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The Christian Way

November 23, 2017 — Leave a comment

Christianity thus has an intrinsically dogmatic character, which is to say it remains confident in the truths on which it is founded. The Christian way is not based on pious feelings and good intentions. Inspired by the Spirit, faith is the enduring disposition of assent to and reliance upon God’s revealed Word. A Christian assents to truths made evident by God’s self-disclosure in Scripture, truths about God as Trinity, creation, redemption, and the consummation of all things at the end of history. These truths are reliably transmitted by human beings who, inspired by God, have also been shaped and influenced by their historical circumstances. They have been communicated, reformulated, and deepened in ways that invite ongoing discussion and debate about their full meaning and import. (See the ECT statement “Your Word Is Truth.”) This does not undermine the dogmatic character of faith. The Christian way uses reason to understand more fully divinely revealed truths, not in order to decide whether or not to believe them.

 

Even now, the Christian way bears witness to the fullness of life promised in Christ. Caring for the sick and the poor, friendship for the prisoner and the outcast, comforting the sorrowful and educating those who need instruction: These are works of mercy that embody the love of God in Christ. This active witness is crowned by ongoing prayer for the needs of fellow Christians, as well as for the world. The Christian overleaps the boundaries and limits imposed by a broken world. As Jesus teaches, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:44–45).

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/12/the-christian-way

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Luther at 500

October 31, 2017 — Leave a comment

A great many preachers, Protestant as well as Catholic, overlook the distinction between law and Gospel, thinking they can change people’s lives by giving them practical advice—as if telling them how to be inwardly transformed could help them do it. Augustine already knew better. Luther’s addition to Augustine’s insight is merely the glad recognition that there is indeed something preachers can do to help us be transformed: Instead of advice, they can give us Christ.

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/11/luther-at-500#login

He sees that Christianity is not a matter of blood, or of race, or of victory in this world. It requires accepting defeat in this life before promising triumph in the next. A Catholic cannot be certain that his line will continue or his country thrive. He only knows that the gates of hell will not prevail against Christ’s Church. This is why Waugh could happily entertain the idea that black men would bear forth a faith and culture abandoned by whites. Perhaps it will not happen, but no Christian would mind if it did.

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/09/christianity-is-for-cucks

Holmes had definite moral views, but his sensibilities about war required magnanimity toward enemies, which included admiration for their bravery, the purity of their motives, and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for a cause. There was, moreover, a brotherhood of sorts among veterans, for they shared a common experience of walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

The great age of Civil War commemoration came as men like Holmes aged. In that time, Romanticism made lost causes into things of beauty. Isaiah Berlin has this to say about the Romantics: “You would have found that they believed that minorities were more holy than majorities, that failure was nobler than success, which had something shoddy and something vulgar about it.” We look upon the Southern cause with moral horror, for its purpose was to preserve slavery. A Romantic can be anti-slavery, but to him the “lost cause” is sublime, tragic, and heartbreaking, which is why the Alamo was not memorialized as a shameful defeat. We fail in our responsibility to history when we do not permit ourselves to see Civil War memorials from a Romantic point of view, and when we fail to recognize the phrase “lost cause” as a shorthand for a morally complex, tragic understanding of the South’s defeat.

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/07/romanticism-of-the-lost-cause

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s philological gerrymandering has been far too influential for far too long. Liberals and conservatives who want more for the public square than echo chambers and outrage factories should hope that Maajid Nawaz wins his lawsuit, and that the SPLC learns a costly lesson about bearing false witness.

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/06/the-southern-poverty-law-center-bears-false-witness

Interesting take on the differences between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict with a nice twist at the end. I was half expecting the author to eventually side with Francis since he is clearly the more popular of the two particularly among non-Catholic believers. Perhaps that explains why Mr. Schmitz agrees with Pope Benedict’s message enduring long term due to its unpopular but doctrinally sound positions.

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/05/burying-benedict

Dress Up

May 17, 2017 — Leave a comment

I’m not a huge reader but despite its length I found this article quite riveting. The history of fashion particularly the 19th and 20th centuries had many new fascinating trends and innovations. I do agree that this new age of individual freedom and decline in the occasion has had many detrimental effects though I doubt many would be disappointed. However as someone who believes its best to impress and that dressing for the occasion is in fact an act of humility I am inclined to share the same feelings as the author Mr. Boyer. I wouldn’t mind if we attempted to conduct a reversal to the simpler days of old.

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/06/dress-up