Peter J. Leithart is President of the Theopolis Institute, Birmingham, Alabama, and an adjunct Senior Fellow at New St. Andrews College. He is author, most recently, of Gratitude: An Intellectual History (Baylor).

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Word and Water

From Leithart

Baptism, Luther says in his Small Catechism, is not water only, but water “comprehended in God’s word and connected with God’s command.” The following question asks what word constitutes the water as baptism, and cites Matthew 28: “Go ye therefore . . . ” That . . . . Continue Reading »

War against Mimesis

From Leithart

Baillie quotes the opening lines of Rousseau’s Confessions , and notes that it, like Descartes’s cogito, is an “effort to avert attention from what Girard calls mimetic desire, the elimination of which is tantamount to the rejection of Christian anthropology. Rousseau begins his . . . . Continue Reading »

Image of God

From Leithart

Gil Baillie, working in a Girardian framework, suggests that the claim that man is made in the image of God means “this creature can only fulfill its destiny by becoming like someone else. So counterinstinctual and counterintuitive is such a thing, that the likelihood of this creature . . . . Continue Reading »

Creative destruction

From Leithart

Vitz suggests that postmodern thought has been largely an act of “creative destruction” serving as an “expose, in the best sense of the term.” The result is “a much large intellectual framework within which everyone, including Christians, can function. It provides a . . . . Continue Reading »

Modern self

From Leithart

Paul Vitz describes the modern self this way: “The modern self is characterized by such things as freedom and autonomy, by a strong will, and by the presumption that the self is self-created by the will, operating freely in its construction. The self is assumed to be strong, capable, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Metanarratives

From Leithart

Many Christians find Lyotard’s claim that postmodernity is incredulity toward metanarratives directly contrary to Christian faith, but James KA Smith offers an interpretation of Lyotard’s that is not hostile to Christianity. For Lyotard, he argues, the issue is not so much the scope of . . . . Continue Reading »

Anti-antimedievalism

From Leithart

David Burrell writes, “Modernity was fairly constituted by a quite specific opposition to medieval thought, as we have noted, so could be called ‘post’ or even ‘antimedieval’ . . . this mode of thinking proceeded by avoiding, if not aggressively removing, any reference . . . . Continue Reading »

Cosmic mediation

From Leithart

Philo’s views on the mediation of the logos are summarized in the TDNT article on mediator: “Stretching from the middle of the world to the ends, and back from the extreme edges to the middle . . . [the logos] holds together all the parts of the world . . . . He it is who prevents the . . . . Continue Reading »

Preparation for justification

From Leithart

The medieval arguments in favor of the notion of preparation for justification through created grace are founded on anthropological and cosmological claims. McGrath summarizes the Summa Fratris Alexandri , which he calls “the first systematic discussion of the nature of created grace,” . . . . Continue Reading »

Active and Passive

From Leithart

Here is a hypothesis or suspicion, not a conclusion, much less a conviction: The notion that God rewards what we do with what we have, and the notion that we are purely passive in salvation are not, as they appear, extreme opposites, but are two positions within the same framework. From one end: . . . . Continue Reading »