Can Conservative Protestants, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics of mainstream type join together…?

…in bearing witness (to all that I have spoken of )? I urge that we can, despite our known and continuing differences about the specifics of salvation process and the place of the church in that process. From the great tradition, or rather from the Scriptures as they have always been read within that tradition, we received shared understanding of RUIN, REDEMPTION, REGENERATION and the reality of fellowship with our risen Saviour, that suffices for the purpose.

– J.I. Packer in C. Colson and R.J. Neuhaus (eds.), Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission, Dallas, Word, 1995

How do you define an evangelical? Mark Noll interviewed.

Lengthy, yet superbly written, the below article from Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, encapsulates Judy Valente’s interview about America’s evangelicals with Mark Noll, historian and professor of Christian thought at Wheaton College:

How would you define an evangelical?

Historians usually use two ways of defining evangelical Protestant Christians. One feature is the things that evangelicals historically and traditionally have believed and practiced. Evangelicals usually stress conversion to Jesus Christ. Evangelicals stress the authority of the Bible as their chief religious authority. Evangelicals are activist in some areas of life, principally in trying to share the good news about Jesus. And evangelicals usually stress the death… 

Some other great questions from the interview are, as follows:

What are some of the myths about evangelicals?

The truth would be?

What are some of the nuances people might miss about evangelicals, some of the surprising things?

Is there such a thing as an evangelical worldview, a different way of seeing history than many other Americans do?

And the difference between “evangelical” and “fundamentalist”?

What about the emphasis on the Bible as the literal truth, as being literal rather than figurative? Do both groups share that? Or do fundamentalists have that alone?

Why do you think evangelicals have become so much more prominent in recent years than they were 50 years ago?

What do you think has fueled that growth?

You mentioned that evangelicals were able to adapt to culture and to new technology. In what ways did they adapt that others did not?

You say evangelical adaptability has been a positive influence in some ways. But others these days are raising the question: Have evangelicals become too much a part of the culture around them?

In this effort to adjust to modern culture and appeal to larger groups of people, particularly the unchurched, has the evangelical message been watered down? Is this a concern to you?

How would you assess the influence, in politics and culture at large, of evangelicals?

What role do you think evangelicals will play in the upcoming presidential election?

Let’s talk a little about evangelicals and their faith. How do you and others share your faith with people you meet who are not Christian?

Is there any concern that the habits and practices of evangelicals are becoming too much a part of the secular world, particularly young people? It’s hard not to be swept up in the culture that you live in.

How much of a sense do you have, or do evangelicals still have, that they are outside the mainstream? Or are they not becoming more and more a part of the mainstream?

Do you think they are losing somewhat that outsider status — that status as people standing apart from secular culture, almost in judgment of secular culture?

You wrote an entire book called THE SCANDAL OF THE EVANGELICAL MIND about being both an intellectual and an evangelical Christian. To what extent have the issues that you brought up in that book been overcome?

What can you tell me about the Vineyard movement? Where does it fit in on the spectrum of evangelical churches?

You’ve written a lot about the Protestant hymns. What is their significance for the evangelical tradition in America and for evangelical churches?

What about global evangelicalism?

Enjoy the read!

 

 

Table Tennis Between a Human and a Robot, The Duel: Timo Boll vs. KUKA Robot. What is to learn from such a competition?

Did you watch it twice? Even before the video had started, I was already planning on watching it twice so that I could observe all the tricks the robot was about to make in order for the human not to win the game.

It was quite amazing to see how a robot makes a human struggle. And this happens every day, especially if you work on a PC (sic!) The human fights his own limitations in trying to beat a robot. Up until the 6th serve, the human seemed to be losing the game and you would not even be shocked about it. Yet, the tricks were not performed by a specially produced and programmed robot, but by the human who has the special gift of creativity. It was all about the unexpected ways of delivering a ball, that the robot was not programmed to face, and that was its weak point. After the first point in favour of the human, you could already see how the next few points were about to be won, and most of them met your expectations.

The one thing the fascinates me is not the precision and the speed of the robot, but he lack of pleasure, excitement and sorrow when winning and/or losing. It was on the face of the human that you could read all that he was experiencing: joy, excitement, wonder,  expectancy, sorrow and revenge. The robot, on the other hand, was only there to perform a job and that job was close to perfection, yet not perfect.

What a lesson: I was not produced, I was created. I was not programmed, but left with the ability to choose and create. I was not only given choice, but the ability to react and live the results of my own choices. I was also given the pleasures of life and the sorrow of wrong choices. And all this with a purpose: to chose right and to enjoy the results of a good choice. Forever!

How and what will I choose will determine the very next reactions and decisions in my life.  Think about it!

The Passionate Intellect, Alister McGrath

the passionate intellect

“The apologetic task cannot be limited to developing arguments. In some way we must realize that apologetics involves enabling people to glimpse something of the glory and beauty of God. It is these, not slick arguments, that will ultimately convert and hold people. True apologetics engages not only the mind but also the heart and the imagination, and we impoverish the gospel if we neglect the impact it has on all of our God-given faculties.”

– Alister McGrath, The Passionate Intellect, p. 88.

From Father to Son — J.R.R. Tolkien on Sex (reblog from Al. Mohler)

The astounding popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien and his writings–magnified many times over by the success of the “Lord of the Rings” films–has ensured that Tolkien’s fantasy world of moral meaning stands as one of the great literary achievements of our times.

tolkien

In some sense, Tolkien was a man born out of time. A philologist at heart, Tolkien was most at home in the world of ancient ages, even as he witnessed the barbarism and horrors of the 20th century. Celebrated as a popular author, he was an eloquent witness to permanent truths. His popularity on university campuses, extending from his own day right up to the present, is a powerful indication of the fact that Tolkien’s writings reach the hearts of the young, and those looking for answers.

Even as Tolkien is celebrated as an author and literary figure, some of his most important messages were communicated by means of letters, and some of the most important letters were written to his sons.

Tolkien married his wife Edith in 1916, and the marriage was blessed with four children. Of the four, three were boys. John was born in 1917, Michael in 1920, and Christopher in 1924. Priscilla, the Tolkiens’ only daughter, was born in 1929.

Tolkien dearly loved his children, and he left a literary legacy in the form of letters. Many of these letters were written to his sons, and these letters represent, not only a hallmark of literary quality, but a treasure of Christian teaching on matters of manhood, marriage, and sex. Taken together, these letters constitute a priceless legacy, not only to the Tolkien boys, but to all those with whom the letters have been shared…..

Continue here.

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