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Biased History

To be sure, constrained presentism exists on both the right and the left—everyone on the political spectrum bears the temptation to mine the past for present concerns. This temptation must be resisted. Our innate proclivity to tell stories and forge historical memory must coalesce with an uncompromising set of virtues necessary for the storyteller. Without these qualities, a true historical consciousness of who and what we are as a nation will fade, and we ourselves will perish.




Church

The Original Anti-Christian Nationalist

Christians have become exiles in a country that they played an indispensable role in building, and the Madisonian secular state has proven unable or unwilling to respond to the moral challenges facing the nation. If Madison is correct, and if classical liberalism is ultimately poisonous to the concept of Christian nationalism, then conservatives should seek to ground their vision of liberty in a teaching that is more distinctly Christian than that offered by the fourth President of the United States.

Diversity is Not a Virtue

Churches that are hyper-focused on diversity efforts (especially when such “diversity” is pitifully narrow) often unwittingly send a biblically false message to those already inside their doors: your demographics make you a little less important to us; and until this church family includes enough people with different demographics (enough persons of a specific nationality or race, etc.) you're not a faithful church. They also send another message to the people they are ostensibly trying to attract: you are a thing we want; once we’ve merely arrived at certain demographic numbers then we can see we are a faithful church. This is objectification by a woke name.

Christianity and the Working Class

America’s class divide presents a great challenge. Fashion points our churches and seminaries away from “our people,” but America’s working class is a huge mission field. Members of the working class object to our corrupt and corrupting current ruling elite. But they lash out with what are often vague notions of American patriotism or simple cussedness against the elite.

Religious Liberty Without Liberalism

Abraham Kuyper offers one non-liberal route for the state to organize itself in a way that is supportive of the basic truths of the divinely ordained natural law within a system that is more tolerant of diversity than the Constantinian settlement. Kuyper is certainly not infallible, but I would argue that such an approach is more likely to gain traction in America today than a call for a return to older forms of religious establishmentarianism.

Baptists Against Religious Liberty?

Charles Hughes was right: religious liberty is indeed the “glory of the Baptist heritage.” But how that heritage was applied and how it has changed over time is the topic of important debate. And, given the state of our American public square, it’s a discussion that will only continue to intensify in its significance.

Culture

Biased History

To be sure, constrained presentism exists on both the right and the left—everyone on the political spectrum bears the temptation to mine the past for present concerns. This temptation must be resisted. Our innate proclivity to tell stories and forge historical memory must coalesce with an uncompromising set of virtues necessary for the storyteller. Without these qualities, a true historical consciousness of who and what we are as a nation will fade, and we ourselves will perish.

A Politics of Divine Perfection

Joshua Mitchell considers what lengths moderns will go to cleanse the stain of humanity, but the prior question is whether the reality within which humanity exists is itself stained. The only hope of doing that is to believe in a God who is perfect, without blemish or creaturely limitation, for ‘All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.’ (1 John 3:3). The only hope for politics, therefore, is a renewed vision of the perfect purity of God.

The Danger of a Good Reputation

Everyone loves a good reformation until some rash soul takes a notion to actually reform something. The sons of the prophets much prefer it when their prophets are deceased. Perhaps when they have been dead for a generation or more will they cease to be objects of criticism and attack. Two generations and it is possible to buy a floor buffer for the marble rotunda. Thus it is that later generations build tombs and memorials for the prophets—prophets they would not tolerate for one skinny-minute walking around at ninety-eight point six.

The Ghost of Christian Past

Although both were consigned to insane asylums, it was Marquis de Sade and Friedrich Nietzsche, contends Holland, who were the true prophets of reason. They, unlike so many of their contemporaries and so many self-satisfied Westerners today, actually grasped the essential difference between paganism and Christianity. As Christianity fades into the twilight, Holland tacitly warns, we should not be surprised to find monsters that we thought long since slain again stalking the darkness that lies behind the death of God.

Trans Formation at Twitter

In this world, we are warned, we will have trouble. As “trouble” goes, a seven-day Twitter suspension is a truly light and temporary affliction. Still, it is one more small reminder that as long as we are truthful, we will not be welcome. All the more imperative, in these times, to know who one’s friends truly are—and who one’s God truly is.

Family

Homosexual Acceptance among Evangelicals

When I began my academic career, traditional Christian teachings on sexuality were embraced by the majority of my evangelical students even if they often struggled, as I did, to live up to them. That no longer appears to be the case.

A High Road for Protestant Sexual Ethics

Marriage and family life may be the arenas of human life where the ongoing work of sanctification plays out most vividly. They cannot make human beings holy, but they open the human heart to accept God’s grace and to understand it.

How Gay Marriage Really Came About

One of the core insights of From Tolerance to Equality is the way in which the homosexual acceptance movement presented itself as a struggle by an oppressed underdog against social injustice even though the core of its support came from corporations, government bureaucracies, the wealthy, and the powerful in society rather than the working classes and politically marginalized.

Catechizing the Resistance

Many Christians, rightly concerned about the state of society, fail to begin in the very place where they can actually have a significant impact: their own homes. If we cannot get our homes in order what makes us think we will ever be able to get our communities, states, and nations in order? Even more importantly, of course, the eternal well-being of our children is at stake.

Society

The Tao in America

Cultural Christianity never saved anyone, and to the degree that it covered over sin and wickedness, God hated it, and we ought to condemn it. But cultural Christianity, however imperfect, was and is a manifestation of the Tao. In that sense, it tills the soil to prepare it for the seed. As Lewis said, it gives us something to work on and to work with. It teaches us through laws and customs and cultural practices the reality of the Tao, of God’s moral order. So, cultural Christianity never saved anyone, but it did give many a sense of sin and guilt, which prepared them for the good news of Jesus. 

Why the World Needs Men

Drawing on nature, history, literature, science, common experience, and Scripture, Anthony Esolen defends a traditionalist understanding of manhood, an understanding that recognizes the good and unique differences between men and women and the consequently different roles for men and women in the family, society, politics, and the church.

The Specter of a New Serfdom

Liberalism, democracy, individual Lockean property rights, and freedom of thought—these Joel Kotkin offers up as the elements of the lost golden age to which he hopes we may return. Indeed, he actively pours scorn on the more interdependent, organic model of society that characterized our pre-liberal past, deeming it one of the elements of “feudalism” to be shunned. Any thoughtful reading of our current cultural predicament will show that we will need something stronger than warmed-over post-war liberalism to escape the dystopian future that Kotkin so vividly portrays.

Is Pro-Life Bad for Business?

Passing socially conservative legislation can indeed create a real business cost. But that cost is generally not as high as the headlines would suggest. Social policy is but one of many factors that drive overall decisions by individuals and corporations. Perhaps abortion will reset the clock back to the previous era circa 2000, but that’s not yet evident.

Is Racial Dialogue Possible?

In George Yancy’s Beyond Racial Division he challenges the two most prevalent models for understanding race in our culture, "colorblindness" and "antiracism." While his overall approach is excellent, Beyond Racial Division is flawed in certain respects. Its shortcomings are found not primarily in what it says, but in what it fails to say.

State

Christ and Political Power

Jesus Christ is preeminent in power and glory, exalted above every other power in this world, all of which are created powers. But what does it mean to say that Jesus is above all earthly powers? When we confess that Jesus Christ is above all earthly powers we are making a statement (among other things) about his relationship to the political powers of this world and age. But what statement is that exactly? How is Christ’s kingdom related to the kingdoms of the world? How should believers think about and pursue political power, if they should at all? Answering these questions, however briefly, is the goal of my talk.

Why All Politics is Post-Liberal

The current moment is refreshing and clarifying. Progressives are no longer pretending to neutrality, but insist on actively using government to promote their vision of human flourishing—even if it is an increasingly anti-human one. Conservatives, in response, are awakening from their dogmatic slumber and remembering that they, too, have visions of the good life, visions that cannot be protected and promoted without the use of state power.

Curtis Yarvin is Right

Modern dissidents need to seek out space-creating opportunities. We need breathing room, just like the Puritans did. We need to actively foster an attitude of salutary neglect toward us by the elites. All of this is the case so that alternative models for society—physical and digital, spatial and ideological—can be constructed and tested according to dissident principles.

“For Your Sake We Are Killed”

On August 24th falls the feast of St. Bartholomew. Every year the Christian calendar celebrates the life and work of this Apostle of Jesus Christ. However, the day has a dark history as well. This year marks the 450th anniversary of the massacre that began on that date in Paris. By its end, at least 12,000 French Huguenots lay dead, murdered by their Roman Catholic rulers and fellow citizens. The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre permanently damaged the Protestant cause in France, nearly wiping out its leadership and frightening many of its surviving adherents into converting.

Why We Must Legislate Morality

Rather than aim for perfection, conservative energy would be better spent rebuilding the foundations of virtue. We need laws that, for instance, encourage marriage, discourage divorce, and promote community through friendship and civil associations. The benefits of rebuilding a healthy society are uncontroversial. Moral regulations must build upon this foundation rather than grate against it. In this way, conservatives can support incremental progress toward traditional morality while avoiding the twin dangers of judgmental moralism and amoral libertarianism.