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Showing posts from 2021

Sacrificing LGBTQ+ Well-Being and More on the Altar of an Inerrant Bible

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Perspective is undoubtedly a blessing. It comes with time and experience, and no small amount of grace. But gaining it also means coming to terms with hard truths—truths about ourselves, about the world at large, and about the traditions and institutions that have shaped us (for better or for worse; though usually it’s a bit of both). Ten years ago, I graduated from Cairn University—a small, evangelical Christian university in Langhorne, PA. Cairn isn’t widely known, and it certainly isn’t a place that regularly makes the news. But you might have seen it in a recent AP report: “ Christian college ends program citing gender, sex guidelines .” That title doesn’t quite capture the magnitude of the decision. In a May email from Cairn University President Todd Williams, alumni were notified that, based on a decision made at the spring meeting of the board of trustees (and following the administration’s recommendation), the university “will be eliminating the School of Social Work and al

Brief Reflections on Christian Atheism

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This content lived on Youtube behind a privacy wall for a couple of years, but now I've released it into the wild. I talk about the martyrdom of Polycarp, an interview I once saw on TV between Stephen Colbert and Ricky Gervais, and why Christians need to have well-developed atheist muscles. ================================== Follow @WTravisMcMaken Subscribe to Die Evangelischen Theologen

Pagans in Heaven? Zwingli on "Anonymous Christianity"

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Prominent theologians in recent decades have entertained some form of soteriological inclusivism. Briefly put, this notion means that God leaves open a path to eternal salvation for individuals who never profess explicit faith in Jesus Christ during their lifetimes. Might there be some sort of "back door" to heavenly bliss? At issue, for many, is fairness: Surely a loving God would make provision for hapless souls who never consciously confront the offer of salvation in Jesus, either through ignorance or just by being born at the wrong place or time. The Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner proposed a form of “anonymous Christianity” that (some have thought) helps address this concern. Within the context of his transcendental Thomist framework, Rahner suggests individuals, somehow, might be able to muster an act of unconscious, existential freedom to accept the offer of divine grace. A more popular slant on this idea occurs in C.S. Lewis’ fantasy novel The Last Battle , wherein th

Part 3 - Scots Confession, History & Theology

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This is Part 3 in a series of adult education (Sunday School) classes that I taught at St. Charles Presbyterian Church (USA) in the early months of 2020. It provides a fairly thorough discussion of the Scots Confession's history and theology targeted (hopefully, effectively so) at the generally educated churchgoer.  Part 3 continues exploring the background of the Scots Confession. It deals with John Calvin and the Swiss Reformation, including Calvin's teachings on the knowledge of God, as well as providing a very brief overview of the English Reformation. It also explores chapters 11 - 15 in the confession itself, addressing topics like Christ's intercession at the right hand of the Father, the afterlife, faith, "total depravity," "good" works and merit, and the Christian's ongoing struggle against sin. This is Part 3 in a 5-part series. You can  find the series index here . Here are some quotes from the episode: "Zwingli, trained as

A nice (positive?! 🤣) surprise!

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Gentle readers, please indulge me for a moment. I received a very nice - indeed, a very "positive"! - surprise yesterday and wanted to share it with you. The image is below, and you can read the full story here . It's more of a headline than an actual award, but it is very meaningful to me nonetheless. ================================== Follow @WTravisMcMaken Subscribe to Die Evangelischen Theologen

Barth's "Göttingen Dogmatics" - §4: Man and His Question

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The androcentric nature of Barth's language notwithstanding, in this section he addresses the human condition and the "contradiction" at the heart of our existence, as well as reflecting on how it can be that God encounters us in the midst of that contradiction as "the answer to our question" ( Diktatsatz ). This is part 5 of a multi-part series, and you can find the series index here . I begin the audio recordings by reading Barth’s Diktatsatz , so I will begin reproducing that here as well. The bold is mine and indicates where I find emphasis: God's revelation, which is the basis of Christian preaching, is the answer to our question how we can overcome the contradiction in our existence, which we have to view not as our destiny but as our responsible act , and which we know that we cannot overcome. But we know ourselves in this regard only as God makes himself known to us . We would not ask about God had God not already answered us. Because of

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… (January 19, 2021 ed.)

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…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend… …or, It’s been a while. How are you? That about sums things up. The last link / updates post was back in May. Let’s dive right in to what I have to share with you all today. To begin, Religious Theory (“E-Supplement to the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory ”) published a paper I wrote on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Ethics: “The Ultimate And The Penultimate – Bonhoeffer’s Twofold Contextualism In Adjudicating Competing Ethical Claims.” Click for part 1 and part 2 . My redoubtable editorial associate, Scott Jackson, published another book review in Christian Century (which is very cool): A humble God? - Matthew Wilcoxen traces the idea from Augustine through Katherine Sonderegger. Good friend of the blog, Kate Hanch (you may recall when I talked with her about Julian of Norwich ), organized a book study on Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree and she posted seven (!) videos for it. Click here: you don’t want to mi