Acton Institute Powerblog

PowerLinks 07.02.13

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The Conservative Mind at 60: Russell Kirk’s Unwritten Constitutionalism
Gerald Russello, The Imaginative Conservative

The written constitution is simply a law ordained by the nation or people instituting and organizing the government; the unwritten constitution is the real or actual constitution of the people as a state or sovereign community, and constituting them such or such a state.

Naturalizing “Shalom”: Confessions of a Kuyperian Secularist
James K. A. Smith, Comment

How I discovered I could long for justice in both this world and the next.

Three Reasons Freedom of Religion Matters
Tom Gilson, Thinking Christian

Freedom of religion differs from other freedoms in at least three fundamental aspects.

Discovering Your Personal Vision
Hugh Whelchel, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

It is important to remember that jobs and careers come and go. Your calling—your God-appointed mission in life—stays constant throughout your life because it is a reflection of who God has made you to be.

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).


  • RogerMcKinney

    James Smith: “…with Locke and Smith we see a new emphasis: providence is primarily about ordering the world for mutual benefit, particularly economic benefit. Humans are seen as fundamentally engaged in an “exchange of services,” so the entire cosmos is seen anthropocentrically as the arena for this economy.”

    I think that’s an exaggeration of the thoughts of both writers. The point of Smith’s Wealth of Nations is that wealth is better than poverty and if you want wealth then this is how to achieve it for a nation. There is no reason to assume they excluded heaven.

    “It was very much a rapture-ready, heaven-centric piety that had little, if anything, to say about how or why a Christian might care about urban planning or chemical engineering or securing clean water sources in developing nations. Why worry about justice or flourishing in a world that is going to burn up?”

    The truth is more likely that the James Smith wasn’t paying attention in church. Or maybe I was fortunate to grow up Baptist, a group that is very mission oriented. From my childhood I listened to stories of missionaries drilling wells for clean water and teaching farmers better methods or providing for poor inner city kids. Smith must have grown up in an odd church that did not represent the rest of evangelical Christianity.

    However, Baptists never fell for the delusion that we could create the kingdom of God on earth before Christ returns, a fever that seems to be an epidemic among some evangelicals

  • LukeDaxon

    Hello Roger

    You judge Smith harshly. Neither you nor I are to know what he or saw or heard when he was growing up nor how much attention he paid to it. It wouldn’t cost anything to show the chap the courtesy of not questioning his word.
    I have no reason to doubt the veracity of what he said, not least because an awful lot of confused thought and, frankly, gnostic heresy has crept into Christian attitudes to creation and eschatology. This view holds that the ultimate destiny of human beings is to be disemobodied spirits in heaven, rather than to have glorified bodies in a renewed, glorified and very definitely physical cosmos. It therefore does not matter what we do in and with this world, the whole point is to be saved from it etc, etc. I have come across this false eschatology all too many times and places to think it is an isolated occurence.