Kuyper on Secularism

From Abraham Kuyper’s opening address to the First Social Congress in Amsterdam, November 9, 1891, The Problem of Poverty: The first article of any social program that will bring salvation, therefore, must remain: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” This article is today being erased. Continue Reading...

Local Churches and the ‘Halo Effect’

RealClearReligion has become a starting point for my day, and I’m honored to have this week’s commentary linked in today’s morning edition, “Local Churches Hard Hit as Recession Spreads.” The link posted just below mine from CNN’s Belief Blog highlights problems facing a local congregation, “Atlanta church faces eviction.” One of the points of dispute facing the congregation is the status of daycare and afterschool programs that use the facility. Continue Reading...

Local Churches Hard Hit as Recession Spreads

In this week’s Acton Commentary, “Local Churches Hard Hit as Recession Spreads,” I examine some of the lingering and widening effects of the Great Recession. I focus particularly on an upward trend in foreclosures of church properties across the country. Continue Reading...

Business as a Form of Christian Ministry

In a recent Acton Commentary, Stephen Grabill and Brett Elder reflect on the tension that often exists between conceptions of ministry in the church and in the world. They point especially to the Cape Town Commitment, which on the one hand identifies a “secular-sacred divide as a major obstacle to the mobilization of all God’s people in the mission of God.” But on the other hand, write Grabill and Elder, “The gulf between economics and theology in evangelical social engagement and missionally informed action is a momentous barrier that must still be overcome before we can truly embrace all legitimate vocations as sacred and worthy callings.” There are some positive signs on this front, however, and the workplace section of the Cape Town Commitment is one of them. Continue Reading...

Christianity and the Politics of Prison and Redemption

In a fine post over at the History News Network (HT: Religion in America), Jennifer Graber, assistant professor of religious studies at The College of Wooster and author of the forthcoming book, The Furnace of Affliction: Prisons and Religion in Antebellum America, reflects on what the Michael Vick saga (to date) shows us about American attitudes towards crime, punishment, and redemption. Continue Reading...

Talking About Babel

Two more thoughtful reviews of Jordan Ballor’s Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church’s Social Witness are in. Ross Emmett says that, “those concerned about the role of the church in the world today can learn a lot by reading and reflecting on Ballor’s excellent critique of the ecumenical movement’s political economy.” And in the new issue of the Journal of Markets & Morality, Thomas Sieger Derr agrees with Jordan that the ecumenical movement should be “appropriately circumspect in its ethical pronouncements on specific matters of public policy.” And, on his blog, Hunter Baker (he’s a PowerBlogger, too) chats with Jordan about Babel. Continue Reading...