But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Old Life - Apologetic Report
Thursday, 15 November 2018 04:43

How Did the Laity React to the Council of Nicea?

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Surrounding the news and criticism of Roman Catholic bishops in their responses to instances of sexual abuse by priests (and other officials) are calls for the bishops to be as holy as they should be and for the laity to be included in some mechanisms of accountability. What is strange about these...

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Tuesday, 13 November 2018 03:42

Birthright Sport

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With all the recent talk about birthright citizenship, one that has bearings on infant baptism, I am at a loss about basketball. Is it Canadian, Presbyterian, or American? It depends on how we categorize the game’s creator.

But do you know that the inventor of basketball was a Presbyterian?

H...

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Monday, 05 November 2018 03:43

If You Add to Scripture, How Do you Stop?

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Here’s what Jesus said:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the...

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Friday, 02 November 2018 07:46

Confessional Lutherans Don’t Try So Hard

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This story caught my eye because of a recent speaking engagement — a Reformation Day observance — at an LCMS church in Fort Wayne.  For this ELCA church plant in Orlando, the church is both brewery and church:

The high-pitched sounds of children playing kazoos echoed off the walls...

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Monday, 29 October 2018 07:22

Baseball for Sabbatians

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With the completion of the 2018 season, an old article from the Nicotine Theological Journal (October 2007) on fans, pennant races, and keeping the Lord’s Day holy (and an excuse for an image of Mr. Utley):

NTJ Diarist: Day of Stress and Worry

It seems a distant memory now. But the last...

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Monday, 29 October 2018 04:27

Goooooooooooooooooalllll!!!!!

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When John Fea gets it right, he gets it (mainly). He recently reflected on life in a small town:

Messiah is located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Mechanicsburg is not a very cosmopolitan place. Many of my neighbors have lived in the town for multiple generations. Some young people get out of...

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The folks at Redeemer do not seem to see the need to cooperate in church planting with existing denominational structures or even with the existing seminaries. Apparently, a special kind of minister is necessary for urban churches.

Philanthropy: You mentioned earlier that another very serious...

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Wednesday, 17 October 2018 23:34

Church Planting the Keller (not the PCA) Way

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This sounds like a separate denomination. Actually, it sounds a lot like the kind of start-up featured in Gimlet Media’s series on church planting (as the spiritual equivalent of tech start ups). Would you ever hear something about the PCA, the denomination that gave Redeemer its support at...

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Tim Keller explained to people who write about charities and philanthropy the contribution that churches make to “human flourishing”:

Philanthropy: How does a healthy church benefit the community at large beyond its own members? On the flip side, when a neighborhood doesn’t have a...

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Monday, 15 October 2018 07:04

The Spirituality of Social Justice

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Here’s what it feels like to be pro-social justice without actually risking anything:

Christians cannot pretend they can transcend politics and simply “preach the Gospel.” Those who avoid all political discussions and engagement are essentially casting a vote for the social status...

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In today’s class on religion in the U.S., students and I discussed Mary Beth Swetnam Matthews’ book Doctrine and Race. Aside from lots of evidence of how pervasive racism was among the leaders of the fundamentalist movement (William Bell Riley, John Roach Straton, and J. Frank Norris...

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Thursday, 04 October 2018 05:02

In Defense of Women

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It is the 100th anniversary of the publication of Mencken’s book, In Defense of Women. An excerpt:

This sentimentality in marriage is seldom, if ever, observed in women. For reasons that we shall examine later, they have much more to gain by the business than men, and so they are prompted by...

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Sunday, 30 September 2018 21:01

When Social Justice is not Gospelly but Theocratickey

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Andrew Sullivan via Rod Dreher reveals the categories of liberal society and by implication shows that the Christian advocates of social justice are opposed to sorts of norms and privileges that attend the American system of law and government.

When public life means the ransacking of people’s...

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Wednesday, 26 September 2018 07:18

What Brett Kavanaugh Could Learn from the Holy Father

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The asymmetry between the press’ coverage of the Roman Catholic church’s scandal and the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh are remarkable. Whistle-blowers in the church receive a level of scrutiny that the judge’s accusers do not.

But not to worry. If the press is as...

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Tuesday, 25 September 2018 04:35

If It Is Not a Gospel Issue, What about Gospelly?

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The Gospel Allies are not helping to clarify what is and what is not a gospel issue. Their brand is slipping away.

Kevin DeYoung comes the closest to adding clarity when he writes:

“gospel issue” should not be shorthand for “you must be passionate about all the same things...

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Thursday, 20 September 2018 05:45

Selective 2k

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Readers may remember an exchange between John Fea and me about religion and politics from last summer. In the course of that exchange, Fea quoted favorably from President Obama’s welcome to Pope Francis:

You call on all of us, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, to put the “least of...

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Tuesday, 18 September 2018 08:01

Win a Free Book

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Anyone who can guess the author of the following article will receive a copy of On Being Reformed:

Putting the X Back in Xmas

How to make “Jesus the Reason for the Season” – that is the dilemma facing evangelical Protestants. Some, the socially militant ones, insist that Christmas...

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Monday, 17 September 2018 05:31

Protestant Nationalism

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With all the attacks on and outrage over white nationalism and white theology, a historical perspective on the origins of nationalism might be instructive. This is from Philip S. Gorski’s The Disciplinary Revolution: Calvinism and the Rise of the State in Early Modern Europe (2003):

Confession...

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Thursday, 13 September 2018 23:26

And Yet, Protestantism is Still Rodney Dangerfield

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For all of Jonathan V. Last’s important observations about the seriousness of the current crisis in Roman Catholicism, Protestantism still gets no respect. Here are the possible outcomes of the contemporary scandal:

Some conservative Catholics, such as Princeton’s Robert P. George, have...

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Thursday, 13 September 2018 23:16

Audacity Gives, Audacity Takes Away

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While Bryan and the Jasons are still mulling over the merits of conversion, others are wondering about the state of affairs in the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Jonathan V. Last, at the Weekly Standard, lays out the problems of leaning hard on papal audacity (notice that the link is now dead and the...

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Wednesday, 12 September 2018 07:33

Fear’s Double Standard

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A prominent theme in John Fea’s book, Believe Me, is that fear drives evangelical politics. The word “white” should go before evangelical because Fea also contrasts white and black evangelicals’ politics. He writes:

Even the most cursory reading of the Old and New Testament...

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Wednesday, 12 September 2018 04:42

Mencken Day 2018

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From Happy Days:

I was on the fattish side as an infant, with a scow-lie beam and noticeable jowls. Dr. C. L. Buddenbohn, who fetched me into sentience at 9 p.m., precisely, of Sunday, September 12, 1880, apparently made a good (though, as I hear, somewhat rough) job of it, despite the fact that his...

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Monday, 10 September 2018 07:10

Lutherans, Reformed, Baptists Apart

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The following is an excerpt from my contribution to On Being Reformed: Debates over a Theological Identity. Here is how Amazon dot com describes the book:

This book provides a focus for future discussion in one of the most important debates within historical theology within the protestant tradition...

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Friday, 07 September 2018 04:51

A Wrestling Match Over the Resurrection

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Chris Gehrz thinks a belief in the resurrection will produce activist evangelicals (maybe even social justice types):

What would happen if evangelicals let the reality of the resurrection penetrate into our hearts and give us the vitality and power of Christ’s victory over death?

First, it...

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Thursday, 06 September 2018 07:52

Thank You, Lord, I’m Not a Christian-Identity Christian

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Can the social justice warriors tell the difference between John MacArthur and Louis Beam? I was not aware of Mr. Beam until I listened to a remarkable discussion of Katherine Belew’s book, Bring the War Home at bloggingheadstv. Nor was I aware of a statement about social justice from...

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