If you’ve ever struggled to explain what went wrong with evangelicalism, or if you’ve ever been embarrassed to be around conservative, doctrinal Christians, here’s several popular villains to make sense of your angst. Once you find a way to include all of them into your narrative, you’ll have a cool book in the making.
5. Rene Descartes - He introduced linear thinking into the church for the first time ever. Before he came along Christians didn’t try to be logical or talk about propositions. Thanks to Descartes, we waste our time on information instead of formation.
4. Charles Hodge - He pretty much invented inerrancy. Before he came along people knew that the Bible is full of mistakes. He also talked about the Scriptures like it had facts and truths in it. Boy does that sound silly.
3. Plato - Besides coming up with the dubious idea of platonic guy-girl relationships, he also taught that the body is the prison house for the soul. Dualist! Now everyone thinks heaven is a place for disembodied spirits and sex and sexy movies are bad.
2. Anselm - No one thought of Christ’s death as a substionary sacrifice before him. The cross had nothing to do with justice and wrath until Cur Deus Homo? duped us all.
1. Constantine - Where do we begin with this guy? He single-handedly invented Christendom, fake conversions, military conquest, political-religious entanglements, and church buildings. Plus he started the confusion: “it’s Istanabul, it’s Constantinople, it’s Istanbul, it’s Constantinople...”
We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.
Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on firstthings.com.
Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.
Will you give today?