Tag Archives: Reformed

McGrath teaches grace using Catholic sources (wait, what?)

teresaof-avila01 (1)Over at Peter Enns’s blog on PatheosReformed scholar Chuck DeGroat reflects, “imagine the experience in-the-flesh as a renowned Reformed scholar taught grace and union with Christ from a couple of Catholics.” He’s talking about an unexpected classroom experience at Oxford with Reformed historian Alister McGrath, and Chuck promises to further unfold his experience learning from McGrath in a second post. Together the two posts bear the title “Reformed and Contemplative: Discovering Both 16th Century Reformations.”

Yup, that’s one of the Catholics McGrath was talking about in the picture: Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila.

Kinda reminds me of this post byWestminster prof Carl Trueman similarly arguing for the value of the Catholic mystics.

“Emergent” is dead, and the leftovers have gone to the Christian Left, neo-Anabaptism, and neo-Puritanism

I’m in day 3 of Acton University. What follows are my notes from a session that took place yesterday, June 17, 2010. The presenter was Dr. Anthony Bradley, an associate professor of theology and ethics at The King’s College in New York City and a research fellow at the Acton Institute. I am oversimplifying his main arguments in the intentionally provocative title of this post, but I think I’ve captured the basics. If you have any relationship to Emergent, you will doubtless find something in what follows to take offense at. However, I think his typology and analysis of the movement is useful.

Dr. Bradley holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. As a research fellow, Dr. Bradley lectures at colleges, universities, business organizations, conferences, and churches throughout the U.S. and abroad. His writings on religious and cultural issues have been published in a variety of journals, including: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Detroit News, and World Magazine. He studies and writes on issues of race in America, hip hop, youth culture, issues among African Americans, the American family, welfare, education, and modern international forms of social injustice, slavery, and oppression.

[NOTE: the indenting and numbering format problems in the following post have now been fixed]

The Emergent Church, Bradley

Spoke at the outset about King’s College, where he teaches, which is in Manhattan, in the Empire State Building and across the state. Marvin Olasky is provost of King’s College.

Has been with the institute since 2002. Taught at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. Then Olasky “siphoned him off.” He presented on Emergent in 2005/6 at a meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. They were in a room half the size of this, then they had to put them in another room, seating 300 people. They didn’t realize how big the movement had gotten. But in 2006 it was beginning to END. Started in 1989.

He wrote an article on World Magazine’s website where he declared the end of the movement. Tony Jones, Driscoll, others are saying the movement is over.

20 years is not “new.” These churches are not dead. There are still Emergent churches out there. No longer provocative, though. Not sexy. These churches are full of 30- 40-something people with kids. Men going bald. Continue reading

“Wrightians” vs. “Neo-Reformed”–an interesting article about two parties in today’s evangelicalism

This is an important article, though I think there are far more “parties” within evangelicalism today than the two mentioned. I’d be very interested to hear readers’ thoughts on this one, however brief. Y’all come back and post once you’ve read it!

Why do postmoderns need saints? Sometimes we just need to hear stories

It’s hard to believe that my first book has been out for nearly a year. Though that quixotic measure of success, my Amazon sales ranking, has lately tumbled into the doldrums, I’ve been told the book will be given as a graduation gift this year to students in various Bethel Seminary programs and locations. How nice! And people around here are still regularly stopping me to tell me about their favorite bits. That’s a precious dividend for a five years’ investment of research and writing. It gives me a little lift as I work on the next book.

Back in August ’09 when Patron Saints for Postmoderns came out, CT editor David Neff gave me the opportunity to think out loud on the CT history blog about why I think reading the stories of dead Christians matters to the faithful in this “postmoderrn” 21st century. This was my response:

Why do postmoderns need saints?

Sometimes we just need to hear stories.

by Chris Armstrong


Well, it really exists now. My first book (beyond the dissertation, which is a whole different animal). It’s called Patron Saints for Postmoderns (InterVarsity Press), and it was midwifed by my unfailingly patient and encouraging editor, Cindy Bunch. I will spare readers the usual excited yelps and smug self-back-patting of the first-time author. But CT editor and co-blogger David Neff has invited me to talk a bit about the book this week, so I will.

David said I might ask and answer a question like this: Why do postmoderns need saints?

Well, many of us may not feel like it (many of my students don’t), but we’re all postmoderns, I suppose: We live in a secularized age in which all traditions, commitments, codes of life have been exploded and the bits lie scattered over our psychic landscape. The church hasn’t escaped this holocaust of traditions either, of course, and our church lives have a ramshackle, cobbled-together feel too. Continue reading

To spank or not to spank? Benedict of Nursia and the Westminster divines speak

Corporal punishment is both a family and a state issue, in a time when more kids than ever are being subjected to physical abuse by parents and caregivers. Five years ago some political developments led me to devote one of Christian History‘s “Behind the News” online newsletters to this touchy subject. After laying out the issue, I looked at what Benedict’s Rule and the Reformed Westminster Larger Catechism had to say that bears on physical modes of punishment:

To Spank or Not to Spank?
A 6th-century abbot and a group of 17th-century Calvinist divines weigh in on the issue
By Chris Armstrong

June 1, 2004

In the post-Benjamin Spock era, fewer parents than ever seem to be favoring spanking as a method of discipline. One website cites a drop from 59% of American parents in 1962 to 19% in 1993 who use spanking as their main disciplinary method. Though the same source reports that in 1994, “70% of America adults agreed that it is ‘sometimes necessary to discipline a child with a good, hard spanking,'” it notes that in also in that year, the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse found that “only 49% of American adults had hit or spanked their child in the previous year.”

Spanking is nonetheless still, if not the primary disciplinary method of choice, at least a backup option for many American parents—especially among the conservative Christians. Continue reading