“The Baptists and orthodox Congregationalists of New England had always been on friendly terms…But Adoniram (Judson) was not so sure about his relation with the Serampore Baptists (of India). If they attacked the Congregationalist position on baptism (which he had recently begun to question), how could he defend it? He feared much more, however, the dilemma he would find himself in if the natives asked him to explain the difference! They might even conclude that there were two competing religions, each calling itself Christian - and thus find it easier to resist conversion.”—By Courtney Anderson in To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson. Adonirom would shudder at the number of “religions” the world would see if they looked at Christians today.
“As the experiences piled up, the atheists I had joined no longer sounded so disinterested and broad-minded. I had accumulated several classic and contemporary statements of nonbelief, and as I perused them again, they seemed more and more to contract life, not expand it. I started to notice that they lacked the whisper of self-doubt that is more or less necessary to both sound religious and irreligious belief.”—By Mark Bauerlein in My Failed Atheism, First Things, May 2012.
Welcome to our Studio! We’ve devoted this space to the exploration of new issues and ideas in academic theology. We’ve begun putting together a library, posting interviews, profiling scholars in the field, and we’ve started our monthly podcast. Check in bi-weekly for our blog postings about the lives and times of theology in the academy.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”—Ephesians 6:10 (NIV). This verse provided the theme for this morning’s sermon by Steve Young, our Discipleship pastor. Be sure to check him out on Twitter.
“Hence when in the first century A.D. St. Paul came to preach the teachings of Jesus Christ to the Greek-speaking world of the Gentiles, he found an audience already prepared, in certain important respects, for his message. It was the combination of Jesus’ inspired Hebrew message of charity, selflessness, acceptance of suffering, and willing sacrifice with the clear Socratic vision of the soul’s triumph and the eternal life waiting it that gave the Christianity which spring from St. Paul’s teaching of the Gospels its astonishing power and ubiquity and enabled it to flourish in persecution and martyrdom. The figure of Socrates also emerged unscathed and ennobled from his trial, conviction, and approaching death. St. Paul wrote “The Greeks ask for a reason, the Jews look for a sign.” Socrates, thanks to Plato’s writings, supplied the reason, while Jesus of Nazareth and his resurrection produced the sign.”—Paul Johnson, Socrates: A Man for our Times
“So when we contrast reason with faith, we are actually contrasting two gifts. The latter is obviously a gift, but the less obvious gift-character of the former must also be acknowledged. Ultimately the only difference between reason and faith is the extent to which they can be grounded. Reason can provide a little more of a “ground” for itself than faith can, but neither can truly be grounded. The problem is that reason often takes itself as being able to provide a ground and thus offer the last word. That is when reason goes wrong. If we cling to reason and refuse to see its limits, then we profess wisdom and become fools (Rom. 1:22).”—Bruce Ellis Benson, Graven Ideologies: Nietzsche, Derrida & Marion on Modern Idolatry, 237.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.”—
Epistle of James 1:22-24.
I’ve been leading my church small group in a discussion of the Epistle of James over the past few months so I’ve been reading it a lot lately. These few verses came to mind as I listened to Episode 32 of the University of Chicago’s Elucidations Podcast. It was an interview with Jennifer Lockhart about ignorant knowledge. If you want more information, you could always read her dissertation: Kierkegaard: Indirect Communication and Ignorant Knowledge.
“Socrates’ use of humor is perfectly illustrated by Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice: “I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good. But follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can.” Socrates said almost exactly the same thing. He insisted, “I never jest at the sacred.” But “all the mortal world” was fair game.”—Paul Johnson. Socrates: A Man for Our Times.