Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Joe Carter’s column this week ponders Harold Camping’s most egregious flaw in his prediction of Judgment Day. It wasn’t, mind you, his inaccuracy or even his scandal to non-Christians, but, as Carter argues, his desire to reduce the gospel to a matter of mere calculation, and failing to place faith in Providence’s designs for the day of judgment :

The same could be said about the message of the Christian faith. The gospel should be presented as reasonably as possible, but not so reasonably that it excludes faith. After all, God has not recruited us to be spin-doctors for the church; he calls us to be fools for Christ. As Camping continually proves, we are likely to be fools anyway. We might as well strive to become the right kind of fools.

George Weigel argues today that the Catholic Church in Poland, as it develops its public voice, should honor the vision of John Paul II not by looking to him as the apex of Polish life after which all is in decline. Instead, the Poles should cast their nets still deeper :
Polish Catholicism should adopt this future-oriented stance. Remembering the John Paul II years should now be a remembering in service to the future. The 21st century Church in Poland must take up John Paul’s challenge in the 1991 encyclical  Redemptoris Missio and re-imagine itself as a Church that is a mission, not an institution for which mission is one among many activities. Or as John Paul put it in closing the Great Jubilee of 2000, the Church must leave the shallow water of institutional maintenance and put out “into the deep” of the New Evangelization.

Dear Reader,

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

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?

Make My Gift



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles