The Kuyperian Commentary

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

Archive for the tag “Thomas Kidd”

Gospel Explosion in the World

By Uri Brito

It appears that God always delights in bringing good news to his children. In whatever season, in whatever phase of human history, God is always actively changing, transforming, re-creating the world by His word. And good news is here. Since the Ascension of our blessed Lord God has taken the few and the humble and transformed them into a multitude. This is the trajectory of the kingdom.

C.Peter Wagner reports that the five gospel hot spots in the world are China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Nigeria. “Starting with China,” observes Wagner,  the largest nation in the world reports “the greatest national harvest of souls ever recorded in history, beginning in 1976. Although figures differ, I personally am comfortable agreeing with those who claim that 10 percent of the population is Christian, which would mean that there are around 140 million Christians in that country.” The numbers are staggering. The fields are being harvested.

KC contributor, Thomas Kidd, pointed me to a Christianity Today article detailing how despite persecution, the Iranian church marches on. Claiming 0.5% of Christians, the church has not given in to the political dark forces. Melissa Stefan observes:

Yet, there are two bright lights for Christians in the otherwise-dark Iranian context: Elam Ministries reported in its Summer 2013 magazine that 246 Iranian Christians were baptized on April 17—”probably the largest baptism service on record in the Iranian church since the fourth century.” In addition, Iran’s underground house churches—where freedom to attend Persian-language worship services is more likely to be found—do appear to be growing.

The Gospel presses on. After darkness, light.

Uri Brito is the Senior Pastor of Providence Church in Pensacola, Fl.

The Sons of God Go Forth to War: Remembering Stonewall

Stonewall BrigadeSoutherners, especially Virginians, came to respect and love Jackson, sometimes to excess. One Virginia woman wrote that “I believe that God leads Jackson and Jackson his men, just where it is best they should go. My only fear is that people are in danger of worshiping Gen. Jackson instead of God, who rules over all. If we idolize him, he will be taken from us.” And taken he was, struck down by a volley of Confederate fire from sentries who mistook Jackson and his men for a Union detachment.

200px-Stonewall_JacksonMemorials to Jackson began even before his death, including the famous 1863 photo taken a week before his fatal wounding at Chancellorsville. 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

Find us on Twitter & Facebook #KuypComm

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…

Mahaney Steps Down

C.J. MahaneySovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) President C.J. Mahaney announced yesterday he will leave his position on April 12 to focus on pastoring his new church in Louisville, Ky. The announcement follows months of controversy related to the ministry, including a lawsuit against SGM that alleges cover-ups of child abuse in the 1980s and 1990s.

Mahaney’s announcement came after the resignation last month of SGM board chairman John Loftness and board member Craig Cabaniss.

Mahaney took a leave of absence as SGM president in 2011 but the SGM board reinstated him in early 2012. Following his reinstatement, Mahaney relocated SGM’s offices from Maryland to Louisville and started a church there.

In a blog post, Mahaney cited an imminent SGM transition to a “new polity” as the reason for the change and said plans for his resignation began in October 2012. Mahaney said he is “eager to once again devote my attention to pastoral ministry. Returning to the pulpit of a local church last September has only confirmed for me what I believe God has called and gifted me to do: pastor, preach, and fulfill a role in building the local church for the glory of God.”

In a November response to the lawsuit, SGM spokesman Tommy Hill noted that “the suit does not allege child abuse by any current or former pastor of SGM or any church associated with SGM. The suit does not allege child abuse by any employee or staff of SGM or any church associated with SGM. The suit does not allege any child abuse occurred on any SGM property or any church associated with SGM. SGM leaders provided biblical and spiritual direction to those who requested this guidance.”

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

This article was originally published at WORLD.

Calvinist Controversy at Louisiana College

The latest front in the Baptist battle over Calvinism and Arminianism has opened at Louisiana College, where the administration has decided not to renew the contracts of three faculty members – Jason HilesKevin McFadden and Ryan Lister. The latter two have doctorates from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, while Hiles’s doctoral degree is from Southeastern Seminary. While President Joe Aguillard has not addressed the non-renewals directly, a recent blog post by him acknowledged that his “love for all Baptists including Calvinists, does not constitute our approval of its being advocated at Louisiana College.”

Critics also allege that the college has blocked websites critical of the administration, including The Daily Bleat and lcstudents.org. Two current students, Joshua Breland and Drew Wales, have said they are under investigation by the college for violations of the student code of conduct, specifically for “making disparaging comments” about the college and administration.

The college’s board of trustees held an emergency meeting regarding the controversy Monday afternoon, but apparently no press coverage was allowed. Reports Monday evening indicated that Aguillard will remain as president.

Former faculty members have spoken out against the administration and its policies, their complaints and charges often predating the latest non-renewals. Scott Culpepper, a Louisiana College alumnus and former faculty member, calls for Aguillard’s immediate dismissal for “public and private dishonesty, spiritual manipulation and intimidation, irresponsible anti-intellectualism, and presumptuous attempts to implement poorly conceived pipe dreams rather than responsible planning.”

Given my WORLD Magazine coverage of the David Barton controversy, I found fascinating Culpepper’s account of a dispute over Barton’s address at a college commencement:

My first direct encounter with Aguillard’s style of managing subordinates came in the spring of 2009 when I voiced concern…about comments made by David Barton at the spring commencement.  Mr. Barton made several comments at the ceremony that were erroneous…I had already communicated to the administration before the event Barton’s well known reputation for distorting facts and his nearly universal repudiation by Christian academics.  I requested that Aguillard allow us to present the other side of the argument…The response was bizarre.  Dr. Chuck Quarles had also written a letter in which he echoed some of my concerns about Barton’s presentation.  Aguillard requested that his personal assistant, Joseph Cole, vet my letter and Dr. Quarles’ for factual accuracy because we probably “misunderstood Bro. Barton.”  Cole was a music major with no background in history who had not even completed his undergraduate degree.  Aguillard finally called me in for a rather strange conversation in which I tried to convince him with historical evidence that Barton was incorrect, and he responded by continually asserting that I would believe otherwise if I felt the spiritual vibe at Barton’s headquarters in Aledo, TX.  The meeting ended with Aguillard saying that he forgave me for my letter.  When I tried to diplomatically say that I stood by the letter and was not apologizing for its content, Aguillard said it would be best for my long term future at Louisiana College to forget about Barton. [read Culpepper’s whole letter here]

As I have written previously, the debate over Calvinism’s place in the Southern Baptist Convention is one of the most fractious since conservatives took control of the denomination and its seminaries by the 1990s. If (as is widely alleged) the dismissals of Hiles, McFadden, and Lister are motivated partly by hostility to Calvinism, then we have a test case of whether a theological dispute will translate into faculty purges of those not supporting Arminianism. But as Culpepper’s letter makes clear, the accusations against Aguillard’s administration go far beyond just the Calvinist and Arminian divide.

For more, see The Town Talk (La.), “Louisiana College president’s comments, loss of theologians, prompt spirited debate” 

The Town Talk“Former Louisiana College Board Member: ‘Restore Integrity to Office of President’”

Thomas Kidd is a contributing scholar at Kuyperian Commentary. He teaches history at Baylor University and is Senior Fellow at Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion. Article Originally Published at Patheos.

Not All Turkey and Touchdowns

By Kuyperian Commentary Special Contributing Scholar, Dr. Thomas Kidd

The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony weren’t the first Europeans to settle in North America, nor were they the first permanent English colonists. But because of our annual celebration of Thanksgiving, and our hazy images of their 1621 meal with Native Americans, the Pilgrims have become the emblematic colonists in America’s national memory. Although modern Thanksgiving has become largely non-religious—focused more on food, family, and football than explicitly thanking God—the Pilgrims’ experience reveals a compelling religious aspect of our country’s roots.

Although people often refer to the Pilgrims as “Puritans,” they technically were English Separatists, Christians who had decided that the state-sponsored Anglican Church was fatally corrupt, and that they should found their own churches. (The Puritans, who would establish Massachusetts in 1630, believed in reforming the Anglican Church from within.) Establishing independent churches, however, was illegal. Under heavy persecution, some Separatists decided to move to Leiden in the Netherlands around the same time that the Virginia Company founded Jamestown in 1607.

The Netherlands offered the Separatists religious liberty, but the Pilgrims also became concerned about the negative influences of living in such a culturally diverse society. So in 1620, 102 settlers sailed to America on board the Mayflower. Their final Old World port was Plymouth, England, which supplied the name for their new settlement in what became southeastern Massachusetts.

All adult men on board the ship signed the “Mayflower Compact,” which many consider the first written constitution in American history. It is a very brief document, but it powerfully articulated the colonists’ commitment to God and government by common consent. It reads, in part:

Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation.

Documents such as the Mayflower Compact leave little doubt that the New England colonies were founded primarily for religious purposes.

The Compact noted Plymouth’s legal connection to Virginia (they shared the same charter), but their southern neighbors were less motivated by religion than were the New England colonists. Some today may exaggerate the secular nature of Virginia, however; among the first laws of that colony was a demand that the people honor God, to whom they owed their “highest and supreme duty, our greatest, and all our allegiance to him, from whom all power and authoritie is derived.” The recent news that the foundations of the oldest Protestant church in America have been discovered at the site of the Jamestown fort also reminds us of the southern colonists’ faith.

Although our records for the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth are sparse, we do know that in 1621 the Pilgrims held a three-day celebration with allied Indians, in observation of a good harvest and in gratitude for God’s help in passing through the trials of the first year of settlement (half of the settlers had died in that scourging winter). And yes, they had a “great store of wild turkeys” to eat for the festival.

The American colonies, particularly in New England, continued the tradition of holding thanksgiving days into the Revolutionary era, when the new American nation also picked up the practice. The Continental Congress and American presidents, beginning with George Washington, regularly proclaimed days of thanksgiving. In 1789, the first year of his presidency, Washington declared that the last Thursday of November would be a “day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God.”

Thanksgiving became an annual holiday in America during the Civil War, and Congress made the fourth Thursday of November an official national holiday in December 1941, shortly after America’s entry into World War II.

Thanksgiving historically was about “thanks-giving” directed to God. This is an instructive lesson, not only for better understanding our history, but also for curbing the temptation to make Thanksgiving into a holiday of over-consumption. The Pilgrims remind us that Thanksgiving is not all about turkey and touchdowns.

(Article first published at Patheos)

Post Navigation