a colloquium for those who wish to experience the Word of God with new eyes.
The event featured special guest speaker Reverend James B Jordan, director of Biblical Horizons and soon to be joining Dr. Peter J Leithart at the Trinity House Institute for Biblical, Liturgical, & Cultural Studies in Birmingham, AL, who gave a four-part lecture entitled How to Read the Bible for the First Time…Again. Read more…

So be it!

Another reason why the world needs to read Peter Leithart: “If the price of regaining power is to abandon any semblance of Christian sexual morality, the price is too high. If the Republican party can’t bring itself to endorse a traditional understanding of marriage, let it split. If the Republican party can’t be bothered about the slaughter of the unborn, let it shatter into a million little pieces. Good Republicans will blame Bad Republicans for tearing the GOP to pieces. So be it.”

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