The Word and the Rule of Faith

Evangelicalism is awash in the 3Rs: retrieval, renewal, and ressourcement. As Michael Allen and Scott Swain explain in Reformed Catholicity, recently published by Baker Academic press, various movements have emerged sharing the conviction that “the path to theological renewal lies in retrieving resources from the Christian tradition.” In their view, these efforts have been haphazard, and their book sketches a “programmatic assessment of what it means to retrieve the catholic tradition . . . on the basis of Protestant theological and ecclesiological principles.” Continue Reading »

That Our Children May Be Born

A bill before the Indiana state legislature has revived what is becoming a perennialdebate: what information should be provided to pregnant women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome? The bill in question proposes to ban abortions due to either the sex of the fetus or a prenatal diagnosis of a genetic difference such as Down syndrome. The law would criminalize the actions of doctors who encourage and perform such abortions, not women who obtain them. Continue Reading »

Taking Pride in Humility

It all started when a guy told me in a Facebook post that if someone tells him he is humble, it is a certain sign he isn’t. Though I told him he should just be humble enough to take my word for it, nonetheless, I decided to consult the New Testament, if only to straighten out a few things. The short of it is, I’m pretty sure humility is overrated, at least as preachers tell it. Continue Reading »

Our Death Mounds

As the Western suburbs of Chicago go, it’s a spectacular view. To the distant north is the angular, imposing steeple of Wheaton Bible Church. To the south looms the imperious tower of Fermilab, guarding its unnaturally circular particle accelerator. Continue Reading »

Nonsense on “Sixty Minutes”

Sixty Minutes,” the CBS News “magazine” that helped redefine television journalism, prides itself on challenging conventional wisdom, discomfiting the comfortable, kicking shibboleths in the shins, and opening new arguments. No such challenge, alas, was evident in the program’s recent segment on Pope Francis, which aired last Dec. 28. Continue Reading »

Public Chastity, Private Chaos

Americans’ public and private lives are on a collision course. Our social system—the one we publicly engage daily—still unwittingly encourages and rewards chaste behavior (though perhaps not speech). Privately, our lives bespeak an emerging chaos, regardless of what we personally hold to be good or true or ideal. In other words, American life is becoming sexually bipolar. Continue Reading »

How to Battle for Hearts and Minds

In a forthcoming issue of First Things, I review a fine book by Michael McVicar, who teaches at Florida State University. His subject is the “Christian Reconstructionism” of the late Rousas J. Rushdoony, a perspective on Christianity and social-political-economic-legal thought and practice that makes much of the continuing relevance of Old Testament civil law—including the sanctions tied to specific laws and practices. Continue Reading »

The End of the Analogy of Being

The new translation of Erich Przywara’s Analogia Entis is a theological landmark that should go a long way toward clarifying the centuries-long debate about the relationship between analogy and metaphysics. Far from being a rhetorical trope or a philosophical tool, analogy for Przywara is the style of thought that best corresponds to the way in which being makes itself known. Not only is analogy, for Przywara, built into every level of Catholic theology. It is the glue that holds those levels together. The analogy of being is nothing more than the philosophical form that the Roman Catholic Church takes as it embodies God’s presence in the world. Continue Reading »

Jesus on Safari

It has been nearly ten years since Jaroslav Pelikan died and a full twenty-five since he completed The Christian Tradition, his five-volume, 2,100-page history of “what the church of Jesus Christ believes, teaches, and confesses on the basis of the Word of God.” Who was Jaroslav Pelikan, and why does his work remain so important for serious Christian scholarship today? Continue Reading »

Joy in Chastity

In 2006, Dawn Eden wrote The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On. It was an account of how, as a new Christian convert—having led an exciting but spiritually unfulfilling life as a rock journalist—she learned to be joyfully chaste. Continue Reading »